TOKYO (Reuters) - “Who played the father in the movie ‘Kramer versus Kramer’?”
That’s one of the 50 questions Japanese men could face in a “daddy exam”, meant to raise awareness about fatherhood in a country where men tend to work long hours and leave their wives in charge of childcare and household chores.
Even men who remember Dustin Hoffman struggling as a father in the movie may have a hard time answering questions ranging from potty training and baby food to politics, such as the percentage of gross domestic product used for parenting support.
Tetsuya Ando, director of Fathering Japan, a Tokyo non-profit organization that came up with the test and will offer it to eager dads from next March, said the exam was a catchy way to get fathers into parenting.
“There just isn’t enough information about parenting for fathers. Through the exam, we want men to realize that they don’t know anything about child-rearing,” he said.
For the price of 3,900 yen ($34), fathers can find out whether they qualify as a “Super Dad”, or are in need of more effort as a “Challenge Dad”.
“We have received inquiries from fathers, single men, to-be-dads, grandfathers ... even an aunt who was concerned that her nephew is too busy with work to notice the fun of parenting,” Ando said.
The image of fathers is gradually changing in Japan as younger men eschew their own dads’ hands-off approach in favor of closer involvement, and a wave of new parenting magazines for male readers has been hitting newsstands.
But it is still hard for Japanese fathers to cut down on their work hours and spend more time with their families. Only 0.5 percent of employed men in Japan took parental leave in 2005, as opposed to 14 percent in the United States and 12 percent in Britain in 2000.