Survey Finds That Japanese Dads Need to Get Outdoors on Mountain Day

Activities News & Views - August 8th, 2016
nikko-mountains

This Thursday will mark the first observance of the newly founded Mountain Day holiday, which will hopefully inspire the country’s notoriously harried workers to take a few extra days over the Obon vacation period.

The holiday, which began the approval process back in 2014, is aimed at “giving opportunities to get close to mountains and to appreciate the benefits of mountains.” And there are plenty of them to be appreciated – once you get out of the big city you realize just how mountainous the country is. However, according to a study performed by the watchmakers Casio, plenty of fathers in Japan wish they were spending more time in the great outdoors with their children.

For the study, approximately 300 Japanese, German, and US fathers who self-identified as being interested in outdoor activities were surveyed. A few interesting pieces of data came to the fore. One of them – probably not much of a surprise, given the siren song of buying more gear – was that fathers from all three countries would all have been happy to have bought more (to the tune of $1,000/¥100,000/€1,000) outdoor equipment if circumstances (or as the survey put it, “wife or partner”) allowed. In Japan, this figure was 29.7 percent, in the US it was 42 percent, and in Germany it was 24.7 percent.

Given the traditionally long work hours that parents in Japan face, there was also a considerable gap between the amount of time that fathers wanted to be spending outside with their children and how much they actually were spending outside. In the US, dads hoped to spend 9.15 hours outside with their children per week, and managed to log 7.42 hours, German fathers wanted to spend 5.45 hours outside with their kids and got 4.06, while Japanese patriarchs were down at the bottom of the pack, hoping for 4.58 hours with their offspring and only getting 2.15 a week. (Of course, this component of the survey missed out on the phenomenon known as Pokemon Go that has recently been unleashed on the globe.)

When asked what changes they noticed in their children after spending time outdoors, common responses were an increased sense of curiosity, self-reliance, and adventure. It was interesting to note that 20% of Japanese dads responded that they noticed “nothing in particular” after spending time out with their children. Another common thread – despite complaints about inclement weather, dropping phones into lakes or rivers, losing keys, or being injured – is that the majority of fathers saw their main responsibility as showing their families a good time.

Although it was only men who were surveyed for the study, we’re not limiting our good wishes to everyone this Mountain Day: get out there and have some fun. At least before it gets too hot…