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Library waitlists for book 'Why doesn't my husband just go die?' top 2,000

05/14/2024 07:14 PM
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Photo courtesy of Taiwan Tohan Co. May 13, 2024
Photo courtesy of Taiwan Tohan Co. May 13, 2024

Taipei, May 14 (CNA) Libraries across Taiwan have seen a surge in demand for a Japanese non-fiction book with the provocative title "Why doesn't my husband just go die?" (老公怎麼還不去死).

As of Monday, 2,373 people had joined waitlists for the book, including 771 in Taipei, 80 in New Taipei, 160 in Taoyuan, 520 in Taichung, 559 in Taoyuan and 283 in Kaohsiung, municipal public library data shows.

The book, by former Economist journalist Miki Kobayashi, features profiles of multiple women in Japan describing their experiences with pregnancy, childcare and domestic duties, often borne at the expense of their own careers and with little help from their spouses.

The inequality of the situation creates bitterness and fissures in the women's marriages, Kobayashi writes. In some cases they consider divorce, but ultimately decide against it due to factors such as age, money, social expectations or their children, and are left secretly thinking that their problems would be solved by their husband's death.

Kobayashi blames the situation on various factors, including government policies and Japan's male-dominated work culture, which she argues leaves men little time to share duties at home, and must be reformed for real progress to be made toward gender equality.

Kobayashi's book was originally published in 2016 with the Japanese title "The wives who hope their husbands die." The simplified Chinese edition, meanwhile, has the slightly milder title "The wives who hate but do not get divorced."

Given that the book's traditional Chinese version was only published in 2022, its sudden increase in popularity may owe more to its recent discussion in online forums in Taiwan, rather than the eye-catching title alone.

(By Chiu Tsu-yin and Matthew Mazzetta)

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