ママ友 [mamatomo]

June 12, 2011 at 1:25 am (cosplay(コスプレ), doujin(同人), general, otaku word)

 Here comes a rainy season in Japan, which means it’s been humid and muggy. I don’t like it. Though I like hydragea. How’s in your country? Anyway, I need to make a post as I shouldn’t leave my blog.

 Now, there is a remarkable TV drama series named 名前をなくした女神[Goddesses who lost their names]. Most of my friends are following this soap opera, and even my elder sister got hooked. This drama features five mothers who battles in the society. You might be thinking of women who are actually working, but no. I mean, they are mothers who face confilct in the mothers’ community. The more I watch this drama, the more I feel scary. Does this kind of thing really happen?

 The key word in this drama is ママ友[mamatomo] which means mom buddy. If you happen to be a mother, you would have a child who goes to school. Sometimes you need to go to school to talk to the teachers or to pick up your child. So you would see other mothers. You would have to make friends with them because your child and their children are friends. You are mothers who can share joy and pain to raise a child, and in order to let your child have fun, you need to join such a community by mothers…but that is a prelude to the hell.

 The lead is Yuko who has a gentle husband and a good boy. Seemingly, there seems to be no problem in her family. But as her son goes to school, she has to experience such a stressful relationship of other mothers. The most troublesome thing is rumor. Once someone starts a rumor about you, it would be a nightmare. That would spread out in one day, and next day you would be an outcast. In the episode 1, there is a mother who blogs for her family. After she uploads her child’s photo on her blog, someone takes it for the child porno. To much worse, not only her child, but his classmate is in the photo, she is terribly accused of by mamatomos. So she becomes an outcast, and in the end she tries to kill herself.

 Sounds far-fetched? No, this kind of thing happens. I just asked my elder sister as she has a son. At the school her son goes, mothers have to show ID to pick up their children. Also, they are not allowed to upload any photos of other children. No one says so, but that is a rule. You shouldn’t talk about your family too much, you mustn’t show off something, and blah blah blah…

 Oh no, it is very tedious. If I were a woman, I wouldn’t endure something like this. The world of mamatomo is so awful. What does this title, “Goddesses who lost their names” stand for? In this drama, mothers never call their names each other, but use their children’s names. For example, if your son’s name is Terry, you would be called テリ―君ママ[Terry-kun mama]. If your daughter’ name is Sally, you would be called サリーちゃんママ[Sally-chan mama]. This really happens. Even my elder sister is called like this way.

 There are other sayings in addition to ママ友. オタ友[otatomo] is otaku buddy, ネトゲ友達[netoge tomodachi] or online game buddy, コス友[costomo] or cosplay buddy.  Some of my friends use リア友[riatomo] in order to categorize your friends. リア[ria] of リア友[riatomo] stands for real, which means friends you hang around with no specific interests. For example, your childhood mates or classmates. In other words, they are not your friends while you place in your community. Suppose here are two friends of yours. One is a person who can share your otakish interest, and the other can’t understand that kind of thing. I am not gonna say which one is your true friend, but do you think you can decide? オタ友[otatomo] is a friend only when you want to talk about your otakish hobby. In other words, he is not your friend anymore without it. Personally, I do not like this way. So long as they know who I am, they are all my friends. I am an otaku, and a cosplayer. As long as they accept the real me, I don’t care who they are. I mean, they are cosplayers or not, otaku or not. It doesn’t matter. I just want to look for such friends. True friends do not require such a thing, I believe.



  1. azu-chan said,

    …… why mamatomo is so scary?! Here mamatomo is just all kind and friends with each other and use their own name… huhu…

    • bangin said,

      That is pretty normal, but here is Japan things are crazy. Some scenes from this drama actually happen in real life. Every mama might be your friend, or your enemy tomorrow…

      • azu-chan said,

        geh.. You guys are crazy.. LOL.. Jk~~

  2. Arikoto said,

    … + tomo => … buddy
    I think we here all are otatomo :))
    Thanks for the new entry. Good work!

    • bangin said,

      Yes, that’s correct. We are otatomo.^^

    • Aslan said,

      You’re a real deep thkrnei. Thanks for sharing.

  3. cinnamon said,

    oh yeah, thanks for this cultural insight! it seems, that in japan every single aspect of life might turn into a wicked competition. huh, you must be a tough one over there to survive:) keep up the good work, bangin-san:) and your sister too, of course:)

    • bangin said,

      Thank you. I am a totally outsider because I am just single. So I have no idea how tough mamatomo’s society is. If I were a father, I would have to support my future wife. Actually in this drama, there is a even lecture for fathers to learn how to relax their children.

  4. Filip said,

    That sounds kind of scary… I mean, here, if your kid attends to public school, you may practically never meet with other parents, if you really don’t want to. But I guess, it’s hard to to evade being part of one or another community in Japan.
    I don’t like categorising friends either, and thankfully, I don’t have to.

    • bangin said,

      Yes, we Japanese tend to make a community. Not only mothers, but otaku, cosplayers, or anything. There is a time when you have to join the community willy-nilly. Mamatomo is something like that. If you take your child to school, you would have to see other mothers. So they ask you out for tea, and you can’t say no.

      • Charana said,

        really? can’t say no? is it considered rude to say that you can’t go?

      • Filip said,

        Charana -> I suppose you would be considered “antisocial” in such case. If I understand correctly, this would only mean, that you (as a part of community) are in deep shit…

        I’m stating the obvious, but being Japanese mother must be really hard. I imagine, being a sigle mother must be even worse. The more I think about it – isn’t it partially the reason for such low population growth in Japan? I mean, women can easily think that, why have children, when there are so many disandvantages about it?

      • Charana said,

        Ahh, thanks Filip. And that sounds like it could be a valid reason for someone to decide not to have children. I was going to say that I didn’t think there were a mom socity that would be so harsh, but I just remember that there are also mom socity in the states that are harsh .. don’t know if they are as bad as in Japan but I hear they are pretty bad. hmm.. now I am curious.

      • Charana said,

        hmm, well, I think in the states it just some moms become some clics and just snob others if they are that kind of people. .. unless there is a really drama mamas who care about their images and make trouble…

  5. tokyo moe said,

    Thanks for the drama review and new slang, as always! Do you think this drama will further reduce birth rate in Japan? Who would want to join these evil mamatomos?! My imaginary child is so trouble free, and I never meet his playmates’ mothers.

    • bangin said,

      Yes, I feel the same. If I were a woman, I would be afraid of joining such an awful society. At the school my elder sister’s son goes, mothers are not allowed to contact each other even if kids had a fight. I think that’s a good way. Otherwise, awful mamatomos would start to fight each other.

  6. enciwul said,

    Ehm, talking about otatoma, how many people are in the world that is our otatoma? I really am curious about the number of anime fans.

    • bangin said,

      I have no idea. Because anime fans are everywhere. We can’t even count!

  7. tilmon said,

    There was a comedy like that before, Abarenbo Mama, and the mamas were terrible to each other. That was a few years ago. I wonder how long this awful mamatomo system has plagued Japanese women?

    • bangin said,

      Oh yes, abarenbou mama features a society of mothers even though it was a comedy. I think mothers have been too nervous for children, and this awful thing will stick around more…

  8. cinnamon said,

    there you go. being single in modern world has actually so many advantages:)

  9. bangin said,

    Charana: Filip has a point. If you don’t want to join, you can say no. But if you keep turning down, you would be considered as antisocial. So you sometimes have to join, and pretend to have fun. In this drama, the second woman from right in the image is doing well. She doesn’t trust other mamatomos in the first place, but in order to do well, she pretends to be nice. But not too much.

  10. Charana said,

    lol I will look up this drama on the online and watch. Curious about this show… it seems a little bit scary.

  11. Mardy_96 said,

    And I wonder how fathers are never that troublesome… great post as always, Bangin-san!

    • bangin said,

      Thank you. In this drama, there is even a lecture for fathers. That’s how they should protect their kids from such aggressive mothers.

  12. Michelle said,

    Hmmm… this somewhat reminds me of the kinda culture in Singapore, though the last time I heard about that was in the mid 90s. But I know the mothers(and sometimes fathers) here sometimes become friends and do a lot of comparisons amongst one another, according to their status, how their children perform, etc. I don’t know whether they really form groups anymore, since Singapore culture is now a combination of Asian and Western(American, to be exact) cultures. Things kind of changed a lot over the last 20++ years. Plus, all of my friends aren’t married or don’t have any children. ^^;; Also, this is mainly about the Chinese community but not about the Malay, Indian communities since I think most of them are quite laidback.

    This is what I’ve heard from some people who used to be school teachers at different top-ranking elementary/primary schools(so maybe the other schools aren’t as terrible):
    But I do know that parents can be very vicious towards one another or even towards the teachers/principals, if they’re really desperate to get their children in a lead position in a school play, get good results for their children, etc. They won’t stop at using cruel remarks or threats but sometimes, use violence or underhanded tactics to get back others: pulling someone’s hair, slapping someone, putting glass in another child’s shoes, hitting another parent/teacher, filing complaints to school or Ministry of Education, slashing someone’s tires so the child can’t make it in-time to a performance, putting needles in someone’s food, incite other children to bully a kid, trying to pour acid on someone’s face, etc.

    Yep, that’s 1 of the many reasons why I don’t want to have children and it seems that even in parts of Europe or America, parents do behave quite terribly towards one another.

    Sorry for the lengthy reply!

    • bangin said,

      Thank you for your feedback. Yes, things are more unbelievable than I thought. It seems to me that the drama is too much, but it is actually based on some facts.
      I wonder how things are in U.S.

      • Michelle said,

        Ah well, I’m quite sure it’s just a few tiny incidents that get blown up out of proportions for the sake of tv and so on. =) I’m quite sure things like these may happen in real life but not really, to everyone. ^^;; And sometimes, it’s just people getting carried away with their actions. It’s not they want to hurt or maim someone, they just don’t think things through before they act.

        If it was me, I’d just tell them what they want to hear while being careful to not offend too much. And then, do whatever the heck I want. 😛

        Yeah same here too: I wonder how things are like in America.

  13. ママ友 [mamatomo] | Anime said,

    […] Japanese words of anime fans, by anime fans, for anime fans Posted in Anime Tags: mamatomo, ママ友 « Retro End Of Year 2008 You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. […]

  14. Crystal said,

    In USA where I live, behavior like that is rare, and the incidents on tv are blown up. It’s usually when a parent gets mad at a baseball coach or something. Maybe on the West coast where cali is, china town area. I hear like parents from that area force or persuade kids to become doctors or get better grades.

    It seems more of an Eastern thing imo. Sometimes in dramas the parents tend to be vicious..it’s just dumb in my opinion. Your kid is supposed to do it by their self, not you. It sounds like some of these people need hobbies and a better, non-toxic source of entertainment/hobbies/not taking everything seriously. Your kid doesn’t have to be perfect-life isn’t perfect-life doesn’t go where it’s planned.

    • bangin said,

      Yes, parents in Japan tend to be too nervous to see anybody else but only their child. I think they need much freedom.

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