Photo/IllutrationEzaki Glico Co.’s website introducing its free app “Kope” urges viewers to appropriately “translate” the wife’s comments to understand what she really means. The portion on the top right was replaced after it attracted a torrent of criticism. (From the website of Ezaki Glico Co.)

A website promoting an app to help husbands translate their wives' behavior has ignited a fierce online backlash, with many viewers blasting it as sexist.

Ezaki Glico Co., a leading Osaka-based confectionery maker, created the app “Kope” to encourage spouses to share responsibilities during child rearing, but has been forced to cut some content from the site used to promote it in response to criticism it was contemptuous of women.

The company began providing the free app on Feb. 4, which allows users to exchange messages, read articles about pregnancy and child-rearing and keep child-care records.

The promo site was created under the editorial supervision of Ihoko Kurokawa, who has authored several books about male-female relationships, including “Tsuma no Torisetsu” (Instruction manual on how to handle a wife), which provides “tips on how to deal with a wife who is unreasonable.”

The site claimed men and women are at odds at times because: “As the male brain and female brain are different in terms of the structure of circuits and signals, their output will differ even if they get the same input.”

It described eight likely patterns when a wife becomes angry under a section titled “Translating mother’s feelings for father.”

When she says, “It is meaningless for us to remain together,” the site says what she really means is, “How do you feel about me?”

When she says, “It is really hard to do this,” the site says she really wants to say, “Will you appreciate what I did?”

The site also offered advice on how to respond to a grumbling wife.

When she asks, “Which is more important to you, your job or family?” the site advises the husband to apologize and say, “I am sorry about leaving you feeling lonely,” and confide in her about his trouble at work.

Criticism of the site erupted when Ezaki Glico advertised the app on Twitter on Feb. 21.

One critic ripped the site for its “stereotypical way of thinking,” while another denounced it as “openly displaying disdain for women based on the notion that you don’t have to take what women say seriously, but give a show of some sympathy and gratitude as a gesture.”

Some posters said what the wife really means when she says, “It is really hard to do this,” is “You should also do this.”

Female employees at Ezaki Glico were primarily responsible for planning the app and the site to promote, the company said.

“Our intention was to give a solution by recognizing the gap between men and women in the way they see things so as to change the current situation where women are forced to shoulder a disproportionate share of the housework and child-rearing responsibilities,” a company public relations official said.

After drawing fire, the company retracted the portion referring to “male brain, female brain” and “Translating” on Feb. 23 and replaced it with a passage that included, “We take customers’ opinions to heart and make an effort every day for improvement.”

Yuko Yotsumoto, a professor of cognitive neuropsychology at the University of Tokyo, slammed Glico’s site, saying it is scientifically inaccurate to assume that women will behave in a certain way.

“Some research into brain science showed disparity in the average of men and women in terms of the working of the brain, but the disparity deriving from individual differences is larger than the disparity based on the gender,” she said. “Expressions used on the site are unscientific as they are not based on the results of academic research and could reinforce the notion of division of labor by gender.”