In the gushing style of Japanese women's magazines, an interview with Nancy Reagan in the March edition of Shufu no Tomo (The Housewife's Companion) depicts the first lady as a charming, obedient and slightly "mysterious" figure devoted to her husband.
Although most of the quotes were unexceptional, Mrs. Reagan was cited as saying she had two miscarriages, and was described as defending her stand against abortion by saying that the two miscarriages helped strengthen her views on the issue. She was also quoted as saying she wished her husband could have been in the delivery room during the birth of their children.
White House spokesman Larry Speakes, responding to an inquiry about these two responses, said: "Mrs. Reagan has never given these quotes to any interviewer at any time."
More than half of the seven-page article is taken up with black-and-white photographs, including a variety of first-family scenes on the Reagan ranch in California and at home in the White House. One shot pictures a smiling Richard V. Allen, national security adviser, seated next to popular Japanese writer Fuyuko Kamisaka, who conducted the interview, and Chizuko Takase, whose husband has had longtime commercial and social ties with Allen.
In the two pages that are devoted to the interview with Mrs. Reagan, Kamisaka questions the first lady on her thoughts about life with the president and her views on family, youth and the role of women. The publication conducted interviews with Patricia Nixon and Rosalynn Carter when their husbands were in office.
Kamisaka asked Mrs. Reagan, using Mrs. Takase as an interpreter, what she does to watch over her husband's health. Kamisaka wrote that the first lady "lowered her head in thought" until her aide advised her to respond that she recommends reasonable exercise for the president.
In response to the next question -- "What kind of man is the president?" -- Mrs. Reagan "stared into space, looking for the proper words."
She was then quoted as telling Kamisaka that despite the fact that President Reagan had become a more prominent public figure since entering the White House, "to me, my husband is still my husband...I couldn't imagine life without him ."
"You may laugh," she was said to respond, "but I still feel sad that when my two children were born, my husband was kept out of the delivery room." The first lady reportedly said, "My husband is indispensable and the kind of man who makes me feel that way."
The Japanese-language article quoted Mrs. Reagan further, "I sometimes say that 75 percent of marriage consists of patience and effort. Love is to give and take unstintingly....I feel sorry for those who talk about spontaneity and independence, but who ignore patience and effort."
Asked about her views on today's younger generation, she told Kamisaka that drugs had replaced alcohol as the chief means for escaping from a sense of depression and that efforts should be made to understand the root of the problem.
Describing the Reagans as a "charming couple," the writer expressed her sympathy with the heavy burdens that the president faces.