Presentation on theme: "Marriage in Japan. Before WWII The family or ie system. It’s more than mom/dad and kids, it’s a family group or household. Heir, usually oldest male child,"— Presentation transcript:
Marriage in Japan
Before WWII The family or ie system. It’s more than mom/dad and kids, it’s a family group or household. Heir, usually oldest male child, inherits everything in order to maintain the lineage and the family business. Father/husband has tremendous power. Other family members must be totally obedient. Affection equals “serving,” not an emotional relationship. The idea of duty is what’s important, not love or affection.
Meiji Civil Code Family Registration Family Registration called koseki. In the West people register individually, in Japan, people are registered by family. Every person had to be registered in a family. – To eliminate tax evasion – To prevent avoidance of military service
Family Organization Head = kacho. He is the designated ruler of the family. He has the power to govern behavior in marriage and place of residence. The kacho could expel family members for non- compliance. What are the results of being expelled? His permission is required for marriage. Eldest son inherited title of kacho, included family alter, family tomb, property, and the responsibility to carry out various rituals. It was his duty to notify the authorities of any changes in the family register.
Men and Women under the Meiji Code Extremely divergent and unequal positions – Husbands had control over all property. – Wives were not recognized as persons and had no rights. – Any assets the wife brought with her at marriage, were the husband’s to dispose of. – Fathers had superior rights over mothers with regard to children.
Marriage under the Family System Regarded as primarily functioning to perpetuate family line. What’s important is not the relationship between the two people, but the connections between families. The wife becomes part of the husband’s family; her name is removed from her father’s register and placed on her husband’s family’s register. Marriage doesn’t result in the creation of a new family unit, but in the possibility of an increase in the old one.
Divorce The relationship between the couple didn’t matter as much as the relationship between the wife and the in- laws. If she couldn’t get along with them, divorce was likely. If the wife didn’t produce a male heir, she was also a target for “return” or divorce. Mistresses were accepted and even considered necessary in order to ensure an heir. Also, mistresses symbolized high status, wealth, authority. Mistresses were, initially, legal recognized and their children were considered legitimate heirs. Adultery for men was expected. For women, it was considered a criminal offence constituting grounds for divorce.
Legal reform to marriage after WWII Old family system abolished. Conjugal relationship became cornerstone of family. Wife granted individual legal rights. Parental rights also defined as cooperative. Wife inherited at least a percentage of her husband’s property and wealth when he died. Monogamy was expected of both husband and wife. Just because these things were legally decreed, didn’t mean that things really changed.
Differences between Japan and the West in Views of Marriage Love marriages are socially acceptable in Japan, but there’s not a lot of mingling of the sexes, so it’s hard to establish a relationship. – Nakodo – relatives and friends act as go- betweens. – Marriage advisory institutions.
East vs. West Divorce Because of the ways marriage functioned in the past, many Japanese couples don’t divorce if their relationship doesn’t work out. – Short history of monogamous relationships in Japan. – Importance of the children’s welfare. – Tradition of emphasis on same-sex, rather than inter-sexual relationships. (Not necessarily homosexual relationships, but stronger, more explicitly same-sex friendships.) – Inequality in economic circumstances make divorce a real handicap for women. No child care, tough to get high-paying jobs, most women’s careers are interrupted for child rearing
Contemporary Issues that Discourage Japanese Women from Marrying Interrupt career Lack of “devotion” from spouse Too much pressure to work and be wife and mom To avoid the stress and responsibilities of child- rearing To avoid in-law care To avoid loss of freedom and independence