Japanese Family

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The family system means the order or system the nation and social community prescribe about the structure or function of family. In other words, it is the overall of law, custom, morals, and so on, which regulate the family life. The meaning of family is an universal social group for human beings, so the system of family has passed over diverse historical courses, have bee developed socially, economically and politically. Therefore, the Japanese family system has also followed the process. And, “ie” is the most useful to make sure the Japanese family system. “ie” means a group, and it aims the transmission, also includes the dead men notionally. The member of ‘ie’ is normally parents and children, sibling, and husband and wife, but, in the past, it included the other people ‘ie’ has formed the society whilst having 家名(Kamei), the honor or fame of a family, leading family occupation, maintaining the relationship between subordinates and superiors with other ‘ie’. ‘ie’ has pursued the transmission, so it has excluded discouragement against the transmission. The members of ‘ie’ should not impair the honor of ‘ie’ , inflict a loss to their own family, and squander their family fortune, but the members should try to prevent the situation. That makes the members of ‘ie’ are protected and covered with them to honor by ‘ie’ and a head of ‘ie’ is called a breadwinner, and the breadwinner leads ‘ie’ and has responsibility to protect and look after his family members. The Japanese family has been strongly influenced by ‘ie’. Even though Japanese people deny ‘ie’ as saying “ie is too old concept, so we should throw it away.”, in effect, in accordance with ‘ie’, Japanese people respect their family. Especially, through ‘ie’, they make a decision when they reach a crossroad such as a marriage, the construction of house, a funeral, a date, and so on. A spouse has been chosen by the standard of ‘ie’, and then when a married couple settle on last name, mostly, a wife follows a husband’s last name as entering the husband’s ‘ie’. On the contrary to this, if a wife has a son-in-law live with her family, the husband changes his last name because, in the case, the man gets into the woman’s family. The house is not only a tool of life, but also shows off ie’s dignity, power, and development. If ‘ie’ leaves perpetuated land, which has been from generation to generation, it symbolizes the decay and ruin of ‘ie’, except one case, ‘ie’ reaches the high development condition. In a funeral, a dead man is holding a funeral by ‘ie’, after then the dead man is buried in a grave and worshiped with ancestors. The beginning of the Japanese family system appeared as focusing the ruling class in Heian age. In the age, the most capable descendent succeeded to the rights and duties of his family. In Kamakura age, was governed by warrior class, in most of warrior families, the best children succeeded all things of their family, and the right of women for inheritance was acknowledged. In Edo shogunate, a strict class and patriarchal family system were imposed. After the Meiji restoration, in the year 1987, the Meiji government enforced modern family register system, so all Japanese people were belonging to ‘ie’. The government was able to establish the modern nation system by the Meiji restoration, after then, it abolished the class system, and then introduced the ‘ie’ system, which reinforces the right of breadwinner. After the 1945 defeat on the Second World War, Japan instituted new constitutional law which is democratic, egalitarian sovereignty rests with the people while they did away with the Meiji constitution, which concentrates on sovereign power of the Japanese emperor. At 3rd March 1947, when the new constitutional law was enforced, other positive laws against the new law were amended or abolished. Thus, the civil law, legislated under the Meiji constitution system, was changed as suitable for the new law. Especially, Domestic Relations Law and the...
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