What of the
From Delancey Place 9-26-2014
Japan: A Short History (Short Histories), Author: Mikiso Hane, Publisher: Oneworld Publications, Copyright 2000 by Mikiso Hane, Pages: 14
Today's selection -- from Japan: A History by Mikiso Hane. The earliest Japanese societies appear to have been matriarchal, the mythical founding deity of the imperial clan was the Sun Goddess, and the ruler was a woman. In the Heian period (794 to 1185 AD), the woman was the head of the household and the husband generally did not live with the family. By the 12th century AD, as the samurai class became dominant, the husband and wife lived together and polygamy became prevalent:
relations, polygamy was prevalent, and marriage between close relatives
such as cousins, half-brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles was common.
Even today marriages between cousins is accepted. Japan, as noted above,
originally appears to have been a matriarchal or, at least, a
matrilineal society. The mythical founding deity of the imperial clan
was the Sun Goddess, and the ruler was a woman, Pimiku. Until the
late-eighth century the imperial throne was frequently occupied by
female members of the imperial family. This practice persisted even
after the samurai class became dominant and imposed a stringent
masculine orientation in society. Even in the Tokugawa period (1603
to1868 AD) two of the occupants of the imperial throne were women.
"In the Heian period husband and wife lived apart and the children remained with the mother's family. The husband was not an immediate member of the household; he came virtually as a visitor. The head of the family was thus a woman. This situation began to change as the samurai class became the dominant political-social force. In the twelfth century husband and wife began to live together, and the patriarchal system became stronger. The Confucian philosophy reinforced the patriarchal, male-dominant character of Japanese society.