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Unformatted text preview: East and Southeast Asia: A Multidisciplinary Survey Colin Mackerras (editor) LYNZE RIENNER PPPP ISHERS BOULDER LONDON 4 Basic social structures and family systems Introduction This chapter attempts to show how domestic and communal life was organised in Asia in traditional times. It has three objectives. Firstly, it intends to familiarise readers with the variety of ways in which Asian people have organised their lives in tradifional society. Secondly, it tries to show some of the ideas and values lying behind these different forms of domestic and community organisation in traditional Asia. Finally, it aims to introduce basic conceptual tools essential to an understanding of various forms of domestic and community organisation in Asian societies. The chapter presents a generalised picture of the situation which existed before modernisation affected the lives of people in Asia. Here caution is called for, since what we sometimes read about other people’s lives does not necessarily correspond to what they have actually done in daily life. Descriptions of the lives of a people are often mixed with their ideals — in other words, what they think they ought to do. To complicate the matter further, some of the ideals presented may not even have been the ideals of the ordinary people, but the ideals of the upper class or the elite of the time. We try to distinguish these two orders of ’reality' in this chapter, for they are conceptually different from each other. This chapter is written on the basis of available anthropological litera- ture. Discussions are limited to four Asian societies, namely Javanese so- ciety in the first half of this century, Minangkabau society (in central Sumatra) in the pre—twentieth century period, Chinese society before the twentieth century and Japanese society from the late nineteenth to the early twentieth centuries. The economies of all four societies were prima- rily derived from labour—intensive agriculture, and in this sense they share a common ground. Yet these societies are quite different from one another in their domestic and community organisation. The above time indications are by no means definitive, since no society is static; they should therefore be taken as a rough reference to the time framework of the societies discussed in this chapter, where the ethnographic present tense is sometimes used. 44 Part II: Traditions It is first necessary to clarify what we mean by family and how it dif- fers from household. In the West, family and household are very often used interchangeably, a family meaning a nuclear family sharing a liv- ing. The concept of ’family’, however, is not identical to that of ’house— hold’. Firstly, family is a concept based on kinship (relationship through blood, marriage and adoption), while the concept of household is based on propinquity of residence or co—residence. Secondly, family and house- hold do not always correspond to the same content. There are societies where a nuclear family (one type of family) does not form a household, as we will see later in the case of the Minangkabau, and there are other societies where a household contains members other than family, such as apprentices and servants as in the case of the traditional Japanese ie. In this chapter, the term family means a group of people who are related through kinship, but who do not necessarily share a common residence. Household, on the other hand, refers to a group of people who share a resi— dence, in particular a hearth. Family and household in Javanese society Javanese people are the largest ethnic group in Indonesia. They inhabit the central and eastern regions of the island of Java, the most populous island in Indonesia. The majority live in village communities and engage in wet-rice agriculture, though in the mountainous interior they cultivate manioc in dry fields. They have a distinct language and culture, and the majority adhere to a non—puritan kind of Islam. The basic unit of Javanese society is the nuclear family. When a woman and man marry, a nuclear family is created, and it expands when their children (natural and/ or adopted) are added to it (see Fig— ure 4.1). Marriage in Java is, in the majority of cases, monogamous, but polygyny (where a husband is shared by two or more wives) is permit— ted and, although rare, carries prestige. In the Javanese marriage an emphasis is placed on the establishment of a new, autonomous unit. Therefore, a married couple normally set up their household away from either of the parents’ households. This practice is called neolocal (post- marital) residence. In general, two married couples seldom share the same house in Javanese society. Due to economic or other reasons, how- ever, a young couple may delay establishing their own independent household by living in either of the parents’ houses for a while. When they live with the husband’s parents and share a living with them, the practice is called virilocal residence, while the practice of living with the wife's parents is called uxorilocal residence. Preference for neolocal resi- dence in Javanese society results in the popular occurrence of nuclear- family households. The nuclear»family household is not only the most frequently observed form of domestic organisation, but also the ideal form in Javanese society. Basic social structures and family systems 45 Male Marriage Filiation tie Sibling tie Figure 4.1 The nuclearfamily Most marriages are arranged by parents. They start to seek a suitable marriage partner for their daughter soon after her first menstruation Although the age of marriage for girls appears to be gradually risin it is reported that in the 19505 most Javanese girls were married by the E, e of 16 or 17. Very few women remained unmarried in traditional Javaéiese society. Universality of marriage also applied to Javanese men, though boys usually waited until they could support themselves economically. In the process of finding an appropriate marriage partner pa rents take the Wishes of their children into account. This is important: because the child’s acceptance of the parents’ choice of a marriage partner is inter- plrdeted as acceptance of their future responsibility towards the parents in 0 age. In Javanese society a marriage partner ideally is chosen from a family of a comparable rank or class and of the same religious background as inequality in status and a different religious orientation are thought to produce constant friction. There are very few kinship prohibitions in se- lecting a marriage partner, and step-siblings may marry. This suggests that the Javanese marriage encourages an endoqamous tendenc En- dogmny means that one is prescribed to marry someone from one’znown group. (A group may be defined in terms of kinship, territory or other criteria.) Exogamy, on the other hand, prescribes that a marriage partner should come from outside one’s own group. In Java, exogmnous unions occur in the urban areas where people with different backgrounds and affiliations are likely to meet. Upper-class people, however, are in favour of cndogmnous marriages, as they Wish to retain their status wealth and tradition within their own group. I Children are very much desired by Javanese people. A childless couple therefore, may ask a relative to lend them one of their children temporarily or permanently. It is felt better to lend or borrow a child between female 46 Part ll: Traditions relatives, and the mother's sister is thought to be the most satisfactory and popular candidate. Although movement of children between relatives is quite common, formal adoption (i.e. formal relinquishment of all claims on the child by the natural parents through legal procedures) is rarely contracted. This is interpreted as a safeguard for the parents so that they can expect support from the child in their old age. Both men and women work in the rice fields, but there is a traditionally practised division of labour by gender. Wet-rice agriculture requires the constant supply and control of water. Men engage in digging and cleaning irrigation ditches, repairing the water supply system, making terraces and ploughing the field with or without the use of an animal. Women prepare the seedbeds, transplant seedlings from the seedbeds to the rice fields, and weed and keep an eye on the fields. Women harvest rice by hand with a small knife, thresh the grain, and winnow it by tossing it in the air. A clear division of labour also exists in the Javanese household. Do- mestic work is all performed by the wife. This includes going to market, preparing meals, washing and ironing, sewing children’s clothes and the care of children, as well as the financial management of the household. Javanese men are reported to be emotionally as well as practically de- pendent on women. Most Javanese men give all or a greater proportion of their earnings to their wives to manage, and ask for spending money. This pattern is endorsed by a common belief that women are endowed with thrift and foresight. Few men can actually manage and run the household satisfactorily by themselves. The above indicates that the Java— nese wife has an equal or even dominant voice in decision'making in the household. in family relationships, an emphasis is placed on maternal connection (Le. a woman maintains a close relationship with her family). Male relatives, on the other hand, tend to avoid each other. Thus a father and his grown-up son and adult brothers are not very close. Divorce is quite prevalent in Javanese society, with nearly half the marriages ending in divorce. There are several reasons why divorce is so common in Javanese society. It carries no stigma, whereas spinsterhood does. As it is embarrassing for Javanese parents to have an unmarried daughter who is old enough to be married, such parents arrange a trial marriage for her in order to remove the stigma of spinsterhood. This kind of marriage is likely to end in divorce, but at least the woman was initiated and has become freer than before. Divorce is also quite easy to obtain. There are two more important reasons for the prevalence of divorce. Firstly, Javanese women are not economically dependent on men. Women control the household finances, and participate in cultivation, disposal of produce and financial transactions. Most occupations are also open to Javanese women. A woman can own property (rice field, house, jewellery, etc.) in her own name and can dispose of any of it as she sees Basic social structures and family systems 47 :pipropgate. Legally, Javanese Women and men are given equal rights to m e: inhorn either of their parents, although Islamic law allows twice as uc errtance for a man as for a woman. Secondly, Javanese women main . . . . _ the tam firm ties w1th parents and Sisters. Therefore, in case of divorce y can easrly go to one of their houses and mobilis I Ellie nuclear-family household is the basic unit of an thwo types of family, family of orientation (family Iry‘as _ om) and family ofprocreation (family which 4 2a)rr;:'ligr¢:)b::es quhbasri‘tintfrroups in the life of the Javanese (see Figure . . ese 0 es of family havema‘or obl' ti one another and they can ex ' ] xga OHS towards , pect maxrmum care and su f other. Beyond these the si ‘ ' ' Pport mm eaCh . , gmficance of kinship ties is ver limit ' u a - n ‘ Egiiefsocrlety. Rlightsland obligations towards kin beyonill these tw: arm y are ess c early defined and less str l ' result considerable individualva ' ' ong y sancnoned. AS a , nations are observed It' f thi that theJavanese villa ' ' ' - 15 or sreason ge rs sometimes described as ’100 l ’ anthropologists Des ' ' ’ seysmcmred by . prte this loose structure’ there e ' t ' ' conception of kindred (a network of e ‘ I ' ms 5 a definite . o-orientated, bilaterall l relatives) among the Javanese A g ’ ' y re ated . . person s kindred consists f b h consangumeal (blood) relations and affirm! (' ' ' 0 0t - . _ rn-law) relations and ' various kinds of aid and assistance wh prov‘des ‘ ‘ en needed — for exa l l ' and hospitality assistance at a c' ' ' ( mp e, Odgmg . , rrcumcrsion ceremon d Javanese Villagers are also or ' y an so forth. ‘ g . gamsed on the basis of re id ‘ l ‘ ‘ Maintaining a good relationsh' ' S enha proumfiy' . 1p wrth one's neighbours is ve im _ ort because neighbours are the ones who provide assistancey at time:an emergency and for tasks which require hel from - . . _ 0th . ' ' the prrncrple regulating these neighbourly rglationsthZfs Reelproaty IS e their support. the Javanese village, into which one [ego] one [ego] creates by 4—— Family of orientation 4—— Family of procreation E = Ego (reference point) Figure 4.2 Family of orientation and family of procreation 48 Part ll: Traditions Family and lineage in Minangkabau society The highlands of western—central Sumatra are the homeland of the Minangkabau people, the fourth largest ethnic group in Indonesia. Minangkabau people live in village communities, engage in paddy-rice; agriculture, and practise Islam. The Mmangkabau Village conststs 0 various levels and units of matrilineal groupings. At the highest and largest level, there exists a matrilineal clan (a group of related lineages which share a common unknown female ancestor); at the next level 15 a matrilineal lineage (a consanguineal kin group whose members can trace their descent through females to a female ancestor» and below. them there are matrilineal sub-lineages. People of a matrilmeal sub'lmeage llve together in one house (rumah adat) which forms the ba51c econorruc unit ' kabau socie . 0f lt‘d/ifizlrlgkabau peoplZ’s daily life is centred around the rumah adat (adat house) which is commonly known as a long house because of its shape (see Figure 4.3). The adat house consists of two parts. The front half of the house is an open area used for dining, lounging and entertaining, hold- ing ceremonies and meetings, and sleeping quarters for chlldren and oc- casional guests. The back half of the house is partltioned off mto small compartments called bilik. The size of a bilik is about 3 metres by 4 me— tres. These small cubicles are reserved as sleeping quarters for the. female members of the adat house, especially for married women and their small children and Women of marriageable age. The house could quite large; the largest standing adat house is reported to have twenty blllk, but a nor— mal adat house has about seven. Figure 4.3 Plan of an adat house In Minangkabau society, marriage is not an individual affair between two persons. Various people, including mamak (maternal uncle), mother, father and other relatives, participate in the process of selectmg a suitable Basic social structures and family systems 49 marriage partner. Proposals can be made from either the bride's or the groom’s side, depending on the region. The most desirable marriage is between maternal cross—cousins (cousins whose connecting parents are sister and brother) — for example, a man marries his mamak's daughter (see Figure 4.4). In Minangkabau society, cross-cousins do not belong to the same lineage where parallel cousins on the maternal side are members of the same lineage, and thus a marriage between them is proscribed (lineage cxogamy). A marriage which is not accepted by the relatives of a woman is likely to face difficulties later. Figure 4.4 Maternal cross—cousin marriage Traditionally the Minangkabau woman does not leave her adat house upon marriage, nor does her husband. Both of them continue to stay in their adat houses after marriage (duolocal residence). The husband visits his wife at night, and leaves her house in the morning. This assumes that both houses exist in close proximity and hence encourages village en~ dogamy. As mentioned above, however, the marriage partner must come from another lineage, violation being severely punished by expulsion from the village community. The husband remains a regular and hon- oured guest in his wife’s house, but he continues to belong to his adat house after marriage, and it is to this that his primary allegiance and re- sponsibilities are directed. Therefore, the husband’s position in his wife's house is rather marginal. A newly born infant of the couple automatically becomes a member of the mother’s adat house. The husband/father's economic and domestic responsibility towards his wife and children is minimal, except for gift giving on ceremonial occasions such as circumcision of his sons and marriage of his children. The wife and children’s living is provided by their ruin! house, and the mamak is responsible for the conduct and welfare of his sisters and their children (kemmmkan), and the harmony in the house. The most senior mamak in the house assumes the position of the house-head. 50 Part II: Traditions Minangkabau women do much of the agricultural work, and arebalso involved in home industries such as cloth and mat weavmg and em :05- dering Many also sell agricultural produce and crafttprioduocti: iplzrger - ban centre 0 o s 1' la e market, and some even travel to an or i . _ ' mgrket Women participate extenswely in househoéd d§c1sion millfilgfi ' I .tof the day-to- ay ec15ions, Senior women of the house make mos ' d th 19 ' ' ‘ lending and borrowmg, an e sa include matters regarding land use, d I th ded- ' handicrafts. Men are consulte in e of agricultural produce and - . b t ior ' ' ' ' d lineage matters, u sen sions involvm religious ceremonies an . women’s opinigns often prevail, though they do not necessarily lead the discussion. . ' - Divorce and separation are frequent in Minangkabau society. Mlost eo 1e marry more than once. When divorce or death of a Wife / mot er Eccfrs her children remain in the mother's adat house, and reggflar per- ” d the children cease to e main— sonal contacts between the father an _ . I tained, but the father (or more strictly speaking, his adat house) cfpnttiriifis to give ceremonial gifts to them. Minangkabau women can e ec iv u); support and care for their children for a long period Without afny t111p from their husbands, because the woman’s adat house prOVides or em, and women are the owners of property. Men in Minangkabau society own no property, but they mafnage ant: expand it for their sisters and their sisters' children. There are our to obtain access to cultivated land, which is the most valued proper y in Minangkabau society: 1 by inheritance; 2 by money; 3 by labour; and 4 by gift. Ancestral land is transmitted through the female line and cogsidere: inalienable. Both newly purchased landand land newly openedt‘ y a (misfits becomes the ancestral property sf his lineagegtgiécaause ace etween a ma , . gifdfvgfslgaghearielizlh::aaizldired by his OWn effort goes to his sislters’ Cl“: dren (kemmmkmi). If a man wishes to give what he has persona y ragga” to his children, he may arrange it through gift. This arraggemen , “Siva ever, involves the agreement of all parties concerned an an expe fealf/ien in Minangkabau society do not really have a hOLIISC or a placae (8): their own. Small boys (after the age of 6 or 7) begin to s eep 11:}: lirOyan house attached to a village mosque where they learn to relcfite :n is di- at night. They continue to sleep there until they marry. a the mat vorced, or widowed, he again lives in the prayer house. Even in WhiCh house of his origin, dayrto-day affairs are carried out by women, Basic social structures and family systems 51 further reinforces his marginality. This lack of roots of the Minangkabau man intensifies in the case of a mnmak who occupies no position such as the house—head or lineage elder. This marginality of men in Minangkabau society is one of the factors that has facilitated them to migrate or com- mute to other parts of Indonesia for educational and /or commercial pur— suits. The economic opportunities available to men have changed the traditional pattern of marriage, and created a trend towards uxorilocality and neolocnlity in recent times, but traditionally important family relation- ships (i.e. the brother—sister relationship and the mmrmk—knnmHakim (ma- ternal uncle—sisters’ children) relationship) are still significant. Family and lineage in traditional China Kinship provides the fabric of Chinese domestic and community organi— sation, where a household is the basic unit. The Chinese household is quite different in its structure and operation from those we have exam- ined in the preceding sections. The main feature is the strong father—son relationship, the essential ingredient of which is filial piety. Ideally, the Chinese family forms an extended family household where parents live with their sons and their wives and their male descendants and their fa mi— lies under one roof. Members of this multi—generational extended family household share a conunon kitchen and finances, and are led by the most senior male. In reality, however, poverty and a high infant and prema— ture mortality rate limited the family size. In addition, personal clashes within the household often resulted in the breaking up of the extended fainin household when the father died and the headship was transferred to the eldest son. Thus the most commonly observed household types in traditional China were the nuclear-family household and stem-family household. The stem—family household contains two or more nuclear families, but only one married couple per generation (see Figure 4.5). The primary goals of a Chinese family are continuity and prosperity. Only male children can continue the family line, and transmit family property to succeeding generations. Accordingly, a Chinese family must have a son who continues the family line, performs rituals for the ancestors and provides for the parents in their old age. When a couple is not blessed with a son, the household head must adopt one. The ideal and most preferred adoption pattern is that transacted between agnatically related relatives (i.e. female and male descendants by male links from the same male ancestor). Marriage was all but universal in traditional China. Nearly everyone married before middle age. Pa rents arranged their children’s marriages through a go~between. In most cases young people were not consulted at all, and had not even seen their marriage partner until after the wedding was over. Sometimes children were betrothed before they were bom or 52 Part fl: Traditions 4— Stem lamin household Figure 4.5 The stem family household when they were small. A bride was chosen from outside the agnatically related people who usually shared the same surname. People with the same surname are believed to have descended from the same unknown ancestor (clan exogamy). Marriage between paternal parallel cousins is strictly prohibited (lineage exogamy). This is due to the fact that these cousins belong to a same patrilineal lineage (a consanguineal kin group whose members can actually trace their relationship to a common male ancestor through male links). When all of the villagers bear the same surname, a bride must be brought in from another village. Before marriage is consummated, it is necessary for the husband’s family to present a marriage gift to the wife’s family. This gift is called bride-wealth or bride—price in anthropology, and must not be confused with dowry, which is a gift from the wife’s family to the wife or the marrying couple. The meaning of bride-wealth is twofold. It compensates for the loss of a daughter’s labour and fertility to the wife’s family, and ensures the wife's and her offspring's status in the husband’s family. Therefore, the larger the amount of bride-wealth, the higher the status of the in-marrying wife in the husband’s family. Two families usually negotiate over the sum. Post-marital residence in China is virilocal (i.e. the bride is brought into the husband's father’s household). Daughters invariably leave their parental household upon marriage. Marriage of the eldest son produces a stem family household. If a family is lucky enough to have raised more than one son and can afford additional bride-wealth for succeeding sons, these other sons also bring their brides into the father’s household. Then an extended family household is formed. Ideally a Chinese household should keep expanding in this way, but the death of the parents or the father often results in brothers splitting the estate and the household, thus failing to abide by the ideal. Basic social structures and family systems 5.3 The ideal of the five—generation extended family household originates in the Confucian teachings which emphasise firstly the father—son rela- tionship and secondly the relationship between the elder and younger brother. Brothers are to work jointly and harmoniously for the welfare of the family as one group. Despite the ideal, personal conflicts and incom- patibility within the extended family household often surface after the death of the father. As a result, brothers decide to divide up the family estate into equal pieces, each brother setting up his own nuclear family household. The husband—wife relationship in the Chinese household is very much undemiined by and sacrificed for other more important relationships. A married woman’s first and utmost duty is towards her parents-in—law. Neglect of this duty can be a cause for divorce. Gender segregation also exists in the traditional Chinese household. A young wife is trained by her mother— in-law, and placed under her supervision. There is little communication between the wife and the husband. Chinese women existed for the benefit of the family, which placed the main emphasis on males. This precarious position of the young wife in the husband's parents' household did not result in the prevalence of divorce, however. Legally a wife could have been divorced for almost any reason, but the following circumstances prevented a wife from seeking a divorce, even if she may have wished for one. Firstly, her own family (her parents and brothers) would not welcome her back. Chinese women were from the first day of their life meant to be married off. Secondly, the general public strongly disapproved of divorce and remarriage for women. Thirdly, the bride- wealth had to be returned totally or partially to the husband's family, which may not have been possible because it may have been already expended to acquire a wife for a son of the family. In any case, unmarried or divorced women had no means to support themselves in traditional Chinese society except by becoming a beggar, a prostitute or a mm. The above picture of women in traditional China looks dismal. Nonetheless, a woman’s position in the household did improve with the birth of a son. As she matured and produced more sons, her position became firmer and her influence and importance in the household also grew. Recent studies reassessing the abovementioned classical model of Chinese family and kinship point out that departure from this elite model is not uncommon in Chinese villages and that uxorilocal marriage, duolocal marriage and ’small daughter-in—law' marriage had been their custom. Let us now turn to the community organisation in the Chinese village, where the main mode of production was paddy—rice agriculture. Such villages are found in the southeastern provinces of China, especially Fuiian and Guangdong (see Figure 4.6). In these provinces, lineage was a way of organising a village community. Therefore, in order to under- stand community organisation in these provinces, it is best to look at how a lineage functioned in the village. 54 Part ll: Traditions TAIWAN GUANGZI Figure 4.6 Sketch map of southeastern China Chinese lineage (zong) is patrilineal or agrmtic, and is localised. Mem- bers of a lineage all lived in one settlement, which sometimes meant that an entire village was composed of a single lineage. In such a case, the vil- lage was structured on the basis of consanguineal relationships. A line- age consisted of sub—lineages, each of them represented by a head, and further segmented into branches and smaller units. A man highest in gen— eration and the oldest of his own generation automatically became the head of a lineage. A lineage collectively owned land (lineage trust or es— tate), and this corporate landholding played an important role in the economy of the village and in keeping lineage members together in the close vicinity. Profits from the lineage trust were used to the best advan- tage of the group. This included projects such as: 1 expanding and repairing the irrigation system of the area; 2 constructing lineage schools to educate male children in the lineage; 3 building and maintaining temples, shrines and halls for ancestral rituals; 4 performing ancestral worship services; 5 performing other rituals when a need arose (e.g. at the time of drought or flood); 6 digging a well, making a new road, building defensive walls and moats, and any other public works thought to be beneficial. Basic social structures and family systems 55 Lineage leaders organised these projects, mediated disputes, and set- tled internal conflicts and problems. The lineage protected the members from other lineages, and walls and moats guarded the lineage property from thieves and bandits. In this way, the identity and solidarity of the members were strengthened. As can be seen, the Chinese lineage per— formed many functions which were economic as well as political, reli- gious and socio-psychological. A large lineage was very advantageous in these respects. Domestic and community organisation in pre—war Japan Pre-war traditional Japanese society was built around the unit called the ie (the two vowels are pronounced distinctly — i as in 'sent' and c as in 'sct'). The ie system had developed among the upper stratum (warrior class) of society during the Tokugawa era (1603—1867). The ie is defined as a single, unbroken family line including the unborn living and the dead members. The ie is a corporate group which persists beyond the present generation. The ic has a number of attributes. Firstly, each is has a name, tradition, occupation, property and an ancestral grave and altar. Secondly, each iv has a co—residential unit or a household which is usually formed by members related through blood, marriage and / or adoption, but which may also include unrelated people such as servants and apprentices. Thirdly, an [0 ideall takes a form of stem famil Juilsghold. Fourthly, the is is represented by the head, and its activities are organised under his leadership. The head of the ic is responsible for the behaviour and welfare of all the members, manages its property and occupation, and looks after the ancestral graves and tablets. Since the it? must be perpetuated, one of the children (male or female) is designated for the task by remaining in the parents’ ii? throughout his / her life, and bringing his/her spouse into the parents’ is. Virilm‘nl residence is more common and is preferred to uxorilocal residence, though the latter was quite frequent in the Japanese village. An heir apparent (mostly the eldest son) succeeds to the position of the head when the head of the is dies or retires, at which point the status of housewife is also transferred to the younger wife from her mother-in-law. The transfer of these positions normally takes place years (and sometimes decades) after the heir’s marriage. When the [c has no Children, or all of the children have died prema- turely, the head of the ie arranges to adopt a son or daughter to continue the fa. An adopted child is preferably chosen from related people but may be an unrelated person such as an apprentice or servant who has proven to be hard-working and loyal to the ie. When the i0 has no sons but only daughters, a husband is adopted for one of the daughters. This husband 56 Part II: Traditions is called mukoyoslii, takes the name of his wife's in, and moves into her parents’ household (uxorilocal residence). Since the husband in the uxorilocal marriage is a non—inheriting son of his 1e, which is usually lower in standing than the wife’s ie, he resigns himself to the submisswe status of adopted husband (inukoyoslii), although he eventually succeeds to the household head. When there is some reason for bypassing a son as heir — for example, he is too young, sickly or incompetent — the heir may be adopted from outside. I Other children (i.e. those who do not become or marry the heir) are expected to leave the natal household by marrying out or being adopted into another it? which lacks an heir, or migrating to an urban centre for non-agricultural employment. In cases where their ze is not wealthy, these other children do not inherit and are expected to contribute to their re. If the ie head is a wealthy landlord, the other children are prOVided with a house and a portion of the land or tenant rights for the land in the adjacent area of the natal household to establish the1r own household. The household newly created by this process is called a branch house (bunks) and is under the supervision of the main house (lionke). . Practices pertaining to marriage vary between strata of the soc1ety and regions. The most widely practised marriage pattern in pre—war Japanese villages was that of a woman marrying into her husband 5 ie (pirzlocal marriage). The best known form is a marriage arranged for the heir of the ie by the parents through a go-between. In selecting a suitable bride (yomc) for the heir, compatibility in the status and wealth of the two ie is stressed rather than the personal wishes of the two indiViduals marrying. A great deal of adjustment is required of a bride who moves from her natal household to her husband’s ic. For this reason, cousm marriage was popular in the Japanese village. In any caseait is important to ensure that a bride—to-be possesses the following qualities: 1 She must be able to adapt to a new environment and tradition. 2 She must be able to get along well with all the members pf the hus- band’s ie, particularly her mother-in-law (sliiii‘ome) who Will function as her supervisor. . . She must be healthy and able to produce offspring for the is. She must be hard-working and take pa rt in the «"5 occupation. NFL») Marriage of this type was in many cases legalised only after the bride conceived or gave birth to a child. The birth of a child was the first step towards the stabilisation of her position in her husband’s parents house- hold. In some cases, the bride was alleged to be unfit and sent back to her parents’ house or even divorced. In the case of divorce, she had-to. leave her children with the husband’s ic. The husband—wife relationship in this type of marriage is not very close, mainly because the relationship be— tween the head and the heir took precedence over all other relationships Basic social structures and family systems 57 in the is. Another reason was the lack of privacy in the traditional Japa— nese house. The absence of an affective conjugal relationship fosters a very strong and close emotional tie between the mother and her children. This becomes a hindrance to the development of a good relationship with their own spouses when the children themselves grow up and marry. The above type of marriage was common among wealthy farmers and landlords who had been strongly influenced by the warrior class ideals. But other marriage practices also existed in various parts of the tradi— tional Japanese village before the turn of the century. Although there are many variations, the second type of marriage practice can be classified as a dim/ocal-virilocal marriage where the husband and/ or the wife move(s) between the two households daily or periodically at the early stage of marriage. In one of the variations, for instance, the wife stays in her natal household even after marriage has been consummated with the proper ceremonies, and the husband visits her at night, continuing to do so until the first child is born. Even after the birth of the child the wife still leaves her personal effects such as her clothes in the natal household and often goes back there for an extended stay in order to ’change the clothes’ or ’wash and mend clothes and bedding’. The wife is eventually settled in the husband’s parents' household when her mother-in-law transfers the position of housewife to her. This type of marriage was practised among the people in the lower strata of society, and was particularly popular in the coastal and island villages where youth and daughter associations (a type of age-graded organisation) were active in facilitating and sanction— ing open heterosexual relationships among the young villagers. In con- trast to the first type of marriage, which tends to promote village z'xogiimy, this second type encourages village midognmy and egalitarian husband— wife relationships. Certain scholars of the Japanese family argue that the second type of marriage practice is older than the first. Whether this hypothesis can be substantiated or not is not our concern here. What is important is that in the second type of marriage the wife’s otherwise stressful transition from her natal houshold to her husband's parents’ household is very much eased. The existence of duolocal marriage practices reveals that the wife is not immediately incorporated into her husband’s {9. The fact that the wife in a sense belongs to both 1? in the early phase of the marriage and derives comfort and support from her own parents is conducive to forming a close interlocking relationship between the two it‘ involved in the village. Let us now turn our attention to community organisation in the pre- war Japanese village. The economy of the Japanese village at the time was primarily based on paddy-rice agriculture which required corporate management of waterways and intensive labour at the time of transplant- ing and harvesting. A household contained five or six members on aver age and was too small to fulfil all the necessary agricultural and life needs 58 Part ll: Traditions in the village. In those days it was rare to hire labourers or to pay for serv- ices rendered. To meet the various needs of villagers, several ie were or— ganised into a fairly constant corporate unit. These ie formed a community, and co—operated with one another through labour ex“ changes, mutual aids and assistance, and participation in festivals and other religious activities. Two common forms of such community organi- sation are kumi and dazoku. In the Japanese village, houses cluster as a hamlet, and there develops a close relationship between neighbouring households. When the rela- tionship between them takes on a permanent character and is formalised, it is called kumi, an egalitarian organisation the leadership of which ro- tates from one household to the next. All member households are ex- pected to fulfil duties and obligations necessary for living in a village. One of the essential functions of the kumi is labour exchange. The member households help one another in the cultivation of rice at peak times. They also co-operate in community work such as road repairs, bridge building and fire fighting. Both men and women participate in these activities. The member households of kumi also help each other by rendering aid and assistance at emergency situations like illness and death in the house- hold and also on happy occasions like childbirth and marriage. One of the distinctive functions commonly performed by the kumi throughout rural Japan is mutual help at the time of death in a neighbouring household. Kumi takes over the entire responsibility related to death, which includes informing the relatives and other villagers, sending for a priest, digging a grave and catering for the mourners with food and drinks. Every household in the village participates in seasonal festivities and sends a person (man or woman) to help prepare for them. Local sanctions are applied to the household which has failed to respond to kumi expecv tations and the norms of reciprocal obligations. The most severe form of community sanction is ostracism (mum—hachibu). The ostracised house— hold receives no assistance or co-operation from other households. K umi' members develop a strong sense of reciprocal obligation and group soli- darity through helping each other and participating together in eco- nomic, social and religious activities. This mechanism of group sanction was effectively utilised by the government in the Tokugawa period and during World War II to control the populace. In some regions of Japan, there developed another type of community organisation, dozoku, which was. formed on a different principle. Dozokii is a up of households related in a network of main house (ilOflkt’) and branch house (bunks) ties. Like kumi, members of a dozoku are bound to one another by reciprocal rights and obligations, but unlike kumi, dozoku is not an egalitarian organisation. Since the branch house is established by the main house's resources, the latter assumes a superior position to the former. Basic social structures and family systems 59 ‘ The doznku performs similar functions to the kiimi in the Japanese Village. in addition to labour exchange, mutual aid and assistance and partiCipation in various rites of passage of the member household there are activities which are dozoku—specific. These are memorial services and ceremonies of ancestor veneration. The main house organises these ceremonies in which branch houses participate. The main house is also responsible for maintaining the ancestral altar, tablets and grave Through these activities, dozoku members reinforce their identity with their dozokil and enhance their solidarity as a kinship group. Pozokii and kimii are not mutually exclusive organisations. in some regions (e.g. northeastern Honshu and northern Kyushu) the dozoku has dominated the village organisation and acted as kumi, but in other regions (e.g. southwestern Honshu and coastal regions) it has never fully developed, but the kumi and other organisations have been more active. Conclusion We have examined ways in which four Asian societies organised their domestic and communal lives in traditional times. Principles of their or- ganisation differ from society to society, but they all share one character- istic: the basis of the society is not the individual, but the household Individuals existed for the sake of the unit to which they belonged. The degree and content of individual subordination to a unit varied greatly between societies, and within a society, according to a person's age gen- der and status. We have also observed that the interaction between the forms of organisation and values and ideals upheld by the society served to reinforce the system as well as the ideology on which it was based. With modernisation, many of the traditional structures have weak- ened, but certain ideals and values remain — for example, the preference for male children persists in contemporary China. However, it is not pos— Sible to understand the societies of Contemporary Asia without a knowl- edge of those from which they have evolved. Guide to further reading Baker, Hugh D.R., Chinese Family and Kinship, The Macmillan Press Sydney, 1979 y k l / This presents a general picture of the Chinese family that prevailed in traditional' (pre-twentieth century) rural China. The book includes discussions of household and family structure, lineage organisation ancestor worship, inter-lineage relations and interactions between the family and the wider society. 60 Part II: Traditions Embree, John F., Suye Mum, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1939 This is the first ethnographical work on a Japanese village, which laid a basis for Japanese village studies. The first four chapters are particularly useful for gaining an understanding of the structure and function of the traditional Japanese family and household, hamlet organisation and other forms of village co-operation in pre-war rural Ja an. FukEtake, Tadashi, Japanese Rural Society, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, 1967 This book deals with the Japanese agriculture and village structure before and after World War II. Parts II and III, in particular, cover topics discussed in this chapter, such as family kinship and hamlet organisation in the Japanese village. Kato, Tsuyoshi, Matriliny and Migration, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, 1981 This book is concerned with the adaption of the Minangkabau matrilineal system to changing times and circumstances. To pursue this theme, it first describes (in Chapter 2) how the matrilineal system was practised in Minangkabau society in the past. The rest of the book is devoted to an examination of Minangkabau migration patterns in a historical perspective and of how this migration has resulted in a new configuration in Minangkabau society. 5 Religious traditions in Asia Besides the family, another aspect of society is religion. People in Asia today practise many different kinds of religions, and not only religions that are native to the Asian region. Chinese people, who keep to their native religious heritage of Daoism (often spelled Taoism) and Confu— cianism, supplemented with Buddhism, have Christian and Muslim neighbours. Indonesian tribal peoples who perpetuate the home-grown traditions of their ancestors are under pressure from their own compatri— ots in more cosmopolitan farming and city areas to adopt religions of both Indian and West Asian origin (lslam, Christianity, Hinduism or Buddhism). indeed, in all Asian countries, indigenous religious traditions have been supplemented by religions introduced from other regions of the world. In order to understand this variety, it is helpful to begin our study of religion in Asia by identifying particular traditions and examining the historical processes through which these traditions originated in Asia or were introduced to the region. The historical overview will be prefaced, however, by a discussion of the major dimensions of contrast among religions. This will help to show general patterns of similarity and difference both among religions in Asia and between religious life in Asia and elsewhere. Chapter 36 summarises current patterns of religious affiliation that are the product of the historical processes reviewed in this chapter. Some major contrasts in Asian religions The most prominent religions in Asia today are the 'universalistic' religions (sometimes known as 'world religions' or ’salvation religions’). Some of these — Islam and Christianity —— are of West Asian origin. Others — Hinduism and Buddhism — originated in India. Daoism is a universalistic religion indigenous to China. Universalistic religions The universalistic religions are open to anyone, regardless of their colour, customs or social prominence. These religions are ’held together’ by ...
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