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Is Japan patriarchal or matriarchal?

Mark of Zorro

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I stated that Japan was matriarchal in another thread about Carlos Ghosn, to wit:

Also I see this as part of the matriarchal harmonious society Japan has. Guilt or innocence does not matter much in such a society. You get accused, you just own it and take whatever punishment you get without complaint. You don't rock the boat. In fact, what you do is apologize and beg for mercy. So damned feminine and almost as disgusting as the male tendency to go war. Ghosn didn't do that. So they hate him. Of course we see this same feminine thinking when a man is accused of rape in America....GUILTY until proven more GUILTY!

And got the reply:

First time I've heard Japanese society described as matriarchal rather than patriarchal though. Care to expand on that?
So here it is:

All the bowing and gift giving. Focus on the form rather than the function. Don't ask why, just do it. Its more important to look busy than actually be working. Extreme emphasis on apology. Optics, optics, optics and not much analysis. So many words with an emotional component but no rational/actual definition, such as "onegaishimasu". Husbands's salaries go to wives' bank accounts. The bath culture. Kawaii culture. The creation and use of special feminine language. The extreme over-abundance of social rules, particularly all those "don'ts". Go to any mall and its wall to wall women's clothes and accessories. A marked disdain for used or old looking items regardless of how well they work, such as automobiles. And those are the ones I think are rather obvious.

There are many, many more I could name although many of those are said to exist because of men but I see it the opposite. In fact it is a feminine thing to blame men for just as much as women can get away with, and in today's world, women are so winning with that garbage. And its why this matriarchal society is called patriarchal and will continue to be until men are naked and in chains and that's about what its going to take the men have no spine today.

Anyway, I think it should be understood that no society is 100 percent matriarchal or patriarchal. I see Japan as maybe 75 percent matriarchal. What do you think?
 

thomas

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Very interesting topic.

I have always thought of matriarchy along the lines of the following quotes (taken from Wikipedia):
  • Matriarchy is a "form of social organization in which the mother or oldest female is the head of the family, and descent and relationship are reckoned through the female line; government or rule by a woman or women. (Oxford English Dictionary (OED))
  • Matriarchy is a "culture or community in which such a system prevails" or a "family, society, organization, etc., dominated by a woman or women."
  • Matriarchy is "rule by women". (William A. Haviland)
  • A matriarchy is a society in which females, especially mothers, have the central roles of political leadership, moral authority, and control of property, but does not include a society that occasionally is led by a female for non-matriarchal reasons or an occupation in which females generally predominate without reference to matriarchy, such as prostitution or women's auxiliaries of organizations run by men.
I agree with you that quite a few of the phenomena you have mentioned have a "female touch", but I think we are far away from a "rule by women" in Japan. Politics and business are clearly male-dominated. The abundance of rules and conventions isn't a specifically female feat. There used to be a very distinct bath culture in ancient Rome and Greece or the Ottoman Empire, not exactly matriarchal societies. The existence of a feminine language isn't matriarchal but serves the purpose of cementing gender-specific roles, etc etc.

So yes, Japanese culture does have a lot of feminine aspects but I wouldn't go as far as calling it matriarchal.
 

Lothor

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I stated that Japan was matriarchal in another thread about Carlos Ghosn, to wit:




And got the reply:



So here it is:

All the bowing and gift giving. Focus on the form rather than the function. Don't ask why, just do it. Its more important to look busy than actually be working. Extreme emphasis on apology. Optics, optics, optics and not much analysis. So many words with an emotional component but no rational/actual definition, such as "onegaishimasu". Husbands's salaries go to wives' bank accounts. The bath culture. Kawaii culture. The creation and use of special feminine language. The extreme over-abundance of social rules, particularly all those "don'ts". Go to any mall and its wall to wall women's clothes and accessories. A marked disdain for used or old looking items regardless of how well they work, such as automobiles. And those are the ones I think are rather obvious.

There are many, many more I could name although many of those are said to exist because of men but I see it the opposite. In fact it is a feminine thing to blame men for just as much as women can get away with, and in today's world, women are so winning with that garbage. And its why this matriarchal society is called patriarchal and will continue to be until men are naked and in chains and that's about what its going to take the men have no spine today.

Anyway, I think it should be understood that no society is 100 percent matriarchal or patriarchal. I see Japan as maybe 75 percent matriarchal. What do you think?
Thanks for replying to my question.

I veer toward Thomas's view that these traits are not necessarily feminine and/or can be explained by other phenomena in Japanese society.
For example, I see the kawaii culture as being due to the infantilisation of Japan's culture. The overabundance of social rules may be due to a fanatical desire to avoid conflict (which you may well argue is a feminine trait, although the more patriarchal Victorian society also was heavy on rules). The woman-centred shopping malls may be because men are working all the time and the tax system and social infrastructure prevent women from working full time. The disdain for old things may be from a hyperconsumer culture, encouraged by those in power as a means of building up Japan's economy.

Still, interesting point of view and there could be something in it.
 

Mark of Zorro

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Picture this...you have a man driving a car and a woman in the back seat telling him where to go and where to stop....who controls the car? I think men tend to get a bit fixated on the fact they could turn the car around or intentionally crash it at any moment though they never do, and think that therefore, they are in complete control. Oh, the man gets to turn on the wipers, the headlights and maybe even choose the music and the volume and some other details. But I see the general course of society being run by women.

I once heard there was a proposal in some legislature to legalize prostitution ( I don't know where or if true). Most of the members (men) were all for it...then their wives found out. Mysteriously, the proposal did not pass. I think there are many things that prevent men from seeing the truth of this question, and that includes pride.
 

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