Japan is a mysterious country. Keeping traditions, nurturing self-esteem, a penchant for contemplation, incomprehensible to a European, beckon and bewitch. The history of the country could not but affect the life of the Japanese and how they build family relationships.
In the life of a Japanese, family is sacred. The patriarchal way of life is still present in the Japanese institution of the family. Respect for ancestors, obedience to seniority are an integral part of life: the first-born is pampered, the younger ones obey the elders, be it the relationship between parents and children or between brothers and sisters. A woman must obey a man.
In every house there is a "kamidan" altar-stand, on which are the symbols of ancestors. Every day they are respected: in the morning - clapping and bowing, in the evening - lighting candles. On holidays, the ancestors receive offerings - flowers and plant food. Worshiping ancestors is a symbol of family well-being.
Traditional views presuppose a marriage of convenience, regardless of the true feelings of the young. Although there is a ren'ai (love marriage) in Japan, the omiai union is often mutually beneficial for families.
Its organizer is an intermediary - "nakodo", who selects pairs based on social status. The young people exchange photographs and autobiographies, followed by the Yuino engagement ceremony, where the families exchange nine ritual gifts - symbols of happiness.
In Japan, they get married late - men at about 32, women at 28. The wedding ceremony can take place according to the Shinto or Christian ceremony. At a Shinto wedding, the bride has a special white headscarf on her head - "tsuno-kakushi" - "cover for the horns".
According to legend, a jealous bride can grow horns to prevent this from happening, she is wearing a scarf. The ritual is followed by the marriage vows - "san-san-kudo" - the ritual exchange of cups with sake. The bride and groom should drink three cups each, each time the size of the vessel increases.
After the ceremony, the reception time for about 100 guests. The guests write down their names and leave envelopes with a cash gift "shugi-bukuro" tied with a strong knot - a symbol of the inseparability of the marriage bond.
During the celebration, the bride changes her dress at least three times, the last outfit is European. The main event of the feast is the cutting of a huge cake, sometimes not real.
Usually a young family lives with their parents, as housing is expensive. Both spouses work hard, saving at least 14% of their income to the bank. Outwardly, it may seem that a Japanese woman obeys her husband, but today this is not always the case.
Japanese women are in no hurry not only to get married, but also to have children, since children are an expensive pleasure. In addition, as soon as a woman becomes pregnant, she is fired from her job, and it is not known whether she will have the opportunity to return.
Modern Japanese women are far from being as submissive as Europeans are used to thinking, but they are forced to live "by the rules", since the family is based on common finances. The attitude towards divorces in the country is negative, but their number is still increasing.
Japanese sex life is a double standard. On the one hand, restraint in the expression of conjugal love and condemnation of sex before marriage, and on the other, many illegitimate children.
At the same time, the sex industry in the country is extremely developed: all kinds of pornographic products, magazines, erotic novels, anime and manga are available. Despite the fact that prostitution is punishable by law, there are corresponding quarters where single and married men spend their time.
Often, physical love in Japanese families living in cramped apartments with virtually no walls is impossible. It is accepted that husband and wife periodically go on dates in "love hotels".
These establishments have a fully automated system for accepting payments and issuing keys to rooms, but all the same, a woman, arriving at such a place, seeks to remain unrecognized and invisible, even if she has a date with her own husband.
The birth of a child is a great happiness. A Japanese baby sleeps on his bed next to his mother, on demand she picks him up and entertains him until he gets bored. Parents do not shout at their children, and even more so, do not punish them with a belt. Children are taught that doing bad things will make others laugh.
Feelings of shame lead to a sense of guilt. The child is the center of the family and the "house deity". Despite the fact that at the age of 20 a Japanese becomes an adult, his parents mentally and financially take care of him endlessly. Children tend to love and respect their parents, helping them in old age.
In the old days, a child was considered a person only after certain rituals were performed. If the parents could not feed the baby, they would kill him. This was not considered a crime and was called "kaesu", literally "return." The child's spirit was sent to the other world, and the parents made a "kokesu" doll and put it on the home altar.
Today the attitude towards children is different, but ceremonies are required. On the seventh day after birth, the child receives a name, which reflects the spelling marks from the names of the ancestors. This is the rite of "nadzuke-no-ivai" - the name.
The choice of a name is a serious event, here they use the services of fortune-tellers, because they believe in the connection between name and fate. Sometimes a Japanese person has two names - home - "emei", and the present, received after adulthood.
Children celebrate important ritual holidays "shitigosan" at the age of 3, 5, 7 - odd numbers are considered lucky, allowing them to ask the gods for mercy to the child.
There are many divorces among older couples in Japan: women on retirement receive good benefits, and prefer to live away from their old and grumpy spouse. Life expectancy in Japan is one of the highest - men live to 77, women to 84.
Due to the fact that the reproduction of the nation is declining, Japan is gradually turning into a country of "empty cradles". Could it be that the Japanese disappear altogether?