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Above the CloudsStatus Culture of the Modern Japanese Nobility$
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Takie Sugiyama Lebra

Print publication date: 1993

Print ISBN-13: 9780520076006

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520076006.001.0001

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Realignment of Women and Men

(p.196) Six Marriage
Above the Clouds

Takie Sugiyama Lebra

University of California Press

This chapter examines matrimony more as a realignment between households (or househeads), involving cross-generational discontinuity and the reconstitution of the unit house through an outsider's entry as well as the departure of nonsuccessor insiders. It examines how the positional nature of marriage was manifested and how the “personal” side of it spilled over and was handled. As might be expected, the positional and personal sides of marriage often diverged, but convergence also occurred. Although personal marriage is more characteristic of today's generation across all classes, it is not in opposition to positional marriage. As in other classes and other societies, marriage in aristocratic Japan had a great impact on women's lives, causing a sharp break between two stages of life, pre- and postmarital. Women thus have much to say about it, and had in the past as well, as evident in the stories informants tell of their mothers and grandmothers.

Keywords:   matrimony, households, aristocratic Japan, Japanese aristocracy, personal marriage, positional marriage

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