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MARRIED LIFE IN JAPAN

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MARRIED LIFE IN JAPAN The wife is but little better than the servant of the husband, and the ties of marriage and divorce are here so loose that he can dispense with her at pleasure. Marriage in Japan is not attended with the solemnity and religious ceremony of the English wedding. It is a civil contract, and the negotia- tions for it go on, as a rule, through the parents. The young man and woman have no preliminary courtship, and the seeing one another for one or two times is the only chance they have of deciding whether there is any compatibility of tempera- ment. When Yum Yum has arrived at the age of fifteen or sixteen, her parents instruct one of their friends or a professional match-maker to look about for a good husband for her. If they have decided upon the young man, they mention his name, and it is the duty of the friend to speak to the parents of the prospective bridegroom and arrange the matter. The go-between is called a Neka- dachip. He appears in every Japanese mar- riage, and it would be entirely improper for either the bridegroom or the parents to arrange a match without him. He has charge ot everything relating to the marriage. He brings the young people together, generally at a tea-house, where both families meet to have a party for the occasion, and it is at this meeting that the two often see each other for the first time, If, as iik the case of "The Mikado," Yum Yum falls in love at first sight with her Nanki-Poo, it is all right. The two giggle and laugh, and examine each other, and a few days later, the match being agreed upon, presents pass between the two parties, and the acceptance of these presents is understood as an agreement that the marriage is to take place. The presents consist of five tubs of sake or rice wine, of five articles of food, two rolls of silk, and a silken girdle. This is, of course, among the better classes. The lower and poorer send a less amount and a poorer quality. The ceremony proper is made up of the drinking of sake and the eating of a dinner together in the presence of the two families. The bride comes to the groom's house to be married, and she brings along presents for him and her prospective parents- in-law. She appears upon the scene in a dress of white, which, however, she changes before the ceremony for one of oolours, which is a present to her from the groom. The groom also gets a present of a gown from her, and puts this on. At tbot drinking of the wine the bride gets the first cup. &nd there is an almost incessant drinking throughout the ceremony. After marriage the bride or the wife is, swallowed up, as it were, in the family of hei husband. Booki on the duties of woman urge her to be subservient to her parents-in-law, and in times past she was expected to communicate with her own parents chiefly by messenger, and not to visit them by any means frequently. The chief book on woman training in Japanese literature is the" Onna Daigaku," which is taught to all Japanese girls, and on which I am told they base their conduct. It is founded on the principle that woman is much the inferior of man, and that she is naturally prone to evil. It says that nine women out of ten are suffering from mental disorders of intellect, angei and resentment, evil speakiag, jealousy, and lack of intellect. The wife should, therefore, depend upon her husband's instructions in all things, and she is subservient to her father in a like degree before marriage. She has, says this book, no right to show jealousy, and if her husband is guilty of im., proprieties she should gently reprove him. She should go to no place without her husband's per- mission, and a husband has the right to bring a concubine into the house if he will. The result oi this is that concubinage prevails here to a large ex. tent, and the men of Japan have a low moral stand- ard in regard to women. The husband has almost absolute control over his wife by the law of divorce and he can get rid of her if he will on sevr J different grounds. If his wife has reached the ago of 80 and is childless, he can divorce her. If/she talks too much the law allows him to send her vway: if she is guilty of theft, if she is addicted to jr AÃOUSY or if she is disobedient to her parents-in-lavt she is liable to divorce, and if she commits adultery she is of course divorced. With such custr,ms it ja no wonder that the number of divorces In Japan is larger than than those of Indiana in i palmiest days gjiiboral divqece suits..

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