Monday, January 14, 2013

UTENA ESSAY: Taking on wife's family name like Akio: stigma/shame attached?

Link to In the Rose Garden's thread here:

Actual document after cut:

Lately, a discussion had lead me to again pay attention to implications in Akio's giving up his family name Himemiya, donning Kanae's family name Ohtori, while being financially reliant on her clan

By becoming an Ohtoi mukoyōshi (婿養子), Akio has given up the traditional male role as  provider in the relationship, and has become a helper/device to help continue the Ohtori bloodline via reproduction - at the cost of his giving up his right to ever continue the Himemiya bloodline. 

Sure we know that the real Akio has shown no desire to sire little Himemiyas, but won't his surrounding society still react to him according to surface evidence?  I mean, just because a man does not want to sire children bearing his own last name, how will society react to one who gave up the chance to do so for material gains?  Love cannot be used as an excuse here: if a manly man loves a woman, he is expected to be able to gain qualifications (wealth, status) enough to marry that woman as his wife - who bears his last name, and not the other way around. 

More importanly, the lack of a male heir in a family is seen as a tragic termination in the bloodline (which is reason behind the existence of mukoyōshi in the first place);  an “only son” forsaking his own family name/bloodline for cash is a even bigger deal than it would for one with brothers to carry on the line. 

Akio has no brother to show to his world at large (since it doesn’t know about his connection to Anthy-Mamiya).

So, just how much respect will a Japanese-named male, who has no known brother – one who willingly gave up his chance to continue his own bloodline to obtain material gains from the wife’s bloodline – get from his world?  Sure, the Ohtori faculty, all of inferior job posts to the Acting Chairman, regard him with awe, but how will those of equal or higher social status to the Ohtoris in rank view and treat Akio, who is in effect working for and living off the Ohtoris? 

Nova Superstar Singer Jacky Cheung (張學友) – who is know to all of Asia, including Japan – has a utmost popular song called  Your first name,my surname (你的名字,我的姓氏 ) (, and that’s pretty much how most Asians view the marriage issue. 

I know Japan has it’s own set of specific views that differ from other parts, but being part of Asia, to what exact degree can that “difference” be?

There are numerous Japanese live dramas touching on the issue (ie. 拝啓、父上様  2007, 替身女优·真希  2012), usually depicting such men as insecure, pushed-over by wife’s families, and at times dissed by their social circles. 

Relevant wife family domination scenes from within SKU as follows:

Kanae (flaunts how her family benefits Akio, in front of Utena and Anthy):  And it's been rumored that he was adopted into my family just for this equipment.


Akio:  Some breakfast?
Kanae:  No thanks.
Kanae (wielding mother in law power card, in front of Utena and Anthy):  Besides, my mother's here.


mother (pull rank and power over him):  Your position at this school is based on your getting married to my daughter.
mother:  And don't forget that engagements can be canceled at any time.

Now, there has been concern expressed on how popular live dramas and animes are not accurate enough in depicting subtle nuances in everyday social issue – that we should turn to formal essays written by professionals to tell us what common, around the water cooler attitudes/viewpoints are like.

And so here I offer up the first relevant article I’ve found on this.  It’s non-english so Asian eyes (plus those willing to use translation software) gets first dips.

日本倒插门女婿要效忠妻族 (translated as: Japan “Reverse Way/Event” where Son in law have to serve/be loyal to Wife’s Clan)

(Translation: Amongst normal people, this “reverse way” is rare.  Only 3% of previously unmarried man will get adopted; while previously married men are higher at 9 %)
I guess  we know which group of men are considered more desirable (thus have more options) by Japanese society.

相 对于中华文化圈内其他国家和地区的“倒插门”,日本男人要做的“牺牲”更大,不仅子女要随母姓,自己的姓氏也要改随女方,例如田中直纪原姓铃木,小渊克阳 原姓濑户口。在过去,如果一个日本男子“倒插门”实际上相当于“改换门庭”,自己的名字要从家谱中被抹掉,而以新姓名写入女方家谱,死后也只能葬在女方家 族墓地,而不能“回归”自己家族的墓地。在户籍和墓葬观念传统的日本,接受这样的事情并不容易。
(Translation: compared to Chinese cases of husband adoption, Japanese men have to sacrifice more.  Not only are children following wife last name, his own last name will be wife last name. once a man get adopted by another family, his own name will have to be taken out from his family record book, and he will be branded with wife last name and put in wife’s family record book, even after dying, he can only be buried in wife’s family grave, and not be ‘returned” to his own original family grave.  In Japan where family record and relevant grave stuff is Asian traditional, it is not a easy thing to accept this.)

有 因妻子颐指气使而导致丈夫“自尊受践踏”,甚至“受了委屈”而自杀的情况发生。由于男方入赘住在女方家,因而并不存在传统家庭中常见的“婆媳问题”,不过 倒是会出现女方父亲对女婿的生活习惯、上进心等不满意,而产生家庭摩擦。有分析认为,由于父亲对女儿的疼爱“经常超乎理性”,因而这种“翁婿问题”有时十 分突出。
(Translation:  There are cases where the wife act bossy, leading to husband’s “pride being hurt”, to the point that there are cases of “being bullied” leading to suicide.  Because the husbands are adopted and living on wives’ home, there are no bossy husband’s moms  fighting with the wives, what ill happen is a wife’s father keep on picking on son-in-law’s living habits and ambitions/abilities, and create domestic disharmony.  Pros believe that wife’s father love daughter to unreasonable extend, and the fighting between old man and son-in-law are at times prominent.)
Could this be why the Real Chairman ends up “ill”?  Then again, there is also Mrs. Ohtori to pull-rank on Akio (amongst other things).

日 语中有句谚语说“有米三合,决不入赘”。在近代主张“以夫为纲”,男性绝对主导的日本社会,“是男人就不入赘”的说法一度盛行。虽然现在日本人对“倒插 门”的心态已经逐渐开放,但不少日本男人依然表示“心态复杂”,首先因为“男子汉的自尊心”以及对外界看法的在乎,其次,对给予男人名利资源的女方一家, 男人应该“尽可能多地回报”,这也让男人感到“压力很大”。
(Translation: There is a Japanese saying “(Even) with three cups of rice (under possession), no way am (I) getting marriage-adopted”.  In contemporary times where men rule Jap society, the saying “if you’re a man don’t get marriage adopted” is popular for a long time.  Even though current (article date 2012) Japanese are becoming more liberal in viewing male marriage-adoption, but a lot of Jap man still feel conflicted, first it’s because they care about “male pride” and “how the outside world sees me”, secondly, husband believe they have to  pay back financial well-being  gained from wife’s family, which makes men feel “huge stress”.)

I suppose Akio’s adoption situation is one that is both stigmatized and stressed, if not outright shamey, as “if you’re a man don’t get marriage adopted” should be prevailing in the 90s; then again, I suppose he could be using his power as World’s End to block out the negativity from the Ohtoris and Society’s sneering individuals, and survives this much like how Anthy survives the slapping and bullying.

Will post more articles on this issue once I’ve the time to find them emot-wink

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