Global Perspectives in Family Therapy: Development, Practice, and Trends

By Kit S.Ng | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 2

The Development of Family Therapy and the Experience of Fatherhood in the Japanese Context

TAKESHI TAMURA


JAPANESE CULTURE AND FAMILY

To understand Japanese families in the cultural and historical context, two kinds of social regime have to be taken into account; (a) the era of militarism before and during Word War II: and (b) the economic growth or expansion after the war (Kitaoji, 1971; Morioka, 1990). The society was very hierarchical under the military regime. Chinese teaching of Confucianism was used as a framework of discipline that people had to obey. The emperor was the top figure and whatever passed down from him had to be obeyed to the letter. The relationship in any kind of group was also defined in the hierarchical order. For example, in schools, teachers exercise authority and students are not allowed to challenge or question at all. So are family relationships. The senior man is called master or a head of the family, and holds an extreme power over the members of the family. The division of labor between the genders is clearly defined; men stay out of the family and are involved with work and women are expected to stay home and do the household chores and childrearing.

Democracy was gradually introduced after World War II. The militarism had shifted to democracy, but group orientation and hard-working ethics remained the same. People worked hard for the nation before the war and for their companies after the war. This was the key to establishing a successful economy in the last 50 years. The demand for productivity, time, and loyalty was paramount from all employees, particularly men in manage-

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