By Thomas Sowell
Presents new insights into the heritage, sociology, and psychology of ethnic-minority existence.
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In Cohort Two, the ie system no longer functions institutionally with regard to inheritance but it survives in the sense of obligation felt by many first-born sons. The operation of the ie system further diminished in the youngest generation, Cohort Three, who were men born in the stable economic period. It is reasonable to suppose that the parents of participants in this generation are younger and currently enjoy good health; and therefore, that caring for their parents in their old age is not an immi- 10 The results of National Family Research 98 (NFR 98) also support this tendency.
The nature of the system has, however, been changing and has had a waning impact on the actual behaviour of the respondents over time. The diminishing effect of the ie system on the evolving modern family is indicated in the more individualistic way of pursuing aspirations amongst Cohort Three, with little respect for the ie system, and with their parents’ acquiescence in their sons’ desires. By contrast, the patriarchal ideology of the ie system continues in contemporary Japan (Ochiai 2000: 108; Ueno 1994: 83).
The survival of the ie system The difference between men and women is that, definitely, men have a higher position than women. Therefore, women, even if they are parents, can’t go over men’s heads. That was the rule at home. We were told women shouldn’t go over men’s heads but men can. (Ueno-san, II) While the inter-generational aspects of the ie system appear to be on the wane, patriarchal relations based on gender and age have been more resistant to change. Almost all the participants remembered a childhood in which the authority of the father as the head of the family was clearly visible.
American ethnic groups by Thomas Sowell