|The story below is originally published on Mainichi Daily News by Mainichi Shinbun (http://mdn.mainichi.jp).|
|They admitted inventing its kinky features, or rather deliberately mistranslating them from the original gossip magazine.|
|In fact, this is far from the general Japanese' behavior or sense of worth.|
Close family relationships have always been a part of Confucian-influenced Japan, but sometimes the ties can be a bit too close, according to Jitsuwa Knuckles(May).
Cousins are legally permitted to marry under Japanese law, but the practice is generally frowned upon, except apparently for a small village in southern Hokkaido where it remains common practice for the children of brothers and sisters to grow up and inter-marry, the monthly claims.
Incestuous marriage has a long history in Japan, with many samurai families made up of the offspring of siblings, but since the Emperor Meiji moved the country into the modern era from 1960s, attitudes have largely changed, though Hokkaido appears to remain a little different.
“Once Japan entered the Meiji Era (in 1868), the government actively encouraged people to emigrate to (than sparsely populated) Hokkaido and though the cities there filled quickly, there were still plenty of small villages that were nothing more than scattered settlements.
If people in those places wanted to get married, there was nobody else around bar family.
That’s what led to the high instance of marriages amongst cousins in Hokkaido,” a professor from an unnamed private university in Hokkaido tells Jitsuwa Knuckles.
Marriages among cousins were apparently important for families to get the labor they needed to keep their farm afloat.
“It was rare for small villages to get any news from outside filtering in and they remained very closed societies.
They didn’t have the ability to judge subjectively about whether it was right that their marriage partners were also relatives.
They had absolutely no idea that what they were doing was taboo,” the professor says.
“What wasn’t expected was that the practice became a custom before anybody really realized it, and was soon a tradition that people felt obliged to maintain.”
The professor continues: “Even now in part of Hokkaido, marriage among cousins continues, albeit in small numbers.
I’ve talked to children of parents who were also cousins.
They said their parents weren’t forced into their marriage and they had been a love match.
What is different about the area, though, is that even though they were relatives getting married, there was no outcry from other parts of family.”
Others say the “kissing cousins” were in fact even closer still.
“They weren’t cousins. It used to marriages among brothers and sisters,” 36-year-old Hokkaido resident Soichiro Okumura tells Jitsuwa Knuckles.
“I heard this from my grandma, but it’s a true story that happened in the village where I grew up.
A woman filled out a birth certificate, saying one of her children actually belonged to her younger brother and his wife.
That girl grew up to marry her cousin (the son of the natural mother) which meant she was actually marrying her (biological) brother.
Management of the family registers wasn’t so good in those days.
“It was certainly common for the families to raise relatives’ children as their own, including filing the odd birth certificate where the names of the real parents weren’t always accurately filled in.
This also resulted in a number of sibling marriages when people thought they were only tying the knot with a cousin.
“The same pattern also led to cases where uncle married nieces, or so I’ve heard,” the private university professor tells Jitsuwa Knuckles.
“In there cases, though, it was a long time ago when births took place in the home and not under the guidance of a proper gynecologist in a maternity hospital like they do now.
Mind you, 40 years ago is still only a short time ago.
But, considering what was going on, I’m not surprised there aren’t too many reliable records left.” (By Ryann Connell)