The men and women marry young, but rare is the man who is able or who cares to take his bride to a home of his own. The social unit in Japan is the family, not the married couple. It is for no such trivial matter, in their eyes, as love or mutual attachment that marriages are made among the Japanese. Far weightier the reason, which is the purpose of continuing the family, that sons and heirs may be born to perform the ancestor-worship and keep alive the family name.
If a family is so unfortunate as to have no son, or to have lost the son by death, then either a son must be legally adopted, or, in case there is a daughter, a suitable husband is chosen, who, upon his marriage, assumes the family name, and in all respects, legal and personal, is given the place of a true son and heir.
Children are carefully reared and trained to meet the emergencies of their existence, and to fill the sphere they are likely to occupy. A girl knows that when she is married, no matter what the social position of the family she enters, her place will be that of servant to her grandmother-in-law, mother-in-law and husband, just as long as they live, and that when her eldest son arrives at an age of dignity, she will become his chief servant as well.
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From General Nelson A. Miles
Thrilling Stories of The Russian-Japanese War, 1904