Gender and Land Rights Database

Japan

Customary norms, religious beliefs and social practices that influence gender-differentiated land rights

- The traditional rural family was a patriarchal stem family called Ie. Authority was concentrated in the role of the head of the household, usually the eldest living male. Families were usually quite large, including unmarried relatives. Stay-in workers also lived in the farm. Women worked as unpaid labourers, supported their husband’s work and took care of the children.

Different management styles and lifestyles have changed the stem family over the last 50 years, also supported by the introduction of the Family management agreement in 1995. Families are increasingly smaller and centred on the couple and their children. Male family members are more and more engaged in different off-farm jobs and labourers no longer live-in. The management of the farm is more individually led. As a consequence to these changes, women are participating more to farm management with increasing responsibilities (15).

Sources: numbers in brackets (*) refer to sources displayed in the Bibliography