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Similarities between the cultures of 19th C Japan and 21st C Pakistan

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Ansser Sadiq August 20, 2006 AP English Period 3 Despite a distance of some thousand miles between the island of Japan and the strip of land better known as Pakistan, not to mention the gap of countless years in history, it is impossible not to notice the striking similarities between the two cultures. 19th Century Japanese society and 21st century Pakistani society have a great deal more in common than first meets the eye. An emphasize upon complete obedience towards a feudal lord, rigid marriage restrictions based upon family name and social class, not to mention an extremely demeaning attitude towards women and their place in society. The gap of two hundred years seems to disintegrate when we compare ancient Japanese society with modern day Pakistan, and maybe that is the greatest tragedy of the situation. Of all the social situations presented to us through the short story, "Green Willow, the debasing attitude of the peasant family towards their daughter is the most remarkable aspect of the story. "Please forgive the clumsy service of our daughter, Green Willow. She has been raised alone in these mountains and is only a poor, ignorant girl," said her father. ...read more.


He claimed that a man is allowed to hit his wife, or even remove her from his home, if it is deemed necessary. This shows that women are completely subjugated in both societies, and have no individual rights. However, the one small difference that we can notice is the terminology used to refer to women. Most Pakistanis feel that women are treated as objects and possessions in our society. Possessions that must be transferred from their parents home to a husband as soon as possible. Whereas the father referred to his daughter as a gift, a humble handmaid, and by saying that paid her just a slight amount of respect, which would never be the case in Pakistan. Love or passion never played a prominent part in marriages in ancient Japan, as they do many parts of the world now. On the other hand, marriage was simply a mechanism through which the family name and honor was maintained, as well as ensuring marriages within a respectable social class For that reason, marriage into inferior classes was forbidden, hence the Lord of Noto's realization to the possibility of his daimyo rejecting his scheme to tie the knot with Green Willow. ...read more.


In Japan, the samurai were generally proud to serve their daimyo, and felt it was their sworn duty; conversely in Pakistan the lower classes are powerless against the wishes of their feudal lord. Both societies may have lords ruling over certain individuals, however one system is based upon a code of honor, and the other is simply based upon greed and power. As a result, there are similarities between the two feudal systems; however a few minor differences also surface as we take a deeper look at the two situations. When all is said and done, the undeniable fact remains that there are certain parallels between the traditions of Pakistan and ancient Japan. It may seem unusual that the same social situations that occurred in 19th century Japan are occurring in 21st century Pakistan, and most would prefer not to believe it. Yet when women are still being treated as second class citizens, both by individuals and by the law, families still look down upon marriages outside of their precious social class, and the countryside is dominated by feudal lords, we must face the harsh reality that many parts of our culture are in a stasis, and can be dated back to the 19th century and Japanese society. ...read more.

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