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

Table of Content

Even though Japan and Pakistan are thousands of miles apart and have significant historical differences, their cultures share undeniable similarities. The societies of 19th Century Japan and 21st century Pakistan have more in common than meets the eye. Both emphasize absolute obedience to feudal lords, enforce strict marriage restrictions based on family name and social class, and hold demeaning attitudes towards women’s societal roles.

Comparing ancient Japanese society with modern day Pakistan, it becomes evident that the gap of two hundred years seems to dissolve, which is perhaps the greatest tragedy. Among all the social situations portrayed in the short story “Green Willow,” the degrading attitude of the peasant family towards their daughter stands out as the most notable aspect. Her father expressed, “Please excuse our daughter, Green Willow, for her ineptitude. Having grown up alone in these mountains, she is just a poor and uneducated girl.”

This essay could be plagiarized. Get your custom essay
“Dirty Pretty Things” Acts of Desperation: The State of Being Desperate
128 writers

ready to help you now

Get original paper

Without paying upfront

The text emphasizes the parallel treatment of women in Japanese society at that time and present-day Pakistan. Green Willow is viewed as inferior, leading to her father’s sense of shame. This mindset is mirrored in Pakistani society, where women are frequently regarded as secondary individuals. The tragedy lies in the pervasive belief that women are not entitled to equal rights compared to men.

During a conversation between my mother and a lady, whose daughter worked at our home, there was an example of this. Throughout the conversation, the lady continuously spoke negatively and disrespectfully about her daughter while praising her son. This situation might lead one to believe that the daughter was disrespectful or disobedient; however, her only fault was being born a girl. The short story portrays the 19th century Japanese culture’s depiction of women as inferior beings with no rights.

Her father stated, “Please accept her as a gift, a humble handmaid. Deign, O Lord, to regard her henceforth as yours, and act towards her as you will.”

The comparison between her and an object or gift, disregarding her humanity, is reminiscent of the societal viewpoint in Pakistan. A Pakistani National Assembly member once asserted that a woman’s husband possesses the right to mistreat her as he desires, much like Green Willow’s father granting similar permission to the Lord of Noto. From this perspective, a man has the ability to inflict physical harm upon his wife or even evict her from their residence if he deems it warranted.

The text emphasizes the total oppression of women in both societies and their absence of personal freedoms. However, there is a slight difference in the way women are described. A significant number of people in Pakistan perceive women as objects and possessions within our society. More precisely, they are considered assets that should be quickly passed on from their family to a husband.

Marriage in both ancient Japan and modern-day Pakistan was not based on love or passion, but rather served to maintain family name, honor, and social class compatibility. In the story, the father referred to his daughter as a gift and humble handmaid, displaying a level of respect uncommon in Pakistan. Similarly, Japan prohibited marriage into lower classes, leading the Lord of Noto to fear his daimyo rejecting his proposal to wed Green Willow. Thus, clear parallels exist between ancient Japan and modern-day Pakistan.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, despite cultural advancements, marrying someone from a lower social class was strictly forbidden and generally looked down upon. Men who married below their class were often disowned by their families, while women who eloped or married without permission faced the dreadful consequence of an “honor killing”. Families believed that marrying someone from a lower class would bring shame to their family name, leading them to react dramatically to such situations.

During the Bummei era in Japan, the feudal system played a crucial role in society. This system revolved around the relationship between the daimyo (feudal lord) and samurai warriors. In this context, there was a young samurai named Tomotada who served as part of Noto’s daimyo.

In Japanese society, it was believed that the samurai had to devote himself entirely to serving his daimyo. The samurai would often be assigned specific quests or missions by their daimyo. However, in “Green Willow,” Tomotada went against his daimyo’s wishes when he decided to marry Green Willow instead of completing his quest. This defiance of his daimyo’s control over his life led to a violation of the code of honor in Japanese society and brought much dishonor upon himself.

Both the feudal system in rural Pakistan and the portrayal of feudalism in the story “Green Willow” involve comparisons. In rural Pakistan, individuals who possess most of the land obtain power and control over those who rely on the land for their sustenance. This dominion extends to dictating how these people work, their lifestyle choices, and even their marital unions. Similarly, within our society, landowners have the liberty to choose a partner from families residing on their land, leaving no room for alternatives if these families do not agree.

In both Japan and Pakistan, the social hierarchy is organized with lords governing certain individuals. Nevertheless, the samurai in Japan were driven by honor and a sense of obligation to their daimyo, whereas the lower classes in Pakistan are governed through fear and obedience to their feudal lord. While there are some similarities between these feudal systems, such as having rulers, they vary in terms of values and motivations – one being fueled by pride and honor, while the other driven by greed and power.

Despite the time difference and geographical distance, there are striking resemblances in the customs of Pakistan and ancient Japan. It may appear peculiar that social circumstances witnessed in 19th century Japan persist in 21st century Pakistan, yet this fact is undeniable. Women continue to experience discrimination, both from individuals and through legal mechanisms, relegating them to a lower status. Furthermore, families still disapprove of unions that cross societal boundaries, while feudal lords maintain control over rural regions. These cultural characteristics have remained stagnant over time and can be traced back to Japanese society during the 19th century.

Cite this page

Similarities between the cultures of 19th C Japan and 21st C Pakistan. (2017, Nov 27). Retrieved from

Remember! This essay was written by a student

You can get a custom paper by one of our expert writers

Order custom paper Without paying upfront