“In the end, I’ll do whatever,” she said. “I might fuss a little, but I’ll be there.”In what otherwise could only be the premise for a situation comedy (does First Mother-in-Law work?), the President-elect’s mother-in-law is moving in to the White House.
Yes, that’s what they always say.
This may appear odd to Americans, to whom in-law jokes are the mainstay of their cultural heritage. (Though perhaps not to Americans of African origin.) But it is a custom with deep historical roots in Japan, where the live-in male spouse is known these days as Masuo-san, a reference to the eponymous husband of Sazae-san (hands-down the most popular post-war comic strip character in Japan).
This phenomenon may very well be a modern-era manifestation of the Japanese civilization’s deep matriarchic roots. To push this speculation even further, the now-waning custom of parents (or parent) without male offspring formally adopting the husband of a daughter could be the result of the subsequent assimilation of patriarchic customs.