Sunday, January 11, 2009

Barack Hussein Obama, the First Masuo-san President

“In the end, I’ll do whatever,” she said. “I might fuss a little, but I’ll be there.”

Yes, that’s what they always say.
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.

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.


Global Friends said...

We think this is getting a bit boring. Soooo to keep you up with American culture see:

Now, just to explain, when you watch the original Beyonce video you need to guess which one of the dancers is male...

Your Global Friends

Jun Okumura said...

Oh yeah? I’m sure the mother-in-law angle is being mined by the media and entertainment industry even as I type these words, but it takes real insight to tap the Masuo-san vein. Thanks for the link though. I’ve seen bits and pieces spliced into the original Beyonce music video, but not the original version that aired on SNL. Justin Timberlake is a natural comedian too. You should go find the one in which he wore a full-body banana suit. Public figures in America are quite willing to make fun of themselves on TV, but few go overboard deadpan like Timberlake.