chapter  1
17 Pages

The Rhythm of Childhood

Father is a more remote, august, figure. He is not called upon as a last reserve of sternness and punitive power. If bodily chastisement is resorted to, it is usually administered by the mother, who in Japan, as in all oriental and classical countries, is and remains the "mistress of the interior", wielding unquestioned authority within the four walls. It is outside the gate that the dominion of the male begins and ends. To his children he is in some degree god-like; strong, helpful, loving, and removed from petty affairs. As long as he is in the house neither his time nor his nerves are spared. Tired or not, he will coach the boys and make toys for all. It is difficult to say whether the children take more pride in him or he in them.