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Old April 15th, 2012, 04:23 PM   #1

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When did polygamy end in China and in Japan?


I'm hoping someone can give me an account of the official and unofficial time frames. I know that in Hong Kong it was still common in the 1950s to see men with more than one wife even though it wasn't legal. How about other areas?
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Old April 15th, 2012, 04:30 PM   #2
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I'm pretty sure polygamy in China was mostly associated with minority ethnic groups. Concubinage was common, but not the practice of keeping multiple wives.
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Old April 15th, 2012, 04:47 PM   #3

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Well first we have to be clear on the term "polygamy". Polygamy means marriage that includes two or more partners. It was illegal for a man to have more than one wife in ancient China. He can have concubines, but those concubines can't be wives. Under law, he has only one legal wife. The term polygamy is misleading in this case.

With that being said, concubinage was outlawed by the ROC but it wasn't enforced. I believe it was heavily enforced by the PRC (the banning of prostitution, etc.). In HK, it wasn't outlawed until 1971.
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Old April 15th, 2012, 05:04 PM   #4

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mingming View Post
Well first we have to be clear on the term "polygamy". Polygamy means marriage that includes two or more partners. It was illegal for a man to have more than one wife in ancient China. He can have concubines, but those concubines can't be wives. Under law, he has only one legal wife. The term polygamy is misleading in this case.

With that being said, concubinage was outlawed by the ROC but it wasn't enforced. I believe it was heavily enforced by the PRC (the banning of prostitution, etc.). In HK, it wasn't outlawed until 1971.
In some cases, a man may have more than one wives in ancient China. For instance, if a man's brother died without being married and having no child, this man may marry again on behalf of his brother, and the sons would be technically his brothers. (兼祧)
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Old April 15th, 2012, 09:51 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jake10 View Post
I'm hoping someone can give me an account of the official and unofficial time frames. I know that in Hong Kong it was still common in the 1950s to see men with more than one wife even though it wasn't legal. How about other areas?
Well, apparently polygami was at least not illegal in Japan up to 1945.
Japan - Mating And Marriage, Gender Roles, Masculinity And Men's Suicide, Decreasing Number Of Children - Leave for Working Parents, Conclusion - JRank Articles

That's not to say it was particularily practised though.
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Old April 15th, 2012, 09:57 PM   #6

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Good article, Larrey. Thanks.
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Old April 16th, 2012, 06:04 PM   #7
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There are still some examples of men with multiple wifes today in Taiwan.. though obviously not legal... but unless the first wife sues he can't be prosecuted. and of course most of us commoners... well... simply can't afford it :P
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Old April 17th, 2012, 12:32 AM   #8

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A lot of developed countries are suffering from an aging population and falling numbers of children. Perhaps it should be encouraged.
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Old April 17th, 2012, 01:16 AM   #9

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I remember to see in TV program the recent comstoms Tibetan brothers sharing one wife (
Polyandry Polyandry
) and some U. S. Mormon families (
Mormon_fundamentalism Mormon_fundamentalism
).

Last edited by koala; April 17th, 2012 at 01:39 AM.
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Old April 17th, 2012, 03:59 PM   #10

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A lot of developed countries are suffering from an aging population and falling numbers of children. Perhaps it should be encouraged.

Unless those countries have many more women than men, they'd better not. It could result in an array of men who are not wealthy having no ladies, and we all know how bad men like that can be.
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