Comparison between Chinese and Vietnamese customs: The role of the uxorilocal groom

Abstract. In a patriarchal society, upon getting married, the wife would move into the husband’s home. Hence, a man moving in with his wife’s family may spark controversy. Policies of the Chinese feudal government in the older days contributed to the prejudice against such a man. Chinese and Vietnamese customs have experienced 2000 years of cultural exchange with certain similarities and differences, but they both strive towards a more prosperous and humane society. This is why discrimination against uxorilocal grooms is inappropriate and needs to be removed from the culture of both nations.

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8 HNUE JOURNAL OF SCIENCE DOI: 10.18173/2354-1067.2018-0043 Social Sciences, 2018, Volume 63, Issue 7, pp. 8-14 This paper is available online at COMPARISON BETWEEN CHINESE AND VIETNAMESE CUSTOMS: THE ROLE OF THE UXORILOCAL GROOM Duong Tuan Anh and Thanh Duc Hong Ha Faculty of Philology, Hanoi National University of Education Abstract. In a patriarchal society, upon getting married, the wife would move into the husband’s home. Hence, a man moving in with his wife’s family may spark controversy. Policies of the Chinese feudal government in the older days contributed to the prejudice against such a man. Chinese and Vietnamese customs have experienced 2000 years of cultural exchange with certain similarities and differences, but they both strive towards a more prosperous and humane society. This is why discrimination against uxorilocal grooms is inappropriate and needs to be removed from the culture of both nations. Key words: role, son-in-law, uxorilocal groom, discrimination, marriage. 1. Introduction 1. Prejudice against uxorilocal grooms used to exist in the ancient Oriental society, including China and Vietnam. The root of this attitude has been explored by several Chinese researchers such as Fang Xinli (方心棣), Zhang Jian (张健), Guo Na (果娜), Zun Jianyi (孙剑艺), Guo Song Yi (郭松义) from a historical, characterological, political and law perspective In Vietnam, there has not been no research dedicated to learning the historical origin of such bias, mainly due to lack of supporting materials. Comparative researches can to an extent explain this phenomenon and bring about a more holistic view on an issue which should not continue in modern society. 2. There has been a phenomenon of stigma in the ancient Asian society, including China and Vietnam. The origin of that attitude has been investigated by Chinese researchers such as Fang Xinli, Zhang Jian, Guo Na, Zun Jianyi ... from historical, literary, political and legal perspectives. . In Vietnam, there is no research to understand the historical origin of the stigmatized attitude that the main reason is the lack of documentation as evidence. Comparative studies may partly contribute to this phenomenon, and will contribute to a more complete understanding of a phenomenon that should not continue to exist in modern society. 2. Content 3. In a patriarchal society, upon getting married, the wife would move into the husband’s home. However, matrilocal residence is not non-existent, especially with the poor. Families with sons who are unable to provide for their families due to their financial background may move in with their wives’ families which are more financially stable. There are even cases where the groom is previously a servant in the bride’s family but cannot pay his ransom to leave. Comparison between Chinese and Vietnamese customs: The role of the uxorilocal groom 9 Received January 11, 2018. Accepted July 2, 2018. Contact Duong Tuan Anh, e-mail address: The family then marries their daughter to him and he is able to stay with them. In Han characters, matrilocal husbands are called “Zhuì xù” (贅婿); moving into the wife’s house is considered “Chūzhuì” (出贅); marrying the groom into the bride’s family is “Rùzhuì” (入贅). The character “zhuì” itself does not mean well: the act of selling something off to obtain money, redundant, useless, worthless (“Bèi” (貝) usually indicates riches and fortune); a prominent hump is called “zhuìyóu” (贅肬) and children servants are “zhuìzi” (贅子). It is possible that the low status as well as the choice of being a matrilocal husband which goes against the patriarchal ways have led to the discriminatory attitude of society towards these people. 4. While the Chinese society is in essence patriarchal, there has been no proof showing signs of contempt towards uxorilocal grooms since the dawn of culture. The earliest source of contempt recorded is in the tax policy of Shang Yang (390 BC - 338 BC). At that time, many mature males (the law of the Qin dynasty stipulated that males aged 16 or over must pay taxes) did not apply to leave the household and lived there to avoid labor or tax registration. Thus, Shang Yang ordered that families with over two sons who do not leave the household will be taxed twice. When discussing this policy of Shang Yang, the Book of Han by Ban Gu (32 - 92) stated: "Shang Yang forsakes politeness and reason, morality and gratitude to concentrate on finishing the reform. After two years of implementation, the Qin's customs suffered greatly. Therefore, the sons of rich families will leave the household and those of poor families will move in with their in-laws.”1 To a rich family, splitting households was not a problem as their financial conditions can help them fulfill their tax obligations. For less privileged ones, matrilocal residence was how to avoid doubling the tax. Living with the wife's family would not form a new household and as a result, the tax obligation would not arise. Their impoverished background as well as their scheme to become an uxorilocal husband in an attempt to avoid high taxes were the catalyst for the discriminatory attitude. One of the factors considered to contribute to the Qin's customs' decline was this scheme which is contrary to the customs of the patriarchal Chinese society. Hence, this "tradition" of discrimination has existed for at least 2300 years. There is evidence that the stigma towards the uxorilocal husband may have appeared earlier in Chinese culture, originating in the Wei state, not Qin. The documents unearthed was in late 1975 in Hubei province, China resided in the tomb of the Qin official named Xi (喜,born in 262 BC) where there were 1155 bamboo pieces. According to The ethics of a servant: “Xinhai Day, Bingwu Day – the first day of the month (Bingwu is the first day of the month, so Xinhai is the 6th day), the twelfth month of the 25th year, leap year (The 25th year, King Anxi of Wei’s rule – 252 BC. The original text is “relapsing leap”, according to ancient calendars there are two leap years every five years, the second leap year is called a “relapsing leap”), the emperor (King Anxi of Wei, ? - 243 BC) ordered the general: There are people leaving the residential area to live in the savanna, breaking into the houses of orphans and widows, snooping on women, which is not something inherent in our country. From now on, merchants, prostitute seekers, uxorilocal husbands and stepfathers are not allowed to register for a household and are not given any share of land and house. They can only attempt to become an official after three generations, but the records will still show: this person is the great-grandchild (fourth generation grandchild) of an uxorilocal groom. This is the law of Wei” (The orginal text: 廿五年閏再十二月丙午朔辛亥,告相 邦:民或棄邑居野,入人孤寡,徼人婦女,非邦之故也。自今以來,假門逆旅,贅婿後父,勿令為 Duong Tuan Anh and Thanh Duc Hong Ha 10 戶,勿予田宇。三世之後,欲仕仕之,仍署其籍曰:故某慮贅某叟之仍孫。魏戶律. (According to 睡虎地秦简整理小组:《睡虎地秦墓竹简》,北京,文物出版社,1998, pp.174). The unearthed document which also provided records of some of the laws relating to tax policy and matrilocal residence was in the tomb of the Qin official named Hi, but they are addressed as belonging to the Wei state, proving the presence and influence of Wei’s laws over Qin’s. Pegging merchants, prostitute seekers, matrilocal grooms and stepfathers as the type to “leave the residential area to live in the savanna, break into the houses of orphans and widows, snooping on women” was the attitude of the feudal government at the time upon perceiving these subjects as difficult to manage people absorbed in self-interests and thus lack responsibility towards the country. Due to such irresponsibility, they themselves and their three generations are not allowed to become officials, but such irresponsibilty is still recorded even until the fourth generation like a sort of karmic burden. According to history, these are the laws in Canon of Law (a lost legal code, only written by later generations in certain scriptures) by Li Kui (455 BC - 395 BC), a renowned reformer during the Warring States period, a prominent Legalism representative and a figure highly regarded by Wèi Wén Hóu. He aspired to carry out reform policies. By retracing Shang Yang's political activities, we can recognize the similarity: Shang Yang was formerly a citizen of Wey (hence the name Wey Yang, after achieving a significant feat, he was awarded Shang land by the Qin ruler, resulting in the title Shang Yang) but he acts under the Wei's chancellor Gong Shu Cuo. Gong Shu Cuo was aware of Wey Yang's talents and wanted to nominate him to the Wei ruler but he did not employ Wey Yang’s assistance. At the time, the state of Qin situated to the west of Wei was still considered poor and weak. After ascending to the throne, Qin Xiao Gong decided to enliven the state so he invited geniuses to assist him. Upon hearing the news, Wey Yang left for Qin and asked a Qin mandarin to nominate him to Qin Xiao Gong. Once given important posts, Shang Yang implemented new laws determinedly. This implementation shows Li Kui's tremendous influence on Shang Yang. Going by this logic, the tax policies and regulations for the uxorilocal husbands emerged from the Canon of Law of Li Kui; then, it was applied by Shang Yang in the new laws of the Qin state. If so, the stigmatized attitude towards the matrilocal man has been around for over 2,400 years. It may be due to the fact that Li Kui's implementation of the law and the scope of its effect is limited (only within Wey, unlike the stronger state of Qin) compared to Shang Yang. Hence, later generations usually only appreciate Shang Yang's influence on the negative attitude of the society towards the uxorilocal man. In the final phase of the Warring States era, for the Qin state, war was one of the main activities and for Qin people, it was a means of living. Xun Kuang's book stated: “The Qin people, people born on dangerous lands with strict punishments. King Qin used his power to force them to join the army, allowed them to rely on the land to hide (in battles, the enemy finds difficulties attacking), bestowed rewards to acquaint them with going to battles, trampled on them to rule, causing the people to beg for rewards of the monarch, there is no other way besides fighting. They keep hold of the dangerous land (they can hide to fight the enemy), should they win the fight they will be noted, should they achieve a feat they will be rewarded, the more rewards they have, the more they want to obtain achievements, acquiring the heads of five enemies will mean ruling over five households in their hometowns. The Qin state, thus, has the largest, strongest, most persistent army, with a lot of land (by conquest) to collect taxes. Hence, the four Qin (The four rulers here are Duke Xiao of Qin (秦孝公, ruling from 361 BC to 338 BC), King Huiwen of Qin (秦惠文王, ruling from 337 BC to 311 BC), King Wu of Qin ((秦武烈王, ruling from 310 BC to 307 BC) and Comparison between Chinese and Vietnamese customs: The role of the uxorilocal groom 11 King Zhaoxiang of Qin ((秦昭襄王, ruling from 306 BC to 251 BC)) won the war, not by luck, but their victories were of prior calculation.” (Original text: 秦人,其生民也陿阸,其使民也酷 烈,劫之以埶,隱之以阨,忸之以慶賞,鰌之以刑罰,使天下之民所以要利於上者,非鬬無由也。 阨而用之,得而後功之,功賞相長也,五甲首而隸五家,是最為眾強長久,多地以正,故四世有 勝,非幸也,數也 . (《荀子集解》,中华书局, 1988, p 273, 274)). “People” who become soldiers are mainly peasant farmers. In addition to protecting their homeland, warfare will bring them many benefits including land, coupled with strict discipline of the Qin Dynasty which gives them the most disciplined fighting spirit in the Warring States era. Qin's mighty army was proportional to the power it wields, making it stronger and overwhelming to the other countries. It was the constant battling that led to the demand for manpower. This was why in addition to the army of peasant soldiers, the Qin state also mobilized criminals to fight. The phenomenon of “criminal soldiers” (the act of turning convicts into soldiers) has provided significant human resource to fulfill the feudal authorities’ wishes. In reality, this phenomenon also appeared in the state of Wei and was almost certain to have affected Qin. The The ethics of a servant part of the document found in the tomb of Xi wrote: “Xinhai Day, the first day of the month – Bingwu, the twelfth month of the 25th year (leap year), the King (King Anxi of Wei) ordered the general: From traders, prostitute seekers, uxorilocal husbands, stepfather (The stepfather here also falls into the category of “matrilocal grooms” as he moves in with his wife and her children with her previous husbands, not the woman moving into her new husband’s house.), to lethargic people, I detest them all (hence my desire to execute them). It was only because killing them would affect their relatives that I decided not to. By having them join the army, you needn’t pity them. When you reward buffalo meat and beef to your soldiers, these people shall only receive three servings of rice without any of the meat. When attacking defensive walls, use them where there is demand, you should use them to fill trenches (for the army to trample their bodies and attack). This is the law of the Wei” (The original text: 廿 五年閏再十二月丙午朔辛亥,告將軍:假門逆旅,贅婿後父,或率民不作,不治室屋,寡人弗欲。 且殺之,不忍其宗族昆弟。今遣從軍,將軍勿恤視。烹牛食士). This excerpt has illustrated the life of a “secondary human”, treated as nothing more than a slave – the life of a matrilocal groom. Hence, even though they are both in the military, the status of a peasant soldier and a “criminal soldier” truly differ. “Criminal soldiers” (from merchants, prostitute seekers, uxorilocal husbands, stepfather to lethargic people) were considered to prioritize their financial benefits over their social responsibities. The Qin state perceived such behavior of the matrilocal man as “criminal” and in need of strict punishments. The “criminal soldier” phenomenon of the Qin state was also recorded in many books. Prior to unifying the people, the Qin mainly enlisted farmers as soldiers, but later used criminals for war and labor. This situation thus became more frequent. The Records of the Grand Historian by Sima Qian (145 BC – 86 BC), more specifically the Basic Annals of Qin Shi Huang recorded the many times Qin had criminals fight as soldiers. For instance, “The 33th year (214 BC), Qin Shi Huang established the Guilin, Xiangjun, Nanhai districts and exiled runaway convicts, matrilocal grooms and merchants there. Driving Xiongnu to the northwest, from Yuzhong along the Yellow River to the east reaching the Yin Mountains, 44 provinces were established, the Great Wall was built along the Yellow River for defense. Meng Tian was ordered to capitalized on the land of Gaoque, Yangshan, Beijia to construct fortifications for defense. Those who are condemned were brought here to actualize the establishment of new provinces. In the 34th year (213 BC), corrupted official Duong Tuan Anh and Thanh Duc Hong Ha 12 exiled here were to help build the Great Wall and stand guard” (三十三年,發諸嘗逋亡人、贅婿、 賈人略取陸梁地,為桂林、象郡、南海,以這遣戍。西北斥逐匈奴。自榆中並河以東,屬之陰山, 以為四十四縣,城河上為塞。又使蒙恬渡河取高闕、陽山、北假中,築亭障以逐戎人。徒謫,實之 初縣。三十四年,這治獄吏不直者,築長城及南越地。(司馬遷:《史記》,中華書局,1959, pp. 253)). The “criminal soldier” situation still continues in the Han dynasty. There are seven types of condemned subjects. Records of the Grand Historian by Sima Qian in Stories of Dayuan mentioned this: “The Han court sent 18,000 soldiers to stand guard in Jiuquan, north of Zhangye, while stationing soldiers at Juyan and Jiutu province to protect Jiuquan. The court even sent the seven condemned types to transport supplies to the two troops” (The original text: 益發戍甲卒十八 萬,酒泉、張掖北,置居延、休屠以衙酒泉,而發天下七科適,及載糒給貳師。(司馬遷:《史記》, 中華書局,1959, p 3176)). Comparison between Chinese and Vietnamese customs: The role of the uxorilocal groom 13 Pic 1. A picture of Zhang Yan’s explaining the seven condemend subjects in Records of the Grand Historian by Sima Qian Zhang Yan (a Yuan scholar) explained the seven types of condemned people as follows: "First is a guilty official, second are murderers, third are uxorilocal grooms, fourth are merchants, fifth are those who were once merchants, sixth are those whose parents worked as merchants, seventh are people whose grandparents were merchants. They are usually referred to as seven types of condemned people. Emperor Wu of Han, the 4th year of Tian Han (97 BC), sent the seven types northward (to do military service)” (The original text: 吏有罪一,亡命二,贅婿三,賈人 四,故有市籍五,父母有市籍六,大父母有籍七:凡七科。武帝天漢四年,發天下七科謫出朔方也). Thus, by the year 97 BC, under the reign of Emperor Wu, these seven types were “coded”, including the matrilocal men. Duong Tuan Anh and Thanh Duc Hong Ha 14 In other words, during the Han dynasty, uxorilocal grooms were still despised, similar to the Qin dynasty. Gradually, the perception of matrilocal men as lowly, “ruinous to culture”, prioritizing financial benefits over social responsibilities, worthy of punishments lingered throughout thousands of years of Chinese culture, evolving into a frightening “tradition” in China. 5. In Vietnam, there exist both patriarchy and matriarchy among communities, which is why matrilocal residence is not rare. With the exception of the matriarchal communities, patriarchal communities still maintain the rule of the old saying "boats are driven by oarns, wives must accompany their husbands." This is also regulated by the law of the feudal goverment. For example, article 53 of Civil status law of Hoang Viet (Family law of Viet Dynasty) states: "Normally the wife can only take her husband's residence as their own. Should the husband allow her to obtain residence in another village or do work, or because at that place the wife has more rights, privileges and a daily job, it can be considered as the wife's main resident.”( Family law of Viet Dynasty, Tieng Dan, Hue, 1944, p 28). Similar regulations basically do not encourage matrilocal residence, but do not view it as bad or shameful. It is unclear whether there is any "interaction" between the Chinese's prejudice against uxorilocal men with the phrase "dogs hiding under the pantry" of the Vietnamese or not. However, the Vietnamese more or less express discriminatory attitude towards them as well. For instance, the Vietnamese folk poem writes: Oh my god, how sunny it is to break the head He became the son-in-law to try to be peaceful Mud goes from head to toe She sit up high outside to eat fruits How painful he is, father Wife do not be wife, husband do not be husband! (Chu choa sao nắng bể đầu Anh về làm rể ngõ hầu an thân Bùn lê từ chóp đến chân Em ngồi vắt vẻo ngoài sân ăn quà Cực lòng anh lắm, chi cha Vợ không ra vợ, chồng ra chi chồng!) The husband in this folk poem has to perform arduous tasks and is even despised by his own wife. The Vietnamese also has a proverb: “The son-in-law should not stir-fry the buffalo meat, the daughter-in-law should not stir-fry the water spinach”, to illustrate the status of matrilocal men. Stir-frying buffalo meat and water spinac would make the dishes seem less than previously; hence, the person stir-frying them might be accused of eating on the sly. Not only are uxorilocal men despised but they are also victims of suspicion. However, the prejudice against them is not the whole picture. If we look into the customs which are still retained, it can be found that Vietnamese culture in the past did not attach such stigma. Many ethnic minorities in Vietnam nowadays consider matrilocal residence as a beaut