historic mating patterns in japan

readers (luke & jayman) request: what about the japanese? well, we aim to please… (^_^)

the japanese definitely have a history of cousin and endogamous marriages. i’m not sure, yet, how far back it goes (although i’m going to guess pretty d*rn far), but between 1912 and 1925 the consanguinity (first-/second-cousin) marriage rate for japan was 22.4% [pg. 29]. compare that to italy toward the beginning of the twentieth century or to some of the arab countries today. compare it also to the first cousin marriage rate amongst rural english folks in the 1870s: 2.25% (4.5% for the peerage).

but it’s been decreasing ever since (looks like a stock market crash – pg. 30):

by wwii the rate was only about 12.3%, and nowadays it’s like 4% (3.9% in 1983).

imaizumi, the author of the article to which i’ve linked above, also found in the early 1980s that 27% of recently married japanese folks had married endogamously, while amongst the oldest folks studied, 40% had married endogamously [pg. 39]. so endogamous marriages have also declined in japan over the course of the twentieth century. still, more than 1 in 4 japanese entered into an endogamous marriage in the ’80s (or maybe the late 1970s).

seems like the shintoists practice cousin marriage most frequently, followed by buddhists, and is lowest amongst catholics. farmers/fishermen, blue collar workers, the self-employed and people working in services (like transportation) inbreed the most, whereas white collar workers, salesmen and professionals inbreed the least.

note: the type of cousin marriage practiced in japan is mostly mother’s brother’s daughter (mbd) marriage as in china. more on that in the next post on japan. that’s important because mbd marriage amounts to less inbreeding (i think) than the arab type of cousin marriage (father’s brother daughter or fbd marriage) since all of the marriages do NOT occur exclusively in one lineage. in mbd marriage, at least more than one other lineage is involved.

the events of the meiji period obviously shook up the social structures in japan a LOT, but i wonder if cousin marriage/endogamy was officially — or even unofficially — discouraged in any way during that time period. i’m wondering if what happened in europe starting in the early medieval period regarding mating patterns has sorta been repeated in japan, only starting in the nineteenth century. -?-

goes to show, too, how rapidly cousin marriage rates can drop — within one generation in japan cousin marriage rates halved. maybe this could happen only amongst east asians who are big into conformity, but it’s something to keep in mind when trying to imagine what happened in europe in the medieval period, i.e. that things could’ve moved pretty quickly.

more anon!

previously: on the non-violent japanese of today

(note: comments do not require an email. hi there!)

more on the hgdp samples

first, see my previous post on this if you want to follow along.

in that post, i expressed some concerns over the french human genome diversity project (hgdp) samples since the ceph folks describe them as: French (various regions) relatives. i wondered both of the following: 1) how many and which “various regions,” since different regions of france have historically had different rates of inbreeding — haven’t managed to find out which “various regions” — and 2) how many and what sorts of relatives? i did find out that.

via some genetic wizardry, a noah rosenberg tried to work out if any of the individuals in any the hgdp samples were, in fact, relatives [see here]. to cut a long story short, rosenberg found it likely that two individuals in the french sample were siblings [see pg. 7 here – opens pdf], thus the “relatives” indicator on the ceph website. so, the entire french sample is NOT full of family members like i wondered in my last post — only two of the individuals sampled are likely to have been relatives.

i still think it would be useful to know from which regions the samples were drawn, but i guess i just have to live with not knowing for the meantime. (~_^) but now i feel more secure about professor harpending’s conclusion — that regarding the french: “from the viewpoint of kinship, one person is not very different from another person.”

however, now i feel unsure about the japanese samples! the hgdp samples for the japanese are described on ALFRED as:

“Collected by L.L. Cavalli-Sforza from Japanese-born individuals living in the San Francisco Bay area, and by K.K. Kidd and J. R. Kidd from Japanese-born individuals living in Connecticut.”

ack! well, how representative of japanese people in japan are these people? where did they come from? urban areas? rural areas? different areas? mostly the same areas? how old were they?

i ask all these questions because, historically, urban japanese have had lower inbreeding rates than rural japanese … and the inbreeding rates overall for japan dropped pretty sharply after wwii [see pgs. 4-5 here – opens pdf]. so if the samples include mostly young, urban japanese who recently moved to the u.s., well i wouldn’t be surprised if they look quite outbred. but if the samples include mostly older, rural japanese, i would be surprised if they looked outbred.

now i don’t have any confidence in the japanese hgdp samples — not for looking at kinship within the japanese population anyway. btw, rosenberg didn’t find any likely relatives in the japanese samples.
_____

i went through the ceph table of the hgdp samples and ALFRED and compiled a list of all the hgdp samples and if they 1) likely include any family members (“relatives” – based on rosenberg), and 2) where the samples were collected and from whom, if known. many of the samples don’t have any useful information on their provenance. for example, many of the ALFRED entries say that the samples were drawn from unrelated individuals, but rosenberg found that they, in fact, likely included relatives.

why do i care about any of this? i’ll explain that in another post. right now … coffee! (^_^)

**update: see why i care about the hgdp samples**
_____

the list:

– Central African Republic – Biaka Pygmy (relatives)
This sample is comprised of Biaka, living in the village of Bagandu, in the southwest corner of the Central African Republic (3.42N; 18E altitude approximately 500m). This group is probably an admixture of 3/4 “non-pygmy” African ancestry and 1/4 Mbuti ancestry. The transformed cell lines were established by Judith R. Kidd. The sources of this sample are L. Cavalli-Sforza (Stanford University) and K.K. Kidd, J.R. Kidd (Yale University).

– Democratic Rep of Congo – Mbuti Pygmy (relatives)
The sample is composed of Nilosaharan and Niger Kordofanian speaking Mbuti pygmies from the northeastern part of the Ituri Forest (northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo). It was collected by L.L. Cavalli-Sforza in 1986.

– Senegal – Mandenka (relatives)
This sample from the Central African Republic is part of the Human Genome Diversity Cell Line Panel collected by the Human Genome Diversity Project (HGDP) and the Foundation Jean Dausset (CEPH). This sample consists of unrelated individuals and was collected with proper informed consent.

– Nigeria – Yoruba (relatives)
Most of the Yoruba individuals in this sample are urban health care workers from Benin City, Nigeria, collected by Prof. Friday E. Okonofua and collaborators; cell lines established by Dr. J.R. Kidd.

– Namibia – San (relatives)
This sample from Namibia is part of the Human Genome Diversity Cell Line Panel collected by the Human Genome Diversity Project (HGDP) and the Foundation Jean Dausset (CEPH). This sample consists of unrelated individuals and was collected with proper informed consent.

– Kenya – Bantu NE (relatives)
This sample is part of the Human Genome Diversity Cell Line Panel collected by the Human Genome Diversity Project (HGDP) and the Foundation Jean Dausset (CEPH). This sample consists of unrelated individuals and was collected with proper informed consent.

– S. Africa – Bantu SE Pedi
– S. Africa – Bantu SE Sotho
– S. Africa – Bantu SE Tswana
– S. Africa – Bantu SE Zulu
– S. Africa – Bantu SW Herero
– S. Africa – Bantu SW Ovambo

These samples are part of the Human Genome Diversity Cell Line Panel collected by the Human Genome Diversity Project (HGDP) and the Foundation Jean Dausset (CEPH). They include the following individuals: #993, 994, 1028, 1030, 1031, 1033, 1034, and 1035. These samples consist of unrelated Bantu speakers from southern Africa and were collected with proper informed consent.

– Algeria – Mozabite (relatives)
This sample from Algeria is part of the Human Genome Diversity Cell Line Panel collected by the Human Genome Diversity Project (HGDP) and the Foundation Jean Dausset (CEPH). This sample consists of unrelated individuals and was collected with proper informed consent.

– Israel (Negev) – Bedouin (relatives)
This sample from the Negev region of Israel is part of the Human Genome Diversity Cell Line Panel collected by the Human Genome Diversity Project (HGDP) and the Foundation Jean Dausset (CEPH). This sample consists of unrelated individuals and was collected with proper informed consent.

– Israel (Carmel) – Druze (relatives)
This sample is part of the Human Genome Diversity Cell Line Panel collected by the Human Genome Diversity Project (HGDP) and the Foundation Jean Dausset (CEPH). The Druze, a Moslem community from Northern Israel. Collected by B. Bonne-Tamir (Tel Aviv University) as part of the repository of samples of Israeli populations. This sample contains both related and unrelated individuals.

– Israel (Central) – Palestinian (relatives)
This sample from the central region of Israel is part of the Human Genome Diversity Cell Line Panel collected by the Human Genome Diversity Project (HGDP) and the Foundation Jean Dausset (CEPH). This sample consists of unrelated individuals and was collected with proper informed consent.

– Pakistan – Brahui
– Pakistan – Balochi (relatives)
– Pakistan – Hazara (relatives)
– Pakistan – Sindhi (relatives)
– Pakistan – Pathan
– Pakistan – Kalash (relatives)
– Pakistan – Burusho

These samples from Pakistan are part of the Human Genome Diversity Cell Line Panel collected by the Human Genome Diversity Project (HGDP) and the Foundation Jean Dausset (CEPH). These samples consist of unrelated individuals and were collected with proper informed consent.

– Pakistan – Makrani
*no info found.*

– China – Han
This sample is part of the Human Genome Diversity Cell Line Panel collected by the Human Genome Diversity Project (HGDP) and the Foundation Jean Dausset (CEPH). This is a sample of Han Chinese living in the San Francisco, California. Collected by L. Cavalli-Sforza (Stanford University), K.K. Kidd, and J.R. Kidd.

– China – Tujia
– China – Yizu/Yi
– China – Miaozu/Miao
– China – Oroqen (relatives)
– China – Daur
– China – Mongola
– China – Hezhen
– China – Xibo
– China – Uygur
– China – Dai
– China – She
– China – Lahu (relatives)
– China – Naxi (relatives)
– China – Tu

These samples from China are part of the Human Genome Diversity Cell Line Panel collected by the Human Genome Diversity Project (HGDP) and the Foundation Jean Dausset (CEPH). These samples consist of unrelated individuals and were collected with proper informed consent.

– Siberia – Yakut
This sample is part of the Human Genome Diversity Cell Line Panel collected by the Human Genome Diversity Project (HGDP) and the Foundation Jean Dausset (CEPH). Yakut-speaking individuals in the Yakut Autonomous Republic. Individuals sampled were living or were born along the river Lena in the area of Yakutsk and northward, roughly 129-130E, 62-64N. This sample was collected by E.L. Grigorenko.

– Japan – Japanese
This sample is part of the Human Genome Diversity Cell Line Panel collected by the Human Genome Diversity Project (HGDP) and the Foundation Jean Dausset (CEPH). Collected by L.L. Cavalli-Sforza from Japanese-born individuals living in the San Francisco Bay area, and by K.K. Kidd and J. R. Kidd from Japanese-born individuals living in Connecticut.

– Cambodia – Cambodian (relatives)
This sample is part of the Human Genome Diversity Cell Line Panel collected by the Human Genome Diversity Project (HGDP) and the Foundation Jean Dausset (CEPH). Collected by K. Dumars from individuals born in Cambodia who are now living in Santa Ana, California.

– France – French/various regions (relatives)
This sample form various regions of France is part of the Human Genome Diversity Cell Line Panel collected by the Human Genome Diversity Project (HGDP) and the Foundation Jean Dausset (CEPH). This sample consists of unrelated individuals and was collected with proper informed consent.

– France – Basque
This sample from France is part of the Human Genome Diversity Cell Line Panel collected by the Human Genome Diversity Project (HGDP) and the Foundation Jean Dausset (CEPH). This sample consists of unrelated individuals and was collected with proper informed consent.

– Italy – Sardinian
This sample from Italy is part of the Human Genome Diversity Cell Line Panel collected by the Human Genome Diversity Project (HGDP) and the Foundation Jean Dausset (CEPH). This sample consists of unrelated individuals and was collected with proper informed consent.

– Italy – from Bergamo
– Italy – Tuscany

*no info found.*

– Orkney Islands – Orcadian (relatives)
This sample from the Orkney Islands is part of the Human Genome Diversity Cell Line Panel collected by the Human Genome Diversity Project (HGDP) and the Foundation Jean Dausset (CEPH). This sample consists of unrelated individuals and was collected with proper informed consent.

– Russia Caucasus – Adygei
This sample is part of the Human Genome Diversity Cell Line Panel collected by the Human Genome Diversity Project (HGDP) and the Foundation Jean Dausset (CEPH). Adygei-speaking people near Krasnodar in the Russian republic of Adygei, which is in the southeastern section of the country (north of the Caucuses mountains). They are culturally and linguistically distinct from neighboring Russians. This sample was collected by E. Grigorenko (Yale University) V. Galkina, and M. Kadoshnikova (Bristol company, Russia).

– Russia – Russian
This sample is part of the Human Genome Diversity Cell Line Panel collected by the Human Genome Diversity Project (HGDP) and the Foundation Jean Dausset (CEPH). Sample collected by E. Grigorenko from rural communities of ethnic Russians living in the Vologda Administrative Region, about 400 km north of Moscow, roughly 59-61N, 39-41E.

– Mexico – Pima (relatives)
This sample is part of the Human Genome Diversity Cell Line Panel collected by the Human Genome Diversity Project (HGDP) and the Foundation Jean Dausset (CEPH). Collected from Pima living near the eastern border of the state of Sonora, Mexico. Collected by L.O. Shulz.

– Mexico – Maya (relatives)
This sample is part of the Human Genome Diversity Cell Line Panel collected by the Human Genome Diversity Project (HGDP) and the Foundation Jean Dausset (CEPH). This sample consists of Mayans who are Yucatec speakers from in the Xmaben village located in the Mexican state of Campeche in the central Yucatan peninsula. Blood and serum markers indicate European admixture to be about 10 % (K. Weiss, personal communication). Some evidence suggests that the area from which this sample was drawn served as a refuge for Maya people from across southern Mexico who fled to this more remote region during a series of revolts against the Spanish in the 19th and early 20th centuries. There are 53 transformed cell lines (106 chromosomes) established by Judith R. Kidd. The sources of this sample are K.K. Kidd and J.R. Kidd (Yale University).

– Colombia – Piapoco and Curripaco (relatives)
*no info found.*

– Brazil – Karitiana (relatives)
This sample is part of the Human Genome Diversity Cell Line Panel collected by the Human Genome Diversity Project (HGDP) and the Foundation Jean Dausset (CEPH). The sample was collected in the Karitiana village (Rondonia Province, Brazil) by F. Black. HLA haplotypes indicate that the Karitiana have no non-Amerindian admixture and are genetically distinct from other sampled populations in relative geographical proximity, such as the Surui.

– Brazil – Burui (relatives)
*no info found.*

previously: hgdp samples and relatedness

(note: comments do not require an email. remember: you’re better off just skipping it!)

hgdp samples and relatedness

**update 03/22: see follow up post — more on the hgdp samples — and just ignore what i said about the french samples below.**

**update 08/28: ignore what i said about ignoring what i said about the french samples. see here.**
_____

i had a post up back in january about some cool research that looked at what runs of homozygosity (roh) in samples from the human genome diversity project (hgdp) can tell us about the inbreeding or outbreeding of different human populations.

but i’ve been bothered by the thought of how the hgdp samples were gathered. as professor harpending said:

“No one knows, by the way, how sampling was carried out for this nor for any of the HGDP populations.”

ugh. the hgdp is really, really cool — but not having info on where the samples came from — like genealogical info — poses a problem if you want to use this data to look at recent inbreeding/outbreeding or, i think, even the sort of thought experiment that prof. harpening conducted a couple of weeks ago, however cool that was, too.

here’s an example of what i mean.

prof. harpending compared the relatedness or kinship of the individuals in a couple of sets of samples from the hgdp: the french, the japanese, and the druze. he found that the kinship of indviduals in both the french and japanese populations to their nearest “relatives” (i presume two individuals who had the most similar genomes?) is very similar. as he said: “from the viewpoint of kinship, one person is not very different from another person.” the druze, otoh, are very dissimilar and the good professor thinks that this is a population in which “opportunities for discord and clannishness are high as individuals able to discriminate kin would ally against the ‘others.'”

i’m not going to argue with that! the druze, like the arabs, regularly practice father’s brother’s daughter (fbd) marriage, the most incestuous form of cousin marriage around, so i’m not surprised that their genomes reflect this fact. (fbd marriage probably originated in the levant, so it could be that the people who are today known as the druze are the product of one of the longest running close-inbreeding projects in humans around.) amongst the druze, each extended-family or clan must’ve become, over time, it’s own little semi-isolated sub-group. like the arabs, i’d expect a lot of clannishness and infighting.

however, wrt to the french and japanese samples: the ceph folks do have some information on the hgdp samples, and one point of difference between the french and japanese samples is that the french samples are described as having been drawn from relatives whereas the japanese samples were not.

there are 29 french samples described as: French (various regions) relatives, and there are 31 japanese samples described as just Japanese, so i assume that means the japanese samples do not include relatives.

so what does French (various regions) relatives mean? i guess that the samples were drawn from different regions of france, but we don’t know which regions or how many. (which is too bad because different regions of france have, historically, had different inbreeding rates.) and how many relatives? who knows? i’m going to presume all 29 are not relatives from one family living scattered across the country, although i suppose that could’ve been the case. what seems more likely to me is that we’re looking at groups of samples from a number of different families, but how many? two, three, four … ten? again, who knows?

what difference would this make? well if the kinship in the french set of samples and the japanese set of samples look to be around the same, i.e. “one person is not very different from another,” BUT the french samples are from relatives and the japanese samples are not, then that would mean that the individuals in the broader french population must be even more like one another than the individuals in the broader japanese population since french family members have the same kinship to one another as japanese strangers do.

to put it more simply, comparing the french and japanese samples is like comparing apples and oranges because, if the ceph information is correct, the french samples include family members whereas the japanese ones do not.

the druze samples, too, are described as coming from relatives — again no info as to how many families/relatives — so the broader druze population should prove to be even more dissimilar to one another than these family members are.

i would love to see lots more studies done on inbreeding/outbreeding (and possible inclusive fitness-related behaviors) in human populations from a genetics p.o.v. — like what prof. harpending did in his recent post. but afaics, using the hgdp data is problematic. i look forward to when there are more whole genome sequences available out there WITH accompanying genealogical/pedigree information.

previously: runs of homozygosity and inbreeding (and outbreeding)

(note: comments do not require an email. in fact, you’re probably better off not using one!)

more roh

in “Genomic Runs of Homozygosity Record Population History and Consanguinity” that i posted about yesterday, kirin, et. al., say:

“Europeans and East Asians have very similar ROH profiles in all but the shortest category (0.5-1 Mb). There are no significant differences between either the percentage of individuals with ROH of different lengths or sum length of ROH above different length thresholds (>1.5 Mb) for these two continental groupings (File S1). This is not surprising because both of these groups are mainly represented here by fairly large populations with no documented preference for consanguineous marriage.

ehhhhhhh … well … if they’re talking about now, i.e. in the present, then yeah — that’s probably pretty right. but many of the european populations that they looked at (i.e. from the human genome diversity project [hgdp]), regularly practiced some to quite a lot of consanguineous marriages up until fairly recently. (i haven’t checked into the asian populations that they looked at.)

the european populations that they looked at are: the adygeis, the basques, french folks, italians, orcadians, russians, sardinians and tuscans.

the adygeis are the circassians and it’s my understanding that they have avoided cousin marriage for quite some time, although they are endogamous (obviously). the russians — religious russians, anyway — avoid first- and second-cousin marriage. but the basques and the french have had some signficant amounts of consanguineous marriage up until quite recently. and the italians and sardinians?! holy toledo! of all of these groups, it’s probably the tuscans that have avoided cousin marriage for the longest. (dunno about the orkney islanders.)

like i said yesterday, if anything, kirin, et. al., have probably got some of the most inbred europeans in their sample.

anyway … i took at look at their supplemental info [opens pdf] and found that they’ve included data for the proportion (percentage) of the genomes from each group that are covered in “runs of homozygosity” (roh). the more roh in your — or your population’s — genome(s), the more inbred you (all) are (or maybe the smaller your gene pool is — see yesterday’s post). when i took out just the europeans plus the han chinese and japanese and a couple of other interesting groups, here’s what i got:

most of the european groups have the least number of roh (these are roh of all different lengths). the han chinese are like the italians or the sardinians, who have a long and recent history of close marriages (not so much the northern italians) — and the japanese even more so. wikipedia tells us that cousin marriage was preferred in china until the mid-twentieth century, so there you go.

and the father’s brother’s daughter’s marriage groups? their roh are higher than the inbred europeans, the han chinese and the japanese.

you can see here, too, that the japanese have greater numbers of longer roh than french people (the black circles are the japanese, the orange circles are the french) — that means more recent inbreeding amongst the japanese (click on image for LARGER view – should open in new tab/window):

interestingly, many balochis (green circles) have fewer and shorter roh than the french — many have more and longer. dunno what that tells us about the balochi. new blood? tribes merging with (fairly) unrelated tribes? just plain ol’ out-marriage?

here are the percentages of the genomes covered by roh for each of the populations in the study in ascending order. i tried to match the colors for the continental groupings from the chart in yesterday’s post — dunno if i succeeded?:

previously: runs of homozygosity and inbreeding (and outbreeding)

(note: comments do not require an email. balochi farmer. (^_^) )

the japanese – still classy

remember how the japanese didn’t loot and pillage after the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster? well, now they’re showing off again:

“Honest Japanese Return $78 Million in Cash Found in Quake Rubble”

“The earthquake and tsunami that walloped Japan left much of its coastline ravaged, but left one thing intact: the Japanese reputation for honesty.

“In the five months since the disaster struck, people have turned in thousands of wallets found in the debris, containing $48 million in cash.

“More than 5,700 safes that washed ashore along Japan’s tsunami-ravaged coast have also been hauled to police centers by volunteers and search and rescue crews. Inside those safes officials found $30 million in cash. One safe alone, contained the equivalent of $1 million.

“The National Police Agency says nearly all the valuables found in the three hardest hit prefectures, have been returned to their owners….”

gotta love the japanese! they are pretty awesome. (^_^)

despite all the honesty flowing around everywhere in japan, they don’t seem to trust banks very much (not that i blame them!):

“The stashing of cash in safes isn’t a unique problem in Japan, where many people prefer to keep their money at home….”

huh.

previously: on the non-violent japanese of today and they might be waaaaycists…

(note: あなたはコメントを残すために、電子メールアドレスを与える必要はありません。)

solving the “polygamy problem”?

it’s been pointed out — right here in the hbd-o-sphere! — that polygamy isn’t necessarily all that great for guys — specifically the ones that don’t manage to obtain a wife (’cause some other guys have married them all).

but i think that, at least in the muslim world in the middle ages, they may have gotten around that problem through divorce. divorce was, apparently, waaaay more common in the middle east during the medieval period than it is today. i’m thinking that such a system of, basically, continual wife (or husband depending on your pov) swapping might solve the “polygamy problem.”

here, from “Marriage, Money and Divorce in Medieval Islamic Society” [pgs. 2 & 5]:

“The pre-modern Middle East was another traditional society that had consistently high rates of divorce over long periods of time. Despite some current misgivings over the imminent disintegration of the Muslim family as a result of frequent divorces, the fact is that divorce rates were higher in Ottoman or medieval Muslim societies than they are today….

“The incidence of divorce in Mamluk society was remarkably high. The diary of the notary Shihab al-Din Ibn Tawq gives ample testimony to the pervasiveness of divorce in late fifteenth-centry Damascus, and the work of the contemporary Egyptian scholar Muhammad b. ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sakhawi (d. 902/1497) does the same for Cairo. In his mammoth centennial biographical dictionary, containing 12,000 entries for notable men and women, al-Sakhawi recorded information on the marital history of about 500 women. This sample, the largest we have for any period of medieval Islam … shows a pattern of repeated divorces and remarriages by Mamluk women. At least a third of all the women mentioned by al-Sakhawi married more than once, with many marrying three times or more. The reason for the high rates of remarriage was mainly the frequency of divorce; according to al-Sakhawi’s records, three out of ten marriages in fifteenth-century Cairo ended in divorce.”

and on polygamous marriages [pg. 86]:

“Among the many unstable marriages in fifteenth-century Cairo, polygamous marriages stand out as particularly so. A married man would often choose to conceal a second marriage from the public eye in order to avoid trouble with his first wife. [heh. (~_^)] But when his first wife did find out, the man would often have to choose between the two. ‘Aziza bt. ‘Ali al-Zayyadi (d. 879/1475), the daughter of a Cairene scholar, married the Meccan scholar ‘Afif al-Din al-Iji when he visited Cairo. This marriage was kept secret from his first wife and paternal cousin, Habibat Allah bt. ‘Abd al-Rahman, who remained in Mecca. But when the Cairene wife accompanied her husband to Mecca, ‘Afif al-Din was forced to divorce her after pressure from the first wife. In other cases it was the second wife who gained the upper hand. Najm al-Din Ibn Hijji preferred not to consummate his marriage with his young bride and relative, Fatima bt. ‘Abd al-Rahman Ibn al-Baizi (d. 899/1494), because he had married a second and more mature woman. Al-Sakhawi tells us that his second wife ‘took hold of his heart,’ and convinced him to divorce his cousin.”

maybe, if you keep enough women circulating in the “women-you-can-marry-pool,” you can get around the problem in polygamy that some men are cheated out of getting wives. you might get stuck with a second-hand wife (or two) — and maybe you don’t get her for keeps — but maybe you do get a chance to reproduce.

or, maybe, the alpha males just kept swapping all the wives between themselves. dunno.

as an aside, here’s some info from the same book on divorce rates in other, traditional societies [pg. 2]:

“[H]istorical examples of past societies in which divorce rates have been consistently high[:] Two major examples are pre-modern Japan and Islamic Southeast Asia. In nineteenth-century Japan at least one in eight marriages ended in divorce. In West Java and the Malay Peninsula divorce rates were even higer reaching 70 percent in some villages, as late as the middle of the twentieth century…. In direct opposition to developments in the West, modernity brought with it greater stability in marriage and a sharp decline in divorce rates.”

update 06/22: see also more on solving the “polygamy problem” and side-effects of polygamy in three african societies

(note: comments do not require an email. breaking up is hard to do!)

suicide in japan

good lord:

“In 2009, the number of suicides rose 2 percent to 32,845 exceeding 30,000 for the twelfth straight year and equating to nearly 26 suicides per 100,000 people. This amounts to approximately one suicide every 15 minutes. However, this figure is somewhat disputed since it is arguably capped by the conservative definition of ‘suicide’ that has been adopted by the Japanese authorities, which differs from the WHO’s definition. Some people thus suggest a rather larger figure of 100,000 suicides a year. Currently, the conservative per year estimate is still significantly higher than for any other OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) country. In comparison, the UK rate is about 9 per 100,000, and the US rate around 11 per 100,000….

“Typically most suicides are men; over 71% of suicide victims in 2007 were male. In 2009, the number of suicides among men rose 641 to 23,472 (with those age 40–69 accounting for 40.8% of the total). Suicide was the leading cause of death among men age 20–44. Males are two times more likely to cause their own deaths after a divorce than females. Nevertheless, suicide is still the leading cause of death for women age 15–34 in Japan….” [source]

genes contribute to suicide, of course (to paraphrase dennis, how could they not?) — 30-50% of the variance in suicide rates can be accounted for by genetics.

as an extension of that, ethnicity clearly plays a role in suicide. For example: “[I]n the U.S., non-Hispanic Caucasians are nearly 2.5 times more likely to kill themselves than African Americans or Hispanics.” and, of course, there’s the finns and ugrics.

perhaps suicide is altruistic — a person removes his genes from the gene-pool when he feels he has failed in some way (failure presumably negatively affecting one’s inclusive fitness). certainly in japan they have had long traditions of taking one’s own life in connection with one’s honor and, perhaps most tellingly, the honor of one’s family.

or maybe they just don’t handle alcohol.

an interesting side note: suicide has not been documented in any other animals.

(note: comments do not require an email.)

on the non-violent japanese of today

dennis has a post up re. how orderly and altruistic the japanese have been|are being during this god-awful disaster they’re living through.

and i agree with him: obviously their behavior is not just a product of their culture or the high living standard that they have enjoyed since … well since for a very long time, afaics! … or whatever.

kurt9 reminds us that, after the great kantō earthquake in 1923, a couple (or more?) thousand koreans and chinese, who were living in japan at that time, were killed by the japanese, who blamed the foreigners for all sorts of troublemaking after the quake.

the question arises, then — why isn’t that happening now? (maybe it will yet?) what has changed?

i don’t know very much about japan and the japanese, so i’m not sure. but i do want to point out one thing, having to do with one of my favorite topics, that may be a contributing factor — consanguinity. over the past couple generations, the levels of inbreeding in japan have decreased. in fact, from the 1940s/50s to the 1980s, the consanguinity rates dropped by about half (data from consang.net):

from the 1940s to the 1980s, then, the japanese became much less clannish. presumably, the consanguinity rates have not increased since the 80s, so it’s likely that the japanese of today are even less clannish that those of 30 years ago.

keep in mind, too, that most of the data from the 40s/50s shown above were collected from urban centers, and urban centers tend to have lower consanguinity rates as a rule — compare, for instance, Tokyo & Osaka in 1981 (0.4%) with All Japan in 1983 (3.9%). so, it’s very likely that the “All Japan” rate for the 40s/50s was much higher than what you see here. extrapolating back to the 1920s, and … yeah … the japanese were probably pretty gosh-durned clannish at the time of the great kantō earthquake.

i’m guessing that the japanese pattern of cousin marriage was (is) prolly matrilineal like in much of east and southeast asia, but i don’t know for certain. if so, then that’s very different from what you see in the middle eastern|north african|south asian world and, no doubt, goes a long way to explaining why the japanese are not a bunch of lunatic tribal peoples. (because all cousins are not created equal.)

still, the japanese are not like us. even though they may be marrying their cousins less, kinda like us, they are still much more endogamous than we are — japanese people mostly marry other japanese people — which probably accounts for why they’re generally not so keen on mass immigration to their country. (good for them!)

update 03/19: see also Genes, Not “Culture”—Why the Japanese Don’t Loot from jared taylor

update 03/20: see also the japanese ARE raping and pillaging!

(note: comments do not require an email.)