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Additional info for What You Can Learn From 10,000 Ants (Collins Shorts, Book 4)
The Kyushu families in the sample had 18 to four in favour of the continuing line, whereas the Tateyama and Tokyo ones included only 10 continuing families and 17 nuclear ones. Grandparents, in particular, are usually involved, ritually if not practically, and if they live too far for frequent contact, children often spend a week or longer periods in their home during the kindergarten holidays. The chief difference between this system and the Western one is that older and younger siblings are distinguished so that there are separate words for elder brother and younger brother, elder sister and younger sister, which introduces an element of hierarchy into the sibling relationship.
On about the seventh day after birth, there is a ceremony which has a number of regional variations, but essentially seems to be associated with the naming of the child. The two sets of grandparents may share a meal to celebrate this occasion, which nowadays also sometimes coincides with the return of the mother and child from hospital. In a rural part of Chiba prefecture a couple is chosen to act as sponsor for the baby, to take responsibility for it until the age of seven, and this couple attends all subsequent celebrations for the child.
The chief difference between this system and the Western one is that older and younger siblings are distinguished so that there are separate words for elder brother and younger brother, elder sister and younger sister, which introduces an element of hierarchy into the sibling relationship. In Page 51 principle, seniors address juniors by their first names and juniors use a relationship term for their superiors but the relationship terms are used to children to encourage them to behave in a grownup manner.