Japanese Family Hierarchy

A family in Japan is referred to as Kazoku.  A Japanese family is composed of a couple as is the family in other societies.  It is based on the line of descent and adoption.  In such a family, the ancestors and offsprings are linked together by an idea of family geneaology which basically means that families are based more on bond of relationship inherent in the maintenance and continuance of the family members.

Starting from the head of the family down to the kids, there is a hierarchical system followed as far as power and responsibilities are concerned.  To understand this hierarchy better, you can go through the following given information.

Japanese Family hierarchyThe Head of the Family

The eldest male is the head of the family who is responsible for the finances, the main decision making and other tasks as far as supporting the family is concerned.  Only until this male gets beyond his/her retirement years does the headship of the family go to his sun.

The Eldest Female

The wife of the eldest male comes second in the family hierarchy of a Japanese family. She looks after the household and kitchen and heads the women of the house as far as decision making is concerned.  If her husband dies, then she may become dependent upon her son for providing money, if she herself is not working

The Son of the Head of the Family

Next in the line of hierarchy comes the second eldest male who has takes care of his parents both financially and otherwise.  He is responsible for the support of the Bokei members and also looks after the labor of the various family members in the administration of the household tasks.  In a typical Japanese families, many generations may live together and the son of the head of the family may support all of them.

Daughter in Law of the Head of the Family

The eldest daughter in law of the head of the family comes next in the line of succession in a typical Japanese family. She looks after the administration of the household tasks and may have little say, especially if her mother in law is still alive and healthy. In case the mother in law is not healthy, her main responsibilities may fall on the daughter in law.


The children of the son and daughter in law come at the bottom of the hierarchy and may not be given any decision making powers and responsibilities.

Know about the Japanese Royal Hierarchy.