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Marriage shall be based only on the mutual consent of both sexes and it shall be maintained through mutual cooperation with the equal rights of husband and wife as a basis.

Tidiness included personal appearance and a clean home.

Courtesy, another trait, was called upon from women in domestic roles and in entertaining guests, extended to activities such as preparing and serving tea.

Wives could not legally arrange for a divorce, but options included joining convents, such as at Kamakura, where men were not permitted to go, thus assuring a permanent separation.

Under the Meiji system, however, the law limited grounds for divorce to seven events: sterility, adultery, disobedience to the parents-in-law, loquacity, larceny, jealousy, and disease.

While Japanese women's status has improved in the last decades, traditional expectations for married women and mothers are cited as a barrier to full economic equality.

Late 19th/early 20th century depictions of Japanese women, Woman in Red Clothing (1912) and Under the Shade of a Tree (1898) by Kuroda Seiki.

However, the law offered a protection for divorcees by guaranteeing a wife could not be sent away if she had nowhere else to go.

Furthermore, the law allowed a woman to request a divorce, so long as she was accompanied by a male relative and could prove desertion or imprisonment of the husband, profligacy, or mental or physical illness.

Strains of this arrangement can be seen in contemporary Japan, where housewives are responsible for cooking, cleaning, child-rearing and support their husbands to work without any worries about family, Yet, as the number of dual-income households rises, women and men are sharing household chores, and research shows that this has led to increased satisfaction over households that divide labor in traditional ways.

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