Japan Culture

Japan culture is really amazing and unique because it blends its own ancient culture with those of Asia, Europe and North America to create something totally new and different.
japanese water
Because Japan’s an island country, its always been isolated from those around it. One things that’s fascinating about Japanese culture is how it takes things from foreign countries and innovates to create something new. Everywhere in Japan you can see foreign things that have been tailored to suit Japanese tastes and ideas.

The biggest cultural influence comes from China and Korea. From about the 7th to the 12th centuries, Japan received a massive amount of cultural influence from China through the Korean peninsula.

The predominant religion in Japan is Buddhism. This is Mahayana Buddhism, which came from mainland Asia around the 7th century. Over the hundreds of years, and especially in Japan’s classical era, this style of Buddhism was refined by traditional Japanese ideas to create its own style. One product of this is Zen Buddhism, which many in the west are acquainted with.

As anyone who knows about Japan also knows, the writing system comes from China. Although Chinese and Japanese are very different languages with little in common, Japan adopted the Chinese writing system during this same era. Japan’s own alphabetical writing system is derived from these characters.

During Japan’s classical era, the traditional Japanese arts flourished. When you go to Japan you can see a kabuki play or a noh drama, or listen to traditional Japanese classical music. Other arts like ikebana, tea ceremony and origami are unique Japanese cultural traditions. These traditions are kept alive even in the ultra-modern environment of Tokyo.

From the Meiji Restoration in 1868 until the present day, Japan has absorbed ideas from the west. The Japanese political system and education system are based on western models. Like other cultural influences, they have been changed to suit Japanese tastes, but the European influence is unmistakable. Since World War II and the US occupation, Japan has imported pop culture and food from the United States. More recently, the Japanese have been eager to study English and learn more about western culture.

Japan has also become an exporter of culture. Since the economic boom of the “70’s and “80’s”, Japan has exported goods and popular culture abroad. Japanese video games, cartoons, music and food have been gaining popularity around the world.

Japan’s unique fusion of other cultures with its own is one thing that makes it such fascinating country.

[tags]japan, japan culture, japanese culture [/tags]

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