Cultural Identity of Japan
Japan is an Island in the East Asia. It is a country with a unique cultural identity. The four main islands that make up Japan are Honshu, Shikoku, Hokkaido and Kyushu. About seven thousand additional islands also constitute it. Shinto and Buddhism, along with other cultures, prevail in the country. Shinto and Buddhism each serve a distinct function; this is due to the intrinsic characteristics that each posses within the Japanese culture. Much of its culture has developed over centuries of feudal ruling. The culture has also benefited from the Geographic isolation of the country.
Japanese culture is diverse and its traditions are deeply rooted in history. It entails fashion and clothing with many traditional forms of cloth and accompanying accessories. The most common form of traditional Japanese clothing is Kimono, worn by Japanese women. It usually comes in different forms, having different meanings while worn for specific occasions. Kimono ranges from casual to wedding attires.
Music is a significant part of the Japanese culture. Musical instruments accompany music in the Japanese culture. Koto is one of the most sophisticated musical instruments that are associated with the youth. Koto is similar to harp, played in the West. The music ranges from traditional to modern, including J-POP and Japanese Rock Music.
Geisha is the name that refers to the traditional female entertainers in the Japanese culture. These women sing, dance, and play Japanese traditional musical instruments, while bringing stimulating conversations to their clients. Geishas still exist in Kyoto and Kanazawa where they are indispensable entertainers. The samurai is also a common figure of the Japanese culture. These traditional warriors lived in pre-industrial Japan and were recognized by two swords that they were carrying. Samurai warriors served Daimyo, who in most cases was a wealthy leader of the community.
In the Japanese culture there are celebrations and ceremonies. The Japanese Tea Ceremony is one of such ceremonies. Different forms of the Tea Ceremony exist in Japan. However, it is a formal ceremony that consists of certain steps. The Japanese usually base their traditional weddings on the Shinto religious ceremony. Their traditional attires often make a significant aspect of weddings. The bride is often dressed in Kimono.
There also exists traditional summer festival known as Bon-Odori Festival. During the ceremony, drum music and dances are commonly used. Special summer food is a common feature of these festivals.
The Japanese culture is rich in architecture, including Japanese castles that have a remarkably impressive structure in most of the Japanese cities. The Japanese Temples exist on the whole territory of Japan and for world heritage sites.
The Japanese Culture Concepts
The Japanese culture is made of various key concepts. Most of the key values of the Japanese culture have been present and observed for a long time. "Wa" or harmony is a principle that many people have kept alive in Japan. Social harmony and teamwork make up "Wa" in many businesses. The principle dates back in 604 AD, and the Japanese community kept it as they lived and worked in collective farms. This aspect is a common feature that is used when they want to transact business. Its usage aids in rejecting offers, mostly indirectly. Another aspect of Japanese culture is the "Kao" or face that is a mark of reputation and personal pride. Japanese preserve their faces by avoiding confrontations as much as possible. It can result in the disastrous outcomes if one causes another to lose face. Japanese culture maintains another concept called "Omoiyari" that is about the act of empathy and loyalty. These are practices, encouraged by the Japanese society and carried out in Japanese businesses. Literally, this means to imagine what another’s feelings are. The result is a strong relationship and mutual trust. The cultural practices of the Japanese culture have far-reaching effects on the Japanese business aspect. Moreover, the values carried on by the Japanese culture affect the state of business in the world through their success in business and industry.
In Japan every person carries the responsibility for observing societal ways, beliefs, and practices. There is a common quote between the Japanese that claims that a nail that is sticking out is hammered down. This quote stresses that the Japanese negatively view individualism. Japanese inherit cultural values from parental teachings or their heritage and apply them consciously or subconsciously. These values are practiced in most aspects of their lives.
Japanese visitors and individuals who intend to interact with them in one way or another, often find it necessary to acquire knowledge on these values and practices. These values guide their behavior in numerous aspects. For example, it is necessary to offer apologies whenever the intention is serious. Japanese frequently express gratitude as they consider it to be polite. During business transactions or negotiations, negative emotions and confrontations are best avoided. Business counterparts find it necessary to avoid direct and aggressive refusals and always greet counterparts with the proper respect and due politeness. The Japanese culture does not include hand gestures.
The aspect of culture is the one that is fluid rather than static. The cultural background of Japanese has been affected by numerous factors that may include mass media and borrowings from other cultures. There are fundamental aspects that the Japanese have maintained in their culture for a long time now. Changes have also taken place in other aspects of the Japanese culture. The key practices concerning relationships with each other and mutual trust form the backbone to the rest of their culture.
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