China Japan Culture Comparison Essay

Compare and Contrast: Japan and China Essay

1011 WordsApr 14th, 20125 Pages

CAC: China and Japan
During the early nineteenth century, both China and Japan enforced policies restricting foreign trade in order to avoid industrialization and western ideas, but after both societies experienced foreign invasions and unequal treaties being established by foreigners, Japan began to industrialize and became imperialists trying to create an empire, while China differed in that the people wanted reform and government restrained the reformation of their society, therefore causing multiple rebellions and overall the collapse of their empire.

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, westerners were heavily industrializing and practicing imperialism, and since both China and Japan wanted to retain their cultures and…show more content…

Much like in Japan when Matthew Perry of the United States came in and insisted in having Japan open up its ports to diplomatic and commercial relations with the US, and since the shogun felt he had no other option, he complied with Perry’s order. As the westerners had their way with both east Asian nations, the threat of western industrialization became a reality, and due to the amount of hunger and economic depression in their societies, their people began to crave industrialization seeing the amount of success in the western societies that were industrialized. There began to be an increased amount of rebellion, and a fight for change in these two nations, but the results that came from these rebellions and the main argument for these rebellions differed.

Once these societies were flowing with western influence and ideas in their societies, the people of China and Japan began to try and adopt to these ideas and become big industrial societies as well. In China, these ideas were supported by the people although their government tried to diminish these ideas, while in Japan, the government felt that they had no other choice but to reform, so they began to embrace western development. In

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Japanese culture has been greatly influenced by the Chinese culture, and yet they are almost as different from each other as any two neighboring countries can ever be. Part of these differences may lie in the self-imposed isolation of Japan till Meiji revolutions, but there are other important reasons too, that make the two societies and cultures vastly different. So here we are comparing Japanese culture with that of Chinese to bring similar beliefs, traditions and cultural aspects as well as differences they hold.

Along with Indian Civilization, Chinese Civilization has influenced all societies inhabiting the Eastern part of the globe. Thus, there is an unmistakable influence of Chinese civilization on Japan. Yet, as a society, Japan is so different and the basic underlying culture and ethics of these two societies so distinct that similarities soon fade away completely. Their comparison brings out very interesting observations.

Similarities between the Japanese and Chinese Cultures

To begin the comparison, there is no dearth of similarities between the two. Both are typical Asian cultures, surviving since a few millennia. Like all old cultures, many of the traditions in both societies are woven around the family structure and social hierarchy that they have nurtured over several centuries.

Like all old Eastern cultures, the gender roles used to be highly differentiated in both societies.

Both the societies followed a patriarchal system of inheritance, and the head of the family used to be the eldest male. In both societies, extended families were common, and the social order dictated request for elders and teachers. In both China and Japan, modesty of womenfolk was part of the culture, though restrictions on women were far less compared to those practiced in Middle East countries.

Both China and Japan provide a lot of emphasis on Confucian values in life. Confucianism, along with Buddhism is one of the common links that bind the two cultures. In both societies, one can observe apathy towards blatant consumerism, and a high tendency to save, as part of social and moral fabric.

There are numerous similarities in language and vocabulary used in the two countries. Kanji, the symbol characters in Japan have a lot in common to the Chinese characters, and can actually be the common link between a Chinese and a Japanese, who do not understand each other's language.

In modern times, both societies have changed in somewhat comparable manners. The majority of people in both countries have adopted the Western outfit as the usual default dress, and traditional outfits are used occasionally for celebrations and festivities. However, in spite of all the Western influence, both countries still follow their own language and script, and though Christmas is an important event, both the countries have their own set of festivals and celebrations.

Thanks to the continuous exchanges between people, both societies have commonalities in Music, arts, sculpture and architecture. Typical inclined roofs giving a pagoda like appearance are a common feature in both countries. Lastly, the popularity of martial arts among the people is a common feature in both societies, even though there may be differences in Japanese and Chinese martial arts techniques.

Differences between the Japanese and Chinese Cultures

Chinese culture has a very long history, and the vast Chinese territory provides a plethora of varieties in each facet of culture, like dresses, food habits, local customs and dialects. The long history and exposure to several nationalities from Indians to the Europeans has brought in a lot of heterogeneity in Chinese culture. In comparison, Japan has remained isolated from external influence for the majority of its recorded history - a factor, which, along with its smaller size has allowed Japan to have a far more homogenous society. These differences between the cultures have deviated apart further during the last one and a half century, because of the Japanese high growth in the twentieth century.

Unlike China, Japan also has a phonetic script, the Hiragana, which has little similarity with Chinese language. It is more like the Indo-European language group. Unlike China, Japanese people are far more religious, and follow both Buddhism and Shinto beliefs. However, modern Japanese has practically very little time to spare for religion, and his actual religious practices may be very different from his ancestors. Unlike China, loyalty and respect to the Emperor is an important part of Japanese public life. The Emperor continues to be an important influence in Japan.

Japanese culture places a lot of emphasis upon harmony in society. Thus, the level of self discipline that is expected from a Japanese person is very high. Even in conversation with each other, Japanese persons follow a very polite approach. In Japan, it would not be easy to come across quarrels in public, people yelling at each other, or other signs of social stress. In comparison, China poses the picture of a typical developing country, with level of politeness being less common.

Japanese music is very much influenced by the Western counterparts. Another important feature of Japanese culture is its folk dances and traditional festivities. All these are very different from the Chinese dance and music.

The Japanese food does not have much in common with its Japanese counterparts. While the Chinese food is spicy and involves a lot of frying and cooking, the Japanese food is far less spicy, and has very subtle flavors compared to other local foods in Asia. Honor and hard work are two important characteristics of the Japanese culture today. Compared to their Chinese counterparts, Japanese are likely to be more hard working.

TAGS :Japanese cultureChinese culturedifferences in Japanese and Chinese culture comparing japan china China and Japan similarity

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I am a freelance writer. I write for the passion of writing. Life has blessed me an opportunity to be a witness to many interesting aspects of life and people around the world. Indeed, these are very interesting times and we who live in this era are privileged to experience it. You can find my articles at

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