The Japanese Culture and Tradition
Japan or also known as the ‘Land of the Rising Sun’, and pronounced in its country as ‘Nippon’ or ‘Nihon’ is one of the island nations in Pacific Ocean off the coast of mainland Asia. The country has approximately 6,900 islands including its most prominent islands the Honshu, Hokkaido, Shikoku and Kyushi, making up 97 percent of the nation. And, within those islands, there are some 47 prefectures having a total population of around 127 million, putting it in 11th place in the world.
The country’s national language is Japanese. It is the primary spoken language across the nation. Old Japanese of ‘Kanbun’ actually originated from China and the first Japanese text called ‘kojiki’ was written back in the early 8th century and was written mostly in ancient Chinese characters. It was during the Edo period between 1603 and 1868 when modern Japanese has been developed.
The modern Japanese language consists of three alphabets, the Kanji (logographic Chinese characters), Hiragana (phonetic Japanese alphabet) and the Katakana, (phonetic alphabet used for foreign words)
The development and prevalent use of Katakana apparently serves as an illustration of Japan’s recent adoption of Western cultures, concepts and words.
The early Japanese culture was significantly influenced by China. Back in the Edo era, Japan practiced a strict isolationist policy, closing its doors to all relationships with the outside world. Thus, the country has cultivated its distinct culture.
Following the fall of that era in 1868, the country reversed its practice by adopting cultural practices from all over the globe and combined them with what has been established during the Edo era. Subsequently, all aspects of Japan culture which includes arts, lifestyle and food have been influenced by the Western culture over the years.
There are to main religions in Japan – the Shinto and Buddhism. Shinto is originally a Japanese religion while Buddhism came from China in the 6th century. Nowadays, a recent poll revealed that some 39% of Japanese people are Buddhist, 3.9 are Shinto and at least 2.3% are Christian.
New Year is the biggest celebration in Japan. In spring and summer, they also celebrate for the gods of the land and sea or Matsuri. Usually, each of its towns holds its own Matsuri, and those celebrations are widely attended by all locals.
Sports play a major role in the Japanese culture. Sports like karate, judo and sumo are traditional Japanese, but sports such as soccer, baseball and rugby have been adopted from other countries.
Sumo is the national sport in Japan. In fact, until present, Japan is the only country that plays sumo. Modern sumo has been developed during the Edo era and up to this day, little has been changed.
Meanwhile, baseball is the most-widely watched sports in the country. The game was first introduced to the country in 1872 and has gained popularity since then.
Traditionally, a family unit in Japan is called ‘kazoku’. The country’s family structure is comprised of a father, mother and their children. The kazoku often live with their elderly parents. Nevertheless, in more modern arrangements, three generation household numbers have fallen.
Generally, Japanese are fish eaters. In fact, the country is the number one fish importer across the globe, consuming approximately 12% of the caught fist from all over the world.
Obviously, sushi is the most known Japanese dish, a dish that is made up of fresh fish, seaweed and slightly seasoned rice. They also eat beef, poultry and pork as part of their daily diets.
Japan is a country molded by its quick transition from isolationism to globalism. It is a representation of merging old world culture with a more modern Western practices.