Japan is one of the Asian countries with a rich cultural history. The country has established cultural practices and beliefs that are strictly observed by most of the citizens. The culture has undergone an immense evolution over the years and is currently have influences from North America, Europe, and Asia. Most of the citizens are always proud of the culture and promote it in most of the places they get the opportunity to visit. Most of the writers positively assert that the Japanese have a rich culture of the language, traditional clothing, performing arts, sports and leisure, festivals, the national character, and religion. With adherence to the culture, the country has remained stable as there is enhanced peace and security. The culture has also played an instrumental part in attracting into the country individuals with business interests and tourists. Culture has been instrumental in the development of Japan as it ensures that there is cohesiveness and a proper environment for different activities. The Japanese culture grows each day with the changes in the global rules and principals. This ensures that the Japanese individuals are developing with the rest of the world.
This paper critically explicates the opinions of different works concerning the culture of Japan, its trends, and the other relevant issues associated with it.
Traditional clothing is a key part of the Japanese culture. It ensures that the Japanese are distinct from all the other cultures of the world. Traditional clothing gives the Japanese individuals an identity, and they are able to be recognized all over the world. The traditional attire is commonly referred to as a kimono in the Japanese culture, and it gives citizens a sense of belonging. Davies’, Rodger’s, and Ikeno’s assertion that the continuous use of the traditional attire makes most citizens feel proud of being Japanese is positive because these cloths give citizens a sense of belonging. The cloths come in a wide variety of colors and sizes and are won according to particular occasions of the society. Married women are expected to wear different kimonos than unmarried women. Men are also supposed to be dressed in a kimono on different occasions. They could wear a kimono in a relaxed environment, for example, entertaining visitors. The traditional attire is being emulated by other countries that admire Japanese culture. The traditional clothing has evolved over the years due to the emerging designs in cloth technology (Davies and Ikeno, 150). Newer systems have been adopted to ensure that the cloths look decent and admirable to the rest of the world. They have remained a significant mark of the identification of Japanese citizens. It highlights the theme of identity in the world. It is an indication of the attractiveness of Japanese culture across the world. The traditional attire of Japan is regarded as a decent form of clothing that enables individuals to interact freely.
Another significant part of the Japanese culture is performing arts. These are the skills that enable individuals to perform various acrobatic movements. Davies, Rodger, and Ikeno positively note that the performing arts are part of entertainment that the Japanese individuals display to the rest of the world. They have attracted most people across the world to Japanese theatre rooms. In Japan there are four theatres that include Bunraku, Kabuki, Kyogen, and Noh that facilitate the showcasing of different aspects of the performing arts. Performing arts are characterized by masks and costumes. There is always effective training before the performance of different artistic activities. It is organized with the aim of sharpening the skills before the actual performance. Noh theaters differ from those relating to Kyogen in order to ensure that there is an adequate time for enjoyment of both events. The Kabuki theatre appears at the beginning of the festive period, hence ensuring that individuals are able to enjoy maximally. Varley and Paul in their works positively point out that the field of performing arts has gradually evolved over the years. The current ones involve the use of modern technologies that did not exist before. In fact, the performing arts have become part of sporting activities in Japan. Performing arts are also showed in other parts of the world, hence earning the country some revenue. The evolution of performing arts has facilitated better training that is vital for providing effective performance.
Sports and leisure are a significant part of Japanese culture. Sports have always been known for uniting different people by bringing them together. Such different types of sports as football are used to bring individuals together and promote the spirit of nationalism. Sporting activities are practiced in different places such as schools and on the national level. It ensures that there is a proper interaction with other countries around the globe. Different types of sports that are emphasized in Japan include baseball and football. These are perceived to be imported from the western countries, such as England. Sports have evolved over the years. Japan’s observation that sports have evolved from those that were practiced in the feudal era when Japan was under the governance of the samurai class is acceptable because of the new trends that have dominated sports in Japan. The sports are regarded as a part of exercise for an individual’s body in order to keep it strong over the years. The country has put an excellent emphasize on sports by highlighting the significance of sports and the development of the Japan League. The league is an assemblage of various clubs across the country that effectively participates in national competitions. It ensures that the country is able to perform well in international competitions, such as the World Cup. Leisure is also a part of Japanese culture. The vast seas surrounding Japan offer excellent leisure facilities for the Japanese, which satisfy their traditional forms of leisure, such as fishing. The culture of leisure has evolved over the years. Most citizens have developed current forms of leisure such as sunbathing. Various leisure spots in Japan have played an instrumental role in the attraction of tourists reviving foreign exchange of the country .
The Japanese national character is an effective part of their culture. The writings about the Japanese national character have been written down under the tern Nihonjinron in order to distinguish them from those that exist in different countries. Japanese culture emphasizes proper behavior among all individuals in order to ensure that the country develops with effective codes of conduct. The national outlook of the culture is perceived influencing the attractiveness of Japan across the world. The national character highlights that all individuals living in Japan should adequately represent the country with the aim of ensuring that it remains relevant to attracting people of other nationalities, who could be of benefit to the country. Business men and tourists visiting Japan are encouraged to adhere to the established national character in order to help them to get accustomed to the country. Rob’s observation that the national character has evolved over the years is not satisfactory because it can be observed that most of the national characters in Japan have not been altered from time immemorial. The national character commands immense respect for Japan from the outside world.
Japanese language dictates its etiquette in meetings and social interactions, which make citizens strive to succeed in their businesses. The language is believed to be the sixth largely spoken language in the world and is said to be similar to the Turkish language. They believe that the face of a colleague is important and should not be tarnished by rejection of one’s request. Instead, more pleasing words, like it is convenient, can be used to protect one’s face. Harmony is a greatly respected virtue among the Japanese and their children are taught good language in order to stay peacefully with their peers, which enhances interdependence among them. Varley and Paul in their book positively assert that the Japanese use their language to improve their personal relations and boost their businesses, as they are able to communicate with respect and convince customers to buy their products. They are ranked as one of the most industrialized countries in the world due to their interactive nature. They are able to learn from one another and improve their skills, it boosts their creativity. Over the years, the government has strived to enhance the Japanese language in most of the schools where the children are taught to address elder people with respect. For instance, a person will be addressed as senpai to show respect. It has also been discovered that 97% of the people in Japan speak the Japanese language. Language has also been used in business meetings to address critical issues. To them the hierarchy employees matters, but they are addressed with respect regardless of their positions. Foreigners may not be expected to speak the language, they use translators who help them in communication.
Festivals in Japan form a part of their culture as they value certain events. For instance, the New Year’s Day most people travel to meet their families and enjoy different meals together. Some travel abroad to enjoy the diversity of the environment and culture. During this period they give communal prayers to thank God for the gift of life. In the past it was celebrated as a family affair, but the situation has changed due to the spread of families and employment of people in different areas. They are not able to unite a family as they used to. Coming of Age Day is another festival that is celebrated on the second Monday of January. All the youths who have attained the age of 20 meet at shindo shrines to pray for their well being. On this day they dress in expensive kimonos and visit the shrine with their families and well-wishers. They are then considered as the future of the society. Another festival that is widely celebrated is the Girls Day which is celebrated on the 3rd of March every year. On this day people who have female children display dolls of couples with rice cakes in their houses and ensure that they are removed by midnight as they believe that the girl may not get married if the dolls are displayed after midnight. This festival wishes girls a happy marriage. Although it was begun by a section of the Japanese communities, today it is widely celebrated by most parents. Although there are few Christians in Japan, they also celebrate Christmas on the 25th of every December to mark the birth of Jesus. This ceremony is celebrated by families meeting and praying together. It is marked by a lot of eating and rejoicing. The Japanese have always believed in the communal celebration of events and festivities. Most of these festivals exhibit the spirit of brotherhood and peaceful coexistence especially on the family level.
Religion is also a part of the Japanese culture that is highly respected. There are two main religions in Japan: Shinto and Buddhism. Shinto religion has the belief that a supernatural power exists in all the elements of nature and not just one god. In the past they used to worship their gods in the open place offering sacrifices and singing. Today several shrines have been built for worshiping nature, for example the Sun. They believe that by worshipping the Sun they are directly speaking to god. Buddhism is believed to originate from the Chinese among whom the religion is widely spread. Several Buddhist shrines have been built alongside Shinto shrines. They believe that by setting these shrines alongside each other their prayers will be strengthened. There are other minor religions, such as Christianity and Islam. There are other religions that have emerged, for example, Soka Gakkai, which is a form of Buddhism. These religions have been enhanced by various festivals that are held annually and communally. Rob’s observation that religious leaders are highly respected among the Japanese is acceptable because such individuals are perceived to represent the god and effectively provide a link between the Japanese people and the deity. In comparison with other countries, the Japanese are not staunch spiritualists, but enjoy organizing spiritual festivals. The theme of religious practices and beliefs are used to present the culture of the Japanese. As they worship the Sun and other natural phenomena, they believe that all their problems can be solved. They do not believe in the existence of one god as they believe that the world is too large to be controlled by one deity. They entirely depend on these natural beings in order to protect their children and well being of the society.
In conclusion, language, festivals religion, dressing sports, and national character are the major cultural practices in Japan. The Japanese language, which is spoken by a majority of the people, forms the basis of their peaceful coexistence. They address each other with respect and value the differences in age and position. The use of language has helped them to improve their businesses and social interactions. The Japanese have different festivals, such as the New Years Day, which is celebrated at the beginning of the year, to thank god for the gift of life. It is celebrated on a communal level as most families meet to eat and pray together. Coming of Age Day is also celebrated each year to mark the day that the girls attain the age of 20. On this day the wear kimonos and are accompanied by their families to Shinto shrines. They also mark the Girls Day which is an occasion when parents display dolls in the house to wish their daughters a happy marriage, these dolls are to be removed by midnight. The Japanese wear a kimono, which is a dress that is used by girls and boys. They are mostly used during ceremonies. The common games in Japan are baseball and football, which are played during leisure time. Sports activities have enhanced peaceful coexistence among them as they meet during competitions. The national character in Japan, such as etiquette in business meetings and transactions, play a major role in economic development. Japanese culture has helped the entire nation to progress economically, socially, and politically.