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Key Aspects of Japanese Culture and Society Essay Sample 

This essay sample shall highlight the various cultural aspects of the Japanese and their society. It will discuss the Japanese language, culture, family culture, religion, education, sports, and food or cuisine.

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Japan is a homogeneous society with a strong influence on western culture along with the Chinese and Koreans. It is a beautiful island country in the Pacific Ocean and on the coast of mainland Asia.

Most of the land area is covered with mountainous range with eruptive volcanoes. It has above 6,900 islands approximately and is considered to be one of the most densely populated countries in the world.

The most populous and highly dense islands in Japan are Shikoku, Honshu, Kyushu, and Hokkaido which has a total population of almost 127 million in these islands.

Japanese Language 

The official language of Japan is Japanese. It is one of the most difficult languages to learn and write as it has over 3,000 characters along with different scripts. It is greatly influenced by the Chinese language characters.

Though the language pronunciation is pretty much simpler as it is a tonal language. The old Japanese is called ‘Kanbun’ which originated from the earlier texts of Japan. ‘Kojiki’ was written with ancient Chinese characters in the 8th century.

The modern Japanese language was developed around the period of post Edo period from the year 1603 to 1868.

Modern Japanese language consists of three alphabets and they are –

  • Kanji (logographic Chinese characters)
  • Hiragana (phonetic Chinese alphabet)
  • Katakana (phonetic alphabet for foreign words).

Katakana is widely spread and is responsible for adopting western words, culture, and ideas.

Japanese Culture

Initially in the Edo era, the Japanese were influenced by the Chinese culture but later it closed its doors for foreign cultures. This created Japan’s own distinct and unique cultural identity.

After 1868, after falling of the era, Japan started opening its doors for cross-cultural exchange with other countries. This created a multicultural society and a great influence of western ideology, culture, and lifestyle in Japan in the later years.

The cultural influence of the west influenced its food, lifestyle, art, sports, and habits of the people.

Japan is popular for things like a tea ceremony, flower arrangements, decoration pieces, electronic goods, sumo wrestling, pottery, cars, traditional plays, and poetry.

They have the most unique culture of maintaining manicured gardens to small functional decorative homes, clean, hygienic, and organized homes.

They have certain core values that they do not compromise at any cost. For example – respecting elders, not pointing fingers at others (considered as a sign of disrespect) instead they wave hands to point at a person. To point a finger at themselves they touch their nose.

They do not enter homes with their slippers and homes are very clean due to their religious belief. They also follow a face mask culture especially if someone is sick. Children from a very young age are taught discipline and the importance of hygiene.

Japanese Religion

Japanese popular religions are Shinto and Buddhism along with Christianity and Confucianism. Shinto is a Japanese religion while Buddhism is a world-renowned religion that is based on the teachings of Lord Gautam Buddha. Buddhism was imported from China in the 6th century and almost 39% of the Japanese population follows it. While 3.9% population follows the Shinto religion.

Japanese Education 

Nine years of compulsory education is a must for every child in Japan and almost 90% of the children attend high school and 40% attend the higher education or university.

There is an entrance exam for each education level for the Japanese students which makes them competitive and serious in their studies.

All the students wear uniforms and teachers are highly respected. Every day the school schedule changes and teachers move from one class to another for teaching children.

Children are taught to clean the mess that they create by themselves even including toilets. This makes them disciplined and helps them learn the importance of health and hygiene.

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Japanese Family Culture

The traditional setup of a Japanese family is called ‘Kazoku’ which includes the parents, children, and the elderly, three generations. Over a period of time, this culture has changed elderly do not prefer staying with their grown-up children.

Children bow down in front of elders in respect and greet them dearly. This has created a value for family bonds and relationships in the Japanese culture.

Typical families usually have two children and both the parents are usually working. Divorce rates are really low. People even prefer to keep house pets like cats, dogs, fish as most of the Japanese stay in small urban apartments.

Japanese Sports

Sumo wrestling is the national sport of Japan and is being practiced regularly by them. Sumo, Karate, Judo are all traditional Japanese sports while baseball, soccer, rugby are adopted from western culture. Baseball is the most-watched sport in Japan which was introduced in the year 1872.

Japanese food or cuisine 

Food or cuisine is the most important part of any culture around the globe. It represents the unique cultural identity of a nation.

Japan too has popular dishes and has a tradition of beautifully arranged food like sushi, tofu, and fish. Japanese are primary fish eaters and are the largest importers of fish. Almost 12 % of the world’s caught fish is eaten by the Japanese.

Sushi is a world-class popular dish that is served with fish, seaweed, and lightly seasoned rice. They also prefer pickled vegetables, grilled, and raw seafood. Beef, poultry, and pork are also part of Japanese daily meals.

Japanese meals are based on rice with miso soup and other types of dishes. Noodles like soba and udon are another staple diet apart from the rice.

Gyoza, curry, spaghetti, and ramen are all dishes that are being introduced as a result of the influence of foreign culture. There are also popular meals like tonkatsu and yakiniku in Japan.

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The above sample is an elaborate discussion of Japanese culture and society.

Sociology, Social Studies QQI Level 5, Social Care Studies, Social Analysis QQI Level 6, Social Science, Culture and Heritage Studies QQI Level 5, Arts and Culture QQI Level 6 students can benefit from reading this essay sample and help in increasing their knowledge on the Japanese culture.

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