The culture of Japan has changed greatly over the years like thousands of years to be exact, from the country’s prehistoric Jomon period to its contemporary modern culture, which absorbs influences from Asia, Europe, and North America. Japan’s indigenous culture originates primarily from the Yayoi people who settled in Japan between 1000 BCE to 300 CE. Yayoi culture quickly spread to the main island of Honshū, mixing with the native Jōmon culture. Modern Japanese have an estimated amount of 92% Yayoi and 8% Jomon ancestry. Japanese culture was influenced from ancient times to the Middle Ages primarily by multiple Chinese dynasties and to a lesser extent by other Asian countries. For example, the Japanese language uses Chinese characters for writing, but Japanese has no genetic relationship with Chinese. The inhabitants of Japan experienced a long period of relative isolation from the outside world for over 220 years during the Tokugawa shogunate until the arrival of the Black Ships and the Meiji period. Today, the culture of Japan stands as one of the leading and most prominent cultures around the world, mainly due to the global reach of its popular culture.
Japanese is the official and primary language of Japan. Japanese has a lexically distinct pitch-accent system. Early Japanese is known largely on the basis of its state in the 8th century, when the three major works of Old Japanese were compiled. The earliest attestation of the Japanese language is in a Chinese document from 252 AD. The Japanese language has no genetic relationship with Chinese. It belongs to a completely different language family called Japonic languages. However, it makes extensive use of Chinese characters, or, in its writings. Japanese is written with a combination of three scripts: hiragana and katakana were derived from the Chinese man yogana of the 5th century. Hiragana and katakana were first simplified from Kanji. Hiragana emerged somewhere around the 9th century. It was mainly used by women in informal language. Katakana was mainly used by men and for formal language. By the 10th century it was common and used by everyone. Kanji are Han characters that were imported from China, because Japan didn’t have a writing system until it was introduced around 50 AD. It’s mainly used for nouns, adjective stems, and verb stems. After centuries of development, there is a notable number of kanji used in modern Japanese which have different meanings from hanzi used in modern Chinese. Japanese has much less Simplified Chinese characters and people use less kanji in general. The Latin alphabet, romaji, is also often used in modern Japanese, especially for company names and logos, advertising, and when inputting Japanese into a computer. The Hindu-Arabic numerals are generally used for numbers, but traditional SinoJapanese numerals are also very common.
Shintoism and Buddhism are the primary religions of Japan, though a secular Christmas is widespread, and small Christian and Islamic communities exist. Shintoism, Shintoism is an ethnic religion that focuses on ceremonies and rituals. In Shintoism, followers believe that kami, a Shinto deity or spirit, are present throughout nature, including rocks, trees, and mountains. Humans can also be considered to possess a kami. One of the goals of Shintoism is to maintain a connection between humans, nature, and kami. The religion developed in Japan prior to the sixth century CE, after which point followers build shrines to worship kami. Buddhism, Buddhism developed in India around the 6th and 4th centuries BCE and eventually spread through China and Korea. It arrived in Japan during the 6th century CE, where it was initially unpopular. Most Japanese people were unable to understand the difficult philosophical messages present in Buddhism, however they did have an appreciation for the religion’s art, which is believed to have led to the religion growing more popular. Buddhism is concerned with the soul and life after dying. In the religion a person’s status was unimportant, as every person would get sick, age, die, and eventually be reincarnated into a new life, a cycle called samsara(There are lots of anime based on reincarnations into other worlds because of this). The suffering people experienced during life was one way for people to gain a better future. The ultimate goal was to escape the cycle of death and rebirth by attaining true insight. though noted examples have also been written by foreign residents, journalists and even scholars.
Early works of Japanese literature were heavily influenced by cultural contact with China and Chinese literature, often written in Classical Chinese. Eventually, Japanese literature developed into a separate style in its own right as Japanese writers began writing their own works about Japan. Since Japan reopened its ports to Western trading and diplomacy in the 19th century, Western and Eastern literature have strongly affected each other and continue to do so. Visual arts, Japanese calligraphy The flowing, brush-drawn Japanese rendering of text itself is seen as a traditional art form as well as a means of conveying written information. The written work can consist of phrases, poems, stories, or even single characters. The style and format of the writing can mimic the subject matter, even to the point of texture and stroke speed. In some cases, it can take over one hundred attempts to produce the desired effect of a single character but the process of creating the work is considered as much an art as the end product itself.This calligraphy form is known as shodo which literally means the way of writing or calligraphy or more commonly known as shuji learning how to write characters. Commonly confused with calligraphy is an art form known as sumi-e, literally meaning ink painting, which is the art of painting a scene or object.
Painting has been an art in Japan for a very long time: the brush is a traditional writing and painting tool, and the extension of that to its use as an artist’s tool was probably natural. Japanese painters are often categorized by what they painted, as most of them constrained themselves solely to subjects such as animals, landscapes, or figures. Chinese papermaking was introduced to Japan around the 7th century. Later, washi was developed from it. Native Japanese painting techniques are still in use today, as well as techniques adopted from continental Asia and from the West. Schools of painting such as the Kano school of the 16th century became known for their bold brush strokes and contrast between light and dark, especially after Oda Nobunaga and Tokugawa Ieyasu began to use this style. Famous Japanese painters include Kano Sanraku, Maruyama Okyo, and Tani Bunchō. Ukiyo-e, Ukiyo-e literally ‘pictures of the floating world’, is a genre of woodblock prints that exemplifies the characteristics of preMeiji Japanese art. Because these prints could be mass-produced, they were available to a wide cross-section of the Japanese Populace those not wealthy enough to afford original paintings—during their heyday, from the 17th to 20th century. Ikebana is the Japanese art of flower arrangement. It has gained widespread international fame for its focus on harmony, color use, rhythm, and elegantly simple design. It is an art centered greatly on expressing the seasons, and is meant to act as a symbol to something greater than the flower itself.
Traditional Japanese clothing distinguishes Japan from all other countries around the world. The Japanese word kimono means ‘something one wears'(I learned this from anime) and they are the traditional garments of Japan. Originally, the word kimono was used for all types of clothing, but eventually, it came to refer specifically to the full-length garment also known as the naga-gi, meaning ‘longwear’, that is still worn today on special occasions by women, men, and children. The earliest kimonos were heavily influenced by traditional Han Chinese clothing, known today as hanfu, through Japanese embassies to China which resulted in extensive Chinese culture adoptions by Japan, as early as the 5th century AD. It was during the 8th century, however, that Chinese fashions came into style among the Japanese, and the overlapping collar became particularly women’s fashion. Sculpture Traditional Japanese sculptures mainly focused on Buddhist images, such as Tathagata, Bodhisattva, and Myo-o. The oldest sculpture in Japan is a wooden statue of Amitābha at the Zenko ji temple. In the Nara period, Buddhist statues were made by the national government to boost its prestige. These examples are seen in present-day Nara and Kyoto, most notably a colossal bronze statue of the Buddha Vairocana in the Todai ji temple. Wood has traditionally been used as the chief material in Japan, along with traditional Japanese architecture. Statues are often lacquered, gilded, or brightly painted, although there are little traces on the surfaces. Bronze and other metals are not used. Other materials, such as stone and pottery, have had extremely important roles in the plebeian beliefs.
The music of Japan includes a wide array of performers in distinct styles both traditional and modern. The word for music in Japanese is ⾳楽, combining the kanji ⾳ ‘on’ with the kanji 楽 ‘gaku’ . Japan is the second largest music market in the world, behind the United States, and the largest in Asia, and most of the market is dominated by Japanese artists. Local music often appears at karaoke venues, which is on lease from the record labels. Traditional Japanese music is quite different from Western Music and is based on the intervals of human breathing rather than mathematical timing. In 1873, a British traveler claimed that Japanese music, ‘exasperate beyond all endurance the European breast.’ Performing arts, The four traditional theatres from Japan are noh, kyōgen, kabuki, and bunraku. Noh had its origins in the union of the sarugaku, with music and dance made by Kan’ami and Zeami Motokiyo. Among the characteristic aspects of it are the masks, costumes, and the stylized gestures, sometimes accompanied by a fan that can represent other objects. The noh programs are presented in alternation with the ones of kyogen, traditionally in number of five, but currently in groups of three. kyogen, of humorous character, had older origin, in 8th century entertainment brought from China, developing itself in sarugaku. In kyōgen, masks are rarely used and even if the plays can be associated with the ones of noh, currently many are not. Recent attempts to reintroduce actresses in kabuki . In 1914, appeared the Takarazuka Revue a company solely composed by women who introduced the revue in Japan.
Sports and leisure
Sports and leisure In the long feudal period were governed by the samurai class, some methods that were used to train warriors were developed into well-ordered martial arts, in modern times referred to collectively as koryū. Examples include kenjutsu, kendo, kyūdō, sōjutsu, jujutsu, and sumo, all of which were established in the Edo period (There are lots of edo period themed anime as well). After the rapid social change in the Meiji Restoration, some martial arts changed into modern sports, called gendai budō. Judo was developed by Kanō Jigorō, who studied some sects of jujutsu. These sports are still widely practiced in present-day Japan and other countries. Baseball, Association football, and other popular western sports were imported to Japan in the Meiji period. These sports are commonly practiced in schools, along with traditional martial arts. Baseball, soccer, football, and ping pong are the most popular sports in Japan. Association football gained prominence in Japan after the J League was established in 1991. Japan also co-hosted the 2002 FIFA World Cup. In addition, there are many semi-professional organizations, which are sponsored by private companies: for example, volleyball, basketball, rugby union, table tennis, and so on.
Through a long culinary past, the Japanese have developed sophisticated and refined cuisine. In more recent years, Japanese food has become fashionable and popular in the United States, Europe, and many other areas. Dishes such as sushi, tempura, noodles, and teriyaki are some of the foods that are commonly known. The Japanese diet consists principally of rice; fresh, lean seafood; and pickled or boiled vegetables. The healthy Japanese diet is often believed to be related to the longevity of Japanese people.
Japanese popular culture not only reflects the attitudes and concerns of the present day, but also provides a link to the past. Popular films, television programs, manga, music, anime and video games all developed from older artistic and literary traditions, and many of their themes and styles of presentation can be traced to traditional art forms. Contemporary forms of popular culture, much like the traditional forms, provide not only entertainment but also an escape for the contemporary Japanese from the problems of an industrial world. When asked how they spent their leisure time, 80 percent of a sample of men and women surveyed by the government in 1986 said they averaged about two and a half hours per week watching television, listening to the radio, and reading newspapers or magazines. Some 16 percent spent an average of two and a quarter hours a day engaged in hobbies or amusements. Others spent leisure time participating in sports, socializing, and personal study. Teenagers and retired people reported more time spent on all of these activities than did other groups. Many anime and manga are very popular around the world and continue to become popular, as well as Japanese video games, fashion, and game shows. In the late 1980s, the family was the focus of leisure activities, such as excursions to parks or shopping districts. Although Japan is often thought of as a hard-working society with little time for leisure, the Japanese seek entertainment wherever they can. It is common to see Japanese commuters riding the train to work, enjoying their favorite manga, or listening through earphones to the latest in popular music on portable music players. A wide variety of types of popular entertainment are available. There is a large selection of music, films, and the products of a huge comic book industry, among other forms of entertainment, from which to choose. Game centers, bowling alleys, and karaoke are popular hangout places for teens while older people may play shogi or go in specialized parlors. Together, the publishing, video, music, and game industries in Japan make up the growing Japanese content industry.
There are 51 official in Japan. These landscapes evolved with the way of life and geocultural features of a region, and which are indispensable for understanding the lifestyle of the Japanese people. Three Views of Japan The is the canonical list of Japan’s three most celebrated scenic sights, attributed to 1643 and scholar Hayashi Gaho. These are traditionally the pine clad islands of Matsushima in Miyagi Prefecture, the pine-clad sandbar of Amanohashidate in Kyoto Prefecture, and Itsukushima Shrine in Hiroshima Prefecture. In 1915, the New Three Views of Japan were selected with a national election by the Jitsugyo no Nihon Sha . In 2003, the Three Major Night Views of Japan were selected by the New Three Major Night Views of Japan and the 100 Night Views of Japan Club(I’m pretty sure it is but i might be wrong).
Japan has a number of national symbols. The Japanese islands are located to the east of the Asian continent. Japan is regarded as the most eastern Asian country, because east of Japan is the vast Pacific Ocean. Minamitorishima is Japan’s easternmost island. Thus Japan is a land where the sun rises before the Asian continent. The kanji that make up the name of Japan literally mean ‘sun origin’. It is pronounced as Nihon or Nippon in Japanese. So it is often called by the epithet ‘Land of the Rising Sun’. The Nisshōki is the national flag of Japan. It symbolizes the rising sun and corresponds with the name of Japan. The earliest accounts of the rising sun flag is in the 7th century CE. In 607, an official correspondence that began with ‘from the Emperor of the rising sun’ was sent to Chinese Emperor Yang of Sui. Thus the central importance of the sun in
Japanese culture is represented in the national flag and other cultural goods. Similarly, the Japan Self-Defense Forces have flags that symbolize the sun. The sun also plays an important role in Japanese mythology and religion as the Emperor is said to be the direct descendant of the sun goddess Amaterasu. Amaterasu is the personification of Japan. She is seen as the goddess of the sun and the universe in Shinto religion. The Emperor is ‘the symbol of the State and of the unity of the people.’ Emperor Jimmu is the national founder of Japan. The national animals are the Green pheasant, Koi fish and the Great purple emperor butterfly. The Imperial
Seal of Japan is one of the national seals and a crest used by the Emperor of Japan and members of the Imperial Family. The Cherry blossom and Chrysanthemum morifolium are de facto national flowers of Japan. Japan’s de facto national dish is Sushi, Japanese curry and Ramen. The de facto national liquor is sake. Mount Fuji is the national mountain of Japan. It is one of Japan’s along with Mount Tate and Mount Haku. It is also a Special Place of Scenic Beauty and one of Japan’s Historic Sites. The summit is considered a sacred place since ancient times. As a national symbol of the country, Fujisan has been depicted in various art and media such as painting, woodblock prints, poetry, and Music.