COMPARISON BETWEEN JAPANESE AND CHINESE TRADITIONS

Topics: Japan, China, Chinese character Pages: 7 (1233 words) Published: December 4, 2014
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COMPARISON BETWEEN JAPANESE AND CHINESE TRADITIONS
Other than their geographical nearness, the countries of Japan and China share many similarities. Both countries have established excellent senses of national identity and extremely rich cultures. Since both countries have existed for quite some time, their histories have crossed during several periods. These nations also share similar value systems and religions, which have influenced each other. However, the Chinese civilization was older than the Japanese one, and since they had commercial and cultural relations, the Chinese culture influenced the Japanese culture in various ways (Brown and John). The Chinese culture is present in the Japanese culture in various fronts like language system and government. The aim of this paper is to compare the Japanese tradition with the Chinese one.

Chinese and Chinese cultures have various similarities; yet, they are totally different from each other. Before the two countries had differences, they had various similarities. The main reason for these two cultures to have similarities is because of the Chinese culture having such a huge influence on the Japanese one. One such similarity could be the language used by both countries. Many years back, the Japanese people never had a written language (Morton). However, Japan would acquire a written language after they had interacted with the Japanese people. The written languages of the Japanese and Chinese people are quite similar. This is because the origin of Japan’s Kanji was Chinese symbols. During that time, the use of Chinese written language to create their language proved important for the country’s political unification under their emperor. The writing system of Chinese people was introduced to Japan around the 5th century AD, but viable adaptation for putting Japanese in written form took place in the 8th century. After acquiring Chinese literacy, Japanese elites got access to over a millennium of Buddhist and Confucian philosophy from China (Stearns). The ideas acquired were instantly put to use in arranging their country. Confucianism, which was still in practice in China, gave Japan a hierarchical model of political and social order. This forms a similarity between these two cultures since both of them practiced Confucianism. The Chinese writing system had a huge influence on the Japanese writing system which led to the Japanese also being influenced into following the Confucius teachings. After being introduced in Japan, portions of the basic concepts, value and ethics of Chinese Confucianism became an impartment portion of their national mentality and moral standard (Kasulis). Consequently, these teachings had a significant influence on the Japanese culture. This tradition from China offered a heavenly sanction on the already existing social order. After the introduction of Confucianism harmony was sustained by a reciprocal association between an individual who is superior; who is recommended to be generous, and the subordinate, who was recommended to observe propriety and be obedient. Therefore, both samurai and commoner ethics were dependent on these teachings than any other system. After some time, Samurai had to be learnt, not just as an art of war, but also in the Confucian classics. The other similarity between the Japanese and Chinese traditions is seen in the Buddhist religion (De and Yoshiko). Also introduced to Japan by the Chinese people, the Chinese and Japanese Buddhists have many common characteristics. Buddhism, along with Confucianism, is among the most common links binding these two cultures. Additionally, like all ancient cultures, most of the traditions in these two societies revolve around the family and the community, which they have reared over the centuries. Similarly, in both cultures, the gender roles were highly differentiated. These two societies followed a patriarchal order of inheritance, where the eldest male...

Cited: Columbia University Press, 2001. Print.
Doctoroff, T.
Brown, Ju, and John Brown. China, Japan, Korea: Culture and Customs. North Charleston,
South Carolina: BookSurge, 2006
Morton, William S, and J K. Olenik. Japan: Its History and Culture. New York [u.a.: McGraw-
Hill, 2005
Schirokauer, Conrad. A Brief History of Chinese and Japanese Civilizations. Boston, MA:
Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2013
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