Japan has a population of just over 126 million people, although each year this number slowly decreases due to the birth rate of 1.39 per couple1. As well as the fact that Japan is an extremely homogenous society with 99% of citizens and residents being Japanese with 1% of their population being non-Japanese. The declining population reflects highly upon society as many Japanese in their twenties feel they are too busy working to raise children, as well as the rising cost of living making it hard for people to live. This is a negative impact upon the persons as their lifestyles must be altered in order to succumb to the Japanese life of working hard. By keeping a homogenous society, Japan is able to strongly uphold its traditional identity. Beliefs, Values and Lifestyles
Beliefs are defined as a group of principles that are accepted and shared among a group of people. These principles indicate the particular way one perceives the physical world and the universe. For example, due to their heritage, Japanese believe in Buddhism as well as Shinto which reflects upon their daily lifestyle. Values are the “core beliefs an individual or a country has. They are considered to be important understandings that form the basis of the shared behaviour of an individual or cultural group.”2 For example, the Japanese highly value respect, their family relationships as well as the community. Lifestyles are the way of life which strongly reflects upon the attitudes and values of an individual or a group of people. It is then to be acknowledged how the beliefs and values of an individual robustly impact upon ones’ lifestyles. For example, Japanese funerals and calligraphy are highly influenced by Buddhism beliefs. Over the course of time, it is almost impossible to maintain strict continuity within a group or nations’ values, beliefs, lifestyle or identity. This is due to possibilities such as: modernisation (fostering a sense of nationalism and unity- previously Japanese felt their loyalty was toward their daimyo), westernisation (the introduction of parliament and the education system followed the French system), industrialisation (Japanese reforms included land reforms for individual ownership to increase production, factories and an expanding education system offered technical training3), conflict (I.E. World War II atomic bombs impacting Hiroshima and Nagasaki), empowerment (in Japan, 70% of women have jobs before marrying but 62% quit after having their first child4) Technology, Power, Authority, Time and Change:
During the Meiji period (1868-1912), technology was introduced into the Japanese lifestyle as Commodore Matthew C. Perry had coerced Japan into signing the Treaty of Kanagawa in 1854 which opened up trade between the two countries as it seemed that the appearance of Western technology being far superior to their own had forced Emperor Meiji to abandon the policies they once had of isolation. Emperors are considered to be the descendant of the Sun Goddess and therefore were in control, which strongly reflects upon the beliefs the Japanese maintain. Emperor Meiji became head of state and had almost absolute control over the military and politics. This impacted upon Japan’s technology and authority because Emperor Meiji was coerced into the Treaty of Kanagawa and as soon as the treaty was signed on March 31, 1854 the United States sent over “small arms and ammunition, clocks, books, a telegraph, tea, whiskey, wine, stoves, farm implements, seeds, perfume, telescopes and charts.”5 The significant impact this had upon Japanese culture was that it introduced the beginning of an eternal change; it began the industrialisation of Japan which is especially significant as Japan today is heavily impacted by the industrial revolution that occurred around 1868 with the Meiji period. This was significant as it opened up Japan’s future because as Japan had few natural resources, it based its economy on the import of raw materials...
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