On this page, one can find an overview of Japanese culture, which
A culture's worldview is an
essential tool in understanding that culture. Worldview affects our perceptions, values, and
beliefs. Religion, traditions, and typologies also influence a
Here are a few interesting looks into Japanese
Their culture pays close attention to detail and uses fate as
a guiding force in life.
They value politeness, especially in unspoken greetings; for
example, they bow formally in silence instead of shaking hands.
More on bowing
This culture values the elderly as an essential part of society
and as a source of
wisdom and knowledge.
Japanese characteristics for credibility are valued as gravely important. These
characteristics include social status, silence, sympathy, prudence,
flexibility, and humility.
who talk a lot are not considered credible in Japanese culture.
The Japanese people are beginning to see western influences and
capitalism move into their culture every day, especially among their
the Japanese culture is slowly becoming more westernized, they have many
typologies specific to Japanese culture. The following information
has been summarized from Communication Between Cultures by Samovar
They are a collectivist culture because they do not live life for individual advancement,
are not completely group oriented either. They fall into the middle of the statistics.
This culture has a rather low uncertainty avoidance. This
that they are not very comfortable with new ideas, changes, or
technologies. Because of this
knowledge, it is not surprising that they find written rules, regulations,
rituals, and ceremonies to be a principal part of life in order to add
structure to their lives.
The Japanese are ranked in the middle on the power distance
continuum. Power distance deals with the members of a culture and
their relationship to power. Countries who rely on hierarchies are
considered to have a high power distance while countries who share equal responsibilities
and an equal amount of power have a low power distance. Japan is a
low power distance culture who believe that inequality should be minimized.
The Japanese are a masculine culture, meaning that masculine
or “dominant” traits are valued in society rather than feminine or
“nurturing” societal traits. They
are ranked number 1 for masculinity among other dominant
cultures. This trait can be
seen directly through the political system where women hold only 5% of political offices.
Japanese believe that human nature is inherently good.
The Japanese people are a past-oriented culture,
which can be partially accredited to their Shinto beliefs.
They also place high
importance on interpersonal harmony.
They are a high context culture signified by their beliefs on
age, sex, stature, education, titles, backgrounds, and affiliations.
Japanese worldview and typologies have been influenced by their historical
background, such as wars, leaders, religion, and natural disasters.
The history of Japan is very long and complex. It is categorized
into several historical periods. The information summarized here
comes from David Turkington's "Chronology of Japanese History," at http://home.owc.net/~dturk/japanhistory/japanhistory.html as
well as from Schawecker's "Guide to Japan," at http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2126.html
= ancient times - 300 B.C.
= 300 B.C. - 250
introduced to Japanese. Because of rice introduction to their
culture, a social hierarchy is developed.
small countries start to unify into larger countries.
period = 300 - 550
- Japan is for the first time unified.
- Large groups migrate form western Kyushu to go Northeast and settle
Yamato plain. Also, the "imperial" uji (tribes/clans)
take over other uji with through military usage.
- Chinese writing system is given to the Japanese from the King of
Paekche for sparing his people during a Japanese dispute with
- Korea takes their land back.
period = 550 - 710
- King of Paekche introduces Buddhism to Japan.
- Prince Shotoku's Constitution of 17 Articles is promulgated. (moral and political
645 - Taika
reform is introduced. The Fujiwara era begins.
- First land distribution is created.
- Civil war between the members of Emperor Tenchi's family. (aka
- Imperial Edict issued. (tells how they selected men for
- Order issued that tells all official houses must contain small
- Possession of weapons by private persons is prohibited.
- Construction of capital city, Nara, begins.
period = 710 - 794
- Nara becomes the first permanent capital city.
712 - Kojiki
scrolls are completed. (three different mythological and
- Taiho Code is completed which adjusts legislation codes.
- 30 Nihonshoki scrolls completed. (adjust laws and
- Kegon sect of Buddhism is introduced from China.
738 - Todaiji is
founded and serves as the family temple for the imperial family.
- Government builds one temple and one nunnery in each province.
- Manyoshu is completed; it is a compilation of 4000 poems the early
- Emperor Shotuku installs Confucian foundations on the state.
- Famine and a pox epidemic spread throughout the country.
784 - Capital
moves to Nagaoka.
- Construction of a new capital city, Heian, (Kyoto) is started.
= 794 - 1185
794 - Capital
moves to Heian (Kyoto).
1016 - Fujiwara
Michinaga becomes regent.
1159 - Taira
clan takes over after Heiji war under the rule of Taira Kiyomori.
1175 - Jodo sect
of Buddhism begins.
Minamoto clan ends to Taira clan during Gempei war.
period = 1185 - 1333
1191 - Zen sect
of Buddhism starts.
1192 - Minamoto
Yoritomo becomes shogun and begins Kamakura government.
1221 - Struggle
between Kamakura and Kyoto end due to the Jokyu Disturbance.
This also ends the reign of Hojo regents in Kamakura.
1232 - Joei
Shikimoku, a legal code is founded.
1274 and 1281 -
Mongols try to invade Japanese ground two times, but tries do not work
due to weather problems.
1333 - Kamakura
period = 1338 - 1573
1334 - Kemmu
restoration: emperor is restored to Japan.
1336 - Ashikaga
Takauji captures Kyoto.
1337 - Emperor
leaves area and establishes himself in Yoshino.
1338 - Takauji
starts Muromachi government and becomes the second emperor in Kyoto.
1392 - Southern
and Northern courts unite.
1467-1477 - Onin
Portuguese introduce firearms and christianity to the Japanese.
1568 - Nobunaga
comes to Kyoto.
1573 - Muromachi
Momoyama period = 1573 - 1603
1575 - Takeda
clan gets defeated in the during Nagashino battle.
1582 - Nobunaga
is murdered. Toyotomi Hideyoshi takes over.
1588 - During
"Sword Hunt," Hideyoshi confiscates all weapons from farmers
and religious institutions.
1590 - Japan
reunites at end of Odawara (Hoji) reign.
1592-98 - Japan
unsuccessfully tries to invade Korea.
1598 - Hideyoshi
1600 - Tokugawa
Ieyasu beats his rivals during the battle of Sekigahara.
Edo period =
1603 - 1867
1603 - Ieyasu
becomes shogun and begins Tokugawa government in Edo (Tokyo).
1614 - Ieyasu
1615 - Toyotomi
clan ends after Ieyasu takes over Osaka castle.
1639 - Much
isolation in Japan.
Genroku era begins. Popular culture starts to establish itself.
1792 - Russians
try without success to start trading with Japan.
1854 - Commodore
Matthew Perry makes Japanese goverment open some of its trade ports.
= 1868 - 1912
1868 - Meiji
1872 - Japanese
build first railway line between Tokyo and Yokohama.
1889 - Meiji
1910 - Korea is
1912 - Emperor
= 1912 - 1926
= 1926 - 1989
1937 - 2nd
Sino-Japanese War begins.
1941 - Pacific
1945 - Japanese
troops surrender after 2 atomic bombs are dropped on Hiroshima and
1946 - A new
constitution is established.
1952 - Allied
forces end occupation of Japan.
1956 - Japan
Normalization of Chinese relations.
1973 - Oil
crisis hit Japan.
= 1989 - present