Japan and China are two nations from East Asia that are close to each other; however, they differ significantly. Like most eastern nations, Japanese culture has been influenced by Chinese civilization significantly. Despite this fact, they differ in many aspects (Liu et al., 2019). The reason for this is due to Japan’s self-isolation, which lasted till the Meiji revolution. Buchtel et al. (2018) define cultural differences as expressions, practices, languages, beliefs, and behaviors considered unique to individuals from similar race, ethnicity, and origin. While Japanese and Chinese cultures are similar to some extent, including conservation moderation and Confucian values, they vary in regards to religion as well as the emphasis on social harmony.
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Though most Chinese and Japanese cultural features are different, there are some commonalities in terms of conservation moderation and Confucian values. Both nations, cultures put a lot of emphasis on Confucian values. In both countries, blatant consumerism and a greater tendency of saving as part of the moral and social fabric are common. Duara (2018) notes that this cultural habit has partly resulted from the family’s priority which not only continues nowadays but also has been very important in the recovery of the two nations’ economies. Therefore, conservation moderation and Confucian values make foreigners think that Japanese and Chinese cultures are similar.
However, there are considerable differences between Chinese and Japanese cultures. The most notable one is in terms of religion. Unlike the Chinese citizens, the Japanese people tend to be more religious and follow Shinto or Buddhism. Japanese sacred gardens and temples are located throughout the country, and elaborate religious ceremonies are common public occasions. The freedom of worship is a part of the Japanese constitution, and the government ensures this freedom (Bullivant et al., 2019). A significant number of Japanese also practice Christianity. China, on the other hand, is a communist country, and this makes most Chinese adopt atheism. The Chinese Communist Party, the only ruling party, prohibits its members, who are more than 90 million individuals, from having religious beliefs as, according to communist ideology, spirituality and party membership are incompatible. Also, the Chinese constitution is strict on religious groups allowed, and people from other groups are frequently prosecuted. As a result, meetings and religious ceremonies are typically held privately.
Emphasis on social harmony is another significant difference between Chinese and Japanese cultures. In Japan, societal harmony is highly emphasized, and society always expects every individual to be disciplined. Even when talking among themselves, Japanese people follow a very polite approach. This explains why it is almost impossible to hear people quarreling or yelling at each other publicly in Japan. In contrast, the Chinese represent a typical developing nation due to its less polite conduct in society (Kádár et al., 2019). Individuals in China are more likely to be shouting at each other. Therefore, emphasis on social harmony marks another apparent distinction between the two nations’ cultures.
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In conclusion, Chinese and Japanese cultures’ divergent features are due to the influence of particular factors such as interaction with foreign nations and geographical position. While some similarities exist between the nations, there are significant differences. As both are the same in terms of conservation moderation and Confucian values, they differ regarding religious practices as well as the emphasis on social harmony. These contrasting factors are likely to be evident in the future.
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