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Japan’s History and Culture on a Global Scale Essay

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Updated: Jun 2nd, 2021

Introduction

Unearthing the history and culture of Japan is an intricate endeavor. Among the current major powers, Japan is the most distinctive in its environment and culture. The origin of the Japanese language is among the most disputed arguments in linguistics (Diamond par. 4-5). Such arguments are vital to the self-image of the Japanese and to the manner in which other people perceive them. This paper discusses Japan’s history and culture under the creative legacies theme while focusing on hindrances and advantages in the country’s contributions to the world’s civilization and knowledge. The increasing dominance of Japan and touchy affiliations with the neighbors make it more significant to stand against myths and get answers.

The hunt for answers is complex since the proof is exceedingly conflicting. For instance, Japanese are biologically indistinctive, and their looks and genes are comparable to the Koreans and some Asians. 1868 marked a period of the modernization of Japan, with the Meiji restoration leading to the centralization of everything about the emperor.

History

Historical affirmations have created the notion that the Japanese are intrinsically not creative. All through history, Japan has methodically absorbed technological and scientific principles from overseas. In the course of more than 200 years of state-enforced insulation from European rebellion and Christianity, from around 1630 to 1850, the nation’s scholars collected scientific and technological details systematically from Dutch sources (Coleman 5). A trend of American and European intrusions in Northeast Asia starting in the 1850s compelled leaders in Japan to search for more enlightenment from the West, with the objective of centering on military and engineering disciplines.

Towards the end of the 19th century, the Meiji Period witnessed quick industrialization, urbanization, transformation, and adjustment of Western organizational endeavors. Such advancements stimulated the establishment of a higher education system in Japan. The stress on the establishment of university education, nevertheless, strongly influenced the assimilation of foreign knowledge and technology transfer, especially in sectors such as engineering that experienced instant applications.

The overall pattern of copy-from-overseas continued for some period after the end of the Second World War, as confirmed in comprehensive copyright certification and reverse engineering, taking part in the assessment of successful products from competitors (Coleman 5). Foreign language acquisition following the war, with its inculcation of reading capacity at the cost of productive proficiencies, revealed the nation’s knowledge-gathering stance.

In 1937, Sakichi Toyoda made significant contributions to the Japanese Industrial Revolution when he established the Toyota Corporation. This has turned out to be one of the most successful and biggest car companies across the globe. Though Japan has a far-reaching and interesting history, it was not swayed by foreign nations, and its culture has thrived in isolation. Nonetheless, the moment her ports began operating and trading with the US, Japan started to industrialize and develop (Tsutsui 23-27). Ultimately, the nation has risen into a mighty world power. After successfully overcoming numerous obstacles subsequent to the Second World War with the help of the United States, Japan rebuilt its financial systems and currently remains an economic power.

The traditional Jomon community existed from 14,500 to around 300 BCE. They were the early hunters and gatherers who made pottery with a complexity that still amazes to date. The Yayoi befriended the Jomon community, interacted with the Chinese, tilled the land, and erected a fundamental political formation. At the same period, the Japanese language borrowed Kanji, good-looking and charming characters, from China (Walker 19-23).

A military nation referred to as the Yamato confederation arose and took pride in having the first monarch who acted as a god. The remnants of the Jomon community, the Emishi, were subjugated by the Buddhist theocracy, who established a new center in Kyoto. In 737, an outbreak of smallpox gave room for the first immunization against such future occurrences. Numerous upheavals, volcanic eruptions, and a comparatively weak nation resulted in the leadership of Samurai in 1185. In the course of the Onin battle, Kyoto collapsed, and armed Buddhist Sectarians spread turmoil.

The 16th century led to the connection of the three big names in the history of Japan, which included Hideyoshi, Ieyasu, and Nobunaga. Europeans’ router, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, attacked Korea two times with prospects on China. Although he was driven back from the Korean peninsula, Hideyoshi greatly expanded his Japanese territory (Walker 34-38). This made Tokugawa bring the Japanese under single rule following his conquest in 1600. In the course of the moderately stable period, Japan conquered the Ainu at a place called Hokkaido. Merchants increased in wealth, there was the emergence of a sentiment of Japanese exceptionalism, and the Americans arrived. The most recent in a sequence of occurrences and the ensuing unequal treaties assisted in the facilitation of the downfall of the Tokugawa Shogunate.

With blood taxes being charged and interests of the nation overshadowing those of individuals, increased industrialization resulted in intensive development and prosperity for some individuals while others suffered pollution, melancholy, and death. The mining of copper and coal resulted in the destruction of fertile lands. This was so intense that it made Tanaka Shozu, an environmentalist, decry the activities, affirming that the government was waging war against its people. Enhanced militarization resulted in Japan overpowering Russia in 1905 (Walker 49-53). Mistrust of the wealthy individuals with the rising industrialization was caused by the dishonesty of Taisho Democracy and the several political assassinations that followed.

After the withdrawal of the US influence on Japan in 1952, the country turned into an industrial powerhouse. In the 1960s, its economy developed greatly despite numerous high-profile pollution lawsuits revealing the ugly underside of its splendor. Japan’s success then started declining gradually in the 1990s (Walker 51-53). It is at this time that conflicts with China came up and worsened. Moreover, numerous calamities struck, and a dangerous earthquake was experienced. This sent immense waves over the densely populated regions and resulted in the meltdowns of a nuclear plant. Such occurrences are a solemn portrayal of the susceptibility of Japan as a nation consisting of Islands.

As Japan seeks to recover from past disasters, it experiences issues of over-fishing, exceedingly low birthrates, and increasing climatic changes, which it experiences along with most nations in the West. In the recent past, some Japanese have attempted to revise the victory of the Second World War into a less imperialist account of occurrences (Walker 57-59). The rising trouble with China has provoked questions regarding the wisdom in some parts of the constitution. The once ardent doctrine of passivism has developed some cracks. Nonetheless, Japan effectively promotes its popular culture across the globe and upholds an affable and largely productive connection with its greatest enemy in the Second World War, the US.

Culture

Japan’s distinctive culture started with its exclusive topography and environment. Comparisons show that Japan is far more secluded than Britain, which is just about twenty-two miles from the coast of France. Japan is more than one hundred miles from the nearest position in the mainland of Asia, which is South Korea. It also lies nearly 200 miles from the Russian mainland and approximately 500 miles from China (Diamond par. 5-6).

Moreover, climatic conditions have been found to make Japan unique. The rainfall it experiences, which is nearly 120 inches every year, results in its being the wettest temperate nation across the globe. Apart from the rains in winter that occur across Europe, Japan is also rainy during the summer growing season, which offers it the greatest plant yield than any country in the temperate region.

Just about 20% of the land in Japan does not have mountains inappropriate for farming as approximately 15% is agricultural land (Diamond par. 6-8). Nonetheless, a standard square mile of the farmland is fertile to the extent that it feeds eightfold more people than an equal ordinary area in Britain. The high rainfall in Japan also provides unparalleled support for the forests that regenerate fast after logging. Regardless of the thousands of years supporting a dense population, Japan is still in a position to give visitors a welcoming impression of greenness since over 70% of the land comprises forests.

Just as they like to emphasize, the Japanese are biologically and culturally somewhat uniform, with the exemption of the characteristic community of the Ainu in the northern island. A careful analysis appears to imply that the Japanese only got to the country recently from the mainland of Asia, not long enough to allow the development of major differences with their other cousins in Japan or displace the original inhabitants, the Ainu. Nevertheless, if that were the case, the Japanese language could be anticipated to demonstrate close similarity to a number of mainland languages as the case of English, which is comparable with other Germanic languages (Diamond par. 7-9). It is difficult to resolve the inconsistency between the seemingly ancient language in Japan and the proof for recent origins.

The Japanese culture is intricate and has both hindrances and advantages. If corporations wish to invest in Japan, they should start by understanding the main components of Japanese culture over and above its influence on the means of conducting business. If organizations fail to comprehend and make suitable adjustments, they could inadvertently offend Japanese sensitivities and fail in their endeavors.

Japan has made remarkable contributions in numerous technical and scientific domains (Mason and Caiger 48-50). Particularly, the nation has played a vital role in the digital revolution and has established various modern innovative and extensive technologies in sectors such as robotics and electronics established by Japanese entrepreneurs. Japanese popular culture, which is highly influenced by its electronic expertise, commands considerable control internationally.

Praying for practical gains is a widespread religious endeavor in Japan. It is referred to as gene teriyaki. It has an extensive nature, and a vast number of individuals pray and buy talismans for everything beginning with road safety and educational success to victory in businesses and protection from ailments. However, the practice has been largely disregarded in academic disciplines or pushed to the sidelines as an occurrence of superstition and deviation from the actual dynamics of religious beliefs. Establishing their research on a combination of textual, chronological, ethnographic, and current materials, Reader and Tanabe show the myth of such perspectives, demonstrating that, apart from being sidelined, the perception and performance of gene teriyaki are found at the core of the Japanese spiritual world (23-25).

Genze teriyaki exists just as a widespread religious practice, although it is backed by the doctrinal formations of numerous Buddhist divisions, is ordained in religious teachings, and is supported by basic training establishments, holy places, and temples. The gains are both sought and purchased, and Reader and Tanabe talk about the financial and commercial facets of why and how establishments uphold practical benefits (33-35). Concentration is drawn to the dynamism and flexibility in the spiritual settings where new products are provided in reaction to the varying demands. Interlinked in economic endeavors and stimulations are the assertions that strengthen and justify the advancement and application of underlying gains.

Conclusion

In the midst of the current great powers, Japan is the most characteristic in its surroundings and culture. This paper has shed light on Japan’s history and culture under the creative legacies theme. It has focused on barriers and advantages in the country’s contributions to the world’s culture and knowledge. 1868 was a period of the transformation of Japan, with the Meiji restoration bringing about the centralization of major things around the ruler.

Improved militarization led to Japan subduing Russia in 1905. Following the withdrawal of the United States control on Japan in 1952, the nation rose to become an industrial powerhouse. The exclusive culture of Japan is supported by the outstanding topography and environment. The culture and the history of Japan are complex and hold both impediments and benefits. For companies that desire to invest in Japan, there is a need to understand the main elements of Japanese culture besides its influence on the approach of carrying out business.

Works Cited

Coleman, Samuel. Japanese Science: From the Inside. Routledge, 1999.

Diamond, Jared. “In Search of Japanese Roots.” Discover, 1998. Web.

Mason, Richard, and John Caiger. A History of Japan. 2nd ed., Tuttle Publishing, 1997.

Reader, Ian, and George Tanabe. Practically Religious: Worldly Benefits and the Common Religion of Japan. University of Hawaii Press, 1998.

Tsutsui, William. Japanese Popular Culture and Globalization. Association for Asian Studies, 2010.

Walker, Brett. A Concise History of Japan. Cambridge University Press, 2015.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Japan's History and Culture on a Global Scale." June 2, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/japans-history-and-culture-on-a-global-scale/.

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