Japan\'s Culture

Japan\'s Culture

The Japanese culture dates back to 10,000

BC with many fascinating periods and events. They span from the days of
the samurai and shogun, to 1945 when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.

Although a bomb would be a devastating blow for any country, rapid industrialization
and aid from the United States brought Japan to the forefront of world
affairs. In the following moments I will attempt to highlight some
of the many unique characteristics that Japan has woven throughout its
nation. This will include the climate, people, religion, customs, and business
protocol. Anyone seeking further information on topics I was unable to
cover may wish to refer to my sources "The Insight Guides to Japan" or

"The Berlitz Pocket Guides Japan."

Japan is roughly the size of California
with a population of 120million Japanese, 670,000 Koreans and 130,000 of
other nationalities. The capital of Japan is Tokyo and the government is
a parliamentary democracy, made up of elected representatives. The country
is divided into 47 prefectures, each with a governor. The climate in Japan
is generally mild although the country does stretch over 1,700 miles, so
there is some variation according to region and season. The rainy season
lasts from mid June to mid July followed by six weeks of extreme heat and
humidity. September brings the wind and the rains and often some typhoons
. The remainder of the year is mild in the 50’s, 40.s, and 30,s until March
when the temps climb back up eventually to 70,s in mid summer.

Japan is a wondrous country filled with
a rich cultural heritage and many customs that are different from those
in the western world. The customs in Japan have created many do’s and don’ts
that make travel to Japan very interesting. Many Americans have been
guilty of cultural ignorance when in Japan..in Japan the religions of Buddhism,

Christianity, Islam, and Shinto exist. The Japanese have incorporated shrines
into their homes enabling them to worship on their own time and own terms.

The Japanese visit ancestral gravesites ritually and have a custom of honoring
their dead. In fact each year in August the Japanese take time off for
paying homage to there dead. " People flock to the cemeteries to visit
ancestral graves, praying and sometimes even asking for guidance
in their lives.One of the social customs in Japan is drinking sake during
the winter. This legendary alcoholic beverage is made from rice. Sake represents
the glory of winter and the traditions of Japan. Another traditional drink
ofJapan is hot tea which is customary year around unsweetened and without
milk. Anyone visiting a Japanese or Hibachi restaurant will be served tea
automatically, however there is no need to worry about the tip as for hotels
and restaurants already add a 10 –15 % service charge to the bill.

Other social customs in Japan include seating
for meals on the floor and enjoying many cultural delights, one being raw
fish "sushi". It is customary to remove your shoes when entering a building,
to bow upon greeting, to respect your elders, and to give gifts of money
on special occasions such as weddings, birthdays, and funerals.Valentines
day is an American holiday, however in Japan this day has been marked as
an opportunity for women to give chocolates to men that they like, which
emphasizes traditional Japanese culture of inferiors giving gifts to there
superiors. Traditionally it has been the role of women to serve the men,
which is ever so slowly beginning to evolve. In Japan there is a
lot of emphasis put on respect and honor. Rather than saying Mr. or Mrs.,

San is put after the name for respect.Those whom do business with the Japanese
must understand that the Japanese business persons have certain customs
and practices that include the exchange of business cards, the bow, gift
giving, as well as the types of conduct during business meetings, improper
conduct could jeopardize the outcome of any future business with the Japanese.Japanese
students are required to clean both their schools and there neighborhoods.

One negative characteristic in school is
the lack of individualism and freedom of choice with enormous pressure
placed on youth to excel academically. Students recruited for white-collar
jobs while still in the university are hired directly after graduation
usually remaining with the same company throughout their career!

Most Japanese incorporate a morning exercise session for all employees.

Having awareness of the Japanese culture is not only important in Japan,
its also important for areas frequently visited by Japanese. One area in
the United States is Honolulu, Hawaii. Honolulu has a tremendous amount
of Japanese tourists