‘They look similar and so they’re same’ – THIS IS WRONG! The similarities and differences between the two countries Japan and China, in terms of languages, cultures, food and mannerism, are as good as any other neighbouring countries in the world. Heavily influenced by the Chinese culture, Japanese culture stands vastly distinctive from any other Asian country. It’s a fact that the Japanese and Chinese cultures do share some similarities, and here we are to compare and contrast two of the rich cultures in the world.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE JAPANESE & CHINESE CULTURE
1. Homogenous and Heterogeneous
The long history and exposure to several nationalities from Indians to the Europeans has brought in a lot of heterogeneity in Chinese culture. Whereas, Japan has remained isolated from external influence for the majority of its recorded history – a factor, which, along with its smaller size has allowed Japan to have a far more homogenous society. These differences in the cultures have deviated apart further because of the Japanese high growth since the twentieth century.
2. Region and beliefs
Japanese follow Buddhism and Shinto beliefs and are far more religious than the Chinese people. However, a modern Japanese person will have seldom time to spare for the religion and his religious practices may vary from his ancestor’s practices.
3. Harmony and mannerism
China poses a picture of a developing country with harmony and politeness being less common as compared to Japan. Japanese people believe in self-discipline and have a very polite approach. The Japanese culture places a lot of emphasis upon harmony in society.
4. Music and Dance
One of the important features of the Japanese culture is its folk dances and traditional festivities. Japanese music is quite influenced by the Western counterparts. All these are very different from the Chinese dance and music.
5. Food differences
Chinese food is typically spicy and fried; it does not have subtle flavours and involves a lot of cooking. Chinese local food matches to a lot of other Asian countries’ local food, whereas Japanese food is vastly different. Japanese food involves less cooking or frying, far less spicy and has subtle flavours.
SIMILARITIES BETWEEN THE JAPANESE & CHINESE CULTURE
1. The Patriarchal system of inheritance
Like all old Asian cultures, many of the traditions are woven around the family structure and social hierarchy that they have nurtured over several centuries. In Japanese and Chinese culture, gender roles play an important part in the society and are highly differentiated. Both the societies follow the patriarchal system of inheritance, where the head of the family will always be the eldest male member.
2. Buddhism and Confucianism
Both China and Japan provide a lot of emphasis on Confucian values in life. Confucianism, along with Buddhism is one of the common links that bind the two cultures.
3. Language and Vocabulary
There are many similarities in the symbol characters in Japan and the symbol characters in China. These similarities in the languages and vocabulary act as a common link between a Japanese and a Chinese.
4. Western influence
The influence of the western culture is equal in to both the countries and their people. Japanese and Chinese both have adopted western and modern outfits as their daily wears. Despite the western influence, Japanese and Chinese both are glued to their languages, script and traditions.
5. Art and architecture
Both the societies have commonalities in music, arts, sculpture and architecture due to the continuous exchanges between people. The roof structures giving a pagoda-like appearance is the common architecture in both the countries. Martial arts is popular among the people in Asia in general but more in these two countries. However, it is only the popularity of Martial Arts that is common because there are differences in the techniques coming from both the countries.
These comparisons throw light upon the generic assumptions about China and Japan being exactly the same in terms of culture. Our aim was to bring out these interesting comparisons between the misunderstood countries. We believe that the beauty of languages and cultures lies in being greatly distinctive as they are.