Japanese Society



Japanese Society in the news

ENTERTAINMENT Movie about groping has world premiere in New York 

Japan Today - Jan 12 11:07 AM
Yattenai), the first film directed by Masayuki Suo in over 10 years, made its world premiere at New York's Japan Society on Thursday. The film takes a critical look at how Japanese courts deal with the societal problem of "chikan," or men who use the anonymity of crowded trains to grope women.
Japan PM arrives in France for talks on NKorea, China 
AFP via Yahoo! News - Jan 12 11:24 AM
Japanese premier arrived in France on the final leg of his four-nation European tour for talks on North Korea's nuclear ambitions and the European Union's arms embargo against China.

Relations with Japanese Communist Party firmed 
Viet Nam News - Jan 11 8:24 AM
HA NOI — General Secretary of the Communist Party of Viet Nam (CPV) Nong Duc Manh welcomed the leaders of the Japanese Communist Party (JCP) in Ha Noi yesterday, and discussed ways to promote bilateral relations between the two parties.

Showdown looms with Japanese whalers in Antarctic, activist warns 
AFP via Yahoo! News - Jan 10 12:46 AM
A potentially violent showdown is looming in the icy waters of the Antarctic between shipborne activists and the Japanese whaling fleet, a conservationist warned Wednesday.

- Japanes Society

Here is an article on Japanese Society.

After several waves of immigration from the continent and nearby Pacific islands (see History of Japan), followed Japanees Society by a heavy importation of culture from China, the inhabitants of Japan experienced a long period Japnese Society of relative Jappanese Society isolation from the outside world under the Tokugawa shogunate until the arrival of the "The Japanse Society Black Ships" and the Meiji era. As a result, a culture distinctively different from other Japannese Society Asian cultures developed, and echoes Japanee Society of this persist in contemporary Japan.

The Japanese language has always played a Apanese Society significant role in Japanese culture. Nemawashi, for example, indicates consensus achieved through careful preparation. It reflects the Japaese Society harmony that is desired and respected within Japanese culture.

Although the Japanese are better known Japamese Society for their physical comedy outside of Japan, they have intricate humor Japanesee Society and jokes. Because this humor Japnaese Society relies so heavily on Japanese language, culture, religion, and ethics, it is generally considered to be Jpanese Society very difficult to translate.

"The Great Wave at Kanagawa". Ukiyo-e woodcut by Katsushika Hokusai


  • 1 Comparative cultural studies
  • 2 Food
  • 3 Religion
  • 4 Visual Arts
    • 4.1 Painting
    • 4.2 Calligraphy
    • 4.3 Sculpture
    • 4.4 Ukiyo-e
    • 4.5 Ikebana
  • 5 Architecture
  • 6 Media
  • 7 Popular culture
    • 7.1 Kawaii
    • 7.2 Geinōkai
  • 8 Sports
  • 9 See also
  • 10 References
  • 11 Footnotes
  • 12 External links

Comparative cultural studies

Main article: Nihonjinron

The Japanese culture is often perceived as "uniquely unique". This leads to the widespread application of cultural "us" and "them" studies of Japan, wherein Japanese culture is placed next to Western culture (particularly the culture of the United States, rather than considered independently). Such studies have a tendency to overstate the importance of certain aspects of Japanese culture, as they are particularly foreign to a Western ethnocentric observer, and gloss over vital parts of the Japanese culture as they are not remarkable from an ethnocentric perspective.

Among the founding works in modern Japan studies (and of Nihonjinron), and one of the foremost comparative cultural studies of Japan, is the 1945 book The Chrysanthemum and the Sword, Ruth Benedict proposed that Japan has a shame culture (external reference standard) rather than the guilt culture (internal reference standard) that is common in the West. According to Benedict, inter-relationships between people are heavily influenced by concepts of "honor", "obligation", and "duty" in a way that is much less true in the more individualistic West. Finally, The Chrysanthemum and the Sword asserts that generalized conceptions of morality and desirable behavior are less developed in Japan, where particular and situational obligations to family, school, and friends tend to guide behavior. See: Japanese values.


{nihongo/Kimono means "something one wears"} are the traditional garments of Japan. Originally, the word "kimono" was used for all types of clothing, but eventually, it came to refer specifically to the full-length garment also known as {nihongo/naga-gi and it means "long-wear"}, that is still worn today on special occasions by women, men, and children. It is often known as {nihongo/wafuku and it means "Japanese clothes"}. Kimono often come in a variety of colors, styles, and sizes. Men mainly wear darker or more muted colors, while women tend to wear brighter colors and pastels, and often with complicated abstract or floral patterns.


Main article: Japanese cuisine

Through a long culinary past, the Japanese have developed a sophisticated and refined cuisine highly sensitive to the change of seasons. Modern Japanese enjoy a variety of traditional Japanese food, including the staples of rice and miso, as well as many seafood dishes (sushi and sashimi for instance), and a multitude of foreign dishes. One can easily find Chinese, Korean, and Thai dishes as well as non-regional American, French, and Italian foods. Japanese cuisine is a product of its environment and people. The ease of acquiring fresh ingredients led to sushi, high temperature and humidity led to varieties of pickled and fermented food like natto and soy sauce, and adaptation of foreign cuisines led to ramen.


Main article: Religion in Japan

Religion in Japan is traditionally syncretic: many people in Japan do not ascribe to any single religion, but incorporate the beliefs and traditions of multiple religions into their daily lives. In Japan, by far the most common religions are Shinto and Japanese Buddhism. Religion in Japan tends to be quite "relaxed", with everyday Japanese individuals spending little time concerning themselves with what aspects of their lives are spiritual and what are day-to-day. It is often difficult for outside observers to disentangle religion, superstition, and tradition in Japanese culture: this distinction is often not even recognised by the Japanese people.

Visual Arts

Main article: Japanese art


Main article: Japanese painting

Painting has been an art in Japan for a very long time: the brush is a traditional writing tool, and the extension of that to its use as an artist's tool was probably natural. Native Japanese painting techniques are still in use today, as well as techniques adopted from continental Asia and from the West.


Main article: East Asian calligraphy

The flowing, brush-drawn Japanese language lends itself to complicated calligraphy. As in other East Asian countries, the rendering of text itself is seen as a traditional artform as well as a means of conveying written information. This artform is known as Sumi-E (also just Sumi) and invovles making ink by grinding a solid ink stick on a special stone, and mixing it with water.


Main article: Japanese sculpture

Traditionally, Japanese sculpting techniques were derived from Buddhist and Shinto traditions. Wood, often lacquered, gilded, or brightly painted, is the most common traditional sculpting material. Bronze and other metals are also important. Other materials, such as stone and pottery, have had extremely important roles in the history of Japanese sculpture.


Main article: ukiyo-e

Ukiyo-e (浮世絵 lit. "pictures of the floating world"?) is a genre of woodblock prints that, too many, characterize pre-Meiji Japanese art. Because these prints could be mass-produced, they were available to a wide cross-section of the Japanese populace - those not wealthy enough to afford original paintings - during their heyday, from the 17th to 20th century.

The widespread popularity of ukiyo-e prints lead to their recognition as a very Japanese artform, which in turn has lead to significant modern mimicry of ukiyo-e stylings in advertisements, posters, and other art including manga.


Main article: ikebana

Ikebana (ja:いけばなor華道?) is the art of Japanese flower arranging. It has gained widespread international fame for its focus on harmony, color use, rhythm, and elegantly simple design. Ikebana is widely practiced in Japan today, as well as around the world.


Main article: Japanese architecture

Traditional Japanese architecture is distinct, with influence from China colored by characteristics from other sources, and original Japanese innovations. Traditional architecture affects many modern buildings, and can be seen in more pure form in Shinto shrines, Buddhist temples, and historical buildings.

Modern Japanese architecture is well-known in the world, with the works of such architects as Tadao Ando and Shigeru Ban achieving global fame.


Main article: Japanese Television and Radio

In Japan, about 100 million television sets are in use, and television is the main form of home entertainment and information for most of the population. The Japanese have a wide variety of programs to choose from, including the various dramas (police, crime, home, and jidaigeki — historical dramas), anime, news, game, quiz, and sports shows provided by the Japan Broadcasting Corporation (Nippon Hoso Kyokai--NHK) general station, the NHK educational station, and numerous commercial and independent stations. The violence of samurai and police dramas, and the satirical humor of the cartoons as well as many depictions of sexuality have drawn criticism from mothers and commentators.

Popular culture

Dragon Ball by Toriyama Akira

Japanese popular culture not only reflects the attitudes and concerns of the present but also provides a link to the past. Popular films, television programs, comics, and music all developed from older artistic and literary traditions, and many of their themes and styles of presentation can be traced to traditional art forms. Contemporary forms of popular culture, much like the traditional forms, provide not only entertainment but also an escape for the contemporary Japanese from the problems of an industrial world. When asked how they spent their leisure time, 80 percent of a sample of men and women surveyed by the government in 1986 said they averaged about two and one-half hours per weekday watching television, listening to the radio, and reading newspapers or magazines. Some 16 percent spent an average of two and one-quarter hours a day engaged in hobbies or amusements. Others spent leisure time participating in sports, socializing, and personal study. Teenagers and retired people reported more time spent on all of these activities than did other groups.

In the late 1980s, the family was the focus of leisure activities, such as excursions to parks or shopping districts. Although Japan is often thought of as a hard-working society with little time for pleasure, the Japanese seek entertainment wherever they can. It is common to see Japanese commuters riding the train to work, enjoying their favorite manga or listening through earphones to the latest in popular music on portable music players.

A wide variety of types of popular entertainment are available. There is a large selection of music, films, and the products of a huge comic book industry, among other forms of entertainment, from which to choose. Game centers, bowling alleys, and karaoke are popular hangout places for teens while older people may play shogi or go in specialized parlors.


Kawaii is a Japanese term which means "cute". Cuteness seems to be a highly valued aesthetic quality in Japanese society and particularly Japanese pop culture, and overpowering cuteness seems to carry less of the stigma of infantilization as it does in many other cultures. Kawaii is pronounced (not to be confused with "kowai", the Japanese term for "scary"). "Kawaii" can be used to describe animals and people, including fully grown adults; while attractive women are usually described as "kawaii," young men are more likely to be described as "good looking" or "cool". "Kawaii" is also used to describe some men who are considered to have "cute" personalities.


The Geinōkai is the world of Japanese entertainment, encompassing everything from movies and television (including talk shows, music shows, variety shows, etc.) to radio and now the Internet. Geinojin is a term, often used interchangeably with tarento, which refers to members of the Geinōkai. Tarento is an adaptation of the English word 'talent' and refers to a rather large group of people who appear on television from night to night, but cannot be quite classified as actors, singers, or models (and are thus given the more vague appellation of "talent" instead). Tarento usually appear on variety shows, talk shows and may later move into acting or singing if they are successful.


Main article: Japanese sports

Popular professional sports in Japan can be categorized into either traditional sports like Sumo wrestling or imported sports like baseball and football (soccer). In addition, many amateur sports are popular in Japan, such as table tennis, tennis, volleyball, basketball, golf and Rugby football and rugby. Popular amateur sports native to Japan include Japanese martial arts and martial arts like kendo and judo. Professional wrestling is also very popular in Japan.

See also

  • 100-yen shop
  • Anime
  • Arranged marriages in Japan
  • Art
  • Architecture
  • Bonsai
  • Bunraku
  • Calendar
  • Cell phone culture
  • Japanese Fashion
  • Cinema of Japan
  • Communications
  • Culture of Japanese management
  • Customs
  • Cuteness in Japanese culture
  • Education
  • Festivals
  • Gardens
  • Japanese pottery
  • Cosplay
  • Gothic Lolita
  • Hikikomori
  • Homosexuality in Japan
  • Ikebana
  • Japanese traditional dance
  • Manga
  • Manzai
  • Miniaturization
  • Names
  • New year
  • Onsen (hot spring)
  • Origami
  • Otaku
  • Owarai
  • Japanese pens and stationery
  • Pornography in Japan
  • Japanese sword
  • Para Para
  • Religion in Japan
  • Sento (public baths)
  • Shodo
  • Tea ceremony
  • Theatre of Japan
    • Kabuki
    • Noh
    • Bunraku
  • Toilets
  • Tokusatsu
  • Tourism in Japan
  • Japanese values
  • Video games, sometimes adapted from anime
  • Visual Kei
  • Washi
  • J-pop(Japanese popular music)


  • This article contains material from the Library of Congress Country Studies, which are United States government publications in the public domain. - Japan


    External links

    Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
    Culture of Japan
    • J-LOG - Japan pop culture blog, in Tokyo]
    • http://www.habri.co.uk/ Japanese Society and Culture: broad overview of 21st century issues - demography, employment, suicide, education, lifestyle, etc.
    • Japan Cultural Profile - national cultural portal for Japan created by Visiting Arts/Japan Foundation
    • MusicJAPAN+ - Web Magazine of J-Pop Music Culture
    • Japanese Culture Articles including Kendo, Ukiyo-E, Sumo Wrestling, Art, and more.
    • Romances from Old Japan -(Early Japanese short stories and folk tales; Pre-1919 and thus public domain. Full text and is illustrated.)
    • Electronic journal of contemporary Japanese studies
    • Japan SAQ (Seldom Asked Questions)
    • Noh mask master Shigeharu Nagasawa Noh Masks / 長澤重春能面集 Old Japanese
    • Plastic Bamboo - Latest pop culture news from Japan in English
    • Japanese Culture Guide @ Picturetokyo.com Culture A-Z
    Search Term: "Culture_of_Japan"