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Thread: Shock of Western vs Japanese values

  1. #51
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reiku
    On the other hand, while Japan itself is relatively young, it has retained much closer ties to it's past than the US has--the majority of US society has been thoroughly uprooted and seperated from it's cultural background, with the exception of certain ethnic groups who retain closer ties to their heritage than to the U.S.'s dubious "culture".

    I should also point out that I was referring to the age of a civilization not a particular chunk of land--using anceint greece as an example is pointless for something like this because the anceint greek civilization fell quite some time ago and was later replaced by a new civilization. One could argue that the same thing has happened to Japan, but Nihon stilll retains many cultural aspects both from it's own history and from the much older history of China--while Greece (as well as most other western civilizations) has undergone several complete transformations.
    Are you saying that Germans do not feel ties with the ancient Germanic tribes from which they derive ? Or that Italians do not consider themselves as the heirs of the Romans ? Or that modern Greeks regard themselves as completely a different civilization than ancient Greece (but still call the Olympics their invention) ? Well. if you ask them, I sincerely doubt that their reaction will be very different from what Japanese say they feel toward their ancestors.

    In the same way, the adjective "Gallic" is still used to refer to something typically "French", from France's ancient name "Gallia" (still used in modern Greek language, btw). "Britain" comes from Latin "Britannia". I don't know in the US, but Latin and Ancient Greek are still taught in I think every (Western ?) European school, and my parents' generation almost all had to learn Latin for about 6 years (if you have ever seen some of the Monty Python's movies, you will understand what I mean).

    We use everyday Roman alphabet. English, which comes from the Ancient Anglo-saxon language (outside the Roman empire), has adopted over half of its vocabulary from Latin and Greek. We still quote or learn Greek philosophers (who hasn't heard of Socrates, Plato or Aristotles ?). And we still make movies (not any, but blockbusters) about the Romans (gladiators or various emperors) or Greek legends (Troy, Ulysses, Jason, the Titans, Medusa, Perseus, etc.). The US is a very good example, not just for movies, but architecturally, with neo-classical courts of justice, museums, parliaments, Capitol, White House, etc. Why so much Graeco-Roman influence if it "has been thoroughly uprooted and seperated from it's cultural background", as you say ?

    Then, just looking at names, which reflect a good deal of the culture (and continuity over the centuries, across language groups, and when civilizations collapse and regenerate), I see that most countries of Latin languages still use Roman names, and almost all of them exist and are commonly used in English too (have a look at this short list).

    So I personally do not feel like Westerners have lost touch with their ancient (mostly Graeco-Roman) roots, even in the US. I would even go further and say that these roots are so strong and vivid in everyday life, that people from other completely different cultures like Japan are now aware of quite a bit through Western and mostly American influence (eg. they know Greco-Roman gods, some philosophers or Roman emperors, they can read and write in "romaji", build Graeco-Roman style architecture, etc.).

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  2. #52
    Cute and Furry Ewok85's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reiku
    Similarly, judging the age of a culture based on it's level of advancement is downright prejudice--what about the Aborigone from Austrailia? (or the Japanese Ainu for that matter...) Regardless of what crops a culture harvests--or even if they harvest crops at all--a civilization can still develop a deep cultural foundation that it's morals and beliefs spring from.

    Theres some key words being used here; culture and civilisation. The aborigines were tribes of people, many many tribes who lived seperate from the other tribes. You cant deny they had culture, but was there civilisation? Not quite.

  3. #53
    Regular Member Reiku's Avatar
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    Another Twofold Response...

    My, what is it with all these off topic arguments in here? We were supposed to be discussing the differance between Western and Japanese values--not the age or origin of a culture.

    (Why do people always attack something that has no relavance to someone's argument when they can't attack the main point?)

    Well, since it's been brought up...

    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Are you saying that Germans do not feel ties with the ancient Germanic tribes from which they derive ? Or that Italians do not consider themselves as the heirs of the Romans ? Or that modern Greeks regard themselves as completely a different civilization than ancient Greece (but still call the Olympics their invention) ? Well. if you ask them, I sincerely doubt that their reaction will be very different from what Japanese say they feel toward their ancestors.
    What a people consider themselves to be and what they actually are can be two completely different things. The fact is that whatever the modern Greeks may beleive, they did not invent the Olympics--they are merely imitating the ancient Greeks just like all the other countries that currently participate in the modern Olympic Games. Likewise, the Itallians may consider themselves the heir to the Romans and the Germans may feel a connection to the tribal cultures that preceded them--but they are not the same civilizations. Even a cursory glance reveals vast differances in the moral, social, and philosophical foundations of these societies compared to their historical counterparts. This is not to say that the values changed over time to adapt to new situations like Japan--but rather that the core beliefs upon which they are founded have changed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    In the same way, the adjective "Gallic" is still used to refer to something typically "French", from France's ancient name "Gallia" (still used in modern Greek language, btw). "Britain" comes from Latin "Britannia". I don't know in the US, but Latin and Ancient Greek are still taught in I think every (Western ?) European school, and my parents' generation almost all had to learn Latin for about 6 years (if you have ever seen some of the Monty Python's movies, you will understand what I mean).
    Again, youre not talking about the same civilization--here your talking about anthropology. When used in this sense the term "Gallic" refers to genetic descent--not culture. After all the term "homonid" still applies to modern humans--but that doesn't mean we share the same cultural foundationas a Cro-Magnon or a Neanderthal.

    (Though sometimes I wonder... )

    As for language, that is merely an example of cultural borrowing. The anceint greek and latin languages were a good thing, so many different cultures copied them and adapted them into their own style.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    We use everyday Roman alphabet. English, which comes from the Ancient Anglo-saxon language (outside the Roman empire), has adopted over half of its vocabulary from Latin and Greek. We still quote or learn Greek philosophers (who hasn't heard of Socrates, Plato or Aristotles ?). And we still make movies (not any, but blockbusters) about the Romans (gladiators or various emperors) or Greek legends (Troy, Ulysses, Jason, the Titans, Medusa, Perseus, etc.). The US is a very good example, not just for movies, but architecturally, with neo-classical courts of justice, museums, parliaments, Capitol, White House, etc. Why so much Graeco-Roman influence if it "has been thoroughly uprooted and seperated from it's cultural background", as you say ?
    Absolutely, as with the Olympic Games--it is merely the imitation of another culture.

    We use gunpowder too, and that comes from easern civilizations--are you suggesting Brittan is descended from ancient China merely because they decided tea and explosives were good inventions and began using them? Since you started this thread to point out the differinces between those cultures I would think not.

    Borrowing art and inventions from other cultures is a fairly common practice--but it does not mean that the ideals of the origional culture are borrowed as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Then, just looking at names, which reflect a good deal of the culture (and continuity over the centuries, across language groups, and when civilizations collapse and regenerate), I see that most countries of Latin languages still use Roman names, and almost all of them exist and are commonly used in English too (have a look at this short list).

    So I personally do not feel like Westerners have lost touch with their ancient (mostly Graeco-Roman) roots, even in the US. I would even go further and say that these roots are so strong and vivid in everyday life, that people from other completely different cultures like Japan are now aware of quite a bit through Western and mostly American influence (eg. they know Greco-Roman gods, some philosophers or Roman emperors, they can read and write in "romaji", build Graeco-Roman style architecture, etc.).
    Again, we're talking about influence--not descent. We also borrow from eastern culture and they borrow from us--but as you pointed out, there is a very large difference in the foundation of our values and beliefs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ewok85
    Theres some key words being used here; culture and civilisation. The aborigines were tribes of people, many many tribes who lived seperate from the other tribes. You cant deny they had culture, but was there civilisation? Not quite.
    A more bigoted remark I couldn't have hoped for, Ewok85. You've proved my point excellently--thank you.

    Denying that a group of people has a civilization simply because they don't live the way you do is the very definition of prejudice. With most tribal peoples, there are often many seperate and very different goups--not unlike the various cultures of Euorope--if they are sufficiently different, then they might be considered seperate civilizations; but merely being made up of fewer members or being less technologically advanced does not make it any less of a civilization. Some people live with the land, others change it to suit their needs--this is merely another example of the differances between various cultures.
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  4. #54
    Kongming jeisan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reiku
    A more bigoted remark I couldn't have hoped for, Ewok85. You've proved my point excellently--thank you.

    Denying that a group of people has a civilization simply because they don't live the way you do is the very definition of prejudice. With most tribal peoples, there are often many seperate and very different goups--not unlike the various cultures of Euorope--if they are sufficiently different, then they might be considered seperate civilizations; but merely being made up of fewer members or being less technologically advanced does not make it any less of a civilization. Some people live with the land, others change it to suit their needs--this is merely another example of the differances between various cultures.
    i second ewok's statement, culture and civilization are two very different things dont confuse them with each other.

    tribal peoples don't have civilization. its not something they believe in or even want. there are no rich or poor in a tribe, as is required in a civilization. civilization is a hierarchal social structure, not a tribal one. those at the top of the civilization hierarchy live in great luxury, enjoying perfect leisure and having the best of everything. a larger class of people below them live very well and had nothing to complain about. but the masses at the bottom of the hierarchy dont like it at all, they work and live like pack animals, struggling just to stay alive.

    in a tribe everyone pulls their weight and does their particular job for the group and everyone is equal, granted there may be a cheif or shaman or elder but they still do their part. in tribal communities the food isnt kept under lock and key as it is in civilization. in the whole civilized world food is owned by someone, and if you want some you'll have to buy it. you have to pay for the most fundamental need, the food which you need to survive.

    tribal peoples have culture, and lot of other things but they do not have civilization.
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  5. #55
    Regular Member bossel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reiku
    -the majority of US society has been thoroughly uprooted and seperated from it's cultural background,
    Separated? Just because they don't think or know of it, doesn't mean that the heritage isn't there.

    -using anceint greece as an example is pointless for something like this because the anceint greek civilization fell quite some time ago and was later replaced by a new civilization. One could argue that the same thing has happened to Japan, but Nihon stilll retains many cultural aspects both from it's own history and from the much older history of China--while Greece (as well as most other western civilizations) has undergone several complete transformations.
    Complete transformations? When & how? Maybe Greece has changed more, but there is still continuity.

    Ultimately, the basic moral foundation of asia has remained in place more or less throughout the history of it's inhabitation--while most western cultures are rebuilt from the ground up every few hundered years.
    How do you know about the moral foundation of Asia -let's say- 10000 years ago? For the most part of history we don't have any record of moral values. Only with the advent of writing some 3000 years age this starts. Values changed a lot even in the past 3000 years. If you'd somehow transport a "Chinese" from 3000 years ago into modernity, he would be quite shocked by the behaviour of modern Chinese.

    Quote Originally Posted by Reiku
    the Itallians may consider themselves the heir to the Romans and the Germans may feel a connection to the tribal cultures that preceded them--but they are not the same civilizations. Even a cursory glance reveals vast differances in the moral, social, and philosophical foundations of these societies compared to their historical counterparts. This is not to say that the values changed over time to adapt to new situations like Japan--but rather that the core beliefs upon which they are founded have changed.
    Of course modern civilizations are not the same as those in the same place in ancient times. Almost all changed over time. But that doesn't mean that there is no connection to the past, cultures developed over time. It's very well possible to see modern European culture as a continuation of ancient Greek culture, you could even track it back to Sumer.

    Again, youre not talking about the same civilization--here your talking about anthropology. When used in this sense the term "Gallic" refers to genetic descent--not culture.
    "Gallic" means (according to M-W) "of or relating to Gaul or France". Hence Maciamo's usage is OK.

    After all the term "homonid" still applies to modern humans--but that doesn't mean we share the same cultural foundationas a Cro-Magnon or a Neanderthal.
    Cro-Magnon were "modern humans".

    As for language, that is merely an example of cultural borrowing. The anceint greek and latin languages were a good thing, so many different cultures copied them and adapted them into their own style.
    True to a degree. Actually, learning Latin or Greek at school is more a leftover of 19th century Graeco- & Romanophilia. If you talk about moder Romance languages, though, that's not quite so true.

    Borrowing art and inventions from other cultures is a fairly common practice--but it does not mean that the ideals of the origional culture are borrowed as well.
    True again, but in case of ancient Greece & Rome, there is actual evidence of continuation in Europe.

    Denying that a group of people has a civilization simply because they don't live the way you do is the very definition of prejudice. [...] but merely being made up of fewer members or being less technologically advanced does not make it any less of a civilization.
    That depends on the definition of civilization, just look at M-W.

    Some people live with the land, others change it to suit their needs--this is merely another example of the differances between various cultures.
    Which human civilization did not change the land to suit their needs? Surely not Australian aborigenes, they changed it a lot.

    All of the above doesn't mean that IMO it's very useful to discuss the age of cultures. Essentially all human cultures derive from those few people who decided to use language some 40000 years ago (you can go further back, depending on which feature you focus on). But as a historical discussion, it can be quite entertaining.

  6. #56
    Regular Member blessed's Avatar
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    ...maciamo, i see what you are saying... (cool post)

    but: you said generally, it is considered that individualism is deemed juvinile, but laws are made without morals only to keep public order, meaning many things are legal in Japan that are not in the west. This leaves many more personal freedoms and hence more decisions. My question is this: Are you expected to judge individualy what is right for you, or should you follow the group?

    e.g. should you decide prostitution is wrong and not indulge yourself in it, or just do what everyone else does?

    from your examples, it seems that following the group is the way, but there is a small problem:

    if you personaly decide that it is wrong and then lie (deemeed socialy acceptable by example 1) about your opinion, then you are still part of the group as you are not distancing yourself in any way as no one knows you differ in opinion...

    So, basically, although group behaviour is encouraged, individualism is not discouraged if you are individual in thought and not in word.

    (i dont think this lead anywhere, but im just interested whether you agree)

    .................................................. .................................................

    anyways... I think that the difference between east (not solely Japan) and west is this:

    in the east, people do things for the process.

    the tea ceremony does not achieve much (in this i mean, i can make a fine cup of tea 10 times faster), its the process that counts.
    people don't jump from job to job, company to company in japan, they mainly stay in one for their whole life. therefore i would say although some final result is expected (money), it is not deemed as important as security otherwise people would seek better pay, working conditions themselves.
    no need for promotion, so no final aim.

    in the west, people do things for a final aim.

    security in a job is relatively unimportant, pretty much everyone aims for higher and higher, leaving a company if possible. one's final aim is chairman.
    Security although an aim, is not as long lasting as promotion: once you're educated and in your first or maybe second job at 25, you can arguably stay secure for your whole life (you're aim is achieved and then you work to work). on the other hand you can aim for promotion till you die.
    from my experience, one of the few areas where the process is important to westerners, is sports.
    But still, if i play tennis, football or anything else with my english or american friends, then they usually seek a match, a result. when i play with japanese, thai or chinese friends, it usually ends up more of a joke around than a competition.



    This is based on difference in religions mainly, in my opinion. this is what defines the culture.
    in the west, christianity: ultimately, your whole life is unimportant, your aim is to get into heaven.
    in the east, buddhism: live a good life. (correct me on this if i'm wrong as i'm not that well informed on this religion yet)
    Who was Hitler?... a petty dictator living in the times of Stalin.

    Everyone is intelligent...some before; some afterwards.

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  7. #57
    Regular Member cicatriz esp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reiku

    On the other hand, while Japan itself is relatively young, it has retained much closer ties to it's past than the US has-
    If you go to Tokyo or Osaka, you will not be able to disagree more with that statement. In some ways the people of those cities are even more "American" than Americans are.

  8. #58
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reiku
    My, what is it with all these off topic arguments in here? We were supposed to be discussing the differance between Western and Japanese values--not the age or origin of a culture.
    The age and origin of a culture is vital to understand the differences in modern societies. Why do you think people study history ?


    What a people consider themselves to be and what they actually are can be two completely different things. The fact is that whatever the modern Greeks may beleive, they did not invent the Olympics--they are merely imitating the ancient Greeks...
    Genetically, there is a strong between Ancient and Modern Germans, Italians, and still a considerable one with Greece. If you mean they did not invent the Olympics because it was their ancestors who did, then yes, but that arguing pointlessly. If you mean that Ancient Greeks have no blood connection with modern Greeks, then you are totally mistaken. If you mean by civilization the culture heritage and language spoken by a people, then again ancient and modern Greeks are the same civilization (have you ever learn ancient and/or modern Greek ? They are so similar that if you know the former you can understand the latter easily).

    But then, you could argue that the language should be exactly the same, in which case a country like the UK (or even only England) or Germany or China are not one "civilization" because there are so many dialects (some unintelligible) in the same county. If the most widely spoken form of a language in a country is what you mean, then the Romans are not even the same civilization in 1AD or 400AD, as they passed from "classical Latin" to "vulgar Latin" (the latter being much closer to modern Romance languages).

    As for language, that is merely an example of cultural borrowing. The anceint greek and latin languages were a good thing, so many different cultures copied them and adapted them into their own style.
    As Bossel said, over 200 million European (about half) speak a Romance language today, which derive directly from Latin (no borrowings, just dialects of vulgar Latin).

    We use gunpowder too, and that comes from easern civilizations--are you suggesting Brittan is descended from ancient China merely because they decided tea and explosives were good inventions and began using them? Since you started this thread to point out the differinces between those cultures I would think not.
    You are referring to material uses of some objects (gunpowder, tea) or some fashions (tea). I am talking about deep cultural elements such as language, philosophy, feeling of one's roots and even genetical continuity.


    Denying that a group of people has a civilization simply because they don't live the way you do is the very definition of prejudice. With most tribal peoples, there are often many seperate and very different goups--not unlike the various cultures of Euorope--if they are sufficiently different, then they might be considered seperate civilizations.
    You seem to have no idea of what the word "civilization" really means. But don't worry, it's a very common mistake. As was said above, a civilization needs a particular social structure, a government, a legal system, one or several official languages (used at the government), etc. Actually, if it were limited to that it could just be called "country", but civilization include very strong cultural elements that influences other countries, or make several countries feel part of the same civilization. So that is why I wouldn't call France or Germany or the US or Australia "civilization" as they are all part of the Western Civilization (which roots are Graeco-Roman). In the same way, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and even Nepal are part of the Indian Civilization, even if they are different countries and in bad terms nowadays (they are still very similar on many respects).

  9. #59
    Regular Member chikazukiyasui's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    The age and origin of a culture is vital to understand the differences in modern societies.
    I don't think that's true. Especially as ideas change so rapidly these days. For instance, someone said a difference between Japan and "the West" is that in "the West", there's no job loyalty. Well, that's not true in all Western countries, and even where it is true, it is a trend that only emerged relatively very recently (since the 1970s). If these are the differences we're going to be talking about, there doesn't seem to be much point in discussing what happened a thousand years or more ago.

    The biggest cultural differences between the West and Japan that have been identified and seem to be real are individualism, and some moral ideas. Western individualism is relatively modern, I think, probably only going back to the 18th century and the Romantic era, and the moral ideas seem to be rooted in Christianity. How far back they go, I don't know.

    Why do you think people study history ?
    I don't know. I don't know why people study entomology, either.

    You seem to have no idea of what the word "civilization" really means.
    Do any of us? I don't agree with the person who said that it is a sign of bigotry say that Australian Aborigines didn't have a civilization. I don't feel somehow that you can have a civilization without cities ("civis", Latin, = "townsman")

    So that is why I wouldn't call France or Germany or the US or Australia "civilization" as they are all part of the Western Civilization (which roots are Graeco-Roman). In the same way, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and even Nepal are part of the Indian Civilization, even if they are different countries and in bad terms nowadays (they are still very similar on many respects).
    I wonder if these distinct civilizations still exist? Or is there just one great big civilization, with different parts retaining vestiges of earlier, distinct civilizations?

  10. #60
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chikazukiyasui
    I don't think that's true. Especially as ideas change so rapidly these days. For instance, someone said a difference between Japan and "the West" is that in "the West", there's no job loyalty. Well, that's not true in all Western countries, and even where it is true, it is a trend that only emerged relatively very recently (since the 1970s).
    Agreed that job loyalty is a very misinformed way of differentiating Japan (as not only was it common in Europe, but it is also disappearing in Japan nowadays).

    The biggest cultural differences between the West and Japan that have been identified and seem to be real are individualism, and some moral ideas. Western individualism is relatively modern, I think, probably only going back to the 18th century and the Romantic era, and the moral ideas seem to be rooted in Christianity.
    What make you think European individualism is so new, when Spanish conquistadors left in tiny groups to get their share of the new world, without being ordered by anybody to do it (so just of their own selfish initiative). Same for 15th cent. Portuguese navigators and explorers, or 16-17th cent. French fur traders in Canada and Mississipi valley. Same for all those British or Irish settlers going all by themselves (or at best with their family) to the New World make a new life. But even long before, crusaders were notorious for deviating from their mission and taking "friendly" cities like Constantinople just due to their unrefrained ambition and individualism. What about 9-10th cent. Vikings just going where ever they pleased in Europe without any direction or order from any government. What about earlier Germanic tribes taking the initiative to invade parts of the Roman empire and create their small almost "personal" kingdoms. What about 6 to 4 cent. BC Greek philosophers thinking all by themselves, isolated from society, or those Greek soldiers like Leonidas or Alexander the Great fighting in their own unique ways, because of their very independent thinking. Did I mention independent Greek city-states that had so much pride and individualism that they never managed to create a unified country until outsiders invaded them ?

    These are all examples that Western individualism is by no means new, but characterizes Western culture since its earliest times.

    AS for moral ideals, I think it predates Christianity (and therefore Europe was a propicious ground for its spread). Greek philospohers or Roman lawyers (like Ciceron) show greater moral concerns than anything found in East Asia, even nowadays.

  11. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Was Yinshu (Inkyo in Japanese) bigger or most sophisticated than Knossos or Troy ? I doubt it. It's only famous for the oracle bones.
    No, there were bronze products, vast relic of palace and houses, tombs of kings, etcetc.

    Then, if the area it controlled was bigger, the city itslef was probably not huge (from what archeologist found).
    Really? Who said that? For example, Rome in the golden age was probably one of the largest cities in the world. As you know, Roman empire controlled very vast area,

    Ok, ok. So you have the latest archeological evidence that rice was cultivated in paddies in 350BC in Kyushu, and around 200BC in some parts of the Kanto. But that doesn't change much to the fact that Japan was one of the last countries (if not the last) in Asia to cultivate rice in paddies, nor that agriculture came to Europe long before Japan. Just look at the history of Britain, one of the last places in Europe to adopt agriculture (source):

    Oh yes, I don’t deny it.  Thank you for the information.

    But Ancient Greece was not the tiny country it is now (and China was only about half its present size). Greece included settlements all around the Black Sea (in today's Russia, Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey...), all along the Western and Southern coast of Turkey, most of Southern Italy (shared with Carthagenians from Phoenicia, present-day Lebanon), and other places in the South of France (Nice, Marseilles, Montpellier were all Greek cities), and Catalonia (near Barcelona).

    Yes. Yet, the beginning of emigration by the Greek was much latter than the era of Mycenaean(BC16 to BC12). They began to emigrate in about BC 800 or so.
    By the time the Greek began to spread on Europe, 黄河文明(Huang-he civilization) already spread to north, east, west, and south China, and put 長江文明(Chang Jiang civilization) together.
    The area the Greek directly controlled was not so large, because as you know basically the Greek made only city-states. Generally they only occupied tiny area near seashore, not comparable to the territory of 周(Chou dynasty) and kingdoms in the Warring State period.

    *one thing to note: of course I never deny the Greek had highly sophisticated culture comparable to those day’s China.

    So it streched on an area as wide as present-day China (check on a map, from the Caucasus to Spain), eventhough it was always less populated than China.
    You need check it on a map. The square measure of “present day China” is larger than the entire Europe excluding Russia. I think the square measure of Roman empire in the golden age is as large as that of Han dynasty.

    Add to this the even older presence of the Phoenicians (influenced by the Assyrian and Babylonian cultures), in the South of Spain (the oldest European city, Gades/Cadiz is in Spain, not Greece).
    Yes, I know about them. But their tradition is not directly related to later “Europe”, is it?

    Of course, we know as much about the Celtic and Germanic tribes of Central and Western Europe as of the Chinese "kingdoms" of the same period. And that is also part of European history. Paris and London were both originally Celtic towns long before the Romans came.
    Comparing “German tribes” to Chinese kingdoms is completely implausible. As of BC era, what ever did they accomplish? I think they should be compared to Korean, Central Asian people, Japanese and nomad people in Mongolia rather than to Chinese.
    I know the Celtic had relatively sophisticated culture, but can we compare their culture to Chinese civilization(=黄河文明 and 長江文明) which had created their own characters before BC1300? 

    About Huang-he civilization, Chang-jiang civilizartion and early kingdoms.
    http://www.chinavoc.com/history/index.asp
    http://www.allchinainfo.com/history/period/huanghe.html
    http://www.allchinainfo.com/history/...hangjiang.html
    http://www.allchinainfo.com/history/period/xia.html
    http://www.allchinainfo.com/history/period/shang.html
    http://www.h3.dion.ne.jp/~china/point39.html

    And What kind of “Chinese kingdoms of the same period” are you talking about?

    夏(Xia: legendary kingdom, the existence is debatable, but the city remain expected to be the capital was discovered in recent years)
    殷/商(Yin/Shang: from BC16-BC11)
    周(Chou: from BC11-BC256)
    The followings are main Kngdoms and Duchies in Spring and Autumn period and the Warring State period.
    秦(Ch’in: from BC771-206. *In BC221 Ch’in finished unifying all of the kingdoms and duchies.)
    齊(Sei: BC1122-BC221)
    晋(Shin: ?-BC376)
    趙(Chou: BC403-BC222)
    楚(So: ?-BC223)
    燕(En-BC222)
    魏(Gi: BC403-BC225)
    韓(Kan: BC403-BC230)
    呉(Go: ?-BC473)
    越(Etsu: BC600-BC334)
    魯(Ro: BC1055-BC249)

    *I’m sorry the pronunciations of the kanji name of kingdoms except 夏, 殷, 周, 秦 are Japanese pronounciations.

    Of course, you could argue that China had a similar influence on Japan. But do Japanese study Ancient Chinese history as part of Japanese history, in the same way that all Europeans start with Greece and Rome ? Maybe they should, although most Japanese do not want to be considered as offspring of the Chinese (but the early Yayoi era immigration from the mainland to Japan proves it).
    I have no idea as to if it is "the same way that all Europeans start with Greece and Rome". But I think you should read Japanese history text book for yourself.

    『詳説世界史』
    http://www.yamakawa.co.jp/textbooks/...=4-634-70110-3
    『詳説日本史』
    http://www.yamakawa.co.jp/textbooks/...=4-634-70610-5

    *高校の日本史と世界史の教科書で、現在おそらく最もよく使われているものです。 東京や大阪などの大都市 におすまいならば、普通の書店にも置いてあると思います(高校生の参考書コーナーなどに)。
     日本史では、国家(王朝)形成期における中国や朝鮮半島との関係、漢字の受容や、仏教・儒教の影響などそ れなりに詳しく書かれて居ますよ。 ちなみに高校では漢文(Classical Chinese)も必修です。 世界史の方では、四大文明の一つとして、また東アジアとの文化交流も詳しく 書かれています。
     ご自分でお読みになってみてはいかがでしょうか。

    although most Japanese do not want to be considered as offspring of the Chinese (but the early Yayoi era immigration from the mainland to Japan proves it).
    Huh???
    Last edited by Nakan; Aug 25, 2004 at 19:19.

  12. #62
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nakan
    Really? Who said that? For example, Rome in the golden age was probably one of the largest cities in the world. As you know, Roman empire controlled very vast area,
    You can't compare the Roman empire with the Shang or even Zhou dynasty. The Roman Empire was very centralised, and at its largest stretches from present-day Egypt to Britain, and from Morocco to Armenia/Georgia (Caucasus mountains). The distance from Morocco or Portugal to the Caucasus is about the same as from Tajikistan to North Korea. So that is the length of modern China, but ancient China was much smaller.

    Have a look at this map of the Shang dynasty and this one of the Zhou dynasty. The Shang kingdom was about the size of France and Spain combined, while the Zhou was a bit smaller than Western Europe (without Scandinavia), so about the same territory as the Celts, who controlled Britain, Ireland, France, Belgium, Southern Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Northern Italy and most of Spain.


    The area the Greek directly controlled was not so large, because as you know basically the Greek made only city-states. Generally they only occupied tiny area near seashore, not comparable to the territory of 周(Chou dynasty) and kingdoms in the Warring State period.
    As I said above, ancient China wasn't so large either, and didn't extend half as far as Greece did. In term of real land area, Alexander the Great's Empire was certianly larger than the first empire of China, under the Qin (Qin Shih Huang di, as first emperor), as it included the whole middle-east from Greece and Turkey to Egypt and as far as Pakistan and Afghanistan. IT is more comparable to the later Han Dynasty's empire at its furthest extend. But at that time, the Roman Empire was already much bigger.


    You need check it on a map. The square measure of present day China is larger than the entire Europe excluding Russia. I think the square measure of Roman empire in the golden age is as large as that of Han dynasty.
    Check this comparative map of the Roman and Han empire. As you can see, modern China or the Roman Empire are both bigger than the Han empire, even if you add the desertic parts of Western China that were controlled during a short time by the Han.


    Yes, I know about them. But their tradition is not directly related to later Europe, is it?
    The Phoenicians and Carthagenians (the same people) were integrated to the Roman Empire after the two Punic Wars between Rome and Carthage. So, in some way they are also part of the Roman heritage.

    I know the Celtic had relatively sophisticated culture, but can we compare their culture to Chinese civilization(=黄河文明 and 長江文明) which had created their own characters before BC1300?
    Yes, I think they can. If you compare Celtic arts (bronze sculpture, etc.) with Chinese ones of the same period, I can hardly tell the difference.

    Greeks developed their first script before the Chinese. It is called the Linear A and was used by the Minoean Civilization between 2000BC and 1200BC. Celts also had their own scripts, but later (the Venetic script from 700BC and theIberian script from 4th century BC, among others).

    Of course, the Celts had a mythology (神話) very similar to that of the Greeks and Romans.

    The BBC and British Museum have interesting pages about the Celts.

    Are you really thinking that culture of the Celtic tribes and German tribes can be comparable to that of these kingdoms and duchies?
    Yes, because their technological or cultural advancement were very similar, and Zhou China (same size as Western Europe) was also composed of over 200 small kingdoms, not unlike the Celtic or Germanic ones. Then the Roman came to unify everything, in the same way as the Qin and Han unified China.

    I don't have no idea as to if it is "the same way that all Europeans start with Greece and Rome". But I think you should read Japanese history text book for yourself.
    I am just asking you, as a Japanese, do you feel that your roots are in China ? Do you think of the early Chinese dynasties as your country's history ?
    I would for the Greeks and Romans, eventhough I am from Northern Europe (but still part of the Roman Empire).

  13. #63
    Does Not Compute giant_robot's Avatar
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    Ok, yes, in some part morals are based on culture, and what is wrong for some people is right to others, but there are some common points that most cultures can agree on. For example, you speak of want for material posessions being wrong as if that were purely a Western sentiment. What about Buddhism? "Desire is suffering." It's a religion supposedly embraced by Japan. I think the real issue you're describing is not so much that Japanese people have different values, but that they are amoral by their own standards.

    That being said, who isn't? It's easy to go to a different country and put their actions under the microscope, but the truth of the matter is, like Emoni said, most people in the world are bad by the standards they believe in. Perhaps the difference in Japan is they are simply less ashamed of it. Perhaps they are simply more honest. I don't know, I just had to clarify that morality is really not that different the world over.

  14. #64
    Regular Member bossel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    The Phoenicians and Carthagenians (the same people) were integrated to the Roman Empire after the two Punic Wars between Rome and Carthage. So, in some way they are also part of the Roman heritage.
    Great links, Maciamo!
    Adding to the above quote, Phoenicians & Greeks influenced each other in many a way. They dominated the Mediterranean at roughly the same time & had a lot of economical & cultural contacts. The Phoenicians constituted one of the main links between the cultures of Europe & the Middle East. I don't know, how far this influence went, but according to some, quite far. You can't really draw distinct lines between all these cultures.

    But I really don't see, what the discussion about size of empires is supposed to prove. Size is not directly connected to culture. You can have high culture without an empire (as the Minoans) & you can have a huge empire with "barbarian" culture (as the Mongols).

  15. #65
    Regular Member chikazukiyasui's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    What make you think European individualism is so new
    Because people in Europe were distinctly less individualistic before the 18th century, and less still before the 15th. It seems to me that individualism begins to be noticeable in European society at the time of the Renaissance, and becomes very prominent from the Romantic period onwards. From the birth of Christianity to the beginning of the Renaissance, there doesn't seem to be much evidence of individualism. There was also no systematic idea, back then, of placing high value on the individual. For instance, the notion that the state exists to serve individuals, rather than the other way around, is an enlightenment idea.

    What about earlier Germanic tribes taking the initiative to invade parts of the Roman empire and create their small almost "personal" kingdoms. What about 6 to 4 cent. BC Greek philosophers thinking all by themselves, isolated from society, or those Greek soldiers like Leonidas or Alexander the Great fighting in their own unique ways, because of their very independent thinking. Did I mention independent Greek city-states that had so much pride and individualism that they never managed to create a unified country until outsiders invaded them ?
    These ancient examples of supposed individualism that you give, I have doubts about. What about Mongolia and the nomads of Tibet and Western China? Is their "individualism" not parallel to that of the Germanic peoples? Socrates has his parallel in Confucius, and Alexander has an exact parallel in Ghengis Khan.

    These are all examples that Western individualism is by no means new, but characterizes Western culture since its earliest times.
    Well, I'm very skeptical of your ancient examples of individualism.

    AS for moral ideals, I think it predates Christianity (and therefore Europe was a propicious ground for its spread). Greek philospohers or Roman lawyers (like Ciceron) show greater moral concerns than anything found in East Asia, even nowadays.
    Greek philosophers and Roman ones concern themselves with moral matters, it is true, but some were utterly skeptical about morality. And its not as if the East doesn't have its own moral philosophers. I think there are differences in ideas in the East and West that go back to the ancients (such as Confucius, the Buddha and Socrates), but some of the differences that people remark upon don't go anywhere near that far back. For instance, Western politics is almost totally shaped by the thinking of the Enlightenment (mainly 17th to 19th century), with French and British philosophers being crucial.

  16. #66
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by giant_robot
    What about Buddhism? "Desire is suffering." It's a religion supposedly embraced by Japan.
    Modern Japanese people are certainly much more influenced by Confucianism (seniority system, hierarchy, meritocracy, etc.), or even Shintoism (in anime at least ) than Buddhism. That is funny how most Westerners see Japan as a Buddhist country. Maybe is it because they don't know (so well) the 2 others, and Buddhism is a world religion known to be present in most of East Asia. If Modern Hindu Indians live very much according to Buddhist beliefs, as they consider it a branch of Hinduism (Buddha was Hindu, that is a fact), I can't say that East Asian, and especially Japanese, are the right receptacle for believing in an ascetic life devoid of material desire. Actually, looking in depth at the culture and mentality, I'd say that the Japanese culture is one of the most unadapted to Buddhism. But Confucianism certainly fit them to the bone, even without temple or without book. It's just innate or deeply ingrained in the culture.

    Quote Originally Posted by bossel
    Adding to the above quote, Phoenicians & Greeks influenced each other in many a way. They dominated the Mediterranean at roughly the same time & had a lot of economical & cultural contacts. The Phoenicians constituted one of the main links between the cultures of Europe & the Middle East. I don't know, how far this influence went, but according to some, quite far. You can't really draw distinct lines between all these cultures.
    Yes, and I forgot to mention that Knossos in Crete was also a Phoenician city. As Phoenicians had some many contact and mingling with the Greeks, and were integrated into the Roman Empire, we could say that they are as much part of the Western heritage. After all, even the Greek and Roman alphabet derived from the Phoenician one (the first real alphabet in the world, while Babylonian/Assyrian and Egyptian scripts were more like kanji).

    Quote Originally Posted by chikazukiyasui
    From the birth of Christianity to the beginning of the Renaissance, there doesn't seem to be much evidence of individualism.
    Alright, I have to admit that the mediaeval knights had very strong family and lord-vassal ties, actually similar to that of the Japanese samurai. But, middle ages apart, we could at least say since the Renaissance and beginning of the colonization in the late 15th century.

    There was also no systematic idea, back then, of placing high value on the individual.
    But many soldiers, explorators, artists or thinkers cared a lot about their image, prestige and personal achievment. Pizzaro, Cortes, Columbus, Magellan, Cabral, da Vinci, Michelangello, Machiavelli, the Borgia family, etc. were all motivated by their own personal gain and success. Rather than caring about the good of the nation, even Columbus who claimed discovering the West Indies for Spain (which sponsored the expedition), was Genovan (Italian), and first asked the court of Portugal to finance his project. He couldn't care less which "country" he was working for. All that matters were the results and proving he was right. I am not going to explain for each of them, but they all lived a very individualistic life, IMHO.

    For instance, the notion that the state exists to serve individuals, rather than the other way around, is an enlightenment idea.
    Yes, but that is a idea related more to democracy, equality and human rights than just individualism. Actually, it was one of the first "socialist" ideas that the state should "care for the people". Before, kings and princes were only concerned about themselves, very individualistically. It may be that the Enlightment first sacrifice the selfishness of the powerful for the benefit of the weak. This has its roots in the moralistic and idealistic heritage of the West, not its individualism.

    In my Opinio, the most individualistic period in Western Europe was roughly from the mid-15th to mid-18th century. After that, the concepts of democracy, equality, nation-states (19th century), etc. appeared and people felt for the first time that they acted for their nation or empire, rather than just for themselves like before. Patriotisma and nationalism rose, until it exploded in WWI, which people fought only for the glory and pride of their nation, not for themselves (who hoped waging this horrible war anyway ?).

    Individualism surged again after WWI, and especially after WWII. But it is true that some European countries are nowadays less individualistic and more group-oriented (Spain, Portugal and Greece in particular).

    Non European Western countries like the US or Australia had a different evolution. Individualism was at its strongest in the 19th century (Gold Rush, cow boys, the "border", etc.) . The US only started to develop a strong sense of nation made of patriotic people after WWI and WWII, I think. But in some way, the US has never reached the same level of "providencial State" as Europe, because it favoured ultra-liberalism over socialism.

    It is funny to see that nowadays patriotic and ultra-liberal Americans are less likely to travel abroad (further than Canada or Mexico) by themselves, or usually travel in group (with other Americans), while Northern European of less patriotic and more socialist countries (that also include the UK), do not hesitate to travel for months around the world all on their own (meeting new people everyday on the way). In that respect, I'd say Northern European (led by the British and the Dutch) are more individualistic than Americans or Southern Europeans. I guess it's all a matter of balance between individualism and collectivism regarding government, family, job, travel, personal success, leisures, etc.
    Last edited by Maciamo; Aug 26, 2004 at 12:20.

  17. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    You can't compare the Roman empire with the Shang or even Zhou dynasty. The Roman Empire was very centralised, and at its largest stretches from present-day Egypt to Britain, and from Morocco to Armenia/Georgia (Caucasus mountains). The distance from Morocco or Portugal to the Caucasus is about the same as from Tajikistan to North Korea. So that is the length of modern China,
    I didn't "compare". I just "exemplified" what you said was unusual by bringing up Rome. You said, "if the area it controlled was bigger, the city itslef was probably not huge (from what archeologist found)". However, I believe the capital city is huge if its empire/kingdom/city-state is huge(from archeologist found).

    but ancient China was much smaller.
    Yes, of course. And ancient Minoan and Mycenian territories were much smaller than ancient China.

    As I said above, ancient China wasn't so large either,
    Yes, but the extent of ancient Minoan and Mycenian civilization weren’t so large either and its extent was smaller than that of Huang-he and Chian-jiang civilization, wasn’t it? Plus, Crete island( where Knossos existed) or even present day Greece is smallar than the territory of Shang/Yin dynasty. What I wanted to say is this.

    http://www.wwnorton.com/college/hist...rce/greece.htm


    and didn't extend half as far as Greece did.
    Yes, certainly they didn't extend. But, In Spring and Autumn period and the warring state period, “kingdoms”, “duchies” and other “-doms” occupied from north to south, east to west, all over China(of course very much smaller than “present day China”, though). The period where the Greek began to emigrate to other European region corresponds to Spring and Autumn period of China.
    Maps
    http://shibakyumei.hp.infoseek.co.jp/map/map.shtml

    As for the square measure, I think those kingodoms and duchies are much larger than greek city-states's territory.
    http://www.wwnorton.com/college/hist...e/grkcolon.htm


    In term of real land area,Alexander the Great's Empire was certainly larger than the first empire of China, under the Qin (Qin Shih Huang di, as first emperor), as it included the whole middle-east from Greece and Turkey to Egypt and as far as Pakistan and Afghanistan. IT is more comparable to the later Han Dynasty's empire at its furthest extend. But at that time, the Roman Empire was already much bigger.
    Yes, probably it is larger than the Qin, maybe than the Han.
    As for the square measure, is Alexander the Great's Empire larger than Roman empire?(I think so)

    Check this comparative map of the Roman and Han empire. As you can see, modern China or the Roman Empire are both bigger than the Han empire, even if you add the desertic parts of Western China that were controlled during a short time by the Han.
    Thank you for the comparative map. But, If we can add 西域(the desertic parts of Western China), the territory of Han dynasty looks to me definitely larger than that of Romnan empire, though I cannot measure the exact extent……
    http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/prehisto...china/han.html

    Anyway, What I meant to say is:
    As for the square measure, the entire Greek territories(from BC800 to appearance of Alxsander the Great) are much smaller than “present day China” and even the entire chinese kingdoms and duchies in the warring state period, because, as I said before, “basically the Greek made only city-states” and “generally they only occupied tiny area near seashore”.
    http://www.wwnorton.com/college/hist...e/grkcolon.htm

    __________________________________________________ ______________
    *by the way, this comparative map looks bit strange.. Han dynasty has never governed Taiwan and the entire Korean peninsula.
    http://www.roman-empire.net/maps/emp...omparison.html
    __________________________________________________ _____________


    Phoenicians and Carthagenians (the same people) were integrated to the Roman Empire after the two Punic Wars between Rome and Carthage. So, in some way they are also part of the Roman heritage.
    Ah, ok, I get it.

    Yes, I think they can. If you compare Celtic arts (bronze sculpture, etc.) with Chinese ones of the same period, I can hardly tell the difference.

    Greeks developed their first script before the Chinese. It is called the Linear A and was used by the Minoean Civilization between 2000BC and 1200BC. Celts also had their own scripts, but later (the Venetic script from 700BC and theIberian script from 4th century BC, among others).

    Excuse me, which is the “same period” are you talking about, Huang-he and Chang-jian civilization, Xia dynasty, Shang dynasty, or Zhou dynasty? Can those Celtic arts date back to BC1500?

    The first script the Greek developed is Liner B , isn’t it? Minoan who developed Liner A were not the Greek and Liner A is undeciphered, as far as I know. Furhthermore, LinerA and B are not related to later “alphabet”. You should compare Liner B with Chinese characters, shouldn’t you?

    Anyway, I also admitted that the Greek history is comparable to the Chinese history in the way of its length, sophisticated culture, technology, and impact on other countries. But as you yourselves said, the Celt’s script appeared very later. And as of BC period, did the Celts leave anything like classics written in Greek or Chinese ?


    Of course, the Celts had a mythology (神話) very similar to that of the Greeks and Romans.
    ? ? Most of the ethnic groups in the world have/had a mythology, don’t they? It is no wonder that the Celts had very similar mythology to that of the Greeks and Romans, because their language is one of the Indo-European languages, like Greek and Latin.

    Yes, because their technological or cultural advancement were very similar, and Zhou China (same size as Western Europe) was also composed of over 200 small kingdoms, not unlike the Celtic or Germanic ones. Then the Roman came to unify everything, in the same way as the Qin and Han unified China.
    No, those had not been “kingdoms”, but dukedoms, marquis-doms, earldoms, viscount-doms, baron-doms that admitted the suzerainty of 周(Chou/Zhou) dynasty ,until “kingdoms” in south China that didn’t admit it appeared in the late Spring and Autumn period. And I think those “-doms” were not as small as the Celtic and Germanic “tribes”.

    As of BC3000, did the Celts build cities surrounded by wall?
    http://www.tcn-catv.ne.jp/~woodsorre.../kks-tyok.html
    http://www.daido-it.ac.jp/~doboku/ko...aku/gaku9.html

    By the way, the Greeks before the appearance of Alexander the Great were also composed of several hundred(or maybe thousand) small city-states like the “Celtic tribes”.. Do ordinary European Historians consider that technological or cultural advancement of the Celts and the Greeks is very similar?

    And I ask you again, what ever did "Germanic tribes" accomplish as of Before Christ period?

    I am just asking you, as a Japanese, do you feel that your roots are in China ? Do you think of the early Chinese dynasties as your country's history ?
    No, I don't feel so. However, I feel most of the roots of East Asian culture(of course including Japan) are in China.(何が「中国」かというのは問題だけれども。古代だったら、日本は中原の王朝の支配の及ばない 江南の民族・王朝との関係の方が深かったはずだから。黄河文明よりも長江文明)  "The early Chinese dynasties" are not my country's history, but the culture the early Chinese dynasties developed are a part of my country's 文化史(cultural history).


    [edited to correct typo and add maps]
    Last edited by Nakan; Aug 26, 2004 at 17:05.

  18. #68
    Regular Member chikazukiyasui's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Alright, I have to admit that the mediaeval knights had very strong family and lord-vassal ties, actually similar to that of the Japanese samurai. But, middle ages apart, we could at least say since the Renaissance and beginning of the colonization in the late 15th century.
    The way I see it, we begin to see some hints of individualism in the Renaissance, but the real thing doesn't emerge until around the 18th century.

    But many soldiers, explorators, artists or thinkers cared a lot about their image, prestige and personal achievment. Pizzaro, Cortes, Columbus, Magellan, Cabral, da Vinci, Michelangello, Machiavelli, the Borgia family, etc. were all motivated by their own personal gain and success.
    I do not consider personal ambition to be equivalent to individualism. If it were, then Japan's Warring States period would be a fine example of a time when individualism dominated Japanese society, since it was shaped by the ambitions and rivalries of numerous daimyos. In that event, your claim of a long-standing difference between the West and Japan with regard to individualism would face a problem.

    I grant that there is a link between personal ambition and individualism, but they are not the same thing. Pursuing ones own goals without regard to the demands of the collective (be that the clan, the nation, the church or the corporation) is one thing, but believing it is morally superior to do so is quite another, and it is the latter that I take to be individualism. It comes out of the philosophy of Hobbes and Rousseau. Individualism, as described above, is very important to modern Western values, but only became significant in the 18th century, and has been growing increasingly important ever since. Individualism inspires Westerners to complain that the Japanese "all dress the same", or " don't express themselves enough", or "sacrifice themselves too much for their job". It wouldn't occur to most 17th Century Europeans to think that any of these were distinctive and wrong features of Japanese society.



    Yes, but that is a idea related more to democracy, equality and human rights than just individualism. Actually, it was one of the first "socialist" ideas that the state should "care for the people".
    Modern belief in democracy follows from individualism, not the other way around.

    Before, kings and princes were only concerned about themselves, very individualistically. It may be that the Enlightment first sacrifice the selfishness of the powerful for the benefit of the weak. This has its roots in the moralistic and idealistic heritage of the West, not its individualism.
    Kings and Princes varied in how selfish they were. It makes no sense to discuss the individualism of a King or Prince, though, since their role makes them unique in their milieu. Only ordinary people can be individualistic. Kings and Princes ruled (supposedly) by Divine Right, and many of them sincerely believed in that Divine Right. Divine Right entailed obligations, and they believed in the obligations, too. None of that sits well with individualism.

    In my Opinio, the most individualistic period in Western Europe was roughly from the mid-15th to mid-18th century. After that, the concepts of democracy, equality, nation-states (19th century), etc. appeared and people felt for the first time that they acted for their nation or empire, rather than just for themselves like before.
    In my opinion, that is nonsense. The mid 18th century is when individualism first arose to any kind of significance, and the concepts of democracy and equality are only means to an end - namely, of supporting individual rights and freedoms and self-expression. Capitalism, Romanticism, Modernism, all contributed to increasing the importance of individualism.

    Patriotisma and nationalism rose, until it exploded in WWI, which people fought only for the glory and pride of their nation, not for themselves (who hoped waging this horrible war anyway ?). Individualism surged again after WWI, and especially after WWII.
    I see those as vestiges of pre-Enlightenment thought, and to some extent, reactions against the Enlightenment. Wars between tribes and clans and city-states and nations and sects, in which people took sides according to collective loyalties, were very much the norm before the Enlightenment, and a big part of the Enlightenment project was the ambition to bring such stuff to an end by establishing universal ideals with which everyone could agree. WWI and WWII were blips on a general upward curve of individualism.

    But it is true that some European countries are nowadays less individualistic and more group-oriented (Spain, Portugal and Greece in particular).
    Indeed.

    Non European Western countries like the US or Australia had a different evolution. Individualism was at its strongest in the 19th century (Gold Rush, cow boys, the "border", etc.) . The US only started to develop a strong sense of nation made of patriotic people after WWI and WWII, I think. But in some way, the US has never reached the same level of "providencial State" as Europe, because it favoured ultra-liberalism over socialism.
    Liberalism is an Enlightenment idea that emerged mainly in Britain starting in the 17th century (with Hobbes, who wasn't a quite liberal, but who sowed its seeds by establishing the idea of individualism), and has evolved continually since then, but achieved most of its present form by the late 19th century (with JS Mill and Herbert Spencer). American and Australian politics are totally shaped by that tradition of philosophy.

    I'd say Northern European (led by the British and the Dutch) are more individualistic than Americans or Southern Europeans. I guess it's all a matter of balance between individualism and collectivism regarding government, family, job, travel, personal success, leisures, etc.
    Different Western countries all have different ways of balancing the Individual and the Collective, but all of them, I think, would tend to consider themselves more individualistic than Japanese society, and I think they'd probably all have a point. Whether they'd be right in thinking that Japanese collectivism (which I suppose stems to a large degree from Confucianism) is a bad thing is another matter.

  19. #69
    Regular Member bossel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nakan
    Can those Celtic arts date back to BC1500?

    As of BC3000, did the Celts build cities surrounded by wall?
    Don't have time right now to go into detail, but I can answer those 2.
    The answer to both questions is: yes!

    Here is a site about the fortified town now called Heuneburg.

    Quote:
    "There is even some evidence to suggest that Herodotus may have meant the Heuneburg on the upper Danube when he described the town called Pyrene.
    The site is located on a promontory on the left bank of the Danube and has produced extensive evidence for settlement and fortifications dating from the Neolithic (3rd to 2nd millennium BC) on."

  20. #70
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nakan
    You said, "if the area it controlled was bigger, the city itslef was probably not huge (from what archeologist found)". However, I believe the capital city is huge if its empire/kingdom/city-state is huge(from archeologist found).
    Don't assume too quickly that the capital of a large area is always a big city. The capital of Alexander's empire in Macedonia was quite small.

    Yes, of course. And ancient Minoan and Mycenian territories were much smaller than ancient China.
    ...
    Yes, but the extent of ancient Minoan and Mycenian civilization werent so large either and its extent was smaller than that of Huang-he and Chian-jiang civilization, wasnt it? Plus, Crete island( where Knossos existed) or even present day Greece is smaller than the territory of Shang/Yin dynasty.
    ...
    Excuse me, which is the same period are you talking about, Huang-he and Chang-jian civilization, Xia dynasty, Shang dynasty, or Zhou dynasty? Can those Celtic arts date back to BC1500?
    Why do you always limit Ancient Europe to the Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations ? The Celts had fortified cities from around 2500BC and build monuments like Stonehenge (2750 - 1000BC), during the same period as the Minoean (3100-1420BC) and Mycaenian (1420-1050BC) civilizations in Greece, or Xia (2070-1600BC) and Shang/Yin dynasty (1600-1046 BC) in China. The Celtic territory was as large as Zhou China (1122 BC - 256 BC) or Alexander the Great's Empire (356-323 BC).

    Look by yourself at where the Celts lived.



    Just for your information, the Celts had contacts with the Greeks and even the Chinese (since 1000-750BC). The word "Celt" comes from Greek "Keltoi". The Celtic Bronze Age started around 2200BC and the Iron Age from 700BC. So, yes, the bronze age appeared earlier in Britain and central Europe than in China, where it first appeared with the Shang dynasty (1600-1046 BC), or possibly the legendary Xia dynasty (2070-1600BC). But we know apparently more about the Celts at that time than the Xia dynasty, and their territory was much bigger too (the Xia kingdom was smaller than Ireland).

    This online encyclopedia has a good summery of the bronze ages around the world.

    Modern Western Civilization derives from the Graeco-Roman (incuding Phoenicians and Carthagenians), Celtic and Germanic cultures. They were all from the Indo-European linguistico-cultural group (similar language, religion, ethnic group, etc.), except the Phoenicians (but present-day Mediterranean Europeans have Phoenicians blood too, which partly explain why they have darker hair or eyes, as Celtic, Germanic and even Greek people had fair hair and blue eyes).

    Yes, probably it is larger than the Qin, maybe than the Han.
    As for the square measure, is Alexander the Great's Empire larger than Roman empire?(I think so)
    I terms of land area, I think the Roman Empire was the largest, followed by Alexander's empire, then the Han dynasty, then the Celtic territory of the bronze and iron age, then Qin, then Zhou, then Shang dynasties.

    You can see clearly on th emap below that the Roman Empire was bigger than Han China (even with the desertic part). You can also see than Alexander's Empire was like the Eastern Roman Empire + Persia (in green) + Afghanisthan and Pakistan (1/3 of the grey). Obviously, the Western Roman Empire was bigger than Persia, so the Roman Empire is bigger than Alexander's, which is still bigger than Han China.





    The first script the Greek developed is Liner B , isnt it? Minoan who developed Liner A were not the Greek and Liner A is undeciphered, as far as I know. Furhthermore, LinerA and B are not related to later alphabet. You should compare Liner B with Chinese characters, shouldnt you?
    The point is, each culture (Minoan, Phoenician, Hellenic, Celtic, Roman...) developed their own script, while China continually improve the same one, rather than re-inventing new ones (like Japanese kanas or Hangul). Most European settled for the Roman alphabet because Rome became the major power. But Greeks kept their alphabet and Russian copied it to create cyrillic. Goths in Germany developed their own Gothic alphabet based on the Roman one. The Norse (Viking) in Scandinavia who were still isolated during the late Roman period, developed the Runes (around 2nd century AD). All this happened before the kanji were imported to Japan.

    ? ? Most of the ethnic groups in the world have/had a mythology, dont they? It is no wonder that the Celts had very similar mythology to that of the Greeks and Romans, because their language is one of the Indo-European languages, like Greek and Latin.
    Yes, it may be that the neolithic Aryan culture already had a quite developed polytheist religion. When the Aryan nomads separated in 2 groups (European and Perso-Indian), the Aryan who invaded the Indus civilization in present-day Pakistan and India created the Hindu religion based on their own Aryan religion. They kept the gods (similar to Greco-Roman and Celtic ones) and invented the caste system to separate the fair-skinned Aryan (upper-caste) of the dark-skinned Dravidian (lower-caste). But ultimately, Hindusim is related to European cultures, and even Buddhism is more closely realted to Europe than East Asia - as Siddartha Gautama was an Aryan prince of Northern India, spoke Sanskrit, an Indo-European language, and was Hindu, an Aryan religion.

    By the way, the Greeks before the appearance of Alexander the Great were also composed of several hundred(or maybe thousand) small city-states like the Celtic tribes.. Do ordinary European Historians consider that technological or cultural advancement of the Celts and the Greeks is very similar?
    I guess that Aryans were more individuaistic than Chinese, and fought for the independence of their own, small kingdoms or city-states (depending on the geography), while Chinese tended to group together (maybe also for geographical reasons).

    Quote Originally Posted by Nakan
    And I ask you again, what ever did "Germanic tribes" accomplish as of Before Christ period?
    The Germanic tribes were another Aryan group, with a similar culture (religion, language...). They lived in Northern Germany, the Netherlands and Southern Scandinavia (mostly Denmark and southern Sweden), where they arrived only around 2000BC from Eastern Europe. So the Germanic tribes were some of the latest people to migrate to Europe from the original Aryan nomad tribes from the North of the Black Sea and Caucasus. As you know, the Greeks first settled in Greece around 8000BC, the Celts probably gathered in villages in Europe at the end of the Ice age, around 9,000BC, and the Chinese in China around 12,000BC (as China is warmer and was not covered by ice at that time). So it took time for them to create new kingdoms and have a population big enough (even more difficult due to the cold climate) to achieve something important. We don't know much about them because they did not have a writing system till getting in conact with the Romans around 1st century AD.

    But they had their own bronze age (Nordic bronze age, from 1000BC) and had an economy strongly based on the keeping of livestock (cows, sheep, horses, etc.). Once they developed, they formed many small kingdoms, each with their own peculiarity. Please check on Wikipedia if you want to know more about each tribe's culture.
    Last edited by Maciamo; Aug 27, 2004 at 11:46.

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