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  1. #1
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Arrow How much of Japan's traditional culture comes from China ?

    Most people know that the kanji or Confucianism were two things imported from China by the Japanese. But exactly how much of Japanese traditional culture originated in China ? Let's have a look.

    Originated from China with few or no modifications

    The great philosophies

    Confucianism (e.g. seniority system, keigo...)
    Taoism (e.g. ancestor worship)
    Mahayana Buddhism (including Obon festival, originated in India, but modified in China and imported as such in Japan)

    The festivals and traditions

    Japanese traditional New Year (same date as the Chinese New Year until 1873)
    Tanabata
    Hina Matsuri
    Setsubun, risshun, shunbun, shubun, etc.
    Tsukimi
    Hanami (blossom viewing, typically plum, cherry or peach - note that plum blossom is the official flower of China, while cherry blossom is the official one of Japan)
    Tea ceremony (sado) (note that there is also a Korean tea ceremony older than the Japanese one)
    Flower arrangement (ikebana) (there is also a Korean flower arrangement)

    Other cultural elements

    Kanji & calligraphy (shodou)
    Traditional black-ink painting
    Wood-block printing (e.g. ukiyoe)
    Traditional architecture & garden landscaping
    Chinese medicine (kanpou), including acupuncture
    Chinese astrology
    Mahjong & go

    Objects

    Shamisen & koto
    Washi (Japanese paper), rice paper, etc.
    Lacquerware & porcelain (eg. rice bowls)
    Origami
    Kites
    Fireworks (hanabi)
    Chopsticks
    Fusuma/Kara-kami (‰¦/ŠΏŽ†)
    Arched bridges
    Canals

    Food

    All noodles (ramen, udon, soba...)
    Rice culture
    Tofu cuisine
    Soy sauce
    Tea, including green tea
    Many 'home-cooking' everyday dishes (mabo dofu, chahan, subuta, gyoza, yasai itame...)
    Rice wine

    Originated from China, but strongly modified over time

    Kimono & yukata
    Martial arts
    Traditional music

    Originally Japanese

    Shintoism (including derivatives such as matsuri, sumo...)
    Noh & Kabuki
    Hot spring culture
    Last edited by Maciamo; Oct 9, 2005 at 08:11.

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  2. #2
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    This is a nice thread. But you can find millions of other influence from other cultures.

    What do you think the things which Japanese refused to accept such as eunuch or whatever? What I am most interested in the J culure or history right now is the period when Japanese physically or politically restricted the influence of other cultures.

  3. #3
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pipokun
    This is a nice thread. But you can find millions of other influence from other cultures.
    Alright, I am waiting for the list (let's start at 2 million items then). Don't forget that this is about "traditional" Japanese culture, so before Meiji.

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    Well, I like your trivia-like threads, you know much more than avarage Japanese threads, but honestly all I can say is "you know them well. nothing more, nothing less".

    What about the genome sequence of Japanese?

  5. #5
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    to Maciamo

    How much of Japan's traditional culture comes from China ?
    Whenever I read such a question, I ask myself, "What is he aiming at ?".
    On the earth, can we find "the pure culture" which has never been influenced by the other culture ?
    I am so fool high school student that I cannot find "the pure culture" in the world.

    A new culture originates in encounter between the different cultures. It is brought up with the tender care for a long time and becomes a highly developed culture.

    If you are interested in cross-cultural comparison between Japan and China, I will advise you to read the books written by Wang Min‰€•q.

    gˆΣh‚Μ•Ά‰»‚Ɓgξh‚Μ•Ά‰»\’†‘‚Ι‚¨‚―‚ι“ϊ–{Œ€‹† ’†Œφ‘p‘
    http://www.amazon.co.jp/exec/obidos/...779759-6113064

    ------------------------------------------------------------
    It is said that in ancient times there were 4 culture areas in the world.
    Old Japan related to the Chinese culture area.
    (Chinese culture is also made by many different ethnic cultures.)
    Some yearly events in Japan originated in encounter between old Japanese culture and old Chinese culture. They were imported as events of the court life and transformed the characters in Japan. Today, They are different from Chinese ones.

  6. #6
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kaerupop
    On the earth, can we find "the pure culture" which has never been influenced by the other culture ?
    I am so fool high school student that I cannot find "the pure culture" in the world.
    Chinese, Indian or Arabic cultures are quite "pure" if you ask me. If you take all Europe as one culture (without looking at inter-linguistic differences like in India or China), then it is also quite pure. Only a tiny percentage of the whole culture comes from another, completely different culture. We could argue that Christianity is the single biggest cultural import of European civilisation - except if you consider the Hebrew culture as part of European civiliation (after all, most Jews in the world lived in Europe before Israel was re-created in 1947).

    Anyway, I was just wondering how much was "original" and how much was "imported". European culture clearly grew out of the Greco-Roman civilisation. It seems to me that Japan grew as much of the Ancient Chinese civilisation as modern China, Korea or Vietnam. The roots are mostly the same, and these cultures now have more similarities than differences.

  7. #7
    TAN Hiroyuki Nagashima's Avatar
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    There are many things which descended from other than China.

    from Portugal

    Catholicism religion
    Christmas
    GUN
    Tempura
    Sponge cake(KASUTERA)
    Karuta

    from Thailand
    Shochu

    from Rome
    Valentine's Day
    (....A plot of Japanese chocolate shop)

    from U.S.A.
    Mother's Day
    Baseball

    Most things are improved for a Japanese

  8. #8
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hiroyuki Nagashima
    from Portugal

    Catholicism religion
    Christmas
    Catholicism has had very little influence on Japanese culture (fortunately). The tradition of celebrating Christmas with decorated fir trees, Santa Claus, and presents does not come from Portugal. In fact, this tradition did not exist in the 16-17th century yet. It only came to Japan after WWII (probably from the Americans).

    Tempura
    Sponge cake(KASUTERA)
    If you are going to start with food, then why not list any kind of foreign food found in Japan, especially those listed here that all Japanese know.

    from Thailand
    Shochu
    What makes you think that Shochu comes from Thailand ? The Chinese call it shao1 zhou4 (ΰ–Žπ) and the Korean call it soju. So my guess is that it comes from China (or Korea).

    from Rome
    Valentine's Day
    (....A plot of Japanese chocolate shop)
    If it is true that Saint Valentine was a Roman martyr, and that 14 February is close to the Ancient Roman festival of Lupercus (the god of fertility), it was not until the Middles Ages that the name "St Valentine's Day" became associated with romantic love and not until the 19th century that the tradition of exchaning 'love notes' appeared. The modern tradition of giving presents to one's lover on Valentine's Day only appeared after WWII in both the West and Japan. In fact, only the Japanese and Koreans restrict gifts to chocolate, and give them to anybody they know, not just their lover. White Day is also a Japanese invention (or at least one made for the Japanese public, as a marketing trick).

    from U.S.A.
    Mother's Day
    If it is true that the USA were the first to establis a national holiday for Mother's Day in 1914 (note that it is not a national holiday in Japan), the origins can be traced back to Ancient Greece. The modern tradition was actually born in England in the 17th century (then called "Mothering Day").

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hiroyuki Nagashima
    There are many things which descended from other than China.

    from Portugal
    Catholicism religion
    Christmas
    GUN
    Tempura
    Sponge cake(KASUTERA)
    Karuta

    Most things are improved for a Japanese

    Huh .... interesting,TEMPURA imported from Portugal !!

  10. #10
    Resident Realist nice gaijin's Avatar
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    Are we defining "pure" as ethnically or culturally unique and homogenous? I think all this thread has done is show that there is no such thing as a "pure" society. No culture is beyond foreign influences and exchanges, no matter how hard they try. Arguing about which culture borrowed what practice from whom is starting to look like mental masturbation; pointless and frustrating. Are we trying to weigh the value of a culture by how much they have been influenced by their neighbors over the ages? If not, I might be missing the point of this discussion.

    India is still considered to be a developing country. Even if it preserves its ancient customs and traditions, I wouldn't take the fact that you couldn't find a McDonald's to be a sign that it is some sort of romantic stronghold against the encroachment of western influence. Not that I wouldn't mind living in a country without McDonald's; I just don't consider that a gauge of a nation's "purity."

  11. #11
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nice gaijin
    Are we defining "pure" as ethnically or culturally unique and homogenous?
    As I said in my previous post, there is little relation between culture and ethnicity, and I started this thread to discuss cultural influence over the centuries, not ethnic homogeneity.

    I think all this thread has done is show that there is no such thing as a "pure" society. No culture is beyond foreign influences and exchanges, no matter how hard they try.
    ...
    India is still considered to be a developing country. Even if it preserves its ancient customs and traditions, I wouldn't take the fact that you couldn't find a McDonald's to be a sign that it is some sort of romantic stronghold against the encroachment of western influence.
    You are missing the point of this thread completely, which is to compare traditional cultures, not modern ones. It is obvious that in today's age of globalisation every country is full of foreign influence. But McDonald's is not and never will be part of the traditional Indian or Japanese culture - that's a fact.

    Arguing about which culture borrowed what practice from whom is starting to look like mental masturbation; pointless and frustrating. Are we trying to weigh the value of a culture by how much they have been influenced by their neighbors over the ages?
    If you don't like it, nobody forced you to post in this thread. I like such discussions.

  12. #12
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    Japanese Kanji imported to China?

    I am a Chinese(from Taiwan). As I am living now in Japan, I've found that there are more kanji words that are in common with the Chinese usages than I thought, specially in science and medicine terms. Since all of these terms were originated in the West and Japan has begun modernization earlier than China did. In the early 20th century, many students were sent to Japan by the Chinese government to learn about modernization. Is it possible that China was actually importing those kanjis. It would make sense since the two countries are so close.

  13. #13
    Regular Member Timey's Avatar
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    Smile

    Ok...my first contribution : Mochi.
    and personally, i don't think only the culture is influenced by china, the people are originally from China, immigrant.
    BTW, i'm new. Howdy!!
    Last edited by Timey; Jul 13, 2006 at 17:35.
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  14. #14
    Seeing is believing Minty's Avatar
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    Bonsai cultivation existed in China approximately in 200 BC. However it is merely in the 10th century that it diffuses to Japan. It is accepted that a Chinese Buddhist transports the premier bonsai to Japan and gave it as a present to a community occupier.

    The Japanese speedily acquired an enthrallment for this avocation and they meliorate the maturing practical methods. There is no discredit that the Japanese are very fond of Bonsai cultivation

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    On the other side of a coin, technical terms in physics field something like 反射(reflection), 屈折(reflaction) was exported from Japan to china during Meiji Era.

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