Japanese Cultural Perspectives
Japanese culture is viewed as one of the widely studied cultures in the world. It is the historical culture of the Japanese people over the years. The possible settlement of Japan was 35,000 years ago by Paleolithic people from the mainland of Asia. Japan is a uniform community with non-Japanese, particularly Koreans forming up less than 1 percent of the inhabitants. The Japanese inhabitants are mainly the descendants of different people who migrated from Asia in early times (Dore, 1987).History, culture, and Lifestyle in Japan
According to Hall (1987), the concept of the country's cultural concept involves the insider minorities of the Japanese population as denied to outsider minorities who are viewed as foreign in spite of their long, even multi-generational, dwelling in the country. The cultural minorities mostly investigated include the Chinese and the Koreans as well as the native Okinawans and Ainu. The only non-cultural group to be included happens to be the Burakumin. In reality, cultural minorities in the country including the Burakumin make up only 4 to 6 percent of the country's people. This makes it easy for Japanese especially the previous Prime Minister (Nakasone) to declare cultural and national homogeneity in comparison to other nations like the United States. The non-cultural minorities in among the population include the atomic bomb victims (hibakusha) and the disabled added to Burakumin descendants of earlier outcaste groups. The other three ethic minorities include the Okinawans, Nikkeijin, and the Ainu. The Japanese have their lifestyle etiquette and behaviors. For instance, they do not like confrontations and rarely fight. They tend to cover nearly offensiveness with their smiles and mostly in business negotiations, its hard for them to say no when they actually mean it. They also believe that an invited visitor should not show up with empty hands because they consider their homes as small and humble for interesting visitors. They should therefore be visited with small gifts like flowers, chocolate, or fruits. They also do not entertain behaviors like blowing noses in public or at the dinner tables. To the Japanese people, bowing is the major greeting rather than hand shaking. The right way of doing it is by bending from the waist with a straight back and keeping arms at the sides of for a man and clasping in front for a woman. Nodding of the head is enough for a foreigner. Possessing visiting cards called meishi is also necessary for the Japanese. They are significant for introduction and business purposes. The Japanese also regard the removing of shoes before getting into a temple, Japanese-style inn and even some restaurants and museums. According to the Japanese, bathing is gender separated. Religion in Japan
Buddhism and Shintoism are the major religions in Japan and most Japanese believe in both of the religions. For instance, most of the Japanese will marry in the Shinto but once they die, they will have a Buddhism burial. Shintoism is an indigenous Japan religion that involves the adoration of ancestors and countrywide heroes and natural things (both living and non-living). The natural things are considered to represent gods and can be anyone or anything such as the moon, stars, mountains, seas, fires, animals, and trees. The religion also holds much of Confucianism, which emerged in Japan in the 5th
century and emphasized the significance of loyalty and family. In Shintoism, there is neither ordained code of morals or beliefs nor scriptures. Shrine or jinja is the place of worship in Shintoism and the main clear sign of a shrine is the torii, a gate of entrance normally wooden with two poles topped with two or one crossbeams. A water trench with communal cups is another common feature in shrines where Japanese use to clean their hands and at times rinse their mouths. In the religion, purification and cleanliness are vital as they indicate respect to the gods (Jallbjon,2009).While at the shrine, worshiper will chuck some coins into the moneybox, clap their hands two times for their gods' attention and finally bow their heads to pray for their wishes.On the other hand, Buddhism was founded in India in the 5th
centuries and entered Japan in the 6th
century through Korea and China with the eternal life idea. It had achieved fame by the end of 6th
century to an extent of being affirmed the state religion by Shotoku (one of Japan's most notable historical figures). He also based most of his governmental strategies on its doctrines. Kukai also known as Kobo Daishi was another important Buddhist leader to come out as a priest. He returned to build temple all over in Japan after learning Buddhism in China during 800s. Among the temples included the 88famous one on Mount Koya and Shikoku Island, which currently attract millions of pilgrims consistently. Among the current Buddhist divisions in Japan, Zen Buddhism is possibly the most famous in the West and is viewed as the major Japanese form of Buddhism. It is the performing of meditation and firmly restricted lifestyle to free oneself of the need in order to attain enlightenment. The religion does not have theological outsets of self-respect, doctrines, and rites. One does not examine logically but rather know things by instinct. The firm and plain lifestyle of Zen pleaded significantly to Japan's arts. For example, tea ceremony emerged from the practice of Zen.
Unlike Shintoists who have shrines, Buddhists have temples referred to as Otera. In place of torii, temples will normally have a gate for entrance with raised threshold and weighty doors. Temples may also posses a cemetery on their ground as well as pagoda unlike the Shinto shrines (Kitahara, 1983).Typical food, dress, and customs in Japan
Japan has a selection of food apart from just sushi and tepanyaki. There are more than a dozen variety and separate types of Japanese cuisine and limitless regional specialties. To the Japanese, arrangement of food matters as food itself. The dishes are designed not only to appeal the appetite but to the eye too. Unlike the American method of piling much food on one plate, they use many small plates each set craftily with bite-sized pieces of foodstuff. Usually, only one kind of cookery is served in a given restaurant. For instance, only raw seafood is served in a sushi bar while tempura is featured at a tempura counter. There are exceptions particularly in cases where raw fish is served as a starter in most Japanese restaurants and presented foods that contain a selection of dishes. Japanese restaurants may also present a huge selection and some drinking establishments known as izakaya or nomiya. They offer a huge variety of foods from soups to sushi to skewered pieces of chicken called yakitori. Rice is also a Japanese staple food for about 2,000 years and everyone is familiar with the food. It is quite sticky and makes it easier to select using chopsticks. It is also just served plain white rice without salt, soy sauce, or butter. The Japanese change their dressing basing on the change of the climate. For example, during summer season, which starts in June, they tend to put on light cottons though with jackets, hats, and parasols for women due to abrupt cool evenings. They also put on jackets during the autumn season. They dress warmly throughout winter season while spring season is the time they dress in pinks and whites (Hijiya-Kirschnereit 2004). Industrialization, Imports, exports, and employment in Japan
Japan has encountered slow development since and harsh employment adjustments have been imposed particularly in the manufacturing segment. However, it was quickly and comprehensively industrialized in the late 19th
century. The primary item was textiles and huge amounts of light manufactures were produced. Huge industries were largely developed mainly to promote Japan's developing imperialistic goals (Hall, 1987). However, the country's economy collapsed after their defeat in World War II. By then, its merchant marine, one of the world's biggest in the 1930's was nearly destroyed. Despite that, the country reappeared as a chief industrial power in the late 1950s. Japan had become the mainly industrialized nation in Asia and the second largest economic power worldwide after the United States. The country's industry is focused mainly in S Honshu and N Kyushu with centers at Tokyo, Yokohama, and Osaka city. Osaka is one of the country's biggest cities and prime industrial and commercial centers. It is also the central point of a series of industrial cities as well as the important Japanese ports and major industrial centre and railway center. In the late 1950s and 1960s, textiles became less significant in the nation's industry as the manufacture of heavy machinery extended. Japanese industry relies greatly on imported raw materials that form a bigger share of the nation's imports. It obtains all of its steel scrap, copper ore, bauxite, iron ore, phosphate, and crude oil from imports. The manufactured goods form the huge majority of the country's exports. It emerged one of the international leading producers of ships, machinery, steel, and motor vehicles. It had become a chief exporter of high technology goods including electronic and electrical appliances by 1980s.Japan has progressively moved some of its industries abroad through outsourcing and has made considerable capital savings in foreign countries particularly in the Pacific Rim and the United States. Basing on the collapse of 2001, the closing of manufacturing plants in Japan stepped up, as did the opening of plants overseas especially in China. The country's economy has been noted a large trade excess with the United States and Europe totaling for more than half its exports. Japan has also turned out to be an international leader in economic services with some of the world's biggest banks (Smith & Beardsley, 2004).However, for many years after the fall down of the stock and real estate markets in the early 1990s, many of its banks were loaded with many nonperforming loans.Significant Holidays in Japan
Important national holiday celebrations in Japan include January 1 the New Year's Day, second Monday in January, which is valued as the Coming -of-Age Day. February 11 is marked as the National Foundation Day while March 20 is the Vernal Equinox Day. April 29 is the Showa Day celebrated the late Emperor Showa. May 3 is marked as the Constitutional Memorial Day while May 4 is the Greenery Day. May 5 is considered the Children's Day where as the third Monday in July is the Maritime Day. The third Monday in September is a respected day for the Aged while the 23 of September is considered Autumn Equinox Day. The Health Sports Day is celebrated on the second Monday in October. The 3rd
of November is the Culture Day while the Labor Thanksgiving Day is marked on 23 of November. The Emperor's Birthday is on 23 December.In case a national holiday drops on a Sunday, it is pushed on the following Monday. Stores and restaurants stay open on public holidays even though government offices and some businesses are closed. The same does not apply to the New Year's celebration January 1 through third and fourth when nearly all private and public offices, stores, restaurants including ATMs close. At that time people tend to feast in hotels. Every museum close for the New Year is for one to four days though main museums stay open for the other holidays. Whenever a public holiday occurs on a Monday when many museums are closed, most of them will stay open but will instead close the next day. Nevertheless, private museums like special interest or art museums normally close on public holidays. When it comes to major religions in the country, it appear like there is a matsuri festival happening somewhere in the nation almost daily especially during summer. Each main shrine and temple has at least one yearly festival. Celebrations of such kind are constantly free though entrance may be charged for special exhibitions like flower shows.The impact of Japan-U.S Impacts
The impacts include technology effects on job change in both Japan and U.S. More than 50% of the U.S workers agreed that technology would advance their jobs while the Japanese who agreed were less than 50%. The additional optimistic attitudes of the U.S staff focused on the believes that technological change would make jobs more demanding, ease preparation problems, let them to work on more essential duties, advance problem solving and boost personal control. Personal advantage or benefit is another impact. The U.S staffs believe that technological change would create personal profits for them by enabling them to attain their career skills and improve their profitable proficiency. The Japanese chances of believing that the new technology would help them accomplish their careers were low.The Japanese labor force encountered considerably more personal insecurity because of technological change. The matters that increased personal insecurity varied between the countries. The Japanese encountered more personal insecurity connected with unawareness of technology affect on their work. They were also worried whether they had the capability to keep up with technology transformation. The U.S workers however were curious about learning how to maneuver new technology. The Japanese workers believed that new technology would make their jobs more hectic and stressing. Around 50% of them believed that their work would stress them unlike 35% of the U.S staff that believed in that. Even if the U.S and the Japanese workers agreed about the qualified significance of most of the reasons of job stress, some differences existed. The U.S workers believed than the Japanese that technological change would cause role conflicts within the organization, while the Japanese believed that quantitative excess would be the consequence of technological change.Both the Japanese and U.S workers gave a mixed estimate of their organization's capability to handle technological change though the U.S employees were more positive. For most of the particular management of change matters, there were no major differences between the Japanese and U.S workers. The U.S staff however believed that their corporations were good at teaching new technical skills and that job choices concerning technological change were fair to workers. Both the U.S and Japanese workers devastatingly believed that technology change is essential for the endurance of the company with over 90% of the workers approving to it. Though the Japanese believed, more that technology change would have a key impact on their employment. Additionally, the Japanese employees did not believe they would not be comfortable working with computers and were less likely to believe that computer teaching would be simple (Hall, 1987).The Japanese cultural beliefs are determined by many historical events that are quite hard to eliminate from the society that has practiced it for with the support of the government and social structure described by religion. The western culture has entered the Japanese but its influence is shallow and did not affect the entire beliefs of the Japanese (Dore, 1987).