Inter-Cultural Communication essay
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Japanese people have a high context culture which is steeped in their traditions. The deep culture is practiced in all activities carried out by the Japanese in social, political and economic environment. Japanese culture is bound by respect and harmony. Therefore, their successes or failures are accessed through cultural perspective and unlike other nations which have diverse cultures; in Japan there is the dominant culture at the national level which unifies the citizens. However, Americans can learn Japanese cultural practices which are of importance to social environment and economic growth of the country (Richardson,P.54).
Social, Economic, And Culture of Japanese People
Japan has a high population of 128 million people which is contemporary considered to be a homogenous society whereby they have uniform culture and beliefs in the entire nation. This is because majority of the people are Japanese and foreigners take a small share of the number. More also, every individual strongly applauds the Japanese culture thus making it hard for foreigners to cope with their activities. However, there is a strong pride of individual's identification with a local culture because of good social environment that their culture has created. In addition, Japanese language is the dominant language in the population and used at all levels in the society and that's why it is rated as the sixth language that is most spoken by people in the world.
However, in America there are different cultures and beliefs. This is because of many different immigrants who brought them into the country thus original culture was replaced by foreign cultures. The available unifying factors in the United States are English language, which is the country's official language, and the law which is enforced for security purposes. Above all, Americans belief in creating new cultures which does not live for long rather than emulating a single culture in the entire country which would take long to be adopted. In addition, exotic cultures are growing at a fast rate in the country and Japanese culture is among them. Americans can learn the importance of a unifying culture from Japanese.
In order for the Americans to have a unifying culture, a national language, as the key to communication, needs to be established. This can be done by banning use of other ethnic and foreign languages by American citizens as well as learning of those languages and make English a national language. This isolation of other languages would help to make English a unifying language in the country which can be referred as the first step to create a common culture amongst the Americans. The common language makes foreigners to learn the language before landing into the country which makes the citizens to be proud of their language and culture as it the case in Japan.
Japanese believe that face is the most crucial indicator of the relationship between persons in the society and a mark of dignity as well. This is because they respect each other thus they are well aware that turning down another person's invitation causes embarrassment. In Japan, an invitation is handled as a casual event which must be attended otherwise an individual must communicate early enough for failure to attend the event by using special statement such as 'I am sorry, it is inconvenient' or 'I am sorry but it is under consideration'.
They also respect each other that somebody cannot put another on spot, that is, under public criticism irrespective of the individual's social class. This makes it hard for Japanese to do wrong against each other as well as suing one anther for the sake of respect they have. This makes harmony to be the key value in the society which is the main guiding philosophy for a Japanese family, business and society settings as well. Moreover, respect is owed to every person near you in Japan but not the case of how individuals know each other.
In contrast, American people live according to the moral principle which makes different individuals to have moral values which are different from each other. This concept makes it hard for the creation of a harmonic society in the United States like the one in Japan. However, Americans can achieve this by inputting cultural practices which would oblige each person to act respectfully in presence of another individual regardless of the race or origin. The issue of racism can be a barrier to the practice though it can be contained by imposing stiff penalties against the culprits.
In order to enhance harmonious living in the society, Japanese children are couched on how to live harmoniously with each other in school. However, teachers accomplish this by assigning tasks, which can only be accomplished through team work and cooperation, to the children. This is reflected by harmonious lives of the Japanese people whereby emphasis on individual responsibility, teamwork, and politeness has been put into practice. This nature of working together is said to be the greatest ingredient to the growth of Japan's economy and success of Japanese cooperate organizations. In case of differences amongst individuals, gentle and indirect methods are used to solve the problems.
However, Americans do not emphasize on the team work rather they dwell more on individual's working nature. Therefore, it would be a great importance if Americans can learn to work as teams from Japanese. The cultural practices of the American people cannot allow the development of team works because of pride and differences amongst different individuals with accordance to races, origins and financial status. For America to adapt Japanese culture of teamwork and harmonious way of living, Americans must learn how to put away differences amongst them and fully accept each other as one people. Also, differences amongst different persons can be solved through gentle methods which would ensure the existence of harmony between the involved parties.
More also, Japanese also have religion and expression culture unlike in America. Though Christianity has been developing in Japan, traditional religion culture is dominance in many regions of the country. However, there are approximately two hundred thousands religious organizations in the country where majority of them have either the Shinto or Buddhist historical orientation. Interestingly, neither of those religions is extremely exclusive thus religious pluralism has been in existence for many years.
However, Shinto is an indigenous animistic religion of Japanese which is also known ads "deities or the way of kami". It is practiced both at household and community level. The religion doctrines are unwritten, religion statuary is also uncommon and also shrines that are used are largely wooden structures but elegantly made. More also, the shrines are mainly situated in sacred trees' grooves with an entry which an individual gains through an arc designed tori.
In addition, the imperial's family divine origin is nowadays the basic tenet of the religion after the restoration of meji during the World War II. It is after the restoration of meji that shinto became a state religion and was being headed by the emperor of Japan thus it was associated with nationalism. Later on, the religion was abolished under the constitution which was implemented after the World War II. However, the religion is still in existence as a community religion. Japanese say that Shinto has played many important roles in their lives in aspects such as ceremonial and symbolic initiation of life such as marriage ceremonies and others.
However, Buddhism religion is historically believed to have originated from India through china and Korea in the midst of the sixth century. In the eighth century the religion was adopted as Japanese state religion though Chinese served as the authorities leaders of the religion. Moreover, by ninth century the religion had spread to all regions of Japan thus majority of the population belonged to the religion. Around the seventeenth century, Buddhism religion was politically patronized by Tokugawa Shogunate but restoration of emperor leadership in late nineteenth century give way to a movement which campaigned for its abolishment.
However, during the post war period, majority of the population had become secular whereby Buddhist priests were only contacted for social ceremonies such as funerals and memorial services. Later on the religion was evacuated by many people and that made the shrines and temples which were earlier used for religion affairs to become tourism sites which portray the Japanese religion culture.
Furthermore, for the two religions Taoism and Confucianism, neither of them constitutes a separate religion in the population of Japan. Though both of them are traditional religious culture, they contributed to the religious life of Japanese since they form the foundations of both the Shinto and the Buddhism religious culture. However, Confucianism forms the foundation of ethical relationships both at the government level and social level as well from seventeenth century onwards. Although the religion is not sanctioned, its tenets have continued to influence the lives of Japanese people.
Like Confucianism, Taoism was imported from china and India in sixth century and was actively supported by majority of the population. This religion culture has had a long-lasting influence on the popular religious beliefs specifically in relation to sacred mountains, rituals, fire walking, and others. However, those traditional religious beliefs have greatly contribute to features which characterize the principles of Japanese religious beliefs such as veneration off ancestors, religious continuity in the family level, livings and the dead, close relationship between governance and religion among others(Livingstone,p.32).
Religion practices are done in a special stipulated manner by Japanese. The priest has to be a man whereby any male can train for priesthood but the position is mainly inherited that it is passed from father to the son. Celibacy is not practiced but priest wives undergo formal trainings and have to be participating in the activities associated with the running of the temple. However, large temples admit acolytes who are then taken into smaller temples after undergoing discipline training. In addition, the priests of Buddhist religion were often accomplished at traditional art, particularly in calligraphy writing. Shinto shrines require that daughters of the priest be virgins in order for them to be allowed to participate in the activities of the shrine (Livingstone,p.30).
Also the ceremonies were carried out differently according to the religion culture it is associated with. Activities which were carried out in the Shinto shrines reflect seasonal changes and were associated with planting and harvesting of the rice. Nowadays, Japanese continue to carry out these cerebrations in the shrines but most important ceremony of purification is held in the New Year and in the midyear so as to wash away both the physical and spiritual dirt. The most important religious ceremonies are New Year's festive, girls' festive, boys' festive, the star's festive and the chrysanthemum festive which are cerebrated in different times of the year both in homes and in the shrines.
Marriage ceremonies are associated with the Shinto shrines but majority of Japanese, though they use the traditional dresses which replicate the Shinto ceremonies, they often have secular marriages. However, public ceremonies are rarely held in Buddhist temples or shrines but the most important ceremony is the bon ceremony in which dead people are believed to return to the earth in spiritual forms. Moreover, some temples also held some ceremonies such as the tea ceremony or participate in the setsubun ceremony which is a ceremony of purification to welcome the spring season.
Contrary, in America we do have neither the religious cultures nor believes. However, Japanese religious believes and culture has helped them in maintaining peace and harmony in the social environment. This is important to the Americans if the culture is adopted in the same manner in which Japanese adopted them from the Chinese and Indian people. For Americans to adopt religious culture, the constitution has to be amended which is a hard task to accomplish though it is impossible. It is impossible because of the conflicts of interest amongst the American public who belong to different religions such as Christianity, Islamic, paganism and others. However, communication between Japanese and Americans cannot prosper because of different religious beliefs and culture between them (Whittaker,p.45).
In Japan, art culture is exhibited by the building structures in modern towns and traditional shrines in the rural areas. It is also an exhibit of cultural development of Japanese over the periods. However, Japanese traditional culture is little known to us until when one observes the relationship between the traditional structures and the modern ones. Therefore, Japanese work on improving their tradition art rather than inventing new arts. In addition, the Japanese art is also exhibited by painting, architecture, performing art, and writing.
However, the painting art in Japan comprises of mesmerizing Asian charm when looked at from decoration perspective. In addition, painting art is still practiced in Japan by use of traditional painting tools in many rural areas. However, the Japanese painting art can be a confusing subject for novices especially when a foreigner wants to lean more about it. In order to understand painting art by Japanese, one should be aware that Japanese painting art is a combination of three main cultures of the world that is , Chinese, Japanese and western culture.
Historically, earlier painting in Japan was largely being influenced by the Indian and Chinese culture which had earlier practiced painting before Japanese. Since the adoption of the painting culture from Chinese, Japanese worked harder in developing the culture and it did not take them long before painting schools were established for the training painters. Interestingly, each painting school trained its painters in a distinct way from the other which helped in creating completion between the schools thus ensuring production of high painting practitioners.
However, the first art painting to arrive in Japan was silk painting which had originated from India. Indians are said to have been the first people in the world to develop the art of silk painting in early period dated back to 200 CE. It is also in India where the batik techniques and wax resist are traced to have been invented. The spread of traditional practices in eastern Asia made Japanese to honor the methods of silk farming in 14th century and adapted their own type of silk painting art.
Although, silk painting has developed over time, the traditional practice of laying ink or paint over the silken material has remained to be the method. However, the largest influence for silk painting by Japanese from its origin was the Buddhism. It was with the Buddhism religion that Japanese originated their painting culture and artistic identity. In addition, Japanese art was also influenced by the historical events. Japanese painting is mainly based in the nature of the world tat affects the human nature. Therefore, it is this reason that made Japanese paintings on silk to have figures of wildlife and geographical features.
Until 14th century, Japanese were using brushes rather than writing pens for calligraphy and writing. With this fact in mind, it can be attributed to their concise and perfect skills of painting. Nowadays, Japanese artists use tools such as fine strokes and minute details in composing intricate paintings. In addition, early Japanese artists incorporated written poetry into the artwork which helped in conveying message of painting to the public. However, Buddhists are believed to have been meditating before and while they did their painting which attributed spirituality to their art. Nowadays, Japanese use painting to convey message which they input on clothing and other structures.
However, Americans painting art is not as developed as that of Japanese. This is because American culture emphasizes more on casual living unlike Japanese who enjoy social living more than casual live. Americans see painting to be more of decoration art than a pleasure art. For Americans to relate effectively by Japanese in terms of painting art we must learn to acknowledge the painting art and adopt painting skills from the Japanese who have a good background on the art.
Japanese architecture is said to have begun in 15th century. This is exhibited by surviving prehistoric structures in form of pit houses and terra-cotta houses which are said to have been built by Neolithic Japanese tribe known as Jomon. However, since that period architectural designs of Japanese structure have been modified but a close relationship between modern and traditional structures can be seen. More over, Japanese architecture is exiting and influential to the entire world.
Wooden structures have been the basis for the Japanese architecture. This is because of the cold climate experienced in the region, frequent earth tremors and earthquakes and also geographical nature of the landscape. Most of traditional buildings which were for secular and sacral purposes were wooden which reflects the cultural evolvement amongst the Japanese. However, during this period other building materials such as stones, bricks and soil were also used in construction works in the period thus wooden structures were preferred for the sake of climatic condition.
However, wooden architecture, also known as kansai, was fully developed in the eight century by addition of decorative elements and other design materials. It is during this period that Japanese traditional architecture is believed to have fully refined the style and techniques of architecture which became unique to Japan. This exemplified by the remains of sacral buildings such as the Shinto temples and Buddhist temples. The Shinto shrine that exemplifies this is the Ise shrine which has wooden cypress columns and thatched roof. Its design conveys the Japanese's sense of simplicity and purity.
Furthermore, Japanese architecture is said to have set its standards to the domestic buildings between twentieth and fourteenth century. Some of the standards which were set during this period are presently being put into practice. For instance, traditional townhouses know as 'machiya' are found in Kyoto in Takayama district. In order to meet the needs of high living standards, building materials for these buildings are carefully selected and amongst the selected materials is timber wood which is considerably taken for decoration purposes. Other domestic traditional architecture structures are farmhouses which have cozy and romantic outlooks.
In addition, abundance of the noble classes and feudal warfare in Japan is said to have resulted in a big amount of castles and palaces. However, most of those traditional elegant buildings are believed to have been destroyed in the numerous wars which Japanese have experienced in the past though some have survived to then current times. For instance, the August Imperial Palace and the Himeji-jo castle are living traditional structures that exhibit the traditional architecture of Japanese though they are used for tourism purposes.
The modern Japanese architecture is a development of the traditional architecture which combines European designs with wooden constructions. Japanese architectures also expanded their architectural culture by using concrete and steel construction materials. In the year 1960, Japanese architectures formed metabolism which was a movement meant to motivate architectures into modernizing their designs and leave out foreign designs. However, Japanese architectural culture grew to be one of the most influential in the world.
However, Americans have a lot to learn from Japanese architectural culture which is unique and natural because it is based ion their traditional culture. Americans do not have architectural culture unlike other nations of the world. American culture is based on innovation of new, unique structures and in most preferable cases they must have no relationship with other existing structures. However, for Americans to relate well with Japanese we need to develop architectural designs which are related to historical structures such as the white house structure though not as old as Japanese traditional structures.
Japanese dress has directly been affected by social and political history of Japanese. Japanese dress began as nobility garment for privileged social class individuals but nowadays it has turned out to be the most familiar Japanese dress. Though culture and beliefs of Japanese have been changing, some garments have retained their historic importance amongst the Japanese thus their abuse is prohibited. However, Japanese wear specific garments for specific occasions which unify them socially irrespective of individual's social class. This has helped in eliminating ethnic and social class discrimination amongst the Japanese.
However, some of the Japanese garments which have cultural meaning include the Hakama pant. Traditionally, the garment was designed to protect legs of Japanese warriors of samurai community during battle and horse riding. Today, the garment has been designed as a pair of pants or a skirt and is considered to be formal attire worn only during the Japanese ceremonies. In addition, the happi coat is also a tradition dressing attire which was worn by businessmen and wealthy individuals but is today worn by sushi chiefs and also popularly worn in parties and celebrations.
More also, there is geta sandals which are designed with separate heel. They are nowadays made of different materials though traditionally they were of wooden material only. They were worn by geisha women when they were ion formal attires. Also, yukata robe is attire which had special meaning to traditional Japanese. The attire was originally made as a linen robe and was worn by men after having a bath. Today, the garment is put on by Japanese as a summer wear.
Lastly, another Japanese cultural dressing is kimono. The garment was established in 19th century and it is the most recognizable traditional garment in the world. It was made to be worn by everyone but with the change in culture e and beliefs, the dressing code of Japanese has changed with the import of foreign fashions such as suits and western fashions. Nowadays, kimono has been developed to suit different occasions and seasons. They are mostly worn in wedding ceremonies and during cold seasons by Japanese though it had been adopted by western culture.
However, dressing code is the main exhibit of the culture and beliefs of the society in questions. Japanese respect their dressing culture unlike Americans who do not have dressing culture but rely on the fashion development. In Japan, someone's character is expressed by the dressing culture which is an important aspect of creating unity in the society. American culture does not have dominant dressing culture thus were rely on the fashion, occasional and seasonal wears. It is not possible for Americans to adopt the dressing culture from Japanese. This is because of pride within the Americans which make each individual have the urge to appear uniquely different from others. More also, Americans believe in exporting dressing culture
Japanese culture has a major impact on the economic growth and development of Japan. First of all, economic growth requires the cooperation of the stakeholders. Japanese culture which makes them cooperative and respectful has greatly helped in the economic growth of the nation by making working environment conducive for workers. More also, Japanese have the spirit of achieving goals set by an organization which motivates them to work hard and cooperate in the work places. This also makes them to be workaholics thus workers willingly work for long hours under no external pressure.
Also, Japanese culture is attractive thus attracts tourists from all over the world. This has a positive impact to the economic growth of Japan since tourists bring revenue to the country. More also, Japanese culture has patents which makes it illegal for its adoption by other countries without their consent. This also has a positive impact to the economic country since the country remains the one with the Japanese culture in then world thus tourists cannot visit any other place for the sake of Japanese culture.
In addition, there is security in Japan which makes investors comfortable to carry out pout their activities in the country. The social culture of respect to one another has helped to reduce criminal activities in the country thus investors do not fear much about their social security in the country. In addition, the social security has also trespassed to the authoritative culture which applauds respect in the country and those who commit unlawful crimes are subjected to stiff punishments. However, there is minimal corruption at the government level which is an advantage to the economic growth of the country (Matsuo,p.51).
However, Americans need to learn on the importance of culture to the economic growth and development from Japanese. Americans can adopt Japanese culture at the working level where they can learn on the importance of social respect and hard work to the growth of the economy. This can be done if and only if the leaders can introduce it in a manner through which members of the public can understand and campaign for. In addition, dressing codes should also be introduced so as to eradicate ethnic and social discrimination within the public domain. This could help in reducing corruption at the governance level and it is after the adoption of this culture that we can communicate and interact effectively with the Japanese
Japanese culture has had a positive impact in shaping the political culture in then country which has made Japan to have one of the best political environments in the world. Historically, development of religion culture went hand in hand with the political growth in the country. However, emperors were religious followers who applied their religious morals in leading the nation. This enhanced good leadership which cooperated with the will of the public (Hein,p.76).
In addition, the moral principles of Japanese have also contributed in ensuring good leadership in the country. Japanese politicians are believed to be the most cooperative in the whole world. This is because they were raised in environment which applauded harmonious living and social respect in then society. This aspect has contributed to peaceful political environment with minimal conflicts which in most cases are solved by fair social methods. However this has been attracting many investors into the Japan because of that environment which is conducive for the business.
Americans are used to political environment in which conflicts are solved by political methods which at times leave public divided by opinions. However, Americans can adopt the Japanese political culture by letting social will be the guidance to the problem resolution methods in the political environment. Japanese and Americans cannot communicate fairly in terms of politics because Japanese are led by moral principals whereas we are led by political pride so as to emerge victorious.
In conclusion, Japanese culture is worthy to be emulated by Americans. The social culture which applauds respect and harmony amongst individuals is the key to the country's economic growth and development. This is evident from the Japanese way of living whereby respect has trespassed to every individual in the country regardless of the social class. This is important because it eliminates dualism which occurs between the rich and poor individuals in the society.
In addition, American culture is dominated by competition and self pride which hinder growth of respect and harmony amongst the individuals in the society. However, this makes it impossible for the Americans to interact with Japanese who do not emulate social pride amongst individuals. Also, Americans believe that we are in a competitive world which does not give room for adoption of other cultures rather then development of the existing culture. Therefore there is no way that Americans can learn from Japanese culture.
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