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Japanese Studies – Resources

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Consisting of four large islands and over six thousand small islands, Japan has created one of the richest and powerful cultures in the world. Situated with China and Korea on one side and the open Pacific Ocean on the other, Japan has always been a nation influenced by the sea that can be seen in many aspects of its day to day life. Here is an overview of the magnificent Japanese culture and language.

 

The Beginning of the Nation of the Rising Sun

Beginning as a people that crossed an ancient land bridge that once connected northern Asia to Japan, prehistoric Asian peoples began to migrate across the landmass. Over the course of thousands of years, the ice melted between the Asian continent and Japan, marking the first isolation of the nation from mainland Asia. Becoming a nation that relied heavily on rice for trading and food, the crop became the reason for the nation to thrive, to begin with.

Being influenced by outside cultures that were followed by long periods of cutting off from the outside world helped shape the coming of the Samurai.

Beginning in the 12th century and ending in the 19th century, this new class of society resulted in the famous Samurai Oda Nobunaga ruling the nation until his assassination in 1582.

 

Japanese Language

While the origin of the kanji hiragana languages is still unknown, basic Japanese has many similarities to the Altaic language of Mongolian peoples and Pacific Islander languages. The writing systems consist of hiragana, kanji, and katakana. The word order is written going down, rather than sideways as in European languages. With symbols very similar to Chinese characters, Chinese languages have heavily influenced the writing of Japan throughout the course of history.

 

Social Customs and Behavior

Japanese body language customs are formal and specific with respect being paid to the other person based on their social status compared to the other person.

Introducing yourself and speaking immediately to a person is considered rude, even in a large group of people. Bowing is the universal foundation of Japanese communication and is a protocol when greeting anyone. Eye contact is usually avoided to give the other person privacy. Making signs with index fingers is considered an insult and to be avoided.

 

Whether you want to learn the Japanese language, study modern Japanese culture, or simply embrace another part of the world, you’ll be sure to find your studies of Japan worthwhile. Filled with a rich culture that is unlike anywhere else in the world and backed by a vivid history, the country has made a huge mark on the world as a whole. With a large presence in the United States, the culture has made a huge impact on American food, entertainment, and diversity of the population

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