Culture and Customs of Japan

Culture and Customs of Japan

Culture and Customs of Japan

Culture and Customs of Japan

Synopsis

Their society has been changing rapidly in modern times, yet for most Japanese, cultural traditions retain their importance in daily life. This volume highlights those traditional Japanese elements in modern society, providing an engaging examination of religious rituals, classic and modern literature, performing arts, fine arts and handicrafts, housing, clothing, women's roles and family life, holidays and festivals, and social customs. The book gives students a deeper understanding of Japan beyond popular stereotypes of an Asian economic powerhouse.

Excerpt

The title of this volume, Culture and Customs of Japan, might imply that it contains information on traditional Japanese culture and customs that are distinct from European or American culture and customs. If it were to discuss only those aspects of Japanese culture that are different from Western culture, this volume would present an image that is far from the reality of Japan today. During the past 130 or so years, Japanese society has gone through a major transformation and in many respects has become like any other industrialized country. This was a result of conscious efforts to modernize the country after the Western model. After all, the West has been the frontrunner in industrialization in the modern age, and various elements of Western culture inevitably have become a part of Japanese culture.

To describe the culture and customs of contemporary Japan that are not exclusive to a small number of elite but shared by ordinary people in daily life is the mission of this book. Most daily activities of the Japanese are already familiar to readers in the United States or other industrialized countries. The everyday life of average people who live in urban areas of Japan consists of being woken up by the alarm clock in the morning, getting dressed in business suits, eating a quick breakfast of toast with milk or coffee while glancing at the daily newspaper, and at the same time watching the morning news on television. They walk or pedal a bicycle to the nearest train station and ride on a train packed with many other commuters for at least half an hour. At their work place (a business office or factory) they share an entire section of a large room with many fellow workers and supervisors. For lunch most of . . .

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