Morning Calm Rising Sun

1281 Words6 Pages
The contemporary nations of South Korea and Japan have been the home to two of the oldest and most cultured societies in human history. The vast East China Sea that has separated the two countries caused the evolution of two different civilizations, dissimilar by language, food, tradition, and culture. Although this may be true at first glance, a deeper probing of these two nations reveals many striking similarities, even in areas that may seem contrary.

The culture of Japan is a mix of old traditions and new, modern trends. In a nation where a common saying has been “the nail that sticks out, gets hammered,” the homogeneity of the Japanese people kept it wary of foreign influence for a majority of its history. Ancient Confucian and Buddhist influences continue to shape the traditional culture of Japan, and make it unique to most other countries. Tea ceremonies, traditional weddings, Kimonos and other formal dress and bowing all indicate an immense pride in Japan’s formal customs. Japan remains a largely patriarchal society and emphasizes a man’s role as the provider in a family. Respect for one’s elders and ancestors is still part of the very fabric of Japanese life.

Japan’s emergence as a world power made its continued isolation almost impossible. Infusion of western culture into mainstream Japanese culture has become especially popular in post WWII Japan. Modern times have seen an acceptance of many colorful subcultures, known as “zoku” or tribes. Otaku (nerds), nure ochiba or wet leaf tribe (emotionally spent salary men), and garu-o (bad girls) are a few examples. Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya are heavily frequented and resided in by the international community. They offer popular brand name designer clothing and me...

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...ons of technologies and electronics industries (Samsung and LG), automobile industries (Daewoo, Kai, Hyundai) and the world steel market. Kaizen was never established as a philosophy in Korea, but common phrases such as goodbye are actually translated to mean “work hard” and indicate the mindset of its people.

South Korea and Japan have pioneered human advancement in various technologies, sciences, philosophy, astronomy, and societal organization. They have commanded vast empires with massive and powerful armies. They have shared the incalculable devastations of war and the success of their modern nations. Their cultures, languages, and economies more closely examined, reveal many similarities as a result of their common and intertwined histories. These two superpowers will continue to lead Asia and influence the international community for years to come.
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