Though the term Culture integrates a number of connotations, but commonly it denotes the manner a community lives in harmony with its traditions, the notions, the linguistic processes, or the way they dress.
The Japanese culture is no exception to this. A meticulous observation demonstrates the immense influence of European, Asian, Chinese as well as North American Culture. As a consequence Japanese culture is unique as well as so distinguishing from the other Asian ethnicity and cultures.
An extensive array of components has composed the culture of Japan. This array includes Japanese Language, Japanese Music, Japanese Costume and Clothing, Japanese Performing Arts, Japanese Religions, Japanese Customs, Japanese Folklore, Japanese Sculpture, Japanese Cuisine in addition to Japanese Literature.
Besides that, Geisha, Kabuki Theatre, Ikebana are also regarded as significant part of Japanese Cultural Heritage. Brief descriptions of a few of the Japanese cultural manifestations are as following:
Japanese Painting :
The Japanese painting is a very popular form of art celebrated through out the country. The outstanding procedure of the painting is borrowed from continental regions.
Japanese Language :
The language of Japan is one of the most eminent elements of Japanese culture. This language includes a polysynthetic linguistic process and is featured by a distinctive lexical pitch modulation. The written form of this language is very interesting as the Japanese scripts are combination of various types of scripts as Roman Alphabets, Chinese Characters.
Japanese Sculpture :
Japanese Sculptures are the reflection of Shinto as well as Buddhist cultural heritage. Stone, metal, pottery and wood are considered as the favored materials for sculpting.
The Japanese cuisine or culinary art offers a huge diversity of food stuffs as well regional food preparations. The Japanese word for Culinary stands for ‘conventional style’.
But in a wider significance Japanese Cuisine incorporates the dishes with elements as well as food preparation processes borrowed from foreign countries and refined and modified by Japanese cookery innovators.
The Japanese cuisine is highly celebrated world wide for its quality and taste. The tourists to Japan find Japanese Cuisine as one of the major attractions in that country. Numerous Seasonal and Regional Japanese dishes have enriched the Japanese Cuisine.
Generally the Japanese Cuisine is the assemblage of staple foodstuffs including noodles, rice, soup and several items made up of vegetable, crabs, fish, tofu and meat. Spices and flavors like Soy sauce, miso and dashi are added with the low fat dishes. Various sorts of Noodles, which are the vital element of Japanese culinary, were undoubtedly adopted from Chinese Cuisines.
Some of the most admired and celebrated Japanese ingredients and dishes are as following:
Other than that the fruits like Daidai, Mikan, Yuzu, persimmon, chestnut, Nashi pear, Kabosu and Nashi pear are eminent part of Japanese Cuisine. Several Japanese Dishes prepared with meat including pork, chicken, beef and horse as their ingredients. The array of fishes which grace the toothsome delicacies of Japan integrates Prawn, Octopus, tuna, mackerel, pacific saury and spiny lobster.
Music in Japan is an integral part of their culture. The Japanese music has a wide variety, ranging from traditional to the new Japanese music. Karaoke which can be considered a form of musical practice has made its way into modern Japanese culture, especially among the young crowd. The musical culture of Japan is distinctive and not fully influenced by its western counterparts as it has a number of traditional instruments which are very much popular even now. The Japanese people are extremely fond of western music and the American pop is extremely admired by the young populace.
Music has been important in the Japanese culture from ancient times. The traditional music of Japan can be divided into two parts art or classical and folk music. Though both vocal and instrumental music are prevalent in Japanese culture the popularity of vocal music has an edge over the instrumental. ‘Gagaku’ a form of Japanese music was customary in the royal courts in ancient times. This form of music was influenced by the other north Asian countries. In the medieval era ‘Noh’ which is a form of musical drama became very popular. Koto, Shamisen and Shakuhachi are the three forms of music which made its appearance in the later medieval period in Japan. Koto also known as Sokyoto was taught to the high class girls as part of their upbringing.
The folk songs in Japan like other parts of the world are concerned with the everyday life and pain of the common mass. Most of the folk songs of the ‘land of the rising sun’ are from the Edo age. Both the metric rhythm and free rhythm are common in the folk music of Japan.
From the 20 th century with the development of communication music from all over the world has gradually gained popularity. Canzone from Italy, American jazz, and Latino music have made their place in the heart of the Japanese people. Japan’s very own ‘Kayo-kyoku’ is most adored by the people. Japanese rock music from the 1960’s had become very popular and the rock band called ‘Happy End’ was the most famous of them all.
Of late many experiments are done with the traditional Japanese classical music and the instruments. Japanese composers are even using western classics for giving Japanese music a new form.
Japanese dramas can be categorized into three parts television drama, radio drama and audio drama. Drama in Japanese televisions are a big hit with the audiences and are also known as “Dorama” or “jdrama”. Japanese drama in influenced a lot by its Chinese counterparts. The history of Japanese drama is very rich and the golden periods of theatre in Japan are the 14 th and the 18 th century. During this period the two forms theatre aristocratic and popular were in practice in Japan. Apart from dramas by live actors puppet shows are also a very prominent part of Japanese drama. In the medieval times Noh drama, Kabuki Theater and Kyogen were the forms of dramas in Japan. Kyogen dramas mostly dealt with comic and religious topics.
Drama in Japanese televisions is mostly soaps which are held every day and the story ranges from detectives to horror, from romance to comedies. The recent theme of television drama which involves the opinion of the audiences had made its appearance in Japan very first. ‘Trendy dramas’ which are based on the daily life of the people of J apan are very popular on Japanese television. The background music is used to enhance the romance and the thrill of the dramas.
Some of the famous dramas of the 21 st century Japan are Long Vacation, Perfect Love, PU-PU-PU, Sleeping Forest, Wakamono no Subete, Oni no Sumika and Under the Same Roof. The dramas which are broadcasted in the television in the evening generally have higher ratings. Japanese dramas form a great source of entertainment for the people of Japan.
The legend of the Japanese dragon has its origins in Chinese myths and folklore. Japanese dragons like all Asian dragons and unlike the dragons found in Occidental mythology is not malevolent.
These dragons are considered to be bringers of wealth and good fortune. According to legends Japanese dragon are believed to take up the shape of humans and is even considered capable of mating with humans. The age-old enemy of the dragon is the phoenix and sometimes a bird-man creature called Karura.
Just like in the Chinese society, in the Japanese society too dragons are depicted in paintings in temple walls and carvings. Most of the temples with dragon carvings usually belong to Zen Buddhism religion. The Japanese dragon had originally come into existence as a guardian creature that was in charge of guarding all the 4 cosmic regions. Traditionally the dragon is identified with the season of spring throughout Asia.
The Japanese dragon bears close resemblance with its Chinese counterpart but with the exception that the Japanese dragon has 3 claws while the Chinese dragon has 5. The Japanese dragon is referred to as Ryugu in Japanese mythology. The dragon king is believed to have his home underwater in the Ryuku islands area in Okinawa. Japanese dragon s are of various types: there are the Tatsu dragons that are a representation of spirituality and imperial power. The Sui-Riu dragons are held responsible for bringing rains into the islands of Japan. The Han-Riu dragon is the tallest of the dragons measuring up to almost 40 feet in length and can reach the heavens. The Ri-Riu dragon is most popular for its unusual eye-sight which is believed to be the best. The Ka-Riu dragon which is the smallest possesses a frightening red color. The Fuku Riu is the dragon which brings luck to people. The Hai-riyo dragon is actually a dragon which possesses a bird-like shape and was one to evolve out of Chinese mythology.