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Culture similarities and differences in early East Asian history Essay

Culture refers to people’s way of life. Culture is transmitted from one generation to another. Culture is leaned. Culture is a means through which society share values, beliefs, customs, behavior and artifacts. Tradition refers to the process of doing an action more than once. For example, repeating an action now and again makes it be a tradition. Going home to celebrate festivals together as a family could become a tradition if every festive you go home. Culture in the Asian countries rotates around art, beauty, medicine and cuisines. Chinese culture In the Chinese society, there are five necessities that define their culture.

These necessities are: Food, clothing, housing, transportation and education. Chinese cooking is of two types. That is, Northern and Southern cooking styles. Northern dishes have a lot of oil and garlic and vinegar are usually pronounced. Pasta is valued in the Northern style of cooking. In the Southern cooking styles, chili peppers are valued. Rice and rice products are usually used as accompaniments. In Chinese cooking, color, smell and taste are given same value in meal preparation. Most of the time, a meal will include three to five colors. Most valued during cooking is the preservation of the fresh natural taste of the spices.

The three properties of color, aroma and taste are not only the issues valued in Chinese cooking, but nutrition is of great importance. According to Shang dynasty(Chinese culture 16th to 11th B. C ) Yi Yin, he related the five tastes of sweet, sour, bitter, piquant and salty to the nutritional needs of the five major system organs of the body( the heart, liver, spleen, lungs and kidneys) and emphasized their function in maintaining good physical health. Most of the vegetables used in Chinese cooking such as garlic, dried lily buds, tree fungus have components that help in preventing and alleviating diseases.

Chinese culture believes that food and medicine share the same origin. Chinese culture has got certain restrictions associated with eating. That is, meals taken while seated, sitting arrangement is based on age and gender. The dishes are arranged per table basis with a table capturing around ten to twelve people. Chinese dressing symbolizes a meaning of its own. The main types of Chinese traditional dressing are: pien-fu, long robe and shen-i. The pien-fu is a ceremonial costume in which one had to wear a tunic like top that extends to the knees and a skirt that touches to the ankles.

A pien is a cylindrical cap. Similarities between these clothing are wide cut and voluminous sleeves with straight lines. They are also made more attracting by adding ornaments onto them such as doing embroidery along the edges, decorated bands, draped cloths and silk. In the traditional Chinese clothing, dull colors were favored to light colors. Bright colored clothes were used by common people around the houses. Chinese culture associated certain colors with specific times such as green symbolizes spring, white representing autumn, black for winter and red for summer.

Traditional Chinese housing is characterized by a rectangular- shaped unit space that is joined into a house. The Chinese structures combine rectangular patterns of different sizes and positioned in order of preference, with every stage clearly distinguished. In the traditional buildings, the principle of balance and symmetry is taken into consideration. The main building is the axis with the other buildings being joined to the sides to form wings on both sides serving as the main room and yards. All other Chinese structure such the church, residential houses, palaces and official structures follow the same design.

The interior space is allocated in away that it defines the Chinese social setting and ethics. For instance the main room is for the master, elder members of the master occupy the backyard of the main room while the junior members live in the right and left wings with the most senior occupying the left wing and the others right wing. Certain pronounced features of Chinese structures are its wooden structural frame with pillars and a beam, and mud made walls surrounding the three faces. The main doors and windows are constructed on the front face of the building.

Woods is used in Chinese structures because they believe that wood represents life which is the essence of their culture. Chinese people build houses that have deep and over hanging roofs. Because of this, they came up with their own way of giving the roofs support. This invention is called ‘tou-kung’, which goes up stage by stage from pillar to pillar. The tou-kung gives support to the structure and at the same time acts as a unique and attractive ornamentation. The significance of using wood in the Chinese construction is that the size of the rooms depends on the wooden frame used.

Again, color is applied to prevent the wood and third is the skill of building a structure on a platform to prevent moisture. The use of various colors in Chinese buildings has both symbolic and aesthetic meaning. In the transport system, china did not have any kind of wheeled vehicles until importation of the chariot was done from central Asia in the period of 1200bc. Scholars also ague that early Bronze Age china did not own the skills of the chariot and never invented any other means of transportation such as wheelbarrows or carts.

For example, Edward Shaughessy found out that during the Shang periods, “there is absolutely no artifactual evidence for other types of wheeled conveyance”. In the 19th and 20th centuries, rickshaws became most popular but were later overtaken by cycle rickshaws and auto rickshaws. Bicycles today are so many in china that, they cause traffic jams. Today china use both railways and waterways as modes of transportation. Education system in china is socialist oriented with a classroom having a capacity of about 50 students. Learning is always through group work to promote team spirit and cooperation among the students.

Chinese value education because they believe it is a stepping stone to success. In china excellence is the main purpose for education. This is because they aim at producing responsible citizens who can give quality service to society. That is, a student excels to benefit the country but not him or her. Japanese culture Japanese culture is largely borrowed from china but Japanese culture is mainly influenced by its language. Japanese language is a combination of subset languages that are borrowed from china. That is, hiragana, katakana and kanji.

Japanese usually have different types of traditional foods for various seasons such as osechi-ryori foods for New Year, kabochi on winters, weeding foods and mother dinners. Japanese also use spices in food preparation so as to make it tasty and give an appetizing smell. Japanese have got eating manners that they expect people to adhere to when eating. These tips on how to eat varies from one meal to another. Their dishes include sushi, tempura and teriyaki. Japanese performing art is characterized by costumes, mask and stylish gestures. Their four theatres are noh, kabuki and bunraku.

Japanese way of building is also an important aspect of their culture. It was heavily influenced by the Chinese architecture and examples of these are seen in the temples, shrines and castles. In terms of clothing, Japanese wear kimono. Kimono implies “something to wear. ” Initially Japanese used the word kimono to refer to all types of dressing but today it only implies long dress that is worn by men, women and children. Kimono is available in different colors with men prioritizing dark colors and women prioritizing brighter colors. The summer kimono is light and it’s called yukata.

In the world of sports, methods that were used to train warriors in the past have been organized into sports. For example, kenjutsu, kyudo, and sumo. Again, Japanese popular culture presents a link to the past. Favorite films, television programs and music are all established from the traditions. Japanese also have got aculture of making sculptures. The oldest sculpture made is known as Amitabha in the Zenko-ji temple and it is made of wood. Japanese value wood and it has been used in Japan as one of the main materials by architectures. Other materials that have also been used are stone and pottery.

They also have a flower arrangement art known as Ikebana which emphasizes on harmony, rhythm and color use. Comparison between the two cultures However there are certain variations in the two cultures. That is, in Japan buildings are structured around grand palaces while in china, they are based on the concept of walled cities. In terms of food, their primary dish is rice even though the mode of preparation is different. In their concept of beauty, Japanese considers beauty as a concept that is temporary to life. They use a symbol known as sakura (cherry blossom) to express the fleeting property and wilting nature of beauty.

But in china, beauty is part of nature and this explains the common paintings of lions, cats and tigers. Musically, Japanese love more vocal music that takes its routes from dramatic styles such as Noh, Kabukl, and Bunraku while Chinese traditional music is dominated by instruments such as the flute and oboe. Traditionally the two societies do not like each other. Japanese have a collective kind of culture than Chinese. Both Chinese and Japanese up hold respect for tradition, family and beauty but Japanese tend to be consistent with the practice.

Taking the above discussion into consideration, I wish to conclude that the two cultures are different even though Japanese culture was influenced mainly by Chinese culture, References Chinese culture and tradition. The five necessities of Chinese culture. Retrieved. December 15, 2008. from, http://www. chinatownconnection. com/chinese_culture. htm eHOW, How to distinguish between Japanese and Chinese culture. Retrieved December 15, 2008. from, http://www. ehow. com/how_2081085_distinguish-between-japanese-chinese-cultures. html

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