Aged 16, Rachel Krentzman was diagnosed with scoliosis. At 32 she suffered a herniated disk and was told she would have to modify Our instinctive knowledge of which foods are helpful and which are harmful appears increasingly to be fading. We are bombarded Gina Harney, For years I have watched people in their millions inflict more illness and suffering on themselves than any war has ever done Live pain free and maximize your training potential! The Modern Art and Science of Mobility is a striking visual The name "Yamato" is used by archaeologists and historians to distinguish Japanese artistic genres from their Chinese counterparts.
When used as a contemporary term, Yamato has strong associations with the imperial system, and thus with conservative nationalist ideologies. Contemporary Japan is considered a highly homogeneous society, but regional variation in social and cultural patterns has always been significant.
Pride of place and identification with local cultural patterns remain strong. Japanese people often attribute personality traits to people from particular regions, and regional identity often is expressed through local culinary specialties and dialects. Location and Geography. The Japanese archipelago consists of four major islands and over six-thousand minor ones, covering approximately , square miles , square kilometers , and has enormous climatic variation. Japan faces the Pacific Ocean along the entire eastern and southern coastline. The Korean peninsula is the closest point on the Asian mainland.
Japanese life has always been oriented toward the ocean. The currents that converge offshore create fertile and varied fishing grounds. The climate is shaped by Asian-Pacific monsoon cycles, which bring heavy rains from the Pacific during the summer and fall, followed by icy winds from North Asia during the winter that dump snow in the mountains.
There are approximately 1, volcanoes, and because the islands lie on major fault lines, earthquakes are common occurrences. Only about 15 percent of the land is level enough for agriculture, and so the population density in coastal plains and valleys is extremely high. Because of the steep mountains, there are almost no navigable inland waterways. The population in was ,, The country is heavily urbanized, and urban areas have extremely high population densities. According to the census, 81 million people 65 percent live in urban areas; that constitutes only 3 percent of the land area.
During the last years of industrialization and economic development, the population has grown from around thirty million to its present size. This increase occurred as a result of a rapid demographic transition characterized by an enormous movement of people from rural to urban areas, dramatic decreases in infant mortality, increases in longevity, widespread reliance on birth control, and transformations of family composition from large, multigenerational extended households to small nuclear families. Life expectancy is the highest in the world, and the birthrate has been declining dramatically.
Because of these trends, the population is projected to peak early in the twenty-first century and then shrink. Linguistic Affiliation. The official and predominant language is Japanese Nihongo. After the Japan Meiji Restoration in , the government attempted to create a strong centralized state.
Linguistic unification was a step toward shaping the national identity. Through the national educational system and the military, a dominant national dialect replaced local and regional dialects. Japanese is linguistically related to Korean, and both languages are thought to be members of the Ural-Altaic family. Despite similarity in syntax, vocabulary, and grammar, the contemporary languages are mutually unintelligible.
Japanese also has close connections to various Oceanic Malayo-Polynesian languages, suggesting that in prehistoric times the archipelago may have been settled by populations from Oceania as well as from the Asian mainland. Although Chinese and Japanese are fundamentally unrelated and differ in phonology, syntax, and grammar, Chinese has had enormous impact on the Japanese language and civilization. The Chinese system of writing was introduced along with Buddhism in the sixth century, and Chinese orthography was used to transform Japanese into a written language.
Until the nineteenth century, stylized versions of written Chinese remained a hallmark of elite culture. The introduction of Chinese characters 1, years ago established semantic and orthographic systems that make Japanese one of the most complicated languages in the world. The contemporary language relies on an enormous number of words and terms that are Sino-Japanese in origin as well as words derived from indigenous Japanese terminology. Most written characters can be read in contemporary Japanese with both a Sino-Japanese pronunciation and a Japanese reading.
In addition to the adaptation of Chinese characters to preexisting Japanese vocabulary, two phonetic systems of writing were developed after the ninth century. Those orthographies made it possible to write Chinese phonetically and to write spoken Japanese terms that had no equivalent Chinese characters. Literacy therefore became attainable for people not educated in the Chinese classics, and many masterpieces of classical Japanese literature, including the Tale of Genji, were written in those scripts.
An alternative system, adopted but not mandated by the government, is much less commonly used. Although spoken and written forms of Japanese are largely standardized throughout the nation, there are several linguistically distinctive ethnic and regional dialects. The most distant dialects are those spoken in the Okinawan islands.
Okinawan dialects are considered by many linguists to be distinct from Japanese. Other linguistic minorities include the Korean-Japanese and the Ainu. Most Korean-Japanese are bilingual or, especially among the younger generations, monolingual speakers of Japanese. There are only a handful of native speakers of Ainu. National identity and unity are formally symbolized by a number of conventional icons and motifs, including the cherry blossom, the red and white national flag portraying the rising sun, and the chrysanthemum.
These symbols have contested meanings because they are associated with the imperial family and World War II. The chrysanthemum, for example, serves as the crest of the imperial family, and cherry blossoms were invoked in wartime propaganda to represent the glory of kamikaze suicide pilots. Progressive political groups resist flying the national flag and singing the national anthem Kimigayo because of their wartime associations. Stereotypical images that are deployed in foreign representations of Japan, such as Mount Fuji, geisha, and samurai, are not regarded by Japanese people as symbols of contemporary identity.
Contemporary Japanese culture emphasizes symbolic expressions of local or regional identity. For example, local identity and pride are commonly expressed through "famous local products. Emergence of the Nation. During the Yayoi period ca. The basic genetic stock of the population and the fundamental patterns of the language were established during that period. Japan came to the attention of China in the fourth century.
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During the Yamato period C. In , emissaries from the Korean kingdom of Paekche established contact with the Yamato rulers. They introduced Buddhism and thus brought Japan into systematic contact with Chinese civilization. Almost every aspect of Japanese life—agricultural technology, written language, philosophy, architecture, poetry, medicine, and law—was transformed.
The Yamato state adopted the conventions of the Chinese imperial court and tried to model society along the lines of Chinese civilization. The Tale of Genji, the world's first novel, epitomizes the culture of the Heian period. By the end of the Heian period, economic, social, and military power had shifted to provincial landholders and warriors. Several successive hereditary dynasties occupied this position until The medieval period ended in a century of civil war lasting from the late fifteenth to the late sixteenth century. Contacts with the West began in the mid-sixteenth century with the arrival of the Portuguese Jesuit missionary Francis Xavier.
The introduction of Western weaponry hastened the consolidation of power among a few increasingly dominant warlords who unified the country and ended the civil war. In Tokugawa Ieyasu decisively defeated most of the remaining opponents, and established a dynasty that lasted until For over years, Japan experienced political stability, peace, and rising prosperity. The Tokugawa regime ruled through a complicated network of alliances with approximately regional lords, some closely allied to the Tokugawa and others in opposition but permanently subdued.
Each fief retained its own castle town, and as a political strategy, some fiefs maintained a high degree of economic, social, and cultural autonomy. During the Tokugawa period, culture and society became codified and somewhat uniform across the country. Patterns established during this period shaped, propelled, and constrained the country's modernization after By the s, the Tokugawa regime had ruthlessly suppressed Christian communities and broken off most ties with European nations.
It disarmed the peasantry and imposed rigid household registration requirements to keep the population spatially and socially immobile. Traffic along the great highways was scrutinized at heavily guarded checkpoints. Trade was controlled through feudal guilds, and detailed sumptuary regulations governed the lives of all social classes. These social policies reflected the ideology of neo-Confucianism, which valued social stability and the social morality of ascribed status.
Tokugawa social structure was organized around principles of hierarchy, centralized authority, and collective responsibility. Individuals were expected to subordinate themselves to the specific obligations of their ascribed social roles, and virtue consisted of perfecting one's ability to fit the requirements of one's role. In the upper reaches of society, the kinship system upheld neo-Confucian ideals of the family as a microcosm of the social order. Neo-Confucianism also established a rigid system of ranked social classes: warriors, peasants, artisans, and merchants.
Status reflected ideals of social utility, not wealth. Beyond those four hereditary official classes, Tokugawa society included a tiny stratum of imperial nobility, a large clerical establishment, and a population of outcastes. Throughout this period, regional castle towns and the major urban centers under the direct control of the Tokugawa authorities became increasingly integrated into a national economic, social, and cultural network. Urban economic power increased over the agrarian sectors. This undermined Tokugawa political power, which depended on the control of agricultural land and taxes.
Only about 15 percent of Japan is level enough for agriculture. Japanese cities equaled or surpassed their European counterparts in infrastructure and public amenities, but Japanese urbanites lacked a political voice commensurate with their economic and cultural capital. Tokugawa social patterns and institutions laid the foundations for modernization. The urban merchant classes stimulated the development of sophisticated national economic institutions and the beginning of industrial production.
Literacy and computational ability were widespread among samurai, merchants, and the upper levels of the peasantry. The samurai became a hereditary class of bureaucrats whose qualifications for leadership depended on education. Society was characterized by discipline and regulation. The Tokugawa dynasty surrendered its authority to the imperial court in after a long struggle. The political crisis included major internal economic problems and the unexpected confrontation with the Western powers precipitated by the arrival of Commodore Matthew Perry and a squadron of American warships in Opponents of the Tokugawa demanded that it take a firm stand against foreign intrusions and then overthrew the regime.
The result was a largely peaceful coup known as the Meiji Restoration, which marked the beginning of the nation's modernization. The Meiji regime reconnected imperial rule with civil political authority and military power.
Under the nominal leadership of Emperor Meiji, the imperial government was run by the young samurai who had defeated the Tokugawa dynasty. They were fiercely nationalistic and attempted to bring Japanese society into parity with European and North American powers. Society was thoroughly transformed as the leaders created a strong centralized state centered on the imperial line, built a modern military, avoided European colonization, began imperialist expansion into other parts of East Asia, and launched industrialization and economic development.
Although they had come to power under the slogan "Revere the Emperor; Expel the Barbarians," the Meiji leaders built a strong state and society along the lines of an industrial European country. Meiji leaders balanced Western powers again each other to avoid domination by any single patron. The government sent delegations to study legal institutions, commerce and industry, science and technology, military affairs, architecture, arts, and medicine in Europe and North America. Foreign experts were hired, and young Japanese were sent to study at Western universities. The new slogan was "Eastern values; Western science.
The Meiji grafted the trappings of contemporary Western monarchies onto the sacred imperial institution, creating a court nobility that resembled European aristocracies. Samurai ranks were abolished in The centrality of the state was strengthened by a new national educational system, and a growing military. Treaties signed by the Tokugawa regime had created zones where Western citizens lived independently of Japanese laws. These "treaty ports" were important sources of Western influence, and many schools, hospitals, and other institutions created by foreign missionaries became prominent.
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The system of extraterritoriality, however, was considered degrading, and the government tried to transform social life and culture in ways that would command the respect of the Western powers. Japan rapidly built a Western-style navy and army and attempted to expand its influence in East Asia. In , Japan annexed Korea. By the s, Japan considered itself a world military power. This military might was made possible by industrialization after the s. The state built industries such as shipyards, iron smelters, and spinning mills and sold them to well-connected entrepreneurs.
Domestic companies became consumers of Western technology and applied it to the production of goods that could be sold cheaply on the world market. Industrial zones grew enormously, and there was steady migration from the countryside to the newly industrializing centers. Industrialization was accompanied by the development of a national railway system and modern communications.
In addition to state-sponsored innovations such as uniform national education and the creation of a single national dialect, popular interest in Western life increased throughout the Meiji period, starting at elite levels and eventually extending to almost all social groups, especially in the largest cities. Not all social changes were modeled on the West, however. Many aspects of tradition and history were codified. Nation building and industrialization were complete by the early twentieth century. Mass media and popular culture developed in parallel to the Jazz Age in the West.
Political democracy was encouraged; and leftist groups agitated for political freedom and workers' rights. The military assumed a larger role in politics, and conservative forces made international "respect," military expansion, and the sanctity of imperial institutions the cornerstones of public life. Throughout the s, military and colonial adventures in Manchuria and elsewhere in China led to open war, and society became increasingly militarized. The war in China grew more intense, and international condemnation of Japanese atrocities poisoned relations with the Western nations.
Japan joined with Italy and Germany in the Axis because its military planners saw the United States and its interests in Asia as inimical. Diplomatic relations with the Western powers grew worse, and on 7 December , Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbor. Japan almost simultaneously attacked all the major territories claimed by Western colonial powers, including American possessions such as Hawaii and the Philippines. In the first year and a half of the Pacific War, Japanese forces were on the offensive, but by , Allied forces were recapturing the Western Pacific.
Allied naval victories destroyed Japan's fleets and shipping, and bombing raids began in They destroyed most of the domestic infrastructure and took an enormous toll on civilians. Anticipating that an invasion of Japan would be a bloodbath, American military planners proceeded with the development of the atomic bomb. Japanese weddings are elaborately staged and usually held in banquet halls or hotels. On 15 August , the Emperor announced that his government had capitulated. From until , Japan was occupied by Allied troops under the command of U.
General Douglas MacArthur. The early postwar years were a time of massive rebuilding. Millions of people were homeless, and millions more were repatriated from the former colonies. The economy was shattered, and mass starvation was a threat. Disillusionment with the cultural and social frameworks of prewar and wartime life was widespread. The Occupation launched social and cultural reforms, including a democratic constitution and political system, universal adult suffrage, the emperor's renunciation of divinity and separation of religion from state control, agricultural land reform, the dismantling of major economic and industrial combines, the expansion of education, language reform, and expanded civil liberties.
By the mids, the initial reconstruction of society and economy had largely been accomplished, and the government had built a conservative consensus that the national priorities were economic growth and social stability, which would be achieved through the close cooperation of business and a government directed by bureaucratic elites.
After the late s, this "developmental state" created the social, economic, and political contexts in which ordinary people could experience middle-class urban lifestyles. The characteristics of postwar urban middle-class life included small nuclear families in which mothers focused on their children's education and from which fathers were largely absent because of their occupational obligations. The typical white-collar urban family was secure in the knowledge that lifetime employment was the norm. In the s and s, success in the domestic economy began to be felt around the world as consumer products from Japan began to dominate overseas markets.
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Economic growth was politically unassailable, but the costs in terms of pollution, declines in the agricultural sector, and massive urban growth without adequate infrastructure were enormous. Grassroots movements developed to combat problems spawned by the developmental ethos; those movements were limited in their effectiveness. Throughout the s and s, Japan experienced unprecedented prosperity. Riding massive trade surpluses and producing top-quality products, the economy was regarded as a model for other industrial and postindustrial societies. That economic strength allowed investment in overseas assets.
The affluence of ordinary consumers manifested itself in a growing market for luxury items, conspicuous consumption, and very short product cycles. Although work schedules permitted little leisure time, travel became a desired commodity. High levels of disposable income, however, masked the astronomical cost of real estate and the growing division in urban society between the wealthy and the poor. Political leaders have rarely acknowledged Japan's role as a conqueror of neighboring countries, and the nation has not expressed explicit regret.
National self-identity after the war focused instead on the pursuit of peace, and many Japanese stress their own country's losses. Because of the intensity of pacifism in contemporary society, opposition to the military runs very strong, and the article in the constitution that prohibits military involvement is of great symbolic importance.
The Heisei period to the present began with great hopes that it would usher in the "Japanese century," but the era of prosperity sputtered to a halt. The Heisei period has thus far been a time of unremitting economic stagnation. Simultaneously, the political system has been shaken by the breakup of the long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party in and by widespread corruption scandals. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, there is a general sense that the postwar model of a stable, prosperous, and well-governed society has run its course.
National Identity. Throughout the Meiji period, the national government attempted to create institutions that would unify the Japanese people as citizens of a new nation-state and erase local identities and regional loyalties. The establishment of a national educational system and a national conscript army, the growth of an efficient transportation system, and the development of mass media significantly hastened the homogenization of regional differences, as did industrialization, urban development, and economic and social change.
Today, variations in most aspects of daily life are more likely to reflect urban, suburban, and rural differences than regionalism. Alternating currents of isolation from and embrace of foreign cultures form a central strand in contemporary conceptions of the national identity. Ideas about Japanese culture frequently weigh the relative contributions of indigenous inspiration and adaptations of foreign practices in forming the national culture. Ethnic Relations.
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Several distinct minority populations together total less than 5 percent of the population. There is a small population of Chinese-Japanese, mainly from Taiwan. The two regions are economic and political as well as social and cultural competitors. In describing the opposition between the two regions, people point to different personalities, orientations toward tradition, openness to social change, and ways of expressing emotions.
The two regions have markedly different dialects, and linguistic differences are sometimes taken as evidence of cultural sophistication, level of education, politeness, personality, and other social traits. Japan today is a highly urbanized society. Those cities were patterned after the Chinese T'ang dynasty capital of Ch'ang-an and reflected the architectural principles of the Chinese imperial court, with walls and gates enclosing a checkerboard grid of streets organized around the institutions of imperial power and centered on an imperial compound.
During the civil wars of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the characteristic urban place was the castle town, a fortified city that served as headquarters for the provincial warlord. Castle towns Rows of apartment houses in Osaka. Approximately 65 percent of Japan's population lives in cities. They were spatially segregated along class lines, and their spatial layout and social organization put priority on the defensive needs and domestic convenience of the lord and his retinue.
After the Meiji restoration, many castle towns declined as migration to new centers of industrial and economic opportunity led to a reconfiguration of the urban network.
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In several "treaty ports," enclaves of Western and Asian traders formed thriving cosmopolitan communities. Almost all the cities were heavily damaged by bombing during World War II. They were rebuilt quickly after the war, and a massive urban migration occurred throughout the s and s as a result of large-scale industrialization and economic development. By the s, urban sprawl had created enormous megalopolises. During the s and s, the concentration of heavy industrial facilities in densely populated areas caused environmental pollution on an unprecedented scale.
Quality of life issues, including population density, environmental pollution, and the quality of the housing stock, continue to be problems. This style is thought to reflect prehistoric influences from Oceania and Austronesia. Its features include floors raised off the ground and steeply pitched roofs with deep overhanging eaves. In the sixth century, Chinese architectural styles were adopted, particularly for Buddhist temples and imperial structures. The construction style of such buildings proved to be resistant to earthquakes. During the aristocratic Heian period, a distinctively Japanese architectural style began to develop.
Its features include the use of thick straw mats on floors, the use of sliding and folding screens to partition larger spaces, and the use of verandas and covered walkways to link rooms. Many elements of this architectural style were adapted to more ordinary living circumstances, and by the Tokugawa period, samurai and wealthy merchant homes included many of these elements.
Many homes still have traditional elements, but the majority of living space is equipped with generically modern furnishings. Contemporary apartments and condominiums are even less likely than single-family dwellings to have Japanese-style rooms. Contemporary cultural attitudes toward and uses of space rely on clear distinctions between public and private spaces defined along the dimensions of sight, sound, touch, and smell.
In crowded public spaces, bodies are pressed together without comment, while in many private settings it would be unthinkable to touch a stranger. Within private settings that are used and occupied by a group of people on an ongoing basis, clear spatial patterns reflect the internal hierarchies of social position within the group and between the group and others.
Food in Daily Life. An extremely varied diet makes use of culinary elements from around the world, including the cuisines of Korea, China, South and Southeast Asia, Europe, and North America. However, notions of "traditional" Japanese cuisine are an important element of cultural identity. The defining characteristics include ingredients, styles of preparation, and aesthetics.
White rice is a staple component of virtually every meal; other typical ingredients include soy products and seafood that is served grilled or raw. Vegetables and seafood are often prepared as pickles. The cuisine does not rely on intense flavorings. Meals ideally contrast flavors and textures among different dishes and include many small dishes rather than a main course.
The visual presentation of a meal is important. During the premodern period, meat was proscribed under the tenets of Buddhism. Vegetarian cuisine prepared in Zen monasteries relied heavily on soy products, including miso soup and tofu. Since the late nineteenth century, tastes have been influenced by foreign cuisines, many of which have been adapted and absorbed into the national diet. Since World War II, consumption of dairy products, beef, bread, and other Western foods has increased dramatically. Eating habits have been reshaped by changes in domestic life.
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