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Old 2011-08-19, 05:49   Link #1781
MakubeX2
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Japan Earthquake: Ethical Residents Return $78 Million From Rubble

This just make westerners looks even worse in the aftermath of the UK riots.
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Last edited by MakubeX2; 2011-08-19 at 06:18.
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Old 2011-08-19, 09:31   Link #1782
Marcus H.
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Watching the news on NHK World makes you understand more about how truly disciplined the Japanese are. It's actually saddening that it doesn't happen everywhere.

As for Vexx's response on Danny Choo, I bet being Danny Choo is awesome, being able to strut your stuff while in a Stormtrooper suit and isn't afraid of anything. On a serious note, I'm happy that he's willing to show a more happy side to talking about Japanese culture.
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Old 2011-08-19, 09:42   Link #1783
Pink Cow
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus H. View Post
Watching the news on NHK World makes you understand more about how truly disciplined the Japanese are. It's actually saddening that it doesn't happen everywhere.

As for Vexx's response on Danny Choo, I bet being Danny Choo is awesome, being able to strut your stuff while in a Stormtrooper suit and isn't afraid of anything. On a serious note, I'm happy that he's willing to show a more happy side to talking about Japanese culture.
True. I especially saw this discipline after the big earthquake. That's when I started checking out NHK and reading articles about the status of the affected areas. I was amazed with how the Japanese were so disciplined and barely had any complaints. That's when I really started to admire them.

People in my country could learn a thing or two from them. But then again, Filipinos in general are a "happy bunch". I remember when we had this huge flood last year and many people lost their homes and had to be rescued. It was really amusing that despite the losses the people had, as long as there was a camera in front of them, they would smile and wave even though they were still stuck on the roofs of their houses. O_o But I'm already going of topic. Lol.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MakubeX2 View Post
Japan Earthquake: Ethical Residents Return $78 Million From Rubble

This just make westerners looks even worse in the aftermath of the UK riots.
WOAH. Now that is really something. I don't know any other country with people who'd actually do this.
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Old 2011-08-19, 09:45   Link #1784
DonQuigleone
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Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
That would be a nice fantasy.. but no, I hold average UK/US social skills in no such regard. She'd be scourged by the small-minded (especially if she was pretty) and harassed by the men to put out.
I don't know, I think, in Ireland at least (and probably in Britain) there's a high value set on minding one's own business.

A lot of celebrities live in Ireland relatively care free. I've seen local celebrities pass by on the streets with pretty much everyone ignoring them. In fact, Ireland is a haven that a lot of celebrities seem to go to when they want some privacy.

My guess is that most would probably be politely ignored, however this applies more in the cities then the country. In the country people are more... curious, but they're also a hell of a lot more ignorant. So they probably would never have heard of the actress anyway...
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Old 2011-08-19, 13:19   Link #1785
Magin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pink Cow View Post
True. I especially saw this discipline after the big earthquake. That's when I started checking out NHK and reading articles about the status of the affected areas. I was amazed with how the Japanese were so disciplined and barely had any complaints. That's when I really started to admire them.
I think someone once mentioned this in the Tsunami thread when the March 11th one hit... that this is one benefit of being a semi-xenophobic society- when disaster strikes, everyone pulls together

Actually, not related to disasters or anything, but I've been (extremely slowly) reading on ancient Japanese history, and I personally find it quite interesting on just how much geography lead to the big differences between Eastern and Western Culture... for instance, I've read that because Europe is made of plains and gentle hills that all the wars and melding of cultures was able to happened, whereas Japan is made of mountains and therefore very little contact with any other culture in its early history allowed it to become a very tight-knit culture.
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Old 2011-08-19, 18:23   Link #1786
MakubeX2
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Originally Posted by Magin View Post
I think someone once mentioned this in the Tsunami thread when the March 11th one hit... that this is one benefit of being a semi-xenophobic society- when disaster strikes, everyone pulls together

Actually, not related to disasters or anything, but I've been (extremely slowly) reading on ancient Japanese history, and I personally find it quite interesting on just how much geography lead to the big differences between Eastern and Western Culture... for instance, I've read that because Europe is made of plains and gentle hills that all the wars and melding of cultures was able to happened, whereas Japan is made of mountains and therefore very little contact with any other culture in its early history allowed it to become a very tight-knit culture.
Nah. The Japanese do have their own version of Roman Empire and the Medieval Period.

I rather believe that Japan was awed by their all powerful Chinese neighbour and takes on the unique philosophy of Confucianism quiter early on in their history. Combined with the influx of other peaceful religion of Buddhism and Shinto later on, you can see how it shaped the Japanese society today.
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Old 2011-08-19, 23:55   Link #1787
TinyRedLeaf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magin View Post
Actually, not related to disasters or anything, but I've been (extremely slowly) reading on ancient Japanese history, and I personally find it quite interesting on just how much geography lead to the big differences between Eastern and Western Culture... for instance, I've read that because Europe is made of plains and gentle hills that all the wars and melding of cultures was able to happened, whereas Japan is made of mountains and therefore very little contact with any other culture in its early history allowed it to become a very tight-knit culture.
If you haven't already done so, read Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel, one of the best theses on the subject.

Quote:
The book attempts to explain why Eurasian civilisations (in which Diamond includes North Africa) have survived and conquered others, while refuting the assumption that Eurasian hegemony is due to any form of Eurasian intellectual, moral or inherent genetic superiority. Diamond argues that the gaps in power and technology between human societies originate in environmental differences, which are amplified by various positive feedback loops. When cultural or genetic differences have favoured Eurasians (for example, written language or the development among Eurasians of resistance to endemic diseases), he asserts that these advantages occurred because of the influence of geography on societies and cultures, and were not inherent in the Eurasian genomes.
A History of Civilizations by Fernand Braudel is another superb reference for this topic.
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Old 2011-08-20, 01:27   Link #1788
Sumeragi
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Well, the one concept that always appears in Japan: Harmony. Because Japan is made up of mountainous islands, war among the people would only lead to MAD (yes, you don't need nukes for this), so the basic social rule was that all must not break harmony or otherwise be banished from the community. That's why the Japanese are famous for all the lines that appears even in the most disorderly places (Except for Comiket, but then that doesn't represent traditional Japanese rules )
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Old 2011-08-20, 02:21   Link #1789
Tri-ring
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The Japanese society dependent on each other does have much to do with geography but not war but to make land.
As Magin stated in land mostly made of plains and gentle hills you do not need a large group beyond extended family to subdue the terrain into farm land but in Japan with a very narrow land with steep hills reclaiming it into farming land required a large number of people beyond the extended family members. Pioneers had to work together as a group to reroute the flow of streams and excavate hills to cut out leveled land. They were also needed to create a buffer zone between the farm land and the untouched forest by clearing the under brushes of the surrounding woods and selectively cultivate tree types useful to the village. This kind of cooperation before written history became the basis of social ruling for the Japanese people. Confucianism and/or any other culture/religion that was brought in afterward just arranged the unspoken rules into written text of what was already built in.
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Old 2011-08-20, 06:33   Link #1790
DonQuigleone
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Originally Posted by Sumeragi View Post
Well, the one concept that always appears in Japan: Harmony. Because Japan is made up of mountainous islands, war among the people would only lead to MAD (yes, you don't need nukes for this), so the basic social rule was that all must not break harmony or otherwise be banished from the community. That's why the Japanese are famous for all the lines that appears even in the most disorderly places (Except for Comiket, but then that doesn't represent traditional Japanese rules )
What about the Sengoku Jidai? Onin War? Meiji Restoration? What about the way Japan was ruled by a feudal warrior class up until relatively recently?

Japan has as much martial achievements as any other country. The Tokugawa Shogunate was generally peaceful, but prior to that the country had almost no long periods of sustained peace.
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Old 2011-08-20, 07:27   Link #1791
MakubeX2
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Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post
Japan has as much martial achievements as any other country. The Tokugawa Shogunate was generally peaceful, but prior to that the country had almost no long periods of sustained peace.
There was the Heian Period, lasting some 400 years or so, where everything was relatively peaceful and Japan reached a new cultural height. It was also when The Tale of Genji was written.
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Old 2011-08-20, 08:34   Link #1792
DonQuigleone
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Originally Posted by MakubeX2 View Post
There was the Heian Period, lasting some 400 years or so, where everything was relatively peaceful and Japan reached a new cultural height. It was also when The Tale of Genji was written.
True, but my point stands that from 1200-1600 the country was pretty unstable.

Furthermore, society itself was not all that peaceful, like other medieval societies the heian period was rife with banditry.

I think the fact Japan is relatively peaceful is down to the fact it's an Island nation. Britain has also been generally peaceful compared to it's continental neighbours.

But both countries do not possess cultural characteristics that make them more stable. The sort of collectivism Japan is known for today wouldn't have been quite so apparent in the 16th century, though at the time Japan was certainly a developed (if chaotic) society.
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Old 2011-08-20, 11:38   Link #1793
Sumeragi
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Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post
What about the Sengoku Jidai? Onin War? Meiji Restoration? What about the way Japan was ruled by a feudal warrior class up until relatively recently?

Japan has as much martial achievements as any other country. The Tokugawa Shogunate was generally peaceful, but prior to that the country had almost no long periods of sustained peace.
Harmony is different from peace. By harmony, it means that the rules of society at the national level are kept at the basic level, and that while there are wars and such, the main rules of society are kept.. Let me discuss your individual points.

Onin War (and aftermath): The "petty" disputes for power while the entire country was going to hell made the Ikkis arise, who were attempting to reestablish the

Sengoku: While there were fighting among ambitious daimyos, most were actually peaceful, and it was an established rule that the subjects (the regular farmers) were not to be touched. Almost all battles were done as "professionally" as possible, meaning only the armies would clash and die, something unlike what usually went on in Europe.

Meiji Restoration: Again, the main problem was that the Shogunate was not living up to the standards imposed upon by society, and with the weakening of power following the coming of the West, the ruling part was changed to continue on.
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Old 2011-08-20, 11:57   Link #1794
DonQuigleone
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I think Farmers suffered quite a lot during the Sengoku, Banditry was rife, and they often had to form peasant militias to defend against them. Furthermore, a lot of those living on the coasts resorted to Piracy (the infamous Wako Pirates).

Not only that but many of those village militias joined with more organised groups like Buddhist Monasteries to form more entrenched resistance (the various Ikkis). I can only assume that the farmers weren't very happy about the "harmony" that kept them squarely at the bottom, and allowed Daimyo free reign over them as the daimyo wished.

Even if Daimyos didn't touch their farmers (it's not a good idea to harm your future tax base after all), it was still a very lawless time. Lawless enough that Hideyoshi enacted weapon restrictions in his sword hunt, in order to limit any possibility of latent peasant revolt.

Medieval Europe also had very entrenched "harmonius" social institutions. For instance Nobles couldn't just seize a province without some kind of claim, and any really egregious offences would result in your being excommunicated by the Roman Catholic Church. The worst offenders were the Vikings who looted and pillaged wherever they went quite freely, while most conventional European armies were a bit more restrained (they certainly wouldn't have attacked church property, and many farms were owned by the church).

Japan was no more "harmonius" then anywhere else. It was a feudal state, like in Medieval Europe, albeit a quite developed one.
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Old 2011-08-22, 08:29   Link #1795
andyjay729
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If you've been to Japan and miss it, ask someone to bring back (or order yourself, I guess) a Yamanote Line bank. When you drop in coins, it plays the musical chimes you hear identifying that train line at transfer stations.

Makes it seem classier than the "bing-bong" on the New York subway, let alone morning-show hosts playing fart noises between celebrity gossip.

PS: One more thing I found as a link to the above video! More goodies for train/anime enthusiasts! Whoever made this song deserves an Oricon award.
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Old 2011-08-22, 13:21   Link #1796
Sumeragi
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Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post
Japan was no more "harmonius" then anywhere else. It was a feudal state, like in Medieval Europe, albeit a quite developed one.
The main point is that the social expectation was on a "higher" level than what Europe had. As long as the social expectation holds up, there will be a higher upholding of that expectation when the situation is peaceful.
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Old 2011-08-22, 13:40   Link #1797
Vexx
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Anyone interested in learning something about Shinto or just appreciating the folk belief and its expression should check out this site: http://www.greenshinto.com/wp/ The author blogs about their visits to various shrines in Japan and the pictures are great.
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Old 2011-08-22, 13:40   Link #1798
DonQuigleone
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Originally Posted by Sumeragi View Post
The main point is that the social expectation was on a "higher" level than what Europe had. As long as the social expectation holds up, there will be a higher upholding of that expectation when the situation is peaceful.
I think it was the same in both. have a read about how the Holy Roman Empire was organised.

Not only that, but Europe originated the ideas of "social contract" and "rule of law".

Rulers in Japan tended to have a lot of leeway when it came to laws, the ruler himself was not constrained by it. In Europe, most rulers were constrained by laws, they couldn't do whatever they wanted, particularly in Germany and Britain.

Last edited by DonQuigleone; 2011-08-22 at 14:13.
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Old 2011-08-23, 07:05   Link #1799
bernadetta
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Japanese culture

Hi everyone I'm new here and I've just started with anime and manga. But I was thinking that maybe first I should get to know the Japanese culture in general cause anime is a part of it. So if there are people out there who share my interest and are more experience and know more than i do please come and write sth here

For the beginning I would be interested in sth catchy like gripping stories etc

And ofc please tell me what do you read (books,magazines) about Japan

Cheers
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Old 2011-08-23, 09:50   Link #1800
Vexx
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Originally Posted by bernadetta View Post
Hi everyone I'm new here and I've just started with anime and manga. But I was thinking that maybe first I should get to know the Japanese culture in general cause anime is a part of it. So if there are people out there who share my interest and are more experience and know more than i do please come and write sth here

For the beginning I would be interested in sth catchy like gripping stories etc

And ofc please tell me what do you read (books,magazines) about Japan

Cheers
Your first assignment is to read this entire thread which is chock-full of the things you seek

And yes, anime will make a lot more sense if you know something about the culture that produces it and their values/principles.

I subscribe to this magazine for one: http://int.kateigaho.com/
It covers the culture and arts of Japan, two issues a year (it used to be 4 issues a year but alas, alackaday real magazines aren't doing well... the quality is outstanding on this one though)

This site blogs about the Shinto shrines in Japan:
http://www.greenshinto.com/wp/
And basic japanese Shinto 101:
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2056.html

Here's a video from Yokoso! Japan, a magazine your local Japanese consulate should have piles of copies to give away, its lovely to watch:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IF_BnlirgxE
I'd link to the Yokoso! Japan website but it seems to have crashed or gotten misconfigured (Bad Request - Hostname) ... no idea if that's related to the disaster or not.

And, of course, learning a bit of the language of another people gives you insight into how they think by what they consider important in their language.

Last edited by Vexx; 2011-08-23 at 10:06.
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