Morning Calm Rising Sun Essay

1234 words - 5 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 ...view middle of the document...

The liquid balance between old and new makes Japan an extremely dynamic and fascinating nation.
The Japanese language is an agglutinative language, meaning words and their meaning are altered by adding various affixes to them. It is composed of relatively few sounds in contrast to Indo-European languages such as Latin, Spanish, French and English. Verbs and other parts of speech are altered dramatically to ensure proper formality or informality depending on who is being addressed and who is speaking. The Japanese writing system is heavily influenced by its roots. Chinese characters are used interchangeable with the endemic writing systems of Hiragana and Katakana. To coin a new term, “Janglish” (English words adopted into the mainstream vernacular of the Japanese and whose meanings are often altered) has also become increasingly popular.
The last fifty years have seen the industrialization of Japan and its establishment in the global economy. The loss of thousands of young men and the destruction of the cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima left Japan in economic ruins after WWII. International aid and the introduction of Kaizen or the “continuous improvement” work ethic by Dr. William Demming (Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins) created a new, modern Japan. To date, Japan has cornered large, if not majority standings, in numerous technologies and electronics markets with companies such as Sony, Toshiba, and Hitachi. According to the U.S. Bureau of Commerce, Japan currently leads four of the ten of the largest automobile manufacturers in the world (Toyota being the largest in the world). It has been through pure determination and the Japanese cultural commitment to organization before self that has driven it to the second largest economy in the world.
Korean culture is back by 12,000 years of history. The first known pottery of mankind was discovered in Korea. Its modern culture is, like Japan, a fusion of both old and new. Chinese Confucianism and Buddhism, possibly more influential in Korea than in Japan, played immensely important roles in organizing and establishing the vast kingdoms of Korea’s past. Buddhism remains one of Korea’s primary religions and Confucian thought is taught in public school. Also patriarchal in nature, Korean woman generally accept their role as the home keepers and children’s’ caretakers. Respect for one’s seniors and ancestors is paramount in all exchanges between Koreans. The annual festival of Chuseok involves visiting the grave sites of deceased relatives and honoring them. Koreans continue to preserve their past, not as much in ceremony like the Japanese, but in their dress, food, art and dance. The Han-Bok, some might say, is a Korean equivalent of a Kimono. Traditional Korea artwork, and numerous artifacts from dynasty’s past are...

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