Japan exhibits a multifaceted culture with ancient traditions. Although rooted in Chinese culture, geographical distance has enabled Japan to construct a differentiated cultural model and whose marks persist even with the people’s dynamic characteristic of adapting to technological developments.
The Japanese have religious syncretism as their mark. His main beliefs have roots in Shinto and Buddhism, but coexist with other religions, even with the Christian.
Unlike in the West, in Japan, there is no religious preaching and religion is not seen as a doctrine but a way of life. It is considered a moral code, a way of life and is so ingrained that it is no different from the social and cultural values of the population.
Introspection also marks religion in Japan. Prayers are not public, and even less are part of official ceremonies. Worship is not common among the Japanese. The rituals of life (birth, marriages, birthdays) and death (funerals) are a common part of life in Japan.
It was not always so, however. Until World War II, the Japanese emperor was considered a true god. The conflict broke this belief system and, after economic recovery, religion defines the spirituality of the people.
Among the sights that demonstrate the essence of Japanese culture are the gardens, whose culture was imported from China around the year 600. The gardens exalt the Buddhist religion, although they have a functional character.
More recently, this tradition began in 1192, when a Chinese Buddhist monk, Eisai, arrived in Japan. The ceremony imposes rituals on the preparation of the infusion of green tea powder.
Ceremonies demonstrating Japanese culture began between 1333 and 1573, led by monks in gardens designed for rituals only.
Between 1568 and 1600, the ceremonies already had adornments such as lanterns, trampolines and arched bridges built in the iconic gardens of Japan.
The Japanese live under strict codes, and many are so subtle that few foreigners could notice or understand.
Among the most common habits that lead to knowledge of Japanese culture is the imposition of a curvature in the back.
With their backs bowed, the Japanese say hello, say goodbye, show gratitude or regret. Bending your back means having respect. Formal reverence soon leads to the image of the Japanese people.
Another symbol that soon leads to the image of Japan is the shoes, which are removed at the entrance to houses, temples and even restaurants. By tradition, the Japanese take off their shoes for sleeping, sitting and eating. Since meals are made on tatami, removing shoes is a way to keep the environment clean.
Sports are an important element in Japanese culture. The sports that quickly evolve into Japan are sumo, judo, karate and aikido. Today, however, badminton, baseball, and soccer are widely practiced in Japan.
Sumo is considered a national sport and has been practiced for at least 1,500 years.
It is a professional sport, but still has the ritual roots, such as the use of salt for purification and food for practitioners.
High-performance sumo athletes are revered by the Japanese. Today, the sport is also sought by foreigners, but the natives are still the most famous athletes.
Considered the oldest martial art in Japan, kendo is the use of bamboo swords joined by leather straps. It has been practiced since 1333, because the samurai needed to practice using the sword.
From Japan, karate came to China, where it was perfected. Its origins, however, are even directed to the Indian continent. Karate is spread to the world and presents a fantastic way of fighting without the use of weapons.
Japanese food is so particularly diverse and seductive that, on its own, it would be a justification for visiting the country. Like sport, it has spread across the world, driven by migrants and involving connoisseurs everywhere.
From Japan came sushi, a delicacy that mixes fish and rice wrapped in a seaweed cover. And of paramount importance in Japanese cuisine is rice, which has been of such significance already traded as currency.
Rice is the basis of at least 2,000 Japanese dishes. The demand for quality begins at planting and harvesting follows special guidelines.
Another ingredient that sums up the peculiarity of Japanese cuisine is fish, prepared in such a diverse way that it can be enjoyed even at breakfast, where it needs to be eaten raw.
Sake is the Japanese national drink. It is a white rice wine that can serve with various meals. Another tradition in Japan is tea, consumed on a large scale.
The importance of tea has earned him a specific ceremony involving preparation and consumption.