The Japanese culture has progressed a lot over the period. The cultural history of the country includes the developments in between prehistoric Jōmon period and present-day mixed culture. Japanese culture is influenced by the culture of Asia, Europe and North America. Until arrival of "The Black Ships" during the Tokugawa shogunate and during the Meiji period as well, people of Japan underwent a long phase of isolation from external world.
During Meiji period, the national government tried to form institutions to unite the Japanese people as citizens of a new state and wipe out local characteristics and regional fidelities. The government established a national educational system and a national conscript army to fulfill the purpose. The development of an efficient transportation system and the growth of mass media considerably speeded up the homogenization of regional disparities. The industrialization, urban development, economic and social change also helped in uniting the people of Japan.
Presently, the differences are seen in urban, suburban, and rural lives rather than regionalism. Now let’s know about Japanese food, clothing, tradition and events that are the integral part of Japanese culture.
Japan has a long culinary history and the country has developed a number of refined and cultured cuisines. In recent times, Japanese food has gained popularity in countries like the US, Europe and many others. Some of renowned food items of Japan are:
As per Japan's Institute of Cetacean Research, "Whaling and whale cuisine are part of Japanese culture" and Japan has been the biggest consumer of whale meat. Since Second World War II, Japanese people have started to consume more dairy products, beef, bread, and other Western foods. The hale and hearty Japanese diet is assumed to be connected with the longevity of Japanese people.
‘Kimono’, the T-shaped, straight-lined robes, is the traditional clothing of Japanese people. However, with changing time and fashion, Japanese people do not bother to know the art of tying a kimono. They like to dress up in "western-style" in day-to-day lives due the influx of international fashion. However, in ceremonies and special occasions they prefer wearing traditional Japanese clothes.
Japanese dresses are designed to go well with the seasons. In autumn, dresses of more rustic colors and patterns are preferred and in spring clothes of more vibrant colors and floral designs are mostly favored. Similarly, in winter kimonos are designed with darker colors and many layers.
Shintō is the recent word for a system of gods and beliefs that reflects the connection between communities, the natural environment, and the region. Shintō tells that Japan is the land of the divinity. The Japanese religion does not have any official system of belief or scripture. Shintō and Buddhism have inspired each other.
Shintō comprises of beliefs in relation to unlucky ages, and many shrines offer refinement rituals to protect against ill fate for people passing through those years. Community celebrations normally reflect Shintō observances of the farming cycle. Though local festivals are different, they are centered on celebration of the famous deity of a particular area.
The following are some of the major events celebrated in Japan: