Culture and Customs of Japan

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Greenwood Press, Jan 1, 1999 - History - 187 pages
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Their society has been changing rapidly in modern times, yet for most Japanese, cultural traditions retain their importance in daily life. This volume highlights those traditional Japanese elements in modern society, providing an engaging examination of religious rituals, classic and modern literature, performing arts, fine arts and handicrafts, housing, clothing, women's roles and family life, holidays and festivals, and social customs. The book gives students a deeper understanding of Japan beyond popular stereotypes of an Asian economic powerhouse.

Japan has undergone a radical transformation in the twentieth century. A highly traditional society has been supplanted by a high-tech one while retaining significant vestiges of the past. "Culture and Customs of Japan" captures the essence of the ordered Japanese experience in all its many facets. An introductory chapter provides a brief overview of the land, people, language, and history of Japan. Then a chapter on thought and religion illuminates Buddhism, Shinto, and how religion is incorporated into daily life. The book goes on to detail the riches of Japanese literature, performing arts such as kabuki, noh, and puppetry, and fine arts like calligraphy, ikebana (flower arranging), and chanoyu (tea ceremony). Architecture, cuisine, clothing, and the changing dynamics of women, marriage, and family are examined, along with leisure activities and entertainment such as sumo wrestling, martial arts, and manga (comics). A final chapter on social customs, including giftgiving and business protocol, rounds out this portrait of everyday life in contemporary Japan.

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About the author (1999)

NORIKO KAMACHI is Professor of history at the University of Michigan, Dearborn.

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