Japanese Culture -- A Primer For Newcomers - The …

Nevertheless, an insider of Chinese culture may not be able to grasp a complete and accurate picture either, nor is he able to present it to its outsiders. This is simply because that the one who is actually involved may still have the problem of failing to get clarity and objectivity. A lover being in love is usually unable to describe his own feeling until he has stepped out of it. This author was born in China, educated in Chinese schools and colleges. No doubt, he had direct contact and substantial involvement with Chinese culture. But, when he was an insider of the culture, if someone asked him about the nature of this culture, he would just be startled and baffled. It is because Chinese culture was a part of his life that he never had to question or wonder about it. After many years’ teaching in the American Continent, he has been given an opportunity to reflect upon Chinese culture at a distance. He is now in a position that he can see Chinese culture with fuller clarity and greater degree of objectivity because he is no longer involved in it as his practical environment. At the same time, he can be relatively free from the fallacy of the blind men, since he was once an insider, having a full and direct contact with the culture itself. With this advantage of being an insider-outsider, he ventures to communicate his understanding of Chinese culture to his readers in the English speaking world. In what follows, he will give an impressionistic, phenomenological, but reflective account of Chinese culture. He is going to present what he has observed as an insider-outsider. This consists in twelve characteristics to be presented in this essay.

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The Chinese civilization was a much older civilization than the Japanese civilization

Indian, Chinese, & Japanese Emperors - Friesian School

Chinese culture is so substantive in content, so comprehensive in varieties, and has had so long a history, that to its outsiders, it is very similar to the elephant before the blind men in the ancient story. The blind men could not grasp the elephant in its entirety. They held onto some part, and from this vantage point they attempted to describe the whole animal. The man who has Chinese culture by the feet may say that Chinese people are conservative and this explains why it is so difficult for China to accept modernization. The man who holds Chinese culture by the tail may say that the substance of Chinese society is its family system and this accounts for the failure of some modern politicians’ attempt to establish communal life. The man who holds Chinese culture by the ears may say that Chinese people are spontaneously artistic, and this is perhaps the reason why they have been underdeveloped in scientific thinking. These interpretations of Chinese culture may not be mistaken, but they all commit one common fallacy: the fallacy of selected emphasis, or, the fallacy of taking the part for the whole.Nevertheless, an insider of Chinese culture may not be able to grasp a complete and accurate picture either, nor is he able to present it to its outsiders. This is simply because that the one who is actually involved may still have the problem of failing to get clarity and objectivity. A lover being in love is usually unable to describe his own feeling until he has stepped out of it. This author was born in China, educated in Chinese schools and colleges. No doubt, he had direct contact and substantial involvement with Chinese culture. But, when he was an insider of the culture, if someone asked him about the nature of this culture, he would just be startled and baffled. It is because Chinese culture was a part of his life that he never had to question or wonder about it. After many years’ teaching in the American Continent, he has been given an opportunity to reflect upon Chinese culture at a distance. He is now in a position that he can see Chinese culture with fuller clarity and greater degree of objectivity because he is no longer involved in it as his practical environment. At the same time, he can be relatively free from the fallacy of the blind men, since he was once an insider, having a full and direct contact with the culture itself. With this advantage of being an insider-outsider, he ventures to communicate his understanding of Chinese culture to his readers in the English speaking world. In what follows, he will give an impressionistic, phenomenological, but reflective account of Chinese culture. He is going to present what he has observed as an insider-outsider. This consists in twelve characteristics to be presented in this essay.The term "agriculture" as a mode of production, or as a way of economic life, does not seem to bother with any explanation. But I would like to point out some of the qualities of this mode of life because they have shaped the character of Chinese culture.Compared with the life of tradesmen and herdsmen, a farmer’s life is relatively fixed, settled, and relaxingly permanent. This is commonly referred to as "the lack of mobility." Because this style of life is more settled and at rest, it is easier for a farmer to raise children, and to develop a family up to a large population under one roof. Due to the lack of mobility, a farmer’s life is relatively free from risk and adventure. This may account for the origin of Chinese conservatism which will receive some attention later.This kind of "attached to earth" and "dependent on land" attitudes also account for some moral qualities of the Chinese people, particularly, the virtue of patience. A farmer’s efficient production very much depends on the cooperation of nature. The process of the growth of a plant, from seed to full maturity, needs a certain period of time which can hardly be speeded up by human effort. In a technological society, attempts have been made to shorten the period of time needed for production. The popular usage "instant" in "instant coffee" and "instant noodle" fully discloses the lack of patience in modern life. But this kind of "instant" production can hardly apply to an old-fashioned agricultural process. I have learned that, in contemporary American society, in addition to instant coffee and instant noodle, a computer dating service can produce an "instant girl friend" or "instant boy friend." Similarly, a commercialized college can produce an "instant degree." But, I have never learned of any "instant asparagus," and "instant cherry tree," or an "instant redwood or pine." This indicates that agricultural production needs time and patience as a required condition for the life of a farmer.From the development of the Chinese language, we have discovered many ancient characters which were names of agricultural products or natural botanical items. A very interesting phenomenon is that, the Chinese term for society is an "agricultural product." it is called she chi (or, she ji,while "she" means "the god of the earth," and "chi or ji" means "the god of the crops". These usages really mirror the significant role of agriculture in traditional Chinese life.Another strikingly interesting fact is the name of the founder of Chinese medical tradition. This person was a legendary figure among the ancient tribal kings who were said to have contributed significantly to Chinese culture. This legendary king was called "Shen Nung Shih" (or shen nong shi, George Rowley, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1947), p. 3. Hajime Nakamura, ed. Philip P. Wiener, Revised Edition (Hoholulu: East-West Center Press, 1964), pp. 177, 204.

Japanese war crimes - Wikipedia

This kind of "attached to earth" and "dependent on land" attitudes also account for some moral qualities of the Chinese people, particularly, the virtue of patience. A farmer’s efficient production very much depends on the cooperation of nature. The process of the growth of a plant, from seed to full maturity, needs a certain period of time which can hardly be speeded up by human effort. In a technological society, attempts have been made to shorten the period of time needed for production. The popular usage "instant" in "instant coffee" and "instant noodle" fully discloses the lack of patience in modern life. But this kind of "instant" production can hardly apply to an old-fashioned agricultural process. I have learned that, in contemporary American society, in addition to instant coffee and instant noodle, a computer dating service can produce an "instant girl friend" or "instant boy friend." Similarly, a commercialized college can produce an "instant degree." But, I have never learned of any "instant asparagus," and "instant cherry tree," or an "instant redwood or pine." This indicates that agricultural production needs time and patience as a required condition for the life of a farmer.

6. Nara Period nurtures Chinese culture | Heritage of …
Contact with Tang Dynasty China increased during the Nara Period (710-784)

Thomas Sowell | Speech "Race, Culture, and Equality"

Being in the American society for many years, I have been able to adjust myself to various aspects of American views and American ways of life. But, I am still seriously disturbed by the fact that scholars in the American society have not received their due share of respect. Top honors have been given to business executives and active politicians. Among the professionals, only medical doctors and lawyers are respected. This phenomenon seems to reveal one fact: American culture is very money-minded and short-sighted. Business executives, lawyers, and physicians are respected mostly because they are top income earners. Active politicians are respected because they can exercise immediate influence on the social and political scene. While scholars (most of them received much more education than lawyers and physicians), in spite of their devotion to world culture and to the contribution toward the future of mankind, appear a neglected and alienated class of people in the society. But in traditional China, the contrary was the case.

Feb 24, 2018 · WASABI - Japanese flavor

There is a very interesting story in Chinese legal history which illustrates this viewpoint. There were two brothers disputing over the issue of dividing properties inherited from their father. Both of them went to the court for a decision. If this kind of case had taken place in contemporary American society, no doubt it would take months to settle. In addition to the complicated procedures of filing documents by the attorneys for both the plaintiff and the defendant, the court probably has to employ accountants and real property appraisers, and summon witnesses for testimonies and evidences. Moreover, the judgment issued by a lower court is not yet final, for the defeated party can file an appeal to a higher court. Nevertheless, the Chinese judge, as the story tells us, handled the case in a very different way. He was reported saying to the brothers: "The most valuable thing in the world is harmony in the family, while the most valueless thing is material possession. Why do you two brothers sacrifice the most valuable for the most valueless? Go home and have no more fight. Be good brothers again." It was said that the case was in this manner forever settled. This kind of judicial story probably reflects a basic Chinese cultural trait already mentioned: love of simplicity, reducing big things to small ones, and reducing small things to nothing. Nevertheless, the predominance of morality and the underdevelopment of law in China, from the viewpoint of this author, reflects another fundamental cultural trait—the predominance of art and underdevelopment of scientific thinking. The legal mentality and the scientific mind share important common grounds—both emphasize clear definitions, orderly procedures, and credible evidences. All these three important matters are usually ignored or belittled by the mentality of the artist. Chinese moral thinking, unlike Western moral thinking in terms of rules, (like the Ten Commandments, categorical imperative, etc.) emphasizes the imitation of the model of ancient sages. This kind of imitation of models is akin to the artistic, and is prevailingly pervasive in Chinese thought.

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There is another significant distinction between science and art, or better, between scientific culture and artistic culture. This distinction is embodied in the different learning methods of students, particularly beginning students. The fundamental learning method for a student in science is the following of rules and procedures. But in art, the learning process is the imitation of models. If we apply this distinction to a more concrete level in comparative culture, we can observe that Chinese cooking is still very much an art, while American cooking has become mostly a scientific procedure. One can never learn authentic Chinese cooking exclusively from a cook book recipe. It has to be learned through the imitation of a master-cook. But the American way is quite different. You can follow some instructions like the following: "Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Then put it into the oven for thirty minutes and it is ready to serve. In the main, in Chinese culture, a supposed science is still an art (like medicine), while in American culture, even an art has already become a science.