Japan’s Cultural Analysis

Published 18 Jan 2017


Japans culture started to develop around 100 BC when agriculture and social classes began to evolve. During the late 1800s, Western powers began to influence Japanese culture with several treaty signings which greatly benefited the legal and economical system of the west.

This lead to Japan’s will to become a democratic nation which gave equality to all people, driving major reform such as a human rights and religious freedom in 1873 (Japanese History).

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Japans social and economic system grew to become a power force in the Pacific Rim. This lead to Japan’s ability to fight both Russia and China while taking military control of neighboring nations. After the loss to the US, ending WWII Japan lost most of the territories gain, however they benefited with decades of incredible economic growth up until the 1990s where they finally saw a major slowdown (CIA Factbook).


The country is separated from the Asian mainland, by the Sea of Japan. The four main islands Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, and Shikoku make up the main body of Japan which is 144,689 sq mi (374,744 sq km) (Japan).


In Japanese the family is called “ie.” Each member of the family is an important part to the past and future timeline of the family as more then just a social group, but as an institution. Succession in the family is an important aspect the structure of the family, with the oldest male taking on the role of the head of the family. Even after marriage, the male will live with the parents and attend to the household as the age. If there is no successor in place, it is custom to adopt so that the family line continues (Japanese Family Structure).


Japan has a 99% literacy rate, with an upper and lower-secondary school system. 94% of all students attend the upper-secondary school which includes grades 10-12. The country also has over 700 post-secondary institutions which 507 of those being universities (Country Study:Japan-Society).

Political System

The government is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary government made up of a Prime Minister, Cabinet, and House of Councilors (CIA Factbook).

Legal System

The Legal system is modeled after European civil law, with Western influence. The Supreme Court reviews legislative acts (CIA Factbook).

Social Organization

Each inpidual is considered an autonomous person; however there is a focus on becoming interdependent to social groups. Although a person will constantly interchange among groups such as a family, company or social friendship, at any given time that inpiduate represents the whole of the group. The social wellbeing of the group is the priority to any actions, and although such things as private emotions and humor are accepted, they should not interfere with their public responsibility (Country Studies: Social Organization).

Business Customs and Practices

Masculinity and collectivism is important the culture, making business dress and practices both conservative and sexists compared to western culture. Customs such as gift giving and paying for meals are structured, and are important to be observed in the culture (Hofstede).


Shinto and Buddhist make up 84% of religion practiced, while all others make up 16% of the population (CIA Factbook).


Due to the remoteness of Japan, their art when uninfluenced by western society until the late 1800s. Mostly affected by Chinese and Buddhist culture, their philosophy of art displays living, functional purpose and spiritual simplicity (Japanese Aesthetics).


Because family and relaxation are important, home life is a concern in Japan. Research shows that there is sufficient housing availability for the population, however floor areas for units are small, particularly in rental units, as compared to western or European nations (Ishikawa, 1-2).


Most clothing today is westernized, however Japan as strong ties to previous cultural clothing articles such as the kimono which is a elaborate dress for both men and women which would show a persons status and class in the society (Traubitz).


Japan participate in both indoor and outdoor activities, and with higher income and leisure time, they have adapted a variety of outdoor sports. With two national leagues, Baseball is the most watched sport in the country (Japan Recreation).

Social Security

The countries social benefits in 2002 were 83.6 trillion yen, with 53.1% going towards pensions, and 31.4 towards health care. Retired people typically substitute pension income with part-time employment or other income sources (Social Security System)

Official Languages

The only official language is Japanese (CIA Factbook).


  • Hofstede, Geert. Geert Hofstede Analysis: Japan. Itim Internation. 2007. Retrieved 29 January 2007 <http://www.cyborlink.com/besite/japan.htm>
  • Ishikawa, Tatsuya. The Current Situation of Japan’s Housing Market, and Political Implications of Projected Population Decrease. Economic Research Group. 3 February 2003. Retrieved 29 January 2007
  • Japan. Infoplease.com. 2006. Retrieved 29 January 2007
  • Japanese Aesthetics, Wabi-Sabi, and the Tea Ceremony. North Texas Institute for Educators on the Visual Arts. 29 January 2007. Retrieved 29 January 2007
  • Japanese Family Structure. Answers.com 29 January 2007. Retrieved 29 January 2007
  • Japanese History. Japan-guide.com. 29 January 2007. Retrieved 29 January 2007
  • Japan Recreation. Encyclopedia Britannica Online. 2007. Retrieved 29 January 2007
  • The Social Security System Today. Japan Fact Sheet 2007. Retrieved 29 January 2007 < http://web-japan.org/factsheet/social/new.html>
  • Traubitz, Nancy. Japanese Clothing Box. University of Maryland. 29 January 2007. Retrieved 29 January 2007
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