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Difference Between Japanese and American Culture

Japanese vs American Culture

There are a number of connotations that are often used to describe a people’s culture. But culture is generally accepted as the way a community of people has chosen to live their lives in the best ways they feel would harmonize their traditions, languages, notions, dress or dietary ways.

As such, any comparison of two cultures would yield a range of stark cultural differences. And definitely, a comparison of American and Japanese cultures reveals numerous variations. Japanese, as well as American culture is heavily influenced by the kind of society of people living in either country. For instance, the society in Japan is largely homogeneous and middle class, whereas the American society is heavily heterogeneous, owing to the increased levels of immigration. This has contributed to a very diverse ethnic setting and widened the inequality gap in American society. These two varying trends have profound influence on the cultures of the two societies.

Because of the divergent set of ethnic groups in American society, this phenomenon has helped to breed a number of subcultures existing within a single American macro-culture. This is one of the key distinguishing features of
American culture. Consequently, every American citizen belongs to a number of subcultures, which may be connoted as ethnic origin, religion, class, gender, exceptionality, geographical location and so forth. Every individual subculture has certain common attributes with the main macroculture.
On the other hand, the Japanese society is not as diverse, in terms of subcultures. This is partly due to the fact that there is less immigration to Japan, and only a small fraction of the total population (<1%) are not Japanese by ethnicity. The Japanese society is largely urban, hence a big population density.

The structure of the family in the two cultures widely differs too. While in Japanese culture the structure of the family is very much still defined by tradition, in American culture the family structure is much more
“free” and family members freely choose roles depending on likes or tastes. Roles are not traditionally defined.

Still with family life, the roles of the wife and husband in a family differ in the two cultures. While the wife in any Japanese family is expected to ‘look after’ her husband, American culture will almost take that notion as offensive. In Japanese culture, the man is seen as the family ‘head’ and all his needs must be tendered to first, while in American culture, a husband and wife are ‘equal’ and their roles in the family are not clearly defined, but rather are a matter of and can do.

Summary
American culture is very heterogeneous (many subcultures) while Japanese culture is largely homogeneous.
Japanese culture of family life is very much defined by tradition while the American one is not.
Japanese culture isn’t as much influenced by immigration as American culture is.


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2 Comments

  1. This is very true for the most part, however, it is obviously very limited missing out so many other differences. Japan is better off being compared with the rest of the world though, as the Japanese are brought up to believe, and often are, totally different from the rest of the world.

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