ConfucianismAt the core of Confucianism lies humanism. The mainpurpose of this teaching was to create a harmonic, orderedsociety with strict hierarchy. It was aimed to bring upcitizens of the country.So, the basis of Confucian world-look was a harmonic, well-organized society, an ideal society, so to say, which is ruledby the adequate and wise ruler and fair officials.In the beginning it was just one of lots of teachings but withthe time it became more powerful and transformed into thestate ideology. It was changed a lot in order to adjust togovernment needs and to suit a giant bureaucratic machineof Chinese empire in which elder or senior person act as aleader and honored while younger or junior in the role ofmanageable people. Every person should live as Confuciushas taught and constantly improve himself and upgrade hisskills in order to reach the ideal. And this was obligatory forall people in the society, this was brought up in thechildhood and continued all their life.
The following moments are true for this teaching:Confucianism is not generally considered or practiced like areligion, as did e.g. Buddhism.It is a set of ethical and political tools, a basket of norms thatemphasized respect for elders, social obligations, and rules ofcourtesy that promised humanistic, rational governance,harmonious family relationships, and clear-cut standards forgoverning the interaction among rulers, lords, vassals, andcommon folkIn its basis lies a principle of ethical determinant when only fair,wise and virtuous people could get power. Well, in theory ^_^. The continuity of cultural tradition and respect for the wisdomof ancestors.The cultivation of the sharpened sense of duty, desire forvirtuous and just life and improving yourself all the time.The Golden Rule of Confucianism: "Do not do unto others whatyou would not have them do unto you."The honoring person were not abstract like Christ or Buddhabut real people from everyday life who lived strictly according toConfucianism virtues.
This is one of the portrayals of the founder of Confucianism – Confucius
In it’s way to Japan In Japan, as earlier in China, Confucian ideals played a major role in the development of ethical and political philosophies. This was especially so during Japan’s formative years (+ 6th to 9th centuries), when Confucianism and Buddhism were introduced to Japan from Korea and China. Confucianism and Buddhism in Japan were established as the moral foundations of the young nation. This served for centuries as the Japanese blueprint for court etiquette and decorum. Much later, in Japan’s Edo Period 江戸 (+1600 to 1868), also known as the Tokugawa 徳川 era, Confucian ethics experienced a revival of sorts. During the period, a revised form of Confucianism, called Neo-Confucianism (Jp. = 朱熹学 Shushigaku), gained great appeal among the warrior class and governing elite. Neo-Confucianism brought renewed attention to man and secular society, to social responsibility in secular contexts, and broke free from the moral supremacy of the powerful Buddhist monasteries.
Tokugawa period – what is it about?Many scientists think that it was the Edo period orTokugawa in which Japanese mentality as we knowit now started to form. It was the time when all country was under the brutal dictatorship of Tokugawa shogunate which came to power after the period of civil wars. All government forces were directed to the maintaining of the regime and elimination of all possible threats of it.Life of all citizens consists of a lot of rules and restrictions. The system of generalresponsibility for the crime was wildly used.It was also impossible to travel without documents and special papers with permissionnot only for peasants but for noble people too.The fact that during this period the country was closed also influenced a lot. Their onlyforeign policy was to reduce all foreign policy. They turned out all Europeans becausethey were afraid of becoming colony. The only contact they had with Holland but onlythrough one port one time a year. And very few contacts with Asian countries.Japanese people were not permitted to leave the country either.
Uchi and Soto – one of the main conceptsThe idea of dividing people into in-groups and out-groups is very important in Japanesesociety. It is called uchi, 内, "inside" and soto, 外, "outside“.This distinction between groups is not merely a fundamental part of Japanese socialcustom, but is also directly reflected in the Japanese language itself.The basic concept revolves around dividing people into in-groups and out-groups. Whenspeaking with someone from an out-group, the out-group must be honored, and the in-group humbled. This is achieved with special features of the Japanese language, whichconjugates verbs based on both tense and politeness. It may also include social conceptssuch as gift giving or serving.
Uchi-soto groups may be conceptualized as a series of overlapping circles. Ones positionwithin the group, and relative to other groups, depends on the context, situation, and timeof life. For example, a person usually has a family, a job, and other groups ororganizations they belong to. Their position within the various groups, and in relation toother groups, changes according to circumstances at a given moment.So, when talking with a member of your family, your classmate (with whom you are of thesame age), your friend, the way of addressing can be comparatively simple, even rude ifwe compare it with other levels of politeness.
Talking about their attitude to foreigners we should remember that•Japan is mononational country.According to research about98,5 % of population areJapanese, 0,5% Koreans, 0,4 %Chinese and 0,6 % named“others”•For about 3 centuries Japanwas a closed country.•According to one of theirreligion – Shinto – god createsonly Japan, so all other nationsare not of the divine origin.
Foreigners in relation with Uchi-Soto system The same rules of Uchi and Soto are true in relation to intercultural communication. Every common Japanese in foreign country consider foreigners as soto while every Japanese person he meet would be uchi, no matter what age or status he is because in this situation he would be part of big circle called “Japan”. Visitors and tourists are universally soto. As a "soto" group, they are treated with respect by the Japanese community. However,"soto" people (ex. foreigners, ethnic minorities) wishing to become "uchi" (i.e. Japanese citizens) face many obstacles. Theoretically, it is possible for a foreigner to become a part of Japanese society. But in reality it is very difficult for non-Japanese to be accepted as an "uchi" member of Japanese society. In following Japanese customs of collectivism, deciding individually to become a part of a certain group does not mean that one actually is a part of that group. Naturalization does not guarantee inclusion in Japanese society.
How to behave?•Japanese people tend to avoid straight eye contact and not to use mimics too much. At thesame time they use their polite smile a lot. So, if you don‟t want to tire your interlocutortry not to use gestures and mimics too often and reduce the level of expressivity.•In public places straight eye contact of unknown person without friendly mimics givesimpression of threat and aggressive intentions. So, if you by chance, catch someone‟s eye,just smile politely.• For Japanese people physical contact during communication is not typical. Even in anintimate close relationship. A usual and comfortable distance for them is 3 steps. So, donttry to hug him or touch in any way.
•In general they are already used to European manner of greeting by shaking handsin business relationship but it is not typical for them in their society. They preferbowing.•Any business acquaintance with Japanese person begins with the obligatorybusiness cards exchanging. That’s why always have enough of them, because if youdon’t give you card in return it can be an insult.
•Remember that all things that you give or receive from other personbe it a present, a business card or just a document or a pen, take itwith both hands and with a slight bow.•If you want to make a present its better to buy some food of goodquality in an expensive shop. Remember, that you should bringflowers, because they are presented to sick and dead =)
Religion situation.There are 3 main religions in Japan: Shinto, Buddhism and Christianity. But talking aboutJapanese religion situation we can‟t divide them. Most Japanese people do notexclusively identify themselves as adherents of a single religion; rather, they incorporateelements of various religions in a syncretic fashion. So for Japanese person it is normal tofollow several religions.Japan grants full religious freedom, allowing minority religions such as Christianity,Islam, Hinduism and Sikhism to be practiced.Actually, for modern Japanese it is not a question of Faith but a way of decorating lifeand important life events such as birth of child, funeral, wedding, season holidays and soon. And for each celebration a person can choose different religion. For example a lot ofcouples celebrate wedding according to Christianity, because it is much cheaper thanshinto wedding.
Japan and NatureSpeaking about the orientation towardnature we can say that Japanese peopleare inherent part of nature. Sometimespeople can‟t understand how this high-technological country manages to live inharmony with nature.Indeed, the roots of such a treatment risefrom their main religions Shinto ТВBuddism according to which peoplebelieve that any creature, tree and even astone has it‟s soul.For instance, for Shintoism ischaracteristic to worship trees. There isalways one tree which is considered to besaint and to be a home for „kami‟(Japanese gods) . Around it‟s trunk therebound a straw rope with paper stripes.
Another example is tradition of admiring the nature. There are suchconcepts as „hanami‟ („enjoying the beauty of cherry blossoms‟),„tsuimi‟(enjoying the beauty of the moon), „yukimi‟(enjoying thebeauty of snow), „momiji‟ (enjoying the beauty of red maple trees).
The most famous and important is „hanami‟. Sakura is in blossom startingfrom the end of the February and till April depending on the area. Hanami isa short-time pleasure because blossoms fall off in 7-10 days. At weekendsand after work people with friends, colleagues and families sit down underthe trees of Sakura and lay food on the straw matt and admire the scene. Theblossom forecast is announced each year by the weather bureau, and iswatched carefully by those planning „hanami‟.
SchoolsThere‟re three stages ofschool education: elementaryschool (aged 6/7 – 11/12),junior high school (aged 12/13– 14/15) and high school(aged 15/16 – 17/18). And foreach school there are separatebuildings. Academic yearstarts on April, 6. Studentshave summer (a month) andsort winter and springholidays. Examinations inform of tests are taken afterjunior high school and highschool and they are reallydifficult!
To wear school uniform isrequired. The color and thestyle was the same for all theschool. According to theschool uniform you candefine which school this orthat student belong to (thereare as many kinds of schooluniform as many schools).Another interesting andrather strange thing is that allthe students wear the sameshoes and carry the sameschool bag.
Traditionally in eachschool there’re manydifferent courses andclubs а interests (sportclubs, fencing,photography, etc.)which students attendafter school. There aredifferent fests one ofthe brightest one issport festival.Because of inclination to collectivism it is important to participate so thatto defend the school reputation. Moreover it is a good opportunity to tellabout yourself without standing out.
Speaking about the principals of Confucianism we can notice the it‟s influence inteacher-student relationship but also in senior pupil-junior pupil („senpai‟-„kohai‟):A kōhai is expected to respect and obey their senpai, and the senpai in turn mustguide, protect, and teach their kōhai as best they can.
Holidays No country can compare with Japan in amount of holidays. There are 15 official holidays plus different religious festivals. Each area and prefecture has it‟s own local holidays according to traditions and season. Japanese like to celebrate very much. Holidays are a great opportunity both to relax and to remember traditions. Many holidays take their roots from buddism and shintoism. Japanese fests are called „matsuri„.
Celebrations are always very bright and skillfully organized. People start preparations long before the date.„Matsuri‟ is alwaysaccompanied with corteges,collective dancing, traditionalmusic, beautiful decorations. On„matsuri‟ people can entertainthemselves tasting deliciousfood and playing games.
A characteristic feature for„matsuri‟ is wearing traditionalclothes. Japanese wear „yukata‟(a casual summer kimono madeof cotton) and „geta‟ (traditionalfootwear).
WeddingWeddings in Japan are usually celebrated in summer, when it isn‟t cold and hoteither. As a rule most of the rituals are held according to Shinto, but very oftenJapanese marry like Christians or Buddists - they are tolerant towards otherreligions.
Traditional wedding bride‟s kimonois white. Woman needs help to put iton, because it is impossible to do itby yourself. It takes quite much timeand effort to make a hairdo. It isbelieved that every bride has thehorns of jealousy so she wears„tsuno-kakushi‟ (white hat) to hidethem.In shintoistic ritual of wedding onlymatchmakers, parents, close relativesand best friends take part in theceremony. Standing in certain orderthey all bow in front of the tample.Then a „miku‟ (priestess) and„kannusi‟ (priest) hold rituels and theceremony ends with a bride‟s vow ofloyalty to a husband and his family.
FamilyA traditional family in Japan has astrict hierarchy in which a man is ahead of the family and all othermembers should obey him.Although Japanese women nowadaysbecame more emancipated they stillhave lower status than men. So,traditionally woman is a keeper ofhearth who brings up children, watchthe house and hold the balance offamily budget. However, Japanesewomen didn’t have so manyrestrictions as for example Chinese orIndian women. Uchi-soto also extends to social actions. In a Japanese home the most senior family member, usually the father or grandfather, normally takes a bath first; the rest of the family follows in order of seniority. A visitor to the home, however, is offered the first bath. Similarly, an overnight guest is offered the best sleeping arrangements, even if this greatly inconveniences the rest of the family. This latter case is a difficult point for Westerners in Japan, who are usually taught to be polite by refusing accommodations that inconvenience others.
The list of sources used in presentation: •The material of the web-site fushigi Nippon - http://leit.ru/ •Wikipedia •http://www.onmarkproductions.com/html/japanese- confucianism.html •Benedict, Ruth. The Chrysanthemum and the Sword: Patterns of Japanese Culture. •А. Мещеряков - Книга японских обыкновений •А. Мещеряков – Как стать японцем •Леонид ВАСИЛЬЕВ - Конфуцианские традиции и современный Дальний Восток •П.С.Тумаркин – Жесты и мимика в общении японцев