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caliboy93
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Japanese vs Korean culture

Sun Jan 27, 2019 5:00 am

How are Japanese and Korean culture different, besides the obvious linguistic one? Both are huge players in technology and pop culture (anime/kpop). What else though?
 
salttee
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Re: Japanese vs Korean culture

Sun Jan 27, 2019 5:42 am

I can't give you any 21st century information but I do know a bit about the (pre)history of the region which might help.

Japan was connected to Asia until sometime after 20,000 years ago. The exact time of separation is unknown but prior to it's separation, the people on mainland Asia were able to walk to what is now Japan as they were also able to walk to the Korean peninsula. They were all more or less the same people, we can call them proto-Chinese. The area of the land bridge to Japan was towards the northern extent of the geographical range of these proto-Chinese people, and Korea was a thousand miles further south, so although they may have been very similar people they could have had dramatic differences even back then. In these early times (let's peg the split at 12,000 years ago) the proto-Chinese people existed from what is now Thailand to about the latitude of the Japan land bridge, (to the north of that were the northern tribes people aka Mongolians). Compare to native American tribes, they might have been very similar or quite different in some respects but they did have common roots and lifestyles.

So from there, the Japanese islanders drifted off and at some point cut off contact completely and so developed their own variation on what had once been a common culture.

2-,000 years ago.
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hoons90
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Re: Japanese vs Korean culture

Mon Jan 28, 2019 5:46 am

caliboy93 wrote:
How are Japanese and Korean culture different, besides the obvious linguistic one? Both are huge players in technology and pop culture (anime/kpop). What else though?


Generally, Koreans tend to be more frank and forthright, whereas the Japanese tend to be more polite but inscrutable. "Wa" is a very important part of Japanese culture, which emphasizes order and harmony. You will almost always see an orderly queue in Japan, whereas in Korea you'll often see people (especially older ones) try to cut the line and talk really loudly. Koreans are generally more expressive and emotional. When Eminem toured Asia, he mentioned how Korean concertgoers were a lot more vibrant and vocal, even singing/rapping along to his songs. The Japanese crowd were a lot quieter and reserved.

In terms of food, Koreans tend to prefer spicier and stimulating foods, whereas the Japanese tend to prefer more delicate tasting foods. In terms of music, K-pop draws more influence from elements of Western music than J-pop does. The Japanese domestic music market is huge, whereas the domestic market in Korea is more limited, thus the K-pop industry dedicates a lot more resources to market and promote their music abroad. CDs are still very popular in Japan, whereas most Koreans obtain their music online. In terms of modern fashion, trends tend to hit South Korea first before reaching Japan. Otaku culture is much stronger in Japan than it is in Korea (After all, Otaku is a Japanese word), and Seoul doesn't really have the equivalent of Akihabara in Tokyo.

South Korea is a lot more socially conservative than Japan, and while only 30% of the population is Christian, the Christian lobby is immensely powerful in Korea and politicians tend to backtrack on LGBTQ issues, etc. to appease Christian voters. At the same time, confucian values are deeply ingrained into the psyche of many Koreans. In Japan, Christians make up an extremely small minority of the population, and Buddhism is the largest religion. Japan is a lot more blase about sexuality and pornography.

Even in urban areas, many Japanese people live in detached homes, whereas most Koreans live in apartments. Koreans use a traditional floor-heating system, and the Japanese use heaters and kotatsus. Most structures in Japan are built and fortified with earthquakes in mind, many buildings in Korea are not since earthquakes in Korea are way less frequent and less intense.

Japan has a much more diverse landscape, geography and climate as it stretches over a much wider area. You have climates ranging from tropical (Ishigaki, Yonaguni etc.) to regions with harsh winters (Hokkaido, Tohoku). Korea doesn't have a single piece of land that is tropical year round. This is quite subjective, but I find the Japanese countryside to be a lot more picturesque than the Korean countryside. Japan is also more polycentric than Korea is, whereas Korea is extremely Seoul-centric.
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Derico
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Re: Japanese vs Korean culture

Mon Jan 28, 2019 2:07 pm

I really can't add much to the posts above, and I am a westerner, just a couple of points.

I think the concept of "orderliness" is more nurture than nature. Affluent, peaceful societies tend by nature to be far more willing to be agreeable. Hard to stand stoic when you are starving for food, or traumatized by war violence. i don't know how Japanese behaved before becoming a developed society. But hoons90 mentioned the queuing. The fact you see a Generation Gap in Korea somewhat demonstrates what I am trying to say.

In Japan everyone stands quiet in line, or files one row in the subway escalators. In Korea anyone I saw under 50 does the same in queues and escalators, but yes, some older folk tend to just stand on the left or whatever. And then you have China, where almost everyone ignores queues and worse if you are foreigner, they just directly dare get on the line right in front of you! And then there is the entirely different beast of boarding a train in China... Lol. Wow. But even in China you start to see generational shift: old people shout into their cell phones, younger people whisper. In the big cities younger people are less inclined to cut queue than in smaller cities. And in the high speed trains there is a lot less pushing and shoving than in the regular trains ridden by a large number of rural folk and peasants.

In all three countries governments spend huge sums of money on instilling good manners and so as each country developed (first Japan, then Korea, now China), you can almost see these different stages in how people behave between each country and even between generations within each country.

Koreans are more conservative than Japanese in social or sexual norms. Many Chinese are also conservative but not just because of Confucianism, in my opinion many are simply arrested in development since they spend most of their young lives studying all day, and also are extremely conformist probably still influenced not just by Confucius but also Maoist socialism.
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zakuivcustom
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Re: Japanese vs Korean culture

Mon Jan 28, 2019 6:34 pm

hoons90 wrote:
whereas in Korea you'll often see people (especially older ones) try to cut the line and talk really loudly.


Isn't part of it due to Confucianism (Which definitely has a LOT stronger influence in Korean culture compare to Japanese one), where one is suppose to "respect elders"? From what I gather those old people just cut in lines, push and shove their way around crowded trains, etc. just b/c they're "old" and "they can do whatever they want", and nobody dared to speak out against that b/c they're older. (I can be totally wrong, though).

hoons90 wrote:
Japan has a much more diverse landscape, geography and climate as it stretches over a much wider area. You have climates ranging from tropical (Ishigaki, Yonaguni etc.) to regions with harsh winters (Hokkaido, Tohoku). Korea doesn't have a single piece of land that is tropical year round. This is quite subjective, but I find the Japanese countryside to be a lot more picturesque than the Korean countryside. Japan is also more polycentric than Korea is, whereas Korea is extremely Seoul-centric.


Meh, Japan is also extremely Tokyo-centric. It's just not as crazy as South Korea (but then, what can you expect when 50% of S. Koreans live around Seoul/Incheon/Gyeonggi-do), but certainly not "polycentric" in Chinese (Beijing/Shanghai/PRD) or US sense.

One more thing to add on about the diverse landscape - the difference in landscape also mean domestic travel within Japan is a lot larger than South Korea b/c Japanese can experience everything from cold winter to tropical beaches without leaving the country, while that's just not really true for South Korea (Ok, there's Jeju-do where seemingly every single person (I know, I'm exaggerating) from Seoul or Busan head to over any given weekends, but that's about it). Another thing to add on? There's a reason why almost 3x more South Korean (~7M) visited Japan compare to Japanese (~2.5M) visited South Korea - Japan simply has more to offer.

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