Japanese Traditions

Japan: Culture and Traditions.

The nations of Japan: Culture and Traditions.

Historically, the vast majority of the Japanese population belongs to ethnic Japanese, representatives of the Mongoloid race. In the first millennium BC, the ancestors of the modern Japanese shared the archipelago with the Ainu-a Caucasian ethnic group of unknown origin, the Hayato and Kumaso peoples.
The exact time of the emergence of the first Japanese state of Yamato is unknown, but national theories tend to the IV century. Consequently, from this moment begins the systematic extermination of all neighboring peoples.
The peoples inhabiting Japan.
At the time of the formation of the Japanese state, most of the indigenous tribes of the archipelago were exterminated by the militant population of the Yamato country, the ancestors of the modern Japanese. The Kumaso, who inhabited the southern part of the archipelago, the Misihase from the northern coast of the Sea of Japan, and the Hayato from the island of Kyushu, are considered to have disappeared without a trace.
At the moment, there are three nationalities that still live in the archipelago – numerous Japanese (127 million in the archipelago and 3 outside it), Ryukyusans (1.3 million on the Ryukyu Islands and 300 thousand outside the state) and Ainu (25,000 in Japan and 109 in Russia).
Thus, the vast majority (98%) of the modern population of the Japanese archipelago are, in fact, Japanese. The other nationalities (Ainu, Ryukyusans) differ in a much smaller number of representatives.
Culture and life of the peoples of Japan.
The culture of modern Japanese is the subject of close attention of ethnographers and simply enthusiastic personalities. The characteristic frame-and-pillar dwellings with paper or cardboard walls, a raised floor on stilts, and tatami mats are one of the symbols of Japan.
The Japanese are distinguished by a special aestheticism and the concept of utilitarian aesthetics. In their worldview, each item should be as simple, beautiful and functional as possible.
Many cultural phenomena are unique and characteristic only for the Japanese – origami paper sculpture, the art of making ikebana bouquets, national kimono clothing, theater, music and visual arts. Every manifestation of Japanese culture and everyday life is a phenomenon that requires detailed consideration.
The origin of the Ainu people remains a mystery. These people have little in common with any people inhabiting the Far East and the islands of the Pacific Ocean. Modern Ainu are indistinguishable from the Japanese, although they are recognized as a national minority. Their ancestral culture was based on hunting, gathering, and fishing. The spiritual aspect of life was hidden in animalism and magical rites of sacrifice. Characteristic features – thick beards and mustaches in men and ritual lip tattooing in women.
The Ryukyusans are the largest Japanese ethnic minority. This is the indigenous people of the archipelago, which has not left its borders since its inception. The skeletons of the Minatogawa man, dated to the 16th-14th millennium BC, belong to the ancestors of the Ryukyusans.
Traditions and customs.
The culture of the Ryukyusans developed under the influence of neighboring peoples, absorbing a lot of their features. But there are also a number of assets that have become traditional, which have emerged without outside help:
the martial art of karate, kobudo, tagumi; the musical instrument sansina, on the basis of which shamisen was created; the dyeing of fabrics by the bingata method; poems in the ryuka genre.
The indigenous people of Okinawa have created many other individual cultural phenomena that have become customary since ancient times. The Ryukyu religion is similar in many ways to Shinto. It also includes sacred places and the worship of their spirits. However, modern Ryukyusans no longer actively profess their canons.
The modern customs of the Japanese-Yamatos, Ryukyusans and Ainu-are indistinguishable due to the complete assimilation of the population. The Ainu rites displayed in thematic museums are more of an entertainment nature and are aimed at tourists. The remaining Ainu and Ryukyusans themselves, along with all the Japanese, celebrate Obon in honor of the commemoration of the dead, equally arrange tea ceremonies and wedding ceremonies.