Last Updated 27 Jul 2020

Difference and Similarity in Culture

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Do you like your own culture? People often say “culture is a symbol of our country. ” I agree with this opinion, for I think culture helps the people learning about foreign country to understand what the country is. Then, how has our own culture been formed? Needless to say, culture has the long-term history, which gives the office to us to understand how it was formed. Today, I plan to talk about Japanese ancient culture by verifying the cultural difference and similarity between Edo and Meiji era.

Edo era, the longest period in Japanese history, was said to be a turbulent period. However, people in the old days lived strongly and formed their original culture. One of them is clothes. Please look at figure 1. This is a picture of a person living in Edo era. We usually call the people like him samurai. They always wore kimonos, the Japanese traditional clothes, with wearing two swords. It is called “Taitou”. Edo was also a hellishly dangerous period, so samurai had to carry swords for self-defense, whenever they went out.

Samurai’s hairstyle is also so unique. The person in figure 1 ties his hair in a topknot. In Japan, samurai sometimes cut the topknot of the opposite commanding general instead of taking his head, when they win the war. Please look at figure 2. This is a Japanese traditional transportation, and we call it “Kago”. When lords go out, they use “Kago” by making two people shoulder it. It was said to be so useful that many people were willing to use it. However, it was also said to take a long time to arrive at their destinations.

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Figure3| Figure4| Meiji era, the most progressive period in Japanese history, was said to be the best period, in terms of culture. Those days, the Edo shogunate was perished, and the new government decided to take in Western cultures as a part of modernization policy. I will introduce some of them. First, look at figure 3, please. His clothes were different from what people in Edo era wore. They were called “Western clothes”. In seeing this style in downtown, people often said “He is Haikara”. Haikara means fashionable in Japanese. ) His hairstyle is also a kind of Haikara. It was called “Zangiriatama”. At first, Meiji government restricted the topknot, and recommended “Zangiriatama” as an alternative idea, but it became popular, unnoticed. Next, look at figure 4, please. This is a picture of SL. It was introduced to Japan in the beginning of Meiji. At first, people thought it as a kind of “Kago”, but they were surprised at the excessive speed, when they saw the SL work.

One person said, “I can move so fast as if I were a swallow. ” As you see, culture has its own history and it is different each other. However, all of them are necessary for one country. If it were not for culture, countries could not have their originality and identity. Therefore, we must cherish our own culture. As a conclusion, I suggest that we should always be creative and affirmative to our own culture, for the attitude keeps and improves it.

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