East Asian Culture

Orient is defined as study of East Asian culture, their tradition and its impact on the rest of the world.

European found the word orient. The term was further developed in the form of orient and oxidant. Oriental countries are all East Asian countries like Japan, Korea, China and an oxidant country means all Western countries.

The word ‘Orient’ describes in many ways, as far as Edward Said “it’s a place of romance, exotic being, haunting memories and landscapes.” In short we can say it’s a cultural study and its impact on the world through its politics and economy mainly.

The orient is the neighbors of Europe and they are the oldest as well as richest colonies of the twentieth century. Orient helped Europe in defining its ideas, personality and culture in many ways. It is an integral part of the European material civilization and culture.

Said mentioned in his book “Orientalism expresses and represents that part culturally and even ideologically as a mode of discourse with supporting institutions, vocabulary, scholarships, imaginary, doctrine and even colonial bureaucracies and colonial styles.”

From Edward Said’s point of view there was negligence in orientalism by the world. The reason was high ended executive attitude of ninetieth and early twentieth century in European colonies.

Japan was the sufferer of the cross cultural conflict in early twentieth century The conflict was between the Japan and western countries. In the early twentieth century Japan and other oriental regions often carries assumptions that western countries are far more superior and eastern region that is oriental region is more superior for there ancient tradition. Therefore orientalsim is known for understanding eastern culture to west.

The reasons behind the conflicts were, orient of Japan represents a unique culture field which is modernistic also and has traditional Japanese sense also. In some respect for Japan I can say orientalism is the part of ethnocentrism. Orientalism is not an outdated way of knowing colonism in Japan but also it is an integral part of the modern consciousness.

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Ethnocentrism is a particular group of culture which is somehow better than the other cultural groups. It is a view of there own understanding towards there own culture.

Till late eighteenth century, people were seeing the interchange between the academic and imaginative type of orientalism, but after some more further detailed research Edward Said discovered the third type of orientalism which is called as Academic orientalism. In this corporate institution analyzed and discussed orientalism in there own ways, therefore we can say that orientalism as a western style for dominating, recruiting and having authority towards the orient.

From Edward Said’s point of view, orientalism is fueled by academic orientalism concept. E.g. In America, in late twentieth century, the term orientalism was changed to ‘East Asian studies’ but in Britain and some parts of Europe it is still called as ‘School of Oriental and African Studies’ or SOAS.

The fact of Said’s orientalism as not much to consider because, culture and nations whose location is in the east and there histories, customs have less reality and it is better than it could be said and assumed.

For understanding the ideas, histories, culture and power of configuration, the orient was created, which is called as orientalized. These things simply believe that, things happen simply as a necessity of the imagination and the power of dominance between the orient and oxidant.

Orientalism is not exactly called as a political subject or issue as it is passively reflected by culture, scholarships, institution and not the large diffuse collection of text about the orient.

It is rather than cultural, geographical awareness to the western world, this might help to western world to understand the orient properly and to correct the wrong assumptions made over the orient. It is a distribution of geopolitical awareness into the aesthetics, scholarly, economic, sociological and historic text. It is an elaboration of geographical location as well as scholarly discoveries and phi logical reconstruction.

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American’s ideological thinking about east has generally found that, American give more importance to China than other oriental countries like Japan. They think that, Chinese culture is more easily accessible and flexible than Japanese culture.

American feels Chinese are more like them in more private nature, they are educated, rational and more practical as well as they are more frank. Even Chinese food is more adoptable and has some western influence to it but Japanese eat raw fish and Miso soup which is not comfortable to western world.

Japanese orientalism has much more cultural conflicts than other because, in late eighteenth century Japanese people feels that there culture is more mixed with western culture but western countries feels that Japanese culture is not more easily accessible to them.

Japanese social institutions signify that, Japanese culture has high level of sophistication, yet it also appeared highly feudal to modern world.

Western image of Japan was not fully negative. There are many positive cultural and traditional things that western world thinks about Japan. Romantic culture really teaches the world there sophisticated culture, with its indigenous traditions are in close harmony.

Some of the world famous things of cultural evidence are Bonsai trees, bamboo and wooden houses, female accessories from natural resources like bamboo stick hats, Zen Buddhism and meditation techniques, macrobiotic cooking and ceramic vessel art teaches the modern world about Japanese quality of living and the evidence of there culture that they are aesthetically more attuned than rest of the world.

Image of the Japanese people in there private life is completely different. They are little bit fanatical, deceitful in nature. The great study of different cultures in the world done by Richard D. Lewis in his book known as ‘When cultures collides’ which was published in 1982. This book is the best referral to many other people who do there business overseas. Richard wrote some specific observation of Japanese people in his book,

  • Japanese children are encouraged to be completely dependent and keep a sense of interdependence throughout their lives.
  • Everything must be placed in context in Japan.
  • Japanese are constrained by their thought processes in a language very different from any other.
  • They do not like meeting newcomers.
  • They represent their group and can not therefore pronounce on any matters without consultation- cannot initiate an exchange of views.
  • Westerners are individuals, but the Japanese represent a company which represents Japan
  • The Japanese go to incredible lengths to be polite.

As far as I conclude on Richard’s comments on Japanese people, I feel Japanese people are very private in nature and independent from childhood. They have very much proud feeling for there country and every time they mention there feelings. If they do some mistake then, they can go to any level of politeness.

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In World War II ethnocentrism exhibited, which carried some negative consequences in terms of cross cultural communications. Reaction of America on economic defeat created some negative impact on the Japanese people living in America. E.g. Congressman smashed Japanese radio in Capitol Hill and Chinese person was murdered as he was assumed as Japanese.

So I can say that Orientalism taught many cultural things to world through there tradition and oriental objects.

For my essay I chose Japanese six paneled screen as my oriental object. As this object is oriental, there are many cultural details hidden inside this object and through the detail analysis I will show some points of oriental evidence hidden in the object.

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