Japanese people

Japanese people
日本?
Total population
About 130 million
Regions with significant populations
 Japan      127 million
Significant Nikkei populations in:
 Brazil1,400,000[1]
 United States1,200,000[2]
 Philippines150,000
 China99,000[3]
 Canada85,000[4]
 Peru81,000[5]
 United Kingdom51,000[6]
 Germany34,000[7]
 Argentina30,000[8]
 Australia27,000[9]
 Singapore23,000[10]
 Mexico20,000[11]
 Taiwan16,000[12]
 South Korea15,000[13]
Languages
Japanese
Religions
Shinto, Buddhism, large secular groups
    [ edit]
The Japanese people (日本人 Nihonjin, Nipponjin) is the ethnic group that identifies as Japanese by culture or ancestry, or both. The term is often used less discriminately to refer to the group of people holding Japanese citizenship. Worldwide, approximately 130 million people are of Japanese descent; of these, approximately 127 million are residents of Japan. People of Japanese ancestry who live in other countries are referred to as Nikkeijin (日系人). The term "Japanese people" may also be used in some contexts to refer to a locus of ethnic groups including the Yamato people, Ainu people, and Ryukyuans.

Culture

Language

Main article: Japanese language
The Japanese language is the mother tongue of the majority of the world's Japanese. It is a Japonic language that is usually treated as a language isolate, although it is also related to the Okinawan language (Ryukyuan). The Japanese language has a tripartite writing system based upon Chinese characters. Domestic Japanese people use primarily Japanese for daily interaction. The adult literacy rate in Japan exceeds 99%;[1] however, this may not accurately reflect functional literacy rates due to the complex nature of the Japanese writing system.[2]

Religion

Main article: Religion in Japan
Japanese religion has traditionally been syncretic in nature, combining elements of Buddhism and Shintoism. Shintoism, a polytheistic religion with no book of religious canon, is Japan's native folk religion. Shinto was one of the traditional grounds for the right to the throne of the Japanese imperial family, and was codified as the state religion in 1868 (State Shinto was abolished by the American occupation in 1945). Mahayana Buddhism came to Japan in the sixth century and evolved into many different sects. Today the largest form of Buddhism among Japanese people is the Jodo Shinshu sect founded by Shinran.

According to the CIA World Factbook, when asked to identify their religion, most Japanese people (84%) profess to believe in both Shinto and Buddhism. The Japanese people's religious concerns are mostly directed towards mythology, traditions, and neighborhood activities rather than as the single source of moral guidelines for one's life. Confucianism or Taoism is sometimes considered the basis for morality.

Literature

Main article: Japanese literature
Enlarge picture
Bisque doll of Momotarō,
a character from Japanese literature and folklore.
Certain genres of writing originated in and are often associated with Japanese society. These include the haiku, tanka, and I Novel, although modern writers generally avoid these writing styles. Historically, many works have sought to capture or codify traditional Japanese cultural values and aesthetics. Some of the most famous of these include Murasaki Shikibu's The Tale of Genji (1021), about Heian court culture; Miyamoto Musashi's The Book of Five Rings (1645), concerning military strategy; Matsuo Bashō's Oku no Hosomichi (1691), a travelogue; and Jun'ichirō Tanizaki's essay "In Praise of Shadows" (1933), which contrasts Eastern and Western cultures.

Following the opening of Japan to the West in 1854, some works of this style were written in English by natives of Japan; they include by Nitobe Inazo (1900), concerning samurai ethics, and The Book of Tea by Okakura Kakuzo (1906), which deals with the philosophical implications of the Japanese tea ceremony. Western observers have often attempted to evaluate Japanese society as well, to varying degrees of success; one of the most well-known and controversial works resulting from this is Ruth Benedict's The Chrysanthemum and the Sword (1946).

Twentieth-century Japanese writers recorded changes in Japanese society through their works. Some of the most notable authors included Natsume Sōseki, Jun'ichirō Tanizaki, Osamu Dazai, Yasunari Kawabata, Fumiko Enchi, Yukio Mishima, and Ryotaro Shiba. In contemporary Japan popular authors such as Ryu Murakami, Haruki Murakami, and Banana Yoshimoto are highly regarded.

Arts

Decorative arts in Japan date back to prehistoric times. Jōmon pottery includes examples with elaborate ornamentation. Pottery and ceramics have been important in Japan in every subsequent period, and exports of Imari ware and other ceramics reached Europe.

In the Yayoi period, artisans produced fine mirrors, spears, and ceremonial bells known as dōtaku. Later burial mounds, or kofun, preserve characteristic clay haniwa, as well as wall paintings. Beginning in the Nara period, painting, calligraphy, and sculpture in wood and metal flourished under strong Confucian and Buddhist influences from Korea and China. Among the architectural achievements of this period are the Hōryū-ji and the Yakushi-ji, two Buddhist temples in Nara Prefecture.

After the cessation of official relations with the Tang dynasty in the ninth century, Japanese art and architecture gradually became less influenced by China. Extravagant art and clothing was commissioned by nobles to decorate their court life, and although the aristocracy was quite limited in size and power, many of these pieces are still extant. Contemporary literature notes that nobles enjoyed emakimono, a pair of scrolls, one for painting and another for text. While the noble enjoyed paintings, servants (nyobo) read out the text. Trade with China was reinstated during the Song dynasty, but it didn't rapidly influence the Japanese art scene.

Todai-ji was attacked and many building including its main hall were burned and lost during the Gempei War. A special office of restoration was founded at the beginning of the Kamakura period, and Todai-ji became a center of Japanese architecture and sculpture. The leading masters were Unkei and Kaikei.

Painting advanced in the Muromachi period in the form of ink and wash painting under the influence of Zen Buddhism as practiced by such masters as Sesshū Tōyō. Zen Buddhist tenets were also elaborated into the tea ceremony during the Sengoku period. During the Edo period, the polychrome painting screens of the Kano school were made influential thanks to their powerful patrons (including the Tokugawas). Popular artists created ukiyo-e, woodblock prints for sale to commoners in the flourishing cities.

The Muromachi period also gave rise to noh, a spare dramatic form for the warrior class. Together with kyogen farce, it descended from earlier religious performances. In stark contrast to the restrained refinement of noh, kabuki, an "explosion of color," used every possible stage trick for dramatic effect to appeal to an audience of commoners. Plays included sensational events of the day such as suicides, and many works went back and forth between kabuki and the bunraku puppet theaters.

Since the Meiji Restoration, Japan has absorbed elements of Western culture. Its modern decorative, practical and performing arts works span a spectrum ranging from the traditions of Japan to purely Western modes. Products of popular culture, including J-pop, manga, and anime have found audiences around the world.

Origins

Enlarge picture
Japan at the Height of the Last Glaciation about 20,000 years ago
See also: History of Japan


A recent study by Michael F. Hammer has shown genetic similarity to a variety of populations in Asia.[3] This and other genetic studies have also claimed that Y-chromosome patrilines crossed from Asian mainland into the Japanese Archipelago, where they comprise a significant fraction of the extant male lineages of the Japanese population.[4] These patrilines seem to have experienced extensive genetic admixture with the long-established Jōmon period populations of Japan.[3]

Paleolithic era

Archaeological evidences indicates that Stone Age people lived in the Japanese Archipelago during the Paleolithic period between 39,000 and 21,000 years ago[5] [6]. Japan was then connected to mainland Asia by at least one land bridge, and nomadic hunter-gatherers crossed to Japan from East Asia, Siberia, and possibly Kamchatka. Flint tools and bony implements of this era are excavated in Japan[7].

Jōmon and Ainu people

Enlarge picture
Incipient Jōmon pottery
The world's oldest known pottery was developed by the Jōmon people in the Upper Paleolithic period, 14th millennium BCE. The name, "Jōmon" (縄文 Jōmon), which means "cord-impressed pattern", comes from the characteristic markings found on the pottery. The Jōmon people were Mesolithic hunter-gatherers, though at least one middle to late Jōmon site (Minami Mosote (南溝手), ca. 1200-1000 BCE) had a primitive rice-growing agriculture. They relied primarily on fish for protein. It is believed that the Jōmon had very likely migrated from North Asia or Central Asia and became the Ainu of today. Research suggests that the Ainu retain a certain degree of uniqueness in their genetic make-up, while having some affinities with different regional populations in Japan as well as the Nivkhs of the Russian Far East. Based on more than a dozen genetic markers on a variety of chromosomes and from archaeological data showing habitation of the Japanese Archipelago dating back 30,000 years, it is argued that the Jōmon actually came from northeastern Asia and settled on the islands far earlier than some have proposed.[8]

Yayoi people

Around 400-300 BCE, the Yayoi people began to enter the Japanese islands, intermingling with the Jōmon. Most modern scholars say that the Yayoi emigrated from the southern part of the Korean Peninsula to northern Kyūshū, though it has also been proposed that they came from southeastern China. The Yayoi brought wet-rice farming and advanced bronze and iron technology to Japan. Although the islands were already abundant with resources for hunting and dry-rice farming, Yayoi farmers created more productive wet-rice paddy field systems. This allowed the communities to support larger populations and spread over time, in turn becoming the basis for more advanced institutions and heralding the new civilization of the succeeding Kofun Period.

Controversy

Currently, the most well-regarded theory is that present-day Japanese are descendants of both the indigenous Jōmon people and the immigrant Yayoi people. The origins of the Jōmon and Yayoi peoples have often been a subject of dispute, but it is now widely accepted that the Jōmon people were very similar to the modern Ainu of northern Japan, and lived in Japan since the time of the last glacial age. Han Chinese and Southeast Asian ethnic groups were sometimes proposed as the origin of the modern Japanese ethnic group. Recently, however, both Japanese and non-Japanese academics predominantly argue that the Japanese are descended from both the Yayoi, who emigrated from the Korean peninsula, and the long-established native Jōmon people, with whom the Yayoi intermarried. A clear consensus has not been reached.[9]

Japanese colonialism



Enlarge picture
Location Map of Japan
During the Japanese colonial period of 1867 to 1945, the phrase "Japanese people" was used to refer not only to residents of the Japanese archipelago, but also to people from occupied territories who held Japanese citizenship, such as Taiwanese people and Korean people. The official term used to refer to ethnic Japanese during this period was "inland people" (内地人 naichijin). Such linguistic distinctions facilitated forced assimilation of colonized ethnic identities into a single Imperial Japanese identity. [10]

After World War II, many Nivkh people and Orok people from southern Sakhalin who held Japanese citizenship were forced to repatriate to Hokkaidō by the Soviet Union. However, many Sakhalin Koreans who had held Japanese citizenship until the end of the war were left stateless by the Soviet occupation.[11]

Japanese living abroad

See also: Japanese diaspora


The term nikkeijin (日系人) is used to refer to Japanese people who either emigrated from Japan or are descendants of a person who emigrated from Japan. The usage of this term excludes Japanese citizens who are living abroad, but includes all descendants of nikkeijin who lack Japanese citizenship regardless of their place of birth.

Emigration from Japan was recorded as early as the 12th century to the Philippines, but did not become a mass phenomenon until the Meiji Era, when Japanese began to go to the United States and Canada, and later Latin America, Peru, and Brazil. There was also significant emigration to the territories of the Empire of Japan during the colonial period; however, most such emigrants repatriated to Japan after the end of World War II in Asia.[11]

According to the Association of Nikkei and Japanese Abroad, there are about 2.5 million nikkeijin living in their adopted countries. The largest of these foreign communities are in the Brazilian states of São Paulo and Paraná. There are also significant cohesive Japanese communities in the Philippines, Peru, and in the American state of Hawaiʻi. Separately, the number of Japanese citizens living abroad is over one million according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

See also

References

1. ^ [https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ja.html#People United States CIA factbook.] Accessed 2007-01-15.
2. ^ Galan, C. (2005). Learning to read and write in Japanese (kokugo and nihongo): a barrier to multilingualism? International journal of the sociology of language, Issue 175-176
3. ^ Michael F. Hammer (2005). "Dual origins of the Japanese: common ground for hunter-gatherer and farmer Y chromosomes" (PDF). The Japan Society of Human Genetics and Springer-Verlag. Retrieved on 2007-01-19.
4. ^ University of Pittsburgh, Jomon Genes - Using DNA, researchers probe the genetic origins of modern Japanese by John Travis
5. ^ Global archaeological evidence for proboscidean overkillin PNAS online; Page 3 (page No.6233), Table 1. The known global sample of proboscidean kill/scavenge sites :Lake Nojiri Japan 33-39 ka (ka: thousand years).
6. ^ Web Site Shinshu; Prehistoric Times.
7. ^ Lake Nojiri Museum, Lake Nojiri Excavation and Research Team(Japanese); many flint tools and bony implements were found with the same age of Naumann Elephant in Lake Nojiri.
8. ^ Abstract of article from The Journal of Human Genetics. Accessed 2007-01-15.
9. ^ See the following for more information: [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24]
10. ^ Eika Tai (September 2004). ""Korean Japanese"" Volume 36: pp. 355-382. DOI:10.1080/1467271042000241586. 
11. ^ Lankov, Andrei. "Stateless in Sakhalin", The Korea Times, 2006-01-05. Retrieved on 2006-11-26. 
12. ^ Lankov, Andrei. "The Dawn of Modern Korea (360): Settling Down", The Korea Times, 2006-03-23. Retrieved on 2006-12-18. 

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Largest city Taipei[1]
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홍익인간(弘益人間) 널리 인간을 이롭게 하?
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This article contains Japanese text.
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Japanese
日本語
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Shinto (神道 shintō
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Buddhism is often described as a religion[1] and a collection of various philosophies, based initially on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, known as Gautama Buddha.
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ethnic group or ethnicity is a population of human beings whose members identify with each other, usually on the basis of a presumed common genealogy or ancestry.[1] Ethnicity is also defined from the recognition by others as a distinct group[2]
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Cultural identity is the (feeling of) identity of a group or culture, or of an individual as far as he is influenced by his belonging to a group or culture. Cultural identity is similar to and has overlaps with, but is not synonymous with, identity politics.
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Citizenship is membership in a political community (originally a city or town but now usually a country) and carries with it rights to political participation; a person having such membership is a citizen.
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The Japanese diaspora, and its individual members known as nikkei, are Japanese emigrants from Japan and their descendants. Emigration from Japan first happened and was recorded as early as the 12th century to the Philippines, but did not become a mass phenomenon until the
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The Japanese diaspora, and its individual members known as nikkei, are Japanese emigrants from Japan and their descendants. Emigration from Japan first happened and was recorded as early as the 12th century to the Philippines, but did not become a mass phenomenon until the
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50,000 people with half or more Ainu ancestry
150,000 Japanese people with some Ainu ancestry
  • (some estimates on the number of Japanese with some Ainu blood range as high as 1,000,000; the exact number is unknown)
Pre-Japanese era: ~
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Ryukyuans (Japanese: 琉球民族, Ryūkyū minzoku; Okinawan: ウチナンチュ, Uchinanchu) are the indigenous peoples of the Ryukyu Islands of Japan between the islands of Kyūshū and Taiwan.
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