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Main/The Peoples of the East/East and Southeast Asia/Japan in Comparative Socio-cultural Studies (Abstract Collection)/

Cultural traditions, history and modernization (Japan and China and the West: comparative studies) (Overview)

The paper presents a review of Japanese and Western authors’ studies that analyze the process of modernization and industrialization in Japan and its prerequisites. Culture is a dynamic entity, vulnerable to general processes of historical and cultural development under the socio-economic changes. Since the Tokugawa era, Japan, relating to East Asian cultural area, has gone from native Japanese particularism to Western universalism. That is caused by several factors.

1.Religion in Japan maintained commitment to the core values, encouraged and legitimized the necessary political innovations, strengthened the asceticism ethics in everyday life (that implies main Japanese qualities: high ‘social discipline’, hard work, economy, diligence, frugality, loyalty, son’s devotion. 2. Central system of values in Japanese society has contributed to its rationalization (in contrast to China, where integrative values prevails — particularism, kinship ties; political elite of China tended to maintain stability, balance, traditionalism). 3. The identity of the processes of development in Japanese and Western societies inevitably led to the rationalization of thinking, secularism and development of universal ideas (in contrast, to China, it is closed at its monolithic cultural tradition.) 4. Traditional collectivism determines competitive success of modern Japan.

Keywords: Japan, West, particularism, universalism, secularism, integrative values.

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