All about Japanese culture

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Ah Japan… Between its fascinating architecture, its succulent gastronomy and its breathtaking animations, this country never ceases to amaze.

A true example of authenticity, the Japanese archipelago has managed to keep its authenticity and be faithful to its traditions in a world in the grip of modernization.

But what is really the essence of the land of the samurai? Why are Japan and its customs so fascinating?

Key points of Japanese culture

When we talk about Japanese culture, we often think of the timeless flowery kimonos of Japanese women. Or the famous authentic Japanese sushi and ramen. Other times, we even refer to the legendary samurai with their traditional swords. But are these really the only characteristics of Japanese culture?

Here are the important points to remember about Japanese culture:

  • Japanese art is unique because of sakoku (“closing the country to the world”) between 1650 and 1842. Indeed, this isolationist policy has allowed Japan to refocus on its culture.
  • Japanese gastronomy is not only composed of sushi and ramen. It presents a much more interesting diversity. And well worth the detour!
  • Shinto is the traditional Japanese religion. Faithful to its traditions, Japan has not separated itself from its beliefs and culture. And this despite the many cults that the country of the rising sun has faced.
  • Japanese artworks are without a doubt Japan’s greatest weapon of influence.

Japan is known worldwide for the beauty of its culture and art. Between its magnificent temples, its remarkable fashion and its thousand-year-old art, let’s discover the particularities of the Japanese culture.

Japanese traditional art

The first element that distinguishes Japanese culture from that of the world is undoubtedly its art. Indeed, the sakoku that the empire experienced during the Edo era allowed the country of the rising sun to authenticate its culture and art. Japan then developed certain singularities that set it apart from other Southeast Asian states.

  • Japanese painting and printmaking: ukiyo-e.

One of the most famous artistic styles in the land of the sun, Japanese prints represent traditional Japanese art in its purest form.

  • The art of traditional Japanese entertainment: between kabuki theater and geishas

During the Edo period (1603-1868), Japan also developed its own cultural icons in the world of entertainment. The empire set up its own traditional theater, the Kabuki theater. The highly codified art of these stagings focuses on epic acting that imagines Japanese culture.

During the same period, Geishas also appeared in the entertainment world. Artists and ladies-in-waiting, these women with their faces completely painted white embodied the urban culture of Edo. They generally practiced the art of buyo dance and played a musical instrument.

In short: Geishas and kabuki theaters are true symbols of Japanese culture.

  • Traditional Japanese architecture: Nihon kenchiku

It is during the Heian era (795-1185) that the architecture of the traditional Japanese house appears. The inhabitants of the land of the rising sun having perpetuated this art, the structure of the houses built at that time does not really differ from those of today.

  • Traditional Japanese fashion

Having become an integral part of Japanese art and culture, the traditional clothes of the archipelago fascinate many tourists. But what are these clothes of predilection of the Japanese culture?

There are generally five:

The kimono, the most worn traditional garment.

The yukata, the kimono of the summer

The haori, the traditional Japanese jacket

The jinbei, the japanese pyjamas for men

The hakama, the traditional Japanese pants

Note that the yukata, as a summer garment, is generally lighter and more colorful than the kimono.

Interesting fact

All the above mentioned traditional clothes are usually worn with geta, the famous Japanese wooden sandals. They can also be accompanied by tabi, Japanese socks with two fingers.

  Japanese traditional clothing

Traditional Japanese religion: Shintoism

Japan nowadays admits many beliefs. In addition to Shintoism, its traditional religion, the island has also admitted Buddhism, Confucianism and Christianity to its religious record. Indeed, the opening of the country to the world has allowed it to become familiar with other ways of thinking. Other ways of seeing life.

In spite of this, the Japanese remain anchored to their tradition, making Shintoism the most practiced belief in the archipelago. But what are the specificities of this religion so dear to the inhabitants of the land of the rising sun?

  • The veneration of the forces that animate nature: Japanese polytheistic culture

Like Hinduism or the Greek and Roman religions, Shintoism is based on the belief in several deities, the kami. Their number is infinite, because they can embody spirits, natural or supernatural phenomena as well as animals. It is said that they are more than “eight hundred myriads”.

  • The relationship of the emperor to the divine

The Emperor is traditionally the supreme guardian of Japanese culture and traditions. Before the defeat of the Second World War, he was the chief curator of the state religion: Shintoism. He has been a member of this religion for thousands of years. Legend has it that he is descended from the sun goddess, Amaterasu, giving him a semi-divine status.

To know more

Shinto shrines, with their unique architecture, are among the symbols of Japanese culture.

Discovering Japanese gastronomy

Japan is also famous for its gastronomic culture. Between the famous Kobe beef, the succulent teriyakis or their famous mochi, the Japanese specialties are enough to make our heads spin.

Let’s go back to these Japanese dishes that have fascinated the world

The symbolic dishes of Japan


When we refer to Japanese gastronomy, we think directly of sushi and ramen. If these two specialties represent the archipelago in the world, they are not the only culinary pride of the country. Here is a list of Japanese dishes not to be missed:

  • Teriyaki, the Japanese barbecue
  • Tempura, the famous Japanese fritters
  • Yakitori, the delicious Japanese skewers
  • Taiyaki, the famous waffle with fish filling
  • Mochi, the exquisite rice dessert

Japanese specialties

Each region of the land of the rising sun also has its culinary signature. Here are some local specialties of Japan:

  • Kobe beef, the premium meat of Japan
  • Kagoshima beef, the best wagyu in the archipelago
  • Osaka Takoyaki, the unavoidable combination of waffle batter and octopus
  • Hiroshima’s okonomiyaki, the delicious savory patty

Cinematography and manga: the era of Japaneseization

After the Second World War, Japan found itself in a very delicate situation. Deprived of its army, the empire decided to turn to other ways to establish their influence in the world. The archipelago is therefore taking a cue from their American neighbor to inspire the world through their arts. It is the emergence of Japanese artistic works and the beginning of Japaneseization.

Let’s look back at the two arts that introduced Japanese culture to the world.

The mangas

These Japanese comics will have revolutionized the world’s view of Japan. Inspired by the Japanese culture, these stories tell in images stories of all kinds. Whether it is teenage romance of the shojo genre, or stories with epic fights of the shonen type, there is something for every reader.

Here is a list of cult manga that have contributed to the expansion of Japan’s influence in the world:

  • Classics of Japanese manga

Dragon ball-Z

Saint Seiya


One piece


  • The new wave of manga that rocks the world

One punch man

Hero academia

Demon slayer

Black clover

Spy x Family

One piece: Japanese Manga

Japanese animation

Japanese animation and cinematography also play a significant role in the propagation of Japanese culture. Here is the list of Japanese animation studios are at the heart of the worldwide success of several Japanese works:

  • Studio Ghibliwith its legendary works such as “Chihiro’s Journey” or “The Moving Castle”.
  • The Pierrot Studio with the adaptation in animation of cult mangas such as Naruto, Boruto, Bleach, Black Clover or Tokyo Ghoul.
  • Toe animation studio with the anime adaptation of the famous DBZ, One piece, Yu-Gi-Oh and Saint Seiya
  • A-1 picture studio with the adaptation of Fary tail, SAO or Blue exorcist in animation.
  • K-Bones studio with its animation of mangas such as My hero academia and Fullmetal alchemist.