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Q: compare and contrast the societies of japan and china thru ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: compare and contrast the societies of japan and china thru
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: jrock452-ga
List Price: $100.00
Posted: 21 Feb 2003 06:05 PST
Expires: 23 Mar 2003 06:05 PST
Question ID: 165197
compare and contrast the societies of japan and china thru
1. social
2. political
3.economic standpoint
4. religion
5. trade
6. social structure
7. government policy

Request for Question Clarification by livioflores-ga on 21 Feb 2003 17:39 PST
Hello jrock452!!

I am working on your question and need a couple of clarifications:

1. What "social" means here? It is about demographics or customs?

2. What "trade" means here? It is about domestic or foreing trade? It
is about products or ways to trade?

As a comment I am answering your question one subject each time, i.e.
first comparing and contrasting political; then the same at economic
standpoint, then religion, etc. It is acceptable to you or do you
prefer the answer wrtten in another way?

If you feel the need to include more detail in the question please do
it. My goal is to give you a good and useful answer, this is the cause
this request.

Thank you for asking Google Answers.


Clarification of Question by jrock452-ga on 21 Feb 2003 20:22 PST
just give me what u got dont worry about the rest. just email me as soon as you can

Clarification of Question by jrock452-ga on 22 Feb 2003 06:11 PST
thats fine.  I need this as soon as possible hopefully by saturday so
whatever your done with send it over thanks.

Request for Question Clarification by livioflores-ga on 22 Feb 2003 06:23 PST
Ok jrock452!!

I will finish this today.

Thank you.
Subject: Re: compare and contrast the societies of japan and china thru
Answered By: livioflores-ga on 22 Feb 2003 15:56 PST
Hi jrock452!!

I will answer the question one subject each time.

1 & 4- Social (Society) and Social Structure:


The estimated population is 1,284,303,705 . Urban population
officially estimated at 37% ot the total. About 94 percent of
population lives on approximately 36 percent of land.
The languages are Standard Chinese or Mandarin (Putonghua, based on
the Beijing dialect), Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghaiese), Minbei
(Fuzhou), Minnan (Hokkien-Taiwanese), Xiang, Gan, Hakka dialects and
minority languages.
In 1985, about 96 percent of primary-school-age children attended
school as compared with about 20 percent before 1949. Secondary-level
middle schools is divided into junior and senior stages; majority of
schools at lower level. The technical education is emphasized. There
is an intense competition for admission to more than 1,000 colleges
and universities. Beijing and Qinghua universities and more than 100
other key universities are the most sought after by college entrants.
From 1,000 students that attend to the primary school, only 350 will
continue studies in the secondary level and only 12 will attend to the
China recognized 55 minority nationalities, numbering about 70 million
persons, concentrated in northwest and southwest. Not largest, but
most important politically, Tibetans (Zang nationality) and various
Turkic-speaking groups constituted majorities in Xizang (Tibet) and
Xinjiang-Uygur autonomous regions, respectively.
The level of health and medical care are improving, but it has a low
rating. Both traditional and western medicine are practiced. There is
an average life expectancy of 71.86 years. Many epidemic diseases are
now under control or eradicated.
The infant mortality rate is high: 27.25/1000.
The leaders who directed the efforts to change Chinese society after
the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949 were
raised in the old society and had been marked with its values. China's
traditional values were contained in the orthodox version of
Confucianism. Confucianism, never a religion in any accepted sense, is
primarily concerned with social order. Confucianists asserted that
they understood the inherent pattern for social and political
organization and therefore had the authority to run society and the
The common people were thought to be influenced by the examples of
their rulers and officials, as well as by public events. Vehicles of
cultural transmission, such as folk songs, popular drama, and
literature and the arts, were the objects of government and scholarly
attention. In this manner, over hundreds of years, the values of
Confucianism were diffused across China.
The belief in rule by an educated and functionally unspecialized
elite, the value placed on learning and propagating an orthodox
ideology that focuses on society and government, and the stress on
hierarchy and the preeminent role of the state were all carried over
from traditional society. Some of the more radical and extreme
policies, such as attacks on intellectuals and compulsory manual labor
for bureaucrats, can only be understood as responses to
deep-rooted traditional attitudes.
Throughout the centuries some 80 to 90 percent of the Chinese
population have been farmers. The farmers supported a small number of
specialized craftsmen and traders and also an even smaller number of
land- and office-holding elite families who ran the society. The
national elite, who comprised perhaps 1 percent of China's population,
had a number of distinctive features. Although they held land, which
they rented to tenant farmers, they neither possessed large estates
like European nobles nor held hereditary titles. They achieved their
highest and most prestigious titles by their performance on the
central government's triennial civil service examinations.
Traditional thought accepted social stratification as natural and
considered most social groups to be organized on hierarchical
principles. In the ideal Confucian scheme of social stratification,
scholars were at the highest level of society, followed by farmers,
then by artisans, with merchants and soldiers in last place. Most of
China's population was composed of peasant farmers, whose basic role
in supporting the rulers and the rest of society was recognized as a
positive one in Confucian ideology. In practical terms, farming was
considered a hard and insecure life and one that was best left if an
opportunity was available. The factors that generate prestige were
education, abstention from manual labor, wealth expended on the arts
and education, a large family with many sons, and community service
and acts of charity. There was no sharp line dividing the elite from
the masses, and social mobility was possible and common.
After the establishment of the People's Republic in 1949, the
uncertainty and risks facing small-scale socioeconomic units were
replaced by an increase in the scale of organization and
bureaucratization, with a consequent increase in predictability and
personal security. Tens of millions of small enterprises were replaced
by a much smaller number of larger enterprises, which were organized
in a bureaucratic and hierarchical manner. Collectivization of land
and nationalization of most private businesses meant that families no
longer had estates to pass along. Long-term interests for families
resided primarily with the work unit (collective farm, office, or
factory) to which they belonged.
Mobility in most cases consisted of gaining administrative promotions
within such work units. Many of the alternate routes to social
mobility were closed off, and formal education continued to be the
primary avenue of upward mobility. In villages the army offered the
only reasonable alternative to a lifetime spent in the fields, and
demobilized soldiers staffed much of the local administrative
structure in rural areas. For the first time in Chinese history, the
peasant masses were brought into direct contact with the national
government and the ruling party, and national-level politics came to
have a direct impact on the lives of ordinary people. The formerly
local, small-scale, and fragmented power structure was replaced by a
national and well-integrated structure, operating by bureaucratic
norms. The unpredictable consequences of market forces were replaced
by administrative allocation and changing economic policies enforced
by the government bureaucracy.
The principal transformation of society took place during the 1950s. 
In the countryside, an initial land reform redistributed the land.
This was followed by a series of reforms that increased the scale of
organization, from seasonal mutual aid teams, to permanent mutual aid
teams, to voluntary agricultural cooperatives, to compulsory
agricultural cooperatives, and finally to large people's communes. In
each step the size of the unit was increased, and the role of
inherited land or private ownership was decreased.
Commerce, shops, and markets were replaced by supply and marketing
cooperatives and the commercial bureaus of local government. In the
cities, large industries were nationalized and craft enterprises were
organized into large-scale cooperatives. Many small shops and
restaurants were closed down, and those that remained were under
municipal management.
In both city and countryside, the 1950s saw a major expansion of the
party and state bureaucracies, and many young people with relatively
scarce secondary or college educations found secure white-collar jobs
in the new organizations.
The old society's set of formal associations were closed down. They
were replaced by government bureaus or state-sponsored mass
associations, and their parochial leaders were replaced by party
members. The new institutions were run by party members and served as
channels of information, communication, and political influence.
The basic pattern of contemporary society was established by 1960, and
all changes since then, including the reforms of the early and
mid-1980s, have represented only modifications and adjustments to the
pattern. The pattern is cellular; most people belong to one large,
all-embracing unit, such as a factory, government office, or village.
The unit is run by party branch, operates (or should operate) under
common administrative rules and procedures, and reflects the current
policies of the party. The consequence has been that most aspects of
social differentiation, stratification, mobility, and tensions are now
played out within an institutional framework. Most of the questions
about any individual's life and prospects can be answered by
specifying the unit--the social cell--with which that individual is

The population is estimated in 126,974,628, nearly 80% lives in urban
areas. There is a high population density and more than 50% of
population lives on 2% of land.
The language is the Japanese with emphasis on English as second
The education is compulsory and consists in free nine-year education
followed by public and private upper-secondary schools and
supplemented by preschool and after-school education. The elementary
school grades go from 1 through 6, lower-secondary school grades 7
through 9 and upper-secondary school grades 10 through 12. About 94
percent of lower-secondary school graduates attend upper-secondary
Ethnics Groups: 99.4 percent Japanese and 0.6 percent other, mostly
Korean and some Chinese. Ainu and hisabetsu buraku constitute native
Japanese minority groups.
The level of health and medical care is excellent and  Japan’s
improved health care system is one of the reasons why the Japanese
people are living longer.
There is a low infant mortality rate of 3.84/1,000, and the life
expentancy is more different for women and men:
total population: 80.91 years 
female: 84.25 years
male: 77.73 years .
Japan is three times more densely populated than Europe as a whole and
twelve times more densely populated than the United States. Beginning
in the 1950s, the birth rate declined, however, and by 1993 the rate
of natural increase was 0.32 percent, the lowest in the world outside
Europe. Both the density and the age structure of Japan's population
are likely to influence the country's future.
In Japanese mythology, the gods display human emotions, such as love
and anger. In these stories, behavior that results in positive
relations with others is rewarded, and empathy, identifying oneself
with another, is highly valued. Japanese children learn from their
earliest days that human fulfillment comes from close association with
others. In interpersonal relationships, most Japanese tend to avoid
open competition and confrontation. Working with others requires
self-control, but it carries the rewards of pride in contributing to
the group, emotional security, and social identity. Group membership
in Japan provides enjoyment and fulfillment, but it also causes
tremendous tension. An ideology of group harmony does not ensure
harmony in fact. Japan is an extremely competitive society, yet
competition within the group must be suppressed. Many Japanese cope
with these stresses by retreating into the private self or by enjoying
the escapism offered by the popular culture and arts.
It is difficult to imagine a Japanese vision of the social order
without the influence of Confucianism. The roots of the Japanese
worldview can be traced to several traditions. Shinto, the only
indigenous religion of Japan, provided the base. Confucianism, from
China, provided concepts of hierarchy, loyalty, and the emperor as the
son of heaven.
Relative status differences define nearly all social interaction. Age
or seniority, gender, educational attainment, and place of employment
are common distinctions that guide interaction. A Japanese person may
prefer not to interact with a stranger, to avoid potential errors in
etiquette. The Japanese language is one means of expressing status
differences, and it contributes to the assumption that hierarchy is
natural. For example a verb endings regularly express relationships of
superiority or inferiority.
The term hierarchy implies a ranking of roles and a rigid set of
rules, but the kind of hierarchical sense for the japanese society is
of a different sort, responsibility is collective and the authority is
diffuse. Leadership thus calls not for a forceful personality and
sharp decision-making skills but for sensitivity to the feelings of
others and skills in mediation.
Beyond the family, the next group to which children are introduced is
the neighborhood. Social order exists in part because all members of
the society are linked in relationships of social dependency, each
involved in giving and receiving.
The Japanese family does not have clear boundaries, it may refer to a
nuclear family of parents and unmarried children, on other occasions,
it refers to a line of descent, and on still others, it refers to the
household as a unit of production or consumption.
A great variety of family forms have existed historically in Japan,
from the matrilocal customs of the Heian elite to the extreme
patrilineality of the samurai class in the feudal period. Numerous
family forms coexisted particularly in the countryside.
In 1898, the Japanese government institutionalized more rigid family
controls than most people had known in the feudal period. Individuals
were registered in an official family registry.
In the early twentieth century, each family was required to conform to
the ie (household) system, with a multigenerational household under
the legal authority of a household head. In establishing the ie
system, the government moved the ideology of family in the opposite
direction of trends resulting from urbanization and industrialization.
The ie system thus artificially restricted the development of
individualism, individual rights, women's rights, and the
nuclearization of the family. It formalized patriarchy and emphasized
lineal and instrumental, rather than conjugal and emotional ties,
within the family.
After World War II, the Allied occupation forces established a new
family ideology based on equal rights for women, equal inheritance by
all children, and free choice of spouse and career. From the late
1960s, most marriages in Japan have been based on the mutual
attraction of the couple and not the arrangement by the parents.
Various family life-styles exist side by side in contemporary Japan.
In many urban salaryman families, the husband may commute to work and
return late, having little time with his children. The wife might be a
"professional housewife". She also has primary responsibility for
maintaining social relations with the wider circles of relatives,
neighbors, and acquaintances and for managing the family's reputation.
Her social life remains separate from that of her husband. It is
increasingly likely that in addition to these family responsibilities,
she may also have a part-time job or participate in adult education or
other community activities. The closest emotional ties within such
families are between the mother and children.
As women worked outside of the home with increasing frequency
beginning in the 1970s, there was pressure on their husbands to take
on more responsibility for housework and child care. Farm families,
who depend on nonfarm employment for most of their income, are also
developing patterns of interaction different from those of previous

Although Japanese and chinese people share several characteristic such
is culture, philosophy and religion, there are some factors wich lead
each socity
to have different behaviors.
The high population density of Japan makes that the percentage of
urban population be high. So their tradition culture stress in the
interction with the others. In the other hand the chinese people are
less urban and more rural, so their own history let them to live in a
feudal system until the begginings of the 20th century. Then their
tradition stress more in the hierarchy and the differences between
social stratus.
This made easier for the chinese people to support the comunist
system, because it is "natural" in some way for their culture.
Japanese culture lead the people to work together, improving their
industrious capabilities.
The education in Japan are more improved and the REAL opportunities to
finish the Upper secondary level is a lot higher than in China.
Other big difference is the health in each country. Because of the
high population of China the government haven´t the funds to supply
adequate health care. This results in a high level of infant mortality
and a low life expectancy. The health system in Japan is one of the
best of the world.
Finally China is united by a set of values and institutions that cut
across extensive linguistic, environmental, and subcultural
differences. Residents of the southern and northern regions of the
country might not understand each other's speech, enjoy each other's
favorite foods, or make a living from each other's land, and they
might describe each other with derogatory stereotypes.
Nonetheless, they would regard each other as fellow Chinese, members
of the same society, and different from the Vietnamese or Koreans,
with whom some Chinese might seem to have more in common. Whereas the
Japan society is composed practically for japanese (99.4%).


2- Political:

The Government type is a Comunist State a unitary and "socialist state
of the dictatorship of the proletariat," based on Marxism-Leninism-Mao
Zedong Thought, led by Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Political processes are guided by party Constitution and state
These constitutions stress the principle of democratic centralism,
under which representative organs of both party and state are elected
by lower bodies and they in turn elect their administrative arms at
corresponding levels.
Within representative and executive bodies minority must abide by
decisions of majority; lower bodies obey orders of higher level
In theory, National Party Congress is the highest organ of power of
party, but real power lies in Political Bureau of CCP Central
Committee and, still more, in select Standing Committee of Political
Bureau. National People's Congress,the highest government organ of
state power, approves CCP policies and programs. State Council serves
as equivalent of cabinet; his key members also hold positions in
important party organs; the State Council is appointed by the National
People's Congress.
There is a four-level court system. Supreme People's Court in Beijing;
higher people's courts in provinces, autonomous regions and special
municipalities; intermediate people's courts at prefecture level and
also in parts of provinces, autonomous regions, and special
municipalities; basic people's courts in counties, towns, and
municipal districts. Special courts handle matters affecting military,
railroad transportation, water transportation, and forestry. Court
system paralleled by hierarchy of prosecuting organs called people's
procuratorates; at apex stands Supreme People's Procuratorate.
The legal system is a complex amalgam of custom and statute; new legal
codes are in effect since 1 January 1980; continuing efforts are being
made to improve civil, administrative, criminal, and commercial law.
Political parties: Chinese Communist Party or CCP [JIANG Zemin,
General Secretary of the Central Committee]; eight registered small
parties controlled by CCP.
No substantial political opposition groups exist, although the
government has identified the Falungong sect and the China Democracy
Party as potential rivals.


The government type is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary
government. The emperor is the symbol of state, and the elected
bicameral legislature called National Diet, consisting of House of
Councillors (upper house) and House of Representatives (lower house).
There are general elections every four years or upon dissolution of
lower house and every three years for half of upper house.
The monarch is hereditary and the Diet designates the prime minister
who is the head of government; the constitution requires that the
prime minister must command a parliamentary majority, therefore,
following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or
leader of a majority coalition in the House of Representatives usually
becomes prime minister. The cabinet is appointed by the prime
Supreme Court system consisting of Supreme Court, high courts,
district courts, and family courts. The chief of justice is appointed
by the monarch after his designation by the cabinet; all other
justices are appointed by the cabinet. Civil law system is heavily
influenced by British and American law.
Exist a judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court.
Political parties:
Here we have a multi-party system and no party had a majority, but
Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) had a sizable plurality, followed by
Social Democratic Party of Japan (SDPJ). Other minor parties are
Sakigake (Harbinger) Party, Shinseito (Renewal Party), Komeito (Clean
Government Party), and Japan New Party.

Both, Government system and political system cannot be more different.
Japan is ruled in a "Western" way and the freedom of speech is
respected. The existance of several political parties shows that the
basic human rights are preserved.
In the other hand China´s goverments avoid the existance of a
political opposition. In fact, there is only one party, the CCP. And
the people doesn´t elect their representatives directly.
The legal systems differ too, and when you have an independent Suprem
Court system in Japan, in China the justice is administrated slyly by
the CCP.
The Japanese legal system is modern and well structured, but the
Chinese is complex and need to improve.


3- Economical Standpoint:


In 1978 the Chinese leadership began moving the economy from a
centrally planned economy to a more market-oriented system. Whereas
the system operates within a political framework of strict Communist
control, the economic influence of non-state organizations and
individual citizens has been steadily increasing. The authorities have
switched to a system of household and village responsibility in
agriculture in place of the old collectivization, increased the
authority of local officials and plant managers in industry, permitted
a wide variety of small-scale enterprise in services and light
manufacturing, and opened the economy to increased foreign trade and
investment. The result has been a quadrupling of GDP since 1978.
Agriculture and industry have posted major gains, especially in
coastal areas near Hong Kong and opposite Taiwan, where foreign
investment has helped spur output of both domestic and export goods.
On the dark side, this hybrid system shows the worst results of the
socialism (bureaucracy and lassitude) and of the capitalism (windfall
gains and growing income disparities). The government has struggled
hard to:
·collect revenues due from provinces, businesses, and individuals; 
·reduce corruption and other economic crimes; 
·keep afloat the large state-owned enterprises many of which had been
shielded from competition by subsidies and had been losing the ability
to pay full wages and pensions.
From 80 to 120 million surplus rural workers are adrift between the
villages and the cities, many subsisting through part-time low-paying
jobs. Popular resistance, changes in central policy, and loss of
authority by rural cadres have weakened China's population control
program, which is essential to maintaining long-term growth in living
standards. Another long-term threat to continued rapid economic growth
is the deterioration in the environment, notably air pollution, soil
erosion, and the steady fall of the water table especially in the
north. China continues to lose arable land because of erosion and
economic development. Beijing will intensify efforts to stimulate
growth through spending on infrastructure - such as water control and
power grids - and poverty relief and through rural tax reform aimed at
eliminating arbitrary local levies on farmers. Access to the World
Trade Organization strengthens China's ability to maintain sturdy
growth rates, and at the same time puts additional pressure on the
hybrid system of strong political controls and growing market
influences. Although Beijing has claimed 7%-8% annual growth in recent
years, many observers believe the rate, while strong, is more like 5%.


Government-industry cooperation, a strong work ethic, mastery of high
technology, and a comparatively small defense allocation (1% of GDP)
have helped Japan advance with extraordinary rapidity to the rank of
second most technologically powerful economy in the world after the US
and third largest economy in the world after the US and China. One
notable characteristic of the economy is the working together culture
of the manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors in closely-knit
groups called keiretsu. A second basic feature has been the guarantee
of lifetime employment for a substantial portion of the urban labor
force. Industry, the most important sector of the economy, is heavily
dependent on imported raw materials and fuels. The much smaller
agricultural sector is highly subsidized and protected. Usually
self-sufficient in rice, Japan must import about 50% of its
requirements of other grain and fodder crops. Japan maintains one of
the world's largest fishing fleets and accounts for nearly 15% of the
global catch. For three decades overall real economic growth had been
spectacular: a 10% average in the 1960s, a 5% average in the 1970s,
and a 4% average in the 1980s. Growth slowed in the 1990s. Government
efforts to revive economic growth are having a little success, but
they were further hampered by the slowing of the US and Asian
economies. The crowding of habitable land area and the aging of the
population are two major long-run problems. Robotics constitutes a key
long-term economic strength, with Japan possessing 410,000 of the
world's 720,000 "working robots".

Again we have big differences.
China is a socialist country and the government commands the economy.
A country with a command economy relies solely on what the government
feels should be produced and sold and not on supply and demand. The
government’s decision to institute Western ideals such as an “open”
market, has helped China increase their gross national product
rapidly. But because of China’s immense population, they have a small
per capita income, in spite of that China stood as the second largest
economy in the world after the US (measured on a purchasing power
parity basis), again because his big population.
In the other hand Japan has a capitalist system wich make good use of
the industrious and the social culture of cooperation of the japanese
Japan’s economy differs from that of China due to the governments
minimal role in the economy. In Japan, the resources are always
distributed through private channels rather than through the
government, as in the case of China. The government only plays a role
in the economy by actually allocating public investment and by
consulting with businesses. This is why China is still  developing and
Japan is a developed country.


I am posting the answer until here in order to you have some material
to read.+
I am typing the rest of the answer and completing some parts with new

Please let me know if I am in the correct way or not.


Clarification of Answer by livioflores-ga on 22 Feb 2003 19:02 PST
Hi again jrock452!!

Here the second part of the answer:

4- Religion:


Although China is officially atheist, the people have their beliefs.
The most important religions are Daoism (Taoism) and Buddhism, and
there are minorities of Muslims (1%-2%) and Christians (3%-4%).
Traditionally, China's Confucian elite disparaged religion and
religious practitioners, and the state suppressed or controlled the
organized religious groups. In the past, religion was diffused
throughout the society, a matter as much of practice as of the belief,
and had a weak institutional structure. Essentially the same pattern
continues in contemporary society, except that the ruling elite is
even less religious and there are even fewer religious practitioners.
The attitude of the party has been that religion is a relic of the
past, Cadres and party members, in ways very similar to those of
Confucian elites, tend to regard many religious practitioners as
charlatans out to take advantage of credulous people, who need
In the 1950s there was an aggressive politic of the government against
the different religions; Buddhist monks were returned to secular life,
foreign missionaries were expelled, and Chinese Christians were the
objects of suspicion because of their foreign contacts. Folk religion
was dismissed as superstition. Temples were for the most part
converted to other uses, and public celebration of communal festivals
stopped, but the state did not put much energy into suppressing the
During the early stages of the Cultural Revolution Red Guards
destroyed temples, statues, etc as part of their assault on the "four
olds" (old ideas, culture, customs, and habits). After 1978, the party
and state became more tolerant with the religion, but keeping it
remained within defined limits.
Some temples were restored and opened as historical sites, and some
Buddhist and Taoist practitioners were permitted to wear their robes,
train a few successors, and perform rituals in the reopened temples.
These actions can be interpreted as a regime's recognition of China's
traditional past. Similar tolerance is accorded to Chinese Christians,
whose churches were reopened in the late 1970s.
The most important result of state toleration of religion has been the
improved relations with China's Islamic and Tibetan Buddhist minority
populations. State patronage of Islam and Buddhism also plays a part
in China's foreign relations.
Much of traditional ritual and religion survives or has been revived,
especially in the countryside. Families could worship their ancestors
or traditional gods in the privacy of their homes. The scale of public
celebrations was muted, and full-time professional clergy played no
role. Folk religious festivals were revived in some localities, and
there was occasional rebuilding of temples and ancestral halls. In
rural areas, funerals were the ritual having the least change,
although observances were carried out only by family members and kin,
with no professional clergy in attendance.


The religion beliefs in Japan are distributed in the following
observe both Shinto and Buddhist 84%, other 16% (including Christian
The values described in Society section are derived from a number of
religious and philosophical traditions, both indigenous and foreign.
The roots of the Japanese worldview can be traced to several
traditions. Shinto, the only indigenous religion of Japan, provided
the base. Confucianism, from China, provided concepts of hierarchy,
loyalty, and the emperor as the son of heaven. Daoism, also from
China, helped to give order and sanction to the system of government
implied in Shinto. Buddhism brought with it not only its contemplative
religious aspects but also a developed culture of art and temples,
which had a considerable role in public life. Christianity brought an
infusion of Western ideas, particularly those that involving social
justice and reform.
Shinto is the term used to refer to an indigenous religion of Japan
that predate the arrival of Buddhism but that have in turn been
influenced by it. The Shinto worldview is of a pantheistic universe of
kami, spirits or gods with varying degrees of power. Shinto is
concerned with this world rather than with the afterlife. This world
contains defiling substances, and Shinto ritual often involves mental
and physical purification of a person who has come into contact with a
pollutant, such as death.
In the fifth and sixth centuries, Shinto came under the influence of
Chinese Confucianism and Buddhism. Buddhism introduced ideas into
Japanese culture that have become inseparable from the Japanese
worldview: the concept of rebirth, ideas of karmic causation, and an
emphasis on the unity of experience. Because of the popularity of
things Chinese and the ethical and philosophical attraction of
Buddhism for the court and the imperial family, Shinto became somewhat
less influential than Buddhism for more than a millennium. By the
seventeenth century, Shinto began to emerge from Buddhism's shadow
through the influence of neo-Confucian rationalism.
The emerging nationalism of the late Tokugawa period turned the Shinto
into a state religion, and it flourished as such until 1945. Japan's
defeat in World War II and the emperor's denial of his divinity made
an end to the "State Shinto".
Daoism came from China and also influenced Japanese thought and has a
special affinity for Zen Buddhism. Zen's praise of emptiness,
exhortations to act in harmony with nature, and admonitions to avoid
discrimination and duality all are parallel in Daoist beliefs. The
lunar calendar, the selection of auspicious days for special events,
the sitting of buildings, and numerous folk medicine treatments also
have origins in Daoism and continue as customs to varying degrees in
contemporary Japanese society. Daoism has also influenced native
shamanistic traditions and rituals.
Christianity was introduced in the sixteenth century by Portuguese and
Spanish Roman Catholic missionaries. because it was associated with
Western imperialism it was banned from the mid-seventeenth century to
the mid-nineteenth century. Less than 1 percent of the population)
consider themselves Christian.
The Article 20 of the 1947 Constitution states: "Freedom of religion
is guaranteed to all. No religious organization shall receive any
privileges from the State, nor exercise any political authority".
Contemporary religious freedom fits well with the tolerant attitude of
most Japanese toward other religious beliefs and practices. Separation
of religion and the state, however, is a more difficult issue.
Historically, there was no distinction between a scientific and a
religious worldview. In early Japanese history, the ruling class was
responsible for performing propitiatory rituals, which later came to
be identified as Shinto, and for the introduction and support of
Buddhism. Later, religious organization was used by regimes for
political purposes. In the late nineteenth century, rightists created
the State Shinto wich ended with the Japan´s defeat in the WW2.
In the 1980s, the meaning of the separation of state and religion
again became controversial. The issue came to a head in 1985 when the
Prime Minister Nakasone Yasuhiro paid an official visit to Yasukuni
Shrine, which honors Japanese war dead, including leaders from the
militarist period in the 1930s and 1940s. Supporters of Nakasone's
action (mainly on the political right) argued that the visit was to
pay homage to patriots; others claimed that the visit was an attempt
to revive State Shinto and nationalistic extremism.
Similar cases have occurred at local levels, and courts increasingly
have been asked to clarify the division between religion and
government. Separating religious elements of the Japanese worldview
from what is merely "Japanese" is not easy, especially given the
ambiguous role of the emperor, whose divinity was denied in 1945 but
who continued to perform functions of both state and religion.


In this topic we have some similarities and some differences too.
In fact there is a big influence of Chinese religion in the Japanese
religion, that gives us a preliminary idea of the existence of similar
religious behaviors. But looking from closer, there are several and
big differences which come from the different ways that the government
and the people had related with the religion.
Chinese people and government historically put the religion in a
second plane, and both Imperial and Comunist governments suppressed or
controlled the organized religious groups.
In Japan, along its history, the religion and the government was
closely related. And untill the end of the WW2 religion and state
wasn´t separated institutions.
While in China the focused point is how the state stops to interfere
in religious affairs, in Japan the discussion is about how to separate
religion and state.


Here ends the second part of my answer, only lacks the third part that
will include the Trade section because Social Structure was included
in the "Society" part and Government Policy was included in the
"Political" part.

Please, again, let me know if the answer is well conducted. If not
post a request of a clarification, I will be glad to respond you.


Clarification of Answer by livioflores-ga on 23 Feb 2003 00:46 PST
Hello jrock452!!

Here is the third part of the answer:

5- Trade:


Before 1985 there was a system of state purchasing quotas for
agricultural products, in this year this system was abolished.
Instead, the state purchased grain and cotton under contract at a set
price. Once contracted quotas were met, the grain and cotton were sold
on the market at floating prices. If market prices fell below the
listed state price, the state purchased all available market grain at
the state price to protect the interests of producers. Vegetables,
pigs, and aquatic products sold to urban, mining, and industrial areas
were traded in local markets according to demand. Local commercial
departments set the prices of these goods according to quality to
protect the interests of urban consumers. All other agricultural goods
were sold on the market to the state, to cooperatives, or to other
producers. Restrictions on private business activities were greatly
reduced, permitting peasants as well as cooperatives to transport
agricultural goods to rural and urban markets and allowing a rapid
expansion of free markets in the countryside and in cities. Once food
was procured and transported to urban areas, it was sold to consumers
by state-owned stores and restaurants. In the mid-1980s food items
were also available in free markets, where peasants sold their
produce, and in privately owned restaurants. As noted previously, the
prices of pigs, aquatic products, and vegetables were determined by
local authorities according to quality and demand; prices of other
products floated freely on the market.
Industrial goods used in agricultural production were sold to
agricultural units in the 1980s. Local cooperatives or state supply
and marketing bureaus sold most agricultural producer goods to
households at set prices. The state also offered preferential prices
for agricultural inputs to grain farmers to encourage grain
production. Households were permitted to purchase agricultural
machinery and vehicles to transport goods to market. In order to
ensure that rural units could cover the costs of the increasing
quantities of industrial inputs required for higher yields, the
government periodically reduced the prices of the industrial goods
sold to farmers, while raising the procurement prices for agricultural
products. In the mid-1980s, however, the price gap between
agricultural and industrial products was widening to the disadvantage
of farmers.
Reforms moved China's economy to a mixed system based on mandatory
planning, guidance planning and the free market. These changes created
a "socialist planned commodity economy," essentially a dual economy in
which planned allocation and distribution are supplemented by market
exchanges based on floating or free prices. As a result of these
reforms, the distribution of goods used in industrial production was
based on mandatory planning with fixed prices, guidance planning with
floating prices, and the free market.
Mandatory planning covered sixty stretegical industrial products. Once
enterprises under mandatory planning had met the state's mandatory
plans and supply contracts, they could sell surplus production to
commercial departments or other enterprises. Prices of surplus
industrial producer goods floated within limits set by the state.
Under guidance planning, enterprises try to meet the state's planned
goals but make their own arrangements for production and sales based
on the orientation of the state's plans, the availability of raw and
unfinished materials and energy supplies, and the demands on the
market. Prices of products under guidance planning either are unified
prices or floating prices set by the state or prices negotiated
between buyers and suppliers. Production and distribution of products
not included in the state's plans are regulated by market conditions.
China also undertook measures to develop "lateral economic ties," that
is, economic cooperation across regional and institutional boundaries.
Lateral economic cooperation broke down some barriers in the sectors
of personnel, resources, capital, technical expertise, and procurement
and marketing of commodities.
Retail sales in China changed dramatically in the late 1970s and early
1980s as economic reforms increased the supply of food items and
consumer goods, allowed state retail stores the freedom to purchase
goods on their own, and permitted individuals and collectives greater
freedom to engage in retail, service, and catering trades in rural and
urban areas. The number of retail sales enterprises also expanded
rapidly in the 1980s. In 1987 most urban retail and service
establishments were located either in major downtown commercial
districts or in small neighborhood shopping areas. The department
stores had small pharmacies and carried a substantial range of
housewares, appliances, bicycles, toys, sporting goods, fabrics, and
clothing. Supplementing these retail establishments were free markets
in which private and collective businesses provided services, hawked
wares, or sold food and drinks. In rural areas, supply and marketing
cooperatives operated general stores and small shopping complexes near
village and township administrative headquarters. These businesses
were supplemented by collective and individual businesses and by the
free markets that appeared across the countryside in the 1980s as a
result of rural reforms.


Japan's economic boom that began in the 1950s left farmers far behind
in both income and agricultural technology. Farmers were determined to
close this income gap as quickly as possible. They were attracted to
the government's food control policy under which high rice prices were
guaranteed, that's how  farmers became mass producers of rice.
Three types of farm households was developed: those engaging
exclusively in agriculture; those deriving more than half their income
from the farm and those mainly engaged in jobs other than farming. As
more and more farm families turned to nonfarming activities, the farm
population declined. However, the land is intensively cultivated.
Japanese agriculture must contend with a variety of constraints, but
japanese can manage this to keep production at high levels.
Agriculture is maintained through the use of technically advanced
fertilizers and farm machinery and through a vast array of price
supports. In 1990 Japan was 67 percent selfsufficient in agricultural

The nation's service industries are the major contributor to GNP.
Wholesale and retail trade was dominant. The operation of wholesale
and retail trades has often been denigrated by other nations as a
barrier to foreign participation in the Japanese market, as well as
being called antiquated and inefficient. In 1985 there were slightly
more number of retail outlets than the total in the United States ,
even though Japan has only half the population of the United States
and is smaller in size than California.
There were several changes in wholesaling and retailing in the 1980s.
Japan's distribution system was becoming more efficient.  Retail
outlets and wholesale establishments both peaked in number in 1982 and
then went down.
New legislation is more liberal with the establishment of large retail
Soaring land prices are a major cause of the decline of mom-and-pop
stores, but an even more important reason is the growth of convenience
and discount stores. Discount stores are not much bigger than the
traditional small shops, but their distribution networks gives them a
big pricing edge. In the 1980s, Japanese consumers were discovering
the advantages of catalog shopping, which offered not only convenience
but also greater selection and lower prices. Department stores,
supermarkets, and superstores and other big retail operations were
gaining business at the expense of small retailers. Because much of
the sales competition in Japan is of the nonprice variety, advertising
is extremely important. Consumers have to see the suitability of
products and services for their lifestyles.

In the countryside of both countries, the state played a big role and
was interventionist; but taking different politics. In China the state
assumed the complete control of the production and trade. This results
in a low develop of both fields.
In Japan the state made its work in a different form, by protecting
the agriculture with subsidies, but permiting to the trade to operate
Just as happens with the economy, the trade in China is controlled by
the state. But this situation is changing and China slowly is becoming
into a free market economy, although there is a long way to walk.
China´s comunist government was tried several "socialists" ways to
manage the domestic trade without success. Only the partial apperture
to free market shows some good results. Otherwise, Japan adopted the
free market as its way to develop successfully.
As a consecuence of the last reforms in China, the trade sector is
growing up in high rates. In Japan the tendency is to turn from small
retail bussiness to larger depertment stores.
At this time the sector of wholesale and retail services contributes
with a major part of the GNP. This means that the trade services are
well developed in Japan in opposite to the still developing trade
service industry of China.



Asia is known as the “sleeping dragon”. Both Japan and China are
looked as future leaders of the world. We must notice that in fact
this two countries are so different. Japan and China have
characteristics that they share, for example culture and religion. The
similarities end when speaking about the population and demography,
the health care system, the society, the economy and the government of
this nations.
After taking a look to the differences between these two countries, it
is not easy to accept that they are from the same region of the world.
Both China and Japan can potentialy become a superpower, with Japan
closer to achieve the goal than is China. China have the human
resources possible but would to improve its economy as well as open to
accept the freedom of speech and other basic human rights. Japan fit
economically and also have a stable form of government. The raise of
both countries as superpowers is something that the world anticipate
and each country has the power to achieve this goal in its hands.


This is the end of the answer.

"Country Studies: Area Handbook Series (Library of Congress / Federal
Research Division)"

"CIA - The World Factbook 2002"

If you want more detailed info about a country, just select it from
the lists in each webpage.

I hope this help. 
Please let me know your opinion about this answer, and remember that
this answer is not finished until your are satisfied with it. If you
need a clarification, please feel free to post a request for it.

Best regards.
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