China Guide

Chinese Culture | Online guide to Chinese Culture

Chinese Culture

The distinctions between the different countries and cultures in the Orient, which are as least as great as those in Europe escape most of them. It's dangerous making broad generalizations about millions of people, including Americans, but the reason ethnic jokes are so funny is that while they generalize and exaggerate, they also crystallize the essence of various cultures.

The two dominant countries in the Orient are China and Japan, and their cultural differences are as distinct as those of the Swedes and the Sicilians. In a nutshell, Chinese culture is notably more lenient, more tolerant, more anarchistic, rebellious, creative, and individualistic; the Japanese are stricter, by the book, group oriented, organized, and obedient. The differences are illustrated crisply in martial arts, something I have personal familiarity with, but they extend across into everything.