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Japan 1-Bare-Bones

Japan 1-Bare-Bones - Japan 1 INTRODUCTION TO JAPAN...

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Japan 1 INTRODUCTION TO JAPAN Introduction: Video Clip: I. Introduction to Japan (15 minutes) A. Economy 1. Until 2008, Japan’s economy was second only to the United States in GDP 2. China just barely surpassed Japan in GDP—but China has 10X the people 3. Considering its size, Japan has a disproportionately high GDP and influence in the global economy B. Geography 1. As seen in film, consists of 4 main islands (from north to south) a. Hokkaido b. Honshu (largest and most populous) c. Shikoku d. Kyushu 2. And hundreds of lesser islands that stretch in arcs for nearly 3000 miles 3. About 75% of land is mountainous and too steep for easy cultivation C. Ethnic Makeup 1. The dominant ethnic group is the Japanese, a mongoloid people 2. The largest minority group is Korean (600,000), who came in the 1920s 3. Smaller minority group is the Ainu, who live mostly in Hokkaido—a remnant of an indigenous people who were pushed northward through the islands over centuries of Japanese expansion D. Language 1. One of the branches of the Altaic language family—a major stock of Asia 2. UNLIKE Chinese—Sino-Tibetan language family 3. Spoken Japanese bears an association with Korean, of same stock 4. Written Japanese a. Complex system that uses 1. Chinese written characters called Kanji 2. And Kana—which are sets of phonetic syllabaries of 48 characters each (developed in 9 th century) b. The Kana can effectively transcribe Japanese, but are usually used to supplement the Chinese characters or bridge the gap between the 2 languages 5. The Kanto dialect, spoken in the Tokyo area, is considered standard spoken Japanese A. Religion: Creation Myth 1. Japanese Creation Myth: Slide #3 a. Izanagi (male) and Izanami (female) were given the tasks of forming the islands of Japan 2. Shinto ( Read about Shinto and kami in Reader ) a. The ancient, indignenous Japanese religion—the foundation for Japanese culture b. Notion of kami or “spirit” resident in all animate and non- animate objects c. Pantheon of nature gods d. Name “Shinto” means “Way of the gods” e. Most important kami: Amaterasu-no-Omikami sun goddess 1
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3. Kami still important a. American POW during WWII 4. Buddhism a. While Shintoism is still a major force, about 75% of the population follows Buddhism, introduced to Japan from China in the 6 th century. b. Buddhism is a parallel faith with Shintoism c. Many Japanese do not distinguish between the two 5.Confucianism a.
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