One of the most notable things about the Japanese culture is just how homogeneous the culture is.
The vast majority of the people of Japan are Japanese-born. Unlike the United States which has large numbers
of people of many different racial and ethnic types, Japan is almost totally "Japanese" racially and culturally.
This is shown by the strong emphasis on "in-group" and "out-group" status. Those who are part of the "in-group", such as members of ones own family, are treated differently than those in the "out-group."
What complicates this tremendously is that there can be numerous "in-groups". There would be one for one's own
family. There can be an "in-group" within the school environment; another in the work environment, and so on. This
approach emphasizes the "us" vs. "them" thinking with one result being that foreigners are still "them" and are
not considered to be equal to the Japanese. No matter how long an American would live in Japan, for example, even
if that person married a Japanese, they would still not be fully accepted by the Japanese society. They
would still be part of the larger "out" group."
One way you can notice just how unified Japanese culture is to examine some basic statistics. 90% of the Japanese consider themselves middle-class. 87% say they like to look like everyone else. 84% say they cannot turn down requests from other people. 99% of the homes have a color TV and a washing-machine. 98% have a refrigerator and a vacuum cleaner. 99% of the households still make New Year offerings to the gods.
over 90% of Japanese schoolgirls in senior high have a piggy-bank, a stuffed toy, a brush-pen, and an English-Japanese dictionary along with more than 46 cassette tapes.
85% of couples are married in a Shinto ceremony.
Going the other direction, less than 2% of the Japanese have a yacht, a BMW, or a lawnmower. Fewer than 2% play chess, bridge or billiards, are divorced, or go in for body-building.
Japan main page
Japanese-American Internment Camps index page
Japan and World War II index page