The history of Japan is long, unique, and blighted by many conflicts. The ancestors of the indigenous Ainu and Yamata people arrived on the islands around 12,000 BC. The country’s first permanent capital, Nara, was established in 710 AD, at the same time as the emergence of the present-day Imperial dynasty. Buddhism was introduced from China in the mid-6th century and the temples at Nara became a power in the land.
Present-day Japanese culture is a fascinating mix of tradition and modernity as is observed in all aspects of everyday life. One unchanging concept is the “loss of face,” an idea which embodies personal dignity and peer status.
Any conflict, criticism, insult, or request which cannot be fulfilled causes loss of face, and must be avoided at all costs. In society as a whole, harmony is the premier philosophy, essential in both family and business. Children are taught to value peace above their own needs, and are trained to work together rather than to aspire to be independent.
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