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The geography of China and Japan is quite different. They are both located in Eastern Asia, but China is apart of the mainland, while Japan is a group of islands off in the North Pacific. China, the world’s fourth largest country, is considerably larger than Japan. China has a total area of 9,596,960 square kilometers while Japan is only 377,8356 square kilometers. Of course Japan has double the coastline of China for it is an island chain. China has an eastern coastline along the East China Sea, Korea Bay, Yellow Sea, and South China Sea. China’s main geographic aspects are the Yangtze River and the Himalayan Mountains. Deserts and high plateaus characterize the west, with plains, deltas, and hills in the east. There is a varied climate from tropical to subarctic, the main weather hazard is the monsoon. Japan’s islands are peaks of underwater volcanoes such as Mount Fuji. There are no major rivers, just rocky land and an irregular coastline. There are valleys and plateaus along the coast. It is cold and dry in the north, warm and wetter in the south. Earthquakes and typhoons plague Japan.
The governments of China and Japan are completely different. The world’s largest Communist party leads China. The president is a ceremonial figure. Executive powers are given to the State Council headed by the premier. The legislature, the elected national People’s Congress, has little power. Japan is a constitutional monarchy, but similar to England, the emperor is a symbol and ceremonial figure without much power. The powers rest with the cabinet headed by the Prime Minister. The legislature called the Diet consists of the 500 member House of Representatives and 252 member House of Councilors.
The foreign relations of China are quite a bit more tense then those of Japan. This is due to the fact that China is Communist. Although relations have improved, China is still looked down upon. Since the fall of Communism in Europe, China has been forced to make ties with Japan and Western Europe. Foreign trade is still a major part of their economy. The Chinese are still working on improving relations with the United States. Japan is very friendly with other countries and is a huge trading partner of many countries. The Japanese work to better the world through global issues such as arms control and nuclear war, economic and social conditions, population growth, and resolving conflicts. Japan fulfills its international responsibilities of working for peace and prosperity.
The Chinese and Japanese have many of the same belief systems. Buddhism is the primary religion in both countries. The Japanese have cultivated a sect of Buddhism called Zen Buddhism the focuses on meditation. Taoism is a Chinese religious theme. This is a religion based on the religious and philosophical thoughts of Lao Zi, from the 6th century BC. The philosophy conveys a being beyond human sense, a universal oneness that is everything. The key is to live naturally. Confucianism is another Chinese philosophical system based on the beliefs and writings of Confucius from the 6th century BC. These teachings dealt with the principles of good conduct, practical wisdom, and proper social relationships. Confucianism has influenced the Chinese attitude toward life and set the patterns of living and standards of social value. Christianity has been brought to both countries as well.
There are many similarities and differences in the daily lives of the Chinese and Japanese. There are many urban areas with Western architecture in Japan. There are many hi-tech industries and jobs. The Chinese also live in large cities, but they are not as technologically advanced. Most Chinese people are farmers. They live in 2-3 room clay brick houses with roofs of tile or straw. The staple food in Japan is rice and meat, eaten with chopsticks. Sushi is a favorite dish, as are any foreign dishes from other countries. The diversified diet includes bread, noodles, fishes, meats, fruits, and vegetables. Many youngsters enjoy hamburgers and fried chicken from fast food restaurants. The Chinese eat primarily vegetables and grain, including wheat noodles and the staple rice. Bits of meat and seafood are also served with spoons and chopsticks. Tea is the popular drink in both countries. In Japan, the traditional dress is the kimono, but is only worn on special occasions. For the most part, jeans, polos, tees, and sweats are commonly worn. The Chinese make their clothes from cotton. They dress for comfort with loose shirts and trousers.
The Chinese culture has a great history of the arts. Chinese theater is famous for its performances of folklore and history. Spoken dialogue, songs of dance, symbolic gestures, and colorful, elaborate costumes create a great performance. Painting, sculpture, pottery, and architecture have been studied and the Chinese has made many great pieces. Music is another part of the Chinese culture; they have their own music as well as playing European music. The Japanese has cultivated forms of fighting without weapons. Apart from the famed sumo wrestling, the Japanese practice forms of martial arts such as judo and karate. Kendo is another popular sport similar to fencing. The Japanese are also famous for their technological advances and intelligence. Their vigorous work habits have paid off in a reputation of making quality products.