East Asian Mythology: China and Japan

The Japanese

What was the influence of Chinese culture on Japanese culture?

In terms of political and governmental arrangements and reforms, especially in the seventh and eighth centuries C.E., the Chinese influence on Japan was crucial. These reforms had their source in Chinese Confucianism and replaced older indigenous ideas of government. In terms of language, the Chinese provided the Japanese with a formal “classical” language much as the Romans provided the medieval Europeans with Latin. In religion, the Chinese were responsible for the presence of Buddhism in Japan, and Buddhism would in many ways merge with and change the indigenous Shinto religion. According to Chinese sources, Chinese Buddhist monks arrived in Japan in 467 C.E. By the eighth century Buddhism was firmly established in the country and a compatible relationship with Shinto was eventually established.


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