Culture: Chinese, Indian and Japanese

I’ve just finished watching a short six-part series featuring Joanna Lumley on her trip from near the northern-most tip to the southern-most island of Japan – If, like me, you have not been to Japan but are curious about that mysterious far eastern country, then this show is well worth investing six hours of your time.

But the reason I’m raising it here on my blog is that to me it shows in stark contrast the three cultures today: Chinese, Indian and Japanese.

The series illustrate, without a shadow of doubt, that the Japanese have somehow managed to retain most of its old traditions and culture while adopting much of (the best of ) Western culture.The two co-exist happily and without any visible friction.  For example, young girls in traditional kimono are shown visiting the famous cherry blossom festival, alongside Japanese in plain western clothing. Or modern, educated Japanese taking time off to do a multi-temple pilgrimage (see Lumley photo). 

The Chinese, in my opinion, have (certainly in urban areas) disbanded most of their traditional and culture – apart from a few national festivals – and adopted western customs and culture wholesale. Apart from a few speialist travelogue TV series on rural China (, any TV show on China reveals mainly western modernity.

And finally, my take on Indian culture is that it has not moved far from what has been prevalent over the centuries, apart from a thin veneer of western culture and customs such as car ownership (see India on Wheels – and western clothing or education for the upper class in the English language.

I would really like to hear from you, my blog readers, on this subject, hopefully based on personal experience rather than based on a TV programme!



3 Comments to “Culture: Chinese, Indian and Japanese”

  1. thank you for your response to my observations/experience on the subject matter.

    With your comments on Indian culture and my experience, I think I can conclude that it is not possible to generalise, because India being a vast country with too many traditions, cultures and customs as I mentioned in my previous comments.


  2. Culture: Chinese, Indian and Japanese

    Yes, I watched this TV series featuring Joanna Lumely on her trip from North to South island of Japan, though I could managed to invest four hours only. However the series is well researched and detailed to understand and made interesting. I found the sights were interesting and adds to the knowledge of the viewers.

    I agree with your conclusions that Japanese have managed to retain the old traditions and culture whilst adopting the Western culture. Yes, the sight of young girls in kimono and man in Savile suit, both happy in their own ways and going to the same destinations. Absolutely fabulous!

    I think Japanese deserve a round of applause, to changing to the most to date and keeping the traditional culture alive, in this changing World.

    Before, I say something about my views or personal experience on Indian Culture, I would like to say about China.

    I do not know much about china, except that it is a vast country, neighbouring India, done well economically and is a One Party State.
    The documentaries that I have seen on TV (mainly BBC and C4) to the best of my knowledge, the reporters had not put any emphasis on culture, traditions etc. But, I note your opinion that Chinese have disbanded most of their traditions and culture–especially in urban areas.

    Now about India. I am from Indian origin and now permanently settled in U.K.

    India is a vast country full of traditions. cultures and customs. Apart from national festivals (like Diwali etc.) people in the north and south have their own languages, traditions, cultures and customs, and same goes for east and west of the country. Of course, they are all Indians, but they have their own regional traditions, cultures and customs.
    As you know that India is a secular state with 85% Hindu, 11% Muslims 2% Sikhs and rest others. Moving with times, and keeping your own cultures varies e.g. Hindus are more flexible, Muslims are flexible to some extent, but Sikhs are more traditional i.e. keeping their customs and way of life.

    I have found in U.K. that Sikhs, most of them come from Punjab State are settled in Hounslow Borough of London, are keeping their cultures alive. To them, living in U.K. is a change in residence only.

    However, there are communities from Hindu population, from Gujarat State of India, they are also very traditional and are settled in Leiscester, and keeping their life-style and customs, as expected from a Hindu family.

    Having said all that, my experience is that due to urbanisation in India the previous generations are more traditional than their children. Those, moving to big cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore etc. etc. the traditions are diluted if not disbanded!

    In U.K. the children of the previous generations are more in to professional jobs than opening the shops and become more Westernised and old traditions/cultures are diluted/disbanded.

    This is my experience.


    • Thank you, Ramesh for your fulsome comments, esp about the Indian culture. I think what you are saying (but too polite to say so outright) is that I am not correct in saying that Indians are clinging to their traditional culture. You believe that, Indians, like the Japanese, are moving to a mixed East-West culture, albeit more slowly.

      Am I correct in my interpretation?


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