15 Japanese Traditions That Are Far Beyond Our Understanding

Japan is a unique country with old traditions that are passed down from generation to generation. This country is able to be modern, while never losing its individuality. Sometimes we’re even tempted to think that Japanese people are from a different planet or from the future. Their approach to ordinary things makes us feel excited and astounded.

Bright Side wants to share 15 reasons to be a bit envious of Japanese people’s lives.

15. Aesthetics are really important for Japanese people.

15 Japanese Traditions That Are Far Beyond Our Understanding

This train station was designed to let people get out of a train and enjoy the landscape.

Aesthetics are a crucial part of everyday life in Japan. In traditional Japanese culture, there are several basic terms that determine the essence of beauty. Highlighting simplicity, the integrity of nature and people, and a thoughtful approach to life are among the most important components of Japanese aesthetics.

14. There’s no term for “looting” in Japan.

Japan is prone to earthquakes, but during natural disasters, there are no acts of looting in the country. It’s even unknown if there’s a term for this action in Japanese dictionaries. If you search for “Looting in Japan” on Google, you’ll find a lot of foreign articles that tell us no one robs houses and shops in Japan. It’s probably about discipline and courtesy. Japanese society has been building a system that would be able to ensure compliance with the rules, even in extreme conditions.

13. The Japanese language consists of several levels of politeness.

15 Japanese Traditions That Are Far Beyond Our Understanding

In the Japanese language, there are 4 levels of respect: respectful, colloquial, humble, and polite. There are special rules that imply you have to choose a correct type of speech. Basically, a younger person should use a polite type of speech to address an elder person. This rule also applies to brothers and sisters. Almost each conversation starts with “sumimasen” (excuse me), so a person begs your pardon for taking your time in advance.

12. In Japan, there are almost no guest workers.

Japan is a country with a unique culture. There were no guest workers in Japan almost at all since their minimum salary was bigger than the average salary of the locals. Only professionals could work there. But last year, the Japanese parliament allowed companies to hire foreigners. To get a work visa, candidates have to pass a language and professional skills tests. What’s more, low-skilled migrants aren’t allowed to bring their families with them.

11. Adopting adult men is a common practice in Japan.

15 Japanese Traditions That Are Far Beyond Our Understanding

Adopting adult men is a tradition that goes back to the 13th century. In Japanese society, family plays an important role. As a rule, sons run their families and family businesses. But what can those families do that have only daughters? Adopting adult men allows families to expand their family tree and get new heirs who can inherit the family business. For example, Osamu Suzuki, the Chairman of Suzuki Motor Corporation, is the 4th adopted heir of the corporation.

10. Japanese gardens are a kind of art.

15 Japanese Traditions That Are Far Beyond Our Understanding

The main Japanese gardening principles were established in the 13th century. Soil in Japan is a really valuable resource, and people try to use every inch of it. Japanese people want to be in harmony with nature, so they create beautiful gardens and small ponds with colored carp (koi) and turtles. These gardens symbolize the perfect world of nature.

9. Amazing animals

Japan is just what you need if you love animals. In this country, there are lots of cafes where you can pet cats, dogs, and birds. What’s more, in Hokkaido, located in the north, you can find really unusual inhabitants: flying squirrels, “crying rabbits,” red pandas, red squirrels, and so on.

8. Tokyo’s Disneyland is one of the best in the world.

Japanese Disneyland was the first Disney park built outside the USA. It resembles the Californian one, but it’s bigger and is considered to be the most beautiful among all of the Disneylands in the world. Nearby, there’s DisneySea waterpark. Today, the whole entertainment center located on Tokyo Bay shore is called Tokyo Disney Resort. It’s the most expensive theme park in the world.

7. Lifetime employment is common in Japan.

15 Japanese Traditions That Are Far Beyond Our Understanding

In big companies and public institutions, a lifetime employment contract is signed with an employee. A person is allowed to perform their duties as long as they’re healthy enough to do their job. After university, a Japanese person applies for a job and works with the same company until retirement. One of the most important facts is that an employee is tightly connected with their company and understands that their own welfare depends on their company’s success.

6. Admitting your mistakes is really important.

15 Japanese Traditions That Are Far Beyond Our Understanding

Bushido is the collective term for the many codes of honor and ideals that dictate the samurai way of life. Admitting your mistakes plays a crucial role in Japanese people’s lives. There are cases in history when Japanese politicians resigned from their positions because they couldn’t fulfill their campaign promises. Thus, Yukio Hatoyama left his position after 8 months of being prime minister.

5. The physical punishment of children is prohibited by law.

15 Japanese Traditions That Are Far Beyond Our Understanding

This year, the government of Japan approved a law that prohibits any corporal punishment of minor children. By the way, this rule applies to both parents and social workers.

4. You can organize a Pokémon wedding in Japan.

15 Japanese Traditions That Are Far Beyond Our Understanding

Japan knows everything about unusual celebrations. For example, weddings based on famous video games or anime are often held there. Recently, the Pokémon theme with huge Pikachus and an official stylized marriage certificate has become really popular. By the way, the wedding planning company has officially united with The Pokémon Company.

3. Tokyo is recognized as one of the best cities in the world.

In 2015, Tokyo was recognized the safest city in the world in terms of personal security, cybersecurity, infrastructure, and health. Last year, Monocle magazine placed Tokyo second on its list of the best cities. Experts assessed the cities by 60 characteristics: from basic (safety and ecology) to specific ones. For example, urbanists took into account factors such as reviving old industrial areas in a city and the cost of a glass of wine at bars.

2. Japan has the greatest number of centenarians.

15 Japanese Traditions That Are Far Beyond Our Understanding

In Japan, the life expectancy is the highest — 84 years on average. Today, there are more than 30,000 people who are older than 100 years old in Japan. And there are several reasons for that. First, in the last 60 years, healthcare became a whole lot better. Second, the high welfare of citizens also plays an important role. Third, Japanese people have started paying more attention to elderly people: different gerontology centers that study various aspects of human aging and methods of struggle against it have appeared in Japan.

1. Hospitality

15 Japanese Traditions That Are Far Beyond Our Understanding

A Reddit user posted this picture and wrote, “A kind man insisted on buying an omelet for my elderly father while we were in a Tokyo market. Can anyone tell me why?” People in the comments said it was a normal thing in Japan, “He saw your father, knew he was a foreigner traveling there, and wanted to give him both something he thought he would like and a good memory of his trip.”

Would you like to visit this amazing country? Have you already been there? Share your impressions with us!

Preview photo credit J-Mac11 / reddit

Kayode Ojo
Kayode Emmanuel Ojo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at SHEFFA Limited. He is presently studying Computer Science at the National Open University, Victoria Island, Lagos.