Japan 's Influence On Its Unique Culture

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From Isolation to Open Borders In the far-east, off the coast of the Asian continent lies an island nation, originally shrouded in mystery from the rest of the known world. From a remote and isolated empire to a United States ally, Japan has successfully made its existence known to the international community. Over the period of the nineteenth and twentieth century’s, Japan has gone through drastic changes to its political, military, and economic infrastructure that has had an impact on its unique culture. At the beginning of Japan’s Edo Period, “in the year 1639, the Shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu imposes the seclusion of Japan, by cutting off the links with all foreign states. Japan resigns thus to any connection with the external world and locks the door to the foreigners.” (Shogun, 1) This led to internal retirement, which became the basis for the strong cultural growth Japan experienced for nearly two and a half centuries before its borders once again opened to the outside world. During Japan’s isolation from the outside world, popular culture began to grow and new art forms like Kabuki, Noh, and Bunraku Theater as well as ukiyo-e became very popular among the people. These art forms used face paint, masks, song, dance, and music in order to tell stories and entertain while displaying folklore and strengthening Japanese culture. During this time the Shinto religion became the national religion of Japan. Shinto taught that the souls of the dead became gods, and
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