Japanese Culture/Beliefs In Japan

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Question
Hi,
I am learning about Japan and the Beliefs I am in year 6 and learning for my inquiry, My big question is: How are the Japanese beliefs different to the catholic faith which I belong? if you need more information on my inquiry just contact me. Please e-mail me as soon as possible.
Thank you for your time and your patience.
Saffron.

Answer
Hello Saffron,
Please allow me first to indicate that "Japanese" is a cultural adjective, and "Catholic" is a religious adjective. What you would like to know, I think, is how most the Japanese have and handle beliefs in relation to Australian or, more in general, 'Western' beliefs.
The funny thing is that 'Western' here applies to the world west of The Middle east, Europe and the Americas, and Australia is seen to be more to the east. But that is of no matter. With 'Western' we mean people whose beliefs stem more or less from ancient Europe.
First of all, it is a widely accepted truth that 'Eastern' and 'Western' philosophy are a world apart. Religion has evolved also in a different way because of that. And as you can see, that is already where culture and religion begin to blend.
In the Western world, we hold beliefs that come from 3 similar religions; Judaism, Islam and Christianity. Each of these are quite forceful and they have fought many wars, holding dogmas and influencing national leaders in their politics.
In the Eastern world, most beliefs stem from religions originating in India, and evolving in China. Japan is very much influence by Chinese culture, philosophy, religion, politics and economics. So you will find many similarities there. The important faiths are Buddhism, Taoism and Hinduism. They are very different and are more about contemplation, personal growth and so on. There have hardly been any religious wars in the region, as far as I know. An interesting exception is the expulsion of Catholic priests from Japan in the 17th Century.
There is much more to say, but I will conclude generally that MOST people in Japan hold beliefs concerning the person as a part of a greater world of knowns and unknowns, worldly and divine subjects, and that MOST people in Western countries hold beliefs concerning the absolute truth of a divine being or beings that govern the world and the people in it.
A nice example that I heard long ago "A rolling stone gathers no moss" is interpreted opposite in either cultures. In the Western world, it means you should be on the move, get busy, do what is necessary toward the greater good of a god. In the Eastern philosophy, it means that only when you take time to stand still once in a while for contemplation can you come to new insights that help you become a better being.
Regards,
Philip.

Japanese Culture

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Philip Lafeber

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Are you doing business with the Japanese? Do you wonder how to approach them, what to do and what not to do? I am happy to provide some advice.

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I have worked for a Japanese company for 6 years and taught myself how to work with the Japanese and also some of the Japanese language. Also, my wife is Japanese, which is why I have also learnt about Japanese in private life.

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