Is Japanese culture based on Chinese culture

Cultural characteristics in China

Studying abroad in China is a real adventure for many. Not only because China is quite far away. It is also common knowledge that Chinese and German cultures are quite different. Students who immerse themselves in the culture of China come into contact with numerous cultural specialties. As a result, they not only gain new specialist knowledge during a semester abroad or full study in China, but also strengthen their own Intercultural Competence. Applicants are welcome, especially with regard to the importance of China for the international economy score with employers with knowledge of Chinese culture.

Origins of chinese culture

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There are numerous cultural characteristics in China. The Chinese characters are a very important cultural asset.

The history of Chinese culture is long; you is one of the oldest cultures in the world. Witnesses to the culture of China have been around for around 3500 years, but their origins go back even further. It probably has its roots in the civilizations on the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers as well as in the Nordic steppe culture.

Relatively early in China's long history, in the 5th century BC. BC, originated with the Confucianism one of the three teachings that have shaped the culture of China. Developed almost simultaneously with the Daoism the second of the three teachings.

The third lesson, the Buddhism, first found its way into China around the year zero. This religion has its origins in India, but has been adapted to the Chinese culture. Incidentally, this applies to almost all external influences with which Chinese culture has been confronted for thousands of years. During the Other cultures have little influence on China was, it had a decisive influence on many Asian cultures.

A major cultural upheaval did not take place in China for almost two millennia after the emergence of the Three Teachings. First the Communism took hold in the 20th century again decisive influence on the culture of China. The so-called "Cultural Revolution", a struggle against the old cultural values ​​of China, among other things, falls into this era.

Despite this turning point, China's cultural heritage is still present today. It can be observed, however, that rituals and religion are less important in China today than in other Chinese cultures such as Hong Kong. This and other areas of the Chinese cultural area were excluded from the cultural revolution. Due to globalization and China's role as an economic power, external influences are increasingly reaching China today.

Today China is a multi-ethnic state with a total of 56 nationalities. Most of the residents are Han Chinese, they make up 92 percent of the total population.

Cultural assets

One of the most important Chinese cultural assets is the millennia-old Chinese letters. Other Asian scripts, such as various Japanese scripts, have developed from the Chinese characters. Also the valuable art treasures China, like the famous Ming vases, are important and typical cultural goods of China. These also include Chinese literature and the unmistakable Chinese painting.

For the culture in China, the chinese tea culture of great importance. It is the oldest tea culture in the world. The Chinese Martial Art Kung Fu and the sub-form Tai Chi are also classic elements of the culture of the East Asian country. This also applies to traditional Chinese medicine, whose best-known healing method in this country is probably acupuncture.

public holidays

The Chinese culture has different holidays. The The most important holiday in the Middle Kingdom is the New Year celebrations, which is also known as the Spring Festival. In contrast to our culture, the New Year is not welcomed on January 1st. Instead, the festival falls on a new moon day, between January 21 and February 21. The turn of the year in China is based on the so-called farmers calendar.

There are fireworks and a colorful Chinese dragon made of costumed people often appears at the New Year celebrations. The dragon is one of the most important symbols of China. On the occasion of the family festival, the Chinese have a whole week off. It is truly a cultural peculiarity in China that the years are named after animals. 2017, for example, is the year of the fire rooster.

Other traditional holidays in China include this Lantern Festival, the Commemoration of the dead, the Dragon Boat Festival and the Moon festival.

Features of Chinese culture

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School, academic and professional success are very important in Chinese culture.

In every country there are cultural peculiarities that distinguish one culture from another. However, the characteristics of cultures can be similar to one another, so that they appear familiar to visitors.

The cultural differences between Germany and China are comparatively large. This can not only lead to misunderstandings in everyday life in China, but also cause a so-called culture shock.

So that you can prepare yourself not only practically but also culturally for your adventure abroad in China, we would like to address some of the cultural features in China that are interesting for students.

Save face, striving for harmony, indirectness

In China, people are always careful that they or their counterparts do not "lose face". The reputation that a person has and the esteem they enjoy are not meant to be damaged. Those who reveal personal deficits lose face must, for example because he or she is different Cannot meet requirements.

Even people who openly show emotions such as anger lose face according to the standards of Chinese culture - just like the person against whom the anger is directed. In China, it is customary to always avoid conflict in order to do so Maintaining harmony in dealing with one another. However, this requirement only applies in the so-called in-group and not in the Out group. Anyone who behaves rudely towards strangers in public, for example by jostling or ignoring people, does not violate the principle of harmony. Also, for the sake of harmony, the Chinese are usually always anxious to solve interpersonal problems through compromises.

The preservation of the face and the principle of harmony also go hand in hand with a cultural peculiarity in China, which can quickly become a pitfall for German guests - for example in the context of group work for the university: it is different from Germany in China frowned upon openly criticizing other people.

This leads to a disturbance of harmony and a loss of face for the criticized person. Criticism is only given "nicely packaged". In general, most Chinese communicate much more indirectly than Germans.

Great power distance

The great awareness of social hierarchies is another cultural specialty in China. Obedience and respect for people of higher standing are still very important in Chinese culture today. Compared to China, the social hierarchies in Germany are much less pronounced.

Importance of rituals

Ritualized actions and processes are a important part of everyday life in China. The rituals are usually legitimized by tradition and thus also by the ancestors. In the hierarchy-conscious Chinese society, the instructions of the ancestors must be obeyed so that these rituals are continued. One of the ritualized acts in China is the way the Chinese hand over business cards. The tea ceremonies are also an example of ritualized action.

Ritualized actions always go hand in hand with repeating tried and tested patterns. The tendency to repeat is also reflected in schools and universities in China: Here memorizing the subject matter is of central importance. The ability to find answers to problems yourself is not really required or encouraged. Copying what already exists is not a bad thing in Chinese culture, but is generally approved. From this point of view, too, the cultural differences between China and Germany are obvious.

Performance orientation

As so-called masculine culture is the Chinese culture very performance-oriented. Leisure time plays a subordinate role compared to school, studies or work. The pressure to perform is correspondingly high for schoolchildren and students: For example, only a good result in the central university entrance examination is possible Gaokao Chinese school leavers to study. That is why the students prepare meticulously for it. Good grades are also very important for young Chinese during their studies, because only these promise success.


China has a very collectivist society. The Good for the community is usually overriding the wellbeing of the individual. Such a community can be a family, a university or a company. The popularity of group activities shows how important the community aspect is for many Chinese.

Behavioral tips for China

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In China it is customary to always leave a bite when eating.

The considerable differences between Chinese and German culture are of course also evident in everyday life in China and in dealing with the Chinese. Guests can quickly get out of ignorance step into smaller or larger faux pas. But don't worry. The Chinese in particular, who are in frequent contact with visitors from other countries, are aware of the cultural differences and are accordingly indulgent. But the more you know about the cultural peculiarities of everyday life in China, the better. That's why we want to give you a few more behavioral tips on your journey.

Courtesy and self-control are very important in China. Accordingly, you should treat your counterpart with respect and avoid outbursts of anger in public. Since the principle of courtesy is based on the so-called in-group is limited, it is not violated by the widespread jostling and jostling in public spaces.

So you should be prepared for pushers. Foreign visitors should refrain from reprimanding indignantly in such situations. Finally, like any direct criticism, this comes one Exposing the other person equal to it in interpersonal relationships always to avoid applies.

In China it is considered to be expressed It’s rude to blow your nose in public or even at the dining table. If you don't want to attract attention, you should do so as discreetly as possible and withdraw if possible. While blowing their noses in public may surprise the Chinese, foreign guests may be irritated that it is perfectly okay in China to burp and smack their lips at the table or to spit on the floor in public. Visitors from abroad should not see this as disrespect or a bad habit.

One of the most famous cultural specialties in China is that guests are having a meal never consume all of the food on offer should. This embarrasses the Chinese host because it means that he or she has not served enough food for the guests. So it is customary to always leave a bite to eat when you eat - no matter how good it tastes. In addition, you should never put your chopsticks in the rice bowl in China.

This is a funeral ritual and therefore inappropriate - and also an omen of death. Tipping in Chinese restaurants is also exceptional. Guests who do not want to drink alcohol while eating should have an excuse ready. To simply refuse something without explanation would be impolite.

If you are invited to dinner with the Chinese, it is part of good manners, Bring a gift. Unlike in Germany, flowers are not a suitable gift because they are a typical gift for bereavement. The obligatory wrapping paper should not be white, because in China the mourning color is not black, but white. Unlike in Germany, those who receive a gift only open it at a later point in time without the donor. So the latter cannot lose face if the gift does not please.

In every country there is Topics that shouldn't be addressed in small talk. In China, for example, this includes politics, the Chinese Cultural Revolution, the situation in Tibet, human rights, religion and sex. On the other hand, topics such as family or culture are harmless.

Not infrequently foreigners are stared at in China. The more “exotic” they look from the Chinese point of view, the more likely they are to be curious glances. For example, if you are tall and blonde, you will quickly notice. Guests in China should react calmly to such situations.

Pointing your finger at other people is just as impolite in China as it is in this country. More unusual is the "rule" not to point with your feet at someone or something or to push things around.

Do’s and Don’ts in China at a glance

Always be concerned about harmonyPractice criticism in a direct way
Treat other people with courtesy and respectLose control
Small talk on harmless topics such as family or cultureRude behavior
Bring a present for dinner invitationsProtect your nose in public

Eat the plate empty

Refuse offered food and drinks without giving a reason

Open gifts directly in front of the giver

use white wrapping paper

give flowers

Point your finger at other people

Pointing at people or things with your foot or pushing things in front of you