Difference between Chinese and Japanese Culture

Westerners sometimes have the impression that Chinese and Japanese cultures are almost analogous. Since ancient times Chinese and Japanese cultures have been compared with one another. Although China and Japan are neighboring countries, the two nations enjoy as many differences as similarities in terms of culture.


Chinese vs Japanese Culture

Chinese culture is no less than an asset to the world. In the belief of Liang Qichao, a Chinese scholar in 1900, China is one among the four major civilizations of ancient times – the other three being India, Babylon and Egypt. China geographically covers a large area and is known across the world for its dramatically rich culture.

On the contrary, Japanese culture finds its roots in the Chinese culture, especially when it comes to the traditional one. This, however, does not indicate that the two countries reflect on each other’s ethos and values. Japanese culture is far more different as compared to the Chinese culture even if you consider the history.

Chinese vs Japanese Culture

While there are a lot many similarities in the two cultures, the key difference between Chinese and Japanese culture in terms of behavior, is that the former tends to be loud, while the latter is quite hushed and sophisticated. You would be surprised to find that even when it comes to showing public affection, the Chinese are freer to do so, while the Japanese deems this gesture as rude.

China has voluminous variety, be it in terms of food habits or dialects or clothing or customs. Quite the opposite, Japan reveals more of a harmonized and standardized society. This difference can be easily explained by the size of the countries – China is much bigger.

Furthermore, talking about clothing, the Chinese people preferred a round-neck robe during the Han rule. Nonetheless, in the times of Manchu rule, it was replaced by the Qipao – a high neck baggy dress with a tight skirt. Japanese people considered the Kimono as its ideal clothing, which is equally dubbed the Gofuku. The Gofuku is a T-shaped robe which becomes ‘Jūnihitoe’ (a 12-layered robe) as well for royalty. For the common population, a Kosode (a robe with eight to 20 layers) was considered the best choice in Japan.

Moreover, Japan is known for its traditional events and folk dances, and these are poles apart from those that are seen in China.

This is only a short overview of the basic differences between the cultures, and you will need to write a book or two to answer such complicated question in detail. You can discuss the topic in comments below.

Comparison Chart

Chinese Culture Japanese Culture
Usually, Chinese names are found to be monosyllabic. For e.g. Ma, Lú. Japanese names are generally polysyllabic. For e.g. Yuzuki, Kazuyuki.
China offers you diversity in terms of food, depending upon the geographic location. They use a lot of spices and oil. Japan is known for its seafood such as Sushi. They use negligible amount of oil, and thus, the food here is considered healthier.
Chinese people can often be seen talking loudly at public places. In Japan, talking or laughing loudly in public places is considered as discourteous. They even keep their phones muted during travelling.
China has one written language i.e. Chinese. Japan has various written languages, including Hiragana, Katakana, and Rōmaji.
China has different dialects such as Mandarin, Wu, and Cantonese. Japan uses only one dialect i.e. Japanese.


Watch this video to learn more about Chinese and Japanese cultures.