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Culture of Japan
Japanese culture has evolved greatly over the years, from the country's original Jomon culture to its contemporary hybrid culture, which combines a number of influences from Europe, America, and East Asia.
Historically, China and Korea were first mostly influential, starting with the development of the Yayoi culture from around 300 BC. Southern Asian and Central Asian cultural traditions, transmitted through the Silk Road, influenced the arts and religions of Japan from the 6th century AD, culminating with the introduction of Mahayana Buddhism. In the pre-modern era, Japan developed a unique original culture, in its arts (ikebana, origami, ukiyo-e), crafts (dolls, lacquerware, pottery), performances (bunraku, dance, kabuki, noh, rakugo), and traditions (games, onsen, sento, tea ceremony, architecture, gardens, swords), as well as a unique cuisine.
From the mid-19th century onward, European influence prevailed, with American influences becoming predominant following the end of World War II. This influence is apparent in Japan's contemporary popular culture, which combines Asian, European, and, 1950 onward, American influences in its fashion, films, literature, television, video games, and music. Today, Japan is a major exporter of such culture, which has gained popularity around the world, particularly in the other countries of East Asia. Especially notable contributions of modern Japan to the rest of the world include animation (anime) and graphic novels (manga). Traditional and modern Japanese culture have attracted many devotees in Europe and the Americas as well. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japan#Culture [May 2005]
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