Saturday, June 04, 2016

"the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon?" - Traditional Formality in East Asia

Fukushima Station, Japan

Traditional Formality in East Asia

Formality and etiquette were major factors in the Chinese imperial courts that were first established in the Xia dynasty (called Ka in Japanese; c. 2070 – c. 1600 BC) and continued till the fall of the last Chinese classic empire Qing dynasty (called Shin in Japanese; 1644 to 1912).

It is thought that they were introduced for the king of Xia to manage noble people.  And then, they were developed as means to govern other tribes around the nation Xia.  They became a main theme in the teaching of Confucius and other schools of Chinese philosophy.

Influences of respect for formality and etiquette can be even today seen in China, North and South Koreas, Japan as well as Taiwan.  They are still a unique feature in East Asia since the region has been strongly influenced by ancient Chinese culture and philosophy.

However, Europe, the Middle East, India, and South East Asia, in addition to Africa, have no such a high degree of respect for formality and etiquette as is observed in East Asia.

So, God might have chosen an ancient Chinese man instead of Abraham or an East Asian tribe in lieu of Hebrews.  But the fact that God chose Abraham and Hebrews must mean there is something more important than formality and etiquette having been observed in ancient Chinese courts and subsequent East Asian societies.

Yet, to understand East Asians, it is important to learn the spirit that has supported this tradition in East Asia, though modern China looks like abusing this tradition while modern Japan moderately keeps it in its social system with the imperial family at its center.

Traditional formality deeply rooted in the minds of Japanese is also mixed with mildness of the Japanese natural climate, resulting in formation of  Japanese composition as it is observed.  However, it lacks austerity of monotheistic religion like Judaism, Christianity or Islam.

Therefore, the formality Muslims observe when praying to God looks uniquely impressive to the eyes of the Japanese people.  Maybe most of Japanese people might respect Muslims, though cultural aspect of Islam is so foreign to the Japanese.

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Mar 6:3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.
Mar 6:4 But Jesus, said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.