The Indus Valley Civilisation on the other hand has only come to light by means of 20th century archaeology. Scholars, who employ several periodization models argue over whether South Asian tradition is consciously committed to the Harappan culture. Declining climatic conditions, aridification and population displacement Indo-Aryan migration are regarded as to have caused the fatal disruption of the Harappa culture, that was superseded by the rural Vedic culture.
The late Vedic political progress results in urbanization, strict social hierarchy, commercial and military rivalries among the settlers, that have spread all over the entire sub-continent. The Vedas constitute the oldest work of Sanskrit literature and form the basis of religious, ethic and philosophic ideas in South Asia. They are widely, but not exclusively regarded the basics and scriptural authority on worship, rituals, ceremonies, sacrifices, meditation, philosophy and spiritual knowledge for the future Hindu and Buddhist cosmology.
Commentaries and discussions also focus on the development of valid political ideas and concepts of societal progress and ethic conformity. These arguably represent the furthest reaching, most profound and permanent South Asian ideas on other cultural spheres. Afghanistan and Pakistan are situated at the western periphery of South Asia, where the cultural character has been made by both, Persia , a civilization rooted in Mesopotamia and the Indosphere.
Its two eastern regions of Punjab and Sindh share cultural links to Northwest India. Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal share a common heritage and culture based on the Bengali language. The Culture of India is diverse and a complex mixture of many influences.
Nepal is culturally linked to both India and Tibet and the varied ethnic groups of the country share many of the festivals and cultural traditions used and celebrated in North and East India and Tibet. Nepali , the dominant language of Nepal uses the Devanagari alphabet which is also used to write many North Indian languages.
Tibetan Buddhism is the dominant religion in Bhutan and the Tibetan alphabet is used to write Dzongkha , the dominant language of Bhutan. There is a cultural and linguistic divide between North and South India.
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Sri Lanka is culturally tied to both India and Southeast Asia. Cultural festivals, aspects of its cuisine and Theravada Buddhism , the dominant religion in Sri Lanka, show a Southeast Asian affinity. The main languages of Afghanistan are Pashto and Dari. The term Indianised Kingdoms is a designation for numerous Southeast Asian political units, that had to a varying degree adopted most aspects of India's statecraft, administration, art, epigraphy, writing and architecture.
The religions Hinduism , Buddhism and Islam gradually diffused into local cosmology. Nonetheless, the Southeast Asian nations have very diversely adapted to these cultural stimuli and evolved their distinct sophisticated expression in lifestyle, the visual arts and most notably in architectural accomplishments, such as Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Borobudur in Indonesia. In the case of Vietnam, it is also influenced much by Confucianism and the culture of China.
Myanmar has also been exposed to Indian cultural influences. Before the 14th century, Hinduism and Buddhism were the dominant religions of Southeast Asia. Thereafter, Islam became dominant in Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. Southeast Asia has also had a lot of Western influence due to the lasting legacy of colonialism.
One example is the Philippines which has been heavily influenced by the United States and Spain, with Christianity Catholicism as the dominant religion. East Timor also demonstrates Portuguese influence through colonialism, as is also a predominantly Christian nation. A common feature found around the region are stilt houses. These houses are elevated on stilts so that water can easily pass below them in case of a flood. Another shared feature is rice paddy agriculture, which originated in Southeast Asia thousands of years ago.
Dance drama is also a very important feature of the culture, utilizing movements of the hands and feet perfected over thousands of years. Furthermore, the arts and literature of Southeast Asia is very distinctive as some have been influenced by Indian , Hindu , Chinese , Buddhist , and Islamic literature. Western Asia must be distinguished from the Middle East , a more recent Eurocentric term, that also includes parts of Northern Africa. In addition, the Jewish origins of Christianity , along with the many cultural contributions from both Jews and Arabs in Europe, meant that West Asian culture had left a lasting impact on Western civilization as well.
At its north-western end, Armenia and Georgia have an unmistakable Christian tradition, while Lebanon shares a large Christian and a large Muslim community. Many Middle Eastern countries encompass huge deserts where nomadic people live to this day. West Asian cuisine is immensely rich and diverse. The literature is also immensely rich with Arabic , Jewish , Persian , and Turkish dominating. However, Afghanistan is sometimes included. Its strategic and historic position around the East-West axis and the major trading routes such as the Silk Road has made it a theatre a steady exchange of ideas and East-West conflicts such as the Battle of Talas.
The region was conquered and dominated by a variety of cultures, such as the Chinese , Mongols , Persians , Tatars , Russians , Sarmatians. As some Central Asian areas have been inhabited by nomadic people, numerous urban centers have developed in a distinct local character. For the most part, North Asia more widely known as Siberia is considered to be made up of the Asian part of Russia solely.
The geographic region of Siberia was the historical land of the Tatars in the Siberia Khanate. However Russian expansion essentially undermined this and thus today it is under Russian rule. There are roughly 40 million people living in North Asia and the majority consists now of Ethnic Russians. However, many East Asians also inhabit the region, and historically they have been the majority before Russia's expansion west. Asia is home to countless grandiose and iconic historic constructions, usually religious structures, castles and fortifications or palaces. However, after several millennia, many of the greatest buildings have been destroyed or dismantled such as the Ziggurats of Mesopotamia, most of the Great Wall of China , Greek and Hellenistic temples or the royal cities of Persia.
Chinese architecture has taken shape in East Asia over many centuries as the structural principles have remained largely unchanged, the main changes being only the decorative details. An important feature in Chinese architecture is its emphasis on articulation and bilateral symmetry, which signifies balance. Bilateral symmetry and the articulation of buildings are found everywhere in China, from palace complexes to humble farmhouses. Indian architecture is that vast tapestry of production of the Indian Subcontinent that encompasses a multitude of expressions over space and time, transformed by the forces of history considered unique to the sub-continent, sometimes destroying, but most of the time absorbing.
The result is an evolving range of architectural production that nonetheless retains a certain amount of continuity across history. The Indonesian architectute reflects the diversity of cultural , historical and geographic influences that have shaped Indonesia as a whole.
It ranges from native vernacular architecture, Hindu-Buddhist temples, colonial architecture, to modern architecture. Indonesian vernacular architecture is called rumah adat. The houses hold social significance in society and demonstrate local ingenuity in their relations to environment and spatial organisation. Hindu-Buddhist temple monument called candi , with the best example are Borobudur massive stone mandala-stupa and Prambanan Hindu temple dedicated to Trimurti gods.
Asia, a Civilization in the Making: East Asia, the Pacific, and the Modern Age
By the 16th century, the Portuguese followed by the Dutch colonize Indonesian archipelago, and developed European architecture technique and developed colonial architecture. Attention to aesthetics and the surroundings is given, natural materials are preferred and artifice is generally being avoided. Impressive wooden castles and temples, some of them years old, stand embedded in the natural contours of the local topography.
Various cultural influences, notably Chinese, Indian and Europeans, played a major role in forming Malay architecture. The ancient architecture of the region of the Tigris—Euphrates river system dates back to the 10th millennium BC and lead to the development of urban planning, the courtyard house, and ziggurats. Kiln-burnt bricks were coated with a vitreous enamel for purposes of decoration and bitumen functioned as cement. Palaces or temples were constructed on terraces as rooms usually grouped round quadrangles, with large doorways and the roofs rested on richly ornamented columns.
Middle Eastern dance has various styles and has spread to the West in the form known as bellydancing. In the Punjab region of India and Pakistan , Bhangra dance bhangra dance is very popular. The bhangra is a celebration of the harvest. The people dance to the beat of a drum while singing and dancing. In Southeast Asia , dance is an integral part of the culture; the styles of dance vary from region to region and island to island.
Traditional styles of dance have evolved in Thailand and Burma. Martial arts figure prominently in many Asian cultures, and the first known traces of martial arts date from the Xia Dynasty of ancient China from over years ago. Some of the best known styles of martial arts in the world were developed in East Asia, such as karate and judo from Japan, taekwondo from Korea and the various styles of Chinese martial arts known collectively as kung fu.
In addition, popular styles of wrestling have originated in Turkey and Mongolia. Development of Asian martial arts continues today as newer styles are created.
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Modern hybrid martial arts systems such as Jeet Kune Do and Krav Maga often incorporate techniques from traditional East Asian martial arts. Asian martial arts are highly popular in the Western world and many have become international sports. Karate alone has 50 million practitioners worldwide. Asia is a continent with great linguistic diversity, and is home to various language families and many language isolates.
In fact, Asia contains almost every major language family except the Bantu languages. A majority of Asian countries have more than one language that is natively spoken. For instance, according to Ethnologue over languages are spoken in Indonesia while over are spoken in the Philippines. The official figure of 'mother tongues' spoken in India is , of which an estimated are in daily use. Korea , on the other hand, is home to only one language. Arabic literature is the writing, both prose and poetry , produced by writers in the Arabic language.
Jewish literature consists of ancient, medieval, and modern writings by Jews, both in their original homeland and in the diaspora. A sizable amount of it is written in the Hebrew language , although there have been cases of literature written in Hebrew by non-Jews. Many other ancient works of Hebrew literature survive, including religious and philosophical works, historical records, and works of fiction. The Laws of Manu is an important text in Hinduism.
Beyond the Final Score: The Politics of Sport in Asia by Victor Cha
He occupies the same position in Sanskrit literature that Shakespeare occupies in English literature. Later poetic works include Geeta Govinda by Jayadeva. Some other famous works are Chanakya's Arthashastra and Vatsyayana's Kamasutra. In the early eleventh century, court lady Murasaki Shikibu wrote Tale of the Genji considered the masterpiece of Japanese literatures and an early example of a work of fiction in the form of a novel.
Haiku consists of three lines: the first and third lines each have five morae the rough phonological equivalent of syllables , while the second has seven. Korean literature begins in the Three Kingdoms Period, and continues through the Goryeo and Joseon dynasties to the modern day. Examples of Korean poetric forms include sijo and gasa , with Jeong Cheol and Yun Seon-do considered to be the supreme Korean poets. Pakistani literature has a rich history, and draws influences from both Persian, Muslim and Indian literary traditions.
The country has produced a large number of famed poets especially in the national Urdu language. The polymath Rabindranath Tagore , a Bengali poet, dramatist , and writer from India, became in the first Asian Nobel laureate. He won his Nobel Prize in Literature for notable impact his prose works and poetic thought had on English , French , and other national literature of Europe and the Americas. This song was collected by his student Mr. Ananda Samarakoon and M. Nallathamby translated in Tamil language. Yasunari Kawabata wrote novels and short stories distinguished by their elegant and spartan diction such as the novels Snow Country and The Master of Go.
Families have very great importance in Asian cultures. They teach their kids that the family is their protection and the major source of their identity. They expect loyalty from their children. Parents define the law and the children are expected to obey them. Children are expected to look after their parents when they grow older. Asian philosophical traditions originated in India and China, and has been classified as Eastern philosophy covering a large spectrum of philosophical thoughts and writings, including those popular within India and China.
The Indian philosophy include Jain philosophy , Hindu and Buddhist philosophies. Middle Eastern philosophy includes Islamic philosophy as well as Jewish and Persian philosophy. During the 20th century, in the two most populous countries of Asia, two dramatically different political philosophies took shape. Mahatma Gandhi gave a new meaning to Ahimsa , and redefined the concepts of nonviolence and nonresistance. During the same period, Mao Zedong 's communist philosophy was crystallized.
All major religious traditions are practiced in the region and new forms are constantly emerging. The largest religions in Asia are Islam and Hinduism, both with approximately 1. In , the Pew Research Center found five of the ten most religiously diverse regions in the world to be in Asia. If Afghanistan is counted, this number is even higher. The world's largest single Muslim community within the bounds of one nation is in Indonesia.
In the Philippines and East Timor , Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion; it was introduced by the Spaniards and the Portuguese, respectively. Eastern Christian sects are the most dominant denomination in Asia, having adherents in portions of the Middle East the Levant and South Asia. Judaism is the major religion of Israel. Asia has a variety of festivals and celebrations. In India , Republic Day and Independence Day are important national festivals celebrated by people irrespective of faith. The Philippines is also tagged as the "Fiesta Country" because of its all-year-round celebrations nationwide.
There is a very strong Spanish influence in their festivals, thus making the Philippines distinctively "Western", yet retaining its native Asian characteristics. Fiesta is the term used to refer to a festival. Most of these fiestas are celebrated in honor of a patron saint. To summarize it all, at least every city or municipality has a fiesta. Some prime examples include Sinulog from Cebu and Dinagyang of Iloilo. In Indonesia , the Independence Day and the birthday of Pancasila are important.
Association football is widely popular in Asia. Boxing , badminton , and table tennis are very popular in East Asia. Baseball is popular in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. In many parts of Asia, rice is a staple food, and it is mostly served steamed or as a porridge known as congee. China is the world largest producer and consumer of rice. While grain flatbread were consumed in the Middle East to the Indian subcontinent. Traditionally, many Asians eat using their bare hand; this is a common practice in Central, South, and West Asia.
However, western cutlery such as spoons and forks are currently being used increasingly and have also become widely available. With the advent of western cutlery, it may be viewed as rude in these nations to eat using the bare hands in some public places. In Indonesia and the Philippines, people usually use western cutlery such as the spoon, fork, and knife. While in China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and Vietnam, people usually use chopsticks to eat traditional food, but the shape of chopsticks are different in these countries.
For example, Chinese chopsticks are long and square; Vietnamese chopsticks are long, being thick at one end and then gradually getting thinner at the other end, and are made of wood or bamboo; Japanese chopsticks are rounder, short, and spiral, having been designed to eat bony fish easily; Taiwanese chopsticks are made of materials such as bamboo , wood, and metal; Korean chopsticks are short, flat, and made of metal.
Political parties survived but were out of power, as 'national unity cabinets' ended the democratic promise of the s. After an attempted coup d'etat on 26 February , 'national unity' was skewed towards greater military power within the state. Then crucially, in May of that year, a rule that only serving officers could become military ministers was reinstated. This gave the military a veto over the cabinet, and the power to topple governments. After the aristocrat Fumimaro Konoe became prime minister for a second time, in , his brain-child, the Imperial Rule Assistance Association, failed to deliver a popular civilian government capable of checking the military.
And when General Hideki Tojo came to power in October he presided over what was effectively a military-bureaucratic regime. Although, after , there had been a massive upsurge in fundamentalist nationalism, most of Japan's right-wing groups were not as radical as the European fascist movements to which they are often compared.
Many embraced moderate politico-economic reform, as well as restorationist monarchical principles that had no parallel in fascist ideologies. None of these groups ever seized power. However, the climate of assassination, intimidation and propaganda undoubtedly contributed to the breakdown of party government and the disappearance of international liberalism from public discourse. The mix of international events and domestic politics was to prove a lethal cocktail. The conclusion of the Nazi-Soviet pact in August was a great shock to pro-German groups in the Japanese government, who regarded the Russians as dangerous.
And after German forces overran France and the rest of western Europe in the spring and summer of , the Japanese began to fear that Germany would also seek political control of French Indochina and the Netherlands East Indies. These territories were part of Japan's vital supply route for men and materials to and from the Chinese mainland, and the Japanese were worried that German influence was thus affecting their interests in south east Asia.
Neither were they sanguine about Hitler's long-term intentions. Foreign Minister Matsuoka, therefore, advocated strengthening political ties with the Axis, and a 'Tripartite Pact' was concluded in September The Japanese thus felt obliged to strengthen their own position further south, and embarked on a southward advance into French Indochina.
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This gained in intensity on 22 September , after the German-influenced Vichy government in France gave its agreement to the policy. The Japanese also began negotiations with the Netherlands East Indies to increase the quota of oil exports to Japan in case oil exports from the US ceased.
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Relations with the Soviets had taken a down-turn in November , after Japan signed the Anti-Comintern Pact a pact to thwart international communism with Germany. They reached their lowest ebb when Japanese and Soviet forces clashed in the Nomonhan sector of the Manchurian-Mongolian border in To defuse the threat of war with Russia, on 13 April , discretion proved the better part of valour, and Japan signed a neutrality pact with the Soviets.
In June negotiations with the Netherlands East Indies broke down and on 2 July the Japanese endorsed a further push forward for their 'southward advance' while secretly preparing for war with the Soviets. When Japan occupied southern Indochina that same month, the United States imposed a de facto oil embargo.
On that day the Japanese fleet sailed for Pearl Harbor. However, it was Japan's insistence on retaining its Chinese territory - seen as crucial to its existence by moderates as well as by hardliners - and US insistence that Japan relinquish this territory, that created the real tensions between the two. The tripartite pact between Japan, Germany and Italy of September was also a major stumbling block to good relations between the US and Japan.
On the US side, there was prejudice and misconception, but the Japanese government was also misled by military factions, who had learned the wrong lessons from their two short imperial wars with China and Russia. They believed that Allied weakness in south east Asia and American isolationist sentiment would mean another short war. This, however, was not to be.
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What the Japanese had done was to awaken the fury of America, and to set in train a war that would end in their total defeat. Her monograph on the philosopher Miki Kiyoshi, the architect of the philosophical principles of the New Order in Asia, is to be published soon. Search term:. Read more. This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets CSS enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets CSS if you are able to do so.
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving. Unleashing force When the Japanese Kwantung Army also known as the Guandong Army contrived to invade Manchuria on 18 September , it unleashed military and political forces which led ultimately to the attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December Chasing power Massive changes were unleashed in Japan by the Meiji restoration - a period of radical modernisation - in , and out of these emerged the desire for wealth, power and prestige as a way of redressing the imposition of unequal treaties that had been placed upon Japan by western powers in the past.