Similarities and Differences Between Japan and Ecuador
By Brendan Riley
Brendan R. Riley
similarities and differences between Japan and Ecuador
The Japanese and Ecuadorian cultures have a plethora of things in common as well as differences. There is an obvious physical difference in that Japan is on the continent of Asia and Ecuador is on the continent of South America. Moreover, the physical biological makeup, due to natural selection, of the Japanese and the Ecuadorians are very different due to varying climates, but if one were to perceive the two cultures from a philosophical point of view, they are very similar. The Japanese and Ecuadorian cultures are very much alike and are very different at the same time.
William J. Duiker explains the sanctity of communal life in Japan, “Conformity brought teamwork, and teamwork in Japan is the road to success.” Group identity, as Duiker explains, is very important to the Japanese. But, in Ecuador where the indigenous shamans survive off of the forest, people must provide for themselves. Joe Kane describes this more thoroughly, “self-reliance and independence the Huaorani value above all else.” This fundamental difference is attributed to the fact that the Japanese have a much higher population where people live right on top of one another where as in Ecuador there are fewer people and therefore more space. Consequently, the end result of Japan having numerous people in close quarters is that they act as a group to survive harmoniously, but in Ecuador self-reliance is essential for the Indians to survive in the wild.
The country of Japan is much more evolved not only in more people than Ecuador, but Japan has also already become industrialized. In other words, Japan has already been Westernized. T.R. Reid explains what he saw in Japan: “A bunch of people in business suits walking busily into a glass-and-steel office tower that has “Citibank” over the door and a Starbucks Coffee in the Lobby.” Ecuador, although, as Joe Kane Explains is very different in that they do not live in industrialized cities, and so destroying their forest land would be catastrophic, “It is easy to see, too, why all the money in the world could never compensate them for the destruction of their land.” William J. Duiker explains Japan’s industrialization, “Some historians maintain that the country was poised to experience an industrial revolution under the stimulus of internal conditions.” In other words, the Japanese are simply more “civilized”, or what is also known as being industrialized, than that of the Ecuadorian Indians.
Japan and Ecuador are similar in that the two countries are not Christian. Japan is a Confucian influenced society. Ecuadorian Indians, such as the Huaorani, worship animals and other specific things. Joe Kane records a quote from one of the Huaroni’s named Moi, “We live with the spirit of the jaguar. We do not want to be civilized by your missionaries or killed by your oil companies.” So, the Ecuadorians are not Christian and do not want to be just as the Japanese are Confucian followers as T.R. Reid explains, “Confucian ideas and the overall Confucian value structure have been incorporated into
the social, educational, and governmental fabric of Japan.” The Japanese and Ecuadorians are similar in that they are both not Christian dominated people.
The Japanese and Ecuadorians are also different because of their languages. For instance, the people of Ecuador speak Spanish as Joe Kane explains in his experience of Ecuador, “The truck slowed, then stopped, and I heard an exchange in Spanish.” The people of Japan speak Japanese and write in pictographs, just like the Chinese do, as T.R. Reid explains, “the Chinese developed the character a couple of thousand years ago, is set forth as follows in any textbook of Chinese or Japanese.” So, the Japanese language is very different from the Spanish that is spoken in Ecuador.
The Japanese and Ecuadorian cultures are alike but also very different. The two cultures are alike socially. The Japanese and Ecuadorian cultures deeply value family hierarchy, and, the Japanese and Ecuadorian cultures have a deep affinity for their own race as T.R. Reid explains about the Japanese, “To people who whose identity stems from membership in groups, it seems only natural that there should be rankings within each group...Hierarchy begins in the family”
In many fundamental ways the Ecuadorian culture is like the Japanese culture, but there are also many countable nuances between the two cultures. Essentially, Japan is a more advanced society than the indigenous Ecuadorians. Japan, also, is more established on the world level; Japan is unlike the rest of Asia. Japan was at one time an imperialistic
nation with a strong military, but that is what Ecuadorians have been trying to fend off. Ecuadorians have been trying to fend off the Westernization and colonization that capitalistic countries have been trying to impose on the indigenous Ecuadorians for their natural resources. Lastly, there are simply very many similarities and differences between the Japanese and Ecuadorian cultures.
© Brendan Riley