In a number of Asian countries, including Japan, the term modernization has generally been confused with Westernization. The reason is that when modernization took place in these countries, it also required that the Western culture should be accepted and as a result, significant changes took place in everyday life of people. Under these circumstances, also in case of Japan, adopting Western clothes, food, houses and hairstyles were considered as westernization. Although some convenience was provided to the people of Japan by these things and they also got the feeling of a new culture, these things were also performing the same functions that were being performed by their indigenous substitutes in the earlier times.
Changes in Japan
A process of modernization also took place in Japan when airplanes, telephones, televisions, computers and bureaucratic institutions were introduced in Japan. All these things enlarge the sphere of life of people and also broadened their outlook. However, at the same time, a transformation also took place in the way people thought and in their patterns of behaviour. In the same way, it also required that the cultural system of the country had to be remoulded in a new form. Under these circumstances, a question arises if the traditional culture of Japan is still relevant. For example, the same question can be asked regarding the traditional culture of Samurai in modern times.
It also needs to be mentioned that Japanese culture is highly resistant to change. Japanese society places high value on the conformity of each member with highly structured layers of society. At the same time, as a result of the large population of Japan, as compared to its landmass, most people in Japan have to live crowded along with each other in an urban corridor. However, due to this crowding of people, the Japanese people place too much significance on public harmony and avoiding conflicts, particularly in public. Therefore, Japanese norms also require that people should be willing to humble themselves and apologize instead of creating the risk of confrontation in the public.