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Throughout history, outside influences, such as habitat/environment, other

cultures, and the progression of time, have affected many elements of

cultures all over the world.

A good example of influences like these is in the culture in China.

First, their economy has been heavily affected by their environment. The

coastline of China is very irregular, and it features many natural harbors,

encouraging oversea trade.

The environment in China has also influenced the peoples? satisfaction

of their basic needs – specifically food. The northern part of China has very

little rainfall so the farmers must irrigate their crops. When the water supply

isn?t adequate, famine results.

The technological development of the culture there has been influenced

too, by the habitat. In China, the Qin Ling Mountains, which divide the

country into North and South, block the cold northern winds from reaching

the south. Therefore the climate in the south is warmer, and so the houses are

built of easily – ventilated wood, as opposed to houses built of mud or mud -

brick in the north.

Foreign cultures have also influenced elements of cultures. China?s

creative expression was suppressed by communists, led by Mao Zedong,

starting in 1949 when the took over. The communists eliminated private

enterprise, discouraged independent thinking, and disallowed artists and

writers from expressing themselves.

Another culture which has been affected by outside influences is in

Japan. One element of their culture which has been affected is their health.

Their habitat poses serious dangers, because of many active volcanoes,

earthquakes, and tsunamis, which are huge tidal waves sometimes caused by

underground earthquakes.

But the earthquakes have led to another cultural effect. A

technological advancement has taken place as the Japanese have built

skyscrapers which can withstand the force of an earthquake.

The values of Japan?s people have been influenced by the habitat, too.

The people value the sea very much because it provides so much for them.

Japan?s coastline is long and irregular, so there are many natural harbors.

Fishing is a large industry in Japan and fish accounts for a large portion of the

peoples? diet. Also, the sea promotes trade, both internal and foreign, with

the Inland Sea being the main highway.

Other cultures have affected the peoples? satisfaction of their basic

physical need for food. The first inhabitants of Japan were hunters and

fisherman who made it to Japan from mainland Asia. They were later

followed by people who knew how to grow rice.

A third culture which has been influenced by outside factors is that

from Korea. The economy there has been assisted by the environment; rivers

flowing out of the mountains have provided hydroelectric power.

Satisfaction of the need for food is affected by the environment. North

Korea has much harsher winters, featuring heavy snows and bitter winds, so it

can only grow one crop a year. However, warmer, South Korea has a much

longer growing season – the rice yield is among the world largest.

Also, time has had an effect on the culture. Through time, Koreans

have learned to develop more effective and efficient schooling methods, to

improve education – Korea?s literacy rate is close to ninety – five percent.

Almost all children attend elementary school, and most graduate from high


Other cultures have influenced the social patterns of Korea?s

inhabitants. Long ago, Japan attempted to attack China through Korea. This

destroyed much of Korea, but with the help of China, it was able to fend off

the aggressors. Weakened, Korea later could not resist the attacks of the

Manchus and were forced to pay a tribute to them after they took over China.

All these violent relations lead Korea to turn to a policy of isolationism,

avoiding foreign involvements and contacts.

In conclusion, you can see that outside influences like habitat or

environment, other cultures, or sometimes simply time, have sometimes

affected many different elements in different cultures, sometimes to extreme


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