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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
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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