As the very first tournament to be held in Asia, the Rugby World Cup 2019™ in Japan promises to be one of the most unique and exciting Rugby World Cups yet! Before you pack your bags, here’s a teaser of some of Japan’s unique culture:

Language

Nelson Mandela famously said: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” Before you arrive in Tokyo, learn a few key phrases to impress the locals with your enthusiasm for their culture.

  • Hello: konnichiwa
  • Good evening: konbanwa
  • Good morning: ohayo (sounds like “Ohio”)
  • Goodbye: sayonara
  • Thank you: arigato
  • Please: kudasai
  • How much is this: kore wa ikura desu ka  
  • Excuse me: sumimasen
  • Yes: hai
  • No: iie
  • I’m sorry: gomen nasai
  • I don’t understand: wakarimasen
  • Can you speak English: eigo OK? (informal, but gets the message across).

 

RWC2019 - Culture of Japan

 

Did you know? The most widely spoken language in Japan is Japanese, which is separated into a large number of dialects. The Tokyo dialect is considered to be standard Japanese. In addition to the Japanese language, Ryukyuan languages are spoken in Okinawa and parts of Kagoshima in the Ryukyu Islands.

Japanese writing combines three scripts: hiragana, which stems from the Chinese cursive script; katakana, derived as a shorthand from Chinese characters; and kanji, imported from China. The Hindu-Arabic numerals are typically used for numbers, but traditional Sino-Japanese numerals are also very common.

Architecture

Japanese architecture was initially influenced by Chinese design but has developed many indigenous differences over the centuries. Typified by wooden structures elevated slightly off the ground with tiled or thatched roofs, examples of traditional Japanese architecture can be seen at temples, Shinto shrines, and castles in Kyoto and Nara, with many of these constructed around Zen gardens.

Since the 19th century, however, Japan has incorporated much of Western, modern, and post-modern architecture into construction and design, and is today a leader in cutting-edge architectural design and technology. Japan’s Shinto and Buddhist beliefs influenced architecture right down to the residential level, with buildings reflecting a strong emphasis on nature.

RWC2019 - Culture of Japan

 

Dress

The Japanese kimono is the country’s traditional garment and means “something one wears.” Originally, the word kimono applied to all types of clothing, but eventually came to refer to the full-length garment also known as the naga-gi, meaning “long-wear” that is still worn today on special occasions.

Did you know? Geisha means ‘person of the arts’ and the first geisha were actually men. The history of the male geisha dates back to the 13th century, when jesters advised feudal lords on practical matters, and entertained the court with various artistic performances. Female geisha only made their appearance in 1751, and their popularity snowballed so quickly that it took less than 25 years for female geisha to outnumber their male counterparts.

RWC2019 - Culture in Japan

 

Food

Japanese food has become fashionable around the world with popular dishes such as sushi, tempura, noodles and teriyaki. The healthy Japanese diet, which consists primarily of rice, lean seafood and pickled or boiled vegetables, is believed to be related to the longevity of Japanese people.

Did you know? Japan has more than 50,000 people who are over 100 years old. Centenarians, as demographers call them, are marvels of medical science. Japan holds its elders in high regard and since 1963, has recognised September 15th as “Respect for the Aged Day.” For those who celebrate their 100th birthday in the calendar year, the government awards them with a silver-plated sake dish and a letter congratulating them on the achievement.

RWC2019 - Food & Culture

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