A comparison of Japanese and American culture reveals a wide range of societal differences. Japan is a fairly homogeneous, middle class society. In contrast, the United States is characterized by increasing ethnic diversity and income inequality. Although different, each country has its share of successes and failures.
One of the distinguishing features of American culture is its numerous subcultures which exist within the macroculture. In the United States, the different subcultures are as follows: age, gender/sex, ethnic or national origin, religion, class, geographic region, urban/suburban/rural location, and exceptionality (disabled, special abilities, etc.). Each subculture has certain aspects in common with the macroculture. All American citizens are members of multiple subcultures.
Although Japan has subcultures the number are not as diverse as those found in the United States. Minimal ethnic, religious, or racial variation exists: "Japan is not a nation of immigrants. Only a small fraction of its population (less than 1 percent) are not ethnically Japanese" (Rohlen, 1995, p. 120). For instance, most Japanese are adherents of either Buddhism or Shinto, the ancient Japanese and former state religion. Confucianism is also widely influential. The population of Japan is predominantly urban, which gives it one of the highest overall population densities in the world.
America and Japan exhibit divergent cultural thinking styles. Americans tend to use inductive reasoning. They rely on gathering facts, and analyzing these facts in a logical, analytical, and scientific manner. In contrast, Asians tend to use intuitive reasoning. Their thinking style is characterized by meditative introspection and contemplation. The cultural thinking style of Americans ties in with their emphasis on individual achievement as opposed to group identification, a process that is encouraged early in childhood: "The American...