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Saturday, January 09, 2016

Java and Japan

I have once compared Java and Japan, when making the point that Java has an even larger population than Japan. Here are the similarities:

1. Ancient cultures that are partially based on foreign influences. Hinduism for Java, and Buddhism for Japan.
2. Very crowded island nations.
3. Great tradition in the arts.
4. Primary contact with white people are the Dutch.
5. Plenty of seismic activity. Volcanos, earthquakes, tsunamis.
6. Had short periods of imperialism, and are infamous for being extremely brutal colonial masters. (Aceh / Papua / Timor under Indonesia, Southeast Asia / China / Korea under Japan)
7. Extremely hierarchical society. Hindu kings in Java / Emperor in Japan. Caste structure in Japan.
8. Similarities between wayang kulit and kabuki. Both are theater forms which emphasise courtly intrigue.

Of course, Japan has been more economically successful and modern than Indonesia, so it remains to be seen: can Indonesia emulate Japan to become a great economic powerhouse?


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