China’s Historical and Cultural Impact on the Rest of Asia: Part 2 of 2

This post at History explains The Spread of Chinese Civilization to Japan.

“Although its full impact on global history has not been felt until the last century or so, the transmission of key elements in Chinese culture to the offshore islands that came to make up Japan clearly provides one of the most important examples of the spread of civilization from a central core area to neighboring or overseas peoples. In the 1st centuries A.D., the peoples of Japan imported a wide range of ideas, techniques of production, institutional models, and material objects from the Chinese mainland. After adapting these imports to make them compatible with the quite sophisticated culture they had previously developed, the Japanese used what they had borrowed from China to build a civilization of their own.”

Japan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, Korea, India, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan are also collective cultures like China is. You can see the complete list here: Collectivist and individualist cultures

For instance, Japan’s written language, ancient architecture and religions originated in and/or spread from China.

For Thailand, the CIA Fact book lists 14% of Thai people are of Chinese origin. They don’t have Chinese surnames anymore because in the 1920s, the Thai king issued a royal decree to erase their last names. Thailand was going through sort of an ethnic cleansing at the time and I recall reading that they also made it illegal for Chinese to own businesses, but that didn’t last long because the Chinese owned so many businesses and banks that business came to a stop when they were forced to close their doors. In addition, through the centuries, significant intermixing has taken place such that there are few pure ethnic Chinese anymore, and those of partially mixed Chinese ancestry account for as much as a third to a half of the Thai population.

In Burma, known today as Myanmar, it is estimated that Burmese Chinese form about 3% of the population.

Chinese Filipinos are one of the largest overseas Chinese communities in Southeast Asia. Sangleys—Filipinos with at least some Chinese ancestry—comprise 27-35% of the Philippine population totaling up to 30 million people. There are approximately 2 million Filipinos with pure Chinese ancestry, or around 2.5% of the population.

Singapore is a multiracial and multicultural country with a majority population of Chinese (75.9% of the resident population).

Vietnam was ruled by China for more than a 1,000 years (111 BC – 1427 AD) before the Vietnamese finally succeeded in driving them out after a 1,000 years of rebellion to regain their homeland, and that had an impact on Vietnamese culture.

In fact, before the Chinese actually colonized Vietnam by force, groups from southern China began to move into the Tonkin Delta in order to start new lives after being forced to leave their homelands. Thus, around the 3rd century BC, changes in China began to heavily influence the Đông Sơn culture which was thriving in Vietnam. Ten centuries of Chinese colonization left a substantial demographic footprint, with settlement by large numbers of ethnic Chinese

In conclusion, what happens when civilizations influenced by individualism attempt to influence and/or control collectivist cultures?

Return to or Start with Part 1


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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One Response to China’s Historical and Cultural Impact on the Rest of Asia: Part 2 of 2

  1. proasta says:


    China’s Historical and Cultural Impact on the Rest of Asia: Part 2 of 2 | iLook China

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