The Japanese people had little civilization of their own until, during the fourth century AD, they began to have contact with the Chinese. From them, they borrowed a great deal of their culture, including their ideas of philosophy and their form of government. Although the Japanese government owed much to the ideas of the Chinese, the two cultures would go in very different directions over the next two centuries. The Chinese adherence to Confucianism eventually led them to stagnation and collapse, while the Japanese moved on to a new, more warlike mode of government and were able to develop a civilization that would withstand and eventually threaten the western world.
China's civilization is very ancient. Its earliest history is tells of legendary emperors who ruled over China from the beginning of the world and taught the people agriculture, arts, crafts and the manners of civilization. (Fitzgerald 14) The religion of the earliest Chinese people involved the worship of the forces of nature, especially the powers of the Earth and the Sky. Fitzgerald 35) Ancestor worship was also a very important part of their religion. The people felt that, by making sacrifices and worshipping their ancestors, they would make sure that the ancestral spirits would survive and help their living descendants. (Fitzgerald 42) These old traditions is one of the major ideas Confucius taught. only in China did this institution of family provide one of the two original foundations on which was later erected the magnificent edifice of their philosophy.? (Wang 6) Strangely, the old tradition of Ancestor worship adopted by Confucianism would be a major contributing factor to china's rejection of the western world. .
With the decline of the political authority of the Chou dynasty and the emergence of powerful feudal states on the edges of the empire, the Chou dynasty fell during the late 5th century BC and China was plunged into a condition of constant wars among the various states.