China Has Traditionally Been an Influential Force in East Asia
Chinese culture influenced neighboring cultures’ governments, social systems, and gender relationships. Confucianism, Buddhism, and the Chinese language and writing system had the most significant impacts.
China’s size and large population throughout history gave it influence across East Asia. Its neighbors, especially Japan, Korea, and Vietnam, have adopted various Chinese traditions throughout their histories. Because Korea and Japan remained independent from China, their cultural borrowing from China was usually voluntary. Due to centuries of Chinese control and colonization, Vietnam’s adoption of Chinese culture was often involuntary.
Chinese governing systems spread throughout East Asia
As Chinese dynasties became increasingly powerful, neighbors imitated Chinese governing systems to strengthen their own dynasties.
Pay close attention to how Japan’s government changed over time. Specifically, how it was feudal, centralized, and then feudal again.
At one time or another, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam were all participants in the Chinese tribute system.
Chinese culture spread throughout East Asia
Culture also diffused from China to its neighbors.
Chinese patriarchy affected women throughout East Asia
Many societies throughout history have been patriarchal. China did not invent it. However, as Confucian ideas spread to new areas in East Asia, patriarchy in those areas also increased.