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If culture is defined as a system for passing on a way of life within a group, then culture appears after the emergence of an agrarian society.
Agrarian societies are said to have emerged in the various regions the world between 8000 and 3500 BC. By comparison, agrarian society in Japan is said to have begun with the Yayoi period starting in 300BC. By the use of radiocarbon dating, it was recently determined that irrigated paddy farming was introduced to Japan around 950 BC.
While development of rice cultivation provided the foundation for the formation of the ancient nation of Japan, it was also a deciding factor in shaping group consciousness and other special characteristics Japanese ethnicity.
Most of the Japanese archipelago falls in the temperate monsoon belt and so is ideally situated for irrigated paddy farming. Rice cultivation in Japan requires farming villagers to cooperate in planting and harvesting during specific time frames. And the allocation of irrigation water to the paddies requires good organization village-wide. This village aspect of ancient life has amplified the importance of the group in daily life, of ancient life has amplified the importance of the group in daily life, strict punctuality, and other characteristics particular to the Japanese. strict punctuality, and other characteristics particular to the Japanese.
Although initially imported, this culture based on rice cultivation has become part of the very fiber of the Japanese identity and makes up part of a uniquely Japanese culture.