Asian Cultures vs. Western Cultures: What's the difference?

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Difference between Asian Culture and Western Culture

Asian and Western cultures are both incredibly diverse and varied, so it is not possible to define either completely, although some general characteristics can be identified. The culture of Asia has been particularly diverse, due to the geographic boundaries such as the Himalayas, which have helped to keep different Asian cultures separate and distinct. There has also been some crossing in between these two sets of cultures over the course of history as people, goods and ideas have passed across borders.

Asian Culture
Western Culture


One key difference between Asian and Western cultures are the religions that they have spawned. Although the geographic boundaries between religions are blurred, with Islam and Christianity having spread into many parts of the Asian world, it is possible to identify two distinct sets of religions that arose in the East and in the West. The Abrahamic religions, Christianity, Judaism and Islam are linked closely with Western culture, having shaped the course of much of the history of the West. Meanwhile, the religions that have shaped much of the culture of the East are Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism and other closely related religions. These religions all share many concepts, traditions and stories, in the same way that the Abrahamic religions do. Folk religions and philosophies such as Confucianism have also played a role in certain areas of Asia.

The general difference between the Western and Eastern religions is that the Western once are monotheistic and entail a belief in a soul that will continue to exist after death, while the Eastern ones tend to believe in reincarnation and multiple deities.

Language and Writing

The languages and scripts that are used in the Western and Asian cultures tend to be very different. The languages of both regions have often been derived from similar roots and there has often been a lot of crossing between them. Latin and the romantic alphabet have been very influential in the West, while the Chinese script has played an important role in much of Asia. The importance of these two forms of writing in the East and West reflect the parallel roles that the Roman and Chinese empires have played in either region. At the same time as the Romans were spreading their ideas through Europe, Chinese culture was beginning to spread through Asia, particularly East Asia. Other languages and scripts have been more dominant in other parts of Asia, in the same way that Western languages are not all based on the Roman alphabet and language.

The Individual

Modern Western culture has been influenced a great deal by the Enlightenment and by Romanticism. This has changed Western cultures a great deal, resulting in a focus on the individual that is less important in many Eastern or Asian cultures and which was actually less important in Medieval Western societies. The focus on the individual has played an important role in the development of many aspects of Western cultures, from business to art.

Similarities and Differences

  • Different forms of art, architecture, cuisine, music and other aspects of culture have arisen in the East and the West, but they have always coexisted in the center. Central Asia, the Middle East or West Asia is an intermediate between the East and the West, both in terms of its geographical location and its culture. The mixing of Asian and Western cultures in this region, and the importance of the various trade routes that have crossed it, indicate the interdependence of all of the cultures that have arisen in the Old World. The Western and Asian cultures can never be completely separated.
  • The Abrahamic religions, the Roman alphabet and language have been influential in Western cultures.
  • Eastern philosophies and religions such as Confucianism, Hinduism and Buddhism, and the Chinese script have been influential in Asian cultures.
  • Modern Western cultures tend to have a stronger focus on the individual.


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