East Asian cultural sphere

The East Asian cultural sphere[n 1] encompasses countries in East and Southeast Asia that were historically influenced by Chinese culture. According to academic consensus, the East Asian cultural sphere is made up of four entities: China (including Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan), Japan, Korea (both North and South), and Vietnam. Other definitions sometimes include other countries such as Mongolia[1][2][3] and Singapore, because of limited historical Chinese influences or increasing modern-day Chinese diaspora.[4] The East Asian cultural sphere is not to be confused with the Sinophone, which includes countries where the Chinese-speaking population is dominant.[5]

East Asian cultural sphere
  •   East Asian cultural sphere
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese東亞文化圈
Simplified Chinese东亚文化圈
Vietnamese name
Vietnamese alphabetVùng văn hóa Đông Á
Vùng văn hóa chữ Hán
Đông Á văn hóa quyển
Hán tự văn hóa quyển
Korean name
Japanese name
East Asian Dragons are legendary creatures in East-Asian mythology and culture.

Imperial China was a regional power and exerted influence on tributary and neighbouring states, among which were Japan, Korea, and Vietnam.[n 2] These interactions brought ideological and cultural influences rooted in Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism. During classical history, the four cultures shared a common imperial system under respective emperors. Chinese inventions influenced, and were in turned influenced by, innovations of the other cultures in governance, philosophy, science, and the arts.[8][9][10] Written classical Chinese became the regional lingua franca for literary exchange, and Chinese characters (Hanzi) became locally adapted in Japan as Kanji, Korea as Hanja, and Vietnam as Chữ Hán.

In late classical history, the literary importance of classical Chinese diminished as Japan, Korea, and Vietnam each adopted their own literary device. Japan developed the Katakana and Hiragana scripts, Korea developed Hangul, and Vietnam developed Chữ Nôm (which is now obsolete and the modern Vietnamese alphabet is based on the Latin alphabet).[11][12] Classical literature written in Chinese characters nonetheless remains an important legacy of Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese cultures. In the 21st century, ideological and cultural influences of Confucianism and Buddhism remain visible in high culture and social doctrines.