The Country Similarity Index groups the Asian countries of South Korea and Japan into their own region. North Korea is not grouped with these countries since it has large political, technological, and economic differences. Here are some of the traits that these two countries share:
Both South Korea and Japan border the Pacific Ocean and are located in the same time zone at a similar latitude. They have temperate climates and as a result, their biomes are mostly deciduous forests. Rice is by far the most common crop in their farmlands. Both countries are mountainous and most of their land is close to the ocean. They are also densely populated and their cities tend to be full of skyscrapers. A high percentage of their land is built-up urban space.
The vast majority of people in Japan and South Korea have East Asian ancestry. These countries have low birthrates, but long life expectancies, so they are among the oldest countries in the world. Their population is highly educated. Many people have completed college. As a result, they are also relatively wealthy countries and have low poverty rates. The majority of people work in the service sector.
While the languages are writing systems in South Korea and Japan are vastly different, the countries still share many cultural similarities. Both countries have a significant amount of people who follow Mahayana Buddhism, although neither country is especially religious. One difference is that South Korea has more Christians, while many Japanese people follow their native religion, Shintoism. Both countries celebrate the Autumnal Equinox and Children’s Day. They also have low murder rates, but high suicide rates. Their diets are similar too. Both countries eat a lot of seafood. Rice and wheat are their staple grains. Eggs are also a common part of their cuisine. Spirits are the region’s most consumed alcohol. In addition, the cigarette consumption in the region is high. Soccer and baseball are a popular sports in both Japan and South Korea. However, another big difference between their cultures is that over 90% of South Korean males are circumcised, while less than 10% of Japanese males are.
Both countries are democracies, however their systems of government are quite different. Japan is a constitutional monarchy with a bicameral legislature, while South Korea uses the presidential system and has a unicameral legislature. Still, their legal systems do both use a mix of Civil Law and Customary Law. Their laws are also similar. Both countries do not allow same sex marriage, polygamy, or prostitution. Their governments both offer free and universal healthcare to their citizens as well. In addition, both countries are close allies with the United States and even host US military bases. One difference is that South Korean males have mandatory military service, while Japanese males do not.
Japan and South Korea are two of the most highly developed countries in the world. Many people have cars in these countries, but their railroad infrastructure is also heavily used. Since most of their land is near the ocean, their shipping infrastructure is also well used. Coal and natural gas are the region’s two biggest sources of energy. Unlike most countries, tap water in Japan and South Korea is potable. Both countries have extremely fast internet and over 90% of their people use it. However, their technology standards are far different. Japan drives on the left, while South Korea drives on the right. They also do not use the same railroad gauge, TV broadcast standard, electrical outlets, or voltage.