East Asia is where China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan and, variously Vietnam and Mongolia reside. Shared artistic traditions, written language and moral values suggest that most East Asian peoples are descendants of the Yellow River civilization, that emerged in the flood plains of northern China around 10.000 years before the Present.
China has occupied the prominent, central role in East Asia for most of recorded history, as it “deeply influenced the culture of the peripheral countries and also drew them into a China-centered international order”, that virtually remained in effect until the early 20th century.
Defining East Asian cultural characteristics are the Chinese language influences and traditional writings systems, as well as shared religious and ethic ideas, that are represented by the Three teachings Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. The Chinese script is one of the oldest continuously used writing systems in the world, and has been a major unifying force and medium for conveying Chinese culture in East Asia. Historically used throughout the region and it is still in use by ethnic Chinese throughout the world, as well as in Japan and to a small and waning extent in South Korea.
As Chinese writing concepts were passed on to Korea, Japan and Vietnam, these nations developed their own characteristic writing systems as the cultural expression of their language families, such as Vietnamese, Japanese, and Korean. Whereas Chinese is still found in the historical roots of many borrowed words, modern Chinese has been influenced by other Asian languages.
East Asian national customs, architecture, literature, cuisines, traditional music, performing arts and crafts also have developed from many independent and local concepts, they have grown and diversified as many rank among the most refined expressions of aesthetic, artistic and philosophical ideas in the world. Notable among others are Japanese gardens and landscape planning, Heian literature, Vietnamese Water puppetry and the artifacts of the Dong Son culture. Modern research has also focused on the several nations pivotal role on the collective body of East Asian Buddhism and the Korean influence on Japanese culture.