he Asian societies that began in modern-day China are among the oldest known human societies on earth. Though they were at least as developed and sophisticated as early civilizations in Mesopotamia (centered in present-day Iraq) and Egypt, these Asian societies have received far less study and attention in the West. In the last century, however, with the modernization of the ancient nations of China and Japan, people in the West have come to know a great deal about early Asian cultures. Many who learn about these ancient cultures have developed a great respect for Asian accomplishments in technology, governance, and the arts, and also gain an understanding of the distinct costume traditions. To appreciate the distinct costume traditions developed in ancient China and Japan, it is first important to understand how these civilizations developed over time.
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