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Japan (Japanese: 日本, Nippon or Nihon, and formally 日本国) is an island country in East Asia. It is situated in the northwest Pacific Ocean, and is bordered on the west by the Sea of Japan, while extending from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north toward the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south. Japan is a part of the Ring of Fire, and spans an archipelago of 6852 islands covering 377,975 square kilometers (145,937 sq mi); the five main islands are Hokkaido, Honshu (the "mainland"), Shikoku, Kyushu, and Okinawa. Tokyo is the nation's capital and largest city; other major cities include Yokohama, Osaka, Nagoya, Sapporo, Fukuoka, Kobe, and Kyoto.

Japan is the eleventh-most populous country in the world, as well as one of the most densely populated and urbanized. About three-fourths of the country's terrain is mountainous, concentrating its population of 125.36 million on narrow coastal plains. Japan is divided into 47 administrative prefectures and eight traditional regions. The Greater Tokyo Area is the most populous metropolitan area in the world, with more than 37.4 million residents.

Japan has been inhabited since the Upper Paleolithic period (30,000 BC), though the first written mention of the archipelago appears in a Chinese chronicle (the Book of Han) finished in the 2nd century AD. Between the 4th and 9th centuries, the kingdoms of Japan became unified under an emperor and the imperial court based in Heian-kyō. Beginning in the 12th century, political power was held by a series of military dictators (shōgun) and feudal lords (daimyō), and enforced by a class of warrior nobility (samurai). After a century-long period of civil war, the country was reunified in 1603 under the Tokugawa shogunate, which enacted an isolationist foreign policy. In 1854, a United States fleet forced Japan to open trade to the West, which led to the end of the shogunate and the restoration of imperial power in 1868. In the Meiji period, the Empire of Japan adopted a Western-modeled constitution and pursued a program of industrialization and modernization. Amidst a rise in militarism and overseas colonization, Japan invaded China in 1937 and entered World War II as an Axis power in 1941. After suffering defeat in the Pacific War and two atomic bombings, Japan surrendered in 1945 and came under a seven-year Allied occupation, during which it adopted a new constitution. Under the 1947 constitution, Japan has maintained a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy with a bicameral legislature, the National Diet.

Japan is a great power and a member of numerous international organizations, including the United Nations (since 1956), the OECD, and the Group of Seven. Although it has renounced its right to declare war, the country maintains Self-Defense Forces that rank as one of the world's strongest militaries. After World War II, Japan experienced record growth in an economic miracle, becoming the second-largest economy in the world by 1990. , the country's economy is the third-largest by nominal GDP and the fourth-largest by PPP. Ranked "very high" on the Human Development Index, Japan has one of the world's highest life expectancies, though it is experiencing a decline in population. A global leader in the automotive and electronics industries, Japan has made significant contributions to science and technology. The culture of Japan is well known around the world, including its art, cuisine, music, and popular culture, which encompasses prominent comic, animation and video game industries. (Full article...)

Selected articleshow another

The Charter Oath as officially published
The Charter Oath was promulgated at the enthronement of Emperor Meiji of Japan on April 7, 1868. The Oath outlined the main aims and the course of action to be followed during Emperor Meiji's reign, setting the legal stage for Japan's modernization. It remained influential, if less for governing than inspiring, throughout the Meiji period and into the twentieth century, and can be considered the first constitution of modern Japan. The first draft of the Oath was written by junior councilor Yuri Kimimasa in January 1868, containing progressive language that spoke to the frustrations that the radical but modestly born Meiji leaders had experienced in "service to hereditary incompetents." Yuri's language was moderated by his colleague Fukuoka Takachika in February to be "less alarming," and Kido Takayoshi prepared the final form of the Oath, employing "language broad enough to embrace both readings." The Oath was read aloud by Sanjo Sanetomi in the main ceremonial hall of the Kyoto Imperial Palace in the presence of the Emperor and more than 400 officials. After the reading, the nobles and daimyō present signed their names to a document praising the Oath, and swearing to do their utmost to uphold and implement it. Those not able to attend the formal reading afterward visited the palace to sign their names, bringing the total number of signatures to 767. (Full article...)

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January 19:

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In the news

18 January 2022 – COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19 pandemic in Japan
Japan reports a record 32,197 new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours. (The Mainichi)
7 January 2022 – COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19 pandemic in Japan
Japan declares a quasi-state of emergency for Okinawa, Yamaguchi, and Hiroshima prefectures, which host U.S. military bases and are reporting an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases. The quasi-emergency measures will take effect on January 9. (Kyodo News)
6 January 2022 – COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19 pandemic in Japan
The United States Armed Forces order all personnel stationed in Japan to wear masks when traveling off-base amid criticism of their handling of the increase in COVID-19 cases in areas where they are based in large numbers, such as Okinawa and Iwakuni. (ABC News)

Selected quoteshow another


Selected biographyshow another

Iwata at Game Developers Conference in 2011
Iwata at Game Developers Conference in 2011

Satoru Iwata (Japanese: 岩田 聡, Hepburn: Iwata Satoru, December 6, 1959 – July 11, 2015) was a Japanese businessman, video game programmer, video game designer, and producer. He was the fourth president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Nintendo. He was a major contributor in broadening the appeal of video games by focusing on novel and entertaining games rather than top-of-the-line hardware.

Born in Sapporo, Iwata expressed interest in video games from an early age and created his first simple game while in high school. He majored in computer science at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. In 1980, he joined the game developer HAL Laboratory while attending the university. At HAL, he worked as a programmer and closely collaborated with Nintendo, producing his first commercial game in 1983. Games to which he contributed include EarthBound and the Kirby series. Following a downturn and near-bankruptcy, Iwata became the president of HAL in 1993 at the insistence of Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi and brought financial stability. In the following years, he worked in the development of the Pokémon and Super Smash Bros. series. Iwata joined Nintendo as the head of its corporate planning division in 2000. (Full article...)

Selected prefectureshow another

Aichi Prefecture is a prefecture of Japan located in the Tokai region of the Chūbu region. The capital is Nagoya. It is the focus of the Chūkyō Metropolitan Area. Originally, the region was divided into the three provinces of Owari, Mikawa and Ho. After the Nou-sama era, Mikawa and Ho were united into a single entity. In 1871, after the abolition of the han system, Owari, with the exception of the Chita Peninsula, was institutionalized as Nagoya Prefecture, while Mikawa combined with the Chita Peninsula and formed Nukata Prefecture. Nagoya Prefecture was renamed to Aichi Prefecture in April 1872, and was united with Nukata Prefecture on November 27 of the same year. The Expo 2005 World Exposition was held in Seto and Nagakute. Located near the center of the Japanese main island of Honshū, Aichi Prefecture faces the Ise and Mikawa Bays to the south and borders Shizuoka to the east, Nagano to the northeast, Gifu to the north, and Mie to the west. It measures 106 km east to west and 94 km south to north and forms a major portion of the Nōbi Plain. With 5,153.81 km² it accounts for approximately 1.36% of the total surface area of Japan. The highest spot is Chausuyama at 1415 m above sea level. The western part of the prefecture is dominated by Nagoya, Japan's fourth largest city, and its suburbs, while the eastern part is relatively less densely populated but still contains several major industrial centers. Due to its robust economy, for the Oct 2005-Oct 2006 period, Aichi was the fastest growing prefecture in terms of population, beating Tokyo, at 7.4%.
More selected prefectures Read more...

Did you know...show different entries

  • ... that Kutani ware (pictured), first produced about 1656 near the current city of Kaga, is a type of Japanese porcelain known for its use of multicolored glazes in bold designs?
More did you know facts

General images

The following are images from various Japan-related articles on Wikipedia.

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  • 07. Japanese Garden Pano, Cowra, NSW, 22.09.2006
    07. Japanese Garden Pano, Cowra, NSW, 22.09.2006
  • 2003 Mazda 6 (GG) Classic hatchback 01
    2003 Mazda 6 (GG) Classic hatchback 01
  • Asahi Breweries headquarters building with the Asahi Flame and Skytree at blue hour with full moon, Sumida-ku, Tokyo, Japan
    Asahi Breweries headquarters building with the Asahi Flame and Skytree at blue hour with full moon, Sumida-ku, Tokyo, Japan
  • Ase o fuku onna2
    Ase o fuku onna2
  • BUR-10b-Burma-Japanese Occupation-Five Cents ND (1942)
    BUR-10b-Burma-Japanese Occupation-Five Cents ND (1942)
  • BUR-11a-Burma-Japanese Occupation-10 Cents ND (1942)
    BUR-11a-Burma-Japanese Occupation-10 Cents ND (1942)
  • BUR-12a-Burma-Japanese Occupation-One Quarter Rupee ND (1942)
    BUR-12a-Burma-Japanese Occupation-One Quarter Rupee ND (1942)
  • BUR-13b-Burma-Japanese Occupation-One Half Rupee ND (1942)
    BUR-13b-Burma-Japanese Occupation-One Half Rupee ND (1942)
  • BUR-14-Burma-Japanese Occupation-One Rupee ND (1942)
    BUR-14-Burma-Japanese Occupation-One Rupee ND (1942)
  • BUR-15b-Burma-Japanese Occupation-Five Rupees ND (1942-44)
    BUR-15b-Burma-Japanese Occupation-Five Rupees ND (1942-44)
  • BUR-16-Japanese occupation Burma-10 rupees (1942-44)
    BUR-16-Japanese occupation Burma-10 rupees (1942-44)
  • BUR-17b-Burma-Japanese Occupation-100 Rupees ND (1944)
    BUR-17b-Burma-Japanese Occupation-100 Rupees ND (1944)
  • BUR-9b-Burma-Japanese Occupation-One Cent ND (1942)
    BUR-9b-Burma-Japanese Occupation-One Cent ND (1942)
  • Beijing Castle Boxer Rebellion 1900 FINAL
    Beijing Castle Boxer Rebellion 1900 FINAL
  • Bicycle crankset Shimano 105 R7000 (chainring 50-34, length 172.5mm, 11 speed)
    Bicycle crankset Shimano 105 R7000 (chainring 50-34, length 172.5mm, 11 speed)
  • Blind monks examining an elephant
    Blind monks examining an elephant
  • Bloody Saturday, Shanghai
    Bloody Saturday, Shanghai
  • Comme des Garcons at the Met (62473)
    Comme des Garcons at the Met (62473)
  • Crested myna, Osaka, Japan
    Crested myna, Osaka, Japan
  • Daurian redstart at Daisen Park in Osaka, January 2016
    Daurian redstart at Daisen Park in Osaka, January 2016
  • Douglas MacArthur signs formal surrender
    Douglas MacArthur signs formal surrender
  • Extermination of Evil Tenkeisei
    Extermination of Evil Tenkeisei
  • Forces returning 2
    Forces returning 2
  • Gasshukoku suishi teitoku kōjōgaki (Oral statement by the American Navy admiral)
    Gasshukoku suishi teitoku kōjōgaki (Oral statement by the American Navy admiral)
  • Golden gate of Ueno Tōshō-gū Shinto shrine, Tokyo, Japan
    Golden gate of Ueno Tōshō-gū Shinto shrine, Tokyo, Japan
  • Great Wave off Kanagawa2
    Great Wave off Kanagawa2
  • Hasegawa Tohaku - Pine Trees (Shōrin-zu byōbu) - left hand screen
    Hasegawa Tohaku - Pine Trees (Shōrin-zu byōbu) - left hand screen
  • Hasegawa Tohaku - Pine Trees (Shōrin-zu byōbu) - right hand screen
    Hasegawa Tohaku - Pine Trees (Shōrin-zu byōbu) - right hand screen
  • Heart Mountain Relocation Center, Heart Mountain, Wyoming. In his barracks home at Block 7 - 21 - NARA - 539206 - Restoration
    Heart Mountain Relocation Center, Heart Mountain, Wyoming. In his barracks home at Block 7 - 21 - NARA - 539206 - Restoration
  • Hiroshige II - Kishu kumano iwatake tori - Shokoku meisho hyakkei
    Hiroshige II - Kishu kumano iwatake tori - Shokoku meisho hyakkei
  • HiroshimaPeaceMemorialPanorama-2
    HiroshimaPeaceMemorialPanorama-2
  • HoryujiYumedono0363edit4
    HoryujiYumedono0363edit4
  • ISS Aug2005
    ISS Aug2005
  • ISS March 2009
    ISS March 2009
  • Instrument of surrender Japan2
    Instrument of surrender Japan2
  • JAPAN-10-Constitutional Monarchy-One Yen (1873)
    JAPAN-10-Constitutional Monarchy-One Yen (1873)
  • JAPAN-M7-Tsingtao-10 Sen (1914)
    JAPAN-M7-Tsingtao-10 Sen (1914)
  • Japan 1870 20 Yen (alt)
    Japan 1870 20 Yen (alt)
  • Japanese Squirrel edit2
    Japanese Squirrel edit2
  • Japanese archer 1878b
    Japanese archer 1878b
  • Japanese pygmy woodpecker in Sakai, Osaka, February 2016
    Japanese pygmy woodpecker in Sakai, Osaka, February 2016
  • Japanese white-eye at Tennōji Park in Osaka, January 2016 III
    Japanese white-eye at Tennōji Park in Osaka, January 2016 III
  • Japaneseweavera
    Japaneseweavera
  • Kabukicho red gate and colorful neon street signs at night, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan
    Kabukicho red gate and colorful neon street signs at night, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan
  • Khalili Collections A Composite Imaginary View of Japan
    Khalili Collections A Composite Imaginary View of Japan
  • Kiyonaga bathhouse women-2
    Kiyonaga bathhouse women-2
  • Koku Saitcho shounin
    Koku Saitcho shounin
  • Line scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 01
    Line scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 01
  • Line scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 02
    Line scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 02
  • Line scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 03
    Line scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 03
  • Line scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 04
    Line scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 04
  • Line scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 05
    Line scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 05
  • Line scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 06
    Line scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 06
  • Line scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 07
    Line scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 07
  • Line scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 08
    Line scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 08
  • Line scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 09
    Line scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 09
  • Line scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 10
    Line scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 10
  • Line scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 11
    Line scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 11
  • Line scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 12
    Line scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 12
  • Line scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 13
    Line scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 13
  • Line scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 14
    Line scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 14
  • Line scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 15
    Line scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 15
  • Line scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 16
    Line scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 16
  • MAL-M10b-Malaya-Japanese Occupation-1000 Dollars ND (1945)
    MAL-M10b-Malaya-Japanese Occupation-1000 Dollars ND (1945)
  • MAL-M1b-Malaya-Japanese Occupation-One Cent ND (1942)
    MAL-M1b-Malaya-Japanese Occupation-One Cent ND (1942)
  • MAL-M2a-Malaya-Japanese Occupation-Five Cents ND (1942)
    MAL-M2a-Malaya-Japanese Occupation-Five Cents ND (1942)
  • MAL-M3b-Malaya-Japanese Occupation-10 Cents ND (1942)
    MAL-M3b-Malaya-Japanese Occupation-10 Cents ND (1942)
  • MAL-M4b-Malaya-Japanese Occupation-50 Cents ND (1942)
    MAL-M4b-Malaya-Japanese Occupation-50 Cents ND (1942)
  • MAL-M5c-Malaya-Japanese Occupation-One Dollar ND (1942)
    MAL-M5c-Malaya-Japanese Occupation-One Dollar ND (1942)
  • MAL-M6c-Malaya-Japanese Occupation-Five Dollars ND (1942)
    MAL-M6c-Malaya-Japanese Occupation-Five Dollars ND (1942)
  • MAL-M7c-Malaya-Japanese Occupation-10 Dollars ND (1944)
    MAL-M7c-Malaya-Japanese Occupation-10 Dollars ND (1944)
  • MAL-M8b-Malaya-Japanese Occupation-100 Dollars ND (1944)
    MAL-M8b-Malaya-Japanese Occupation-100 Dollars ND (1944)
  • MAL-M9-Malaya-Japanese Occupation-100 Dollars ND (1945)
    MAL-M9-Malaya-Japanese Occupation-100 Dollars ND (1945)
  • Mamoru Shigemitsu signs the Instrument of Surrender, officially ending the Second World War
    Mamoru Shigemitsu signs the Instrument of Surrender, officially ending the Second World War
  • Manzanar calisthenics 0016u
    Manzanar calisthenics 0016u
  • Manzanar portrait Toyo Miyatake 00100u
    Manzanar portrait Toyo Miyatake 00100u
  • Maresuke Nogi, 近世名士写真 其1 - Photo only
    Maresuke Nogi, 近世名士写真 其1 - Photo only
  • Mazda RX-8 on freeway
    Mazda RX-8 on freeway
  • NI-119b-Netherlands Indies-Japanese Occupation-1 Cent (1942)
    NI-119b-Netherlands Indies-Japanese Occupation-1 Cent (1942)
  • NI-120c-Netherlands Indies-Japanese Occupation-5 Cents (1942)
    NI-120c-Netherlands Indies-Japanese Occupation-5 Cents (1942)
  • NI-121a-Netherlands Indies-Japanese Occupation-10 Cents (1942)
    NI-121a-Netherlands Indies-Japanese Occupation-10 Cents (1942)
  • NI-122b-Netherlands Indies-Japanese Occupation-half Gulden (1942)
    NI-122b-Netherlands Indies-Japanese Occupation-half Gulden (1942)
  • NI-123-Netherlands Indies-Japanese Occupation-1 Gulden (1942)
    NI-123-Netherlands Indies-Japanese Occupation-1 Gulden (1942)
  • NI-124c-Netherlands Indies-Japanese Occupation-5 Gulden (1942)
    NI-124c-Netherlands Indies-Japanese Occupation-5 Gulden (1942)
  • NI-125c-Netherlands Indies-Japanese Occupation-10 Gulden (1942)
    NI-125c-Netherlands Indies-Japanese Occupation-10 Gulden (1942)
  • Nagasakibomb
    Nagasakibomb
  • Nagoya Castle(Edit2)
    Nagoya Castle(Edit2)
  • Noru 2017-07-31 0415Z
    Noru 2017-07-31 0415Z
  • OCE-1a-Oceania-Japanese Occupation-Half Shilling ND (1942)
    OCE-1a-Oceania-Japanese Occupation-Half Shilling ND (1942)
  • OCE-2a-Oceania-Japanese Occupation-One Shilling ND (1942)
    OCE-2a-Oceania-Japanese Occupation-One Shilling ND (1942)
  • OCE-3a-Oceania-Japanese Occupation-10 Shillings ND (1942)
    OCE-3a-Oceania-Japanese Occupation-10 Shillings ND (1942)
  • OCE-4a-Oceania-Japanese Occupation-One Pound ND (1942)
    OCE-4a-Oceania-Japanese Occupation-One Pound ND (1942)
  • Ogata Gekko - Ryu sho ten edit
    Ogata Gekko - Ryu sho ten edit
  • Olympus E-M1 Mark III Zuiko 12-100mm
    Olympus E-M1 Mark III Zuiko 12-100mm
  • PHI-102b-Japanese Government (Philippines)-1 Centavo (1942)
    PHI-102b-Japanese Government (Philippines)-1 Centavo (1942)
  • PHI-103b-Japanese Government (Philippines)-5 Centavos (1942)
    PHI-103b-Japanese Government (Philippines)-5 Centavos (1942)