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Japan (Japanese: 日本, Nippon or Nihon, and formally 日本国, Nihonkoku) 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, Philippine 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, followed by 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 125.5 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 and began a military alliance with the United States. Under the 1947 constitution, Japan has maintained a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy with a bicameral legislature, the National Diet. (Full article...)

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The Akutan Zero is inspected by US military personnel on Akutan Island on July 11, 1942.
The Akutan Zero is inspected by US military personnel on Akutan Island on July 11, 1942.
The Akutan Zero was a type 0 model 21 Mitsubishi A6M Zero Japanese fighter plane which crash-landed on Akutan Island during World War II. It was captured intact by the Americans in July 1942 and became the first flyable Zero acquired by the United States during the war. Following its capture, it was repaired and flown by American test pilots. As a result of information gained during these tests, American strategists were able to devise tactics to defeat the Zero, which was the Imperial Japanese Navy's primary fighter plane throughout the war. The Akutan Zero was "a prize almost beyond value to the United States", and "probably one of the greatest prizes of the Pacific war". Japanese historian Masatake Okumiya noted that the acquisition of the Akutan Zero "was no less serious" than the Japanese defeat at the Battle of Midway, and that it "did much to hasten [Japan's] final defeat". The Akutan Zero was destroyed in a training accident in 1945. Pieces of it are preserved in several museums in the United States. (Full article...)

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October 27:

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In the news

17 October 2022 – Aftermath of the assassination of Shinzo Abe
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida orders an investigation into the ties between the Unification Church and members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party amid heavy scrutiny of the claims of Abe's assassin. (Al Jazeera)
16 October 2022 –
At least seven people are injured in a suspected gas explosion at a Japanese restaurant in Tarragona, Spain. (Reuters)
9 October 2022 – 2022 Formula One World Championship
Max Verstappen wins the Japanese Grand Prix to take the 2022 Formula One World Championship. (Sky Sports)
3 October 2022 – 2021–2022 North Korean missile tests
North Korea launches a suspected ballistic missile towards Japan with the Japanese government warning residents in Hokkaido and Aomori prefectures to immediately seek shelter. It later landed in the Pacific. The launch comes after a series of balloon launches and placard protests from South Korea and various military exercises involving the US. (Bloomberg) (WNYT-TV) (BBC News)
3 October 2022 –
North Korea restricts movement due to COVID-19. The announcement was made minutes after it launched a missile over Japan. (RFA)

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Selected biography – show another

Basho by Hokusai-small.jpg
Portrait of Bashō by Hokusai, late 18th century

Matsuo Bashō, (松尾 芭蕉, 1644 – November 28, 1694) born Matsuo Kinsaku, (松尾 金作) then Matsuo Chūemon Munefusa, (松尾 忠右衛門 宗房) was the most famous poet of the Edo period in Japan. During his lifetime, Bashō was recognized for his works in the collaborative haikai no renga form; today, after centuries of commentary, he is recognized as the greatest master of haiku (then called hokku). He is also well known for his travel essays beginning with Records of a Weather-Exposed Skeleton (1684), written after his journey west to Kyoto and Nara. Matsuo Bashō's poetry is internationally renowned, and, in Japan, many of his poems are reproduced on monuments and traditional sites. Although Bashō is famous in the West for his hokku, he himself believed his best work lay in leading and participating in renku. He is quoted as saying, "Many of my followers can write hokku as well as I can. Where I show who I really am is in linking haikai verses."

Bashō was introduced to poetry at a young age, and after integrating himself into the intellectual scene of Edo (modern Tokyo) he quickly became well known throughout Japan. He made a living as a teacher; but then renounced the social, urban life of the literary circles and was inclined to wander throughout the country, heading west, east, and far into the northern wilderness to gain inspiration for his writing. His poems were influenced by his firsthand experience of the world around him, often encapsulating the feeling of a scene in a few simple elements. (Full article...)

Selected prefecture – show another

Flag of Ehime Prefecture
Ehime Prefecture is a prefecture in northwestern Shikoku, Japan. The capital is Matsuyama. Until the Meiji Restoration, Ehime prefecture was known as Iyo province. Since before the Heian period, the area was dominated by fishermen and sailors who played an important role in defending Japan against pirates and Mongol invasions. After the Battle of Sekigahara, the Tokugawa shōgun gave the area to his allies, including Kato Yoshiaki who built Matsuyama Castle, forming the basis for the modern city of Matsuyama. The name Ehime comes from the Kojiki and means "beautiful maiden." Located in the northwestern part of Shikoku, Ehime faces the Seto inland sea to the north and is bordered by Kagawa and Tokushima in the east and Kochi in the south. The prefecture includes both high mountains in the inland region and a long coastline, with many islands in the Seto inland Sea. The westernmost arm of Ehime, the Sadamisaki Peninsula, is the longest peninsula in Japan. The area around Matsuyama has a number of industries, including shipbuilding, chemicals, oil refining, and paper and textile products. The rural areas of the prefecture mostly engage in agricultural and fishing industries, and are particularly known for citrus fruit such as mikan (tangerine) and iyokan and cultured pearls.

Did you know... – show different entries

Atrium in the Sapporo Factory

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

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    07. Japanese Garden Pano, Cowra, NSW, 22.09.2006
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    2003 Mazda 6 (GG) Classic hatchback 01
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    Asahi Breweries headquarters building with the Asahi Flame and Skytree at blue hour with full moon, Sumida-ku, Tokyo, Japan
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    Ase o fuku onna2
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    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)
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    BUR-12a-Burma-Japanese Occupation-One Quarter Rupee ND (1942)
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    BUR-13b-Burma-Japanese Occupation-One Half Rupee ND (1942)
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    BUR-14-Burma-Japanese Occupation-One Rupee ND (1942)
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    BUR-15b-Burma-Japanese Occupation-Five Rupees ND (1942-44)
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    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)
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    Beijing Castle Boxer Rebellion 1900 FINAL
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    Bicycle crankset Shimano 105 R7000 (chainring 50-34, length 172.5mm, 11 speed)
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    Blind monks examining an elephant
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    Comme des Garcons at the Met (62473)
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    Daurian redstart at Daisen Park in Osaka, January 2016
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    Douglas MacArthur signs formal surrender
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    Gasshukoku suishi teitoku kōjōgaki (Oral statement by the American Navy admiral)
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    Golden gate of Ueno Tōshō-gū Shinto shrine, Tokyo, Japan
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    Great Wave off Kanagawa2
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    Hasegawa Tohaku - Pine Trees (Shōrin-zu byōbu) - left hand screen
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    Hasegawa Tohaku - Pine Trees (Shōrin-zu byōbu) - right hand screen
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    Heart Mountain Relocation Center, Heart Mountain, Wyoming. In his barracks home at Block 7 - 21 - NARA - 539206 - Restoration
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    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
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    Line scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 05
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    Line scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 06
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    Line scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 07
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    Line scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 08
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    Line scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 09
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    Line scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 10
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    Line scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 11
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    Line scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 12
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    Line scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 13
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    Line scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 14
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    Line scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 15
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    Line scan photo of Shinkansen N700A Series Set G13 in 2017, car 16
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    MAL-M10b-Malaya-Japanese Occupation-1000 Dollars ND (1945)
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    MAL-M1b-Malaya-Japanese Occupation-One Cent ND (1942)
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    MAL-M2a-Malaya-Japanese Occupation-Five Cents ND (1942)
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    MAL-M3b-Malaya-Japanese Occupation-10 Cents ND (1942)
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    MAL-M4b-Malaya-Japanese Occupation-50 Cents ND (1942)
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    MAL-M5c-Malaya-Japanese Occupation-One Dollar ND (1942)
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    MAL-M6c-Malaya-Japanese Occupation-Five Dollars ND (1942)
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    MAL-M7c-Malaya-Japanese Occupation-10 Dollars ND (1944)
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    MAL-M8b-Malaya-Japanese Occupation-100 Dollars ND (1944)
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    MAL-M9-Malaya-Japanese Occupation-100 Dollars ND (1945)
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    Manzanar calisthenics 0016u
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    Manzanar portrait Toyo Miyatake 00100u
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    Maresuke Nogi, 近世名士写真 其1 - Photo only
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    NI-119b-Netherlands Indies-Japanese Occupation-1 Cent (1942)
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    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)
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    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)
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    Nagasakibomb
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    Nagoya Castle(Edit2)