Monday, March 14, 2011

About Japan

Thanks Wikipedia.

Japan is an island nation in East Asia.

Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south.

The characters that make up Japan's name mean "sun-origin", which is why Japan is sometimes referred to as the "Land Of The Rising Sun".

Japan is an archipelago of 6,852 islands.

The four largest islands are Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku, together accounting for ninety seven percent of Japan's land area.

Japan has the world's tenth largest population, with over 127 million people.

Since adopting its revised constitution in 1947, Japan has maintained a unitary constitutional monarchy with an emperor and an elected parliament called the Diet.

A major economic power, Japan is the world's fourth largest exporter and fifth largest importer.

Although Japan has officially renounced its right to declare war, it maintains an extensive modern military force in self-defense and peacekeeping roles.

Japan has the highest life expectancy of any country in the world.

The English word Japan is an exonym.

The Japanese names for Japan are Nippon and Nihon.

Japanese people refer to themselves as Nihonjin and to their language as Nihongo.

Both Nippon and Nihon mean "sun-origin".

The British coined the name Japan from the Malay word Jepang which is derived from the Shanghai Chinese word for the country, Zepen.

The Japanese are of Chinese and Mon origin.

The Ryukyu Islanders in the south of Japan are the same people as the aboriginals of Taiwan and the people of the Philippines.

They are Austronesians of the Bajau subgroup (Kenyah in Sarawak and Kayan in Indonesian Borneo aka Banjarmasin).

Japan received Buddhism from the Koreans.

During the 16th century, traders and missionaries from Portugal reached Japan, initiating direct commercial and cultural exchange between Japan and the West (Nanban trade).

On March 31, 1854, the United States' representative Matthew Perry inked a business treaty with the Japanese monarch.

Emperor Meiji subsequently introduced a constitution for Japan and modernised the country extensively.

After victories in the First Sino-Japanese War (1894–1895), Japan gained control of Taiwan and Korea.

World War I enabled Japan, which joined the side of the victorious Allies, to widen its influence and territorial holdings.

It occupied Manchuria in 1931, and in 1940, joined Adolf Hitler's Germany fighting the Allies in World War II.

Japan invaded China in 1937, precipitating the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945).

In 1940, it took South East Asia and on December 7, 1941, attacked the United States' naval base at Pearl Harbour.

After the Soviet invasion of Manchuria and the American atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, Japan surrendered to the Allies.

The Allies (led by the United States ) repatriated millions of ethnic Japanese from colonies and military camps throughout Asia.

The Allies also convened the International Military Tribunal For The Far East on May 3, 1946 to prosecute some Japanese leaders for war crimes.

However, the bacteriological research units and members of the imperial family involved in the war were exonerated from criminal prosecutions by the Supreme Allied Commander despite calls for trials for both groups.

In 1947, Japan adopted a new constitution emphasising liberal democratic practices.

The Allied occupation ended with the Treaty Of San Francisco in 1952 and Japan was granted membership in the United Nations in 1956.

Japan later achieved rapid growth to become the second largest economy in the world.

On March 11, 2011, Japan suffered the strongest earthquake in its recorded history.

It had a magnitude of 9.0 and was aggravated by a tsunami, affecting the northeast area of Honshu, including the capital city Tokyo.

About 73 percent of Japan is forested, mountainous and unsuitable for agricultural, industrial, or residential use.

As a result, the habitable zones, mainly located in coastal areas, have extremely high population densities.

The islands of Japan are located in a volcanic zone on the Pacific Ring Of Fire.

The climate of Japan is predominantly temperate, but varies greatly from north to south.

Japan's geographical features divide it into six principal climatic zones: Hokkaido, Sea Of Japan, Central Highlands, Seto Inland Sea, Pacific Ocean, and Ryukyu Islands.

The northernmost zone, Hokkaido, has a temperate climate with long, cold winters and cool summers.

In the Sea Of Japan zone on Honshu's west coast, northwest winter winds bring heavy snowfall.

In the summer, the region is cooler than the Pacific area, though it sometimes experiences extremely hot temperatures.

The Central Highlands has a typical inland climate, with large temperature differences between summer and winter, and between day and night.

The mountains of the Chugoku and Shikoku regions shelter the Seto Inland Sea from seasonal winds, bringing mild weather year-round.

The Pacific coast experiences cold winters with little snowfall and hot, humid summers.

The Ryukyu Islands have a subtropical climate, with warm winters and hot summers.
Japan has nine forest ecoregions which reflect the climate and geography of the islands.

They range from subtropical forests in the Ryukyu Islands, to temperate forests in the mild climate regions of the main islands and the cold northern islands.

Japan has over 90,000 species of wildlife, including the brown bear, the Japanese macaque, the raccoon dog, and the Japanese giant salamander.

Japan is one of the world's leaders in the development of new environment-friendly technologies, and is ranked 20th best in the world in the 2010 Environmental Performance Index.

Japan is a constitutional monarchy where the power of the Emperor is very limited.

As a ceremonial figurehead, he is defined by the constitution as "the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people".

Power is held chiefly by the Prime Minister of Japan and other elected members of the Diet, while sovereignty is vested in the Japanese people.

Japan's legislative organ is the National Diet, a bicameral parliament.

The Diet consists of a House of Representatives with 480 seats, elected by popular vote every four years or when dissolved, and a House of Councillors of 242 seats, whose popularly-elected members serve six-year terms.

There is universal suffrage for adults over 20 years of age.

Japan consists of forty seven prefectures, each overseen by an elected governor, legislature and administrative bureaucracy.

Each prefecture is further divided into cities, towns and villages.

Japan has a large industrial capacity, and is home to some of the largest and most technologically advanced producers of motor vehicles, electronics, machine tools, steel and nonferrous metals, ships, chemical substances, textiles and processed foods.

Agricultural businesses in Japan often utilise a system of terrace farming, and crop yields are high.

Japan is the second largest producer of automobiles in the world.

Its main exports are transportation equipment, motor vehicles, electronics, electrical machinery and chemicals.

Japan is a leading nation in scientific research, particularly technology, machinery and biomedical research.

Some of Japan's more prominent technological contributions are in the fields of electronics, automobiles, machinery, earthquake engineering, industrial robotics, optics, chemicals, semiconductors and metals.

Primary schools, secondary schools and universities were introduced in 1872.

Since 1947, compulsory education in Japan comprises elementary and middle school, which together last for nine years (from ages 6 to 15).

Japanese music is eclectic and diverse.

Many instruments, such as the koto, were introduced in the 9th and 10th centuries.

The accompanied recitative of the Noh drama dates from the 14th century and the popular folk music, with the guitar-like shamisen, from the sixteenth.

Historically, the primary ingredient of Japanese cuisine has been Japanese rice.

In the early modern era ingredients such as red meats that had previously not been widely used in Japan were introduced.

Japanese cuisine offers a vast array of regional specialties.

Traditionally, sumo is considered Japan's national sport.

Japanese martial arts such as judo, karate and kendo are also widely practiced and enjoyed by spectators in the country.

Japan hosted the Summer Olympics in Tokyo in 1964.

The Japanese professional baseball league was established in 1936.

Today baseball is the most popular spectator sport in the country.

One of the most famous Japanese baseball players is Ichiro Suzuki, who plays for the Seattle Mariners.

Since the establishment of the Japan Professional Football League in 1992, association football has also gained a wide following.

Japan was a venue of the Intercontinental Cup from 1981 to 2004 and co-hosted the 2002 FIFA World Cup with South Korea.

Japan has one of the most successful football teams in Asia, winning the Asian Cup four times.