Portal:Japan

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Japan, officially Nippon-koku (日本国?) is an island country in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of China, Korea and Russia. The characters that make up Japan's name mean "sun-origin", which is why Japan is sometimes identified as the "Land of the Rising Sun".

Japan comprises over 3,000 islands, the largest of which are Honshū, Hokkaidō, Kyūshū and Shikoku. Most of the islands are mountainous, many volcanic; for example, Japan’s highest peak, Mount Fuji, is a volcano. Japan has the world's tenth largest population, with about 128 million people. The Greater Tokyo Area, which includes the capital city of Tokyo and several surrounding prefectures, is the largest metropolitan area in the world, with over 30 million residents.

Influence from the outside world followed by long periods of isolation has characterized Japan's history. Since adopting its constitution in 1947, Japan has maintained a unitary constitutional monarchy with an emperor and an elected parliament, the Diet.

A major economic power, Japan has the world's third largest economy by nominal GDP. It is a member of the United Nations, G8, G4, OECD and APEC, with the world's fifth largest defense budget. It is also the world's fourth largest exporter and sixth largest importer and a world leader in technology and machinery.

Selected article

The ensign of the Imperial Japanese Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force
The Imperial Japanese Navy, also known as the Japanese Navy was the navy of the Empire of Japan from 1869 until 1947, when it was dissolved following Japan's constitutional renunciation of the use of force as a means of settling international disputes. It was the third largest navy in the world by 1920 behind the United States Navy and Royal Navy. It was supported by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service for aircraft and airstrike operation from the fleet. It was a major force in the Pacific War. The origins of the Imperial Japanese Navy trace back to early interactions with nations on the Asian continent, beginning in the early medieval period and reaching a peak of activity during the 16th and 17th centuries at a time of cultural exchange with European powers during the Age of Discovery. After two centuries of stagnation during the country's ensuing seclusion policy under the shoguns of the Edo period, Japan's navy was comparatively backward when the country was forced open to trade by American intervention in 1854. This eventually led to the Meiji Restoration. Accompanying the re-ascendance of the Emperor came a period of frantic modernization and industrialization. The navy's history of successes, sometimes against much more powerful foes as in the 1895 Sino-Japanese war and the 1905 Russo-Japanese War, ended in almost complete annihilation during the concluding days of World War II. The IJN was officially dissolved in 1947.

Selected picture

A geisha lights a client's cigar
Credit: Todd Laracuenta

A geisha at work lighting a client's cigar. Geisha are often hired to attend parties and gatherings, traditionally at tea houses or at traditional Japanese restaurants.

On this day...

April 22:

Events

Births

Selected quote

—Junko Nishioka, economist at RBS Securities Japan in Tokyo

Selected biography

Hasekura's portrait during his mission in Rome in 1615, by Claude Deruet, Coll. Borghese, Rome
Hasekura Tsunenaga was a Japanese samurai and retainer of Date Masamune, the daimyo of Sendai. In the years 1613 through 1620, Hasekura headed a diplomatic mission to the Vatican in Rome, traveling through New Spain and visiting various ports-of-call in Europe. This historic mission is called the Keichō Embassy. On the return trip, Hasekura and his companions re-traced their route across Mexico in 1619, sailing from Acapulco for Manilla, and then sailing north to Japan in 1620. This is conventionally considered the first Japanese ambassador in the Americas and in Europe. Although Hasekura's embassy was cordially received in Europe, it happened at a time when Japan was moving toward the suppression of Christianity. European monarchs such as the King of Spain thus refused the trade agreements Hasekura had been seeking. Hasekura returned to Japan in 1620 and died of illness a year later, his embassy seemingly ending with few results in an increasingly isolationist Japan.

In the news

March 7: 9 people die in a helicopter crash in Nagano.
Wikinews

Did you know...

Yuzuru Hiraga

  • ... that delay certificates issued by railway companies in Japan and Germany to passengers for tardy trains are considered valid reasons by superiors for reporting late to school or work?

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Economy Primary sector | Industry | Currency | Tokyo Stock Exchange | Communications | Transportation (Shinkansen · Tokyo Metro · Railway companies)
Other Demographics | List of Japanese people

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Coordinates: 36°30′N 139°00′E / 36.5°N 139°E / 36.5; 139