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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 heavily damaged Japanese cruiser Aoba after the battle
The Battle of Cape Esperance took place on 11–12 October 1942 between the Imperial Japanese Navy and U.S. Navy in the Pacific campaign of World War II. The second major surface engagement of the Guadalcanal Campaign, it took place at the entrance to the strait between Savo Island and Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. The Japanese sent a major supply and reinforcement convoy to their forces on Guadalcanal. At the same time, five warships (under the command of Rear Admiral Aritomo Gotō) were to bombard the Allied airfield on Guadalcanal. Shortly before midnight on 11 October, the Americans surprised Gotō's force, sinking two warships and heavily damaging another. Gotō was mortally wounded and his other warships were forced to retreat. Meanwhile, the Japanese supply convoy unloaded and began its return journey without being discovered; four of its destroyers turned back to assist Gotō's retreating warships, but U.S. aircraft sank two of them. The battle did not give either navy operational control of the waters around Guadalcanal, but it provided a significant morale boost to the U.S. Navy after its heavy losses at the earlier Battle of Savo Island.

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1873 5 Yen gold coin proof
Credit: JFS

Both the obverse and reverse of a gold, Meiji era 5 yen coin. This particular proof coin was minted in 1873.

On this day...

June 26:



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Chuichi Nagumo, admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy

Selected biography

Katsuhiko Nakajima is a Japanese professional wrestler, represented as a freelancer by his mentor Kensuke Sasaki's Kensuke Office dojo and agency. He along with Sasaki and other Kensuke Office graduates currently most frequently wrestle in Pro Wrestling Noah (or simply NOAH), as well as sporadic self-produced independent shows. Prior to that Nakajima participated in All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW), where he is a former AJPW World Junior Heavyweight Champion. Having made his professional debut aged 15, Nakajima has already made a significant impact on puroresu, earning the nickname "Supernova" and facing Hall of Famers such as Kenta Kobashi, Satoru Sayama, Jushin Liger, and Tatsumi Fujinami. He has competed in several notable Japanese promotions, including New Japan Pro Wrestling, AJPW, Pro Wrestling ZERO1, Michinoku Pro, Dragon Gate, and currently, NOAH. He has set several age records over his short career, including being the youngest wrestler to compete in AJPW's Champion's Carnival tournament and the youngest to hold the AJPW Junior Heavyweight Championship. He won the Tokyo Sports Grand Prix "Rookie of the Year" award in 2004 and the Fighting Spirit award in 2005.

In the news

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

Did you know...

Don Quijote in Shinjuku at night.jpg


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