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The Japan Portal
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Japan, officially Nippon (日本) 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.

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Japan has submitted films for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film since the inception of the award. The award is handed out annually by the United States Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to a feature-length motion picture produced outside the United States that contains primarily non-English dialogue. The Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film was not created until 1956; however, between 1947 and 1955, the Academy presented Honorary Awards to the best foreign language films released in the United States. These awards were not competitive, as there were no nominees but simply a winner every year that was voted on by the Board of Governors of the Academy. Three Japanese films were recipients of Honorary Awards during this period. For the 1956 Academy Awards, a competitive Academy Award of Merit, known as the Best Foreign Language Film Award, was created for non-English speaking films, and has been given annually since. As of 2009, twelve Japanese films have been nominees for Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and one film, Departures, has won the award. The only Japanese directors to have multiple films be nominated for the award are Akira Kurosawa and Noboru Nakamura. Kurosawa received an Honorary Award prior to the conception of the formal award for his work on Rashomon and the actual Academy Award for Dersu Uzala (submitted for the former Soviet Union), and had four other films submitted, with two of them accepted as nominees. Notably, Kurosawa's 1985 film Ran was deliberately not nominated by the Japanese film industry for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film due to the poor perception he had among Japanese filmmakers at the time.

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The Great Wave off Kanagawa
Credit: Hokusai

Hokusai's The Great Wave at Kanagawa, from his seminal work 36 Views of Mount Fuji, is one of the most iconic representations of the Japanese style of art known as ukiyo-e. The scene is of a great wave (often mistaken for a tsunami) about to devour the men and boats, with the distant Mount Fuji minimized by the size of the wave.

On this day...

November 14:



Film and television

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Masako Katsura was a carom billiards player most active in the 1950s who trailblazed a path for women in the sport by competing and placing among the best in the male-dominated world of professional billiards. First learning the game from her brother-in-law and then under the tutelage of Japanese champion Kinrey Matsuyama, Katsura finished second in Japan's national three-cushion billiards championship three times. In exhibition she was noted for running 10,000 points at the game of straight rail. After marrying a U.S. army officer in 1950, Katsura emigrated with him to the United States in 1951, where she was invited to play in the 1952 U.S.-sponsored World Three-Cushion Championship, ultimately taking seventh place at that competition. Katsura was the first woman ever to be included in any world billiards tournament. Her fame cemented, Katsura went on an exhibition tour of the United States with 8-time world champion Welker Cochran, and later with 51-time world champion, Willie Hoppe. In 1953 and 1954 she again competed for the world three-cushion crown, taking fifth and fourth places respectively.

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Flag of Ishikawa Prefecture
Ishikawa Prefecture is a prefecture of Japan located in the Chūbu region on Honshū island. The capital is Kanazawa. Ishikawa was formed from the merger of Kaga Province and the smaller Noto Province. It is located on the Sea of Japan coast. The northern part of the prefecture consists of the narrow Noto Peninsula, while the southern part is wider and consists mostly of mountains, with the prefecture's chief city, Kanazawa, located in the coastal plain. The prefecture also has some islands, including Notojima, Mitsukejima, Hegurajima. It contains 10 cities, 6 districts and 9 towns and villages. Ishikawa's industry is dominated by the textile industry, particularly artificial fabrics, and the machine industry, particularly construction machinery. Ishikawa Prefecture has an area of 4,185 km² and as of April 1, 2006 it has a population of 1,698,539 persons. Most of the area's culture is made up of traditional arts and crafts. was introduced to the area during the rule of the fifth Maeda lord Tsunanori and was refined into the Kaga hosho style. The tea ceremony arrived in 1666 when Maeda Toshitsune invited Senbiki Soshitsu of urasenke to Kanazawa.

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Depiction of Naoe Kanetsugu in a rice field, an example of Tanbo art

  • ... that tanbo art (example pictured) is a Japanese practice where giant pictures are created in rice fields?


In the news

13 November 2019 – Japan–North Korea relations, Japan–South Korea relations
South Korean media reports that between May and September, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe sent personal letters to North Korea's Kim Jong-un to hold bilateral meetings to ease tensions between the two countries. A Japanese government spokesman denied the report, saying, "There's no such fact." (The Japan Times)
13 November 2019 –
After the South Korean government launches an investigation into comfort women, a survivor tells the press that Japan "lacked honor" for failing to attend the South Korean court's proceedings. (Reuters)
10 November 2019 – 2019 Japanese imperial transition
The new Emperor Naruhito and his wife Empress Masako take part in a parade in central Tokyo as tens of thousands of onlookers line the streets in celebration of the emperor's enthronement. (Mainichi Shinbun) (Kyodo News) (Associated Press)
8 November 2019 –
Takuma Sakuragi, a 76-year-old former Japanese assemblyman from Inazawa, Aichi, is sentenced to life in prison by the Guangzhou City First Intermediate Court in southern China for smuggling drugs hidden in his suitcase at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in October 2013 (he had been detained by Chinese authorities since then). (KYODO NEWS) (Los Angeles Times)
4 November 2019 – Japan–South Korea relations
South Korean President Moon Jae-in hold a 11-minute conversation with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe at ASEAN summit in Bangkok. (Hankyoreh)
30 October 2019 –
A fire destroys much of the 500-year-old Shuri Castle in Shuri, Okinawa, Japan, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. (NHK World-Japan)

Japan topics

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Art Architecture | Cinema | Literature | Music | Pornography | Theatre (Noh · Kabuki · Bunraku) | Anime | Manga | Ukiyo-e | Japanese tea ceremony | Japanese aesthetics | Ikebana | Poetry | Bonsai | Origami
Sports Sumo wrestling | Nippon Professional Baseball | Football J1 League | Super GT | All Japan Road Race Championship | Judo | Karate | Kendo | Kyūdō | Jujutsu | Ninjutsu | Aikido
Economy Japanese Companies | Primary sector | Industry | Tourism | Currency | Tokyo Stock Exchange | Japanese economic miracle | Communications | Transportation (Shinkansen · Tokyo Metro · Railway companies) | Japan Business Federation | Housing in Japan
Science and Technology Consumer electronics in Japan | Japanese automotive industry | Japanese inventions | Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) | Nuclear power in Japan | Japanese robotics
Geography Geography of Japan | Japanese archipelago | Islands of Japan | Cities | Lakes | Rivers | Waterfalls | Mountains | National Parks | Japanese Alps | Mount Fuji | Lake Biwa | Seto Inland Sea | Sea of Japan
Demographics Demographics | Yamato people | Hāfu (half Japanese people) | Ainu people | Japanese people | Japanese names | Aging of Japan
Animals Animals in Japan | Japanese macaque | Japanese raccoon dog (Tanuki) | Japanese Green pheasant | Koi | Japanese Bobtail | Hokkaido dog | Shiba Inu | Akita (dog) | Japanese giant hornet | Japanese badger
Other Tokyo | Kyoto | Nara | Osaka | Sapporo | Okinawa | Kinkaku-ji | Kiyomizu-dera | Yakushi-ji temple | Tōdai-ji temple | Sensō-ji temple | Meiji Shrine | Akihabara | Shinjuku | Tokyo Tower | Tokyo Imperial Palace | Himeji Castle | Matsumoto Castle | Osaka Castle | Nagoya Castle | Tokyo Disney Resort

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