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.
, often translated as "May your reign last forever" is Japan
's National Anthem
, and is also one of the world's shortest national anthems
in current use. The lyrics
are based on a Waka
poem written in the Heian Period
, sung to a melody written in the later Meiji Era
. The current melody was chosen in 1880, replacing an unpopular melody composed eleven years earlier. Although Kimigayo
has long been Japan's de facto
national anthem, it was only legally recognized as such in 1999 with the passing of the Law Regarding the National Flag and National Anthem
. After its adoption, there was controversy over the performance of the anthem at public school ceremonies. Along with the national flag
was considered to be a symbol of imperialism
in wartime. The lyrics first appeared in a poem anthology, Kokin Wakashū
, as an anonymous poem. While anonymous poems were not uncommon at that time, and the author may have been in fact known, the anonymity might be because the author belonged to one of the lower classes. The poem was also included in a lot of anthologies, and in a later period used as a celebration song by people of all walks of life. Unlike the current anthem, the poem began with "Wa ga Kimi wa
" ('you, my lord') instead of "Kimigayo wa
" ('your reign'). The change of the lyrics occurred during the Kamakura period
On this day...
- 1834 - Niwa Nagakuni (d. 1904), daimyo
- 1859 - Tsubouchi Shōyō (d. 1935), author, playwright, and educator
- 1885 - Kansuke Naka (d. 1965), novelist
- 1885 - Soemu Toyoda (d. 1957), admiral
- 1911 - Minoru Kawabata (d. 2001), Japanese-American painter and academic
- 1954 - Shuji Nakamura, Japanese-American physicist and engineer, Nobel Prize laureate
- 1956 - Shinji Morisue, gymnast
- 1960 - Hideaki Anno, animator, director, and screenwriter
- 1980 - Rena Tanaka, actress and television personality
- 1984 - Keita Nakamura, mixed martial artist
- 1985 - Tao Okamoto, model and actress
- 1985 - Hideaki Takeda, footballer
- 1992 - Chinami Tokunaga, singer
||I have lived in the United States and I know the might of their industrial complex. The United States is a sleeping giant and I am afraid that our attack has awakened it.
|— Chuichi Nagumo, admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy
was a Japanese samurai
and retainer of Date Masamune
, the daimyō
. 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
Did you know...
- ... that tanbo art (example pictured) is a Japanese practice where giant pictures are created in rice fields?
- ... the Safety Promotion Center, established by Japan Airlines after the worst single aircraft accident in history, has passengers' farewell letters and wreckage on display to educate employees about safety?
These are all of the Japan-related portals on Wikipedia:
Coordinates: 36°30′N 139°00′E / 36.5°N 139°E