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This article is about the country. For other uses, see Japan (disambiguation). See also: Portal:Japan and Outline of Japan
Japan 日本国 Nippon-koku or Nihon-koku


Imperial Seal

Anthem: Kimigayo (君が代)

Government Seal of Japan

五七桐 (Go-Shichi no Kiri?)

Capital (and largest city)

Tokyo (de facto)

35°41′N 139°46′E

Official language(s)


Recognised regional languages

Aynu itak, Ryukyuan languages, Eastern Japanese, Western Japanese, and several

925 sq mi .Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda Legislature Diet .944 km2 [4](62nd) 145.659.other Japanese dialects National language Japanese Ethnic groups 98.2012 estimate 126.Lower house House of Representatives Formation . 0.Total 377.Meiji Constitution 29 November 1890 .Upper house House of Councillors .8 Population .Emperor Akihito .5% Japanese.Treaty of San Francisco 28 April 1952 Area . 0.National Foundation Day 11 February 660 BC[3] .6% other[2] Demonym Japanese Government Unitary parliamentary democracy andconstitutional monarchy .5% Korean.4% Chinese.683[5] (10th) .Current constitution 3 May 1947 .Water (%) 0. 0.

Total $4.739[7] (25th) GDP (nominal) 2011 estimate .1/km2 (36th) 873.6 (2008)[8] HDI (2011) 0.440 trillion[7] (4th) .Per capita $45.869 trillion[7] (3rd) ..Total $5. Without proper rendering support.Per capita $ Calling code 81 This article contains Japanesetext. you .Density 337.1/sq mi GDP (PPP) 2011 estimate .2010 census 128.901[9] (very high) (12th) Currency Yen (¥) / En (円 or 圓) (JPY) Time zone JST (UTC+9) .Summer (DST) not observed (UTC+9) Date formats yyyy-mm-dd yyyy年m月d日 Era yy年 m月d日 (CE−1988) Drives on the left ISO 3166 code JP Internet TLD .056.026[6] .920[7] (18th) Gini 37.

boxes. Japan was known as Wa (倭?) orWakoku (倭国?).may see question marks.China. Influence from other nations followed by long periods of isolation has characterized Japan's history. Located in the Pacific Ocean. South Korea and Russia.[16] and this . The Japanese names for Japan are Nippon(にっぽん?) listen (help·info) and Nihon (にほん?) listen (help·info). was borrowed from Chinese Jih'pen'kuo (日本国)in one or other of its coastal dialect forms. which is why Japan is sometimes referred to as the "Land of the Rising Sun". probably Fukienese or Ningpo. Although Japan has officially renounced its right to declare war. the pronunciation of characters 日本 'Japan' is Zeppen [zəʔpən]. After Singapore. Japan has maintained a unitary constitutional monarchy with an emperor and an elected legislature called the Diet. Archaeological research indicates that people lived in Japan as early as the Upper Paleolithic period. Honshū's Greater Tokyo Area. Before Nihon came into official use. The first written mention of Japan is in Chinese history texts from the 1st century AD. it maintains a modern military with thesixth largest military budget. The characters that make up Japan's name mean "sun-origin". victory in the First Sino-Japanese War. which came to an end in 1945 following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Jepang.Hokkaidō. together comprising about ninety-seven percent of Japan's land area. meaning "the Empire of Great Japan". The Second Sino-Japanese War of 1937 expanded into part of World War II in 1941. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries. with over 30 million residents. The old Malay word for Japan. Japan has the lowest homicide rate (including attempted homicide) in the world. including on Japanese yen. Japan has the second highest life expectancy of any country in the world. which includes the de factocapital city of Tokyo and several surrounding prefectures. This nomenclature comes from Japanese missions to Imperial China and refers to Japan's eastward position relative to China. is the largest metropolitan area in the world. Japan is an archipelago of 6.[10] used for self-defense and peacekeeping roles. Today the name Nippon-koku or Nihon-koku (日本国?) is used as a formal modern-day equivalent. and for many international sporting events. with over 127 million people. countries like Japan whose long form does not contain a descriptive designation are generally given a name appended by the character koku (国?). The Japanese name Nippon is used for most official purposes. it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan. It is also the world's fourth-largest exporter and fourth-largest importer.[12] According to the United Nations. literally the State of Japan) is an island nation inEast Asia. North Korea. postage stamps. A major economic power.[15] The English word for Japan came to the West via early trade routes. Nihon is a more casual term and is used in colloquial speech. meaning "country".852 islands. Japan also has the third lowest infant mortality rate. Japanese people refer to themselves as Nihonjin (日本人?) and to their language as Nihongo (日本語?). Both Nippon and Nihon mean "sun-origin" and are often translated as Land of the Rising Sun. the full title of Japan wasDai Nippon Teikoku (大日本帝國?). Kyūshū and Shikoku. The earlyMandarin or possibly Wu Chinese (吳語) word for Japan was recorded by Marco Polo as Cipangu.[11] According to both UN and WHO estimates. From the Meiji Restoration until the end of World War II. stretching from the Sea of Okhotskin the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south. "nation" or "state". The four largest islands are Honshū. Since adopting its revised constitution in 1947. Japan has the world's tenth-largest population. In modern Shanghainese. formally 日本国 Nippon-koku or Nihon-koku. both names are written using the kanji 日本. the Russo-Japanese War andWorld War I allowed Japan to expand its empire during a period of increasing militarism. or other symbolsinstead of kanji and kana. a Wu dialect.[2] Japan has the world's third-largest economy by nominal GDP and fourth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. Japan i /dʒəˈpæn/ (Japanese: 日本 Nihon or Nippon.[13][14] Etymology Main article: Names of Japan The English word Japan is an exonym.

Buddhism was first introduced to Japan from Baekje of Korea.[23] a new style of pottery.[22] The Yayoi period. and a UNESCO World Heritage Site A Paleolithic culture around 30. Portuguese traders were the first to bring the word to Europe. intermingling with the Jōmon. 1489).000 BC (the start of theJōmon period) by a Mesolithic to Neolithic semi-sedentary hunter-gatherer culture. The Zenschool of Buddhism was introduced from China in the Kamakura period (1185–1333) and became popular among the samurai class.[29] The smallpox epidemic of 735–737 is believed to have killed as much as one-third of Japan's population. National Treasures. Emperor Kammu moved the capital from Nara to Nagaoka-kyō before relocating it to Heian-kyō (modern Kyoto) in 794. among the oldest wooden buildings in the world. starting around 500 BC.[24]and metallurgy. but was eventually overthrown by Emperor Go-Daigo. Go-Daigo was himself defeated by Ashikaga Takauji in 1336. Byōdō-in (1053) is a temple of Pure Land Buddhism. but the subsequent development of Japanese Buddhism was primarily influenced by China.[17] It was first recorded in English in a 1565 letter.[21]Decorated clay vessels from this period are some of the oldest surviving examples of pottery in the world. Buddhism was promoted by the ruling class and gained widespread acceptance beginning in theAsuka period (592–710).000 BC constitutes the first known habitation of the Japanese archipelago. introduced from China and Korea. Lady Murasaki's The Tale of Genji and the lyrics of Japan's national anthem Kimigayowere written during this time. following the defeat of the Taira clan. the samurai. saw the introduction of practices like wet-rice farming. who include ancestors of both the contemporary Ainu people and Yamato people. poetry and prose. Around 300 BC. It was registered to the UNESCO World Heritage Site.[30] In 784.[19][20] characterized by pit dwelling and rudimentary agriculture. In 1185.[27]Despite early resistance. the most powerful kingdom on the archipelago during the 3rd century was called Yamataikoku.[31] Buddhism began to spread during the Heian era chiefly through two major sects. during which a distinctly indigenous Japanese culture emerged.[32] The Kamakura shogunate repelled Mongol invasions in 1274 and 1281. The Nara period is characterized by the appearance of a nascent literature as well as the development of Buddhist-inspired art and architecture. . the Yayoi people began to enter the Japanese islands. This was followed from around 14. centered on an imperial court in Heijōkyō (modern Nara).[18] History Main article: History of Japan Prehistory and ancient history The Golden Hall and five-storey pagodaof Hōryū-ji. After his death. the Hōjō clan came to power as regents for the shoguns. Pure Land Buddhism (Jōdoshū. c. and Shingon by Kūkai. noted for its art. spelledGiapan.[26] According to the Records of the Three Kingdoms. This marked the beginning of the Heian period (794–1185). sung in the epic Tale of Heike. samurai Minamoto no Yoritomo was appointed shogun and established a base of power in Kamakura.Tendai by Saichō. Ginkaku-ji in Kyoto (Higashiyama period inMuromachi Period.[25] Japan first appears in written history in the Chinese Book of Han. Jōdo Shinshū) greatly becomes popular in the latter half of the 11th century. Feudal era Japan's feudal era was characterized by the emergence and dominance of a ruling class of warriors. It was registered as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto".[28] The Nara period (710–784) of the 8th century marked the emergence of a strong Japanese state.Malay word was encountered by Portuguese traders in Malacca in the 16th century.

and the culture based on Zen Buddhism (art of Miyabi) has prospered. Commodore Matthew Perry and the "Black Ships" of the United States Navy forced the opening of Japan to the outside world with the Convention of Kanagawa.[37] The study of Western sciences. World War I enabled Japan. When open war broke out. Japan gained control of Taiwan.[44] On 7 December 1941. after which the United States placed an oil embargo on Japan. Ieyasu was appointed shogun in 1603 and established the Tokugawa shogunate at Edo (modern Tokyo). judicial and military institutions. to widen its influence and territorial holdings. known as rangaku. [38] Modern era On 31 March 1854. introduced the Meiji Constitution. continued through contact with the Dutch enclave at Dejima in Nagasaki. in whose name imperial rule was restored at the end of the Tokugawa shogunate The early 20th century saw a brief period of "Taishō democracy" overshadowed by increasingexpansionism and militarization. Japan resigned from the League of Nations two years later. The Edo period also gave rise to kokugaku ("national studies"). Japan attacked the US naval base at Pearl Harbor and declared war.[33] During the 16th century. The Meiji Restoration transformed the Empire of Japan into an industrialized world power that pursued military conflict to expand its sphere of influence. the isolationist sakoku ("closed country") policy that spanned the two and a half centuries of tenuous political unity known as the Edo period (1603–1868). precipitating the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945). It evolves to Higashiyama Culture. and assembled the Imperial Diet. Korea. the Cabinet organized the Privy Council. and the southern half ofSakhalin. Subsequent similar treaties with Western countries in the Bakumatsuperiod brought economic and political crises. traders and Jesuit missionaries from Portugal reached Japan for the first time. After victories in the First Sino-Japanese War(1894–1895) and the Russo-Japanese War (1904–1905).[43] The Empire of Japan invaded other parts of China in 1937. [36] and in 1639. Oda Nobunaga conquered many other daimyo using European technology and firearms.[47] The war cost Japan and the rest of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere millions of lives and left much of the nation's industry and infrastructure destroyed. his successorToyotomi Hideyoshi unified the nation in 1590. as a code of conduct to control the autonomous daimyo. It continued its expansionist policy by occupyingManchuria in 1931. In 1936. Kyoto. the study of Japan by the Japanese. It is a start ofMuromachi Period (1336–1573). and has prospered until the 16th century. initiating direct commercial and cultural exchange between Japan and the West. the succeeding Ashikaga shogunate failed to control the feudal warlords (daimyo). as a result of international condemnation of this occupation.[40] Japan's population grew from 35 million in 1873 to 70 million in 1935. In 1940. but following defeats by Korean and Ming Chinese forces and Hideyoshi's death. the Empire then invaded French Indochina. Japan agreed to an unconditional surrender on 15 August. on the side of the victorious Allies. [34] This age is called Azuchi-Momoyama Period (1573–1603). bringing the US into World War II. The Ashikaga shogunate receives glory in the age of Ashikaga Yoshimitsu.[35] The Tokugawa shogunate enacted measures including buke shohatto. Japan signed the Anti-Comintern Pact withNazi Germany. he defeated rival clans in the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600. The resignation of the shogun led to the Boshin War and the establishment of acentralized state nominally unified under the Emperor (the Meiji Restoration). Hideyoshi invaded Korea twice. The Allies (led by the US) repatriated millions of ethnic Japanese from colonies and military camps throughout Asia. and a civil war (the Ōnin War) began in 1467. Tokugawa Ieyasu served as regent for Hideyoshi's son and used his position to gain political and military support. after he was assassinated in 1582.[45][46] After theSoviet invasion of Manchuria and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. [41] The Meiji Emperor (1868–1912). and the 1940 Tripartite Pact made it one of the Axis Powers.[48] The Allies also convened the International Military Tribunal for the Far East on 3 May 1946 to prosecute some Japanese leaders for war .[42] In 1941.Ashikaga Takauji establishes the shogunate in Muromachi. Japanese troops were withdrawn in 1598. Japan negotiated the Soviet– Japanese Neutrality Pact. largely eliminating the Japanese empire and restoring the independence of its conquered territories. On the other hand.[39] Adopting Western political. opening the century-long Sengoku period ("Warring States").

. Naoto Kan was designated by the Diet to replace Yukio Hatoyama as the Prime Minister of Japan on 2 June 2010. Japan later achievedrapid growth to become the second-largest economy in the world. in 1896.[56] Historically influenced by Chinese law. and Elections in Japan Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko Japan is a constitutional monarchy where the power of the Emperor is very limited. Power is held chiefly by the Prime Minister of Japan and other elected members of the Diet. 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.[49] In 1947. whose popularly elected members serve six-year terms. The Allied occupation ended with theTreaty of San Francisco in 1952[50] and Japan was granted membership in the United Nations in 1956. For example.[60] Foreign relations and military Main articles: Foreign relations of Japan and Japan Self-Defense Forces JDS Kongō (DDG-173) guided missile destroyer launching aStandard Missile 3 anti-ballistic missile. notably Germany. with post–World War II modifications. There is universal suffrage for adults over 20 years of age. In the beginning of the 21st century.[53] Japan's court system is divided into four basic tiers: the Supreme Court and three levels of lower courts.[59] The main body of Japanese statutory law is called the Six Codes. this triggered theFukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Japan's legislative organ is the National Diet. the Japanese government established a civil code based on a draft of the German Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch. [51] On 11 March 2011. Emperor Akihito formally appointed Kan as the country's 94th Prime Minister on 8 June. a bicameral parliament.[57] However. since the late 19th century the judicial system has been largely based on thecivil law of Europe. the Japanese legal system developed independently during the Edo period through texts such as Kujikata Osadamegaki. he is defined by the constitution as "the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people".[2] with a secret ballot for all elected offices.[53] In 2009.[58] Statutory law originates in Japan's legislature and has the rubber stamp of the Emperor. the code remains in effect. one of the worst disasters in the history of nuclear power. The Constitution requires that the Emperor promulgate legislation passed by the Diet. until surpassed by China in 2010. while sovereignty is vested in the Japanese people. stands as next in line to the throne. elected by popular vote every four years or when dissolved. As a ceremonial figurehead. Politics of Japan.[55] Although the Prime Minister is formally appointed by the Emperor. Naruhito.[52] Government and politics Main articles: Government of Japan. positive growth has signaled a gradual economic recovery.[54] The Prime Minister of Japan is the head of government and is appointed by the Emperor after being designated by the Diet from among its members. and a House of Councillors of 242 seats. Japan adopted a new constitution emphasizing liberal democratic practices.crimes. without specifically giving him the power to oppose legislation. Crown Prince of Japan.[53] Akihito is the current Emperor of Japan. Japan suffered the strongest earthquake in its recorded history. the social liberalDemocratic Party of Japan took power after 54 years of the liberal conservative Liberal Democratic Party's rule. The Diet consists of a House of Representatives with 480 seats. The Prime Minister is the head of the Cabinet and appoints and dismisses the Ministers of State. the Constitution of Japan explicitly requires the Emperor to appoint whoever is designated by the Diet. However. This ended in the mid-1990s when Japan suffered a major recession.

It is one of the G4 nationsseeking permanent membership in the Security Council.[68] Japan contributed non-combatant troops to the Iraq War but subsequently withdrew its forces. the deployment of troops to Iraq marked the first overseas use of Japan's military since World War II.[70] Japan's military is restricted by Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution. Towns of Japan. towns and villages. most recently for 2009 and 2010. Tokyo. towns and villages with each other.[73] Geography Main articles: Geography of Japan and Geology of Japan Topographic map of the Japanese Archipelago.[69]The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force is a regular participant in RIMPAC maritime exercises.[63] Japan has close economic and military relations with the United States.[62] It is the world's third largest donor of official development assistance after the United States and France.48 billion in 2009. and primarily consists of theJapan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF). legislature and administrative bureaucracy.[65] Japan is engaged in several territorial disputes with its neighbors: with Russia over the South Kuril Islands. and is a participant in theEast Asia Summit. The forces have been recently used in peacekeeping operations. APEC. Hanami celebrations under the cherry blossomsin Ueno Park. [69] Nippon Keidanren has called on the government to lift the ban on arms exports so that Japan can join multinational projects such as the Joint Strike Fighter. and Villages of Japan Japan consists of forty-seven prefectures. This process will reduce the number of sub-prefecture administrative regions and is expected to cut administrative costs.Japan is a member of the G8. Cities of Japan. and with China over the EEZ around Okinotorishima. each overseen by an elected governor. the US-Japan security alliance acts as the cornerstone of the nation's foreign policy. with South Korea over the Liancourt Rocks. donating US$9.[66] Japan also faces an ongoing dispute with North Korea over the latter's abduction of Japanese citizens and itsnuclear weapons and missile program (see also Six-party talks).[72] The nation is currently undergoing administrativereorganization by merging many of the cities. Japan signed a security pact with Australia in March 2007[61] and with India in October 2008. the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) and the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF).[67] Japan maintains one of the largest military budgets of any country in the world. Japan has served as a non-permanent Security Councilmember for a total of 19 years. with China and Taiwan over theSenkaku Islands. . Japan's military is governed by the Ministry of Defense. which renounces Japan's right to declare war or use military force in international disputes.[64] A member state of the United Nations since 1956. Regions of Japan.[71] Administrative divisions Main articles: Prefectures of Japan. Each prefecture is further divided into cities. and "ASEAN Plus Three".

[85] The highest temperature ever measured in Japan—40.typhoons often bring heavy rain.000 people. The northernmost zone. industrial. In the summer. 6. and unsuitable foragricultural. a 9. Precipitation is very heavy.[2][77] As a result. However.2 °F) and the average summer temperature is 25. The Ryūkyū Islands. often resulting intsunami. the region is co oler than the Pacific area. the habitable zones.[78] The islands of Japan are located in a volcanic zone on the Pacific Ring of Fire. a UNESCO World Heritage Site. the calls of the summer cicada and fall foliage colors that are celebrated in art and literature.[84] In the Sea of Japan zone on Honshū's west coast. Sea of Japan.0magnitude[82]quake which hit Japan on 11 March 2011. from north to south. Central Highland. and subduction of the Pacific Plate under the Okhotsk Plate to the north.852 islands extending along the Pacific coast of East Asia. though it sometimes experiences extremely hot temperatures because of thefoehn wind. especially during the rainy season. In late summer and early autumn.[52] On 24 May 2012. temperate climate exhibits marked seasonal variation such as the blooming of the spring cherry blossoms.2 °C (77. bringing mild weather yearround. with large temperature differences between summer and winter.[87] Biodiversity .[86] The main rainy seasonbegins in early May in Okinawa. humid summers because of the southeast seasonal wind. and longitudes 122° and 146°E. have extremely high population densities. Destructive earthquakes. The Ryukyu Islands have a subtropical climate. and between day and night.9 °C (105.[80] The 1923 Tokyo earthquakekilled over 140. occur several times each century.6 °F)—was recorded on 16 August 2007. Hokkaido.[84] The average winter temperature in Japan is 5. Seto Inland Sea. Japan is one of the most densely populated countries in the world.1 °C (41.Precipitation is not heavy. and the rain front gradually moves north until reaching Hokkaidō in late July. In most of Honshū. precipitation is light. Japan has a total of 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of northeastern Japan.[84] The Pacific coast features a humid subtropical climate that experiences milder winters with occasional snowfall and hot.[76] About 73 percent of Japan is forested. the rainy season b egins before the middle of June and lasts about six weeks. Honshū. The main islands. mainly located in coastal areas. Pacific Ocean. but varies greatly from north to south. no tsunami was generated. though winters are usually snowy. The Central Highland has a typical inland humid continental climate.4 °F). or residential use. Shikoku and Kyūshū. has a humid continental climate with long. mountainous. The subducting plates pulled Japan eastward. are a chain to the south of Kyūshū. Together they are often known as the Japanese Archipelago. They are primarily the result of large oceanic movements occurring over hundreds of millions of years from the mid-Silurian to the Pleistocene as a result of the subduction of the Philippine Sea Plate beneath the continentalAmurian Plate and Okinawa Plate to the south.[81] More recent major quakes are the 1995 Great Hanshin earthquake and the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake. opening the Sea of Japan around 15 million years ago. The mountains of the Chūgoku and Shikoku regions shelter the Seto Inland Sea from seasonal winds. including all of the islands it controls. but the islands usually develop deep snowbanks in the winter. cold winters and very warm to cool summers. and Ryūkyū Islands. Japan was originally attached to the eastern coast of the Eurasian continent. The generally humid.[79] Japan has 108 active volcanoes. Japan's geographical features divide it into six principal climatic zones: Hokkaidō. [83] Climate Main article: Climate of Japan The climate of Japan is predominantly temperate. and triggered a large tsunami. northwest winter winds bring heavy snowfall.[74][75] The country. lies between latitudes 24° and 46°N. including Okinawa. with warm winters and hot summers.Autumn maple leaves (momiji) at Kongōbu-ji onMount Kōya. are Hokkaidō.

suspended particulate matter. to temperate coniferous forests in the cold. and toxics). waste management. and host of the 1997 conference which created it.[89] A large network of national parks has been established to protect important areas of flora and fauna as well as thirty-seven Ramsar wetland sites. and Japan emerged as the most developed nation in . the government introduced several environmental protection laws in 1970. by road and water.[90][91] Environment Main article: Environmental issues in Japan In the period of rapid economic growth after World War II. environmental pollution was widespread in the 1950s and 1960s. as a result. and is ranked 20th best in the world in the 2010 Environmental Performance Index. the Japanese macaque. Responding to rising concern about the problem. Japan is under treaty obligation to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions and to take other steps to curb climate change. climate change.[94] Japan is one of the world's leaders in the development of new environment-friendly technologies. and the futures contracts. environmental policies were downplayed by the government and industrial corporations.000 species of wildlife. the largest stock exchange in Asia. the Japanese raccoon dog.[93] Current environmental issues include urban air pollution (NOx.Japan has nine forest ecoregions which reflect the climate and geography of the islands. winter portions of the northern islands.[99] Many of today's enterprises were founded at the time.[95] As a signatory of the Kyoto Protocol. such as the network of transport routes.[88] Japan has over 90. to temperate broadleaf and mixed forests in the mild climate regions of the main islands. including the brown bear.[97] Some of the structural features for Japan's economic growth developed in the Edo period. and the Japanese giant salamander.[96] Economy Main article: Economy of Japan The Tokyo Stock Exchange. banking and insurance of the Osaka rice brokers.[92] The oil crisis in 1973also encouraged the efficient use of energy due to Japan's lack of natural resources. chemical management and international co-operation for conservation. They range from subtropical moist broadleaf forests in the Ryūkyū and Bonin Islands. water eutrophication. Japan expanded economically with the embrace of the market economy. nature conservation.[98]During the Meiji period from 1868.

fossil fuels. domestic markets are the least open of any OECDcountry. in terms of nominal GDP. Japan's labor force consisted of some 65.29 percent). GDP growth for that year was 2.98 percent) and Indonesia (3. Taiwan (6. Honda.49 percent) as of 2009.Sony. textiles and raw materials for its industries. largely because of the after-effects of the Japanese asset price bubbleand domestic policies intended to wring speculative excesses from the stock and real estate markets.[110] By market share measures. The Japanese variant of capitalism has many distinct features: keiretsu enterprises are influential. and shareholder activism is rare.[111] Junichiro Koizumi's administration began some pro-competition reforms. electrical machinery and chemicals.13 percent). and foreign investment in Japan has soared. South Korea (8. the US (10.[100] The period of overall real economic growth from the 1960s to the 1980s has been called the Japanese post-war economic miracle: it averaged 7. and lifetime employment and seniority-based career advancement are relatively common in the Japanese work environment. Takeda Pharmaceutical.[2] Japan's main import markets as of 2009 are China (22.2 percent). ships. steel and nonferrous metals.2 percent in the 1980s and early 1990s.[115] It has some of the world's largest banks. Almost one in six Japanese. after the United States and China.88 percent). Japan's public debtwas more than 200 percent of its annual gross domestic product.210 per capita in 2005. surpassing the growth rates of the US andEuropean Union during the same period.27 percent) and Hong Kong (5. United Arab Emirates (4. Agricultural businesses in Japan cultivate 13 percent of Japan's land. Sharp. chemicals.12 percent).[101] Growth slowed markedly in the 1990s during what the Japanese call the Lost Decade. Toshiba. and Japan accounts for nearly 15 percent of the global fish catch. the United States (16. Saudi Arabia (5. Japan's main export markets are China (18.42 percent). The large budget deficits and government debt since the 2009 global recession and followed by earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 made the rating downgrade.[104] The service sector accounts for three quarters of the gross domestic product. Nippon Oil.Asia. In August 2011. Australia (6.[2] The economy showed strong signs of recovery after 2005. textiles.[106] Japan has a low unemployment rate of around four percent.[107] Housing in Japan is characterized by limited land supply in urban areas. Government efforts to revive economic growth met with little success and were further hampered by the global slowdown in 2000.[110] Japan's main imports are machinery and equipment. NTT DoCoMo.8 percent.[117] Science and technology .Moody's rating has cut Japan's long-term sovereign debt rating one notch from Aa3 to Aa2 inline with the size of the country's deficit and borrowing level. and processed foods. Japan is the third largest national economy in the world. one of the world's largest carmakers.[114] Some of the largest enterprises in Japan include Toyota. Its main exports are transportation equipment. Nippon Steel. chemical substances.[111][113] Japanese companies are known for management methods like "The Toyota Way".29 percent). Panasonic.[105] Japan has a large industrial capacity. the largest of any nation in the world.[102] As of 2011.[2] As of 2010. Nintendo. and Seven & I Holdings Co.[112] Japan ranks 12th of 178 countries in the 2008 Ease of Doing Business Indexand has one of the smallest tax revenues of the developed world.3 percent (as of 2006).96 percent). electronics.[109] Japan's exports amounted to US$4.[116] Japan is home to 326 companies from the Forbes Global 2000 or 16. after the United States.[108] A plug-in hybrid car manufactured by Toyota. lived in poverty in 2007. machine tools.[103] and the fourth largest national economy in the world. foodstuffs (in particular beef). or 20 million people. South Korea (3. Canon.95 percent).[7] As of January 2011. China and India in terms of purchasing power parity. and 3. electronics.9 million workers. second only to China. motor vehicles.5 percent in the 1960s and 1970s. and is home to some of the largest and most technologically advanced producers of motor vehicles. and the Tokyo Stock Exchange (known for its Nikkei 225 and Topix indices) stands as the second largest in the world by market capitalization. Japan is the second-largest producer of automobiles in the world.

[140] A single network of highspeed.[129] Kaguya is the largest lunar mission since the Apollo program.[141] Dozens of Japanese railway companies compete in regional and local passenger transportation markets.[118] Japan is a world leader in fundamental scientific research.Main article: Science and technology in Japan H-II Transfer Vehicle.7 percent from natural gas. all of the countries nuclear power plants had been taken offline due to ongoing public opposition following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. automobiles.[132]The probe's mission was ended when it was deliberately crashed by JAXA into the Moon on 11 June 2009. is Asia's second-busiest airport.7 percent from nuclear power. possessing more than half (402.[144] There are 173 airports in Japan. semiconductors and metals.[139] Its 1. Nearly 700. optics.4 percent from coal. and 2. Nuclear power produced 25.[124][125]developing the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter to be launched in 2013. earthquake engineering.[123] Japan's plans in space exploration include: launching a space probe to Venus.[120] and one Gauss Prize laureate. Akatsuki.[119]three Fields medalists. Japan leads the world in robotics production and use. car ownership fees and fuel levies are used to promote energy efficiency.[135] However. and aviation research. planetary. it conducts space. However. machinery and biomedical research.200 of 742.2 million kilometers of paved road are the main means of transportation.1 percent of Japan's electricity. 46. SELENE is also known as Kaguya. industrial robotics.4 percent of energy in Japan is produced from petroleum.[145] The largest international . chemistry or medicine. as of 5 May 2012. the largest domestic airport. It is a participant in theInternational Space Station: the Japanese Experiment Module (Kibo) was added to the station during Space Shuttle assembly flights in 2008. 16. Seibu Railway and Keio Corporation.Haneda Airport. and leads development of rockets and satellites.[136] Given its heavy dependence on imported energy. 9.[138] Japan's road spending has been extensive. after the lunar princess of The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter. at just 50 percent of all distance traveled. car usage is the lowest of all G8 countries. the third largest in the world. New and used cars are inexpensive.[130][131] flying at an altitude of about 100 km (62 mi). though government officials have been continuing to try to sway public opinion in favor of returning at least some of Japan's 50 nuclear reactors to service. particularly technology.000 researchers share a US$130 billion research and development budget. divided.[126][127] and building a moon base by 2030. major companies include seven JR enterprises. limited-access toll roads connects major cities and is operated by toll-collecting enterprises. having produced fifteen Nobel laureates in either physics.9 percent from hydro power. 21. It entered a lunar orbit on 4 October. Japan is a leading nation in scientific research.500) of the world's industrial robots. as of 2009.[133] Infrastructure Main articles: Energy in Japan and Transport in Japan Nozomi Shinkansen or 'Bullet Train' at Tokyo Station[134] As of 2008.[128] On 14 September 2007.[121] Some of Japan's more prominent technological contributions are in the fields of electronics. Some 250 high-speed Shinkansentrains connect major cities and Japanese trains are known for their safety and punctuality.[137] Japan has aimed to diversify its sources and maintain high levels of energy efficiency. machinery. chemicals. Its purpose is to gather data on the moon's origin and evolution.[122] The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is Japan's space agency. [142][143] Proposals for a new Maglevroute between Tokyo and Osaka are at an advanced stage. it launched lunar explorer "SELENE" (Selenological and Engineering Explorer) on an H-IIA (Model H2A2022) carrier rocket from Tanegashima Space Center. Kintetsu Corporation.

700 non-Latin American Western and 345. there were about 134.[150] Zainichi Chinese. as well as social minority groups like the burakumin. at least one analysis describes Japan as a multiethnic society. one civilization. John Lie. for example. Brazilians mostly of Japanese descent. [156] In spite of the widespread belief that Japan is ethnically homogeneous (in 2009. an ethnic minority people from Japan Japanese wedding at the Meiji Shrine Japan's population is estimated at around 127. Japanese people. Japanese society is linguistically and culturally homogeneous.[151] and Peruvians mostly of Japanese descent are among the small minority groups in Japan.[153] The most dominant native ethnic group is the Yamato people.[152] In 2003. [147] Demographics Main articles: Demographics of Japan. primary minority groups include the indigenous Ainu[154] and Ryukyuan peoples. along with their spouses).[2] with 80% of the population living on Honshū. American.500 Latin American expatriates. who still tend to preserve the idea of Japan being a monocultural society and with this ideology of homogeneity. accounting for 10 percent of Japan's trade value. 274.[151] the largest community of Westerners. one language and one culture‖. Kansai International Airport and Chūbu Centrair International Airport.[148] composed of 98.Filipinos. this statement is refused by many sectors of Japanese society. and Racial issues in Japan Ainu. such as those from Ogasawara Archipelago where roughly one-tenth of the Japanese population can have European.[149] with small populations of foreign workers.[155] There are persons of mixed ancestry incorporated among the 'ethnic Japanese' or Yamato.7% of the total population). has traditionally rejected any need to recognize ethnic differences in Japan.gateways are Narita International Airport. Former Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso has once described Japan as being a nation of ―one race. with some families going back up to seven generations.[148] Zainichi Koreans.[146] Nagoya Port is the country's largest and busiest port.[159] .[157] also due to the absence of ethnicity and/or race statistics for Japanese nationals. Micronesian and/or Polynesian backgrounds. even as such claims have been rejected by such ethnic minorities as the Ainu and Ryukyuan people.3 million.[158] However.5% ethnic Japanese. foreign-born non-naturalized workers made up only 1.700 of whom were Brazilians (said to be primarily Japanese descendants. or nikkeijin.

328 Nagoya Torii of Itsukushima Shrine near Hiroshima. the first year for which government data are available.288 962. by 2050 almost 40 percent of the population will be aged 65 and over. In 2009.209 Miyagi Fukuoka Chiba Osaka Niigata Shizuoka Kumamoto Kanagawa 1.045.[161] Immigration and birth incentives are sometimes suggested as a solution to provide younger workers to support the nation's aging population.192 800. Japan's population dropped for a fifth year. [167] Japan suffers from a high suicide rate.222. as projected in December 2006.24 million people.263.7 percent of the population was over 65.000 new Japanese citizens by naturalization (帰化) per year.[166] According to the UNHCR. Hiroshima 1.[162] Japan's population is expected to drop to 95 million by 2050.5 years for persons born in the period 2010– 2015.[171]  V  T  E Largest cities or towns of Japan 2010 Census[172] Rank City name Prefecture Pop.873 1. particularly a potential decline in workforce population and increase in the cost of social security benefits like the public pension plan.000 deaths included 15.474.910 20 Shizuoka Shizuoka 716.[161] In 2011.912 734. This is the greatest decline since at least 1947.134 812. falling by 204. A growing number of younger Japanese are preferring not to marry or have families. one of the Three Views of Japan and a UNESCO World Heritage Site .[13][14] The Japanese population is rapidly aging as a result of a post–World War II baby boom followed by a decrease in birth rates.371 2. while the US took in 50.130 842.463. [160][163] demographers and government planners are currently in a heated debate over how to cope with this problem. [170] Suicide is the leading cause of death for people under 30.844 people killed and 3. about 22. in 2007 Japan accepted just 41 refugees for resettlement.914. 1 Tokyo Tokyo 8.Japan has the longest overall life expectancy at birth of any country in the world: 83.294 717.000 people to 126.425.678 Rank City name 11 Hiroshima 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 Sendai Kitakyūshū Chiba Sakai Niigata Hamamatsu Kumamoto Sagamihara Prefecture Pop.689.561 Osaka 10 Yokohama Religion Main article: Religion in Japan Saitama Saitama 1. the number of suicides exceeded 30.[168][169] In 2009.447 2 3 4 5 Tokyo 6 7 8 9 Yokohama Osaka Nagoya Sapporo Kōbe Kyōto Fukuoka Kawasaki Kanagawa Osaka Aichi Hokkaidō Hyōgo Kyōto Fukuoka Kanagawa 3.603 2.174.903 977.473 1.451 left missing by the tsunami.000 for the twelfth straight year.000.[160] The changes in demographic structure have created a number of social issues.949.666.434 1.[164][165] Japan accepts a steady flow of 15. The 204.907 1.544.826 1.

compulsory education in Japan comprises elementary and middle school. Obon andChristmas. some 70–80% of the Japanese regularly tell pollsters they do not consider themselves believers in any religion.[177] Other minority religions include Islam.[188] Patients are free to select the physicians or facilities of their choice. are spoken in Okinawa. Other studies have suggested that only 30 percent of the population identify themselves as belonging to a religion. Taoism andConfucianism from China have also influenced Japanese beliefs and customs.[181] Most public and private schools require students to take courses in both Japanese and English.[184] The two top-ranking universities in Japan are the University of Tokyo and Kyoto University. with fees set by a government committee. which together last for nine years (from age 6 to age 15). also part of the Japonic language family.[182] Education Main article: Education in Japan Announcement of the results of the entrance examinations to the University of Tokyo Primary schools. and since the mid-19th century numerous new religious movements have emerged in Japan.[183] Since 1947. and Judaism. Sikhism. rather than the number of true believers. few children learn these languages. [176] Japanese streets are decorated on Tanabata. or other higher education institution.[2][173] However. however. [2] Japanese is an agglutinative languagedistinguished by a system of honorifics reflecting the hierarchical nature of Japanese society. with verb forms and particular vocabulary indicating the relative status of speaker and listener. Hinduism.[180] The Ainu language. the Ryukyuan languages. Since 1973.[178] Languages Main articles: Languages of Japan and Japanese language More than 99 percent of the population speaks Japanese as their first language. Fewer than one percent of Japanese are Christian.[179] Besides Japanese.Japan enjoys full religious freedom based on Article 20 of its Constitution. junior college. which has no proven relationship to Japanese or any other language.[187] Health Main articles: Health in Japan and Health care system in Japan In Japan.[185][186] The Programme for International Student Assessmentcoordinated by the OECD currently ranks the overall knowledge and skills of Japanese 15-year-olds as sixth best in the world. Upper estimates suggest that 84–96 percent of the Japanese population subscribe to Buddhism or Shinto. secondary schools and universities were introduced in 1872 as a result of the Meiji Restoration. ismoribund. trade school. with only a few elderly native speakers remaining in Hokkaido. as of 2005 about 75. the level of participation remains high. [189] .[174] According to Edwin Reischauer andMarius Jansen. these estimates are based on people affiliated with a temple. Almost all children continue their education at a three-year senior high school. including a large number of followers of asyncretism of both religions. according to the MEXT. People without insurance through employers can participate in a national health insurance program administered by local governments. and.[175] Nevertheless. as well as the Latin alphabet and Arabic numerals. Payment for personal medical services is offered through a universal health insurance system that provides relative equality of access.9 percent of high school graduates attend a university. Japanese writing uses kanji (Chinese characters) and two sets of kana (syllabaries based on simplified Chinese characters). especially during festivalsand occasions such as the first shrine visit of the New Year. all elderly persons have been covered by government-sponsored insurance. health care is provided by national and local governments.

and rakugo. The accompanied recitative of the Noh drama dates from the 14th century and the popular folk music.[192] Largely of wood. Japanese garden. dance. one of a seriesof woodblock prints by Hokusai.[196] Music Main article: Music of Japan Japanese music is eclectic and diverse. and Japanese folklore Japanese culture has evolved greatly from its origins. a comic book format that is now popular within and outside Japan. most notably on postImpressionism. largely of wood. onsen. Japanese-made video game consoles have been popular since the 1980s.[194] The interaction between Japanese and European art has been significant: for example ukiyo-e prints.Culture Kinkaku-ji or 'The Temple of the Golden Pavilion' in Kyoto. Japan has a developed system for the protection and promotion of both tangible and intangible Cultural Properties and National Treasures. with early figurative paintings dating back to at least 300 BC. Special Historic Site. The Shrines of Ise have been celebrated as the prototype of Japanese architecture.[193] Japanese sculpture. and other practices. calligraphy. such as the koto. performances of bunraku. Japanese architecture. the tea ceremony.[195] Manga-influenced animation for television and film is called anime.[191] Art Main articles: Japanese art. were introduced in the 9th and 10th centuries. traditional housing and many temple buildings see the use of tatami mats and sliding doors that break down the distinction between rooms and indoor and outdoor space. The fusion of traditionalwoodblock printing and Western art led to the creation of manga. Main articles: Culture of Japan. its torching by a monk in 1950 is the subject of anovel by Mishima. Special Place of Scenic Beauty.[190] Sixteen sites have been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. ikebana. Many instruments. from the . martial arts. andJapanese aesthetics The Great Wave off Kanagawa. origami. Contemporary culture combines influences from Asia. had a significant influence on the development of modern art in the West. which began to be exported in the 19th century in the movement known as Japonism. The history of Japanese painting exhibits synthesis and competition between native Japanese aesthetics and adaptation of imported ideas. Japanese popular culture. and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Europe and North America. with the guitar-likeshamisen. swordsand dolls. noh. lacquerware. kabuki.[194] Famous ukiyo-e artists include Hokusai and Hiroshige. Traditional Japanese arts include crafts such as ceramics. textiles.Geisha and games. and Japanese painting are among the oldest of the Japanese arts.

while Bashō revivified the poetic tradition of the Kokinshū with his haikai (haiku) and wrote the poetic travelogue Oku no Hosomichi. Popular music in post-war Japan has been heavily influenced by American and European trends. vegetable.[204][205] During the Edo period. which has led to the evolution of J-pop.[200] Literature Main articles: Japanese literature and Japanese poetry 12th-century illustrated handscroll of The Tale of Genji. The imperial court ensemble Gagaku has influenced the work of some modern Western composers. Yukio Mishima and.[198] Notable classical composers from Japan include Toru Takemitsu and Rentarō Taki. A 1993 survey by the Cultural Affairs Agency found that more Japanese had sung karaoke that year than had participated in traditional pursuits such as flower arranging (ikebana) or tea ceremonies. Japan has two Nobel Prize-winning authors—Yasunari Kawabata (1968) and Kenzaburō Ōe (1994). now forms an integral part of Japanese culture. Jun'ichirō Tanizaki. the chōnin ("townspeople") overtook the samurai aristocracy as producers and consumers of literature. tofu and the like – to add flavor to the staple food.[201][202] In the early Heian period.[203] An account of Heian court life is given in The Pillow Book by Sei Shōnagon. followed by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa.sixteenth.[197] Western classical music. introduced in the late 19th century. whileThe Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu is often described as the world's first novel. Natsume Sōseki and Mori Ōgai were the first "modern" novelists of Japan. typically Japanese rice ornoodles. for example. with a soup and okazu — dishes made from fish. Haruki Murakami. or Japanese popular music. all from the 8th century and written in Chinese characters. the system ofphonograms known as kana (Hiragana and Katakana) was developed. more recently. The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter is considered the oldest Japanese narrative.[199]Karaoke is the most widely practiced cultural activity in Japan.[206] The Meiji era saw the decline of traditional literary forms as Japanese literature integrated Western influences. In the early modern era ingredients such as red meats that had previously not been widely .[203] Cuisine Main articles: Japanese cuisine and Kaiseki Breakfast at a ryokan or inn Japanese cuisine is based on combining staple foods. The popularity of the works of Saikaku. reveals this change in readership and authorship. a National Treasure The earliest works of Japanese literature include the Kojiki and Nihon Shokichronicles and the Man'yōshū poetry anthology.

[211] Baseball is currently the most popular spectator sport in the country.used in Japan were introduced. karate and kendo are also widely practiced and enjoyed by spectators in the country. winning the Asian Cupfour times. Japan recently won the FIFA Women's World Cup in 2011.[210] Japan hosted the Summer Olympics in Tokyo in 1964.[218] The country has produced one NBA player. Japanese cuisine is known for its emphasis on seasonality of food. sumo is considered Japan's national sport. Japan has hosted the Winter Olympics twice: Sapporo in 1972 and Nagano in 1998.[207] quality of ingredients and presentation. association football has also gained a wide following.[214]Japan has one of the most successful football teams in Asia.[217] as are forms of auto racing like the Super GT series and Formula Nippon.[212] Since the establishment of the Japan Professional Football League in 1992. Japan's top professional league.[208] Sports Main article: Sport in Japan Sumo wrestlers form around the referee during the ring-entering ceremony Traditionally. Yuta Tabuse.[216] Golf is also popular in Japan. Japanese cuisine offers a vast array of regional specialties that use traditional recipes and local ingredients. many Western sports were introduced in Japan and began to spread through the education system. Nippon Professional Baseball.[215] Also. [213] Japan was a venue of the Intercontinental Cup from 1981 to 2004 and co-hosted the 2002 FIFA World Cup with South Korea. After the Meiji Restoration.[219] .[209] Japanese martial arts such as judo. was established in 1936. The Michelin Guide has awarded Japanese cities more Michelin stars than the rest of the world combined.