Portal:Japan

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Imperial Seal of Japan

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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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.

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Blind Monks Examining an Elephant
Credit: Hanabusa Itchō

An 1888 Hanabusa Itchō ukiyo-e print illustrating a Buddhist parable showing blind monks examining an elephant.

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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 Saitama Prefecture
Saitama Prefecture is a prefecture of Japan located on the island of Honshu. The capital is the city of Saitama. This prefecture is part of the Greater Tokyo Area, and most of Saitama's cities can be described as suburbs of Tokyo, to which floods of residents commute each day. Saitama Prefecture was formerly part of the old Musashi Province. In the fifth year of the Keiun era (708), deposits of copper were reported to have been found in the Chichibu District of what is now Saitama Prefecture. The Saitama area was historically known as a fertile agricultural region which produced much of the food for the Kantō region. During the Edo period, many fudai daimyō ruled small domains within the Saitama area. After World War II, as Tokyo expanded rapidly and modern transportation allowed longer commutes, the lack of available land in Tokyo led to the rapid development of Saitama Prefecture, whose population has nearly tripled since 1960. Most of the cities in the prefecture are closely connected to downtown Tokyo by metropolitan rail, and operate largely as residential and commercial suburbs of Tokyo. Saitama Prefecture is bordered by Tokyo, Chiba, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Nagano, and Yamanashi. It is located central-west of the Kantō region, measuring 103 km from east to west and 52 km from north to south. At 3,797 sq km, it ranks as the ninth smallest prefecture. The eastern border with Chiba Prefecture is defined by the Edo River. The northern and north-western border lines with Gunma Prefecture are marked by the Tone River and the Kanagawa River and the drainage divides of the Arakawa River and Kanagawa River.

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Kutani ware

  • ... that Kutani ware (pictured), first produced about 1656 near the current city of Kaga, is a type of Japanese porcelain known for its use of multicolored glazes in bold designs?

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In the news

4 December 2019 – War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
Japanese doctor Tetsu Nakamura and five Afghans are killed in Jalalabad, Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan when militants open fire on their car while they were travelling to monitor a project. (BBC) (Euronews)
4 December 2019 – Japan–United States relations
The National Diet of Japan ratifies a United States–Japan trade deal. Under the deal, Japan will reduce its tariffs on U.S. beef and pork; in return, Japan will receive reductions in tariffs on certain manufactured goods. (Financial Times)
30 November 2019 – Japan–North Korea relations
In an insult-laden statement, North Korean media warn Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe that he "may see a real ballistic missile in the near future." (Reuters)
29 November 2019 –
Former Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone dies at the age of 101. (NHK WORLD News)
23 November 2019 – Pope Francis travels to Japan
During his 23 to 26 November journey to Japan, Pope Francis visits Tokyo, Nagasaki and Hiroshima. The only pope to previously visit Japan was Pope John Paul II from 23–26 February 1981. (Holy See Press Office) (Vatican News)
22 November 2019 – 2019 Japan–South Korea trade dispute
South Korea halts its World Trade Organization complaint concerning Japan's tightened export controls of key chemicals South Korea uses for computer chips and displays. (Voice of America)

Japan topics

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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