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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On this day...
- 1962 - Marty Friedman, American-Japanese guitarist, songwriter, and television host
- 1963 - Toshiaki Kawada, wrestler
- 1964 - Chigusa Nagayo, wrestler
- 1967 - Kotono Mitsuishi, voice actress and singer
- 1970 - Emi Wakui, actress
- 1992 - Yui Yokoyama, singer and actress
- 1994 - Aika Ota, singer
- 1994 - Suzuran Yamauchi, singer (SKE48 and AKB48)
Holidays, observances, and anniversaries
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|“ ||To consider oneself different from ordinary men is wrong, but it is right to hope that one will not remain like ordinary men. ||” |
|— Yoshida Shoin, scholar, military and political philosopher and teacher |
Selected biography -
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.
Selected 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
, 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.
Did you know... -
- ... 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?
In the news
Coordinates: 36°30′N 139°00′E / 36.5°N 139°E