The first European traders began to arrive in Japan in 1543, from Portugal, followed by Spaniards and Dutch (commonly known as "K?m?," ??, meaning "Red Hair"), and then by the British.
Japan's feudal era was characterized by the emergence of the samurai, who superseded the ancient aristocracy as the ruling class.
Japan's court system is divided into four basic tiers: The Supreme Court (?????, Saik?-Saibansho) and three levels of lower courts.
Construction has long been one of Japan's largest industries, with the help of multi-billion dollar government contracts in the civil sector.
Japan's cultural development has been characterized by foreign influences, developed in a uniquely Japanese way.
Japanese music is eclectic, having borrowed instruments, scales, and styles from neighboring cultures.
After Japan signed a peace and friendship treaty with the People's Republic of China in 1978, ties between the two countries developed rapidly.
The lyrics of modern Japan's national anthem, Kimi ga Yo (???), were written during this time.
The Japanese extend significant economic assistance to the China in various modernization projects.
Following the Russo-Japanese war, Japan maintained a military presence in Manchuria.
Together they are often known as the Japanese Archipelago.
One major diplomatic and cultural initiative is the JET (Japanese Exchange and Teaching) Program, originally presented by former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone to Ronald Reagan as a "gift."
The position is appointed by the Emperor of Japan after being designated by the Diet from among its members, and must retain the confidence of the House of Representatives to remain in office.
The Japanese language is generally considered to be part of the Altaic linguistic group and is related to Korean, though the vocabularies differ.
Post-war Japan has been heavily influenced by American and European modern music, which has led to the evolution of popular band music called J-Pop.
Hence the Taft-Katsura Agreement of 1905, a secret diplomatic memorandum between the United States and Japan that mutually recognized Japan's sphere of influence in Korea and the United States's sphere of influence in the Philippines.
The Nara capital was modeled on the Chinese T’ang dynasty capital of Chang’an, and Chinese influence in Japan was stronger than at any other period.
Japan maintains one of the world's largest fishing fleets and accounts for nearly 15 percent of the global catch.
Historically, the development of Japanese culture has been characterized by periods of foreign influence followed by periods of isolation, during which the foreign innovations were developed into uniquely Japanese cultural traditions.
Until then, Japan had used all resources available from Korea, mobilizing many Koreans for military and labor purposes.
Japan’s location on the Pacific Ring of Fire, at the juncture of three tectonic plates, makes it geologically unstable.
Japan can be regarded as the pioneer that showed other Asian countries the path toward economic growth and prosperity.
To Japan, Korea sent a group of hundreds of delegates, called Tongshinsa (Tsushinshi in Japanese, "envoys of communication"), twelve times from 1607 to 1811.
Chinese characters were adapted for use in writing Japanese, and scholars studied Chinese literature.
The professional Japanese Baseball League was established in 1936.
In 1274 and again in 1281, the Mongols under Kublai Khan attempted to invade Japan.
Japan must import about 50 percent of its requirements of grain and fodder crops other than rice, and it relies on imports for most of its supply of meat.
Japan continued to carry out its imperialist policies and proceeded to occupy many parts of Southeast Asia and many Pacific islands, as well as Korea and Manchuria.
World War I enabled Japan, which joined the side of the victorious Allies, to expand its influence and territorial holdings.
Meiji era reforms transformed the Empire of Japan into an industrialized world power that embarked on a number of military conflicts to increase access to natural resources.
Some argue that Japan simply imitated Western imperialism as a normal course, and that Western powers even instigated Japan to go to war in this context.
Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism came from China, and they have significantly influenced Japanese beliefs and mythology.
Nonetheless, there are still significant internal political and psychological constraints on, as well as intense Chinese and South and North Korean opposition to, strengthening Japan's defense and military capabilities.
Primary, secondary schools, and universities were introduced into Japan in 1872 as a result of the Meiji Restoration.
The fusion of traditional woodblock printing and Western art led to the creation of modern manga, a typical Japanese comic book format that is now popular within and outside Japan.
Western music, introduced in the late nineteenth century, now forms an integral part of Japanese culture.
After signing the San Francisco Peace Treaty with the Allied Powers in 1951, Japan once again became an officially independent nation in 1952, and was granted membership in the United Nations in 1956.
Distinguishing characteristics of the Japanese economy have included the cooperation of manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, and banks in closely-knit groups called keiretsu(??) and the guarantee of lifetime employment ( sh?shin koy? ????) in big corporations.
The first written records of Japan appear in Chinese history texts from the first century C.E.
When Japan surrendered in 1945, Korea was liberated from Japanese annexation.
The International Military Tribunal for the Far East, was convened by the Allies on May 3, 1946, to prosecute Japanese leaders for war crimes, such as the Nanking Massacre.
All this helped to worsen the already difficult relationship between Japan and Korea.
Japanese has borrowed or derived large amounts of vocabulary from Chinese, and since the eighteenth century, thousands of Western loanwords, principally from English, have been adopted.
Japan relies on foreign countries for almost all of its oil.
In 1896, the Japanese government established a civil code based on the German model which, with post-World War II modifications, remains in effect in present-day Japan.
The Prime Minister of Japan is the head of government.
Given this, many believe that Japan must and can contribute its visible and invisible resources positively for the sake of the world.
Archaeological research indicates that people were living on the islands of Japan as early as 35,000 B.C.E.
Japan was a venue of the Intercontinental Cup from 1981 to 2004, and co-hosted the 2002 FIFA World Cup with South Korea.
The Silla and Tang forces won a decisive victory, forcing Yamato Japan to withdraw completely from Korean affairs and crushing the Baekje restoration movement.
Recently, Japanese companies have begun to abandon some of these practices in an attempt to increase profitability.
The climate of Japan is predominantly temperate, but varies greatly from chilly, humid continental in the north to humid subtropical in the south.
During the Meiji era, traditional literary forms declined as Japanese literature integrated Western influences.
Japan is home to nine forest ecoregions which reflect the climate and geography of the islands.
Some linguists believe that Japanese also includes elements of Southeast Asian languages.
During the reign of Prince Shotoku in the early seventh century, a Seventeen-Article Constitution, the first written law in Japan, was adopted.
The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter is considered the oldest Japanese narrative.
The Nara period (????, Nara-jidai) of the eighth century marked the first emergence of a strong central Japanese state, centered around an imperial court in the city of Heij?-ky? (???), or modern day Nara.
The Taiho Code (701) completed the codification of a Japanese legal code, closely following the Chinese legal system.
Most of the islands are mountainous, and many are volcanic; Japan’s highest peak, Mount Fuji, is a volcano.
Together, these four islands account for 97 percent of Japan’s total land area of 145,883 square miles (377,835 square km).
Between 1574–1600, the daimyo Oda Nobunaga and his successor Toyotomi Hideyoshi, utilizing European firearms and technology, overcame numerous less powerful daimyo, and brought all the provinces of Japan under the control of the central government.
Japan (??, Nihon or Nippon, officially???, Nihon-koku or Nippon-koku) is an island country that sits off the east coast of Asia.
Statutory rape refers to a sexual act that is considered rape by the law regardless of whether it was coercive or consensual.
Natsume S?seki and Mori Ogai were the first "modern" novelists of Japan, followed by Akutagawa Ry?nosuke, Tanizaki Junichir?, Kawabata Yasunari, Mishima Yukio and, more recently, Murakami Haruki.
Sumo, traditionally Japan's national sport, is one of its most popular spectator sports.
Japan is the second largest financial contributor to the United Nations, providing 20 percent of the UN budget (the U.S. contributes 25 percent).
Japan is a leading nation in the fields of scientific research, technology, machinery, and medical research.
In 1937, Japan invaded other parts of China, precipitating the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945) and the placement of an oil embargo on Japan by the United States.
Confucianism also was part of the generally significant influence that Chinese culture wielded on the formation of Japanese civilization.
After the Soviet Union entered the war against Japan and atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, Japan agreed to an unconditional surrender, on August 15 (V-J Day).
Historically influenced by Chinese law, the Japanese legal system developed independently during the Edo period through texts such as Kujikata Osadamegaki(??????, Book of Rules for Public Officials).
In 1947, under American occupation, Japan adopted a new pacifist constitution, emphasizing liberal democratic practices.
Japan traded and maintained diplomatic relations with Korea and China, receiving waves of immigration and many cultural influences.
Japan is is a member of the United Nations, G8, and APEC, with the world's fifth largest defense budget.
Japan has two Nobel Prize-winning authors, Kawabata Yasunari (1968) and Oe Kenzaburo (1994).
Japan has diplomatic relations with nearly all independent nations and has been an active member of the United Nations since 1956.
In 661, Yamato Japan allied with the Korean Baekje (??) restoration forces in attempt to repel an invasion by the forces of Silla (??) and the Tang Dynasty (??) of China.
Many smaller islands stretch in an arc between the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea and the Pacific proper.
Japan has one of the highest life expectancy (????) rates in the world, at 81.25 years of age, as of 2006.
The establishment of a government centered around the emperor led to significant changes in Japan's political and social structure.
The threat of foreign encroachment, together with domestic unrest and instability, convinced many nobles and young samurai that direct imperial rule must be restored in order to unify and protect Japan.
During the period of European imperialism, the leaders of Japan carried out a concerted modernization effort, the Meiji Restoration, which made Japan into a world power that could contend with Europe and America.
The Edo period also gave rise to kokugaku, or literally "national studies," the study of Japan by the Japanese themselves.
After World War II, Japan began manufacturing for export, gradually moving into the electronics, technology, and automobile industries.
The characters that make up Japan's name mean "sun-origin," which is why Japan is sometimes called the "Land of the Rising Sun."
Ancient Japan had extensive cultural exchange with the neighboring countries of China and Korea.
Japan's Yohkoh (Sunbeam) satellite, launched in 1991, observed solar flares at X-ray wavelengths.
Japan quickly became an industrialized nation with modern military power in the nineteenth century, and was able to avoid being colonized by Western powers.
Japan's population is expected to drop to 100 million by 2050, and to 64 million by 2100.
A November 1993 survey by the Cultural Affairs Agency found that more Japanese had sung karaoke that year than had participated in traditional cultural pursuits such as flower arranging or tea ceremony.
Many of the naval leaders in Japan, such as Fleet Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, were basically pro-American.
Martial arts such as judo, karate, and kend? are also widely practiced and enjoyed as spectator sports in Japan.
Japan has significant plans for space exploration, including the construction of a moonbase by 2030.
At least sixty volcanoes have been active in Japan during recorded history.
Many Japanese lakes, such as Lakes Kutcharo, Towada, and Ashi, are water-filled calderas.
The Japanese now appreciate the deep emotional dimension of Korean movies such as Winter Sonata (????).
About 99 percent of the population speaks Japanese as their first language.
Japan's main imports are machinery and equipment, fossil fuels, foodstuffs (in particular beef), chemicals, textiles, and raw materials for its industries.
Japan comprises over three thousand islands, the largest of which are Honsh?, Hokkaid?, Ky?sh?, and Shikoku.
One of the most famous Japanese baseball players is Ichiro Suzuki, who, having won Japan's Most Valuable Player award in 1994, 1995, and 1996, now plays in North American major league baseball.
On December 7, 1941, Japan attacked the United States naval base in Pearl Harbor and declared war on the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands.
Japan is also home to six of the world's fifteen largest automobile manufacturers and seven of the world's twenty largest semiconductor sales leaders.
During the Yamato period (???? Yamato-jidai), the Japanese imperial court moved its capital to Nara, then known as Yamato Province.
Japan signed the Anti-Comintern Pact with Nazi Germany in 1936 and the Tripartite Pact in 1940, involving the three main Axis Powers of Germany, Italy, and Japan.
During this period, the Japanese imperial court reached its peak.
Japan's main exports are transport equipment, motor vehicles, electronics, electrical machinery, and chemicals.
Until the fourth century, there was no written form of the Japanese language.
Despite the bursting of the Japanese asset price bubble in the early 1990s and subsequent slow economic growth, Japan remains a major economic and cultural power.
Golf is popular in Japan, as is auto racing, the Super GT sports car series, and Formula Nippon formula racing.
The forces have been recently used in peacekeeping operations and the deployment of Japanese troops to Iraq marked the first overseas use of its military since World War II.
Around 84 percent of Japanese people profess to adhere to both Shinto (the indigenous religion of Japan) and Buddhism.
On July 8, 1853, Commodore Matthew Perry and the "Black Ships" of the United States Navy arrived in Edo harbor with the intention of forcing the opening of Japan to foreign trade.
Japan's process of modernization utilized Western technology and methods of political and social organization.
Japan developed an indigenous writing system, kana, derived from Chinese script.
The earliest human artifacts so far unearthed in Japan date to approximately 35,000 years B.C.E.
In 1638, the Tokugawa shogunate closed Japanese ports to all foreigners, permitting only the Dutch to remain, in the small enclave of Dejima.
Ignoring international protest and a mandate from the League of Nations, Japan remained in Manchuria until the end of World War II, developing an extensive industrial center there.
Others attribute Japanese military expansionism to one particular weakness of the Meiji Constitution of 1889: the constitutional independence of the military command from the government.
Japan has dozens of major cities, which play an important role in Japan's culture, heritage, and economy.
Mountains, many of them volcanoes, cover two thirds of Japan's surface, hampering transportation and limiting agriculture.
Extensive international flights link Japan to many cities and countries.
According to Nihon Shoki, the second oldest historical text of classical Japan, Mah?y?na Buddhism (????, Daij? Bukky?) was officially introduced to the Yamato court through Baekje (??) in 552.
Japan also faces an ongoing dispute with North Korea over its abduction of Japanese citizens and its nuclear weapons and missile program.
Japanese schools of Buddhism also developed, such as Jodo, Shingon, and Nichiren.
Japan maintains close economic and military relations with its key ally the United States, with the U.S.-Japan security alliance serving as the cornerstone of its foreign policy.
The Portuguese first acted as trade intermediaries between Japan and China, which had prohibited direct trade with Japan because of the activities of Japanese pirates.
The 2002 FIFA World Cup was held both in Japan and Korea, as the co-host countries.
Good relations with its neighbors continue to be of vital interest and most nations, except China and South Korea, view Japanese influence as mainly positive.
Some historians argue that Japan did what powerful Western nations did during the age of imperialist colonialism.
A distinctly indigenous Japanese culture emerged, noted for its art, poetry, and literature.
During the Cold War, Japanese foreign policy was one-dimensional, focusing mainly on the economic realm.
Aided by typhoons, interpreted by the Japanese as kamikaze, or Divine Winds, which destroyed the Mongol ships, the Kamakura shogunate succeeded in repulsing both invasions.
Japan's main export partners are the United States (22.9 percent), China (13.4 percent), South Korea (7.8 percent), Taiwan (7.3 percent), and Hong Kong (6.1 percent).
Traditionally in Japan, new religious movements have developed during periods of political turmoil or social change.
Japan has considerable economic resources, and is the second-largest financial contributor to the United Nations.
Western influence introduced new concepts to Japanese artists and craftsmen, whose work in turn influenced European art during the nineteenth century.
Chinese characters (kanji) were used to write Japanese and were gradually adapted into kana (katakana and hiragana), which could be used to write phonetically.
Hot springs are numerous throughout Japan and have been developed as resorts.
Japan and some Western nations even cooperated to accomplish their goals.
The Japanese Archipelago was created by the subduction of the Pacific Plate (in the north) and the Philippine Plate (in the south) beneath the Eurasian Plate, upon which Japan lies.
At the same time, Japan has maintained economic, but not diplomatic, relations with the Republic of China (Taiwan), where a strong bilateral trade relationship thrives.
Japanese foreign policy has aimed to promote peace and prosperity for the Japanese people by working closely with the West and supporting the United Nations.
When they returned on March 31, 1854, Japan signed the Convention of Kanagawa, and was soon forced to sign similar treaties with other Western nations such as Britain, Russia, and France.
Under the Tokugawa shogunate, Japan enjoyed internal peace, political stability, and economic growth.
Japan's renewed focus on national security rests on an increasing sense of insecurity in the international environment, and its proximity to China and a belligerent North Korea.
The early twentieth century saw a brief period of "Taisho democracy" overshadowed by the rise of Japanese expansionism and militarization.
Japanese-made video game consoles have prospered since the 1980s.
Japan contributed non-combatant troops to the Iraq War.
Emperor Akihito (??) is the current Emperor of Japan.
The war cost Japan millions of lives and destroyed much of the country's industry and infrastructure.
Power is held chiefly by the Prime Minister of Japan and other elected members of the Diet(?? kokkai), while sovereignty is vested in the Japanese people.
Many service project organizations such as Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) have been created.
Air transport is mostly operated by All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Japan Airlines (JAL).
Japan also has indigenous minority groups, such as the Ainu and Ry?ky?ans, as well as social minority groups like the burakumin, who are often relegated to a second-class status.
Japan's military is governed by the Ministry of Defense, and primarily consists of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF), the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) and the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF).
Other significant parties currently include the largest opposition party, the social liberal Democratic Party of Japan (???, Minshut?), and New Komeito (???, K?meit?).
The main body of Japanese statutory law is a collection called the Six Codes.
Before World War II, Okinawans were perceived as having a different culture and language from the rest of Japan; today they are recognized as sharing cultural traditions similar to the rest of the nation.
The Ry?ky?an languages, also part of the Japonic language family to which Japanese belongs, are spoken in Okinawa, but few children learn these languages.
Most public and private schools require students to take courses in both Japanese and English.
In 1597, Libavius, a metallurgist in England, received some quantity of zinc metal in its pure form, which was unknown to the West until then.
Some of Japan's more important technological contributions are found in the fields of electronics, machinery, industrial robotics, optics, chemicals, semiconductors and metals.
Healthcare services in Japan are provided by national and local governments.
Traditional Japanese arts include crafts (ikebana, origami, ukiyo-e, dolls, lacquerware, pottery), performances (bunraku, dance, kabuki, noh, rakugo), traditions (games, tea ceremony, bud?, architecture, gardens, swords), and cuisine.
Japanese scholars and artisans began to study Western technology and culture.
According to The Times Higher Education Supplement, the two top-ranking universities in Japan are the University of Tokyo and Kyoto University.
All these treaties were so-called "unequal treaties," which prohibited Japan from levying customs on foreign products and also allowed these Western nations to have their extraterritoriality.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) conducts space and planetary research, aviation research, and development of rockets and satellites.
Japan continued its expansionist policy by occupying Manchuria in 1931.
Japan can be regarded as the country that pioneered the path to economic growth and prosperity in Asia.
Japan leads the world in robotics, producing QRIO, ASIMO, and Aibo.
The United States put Japan under military governorship after its surrender.
Over the next decade, Japan expanded slowly into China, leading to the Second Sino-Japanese war in 1937. In 1940 Japan invaded French Indochina in an effort to embargo all imports into China, including war supplies purchased from the U.S.
Japan had already been at war in Manchuria (1931) and China (1937) long before the Second World War started in Europe when Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. By 1941, Japanese military expansion in the Asia-Pacific region had made confrontation and war with the United States increasingly certain.
Truman believed that the bombs saved Japanese lives as well. ... Truman saw little difference between atomic bombing Hiroshima and fire bombing Dresden or Tokyo. The ethical debate over the decision to drop the atomic bomb will never be resolved. The bombs did, however, bring an end to the most destructive war in history.
The English word for Japan came to the West from early trade routes. The early Mandarin Chinese or possibly Wu Chinese word for Japan was recorded by Marco Polo as Cipangu. ... The official Japanese-language name is Nippon-koku or Nihon-koku (日本国), literally "State of Japan".
Samurai swords: The awesome weapon of the super cool ultra warrior. Ninjas: Just as famous as Japan's samurai, the sneaky ninja is loved all over the world. ... Temples: Some of the most beautiful places, you'll find temples all over Japan. Kyoto seems to have one on every block, and they are dotted all around Tokyo.
In September 1931, they claimed that Chinese soldiers had sabotaged the railway, and attacked the Chinese army (which had just executed a Japanese spy). The Chinese army did not fight back because it knew that the Japanese were just wanting an excuse to invade Manchuria.
The Second Sino-Japanese War was a military conflict fought primarily between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan from July 7, 1937, to September 9, 1945. It began with the Marco Polo Bridge Incident in 1937 in which a dispute between Japanese and Chinese troops escalated into a battle.