The Japan Portal
The Japan Portal
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Japan is an island country in East Asia. It is in the northwest Pacific Ocean and is bordered on the west by the Sea of Japan, extending from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north toward the East China Sea, Philippine Sea, and Taiwan in the south. Japan is a part of the Ring of Fire, and spans an archipelago of 14,125 islands, with the four main islands being Hokkaido, Honshu (the "mainland"), Shikoku, and Kyushu. Tokyo is the country's capital and largest city, followed by Yokohama, Osaka, Nagoya, Sapporo, Fukuoka, Kobe, and Kyoto.

The Japanese archipelago has been inhabited since the Upper Paleolithic (30,000 BC). Between the fourth and ninth centuries AD, the kingdoms of the region became unified under an emperor and the imperial court based in Heian-kyō. Beginning in the 12th century, political power was held by a series of military dictators (shōgun) and feudal lords (daimyō), and enforced by a class of warrior nobility (samurai). After a century-long period of civil war, the country was reunified in 1603 under the Tokugawa shogunate, which enacted an isolationist foreign policy. In 1854, a United States fleet forced Japan to open trade to the West, which led to the end of the shogunate and the restoration of imperial power in 1868. In the Meiji period, the Empire of Japan adopted a Western-modeled constitution, and pursued a program of industrialization and modernization. Amidst a rise in militarism and overseas colonization, Japan invaded China in 1937 and entered World War II as an Axis power in 1941. After suffering defeat in the Pacific War and two atomic bombings, Japan surrendered in 1945 and came under a seven-year Allied occupation, during which it adopted a new constitution.

Under the 1947 constitution, Japan has maintained a constitutional monarchy with a bicameral legislature, the National Diet. Japan is a highly developed country and a great power, with one of the largest economies by nominal GDP. Japan has renounced its right to declare war, though it maintains a self-defense force that ranks as one of the world's strongest militaries. A global leader in the automotive, robotics, and electronics industries, the country has made significant contributions to science and technology, and is one of the world's largest exporters and importers. It is part of multiple major international and intergovernmental institutions. Japan has over 125 million inhabitants and is the 11th most populous country in the world, as well as one of the most densely populated. About three-fourths of the country's terrain is mountainous, concentrating its highly urbanized population on narrow coastal plains. Japan is divided into 47 administrative prefectures and eight traditional regions. The Greater Tokyo Area is the most populous metropolitan area in the world. Japan has one of the world's longest life expectancies but is experiencing a population decline due to its very low birth rate. A cultural superpower, Japan's culture is well known around the world, including its art, cuisine, film, music, and popular culture, which encompasses prominent manga, anime, and video game industries. (Full article...)

Set for Departures
Set for Departures
Departures is a Japanese drama film directed by Yōjirō Takita and starring Masahiro Motoki, Ryōko Hirosue, and Tsutomu Yamazaki. Loosely based on Shinmon Aoki's memoir Coffinman, the film follows a young man who becomes a nōkanshi—a traditional Japanese ritual mortician—and overcomes the prejudices of those around him. The story was conceived after Motoki, affected by a funeral ceremony he had seen along the Ganges, read Coffinman and felt that the story would adapt well to film. Departures took a decade to complete, and distributors only released it after the film won the grand prize at the Montreal World Film Festival in August 2008. Departures became Japan's highest-grossing domestic film that year and won numerous awards, including the first Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film for Japan. It was praised for its humour and the beauty of the encoffining ceremony, but critics took issue with the film's predictability and overt sentimentality. The film's success spurred the development of tourist attractions at its shooting sites, increased interest in encoffining ceremonies, and the adaptation of the story for various media. (Full article...)

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On this day...

June 24:

  • 1692 - 江戸幕府が富くじ禁止令を出す。
  • 1804 - 間宮林蔵が宗谷海峡を探険。
  • 1864 - 幕府、神戸に海軍操練所を開く(頭取・勝海舟)が封切り。
  • 1931 - The Tokorozawa Army Flight School achieves its first successful mid-air refueling.
  • 1958 - Mt. Aso in Kumamoto Prefecture erupts, killing 12 and injuring 21.
  • 1985 - Singer Matsuda Seiko and actor Kanda Masaki are married. 35% of television viewers tune in to watch.
  • 1988 - It is reported that Recruit, a real estate and telecommunications company, sold shares of its subsidiary Recruit Cosmos Co. to a number of politicians before taking the stock public.

Births

In the news

20 June 2024 –
The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs announces sanctions on firms based in China, India, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan, for their alleged support to Russia in the Russo–Ukrainian war. (Al Jazeera)
30 May 2024 – North Korea and weapons of mass destruction
North Korea launches a series of short-range ballistic missiles from Pyongyang toward the Sea of Japan. (Al Jazeera)

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Koda in 2007

Kumiko Kōda (神田 來未子, Kōda Kumiko, born November 13, 1982), known professionally as Koda Kumi (倖田 來未, Kōda Kumi), is a Japanese singer from Kyoto, known for her urban and R&B songs.

After debuting with the single "Take Back" in December 2000, Koda gained fame in March 2003 when the songs from her seventh single, "Real Emotion/1000 no Kotoba", were used as themes for the video game Final Fantasy X-2. Her popularity grew with the release of her fourth studio album Secret (2005), her sixteenth single "Butterfly" (2005), and her first greatest hits album Best: First Things (2005), reaching the number-three, number-two, and number-one spots respectively. (Full article...)

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Flag of Okinawa Prefecture
Okinawa Prefecture is one of Japan's southern prefectures, and consists of hundreds of the Ryukyu Islands in a chain over 1,000 km long, which extends southwest from Kyūshū (the southwesternmost of Japan's main four islands) to Taiwan. Okinawa's capital, Naha, is located in the southern part of the largest and most populous island, Okinawa Island, which is approximately half-way between Kyūshū and Taiwan. The disputed Senkaku Islands (Mandarin: Diaoyu Islands) are also administered as part of Okinawa Prefecture at present. The oldest evidence of human existence in the Ryukyu islands was discovered in Naha and Yaese. Some human bone fragments from the Paleolithic era were unearthed, but there is no clear evidence of Paleolith remains. Japanese Jōmon influences are dominant in the Okinawa Islands, although clay vessels in the Sakishima Islands have a commonality with those in Taiwan. The first mention of the word Ryukyu was written in the Book of Sui. This Ryukyu might refer to Taiwan, not the Ryukyu islands. Okinawa was the Japanese word depicting the islands, first seen in the biography of Jianzhen, written in 779. Agricultural societies begun in the 8th century slowly developed until the 12th century. Since the islands are located in the center of the East China Sea relatively close to Japan, China and South-East Asia, the Ryūkyū Kingdom became a prosperous trading nation. Also during this period, many Gusukus, similar to castles, were constructed. The Ryūkyū Kingdom had a tributary relationship with the Chinese Empire beginning in the 15th century.

Did you know... – show different entries

Sakuradamon Incident


  • ... that Japanese pop R&B singer-songwriter Mai Kuraki's 2009 album, Touch Me! became her first album in five years to top the Japanese album chart?

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The following are images from various Japan-related articles on Wikipedia.

East Asia


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Japan topics

Eras Paleolithic | Jōmon | Yayoi | Kofun | Asuka | Nara | Heian | Kamakura | Muromachi | Azuchi-Momoyama | Edo | Meiji | Taishō | Shōwa | Heisei | Reiwa
History Economic history | Educational history | Military history | Naval history | Sengoku period | Meiji Restoration | Empire of Japan | Occupied Japan | Post-occupation Japan
Politics Constitution | Government | Emperors | Imperial Household Agency | Prime Ministers | Cabinet | Ministries | National Diet (House of Councillors · House of Representatives) | Judicial system | Law of Japan | LGBT rights | Elections | Political parties | Japanese political values | Japan Self-Defense Forces | Foreign relations
Culture Clothing | Customs and etiquette | Education | Festivals | Food | Holidays | Language | Religion | Imperial House of Japan | National symbols of Japan | National Treasure (Japan) | Monuments of Japan | Media of Japan | Honne and tatemae | Kawaii | Yamato-damashii | Wa | Miai | Ishin-denshin | Isagiyosa | Hansei | Amae | Kotodama | Onsen | Geisha | Kimono | Bushido | Shogun | Samurai | Ninja | Yakuza | Mythology | Karaoke
Art Architecture | Cinema | Literature | Music | Pornography | Theatre (Noh · Kabuki · Bunraku) | Anime | Manga | Ukiyo-e | Japanese tea ceremony | Japanese aesthetics | Ikebana | Poetry | Bonsai | Origami
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 | EEZ 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) | Asian 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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