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Japan ( Japanese: 日本, Nippon [ɲippoꜜɴ] ( About this sound listen) or Nihon [ɲihoꜜɴ] ( About this sound listen)) is an island country in East Asia, located in the northwest Pacific Ocean. It is bordered on the west by the Sea of Japan, and extends from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north toward the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south. Part of the Ring of Fire, Japan spans an archipelago of 6852 islands covering 377,975 square kilometers (145,937 sq mi); the five main islands are Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu, and Okinawa. Tokyo is Japan's capital and largest city; other major cities include Yokohama, Osaka, Nagoya, Sapporo, Fukuoka, Kobe, and Kyoto.

Japan is the eleventh-most populous country in the world, as well as one of the most densely populated and urbanized. About three-fourths of the country's terrain is mountainous, concentrating its population of 125.36 million 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, with more than 37.4 million residents.

Japan has been inhabited since the Upper Paleolithic period (30,000 BC), though the first written mention of the archipelago appears in a Chinese chronicle finished in the 2nd century AD. Between the 4th and 9th centuries, the kingdoms of Japan 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. In 1937, Japan invaded China; in 1941, it entered World War II as an Axis power. 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 unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy with a bicameral legislature, the National Diet.

Japan is a great power and a member of numerous international organizations, including the United Nations (since 1956), the OECD, and the Group of Seven. Although it has renounced its right to declare war, the country maintains Self-Defense Forces that rank as one of the world's strongest militaries. After World War II, Japan experienced record growth in an economic miracle, becoming the second-largest economy in the world by 1990. As of 2021, the country's economy is the third-largest by nominal GDP and the fourth-largest by PPP. A global leader in the automotive and electronics industries, Japan has made significant contributions to science and technology. Ranked "very high" on the Human Development Index, Japan has the world's highest life expectancy, though it is experiencing a decline in population. The culture of Japan is well known around the world, including its art, cuisine, music, and popular culture, which encompasses prominent animation and video game industries. ( Full article...)

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A chū-daiko, one of many types of taiko
A chū-daiko, one of many types of taiko
Taiko drums, a broad range of Japanese percussion instruments, were introduced to Japan through Korean and Chinese cultural influence as early as the 6th century, and a mythological origin is mentioned in the Nihon Shoki, the second oldest book of Japanese classical history. They have seen use in Japan for communication, theatre, religious ceremonies, and festival and concert performances. In feudal warfare, taiko drums were used to summon troops, call out orders and set a marching pace. In modern times, they have played a role in social movements for minorities within and outside Japan. Taiko performances can vary in their rhythms, forms, stick grips, clothing, and instrumentation. Ensembles typically use different types of barrel-shaped nagadō-daiko drums, as well as the smaller shime-daiko. Many groups accompany their drums with vocals, strings, and woodwind instruments. The popular ensemble style called kumi-daiko was developed in 1951 through the work of Daihachi Oguchi, and has continued with groups such as Kodo. Kumi-daiko performance groups are active in Japan, the U.S., Australia, Canada, and Brazil. ( Full article...)

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A view of the colorful dougong supporting Sagami Temple, a Shingon Buddhist temple located in Kasai, Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan.

On this day...

June 18:


  • 1869 - 日本で初めてアイスクリームが製造販売される
  • 1945 - 沖縄戦でひめゆり部隊が集団自決。
  • 1985 - 豊田商事会長刺殺事件起こる。金の現物取り引きを装った「ペーパー商法」で問題となった豊田商事の永野一男会長が大阪の自宅マンションで、大勢の報道陣の前で、2人の男に刺殺される。
  • 1988 - 川崎市助役のリクルート株受領が発覚、リクルート事件へと発展する。朝日新聞のスクープによって、川崎市の助役がリクルート関連株の譲渡で1億円の利益を得ていたことが発覚。これが、リクルート事件の発端となる。


In the news

17 June 2021 – COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19 pandemic in Japan
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announces that the state of emergency will be lifted in nine prefectures on June 21. However, the government will maintain its quasi-emergency measures in seven prefectures, including Tokyo and Osaka. (The Japan Times)
14 June 2021 –
Two American citizens, a U.S. Army Special Forces veteran and his son, plead guilty to helping former chairman of Nissan Carlos Ghosn escape from Japan to Lebanon in December 2019. Although Japan has asked for Ghosn's international capture, Lebanon has so far refused to extradite him. (Reuters)
10 June 2021 – COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19 pandemic in Japan
The Japanese government announces that it will lift the state of emergency in Gunma, Ishikawa, and Kumamoto prefectures on June 14 due to a decrease in the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. (Kyodo News)
10 June 2021 – China–Japan relations, Japan–Taiwan relations, Political status of Taiwan
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin condemns Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga for referring to Taiwan as a country yesterday during a parliamentary debate, saying it violates the One-China policy. China also condemned Japan's decision to donate COVID-19 vaccines to Taiwan as "political performance". (Kyodo News)

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Satoshi Kon (今敏, Kon Satoshi, October 12, 1963 – August 24, 2010) was a Japanese film director, animator, screenwriter and manga artist from Sapporo, Hokkaidō and a member of the Japanese Animation Creators Association (JAniCA). He was a graduate of the Graphic Design department of the Musashino Art University. He is best known for his acclaimed anime films Perfect Blue (1997), Millennium Actress (2001), Tokyo Godfathers (2003), and Paprika (2006). ( Full article...)

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Flag of Kagoshima Prefecture
Kagoshima Prefecture is a prefecture of Japan located on Kyūshū island. The capital is the city of Kagoshima. It is located at the southwest tip of Kyūshū and includes a chain of islands stretching further to the southwest for a few hundred kilometers. The most important group is the Amami Islands. Surrounded by the Yellow Sea to the west, at least since 1879 by Okinawa Prefecture in the south, Kumamoto Prefecture to the north, and Miyazaki Prefecture to the east, it has 2,632km of coastline (including the 28 islands). It has a bay called Kagoshima Bay (Kinkowan), which is sandwiched by two peninsulas, Satsuma and Osumi. Its position made it a 'gateway' to Japan at various times in history. While Kyushu has about 13 million people there are less than 2 million in this prefecture. The prefecture boasts a chain of active and dormant volcanoes, including the great Sakurajima, which towers out of the Kagoshima bay opposite Kagoshima city. A steady trickle of smoke and ash emerges from the caldera, punctuated by louder mini-eruptions on an almost daily basis. On active days in Kagoshima city an umbrella is advisable to ward off the ash. Sakurajima is one of Japan's most active volcanoes. Major eruptions occurred in 1914, when the island mountain spilled enough material to become permanently connected to the mainland, and a lesser eruption in 1960. Volcanic materials in the soil make Sakurajima a source for record ' Daikon' radishes, roughly the size of a basketball.

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Shichirigahama beach

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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
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Demographics Demographics | Yamato people | Hāfu (half Japanese people) | Ainu people | Japanese people | Japanese names | Aging of Japan
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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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PORTAL:JAPAN Latitude and Longitude:

36°30′N 139°00′E / 36.5°N 139°E / 36.5; 139