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The Japan Portal
Location of Japan on the world map
Imperial Seal of Japan

Japan, officially Nippon () 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 Honsh?, Hokkaid?, Ky?sh? 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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Bonsh? are large bells found in Buddhist temples throughout Japan, used to summon the monks to prayer and to demarcate periods of time. Rather than containing a clapper, bonsh? are struck from the outside, using either a hand-held mallet or a beam suspended on ropes. The bells are usually made from bronze, typically augmented and ornamented with bosses, raised bands, and inscriptions. The earliest appearance of these bells in Japan dates to around 600 CE, although the general design is of much earlier Chinese origin. Their penetrating and pervasive tone carries over considerable distances, which led to their use as signals, timekeepers, and alarms. The sound is thought to have supernatural properties; it is believed, for example, that it can be heard in the underworld. Their spiritual significance means that they play an important role in Buddhist ceremonies, particularly the New Year and Bon festivals. Throughout Japanese history a number of these bells have become associated with stories and legends, both fictional, such as the Benkei Bell of Mii-dera, and historical, such as the bell of H?k?-ji. In modern times, bonsh? have become symbols of world peace.

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Ginkakuji-temple on a snowy day, Kyoto, Japan.
Credit: Moja

Ginkaku-ji is a Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan. The temple is part of the Shokoku-ji branch of Rinzai Zen.

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September 22:



Film and television

Holidays, observances, and anniversaries

  • Autumnal Equinox Day (Sh?bun no hi)

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Kan? Jigor?, the founder of judo
Kan? Jigor? was the founder of judo. Judo was the first Japanese martial art to gain widespread international recognition, and the first to become an official Olympic sport. Pedagogical innovations attributed to Kan? include the use of black and white belts, and the introduction of dan ranking to show the relative ranking between members of a martial art style. Well-known mottoes attributed to Kan? include "Maximum Efficiency with Minimum Effort" and "Mutual Welfare and Benefit." In his professional life Kan? was an educator. Important postings included serving as director of primary education for the Ministry of Education from 1898 to 1901, and as president of Tokyo Higher Normal School from 1901 until 1920. He played a key role in getting judo and kendo made part of the Japanese public school programs of the 1910s. Kan? was also a pioneer of international sports. Accomplishments included being the first Asian member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) (he served from 1909 until 1938), officially representing Japan at most Olympic Games held between 1912 and 1936 and serving as a leading spokesman for Japan's bid for the 1940 Olympic Games.

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Flag of Yamaguchi Prefecture
Yamaguchi Prefecture is a prefecture of Japan located in the Ch?goku region on Honsh? island. The capital is the city of Yamaguchi located in the center of the Prefecture. The largest city, by contrast, is Shimonoseki. Yamaguchi Prefecture was formerly divided into Nagato and Su? provinces. It was ruled by the M?ri clan domain during the Sengoku period. After Commodore Matthew Perry's opening of Japan, clans from Nagato (also called Ch?sh?) played a key role in the fall of the Tokugawa shogunate and the new imperial government. One of the prefecture's major attractions is the famous Kintai Bridge in the town of Iwakuni. This five arced wooden structure is considered a symbol of Western Honsh?. The area on the banks of the Nishiki river close to the bridge is considered among the best places in Japan for Hanami, when groups of family and friends gather in early April to view Cherry Blossoms. Thirteen cities lie within the prefecture's boundaries, including the capital Yamaguchi and Shimonoseki, the prefecture's largest city. There are also four districts comprising seven towns.

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Egawa Hidetatsu


In the news

18 September 2019 - 2019 Japan-South Korea trade dispute
South Korea officially removes Japan from its "whitelist" of countries with fast-track trade status. (Reuters)
14 September 2019 -
Seven people are hospitalized after a taxi drives onto the sidewalk outside Kanayama Station in Nagoya, Japan. (NHK)
11 September 2019 - 2019 Japan-South Korea trade dispute
South Korea announces it will file a complaint with the World Trade Organization over Japanese government export controls. (Marketwatch)
11 September 2019 -
Japanese Prime Minister Shinz? Abe rearranges his government cabinet, naming replacements at the Defense, Foreign Affairs, Environment and Olympics ministries, among others. (Al Jazeera)
10 September 2019 - Fukushima disaster cleanup
As Tepco says that, by 2022, it will run out of storage room for what is now more than 1 million tonnes of radioactively contaminated reactor core cooling water, Japanese Minister of the Environment Yoshiaki Harada opines that "the only option will be to drain it into the sea and dilute it". (Reuters)
9 September 2019 -
Typhoon Faxai kills three people and causes damage to Japan's capital Tokyo. (The Japan Times)

Japan topics

Eras Paleolithic | J?mon | Yayoi | Kofun | Asuka | Nara | Heian | Kamakura | Muromachi | Azuchi-Momoyama | Edo | Meiji | Taish? | Sh?wa | Heisei
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 | 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 | Ky?d? | 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 | H?fu (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 | T?dai-ji temple | Sens?-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

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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