AskDefine | Define Japan

Dictionary Definition



1 a string of more than 3,000 islands east of Asia extending 1,300 miles between the Sea of Japan and the western Pacific Ocean [syn: Japanese Islands, Japanese Archipelago]
2 a constitutional monarchy occupying the Japanese Archipelago; a world leader in electronics and automobile manufacture and ship building [syn: Nippon, Nihon]
3 lacquerware decorated and varnished in the Japanese manner with a glossy durable black lacquer
4 lacquer with a durable glossy black finish, originally from the orient v : coat with a lacquer, as done in Japan

User Contributed Dictionary

see japan



From etyl nl Japan or etyl pt Japão, from etyl msa Japang, from Chinese 日本 (jih-pǔn).


  • ˌʤə-pæn
    Rhymes: -æn

Proper noun

  1. An island nation in the Pacific Ocean, located the east of China, Korea and Russia.



A Far East country in Asia
  • Old English: Iapan
  • Afrikaans: Japan
  • Albanian: Japonia
  • Tosk Albanian: Japan
  • Arabic: اليابان
  • Aragonese: Chapón
  • Aramaic:
  • Asturian: Xapón
  • Azeri: Yaponiya
  • Basque: Japonia
  • Belarusian: Японія
  • Bengali: জাপান
  • Bishnupriya Manipuri:
  • Bosnian: Japan
  • Breton: Japan
  • Buginese:
  • Bulgarian: Япония
  • Catalan: el Japó
  • Cebuano:
  • Chamorro: Japan
  • Cheyenne:
  • Cherokee: ᏣᏆᏂ
  • Chinese:
    Cantonese: 日本 (yat6 bun2)
    Mandarin: 日本 (traditional and simplified)
    Min Dong: Nĭk-buōng
    Min Nan: Ji̍t-pún
    Wu: 日本
  • Cornish: Nihon
  • Croatian: Japan
  • Czech: Japonsko
  • Danish: Japan
  • Dimili:
  • Dutch: Japan
  • Dzongkha: Japan
  • Esperanto: Japanio, Japanujo
  • Estonian: Jaapan
  • Finnish: Japani
  • Franco-Provençal:
  • French: le Japon
  • West Frisian: Japan
  • Galician: Xapón
  • Georgian: იაპონია
  • German: Japan
  • Gheg Albanian:
  • Greek: Ιαπωνία
  • Gujarati: જાપાન
  • Hebrew: יפן
  • Hindi: जापान
  • Hungarian: Japán
  • Icelandic: Japan
  • Ido: Japonia
  • Ilocano:
  • Indonesian: Jepang
  • Interlingua: Japon
  • Irish: an-tSeapáin
  • Italian: Giappone
  • Japanese: 日本 (にっぽん, Nippon; にほん, Nihon)
  • Kannada: ಜಪಾನ್
  • Kashubian: Japòńskô
  • Korean: 일본 [日本]
  • Kurdish: Japon,
  • Lao: ຍີ່ປຸ່ນ
  • Latin: Iaponia, Japonia
  • Latvian: Japāna
  • Limburgish: Japan
  • Lithuanian: Japonija
  • Lojban: pongu'e
  • Low Saxon: Japan
  • Luxembourgish: Japan
  • Macedonian: Јапонија
  • Malagasy: Japana
  • Malay: Jepun
  • Malayalam: ജപ്പാന്‍
  • Maltese: Ġappun
  • Maori: Nipono
  • Marathi: जपान
  • Marshallese: Japan
  • Mongolian: Япон
  • Nahuatl: Xapōn
  • Narom:
  • Nauruan: Djapan
  • Neapolitan:
  • Newari:
  • Northern Sami:
  • Norwegian: Japan
  • Novial:
  • Nynorsk: Japan
  • Occitan: Japon
  • Oriya: Japan
  • Palauan: Siabal
  • Persian: ژاپن
  • Piedmontese:
  • Polish: Japonia
  • Portuguese: Japão
  • Pushto: جاپان
  • Quechua: Nihun
  • Romanian: Japonia
  • Russian: Япония
  • Sanskrit: जापान
  • Sardinian:
  • Scots:
  • Serbian:
    Cyrillic: Јапан
    Latin: Japan
  • Sicilian: Giappuni
  • Sinhalese: ජපානය
  • Slovak: Japonsko
  • Slovenian: Japonska
  • Samoan: Iapani
  • Somali: Jabaan
  • Spanish: Japón, el Japón
  • Sundanese: Jepang
  • Swahili: Japani
  • Swazi: IJaphani, Japan
  • Swedish: Japan
  • Tagalog: Hapon
  • Tahitian:
  • Tajik: Ҷопон
  • Tamil: ஜப்பான்
  • Telugu: జపాన్
  • Tatar:
    Crimean Tatar:
  • Thai: ญี่ปุ่น
  • Tibetan:
  • Tigrigna: Japan
  • Tok Pisin: Siapan
  • Turkish: Japonya
  • Turkmen: Ýaponiýa
  • Udmurt:
  • Ukrainian: Японія
  • Upper Sorbian:
  • Urdu: جاپان
  • Uyghur: ياپونىيە
  • Uzbek: Yaponiya
  • Venetian:
  • Vietnamese: Nhật Bản
  • Volapük: Yapän
  • Waray:
  • Welsh: Japan
  • Wolof: Sapoŋ
  • Yiddish: יאפאן
  • Zulu: IJapani


Proper noun

  1. Japan


Proper noun

  1. Japan


Proper noun

  1. Japan


Proper noun

  1. Japan


Proper noun

  1. Japan


Proper noun

Japan (Japan-s, -)
  1. Japan
    Ég fer til Japans.
    I'm going to Japan.
    Hvar er Japan staðsett á kortinu?
    Where is Japan located on the map?

See also


Proper noun

  1. Japan

Related terms


Proper noun

  1. Japan

See also


Proper noun

  1. Japan

Extensive Definition

Japan ( Nihon or Nippon[[Help:Japanese|<span class="t nihongo icon" style="color:#00e; font:bold 80% sans-serif; text-decoration:none; padding:0 .1em;">?]], officially Nippon-koku or Nihon-koku) is an island country in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of China, Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea in the south. 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 making it an archipelago. The largest islands are Honshū, Hokkaidō, Kyūshū and Shikoku, together accounting for 97% of Japan's land area. 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 de facto capital city of Tokyo and several surrounding prefectures, is the largest metropolitan area in the world, with over 30 million residents.
Archaeological research indicates that people were living on the islands of Japan as early as the Upper Paleolithic period. The first written mention of Japan begins with brief appearances in Chinese history texts from the first century AD.
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,
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 modern Shanghainese (a Wu Chinese dialect 呉語) pronunciation of characters 日本 (Japan) is still Zeppen [zəʔpən]. The old Malay word for Japan, Jepang (modern spelling Jepun, although Indonesian has retained the older spelling), was borrowed from a Chinese language, and this Malay word was encountered by Portuguese traders in Malacca in the 16th century. It is thought the Portuguese traders were the first to bring the word to Europe. It was first recorded in English in 1577 spelled Giapan.


The first signs of occupation on the Japanese Archipelago appeared with a Paleolithic culture around 30,000 BC, followed from around 14,000 BC by the Jōmon period, a Mesolithic to Neolithic semi-sedentary hunter-gatherer culture of pit dwelling and a rudimentary form of agriculture. Decorated clay vessels from this period, often with plaited patterns, are some of the oldest surviving examples of pottery in the world.
The Yayoi period, starting around the third century BC, introduced new practices, such as wet-rice farming, iron and bronze-making and a new style of pottery, brought by migrants from China or Korea. With the development of Yayoi culture, a predominantly agricultural society emerged in Japan.
The Japanese first appear in written history in China’s Book of Han. According to the Chinese Records of Three Kingdoms, the most powerful kingdom on the archipelago during the third century was called Yamataikoku.
Buddhism was first introduced to Japan from Baekje of the Korean Peninsula, but the subsequent development of Japanese Buddhism and Buddhist sculptures were primarily influenced by China. Despite early resistance, Buddhism was promoted by the ruling class and eventually gained growing acceptance since the Asuka period.
The Nara period of the eighth century marked the first emergence of a strong central Japanese state, centered around an imperial court in the city of Heijō-kyō, or modern day Nara. In addition to the continuing adoption of Chinese administrative practices, the Nara period is characterized by the appearance of a nascent written literature with the completion of the massive chronicles Kojiki (712) and Nihon Shoki (720). (Nara was not the first capital city in Japan, though. Before Nara, Fujiwara-kyō and Asuka served as capitals of the Yamato state.)
In 784, Emperor Kammu moved the capital from Nara to Nagaoka-kyō for a brief ten-year period, before relocating it to Heian-kyō (modern day Kyoto) in 794, where it remained for more than a millennium. This marked the beginning of the Heian period, during which time a distinctly indigenous Japanese culture emerged, noted for its art, poetry and literature. Lady Murasaki's The Tale of Genji and the lyrics of modern Japan's national anthem, Kimi ga Yo were written during this time.
Japan's feudal era was characterized by the emergence of a ruling class of warriors, the samurai. In 1185, following the defeat of the rival Taira clan, Minamoto no Yoritomo was appointed Shogun and established a base of power in Kamakura. After Yoritomo's death, the Hōjō clan came to rule as regents for the shoguns. Zen Buddhism was introduced from China in the Kamakura period (1185–1333) and became popular among the samurai class. The Kamakura shogunate managed to repel Mongol invasions in 1274 and 1281, aided by a storm that the Japanese interpreted as a kamikaze, or Divine Wind. The Kamakura shogunate was eventually overthrown by Emperor Go-Daigo, who was soon himself defeated by Ashikaga Takauji in 1336. The succeeding Ashikaga shogunate failed to control the feudal warlords (daimyo), and a civil war erupted (the Ōnin War) in 1467 which opened a century-long Sengoku period.
During the sixteenth century, traders and Jesuit missionaries from Portugal reached Japan for the first time, initiating active commercial and cultural exchange between Japan and the West (Nanban trade).
Japan is a constitutional monarchy where the power of the Emperor is very limited. As a ceremonial figurehead, he is defined by the constitution as "the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people". Power is held chiefly by the Prime Minister of Japan and other elected members of the Diet, while sovereignty is vested in the Japanese people. The Emperor effectively acts as the head of state on diplomatic occasions. Akihito is the current Emperor of Japan. Naruhito, Crown Prince of Japan, stands as next in line to the throne.
Japan's legislative organ is the National Diet, a bicameral parliament. The Diet consists of a House of Representatives, containing 480 seats, elected by popular vote every four years or when dissolved and a House of Councillors of 242 seats, whose popularly-elected members serve six-year terms. There is universal suffrage for adults over 20 years of age, with a secret ballot for all elective offices. The largest opposition party is the social liberal Democratic Party of Japan.
The Prime Minister of Japan is the head of government. The position is appointed by the Emperor of Japan after being designated by the Diet from among its members and must enjoy the confidence of the House of Representatives to remain in office. The Prime Minister is the head of the Cabinet (the literal translation of his Japanese title is "Prime Minister of the Cabinet") and appoints and dismisses the Ministers of State, a majority of whom must be Diet members. Yasuo Fukuda currently serves as the Prime Minister of Japan.
Historically influenced by Chinese law, the Japanese legal system developed independently during the Edo period through texts such as Kujikata Osadamegaki. However, since the late nineteenth century, the judicial system has been largely based on the civil law of Europe, notably France and Germany. For example, in 1896, the Japanese government established a civil code based on the German model. With post-World War II modifications, the code remains in effect in present-day Japan. Statutory law originates in Japan's legislature, the National Diet of Japan, with the rubber stamp approval of the Emperor. The current constitution requires that the Emperor promulgates legislation passed by the Diet, without specifically giving him the power to oppose the passing of the legislation. The main body of Japanese statutory law is a collection called the Six Codes. A member state of the United Nations since 1956, Japan has served as a non-permanent Security Council member for a total of 18 years, most recently in 2005–2006. It is also one of the G4 nations seeking permanent membership in the Security Council. As a member of the G8, the APEC, the "ASEAN Plus Three" and a participant in the East Asia Summit, Japan actively participates in international affairs. It is also the world's second-largest donor of official development assistance, donating US$8.86 bn in 2004. Japan contributed non-combatant troops to the Iraq War but subsequently withdrew its forces from Iraq.
Japan is engaged in several territorial disputes with its neighbors: with Russia over the South Kuril Islands, with South Korea over the Liancourt Rocks, with the People's Republic of China and Taiwan over the Senkaku Islands and the EEZ around Okinotorishima.
Japan also faces an ongoing dispute with North Korea over its abduction of Japanese citizens and its nuclear weapons and missile program (see also Six-party talks). As a result of the Kuril Islands dispute, Japan is technically still at war with Russia since no treaty resolving the issue was ever signed.
Japan's military is restricted by the Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, which renounces Japan's right to declare war or use military force as a means of settling international disputes. 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). 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.
Japan has dozens of major cities, which play an important role in Japan's culture, heritage and economy. Those in the list below of the ten most populous are all prefectural capitals and government ordinance cities, except where indicated:


Japan is a country of over three thousand islands extending along the Pacific coast of Asia. The main islands, running from north to south, are Hokkaidō, Honshū (the main island), Shikoku and Kyūshū. The Ryukyu Islands, including Okinawa, are a chain of islands south of Kyushū. Together they are often known as the Japanese Archipelago.
About 70% to 80% of the country is forested, mountainous, and unsuitable for agricultural, industrial, or residential use. This is because of the generally steep elevations, climate and risk of landslides caused by earthquakes, soft ground and heavy rain. This has resulted in an extremely high population density in the habitable zones that are mainly located in coastal areas. Japan is one of the most densely populated countries in the world.
Its location on the Pacific Ring of Fire, at the juncture of three tectonic plates, gives Japan frequent low-intensity tremors and occasional volcanic activity. Destructive earthquakes, often resulting in tsunamis, occur several times each century. The most recent major quakes are the 2004 Chūetsu earthquake and the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995. Hot springs are numerous and have been developed as resorts.
The climate of Japan is predominantly temperate, but varies greatly from north to south. Japan's geographical features divide it into six principal climatic zones:
  • Hokkaidō: The northernmost zone has a temperate climate with long, cold winters and cool summers. Precipitation is not heavy, but the islands usually develop deep snow banks in the winter.
  • Sea of Japan: On Honshū's west coast, the northwest wind in the wintertime brings heavy snowfall. In the summer, the region is cooler than the Pacific area, though it sometimes experiences extremely hot temperatures, because of the foehn wind phenomenon.
  • Central Highland: A typical inland climate, with large temperature differences between summer and winter, and between day and night. Precipitation is light.
  • Seto Inland Sea: The mountains of the Chūgoku and Shikoku regions shelter the region from the seasonal winds, bringing mild weather throughout the year.
  • Pacific Ocean: The east coast experiences cold winters with little snowfall and hot, humid summers because of the southeast seasonal wind.
  • Ryukyu Islands: The Ryukyu Islands have a subtropical climate, with warm winters and hot summers. Precipitation is very heavy, especially during the rainy season. Typhoons are common.
The hottest temperature ever measured in Japan — 40.9 degrees Celsius — was recorded on August 16, 2007.
The main rainy season begins in early May in Okinawa, and the stationary rain front responsible for this gradually works its way north until it dissipates in northern Japan before reaching Hokkaidō in late July. In most of Honshū, the rainy season begins before the middle of June and lasts about six weeks. In late summer and early autumn, typhoons often bring heavy rain.
Japan's environmental history and current policies reflect a tenuous balance between economic development and environmental protection. In the rapid economic growth after the World War II, environmental policies were downplayed by the government and industrial corporations. As an inevitable consequence, some crucial environmental pollution (see Pollution in Japan) occurred in 1950s and 1960s. In the rising concern over the problem, the government introduced many environmental protection laws in 1970 and established the Ministry of the Environment in 1971. The Oil crisis in 1973 also encouraged the efficient use of energy due to Japan's lack of natural resources. Current priority environmental issues include urban air pollution (NOx, suspended particulate matter, toxics), waste management, water eutrophication, nature conservation, climate change, chemical management and international co-operation for environmental conservation.
Today Japan is one of the world's leaders in the development of new environment-friendly technologies. Honda and Toyota hybrid electric vehicles were named to have the highest fuel economy and lowest emissions. This is due to the advanced technology in hybrid systems, biofuels, use of lighter weight material and better engineering.
Japan also takes issues surrounding climate change and global warming seriously. As a signatory of the Kyoto Protocol, and host of the 1997 conference which created it, Japan is under treaty obligations to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions and to take other steps related to curbing climate change. The Cool Biz campaign introduced under former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi was targeted at reducing energy use through the reduction of air conditioning use in government offices. Japan is preparing to force industry to make big cuts in greenhouse gases, taking the lead in a country struggling to meet its Kyoto Protocol obligations.
Japan is ranked 30th best in the world in the Environmental Sustainability Index.


Japan's economy is characterized by low overall taxation Slowly progressing reforms took pace in the mid-2000s and higher growth rates were seen after 2005. Japan is the second largest economy in the world, after the United States, at around US$4.5 trillion in terms of nominal GDP
Banking, insurance, real estate, retailing, transportation and telecommunications are all major industries. Japan has a large industrial capacity and is home to some of the largest, leading and most technologically advanced producers of motor vehicles, electronic equipment, machine tools, steel and nonferrous metals, ships, chemicals, textiles and processed foods. Recently, Japanese companies have begun to abandon some of these norms in an attempt to increase profitability. Japan is also home to some of the largest financial services companies, business groups and bank such as Sony, Sumitomo, Mitsubishi and Toyota. It is also home to the world's largest bank by asset, Japan Post Bank (US$3.2 trillion) and others such as Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (US$1.2 trillion), Mizuho Financial Group (US$1.4 trillion) and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (US$1.3 trillion). The Tokyo Stock Exchange with a market capitalization of over 549.7 trillion Yen as of December 2006 stands as the second largest in the world.
From the 1960s to the 1980s, overall real economic growth has been called a "miracle": a 10% average in the 1960s, a 5% average in the 1970s and a 4% average in the 1980s. Growth slowed markedly in the 1990s, largely because of the after-effects of over-investment during the late 1980s and domestic policies intended to wring speculative excesses from the stock and real estate markets. Government efforts to revive economic growth met with little success and were further hampered in 2000 to 2001 by the deceleration of the global economy. However, the economy showed strong signs of recovery after 2005. GDP growth for that year was 2.8%, with an annualized fourth quarter expansion of 5.5%, surpassing the growth rates of the US and European Union during the same period.
Because only about 15% of Japan's land is suitable for cultivation, a system of terrace farming is used to build in small areas. This results in one of the world's highest levels of crop yields per unit area, while the agricultural subsidies and protection are costly to the economy. Japan imports about 50% of its requirements of grain and fodder crops other than rice, and it relies on imports for most of its supply of meat. In fishing, Japan is ranked second in the world behind China in tonnage of fish caught. Japan maintains one of the world's largest fishing fleets and accounts for nearly 15% of the global catch.

Science and technology

Japan is one of the leading nations in the fields of scientific research, particularly technology, machinery and biomedical research. Nearly 700,000 researchers share a US$130 billion research and development budget, the third largest in the world. For instance some of Japan's more prominent technological contributions are found in the fields of electronics, automobiles, machinery, industrial robotics, optics, chemicals, semiconductors and metals. Japan leads the world in robotics production and use, possessing more than half (402,200 of 742,500) of the world's industrial robots used for manufacturing. It also produced QRIO, ASIMO and AIBO. Japan is the world's largest producer of automobiles and home to six of the world's fifteen largest automobile manufacturers and seven of the world's twenty largest semiconductor sales leaders as of today.
Japan has plans in space exploration, including building a moonbase by 2030. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) conducts space and planetary research, aviation research, and development of rockets and satellites. It is a participant in the International Space Station and the Japanese Experiment Module (Kibo) is slated to be added to the International Space Station during Space Shuttle assembly flights in 2008.


Japan's population is estimated at around 127.3 million. For the most part, Japanese society is linguistically and culturally homogeneous with small populations of foreign workers, Zainichi Koreans, Zainichi Chinese, Filipinos, Japanese Brazilians and others. The most dominant native ethnic group is the Yamato people; the primary minority groups include the indigenous Ainu and Ryukyuan, as well as social minority groups like the burakumin.
Japan has one of the highest life expectancy rates in the world, at 81.25 years of age as of 2006. The Japanese population is rapidly aging, the effect of a post-war baby boom followed by a decrease in births in the latter part of the twentieth century. In 2004, about 19.5% of the population was over the age of 65.
The changes in the demographic structure have created a number of social issues, particularly a potential decline in the workforce population and increases in the cost of social security benefits such as the public pension plan. Many Japanese youth are increasingly preferring not to marry or have families as adults. Immigration and birth incentives are sometimes suggested as a solution to provide younger workers to support the nation's aging population. The highest estimates for the amount of Buddhists and Shintoists in Japan is 84-96%, representing a large number of believers in a syncretism of both religions. However, these estimates are based on people with an association with a temple, rather than the number of people truly following the religion. Professor Robert Kisala (Nanzan University) suggests that only 30 percent of the population identify themselves as belonging to a religion. The writing system uses kanji (Chinese characters) and two sets of kana (syllabaries based on simplified Chinese characters), as well as the Latin alphabet and Arabic numerals. The Ryukyuan languages, also part of the Japonic language family to which Japanese belongs, are spoken in Okinawa, but few children learn these languages. The Ainu language is moribund, with only a few elderly native speakers remaining in Hokkaidō. Most public and private schools require students to take courses in both Japanese and English.

Education and health

Primary, secondary schools and universities were introduced into Japan in 1872 as a result of the Meiji Restoration. Since 1947, compulsory education in Japan consists of elementary school and middle school, which lasts for nine years (from age 6 to age 15). Almost all children continue their education at a three-year senior high school, and, according to the MEXT, about 75.9% of high school graduates attend a university, junior college, trade school, or other post-secondary institution in 2005. Japan's education is very competitive, especially for entrance to institutions of higher education. The two top-ranking universities in Japan are the University of Tokyo and Kyoto University. The Programme for International Student Assessment coordinated by the OECD, currently ranks Japanese knowledge and skills of 15-year-olds as the 6th best in the world.
In Japan, healthcare services are provided by national and local governments. Payment for personal medical services is offered through a universal health care insurance system that provides relative equality of access, with fees set by a government committee. People without insurance through employers can participate in a national health insurance program administered by local governments. Since 1973, all elderly persons have been covered by government-sponsored insurance. Patients are free to select physicians or facilities of their choice.

Culture and recreation

Japanese culture has evolved greatly over the years, from the country's original Jōmon culture to its contemporary culture, which combines influences from Asia, Europe and North America. Traditional Japanese arts include crafts (ikebana, origami, ukiyo-e, dolls, lacquerware, pottery), performances (bunraku, dance, kabuki, noh, rakugo), traditions (games, tea ceremony, Budō, architecture, gardens, swords) and cuisine. The fusion of traditional woodblock printing and Western art led to the creation of manga, a typically Japanese comic book format that is now popular within and outside Japan. Manga-influenced animation for television and film is called anime. Japanese-made video game consoles have prospered since the 1980s.
Japanese music is eclectic, having borrowed instruments, scales and styles from neighboring cultures. Many instruments, such as the koto, were introduced in the ninth and tenth centuries. The accompanied recitative of the Noh drama dates from the fourteenth century and the popular folk music, with the guitar-like shamisen, from the sixteenth. Western music, introduced in the late nineteenth century, now forms an integral part of the culture. 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.
Karaoke is the most widely practiced cultural activity. 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.
The earliest works of Japanese literature include two history books the Kojiki and the Nihon Shoki and the eighth century poetry book Man'yōshū, all written in Chinese characters. In the early days of the Heian period, the system of transcription known as kana (Hiragana and Katakana) was created as phonograms. The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter is considered the oldest Japanese narrative. An account of Heian court life is given by The Pillow Book written by Sei Shōnagon, while The Tale of Genji by Lady Murasaki is often described as the world's first novel. During the Edo period, literature became not so much the field of the samurai aristocracy as that of the chōnin, the ordinary people. Yomihon, for example, became popular and reveals this profound change in the readership and authorship. Martial arts such as judo, karate and kendō are also widely practiced and enjoyed by spectators in the country. After the Meiji Restoration, many Western sports were introduced in Japan and began to spread through the education system.
The professional baseball league in Japan was established in 1936. Today baseball is the most popular spectator sport in the country. 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. Prior to that, Sadaharu Oh was well-known outside Japan, having hit more home runs during his career in Japan than his contemporary, Hank Aaron, did in America.
Since the establishment of the Japan Professional Football League in 1992, association football (soccer) has also gained a wide following. Japan was a venue of the Intercontinental Cup from 1981 to 2004 and co-hosted the 2002 FIFA World Cup with South Korea. Japan is one of the most successful soccer teams in Asia, winning the Asian Cup three times.
Golf is also popular in Japan, as is auto racing, the Super GT sports car series and Formula Nippon formula racing. Twin Ring Motegi was completed in 1997 by Honda in order to bring IndyCar racing to Japan.


Further reading

  • Christopher, Robert C., The Japanese Mind: the Goliath Explained, Linden Press/Simon and Schuster, 1983 (ISBN 0330284193)
  • De Mente, The Japanese Have a Word For It, McGraw-Hill, 1997 (ISBN 0-8442-8316-9)
  • Henshall, A History of Japan, Palgrave Macmillan, 2001 (ISBN 0-312-23370-1)
  • Jansen, The Making of Modern Japan, Belknap, 2000 (ISBN 0-674-00334-9)
  • Johnson, Japan: Who Governs?, W.W. Norton, 1996 (ISBN 0-393-31450-2)
  • Reischauer, Japan: The Story of a Nation, McGraw-Hill, 1989 (ISBN 0-07-557074-2)
  • Sugimoto et al., An Introduction to Japanese Society, Cambridge University Press, 2003 (ISBN 0-521-52925-5)
  • Van Wolferen, The Enigma of Japanese Power, Vintage, 1990 (ISBN 0-679-72802-3)

External links

sisterlinks Japan
Japan in Afrikaans: Japan
Japan in Tosk Albanian: Japan
Japan in Old English (ca. 450-1100): Iapan
Japan in Arabic: اليابان
Japan in Aragonese: Chapón
Japan in Official Aramaic (700-300 BCE): ܝܦܢ
Japan in Franco-Provençal: J·apon
Japan in Asturian: Xapón
Japan in Azerbaijani: Yaponiya
Japan in Bengali: জাপান
Japan in Min Nan: Ji̍t-pún
Japan in Bashkir: Япония
Japan in Belarusian: Японія
Japan in Belarusian (Tarashkevitsa): Японія
Japan in Bavarian: Japan
Japan in Tibetan: ཇི་བེན
Japan in Bosnian: Japan
Japan in Breton: Japan
Japan in Bulgarian: Япония
Japan in Russia Buriat: Жибэн
Japan in Catalan: Japó
Japan in Chuvash: Япони
Japan in Cebuano: Hapon
Japan in Czech: Japonsko
Japan in Welsh: Japan
Japan in Danish: Japan
Japan in German: Japan
Japan in Dhivehi: ޖަޕާނު
Japan in Lower Sorbian: Japońska
Japan in Dzongkha: ཇ་པཱན་
Japan in Estonian: Jaapan
Japan in Modern Greek (1453-): Ιαπωνία
Japan in Spanish: Japón
Japan in Esperanto: Japanio
Japan in Basque: Japonia
Japan in Persian: ژاپن
Japan in Faroese: Japan
Japan in French: Japon
Japan in Western Frisian: Japan
Japan in Irish: An tSeapáin
Japan in Gan Chinese: 日本
Japan in Manx: Yn Çhapaan
Japan in Scottish Gaelic: Iapan
Japan in Galician: Xapón - 日本
Japan in Gujarati: જાપાન
Japan in Classical Chinese: 日本
Japan in Hakka Chinese: Ngit-pún
Japan in Kalmyk: Японь
Japan in Korean: 일본
Japan in Armenian: Ճապոնիա
Japan in Hindi: जापान
Japan in Upper Sorbian: Japanska
Japan in Croatian: Japan
Japan in Ido: Japonia
Japan in Iloko: Japon
Japan in Bishnupriya: জাপান
Japan in Indonesian: Jepang
Japan in Interlingua (International Auxiliary Language Association): Japon
Japan in Interlingue: Japan
Japan in Inuktitut: ᓃᑉᐊᓐ/niipan
Japan in Ossetian: Япон
Japan in Zulu: IJapani
Japan in Icelandic: Japan
Japan in Italian: Giappone
Japan in Hebrew: יפן
Japan in Javanese: Jepang
Japan in Pampanga: Hapon
Japan in Kannada: ಜಪಾನ್
Japan in Georgian: იაპონია
Japan in Kashmiri: जापान
Japan in Kashubian: Japòńskô
Japan in Kazakh: Жапония
Japan in Cornish: Nihon
Japan in Kirghiz: Жапония
Japan in Swahili (macrolanguage): Japani
Japan in Haitian: Japon
Japan in Kurdish: Japon
Japan in Lao: ປະເທດຍີ່ປຸ່ນ
Japan in Latin: Iaponia
Japan in Latvian: Japāna
Japan in Luxembourgish: Japan
Japan in Lithuanian: Japonija
Japan in Ligurian: Giappon
Japan in Limburgan: Japan
Japan in Lingala: Zapɔ́
Japan in Lojban: pongu'e
Japan in Hungarian: Japán
Japan in Macedonian: Јапонија
Japan in Malagasy: Japana
Japan in Malayalam: ജപ്പാന്‍
Japan in Maori: Nipono
Japan in Marathi: जपान
Japan in Malay (macrolanguage): Jepun
Japan in Min Dong Chinese: Nĭk-buōng
Japan in Mongolian: Япон
Japan in Nauru: Djapan
Japan in Dutch: Japan
Japan in Dutch Low Saxon: Japan
Japan in Nepali: जापान
Japan in Newari: जापान
Japan in Japanese: 日本
Japan in Neapolitan: Giappone
Japan in Norwegian: Japan
Japan in Norwegian Nynorsk: Japan
Japan in Narom: Japon
Japan in Novial: Japan
Japan in Occitan (post 1500): Japon
Japan in Oriya: ଜାପାନ
Japan in Uzbek: Yaponiya
Japan in Pushto: جاپان
Japan in Central Khmer: ជប៉ុន
Japan in Piemontese: Giapon
Japan in Low German: Japan
Japan in Polish: Japonia
Japan in Portuguese: Japão
Japan in Crimean Tatar: Yaponiya
Japan in Tahitian: Tāpōnē
Japan in Romanian: Japonia
Japan in Quechua: Nihun
Japan in Russian: Япония
Japan in Northern Sami: Japána
Japan in Samoan: Iapani
Japan in Sanskrit: जापान
Japan in Sardinian: Japone
Japan in Scots: Japan
Japan in Albanian: Japonia
Japan in Sicilian: Giappuni
Japan in Sinhala: ජපානය
Japan in Simple English: Japan
Japan in Swati: IJaphani
Japan in Slovak: Japonsko
Japan in Slovenian: Japonska
Japan in Silesian: Japůńja
Japan in Somali: Jabaan
Japan in Serbian: Јапан
Japan in Serbo-Croatian: Japan
Japan in Sundanese: Jepang
Japan in Finnish: Japani
Japan in Swedish: Japan
Japan in Tagalog: Hapon (bansa)
Japan in Tamil: ஜப்பான்
Japan in Telugu: జపాన్
Japan in Thai: ประเทศญี่ปุ่น
Japan in Vietnamese: Nhật Bản
Japan in Tigrinya: ጃፓን
Japan in Tajik: Ҷопон
Japan in Tok Pisin: Siapan
Japan in Turkish: Japonya
Japan in Turkmen: Ýaponiýa
Japan in Udmurt: Япония
Japan in Buginese: ᨍᨛᨄ
Japan in Ukrainian: Японія
Japan in Urdu: جاپان
Japan in Venetian: Giapòn
Japan in Volapük: Yapän
Japan in Waray (Philippines): Hapon
Japan in Wolof: Sapoŋ
Japan in Wu Chinese: 日本
Japan in Yiddish: יאפאן
Japan in Yoruba: Japan
Japan in Contenese: 日本
Japan in Zamboanga Chavacano: Japón
Japan in Dimli: Japonya
Japan in Samogitian: Japuonėjė
Japan in Chinese: 日本
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