Japan, officially Nippon (日本) 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 Honshū, Hokkaidō, Kyūshū 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.
Selected article -
Curse of the Colonel refers to an urban legend regarding a reputed curse placed on the Japanese Kansai-based Hanshin Tigers baseball team by deceased KFC founder and mascot Colonel Harland Sanders. The curse was said to be placed on the team because of the Colonel's anger over treatment of one of his store-front statues. As is common with sports-related curses, the Curse of the Colonel is used to explain the Japan Championship Series drought that the Hanshin Tigers have had to endure since their first and only victory in the 1985 Japan Championship. The curse is a classic example of a scapegoat. The Hanshin Tigers are located in Kansai, the second largest metropolitan area in Japan. They are considered the eternal underdogs of Nippon Professional Baseball, in opposition to the Yomiuri Giants of Tokyo, who are considered the kings of Japanese baseball. The devoted fans flock to the stadium no matter how badly the Tigers play in the league. Comparisons are often made between the Hanshin Tigers and the Boston Red Sox, who were also said to be under a curse, the Curse of the Bambino, until they won the World Series in 2004. In 1985, much to Japanese people's surprise, the Hanshin Tigers faced the Seibu Lions and took their first and only victory in the Japan Series, largely due to star slugger Randy Bass, a gaijin (foreigner) player for the team.
Selected image -
On this day...
- 1276 - Prince Hisaaki (d. 1328)
- 1910 - Shunkichi Hamada (d. 2009), field hockey player
- 1916 - Minoru Yasui (d. 1986), Japanese-American lawyer
- 1931 - Atsushi Miyagi, tennis player
- 1955 - LaSalle Ishii, television personality, actor, voice actor, and director
- 1958 - Hiromi Hara, footballer
- 1960 - Ayuo, Japanese-American composer, poet, lyricist, and singer
- 1960 - Takeshi Koshida, footballer
- 1967 - Yōji Matsuda, actor and voice actor
- 1967 - Yoko Shimomura, pianist and composer
- 1975 - Shian-Li Tsang, model
- 1976 - Hiroshi Sakai, footballer
- 1977 - Takamasa Suga, actor
- 1979 - Sachiko Sugiyama, volleyball player
- 1979 - Hiromi Yanagihara (d. 1999), singer and actress
- 1984 - Saki Fujita, voice actress
- 1985 - Erina Yamaguchi, model
- 1987 - Tsunenori Aoki, actor
- 1987 - Fumino Kimura, actress
- 1989 - Rakuto Tochihara, actor
- 1992 - Shiho, actress and model
- 1994 - Kenta Suga, actor
Film and television
Selected quote -
||When Toyota sneezes, everyone catches a cold.
|— Toshiharu Nakano, owner of a Japanese kimono fabrics shop in Nagoya
Selected biography -
was a Japanese woodblock print artist. Talented as a child, at about thirteen he became a student of Tokyo's then-leading print maker, Utagawa Kunisada
. His deep appreciation and knowledge of kabuki
drama led to his production primarily of ukiyo-e
actor-prints, which are woodblock prints of kabuki actors and scenes from popular plays of the time. An alcoholic and womanizer, Kunichika also portrayed women deemed beautiful (bijinga
), contemporary social life, and a few landscapes and historical scenes. He worked successfully in the Edo
era, and carried those traditions into the Meiji
era. To his contemporaries and now to some modern art historians, this has been seen as a significant achievement during a transitional period of great social and political change in Japan's history. The artist who became known as Toyohara Kunichika was born Ōshima Yasohachi on June 5, 1835, in the Kyōbashi
district, a merchant and artisan area of Edo
). His father, Ōshima Kyujū, was the proprietor of a sentō
(public bathhouse), the Ōshūya
Selected prefecture -
is a prefecture
located in the Chūbu region
of the island of Honshū
. The capital is the city of Nagano
. Nagano was formerly known as the province of Shinano
, and was divided among many local daimyō
during the Sengoku
period. Nagano was host to the 1998 Winter Olympics
, which gained the prefecture international recognition as well as gaining the prefecture a Shinkansen
line to Tokyo
. Nine of the twelve highest mountains in Japan can be found in this inland prefecture. Nagano is also the prefecture which is bordered by the highest number of other prefectures in Japan and it contains the location which is the furthest point from the ocean anywhere in Japan. Lakes featured within the region include Lake Kizaki
, a beach resort popular for its water attractions and games. The province's mountains have made it relatively isolated, and many people come for its mountain resorts and hot springs. Nagano's former governor, Yasuo Tanaka
, is an independent who has made a reputation internationally for attacking Japan's status quo. Among other issues, he has refused national government money for construction projects that he deems unnecessary, such as dams, and has overhauled (locally) the press club system that is blamed for limiting government access to journalists who give favorable coverage. Tanaka was voted out from office on August 6, 2006 and was replaced by Jin Murai.
Did you know... -
- ... that Kutani ware (pictured), first produced about 1656 near the current city of Kaga, is a type of Japanese porcelain known for its use of multicolored glazes in bold designs?
- ... that the 1945 loss of German U-boat U-864 during Operation Caesar, a secret mission to deliver technology to Japan, is the only known incident of one submerged submarine sinking another?
- ... that of Japanese band Supercell's eleven members, only one of them makes the music and the rest are illustrators and designers?
In the news