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 -
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
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.
Selected image -
Two geisha conversing near Kinkaku-ji in Kyoto, Japan. One of their most recognizable characteristics, traditional white make-up, is shown in detail. Its application is hard to perfect and is a time-consuming process. It is applied before dressing to avoid dirtying the kimono. The white make-up covers the face, neck, and chest, with two or three unwhitened areas. One of these areas is a "W" or "V" shape (usually the traditional "W" shape) on the nape to accentuate this traditionally erotic area.
On this day...
- 1646 - Tokugawa Tsunayoshi (d. 1709), shogun
- 1943 - Kin'ya Kitaōji, actor
- 1951 - Shigefumi Mori, mathematician
- 1953 - Satoru Nakajima, race car driver
- 1956 - Brother Tom, singer and entertainer
- 1960 - Naruhito, Crown Prince of Japan
- 1969 - Miyako Itō, voice actress
- 1970 - Shoko Aida, singer and actress
- 1971 - Ryohei Odai, actor and voice actor
- 1976 - Satoshi Yoneyama, wrestler
- 1978 - Yuka Motohashi, actress
- 1986 - Kazuya Kamenashi, singer-songwriter and actor
- 1993 - Kasumi Ishikawa, table tennis player
Selected quote -
||Japan's economy is falling off a cliff. There's nothing out there to drive growth.
|— Junko Nishioka, economist at RBS Securities Japan in Tokyo
Selected biography -
Fujiwara no Teika
, also known as Fujiwara no Sadaie or Sada-ie, was a Japanese waka
poet, critic, calligrapher
, novelist, anthologist
, scribe, and scholar of the late Heian
and early Kamakura periods
. His influence was enormous, and he is even to this day counted as among the greatest of Japanese poets
, and perhaps the greatest master of the waka
form - an ancient poetic form consisting of five lines with a total of 31 syllables
. His critical ideas on composing poetry were extremely influential and studied until as late as the Meiji era
. A member of a poetic clan, Teika was born to the noted poet Fujiwara no Shunzei
. After coming to the attention of the Retired Emperor Go-Toba
(1180–1239; r. 1183–1198), Teika began his long and distinguished career, spanning multiple areas of aesthetic endeavor. His relationship with Go-Toba was at first cordial and led to commissions to compile anthologies, but later resulted in his banishment from the retired emperor's court. His descendants and ideas would dominate classical Japanese poetry for centuries afterwards.
Selected prefecture -
is a prefecture
located on Kyūshū Island
. The prefectural capital is the city of Ōita
. After the Meiji Restoration
and southern Buzen
Provinces were combined to form Ōita Prefecture: These provinces were divided among many local daimyō
and thus a large castle town never formed in Ōita. Ōita Prefecture is located on the north-eastern coast of the island of Kyūshū. Surrounded by the Suo Channel and Honshū
Island to the north, the Iyo Channel and Shikoku
Island to the east, it is bordered by Miyazaki Prefecture
to the south, and Fukuoka Prefecture
and Kumamoto Prefecture
to the west. Ōita Prefecture is almost entirely covered by mountains and has only narrow coastal plains. Currently, the Prefecture has 14 cities, 3 districts, 3 towns, and one village. From 2005 to 2006, all municipalities but Beppu, Tsukumi, Himejima, Hinode, and all towns in Kusu District, merged, and the total municipalities went down from 58 on December 31, 2004, to 18 after the creation of the city of Kunisaki by merging with 4 towns from Higashikunisaki District on March 31, 2006. It will make the prefecture with less municipalities within Kyūshū, and fourth least in Japan. However, Oita Prefecture now has the fewest towns (3) and fewest towns and villages combined (4) all over Japan. It is known for its production of kabosu
(a kind of citrus fruit) as well as its horse meat. Economic development of Ōita was greatly aided by the One Village One Product movement
of long-time governor Morihiko Hiramatsu
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In the news
Coordinates: 36°30′N 139°00′E / 36.5°N 139°E