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#REDIRECT [[Japan]]
{{about|the country}}
{{Use dmy dates|date=October 2012}}
{{Infobox country
|conventional_long_name = Japan <!---Not "State of". See discussion.--->
|native_name = {{vlist |日本国 |''Nippon-koku'' |''Nihon-koku''}}
|Kyujitai_name = 日本國
|image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg
|alt_flag = Centered red circle on a white rectangle.
|common_name = Japan
|linking_name = Japan
|image_coat = Imperial Seal of Japan.svg
|alt_coat = Golden circle subdivided by golden wedges with rounded outer edges and thin black outlines.
|symbol_type = Imperial Seal
|other_symbol_type = [[Government Seal of Japan]]
|other_symbol = {{vlist |[[File:Goshichi no kiri.svg|75x75px|Seal of the Office of the Prime Minister and the Government of Japan]] |{{bigger|{{Nihongo|五七桐|''Go-Shichi no Kiri''}}}}}}
|image_map = Japan (orthographic projection).svg
|map_width = 220px
|national_anthem = {{vlist |''[[Kimigayo]]'' |{{lower|0.25em|{{big|{{Nihongo|君が代}}}}}}}}
|official_languages = None<ref>{{cite web |url= |title=法制執務コラム集「法律と国語・日本語」 |publisher=Legislative Bureau of the House of Councillors |accessdate=19 January 2009 |language=Japanese}}</ref>
|languages_type = [[National language]]
|languages = [[Japanese language|Japanese]]
|regional_languages =
{{unbulleted list|li_style=font-size:95%;
| [[Aynu itak]]
| {{nowrap|[[Ryukyuan languages]]}}
| [[Eastern Japanese]]
| [[Western Japanese]]
| {{longitem|style=line-height:1.1em; |{{smaller|several other [[Japanese dialects]]}}}}
|demonym = Japanese
|ethnic_groups =
{{unbulleted list
| 98.5% Japanese
| 0.5% [[Koreans in Japan|Korean]]
| 0.4% [[Chinese people in Japan|Chinese]]
| 0.6% other
|ethnic_groups_year = {{lower|0.4em|<ref name="cia"/>}}
|capital = [[Tokyo]]
|latd=35 |latm=41 |latNS=N |longd=139 |longm=46 |longEW=E
|largest_city = capital
|government_type = [[Unitary state|Unitary]] [[Parliamentary system|parliamentary democracy]] under [[constitutional monarchy]]
|leader_title1 = [[Emperor of Japan|Emperor]]
|leader_name1 = [[Akihito]]
|leader_title2 = [[Prime Minister of Japan|Prime Minister]]
|leader_name2 = [[Shinzō Abe]]
|legislature = [[National Diet]]
|upper_house = [[House of Councillors]]
|lower_house = [[House of Representatives of Japan|House of Representatives]]
|area_footnote = <ref>{{cite web |title=Japan Statistical Yearbook 2010 |publisher=Statistics Bureau |accessdate=15 January 2011 |url= |page=17}}</ref>
|area_rank = 62nd
|area_magnitude = 1 E11
|area_km2 = 377,944
|area_sq_mi = {{convert|377944|km2|sqmi|disp=output number only}}<!--Do not remove per [[WP:MOSNUM]]-->
|percent_water = 0.8
|population_estimate = 126,659,683<ref>{{cite web |url= |title=Japanese population decreases for third year in a row |accessdate=9 August 2012}}</ref>
|population_estimate_year = 2012
|population_estimate_rank = 10th
|population_census = 128,056,026<ref>{{cite web |url= |title=Population Count based on the 2010 Census Released|publisher=Statistics Bureau of Japan |accessdate=26 October 2011}}</ref>
|population_census_year = 2010
|population_density_km2 = 337.1
|population_densitymi2 = 873.1 <!--Do not remove per [[WP:MOSNUM]]-->
|population_density_rank = 36th
|GDP_PPP_year = 2012
|GDP_PPP = $4.616 trillion<ref name=imf2/>
|GDP_PPP_rank = 3rd
|GDP_PPP_per_capita = $36,179<ref name=imf2/>
|GDP_PPP_per_capita_rank = 25th
|GDP_nominal = $5.984 trillion<ref name=imf2/>
|GDP_nominal_rank = 3rd
|GDP_nominal_year = 2012
|GDP_nominal_per_capita = $46,895<ref name=imf2/>
|GDP_nominal_per_capita_rank = 18th
|sovereignty_type = [[History of Japan|Formation]]
|established_event1 = [[National Foundation Day]]
|established_date1 = 11 February 660&nbsp;BC<ref>According to legend, Japan was founded on this date by [[Emperor Jimmu]], the country's first emperor.</ref>
|established_event2 = [[Meiji Constitution]]
|established_date2 = 29 November 1890
|established_event3 = {{nowrap|[[Constitution of Japan|Current constitution]]}}
|established_date3 = 3 May 1947
|established_event4 = {{nowrap|[[Treaty of San Francisco|San Francisco<br/>Peace Treaty]]}}
|established_date4 = 28 April 1952
|Gini_year = 2008
|Gini_change = 37.6 <!--increase/decrease/steady-->
|Gini = <!--number only-->
|Gini_ref = <ref>{{cite web |title=World Factbook: Gini Index |url= |publisher=[[CIA]] |accessdate=11 May 2011}}</ref>
|Gini_rank =
|HDI_year = 2011
|HDI_change = increase <!--increase/decrease/steady-->
|HDI = 0.901 <!--number only-->
|HDI_ref = <ref name="HDI">{{cite web |url= |title=Human Development Report 2011 |year=2011 |publisher=UN |accessdate=5 November 2011}}</ref>
|HDI_rank = 12th
|currency = [[Japanese yen|Yen]] (¥){{\}}{{transl|ja|''En''}} {{nowrap|({{lang|ja|円}} or {{lang|ja|圓}})}}
|currency_code = JPY
|country_code = JPN
|time_zone = [[Japan Standard Time|JST]]
|utc_offset = +9
|time_zone_DST = not observed
|utc_offset_DST = +9
|date_format = {{vlist |yyyy-mm-dd |yyyy年m月d日 |{{nowrap|[[Japanese era name|Era]]&nbsp;yy年m月d日 {{small|([[Common Era|CE]]−1988)}}}}}}
|drives_on = left
|calling_code = [[Telephone numbers in Japan|+81]]
|ISO_3166–1_alpha2 = JP
|ISO_3166–1_alpha3 = JPN
|ISO_3166–1_numeric = 392
|sport_code = JPN
|vehicle_code = J
|cctld = [[.jp]]
{{hatnote|For an overview of Japanese topics, see the [[Index of Japan-related articles]] or the [[Portal:Japan|Japan portal]]. See also [[Outline of Japan]].}}
{{contains Japanese text}}
'''Japan''' {{IPAc-en|audio=En-us-Japan.ogg|dʒ|ə|ˈ|p|æ|n}} ({{lang-ja|日本}} '''''Nihon''''' or '''''Nippon'''''; formally {{lang|ja|日本国}} {{audio|help=no|Ja-nippon_nihonkoku.ogg|'''''Nippon-koku'''''}} or '''''Nihon-koku''''', literally "[the] State of Japan") is an [[island country|island nation]] in [[East Asia]]. Located in the [[Pacific Ocean]], it lies to the east of the [[Sea of Japan]], [[China]], [[North Korea]], [[South Korea]] and [[Russia]], stretching from the [[Sea of Okhotsk]] in the north to the [[East China Sea]] and [[Taiwan]] in the south. The [[Kanji|characters]] that make up Japan's name mean "sun-origin", which is why Japan is sometimes referred to as the "[[Land of the Rising Sun]]".
Japan is an [[archipelago]] of [[List of islands of Japan|6,852 islands]]. The four largest islands are [[Honshu]], [[Hokkaido]], [[Kyushu]], and [[Shikoku]], which together comprise about ninety-seven percent of Japan's land area. Japan has the world's [[List of countries by population|tenth-largest population]], with over 127&nbsp;million people. Honshū's [[Greater Tokyo Area]], which includes the [[Capital of Japan|''de facto'' capital city]] of [[Tokyo]] and several surrounding [[Prefectures of Japan|prefectures]], is the [[World's largest cities|largest metropolitan area]] in the world, with over 30 million residents.
Archaeological research indicates that people lived in Japan as early as the [[Upper Paleolithic]] period. The first written mention of Japan is in [[History of China|Chinese history]] texts from the 1st century&nbsp;AD. Influence from other nations followed by long periods of isolation has characterized [[History of Japan|Japan's history]]. From the 12th century until 1868, Japan was ruled by successive feudal military dictatorships (shogunates) in the name of the Emperor. Japan entered into a long period of isolation in the early 17th century, which was only ended in 1853 when a United States fleet pressured Japan to open to the West. Nearly two decades of internal conflict and insurrection followed before the [[Meiji Emperor]] was restored as head of state in 1868 and the [[Empire of Japan]] was proclaimed, with the Emperor as a divine symbol of the nation. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, victory in the [[First Sino-Japanese War]], the [[Russo-Japanese War]] and [[World War I]] allowed Japan to expand its empire during a period of increasing militarism. The [[Second Sino-Japanese War]] of 1937 expanded into part of [[World War II]] in 1941, which came to an end in 1945 following the [[atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki]]. Since adopting its revised [[Constitution of Japan|constitution]] in 1947, Japan has maintained a unitary constitutional monarchy with an [[Emperor of Japan|emperor]] and an elected legislature called the [[Diet of Japan|Diet]].
A [[Great power|major economic power]],<ref name="cia">{{cite web|title=World Factbook: Japan|url=|publisher=[[CIA]]|accessdate=15 January 2011}}</ref> Japan has the world's [[List of countries by GDP (nominal)|third-largest economy]] by nominal GDP and by [[List of countries by GDP (PPP)|purchasing power parity]]. It is also the world's [[List of countries by exports|fourth-largest exporter]] and [[List of countries by imports|fourth-largest importer]]. Although Japan has officially [[Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution|renounced its right to declare war]], it maintains a modern military with the [[List of countries by military expenditures|sixth largest military budget]],<ref>[ SIPRI Yearbook 2012 - 15 countries with the highest military expenditure in 2011]</ref> used for self-defense and peacekeeping roles. After [[Singapore]], Japan has the lowest [[List of countries by intentional homicide rate|homicide rate]] (including attempted homicide) in the world.<ref>{{cite web|url= |title=Ninth United Nations survey of crime trends and operations of criminal justice systems |accessdate=1 December 2006 |publisher=UN Office on Drugs and Crime |pages=1–9 }}</ref> According to Japan's health ministry, [[Japanese women]] have the second highest [[life expectancy]] of any country in the world.<ref></ref> According to the [[United Nations]], Japan also has the third lowest [[infant mortality]] rate.<ref name="">{{cite news|title=WHO: Life expectancy in Israel among highest in the world|url=|accessdate=15 January 2011|newspaper=Haaretz|date=May 2009}}</ref><ref name="Table A.17">{{cite web|title=Table A.17|url=|work=United Nations World Population Prospects'', 2006 revision''|publisher=UN|accessdate=15 January 2011}}</ref>
{{Main|Names of Japan}}
The English word ''Japan'' derives from the Chinese pronunciation of the Japanese name, {{nihongo2|日本}}, pronounced ''Nippon'' {{Audio|ja-nippon(日本).ogg|listen}} or ''Nihon'' {{Audio|ja-nihon(日本).ogg|listen}} in Japanese. The pronunciation ''Nippon'' is more formal, and is in Japanese used for most official purposes, including international sporting events.
From the [[Meiji Restoration]] until the end of [[World War II]], the full title of Japan was {{nihongo|''Dai Nippon Teikoku''|大日本帝國}}, meaning "the [[Empire of Japan|Empire of Great Japan]]". Today the name {{Nihongo|''Nippon-koku'' or ''Nihon-koku''|日本国}} is used as a formal modern-day equivalent; countries like Japan whose long form does not contain a descriptive designation are generally given a name appended by the character {{nihongo|''koku''|国}}, meaning "country", "nation" or "state".
[[Japanese people]] refer to themselves as {{Nihongo|''Nihonjin''|日本人}} and to their language as {{Nihongo|''Nihongo''|日本語}}. Both ''Nippon'' and ''Nihon'' mean "sun-origin" and are often translated as ''Land of the Rising Sun''. This nomenclature comes from [[Japanese missions to Imperial China]] and refers to Japan's eastward position relative to China. Before ''Nihon'' came into official use, Japan was known as {{Nihongo||倭|[[Wa (Japan)|Wa]]}} or {{Nihongo||倭国|Wakoku}}.<ref>{{cite book|title=The emergence of Japanese kingship|first=Joan R. |last=Piggott|year=1997|publisher=Stanford University Press|isbn=0-8047-2832-1|pages=143–144}}</ref>
The English word for Japan came to the West via [[Nanban trade|early trade routes]]. The early [[Mandarin Chinese|Mandarin]] or possibly [[Wu Chinese]] (吳語) pronunciation of Japan was recorded by [[Marco Polo]] as ''Cipangu''. In modern [[Shanghainese]], a Wu dialect, the pronunciation of characters {{nihongo2|日本}} 'Japan' is ''Zeppen'' {{IPA-wuu|zəʔpən|}}. The old [[Malay language|Malay]] word for Japan, ''Jepang'', was borrowed from a southern coastal Chinese dialect, probably [[Hokkien|Fukienese]] or [[Ningbo dialect|Ningpo]],<ref>{{cite book|last=Boxer|first=Charles Ralph|title=The Christian century in Japan 1549-1650|year=1951|publisher=University of California Press|isbn=1-85754-035-2|url=|pages=1–14|quote=As for the name Japan, which with [[Fernão Pires de Andrade|Pires]] enters the European history for the first time in this form, it is generally agreed to be derived, through Malay ''Japun'' or ''Japang'' from the Chinese ''Jihpenkuo'' in one or other of its coastal dialect forms, probably Fukienese or Ningpo. The meaning is literally "sun's origin country," whence Marco Polo derived his ''Chipangu'' that so fired the imagination of Columbus and led him to the discovery of the New World.<sup>10</sup>}}</ref> and this Malay word was encountered by [[Portuguese Empire|Portuguese]] traders in [[Portuguese Malacca|Malacca]] in the 16th century. Portuguese traders were the first to bring the word to Europe.<ref>C. R. Boxer, The Christian Century In Japan 1549–1650, University of California Press, 1951p. 11, 28—36, 49—51, ISBN 1-85754-035-2</ref> It was first recorded in English in a 1565 letter, spelled ''Giapan''.<ref>{{cite book|last=Mancall|first=Peter C.|title=Travel narratives from the age of discovery: an anthology|year=2006|publisher=Oxford University Press|pages=156–157|chapter=Of the Ilande of Giapan, 1565}}{{verification failed|date=January 2013}}</ref>
{{Main|History of Japan}}
===Prehistory and ancient history===
[[File:Horyu-ji11s3200.jpg|thumb|left|The [[Main Hall (Japanese Buddhism)|Golden Hall]] and [[Tō|five-storey pagoda]] of [[Hōryū-ji]], among the oldest wooden buildings in the world, [[National Treasures of Japan|National Treasures]], and a [[World Heritage Sites in Japan|UNESCO World Heritage Site]]]]
A [[Japanese Paleolithic|Paleolithic]] culture around 30,000&nbsp;BC constitutes the first known habitation of the Japanese archipelago. This was followed from around 14,000&nbsp;BC (the start of the [[Jōmon period]]) by a [[Mesolithic]] to [[Neolithic]] semi-sedentary [[hunter-gatherer]] culture, who include ancestors of both the contemporary [[Ainu people]] and [[Yamato people]],<ref>{{cite journal|last=Matsumara|first=Hirofumi; Dodo, Yukio|url= |title=Dental characteristics of Tohoku residents in Japan: implications for biological affinity with ancient Emishi|journal=Anthropological Science|year=2009|volume=117|issue=2|pages=95–105|doi=10.1537/ase.080325|last2=Dodo|first2=Yukio}}</ref><ref>{{cite journal|last=Hammer|first=Michael F., et al|url= |title=Dual origins of the Japanese: common ground for hunter-gatherer and farmer Y chromosomes|journal=Journal of Human Genetics|year=2006|volume=51|issue=1|pages=47–58|doi=10.1007/s10038-005-0322-0|pmid=16328082|last2=Karafet|first2=TM|last3=Park|first3=H|last4=Omoto|first4=K|last5=Harihara|first5=S|last6=Stoneking|first6=M|last7=Horai|first7=S}}</ref> characterized by pit dwelling and rudimentary agriculture.<ref>{{cite web|last=Travis|first=John|title= Jomon Genes|url=|publisher=University of Pittsburgh|accessdate=15 January 2011}}</ref> Decorated clay vessels from this period are some of the oldest surviving examples of pottery in the world. Around 300 BC, the [[Yayoi_period#Origin_of_the_Yayoi_people|Yayoi people]] began to enter the Japanese islands, intermingling with the Jōmon.<ref>{{cite book|last=Denoon|first=Donald; Hudson, Mark|title=Multicultural Japan: palaeolithic to postmodern|publisher=Cambridge University Press|year=2001|isbn=0-521-00362-8|pages=22–23}}</ref> The [[Yayoi period]], starting around 500&nbsp;BC, saw the introduction of practices like wet-[[rice]] farming,<ref>{{cite web|title=Road of rice plant|url=|publisher=[[National Science Museum of Japan]]|accessdate=15 January 2011}}</ref> a new style of pottery,<ref>{{cite web|title=Kofun Period|url=|publisher=Metropolitan Museum of Art|accessdate=15 January 2011}}</ref> and [[metallurgy]], introduced from China and Korea.<ref>{{cite web|title=Yayoi Culture|url=|publisher=Metropolitan Museum of Art|accessdate=15 January 2011}}</ref>
Japan first appears in written history in the Chinese ''[[Book of Han]]''.<ref>{{cite book | last=Takashi | first=Okazaki | last2=Goodwin | first2=Janet | title=The Cambridge history of Japan, Volume 1: Ancient Japan | year=1993 | publisher=Cambridge University Press | location=Cambridge | isbn=0-521-22352-0 | page=275 | chapter=Japan and the continent}}</ref> According to the ''[[Records of the Three Kingdoms]]'', the most powerful kingdom on the archipelago during the 3rd century was called [[Yamataikoku]]. Buddhism was first introduced to Japan from [[Baekje]] of [[Korea]], but the subsequent development of [[Buddhism in Japan|Japanese Buddhism]] was primarily influenced by China.<ref>{{cite book |editor=Brown, Delmer M.|year=1993 |title=The Cambridge History of Japan |publisher=Cambridge University Press |pages=140–149}}</ref> Despite early resistance, Buddhism was promoted by the ruling class and gained widespread acceptance beginning in the [[Asuka period]] (592–710).<ref>{{cite book |title=The Japanese Experience: A Short History of Japan |first=William Gerald|last=Beasley |publisher=University of California Press |year=1999 |page=42 |isbn=0-520-22560-0 }}</ref>
The [[Nara period]] (710–784) of the 8th century marked the emergence of a strong Japanese state, centered on an imperial court in [[Heijō Palace|Heijō-kyō]] (modern [[Nara, Nara|Nara]]). The Nara period is characterized by the appearance of a nascent [[Japanese literature|literature]] as well as the development of Buddhist-inspired art and [[Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara|architecture]].<ref>{{cite book |first=Conrad|last=Totman |year=2002 |title=A History of Japan |publisher=Blackwell |pages=64–79 | isbn=978-1-4051-2359-4}}</ref> The [[smallpox]] epidemic of 735–737 is believed to have killed as much as one-third of Japan's population.<ref>{{cite book|last=Hays|first=J.N.|title=Epidemics and pandemics: their impacts on human history|year=2005|publisher=[[ABC-CLIO]]|isbn=1-85109-658-2|page=31}}</ref> In 784, [[Emperor Kammu]] moved the capital from Nara to [[Nagaoka-kyō]] before relocating it to [[Heian-kyō]] (modern [[Kyoto]]) in 794.
[[File:Byodo-in Uji01pbs2640.jpg|thumb|right|[[Byōdō-in]] (1053) is a temple of [[Pure Land Buddhism]]. It was registered to the UNESCO World Heritage Site.]]
This marked the beginning of the [[Heian period]] (794–1185), during which a distinctly indigenous Japanese culture emerged, noted for its [[Japanese art|art]], [[Japanese poetry|poetry]] and prose. [[Murasaki Shikibu|Lady Murasaki's]] ''[[The Tale of Genji]]'' and the lyrics of Japan's national anthem ''[[Kimigayo]]'' were written during this time.<ref>{{cite book |first=Conrad|last=Totman |year=2002 |title=A History of Japan |publisher=Blackwell |pages=79–87, 122–123 | isbn=978-1-4051-2359-4}}</ref>
Buddhism began to spread during the Heian era chiefly through two major sects, [[Tendai]] by [[Saichō]], and [[Shingon]] by [[Kūkai]]. [[Pure Land Buddhism]] ([[Jōdo-shū]], [[Jōdo Shinshū]]) greatly becomes popular in the latter half of the 11th century.
===Feudal era===
Japan's feudal era was characterized by the emergence and dominance of a ruling class of warriors, the [[samurai]]. In 1185, following the defeat of the [[Taira clan]], sung in the epic [[The Tale of Heike|Tale of Heike]], samurai [[Minamoto no Yoritomo]] was appointed [[shogun]] and established a base of power in [[Kamakura, Kanagawa|Kamakura]]. After his death, the [[Hōjō clan]] came to power as regents for the shoguns. The [[Zen]] school of Buddhism was introduced from China in the [[Kamakura period]] (1185–1333) and became popular among the samurai class.<ref>{{cite book|last=Totman|first=Conrad|title=A History of Japan ''(2nd ed.)''|year=2005|publisher=Blackwell|isbn=1-4051-2359-1|pages=106–112}}</ref> The [[Kamakura shogunate]] repelled [[Mongol invasions of Japan|Mongol invasions]] in 1274 and 1281, but was eventually [[Kemmu restoration|overthrown by Emperor Go-Daigo]]. Go-Daigo was himself defeated by [[Ashikaga Takauji]] in 1336.
[[File:Ginkakuji Temple mars 2009 053.jpg|thumb|left|[[Ginkaku-ji]] in [[Kyoto, Kyoto|Kyoto]] ([[Higashiyama period]] in [[Muromachi Period]], c. 1489). It was registered as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site "[[Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto]]".]]
Ashikaga Takauji establishes the shogunate in Muromachi, [[Kyoto, Kyoto|Kyoto]]. It is a start of [[Muromachi Period]] (1336–1573). The [[Ashikaga shogunate]] receives glory in the age of [[Ashikaga Yoshimitsu]], and the culture based on Zen Buddhism (art of ''[[Miyabi]]'') has prospered. It evolves to [[Higashiyama Culture]], and has prospered until the 16th century. On the other hand, the succeeding Ashikaga shogunate failed to control the feudal warlords (''[[daimyo]]''), and a civil war (the [[Ōnin War]]) began in 1467, opening the century-long [[Sengoku period]] ("Warring States").<ref>{{cite book |first=George|last=Sansom |year=1961 |title=A History of Japan: 1334–1615 |publisher=Stanford University Press|pages=42, 217 | isbn=0-8047-0525-9}}</ref>
During the 16th century, traders and [[Society of Jesus|Jesuit]] [[missionary|missionaries]] from [[Portugal]] reached Japan for the first time, initiating direct [[Nanban trade|commercial]] and [[Nanban art|cultural]] exchange between Japan and the West. [[Oda Nobunaga]] conquered many other daimyo using European technology and firearms; after he was assassinated in 1582, his successor [[Toyotomi Hideyoshi]] unified the nation in 1590. Hideyoshi [[Japanese invasions of Korea (1592–1598)|invaded Korea twice]], but following defeats by Korean and [[Ming Dynasty|Ming]] Chinese forces and Hideyoshi's death, Japanese troops were withdrawn in 1598.<ref>{{cite book |first=Stephen|last=Turnbull|year=2002 |title=Samurai Invasion: Japan's Korean War |publisher=Cassel |page=227| isbn=978-0-304-35948-6}}</ref> This age is called [[Azuchi-Momoyama Period]] (1573–1603).
[[Tokugawa Ieyasu]] served as regent for Hideyoshi's [[Toyotomi Hideyori|son]] and used his position to gain political and military support. When open war broke out, he defeated rival clans in the [[Battle of Sekigahara]] in 1600. Ieyasu was appointed shogun in 1603 and established the [[Tokugawa shogunate]] at [[Edo]] (modern Tokyo).<ref>{{cite book|last=Turnbull|first=Stephen|title=Toyotomi Hideyoshi|year=2010|publisher=Osprey Publishing|isbn=978-1-84603-960-7|page=61}}</ref> The Tokugawa shogunate enacted measures including ''[[buke shohatto]]'', as a code of conduct to control the autonomous daimyo;<ref>{{cite book|last=Totman|first=Conrad|title=A History of Japan ''(2nd ed.)''|year=2005|publisher=Blackwell|isbn=1-4051-2359-1|pages=142–143}}</ref> and in 1639, the isolationist ''[[sakoku]]'' ("closed country") policy that spanned the two and a half centuries of tenuous political unity known as the [[Edo period]] (1603–1868).<ref>{{cite journal|last=Toby|first=Ronald P.|title=Reopening the Question of Sakoku: Diplomacy in the Legitimation of the Tokugawa Bakufu|journal=Journal of Japanese Studies|year=1977|volume=3|issue=2|pages=323–363|doi=10.2307/132115}}</ref> The study of Western sciences, known as ''[[rangaku]]'', continued through contact with the Dutch enclave at [[Dejima]] in [[Nagasaki]]. The Edo period also gave rise to ''[[kokugaku]]'' ("national studies"), the study of Japan by the Japanese.<ref>{{cite journal|last=Ohtsu|first=M.|title=Japanese National Values and Confucianism|journal=Japanese Economy|year=1999|volume=27|issue=2|pages=45–59|doi=10.2753/JES1097-203X270245|last2=Ohtsu|first2=Makoto}}</ref>
===Modern era===
On 31 March 1854, [[Matthew C. Perry|Commodore Matthew Perry]] and the "[[Black Ships]]" of the [[United States Navy]] forced the opening of Japan to the outside world with the [[Convention of Kanagawa]]. Subsequent similar treaties with Western countries in the [[Bakumatsu]] period brought economic and political crises. The resignation of the shogun led to the [[Boshin War]] and the establishment of a [[Abolition of the han system|centralized state]] nominally unified under the Emperor (the [[Meiji Restoration]]).<ref>{{cite book|last=Totman|first=Conrad|title=A History of Japan ''(2nd ed.)''|year=2005|publisher=Blackwell|isbn=1-4051-2359-1|pages=289–296}}</ref>
Adopting Western political, judicial and military institutions, the [[Cabinet of Japan|Cabinet]] organized the [[Privy Council (Japan)|Privy Council]], introduced the [[Meiji Constitution]], and assembled the [[Diet of Japan|Imperial Diet]]. The Meiji Restoration transformed the [[Empire of Japan]] into an industrialized world power that pursued military conflict to expand its sphere of influence. After victories in the [[First Sino-Japanese War]] (1894–1895) and the [[Russo-Japanese War]] (1904–1905), Japan gained control of Taiwan, Korea, and the southern half of [[Sakhalin]].<ref>{{cite book|last=Matsusaka|first=Y. Tak|title=Companion to Japanese History|year=2009|publisher=Blackwell|isbn=978-1-5051-1690-9 {{Please check ISBN|reason=Check digit (9) does not correspond to calculated figure.}}|pages=224–241|editor=Tsutsui, William M.|chapter=The Japanese Empire}}</ref> Japan's population grew from 35 million in 1873 to 70 million in 1935.<ref>{{cite book|last=Hiroshi|first=Shimizu|title=Japan and Singapore in the world economy : Japan's economic advance into Singapore, 1870–1965|year=1999|publisher=Routledge|isbn=978-0-415-19236-1|coauthors=Hitoshi, Hirakawa|page=17}}</ref>
[[File:Meiji tenno1.jpg|thumb|right|150px|The [[Meiji Emperor]] (1868–1912), in whose name imperial rule was [[Meiji Restoration|restored]] at the end of the [[Tokugawa shogunate]]]]
The early 20th century saw a brief period of "[[Taishō period|Taishō democracy]]" overshadowed by increasing [[expansionism]] and [[Japanese militarism|militarization]]. [[World War I|World War&nbsp;I]] enabled Japan, on the side of the victorious [[Allies of World War I|Allies]], to [[Japan during World War I|widen its influence and territorial holdings]]. It continued its expansionist policy by occupying [[Manchuria]] in 1931; as a result of [[Lytton Report|international condemnation of this occupation]], Japan resigned from the [[League of Nations]] two years later. In 1936, Japan signed the [[Anti-Comintern Pact]] with [[Nazi Germany]], and the 1940 [[Tripartite Pact]] made it one of the Axis Powers.<ref>{{cite web|title=The Axis Alliance|url=|publisher=iBiblio|accessdate=16 January 2011}}</ref> In 1941, Japan negotiated the [[Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact]].<ref>{{cite book|last=Totman|first=Conrad|title=A History of Japan ''(2nd ed.)''|year=2005|publisher=Blackwell|isbn=1-4051-2359-1|page=442}}</ref>
The Empire of Japan invaded other parts of China in 1937, precipitating the [[Second Sino-Japanese War]] (1937–1945). In 1940, the Empire then [[invasion of French Indochina|invaded French Indochina]], after which the United States placed an oil embargo on Japan.<ref>{{cite book |first=Roland H., Jr. |last=Worth |title=No Choice But War: the United States Embargo Against Japan and the Eruption of War in the Pacific |publisher=McFarland |year=1995 |pages=56, 86|isbn=0-7864-0141-9}}</ref> On 7 December 1941, Japan [[Attack on Pearl Harbor|attacked the US naval base]] at [[Pearl Harbor]] and declared war, bringing the US into World War II.<ref>{{cite web |url= |title=インドネシア独立運動と日本とスカルノ(2)|work=馬 樹禮 |publisher=産経新聞社 |date=April 2005 |accessdate=2 October 2009|language=Japanese}}</ref><ref>{{cite web |url= |title=The Kingdom of the Netherlands Declares War with Japan |publisher=iBiblio |accessdate=2 October 2009}}</ref> After the [[Soviet invasion of Manchuria]] and the [[atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki]] in 1945, Japan agreed to an [[Surrender of Japan|unconditional surrender]] on 15 August.<ref>{{cite journal|last=Pape|first=Robert A.|title=Why Japan Surrendered|journal=International Security|year=1993|volume=18|issue=2|pages=154–201|doi=10.2307/2539100}}</ref> The war cost Japan and the rest of the [[Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere]] millions of lives and left much of the nation's industry and infrastructure destroyed. The [[Allies of World War II|Allies]] (led by the US) repatriated millions of [[Japanese diaspora|ethnic Japanese]] from colonies and military camps throughout Asia, largely eliminating the Japanese empire and restoring the independence of its conquered territories.<ref>{{cite book|last=Watt|first=Lori|title=When Empire Comes Home: Repatriation and Reintegration in Postwar Japan|publisher=Harvard University Press|year=2010|isbn=978-0-674-05598-8|pages=1–4}}</ref> The Allies also convened the [[International Military Tribunal for the Far East]] on 3 May 1946 to prosecute some Japanese leaders for [[Japanese war crimes|war crimes]]. However, the [[unit 731|bacteriological research units]] and members of the imperial family involved in the war were exonerated from criminal prosecutions by the [[Supreme Allied Commander]] despite calls for trials for both groups.<ref>{{cite book|last=Thomas|first=J.E.|title=Modern Japan|year=1996|publisher=Longman|isbn=0-582-25962-2|pages=284–287}}</ref>
In 1947, Japan adopted a new [[Constitution of Japan|constitution]] emphasizing liberal democratic practices. The [[Occupation of Japan|Allied occupation]] ended with the [[Treaty of San Francisco]] in 1952<ref>{{cite web |url= |title='52 coup plot bid to rearm Japan: CIA |first=Joseph |last=Coleman| date=6 March 2006|work=The Japan Times |accessdate=3 April 2006}}</ref> and Japan was granted membership in the United Nations in 1956. Japan later achieved [[Japanese post-war economic miracle|rapid growth]] to become the second-largest economy in the world, until surpassed by China in 2010. This ended in the mid-1990s when Japan suffered a [[Japanese asset price bubble|major recession]]. In the beginning of the 21st century, positive growth has signaled a gradual economic recovery.<ref>{{cite news |url= |title=Japan scraps zero interest rates |publisher=BBC News |date=14 July 2006 |accessdate=28 December 2006}}</ref> On 11 March 2011, Japan suffered the [[2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami|strongest earthquake in its recorded history]]; this triggered the [[Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster]], one of the worst disasters in the history of [[nuclear power]].<ref name="nytimes-tsunami">{{cite news|last=Fackler|first=Martin; Drew, Kevin|title=Devastation as Tsunami Crashes Into Japan|url=|accessdate=11 March 2011|newspaper=The New York Times|date=11 March 2011}}</ref>
==Government and politics==
{{update|2012 election, including the new prime minister & Cabinet|date=December 2012}}
[[File:Akihito 090710-1600a.jpg|thumb|right|200px|[[Akihito|Emperor Akihito]] and [[Empress Michiko]]]]
Japan is a [[constitutional monarchy]] where the power of the [[Emperor of Japan|Emperor]] is very limited. As a ceremonial figurehead, he is defined by the [[Constitution of Japan|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.<ref name="Constitution">{{cite web |url= |title=The Constitution of Japan |publisher=House of Councillors of the National Diet of Japan |date=3 November 1946 |accessdate=10 March 2007}}</ref> [[Akihito]] is the current Emperor of Japan; [[Crown Prince Naruhito|Naruhito, Crown Prince of Japan]], stands as next in line to the throne.
Japan's legislative organ is the [[Diet of Japan|National Diet]], a bicameral parliament. The Diet consists of a [[House of Representatives of Japan|House of Representatives]] with 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,<ref name="cia"/> with a [[secret ballot]] for all elected offices.<ref name="Constitution"/> In 2009, the social liberal [[Democratic Party of Japan]] (DPJ) took power after 54 years of the liberal conservative [[Liberal Democratic Party (Japan)|Liberal Democratic Party]]'s (LDP) rule.<ref>{{cite news|last=Harden|first=Blaine|title=Ruling Party Is Routed In Japan|url=|accessdate=7 January 2011|newspaper=Washington Post|date=31 August 2009}}</ref> In the [[Japanese general election, 2012|2012 general election]], the LDP regained control of government. It holds 294 seats in the lower house and 83 seats in the upper house.
The Prime Minister of Japan is the head of government and is appointed by the Emperor after being designated by the Diet from among its members. The Prime Minister is the head of the Cabinet, and he appoints and dismisses the [[Minister of State|Ministers of State]]. [[Naoto Kan]] was designated by the Diet to replace [[Yukio Hatoyama]] as the Prime Minister of Japan on 2 June 2010.<ref>{{cite news|url=|title=Diet votes in Kan as prime minister|date=4 June 2010|newspaper=Japan Times|accessdate=4 June 2010}}</ref> Although the Prime Minister is formally appointed by the Emperor, the Constitution of Japan explicitly requires the Emperor to appoint whoever is designated by the Diet. Emperor Akihito formally appointed Kan as the country's 94th Prime Minister on 8 June.<ref>{{cite news|last=Fackler|first=Martin|title=Focusing on Future, Premier in Japan Unveils Cabinet|url=|accessdate=7 January 2011|newspaper=The New York Times|date=8 June 2010}}</ref>
Historically influenced by [[Chinese law]], the [[law of Japan|Japanese legal system]] developed independently during the [[Edo]] period through texts such as ''[[Kujikata Osadamegaki]]''.<ref>{{cite book|last=Dean|first=Meryll|title=Japanese legal system: text, cases & materials|year=2002|publisher=Cavendish|isbn=978-1-85941-673-0|pages=55–58|edition=2nd}}</ref> However, since the late 19th century the [[judicial system of Japan|judicial system]] has been largely based on the [[civil law (legal system)|civil law]] of Europe, notably Germany. For example, in 1896, the Japanese government established a civil code based on a draft of the German [[Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch]]; with post–World War II modifications, the code remains in effect.<ref>{{cite journal|last=Kanamori|first=Shigenari|title=German influences on Japanese Pre-War Constitution and Civil Code|journal=European Journal of Law and Economics|date=1 January 1999|volume=7|issue=1|pages=93–95|doi=10.1023/A:1008688209052}}</ref> Statutory law originates in Japan's legislature and has the [[rubber stamp (politics)|rubber stamp]] of the Emperor. The Constitution requires that the Emperor promulgate legislation passed by the Diet, without specifically giving him the power to oppose legislation.<ref name="Constitution"/> Japan's court system is divided into four basic tiers: the [[Supreme Court of Japan|Supreme Court]] and three levels of lower courts.<ref>{{cite web |url= |publisher=Office of the Prime Minister of Japan |title=The Japanese Judicial System |accessdate=27 March 2007}}</ref> The main body of Japanese statutory law is called the [[Six Codes]].<ref>{{cite book|last=Dean|first=Meryll|title=Japanese legal system: text, cases & materials|year=2002|publisher=Cavendish|isbn=978-1-85941-673-0|page=131|edition=2nd}}</ref>
==Foreign relations and military==
{{Main|Foreign relations of Japan|Japan Self-Defense Forces}}
[[File:SM3 from JDS Kongo.jpg|thumb|210x210px|[[JDS Kongō (DDG-173)|JDS ''Kongō'' (DDG-173)]] [[guided missile destroyer]] launching a [[Standard Missile 3]] [[anti-ballistic missile]].]]
Japan is a member of the [[G8]], [[Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation|APEC]], and "[[ASEAN Free Trade Area#ASEAN Plus Three|ASEAN Plus Three]]", and is a participant in the [[East Asia Summit]]. Japan signed a security pact with Australia in March 2007<ref>{{cite web|url= |title=Japan-Australia Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation |publisher=Ministry of Foreign Affairs|accessdate=25 August 2010}}</ref> and with India in October 2008.<ref>{{cite web|url= |title=Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation between Japan and India |publisher=Ministry of Foreign Affairs |date=22 October 2008 |accessdate=25 August 2010}}</ref> It is the world's third largest donor of [[official development assistance]] after the United States and France, donating US$9.48 billion in 2009.<ref>{{cite web|title=Net Official Development Assistance in 2009|url=|publisher=[[Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development|OECD]]|accessdate=16 January 2011}}</ref>
Japan has close economic and military relations with the United States; the [[Japan–United States relations|US-Japan security alliance]] acts as the cornerstone of the nation's foreign policy.<ref>{{cite web |url= |title=Japan Is Back: Why Tokyo's New Assertiveness Is Good for Washington| author=Michael Green |publisher=Real Clear Politics | accessdate=28 March 2007}}</ref> A member state of the United Nations since 1956, Japan has served as a non-permanent [[United Nations Security Council|Security Council]] member for a [[List of elected members of the United Nations Security Council#By number of years as Security Council member|total of 20 years]], most recently for 2009 and 2010. It is one of the [[G4 nations]] seeking permanent membership in the Security Council.<ref>{{cite web |url= |archiveurl= |archivedate=21 February 2007 |title=UK backs Japan for UNSC bid |work=Central Chronicle | accessdate=28 March 2007}}</ref>
Japan is engaged in several territorial disputes with its neighbors: with Russia over the [[Kuril Islands dispute|South Kuril Islands]], with South Korea over the [[Liancourt Rocks]], with China and Taiwan over the [[Senkaku Islands]], and with China over the [[EEZ]] around [[Okinotorishima]].<ref>{{cite book|title=Peace in Northeast Asia|year=2008|publisher=Edward Elgar Publishing Limited|pages=26–29|editor=Schoenbaum, Thomas J.}}</ref> Japan also faces an ongoing dispute with [[North Korea]] over the latter's [[North Korean abductions of Japanese|abduction of Japanese citizens]] and its [[North Korea and weapons of mass destruction|nuclear weapons and missile program]] (see also [[Six-party talks]]).<ref>{{cite web|last=Chanlett-Avery|first=Emma|title=North Korea's Abduction of Japanese Citizens and the Six-Party Talks|url=|work=CRS Report for Congress|publisher=Federation of American Scientists|accessdate=7 January 2011}}</ref>
Japan maintains one of the largest military budgets of any country in the world.<ref>{{cite web|title=The 15 countries with the highest military expenditure in 2009|url=|publisher=Stockholm International Peace Research Institute|accessdate=16 January 2011}}</ref> Japan contributed non-combatant troops to the [[Iraq War]] but subsequently withdrew its forces.<ref name="Iraq deployment">{{cite web |url= |title= Tokyo says it will bring troops home from Iraq |work=International Herald Tribune |date=20 June 2006 | accessdate=28 March 2007}}</ref> The [[Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force]] is a regular participant in [[RIMPAC]] maritime exercises.<ref>{{cite web|title=About RIMPAC|url=|publisher=Government of Singapore|accessdate=7 January 2011}}</ref>
Japan's military is restricted by Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, which renounces Japan's right to declare war or use military force in 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; the [[Japanese Iraq Reconstruction and Support Group|deployment of troops to Iraq]] marked the first overseas use of Japan's military since World War II.<ref name="Iraq deployment"/> [[Nippon Keidanren]] has called on the government to lift the ban on arms exports so that Japan can join multinational projects such as the [[Joint Strike Fighter]].<ref>{{cite news|url= |title=Japan business lobby wants weapon export ban eased |publisher=Reuters |date= 13 July 2010|accessdate=12 April 2011}}</ref>
==Administrative divisions==
{{Further|Prefectures of Japan|Regions of Japan|Cities of Japan|Towns of Japan|Villages of Japan}}
Japan consists of forty-seven prefectures, each overseen by an elected governor, legislature and administrative bureaucracy. Each prefecture is further divided into cities, towns and villages.<ref>{{cite book|last=McCargo|first=Duncan|title=Contemporary Japan|year=2000|publisher=Macmillan|isbn=0-333-71002-2 {{Please check ISBN|reason=Check digit (2) does not correspond to calculated figure.}}|pages=84–85}}</ref> The nation is currently undergoing administrative [[Merger and dissolution of municipalities of Japan|reorganization by merging]] many of the cities, towns and villages with each other. This process will reduce the number of sub-prefecture administrative regions and is expected to cut administrative costs.<ref>{{cite web |last=Mabuchi |first=Masaru |url= |title=''Municipal Amalgamation in Japan''|publisher=World Bank |date=May 2001 | accessdate=28 December 2006}}</ref>
{{Japan Regions and Prefectures Labelled Map}}
{{Main|Geography of Japan|Geology of Japan}}
[[File:Japan topo en.jpg|thumb|250px|Topographic map of the [[Japanese Archipelago]].]]
[[File:UenoParkHanami.jpg|thumb|250px|[[Hanami]] celebrations under the [[cherry blossoms]] in [[Ueno Park]], Tokyo.]]
[[File:Kongobuji Koyasan07n3200.jpg|thumb|250px|Autumn maple leaves ([[momiji]]) at [[Kongōbu-ji]] on [[Mount Kōya]], a UNESCO World Heritage Site.]]
Japan has a total of 6,852 islands extending along the [[Pacific coast]] of East Asia.<ref>{{cite web | title = ''Facts and Figures of Japan 2007 01: Land'' | url = | publisher = Foreign Press Center Japan | accessdate =4 July 2007}}</ref><ref>{{cite web | url = | title = Standard Country and Area Codes Classifications | accessdate =16 July 2010 | date = 1 April 2010 | publisher = UN Statistics Division}}</ref> The country, including all of the islands it controls, lies between latitudes 24° and 46°N, and longitudes 122° and 146°E. The main islands, from north to south, are [[Hokkaidō]], [[Honshū]], [[Shikoku]] and [[Kyūshū]]. The [[Ryūkyū Islands]], including [[Okinawa Island|Okinawa]], are a chain to the south of Kyūshū. Together they are often known as the [[Japanese Archipelago]].<ref>{{cite book|last=McCargo|first=Duncan|title=Contemporary Japan|year=2000|publisher=Macmillan|isbn=0-333-71002-2 {{Please check ISBN|reason=Check digit (2) does not correspond to calculated figure.}}|pages=8–11}}</ref>
About 73 percent of Japan is forested, mountainous, and unsuitable for [[Japanese agriculture|agricultural]], [[Manufacturing in Japan|industrial]], or [[Housing in Japan|residential]] use.<ref name="cia"/><ref>{{cite web|title=Japan|url=|publisher=US Department of State|accessdate=16 January 2011}}</ref> As a result, the habitable zones, mainly located in coastal areas, have extremely high population densities. Japan is one of the [[list of countries by population density|most densely populated countries]] in the world.<ref>{{cite web |url= |title=World Population Prospects |publisher=UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs |accessdate=27 March 2007 |archiveurl= <!--Added by H3llBot--> |archivedate=21 March 2007}}</ref>
The islands of Japan are located in a [[Volcano|volcanic]] zone on the [[Pacific Ring of Fire]]. They are primarily the result of large oceanic movements occurring over hundreds of millions of years from the mid-Silurian to the Pleistocene as a result of the [[subduction]] of the [[Philippine Sea Plate]] beneath the continental [[Amurian Plate]] and [[Okinawa Plate]] to the south, and subduction of the [[Pacific Plate]] under the [[Okhotsk Plate]] to the north. Japan was originally attached to the eastern coast of the Eurasian continent. The subducting plates pulled Japan eastward, opening the [[Sea of Japan]] around 15 million years ago.<ref>{{cite web|url=|last=Barnes|first=Gina L.|title=Origins of the Japanese Islands|publisher=[[University of Durham]]|year=2003|accessdate=11 August 2009}}</ref>
Japan has 108 active volcanoes. Destructive earthquakes, often resulting in [[tsunami]], occur several times each century.<ref>{{cite web |url= |archiveurl= |archivedate=4 February 2007 |title=Tectonics and Volcanoes of Japan |publisher=Oregon State University |accessdate=27 March 2007}}</ref> The [[1923 Great Kantō earthquake|1923 Tokyo earthquake]] killed over 140,000 people.<ref>{{cite web|last=James|first=C.D.|title=The 1923 Tokyo Earthquake and Fire|url=|publisher=University of California Berkeley|accessdate=16 January 2011|year=2002}}</ref> More recent major quakes are the [[1995 Great Hanshin earthquake]] and the [[2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami|2011 Tōhoku earthquake]], a 9.0-magnitude<ref name="USGS9.0">{{cite web|url= |title=USGS analysis as of 2011-03-12 | |date=23 June 2011 |accessdate=9 November 2011}}</ref> quake which hit Japan on 11 March 2011, and triggered a large tsunami.<ref name="nytimes-tsunami" /> On 24 May 2012, 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of northeastern Japan. However, no tsunami was generated.<ref>{{cite web|title=6.1 magnitude earthquake shakes northeastern Japan
|url=|accessdate=24 May 2012}}</ref>
{{Main|Climate of Japan}}
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, Sea of Japan, [[Central Highland (Japan)|Central Highland]], [[Seto Inland Sea]], Pacific Ocean, and Ryūkyū Islands. The northernmost zone, Hokkaido, has a [[humid continental]] climate with long, cold winters and very warm to cool summers. [[precipitation (meteorology)|Precipitation]] is not heavy, but the islands usually develop deep snowbanks in the winter.<ref name=autogenerated2>{{cite book|last=Karan|first=Pradyumna Prasad|title=Japan in the 21st century|year=2005|publisher=University Press of Kentucky|isbn=0-8131-2342-9|pages=18–21, 41|coauthor=Gilbreath, Dick}}</ref>
In the Sea of Japan zone on Honshū's west coast, northwest winter winds bring 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]]. The Central Highland has a typical inland humid continental climate, with large temperature differences between summer and winter, and between day and night; precipitation is light, though winters are usually snowy. The mountains of the [[Chūgoku region|Chūgoku]] and Shikoku regions shelter the Seto Inland Sea from seasonal winds, bringing mild weather year-round.<ref name=autogenerated2 />
The Pacific coast features a [[humid subtropical]] climate that experiences milder winters with occasional snowfall and hot, humid summers because of the southeast seasonal wind. The Ryukyu Islands have a [[subtropical climate]], with warm winters and hot summers. Precipitation is very heavy, especially during the rainy season. The generally humid, temperate climate exhibits marked seasonal variation such as the blooming of the spring cherry blossoms, the calls of the summer cicada and fall foliage colors that are celebrated in [[Japanese art|art]] and [[Japanese literature|literature]].<ref name=autogenerated2 />
The average winter temperature in Japan is {{convert|5.1|C|F}} and the average summer temperature is {{convert|25.2|C|F}}.<ref>{{cite web|title=Climate|url=|publisher=[[JNTO]]|accessdate=2 March 2011}}</ref> The highest temperature ever measured in Japan—{{convert|40.9|°C}}—was recorded on 16 August 2007.<ref>{{cite web |url= |title=Gifu Prefecture sees highest temperature ever recorded in Japan – 40.9 |publisher=Japan News Review Society |date=16 August 2007| accessdate=16 August 2007}}</ref> The main [[East Asian rainy season|rainy season]] begins in early May in Okinawa, and the rain front gradually moves north until 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, [[typhoon]]s often bring heavy rain.<ref name="climate">{{cite web |url= |title=Essential Info: Climate |publisher=[[JNTO]] |accessdate=1 April 2007}}</ref>
Japan has nine forest [[ecoregions in Japan|ecoregions]] which reflect the climate and geography of the islands. They range from [[Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests|subtropical moist broadleaf forests]] in the Ryūkyū and [[Bonin Islands]], to [[temperate broadleaf and mixed forests]] in the mild climate regions of the main islands, to [[temperate coniferous forest]]s in the cold, winter portions of the northern islands.<ref>{{cite web |url= |archiveurl= |archivedate=13 February 2007 |title=Flora and Fauna: Diversity and regional uniqueness |publisher=Embassy of Japan in the USA |accessdate=1 April 2007}}</ref> Japan has over 90,000 species of [[Wildlife of Japan|wildlife]], including the [[brown bear]], the [[Japanese macaque]], the [[Tanuki|Japanese raccoon dog]], and the [[Japanese giant salamander]].<ref>{{cite web|title=The Wildlife in Japan|url=|publisher=Ministry of the Environment|accessdate=19 February 2011}}</ref> A large network of [[List of national parks of Japan|national parks]] has been established to protect important areas of flora and fauna as well as thirty-seven [[Ramsar sites in Japan|Ramsar wetland sites]].<ref>{{cite web |url= |title=National Parks of Japan |publisher=Ministry of the Environment |accessdate=11 May 2011}}</ref><ref>{{cite web |url=^16573_4000_0__ |title=The Annotated Ramsar List: Japan |publisher=Ramsar |accessdate=11 May 2011}}</ref> [[World Heritage Sites in Japan|Four sites]] have been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List for their outstanding natural value.<ref>{{cite web |url= |title=Japan – Properties Inscribed on the World Heritage List |publisher=UNESCO |accessdate=5 July 2011}}</ref>
{{Main|Environmental issues in Japan}}
In the period of rapid economic growth after World War II, environmental policies were downplayed by the government and industrial corporations; as a result, [[Four Big Pollution Diseases of Japan|environmental pollution]] was widespread in the 1950s and 1960s. Responding to rising concern about the problem, the government introduced several environmental protection laws in 1970.<ref>{{cite web|title=日本の大気汚染の歴史|url=|publisher=Environmental Restoration and Conservation Agency|accessdate=16 January 2011|language=Japanese}}</ref> The [[1973 oil crisis|oil crisis in 1973]] also encouraged the efficient use of energy due to Japan's lack of natural resources.<ref>{{cite web|last=Sekiyama|first=Takeshi|title=Japan's international cooperation for energy efficiency and conservation in Asian region|url=|archiveurl=|archivedate=16 February 2008|publisher=Energy Conservation Center|accessdate=16 January 2011}}</ref> Current environmental issues include urban air pollution ([[NOx]], suspended particulate matter, and toxics), [[waste management]], water [[eutrophication]], [[nature conservation]], climate change, chemical management and international co-operation for conservation.<ref>{{cite web|title=Environmental Performance Review of Japan|url=|publisher=[[Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development|OECD]]|accessdate=16 January 2011}}</ref>
Japan is one of the world's leaders in the development of new environment-friendly technologies, and is ranked 20th best in the world in the 2010 [[Environmental Performance Index]].<ref>{{cite web|title=Environmental Performance Index: Japan|url=|publisher=Yale University|accessdate=7 January 2011}} {{Dead link|date=April 2012|bot=H3llBot}}</ref> As a signatory of the [[Kyoto Protocol]], and host of the 1997 conference which created it, Japan is under treaty obligation to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions and to take other steps to curb climate change.<ref>{{cite web|url= |title=Japan sees extra emission cuts to 2020 goal -minister |publisher=World Business Council for Sustainable Development |accessdate=2 March 2011}}</ref>
{{Main|Economy of Japan}}
[[File:Tokyo stock exchange.jpg|thumb|250px|The [[Tokyo Stock Exchange]], the largest stock exchange in Asia.<ref name="fm">{{cite news|url=|title= Japan's Tokyo Stock Exchange is the second largest stock market with a market value of $3.8 trillion |work=The Economic Times |location=India|accessdate=19 June 2010|date=19 June 2010}}</ref>]]
Some of the structural features for Japan's economic growth developed in the Edo period, such as the network of transport routes, by [[Kaidō|road]] and water, and the [[futures contract]]s, banking and insurance of the [[Osaka rice brokers]].<ref>{{cite book |title=The Origins of Japanese Trade Supremacy |author=Howe, Christopher |publisher=Hurst & Company |year=1996 |isbn=1-85065-583-3 {{Please check ISBN|reason=Check digit (3) does not correspond to calculated figure.}} |pages=58f}}</ref> During the Meiji period from 1868, Japan expanded economically with the embrace of the [[market economy]].<ref>{{cite book|last=Totman|first=Conrad|title=A History of Japan ''(2nd ed.)''|year=2005|publisher=Blackwell|isbn=1-4051-2359-1|pages=312–314}}</ref> Many of today's enterprises were founded at the time, and Japan emerged as the most developed nation in Asia.<ref>{{cite book|last=McCargo|first=Duncan|title=Contemporary Japan|year=2000|publisher=Macmillan|isbn=0-333-71002-2 {{Please check ISBN|reason=Check digit (2) does not correspond to calculated figure.}}|pages=18–19}}</ref> The period of overall real economic growth from the 1960s to the 1980s has been called the [[Japanese post-war economic miracle]]: it averaged 7.5 percent in the 1960s and 1970s, and 3.2 percent in the 1980s and early 1990s.<ref>{{cite journal|last=Ryan|first=Liam|title=The "Asian economic miracle" unmasked: The political economy of the reality|journal=International Journal of Social Economics|date=1 January 2000|volume=27|issue=7–10|pages=802–815|doi=10.1108/03068290010335235}}</ref>
Growth slowed markedly in the 1990s during what the Japanese call [[Lost Decade (Japan)|the Lost Decade]], largely because of the after-effects of the [[Japanese asset price bubble]] 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 by the [[Dot-com bubble|global slowdown in 2000]].<ref name="cia"/> The economy showed strong signs of recovery after 2005; GDP growth for that year was 2.8 percent, surpassing the growth rates of the US and [[European Union]] during the same period.<ref>{{cite news|last=Masake|first=Hisane|title=A farewell to zero|url=|accessdate=16 January 2011|newspaper=Asia Times|date=2 March 2006}}</ref>
{{As of|2011}}, Japan is the third largest national economy in the world, after the United States and China, in terms of [[nominal GDP]],<ref>{{Cite news| title=China confirmed as World's Second Largest Economy|newspaper=[[The Guardian]] | date=21 January 2011| url=| accessdate=21 January 2011 | first=James | last=Inman | location=London}}</ref> and the third largest national economy in the world, after the United States and China, in terms of [[purchasing power parity]].<ref name=imf2>{{cite web |title=Japan|publisher=International Monetary Fund|accessdate=19 April 2012 |url=}}</ref> {{As of|January 2011}}, Japan's [[public debt]] was more than 200 percent of its annual gross domestic product, the largest of any nation in the world. In August 2011, [[Moody's]] rating has cut Japan's long-term sovereign debt rating one notch from Aa3 to Aa2 inline with the size of the country's deficit and borrowing level. The large budget deficits and government debt since the 2009 global recession and followed by earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 made the rating downgrade.<ref>{{cite news |url= |title=Moody's cuts Japan's debt rating on deficit concerns |date=24 August 2011 |work=BBC News}}</ref> The [[service sector]] accounts for three quarters of the gross domestic product.<ref>{{cite web|title=Manufacturing and Construction|url=|work=Statistical Handbook of Japan|publisher=Statistics Bureau|accessdate=16 January 2011}}</ref>
Japan has a large industrial capacity, and is home to some of the largest and most technologically advanced producers of motor vehicles, [[electronics]], [[machine tool]]s, steel and nonferrous metals, ships, [[chemical substance]]s, textiles, and [[food processing|processed foods]]. [[Agriculture, forestry, and fishing in Japan|Agricultural businesses in Japan]] cultivate 13 percent of Japan's land, and Japan accounts for nearly 15 percent of the global fish catch, second only to China.<ref name="cia"/> As of 2010, Japan's labor force consisted of some 65.9 million workers.<ref>{{cite web |url= |title=Background Note: Japan |publisher=US State Department |accessdate=19 March 2011}}</ref> Japan has a [[List of countries by unemployment rate|low unemployment rate]] of around four percent. Almost one in six Japanese, or 20 million people, lived in poverty in 2007.<ref>{{cite news|title=Japan Tries to Face Up to Growing Poverty Problem|url=|accessdate=16 January 2011|newspaper=The New York Times|date=21 April 2010|first=Martin|last=Fackler}}</ref> [[Housing in Japan]] is characterized by limited land supply in urban areas.<ref>{{cite web|title=2008 Housing and Land Survey|url=|publisher=Statistics Bureau|accessdate=20 January 2011}}</ref>
[[File:Toyota Prius plug-in -- 2010 DC.jpg|thumb|250px|A plug-in [[hybrid car]] manufactured by [[Toyota]], one of the world's largest carmakers. Japan is the second-largest producer of automobiles in the world.<ref>{{cite web|title=World Motor Vehicle Production by Country|url=|publisher=[[OICA]]|accessdate=16 January 2011}}</ref>]]
Japan's exports amounted to US$4,210 per capita in 2005. Japan's main export markets are China (18.88 percent), the United States (16.42 percent), South Korea (8.13 percent), Taiwan (6.27 percent) and Hong Kong (5.49 percent) as of 2009. Its main exports are transportation equipment, motor vehicles, electronics, electrical machinery and chemicals.<ref name="cia"/> Japan's main import markets as of 2009 are China (22.2 percent), the US (10.96 percent), Australia (6.29 percent), [[Saudi Arabia]] (5.29 percent), [[United Arab Emirates]] (4.12 percent), South Korea (3.98 percent) and [[Indonesia]] (3.95 percent).<ref name=autogenerated1>{{cite news|last=Blustein|first=Paul|title=China Passes U.S. in Trade with Japan|url=|accessdate=28 December 2006|newspaper=The Washington Post|date=27 January 2005}}</ref>
Japan's main imports are machinery and equipment, [[fossil fuel]]s, foodstuffs (in particular beef), chemicals, textiles and raw materials for its industries.<ref name=autogenerated1 /> By market share measures, domestic markets are the least open of any [[OECD]] country.<ref name="oecd2008"/> [[Junichiro Koizumi]]'s administration began some pro-competition reforms, and foreign investment in Japan has soared.<ref>{{cite news|title=Foreign investment in Japan soars|url=|accessdate=16 January 2011|newspaper=''BBC''|date=29 June 2005}}</ref>
Japan ranks 12th of 178 countries in the 2008 [[Ease of Doing Business Index]] and has [[List of countries by tax revenue as percentage of GDP|one of the smallest tax revenues]] of the developed world. The Japanese variant of capitalism has many distinct features: [[keiretsu]] enterprises are influential, and [[lifetime employment]] and seniority-based career advancement are relatively common in the [[Japanese work environment]].<ref name="oecd2008">{{cite web|url=,3343,en_2649_34111_40353553_1_1_1_1,00.html |title=Economic survey of Japan 2008 |publisher=[[OECD]] |accessdate=25 August 2010}}</ref><ref>{{cite news |url= |title=Japan's Economy: Free at last |newspaper=The Economist |date=20 July 2006 |accessdate=23 January 2011}}</ref> Japanese companies are known for management methods like "[[The Toyota Way]]", and [[shareholder activism]] is rare.<ref>{{cite news|title=Activist shareholders swarm in Japan|url=|accessdate=23 January 2011|date=28 June 2007|newspaper=The Economist}}</ref>
Some of the largest enterprises in Japan include [[Toyota]], [[Nintendo]], [[NTT DoCoMo]], [[Canon (company)|Canon]], [[Honda]], [[Takeda Pharmaceutical]], [[Sony]], [[Panasonic Corporation|Panasonic]], [[Toshiba]], [[Sharp Corporation|Sharp]], [[Nippon Steel]], [[Nippon Oil]], and [[Seven & I Holdings Co]].<ref>{{cite news|title=Japan 500 2007|url=|accessdate=23 January 2011|newspaper=[[Financial Times]]}}</ref> It has some of the world's largest banks, and the [[Tokyo Stock Exchange]] (known for its [[Nikkei 225]] and [[Topix]] indices) stands as the second largest in the world by [[market capitalization]].<ref>{{cite web|title=Market Data|url=|publisher=New York Stock Exchange|accessdate=11 August 2007|date=31 January 2006}}</ref> Japan is home to 326 companies from the [[Forbes Global 2000]] or 16.3 percent (as of 2006).<ref>{{cite news|title=The Forbes 2000|url=|work=Forbes|accessdate=7 January 2011}}</ref>
===Science and technology===
{{Main|Science and technology in Japan}}
[[File:Kibo PM and ELM-PS.jpg|thumb|250px|The [[Japanese Experiment Module]](Kibo) at the [[International Space Station]].]]
Japan is a leading nation in 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.<ref>{{cite news|last=McDonald|first=Joe|title=China to spend $136 billion on R&D|newspaper=BusinessWeek|date=4 December 2006}}</ref> Japan is a world leader in [[fundamental research|fundamental scientific research]], having produced sixteen [[Nobel Prize|Nobel laureates]] in either physics, chemistry or medicine,<ref>{{cite web |title=Japanese Nobel Laureates |publisher=[[Kyoto University]] |year=2009 |url= |accessdate=7 November 2009}}</ref> three [[Fields Medal|Fields medalists]],<ref>{{cite web |title=Japanese Fields Medalists |publisher=Kyoto University |year=2009 |url=|accessdate=7 November 2009}}</ref> and one [[Gauss Prize]] laureate.<ref>{{cite web |title=Dr. Kiyoshi Ito receives Gauss Prize |publisher=Kyoto University |year=2009 |url=|accessdate=7 November 2009}}</ref> Some of Japan's more prominent technological contributions are in the fields of electronics, automobiles, machinery, [[earthquake engineering]], [[industrial robot]]ics, [[optics]], chemicals, [[semiconductor]]s 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.<ref>{{cite web|title=The Boom in Robot Investment Continues|url=|publisher=UN Economic Commission for Europe|accessdate=28 December 2006|date=17 October 2000}}</ref>
The [[Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency]] (JAXA) is Japan's [[space agency]]; it conducts space, planetary, and aviation research, and leads development of rockets and satellites. It is a participant in the [[International Space Station]]: the [[Japanese Experiment Module]] (Kibo) was added to the station during [[Space Shuttle]] assembly flights in 2008.<ref>{{cite web |title=Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Homepage |publisher = Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency|date=3 August 2006 |url= |accessdate=28 March 2007}}</ref> Japan's plans in [[space exploration]] include: launching a [[space probe]] to [[Venus]], ''[[Akatsuki (spacecraft)|Akatsuki]]'';<ref>{{cite web|url= |title=JAXA {{!}} Venus Climate Orbiter "AKATSUKI" (PLANET-C)|publisher=Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency|accessdate=4 December 2010}}</ref><ref>{{cite web |url= |title=ISAS {{!}} Venus Meteorology AKATSUKI (PLANET-C) | work=[[Institute of Space and Astronautical Science]] | publisher=Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency |accessdate=4 December 2010}}</ref> developing the ''[[Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter]]'' to be launched in 2013;<ref>{{cite web|url= |title=JAXA, Mercury Exploration Mission "BepiColombo" |publisher=Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency |accessdate=25 August 2010}}</ref><ref>{{cite web |url= |title=ISAS, Mercury Exploration MMO (BepiColombo) |work= Institute of Space and Astronautical Science |publisher=Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency|accessdate=25 August 2010}}</ref> and building a [[colonization of the Moon|moon base]] by 2030.<ref>{{cite web |title=Japan Plans Moon Base by 2030 |publisher=MoonDaily |date=3 August 2006 |url= |accessdate=27 March 2007}}</ref>
On 14 September 2007, it launched lunar explorer "''[[SELENE]]''" ('''Sel'''enological and '''En'''gineering '''E'''xplorer) on an [[H-IIA]] (Model H2A2022) carrier rocket from [[Tanegashima Space Center]]. ''SELENE'' is also known as ''Kaguya'', after the lunar princess of ''[[The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter]]''.<ref name="jaxa_nickname">{{cite web|url=| title="KAGUYA" selected as SELENE's nickname| accessdate=13 October 2007}}</ref> ''Kaguya'' is the largest lunar mission since the [[Apollo program]]. Its purpose is to gather data on the [[Moon#Formation|moon's origin and evolution]]. It entered a lunar orbit on 4 October,<ref>{{cite web|url= |title=Japan Successfully Launches Lunar Explorer "Kaguya" |publisher=Japan Corporate News Network|accessdate=25 August 2010}}</ref><ref>{{cite news|url= |title=Japan launches first lunar probe |publisher=BBC News |date=14 September 2007 |accessdate=25 August 2010}}</ref> flying at an altitude of about {{convert|100|km|0|abbr=on}}.<ref>{{cite web|url= |title=JAXA, KAGUYA (SELENE) Image Taking of "Full Earth-Rise" by HDTV |publisher=Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency |accessdate=25 August 2010}}</ref> The probe's mission was ended when it was deliberately crashed by JAXA into the Moon on 11 June 2009.<ref>{{cite news|url= |title=Japanese probe crashes into Moon |publisher=BBC News |date=11 June 2009 |accessdate=12 April 2011}}</ref>
{{Main|Energy in Japan|Transport in Japan}}
[[File:Shinkansen Nozomi in Tokyo.jpg|thumb|250px|Nozomi [[Shinkansen]] or 'Bullet Train' at [[Tokyo Station]]<ref>{{Cite book| first=Christopher P. | last=Hood | year=2006 | title=Shinkansen – From Bullet Train to Symbol of Modern Japan | publisher=Routledge | isbn=0-415-32052-6|pages=61–68}}</ref>]]
As of 2008, 46.4 percent of energy in Japan is produced from petroleum, 21.4 percent from coal, 16.7 percent from natural gas, 9.7 percent from [[Nuclear power in Japan|nuclear power]], and 2.9 percent from [[hydro power]]. Nuclear power produced 25.1 percent of Japan's electricity, as of 2009.<ref>{{cite web|title=Energy|url=|work=Statistical Handbook of Japan 2010|publisher=Statistics Bureau|accessdate=16 January 2011}}</ref> However, as of 5 May 2012, all of the country's nuclear power plants had been taken offline due to ongoing public opposition following the [[Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster]], though government officials have been continuing to try to sway public opinion in favor of returning at least some of Japan's 50 nuclear reactors to service.<ref>{{cite news|last=Tsukimori|first=Osamu|title=Japan nuclear power-free as last reactor shuts|url=;_ylt=A2KJjb0YqalP_V4AxMrQtDMD|accessdate=8 May 2012|newspaper=[[Reuters]]|date=5 May 2012}}</ref> Given its heavy dependence on [[List of countries by oil imports|imported energy]],<ref>{{cite web|title=Can nuclear power save Japan from peak oil?|url=|publisher=Our World 2.0|accessdate=15 March 2011|date=2 February 2011}}</ref> Japan has aimed to diversify its sources and maintain high levels of energy efficiency.<ref>{{cite web|title=Japan|url=|publisher=U.S. Department of State|accessdate=15 March 2011}}</ref>
Japan's road spending has been extensive.<ref>{{cite news|title=Japan's Road to Deep Deficit is Paved with Public Works|url=|accessdate=16 January 2011|newspaper=The New York Times|first=Andrew|last=Pollack|date=1 March 1997}}</ref> Its 1.2 million kilometers of paved road are the main means of transportation.<ref>{{cite web|title=Transport|url=|work=Statistical Handbook of Japan 2007|publisher=Statistics Bureau|accessdate=16 January 2011}}</ref> A single network of high-speed, divided, limited-access [[toll road]]s connects major cities and is operated by toll-collecting enterprises. New and used cars are inexpensive; car ownership fees and fuel levies are used to promote energy efficiency. However, at just 50 percent of all distance traveled, car usage is the lowest of all G8 countries.<ref name="transtatsjp">{{cite web|url=|title=Transport in Japan|accessdate=17 February 2009|work=International Transport Statistics Database|publisher=[[International Road Assessment Program]]}}{{subscription required}}</ref>
[[List of railway companies in Japan|Dozens of Japanese railway companies]] compete in regional and local passenger transportation markets; major companies include seven [[Japan Railways Group|JR]] enterprises, [[Kintetsu Corporation]], [[Seibu Railway]] and [[Keio Corporation]]. Some 250 high-speed [[Shinkansen]] trains connect major cities and Japanese trains are known for their safety and punctuality.<ref>{{cite web|url=|title=About the Shinkansen – Safety|accessdate=17 October 2011|publisher=Central Japan Railway Company}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|url=|archiveurl=|archivedate=13 May 2008|title=Corporate Culture as Strong Diving Force for Punctuality- Another "Just in Time"|accessdate=19 April 2009|publisher=Hitachi}}</ref> Proposals for a new [[JR-Maglev|Maglev]] route between Tokyo and Osaka are at an advanced stage.<ref>{{cite news |url= |title=Japan to approve plans for a new super-train |work=The Independent |date=27 April 2011 |accessdate=11 May 2011 |location=London}}</ref> There are 173 airports in Japan; the largest domestic airport, [[Haneda Airport]], is [[World's busiest airports by passenger traffic|Asia's second-busiest airport]].<ref>{{cite web|url= |title= Year to Date Passenger Traffic|publisher=Airports Council International |date=11 November 2010 |accessdate=16 November 2010}}</ref> The largest international gateways are [[Narita International Airport]], [[Kansai International Airport]] and [[Chūbu Centrair International Airport]].<ref>{{cite book|last=Nakagawa|first=Dai|title=Transport Policy and Funding|year=2006|publisher=Elsevier|isbn=0-08-044852-6|page=63|coauthors=Matsunaka, Ryoji}}</ref> [[Nagoya Port]] is the country's largest and busiest port, accounting for 10 percent of Japan's trade value.<ref>{{cite web|title=Port Profile|url=|publisher=Port of Nagoya|accessdate=7 January 2011}}</ref>
{{Main|Demographics of Japan|Japanese people|Ethnic issues in Japan}}
[[File:Bjs48 02 Ainu.jpg|thumb|250px|[[Ainu people|Ainu]], an ethnic minority people from Japan]]
[[File:Meiji-jingu wedding procession - P1000847.jpg|thumb|250px|Japanese wedding at the [[Meiji Shrine]]]]
Japan's population is estimated at around 127.3 million,<ref name="cia"/> with 80% of the population living on [[Honshū]]. Japanese society is [[linguistics|linguistically]] and culturally homogeneous,<ref name=MulticulturalJapan>{{cite news|title='Multicultural Japan' remains a pipe dream|url=|accessdate=16 January 2011|newspaper=Japan Times|date=27 March 2007}}</ref> composed of 98.5% ethnic Japanese,<ref>{{cite web|url= |title=CIA Factbook: Japan | |accessdate=9 November 2011}}</ref> with small populations of foreign workers.<ref name=MulticulturalJapan/> [[Koreans in Japan|Zainichi Koreans]],<ref>{{cite news|title=Japan-born Koreans live in limbo|url=|accessdate=16 January 2011|newspaper=The New York Times|date=2 April 2005}}</ref> [[Chinese people in Japan|Zainichi Chinese]], [[Filipinos in Japan|Filipinos]], [[Brazilian people|Brazilians]] mostly [[Japanese Brazilian|of Japanese descent]],<ref name="nikkeijin">{{cite news|title=An Enclave of Brazilians Is Testing Insular Japan|url=|accessdate=16 January 2011|newspaper=The New York Times|date=1 November 2008|first=Norimitsu|last=Onishi}}</ref> and [[Peruvian people|Peruvians]] mostly [[Japanese Peruvian|of Japanese descent]] are among the small minority groups in Japan.<ref>{{cite news|title='Home' is where the heartbreak is for Japanese-Peruvians|url=|accessdate=16 January 2011|newspaper=Asia Times|date=16 October 1999}}</ref> In 2003, there were about 134,700 non-Latin American Western and 345,500 [[Latin Americans|Latin American]] expatriates, 274,700 of whom were [[Brazilians in Japan|Brazilians]] (said to be primarily Japanese descendants, or ''[[nikkeijin]]'', along with their spouses),<ref name="nikkeijin"/> the largest community of Westerners.<ref>{{cite web|title=Registered Foreigners in Japan by Nationality|url=|archiveurl=|archivedate=24 August 2005|publisher=Statistics Bureau|accessdate=16 January 2011}}</ref>
The most dominant native ethnic group is the [[Yamato people]]; primary minority groups include the indigenous [[Ainu people|Ainu]]<ref>{{cite news |first= Philippa |last= Fogarty|title= Recognition at last for Japan's Ainu|url=|publisher=BBC|date= 6 June 2008|accessdate=7 June 2008 }}</ref> and [[Ryukyuan people]]s, as well as social minority groups like the ''[[burakumin]]''.<ref>{{cite news|title=The Invisible Race|url=,9171,910511,00.html|accessdate=16 January 2011|newspaper=Time|date=8 January 1973}}</ref> There are persons of mixed ancestry incorporated among the 'ethnic Japanese' or Yamato, such as those from [[Bonin Islands|Ogasawara Archipelago]] where roughly one-tenth of the Japanese population can have European, American, Micronesian and/or Polynesian backgrounds, with some families going back up to seven generations.<ref name="mccormack1999">McCormack, Gavan. [ "Dilemmas of Development on The Ogasawara Islands,"] ''JPRI Occasional Paper,'' No. 15 (August 1999).</ref> In spite of the widespread belief that Japan is ethnically homogeneous (in 2009, foreign-born non-naturalized workers made up only 1.7% of the total population),<ref>"[,8599,1892469,00.html Japan to Immigrants: Thanks, But You Can Go Home Now]". ''[[Time (magazine)|Time]]''. 20 April 2009.</ref> also due to the absence of ethnicity and/or race statistics for Japanese nationals, at least one analysis describes Japan as a [[multiethnic society]], for example, [[John Lie]].<ref>[[John Lie]] ''Multiethnic Japan'' (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2001)</ref> However, this statement is refused by many sectors of Japanese society, who still tend to preserve the idea of Japan being a [[Monoculturalism|monocultural society]] and with this ideology of homogeneity, has traditionally rejected any need to recognize ethnic differences in Japan, even as such claims have been rejected by such ethnic minorities as the [[Ainu people|Ainu]] and [[Ryukyuan people]]. Former Japanese Prime Minister [[Taro Aso]] has once described Japan as being a nation of “one race, one civilization, one language and one culture”.<ref>"[ Aso says Japan is nation of 'one race']". The Japan Times. 18 October 2005.</ref>
Japan has the longest overall [[life expectancy]] at birth of any country in the world: 83.5 years for persons born in the period 2010–2015.<ref name=""/><ref name="Table A.17"/> The [[Aging of Japan|Japanese population is rapidly aging]] as a result of a [[post–World War II baby boom]] followed by a decrease in birth rates. In 2009, about 22.7 percent of the population was over 65, by 2050 almost 40 percent of the population will be aged 65 and over, as projected in December 2006.<ref name="handbook">{{cite web |url= |title=Statistical Handbook of Japan 2010: Chapter 2—Population |publisher=Statistics Bureau |accessdate=24 March 2011}}</ref>
The changes in demographic structure have created a number of social issues, particularly a potential decline in workforce population and increase in the cost of social security benefits like the public pension plan. A growing number of younger Japanese are preferring not to marry or have families.<ref name="Ogawa"/> In 2011, Japan's population dropped for a fifth year, falling by 204,000 people to 126.24 million people. This is the greatest decline since at least 1947, the first year for which government data are available. The 204,000 deaths included 15,844 people killed and 3,451 left missing by the tsunami.<ref>{{cite web |url= |title=Japan Population Drops Most Since World War II |date=2 January 2012}}</ref>
Japan's population is expected to drop to 95 million by 2050,<ref name="handbook"/><ref>[ Forecast provided] by [[International Futures]]</ref> demographers and government planners are currently in a heated debate over how to cope with this problem.<ref name="Ogawa">{{cite web|last=Ogawa|first=Naohiro|title=Demographic Trends and their implications for Japan's future|url=|work=Transcript of speech delivered on 7 March 1997|publisher=Ministry of Foreign Affairs|accessdate=14 May 2006}}</ref> Immigration and birth incentives are sometimes suggested as a solution to provide younger workers to support the nation's aging population.<ref>{{cite web |url= |archiveurl= |archivedate=29 September 2007 |title=Japan Immigration Policy Institute: Director's message| first= Hidenori|last=Sakanaka| publisher=Japan Immigration Policy Institute |date=5 October 2005 |accessdate=5 January 2007}}</ref><ref>{{cite news|last=French|first=Howard|title=Insular Japan Needs, but Resists, Immigration|url=|accessdate=21 February 2007|newspaper=The New York Times|date=24 July 2003}}</ref> Japan accepts a steady flow of 15,000 ''new Japanese citizens'' by ''naturalization'' (帰化) per year.<ref>{{cite web|title=帰化許可申請者数等の推移|url=|publisher=Ministry of Justice|accessdate=17 March 2011|language=Japanese}}</ref> According to the [[UNHCR]], in 2007 Japan accepted just 41 refugees for resettlement, while the US took in 50,000.<ref>{{cite news|title=Refugees in Japan|url=|accessdate=16 January 2011|newspaper=Japan Times|date=12 October 2008}}</ref>
Japan [[Suicide in Japan|suffers from a high suicide rate]].<ref name="NYT">{{cite news|url=|title=In Japan, Mired in Recession, Suicides Soar|last=Strom|first=Stephanie|date=15 July 1999|newspaper=The New York Times|accessdate=20 September 2008}}</ref><ref name=Times>{{cite news|url=|title=Japan gripped by suicide epidemic|last=Lewis|first=Leo|date=19 June 2008|newspaper=[[The Times (London)|The Times]]|accessdate=20 September 2008}}</ref> In 2009, the number of suicides exceeded 30,000 for the twelfth straight year.<ref>{{cite news |title = Suicides in Japan top 30,000 for 12th consecutive year | newspaper = Japan Today | date = 25 December 2009| url =|accessdate=16 January 2011}} {{Dead link|date=April 2012|bot=H3llBot}}</ref> Suicide is the leading cause of death for people under 30.<ref name="ozawa-desilva">{{Cite journal| last = Ozawa-de Silva| first = Chikako
| title = Too Lonely to Die Alone: Internet Suicide Pacts and Existential Suffering in Japan| journal = Cult Med Psychiatry | volume = 32 | issue = 4 | pages = 516–551 | month = December | year = 2008 | doi = 10.1007/s11013-008-9108-0| pmid = 18800195}}</ref>
{{Largest cities of Japan}}
{{Main|Religion in Japan}}
[[File:Itsukushima torii distance.jpg|thumb|250px|[[Torii]] of [[Itsukushima Shrine]] near [[Hiroshima]], one of the [[Three Views of Japan]] and a UNESCO World Heritage Site]]
Japan enjoys full religious freedom based on Article 20 of [[Japanese Constitution|its Constitution]]. Upper estimates suggest that 84–96 percent of the Japanese population subscribe to [[Buddhism in Japan|Buddhism]] or [[Shinto]], including a large number of followers of a [[syncretism]] of [[Shinbutsu shūgō|both religions]].<ref name="cia"/><ref>{{cite web|url= |title=International Religious Freedom Report 2006 |author=Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor |publisher=US Department of State |date=15 September 2006 |accessdate=4 December 2007}}</ref> However, these estimates are based on people [[Danka system|affiliated]] with a temple, rather than the number of true believers.<!-- The number of [[Shinto shrine]]s in Japan is estimated to be around 100,000.<ref>Breen, Teeuwen in ''Breen, Teeuwen'' (2000:1)</ref> --> Other studies have suggested that only 30 percent of the population identify themselves as belonging to a religion.<ref name=Kisala>{{cite book| last = Kisala | first = Robert | editor= Wargo, Robert| title = The Logic Of Nothingness: A Study of Nishida Kitarō | publisher = University of Hawaii Press| year = 2005| pages = 3–4 | isbn = 0-8248-2284-6}}</ref> According to [[Edwin O. Reischauer|Edwin Reischauer]] and [[Marius Jansen]], some 70–80% of the Japanese regularly tell pollsters they do not consider themselves believers in any religion.<ref name=ReischauerJansen215>{{Cite book
| publisher = Belknap Press of Harvard University Press
| isbn = 978-0-674-47184-9
| last1 =
| first1 = Edwin Oldfather
| author1-link = Edwin O. Reischauer
| first2 = Marius B.
| last2 = Jansen
| author2-link = Marius Jansen
| title = The Japanese today: change and continuity
| year = 1988
| edition = 2nd
| page = 215
Nevertheless, the level of participation remains high, especially during [[Japanese festivals|festivals]] and occasions such as the [[Hatsumōde|first shrine visit]] of the [[Japanese New Year|New Year]]. [[Taoism]] and [[Confucianism]] from China have also influenced Japanese beliefs and customs.<ref>{{cite book|last=Totman|first=Conrad|title=A History of Japan ''(2nd ed.)''|year=2005|publisher=Blackwell|isbn=1-4051-2359-1|page=72}}</ref> Japanese streets are decorated on [[Tanabata]], [[Obon]] and [[Christmas]]. Fewer than one percent of Japanese are [[Christianity in Japan|Christian]].<ref>{{cite news|last=Kato|first=Mariko|title=Christianity's long history in the margins|newspaper=Japan Times|date=24 February 2009}}</ref> Other minority religions include [[Islam]], [[Hinduism]], [[Sikhism]], and [[Judaism]], and since the mid-19th century numerous [[Shinshūkyō|new religious movements]] have emerged in Japan.<ref name="Clarke">{{cite book|title=The World's religions : understanding the living faiths|year=1993|publisher=Reader's Digest|isbn=978-0-89577-501-6|editor=Clarke, Peter|page=208}}</ref>
{{Main|Languages of Japan|Japanese language}}
More than 99 percent of the population speaks Japanese as their first language.<ref name="cia"/> Japanese is an [[agglutinative language]] distinguished by a system of [[Honorific speech in Japanese|honorifics]] reflecting the hierarchical nature of Japanese society, with verb forms and particular vocabulary indicating the relative status of speaker and listener. [[Japanese writing system|Japanese writing]] uses [[kanji]] ([[Chinese character]]s) and two sets of [[kana]] ([[syllabary|syllabaries]] based on [[simplified Chinese characters]]), as well as the [[Latin alphabet]] and [[Arabic numerals]].<ref>{{cite web|last=Miyagawa|first=Shigeru|title=The Japanese Language|url=|publisher=Massachusetts Institute of Technology|accessdate=16 January 2011}}</ref>
Besides Japanese, the [[Ryukyuan languages]], also part of the [[Japonic languages|Japonic language family]], are spoken in Okinawa; however, few children learn these languages.<ref>{{cite journal|last=Heinrich|first=Patrick|title=Language Planning and Language Ideology in the Ryūkyū Islands|journal=Language Policy|date=January 2004|volume=3|issue=2|pages=153–179|doi=10.1023/B:LPOL.0000036192.53709.fc}}</ref> The [[Ainu language]], which has no proven relationship to Japanese or any other language, is [[moribund language|moribund]], with only a few elderly native speakers remaining in Hokkaido.<ref>{{cite web |url= |archiveurl= |archivedate=6 January 2008 |title=15 families keep ancient language alive in Japan |publisher=UN | accessdate=27 March 2007}}</ref> Most public and private schools require students to take courses in both Japanese and [[English language education in Japan|English]].<ref>{{cite web |url= |archiveurl= |archivedate=27 April 2006 |title=Japan Digest: Japanese Education |date=1 September 2005 |first= Lucien|last=Ellington|publisher=Indiana University |accessdate=27 April 2006}}</ref>
{{Main|Education in Japan}}
[[File:Tokyo University Entrance Exam Results 6.JPG|thumb|250px|Announcement of the results of the [[Higher education in Japan#University entrance|entrance examinations]] to the [[University of Tokyo]]]]
Primary schools, secondary schools and universities were [[Education in the Empire of Japan|introduced]] in 1872 as a result of the Meiji Restoration.<ref>{{cite web |url= |title=Beyond the Rhetoric: Essential Questions About Japanese Education |first=Lucien |last=Ellington|publisher=Foreign Policy Research Institute |date=1 December 2003 |accessdate=1 April 2007}}</ref> Since 1947, compulsory education in Japan comprises [[Elementary schools in Japan|elementary]] and [[Secondary education in Japan#Middle school|middle school]], which together last for nine years (from age 6 to age 15). Almost all children continue their education at a three-year senior [[High school in Japan|high school]], and, according to the [[Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (Japan)|MEXT]], as of 2005 about 75.9 percent of high school graduates attend a university, junior college, trade school, or other [[Higher education in Japan|higher education]] institution.<ref>{{cite web |url= |title= School Education |publisher= [[Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (Japan)|MEXT]] | accessdate=10 March 2007}}</ref>
The two top-ranking universities in Japan are the [[University of Tokyo]] and [[Kyoto University]].<ref>{{cite web | url=|title=TOP – 100 |publisher=Global Universities Ranking|year=2009|accessdate=22 March 2010}}</ref><ref>{{cite web | url=|title=QS World University Rankings 2010|publisher=QS TopUniversities|year=2010|accessdate=15 January 2010}}</ref> The [[Programme for International Student Assessment]] coordinated by the OECD currently ranks the overall knowledge and skills of Japanese 15-year-olds as sixth best in the world.<ref>{{cite web|title=OECD's PISA survey shows some countries making significant gains in learning outcomes|url=,3343,en_2649_201185_39713238_1_1_1_1,00.html|publisher=[[OECD]]|accessdate=16 January 2011}}</ref>
{{Main|Health in Japan|Health care system in Japan}}
In Japan, health care is provided by national and local governments. Payment for personal medical services is offered through a universal health 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.<ref>{{cite web |url= |first=Victor|last=Rodwin|title=Health Care in Japan |publisher=New York University |accessdate=10 March 2007}}</ref> Patients are free to select the physicians or facilities of their choice.<ref>{{cite web |url= |title=Health Insurance: General Characteristics |publisher=National Institute of Population and Social Security Research |accessdate=28 March 2007}}</ref>
[[File:Kinkaku-ji 01.jpg|thumb|250px|[[Kinkaku-ji]] or 'The Temple of the Golden Pavilion' in [[Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities)|Kyoto]], [[List of Special Places of Scenic Beauty, Special Historic Sites and Special Natural Monuments|Special Historic Site, Special Place of Scenic Beauty]], and UNESCO World Heritage Site; its torching by a monk in 1950 is the subject of a [[The Temple of the Golden Pavilion|novel]] by [[Yukio Mishima|Mishima]].]]
{{Main|Culture of Japan|Japanese popular culture|Japanese folklore}}
Japanese culture has evolved greatly from its origins. Contemporary culture combines influences from Asia, Europe and North America. Traditional Japanese arts include [[Japanese handicrafts|crafts]] such as [[Japanese pottery and porcelain|ceramics]], [[Kimono|textiles]], [[Japanese lacquerware|lacquerware]], [[Japanese swords|swords]] and [[Japanese traditional dolls|dolls]]; performances of [[bunraku]], [[kabuki]], [[noh]], [[Japanese traditional dance|dance]], and [[rakugo]]; and other practices, the [[Japanese tea ceremony|tea ceremony]], [[ikebana]], [[Japanese martial arts|martial arts]], [[Japanese calligraphy|calligraphy]], [[origami]], [[onsen]], [[Geisha]] and [[List of Japanese games|games]]. Japan has a developed system for the protection and promotion of both tangible and intangible [[Cultural Properties of Japan|Cultural Properties]] and [[National Treasures of Japan|National Treasures]].<ref>{{cite web |url= |title=Administration of Cultural Affairs in Japan |publisher=Agency for Cultural Affairs |accessdate=11 May 2011}}</ref> [[World Heritage Sites in Japan|Sixteen sites]] have been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, twelve of which are of cultural significance.<ref>{{cite web |url= |title=Japan – Properties Inscribed on the World Heritage List |publisher=UNESCO |accessdate=5 July 2011}}</ref>
{{main|Japanese art|Japanese architecture|Japanese garden|Japanese aesthetics}}
[[File:Great Wave off Kanagawa2.jpg|thumb|250px|''[[The Great Wave off Kanagawa]]'', one of a [[Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji|series]] of [[Ukiyo-e|woodblock prints]] by [[Hokusai]].]]
The [[Ise Grand Shrine|Shrines of Ise]] have been celebrated as the prototype of Japanese architecture.<ref>{{cite book |title=Ise: Prototype of Japanese Architecture |author1=Tange, Kenzo |author2=Kawazoe, Noboru |year=1965 |publisher=Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press}}</ref> Largely of wood, [[Minka|traditional housing]] and many [[Japanese Buddhist architecture|temple buildings]] see the use of [[tatami]] mats and [[Shōji|sliding doors]] that break down the distinction between rooms and indoor and outdoor space.<ref>{{cite book |title=What is Japanese Architecture?: A Survey of Traditional Japanese Architecture with a List of Sites and a Map |author1=Kazuo, Nishi |author2=Kazuo, Hozumi |year=1995 |publisher=Kodansha |isbn=978-4-7700-1992-9}}</ref> [[Japanese sculpture]], largely of wood, and [[Japanese painting]] are among the oldest of the Japanese arts, with early figurative paintings dating back to at least 300 BC. The history of Japanese painting exhibits synthesis and competition between native [[Japanese aesthetics]] and adaptation of imported ideas.<ref name=autogenerated3>{{cite book|last=Arrowsmith|first=Rupert Richard|title=Modernism and the Museum: Asian, African, and Pacific Art and the London Avant-Garde|year=2010|publisher=Oxford University Press|isbn=978-0-19-959369-9}}</ref>
The interaction between Japanese and European art has been significant: for example [[ukiyo-e]] prints, which began to be exported in the 19th century in the movement known as [[Japonism]], had a significant influence on the development of modern art in the West, most notably on [[post-Impressionism]].<ref name=autogenerated3 /> Famous ukiyo-e artists include [[Hokusai]] and [[Hiroshige]]. The fusion of traditional [[woodblock printing]] and Western art led to the creation of [[manga]], a comic book format that is now popular within and outside Japan.<ref>{{cite web |url= |title= A History of Manga |publisher=NMP International |accessdate=27 March 2007}}</ref> Manga-influenced animation for television and [[Japanese cinema|film]] is called [[anime]]. Japanese-made [[video game console]]s have been popular since the 1980s.<ref>{{cite web |url= |title= The History of Video Games |first=Leonard|last=Herman|coauthors=Horwitz, Jer; Kent, Steve; Miller, Skyler|publisher=[[Gamespot]] |accessdate=1 April 2007}} {{Dead link|date=April 2012|bot=H3llBot}}</ref>
{{Main|Music of Japan}}
Japanese music is eclectic and diverse. Many [[Traditional Japanese musical instruments|instruments]], such as the [[koto (musical instrument)|koto]], were introduced in the 9th and 10th centuries. The accompanied [[recitative]] of the [[Noh]] drama dates from the 14th century and the popular [[Music of Japan#Folk music|folk music]], with the guitar-like [[shamisen]], from the sixteenth.<ref>{{cite book|last=Malm|first=William P.|title=Traditional Japanese music and musical instruments|year=2000|publisher=Kodansha International|isbn=978-4-7700-2395-7|pages=31–45|edition=New}}</ref> Western classical music, introduced in the late 19th century, now forms an integral part of Japanese culture. The imperial court ensemble [[Gagaku]] has influenced the work of some [[20th-century classical music|modern]] Western composers.<ref>See for example, [[Olivier Messiaen]], ''Sept haïkaï'' (1962), (''Olivier Messiaen: a research and information guide'', Routledge, 2008, By Vincent Perez Benitez, page 67) and (''Messiaen the Theologian'', Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2010, page 243-65, By Andrew Shenton)</ref>
Notable classical composers from Japan include [[Toru Takemitsu]] and [[Rentarō Taki]]. Popular music in post-war Japan has been heavily influenced by American and European trends, which has led to the evolution of [[J-pop]], or Japanese popular music.<ref>{{cite news |url= |title= J-Pop History |work=The Observer | accessdate=1 April 2007 | first=Chris | last=Campion | date=22 August 2005 | location=London}}</ref> [[Karaoke]] is the most widely practiced cultural activity in Japan. A 1993 survey by the [[Agency for Cultural Affairs|Cultural Affairs Agency]] found that more Japanese had sung karaoke that year than had participated in traditional pursuits such as flower arranging (ikebana) or tea ceremonies.<ref>{{cite book|title=The worlds of Japanese popular culture: gender, shifting boundaries and global cultures|year=1998|publisher=Cambridge University Press|isbn=978-0-521-63729-9|page=76|edition=Repr.|editor=Martinez, D.P.}}</ref>
{{Main|Japanese literature|Japanese poetry}}
[[File:Genji emaki 01003 001.jpg|thumb|250px|12th-century [[Genji Monogatari Emaki|illustrated handscroll]] of ''[[The Tale of Genji]]'', a [[National Treasures of Japan|National Treasure]]]]
The earliest works of Japanese literature include the ''[[Kojiki]]'' and ''[[Nihon Shoki]]'' chronicles and the ''[[Man'yōshū]]'' [[List of Japanese poetry anthologies|poetry anthology]], all from the 8th century and written in Chinese characters.<ref>{{cite book |title=Seeds in the Heart: Japanese Literature from Earliest Times to the Late Sixteenth Century |author=Keene, Donald |publisher=Columbia University Press |year=2000 |isbn=978-0-231-11441-7}}</ref><ref>{{cite web |url= |title= Asian Studies Conference, Japan (2000) |publisher=Meiji Gakuin University |accessdate=1 April 2007}}</ref> In the early Heian period, the system of [[Phonogram (linguistics)|phonograms]] known as ''kana'' ([[Hiragana]] and [[Katakana]]) was developed. ''[[The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter]]'' is considered the oldest Japanese narrative.<ref name="ispmsu">{{cite web |url= |archiveurl= |archivedate=11 October 2007 |title= Windows on Asia—Literature : Antiquity to Middle Ages: Recent Past |publisher=Michigan State University |accessdate=28 December 2007}}</ref> An account of Heian court life is given in ''[[The Pillow Book]]'' by [[Sei Shōnagon]], while ''[[The Tale of Genji]]'' by [[Murasaki Shikibu]] is often described as the world's first novel.<ref>{{cite book|last=Totman|first=Conrad|title=A History of Japan ''(2nd ed.)''|year=2005|publisher=Blackwell|isbn=1-4051-2359-1|pages=126–127}}</ref><ref>{{Cite book|title=The Tale of Genji|editor=Royall, Tyler|publisher=[[Penguin Classics]]|year=2003|isbn=0-14-243714-X|pages=i–ii, xii}}</ref>
During the Edo period, the [[chōnin]] ("townspeople") overtook the samurai aristocracy as producers and consumers of literature. The popularity of the works of [[Saikaku]], for example, reveals this change in readership and authorship, while [[Matsuo Bashō|Bashō]] revivified the poetic tradition of the [[Kokinshū]] with his [[haikai]] ([[haiku]]) and wrote the poetic travelogue ''[[Oku no Hosomichi]]''.<ref>{{cite book |title=World Within Walls: Japanese Literature of the Pre-Modern Era, 1600–1867 |author=Keene, Donald |publisher=Columbia University Press |year=1999 |isbn=978-0-231-11467-7}}</ref> The Meiji era saw the decline of traditional literary forms as Japanese literature integrated Western influences. [[Natsume Sōseki]] and [[Mori Ōgai]] were the first "modern" novelists of Japan, followed by [[Ryūnosuke Akutagawa]], [[Jun'ichirō Tanizaki]], [[Yukio Mishima]] and, more recently, [[Haruki Murakami]]. Japan has two [[Nobel Prize in Literature|Nobel Prize-winning]] authors—[[Yasunari Kawabata]] (1968) and [[Kenzaburō Ōe]] (1994).<ref name="ispmsu"/>
{{main|Japanese cuisine|Kaiseki}}
[[File:Breakfast at Tamahan Ryokan, Kyoto.jpg|thumb|right|200px|Breakfast at a [[Ryokan (Japanese inn)|ryokan]] or inn]]
Japanese cuisine is based on combining [[staple food]]s, typically [[Japanese rice]] or [[Japanese noodles|noodles]], with a soup and ''[[okazu]]'' — dishes made from [[Fish (food)|fish]], vegetable, [[tofu]] and the like – to add flavor to the staple food. In the early modern era ingredients such as red meats that had previously not been widely used in Japan were introduced. Japanese cuisine is known for its emphasis on [[Seasonal food|seasonality of food]],<ref>[ "A Day in the Life: Seasonal Foods"], The Japan Forum Newsletter No.14 September 1999.</ref> quality of ingredients and presentation. Japanese cuisine offers a vast array of [[Japanese regional cuisine|regional specialties]] that use traditional recipes and local ingredients. The [[Michelin Guide]] has awarded Japanese cities more Michelin stars than the rest of the world combined.<ref name=michelin20101124>{{cite web|title=「ミシュランガイド東京・横浜・鎌倉2011」を発行 三つ星が14軒、 二つ星が54軒、一つ星が198軒に|url=|publisher=Michelin Japan|accessdate=7 February 2011|date=24 November 2010|language=Japanese}}</ref>
{{Main|Sport in Japan}}
[[File:Sumo ceremony.jpg|thumb|right|200px|[[Sumo]] wrestlers form around the referee during the ring-entering ceremony]]
Traditionally, [[sumo]] is considered Japan's national sport.<ref>{{cite web |url= |title=Sumo: East and West |publisher=[[Public Broadcasting Service|PBS]] |accessdate=10 March 2007}}</ref> [[Japanese martial arts]] such as [[judo]], [[karate]] and [[kendo]] 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.<ref>{{cite web |url= |archiveurl= |archivedate=17 March 2007|title=Culture and Daily Life |publisher=Embassy of Japan in the UK |accessdate=27 March 2007}}</ref> Japan hosted the Summer Olympics in [[1964 Summer Olympics|Tokyo in 1964]]. Japan has hosted the Winter Olympics twice: [[1972 Winter Olympics|Sapporo in 1972]] and [[1998 Winter Olympics|Nagano in 1998]].<ref>{{cite web|title=Olympic History in Japan|url=|publisher=Japanese Olympic Committee|accessdate=7 January 2011}}</ref>
[[Baseball in Japan|Baseball]] is currently the most popular spectator sport in the country. Japan's top professional league, [[Nippon Professional Baseball]], was established in 1936.<ref>{{cite book |author=Nagata, Yoichi; Holway, John B. |editor=Palmer, Pete |title=Total Baseball |edition=4th |year=1995 |publisher=Viking Press |page=547 |chapter=Japanese Baseball}}</ref>
Since the establishment of the [[J. League|Japan Professional Football League]] in 1992, association football has also gained a wide following.<ref>{{cite web |url= |title= Soccer as a Popular Sport: Putting Down Roots in Japan |publisher= The Japan Forum | accessdate=1 April 2007}}</ref> Japan was a venue of the [[Intercontinental Cup (football)|Intercontinental Cup]] from 1981 to 2004 and co-hosted the [[2002 FIFA World Cup]] with South Korea.<ref>{{cite web|title=Previous FIFA World Cups|url=|publisher=[[FIFA]]|accessdate=7 January 2011}}</ref> Japan has one of the most successful football teams in Asia, winning the [[AFC Asian Cup|Asian Cup]] four times.<ref>{{cite web|title=Japan's best for AFC Asian Cup|url=|publisher=Asian Football Confederation|accessdate=7 January 2011}}</ref> Also, Japan recently won the [[2011 FIFA Women's World Cup|FIFA Women's World Cup]] in 2011.<ref>{{cite web|url=|title=Japan edge USA for maiden title|date=17 July 2011|work=[[FIFA]]|accessdate=17 July 2011}}</ref>
Golf is also popular in Japan,<ref>{{cite web |url= |title= Japanese Golf Gets Friendly |publisher=''[[Metropolis (English magazine in Japan)|Metropolis]]'' |first=Fred |last=Varcoe|accessdate=1 April 2007|archiveurl = |archivedate = 26 September 2007}}</ref> as are forms of auto racing like the [[Super GT]] series and [[Formula Nippon]].<ref>{{cite web |url= |title= Japanese Omnibus: Sports |work=Metropolis |first=Len|last=Clarke|accessdate=1 April 2007|archiveurl = |archivedate = 26 September 2007}}</ref> The country has produced one [[National Basketball Association|NBA]] player, [[Yuta Tabuse]].<ref name=consulteny>{{cite news|url=|title=Hoop Dreams – Yuta Tabuse, "The Jordan of Japan"|publisher=Consulate General of Japan in New York|date=December 2004/January 2005|accessdate=19 January 2009}}</ref>
;Further reading
* Flath, ''The Japanese Economy'', Oxford University Press, 2000 (ISBN 0-19-877503-2)
* Henshall, ''A History of Japan'', Palgrave Macmillan, 2001 (ISBN 0-312-23370-1)
* Iwabuchi, ''Recentering Globalization: Popular Culture and Japanese Transnationalism'', [[Duke University Press]], 2002 (ISBN 0-8223-2891-7)
* Jansen, ''The Making of Modern Japan'', Belknap, 2000 (ISBN 0-674-00334-9)
* Kato et al., ''A History of Japanese Literature: From the Man'Yoshu to Modern Times'', Japan Library, 1997 (ISBN 1-873410-48-4)
* Samuels, ''Securing Japan: Tokyo's Grand Strategy and the Future of East Asia'', [[Cornell University Press]], 2008 (ISBN 0-8014-7490-6)
* Silverberg, ''Erotic Grotesque Nonsense: The Mass Culture of Japanese Modern Times'', [[University of California Press]], 2007 (ISBN 0-520-22273-3)
* Sugimoto et al., ''An Introduction to Japanese Society'', Cambridge University Press, 2003 (ISBN 0-521-52925-5)
* Varley, ''Japanese Culture'', University of Hawaii Press, 2000 (ISBN 0-8248-2152-1)
==External links==
{{Sister project links|Japan|s=no|q=no}}
; Government
* [], official site of the Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet
* [], official site of the Imperial House
* [ National Diet Library]
* [ Public Relations Office]
; Tourism
* [ Japan National Tourist Organization]
; General information
* {{CIA World Factbook link|ja|Japan}}
* [ Japan] from ''UCB Libraries GovPubs''
* {{dmoz|Regional/Asia/Japan}}
* [ Japan] profile from [[BBC News]]
* [ Energy Profile for Japan] from the US [[Energy Information Administration]]
* [ Japan] from the [[Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development|OECD]]
* [ Key Development Forecasts for the Japan] from [[International Futures]]
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