Japan

Article

August 12, 2022

Japan (Japanese 日本 Nihon or Nippon) - an island state located on a narrow chain of islands in the western Pacific, off the eastern coast of Asia, 3.3 thousand kilometers long. km. The archipelago extends almost meridional, forming a gentle curve towards the continent. The northernmost point is Sōya Cape (45 ° 31′N) at the northern tip of Hokkaido Island, and the southernmost point is a mini-archipelago of three islands called Oki-no-Tori-shima (20 ° 25′N). However, when only the four main islands are considered, the northernmost point is Sōya Cape, and the southernmost point is Sata Cape (30 ° 59′N) at the tip of the Ōsumi peninsula on the island of Kyushu. The state capital is Tokyo. The archipelago consists of four main islands: Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu (97% of the land area) and 6,848 smaller islands. According to data from 2021, the total area of ​​the country is 377,975 km². Most of the surface is covered with mountains and the highest peak is Mount Fuji (3776 m). For this reason, almost half of the population lives in the coastal strip of lowlands that stretches between Tokyo and Osaka and Nagoya. Agriculture and industry developed there too. This area covers 13% of the country's territory. Japan is located at the junction of tectonic plates, within the "Pacific fiery ring". Therefore, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunami waves are a constant threat. Hence the differences in the data showing the number of islands and the different size of the country's area. In August and September, there is an increased risk of typhoons over the archipelago, which usually arise in the Western Pacific. With a population of around 126.5 million people, the country ranks tenth - in this respect - in the world. According to UN and WHO data, life expectancy is the highest in the world. Japan belongs to the group of highly developed countries - it is one of the leading economic powers in the world. According to the democratic constitution adopted in 1947, Japan is a parliamentary monarchy with the emperor as a symbol of state unity and an elected bicameral parliament.

Name

The word Japan (Japanese 日本) written in Japanese (kanji) characters has two ways of reading: Nihon and Nippon. These signs are translated as: Land of the Rising Sun (日 - sun; day 本 - root; origin, beginning). This term comes from China and refers to the geographical position of Japan in relation to mainland Asia. The earlier name of Japan, even before contacts with China, given by the people inhabiting its territory was Yamato (Japanese 倭 or 大 和). In China, however, these lands during the Three Kingdoms period were called the land of Wa (倭). Before 1946, the official name of Japan was the Empire of Great Japan (日本 帝国 Dai Nippon Teikoku). The term is usually used to describe the Japanese state in the period from the Meiji restoration (Japanese 明治 維新 Meiji-ishin) to the end of the Pacific War, but it was not officially used until 1936. From 1946, the official Japanese name of the country is Nippon-koku or Nihon-koku (日本国), which literally means State of Japan (国 - country, state). In European languages, the name Japan appeared thanks to the traveler Marco Polo, who wrote down the pronunciation of the Mandarin for these lands: Cipangu (also Chipangu, Jipangu). However, today's word Japan is probably derived from Cantonese Jatbun. In Malay, the Cantonese term took the form of Japang and was thus imported into Europe by Portuguese merchants. In 1577 this word was first recorded as Giapan.

Geography

Japan is an archipelago of islands and islets stretching along the eastern shores of Asia and forming