Japan

Article

August 13, 2022

Japan (Japanese: 日本, にっぽん / にほん, MFA: [nip̚.poɴ] / [nihoɴ]), the official name of which is the State of Japan, is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Japanese archipelago, it borders the Sea of ​​Japan to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the east, and also extends from the Sea of ​​Okhotsk in the northeast to the East China and Philippine Seas in the southwest. Part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, Japan encompasses an archipelago of 6,852 islands; the five main islands, from north to south, are Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu, and Okinawa. It is officially divided into 47 administrative units — prefectures and 8 traditional regions. Approximately three quarters of the country's terrain is mountainous. As a result, Japan is one of the most densely populated and urbanized countries in the world. The largest urbanized area is Greater Tokyo, centered on the capital, Tokyo, which is the most populous metropolis in the world, with more than 38 million people. With a population of 126,476,461, Japan ranks 11th in the world and 4th in Asia in terms of population. Archaeological evidence shows that Japan was inhabited as early as the Late Paleolithic period. The first mentions of the country appear in Chinese texts from the 1st century AD. Between the 4th and 9th centuries, the kingdoms of Japan were gradually united under the Emperor and the Imperial Court, which were based in Heian-Kyo (modern Kyoto). However, from the twelfth century onwards, political power was held by the successors of military dictators (shoguns), magnates (daimyō) and a class of military nobility (samurai). After a centuries-long period of civil war, the country was united in 1603 under the Tokugawa shogunate, which instituted a policy of external isolationism. This period ended in 1854, when the US Navy forced Japan to open up to the West, leading to the fall of the Shogunate and the restoration of imperial power in 1868. As a result of the Meiji period, Japan adopted a Western-style government and began a program of rapid industrialization and modernization. In 1937, the Empire of Japan invaded China, starting the Second Sino-Japanese War; in 1941, Japan entered World War II on the side of the Axis powers. After suffering a series of serious defeats in the Pacific theater and surviving two atomic attacks