Asia ( (listen)) is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern and Northern Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the continent of Europe and the continental landmass of Afro-Eurasia with both Europe and Africa. Asia covers an area of 44,579,000 square kilometres (17,212,000 sq mi), about 30% of Earth's total land area and 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area. The continent, which has long been home to the majority of the human population, was the site of many of the first civilizations. Asia is notable for not only its overall large size and population, but also dense and large settlements, as well as vast barely populated regions. Its 4.5 billion people () constitute roughly 60% of the world's population.
In general terms, Asia is bounded on the east by the Pacific Ocean, on the south by the Indian Ocean, and on the north by the Arctic Ocean. The border of Asia with Europe is a historical and cultural construct, as there is no clear physical and geographical separation between them. It is somewhat arbitrary and has moved since its first conception in classical antiquity. The division of Eurasia into two continents reflects East–West cultural, linguistic, and ethnic differences, some of which vary on a spectrum rather than with a sharp dividing line. The most commonly accepted boundaries place Asia to the east of the Suez Canal separating it from Africa; and to the east of the Turkish Straits, the Ural Mountains and Ural River, and to the south of the Caucasus Mountains and the Caspian and Black Seas, separating it from Europe.
China and India alternated in being the largest economies in the world from 1 to 1800 CE. China was a major economic power and attracted many to the east, and for many the legendary wealth and prosperity of the ancient culture of India personified Asia, attracting European commerce, exploration and colonialism. The accidental discovery of a trans-Atlantic route from Europe to America by Columbus while in search for a route to India demonstrates this deep fascination. The Silk Road became the main east–west trading route in the Asian hinterlands while the Straits of Malacca stood as a major sea route. Asia has exhibited economic dynamism (particularly East Asia) as well as robust population growth during the 20th century, but overall population growth has since fallen. Asia was the birthplace of most of the world's mainstream religions including Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Jainism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, as well as many other religions.
Cry for noble Saichō, a poem written by Emperor Saga of Japan in the 9th century, upon the death of the Buddhist monk Saichō—an early example of Japanese calligraphy. Although calligraphy as an art form had existed prior to that time, Japanese practitioners tended to imitate the styles developed by Chinese calligraphists. The influence of Chinese styles had weakened after the Heian period, with this text as one of the few surviving examples of the transformation to a native Japanese style.
Gregory of Nazianzus
was a 4th-century Archbishop
. He is widely considered the most accomplished rhetorical stylist of the patristic age
. As a classically trained speaker and philosopher
he infused Hellenism
into the early church
, establishing the paradigm of Byzantine theologians
and church officials. Gregory made a significant impact on the shape of Trinitarian theology
among both Greek-
-speaking theologians, and he is remembered as the "Trinitarian Theologian". Much of his theological work continues to influence modern theologians, especially in regard to the relationship among the three Persons of the Trinity. Along with the two brothers Basil the Great
and Gregory of Nyssa
, he is known as one of the Cappadocian Fathers
. Gregory is a saint
in both Eastern
and Western Christianity
. In the Roman Catholic Church
he is numbered among the Doctors of the Church
; in Eastern Orthodoxy
and the Eastern Catholic Churches
he is revered as one of the Three Holy Hierarchs
, along with Basil the Great
and John Chrysostom
. Gregory's most significant theological contributions arose from his defense of the Nicene doctrine of the Trinity
. He is especially noted for his contributions to the field of pneumatology
—that is, theology concerning the nature of the Holy Spirit
.In this regard, Gregory is the first to use the idea of procession
to describe the relationship between the Spirit and the Godhead: "The Holy Spirit is truly Spirit, coming forth from the Father indeed but not after the manner of the Son, for it is not by generation but by procession
, since I must coin a word for the sake of clearness."
The national flag of Japan
is a white rectangular flag
with a large red disk (representing the sun) in the center. This flag is officially called Nisshōki
in Japanese, but is more commonly known as Hinomaru
flag is designated as the national flag in Law Regarding the National Flag and National Anthem
, which was promulgated and became effective on August 13, 1999. Although no earlier legislation had specified a national flag, the sun-disc flag had already become the de facto
national flag of Japan. Two proclamations issued in 1870 by the Daijō-kan
, the governmental body of the early Meiji Era, each had a provision for a design of the national flag. A sun-disc flag was adopted as the national flag for merchant ships under Proclamation No. 57 of Meiji
3 (issued on February 27, 1870), and as the national flag used by the Navy under Proclamation No. 651 of Meiji 3 (issued on October 27, 1870). Use of the Hinomaru
was severely restricted during the early years of the American occupation
after World War II
, although restrictions were later relaxed.In early Japanese history, the Hinomaru
motif was used on flags of daimyōs
. An old history Shoku Nihongi
says that Emperor Mommu
used a flag representing the sun in his court in 701, and this is the first recorded use of a sun-motif flag in Japan. The oldest existing flag is preserved in Unpō-ji temple, Kōshū, Yamanashi
, which is older than 16th century, and an ancient legend says that the flag was given to the temple by Emperor Go-Reizei
in the 11th century. During the Meiji Restoration
, both the sun disc and the Rising Sun Ensign
of the Imperial Japanese Navy
became major symbols in the emerging Japanese empire
. Propaganda posters, textbooks, and films depicted the flag as a source of pride and patriotism. In Japanese homes, citizens were required to display the flag during national holidays, celebrations and other occasions as decreed by the government. Different tokens of devotion to Japan and its emperor featuring the Hinomaru
motif became popular during the Second Sino-Japanese War
and other conflicts. These tokens ranged from slogans written on the flag to clothing items and dishes that resembled the flag.
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