Japan, officially Nippon-koku (日本国) is an island country in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of China, Korea and Russia. The characters that make up Japan's name mean "sun-origin", which is why Japan is sometimes identified as the "Land of the Rising Sun".
Japan comprises over 3,000 islands, the largest of which are Honshū, Hokkaidō, Kyūshū and Shikoku. Most of the islands are mountainous, many volcanic; for example, Japan’s highest peak, Mount Fuji, is a volcano. Japan has the world's tenth largest population, with about 128 million people. The Greater Tokyo Area, which includes the capital city of Tokyo and several surrounding prefectures, is the largest metropolitan area in the world, with over 30 million residents.
Influence from the outside world followed by long periods of isolation has characterized Japan's history. Since adopting its constitution in 1947, Japan has maintained a unitary constitutional monarchy with an emperor and an elected parliament, the Diet.
A major economic power, Japan has the world's third largest economy by nominal GDP. It is a member of the United Nations, G8, G4, OECD and APEC, with the world's fifth largest defense budget. It is also the world's fourth largest exporter and sixth largest importer and a world leader in technology and machinery.
The Ehime Maru and USS Greeneville collision
was a ship collision
between the United States Navy submarine USS Greeneville (SSN-772)
and the Japanese
fishing training ship Ehime Maru
on February 9, 2001, about 9 nautical miles (17 km) off the south coast of Oahu
. In a demonstration for some civilian visitors, Greeneville
performed an emergency surfacing maneuver. As the submarine surfaced, it struck Ehime Maru
, a high-school fishing training ship from Ehime Prefecture
. Within minutes of the collision, Ehime Maru
sank. Nine of its crewmembers were killed, including four high school
students. Many Japanese, including government officials, were concerned over news that civilians were present in Greeneville
's control room at the time of the accident. Some expressed anger because of a perception that the submarine did not try to assist Ehime Maru's
survivors and that the submarine's captain, Scott Waddle
, did not apologize immediately afterwards. The United States Navy
(USN) conducted a public court of inquiry, placed blame on Waddle and other members of Greeneville
's crew, and dealt nonjudicial punishment
or administrative disciplinary action to the captain and some crew members. In response to requests from the families of Ehime Maru's
victims and the government of Japan, the USN raised Ehime Maru
from the ocean floor in October 2001 and moved it to shallow water near Oahu. Once there, Navy and Japanese divers located and retrieved the remains of eight of the nine victims from the wreck.
On this day...
- 1607 - Izumo no Okuni performs Kabuki in Edo. (Traditional Japanese Date: Twentieth Day of the Second Month, 1607)
- 1869 - The Meiji government encourages the construction of primary schools. (Traditional Japanese Date: Fifth Day of the Second Month, 1869)
- 1945 - World War II: Nearly 20,000 Japanese soldiers lose their lives at the Battle of Iwo Jima.
- 1951 - The law on public elections is passed. The law implements the various principles set forth in the constitution, including equality and confidentiality and the ability to campaign freely.
- 1959 - The age of the young comic book arrives when Kōdansha and Shōgakukan simultaneously introduce Weekly Shōnen Magazine and Weekly Shōnen Sunday, respectively. These were followed over the next ten years by such publications as Shōnen Jump, Shōnen King, and Shōnen Champion.
- 1985 - The Tsukuba Science Expo '85 opens. The Expo records 20 million visitors and produces a profit of 8.4 billion yen.
- 1988 - The Tokyo Dome is completed. In a fitting turn of events, the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Dome, Japan's first covered baseball stadium, took place on a day that was cold and rainy outside.
- 1989 - The Asia Pacific Expo opens in Fukuoka. Thirty seven countries participated and the expo welcomed over 8.2 million visitors.
- 1990 - Yokozuna (Grandmaster) Chiyonofuji marks his 1,000th win.
- 1231 - Emperor Shijō (d. 1242)
- 1907 - Takeo Miki (d. 1988), politician, 41st Prime Minister of Japan
- 1942 - Yoko Yamamoto, actress
- 1955 - Jyunichi Haruta, actor
- 1968 - Eri Nitta, singer, actress, and lyricist
- 1989 - Shinji Kagawa, footballer
- 1995 - Akari Hayami, actress, model, and singer
—Katsuhito Asano, vice foreign minister
Manga, anime and cosplay are exports Japan can take pride in. These are things that draw good feelings about Japan from the people of the world.
Masako Katsura was a carom billiards player most active in the 1950s who trailblazed a path for women in the sport by competing and placing among the best in the male-dominated world of professional billiards. First learning the game from her brother-in-law and then under the tutelage of Japanese champion Kinrey Matsuyama, Katsura finished second in Japan's national three-cushion billiards championship three times. In exhibition she was noted for running 10,000 points at the game of straight rail. After marrying a U.S. army officer in 1950, Katsura emigrated with him to the United States in 1951, where she was invited to play in the 1952 U.S.-sponsored World Three-Cushion Championship, ultimately taking seventh place at that competition. Katsura was the first woman ever to be included in any world billiards tournament. Her fame cemented, Katsura went on an exhibition tour of the United States with 8-time world champion Welker Cochran, and later with 51-time world champion, Willie Hoppe. In 1953 and 1954 she again competed for the world three-cushion crown, taking fifth and fourth places respectively.
In the news
March 7: 9 people die in a helicopter crash in Nagano.
Did you know...
These are all of the Japan-related portals on Wikipedia:
Coordinates: 36°30′N 139°00′E / 36.5°N 139°E