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Japan, officially Nippon (日本) 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.

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Sōryū in c. 1940
Sōryū was an aircraft carrier built for the Imperial Japanese Navy during the mid-1930s. The ship's aircraft were employed during the Second Sino-Japanese War in the late 1930s and supported the Japanese invasion of French Indochina in mid-1940. During the first months of the Pacific War, she took part in the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Battle of Wake Island, the conquest of the Dutch East Indies, and the bombing of Darwin, Australia. In the Battle of Midway in June 1942, Sōryū and three other carriers of the First Air Fleet bombarded American forces on Midway Atoll, and were attacked by aircraft from the island and the carriers Enterprise, Hornet, and Yorktown. Dive bombers from Yorktown crippled Sōryū and set her afire. Japanese destroyers rescued the survivors, but she could not be salvaged and was ordered to be scuttled to allow her attendant destroyers to be released for further operations. She sank along with the bodies of 711 out of 1,103 officers and enlisted men. The loss of Sōryū and three other carriers at Midway was a crucial strategic defeat for Japan, leading to the Allies' ultimate victory in the Pacific.

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Internees practicing calisthenics at Manzanar War Relocation Center
Credit: Ansel Adams

Female internees practicing calisthenics at Manzanar War Relocation Center, Owens Valley, California. In 1943, photographer Ansel Adams followed an invitation by newly appointed camp director Ralph Merritt to photograph the everyday life of the Japanese American internees in the camp. Adams's intent was to "show how these people, suffering under a great injustice, (…) had overcome the sense of defeat and despair by building for themselves a vital community in an arid (but magnificent) environment."

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Katsuhiko Nakajima is a Japanese professional wrestler, represented as a freelancer by his mentor Kensuke Sasaki's Kensuke Office dojo and agency. He along with Sasaki and other Kensuke Office graduates currently most frequently wrestle in Pro Wrestling Noah (or simply NOAH), as well as sporadic self-produced independent shows. Prior to that Nakajima participated in All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW), where he is a former AJPW World Junior Heavyweight Champion. Having made his professional debut aged 15, Nakajima has already made a significant impact on puroresu, earning the nickname "Supernova" and facing Hall of Famers such as Kenta Kobashi, Satoru Sayama, Jushin Liger, and Tatsumi Fujinami. He has competed in several notable Japanese promotions, including New Japan Pro Wrestling, AJPW, Pro Wrestling ZERO1, Michinoku Pro, Dragon Gate, and currently, NOAH. He has set several age records over his short career, including being the youngest wrestler to compete in AJPW's Champion's Carnival tournament and the youngest to hold the AJPW Junior Heavyweight Championship. He won the Tokyo Sports Grand Prix "Rookie of the Year" award in 2004 and the Fighting Spirit award in 2005.

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March 7: 9 people die in a helicopter crash in Nagano.
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Coordinates: 36°30′N 139°00′E / 36.5°N 139°E / 36.5; 139