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.
is a comet
discovered on January 30, 1996, which passed very close to Earth in March of that year. It was dubbed The Great Comet
of 1996; its passage near the Earth was one of the closest cometary approaches of the previous 200 years. Hyakutake appeared very bright in the night sky and was widely seen around the world. The comet temporarily upstaged the much anticipated Comet Hale–Bopp
, which was approaching the inner Solar System
at the time. Scientific observations of the comet led to several discoveries. Most surprising to cometary scientists was the first discovery of X-ray
emission from a comet, believed to have been caused by ionised solar wind
particles interacting with neutral atoms
in the coma
of the comet. The Ulysses spacecraft
unexpectedly crossed the comet's tail at a distance of more than 500 million km from the nucleus
, showing that Hyakutake had the longest tail known for a comet. Hyakutake is a long-period comet
. Before its most recent passage through the Solar System, its orbital period was about 17,000 years, but the gravitational
influence of the giant planets
has increased this period to 100,000 years. The comet was discovered on January 30, 1996, by Yuji Hyakutake an amateur astronomer
from southern Japan. He had been searching for comets for years and had moved to Kagoshima Prefecture
partly for the dark skies in nearby rural areas. He was using a powerful set of binoculars
with six-inch (152 mm) objective lenses
to scan the skies on the night of the discovery.
On this day...
- 1763 - Kobayashi Issa (d. 1827), priest and poet
- 1881 - Kesago Nakajima (d. 1945), lieutenant general in the Imperial Japanese Army
- 1926 - Shigeru Kayano (d. 2006), activist
- 1961 - Yoshimi Iwasaki, singer and actress
- 1967 - Yūji Ueda, voice actor and singer
- 1981 - Yuki Kubota, model and actor
- 1988 - Miku Ishida, singer and actress
- 1990 - Miwa, singer-songwriter
- 1991 - Rina Takeda, actress and black belt
- 1993 - Kanna Arihara, singer
- 1994 - Rina Hidaka, voice actress
||To consider oneself different from ordinary men is wrong, but it is right to hope that one will not remain like ordinary men.
|— Yoshida Shoin, scholar, military and political philosopher and teacher
was a Japanese novelist, poet
at the Imperial court
during the Heian period
. She is best known as the author of The Tale of Genji
, written in Japanese
between about 1000 and 1012. In about 1005, Murasaki was invited to serve as a lady-in-waiting to Empress Shōshi
at the Imperial court, probably because of her reputation as a writer. She continued to write during her service, adding scenes from court life to her work. After five or six years, she left court and retired with Shōshi to the Lake Biwa
region. Murasaki wrote The Diary of Lady Murasaki
, a volume of poetry, and The Tale of Genji
. Within a decade of its completion, Genji
was distributed throughout the provinces; within a century it was recognized as a classic of Japanese literature
, and had become a subject of scholarly criticism. Early in the 20th century her work was translated; a six-volume English translation was completed in 1933. Scholars continue to recognize the importance of her work, which reflects Heian court society at its peak.
In the news
- 14 June 2019 – June 2019 Gulf of Oman incident
- The president of the Japanese shipping company offers a different account of the attack than that provided by the United States. Yutaka Katada says the Filipino crew of the Kokuka Courageous oil tanker said their vessel was apparently first hit by an artillery shell rather than a mine. The United States said the tanker was attacked by limpet mines and released a video it says shows Iranian special forces removing an unexploded mine from the oil tanker's side. (The Washington Post) (BBC)
- 14 June 2019 – Iran–Japan relations, Iran–United States relations
- Kyodo News Agency reports that during his visit to mediate between the U.S. and Iran, Japanese PM Shinzō Abe asked Iran to release American prisoners held by Iran, though the response is "unclear" to the press. But Iran says it will not negotiate with the United States, rejecting Abe's bid to broker dialogue between the two countries amid escalating tensions in the Middle East. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif accuses the "B-Team" (Mohammed bin Salman, John Bolton and Benjamin Netanyahu) of sabotaging diplomacy, including Abe's meeting, to hide its "economic terrorism" by accusing Iran of attacking oil tankers. (The Washington Post) (Kyodo News)
- 13 June 2019 – June 2019 Gulf of Oman incident, Iran–United States relations, Iran–Saudi Arabia relations
- Two oil tankers, one Norwegian and one Japanese, are damaged and abandoned after being attacked in the Gulf of Oman, with all crew members aboard both ships safely rescued. (BBC)
- 12 June 2019 – Japan–United States relations, Iran–Japan relations, Iran–United States relations
- Japan offers to mediate between Iran and the U.S.; officials say the Japanese government hopes to rescue the landmark 2015 international nuclear deal. (Financial Tribune) (Reuters)
- 28 May 2019 – Kawasaki stabbings
- A man stabs two people to death and wounds 17 others, including sixteen children, in Kawasaki, Japan, before slitting his own throat; he later dies of his wounds. Three people are in critical condition. (BBC) (CNN)
- 4 May 2019 –
- Interstellar Technologies successfully launches uncrewed rocket MOMO-3 from its launch facility in Taiki, Hokkaido, becoming the first commercially developed Japanese rocket to reach the Kármán line. (Deutsche Welle)
Did you know...
- ... that of Japanese band Supercell's eleven members, only one of them makes the music and the rest are illustrators and designers?
- ... that 22-year-old Ling Ling was the oldest panda in Japan at the time of his death in April 2008?
These are all of the Japan-related portals on Wikipedia:
Coordinates: 36°30′N 139°00′E / 36.5°N 139°E