Web Analytics
Hit enter after type your search item
Home / Japan History Geography Economy Culture

Japan History Geography Economy Culture

How Did Geography Affect Its Economy And Culture Ppt Ryukyu Hideki Tojo Bonsai Japanese Of Sekigahara Sakura Shikoku Nara Period Naruhito Himeji Castle Samurai

A volcanic archipelago on the eastern edge of the Eurasian continent. A land of stunning natural beauty enhanced by centuries of unique art. Having a history completely unlike any other nation it has maintained a unique and distinctive culture to the present day. This is the country that rose from the ashes of defeat in war to become a global economic superpower, being a global leader in automotive and electronics. This is the land of samurai and judo, sushi and bonsai, Manga and Godzilla.

This is the land of the rising sun. This, is Japan. Japan is an archipelago lying off the eastern temperate coast of Asia and is a country that is the home of the people of the same name the Japanese. They call their own country Nixon or Nippon, which literally means suns origin, referring to the fact that it is the first significant place in Asia to receive the sunrise each day. The word has been in use to describe the country since around 700AD.

The English word for this country Japan is believed to come through a corruption of Nippon via Portuguese, Malay or Mandarin Chinese. The Japanese archipelago has been inhabited by humans at least as far back as 16,000 years, by hunter-gatherers known as the Common. But around 300BC, the Mayor people began to move into the islands from the mainland, bringing with them the ancestor of today’s Japanese language as well as Chinese influences in art and architecture. The first mention of Japan in written records was in the Chinese Book of Han in 111AD, and the later Chinese Records of the Three Kingdoms mention Amato as being the most powerful of a number of states on the archipelago. Buddhism arrived around the TH Century from the Korean peninsula, and was mixed with the traditional Shinto religion of the island.

A gradual centralization of power took place between the TH and 8 centuries in the Asoka period, but the first truly recognizable Japanese state began in the NARA period of the 8tthentury, with the first emperor ruling from a Chinese-styled court. The capital moved to Kyoto in 794, where it would remain until almost the present day. Introverted into the politicking of the imperial court, the emperors power declined over the following centuries, and regional clans filled the vacuum. Civil war erupted in the 12th Century, with the Minamoto clan coming out on top, and their head becoming the first Shogun, a military ruler with true power, with the emperor merely a figurehead. Japan would more or less be under military rule for the next seven centuries.

During these next centuries, power shifted back and forth between the regional clans, and their armies of samurai, and the Shogun. These clans united to beat off two attempted Mongol invasions in 1274 and 1281, but by 1467 the Shoguns power was broken, and the country descended into violent civil war, with more than a dozen clans ruled by feudal warlords known as Daimyo fighting it out over the next century, in what became known as the Senior period, the stories of which have gone into legend, to be retold time and again. This period was further complicated by the first arrival of Europeans, principally the Portuguese, but later the Dutch and English, who brought with them Christianity and guns. This period was finally concluded in the year 1600, at the battle of Sheikh where the warlord Tokugawa Ieyasu was triumphant, and all other rival clans defeated. While the powerless emperor remained in Kyoto, the Shogun Tokugawa moved his court to Do, later renamed Tokyo, and his successors held absolute power for the next two and a half centuries.

Christianity was viewed as a threat to the Shoguns power, and was outlawed under penalty of death. To go further, all external influences would be prevented as Japan closed itself off from the outside world Japanese were forbidden to travel abroad. No foreigners were permitted to enter Japan, with only a sole Dutch outpost being permitted. No other country in world history has enacted such a wide-reaching policy of isolation for so long. Despite the isolation, Japan flourished economically and artistically, and its population expanded considerable, reaching thirty million by the year 1700, with Do being the largest city in the world by 1721.

At this time also, private schools flourished, and it is thought that Japan may have been the most literate country in the world at that time. By the mid-1800s however, the power of the Shogun was waning, as a result of growing unrest from government ineptitude and economic stagnation. But it took a foreign power to act as the catalyst for change. In 1852, a fleet of United States warships led by Commodore Perry was given a mission by the President to force Japan to open up to trade. The following year, this fleet arrived in Do Bay, and used displays of its superior military might and technology to intimidate the Japanese authorities, who eventually had to concede in allow foreigners to visit and trade with the country.

This change destabilized the Shogunate, and after a brief civil war, was deposed in 1868, with the emperor restored to power, in what became known as the Meiji Restoration, named after the emperors dynastic name. It was at this time that the capital was moved from Kyoto to Do, and that city renamed to Tokyo, meaning Kyoto of the East. In the following decades, the fastest modernization of any country in history took place, with Japan developing from an almost feudal society into an industrialized nation. Westerners were brought in their thousands to advise and supervise in the construction of railways and factories, and the traditional dress of the rulers and armies of Shogunate was replaced by European-style uniforms. Despite this Westernization, however, the Japanese held firm to their traditional mix of Buddhist and Shinto culture and traditions.

It was during this period that the last and most northerly of the main islands of the archipelago, Hokkaido, began to be colonized. Throughout all the preceding centuries, the island was inhabited by the ethnically distinct Ainu people, and there had been little interest in it by the Shogunate and the main clans due to its harsh winter climate. But this changed with the growth of Japan into a modern nation, as its lands were seen as a means of feeding the growing population, as well as ensuring that a firm presence there would resist the threat of a Russian takeover. Between 1850 and 1950, the population on the island exploded from just 70,000 to over 4 million. The native Ainu people were assimilated into the larger population, their distinctive culture all but extinguished.

There had never been a democratic tradition in Japan, and so although an elected House of Representatives was part of the new constitution, only 2% of Japanese could vote, and ultimately, all nominal power was held by the emperor. The military began to gain power and influence throughout the government, believing that the only way to ensure Japans survival in this age of Western Colonialism was to use its new industrial power to seize colonies of its own, gaining Taiwan in 1894 and, emboldened by the defeat of the Russian fleet in 1905, occupying Korea in 1910. This process of military control accelerated rapidly in the late 1920s and early 1930s, inspired by fascism from Europe, with moderates and dissidents murdered. In 1931, the large northern Chinese province of Manchuria was occupied, and in 1937 Japan began a full-scale invasion of China, the latter weakened by its own civil war which had been raging since the disposal of the Chinese emperor in 1911. Such actions brought condemnation from the United States and the United Kingdom, who saw the growth of Japanese regional power as a threat to their own colonies and influence in the region.

Japan responded by allying itself to fascist powers in Europe Germany and Italy in 1940, further worsening relations with the US and Britain. With the Japanese invasion of French Indochina what is today Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos Western trade embargoes culminated in an oil embargo, and without oil, Japan would not be able to continue its industrialized warfare, and had to act. Realizing it could not win a long war with the United States, Japan aimed to knock them out of the Pacific with a devastating blow, and so on December 7, 1941, launched the surprise attack on the US Pacific Fleet stationed in Pearl Harbor in Hawaii as a pretext to a declaration of war. At the same time, Japanese forces invaded British South East Asia, and within weeks, Singapore had fallen, in what is regarded as the worst defeat in British military history. The Philippines and the Dutch East Indies, what is now Indonesia, were also occupied in rapid succession.

It seemed that Japanese military power was unstoppable. And so it is that we enter what I consider to be the darkest part in Japanese history. For the peoples of those subject nations, and the allied soldiers captured as prisoners of war, life under Japanese rule was nothing short of hell. Through a twisting of the traditional Bushido samurai code, defeated armies and peoples were viewed as sub-human by the ruling military and their armies were ordered to treat them brutally. Allied Plows were starved, put into forced labor, tortured and executed, while subject peoples in China, Korea, the Philippines and elsewhere were subject to massacres, mass-rape and forced prostitution.

By this same twisted code, the Japanese soldiers were taught that to be taken alive by the enemy was worse than death, and so as the allies finally began to turn the tide of war in late 1942, the slow process of expelling the Japanese from their occupied territories was met with ferocious resistance, with soldiers fighting to the death rather than be captured, and in the ultimate symbol of nationalistic sacrifice, pilots of the Japanese navy turned themselves into guided missiles in suicidal kamikaze attacks on US ships. The battle of the Pacific, one of the most brutal and savage in any of history, reached an ultimate, and truly apocalyptic crescendo in mid-1945. In the face of such suicidal resistance, it was estimated that a full-scale invasion of the Japanese main islands would result in half a million deaths of US servicemen, and a decision was made by US President Truman, to use the ultimate weapon against the enemy. On August 6 and TH of 1945 two atomic bombs were dropped on the south-western cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Between them almost a quarter of a million people were killed, mostly civilians.

It is the only time in history where atomic or nuclear weapons have been used in war. After such a devastating shock, Japan had no choice but to think the unthinkable, and it surrendered unconditionally. The country was in ruins the two atomic bombs just the final blow after months of conventional bombing that had devastated all major cities. For the first time in its long history, Japan was occupied by a foreign power the United States. The leadership of the Japanese military under Tojo, were tried and executed as war criminals, but the allies decided to let the Japanese keep their Emperor, Hirohito, to prevent total humiliation of the nation and any potential unrest in the general population.

In the following years of occupation, up until 1952, major reforms were made to ensure that democracy and an orientation to peaceful methods would survive into the future, and this has borne out in the seven decades since, with the country not having fought a war, but instead focusing on economic growth and power. Mirroring, in a way, the incredible transformation from feudal to industrial power in the late 12-, Japan pulled off another economic miracle, rising from the ashes of World War II to becoming the worlds second-largest economy by the late 1960s. The economy grew each year on average by 10% from 1956 until 1973 and by 1968, only the United States had a higher economic output. Due largely to trends in overall demographics, however, the economic boom came to an end in 1989 with a stock market and property-price crash, and throughout the 1990s there was virtually no growth in what became known as the lost decade. Since 2000 growth has recovered, albeit slowly.

The reasons for this failure to recover are the subject of much debate among global economists. Japan is a unitary state, meaning that the central government has supreme authority, as opposed to federal systems like the United States. The country is divided into 47 counties, called Prefectures, and some larger prefectures, such as Hokkaido, are divided into sub-prefectures. At the base of the state administration are municipalities, numbering over 1,700 in total. Some larger cities like Tokyo and Osaka have their own exceptional governmental structures.

Since the new constitution was created in 1947, the Emperor has no formal powers, and so Japan is now a constitutional monarchy, governed by an executive of a prime minister and cabinet elected from the parliament, known as the National Diet. The Diet is bicameral, meaning it is composed of two houses, a 465-seat lower House of Representatives elected by universal suffrage every four years, and a 245-seat upper House of Councilors elected again by all Japanese citizens over the age of 18, serving six-year terms. The conservative Liberal Democratic Party has been in power for all but 9 of the years since 1955, and dominate Japanese politics, making some international commentators describe Japan as a flawed democracy. The current emperor is Auto, son of Akihito who abdicated in 2019, and grandson of Hirohito, who had lived through all the turbulence of the nationalist takeover of Japan, the most violent of all wars, its defeat and subsequent occupation by the United States, and its rise economically afterwards. Ultimately these emperors trace their lineage back to the TH Century BC according to legend, although the first historically verifiable emperor dates to the 6thCentury AD.

Either way, Japan is regarded as the world’s oldest surviving monarchy. Japan is an archipelago of over 6,800 islands occupying the north-western Pacific. All but four of these islands are comparatively small and outlying, and it is on the four main islands where the vast majority of the population live. A fifth, Okinawa, in the far south half-way to Taiwan, is a notable exception to this rule. The main four are, from north to south, Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu.

It is possible to travel across all four main islands by train, and from tip to tip would take you 29 hours, thanks to the remarkable bullet trains that run all the way from Sapporo in the north to Kagoshima in the south. A car journey would take you 37 hours by comparison, and involves a ferry crossing from Hokkaido to Honshu in the north. 145,937. 06 sq mi], making it the TH the largest island nation in the world, and 61st overall. It has the sixth-longest coastline of any nation. Its highest point is Mount Fuji at 3776 m, a dormant volcano that last erupted in 1708, and owing to its near-perfect profile, a national symbol, and the most photographed natural feature on Earth.

Japan is bordered by the Pacific Ocean all along its south-eastern flank. To the north-west it faces the Korean peninsula, the Sea of Japan, and extreme south-east of Russia around their port of Vladivostok. To the north is Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands, also a part of Russia, but with the closest four being claimed by Japan. To the south runs the long chain of the Ryukyu islands that face China across the East China Sea. Japan spans about 20 degrees of latitude, from 24 degrees north at the bottom of the Ryukyu chain to 45 north at the tip of Hokkaido.

Consequently, it sees great variation in climate. The far southern islands are subtropical, bordering on tropical. As we head north along the Ryukyu chain and onto the main islands, the Humid Subtropical CFA climate of hot summers and cool winters, with year round precipitation dominates all but mountain areas and is regarded as the principle climate of Japan. Its only until we move into the north of Honshu island where the winters start to become cold and consistently snowy, and where we find a hot summer continental DA climate. Finally, in the far north, these hot summers give way to only warm ones and in combination with cold winters, the island of Hokkaido is therefore dominated by the warm summer continental climate DF.

The Humid Subtropical and Continental climates are characterized by four distinct seasons, and being present in Japan, have become a part of their culture and art history. The snows and chill of winter contrast with the full green leaf and sweltering heat of summer, while autumn bursts into vivid color, thanks to so many maples being present on the islands. But it’s the spring that is celebrated the most, specifically the flowering of the cherry tree, the blossom that the Japanese call Sakura. The blossom lasts no more than a week or so in one location, but the wave of blossom travels up the country from south to north over March and April. During this festival, known as Hawaii, family and friends celebrate with food and drink together beneath the trees in a tradition that goes back centuries.

The north-west coast of Japan has a peculiarity of being one of the snowiest places in the world. This is owing to a rare combination of cold winds blowing over water onto the land in this case the dry cold winds that consistently blow out from central Siberia each winter. As they roll over the Sea of Japan, they gather moisture, then deposit it heavily onto cities like Sapporo and Niagara. This unusual effect is the winter part of the Eastern Asian Monsoon, the worlds the largest weather system, which effects all islands in Japan. In summer, winds move in the opposite direction, from the Pacific Ocean toward the Eurasian mainland, laden with moisture.

As most of the populated cities are on the SE side of the islands, these cities experience higher rainfall in summer than winter as a result. Owing to its heavily mountainous geography, two thirds of the land is not suitable for either agriculture or urban development, and so much of the country has retained the natural biome of temperate broadleaf forest. In the far north, this forest gives way to coniferous boreal forest, while in the far southern islands, a form of tropical rainforest is present. That mountainous geography has a single cause, one that is perhaps Japans the biggest curse, tectonics. Japan lies adjacent to fault lines that separate the giant Pacific plate with others on the eastern edge of Asia.

This has produced volcanoes, such as Mount Fuji just mentioned, but more importantly, earthquakes, and especially the tsunami that can sometimes be produced when these occur over water. In fact, the word tsunami is one we have borrowed from Japanese, so much that these destructive forces have dominated their history, with the most recent being the Took earthquake of 2011. This magnitude 9 quakes killed 16-20,000 people, the vast majority of whom were drowned by the tsunami, and led to the nuclear disaster at Fukushima, whose effects are still ongoing today. Japan has a population of 126 million, ranked 11th in the world, with 80% of them living on the largest island of Honshu. Almost a third of them 38 million, live in the Greater Tokyo Area, which is the most populous metropolitan area in the world.

The second-largest conurbation is that of Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto, having 20 million people. Between them, these two conurbations account for half of Japans population. Already one of the most densely populated nations in the world, and with most of the land area mountainous, this population is crammed into the cities that occupy the relatively rare coastal plains. The vast majority of Japans population over 98% are ethnic Japanese, sometimes referred to as Amato, making the country one of the most ethnically homogenous in the world. At 83. 5 years, Japan is ranked #2 in the world for life expectancy, with the island of Okinawa having the highest proportion of centenarians found anywhere in the world.

With an increasingly aging population due to a reduction in the birth rate in recent decades, it is expected to fall considerably to 95 million by 2050, which will have significant effects on the economy, housing and so on. The Japanese language is spoken by virtually all the inhabitants of the archipelago. Its origins are uncertain, but it is believed to have come across from the mainland by the Mayor people around two millennia ago. It is the dominant member of the small Masonic language group, with Ryukyuan being the other, spoken only by older people in the Ryukyu islands, and now facing extinction. Japanese was greatly influenced by Chinese in the TH and 9 centuries, with as many as half the words today believed to have come from this period of importation.

The written language is one of the most complicated in the world, being a combination of three different scripts kanji, hiragana and katakana. Kanji, derived from Chinese, uses thousands of different pictograms to describe meaning, and is used for most content words. Hiragana and katakana represent spoken syllables, and are used to perform grammatical linkages and borrowed foreign words respectively. Shinto and Buddhism are the countries primary religions. Shinto is exclusive to the archipelago, and is based on the belief that Kali, or spirits are present throughout nature as well as people.

Buddhism arrived in Japan around a millennium after its birth in India in the TH Century BC. Japans flag is unmistakable, being a simple red disc in the center of a field of white, representing the rising sun. It has been in use formally since 1870, although the use of a sun flag to represent the Japanese imperial court goes back as early as the TH century. Japan has no coat of arms, but the chrysanthemum is considered a national emblem and represents the emperor. Japans economy is the third largest in the world, after the United States and China, and ranks as number one in the world by the Economic Complexity Index.

It is dominated by an advanced manufacturing sector that exports electronics, cars, motorcycles, robots and dozens of other types of finished products or components built to a quality and precision that is the envy of the world. Japans rise as an economic superpower the original Tiger economy is a truly remarkable story when one considers it was barely out of the feudal era a century and a half ago. The manufacturing techniques that originated in Japan, such as Just-in-Time logistics, have been emulated today by most Western economies, as well as other Tiger economies of the Far East such as Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and finally China. Japan was the first country to develop high-speed rail systems, with their world-famous Chin amen or bullet trains first appearing in 1964, and continue today to link all the major cities across the four main islands. Japanese manufacturing brands are household names globally.

In the automotive sector these include Toyota, the worlds the largest by volume of production, Nissan, Honda, Suzuki, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Subaru, Isuzu anDichasiumsu. Until the recent ramp up of Chinese production, Japan was making more cars, trucks and motorcycles than any other country in the world, and is still the worlds the largest automotive exporter. In electronics, Japan dominated for decades, although recent competition from South Korea, Taiwan and China has reduced their market share. Nonetheless, its electronics industry is still the world’s largest, and Japanese brands of televisions, cameras, article recorders, camcorders, article game systems and laptops are legend. Past and present, they include Sony, Panasonic, Canon, Nintendo, Yamaha, Epson, Toshiba, Hitachi, Sega, Nikon, Sharp, Monica Minolta, Fujitsu, Casio, JVC, Pioneer, San yo, Ricoh and NEC.

These corporations were leaders in the development and mass-market production of the transistor radio, the personal cassette player, digital reads, article recorders and laptops. Tokyo has the third-largest stock exchange in the world after the NYSE and NASDAQ, while the Japanese currency, the Yen, is the third most widely traded currency in the world after the US Dollar and the Euro. The lost decade of the 1990s and early 2000s saw economic activity contract, and this is part of the reason why Japan has by far the highest national debt of any developed nation, at an eye-watering 236% of GDP in 2017. With the aforementioned demographic issues of a declining population, the economic future of the country remains unclear. Japanese culture is one of the most distinct and globally recognized in the world.

It is a complex fusion of both East Asian and western influences, but at its center is a rich body of customs and art that originated within the archipelago. The Japanese unique take on calligraphy, illustration, painting, flower arranging, garden design, poetry, theater and clothing are admired globally, and have led to many Japanese words finding their way into English, including, bonsai, haiku, Ireland, kabuki, origami, geisha, kimono and karaoke. Japanese traditional warfare has been a magnet for aficionados around the world for many years, with the costumes, traditions and weapons of the samurai, particularly from the warring states period of the 16th century being instantly recognizable. Its martial arts are world-famous, and include karate, sumo, aikido and Kendo, with judo in particular being internationally popular, and taught in schools around the world. And on a related subject, ninjas, anyone? More recent global influences have come from Japan fusing its power in the electronics industry with its long tradition of art and story-telling in the article games industry, being a major player in this market since the 1970s.

Japanese cartoons and comics Manga and anime are the latest incarnations in a tradition of illustration that goes back centuries and now enjoy a huge audience globally in addition to the domestic market. Japanese cinema is as old as any in Europe or North America, and had a golden age in the 1950s, with Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai regarded in many polls as one of the finest films in cinema history. And, dare we mention Godzilla a prehistoric sea monster awakened and empowered by nuclear radiation to become a global pop icon. And I haven’t even mentioned food. The Japanese have developed a distinctive and refined cuisine across the centuries, with ramen noodles, fried tempura, teriyaki meats and sushi being the most popular around the world.

Any country that can make raw fish not only edible, but desirable, deserves particular credit. For a relatively small country isolated on the eastern fringe of the continental land mass of Eurasia Japans global reach is astonishing. As a gain who has studied this country, its history and its art for the longest time, I still have to scratch my head when trying to understand the fundamental essence of the country and its people. What is Japan? Who are the Japanese? There are few, if any, non-Western countries that have so successfully taken the expansion of Western culture and fused it into their own rich historical traditions and art. And how does one reconcile the softness and perfection of their manners with the savagery that has marked the darker episodes in their history?

Japan is as much a mystery as it is a fascination, and will likely continue to be so in the centuries to come. And that’s Japan. I hope you enjoyed this whirlwind tour of that unique archipelago and its people. If you did, then please like and share this article. Let me know your thoughts in the comments, especially if you’re from this country, and if I missed out anything you feel is important.

If you haven’t done so already, then please click the pin it buttons, solo you don’t miss future episodes. And if you’d like to support future development of this website, then please consider becoming Patroon supporter. Thanks again for reading, and I’ll see you in the next episode.

Geography Simply Ryukyu Hideki Tojo Bonsai Japanese Of Sekigahara Sakura Shikoku Nara Period Naruhito Himeji Castle Samurai Warriors Emperor Sengoku HokkaidoThe Geography Of East Asian Nation Ryukyu Hideki Tojo Bonsai Japanese Sekigahara Sakura Shikoku Nara Period Naruhito Himeji Castle Samurai Warriors Emperor

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *