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""Location of Japan on the world map
""Imperial Seal of Japan

"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.

Selected article

""An aikido throw being practiced
"Aikido is a "Japanese martial art developed by "Morihei Ueshiba as a synthesis of his martial studies, philosophy, and religious beliefs. Aikido is often translated as "the Way of unifying (with) "life energy" or as "the Way of harmonious spirit." Ueshiba's goal was to create an art that practitioners could use to defend themselves while also protecting their attacker from injury. Aikido is performed by blending with the motion of the attacker and redirecting the force of the attack rather than opposing it head-on. The aikidōka (aikido practitioner) "leads" the attacker's "momentum using entering and turning movements. The techniques are completed with various "throws or "joint locks. Aikido can be categorized under the general umbrella of "grappling arts. Aikido derives mainly from the martial art of "Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu, but began to diverge from it in the late 1920s, partly due to Ueshiba's involvement with the "Ōmoto-kyō religion. Ueshiba's early students' documents bear the term aiki-jūjutsu. Many of Ueshiba's senior students have different approaches to aikido, depending on when they studied with him. Today aikido is found all over the world in a number of styles, with broad ranges of interpretation and emphasis. However, they all share techniques learned from Ueshiba and most have concern for the well-being of the attacker. This attitude has been at the core of criticisms of aikido and related arts.

Selected picture

""Sumo wrestler Somagahana Fuchiemon
Credit: "Utagawa Kunisada

A "Utagawa Kunisada "ukiyo-e print depicting "sumo wrestler Somagahana Fuchiemon.

On this day...

"June 25:



Selected quote

—"Guy Sorman, French philosopher, author and economist

Selected biography

"Tōru Takemitsu was a "Japanese "composer and writer on "aesthetics and "music theory. Though largely self-taught, Takemitsu is recognised for his skill in the subtle manipulation of instrumental and orchestral timbre, drawing from a wide range of influences, including jazz, popular music, avant-garde procedures and "traditional Japanese music, in a harmonic idiom largely derived from the music of "Claude Debussy and "Olivier Messiaen. In 1958, the international attention he drew with his Requiem for strings (1957) resulted in several commissions from across the world, and settled his reputation as the leading Japanese composer of the 20th century. He was the recipient of numerous awards, commissions and honours; he composed over one hundred film scores for ensembles of various sizes and combinations. He also found time to write a "detective novel, and appeared frequently on "Japanese television as a "celebrity chef. In the foreword to a selection of Takemitsu's writings in English, conductor "Seiji Ozawa commented: "I am very proud of my friend Tōru Takemitsu. He is the first Japanese composer to write for a world audience and achieve international recognition."

In the news

Did you know...

""Midtown Tower in Tokyo, Japan

  • ... that, at 248.1 metres (814 ft), "Midtown Tower (pictured) is the tallest building in "Tokyo?


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"Coordinates: 36°30′N 139°00′E / 36.5°N 139°E / 36.5; 139

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