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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.

Selected article

The Asama-Sansō incident was a hostage crisis and police siege in a mountain lodge near Karuizawa, Nagano prefecture, Japan that lasted from February 19, 1972 to February 28, 1972. The police rescue operation on the final day of the standoff was the first marathon live broadcast in Japan, lasting 10 hours and 40 minutes. The incident began when five members of the United Red Army (URA), following a bloody purge that left 14 members of the group plus one bystander dead, broke into a holiday lodge below Mount Asama, taking the wife of the lodge-keeper as a hostage. A standoff between police and the URA radicals took place, lasting ten days. The lodge was a natural fortress, solidly constructed of thick concrete on a steep hillside with only one entrance, which, along with their guns, enabled the hostage-takers to keep police at a distance. On February 28, the police stormed the lodge. Two police officers were killed in the assault, but the hostage was rescued and the URA radicals were taken into custody. The incident contributed to a decline in popularity of leftist movements in Japan. Japan's leftist student movement in the 1960s pervaded Japan's universities, and, by late in the decade, had become very factionalized, competitive, and violent. After a series of incidents in which leftist student groups attacked and injured or killed law enforcement officials and the general public, Japan's national police agency cracked down on the student groups, raiding their hideouts and arresting dozens in 1971 and 1972. Attempting to escape from the police, a core group of radicals from the URA retreated to a compound in Gunma Prefecture during the winter of 1972.

Selected picture

Tsūjun Bridge
Credit: Masamic

Tsūjun Bridge is an aqueduct built in 1854 in Yabe. At 84.0 m long, this arch bridge is the largest stone aqueduct in Japan. The Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs has designated the bridge an Important Cultural Property.

On this day...

September 21:




Selected quote

—Junko Nishioka, economist at RBS Securities Japan in Tokyo

Selected biography

Tetsuji Takechi was a Japanese theatrical and film director, critic and author. First coming to prominence for his theatrical criticism, in the 1940s and 1950s he produced influential and popular experimental kabuki plays. Beginning in the mid-1950s, he continued his innovative theatrical work in noh, kyōgen and modern theater. In the 1960s, Takechi entered the film industry by producing controversial soft-core theatrical pornography. His 1964 film Daydream was the first big-budget, mainstream pink film released in Japan. After the release of his 1965 film Black Snow, the government arrested him on indecency charges. The trial became a public battle over censorship between Japan's intellectuals and the government. Takechi won the lawsuit, enabling the wave of softcore pink films which dominated Japan's domestic cinema during the 1960s and 1970s. In the later 1960s, Takechi produced three more pink films. Takechi did not work in film during most of the 1970s, instead serving as the host of a popular TV program, The Tetsuji Takechi Hour. In the 1980s, he remade Daydream twice, starring actress Kyōko Aizome in both films. The first Daydream remake (1981) is considered the first theatrical hardcore pornographic film in Japan.

In the news

March 7: 9 people die in a helicopter crash in Nagano.
  • June 12: Japan's National Diet passes law allowing Emperor Akihito to abdicate within three years
  • January 23: Federer beats Nishikori in Australian Open's fourth round
  • December 24: Fire engulfs 140 buildings in Itoigawa, Japan
  • October 6: Yoshinori Ohsumi wins Nobel Prize for research on autophagy
  • October 3: Indonesian authorities investigate after pornographic film screened on billboard in Jakarta
  • August 25: North Korea fires balistic missile from submarine
  • July 19: ARM to be bought by SoftBank
  • July 6: Arsenal signs Japanese Takuma; Chelsea signs Batshuayi
  • June 9: IUPAC proposes four new chemical element names
  • February 8: North Korea launches long-range missile
  • December 20: Barça beat River Plate 3-0 to win third FIFA Club World Cup
  • December 18: Suárez scores a hat-trick, Barcelona advances to FIFA Club World Cup 2015 Final
  • September 11: Typhoon Etau causes more leakage at Fukushima
  • April 24: Power outage at Fukushima poses radioactive risk
  • March 4: Explorers find shipwreck thought to be massive WWII battleship Musashi
  • January 22: Japanese Olympic judoka Hitoshi Saito dies aged 54
  • September 18: Chinese President signs multiple trade deals with India
  • June 29: Canada wins 2014 Women's World Wheelchair Basketball Championship
  • June 28: Germany and Canada into 2014 Women's World Wheelchair Basketball Championships final
  • June 27: Germany, Netherlands, Canada and USA into Women's Wheelchair Basketball Championships semi-finals
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Did you know...

Kicho – a Japanese silk partition


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

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