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Japan, as an island nation, has always been heavily constrained by lack of resources. Going into WWII, the nation imported 88 percent of its oil. Gairaigo may be grossly defined as the residue after native, Sino-Japanese and mimetic when such a date reflects a political rather than a linguistic boundary. to as great an extent as in Japan, and are employed to an even lesser extent in . The largest fault slip ever recorded caused the tsunami that hit Japan. Japan , a magnitude tremor originated from the same plate boundary region.
The city of Tokyo was officially established on May 1, Central Tokyo, like Osakahas been designed since about to be centered on major railway stations in a high-density fashion, so suburban railways were built relatively cheaply at street level and with their own right-of-way.
Though expressways have been built in Tokyo, the basic design has not changed. Since then, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government served as both the prefecture government for Tokyo, as well as administering the special wards of Tokyofor what had previously been Tokyo City. World War II wrought widespread destruction of most of the city due to the persistent Allied air raids on Japan and the use of incendiary bombs. The bombing of Tokyo in and is estimated to have killed between 75, andcivilians and left more than half of the city destroyed.
Two-fifths of the city were completely burned, more thanbuildings were demolished,civilians were killed, andmore were injured. After the war, Tokyo was completely rebuilt and was showcased to the world during the Summer Olympics. The s brought new high-rise developments such as Sunshine 60a new and controversial  airport at Narita in some distance outside city limitsand a population increase to about 11 million in the metropolitan area.
Tokyo's subway and commuter rail network became one of the busiest in the world  as more and more people moved to the area. In the s, real estate prices skyrocketed during a real estate and debt bubble. The bubble burst in the early s, and many companies, banks, and individuals were caught with mortgage-backed debts while real estate was shrinking in value.
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A major recession followed, making the s Japan's " Lost Decade ",  from which it is now slowly recovering. Tokyo still sees new urban developments on large lots of less profitable land.
Buildings of significance are demolished for more up-to-date shopping facilities such as Omotesando Hills. In vocabulary, Japanese is rich in words denoting abstract ideas, natural phenomena, human emotions, ethics, and aesthetics, but poor in words for technical and scientific expression.
For these latter purposes, foreign words are directly imported and written in a phonetic system katakana. A distinct characteristic is the use of honorifics to show proper respect to the listener and his social status. Written Japanese owes its origin almost entirely to Chinese forms. Having no indigenous script, the Japanese since the 5th century have used Chinese characters, giving them both an approximate Chinese pronunciation and a Japanese pronunciation.
In addition, the Japanese invented phonetic symbols kana in the 9th century to represent grammatical devices unknown to the Chinese. Attempts have been made to reduce the complexity of the written language by limiting the number of Chinese characters used. The government has published a list of 1, characters for use in official communications.
Newspapers adhere to this list. Religious identities are not mutually exclusive, however, and many Japanese maintain affiliations with both a Buddhist temple and a Shinto shrine. Shinto, originally concerned with the worship of spirits of nature, grew under the influence of Chinese Confucianism to include worship of family and imperial ancestors, and thus provided the foundation of Japanese social structure.
Shinto became an instrument of nationalism afteras the government officially sponsored and subsidized it, requiring that it be taught in the schools and that all Japanese belong to a state Shinto shrine.
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After World War IIShinto was abolished as a state religion, and the emperor issued an imperial prescript denying divine origin. Today, Shinto exists as a private religious organization. Buddhism is considered by some the most important religion in Japan.
Introduced through China and Korea around adBuddhism spread rapidly throughout Japan and has had considerable influence on the nation's arts and its social institutions.
Japanese Buddhism was founded on the Mahayana school, which emphasizes the attainment of Buddhahood, whereas the Hinayana Buddhism of India emphasizes obedience to commandments and personal perfection. The great temples and gardens of Japan, the famous Japanese tea ceremony chanoyuand Japanese flower-arranging arts ikebana owe their development to the influence of Buddhism.
Christianity, introduced to Japan by the Jesuit St.
Francis Xavier inwas first encouraged by feudal lords but then banned inoften under penalty of death. After that time, a unique sect known as "hidden Christians" developed, with no tradition of churches or public displays of faith and a syncretic doctrine that incorporated local ideas and history.
The prohibition against Christianity was in force untilfollowing the reopening of Japan to international relations in After World War II, a considerable number of new religious groups sprouted up. One of these, the Soka-Gakkai, a Buddhist offshoot, controlled a political party Komeitothe third-strongest political group in Japan, until politics and religion were officially separated in In addition to the established and new religionsConfucianism, an ethical system originating in China, has strongly influenced Japanese society since the earliest periods, providing underpinnings for some characteristically Japanese attitudes.
Of that total, 13, km 8, mi were electrified. Standard gauge lines totaled 3, km miall of which are electrified. Feeding into these six lines were other private railroads. Like their counterparts elsewhere, Japan's rail lines face increasing competition from automotive, sea, and air transport, as well as rising operating costs. Inthe first section of the northern Shinkansen line, between Tokyo and Omiya, began operations. By far the longest railway tunnel in the world, the There are km mi of track, with km mi in Tokyo's 11 lines.
Sincedown-town Tokyo has also been linked with that city's Haneda Airport by a monorail transport system, and several other monorails have been put into operation. In addition, a 7 km 4. Roads have become the most important means of domestic transport. Motor vehicles in numbered 55, passenger cars and 17, commercial vehicles, up from 25, and 8,, respectively, in To speed traffic flow, a total of 6, km 4, mi of expressways were open to traffic in In total, there were 1, million kmmi of roadways, of which aboutkmmi were paved.
Japan is one of the world's great maritime nations. The chief ports are Yokohama for TokyoNagoya, and Kobe. SinceJapan has emerged as the world's leading shipbuilder, but output declined in the late s and s in the face of a worldwide recession and increased competition from the Republic of Korea ROK. Although Japan had 1, km 1, mi of navigable inland waterways, as ofthey are not used by ocean-going vessels, which prefer to use the country's inland seas.
Japan had an estimated airports in As of a total of had paved runways, and there were also 15 heliports. Japan Air Lines JALthe nation's major domestic and international airline, began operations in and inaugurated international flights in All Nippon Airways, established inbegan as a domestic system serving smaller areas of the country and acting as a feeder line to JAL but now serves overseas routes; it began to carry freight in InJapan's airlines performed 7, million freight ton-km.
In that same year, about Little is known about the origins of the earliest Japanese beyond the fact that they migrated from the continent. Tradition places the beginning of the Japanese nation in bc with the ascendance to the throne of the legendary Emperor Jimmu. It is generally agreed, however, that as the Yayoi developed, the Yamato clan attained hegemony over southern Japan during the first three or four centuries of the Christian era and established the imperial family line.
Earlier contacts with Korea were expanded in the 5th century to mainland China, and the great period of cultural borrowing began: Japanese leaders adapted the Chinese governmental organization but based power upon hereditary position rather than merit. The first imperial capital was established at Nara in Inthe imperial capital was moved to Heian Kyotowhere it remained untilwhen Tokyo became the nation's capital.
Chinese influence waned as native institutions took on peculiarly Japanese forms. Outside court circles, local clans gained strength, giving rise to military clan influence over a weakening imperial system. The Minamoto clan gained national hegemony as it defeated the rival Taira clan inand its leader, the newly appointed Yoritomo, established a military form of government at Kamakura ina feudal system that lasted for nearly years.
Under the shogunate system, all political power was in the hands of the dominant military clan, with the emperors ruling in name only. The Kamakura period was followed by the Ashikaga shogunate — which saw economic growth and the development of a more complex feudalism.
For over years, until the end of the 16th century, continuous civil war among rival feudal lords daimyo ensued. During this time, the first contact with the Western world took place with the arrival in of Portuguese traders, and with that, the first guns were imported. Six years later, St. Francis Xavier arrived, introducing Christianity to Japan. Bythe country was pacified and unified by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a peasant who had risen to a top military position.
Hideyoshi also invaded Korea unsuccessfully, in —93 and indying during the second invasion. Ieyasu Tokugawa consolidated Hideyoshi's program of centralization. Appointed shogun inTokugawa established the Tokugawa shogunate military dictatorshipwhich was to rule Japan until the imperial restoration in Tokugawa made Edo modern Tokyo the capital, closed Japan to foreigners except Chinese and Dutch traders who were restricted to Nagasaki and occasional Korean diplomats, and banned Christianity.
For the next years, Japan enjoyed stability and a flowering of indigenous culture, although from the end of the 18th century onward, Japan came under increasing pressure from Western nations to end its isolationist policy. The arrival of Commodore Matthew C. Perry from the United States in —with his famous "black ships"—started a process that soon ended Japanese feudalism. The following year, Perry obtained a treaty of peace and friendship between the United States and Japan, and similar pacts were signed with Russia, Britainand the Netherlands based on the principle of extraterritoriality.
A decade of turmoil and confusion followed over the question of opening Japan to foreigners. A coalition of southern clans led by ambitious young samurai of the Satsuma and Choshu clans forced the abdication of the Tokugawa shogun and reestablished the emperor as head of the nation.
InEmperor Mutsuhito took over full sovereignty. This Meiji Restoration, as it is known, signaled the entry of Japan into the modern era. Intensive modernization and industrialization commenced under the leadership of the restoration leaders.
A modern navy and army with universal military conscription and a modern civil service based on merit formed the foundation of the new nationstate. The government undertook the establishment of industry, by importing technological assistance.
Ina new constitution established a bicameral legislature Diet with a civil cabinet headed by a prime minister responsible to the emperor. By the end of the 19th century, irreconcilable territorial ambitions brought Japan into open conflict with its much larger western neighbors.
The Sino-Japanese War —95 was fought over the question of control of Korea, and the Russo-Japanese War —05 over the question of Russian expansion in Manchuria and influence in Korean affairs. Japan emerged victorious in both conflicts, its victory over the Russians marking the first triumph of an Asian country over a Western power in modern times.
Japan received the territories of Taiwan and the southern half of Sakhalin Island, as well as certain railway rights and concessions in Manchuria and recognition of paramount influence in Korea. The latter became a Japanese protectorate in and was annexed by Japan in Japan was one of the Big Five powers at the Versailles Peace Conference and in was recognized as the world's third-leading naval power at the Washington Naval Conference. The domestic economy developed rapidly, and Japan was transformed from an agricultural to an industrial nation.
Economic power tended to be held by the industrial combines zaibatsucontrolled by descendants of those families that had instituted the modernization of the country decades earlier.
Inuniversal manhood suffrage was enacted, and political leaders found it necessary to take into consideration the growing influence of parties. InEmperor Hirohito ascended the throne beginning the Showa era. By the s, democratic institutions atrophied and the military-industrial complex became dominant. With severe social distress caused by the great depression, an ultranationalist ideology emerged, particularly among young army officers.
Acting independently of the central government, the military launched an invasion of Manchuria ineventually establishing the puppet state of Manchukuo. Ina patriotic society assassinated the prime ministerbringing an end to cabinets formed by the majority party in the Diet.
Japan withdrew from the League of Nations which had protested the Manchurian takeover instarted a full-scale invasion of China the Second Sino-Japanese War, —45and signed the Anti-Comintern pact with Germany in and a triple alliance with Germany and Italy in With its capture of the Philippines on 2 JanuaryJapan gained control of most of East Asia, including major portions of China, Indochina, and the southwest Pacific.
Japanese forces, however, could not resist the continued mobilization of the US military. A series of costly naval campaigns—including battles at Midway, Guadalcanal, and Leyte Gulf—brought an end to Japanese domination in the Pacific.
Bythe Philippines had been recaptured, and the stage was set for a direct assault on Japan. Truman argued that a full invasion of Japan would prove too costly and decided on aerial attacks to force Japan into surrendering. After four months of intense bombardment with conventional weapons, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima on 6 August and a second bomb on Nagasaki on 9 August. An estimatedpersons died from the two attacks and the subsequent effects of radiation.
In addition, all major cities, with the exception of Kyoto, were destroyed during the war and food and supply shortages continued for several years after the surrender. After the surrender over Japanese military officials committed suicide and hundreds more faced war crimes prosecution. Emperor Hirihito was not declared a war criminal and although he lost all military and political power he retained his royal title and became a symbol of the state until his death in The subsequent occupation —52under the direction of General Douglas MacArthurSupreme Commander for the Allied Powers, began a series of ambitious reforms.
Political reforms included the adoption of a parliamentary system of government based on democratic principles and universal suffrage, a symbolic role for the emperor as titular head of state, the establishment of an independent trade union, and the disarmament of the military.
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Economic reforms consisted of land reform, the dissolution of the zaibatsu, and economic and political rights for women. A new constitution was promulgated on 3 November and put into force on 3 May The Postwar Period Heavy economic aid from the United States and a procurement boom produced by the Korean Warcoupled with a conservative fiscal and monetary policy allowed the Japanese to rebuild their country.
The Japanese economy rapidly recovered, and the standard of living quickly surpassed the prewar level by a substantial margin. The state of war between the Western powers and Japan was formally ended by the San Francisco Peace Treaty, signed in September by 56 nations. The allied occupation ended officially when the treaty went into effect in April Japan renounced claims to many of its former overseas territories, including such major areas as Taiwan and Korea.
In Japan was elected to UN membership. A revision of the defense treaty with the United States, under which a limited number of troops were to remain in Japan for defense purposes, was signed amid growing controversy in On 22 JuneJapan signed a treaty with South Korea normalizing relations between the two countries.
The US-Japanese Security Treaty was renewed indespite vigorous protest by the opposition parties and militant student organizations. InJapan moved to establish full diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China.
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Formal diplomatic links with the Nationalist Chinese government on Taiwan were terminated by this move, but Japan's economic and cultural links with Taiwan nonetheless have survived virtually intact. While Japan defined its new role in East Asian affairs, its remarkable economic expansion raised it to the level of a major trading power.
Based on strong government support of export industries, political stability under the Liberal-Democratic Party LDPand public policy guidance from a powerful bureaucracy, Japan experienced a dramatic rise from the ruins of World War II. The oil crisis of —a combination of shortages and rising prices—revealed the crack in Japan's economic armor, the lack of domestic petroleum resources.
A second oil crisis during the late s was met by a reappraisal of Japan's dependence on foreign fuels and the institution of long-range programs for energy conservation and diversification. These oil crises led to a shift in the economy and to the creation of high-technology industries, most notably electric and electronic appliances. The yen declined in value in the early s, causing Japanese exports to become cheaper in overseas markets and leading to huge trade surpluses with the United States and other leading trading partners, who began to demand that Japan voluntarily limit certain exports and remove the barriers to Japan's domestic market.
During —87, the yen appreciated in value against the dollar and, bythe dollar had hit a post-World War II low, but Japan continued to register substantial trade surpluses. Political stability, maintained since the s by the majority LDP, began to unravel in the s, following the retirement from politics of Prime Minister Eisaku Sato in Sato's successor, Kakuei Tanakawas forced to resign in December amid charges of using his office for personal gain in the Lockheed Corporation bribery scandal.
Fukuda was defeated in intraparty elections by Masayoshi Ohira in When Ohira died in Junehe was succeeded by Zenko Suzuki. Suzuki stepped down as prime minister in November and was replaced by controversial and outspoken Yasuhiro Nakasone.
Noboru Takeshita became prime minister in November Policy regarding military force has been a major political issue in the postwar years. According to Article Nine of the constitution, Japan renounced the belligerency of the state but soon developed a Self-Defense Force with US encouragement.
The Diet parliament approved a bill allowing the deployment of troops abroad for international peacekeeping in with troops participating with the United Nations in CambodiaIsrael, IraqSudanIndonesia, and other states.
Emperor Hirohito died of cancer on 7 Januaryat the age of He was succeeded by the Crown Prince Akihito, who was enthroned as the Heisei emperor in a formal ceremony in November The sense of entering a new era brought increased controversy over the assessment of Japan's role in the earlier part of the century, particularly during World War II.
Some denied that Japan had committed atrocities during the war and there were attempts to further soften the wording of school textbooks.
In the same month, the government removed the requirement for fingerprinting of people of Korean descent living in Japan. However, many minorities in Japan, Chinese and Koreans included, claimed that they still experienced social and economic discrimination in Japan well after the war.
The s ended with a major scandal involving illegal stock trading and influence peddling by the Recruit Cosmos Company. Between the summer of and the closing of the case in Maythe scandal led to the implication and resignations of prominent business people and politicians in top government positions, among them then-finance minister Kiichi Miyazawa, and the former prime minister, Yashuhiro Nakasone.
Scandals continued into the s with stock rebates for politicians in and then incontributions to politicians from a trucking company linked to organized crime became public knowledge. The economy entered a period of major stagnation and distress in the early s.
By the end ofJapan was in the midst of its worst economic downturn in at least 20 years. This also led to a debt crisis that resulted in many banks becoming unsustainable causing a massive consolidation. Although the long-term economic prospects for Japan were good, it was further retarded by the impact of the Asian financial crisis of — Inthe Japanese economy witnessed its most serious recession with a negative growth rate of 1.
As of there were only four national banks in Japan. Against the background of scandals and an economic recession, the political landscape began a major change. Taking responsibility for political problems caused by the Recruit scandal, Noboru Takeshita resigned as prime minister in Aprilto be succeeded in May by Sosuke Uno, who abruptly resigned when a sex scandal became public amidst the LDP loss of its majority in the upper house of the Diet.
The next prime minister, Toshiki Kaifu, served his term from August to Octoberbut the LDP did not support him for a second term. Instead, Kiichi Miyazawa became prime minister in November When the lower house gave Miyazawa a vote of no confidence in June for abandoning electoral reform bills, Miyazawa dissolved the lower house and called for elections.
In the election for the seats of the House of Representatives on 18 Julythe LDP, for the first time since its own formation infailed to secure the seats needed for a majority. Hosokawa, too, was tainted by questions regarding personal finances and stepped down as prime minister to be replaced by Tsutomu Hata Shinseito in April Just as Hata took office, the Socialist Party left the governing coalition, leaving the prime minister as the head of a minority government for the first time in four decades.
Hata soon resigned and, in a surprise move, the LDP and the Socialist Party, traditionally opponents, allied to form a new coalition, which also included the Sakigake. The coalition selected as prime minister, Tomiichi Murayama, the head of the Socialist Party and the first Socialist prime minister since The dissolution of the House of Representatives and the ensuing election on 18 July marked a major turning point for Japanese politics as the LDP lost its political dominance as new parties formed.
By 28 June, one-fifth 57 members of the LDP bloc of the dissolved lower house left the party. In an unprecedented move, Murayama recognized the legal right for the existence of the Japanese Self-Defense force, much to the disapproval of left-leaning party members.
The tumultuous reign of Murayama included the Kobe earthquake and political scandals which led to the resignation of the Justice Minister and the director of the Management and Coordination Agency.
Elections in October resulted in a victory for the LDP, but the party still failed to obtain a majority of seats, only capturing of During the Obuchi regime, the Japanese economy showed signs of recovering with major fiscal stimuli including a massive public works program. In AprilObuchi suffered a stroke, entered into a coma, and was replaced by Yoshiro Mori who called summarily for elections.
On 25 June parliamentary elections were held for the House of Representatives. In earlythe Nikkei stock average fell to its lowest level since and unemployment rates reached 4. Plagued by scandal and the depressed economy, Mori resigned in April Junichiro Koizumi won control of the LDP and became prime minister on 26 April, promising to reinvigorate Japanese politics and radically reform the economy. He appointed members of his cabinet without seeking nominations from major factions of the LDP, as had been the practice in the past.
Koizumi immediately raised controversy by making a visit to the Yasukuni Shrine. Dedicated to Japan's war dead, it served as a symbol of nationalism during World War II and has been a lightning rod for anger among Asian nations that suffered under Japan's military aggression.
He continued to visit the shrine annually. Japan was also the target of international criticism over its Education Ministry's approval of junior high-school textbooks that allegedly glossed over Japan's aggression in China, particularly the Nanjing Massacre and its annexation of the Korean Peninsula.
Koizumi's coalition dominated the July elections for the House of Councilors, with the LDP taking 65 of the contested seats, its best performance in the House of Councilors since The victory was seen as a mandate for Koizumi. However, the economy remained in recession throughoutwhich reduced his popularity.
InJapan began a diplomatic initiative to improve relations with North Korea. Japan pledged a generous aid package to North Korea in return. In relations with South Korea and China soured over Japanese continued use of junior high-school textbooks which downplayed the aggressive nature of Japan's role in WWII.
In addition, South Korea objected to the reassertion of the Japanese claim to the Liancourt Rocks, which Korea occupies. China objected to the Japanese proposal for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Councilwhile both countries objected to Japan's use of the East China Sea.
Elections in resulted in large gains for the opposition Democratic Party, but the LDP coalition retained a majority within the parliament.You Know You Are Dating a JAPANESE Man When...
On 27 SeptemberKoizumi carried out a major cabinet reorganization dubbing his new ministerial lineup the "Reform Implementation Cabinet", in order to combat corruption and inefficiency. Koizumi called for early elections in September after he dissolved the lower House due to the defeat in the upper House of his landmark proposals to reform the country's postal system.
The upper House cannot be dissolved in Japan, and so a two-thirds majority was needed in the lower House to be able to pass new legislation without the consent of the upper House. The result was the second-largest landslide in a general election in the LDP's history.
In combination with allied parties, the LDP coalition held over two-thirds of the seats, out of The results were a devastating setback for the Democratic Party, the main opposition, whose gains in and led some to believe that Japanese Democracy was evolving into a two-party system. Due to LDP term limits, Koizumi was expected to retire inalthough the possibility of his remaining in office still existed.
The most significant change from the previous constitution of was the transfer of sovereign power from the emperor to the people. The emperor is now defined as "the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people. It is officially termed a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary government.
The executive branch is headed by a prime minister selected from the Diet by its membership. The cabinet consists of the prime minister and 17 state ministers as of February whom are elected by the prime minister, each heading a government ministry or agency. At least half the ministers must be selected from the Diet, to which the cabinet is collectively responsible. Upon a vote of no confidence by the House of Representatives, the cabinet must resign en masse.
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The National Diet is bicameral. The House of Representatives the lower House has a membership ofwith terms of office for four years, except that all terms end upon dissolution of the house a law promulgated in February reduced the composition of the House from to members.
Of the seats, are elected from 11 multi-member constituencies by proportional representation, and are elected from single-member constituencies. The House of Councilors the upper House has members, members in multi-seat constituencies and 98 by proportional representation. The term of office is six years, with one-half elected every three years.