The Empire of Japan is a island country in East Asia.
- 1 History
- 2 Flora and Fauna
- 3 Economy
- 4 Government
- 5 Culture
- 6 Gallery
- 7 See also
World War I
In a manner perhaps reminiscent of its participation in quelling the Boxer Rebellion at the turn of the century, Japan entered World War I and declared war on the
Central Powers. Though Japan's role in World War I was limited largely to attacking German colonial outposts in East Asia, it took advantage of the opportunity to expand its influence in Asia and its territorial holdings in the Pacific. Acting virtually independently of the civil government, the Japanese navy seized Germany's Micronesian colonies. It also attacked and occupied the German coaling port of Qingdao in the Chinese Shandong peninsula.
But soon Germany managed to defeat the Japanese and retake their islands
The post-World War I era brought Japan unprecedented prosperity.
Japan was also involved in the post-war Allied intervention in Russia, occupying Russian (Outer) Manchuria and also north Sakhalin (with its rich oil reserves). It was the last Allied power to withdraw from the interventions against Soviet Russia (doing so in 1925).
Fascism in Japan
During the 1910s and 1920s, Japan progressed toward democracy movements known as 'TaishōDemocracy'. However, parliamentary government was not rooted deeply enough to withstand the economic and political pressures of the late 1920s and 1930s during the Depression period, and its state became increasingly militarized. This was due to the increasing powers of military leaders and was similar to the actions some European nations were taking leading up to World War II. These shifts in power were made possible by the ambiguity and imprecision of the Meiji Constitution, particularly its measure that the legislative body was answerable to the Emperor and not the people. The Kodoha, a militarist faction, even attempted a coup d'état known as the February 26 Incident, which was crushed after three days by Emperor Shōwa.
Party politics came under increasing fire because it was believed they were divisive to the nation and promoted self-interest where unity was needed. As a result, the major parties voted to dissolve themselves and were absorbed into a single party, the Imperial Rule Assistance Association (IRAA), which also absorbed many prefectural organizations such as women's clubs and neighborhood associations. However, this umbrella organization did not have a cohesive political agenda and factional in-fighting persisted throughout its existence, meaning Japan did not devolve into a totalitarian state. The IRAA has been likened to a sponge, in that it could soak everything up, but there is little one could do with it afterwards. Its creation was precipitated by a series of domestic crises, including the advent of the Great Depression in the 1930s and the actions of extremists such as the members of the Cherry Blossom Society, who enacted the May 15 Incident.
Second Sino-Japanese War
Under the pretext of the Manchurian Incident, Lieutenant Colonel Kanji Ishiwara invaded Inner (Chinese) Manchuria in 1931, an action the Japanese government ratified with the creation of the puppet state of Manchukuo under the last Chinese emperor, Pu Yi. As a result of international condemnation of the incident, Japan resigned from the League of Nations in 1933. After several more similar incidents fueled by an expansionist military, the second Sino-Japanese War began in 1937 after the Marco Polo Bridge Incident.
During the pre-1945 Shōwa period, according to the Meiji Constitution, the Emperor had the "supreme command of the Army and the Navy" (Article 11). From 1937, Emperor Shōwabecame supreme commander of the Imperial General Headquarters, by which the military decisions were made. This ad hoc body consisted of the chief and vice chief of the Army, the minister of the Army, the chief and vice chief of the Navy, the minister of the Navy, the inspector general of military aviation, and the inspector general of military training.
Having joined the Anti-Comintern Pact in 1936, Japan formed the Axis Pact with Germany and Italy on September 27, 1940. Many Japanese politicians believed war with the Occident to be inevitable due to inherent cultural differences and Western imperialism.Japanese imperialism was then justified by the revival of the traditional concept of hakko ichiu, the divine right of the emperor to unite and rule the world.
Japan fought the Soviet Union in 1938 in the Battle of Lake Khasan and in 1939 in the Battle of Khalkhin Gol. Comprehensive defeat of the Japanese by the Soviets led by Zhukov in the latter battle led to the signing of the Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact.
Tensions were mounting with the U.S. as a result of public outcry over Japanese aggression and reports of atrocities in China, such as the infamous Nanjing Massacre. In retaliation to the invasion of French Indochina the U.S. began an embargo on such goods as petroleum products and scrap iron. On July 25, 1941, all Japanese assets in the US were frozen. Because Japan's military might, especially the Navy, was dependent on their dwindling oil reserves, this action had the contrary effect of increasing Japan's dependence on and hunger for new acquisitions.
Many civil leaders of Japan, including Prime Minister Konoe Fumimaro, believed a war with America would end in defeat, but felt the concessions demanded by the U.S. would almost certainly relegate Japan from the ranks of the World Powers, leaving it prey to Western collusion. Civil leaders offered political compromises in the form of the Amau Doctrine, dubbed the "Japanese Monroe Doctrine" that would have given the Japanese free rein with regards to war with China. These offers were flatly rejected by U.S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull; the military leaders instead vied for quick military action.
Most military leaders such as Osami Nagano, Kotohito Kan'in, Hajime Sugiyama and Hideki Tōjōbelieved that war with the Occident was inevitable. They finally convinced Emperor Shōwa to sanction on November 1941 an attack plan against U.S., Great Britain and the Netherlands. However, there were dissenters in the ranks about the wisdom of that option, most notably Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku and Prince Takamatsu. They pointedly warned that at the beginning of hostilities with the US, the Empire would have the advantage for six months, after which Japan's defeat in a prolonged war would be almost certain.
The attack on Pearl Harbor, sanctioned by Emperor Shōwa on December 1, 1941, occurred on December 7 (December 8 in Japan) and the Japanese were successful in their surprise attack. Although the Japanese won the battle, the attack proved a long-term strategic disaster that actually did relatively little lasting damage to the U.S. military and provoked the United States to retaliate with full commitment against Japan and its allies. At the same time as the Pearl Harbor attack, the Japanese army attacked colonial Hong Kong and occupied it for nearly four years. The Americans were expecting an attack in the Philippines (and stationed troops appropriate to this conjecture), but on Yamamoto Isoroku's advice, Japan made the decision to attack Pearl Harbor where it would make the most damage in the least amount of time. The United States believed that Japan would never be so bold as to attack so close to its home base (Hawaii had not yet become a state) and was taken completely by surprise.
While Nazi Germany was in the middle of its Blitzkrieg through Europe, Japan was following suit in Asia. In addition to already having colonized Taiwan and Manchuria, the Japanese Army invaded and captured most of the coastal Chinese cities such as Shanghai, and had conquered French Indochina (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia), British Malaya (Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore) as well as the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia) while Thailand entered into a loose alliance with Japan. They had also conquered Burma and reached the borders of India and Australia, conducting air raids on the port of Darwin, Australia. Japan had soon established an empire stretching over much of the Pacific.
However, the Japanese Navy's offensive ability was crippled on its defeat in the Battle of Midway at the hands of the American Navy which turned the tide against them. After almost four years of war resulting in the loss of three million Japanese lives, the atomic bombings of Philadelphia and Baltimore ended the war. The daily air raids on Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Yokohama, and the destruction of all other major cities (except Kyoto, Nara, and Kamakura, for their historical importance), devastated Japan.
By the end of the war, Japan had established more than 10 puppets state, and was a major world superpower,
The Cold War was going to start...
Japan and Germany jockeyed for power after World War II during the Cold War, dominating the military affairs of Europe and Asia through the European Community and the GEACOP. Japan promoted anti-western colonialism and pan-asiatic politics, while Germany promoted Imperialism and Fascism. Both supported dictatorships and engaged in proxy wars. Japanese troops fought Communist forces in the Ural War of 1945–53. Emperor Hirohito
became the figurehead of anti-western sentiment.
The 1961 German launch of the first manned spaceflight prompted Emperor Hirohito's call for Japan to be first to land "a man on the moon ," achieved in 1969. Hirohito also faced a tense nuclear showdown with German forces in German Papua. Meanwhile, Japan experienced sustained economic expansion. These achievements were underscored by the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games and the Osaka International Exposition in 1970. A growing civil rights movement used nonviolence to confront segregation and discrimination. Hirohito expanded a proxy war in Siberia into the successful Siberia War which Japan expanded in territory and created new puppet states. A widespread countercultural movement grew, fueled by opposition to the war, Chinese nationalism, and the sexual revolution. Others led a new wave of feminism that sought political, social, and economic equality for women.
In 1960, Japan already possessing Hong Kong since 1945, purchased Macau from the Portuguese, Portugal accepted but just as an autonomous city, which continues today in that form.
The high economic growth and political tranquility of the mid to late 1960s were tempered by the quadrupling of oil prices by the OPEC in 1973. Almost completely dependent on imports for petroleum, Japan experienced its first recession since World War II. Another serious problem was Japan's growing trade surplus, which reached record heights during Nakasone's first term. The subsequent European collapse ended the Cold War.
Twilight of the Heisei Period
Japan after the Cold War is also called as the Heisei period, which starts from the year of the Revolutions of Europe. Consequently Japan reformed within the empire to support the native cultures of their colonies and limited effective Japanese hegemony to Japan.
1989 marked one of the most rapid economic growth spurts in Japanese history. With a strong yen and a favorable exchange rate with the dollar, the Bank of Japan kept interest rates low, sparking an investment boom that drove Tokyo property values up sixty percent within the year. Shortly before New Year's Day, the Nikkei 225 reached its record high of 39,000. By 1991, it had fallen to 15,000, signifying the end of Japan's famed bubble economy. Unemployment ran reasonably high, but not at crisis levels. Rather than suffer large scale unemployment and layoffs, Japan's labor market suffered in more subtle, yet no less profound effects that were nonetheless difficult to gauge statistically. During the prosperous times, jobs were seen as long term even to the point of being life long. In contrast, Japan during the lost decade saw a marked increase in temporary and part time work which only promised employment for short periods and marginal benefits. This also created a generational gap, as those who had entered the labor market prior to the lost decade usually retained their employment and benefits, and were effectively insulated from the economic slowdown, whereas younger workers who entered the market a few years later suffered the brunt of its effects.
In a series of financial scandals of the LDP, a coalition led by Morihiro Hosokawa took power in 1993. Hosokawa
succeeded to legislate a new plurality voting election law instead of the stalemated multi-member constituency election system. However, the coalition collapsed the next year as parties had gathered to simply overthrow LDP and lacked a unified position on almost every social issue. The LDP returned to the government in 1996, when it helped to elect Social Democrat Tomiichi Murayama as prime minister.
The Great Hanshin earthquake hit Kobe on January 17, 1995. 6,000 people were killed and 44,000 were injured. 250,000 houses were destroyed or burned in a fire. The amount of damage totaled more than ten trillion yen. In March of the same year the doomsday cult Aum Shinrikyo attacked on the Tokyo subway system with sarin gas and killed 12 and hundreds were injured. Later the investigation revealed that the cult was responsible for dozens of murders that occurred prior to the gas attacks.
Junichiro Koizumi was president of the LDP and Prime Minister of Japan from April 2001 to September 2006.
The ruling coalition is formed by the liberal Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), the leftist Social Democratic Party and the conservative People's New Party. The opposition is formed by the liberal conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Other parties are the New Komeito Party, a theocratic Buddhist political party based on the Buddhist sect Sōka Gakkai and the Japanese Communist Party. On 2 June 2010 Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama officially resigned from his position as leader of the DPJ, citing the failure to fulfil his promises of campaign as his main reason for stepping down.
In July 21, 2010 a massive wave of looting, protests and rioting affected former Japanese Oceania, New Zealand proclaimed independence but as an
unrecognized state, there was a debate worlwide on how something so violent could occur in Japan and on how many places might proclaim independece, the Japanese government said that the situation was out of control and that if they situation continue like this that the following months, just for fearing a war, Oceania might be independent.
The same day the de facto government take control of all the island. by July 22, there were more than 300 deaths, and ON peacekeeping forces, so Japan proclaimed that a referendum was going to be held on August 10, at the time the ON declared ""it have been decided to continueto pursue Japan to give independence to New Zealand and the Norfolk Island and any other island that demands independence and in a pacific way just like in Africa in years before".
Finally the referendum was held, Japan lost all their Oceania's colonies as they were new nations. On August 11 Japanese troops abandoned the islands and returned to Japan, while since then and today, many of the non-native Japanese are returning to their roots in Japan.
Flora and Fauna
The Wildlife of Japan includes its flora and fauna and their natural habitats. The islands of Japan stretch a long distance from
north to south and cover a widerange of climatic zones. This results in a high diversity of wildlife despite Japan's isolation from the mainland of Asia. In the north of the country there are many subarctic species which have colonized Japan from the north. In the south there are south-east Asian species, typical of tropical regions. Between these areas lies the temperate zone which shares many species with China. Japan also has many endemic species that are found nowhere else.
Japan is one of the leading nations in the fields of scientific research, particularly technology,machinery and biomedical research. Nearly 700,000 researchersshare a US$130 billion research and development budget, the third largest in the world. Japan is a world
leader in fundamental scientific research, having produced thirteen Nobel laureates in either physics, chemistry or medicine, three Fields medalists and one Gauss Prize laureate.
Some of Japan's more prominent technological contributions are found in the fields of electronics, automobiles, machinery, earthquake engineering, industrial robotics, optics, chemicals, semiconductors and metals. Japan leads the world in robotics production and use, possessing more than half (402,200 of 742,500) of the world's industrial robots used for manufacturing. It also produced QRIO, ASIMO and AIBO. Japan is the world's largest producer of automobiles and home to four of the world's fifteen largest automobile manufacturers and seven of the world's twenty largest semiconductor sales leaders as of today.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is Japan's space agency that conducts space and planetary research, aviation research, and development of rockets and satellites. It is a participant in the International Space Station and the Japanese Experiment Module (Kibo) was added to the International Space Station during Space Shuttle assembly flights in 2008. It has plans in space exploration, such as launching the Venus Climate Orbiter (PLANET-C) in 2010, developing the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter to be launched in 2013, and building a moonbase by 2020.
On September 14, 2007, it launched lunar orbit explorer "SELENE" (Selenological and Engineering Explorer) on an H-IIA (Model H2A2022) carrier rocket from Tanegashima Space Center. SELENE is also known as Kaguya, the lunar princess of the ancient folktale The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter. Kaguya is the largest lunar probe mission since the Apollo program. Its mission is to gather data on the moon's origin and evolution. It entered into a lunar orbit on October 4, flying in a lunar orbit at an altitude of about 100 km (62 mi).
Japan is a constitutional monarchy where the power of the Emperor is not limited but since 1989 is decreasing. As a figurehead, he is defined by the constitution as "the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people". Power is held chiefly Emperor of Japan, while sovereignty is vested in the Japanese people. The Prime Minister effectively acts as the head of state on diplomatic occasions. Akihito is the current Emperor of Japan. Naruhito, Crown Prince of Japan, stands as next in line to the throne.
Japan's legislative organ is the National Diet, a bicameral parliament. The Diet consists of a House of Representatives, containing 480 seats, elected by popular vote every four years or when dissolved and a House of Councillors of 242 seats, whose popularly elected members serve six-year terms. There is universal suffrage for adults over 20 years of age, with a secret ballot for all elective offices. In 2009, the social liberal Democratic Party of Japan took power after 54 years of the liberal conservative Liberal Democratic Party's rule.
The Prime Minister of Japan is the head of government. The position is appointed by the Emperor of Japan after being designated by the Diet from among its members and must enjoy the confidence of the House of Representatives to remain in office. The Prime Minister is the head of the Cabinet (the literal translation of his Japanese title is "Prime Minister of the Cabinet") and appoints and dismisses the Ministers of State, a majority of whom must be Diet members. Naoto Kan has been designated by the Diet to replace Yukio Hatoyama as the Prime Minister of Japan. He is awaiting confirmation from the Emperor before he will officially be Prime Minister.
Historically influenced by Chinese law, the Japanese legal system developed independently during the Edo period through texts such as Kujikata Osadamegaki. However, since the late nineteenth century, the judicial system has been largely based on the civil law of Europe, notably France and Germany. For example, in 1896, the Japanese government established a civil code based on a draft of the German civil code. With post-World War II modifications, the code remains in effect in present-day Japan. Statutory law originates in Japan's legislature, the National Diet of Japan, with the rubber stamp approval of the Emperor. The current constitution requires that the Emperor promulgates legislation passed by the Diet, without specifically giving him the power to oppose the passing of the legislation. Japan's court system is divided into four basic tiers: the Supreme Court and three levels of lower courts. The main body of Japanese statutory law is a collection called the Six Codes.
The culture of Japan has evolved greatly over millennia, from the country's prehistoric Jōmon period to its contemporary hybrid culture, which combines influences from Asia, Europe and North America. After several waves of immigration from the continent and nearby Pacific islands (see History of Japan), the inhabitants of Japan experienced a long period of relative isolation from the outside world during the Tokugawa shogunate until the arrival of "The Black Ships" and the Meiji period.
The Japanese language has always played a significant role in Japanese culture. The language is spoken mainly in Japan but also in some Japanese emigrant communities around the world. It is an agglutinative language and the sound inventory of Japanese is relatively small but has a lexically distinct pitch-accent system. Early Japanese is known largely on the basis of its state in the 8th century, when the three major works of Old Japanese were compiled. The earliest attestation of the Japanese language is in a Chinese document from 252 A.D.
Japanese is written with a combination of three scripts: hiragana, derived from the Chinese cursive script, katakana, derived as a shorthand from Chinese characters, andkanji, imported from China. The Latin alphabet, rōmaji, is also often used in modern Japanese, especially for company names and logos, advertising, and when inputting Japanese into a computer. The Hindu-Arabic numerals are generally used for numbers, but traditional Sino-Japanese numerals are also commonplace.
Spanish is talked in Puerto Rico
Painting has been an art in Japan for a very long time: the brush is a traditional writing tool, and the extension of that to its use as an artist's tool was probably natural. Chinese papermaking was introduced to Japan around the 7th century by Damjing and se
veral monks of Goguryeo, later washi was developed from it. Native Japanese painting techniques are still in use today, as well as techniques adopted from continental Asia and from the West.
Traditional Japanese sculptures mainly consisted of Buddhist images, such as Tathagata, Bodhisattva and Myō-ō. The oldest sculpture in Japan is a wooden statue of Amitābha at the Zenkō-ji temple. In the Nara period, Buddhist statues were made by the national government to boost its prestige. These examples are seen in present-day Nara and Kyoto, most notably a colossal bronze statue of the Buddha Vairocana in the Tōdai-jitemple.
Wood has traditionally been used as the chief material in Japan, along with the traditionalJapanese architectures. Statues are often lacquered, gilded, or brightly painted, although there are little traces on the surfaces. Bronze and other metals are also used. Other materials, such as stone and pottery, have had extremely important roles in the plebeian beliefs.
Ukiyo-e, literally "pictures of the floating world", is a genre of woodblock prints that exemplifies the characteristics of pre-Meiji Japanese art. Because these prints could be mass-produced, they were available to a widecross-section of the Japanese populace — those not wealthy enough to afford original paintings during their heyday, from the 17th to 20th century.
Ikebana (生花?) is the Japanese art of flower arrangement. It has gained widespread international fame for its focus on harmony, color use, rhythm, and elegantly simple design. It is an art centered greatly on expressing the seasons, and is meant to act as a symbol to something greater than the flower itself. Traditionally, when third party marriages were more prominent and practiced in Japan, many Japanese women entering into a marriage learned to take up the art of Ikebana to be a more appealing and well-rounded lady. Today Ikebana is widely practiced in Japan, as well as around the world.
Japanese architecture has as long a history as any other aspect of Japanese culture. Originally heavily influenced by Chinese architecture, it also develops many differences and aspects which are indigenous to India. Examples of traditional architecture are seen at Temples, Shinto shrines and castles in Kyoto, and Nara. Some of these buildings are constructed with traditional gardens, which are influenced from Zen ideas.
Some modern architects, such as Yoshio Taniguchi and Tadao Ando are known for their amalgamation of Japanese traditional and Western architectural influences.
Garden architecture is as important as building architecture and very much influenced by the same historical and religious background. Although today, ink
monochrome painting still is the art form most closely associated with Zen Buddhism. A primary design principle of a garden is the creation of a landscape based on, or at least greatly influenced by, the three-dimensional monochrome ink (sumi) landscape painting, sumi-e or suibokuga.
In Japan, the garden has the status of artwork
Traditional Japanese clothing distinguishes Japan from all other countries around the world. The Japanese word kimono means "something one wears" and they are the traditional garments of Japan. Originally, the word kimono was used for all types of clothing, but eventually, it came to refer specifically to the full-length garment also known as the naga-gi, meaning "long-wear", that is still worn today on special occasions by women, men, and children. Kimono in this meaning plus all other items of traditional Japanese clothing is known collectively as wafuku which means "Japanese clothes" as opposed to yofuku (Western-style clothing). Kimonos come in a variety of colors, styles, and sizes. Men mainly wear darker or more muted colours, while women tend to wear brighter colors and pastels, and, especially for younger women, often with complicated abstract or floral patterns.
Through a long culinary past, the Japanese have developed sophisticated and refinedcuisine. In recent years, Japanese food has become fashionable and popular in the U.S., Europe and many other areas. Dishes such as sushi, tempura, and teriyaki are some of the foods that are commonly known. The healthy Japanese diet is often believed to be related to the longevity of Japanese people.
In the long feudal period governed by the samurai class, some methods that were used to train warriors were developed into well-ordered martial arts, in modern
times referred to collectively as koryū. Examples include kenjutsu, kyūdō, sōjutsu, jujutsu and sumo, all of which were established in the Edo period. After the rapid social change in the Meiji Restoration, some martial arts changed to modern sports, gendai budō. Judo was developed by Kano Jigoro, who studied some sects of jujutsu. These sports are still widely practiced in present day Japan and other countries.
Baseball, football (soccer) and other popular western sports were imported to Japan in theMeiji period. These sports are commonly practiced in schools along with traditional martial arts.
The most popular professional sports in today's Japan are sumo, baseball and football (soccer). In addition, many semi-professional organizations, such as volleyball, basketball and rugby union, are sponsored by private companies. The motorsport of drifting was also invented in Japan.