Japan

Japan Description

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Steeped in centuries of Asian culture and history, Japan, an archipelago of 4 major and over 4,000 smaller islands, is a mostly mountainous country with only 15% of its land cultivable. Japan has a population of 127,368,088 and gained its independence in the year 1590.
As a result of the shortage of land, its largest cities ring the coastline. The mammoth metropolis of Tokyo, and the other major cities along the Pacific Ocean are home to most of its people.

The first ever recorded mention of Japan was made in the first century AD. By 710 AD its first permanent capital was founded.

At the turn of the 8th century, the Nara period developed, pushing Japan into a golden age, and inspiring a wave of Buddhist art and architecture.

Unfortunately for the Naras, a smallpox epidemic between the years of 735-737 killed nearly one-third of the country's population, and by 784 the Heian period had taken over.

From the Heian era a distinctly indigenous Japanese culture was produced, one that was known for its art, poetry and prose; including the national anthem of Japan.

As the Heian period came to an end in the mid-1100s, various military clans rose to power, and the feudal Kamakura period was born.

For the next 700 years, Japan was controlled by powerful regional families (daimyo) and territorial warlords (shogun), while the emperor and traditional central government were merely confined to ceremonial affairs.

The Kamakuras found themselves fighting off repeated invasions by the Mongols, whose naval technology and weaponry were far superior. Their lucky break came in the form of a typhoon that completely ravaged the invading Mongol forces, and ultimately saved Japan from being seized.

Despite the Mongol's failed attempt at gaining control of Japan, the Japanese remained fearful of further attacks, and ultimately exhausted the country's finances on an extravagant army in order to keep up a constant state of readiness.

As a consequence, the economy faltered, and so did the Kamakuran era.

After the Kamakura shogunate was overthrown, a period of restoration occurred, known as the Kemmu Restoration, headed by Emperor Go-Daigo.

Japan prefectures & their capitals

Region Capital
Aichi Nagoya-shi
Akita Akita Shi
Aomori Aomori Shi
Chiba Chiba
Ehime Matsuyama
Fukui Fukui-shi
Fukuoka Fukuoka-shi
Fukushima Fukushima-shi
Gifu Gifu-shi
Gunma Maebashi-shi
Hiroshima Hiroshima-shi
Hokkaido Sapporo
Hyogo Kobe
Ibaraki Mito-shi
Ishikawa Kanazawa-shi
Iwate Morioka-shi
Kagawa Takamatsu-shi
Kagoshima Kagoshima-shi
Kanagawa Yokohama
Kochi Kochi-shi
Kumamoto Kumamoto
Kyoto Kyoto
Mie Tsu-shi
Miyagi Sendai-shi
Miyazaki Miyazaki-shi
Nagano Nagano-shi
Nagasaki Nagasaki-shi
Nara Nara-shi
Niigata Niigata-shi
Oita Oita
Okayama Okayama-shi
Okinawa Naha-shi
Osaka Osaka-shi
Saga Saga-shi
Saitama Saitama
Shiga Otsu-shi
Shimane Matsue-shi
Shizuoka Shizuoka-shi
Tochigi Utsunomiya-shi
Tokushima Tokushima-shi
Tokyo Tokyo
Tottori Tottori
Toyama Toyama-shi
Wakayama Wakayama-shi
Yamagata Yamagata-shi
Yamaguchi Yamaguchi-shi
Yamanashi Kofu-shi
This page was last modified on August 14, 2015.