1. World Map/
  2. Asia/
  3. Japan

Japan

Through the next several centuries, various periods surfaced and diminished, including the Muromachi, Sengoku, Azuchi-Momoyama, and Edo.

At the turn of the 17th century, Japan entered an age of isolation in which no foreigner could enter the country, nor could any Japanese citizen leave the country under a penalty of death. The Sakoku period of seclusion (which began in 1635) was executed as a means of disposing of the colonial and religious influence brought in by Spain and Portugal, and lasted until 1868.

The Empire of Japan surfaced, following the Sakoku period, and a political, economic and cultural transformation materialized.

During this generation of rapid growth, Japan assumed the form of an imperial power, and colonized Korea and Taiwan. Then, in 1931, in a challenge against the United States and League of Nations, the empire began to occupy Manchuria and small parts of China.

Prior to the start of World War II, the Japanese Army continued to attack many of China's coastal cities. In addition, they ravaged Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam. Consequently, the Japanese empire now stretched across much of the Southeast Pacific.

Then, on December 7, 1941, the ambitious Japanese set their sights on the United States, attacking a naval base at Pearl Harbor, and pushing the U.S. into World War II.

After a very bloody war on both sides, atomic bombs fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and Japan's seemingly unavoidable defeat in World War II caused Emperor Hirohito to surrender in 1945.

Japan recovered within two decades; becoming a staunch ally of the U.S.. The country completely revised its postwar constitution, going as far as to limit the power of their emperor, making it, as it is today, a ceremonial position.

Within the blink-of-an-eye, (it seems) Japan became one of the world's major economic forces; its high-quality automobiles and electronics sold around the world.

On March 11, 2011 a massive, magnitude 9.0, earthquake and subsequent tsunami ravaged the northeastern coast of Japan, causing not only a humanitarian crisis but creating a major dent in the country's economy.

Resulting damage to the Fukushima Nuclear Plant caused a meltdown and release of radioactive material. The Fukushima Daiichi disastrous nuclear meltdown is the largest since the Chernobyl disaster of 1986.

Tourism declined significantly in the wake of the meltdown, but over the past few years, travel to Japan has steadily increased.

Visitors to Japan enjoy the fast-paced culture and excitement of Tokyo and Osaka, the rural coastal villages and wilderness areas, the winter wonderland of Sapporo, and most of all the courteous and respectful Japanese people.

About Japan

Trending on WorldAtlas

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

Countries of Asia

This page was last updated on April 7, 2017.