Japan is one of the word’s most interesting and influential countries. Over the course of the past several millennia, Japan has been able to change the course of history several times over. If you don’t know much about the country, you’ve come to the right place! Here are 20 fun facts about Japan:
- Japan’s government consists of a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary government; while the Emperors have no “real” power in the sense of modern government & politics go, they are still seen as a symbol of Japan’s traditions & unity
- The country’s official language is Japanese
- It’s not actually 1 giant island – it consists of 4 main islands (Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku & Kyushu), with almost 4,000 smaller islands!
- Roughly 1,500 earthquakes hit Japan each year
- Humans arrived in the country ~30,000 years ago
- The first emperor, Jimmu Tenno, ascended to power in 660 B.C.
- Europeans first arrived in 1543 A.D.
- The country closed its borders to outsiders in 1635 and remained in a state of isolation for ~200 years, until 1868
- Japan sided with the Allies in WW1, but sided with the Axis Powers in WW2
- Japanese architecture has been heavily influenced by Chinese architecture, although it does have its own unique style
- Hard work and respect for elders are two important values for Japanese citizens
- The country has the 3rd largest economy in the world
- Many people follow Shintoism and Buddhism in Japan
- Japanese calligraphy is seen as both an art form & a way of writing; so is the brush in Japan
- Traditional Japanese fashion varies depending on one’s social status
- Japan’s “national character” – how you write Japan in Japanese – means “theories/discussions about the Japanese people” and refers to texts on matters that are normally the concerns of sociology, psychology, history, linguistics, and philosophy, but emphasizing the authors’ assumptions or perceptions of Japanese exceptionalism
- Japan is the 2nd largest music market in the world after the U.S.
- Popular Japanese sports native to the country include jujutsu, sumo, kyudo, and sojutsu (baseball, soccer, ping pong, & American football are also popular foreign sports)
- Japanese dishes typically include rice, fresh seafood, & pickled/boiled vegetables; popular dishes are sushi, tempura, noodles, & teriyaki
- Japanese pop culture includes manga, anime, and video games developed in the country
Interested in learning more about different countries and cities around the world? Check out our Cities & Countries page!
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As an recent college graduate who studied media studies and anthropology in college, Briana Maddox enjoys learning about different cultures, traditions, holidays, historical figures, experiences, and opinions. With a vested interest in sharing such learning experiences, Briana created Life & Anthropology in the hopes of helping other people gain a better understanding and working knowledge of such topics.