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日本国 (Japanese)
Nippon-koku or Nihon-koku
Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle
Imperial Seal
"His Imperial Majesty's Reign"
Territory controlled by Japan in dark green; territory claimed but not controlled shown in light green
Territory controlled by Japan in dark green; territory claimed but not controlled shown in light green
and largest city
35°41′N 139°46′E / 35.683°N 139.767°E / 35.683; 139.767
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Official languagesJapanese (de facto)
GovernmentUnitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy
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• Emperor
• Prime Minister
Fumio Kishida
LegislatureNational Diet
• Upper house
House of Councillors
• Lower house
House of Representatives
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• Imperial Dynasty established
February 11, 660 BC
• Meiji Constitution
November 29, 1890
• Current constitution
May 3, 1947
• Total
377,975 km2 (145,937 sq mi)[1] (62nd)
• Water (%)
1.4 (2015)[2]
• 2022 estimate
Neutral decrease 124,840,000[3] (11th)
• 2020 census
• Density
330/km2 (854.7/sq mi) (44th)
GDP (PPP)2022 estimate
• Total
Increase $6.139 trillion[5] (4th)
• Per capita
Increase $49,044[5] (36th)
GDP (nominal)2022 estimate
• Total
Decrease $4.234 trillion[5] (3rd)
• Per capita
Decrease $33,822[5] (28th)
Gini (2018)Positive decrease 33.4[6]
HDI (2021)Increase 0.925[7]
very high · 19th
CurrencyJapanese yen (¥)
Time zoneUTC+09:00 (JST)
Driving sideleft
Calling code+81
ISO 3166 codeJP

Japan (Japanese: 日本, Nippon or Nihon,[nb 1] and formally 日本国, Nihonkoku)[nb 2] is an island country in East Asia. It is situated in the northwest Pacific Ocean and is bordered on the west by the Sea of Japan, extending from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north toward the East China Sea, Philippine Sea, and Taiwan in the south. Japan is a part of the Ring of Fire, and spans an archipelago of 14,125 islands, with the five main islands being Hokkaido, Honshu (the "mainland"), Shikoku, Kyushu, and Okinawa. Tokyo is the nation's capital and largest city, followed by Yokohama, Osaka, Nagoya, Sapporo, Fukuoka, Kobe, and Kyoto.

Japan is the eleventh most populous country in the world, as well as one of the most densely populated. About three-fourths of the country's terrain is mountainous, concentrating its highly urbanized population on narrow coastal plains. Japan is divided into 47 administrative prefectures and eight traditional regions. The Greater Tokyo Area is the most populous metropolitan area in the world. Japan has the world's highest life expectancy, though it is experiencing a population decline.

Japan has been inhabited since the Upper Paleolithic period (30,000 BC). Between the 4th and 9th centuries, the kingdoms of Japan became unified under an emperor and the imperial court based in Heian-kyō. Beginning in the 12th century, political power was held by a series of military dictators (shōgun) and feudal lords (daimyō) and enforced by a class of warrior nobility (samurai). After a century-long period of civil war, the country was reunified in 1603 under the Tokugawa shogunate, which enacted an isolationist foreign policy. In 1854, a United States fleet forced Japan to open trade to the West, which led to the end of the shogunate and the restoration of imperial power in 1868. In the Meiji period, the Empire of Japan adopted a Western-modeled constitution and pursued a program of industrialization and modernization. Amidst a rise in militarism and overseas colonization, Japan invaded China in 1937 and entered World War II as an Axis power in 1941. After suffering defeat in the Pacific War and two atomic bombings, Japan surrendered in 1945 and came under a seven-year Allied occupation, during which it adopted a new constitution.

Under the 1947 constitution, Japan has maintained a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy with a bicameral legislature, the National Diet. Japan is a developed country and a great power. Its economy is the world's third-largest by nominal GDP and the fourth-largest by PPP, with its per capita income ranking at 36th highest in the world. Although Japan has renounced its right to declare war, the country maintains Self-Defense Forces that rank as one of the world's strongest militaries. A global leader in the automotive, robotics and electronics industries, the country has made significant contributions to science and technology. It is part of multiple major international and intergovernmental institutions.

Japan is considered a cultural superpower as the culture of Japan is well known around the world, including its art, cuisine, film, music, and popular culture, which encompasses prominent manga, anime and video game industries.

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Main article: Names of Japan

The name for Japan in Japanese is written using the kanji 日本 and is pronounced Nippon or Nihon.[9] Before 日本 was adopted in the early 8th century, the country was known in China as Wa (, changed in Japan around 757 to ) and in Japan by the endonym Yamato.[10] Nippon, the original Sino-Japanese reading of the characters, is favored for official uses, including on banknotes and postage stamps.[9] Nihon is typically used in everyday speech and reflects shifts in Japanese phonology during the Edo period.[10] The characters 日本 mean "sun origin",[9] which is the source of the popular Western epithet "Land of the Rising Sun".[11]

The name "Japan" is based on Chinese pronunciations of 日本 and was introduced to European languages through early trade. In the 13th century, Marco Polo recorded the early Mandarin or Wu Chinese pronunciation of the characters 日本國 as Cipangu.[12] The old Malay name for Japan, Japang or Japun, was borrowed from a southern coastal Chinese dialect and encountered by Portuguese traders in Southeast Asia, who brought the word to Europe in the early 16th century.[13] The first version of the name in English appears in a book published in 1577, which spelled the name as Giapan in a translation of a 1565 Portuguese letter.[14][15]

See also[]

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  • Index of Japan-related articles
  • Outline of Japan


  1. Template:IPA-ja or Template:IPA-ja
  2. In English, the official name of the country is simply "Japan".[8] In Japanese, the name of the country as it appears on official documents, including the country's constitution, is 日本国 (Audio file "Ja-nippon nihonkoku.ogg" not found or Nihon-koku), meaning "State of Japan". Despite this, the short-form name 日本 (Nippon or Nihon) is also often used officially.


  1. 令和元年全国都道府県市区町村別面積調 (10月1日時点) [Reiwa 1 nationwide area survey by prefectures and municipalities (as of October 1)] (in Japanese). Geospatial Information Authority of Japan. December 26, 2019. Archived from the original on April 15, 2020.
  2. "Surface water and surface water change". OECD. Retrieved October 11, 2020.
  3. "Population Estimates by Age (Five-Year Groups) and Sex". Statistics Bureau of Japan. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  4. "2020 Population Census Preliminary Tabulation". Statistics Bureau of Japan. Retrieved June 26, 2021.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 "World Economic Outlook database: April 2023". International Monetary Fund. October 2022.
  6. Inequality - Income inequality - OECD Data. OECD. Retrieved July 25, 2021.
  7. "Human Development Report 2021/2022" (PDF). United Nations Development Programme. September 8, 2022.
  8. "Official Names of Member States (UNTERM)" (PDF). UN Protocol and Liaison Service. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 5, 2020. Retrieved May 21, 2020.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Schreiber, Mark (November 26, 2019). "You say 'Nihon,' I say 'Nippon,' or let's call the whole thing 'Japan'?". The Japan Times.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Carr, Michael (March 1992). "Wa Wa Lexicography". International Journal of Lexicography. 5 (1): 1–31. doi:10.1093/ijl/5.1.1 – via Oxford Academic.
  11. Piggott, Joan R. (1997). [[[:Template:Google books]] The Emergence of Japanese Kingship] Check |url= value (help). Stanford University Press. pp. 143–144. ISBN 978-0-8047-2832-4.
  12. Hoffman, Michael (July 27, 2008). "Cipangu's landlocked isles". The Japan Times. Archived from the original on August 25, 2018.
  13. Lach, Donald (2010). Asia in the Making of Europe. I. University of Chicago Press. p. 157.
  14. Mancall, Peter C. (2006). "Of the Ilande of Giapan, 1565". Travel Narratives from the Age of Discovery: an anthology. Oxford University Press. pp. 156–157.
  15. Batchelor, Robert K. (2014). [[[:Template:Google books]] London: The Selden Map and the Making of a Global City, 1549–1689] Check |url= value (help). University of Chicago Press. pp. 76, 79. ISBN 978-0-226-08079-6.

External links[]

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General information

Template:Japan topics

Coordinates: 36°N 138°E / 36°N 138°E / 36; 138

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