Japan is a fascinating country. The facts of Japan are interesting and often surprising. It is the facts of Japan and its unique culture that make it so magical and mystical to non-Japanese. Many of us are intrigued and beguiled by a way of life and a country so very different to our own. Here are some interesting facts about Japan. Enjoy!
1. Geography of Japan
One of the interesting facts about Japan is that the country has significant forests and is mountainous, with arable land being only 11.6% of the total area. More than 3,000 islands with a total area of 377,835 square kilometres are included in the Japanese Archipelago. From the North to the South there are four primary islands; Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu. One of the interesting features of Japanese geography is that because of its position in relation to the Pacific Ring of Fire, the country possesses a variety of hydrothermal characteristics for example, geysers and hot springs. It is also known for its earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis.
2. The Japanese Economy
Significant facts about Japan relate to its economy. It is one of the most technologically advanced societies in the world. The result has been that it possesses the second largest global economy by GDP after the United States. The Japanese are renowned for their product quality and competitiveness in the industries of vehicles, electronic office equipment, steel and other hi-tech products. The country is an importer of food, lumber, oil and metal ores. Although growth in the economy faltered during the 1990’s it has generally recovered to a reasonable 2% per annum.
3. Population 1960-2011
With a recorded population in December 2011 of 127.82 million, Japan represents around 1.85% of the world total. This is particularly interesting for Japan as it is the highest population ever recorded for that country. Further facts about Japan and its population is that a record low of 94.10 million people was observed in 1960. For the majority of the country’s history, the fact of Japan’s borders being closed to outsiders resulted in a society composed of about 98.5% Japanese. A significant number of Koreans live in Japan, as well as Chinese, Filipinos and Brazilians, with an established ethnic minority of indigenous people known as the Ainu living primarily in Northern Hokkaido.
4. Official and Mandatory Languages
Among the facts about Japan is that although the official language is Japanese, many of the population have an acceptable ability to speak and write in English, which is a mandatory part of the curriculum within their education system. A further interesting feature of Japan is that their language utilises four different methods of writing. They are composed of Chinese characters, known as Kanji, a phonetic alphabet for foreign words called Katakana, then the phonetic alphabet for native words that is Hiragana. The Western alphabet used for the writing of Japanese is Romaji. Words borrowed from various languages have strongly influenced the Japanese language, with most of them originating from English and Chinese.
5. The Varying Climate of Japan
Facts about Japan must include a reference to its climate that varies significantly with the regions and seasons. During summer, it is generally hot and humid known to the Japanese as “mushiatsui”. The weather is one of the interesting things about Japan due to its varying nature. In mid-June, it is the start of the rain season, lasting about one month. The winter season is generally mild, but the northern areas of the country experience more snow. It is usual spring and autumn that has mild temperatures and sunny days.
6. Religions in Japan
There are many interesting facts about Japan and religion is among them. The two primary religions in Japan are Shinto (the foremost religion of Japan) and Buddhism. Shinto was developed in the prehistoric era and is a polytheistic faith with emphasis on the natural world. It is a faith that does not have a founder or a holy book. The majority of Buddhists in Japan belong to the Mahayana school that came from Baekje, Korea in the sixth century. Another religious fact about Japan is that there are minority religions such as Christians, Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs that make up about 1% of the population.
7. The Government of Japan
One important fact about Japan and its government is that it has a monarchy, headed by the Emperor who although possessing minimal political power is a revered, symbolic and diplomatic leader of the country. The Prime Minister is Head of the Cabinet in government and the political leader. Another political fact about Japan is the bicameral legislature that consists of a House of Representatives and a House of Councillors. The court system of the country is four-tier and headed by fifteen members of the Supreme Court. The civil law system is based on the European formula.
Those are just the prime facts about Japan. I hope you found them interesting and that you learned more about this lovely country. What about Japan that fascinates you?
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