The Yayoi period, starting around 500 BC, saw the introduction of practices like wet-rice farming, a new style of pottery and metallurgy, introduced from China and Korea.
Around 300 BC, the Yayoi people began to enter the Japanese islands, intermingling with the Jōmon.
Japanese sculpture, largely of wood, and Japanese painting are among the oldest of the Japanese arts, with early figurative paintings dating back to at least 300 BC.
As of 2016, Japan's public debt was estimated at more than 230 percent of its annual gross domestic product, the largest of any nation in the world.
Confucianism entered Japan from China around the 5th century A.
Buddhism first arrived in Japan in the 6th century; it was introduced in the year 538 or 552 from the kingdom of Baekje in Korea.
Japan in years
Despite early resistance, Buddhism was promoted by the ruling class and gained widespread acceptance beginning in the Asuka period (592–710).
The earliest works of Japanese literature include the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki chronicles and the Man'yōshū poetry anthology, all from the 8th century and written in Chinese characters.
The Nara period (710–784) marked an emergence of the centralized Japanese state centered on the Imperial Court in Heijō-kyō (modern Nara).
The smallpox epidemic of 735–737 is believed to have killed as much as one-third of Japan's population.
This marked the beginning of the Heian period (794–1185), during which a distinctly indigenous Japanese culture emerged, noted for its art, poetry and prose.
Japan in decades
800, 899, 900, 999
Many instruments, such as the koto, were introduced in the 9th and 10th centuries.
Pure Land Buddhism (Jōdo-shū, Jōdo Shinshū) became greatly popular in the latter half of the 11th century.
1100, 1199, 1868
From the 12th century until 1868, Japan was ruled by successive feudal military shōguns who ruled in the name of the Emperor.
It began in the 12th century.
In 1185, following the defeat of the Taira clan in the Genpei War, sung in the epic Tale of Heike, samurai Minamoto no Yoritomo was appointed shōgun by Emperor Go-Toba, and Yoritomo established a base of power in Kamakura.
Japan in centuries
The Zen school of Buddhism was introduced from China in the Kamakura period (1185–1333) and became popular among the samurai class.
The Kamakura shogunate repelled Mongol invasions in 1274 and 1281, but was eventually overthrown by Emperor Go-Daigo.
The accompanied recitative of the Noh drama dates from the 14th century and the popular folk music, with the guitar-like shamisen, from the sixteenth.
Emperor Go-Daigo was himself defeated by Ashikaga Takauji in 1336.
This was the start of the Muromachi period (1336–1573).
On the other hand, the succeeding Ashikaga shogunate failed to control the feudal warlords (daimyōs) and a civil war (the Ōnin War) began in 1467, opening the century-long Sengoku period ("Warring States").
The old Malay word for Japan, Japun or Japang, was borrowed from a southern coastal Chinese dialect, probably Fukienese or Ningpo – and this Malay word was encountered by Portuguese traders in Southeast Asia in the 16th century.
This evolved to Higashiyama Culture, and prospered until the 16th century.
During the 16th century, traders and Jesuit missionaries from Portugal reached Japan for the first time, initiating direct commercial and cultural exchange between Japan and the West.
Today, fewer than 1% to 2.3% are Christians, most of them living in the western part of the country, where the missionaries' activities were greatest during the 16th century.
Japan entered into a long period of isolation in the early 17th century, which was ended in 1853 when a United States fleet pressured Japan to open to the West.
When open war broke out, Ieyasu defeated rival clans in the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600.
Tokugawa Ieyasu was appointed shōgun by Emperor Go-Yōzei in 1603 and established the Tokugawa shogunate in Edo (modern Tokyo).
The shogunate enacted measures including buke shohatto, as a code of conduct to control the autonomous daimyōs; and in 1639 the isolationist sakoku ("closed country") policy that spanned the two and a half centuries of tenuous political unity known as the Edo period (1603–1868).
However, since the late 19th century the judicial system has been largely based on the civil law of Europe, notably Germany.
Other minority religions include Hinduism, Sikhism and Judaism, Bahá'í Faith, and since the mid-19th century numerous new religious movements have emerged in Japan.
Since the 19th century, however, Japan has incorporated much of Western, modern, and post-modern architecture into construction and design, and is today a leader in cutting-edge architectural design and technology.
The interaction between Japanese and European art has been significant: for example ukiyo-e prints, which began to be exported in the 19th century in the movement known as Japonism, had a significant influence on the development of modern art in the West, most notably on post-Impressionism.
Western classical music, introduced in the late 19th century, now forms an integral part of Japanese culture.
Western philosophy has had its major impact in Japan only since the middle of the 19th century.
Beer has been brewed in Japan since the late 1800s, and is produced in many regions by companies including Asahi Breweries, Kirin Brewery, and Sapporo Brewery – claiming to be the oldest named brand of beer in Japan.
31 March 1854
On March 31, 1854, Commodore Matthew Perry and the "Black Ships" of the United States Navy forced the opening of Japan to the outside World with the Convention of Kanagawa.
Plunging itself through an active process of Westernization during the Meiji Restoration in 1868, Japan adopted Western political, judicial and military institutions and Western cultural influences integrated with its traditional culture for modern industrialization.
During the Meiji period from 1868, Japan expanded economically with the embrace of the market economy.
The first was the Kami and Buddhas Separation Act of 1868, which formally separated Buddhism from Shinto and Buddhist temples from Shinto shrines, breaking an association between the two which had lasted well over a thousand years.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, victories in the First Sino-Japanese War, the Russo-Japanese War and World War I allowed Japan to expand its empire during a period of increasing militarism.
1900, 1912, 1920, 1926, 1929, 1999
The early 20th century saw a period of Taishō democracy (1912–1926), but the 1920s saw a fragile democracy buckle under a political shift towards statism, the passing of laws against political dissent and a series of attempted coups.
People usually sat on cushions or otherwise on the floor, traditionally; chairs and high tables were not widely used until the 20th century.
Japanese comics, known as manga, developed in the 20th century and have become popular worldwide.
Between 1910 and 1945, the Japanese government rebuilt Korean infrastructure.
The 1923 Tokyo earthquake killed over 140,000 people.
This process accelerated during the 1930s, spawning a number of new Radical Nationalist groups which shared a hostility to liberal democracy and a dedication to expansion in Asia.
In 1931 Japan invaded and occupied Manchuria and following international condemnation of this occupation, it quit the League of Nations in 1933.
In 1936, Japan signed the Anti-Comintern Pact with Germany and the 1940 Tripartite Pact made it one of the Axis Powers.
Japan's top professional league, now known as Nippon Professional Baseball, was established in 1936 and is widely considered to be the highest level of professional baseball in the world outside of the North American Major Leagues.
The Second Sino-Japanese War of 1937 expanded into part of World War II in 1941, which came to an end in 1945 following the Japanese surrender.
The Empire of Japan invaded other parts of China in 1937, precipitating the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945).
In 1940, the Empire invaded French Indochina, after which the United States placed an oil embargo on Japan.
On December 7–8, 1941, Japanese forces carried out surprise attacks on Pearl Harbor, British forces in Malaya, Singapore and Hong Kong and declared war on the United States and the British Empire, bringing the United States and the United Kingdom into World War II in the Pacific.
15 August 1945
After Allied victories across the Pacific during the next four years, which culminated in the Soviet invasion of Manchuria and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, Japan agreed to an unconditional surrender on August 15.
Since adopting its revised constitution on May 3, 1947, during the occupation by the SCAP, the sovereign state of Japan has maintained a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy with an Emperor and an elected legislature called the National Diet.
Japan is the number one importer of Korean music (K-pop), television (K-dramas), and films, but this was only made possible after the South Korean government lifted the 30-year ban on cultural exchange with Japan that had been in place since 1948.
Public holidays in Japan are regulated by the Public Holiday Law (国民の祝日に関する法律, Kokumin no Shukujitsu ni Kansuru Hōritsu) of 1948.
Hideki Yukawa, educated at Kyoto University, was awarded the prize in physics in 1949.
1950, 1959, 1960, 1969
In the period of rapid economic growth after World War II, environmental policies were downplayed by the government and industrial corporations; as a result, environmental pollution was widespread in the 1950s and 1960s.
Japan captured 4,074,580 metric tons of fish in 2005, down from 4,987,703 tons in 2000, 9,558,615 tons in 1990, 9,864,422 tons in 1980, 8,520,397 tons in 1970, 5,583,796 tons in 1960 and 2,881,855 tons in 1950.
The Allied occupation ended with the Treaty of San Francisco in 1952 and Japan was granted membership in the United Nations in 1956.
1955, 1993, 1994, 2009, 2012
The LDP has enjoyed near-continuous electoral success since 1955, except for brief periods between 1993 and 1994 and from 2009 to 2012.
1956, 2009, 2010
A member state of the United Nations since 1956, Japan has served as a non-permanent Security Council member for a total of 20 years, most recently for 2009 and 2010.
Japan has diplomatic relations with nearly all independent nations and has been an active member of the United Nations since December 1956.
The village of Ogata in Akita, Japan, was established on land reclaimed from Lake Hachirogata starting in 1957.
1960, 1969, 1970, 1979, 1980, 1989, 1990, 1999
The period of overall real economic growth from the 1960s to the 1980s has been called the Japanese post-war economic miracle: it averaged 7.5 percent in the 1960s and 1970s, and 3.2 percent in the 1980s and early 1990s.
1964, 1972, 1998
Japan hosted the Summer Olympics in Tokyo in 1964 and the Winter Olympics in Sapporo in 1972 and Nagano in 1998.
Shin'ichirō Tomonaga followed in 1965.
The country gained the hosting rights for the official Women's Volleyball World Championship on five occasions (1967, 1998, 2006, 2010, 2018), more than any other nation.
Japan was a venue of the Intercontinental Cup from 1981 to 2004 and co-hosted the 2002 FIFA World Cup with South Korea.
Since privatisation in 1987, dozens of Japanese railway companies compete in regional and local passenger transportation markets; major companies include seven JR enterprises, Kintetsu, Seibu Railway and Keio Corporation.
The Isahaya Bay reclamation project (諫早湾干拓事業) in Isahaya, Nagasaki started in 1989 and a total of 35 km2 (14 sq mi) has been reclaimed as of 2018.
Since the 1990s, the Korean Wave has created a large fanbase in East Asia.
Growth slowed in the 1990s during the "Lost Decade" due to after-effects of the Japanese asset price bubble and government policies intended to wring speculative excesses from the stock and real estate markets.
As the host and signatory of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, Japan is under treaty obligation to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions and to take other steps to curb climate change.
According to a survey conducted by the Japanese Newspaper Association in June 1999, 85.4 per cent of men and 75 per cent of women read a newspaper every day.
Efforts to revive economic growth were unsuccessful and further hampered by the global slowdown in 2000.
Japan leads the world in robotics production and use, possessing more than 20% (300,000 of 1.3 million) of the world's industrial robots as of 2013 – though its share was historically even higher, representing one-half of all industrial robots worldwide in 2000.
Japanese chemists took prizes in 2000 and 2001: first Hideki Shirakawa (Tokyo Institute of Technology) and then Ryōji Noyori (Kyoto University).
HTV-6 grappled by the International Space Station%27s robotic arm %282%29
Beginning in 2000, Japan implemented the Happy Monday System, which moved a number of national holidays to Monday in order to obtain a long weekend.
Japan's dominance within the industry would continue for the next two decades, until Microsoft's Xbox consoles began challenging Sony and Nintendo in the 2000s.
In 2002, Masatoshi Koshiba (University of Tokyo) and Koichi Tanaka (Tohoku University) won in physics and chemistry, respectively.
In 2003, the total aquaculture production was predicted at 1,301,437 tonnes.
In 2003, there were about 134,700 non-Latin American Western (not including more than 33,000 American military personnel and their dependents stationed throughout the country) and 345,500 Latin American expatriates, 274,700 of whom were Brazilians (said to be primarily Japanese descendants, or nikkeijin, along with their spouses), the largest community of Westerners.
In 2009, the number of suicides exceeded 30,000 for the twelfth successive year.
As of 2009, out of Japan's $20 billion gaming market, $6 billion of that amount is generated from arcades, which represent the largest sector of the Japanese video game market, followed by home console games and mobile games at $3.5 billion and $2 billion, respectively.
11 June 2009
The probe's mission was ended when it was deliberately crashed by JAXA into the Moon on June 11, 2009.
Japan later achieved rapid growth to become the second-largest economy in the world, until surpassed by China in 2010.
In 2010, Japan's total fisheries production was 4,762,469 fish.
New military guidelines, announced in December 2010, will direct the JSDF away from its Cold War focus on the former Soviet Union to a focus on China, especially regarding the territorial dispute over the Senkaku Islands.
June 2015, 2011
As of June 2015, more than 40 coal-fired power plants are planned or under construction in Japan, following the switching-off of Japan's nuclear fleet following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Chinese travelers are the highest spenders in Japan by country, spending an estimated 196.4 billion yen (US$2.4 billion) in 2011, or almost a quarter of total expenditure by foreign visitors, according to data from the Japan Tourism Agency.
As of 2011, 46.1% of energy in Japan was produced from petroleum, 21.3% from coal, 21.4% from natural gas, 4.0% from nuclear power and 3.3% from hydropower.
Nuclear power produced 9.2 percent of Japan's electricity, as of 2011, down from 24.9 percent the previous year.
Skyscrapers of Shinjuku 2009 January %28revised%29
In 2011, Japan's population dropped for a fifth year, falling by 204,000 people to 126.24 million people.
Japan is the most successful Asian Rugby Union country, winning the Asian Five Nations a record 6 times and winning the newly formed IRB Pacific Nations Cup in 2011.
Also, Japan recently won the FIFA Women's World Cup in 2011.
11 March 2011
On March 11, 2011, Japan suffered one of the largest earthquakes in its recorded history; this triggered the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, one of the worst disasters in the history of nuclear power.
March 2011, May 2012
However, by May 2012 all of the country's nuclear power plants had been taken offline because of ongoing public opposition following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in March 2011, though government officials continued to try to sway public opinion in favor of returning at least some of Japan's 50 nuclear reactors to service.
As of April 2012, Japan has approximately 1,215,000 kilometres (755,000 miles) of roads made up of 1,022,000 kilometres (635,000 miles) of city, town and village roads, 129,000 kilometres (80,000 miles) of prefectural roads, 55,000 kilometres (34,000 miles) of general national highways and 8,050 kilometres (5,000 miles) of national expressways.
It has the 15th highest natural disaster risk as measured in the 2013 World Risk Index.
Foreign visitors to Japan doubled in last decade and reached 10 million people for the first time in 2013, led by increase of Asian visitors.
It is the world's fifth largest donor of official development assistance, donating US$9.2 billion in 2014.
As of 2014, Japan's main export markets were the United States (20.2 percent), China (17.5 percent), South Korea (7.1 percent), Hong Kong (5.6 percent) and Thailand (4.5 percent).
Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura, who is an American citizen when awarded, shared the physics prize in 2014 and the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Yoshinori Ohsumi in 2016.
In 2014, foreign-born non-naturalized workers made up only 1.5% of the total population.
In 2014, the country ranked fourth for the percentage of 25- to 64-year-olds that have attained tertiary education with 48 percent.
11 August 2014
In 2014, the House of Councillors decided to add Mountain Day (山の日, Yama no Hi) to the Japanese calendar on August 11, after lobbying by the Japanese Alpine Club.
In 2014, Japan's consumer video game market grossed $9.6 billion, with $5.8 billion coming from mobile gaming.
1 January 2014, 11 February 2014, 20 March 2014, 21 March 2014, 29 April 2014, 3 May 2014, 4 May 2014, 5 May 2014, 11 August 2014, 23 September 2014, 24 September 2014, 3 November 2014, 23 November 2014, 23 December 2014
The national holidays in Japan are New Year's Day on January 1, Coming of Age Day on Second Monday of January, National Foundation Day on February 11, Vernal Equinox Day on March 20 or 21, Shōwa Day on April 29, Constitution Memorial Day on May 3, Greenery Day on May 4, Children's Day on May 5, Marine Day on Third Monday of July, Mountain Day on August 11, Respect for the Aged Day on Third Monday of September, Autumnal Equinox on September 23 or 24, Health and Sports Day on Second Monday of October, Culture Day on November 3, Labour Thanksgiving Day on November 23, and The Emperor's Birthday on December 23.
In May 2014, Prime Minister Shinzō Abe said Japan wanted to shed the passiveness it has maintained since the end of World War II and take more responsibility for regional security.
November 2014, 2015
As of November 2014, two reactors at Sendai are likely to restart in early 2015.
Although it has officially renounced its right to declare war, Japan maintains a modern military with the world's eighth-largest military budget, used for self-defense and peacekeeping roles; it ranked as the world's fourth most-powerful military in 2015.
A Credit Suisse survey published in 2015 ranked Japan as the world's fourth most-powerful military behind the United States, Russia and China.
150504 Ritsurin Park Takamatsu Kagawa pref Japan01s3
In 2015, Japan's public spending on education amounted to just 3.5 percent of its GDP, below the OECD average of 4.7%.
According to the 2015 NHK survey on television viewing in Japan, 79 percent of Japanese watch television every day.
Despite their historical tensions, in December 2015, Japan agreed to settle the comfort women dispute with South Korea by issuing a formal apology, taking responsibility for the issue and paying money to the surviving comfort women.
As of 2016, Japan's labor force consisted of some 65.9 million workers.
2016, 2020, 2030
In 2016, having met the 20 million target, the government has revised up its target to 40 million by 2020 and to 60 million by 2030.
In 2016, 24,039,053 foreign tourists visited Japan.
It is part of the Greater Tokyo Area, the biggest metropolitan area in the world with 38,140,000 people (2016).
Starting in April 2016, various schools began the academic year with elementary school and junior high school integrated into one nine-year compulsory schooling program, in hopes to mitigate bullying and truancy; MEXT plans for this approach to be adopted nationwide in the coming years.
In 2017, Japan had the fifth largest diplomatic network in the world.
Most recently, South Korean President Moon Jae-in met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the 2017 G-20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany to discuss the future of their relationship and specifically how to cooperate on finding solutions for North Korean aggression in the region.
Japan's plans in space exploration include: developing the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter to be launched in 2018; and building a moon base by 2030.
The capital city Tokyo has a population of 13.8 million (2018).
23 July 2018
The highest temperature ever measured in Japan 41.1 °C (106.0 °F) was recorded on July 23, 2018.
15 September 2018
On September 15, 2018, for the first time, 1 in 5 persons in Japan is 70 or older according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. 26.18 million people are 70 or older and accounted for 20.7 percent of the population.
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