Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea,South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south. The characters that make up Japan's name mean "sun-origin", which is why Japan is sometimes referred to as the "Land of the Rising Sun".
Japan is an archipelago of 6,852 islands. The four largest islands are Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku. Together, these four islands hold about 97 percent of Japan's land area. Japan has the world's tenth-largest population, with more than 126 million people. Honshū's Greater Tokyo Area, includes the de facto capital city of Tokyo and several surrounding prefectures. It is the largest metropolitan area in the world, with more than 30 million residents.
Archaeological research indicates that people lived in Japan as early as the Upper Paleolithic period. The first written mention of Japan is found in Chinese texts from the 1st century AD. Influence from other nations followed by long periods of isolation has characterized Japan's history. From the 12th century until 1868, Japan was ruled by successive feudal military shogunates in the name of the Emperor. Japan entered into a long period of isolation in the early 17th century, which was only ended in 1853 when a United States fleet pressured Japan to open to the West.
Nearly two decades of internal conflict and insurrection followed before the Meiji Emperor was restored as head of state in 1868 and the Empire of Japan was proclaimed, with the Emperor as a divine symbol of the nation. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, victory 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. 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 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Since adopting its revised constitution in 1947, Japan has maintained a unitary constitutional monarchy with an emperor and an elected legislature called the Diet.
A major economic power, Japan has the world's third-largest economy by nominal GDP and the world's fourth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It is also the world's fourth-largest exporter and fourth-largest importer. Although Japan has officiallyrenounced its right to declare war, it maintains a modern military with the fifth largest military budget, used for self-defense and peacekeeping roles. According to Japan's health ministry, Japanese women have the second highest life expectancy of any country in the world. According to the United Nations, Japan also has the third lowest infant mortality rate.
Tokyo, officially Tokyo Metropolis is one of the 47 prefectures of Japan. Tokyo is the capital of Japan, the centre of the Greater Tokyo Area, and the largest metropolitan area in the world. It is the seat of the Japanese government and the Imperial Palace, and the home of the Japanese Imperial Family. Tokyo is in the Kantō region on the southeastern side of the main island Honshu and includes the Izu Islands andOgasawara Islands. Tokyo Metropolis was formed in 1943 from the merger of the former Tokyo Prefecture and the city of Tokyo.
Tokyo is often thought of as a city but is commonly referred to as a "metropolitan prefecture". The Tokyo metropolitan government administers the 23 Special Wards of Tokyo (each governed as an individual city), which cover the area that was formerly the City of Tokyo before it merged and became the subsequent metropolitan prefecture. The metropolitan government also administers 39 municipalities in the western part of the prefecture and the two outlying island chains. The population of the special wards is over 9 million people, with the total population of the prefecture exceeding 13 million. The prefecture is part of the world's most populous metropolitan area with upwards of 35 million people and the world's largest urban agglomeration economy with a GDP of US$1.479 trillion at purchasing power parity, ahead of the New York metropolitan area in 2008. The city hosts 51 of the Fortune Global 500companies, the highest number of any city.
The city is considered an alpha+ world city, listed by the GaWC's 2008 inventory and ranked fourth among global cities by A.T. Kearney's 2012 Global Cities Index. In 2012, Tokyo was named the most expensive city for expatriates, according to the Mercer and Economist Intelligence Unit cost-of-living surveys, and in 2009 named the third Most Liveable City and the World’s Most Livable Megalopolis by the magazine Monocle. The Michelin Guide has awarded Tokyo by far the most Michelin stars of any city in the world.
Anime are Japanese animated productions featuring hand-drawn or computer animation. The word is the abbreviated pronunciation of "animation" in Japanese, where this term references all animation,but in English, the term is defined as a Japanese-disseminated animation style often characterized by colorful graphics, vibrant characters and fantastic themes. Arguably, the stylization approach to the meaning may open up the possibility of anime produced in countries other than Japan. For simplicity, many Westerners strictly view anime as an animation product from Japan.
The earliest commercial Japanese animation dates to 1917, and production of anime works in Japan has since continued to increase steadily. The characteristic anime art style emerged in the 1960s with the works of Osamu Tezuka and spread internationally in the late twentieth century, developing a large domestic and international audience. Anime is distributed theatrically, by television broadcasts, directly to home media, and over the internet and is classified into numerous genres targeting diverse broad and niche audiences.
Anime is a diverse art form with distinctive production methods and techniques that have been adapted over time in response to emergent technologies. The production of anime differs from Disney animation by focusing less on the animation of movement and more on the realism of settings as well as the use of camera effects, including panning, zooming and angle shots. No single art style exists and character proportions and features can be quite varied, including characteristically large emotive or realistically sized eyes.
The anime industry consists of over 430 production studios including major names like Studio Ghibli, Gainax and Toei Animation. Despite having a fraction of the domestic film market, anime achieves a majority of DVD sales and has been an international success after the rise of televised English dubs. This rise in international popularly has resulted in non-Japanese productions using the anime art style, but these works have been defined as anime-influenced animation by both fans and the industry.
A picture of the anime character Gaara of the desert (from the episodes Naruto).