Japan in a Nutshell

Japan is often difficult to understand for those educated in the west. It can seem full of contradictions. Many Japanese corporations dominate their industries, yet if you read the financial news it seems like Japan is practically bankrupt. Cities are as modern and high tech as anywhere else, but tumbledown wooden shacks can still be spotted next to glass fronted designer condominiums.

The Country: Japan is an island country in the North Pacific Ocean. It lies off the northeast coast of mainland Asia. Four large islands and thousands of smaller ones make up Japan. The four major islands—Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu, and Shikoku—form a curve that extends for about 1,200 miles (1,900 kilometers). More than 126 million people are crowded on these islands, making Japan one of the most densely populated countries in the world.

The People: During the period from 1870 to 1970, Japan’s population more than tripled. It increased from about 30 million to over 100 million. Since 1970, a high birth rate has further increased the population growth. To this day, Japan has continued to be one of the world's most densely populated countries. A little over 13 million people live in Tokyo, Japan’s capital. In addition, Tokyo is the largest city in the world by Metropolitan area and contiguous urban area.

Living in Japan: Almost four-fifths of the Japanese people live in urban areas. A large share of the urban population is concentrated in the four major metropolitan areas of Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, and Nagoya— all on the island of Honshu. In many ways, Japan's big cities resemble those of other industrialized countries. Tall, concrete, and steel office buildings crowd commercial districts. Traffic fills wide expressways during rush hours. Modern elevated and subway trains carry millions of people to and from work. Numerous restaurants serve everything from such American favorites as hamburgers, hot dogs, and pizza to the finest European dishes. Many large Japanese cities offer the latest motion pictures, music, and plays from all parts of the world.

Written on 03/11/2017 - 22:24 by Shawn Blake

Last modified on 10/07/2017 - 17:40



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