Japan is an island country in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies off the eastern coast of the Asian continent and stretches from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and the Philippine Sea in the south
Japan is an archipelago, or string of islands, on the eastern edge of Asia. There are four main islands: Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu. There are also nearly 4,000 smaller islands! Japan’s nearest mainland neighbors are the Siberian region of Russia in the north and Korea and China farther south.
Key cities in Japan include: Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Nagoya, Sapporo, Kobe, Fukuoka, Kyoto, Kawasaki, and Saitama.
Historical, Cultural facts & Religion
During the Jomon period, which began around 10,000 BC, the inhabitants of Japan lived by fishing, hunting, and gathering. The period is named after the cord-markings (Jomon) on the pottery they produced. In the Yayoi period, beginning around 300 BC, rice cultivation was introduced from the Korean Peninsula.
Early Japanese culture was heavily influenced by China. During the Edo era, Japan exercised a strict isolationist policy, closing its doors to all relationships with the outside world. Over the years, Western culture has influenced all aspects of Japanese culture including art, lifestyle and food.
Shinto and Buddhism are Japan’s two major religions. Shinto is as old as the Japanese culture, while Buddhism was imported from the mainland in the 6th century. Since then, the two religions have been co-existing relatively harmoniously and have even complemented each other to a certain degree
Brief Country History
Human beings have lived in Japan for at least 30,000 years. During the last ice age, Japan was connected to mainland Asia by a land bridge and stone age hunters were able to walk across. When the ice age ended about 10,000 BC Japan became a group of islands.
About 8,000 BC the ancient Japanese learned to make pottery. The period from 8,000 BC to 300 BC is called the Jomon. The word Jomon means ‘cord-marked’ because those people marked their pottery by wrapping a cord around it. The Jomon people lived by hunting, fishing and collecting shellfish. The Jomon made tools of stone, wood, and bone. They also made clay figurines of people and animals called dogu.
Between 300 BC and 300 AD a new era began in Japan. At that time the Japanese learned to grow rice. They also learned to make tools of bronze and iron. The Japanese also learned to weave cloth.
This period is called Yayoi. (It was named after a village called Yayoicho). Farming meant a more settled lifestyle. Yayoi people lived in villages of wooden huts. Farming and other skills also meant society became divided into classes. The leaders of Yayoi society were buried in mounds away from the ordinary people’s burial grounds.
In 2009 a major political change took place in Japan. The Liberal Democratic Party ruled Japan for all of the years 1995-2009 except for a period of 11 months. However, in 2009 the Democratic Party of Japan won a majority in the lower house of parliament. Today Japan is a prosperous nation.
Language (s) Written & Spoken
The most widely spoken language in Japan is Japanese, which is separated into numerous dialects with the Tokyo dialect considered standard Japanese. In addition to the Japanese language, Ryukyuan languages are spoken in Okinawa and parts of Kagoshima in the Ryukyu Islands.
Important Types of Commerce in Japan
Japan’s major export industries include automobiles, consumer electronics, computers, semiconductors, and iron and steel. Additionally, key industries in Japan’s economy are mining, nonferrous metals, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, bioindustry, shipbuilding, aerospace, textiles, and processed foods.
Language Services US and others will provide working with Japan
With the mining boom, Japan has recently become a melting pot of people from all parts of the world. It is a great example of a multicultural success story. Many businesses require a Japanese translator to do document translation or interpreting. Effective communication is an essential element of building trust in a business relationship. As Japan continues to court more and more foreign tourists, the nation must learn to respect foreign languages as much as its own. Investing in proper translations of signs, menus, brochures and pamphlets into English (or any other language) is paramount. The translation is not just rendering information from one language into another, but presenting that information in an attractive enough format to convince people to read and act upon it. Otherwise, why even translate?
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