Anthem: "Kimigayo" (君が代)
"His Imperial Majesty's Reign"[1]
Government Seal of Japan
Seal of the Office of the Prime Minister and the Government of Japan
5-7 Paulownia (五七桐, go-shichi kiri)
Projection of Asia with Japan's Area coloured green
Japanese territory in dark green; claimed but uncontrolled territory in light green
and largest city
35°41′N 139°46′E / 35°41′N 139°46′E / 35.683; 139.767
National languageJapanese
Ethnic groups
GovernmentUnitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy
• Emperor
Shinzō Abe
Tadamori Ōshima
Akiko Santō
Naoto Ōtani
LegislatureNational Diet
House of Councillors
House of Representatives
February 11, 660 BC
November 29, 1890
May 3, 1947
April 28, 1952
• Total
377,975 km2 (145,937 sq mi)[4] (61st)
• Water (%)
• 2019 estimate
126,150,000[5] (11th)
• 2015 census
• Density
334/km2 (865.1/sq mi) (24th)
GDP (PPP)2020 estimate
• Total
Increase $5.888 trillion[7] (4th)
• Per capita
Increase $46,827 (28th)
GDP (nominal)2020 estimate
• Total
Increase $5.413 trillion[7] (3rd)
• Per capita
Increase $43,043 (22nd)
Gini (2015)33.9[8]
medium · 78th
HDI (2018)Increase 0.915[9]
very high · 19th
CurrencyJapanese yen (¥) (JPY)
Time zoneUTC+09:00 (JST)
Date format
  • yyyy-mm-dd
  • yyyymmdd
  • era yymmdd
Mains electricity100 V–50/60 Hz[c]
Driving sideleft
Calling code+81
ISO 3166 codeJP
Internet TLD.jp
Japanese name

Japan (Japanese: 日本, Nippon [ɲippoꜜɴ] (About this soundlisten) or Nihon [ɲihoꜜɴ] (About this soundlisten)) is an island country located in East Asia. It is bordered by the Sea of Japan to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the east, and spans more than 3,000 kilometers (1,900 mi) along the coast of the continent from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Philippine Sea in the south. Part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, Japan encompasses a stratovolcanic archipelago of about 6,852 islands, with five main islands (Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku, and Okinawa) comprising 97% of the country's total area of 377,975 square kilometers (145,937 sq mi).

Japan is officially divided into 47 prefectures and traditionally into eight regions. Approximately two-thirds of the country's terrain is mountainous and heavily forested, and less than one-eighth of land is suitable for agriculture. Consequently, Japan is among the most densely populated and urbanized countries in the world, with over 90% of its population living in urban areas. The largest of these is the metropolitan area centered on the capital city of Tokyo, which is the most populous in the world and home to more than 38 million people. Japan itself is the world's eleventh most populous country with a population of 126.2 million, of which 97.8% are ethnically Japanese.

The kanji (or "Chinese characters") that make up the name of Japan in the Japanese language mean "sun origin"; in the Western world, the country is often known by the sobriquet "Land of the Rising Sun". Periods of influence from other regions, primarily China, followed by periods of isolation, particularly from Western Europe, have characterized the history of Japan.

While archaeological evidence indicates that Japan was inhabited as early as the Upper Paleolithic period, the first written mention of the archipelago appears in Chinese texts from the first century AD. Between the fourth and ninth centuries, the kingdoms of Japan became gradually unified under an Emperor and imperial court based in Heian-kyō (modern Kyoto). However, beginning in the twelfth century, de facto political power came to be held by a succession of military dictators (shōgun) and feudal lords (daimyō) and enforced by a class of warrior nobility known as samurai. After a century-long period of civil war, Japan was reunified in 1603 under the rule of the Tokugawa shogunate, which established a government in Edo (modern Tokyo) and enacted a policy of isolationism. This period ended in 1853 when a United States fleet forced Japan to open to the West, leading to the fall of the shogunate and the restoration of imperial power in 1868. In the following Meiji era, Japan adopted a Western-style government and pursued a program of industrialization and modernization; this transformed the feudal society into a great power, with Japan establishing a colonial empire in East Asia after decisive victories in the First Sino-Japanese War and Russo-Japanese War. In 1937, the Empire of Japan invaded China, beginning the Second Sino-Japanese War; in 1940, it signed the Tripartite Pact and entered World War II the following year on the side of the Axis powers. After suffering major defeats in the Pacific and two atomic bombings, Japan surrendered to the Allies in 1945, coming under a brief occupation and adopting a new post-war constitution. Japan has since maintained a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy with the Emperor as a ceremonial head of state and an elected legislature known as the National Diet.

Today, Japan is a member of numerous international institutions, including the United Nations, the OECD, the G7, and the G20. Although it has officially renounced its right to declare war, Japan maintains a modern military for peacekeeping and self-defense, which has been ranked as the world's fourth most powerful. Following World War II, Japan experienced record economic growth, recovering from the war to become the world's second-largest economy by 1980. Today, Japan's economy is the world's third-largest by nominal GDP and fourth-largest by purchasing power parity; it is also the fourth-largest importer and exporter and a global leader in the automotive and electronics industries. Japan is ranked "very high" on the Human Development Index; its population enjoys high levels of education and the second-highest life expectancy in the world, though it currently is experiencing a projected decline due to low birth rates. Culturally, Japan is globally renowned for its art, cuisine, literature, cinema, music, and popular culture, including its prominent comics, animation, and video game industries.


The Japanese word for Japan is 日本, which is pronounced Nihon or Nippon and literally means "the origin of the sun". The character nichi () means "sun" or "day"; hon () means "base" or "origin".[10] The compound therefore means "origin of the sun" and is the source of the popular Western epithet "Land of the Rising Sun".[11]

The earliest record of the name Nihon appears in the Chinese historical records of the Tang dynasty, the Old Book of Tang. At the end of the seventh century, a delegation from Japan requested that Nihon be used as the name of their country. This name may have its origin in a letter sent in 607 and recorded in the official history of the Sui dynasty. Prince Shōtoku, the Regent of Japan, sent a mission to China with a letter in which he called himself "the Emperor of the Land where the Sun rises" (日出處天子). The message said: "Here, I, the emperor of the country where the sun rises, send a letter to the emperor of the country where the sun sets. How are you[?]".[12]

The "King of Na gold seal", said to have been granted to Na king of Wa (Japan) by Emperor Guangwu of Han in 57 CE. The seal reads "漢委奴國王". Tokyo National Museum

Prior to the adoption of Nihon, other terms such as Yamato (大和, or "Great Wa") and Wakoku (倭国) were used. The term Wa () is a homophone of Wo (pronounced "Wa" by the Japanese), which has been used by the Chinese as a designation for the Japanese as early as the third century Three Kingdoms period. Another form of Wa (), Wei in Chinese) was used for an early state in Japan called Nakoku during the Han dynasty.[13] However, the Japanese disliked some connotation of Wa (which has been associated in China with concepts like "dwarf" or "pygmy"), and it was therefore replaced with the substitute character Wa (), meaning "togetherness, harmony".[12][14]

The English word Japan possibly derives from the historical Chinese pronunciation of 日本. Japan was recorded by Marco Polo as Cipangu.[15] In modern Shanghainese, a Wu dialect, the pronunciation of characters 日本 Japan is Zeppen [zəʔpən]. The old Malay word for Japan, Japun or Japang, was borrowed from a southern coastal Chinese dialect, probably Fukienese or Ningpo[16] – and this Malay word was encountered by Portuguese traders in Southeast Asia in the 16th century.[17] These Early Portuguese traders then brought the word to Europe.[18] The first record of this name in English is in a book published in 1577 and spelled Giapan, in a translation of a 1565 letter written by a Portuguese Jesuit Luís Fróis.[19][20]

From the Meiji Restoration until the end of World War II, the full title of Japan was Dai Nippon Teikoku (大日本帝國), meaning "the Empire of Great Japan".[21] Today, the name Nihon-koku/Nippon-koku (日本国) is used as a formal modern-day equivalent with the meaning of "the State of Japan". Countries like Japan whose long form does not contain a descriptive designation are generally given a name appended by the character koku (), meaning "country", "nation" or "state".

Other Languages
Acèh: Jeupun
Адыгэбзэ: Япон
адыгабзэ: Японие
Afrikaans: Japan
Akan: Japan
Alemannisch: Japan
አማርኛ: ጃፓን
Ænglisc: Iapan
Аҧсшәа: Иапониа
العربية: اليابان
aragonés: Chapón
ܐܪܡܝܐ: ܝܦܢ
Արեւմտահայերէն: Ճափոն
armãneashti: Japonia
arpetan: J·apon
অসমীয়া: জাপান
asturianu: Xapón
Atikamekw: Japan
Avañe'ẽ: Hapõ
авар: Япония
Aymar aru: Nihun
azərbaycanca: Yaponiya
تۆرکجه: ژاپون
Bali: Jepang
bamanankan: Japan
বাংলা: জাপান
Banjar: Japang
Bân-lâm-gú: Ji̍t-pún
Basa Banyumasan: Jepang
башҡортса: Япония
беларуская: Японія
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Японія
भोजपुरी: जापान
Bikol Central: Hapon
Bislama: Japan
български: Япония
Boarisch: Japan
བོད་ཡིག: ཉི་ཧོང་།
bosanski: Japan
brezhoneg: Japan
буряад: Япон Улас
català: Japó
Чӑвашла: Япони
Cebuano: Hapon
čeština: Japonsko
Chamoru: Chapan
Chavacano de Zamboanga: Japón
Chi-Chewa: Japan
chiShona: Japan
chiTumbuka: Japan
corsu: Giapponu
Cymraeg: Japan
dansk: Japan
davvisámegiella: Jáhpan
Deitsch: Japan
Deutsch: Japan
ދިވެހިބަސް: ޖަޕާނު
dolnoserbski: Japańska
डोटेली: जापान
ཇོང་ཁ: ཇ་པཱན
eesti: Jaapan
Ελληνικά: Ιαπωνία
emiliàn e rumagnòl: Giapòṅ
español: Japón
Esperanto: Japanio
estremeñu: Japón
euskara: Japonia
eʋegbe: Japan
فارسی: ژاپن
Fiji Hindi: Japan
føroyskt: Japan
français: Japon
Frysk: Japan
Fulfulde: Japan
furlan: Gjapon
Gaeilge: An tSeapáin
Gagauz: Yaponiya
Gàidhlig: An Iapan
galego: Xapón
ГӀалгӀай: Япони
贛語: 日本
Gĩkũyũ: Japan
گیلکی: ژاپؤن
ગુજરાતી: જાપાન
𐌲𐌿𐍄𐌹𐍃𐌺: 𐌾𐌰𐍀𐌰𐌽
गोंयची कोंकणी / Gõychi Konknni: जपान
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Ngi̍t-pún
한국어: 일본
Hausa: Japan
Hawaiʻi: Iāpana
հայերեն: Ճապոնիա
हिन्दी: जापान
hornjoserbsce: Japanska
hrvatski: Japan
Bahasa Hulontalo: Japangi
Ido: Japonia
Igbo: Japan
Ilokano: Hapon
বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরী: জাপান
Bahasa Indonesia: Jepang
interlingua: Japon
Interlingue: Japan
ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ/inuktitut: ᓃᑉᐊᓐ
Iñupiak: Japan
Ирон: Япон
isiXhosa: IJapani
isiZulu: IJaphani
íslenska: Japan
italiano: Giappone
עברית: יפן
Jawa: Jepang
Kabɩyɛ: Sapɔŋ
kalaallisut: Japani
ಕನ್ನಡ: ಜಪಾನ್
Kapampangan: Hapon
къарачай-малкъар: Япония
ქართული: იაპონია
कॉशुर / کٲشُر: Japan
kaszëbsczi: Japòńskô
қазақша: Жапония
kernowek: Nihon
Kinyarwanda: Ubuyapani
Kirundi: Yapon
Kiswahili: Japani
коми: Япония
Kongo: Japan
Kreyòl ayisyen: Japon
kriyòl gwiyannen: Japon
kurdî: Japon
Кыргызча: Япония
кырык мары: Япони
Ladino: Japon
лакку: Япония
لۊری شومالی: جاپوݩ
latgaļu: Japoneja
Latina: Iaponia
latviešu: Japāna
Lëtzebuergesch: Japan
лезги: Япония
lietuvių: Japonija
Ligure: Giappon
Limburgs: Japan
lingála: Zapɔ́
Lingua Franca Nova: Nion
Livvinkarjala: Japounii
la .lojban.: pongu'e
Luganda: Japan
lumbaart: Giapun
magyar: Japán
मैथिली: जापान
македонски: Јапонија
Malagasy: Japana
മലയാളം: ജപ്പാൻ
Malti: Ġappun
Māori: Nipono
मराठी: जपान
მარგალური: იაპონია
مصرى: اليابان
ဘာသာ မန်: ဂျပန်နိုင်ငံ
مازِرونی: جاپون
Bahasa Melayu: Jepun
Minangkabau: Japang
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Nĭk-buōng
Mirandés: Japon
мокшень: Японмастор
монгол: Япон
မြန်မာဘာသာ: ဂျပန်နိုင်ငံ
Nāhuatl: Xapon
Dorerin Naoero: Djapan
Na Vosa Vakaviti: Japani
Nederlands: Japan
Nedersaksies: Japan
Nēhiyawēwin / ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐍᐏᐣ: ᔭᐊᐸᐊᐣ
नेपाली: जापान
नेपाल भाषा: जापान
日本語: 日本
Napulitano: Giappone
нохчийн: Япон
Nordfriisk: Jaapan
Norfuk / Pitkern: Japan
norsk: Japan
norsk nynorsk: Japan
Nouormand: Japon
Novial: Japan
occitan: Japon
олык марий: Японий
ଓଡ଼ିଆ: ଜାପାନ
Oromoo: Jaappaan
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Yaponiya
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਜਪਾਨ
पालि: जापान
Pälzisch: Japan
Pangasinan: Hapon
پنجابی: جپان
Papiamentu: Hapon
پښتو: جاپان
Patois: Japan
Перем Коми: Ниппон
ភាសាខ្មែរ: ជប៉ុន
Picard: Japon
Piemontèis: Giapon
Tok Pisin: Siapan
Plattdüütsch: Japan
polski: Japonia
Ποντιακά: Ιαπωνία
português: Japão
Qaraqalpaqsha: Yaponiya
qırımtatarca: Yaponiya
reo tahiti: Tāpōnē
Ripoarisch: Japan
română: Japonia
romani čhib: Japan
rumantsch: Giapun
Runa Simi: Nihun
русиньскый: Японія
русский: Япония
саха тыла: Дьоппуон
Sakizaya: Zipun
Gagana Samoa: Iapani
संस्कृतम्: जपान्
Sängö: Zapöo
ᱥᱟᱱᱛᱟᱲᱤ: ᱡᱟᱯᱟᱱ
sardu: Giappone
Scots: Japan
Seeltersk: Japan
Sesotho: Japane
Sesotho sa Leboa: Japane
Setswana: Japan
shqip: Japonia
sicilianu: Giappuni
සිංහල: ජපානය
Simple English: Japan
سنڌي: جاپان
SiSwati: IJaphani
slovenčina: Japonsko
slovenščina: Japonska
словѣньскъ / ⰔⰎⰑⰂⰡⰐⰠⰔⰍⰟ: Ꙗпѡнїꙗ
ślůnski: Japůńijo
Soomaaliga: Jabaan
کوردی: ژاپۆن
Sranantongo: Japan
српски / srpski: Јапан
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Japan
Sunda: Jepang
suomi: Japani
svenska: Japan
Tagalog: Hapon
தமிழ்: யப்பான்
Taqbaylit: Yapan
tarandíne: Giappone
татарча/tatarça: Япония
ၽႃႇသႃႇတႆး : မိူင်းၵျပၢၼ်ႇ
తెలుగు: జపాన్
tetun: Japaun
ትግርኛ: ጃፓን
тоҷикӣ: Ҷопон
lea faka-Tonga: Siapani
Tsetsêhestâhese: Japan
Tshivenda: Japan
ತುಳು: ಜಪಾನ್
Türkçe: Japonya
Türkmençe: Ýaponiýa
Twi: Yapan
тыва дыл: Япония
Thuɔŋjäŋ: Japan
удмурт: Япония
ᨅᨔ ᨕᨘᨁᨗ: Jepang
українська: Японія
اردو: جاپان
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: ياپونىيە
Vahcuengh: Nditbonj
vèneto: Giapòn
vepsän kel’: Japonii
Tiếng Việt: Nhật Bản
Volapük: Yapän
Võro: Jaapan
walon: Djapon
文言: 日本
West-Vlams: Japan
Winaray: Hapon
Wolof: Sapoŋ
吴语: 日本
Xitsonga: Japani
ייִדיש: יאפאן
Yorùbá: Japan
粵語: 日本
Zazaki: Japonya
Zeêuws: Japan
žemaitėška: Japuonėjė
中文: 日本