The thousand of years of happy reign be thine:
-Japanese National Anthem
It has been more than 1300 years since they started to call their country Nihon or Nippon, contemporary Japanese way to say Japan (Kodansha 1996: 54-55). After the long history that consists of the periods of seclusion and assimilation, Japan has grown into one of the most developed countries in the world. Many people all over the world nowadays know the country, and use their products in many occasions. However, because of their unique national character and their rapid growth, it is also true that so many stereotypes about Japan and the Japanese exist. In this article of Japanese ethnographic summary, not all, but general present condition of Japan is described in seven separate categories: location, geographic resources, exchange system, subsistence practices, political structures, religion, and kinship structure and other social organizations.
This may be a good opportunity for you to know a little bit about recent Japan, rather than Sushi, Samurai and Toyota.
Japan is an island country surrounded by the sea on all sides. It is located across from very east part of Asian continent with the Sea of Japan between, and very west-end part of Pacific Ocean.
Japanese law established the standard location of Japan on the world map to be 139.44 degree east longitude and 35.39 degree north latitude (Kokudo 1999: Electric Document).
To be exact, the country lays between 153.59 and 122.55 degree east longitude and between 20.25 and 45.33 degree north latitude (The management and Coordination Agency 2000: Electric Document). To name a few, New York, San Francisco, Seoul, and Paris are situated on the same latitude as Japan.
Japan is an island country, but is not a single island: It consists of about 6,800 islands including some inhabited islands (Kodansha 1996: 35).
Besides an island country, Japan can also be described as a mountainous country. Codansha International (1996: 34-41) states 67 percent of Japanese entire land surface is covered by mountains and only 13 percent is plains. From these mountains, so many rivers run all over the nation, curving valleys and gorges, and providing various graphical changes of the land. There are many lakes, too.
Under such conditions, the principal agricultural resources in Japan are grains like rice and wheat, vegetables like potato, Japanese white email protected(daikon), cabbage, onion, cucumber, tomato, and carrot, and fruits like Japanese orange(mikan), apple, watermelon, and Japanese peer(nashi) (Noma 1993: 17).
In addition, so many kinds of animals like mammals, reptiles, fishes, birds and insects can be found in Japan (Noma 1993: 38-39).
Exchange System (Imports and exports)
Although there are such geographic resources mentioned above, because Japan is a very small country with a huge population, a large part of its land that once had been farmland became land for housing. As a result, Japanese people must depend on imported food and other resources like fuel from other countries. Japanese import and export conditions are shown in Table 1 and 2: the research done by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (Kodansha 1996: 116-119). The percentage shows the ratio of imports/exports to the amount of production.
Table 1: Degree of Dependence on Imports
Table 2: Degree of Dependence on Exports
Because Japan is one of the advanced nations like the United States, their technology is quite same as this countryfs.
However, because of their tendency to have methodical personalities, their technological devices are often admired to be more elaborate and more exact.
Although they have their own cultural clothes such as kimono, ha one-piece, front-open, wide-sleeved dress which reaches the anklesh(Hasegawa et al. 1986: 403), in their daily lives they wear western clothes. They wear their traditional clothes like Kimono in the special occasions: New Yearfs day, Coming-of-Age Day, wedding ceremonies, and graduation ceremonies. They also have some casual-traditional clothes like Yukata, made of cotton, which some of them wear as pajamas (Kodansha 1996: 224-227). Yukata is also famous to be worn at summer festival in Japan.
Japanese people like to eat various kinds of food from all over the world, from Western food to Asian food to Japanese food. So, there are a bunch of restaurants in each town so that they can always have choices of what to eat for .