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; the kanji that make up Japan's name mean "sun origin", it is called the "Land of the Rising Sun". Japan is a stratovolcanic archipelago consisting of about 6,852 islands; the four largest are Honshu, Hokkaido and Shikoku, which make up about ninety-seven percent of Japan's land area and are referred to as home islands. The country is divided into 47 prefectures in eight regions, with Hokkaido being the northernmost prefecture and Okinawa being the southernmost one; the population of 127 million is the world's tenth largest. 90.7 % of people live in cities. About 13.8 million people live in the capital of Japan. The Greater Tokyo Area is the most populous metropolitan area in the world with over 38 million people. Archaeological research indicates; the first written mention of Japan is in Chinese history texts from the 1st century AD.
Influence from other regions China, followed by periods of isolation from Western Europe, has characterized Japan's history. From the 12th century until 1868, Japan was ruled by successive feudal military shōguns who ruled in the name of the Emperor. Japan entered into a long period of isolation in the early 17th century, ended in 1853 when a United States fleet pressured Japan to open to the West. After nearly two decades of internal conflict and insurrection, the Imperial Court regained its political power in 1868 through the help of several clans from Chōshū and Satsuma – and the Empire of Japan was established. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, victories 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 Japanese surrender. Since adopting its revised constitution on May 3, 1947, during the occupation led by SCAP, the sovereign state of Japan has maintained a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy with an Emperor and an elected legislature called the National Diet.
Japan is a member of the ASEAN Plus mechanism, UN, the OECD, the G7, the G8, the G20, is considered a great power. Its economy is the world's third-largest by nominal GDP and the fourth-largest by purchasing power parity, it is the world's fourth-largest exporter and fourth-largest importer. Japan benefits from a skilled and educated workforce. Although it has renounced its right to declare war, Japan maintains a modern military with the world's eighth-largest military budget, used for self-defense and peacekeeping roles. Japan is a developed country with a high standard of living and Human Development Index, its population enjoys the highest life expectancy and third lowest infant mortality rate in the world, but is experiencing issues due to an aging population and low birthrate. Japan is renowned for its historical and extensive cinema, influential music industry, video gaming, rich cuisine and its major contributions to science and modern technology; the Japanese word for Japan is 日本, pronounced Nihon or Nippon and means "the origin of the sun".
The character nichi means "sun" or "day". The compound therefore means "origin of the sun" and is the source of the popular Western epithet "Land of the Rising Sun"; 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"; 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". Prior to the adoption of Nihon, other terms such as Yamato and Wakoku were used; the term Wa is a homophone of Wo 倭, 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. However, the Japanese disliked some connotation of Wa 倭, it was therefore replaced with the substitute character Wa, meaning "togetherness, harmony"; the English word Japan derives from the historical Chinese pronunciation of 日本. The Old Mandarin or early Wu Chinese pronunciation of Japan was recorded by Marco Polo as Cipangu. In modern Shanghainese, a Wu dialect, the pronunciation of characters 日本; the old Malay word for Japan, Japun or Japang, was borrowed from a southern coastal Chinese dialect Fukienese or Ningpo – and this Malay word was encountered by Portuguese traders in Southeast Asia in the 16th century. These Early Portuguese traders brought the word
Yakuza known as gokudō, are members of transnational organized crime syndicates originating in Japan. The Japanese police, media by request of the police, call them bōryokudan, while the Yakuza call themselves ninkyō dantai; the Western equivalent for the term Yakuza is gangster, meaning an individual involved in a Mafia-like criminal organization. The Yakuza are notorious for their strict codes of conduct, their organized fiefdom nature, several unconventional ritual practices such as "Yubitsume". Yakuza members are described as males with tattooed bodies and slicked hair, yet this group is still regarded as being among "the most sophisticated and wealthiest criminal organizations."At their height, the Yakuza maintained a large presence in the Japanese media and operated internationally. In fact, in the early 1960s police estimated that the Yakuza had a membership of 184,100. However, in recent years their numbers have dwindled with the latest figure from the National Police Agency estimating that as of 2016 the number of members in all 22 designated gangs was 39,100.
This decline is attributed to changing market opportunities and several legal and social developments in Japan which discourage the growth of Yakuza membership. Yet, despite their dwindling numbers, the Yakuza still engage in an array of criminal activities, many Japanese citizens remain fearful of the threat these individuals pose to their safety. However, there remains no strict prohibition on Yakuza membership in Japan today, although much legislation has been passed by the Japanese government aimed at increasing liability for criminal activities and impeding revenue; the name Yakuza originates from the traditional Japanese card game Oicho-Kabu, a game in which the goal is to draw three cards adding up to a score of 9. If the sum of the cards exceeds 10, the second digit is used as the score instead, if the sum is 10, the score is 1. If the three cards drawn are 8-9-3, the sum is 20 and therefore the score is zero, making it the worst possible hand that can be drawn. Despite uncertainty about the single origin of Yakuza organizations, most modern Yakuza derive from two classifications which emerged in the mid-Edo period: tekiya, those who peddled illicit, stolen, or shoddy goods.
Tekiya were considered one of the lowest social groups during the Edo period. As they began to form organizations of their own, they took over some administrative duties relating to commerce, such as stall allocation and protection of their commercial activities. During Shinto festivals, these peddlers opened stalls and some members were hired to act as security; each peddler paid rent in exchange for a stall protection during the fair. The tekiya were a structured and hierarchical group with the oyabun at the top and kobun at the bottom; this hierarchy resembles a structure similar to the family as the oyabun was regarded as a surrogate father, the kobun as surrogate children. During the Edo period, the tekiya were formally recognized by the government. At this time, the oyabun were appointed as supervisors and granted near-samurai status meaning they were allowed the dignity of a surname and two swords. Bakuto had a much lower social standing than traders, as gambling was illegal. Many small gambling houses cropped up in abandoned temples or shrines at the edge of towns and villages all over Japan.
Most of these gambling houses ran loan sharking businesses for clients, they maintained their own security personnel. The places themselves, as well as the bakuto, were regarded with disdain by society at large, much of the undesirable image of the Yakuza originates from bakuto; because of the economic situation during the mid-period and the predominance of the merchant class, developing Yakuza groups were composed of misfits and delinquents that had joined or formed Yakuza groups to extort customers in local markets by selling fake or shoddy goods. The roots of the Yakuza can still be seen today in initiation ceremonies, which incorporate tekiya or bakuto rituals. Although the modern Yakuza has diversified, some gangs still identify with the other. During the formation of the Yakuza, they adopted the traditional Japanese hierarchical structure of oyabun-kobun where kobun owe their allegiance to the oyabun. In a much period, the code of jingi was developed where loyalty and respect are a way of life.
The oyabun-kobun relationship is formalized by ceremonial sharing of sake from a single cup. This ritual is not exclusive to the Yakuza—it is commonly performed in traditional Japanese Shinto weddings, may have been a part of sworn brotherhood relationships. During the World War II period in Japan, the more traditional tekiya/bakuto form of organization declined as the entire population was mobilised to participate in the war effort and society came under strict military government. However, after the war, the Yakuza adapted again. Prospective Yakuza come from all walks of life; the most romantic tales tell how Yakuza accept sons who have been abandoned or exiled by their parents. Many Yakuza start out in junior high school or high school as common street thugs or members of bōsōzoku gangs; because of its lower socio-economic status, numerous Yakuza me
Noboru Yamaguchi was the second kumicho, or Godfather, of the Yamaguchi-gumi yakuza gang in Japan. He assumed control of the gang in 1925 from the gang's founder, Harukichi Yamaguchi, he ruled until 1942, was succeeded in 1946 by his protege, Kazuo Taoka
Kobe is the sixth-largest city in Japan and the capital city of Hyōgo Prefecture. It is located on the southern side of the main island of Honshū, on the north shore of Osaka Bay and about 30 km west of Osaka. With a population around 1.5 million, the city is part of the Keihanshin metropolitan area along with Osaka and Kyoto. The earliest written records regarding the region come from the Nihon Shoki, which describes the founding of the Ikuta Shrine by Empress Jingū in AD 201. For most of its history, the area was never a single political entity during the Tokugawa period, when the port was controlled directly by the Tokugawa shogunate. Kobe did not exist in its current form until its founding in 1889, its name comes from kanbe. Kobe became one of Japan's designated cities in 1956. Kobe was one of the cities to open for trade with the West following the 1853 end of the policy of seclusion and has since been known as a cosmopolitan and nuclear-free zone port city. While the 1995 Great Hanshin earthquake diminished much of Kobe's prominence as a port city, it remains Japan's fourth-busiest container port.
Companies headquartered in Kobe include ASICS, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Kobe Steel, as well as over 100 international corporations with Asian or Japanese headquarters in the city, such as Eli Lilly and Company, Procter & Gamble, Boehringer Ingelheim, Nestlé. The city is the point of origin and namesake of Kobe beef, as well as the site of one of Japan's most famous hot spring resorts, Arima Onsen. Media related to History of Kobe at Wikimedia Commons Tools found in western Kobe demonstrate the area was populated at least from the Jōmon period; the natural geography of the area of Wada Cape in Hyōgo-ku, led to the development of a port, which would remain the economic center of the city. Some of the earliest written documents mentioning the region include the Nihon Shoki, which describes the founding of the Ikuta Shrine by Empress Jingū in AD 201. During the Nara and Heian periods, the port was known by the name Ōwada Anchorage and was one of the ports from which imperial embassies to China were dispatched.
The city was the capital of Japan in 1180, when Taira no Kiyomori moved his grandson Emperor Antoku to Fukuhara in present-day Hyōgo-ku. The Emperor returned to Kyoto after about five months. Shortly thereafter in 1184, the Taira fortress in Hyōgo-ku and the nearby Ikuta Shrine became the sites of the Genpei War battle of Ichi-no-Tani between the Taira and Minamoto clans; the Minamoto prevailed. As the port grew during the Kamakura period, it became an important hub for trade with China and other countries. In the 13th century, the city came to be known by the name Hyōgo Port. During this time, Hyōgo Port, along with northern Osaka, composed the province of Settsu. During the Edo period, the eastern parts of present-day Kobe came under the jurisdiction of the Amagasaki Domain and the western parts under that of the Akashi Domain, while the center was controlled directly by the Tokugawa shogunate, it was not until the abolition of the han system in 1871 and the establishment of the current prefecture system that the area became politically distinct.
Hyōgo Port was opened to foreign trade by the Shogunal government at the same time as Osaka on January 1, 1868, just before the advent of the Boshin War and the Meiji Restoration. The region has since been identified with the West and many foreign residences from the period remain in Kobe's Kitano area. Kobe, as it is known today, was founded on April 1, 1889, was designated on September 1, 1956 by government ordinance; the history of the city is tied to that of the Ikuta Shrine, the name "Kobe" derives from kamube, an archaic name for those who supported the shrine. During World War II, Kobe was bombed in the Doolittle Raid on April 18, 1942, along with Tokyo and a few other cities, it was bombed again with incendiary bombs by B-29 bombers on March 17, 1945, causing the death of 8,841 residents and destroying 21% of Kobe's urban area. This incident inspired the well-known Studio Ghibli film Grave of the Fireflies and the book by Akiyuki Nosaka on which the film was based. Following continuous pressure from citizens, on March 18, 1975, the Kobe City Council passed an ordinance banning vessels carrying nuclear weapons from Kobe Port.
This prevented any U. S. warships from entering the port, policy being not to disclose whether any warship is carrying nuclear weapons. This nonproliferation policy has been termed the "Kobe formula". On January 17, 1995, a magnitude 6.9 earthquake occurred at 5:46 am JST near the city. About 6,434 people in the city were killed, 212,443 were made homeless, large parts of the port facilities and other parts of the city were destroyed; the earthquake destroyed portions of the Hanshin Expressway, an elevated freeway that toppled over. In Japan, the earthquake is known as the Great Hanshin earthquake. To commemorate Kobe's recovery from the 1995 quake, the city holds an event every December called the Luminarie, where the city center is decorated with illuminated metal archways; the Port of Kobe was Japan's busiest port and one of Asia's top ports until the Great Hanshin earthquake. Kobe has since dropped to fourth in 49th-busiest container port worldwide. Wedged between the coast and the mountains, the city of Kobe is narrow.
To the east is the city of Ashiya, while the city of Akashi lies to its west. Other adjacent cities include Takarazuka and Nishinomiya to the