Asuka was the Imperial capital of Japan during the Asuka period, which takes its name from this place. It is located in the present-day village of Nara Prefecture; some of the many theories of what the place was named after include the bird common crossbill, or isuka in Japanese, or local geological features, e.g. 洲処 or 崩地 + 処. Or it may have been named in honor of Asuka Nyorai, the Japanese equivalent of Akshobhya, one of the Five Buddhas of Wisdom, still worshiped in Asuka-dera, the Asuka-niimasu-jinja, several other structures from those days. Archaeology projects continue to uncover relics from these ruins. Recent discoveries in the area include Wado coins, believed to be some of the oldest coins in Japan, paintings in the Kitora and Takamatsuzuka Kofun, or tombs; the Ishibutai Kofun is located in Asuka. On March 12, 2004, the discovery of the remains of a residence's main building adjacent to the kofun was announced, it is that the residence belonged to Soga no Umako, believed to have been entombed in the kofun.
Asuka can be reached from either Okadera Station or Asuka Station on the Kintetsu train line, or by car on Route 169. In the Asuka period, various palaces were constructed for each monarch; as soon as one emperor died, the whole court moved to a newly constructed palace, since it was considered dangerous to remain in a place where a deceased monarch's spirit might reside. Sometimes during a single emperor's reign, palaces were changed multiple times due to destruction by fire or ill omens. Since these palaces were constructed from wood, none of them have survived, although some archaeological work in modern times has uncovered such remains as stone bases for pillars. Sakurai was the capital of Japan during the reign of Emperor Ingyō; the life of the Imperial court was centered at the Palace of Tohotsu where the emperor lived in 457–479. Other emperors built palaces at Asuka, including Chikatsu-Asuka-Yatsuri Palace, 485–487 in reign of Emperor Kenzō Shikishima no Kanasashi Palace, 540–571 in reign of Emperor Kinmei Toyura Palace or Toyura-no-miya, 593–603 in the reign of Empress Suiko Oharida Palace or Oharida-no-miya, 603–629 in the Suiko's reign Okamoto Palace or Okamoto-no-miya, 630–636 in the reign of Emperor Jomei Tanaka Palace, 636–40 Umayasaka Palace, 640In 640-642, the Imperial court moved to the Kudara Palace in Kōryō, Nara.
The court moved again to the Ōmi Palace or Ōtsu Palace in Ōmi-kyō. Once more, the court moved back to Asuka at Kiyomihara Palace or Kiomihara-no-miya, 672–694 in the reign of Emperor Tenmu and in the reign of Empress JitōAsuka was abandoned by Empress Jitō when she and her court moved to Fujiwara-kyō; the 100 Views of Nature in Kansai Asuka Historical Museum:, exterior view
Osaka is a designated city in the Kansai region of Japan. It is the capital city of Osaka Prefecture and the largest component of the Keihanshin Metropolitan Area, the second largest metropolitan area in Japan and among the largest in the world with over 19 million inhabitants. Osaka will host Expo 2025; the current mayor of Osaka is Ichiro Matsui. Some of the earliest signs of human habitation in the Osaka area at the Morinomiya ruins comprise shell mounds, sea oysters and buried human skeletons from the 6th–5th centuries BC, it is believed that what is today the Uehonmachi area consisted of a peninsular land with an inland sea in the east. During the Yayoi period, permanent habitation on the plains grew. By the Kofun period, Osaka developed into a hub port connecting the region to the western part of Japan; the large numbers of larger tomb mounds found in the plains of Osaka are seen as evidence of political-power concentration, leading to the formation of a state. The Kojiki records that during 390–430 AD there was an imperial palace located at Osumi, in what is present day Higashiyodogawa ward, but it may have been a secondary imperial residence rather than a capital.
In 645, Emperor Kōtoku built his Naniwa Nagara-Toyosaki Palace in what is now Osaka, making it the capital of Japan. The city now known as Osaka was at this time referred to as Naniwa, this name and derivations of it are still in use for districts in central Osaka such as Naniwa and Namba. Although the capital was moved to Asuka in 655, Naniwa remained a vital connection, by land and sea, between Yamato and China. Naniwa was declared the capital again in 744 by order of Emperor Shōmu, remained so until 745, when the Imperial Court moved back to Heijō-kyō. By the end of the Nara period, Naniwa's seaport roles had been taken over by neighboring areas, but it remained a lively center of river and land transportation between Heian-kyō and other destinations. In 1496, Jōdo Shinshū Buddhists established their headquarters in the fortified Ishiyama Hongan-ji, located directly on the site of the old Naniwa Imperial Palace. Oda Nobunaga began a decade-long siege campaign on the temple in 1570 which resulted in the surrender of the monks and subsequent razing of the temple.
Toyotomi Hideyoshi constructed Osaka Castle in its place in 1583. Osaka was long considered Japan's primary economic center, with a large percentage of the population belonging to the merchant class. Over the course of the Edo period, Osaka grew into one of Japan's major cities and returned to its ancient role as a lively and important port, its popular culture was related to ukiyo-e depictions of life in Edo. By 1780, Osaka had cultivated a vibrant arts culture, as typified by its famous Kabuki and Bunraku theaters. In 1837, Ōshio Heihachirō, a low-ranking samurai, led a peasant insurrection in response to the city's unwillingness to support the many poor and suffering families in the area. One-quarter of the city was razed before shogunal officials put down the rebellion, after which Ōshio killed himself. Osaka was opened to foreign trade by the government of the Bakufu at the same time as Hyōgo on 1 January 1868, just before the advent of the Boshin War and the Meiji Restoration. Osaka residents were stereotyped in Edo literature from at least the 18th century.
Jippensha Ikku in 1802 depicted Osakans as stingy beyond belief. In 1809, the derogatory term "Kamigata zeeroku" was used by Edo residents to characterize inhabitants of the Osaka region in terms of calculation, lack of civic spirit, the vulgarity of Osaka dialect. Edo writers aspired to samurai culture, saw themselves as poor but generous and public spirited. Edo writers by contrast saw "zeeroku" as obsequious apprentices, greedy and lewd. To some degree, Osaka residents are still stigmatized by Tokyo observers in the same way today in terms of gluttony, evidenced in the phrase, "Residents of Osaka devour their food until they collapse"; the modern municipality was established in 1889 by government ordinance, with an initial area of 15 square kilometres, overlapping today's Chūō and Nishi wards. The city went through three major expansions to reach its current size of 223 square kilometres. Osaka was the industrial center most defined in the development of capitalism in Japan, it became known as the "Manchester of the Orient."The rapid industrialization attracted many Korean immigrants, who set up a life apart for themselves.
The political system was pluralistic, with a strong emphasis on promoting industrialization and modernization. Literacy was high and the educational system expanded producing a middle class with a taste for literature and a willingness to support the arts. In 1927, General Motors operated a factory called Osaka Assembly until 1941, manufacturing Chevrolet, Pontiac and Buick vehicles and staffed by Japanese workers and managers. In the nearby city of Ikeda in Osaka Prefecture is the headquarters office of Daihatsu, one of Japan's oldest automobile manufacturers. Like its European and American counterparts, Osaka displayed slums and poverty. In Japan it was here that municipal government first introduced a comprehensive system of poverty relief, copied in part from British models. Osaka policymakers stressed the importance of family formation and mutual assistance as the best way to combat poverty; this minimized
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