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(jəpăn`), Jap. Nihon or Nippon, country (2005 est. pop. 127,417,000), 145,833 sq mi (377,835 sq km), occupying an archipelago off the coast of E Asia. The capital is TokyoTokyo
, city (1990 pop. 8,163,573), capital of Japan and of Tokyo prefecture, E central Honshu, at the head of Tokyo Bay. The Tokyo-Yokohama metropolitan area is the world's most populous metropolitan area, with over 28,000,000 people.
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, which, along with neighboring YokohamaYokohama
, city (1990 pop. 3,220,331), capital of Kanagawa prefecture, SE Honshu, Japan, on the western shore of Tokyo Bay. Japan's second largest city and one of its leading seaports, Yokohama belongs to the extensive urban-industrial belt around Tokyo called the Keihin
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, forms the world's most populous metropolitan region.


Japan proper has four main islands, which are (from north to south) HokkaidoHokkaido
, island (1990 pop. 5,643,515), c.30,130 sq mi (78,040 sq km), N Japan, separated from Honshu island by the Tsugaru Strait and from Sakhalin, Russia, by the Soya Strait. It is the second largest, northernmost, and most sparsely populated of the major islands of Japan.
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, HonshuHonshu
, island (1990 pop. 98,352,000), c.89,000 sq mi (230,510 sq km), central Japan. It is c.800 mi (1,290 km) long and from c.30 to 150 mi (50–240 km) wide and is the largest and most important island of Japan.
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 (the largest island, where the capital and most major cities are located), ShikokuShikoku
, island (1990 pop. 4,240,265), 7,247 sq mi (18,770 sq km), S Japan, separated from Honshu and Kyushu by the Inland Sea. The smallest of the major islands of Japan, its high mountains and steep slopes limit agriculture and impede communication; there are no volcanoes.
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, and KyushuKyushu
, island (1990 pop. 13,064,955), c.13,760 sq mi (35,640 sq km), S Japan. It is the third largest, southernmost, and most densely populated of the major islands of Japan.
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. There are also many smaller islands stretched in an arc between the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea and the Pacific proper. Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu enclose the Inland SeaInland Sea,
Jap. Seto-naikai, arm of the Pacific Ocean, c.3,670 sq mi (9,510 sq km), S Japan, between Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu islands. It is linked to the Sea of Japan by a narrow channel.
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. The general features of the four main islands are shapely mountains, sometimes snowcapped, the highest and most famous of which is sacred Mt. FujiFuji, Mount
, Fujiyama
, or Fuji-san
, volcanic peak, 12,389 ft (3,776 m) high, central Honshu, Japan, in Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park (472 sq mi/1,222 sq km; est. 1936).
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; short rushing rivers; forested slopes; irregular and lovely lakes; and small, rich plains. Mountains, many of them volcanoes, cover two thirds of Japan's surface, hampering transportation and limiting agriculture.

On the arable land, which is only 11% of Japan's total land area, the population density is among the highest in the world. The climate ranges from chilly humid continental to humid subtropical. Rainfall is abundant, and typhoons and earthquakes are frequent. (For a more detailed description of geography, see separate articles on the individual islands.) Mineral resources are meager, except for coal, which is an important source of industrial energy. The rapid streams supply plentiful hydroelectric power. Imported oil, however, is the major source of energy. One third of Japan's electricity comes from nuclear power, but following the 2011 post-tsunami cooling failures at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant all reactors were gradually brought offline for maintenance and safety testing; operations began resuming in Aug., 2015. The rivers are generally unsuited for navigation (only two, the Ishikari and the Shinano, are over 200 mi/322 km long), and railroads and ships along the coast are the chief means of transportation. The Shinkansen "bullet train," the second-fastest train system in the world after France's TGV, was inaugurated in 1964 between Tokyo and Osaka and later extended.

Japanese Society

Japan is an extremely homogeneous society with non-Japanese, mostly Koreans and Chinese, making up only about 1% of the population. The Japanese people are primarily the descendants of various peoples who migrated from Asia in prehistoric times; the dominant strain is N Asian or Mongolic, with some Malay and Indonesian admixture. One of the earliest groups, the AinuAinu
, aborigines of Japan who may be descended from a Caucasoid people who once lived in N Asia. More powerful invaders from the Asian mainland gradually forced the Ainu to retreat to the northern islands of Japan and Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands in what is now the Russian
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, who still persist to some extent in Hokkaido, are physically somewhat similar to Caucasians. Japanese is the offical language. Of major concern to Japanese government policy planners are the expected steady decline in the population during the 21st cent. (the population decreased for the first time in 2005) and the large and growing portion of the population that is elderly.

Japan's principal religions are ShintoShinto
, ancient native religion of Japan still practiced in a form modified by the influence of Buddhism and Confucianism. In its present form Shinto is characterized less by religious doctrine or belief than by the observance of popular festivals and traditional ceremonies and
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 and BuddhismBuddhism
, religion and philosophy founded in India c.525 B.C. by Siddhartha Gautama, called the Buddha. There are over 300 million Buddhists worldwide. One of the great world religions, it is divided into two main schools: the Theravada or Hinayana in Sri Lanka and SE Asia, and
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; most Japanese practice both faiths. While the development of Shinto was radically altered by the influence of Buddhism, which was brought from China in the 6th cent., Jodo, Shingon, Nichiren, and other Japanese varieties of Buddhism also developed. Numerous "new religions" formed after World War II and attracted many members. One of these, the Soka GakkaiSoka Gakkai
[Jap.,=Value Creation Society], Japan-based independent lay Buddhist movement. A theological offshoot of Nichiren Buddhism, it was founded (1930) as the Soka Kyoiku Gakkai [Value Creation Educational Society] by Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, educator and follower of the
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, a Buddhist sect, grew rapidly in the 1950s and 60s and became a strong social and political force. Less than 1% of the population are Christians. ConfucianismConfucianism
, moral and religious system of China. Its origins go back to the Analects (see Chinese literature), the sayings attributed to Confucius, and to ancient commentaries, including that of Mencius.
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 has deeply affected Japanese thought and was part of the generally significant influence that Chinese culture wielded on the formation of Japanese civilization (see Japanese architectureJapanese architecture,
structures created on the islands that constitute Japan. Evidence of prehistoric architecture in Japan has survived in the form of models of terra-cotta houses buried in tombs and by remains of pit houses of the Jomon, the Neolithic people of Japan.
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; Japanese artJapanese art,
works of art created in the islands that make up the nation of Japan. Early Works

The earliest art of Japan, probably dating from the 3d and 2d millennia B.C.
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; Japanese literatureJapanese literature,
literary works produced in the language of the islands of Japan.

See also Asian drama. Earliest Writings

Although Japanese and Chinese are different languages, the Japanese borrowed and adapted Chinese ideographs early in the 8th cent.
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Japan's farming population has been declining steadily and was less than 5% of the total population in 2004; agriculture accounted for less than 2% of the gross domestic product. Arable land is intensively cultivated; farmers use irrigation, terracing, and multiple cropping to coax rich crops from the soil. Rice and other cereals, sugar beets, vegetables, and fruit are the main crops; some industrial crops, such as mulberry trees (for feeding silkworms), are also grown, and livestock is raised. Fishing is highly developed, and the annual catch is one of the largest in the world. The decision by many nations to extend economic zones 200 mi (322 km) offshore has forced Japan to concentrate on more efficiently exploiting its own coastal and inland waters.

In the late 19th cent. Japan was rapidly and thoroughly industrialized. Textiles were a leading item; vast quantities of light manufactures were also produced, and in the 1920s and 1930s heavy industries were greatly expanded, principally to support Japan's growing imperialistic ambitions. Japan's economy collapsed after the defeat in World War II, and its merchant marine, one of the world's largest in the 1930s, was almost totally destroyed. In the late 1950s, however, the nation reemerged as a major industrial power. By the 1970s it had become the most industrialized country in Asia, and in the early 21st cent. it was the third greatest economic power in the world after the United States and a rapidly developing China.

Japanese industry is concentrated mainly in S Honshu and N Kyushu, with centers at Tokyo, Yokohama, OsakaOsaka
, city (1990 pop. 2,623,801), capital of Osaka prefecture, S Honshu, Japan, on Osaka Bay, at the mouth of the Yodo River. One of Japan's largest cities and principal industrial and commercial centers, Osaka is the focal point of a chain of industrial cities (called the
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, KobeKobe
, city (1990 pop. 1,477,410), capital of Hyogo prefecture, S Honshu, Japan, on Osaka Bay. One of the leading Japanese ports, it is also a major industrial center and railway hub.
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, and NagoyaNagoya
, city (1990 pop. 2,154,793), capital of Aichi prefecture, central Honshu, Japan, on Ise Bay. A major port, transportation hub, and industrial center, it has iron- and steelworks, textile mills, aircraft factories, automotive works, and chemical, plastics, electronics,
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. In the 1950s and 1960s textiles became less important in Japanese industry while the production of heavy machinery expanded. Japanese industry depends heavily on imported raw materials and fuels, which make up a large share of the country's imports. Japan receives all of its bauxite, phosphate, steel scrap, and iron ore from imports, as well as virtually all of its crude oil and copper ore. Manufactured goods make up the vast majority of the nation's exports. Japan became one of the world's leading producers of machinery, transportation equipment, motor vehicles, steel, and ships, and by the 1980s it had become a leading exporter of high-technology goods, including semiconductors and electrical and electronic appliances.

Japan has increasingly shifted some of its industries overseas through outsourcing and has made massive capital investments abroad, especially in the United States and the Pacific Rim. With the recession of 2001, the closing of manufacturing plants in Japan accelerated, as did the opening of plants abroad, particularly in China, but the economy remains export-driven. Since the late 1960s Japan's economy has been marked by a large trade surplus, with China, the United States, and South Korea being its largest trading partners. Japan has also become a global leader in financial services, with some of the world's largest banks, but for many years after the collapse of the stock and real estate markets in the early 1990s many of Japan's banks were burdened with high numbers of nonperforming loans.

Government and Politics

Japan is governed under the constitution of 1947, drafted by the Allied occupation authorities and approved by the Japanese Diet. It declares that the emperor is the symbol of the state but that sovereignty rests with the people. Executive power is vested in a cabinet appointed and headed by the prime minister, who is elected by the Diet and is usually the leader of the majority party in that body. Japan's bicameral Diet has sole legislative power. The House of Representatives has 480 members, who are popularly elected for four-year terms; approximately three fifths of them are chosen by single-seat constituencies and the rest proportionally. The House of Councilors has 242 members; they are elected for six-year terms. A supreme court heads an independent judiciary. Administratively, Japan is divided into 47 prefectures, each governed by a popularly elected governor and unicameral legislature.


Early History to the Ashikaga Shoguns

Japan's early history is lost in legend. The divine design of the empire—supposedly founded in 660 B.C. by the emperor Jimmu, a lineal descendant of the sun goddess and ancestor of the present emperor—was held as official dogma until 1945. Actually, reliable records date back only to about A.D. 400. In the first centuries of the Christian era the country was inhabited by numerous clans or tribal kingdoms ruled by priest-chiefs. Contacts with Korea were close, and bronze and iron implements were probably introduced by invaders from Korea around the 1st cent. By the 5th cent. the Yamato clan, whose original home was apparently in Kyushu, had settled in the vicinity of modern Kyoto and had established a loose control over the other clans of central and W Japan, laying the foundation of the Japanese state.

From the 6th to the 8th cent. the rapidly developing society gained much in the arts of civilization under the strong cultural influence of China, then flourishing in the splendor of the T'ang dynasty. Buddhism was introduced, and the Japanese upper classes assiduously studied Chinese language, literature, philosophy, art, science, and government, creating their own forms adapted from Chinese models. A partially successful attempt was made to set up a centralized, bureaucratic government like that of imperial China. The Yamato priest-chief assumed the dignity of an emperor, and an imposing capital city, modeled on the T'ang capital, was erected at Nara, to be succeeded by an equally imposing capital at Kyoto.

By the 9th cent., however, the powerful Fujiwara family had established a firm control over the imperial court. The Fujiwara influence and the power of the Buddhist priesthood undermined the authority of the imperial government. Provincial gentry—particularly the great clans who opposed the Fujiwara—evaded imperial taxes and grew strong. A feudal system developed. Civil warfare was almost continuous in the 12th cent.

The Minamoto family defeated their rivals, the Taira, and became masters of Japan. Their great leader, YoritomoYoritomo
(Yoritomo Minamoto) , 1148–99, Japanese warrior and dictator, founder of the Kamakura shogunate. After a prolonged struggle he led his clan, the Minamoto, to victory over the Taira in 1185.
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, took the title of shogunshogun
, title of the feudal military administrator who from the 12th cent. to the 19th cent. was, as the emperor's military deputy, the actual ruler of Japan. The title itself, Sei-i-tai Shogun [barbarian-subduing generalissimo], dates back to 794 and originally meant commander
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, established his capital at Kamakura, and set up a military dictatorship. For the next 700 years Japan was ruled by warriors. The old civil administration was not abolished, but gradually decayed, and the imperial court at Kyoto fell into obscurity. The Minamoto soon gave way to the Hojo, who managed the Kamakura administration as regents for puppet shoguns, much as the Fujiwara had controlled the imperial court.

In 1274 and again in 1281 the Mongols under Kublai Khan tried unsuccessfully to invade the country (see kamikazekamikaze
[Jap.,=divine wind], the typhoon that destroyed Kublai Khan's fleet, foiling his invasion of Japan in 1281. In World War II the term was used for a Japanese suicide air force composed of fliers who crashed their bomb-laden planes into their targets, usually ships.
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). In 1331 the emperor Daigo II attempted to restore imperial rule. He failed, but the revolt brought about the downfall of the Kamakura regime. The Ashikaga family took over the shogunate in 1338 and settled at Kyoto, but were unable to consolidate their power. The next 250 years were marked by civil wars, during which the feudal barons (the daimyodaimyo
[Jap.,=great name], the great feudal landholders of Japan, the territorial barons as distinguished from the kuge, or court nobles. Great tax-free estates were built up from the 8th cent.
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) and the Buddhist monasteries built up local domains and private armies. Nevertheless, in the midst of incessant wars there was a brisk development of manufacturing and trade, typified by the rise of Sakai (later Osaka) as a free city not subject to feudal control. This period saw the birth of a middle class. Extensive maritime commerce was carried on with the continent and with SE Asia; Japanese traders and pirates dominated East Asian waters until the arrival of the Europeans in the 16th cent.

The Tokugawa Shoguns and the Meiji Restoration

The first European contact with Japan was made by Portuguese sailors in 1542. A small trade with the West developed. Christianity was introduced by St. Francis XavierFrancis Xavier, Saint,
1506–52, Basque Jesuit missionary, called the Apostle to the Indies, b. Spanish Navarre, of noble parents. He studied in Paris (1525–34), where he became an associate of St.
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, who reached Japan in 1549. In the late 16th cent. three warriors, NobunagaNobunaga
(Nobunaga Oda) , 1534–82, Japanese military commander. The son of a daimyo, Nobunaga greatly expanded his father's holdings, becoming master of three provinces near present-day Nagoya.
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, HideyoshiHideyoshi
(Hideyoshi Toyotomi) , 1536–98, Japanese warrior and dictator. He entered the service of Nobunaga as his sandal holder and rose to become his leading general. After Nobunaga's death Hideyoshi ruled as civilian dictator.
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, and IeyasuIeyasu
(Ieyasu Tokugawa) , 1542–1616, Japanese warrior and dictator. A gifted leader and brilliant general, he founded the Tokugawa shogunate. Early in his career he helped Nobunaga and Hideyoshi unify Japan.
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, established military control over the whole country and succeeded one another in the dictatorship. Hideyoshi unsuccessfully invaded Korea in 1592 and 1596 in an effort to conquer China. After Hideyoshi's death, Ieyasu took the title of shogun, and his family ruled Japan for over 250 years. They set up at Yedo (later Tokyo) a centralized, efficient, but repressive system of feudal government (see TokugawaTokugawa
, family that held the shogunate (see shogun) and controlled Japan from 1603 to 1867. Founded by Ieyasu, the Tokugawa regime was a centralized feudalism. The Tokugawa themselves held approximately one fourth of the country in strategically located parcels, which they
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). Stability and internal peace were secured, but social progress was stifled. Christianity was suppressed, and all intercourse with foreign countries was prohibited except for a Dutch trading post at Nagasaki.

Tokugawa society was rigidly divided into the daimyo, samuraisamurai
, knights of feudal Japan, retainers of the daimyo. This aristocratic warrior class arose during the 12th-century wars between the Taira and Minamoto clans and was consolidated in the Tokugawa period.
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, peasants, artisans, and merchants, in that order. The system was imbued with Confucian ideas of loyalty to superiors, and military virtues were cultivated by the ruling aristocracy (see bushidobushido
[Jap.,=way of the warrior], code of honor and conduct of the Japanese nobility. Of ancient origin, it grew out of the old feudal bond that required unwavering loyalty on the part of the vassal. It borrowed heavily from Zen Buddhism and Confucianism.
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). Oppression of the peasants led to many sporadic uprisings. Yet despite feudal restrictions, production and trade expanded, the use of money and credit increased, flourishing cities grew up, and the rising merchant class acquired great wealth and economic power. Japan was in fact moving toward a capitalist system.

By the middle of the 19th cent. the country was ripe for change. Most daimyo were in debt to the merchants, and discontent was rife among impoverished but ambitious samurai. The great clans of W Japan, notably Choshu and Satsuma, had long been impatient of Tokugawa control. In 1854 an American naval officer, Matthew C. PerryPerry, Matthew Calbraith,
1794–1858, American naval officer, b. South Kingstown, R.I.; brother of Oliver Hazard Perry. Appointed a midshipman in 1809, he first served under his brother on the Revenge and then was aide to Commodore John Rodgers on the
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, forced the opening of trade with the West. Japan was compelled to admit foreign merchants and to sign unequal treaties. Attacks on foreigners were answered by the bombardment of Kagoshima and Shimonoseki. Threatened from within and without, the shogunate collapsed. In 1867 a conspiracy engineered by the western clans and imperial court nobles forced the shogun's resignation. After brief fighting, the boy emperor MeijiMeiji
, 1852–1912, reign name of the emperor of Japan from 1867 to 1912; his given name was Mutsuhito. He ascended the throne when he was 15. A year later the shogun fell, and the power that had been held by the Tokugawa military house was returned to the emperor.
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 was "restored" to power in the Meiji restorationMeiji restoration,
The term refers to both the events of 1868 that led to the "restoration" of power to the emperor and the entire period of revolutionary changes that coincided with the Meiji emperor's reign (1868–1912).
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 (1868), and the imperial capital was transferred from Kyoto to Tokyo.

Industrial and Military Expansion

Although the Meiji restoration was originally inspired by antiforeign sentiment, Japan's new rulers quickly realized the impossibility of expelling the foreigners. Instead they strove to strengthen Japan by adopting the techniques of Western civilization. Under the leadership of an exceptionally able group of statesmen (who were chiefly samurai of the western clans) Japan was rapidly transformed into a modern industrial state and a great military power.

Feudalism was abolished in 1871. The defeat of the Satsuma rebellion in 1877 marked the end of opposition to the new regime. Emissaries were sent abroad to study Western military science, industrial technology, and political institutions. The administration was reorganized on Western lines. An efficient modern army and navy were created, and military conscription was introduced. Industrial development was actively fostered by the state, working in close cooperation with the great merchant houses. A new currency and banking system were established. New law codes were enacted. Primary education was made compulsory.

In 1889 the emperor granted a constitution, modeled in part on that of Prussia. Supreme authority was vested in the emperor, who in practice was largely a figurehead controlled by the clan oligarchy. Subordinate organs of government included a privy council, a cabinet, and a diet consisting of a partially elected house of peers and a fully elected house of representatives. Universal manhood suffrage was not granted until 1925.

After the Meiji restoration nationalistic feeling ran high. The old myths of imperial and racial divinity, rediscovered by scholars in the Tokugawa period, were revived, and the sentiment of loyalty to the emperor was actively propagated by the new government. Feudal glorification of the warrior and belief in the unique virtues of Japan's "Imperial Way" combined with the expansive drives of modern industrialism to produce a vigorous imperialism. At first concerned with defending Japanese independence against the Western powers, Japan soon joined them in the competition for an Asian empire. By 1899, Japan cast off the shackles of extraterritorialityextraterritoriality
or exterritoriality,
privilege of immunity from local law enforcement enjoyed by certain aliens. Although physically present upon the territory of a foreign nation, those aliens possessing extraterritoriality are considered by customary
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, which allowed foreign powers to exempt themselves from Japanese law, thus avoiding taxes and tariffs. It was not until 1911 that full tariff autonomy was gained.

The First Sino-Japanese WarSino-Japanese War, First,
1894–95, conflict between China and Japan for control of Korea in the late 19th cent. The Li-Ito Convention of 1885 provided for mutual troop withdrawals and advance notification of any new troop movements into Korea.
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 (1894–95) marked the real emergence of imperial Japan, with acquisition of Taiwan and the Pescadores and also of the Liao-tung peninsula in Manchuria, which the great powers forced it to relinquish. An alliance with Great Britain in 1902 increased Japanese prestige, which reached a peak as a result of the Russo-Japanese WarRusso-Japanese War,
1904–5, imperialistic conflict that grew out of the rival designs of Russia and Japan on Manchuria and Korea. Russian failure to withdraw from Manchuria and Russian penetration into N Korea were countered by Japanese attempts to negotiate a division of
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 in 1904–5. Unexpectedly the Japanese smashed the might of Russia with speed and efficiency. The treaty of Portsmouth (see Portsmouth, Treaty ofPortsmouth, Treaty of,
1905, treaty ending the Russo-Japanese War. It was signed at the Portsmouth Naval Base, New Hampshire, on Sept. 5, 1905. Negotiations leading up to the treaty began in the spring of 1905 when Russia had suffered severe defeats and Japan was in financial
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), ending the war, recognized Japan as a world power. A territorial foothold had been gained in Manchuria. In 1910, Japan was able to officially annex Korea, which they had controlled de facto since 1905. During World War I the Japanese secured the German interests in Shandong (later restored to China) and received the German-owned islands in the Pacific as mandates. In 1915, Japan presented the Twenty-one DemandsTwenty-one Demands
(1915), instrument by which Japan secured temporary hegemony over China. Japan used its declaration of war against Germany (Aug., 1914) as grounds for invading Kiaochow, the German leasehold in Shandong prov., China.
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 designed to reduce China to a protectorate. The other world powers opposed those items that would have given Japan policy control in Chinese affairs, but China accepted the rest of the demands.

In 1918, Japan took the lead in Allied military intervention in Siberia, and Japanese troops remained there until 1922. These moves, together with an intensive program of naval armament, led to some friction with the United States, which was temporarily adjusted by the Washington Conference of 1921–22 (see naval conferencesnaval conferences,
series of international assemblies, meeting to consider limitation of naval armaments, settlement of the rules of naval war, and allied issues. The

London Naval Conference
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During the next decade the expansionist drive abated in Japan, and liberal and democratic forces gained ground. The power of the diet increased, party cabinets were formed (see SeiyukaiSeiyukai
, Japanese political party, founded in 1900. It was derived, via the Kenseito (see Minseito) from the Jiyuto, organized by Taisuke Itagaki in 1881. Under the astute political leadership of Takashi Hara, it was the most powerful party in Japan from 1900 to 1921.
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), and despite police repression, labor and peasant unions attained some strength. Liberal and radical ideas became popular among students and intellectuals. Politics was dominated by big business (see zaibatsuzaibatsu
[Jap.,=money clique], the great family-controlled banking and industrial combines of modern Japan. The leading zaibatsu (called keiretsu after World War II) are Mitsui, Mitsubishi, Dai Ichi Kangyo, Sumitomo, Sanwa, and Fuyo.
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), and businessmen were more interested in economic than in military expansion. Trade and industry, stimulated by World War I, continued to expand, though interrupted by the earthquake of 1923, which destroyed much of Tokyo and Yokohama. Agriculture, in contrast, remained depressed. Japan pursued a moderate policy toward China, relying chiefly on economic penetration and diplomacy to advance Japanese interests.

Militarism and War

The moderate stance regarding China as well as other foreign policies pursued by the government displeased more extreme militarist and nationalist elements developing in Japan, some of whom disliked capitalism and advocated state socialism. Chief among these groups were the Kwantung army in Manchuria, young army and navy officers, and various organizations such as the Amur River Society, which included many prominent men. Militarist propaganda was aided by the depression of 1929, which ruined Japan's silk trade. In 1931 the Kwantung army precipitated an incident at Shenyang (Mukden) and promptly overran all of Manchuria, which was detached from China and set up as the puppet state of Manchukuo. When the League of Nations criticized Japan's action, Japan withdrew from the organization.

During the 1930s the military party gradually extended its control over the government, brought about an increase in armaments, and reached a working agreement with the zaibatsu. Military extremists instigated the assassination of Prime Minister Inukai in 1932 and an attempted coup in 1936. At the same time Japan was experiencing a great export boom, due largely to currency depreciation. From 1932 to 1937, Japan engaged in gradual economic and political penetration of N China. In July, 1937, after an incident at Beijing, Japanese troops invaded the northern provinces. Chinese resistance led to full-scale though undeclared war (see Sino-Japanese War, SecondSino-Japanese War, Second,
1937–45, conflict between Japanese and Chinese forces for control of the Chinese mainland. The war sapped the Nationalist government's strength while allowing the Communists to gain control over large areas through organization of guerrilla units.
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). A puppet Chinese government was installed at Nanjing in 1940.

Meanwhile relations with the Soviet Union were tense and worsened after Japan and Germany joined together against the Soviet Union in the Anti-Comintern Pact of 1936 (see CominternComintern
[acronym for Communist International], name given to the Third International, founded at Moscow in 1919. Vladimir Ilyich Lenin feared a resurgence of the Second, or Socialist, International under non-Communist leadership.
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). In 1938 and 1939 armed clashes took place on the Manchurian border. Japan then stepped up an armament program, extended state control over industry through the National Mobilization Act (1938), and intensified police repression of dissident elements. In 1940 all political parties were dissolved and were replaced by the state-sponsored Imperial Rule Assistance Association.

After World War II erupted (1939) in Europe, Japan signed a military alliance with Germany and Italy, sent troops to Indochina (1940), and announced the intention of creating a "Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere" under Japan's leadership. In Apr., 1941, a neutrality treaty with Russia was triumphantly concluded. In Oct., 1941, the militarists achieved complete control in Japan, when Gen. Hideki TojoTojo, Hideki
, 1884–1948, Japanese general and statesman. He became prime minister after he forced Konoye's resignation in Oct., 1941. His accession marked the final triumph of the military faction which advocated war with the United States and Great Britain.
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 succeeded a civilian, Prince Fumimaro KonoyeKonoye, Fumimaro
, 1891–1945, Japanese statesman. He was a scion of the ancient Fujiwara noble family. In June, 1937, he accepted the premiership. A former liberal, he now favored increased armament and centralized government control.
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, as prime minister.

Unable to neutralize U.S. opposition to its actions in SE Asia, Japan opened hostilities against the United States and Great Britain on Dec. 7, 1941, by striking at Pearl Harbor, Singapore, and other Pacific possessions. The fortunes of war at first ran in favor of Japan, and by the end of 1942 the spread of Japanese military might over the Pacific to the doors of India and of Alaska was prodigious (see World War IIWorld War II,
1939–45, worldwide conflict involving every major power in the world. The two sides were generally known as the Allies and the Axis. Causes and Outbreak
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). Then the tide turned; territory was lost to the Allies island by island; warfare reached Japan itself with intensive bombing; and finally in 1945, following the explosion of atomic bombs by the United States over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan surrendered on Aug. 14, the formal surrender being on the U.S. battleship Missouri in Tokyo Harbor on Sept. 2, 1945.

Surrender and Occupation

The Japanese surrender at the end of World War II was unconditional, but the terms for Allied treatment of the conquered power had been laid down at the Potsdam ConferencePotsdam Conference,
meeting (July 17–Aug. 2, 1945) of the principal Allies in World War II (the United States, the USSR, and Great Britain) to clarify and implement agreements previously reached at the Yalta Conference.
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. The empire was dissolved, and Japan was deprived of all territories it had seized by force. The Japanese Empire at its height had included the southern half of SakhalinSakhalin
, formerly Saghalien
, island (c.29,500 sq mi/76,400 sq km), off the coast of Asian Russia, between the Sea of Okhotsk and the Sea of Japan; separated from the Russian mainland on the west by the Tatar Strait and from Hokkaido, the northernmost island of
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, the Kuril IslandsKuril Islands
or Kuriles
, Jap. Chishima-Retto, Rus. Kurilskiye Ostrova, island chain, c.6,020 sq mi (15,590 sq km), Sakhalin region, E Russia. They stretch c.
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, the Ryukyu IslandsRyukyu Islands
, Jap. Ryukyu-retto or Nansei-shoto [southwest group], archipelago (1990 est. pop. 1,500,000), c.1,850 sq mi (4,790 sq km), SW Japan, in the W Pacific Ocean.
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, TaiwanTaiwan
, Portuguese Formosa, officially Republic of China, island nation (2005 est. pop. 22,894,000), 13,885 sq mi (35,961 sq km), in the Pacific Ocean, separated from the mainland of S China by the 100-mi-wide (161-km) Taiwan Strait.
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, the PescadoresPescadores
, Mandarin Penghu or P'eng-hu, group of 64 small islands, area c.50 sq mi (130 sq km), in Taiwan Strait, c.25 to 30 mi (40–50 km) off the west coast of Taiwan. They comprise a county of Taiwan.
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, KoreaKorea
, Korean Hanguk or Choson, region and historic country (85,049 sq mi/220,277 sq km), E Asia. A peninsula, 600 mi (966 km) long, Korea separates the Sea of Japan (called the East Sea by Koreans) on the east from the Yellow Sea (and Korea Bay [or West Korea
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, the Bonin IslandsBonin Islands
, Jap. Ogasawara-gunto, volcanic island group, c.40 sq mi (100 sq km), in the W Pacific Ocean, c.500 mi (800 km) S of Tokyo; part of Tokyo prefecture, Japan. The largest and principal island is Chichi (formerly Peel Island), c.
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, the Kwantung protectorate in Manchuria, and the island groups held as mandates from the League of Nations (the Caroline IslandsCaroline Islands,
archipelago, c.830 sq mi (2,150 sq km), W Pacific, just north of the equator. The largest islands are Palau (Belau), Yap, Chuuk (Truk), Pohnpei (Ponape), and Kosrae. The islands are fertile and rich in minerals.
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, Marshall IslandsMarshall Islands,
officially Republic of the Marshall Islands, independent nation (2005 est. pop. 59,000), in the central Pacific. The Marshalls extend over a 700-mi (1,130-km) area and comprise two major groups: the Ratak Chain in the east, and the Ralik Chain in the west, with
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, and Mariana Islands (see Northern Mariana IslandsNorthern Mariana Islands
, officially Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, a self-governing entity in association with the United States (2010 pop. 53,883), c.185 sq mi (479 sq km), comprising 16 islands (6 inhabited) of the Marianas chain (all except Guam), in the W
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). In the early years of the war, Japan had conquered vast new territories, including a large part of China, SE Asia, the Philippines, and the Dutch East Indies. With defeat, Japan was reduced to its size before the imperialist adventure began.

The country was demilitarized, and steps were taken to bring forth "a peacefully inclined and responsible government." Industry was to be adequate for peacetime needs, but war-potential industries were forbidden. Until these conditions were fulfilled Japan was to be under Allied military occupation. The occupation began immediately under the command of Gen. Douglas MacArthurMacArthur, Douglas,
1880–1964, American general, b. Little Rock, Ark.; son of Arthur MacArthur. Early Career

MacArthur was reared on army posts and attended military school in Texas.
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. A Far Eastern Commission, representing 11 Allied nations and an Allied council in Tokyo, was to supervise general policy. The commission, however, suffered from the rising tension between the USSR and the Western nations and did not function effectively, leaving the U.S. occupation forces in virtual control.

The occupation force controlled Japan through the existing machinery of Japanese government. A new constitution was adopted in 1946 and went into effect in 1947; the emperor publicly disclaimed his divinity. The general conservative trend in politics was tempered by the elections of 1947, which made the Social Democratic party headed by Tetsu KatayamaKatayama, Tetsu
, 1887–1978, Japanese statesman. He was a founder (1926) of the Social Democratic party. When the party was suppressed by the police, Katayama helped organize (1931) its successor, the Social Mass party.
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 the dominant force in a two-party coalition government. In 1948 the Social Democrats slipped to a secondary position in the coalition, and in 1949 they lost power completely when the conservatives took full charge under Shigeru YoshidaYoshida, Shigeru
, 1878–1967, Japanese statesman. He was until 1954 the most powerful political figure in postwar Japan. He was ambassador to Italy (1930–32) and to Great Britain (1936–39).
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Many of the militarist leaders and generals were tried as war criminals and in 1948 many were convicted and executed, and an attempt was made to break up the zaibatsuzaibatsu
[Jap.,=money clique], the great family-controlled banking and industrial combines of modern Japan. The leading zaibatsu (called keiretsu after World War II) are Mitsui, Mitsubishi, Dai Ichi Kangyo, Sumitomo, Sanwa, and Fuyo.
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. Economic revival proceeded slowly with much unemployment and a low level of production, which improved only gradually. In 1949, however, MacArthur loosened the bonds of military government, and many responsibilities were restored to local authorities. At San Francisco in Sept., 1951, a peace treaty was signed between Japan and most of its opponents in World War II. India and Burma (Myanmar) refused to attend the conference, and the USSR, Czechoslovakia, and Poland refused to sign the treaty. It nevertheless went into effect on Apr. 28, 1952, and Japan again assumed full sovereignty.

Postwar Japan

The elections in 1952 kept the conservative Liberal party and Premier Shigeru Yoshida in power. In Nov., 1954, the Japan Democratic party was founded. This new group attacked governmental corruption and advocated stable relations with the USSR and Communist China. In Dec., 1954, Yoshida resigned, and Ichiro HatoyamaHatoyama, Ichiro
, 1883–1959, Japanese statesman. A graduate of the law school of Tokyo Imperial Univ., he was first elected to the lower house of the Japanese legislature in 1915. Hatoyama was education minister in the Inukai and Saito cabinets (1931–34).
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, leader of the opposition, succeeded him. The Liberal and Japan Democratic parties merged in 1955 to become the Liberal Democratic party (LDP). Hatoyama resigned because of illness in 1956 and was succeeded by Tanzan Ishibashi of the LDP. Ishibashi was also forced to resign because of illness and was followed by fellow party member Nobusuke KishiKishi, Nobusuke
, 1896–1987, Japanese statesman; older brother of Eisaku Sato. The son of a minor official, he went to live with prosperous relatives and took their name. After attending the law college of Tokyo Univ.
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 in 1957.

In the 1950s Japan signed peace treaties with Taiwan, India, Burma (Myanmar), the Philippines, and Indonesia. Reparations agreements were concluded with Burma (Myanmar), the Philippines, Indonesia, and South Vietnam, with reparations to be paid in the form of goods and services to stimulate Asian economic development. In 1951, Japan signed a security treaty with the United States, providing for U.S. defense of Japan against external attack and allowing the United States to station troops in the country. New security treaties with the United States were negotiated in 1960 and 1970. Many Japanese felt that military ties with the United States would draw them into another war. Student groups and labor unions, often led by Communists, demonstrated during the 1950s and 1960s against military alliances and nuclear testing.

Prime Minister Kishi was forced to resign in 1960 following the diet's acceptance, under pressure, of the U.S.-Japanese security treaty. He was succeeded by Hayato IkedaIkeda, Hayato
, 1899–1965, Japanese political leader, prime minister (1960–64). After serving as an official in the finance ministry (1925–48) he entered politics, gaining election to Japan's house of representatives (1949).
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, also of the LDP. Ikeda led his party to two resounding victories in 1960 and 1963. He resigned in 1964 because of illness and was replaced by Eisaku SatoSato, Eisaku
, 1901–75, Japanese politician, prime minister (1964–72), brother of Nobusuke Kishi. After receiving a law degree from Tokyo Imperial Univ. (1924) he entered the ministry of railways, serving there until 1947, when he was appointed vice minister of
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, also of the LDP. Sato overcame strong opposition to his policies and managed to keep himself and his party in firm control of the government throughout the 1960s.

Opposition to the government because of its U.S. ties abated somewhat in the early 1970s when the United States agreed to relinquish its control of the Ryukyu Islands, including Okinawa, which had come under U.S. administration after World War II. All of the Ryukyus formally reverted to Japanese control in 1972. In that same year, Sato resigned and was succeeded by Kakuei TanakaTanaka, Kakuei
, 1918–93, Japanese political leader and prime minister (1972–74). Born to a poor rural family, he moved to Tokyo at the age of 15 and by 1937 had established his own construction firm.
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, also a Liberal Democrat. For his efforts in opposing the development of nuclear weapons in Japan, Sato was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1974. Later that year, Tanaka resigned and was replaced as prime minister by Takeo Miki, another Liberal Democrat. Miki, who became embroiled in a scandal over his personal finances, was replaced by Takeo Fukuda. Though Fukuda was considered to be an expert in economic policy, he had difficulty in combating the economic downturn of the late 1970s. He was replaced by Masayoshi Ohira, who died in office in 1980 and was replaced by Zenko SuzukiSuzuki, Zenko,
1911–2004, Japanese politican. A founder of the ruling Liberal Democratic party (1955), he became prime minister on the death of Masayoshi Ohira (1980).
..... Click the link for more information.

In 1982, the more outspoken Yasuhiro NakasoneNakasone, Yasuhiro
, 1918–, Japanese political leader and prime minister (1982–87). He served in the Diet after 1946. A political ally of Kakuei Tanaka, Nakasone succeeded Zenko Suzuki as prime minister.
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 took office. He argued for an increase in Japan's defensive capability, extended his second term by an extra year, and appointed his own successor, Noboru TakeshitaTakeshita, Noboru
, 1924–2000, Japanese politician, b. Kakeya. The son of a sake brewer, he was first elected to parliament in 1958 and served as chief cabinet secretary, construction minister, and finance minister (1979–80, 1982–86).
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. The terms of both Takeshita and his replacement, Sosuke Uno, were cut short by influence-peddling and other scandals that shook the LDP and caused a public outcry for governmental reform. In the general election of 1989, the LDP lost in the upper house of the parliament for the first time in 35 years; nonetheless, LDP president Toshiki KaifuKaifu, Toshiki
, 1931–, Japanese politician. A graduate of the law faculty at Waseda Univ., Kaifu ran successfully for parliament in 1954. A member of the Liberal Democratic party (LDP), he served twice as education minister before rising to lead the party after the
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 became prime minister later that year. He drew much criticism for pledging $9 million to the United States for military operations in the Persian Gulf, and in 1991 he was succeeded as prime minister by Kiichi MiyazawaMiyazawa, Kiichi
, 1919–2007, Japanese politician, b. Fukuyama. A member of an eminent political family, he graduated from Tokyo Univ. and served in the finance ministry during the Allied occupation.
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After the LDP split over the issue of political reforms in 1993, the Miyazawa government fell. None of Japan's political parties managed to win a majority in the subsequent elections. An opposition coalition formed a government and Morihiro HosokawaHosokawa, Morihiro
, 1938–, Japanese politician, a member of a noble family and grandson of Fumimaro Konoye. A journalist and member of the Liberal Democratic party (LDP), he entered politics in 1971 when he was elected to the upper house of the Japanese parliament.
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 became prime minister. Hosokawa resigned in 1994 and was succeeded by fellow coalition member Tsutomi HataHata, Tsutomu
, 1935–, Japanese politician, b. Tokyo. After 10 years in Japan's private sector, he was elected (1969) to parliament as a member of the Liberal Democrat party (LDP) from Nagano prefecture, and was consistently reelected thereafter.
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, who resigned after just two months in office. In June, 1994, Tomiichi MurayamaMurayama, Tomiichi
, 1924–, Japanese politician. A long-time labor union official and member of the Socialist party, he was originally elected to parliament in 1972.
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 was named prime minister of an unlikely coalition of Socialists (who later became the Social Democrats) and Liberal Democrats, thus becoming the nation's first Socialist leader since 1948.

During 1995, Japan was shaken by two major disasters. The worst earthquake in Japan in more than 70 years struck the Kobe region on Jan. 17, killing more than 6,400 people. On Mar. 20, lethal nerve gas was released through plastic bags left in the Tokyo subway system by members of the Aum Shinrikyo religious group; 12 people were killed, and about 5,000 others suffered ill effects.

Murayama resigned as prime minister early in 1996 and was succeeded by LDP leader Ryutaro HashimotoHashimoto, Ryutaro
, 1937–2006, Japanese politician, b. Tokyo, grad. Keio Univ. He entered politics in 1963, when he was elected to parliament from Okayama prefecture.
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. In 1997, Japan suffered a major economic crisis resulting from the failure of stock brokerage firms and banks. The financial industry was rocked by scandals, leading to a number of prosecutions and, in early 1998, the resignation of the finance minister and the governor of the Bank of Japan, the nation's central bank. Although Prime Minister Hashimoto announced a program of tax cuts and spending to spur the economy, Japan slipped into its deepest recession since the end of World War II. The country's bad debt was estimated at near $1 trillion when Keizo ObuchiObuchi, Keizo
, 1937–2000, Japanese politician, prime minister of Japan (1998–2000), b. Nakanojo. The son of a silk manufacturer and politician, Obuchi graduated from Waseda Univ. in 1962 and in 1963 was elected to the parliament seat once held by his late father.
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 was elected head of the LDP and succeeded Hashimoto as prime minister in mid-1998. In Oct., 1998, the parliament approved legislation to allow the government to nationalize failing banks and to commit more than $500 billion to rescue the nation's banking system. By the time Japan's economy began to revive somewhat in 1999, the government had spent more than $1 trillion in a series of economic stimulus packages that included numerous public works projects.

In Jan., 1999, the LDP agreed to form a coalition government with the Liberal party, and the New Komeito party (a Buddhist-influenced party) later joined the coalition. The Liberals withdrew from the government in Apr., 2000. Shortly afterward, Obuchi was incapacitated by a severe stroke and was replaced as prime minister by Yoshiro MoriMori, Yoshiri,
1937–, Japanese politician, prime minister of Japan (2000–2001), b. Neagari. Born into a political family in rural Ishikawa prefecture and educated at Waseda Univ., he was a newspaper reporter before his first election to the Diet in 1969.
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, secretary-general of the LDP. lower-house elections the LDP-led coalition lost seats, but it retained control of the house and Mori remained prime minister. A series of political blunders undermined Mori, who was replaced by Junichiro KoizumiKoizumi, Junichiro
, 1942–, Japanese political leader, b. Yokosuka. From a political family, he studied economics at Keio Univ. (grad. 1967). He entered politics in 1970 as a member of the Liberal Democratic party (LDP), and two years later was elected to the Diet.
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, an insurgent supported by the LDP rank and file, in Apr., 2001; the same month the New Conservative party joined the governing coalition. An LDP victory in upper-house elections in July, which the party had earlier been expected to lose, was regarded by Koizumi as a mandate for his government. Reform was resisted, however, by entrenched government bureaucrats as well as by LDP factions that would be affected by it, and Koizumi's government has tended to avoid difficult choices and largely has continued the status quo.

Despite that mandate and his initial popularity, Koizumi had difficulty passing more than superficial economic reforms, as powerful and entrenched bureaucratic and LDP interests resisted change. The stagnant economy, hindered by a domestic deflationary spiral that began in the early 1990s and did not clearly end until 2006 and by contraction overseas, experienced its fourth recession in 10 years in 2001. In November unemployment reached 5.5%, a postwar high. In part because of already high levels of government debt, Koizumi's government adopted a 2002 budget that reduced expenditures, instead of increasing spending to stimulate the economy. The economy improved beginning in 2002, but the government continued to fail to make any significant economic reforms. Also in 2002, Koizumi made a landmark visit to North Korea, which led to an agreement to establish diplomatic relations between Japan and North Korea.

Elections in 2003 resulted in large gains for the opposition Democratic party of Japan (DPJ), but the LDP-led coalition retained a significant majority in parliament. Following the election, the New Conservatives merged with the LDP. The LDP and New Komeito party largely held onto their majority in the July, 2004, upper house elections, but the DPJ made solid gains at the expense of smaller parties.

In 2005, Koizumi sought to win passage of a plan to privatize Japan Post, which includes Japan's largest savings and insurance systems in addition to the postal system, but failed to win support for it in the upper house when a sizable number of LDP members voted against it. Calling a snap lower-house election, Koizumi gained (Sept., 2005) a huge victory in which the LDP took 60% of the seats, and the following month secured passage of legislation to privatize Japan Post over the decade beginning in 2007. A 2006 proposal by Koizumi to allow women, and children through the maternal line, to succeed to the Japanese throne (because the current emperor has no grandsons) brought protests from Japanese conservatives. That opposition and the birth of a son to the emperor's younger son led the prime minister to shelve the proposed change.

Koizumi retired as prime minister in Sept., 2006; newly elected LDP-leader Shinzo AbeAbe, Shinzo
, 1954–, Japanese politician. The son and grandson of politicians (his grandfather was Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi), he served as secretary to his father and succeeded to his father's seat in the Diet in 1993.
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 succeeded him in the post. The agency responsible for overseeing Japan's self-defense forces was upgraded to a ministry in Dec., 2006, and the forces' mandate was expanded to include international peacekeeping and relief. At the same time the Abe government enacted legislation designed to promote patriotism in Japanese schools. A series of financial scandals involving cabinet officials and electoral losses (July, 2007) that ended the LDP's control of the Diet's upper house led to Abe's resignation as prime minister in Sept., 2007. Liberal Democrat Yasuo FukudaFukuda, Yasuo
, 1936–, Japanese politician. Son of ex-prime minister (1976–78) Takeo Fukuda, he attended Waseda Univ. (grad. 1959) and worked for an oil company for 17 years.
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, a former chief cabinet secretary and the son of former Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda, was chosen as Abe's successor.

Fukuda's term in office turned out to be as brief as his predecessor's. An economic downturn and series of scandals hurt undermined his prime ministership, although there was an improvement in Japan's relations with China, including the first visit to Japan by a Chinese head of state (May, 2008) and an agreement (June, 2008) to develop jointly a contested natural gas field in the East China Sea. However, the opposition's control of the Diet's upper house enabled it to stymie the passage of significant legislation, including an economic stimulus package, and Fukuda resigned in Sept., 2008.

Taro AsoAso, Taro
, 1940–, Japanese politician, prime minister of Japan (2008–9). Grandson of Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida and son of a successful industrialist, he attended Gakushuin Univ. (grad. 1963), Stanford, and the Univ. of London.
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, an outspoken conservative and former foreign minister, became LDP party leader and prime minister. A series of stumbles and Japan's slide into recession in 2008 soon undermined Aso's government as well. The recession, which developed into the worst downturn since World War II as demand for Japanese exports plunged, led the government to propose stimulus packages cumulatively worth $27.4 trillion yen by Apr., 2009. Beginning in Mar., 2009, Japan also experienced a new round of deflation. Also that year, Japan joined the antipiracy forces off the Somali coast and in June expanded the powers of the self-defense forces to allow them to protect vessels of any nation from piracy.

After the LDP suffered losses in local elections in Tokyo in July, Aso moved to call parliamentary elections for late August. The DPJ subsequently won control of the Diet's lower house in a landslide, ending the LDP's postwar dominance of Japan's government; DPJ leader Yukio HatoyamaHatoyama, Yukio
, 1947–, Japanese politician, grad. Tokyo Univ. (B.S., 1969), Stanford (Ph.D, 1976). Though his grandfather was Prime Minister Ichiro Hatoyama and his father was foreign minister, he trained as an engineer and did not run for office until 1986, when he was
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 became prime minister. The DPJ assured control of the upper house as well by forming a coalition with two smaller parties, but one of the parties quit the coalition in May, 2010, after the government agreed to continue basing U.S. forces on Okinawa despite DPJ campaign promises to the contrary. Hatoyama subsequently resigned as DPJ leader and prime minister, and in June Naoto KanKan, Naoto,
1946–, Japanese political leader, grad. Tokyo Institute of Technology (1970). A civic activist and long-time opponent of the Liberal Democratic party, he first was elected to the Diet in 1980 as a Social Democrat.
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, the finance minister, succeeded him; the new government did not change Hatoyama's decision concerning Okinawa. The DPJ subsequently lost control of the Diet's upper house in the July, 2010, elections, but in September Kan survived a DPJ leadership challenge from Ichiro OzawaOzawa, Ichiro,
1942–, Japanese political leader. The son of a prominent politician, Ozawa was elected (1969) to his late father's parliamentary seat. Then a member of the ruling Liberal Democratic party (LDP), he served in Prime Minister Yasuhiro's cabinet in the mid-1980s.
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Funding scandals involving Ozawa and the foreign minister led (Mar., 2011) to calls for Kan to step down, but that was soon eclipsed by the effects of a 9.0 offshore earthquake and subsequent tsunami, which devastated many areas of the NE Honshu coast on March 11. Some 18,500 were killed or missing, mainly as a result of the tsunami, which overtopped many seawalls and reached as far as 5 mi (8 km) inland in some places. Damage was estimated at $210 billion, and the nation's economy suffered a slowdown as a result. Japan's worst natural disaster since the 1923 Tokyo earthquake also led to cooling failures at a nuclear power plant in FukushimaFukushima
, city (1990 pop. 277,528), capital of Fukushima prefecture, N Honshu, Japan, on the Kiso plain. A silk-textile center, it is a major commercial city of NE Japan, also producing cameras, automobiles, fruits, and bonsai trees.

Fukushima prefecture (1990 pop.
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 that resulted in meltdowns and the release of radioactive material into the air and sea.

In June, Kan, who had become to be regarded as indecisive in the aftermath of the disaster, survived a no-confidence vote and a rebellion by members of his own party by promising to step down after the worst of the nuclear crisis had passed. When he resigned in August, Finance Minister Yoshihiko NodaNoda, Yoshihiko,
1957–, Japanese political leader, prime minister of Japan, (2011–12), b. Funabashi, studied Waseda Univ. (grad. 1980) and Matsushita Institute of Government and Management.
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 succeeded him as DPJ leader and prime minister. Passage of an increase in the sales tax in June, 2012, led Ichiro Ozawa and his faction to quit the DPJ.

In the elections of Dec., 2012, the LDP won a resounding victory, winning a sizable majority and, with its coalition partner New Komeito, securing two thirds of the lower house seats. Shinzo Abe, who had led Japan in 2006–7, again became prime minister. In 2013, the new government subsequently adopted a stimulus package, and the Bank of Japan eased its monetary policy and undertook other measures to spur growth. In the July, 2013, the governing coalition also won control of the upper house, in an election marked by light turnout and a fragmented opposition vote. Abe called early elections for Dec., 2014, and the LDP-led coalition again won a landslide victory in the lower house.

Postwar International Relations

As the world's second largest national economy, Japan has struggled to define its international role. Its postwar foreign policy was aimed at the maintenance and expansion of foreign markets, and the United States became its chief ally and trade partner. In the early 1970s, however, U.S.-Japanese relations became strained after the United States pressured Japan to revalue the yen, and again when it began talks with Communist China without prior consultation with Japan. Partly in response, the Tanaka government established (1972) diplomatic relations with Communist China and announced plans for negotiation of a peace treaty. Relations also became strained with South Korea and Taiwan. Japan did not sign a peace treaty with the USSR because of a dispute over territory in the Kuril Islands formerly held by Japan but occupied by the USSR after the war. The two countries did, however, sign (1956) a peace declaration and establish fishing and trading agreements. The unresolved issue of the Kuril Islands remained a source of friction in Japan-Russia relations into the 21st cent.

Beginning in late 1973, when Arab nations initiated a cutback in oil exports, Japan faced a grave economic situation that threatened to reduce power and industrial production. In addition, a high annual inflation rate (19% in 1973), a price freeze, and the instability of the yen on the international money markets slowed Japan's economy; in the late 1970s, however, the continued growth of foreign markets brought Japan out of its slump.

In the 1980s many Japanese firms invested heavily in other countries, and Japan had a surplus with virtually every nation with which it traded. The high level of government involvement in banking and industry led many other countries to accuse Japan of protectionism. The United States in particular sought to reduce its huge trade deficit with Japan. Japan also had to deal with growing economic competition within its own region from such countries as South Korea, Taiwan, and (beginning in the 1990s) China. Japan's emphasis on exports also caused it to neglect its domestic markets.

In addition to these economic pressures, great political pressure was put on Japan to assume a larger role in world affairs. Although its constitution forbids the maintenance of armed forces, Japan has a sizable military capability for defensive warfare. The United States has increasingly pressed Japan to assume a larger share of responsibility for the defense of its region. The first Persian Gulf WarPersian Gulf Wars,
two conflicts involving Iraq and U.S.-led coalitions in the late 20th and early 21st cent.


First Persian Gulf War, also known as the Gulf War, Jan.–Feb.
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 caused great dissension in Japan. The government, which felt tremendous pressure to contribute to the UN effort in accordance with its economic power, also had to address the decidedly antimilitaristic bias of the Japanese people. In 2001, Japan provided refueling support in the Indian Ocean to U.S. naval forces involved in the invasion of Afghanistan. After the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Japan also contributed (2004–6) forces to reconstruction efforts. That deployment was opposed by most Japanese, despite its noncombat nature.

Meanwhile, by 2003 concern over North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons and missiles and over China's growing power led to the removal of some legal restrictions on the government's ability to respond militarily to an attack, and the Liberal Democrats proposed amending the constitution's limits on its defense forces. Late in 2004 relations with North Korea became especially strained when Japan suspended food aid to it after the remains it returned to Japan of a woman who had been kidnapped by Korea turned out to be not hers. The issues of North Korean missile development and the abduction of Japanese citizens increasingly worsened bilateral relations into 2006.

Relations with South Korea and China soured in the spring of 2005. Both nations were upset by school history textbooks that minimized aspects of Japan's role in World War II. In addition, South Koreans objected to the reassertion of Japanese claims to the Liancourt RocksLiancourt Rocks,
Jap. Takeshima, Korean Dokdo or Tokdo, island group, 58 acres (23 hectares), in the SW Sea of Japan, roughly midway between the Japanese island of Honshu and the Korean peninsula.
..... Click the link for more information.
, which Korea occupies, while Chinese demonstrated against a plan that called for giving Japan a permanent seat on the UN Security Council and both nations contested the ownership of an exclusive economic zone in the East China Sea. The annual visits of the Prime Minister Koizumi to the Tokyo shrine honoring Japan's war dead also strained relations with South Korea and China, as did Prime Minister Abe's remarks (early 2007) denying that Japan's military had forced Asian women to serve in its brothels during World War II. Abe nonetheless managed to improve relations with China, in part by not visiting the Tokyo shrine.

North Korea's announcement of a nuclear weapons test in Oct., 2006, brought a quick and strong response from Japan, which imposed new, much tighter sanctions on North Korea. All trade with North Korea was banned, and most travel from the North was was as well. Japan also pushed for strong UN sanctions to be imposed on the North. Although Japan supported the Jan., 2007, six-party agreement that called for closure of North Korea's reactor, it maintained a harder line in its bilateral relations with the North, concerned over unresolved abduction issues and North Korean missiles (which led to the installation of ballistic missile interceptors in 2007). Relations with North Korea remained difficult in subsequent years.

When DPJ came to power in 2009, it adopted a more assertive relationship with the United States, especially with respect to U.S. bases in Japan, and sought to improve relations with South Korea and China. The new government reviewed the proposed realignment of U.S. forces on Okinawa, which was opposed by elements within the DPJ-led government and on Okinawa that preferred to see U.S. forces there reduced even further, but in May, 2010, the government announced it would honor the 2006 relocation agreement. That decision catalyzed the resignation of Prime Minister Hatoyama. Japan also ended its naval refueling mission in support of U.S. forces in the Indian Ocean.

In Sept., 2010, relations with China were strained after a Chinese trawler collided with Japanese patrol boats near the Senkaku IslandsSenkaku Islands
, small, uninhabited island group, 8 sq mi (20.7 sq km), Okinawa prefecture, extreme SW Japan, in the East China Sea. Located 90 mi (45 km) NNW of Ishigaki in the Ryukyu Islands, the group comprises five generally low-lying coral islands and scattered islets.
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, an island group controlled by Japan but claimed by China. Japan accused the captain of intentionally crashing into the Japanese vessels, and when he was not released when his ship and crew was, China demanded his release, canceled high-level intergovernmental meetings with Japan, and was reported to have halted the export of industrially important rare earths to Japan. The captain subsequently was released, but the events undermined public support for the Japanese government, and frictions between the two nations remained. A revised agreement on the realignment of U.S. forces on Okinawa was reached in Apr., 2012; it did not change the number of U.S. forces that would remain after the realignment. Tensions over the Senkaku Islands, with both China and Taiwan, flared up again in the second half of 2012 and continued into 2013, and affected sales of Japanese products in China. The Liancourt Rocks have continued to be a source of difficulty in relations with South Korea. In July, 2014, the Japanese cabinet adopted an interpretation of the self-defense clause in the constitution that would allow its military to engage in collective self-defense, such as might be involved in protecting an ally, and it secured the passage of laws in support of that in 2015 despite significant opposition among the public.


See W. K. Bunce, ed., Religions in Japan (1955, repr. 1962); G. B. Sansom, A History of Japan (3 vol., 1958–63); D. Keene, Living Japan (1959); J. M. Maki, Government and Politics in Japan (1962); S. Yoshida, Japan's Decisive Century, 1867–1967 (1967); H. Borton, Japan's Modern Century (2d ed. 1970); R. H. P. Mason and J. G. Caiger, A History of Japan (1973); H. Passin, Society and Education in Japan (1983); W. S. Morton, Japan (1984); P. G. O'Neal, Tradition and Modern Japan (1985); M. A. Barnhart, Japan Prepares for Total War: The Search for Economic Security, 1919–1941 (1987); W. G. Beasley, Japanese Imperialism 1894–1945 (1987); R. E. Ward and Y. Sakamoto, Democratizing Japan: The Allied Occupation (1987); T. Inoguchi and D. I. Okimoto, The Political Economy of Japan (Vol. II, 1988); P. Duus, ed., The Cambridge History of Japan (6 vol., 1989); T. Ishida, Japanese Political Culture (1989); E. O. Reischauer, Japan (4th ed. 1970, repr. 1990); D. Irokawa, The Age of Hirohito (1995); R. Edgerton, Warriors of the Rising Sun: A History of the Japanese Military (1997); J. Schlesinger, Shadow Shoguns: The Rise and Fall of Japan's Postwar Political Machine (1997); P. Smith, Japan: A Reinterpretation (1997); J. W. Dower, Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II (1999); R. B. Frank, Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire (1999); H. P. Bix, Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan (2001); J. L. McClain, Japan, A Modern History (2001); I. Buruma, Inventing Japan, 1853–1964 (2003); M. Hastings, Retribution: The Battle for Japan, 1944–45 (2008); E. Hotta, Japan 1941 (2013).



Japan is a state made up of islands in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Eastern Asia. The territory of Japan includes some 4,000 islands that extend northeast to southwest for nearly 3,500 km. The main islands are Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu (see Table 1). Major engineering structures, such as bridges and underwater tunnels, link the principal islands with one another. Japan is washed by the Pacific Ocean in the east and south, by the East China Sea and Sea of Japan in the west, and by the Sea of Okhotsk in the north. Area, 372,200 sq km. Population, 114 million (1977, estimate). The capital is Tokyo.

Table 1. Territory of Japan
Island groupsArea (sqkm)Number of the most important small islands
Hokkaido ...............78,40013
Honshu ...............230,8001,351
Shikoku ...............18,700471
Kyushu (including the Ryukyu Islands) ...............44,3001,419

Japan is divided into 47 prefectures (see Table 2).

Table 2. Prefectures of Japan
 Area (sq km)Population (1975, census)Capital
1Excluding Lake Towada, which lies on the border between Akita and Aomori prefectures
Hokkaido ...............78,4005,338,000Sapporo
Aichi ...............5,1005,923,100Nagoya
Akita ...............11.60011,232,500Akita
Aomori ...............9.60011,468,600Aomori
Chiba ...............5,1004,149,200Chiba
Fukui ...............4,200773,600Fukui
Fukushima ...............13,8001,970,700Fukushima
Gifu ...............10,6001,868,000Gifu
Gumma ...............6,4001,756,500Maebashi
Hiroshima ...............8,4002,646,400Hiroshima
Hyogo ...............8,4004,991,900Kobe
Ibaraki ...............6,1002,342,200Mito
Ishikawa ...............4,2001,070,900Kanazawa
Iwate ...............15,3001,385,600Morioka
Kanagawa ...............2,4006,397,600Yokohama
Kyoto ...............4,6002,425,800Kyoto
Mie ...............5,8001,626,000Tsu
Miyagi ...............7,3001,955,300Sendai
Nagano ...............13,6002,017,000Nagano
Nara ...............3,7001,077,300Nara
Niigata ...............12,6002,392,000Niigata
Okayama ...............7,1001,814,300Okayama
Osaka ...............1,9008,278,800Osaka
Saitama ...............3,8004,821,400Urawa
Shiga ...............4,000985,500Otsu
Shimane ...............6,600768,900Matsue
Shizuoka ...............7,8003,308,800Shizuoka
Tochigi ...............6,4001,698,000Utsunomiya
Tokyo ...............2,10011,669,200Tokyo
Tottori ...............3,500581,300Tottori
Toyama ...............4,3001,070,800Toyama
Wakayama ...............4,7001,072,100Wakayama
Yamagata ...............9,3001,220,300Yamagata
Yamaguchi ...............6,1001,555,200Yamaguchi
Yamanashi ...............4,500783,100Kofu
Ehime ...............5,7001,465,200Matsuyama
Kagawa ...............1,900961,300Takamatsu
Kochi ...............7,100808,400Kochi
Tokushima ...............4,100805,100Tokushima
Kyushu, with Ryukyu Islands   
Fukuoka ...............4,9004,293,000Fukuoka
Kagoshima ...............9,2001,723,900Kagoshima
Kumamoto ...............7,4001,715,000Kumamoto
Miyazaki ...............7,7001,085,100Miyazaki
Nagasaki ...............4,1001,571,900Nagasaki
Oita ...............6,3001,190,300Oita
Okinawa ...............2,2001,042,500Naha
Saga ...............2,400837,700Saga

Japan is a constitutional monarchy. Under the current constitution, which came into force on May 3, 1947, the hereditary emperor of Japan is “the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people.” The emperor appoints the prime minister designated by the Diet, and the chief justice and members of the Supreme Court, who are chosen by the Cabinet. Among other duties, all purely ceremonial, he appoints and dismisses Cabinet members, convokes the Diet, and grants amnesties and pardons. Under the constitution, the emperor may undertake no action pertaining to affairs of state except with the advice and approval of the Cabinet, which then bears full responsibility.

Legislative authority is vested in the Diet, which consists of two chambers—the House of Representatives, whose members are elected to four-year terms, and the House of Councillors, whose members are elected to six-year terms, half the membership being elected every three years. All citizens 20 years of age or older are eligible to vote. For a candidate to be elected to either chamber, he must receive sufficient votes—not necessarily a majority—to place among the top three to five, depending on the size of the district. Under the constitution, the Diet has full legislative authority and exclusive control over the budget. Its functions include monitoring the activity of the Cabinet and ratifying treaties concluded by the Cabinet with foreign powers. Executive authority is vested in the Cabinet, made up of 20 ministers appointed by the prime minister.

The principal body of self-government in the prefectures is the elective prefectural assembly, which consists of 40 or more deputies, depending on population. There also are elective assemblies in cities, towns, and villages. The chief officials of local agencies of self-government—governors in the prefectures, mayors in the cities, and elders in towns and villages—also are popularly elected to four-year terms. Anyone who is at least 20 years old and has lived in a given area for more than three months may vote in local elections.

The Japanese judicial system is headed by the Supreme Court, which consists of a chief justice and 14 justices. The Supreme Court also performs the functions of a constitutional court. There are eight regional higher courts; 49 district courts, with 232 divisions; 49 family courts, with 232 divisions; and about 600 summary courts. Judges are appointed by the Cabinet on the recommendation of the Supreme Court.

Japan’s distinctive natural features are determined largely by its location in the temperate, subtropical, and tropical belts and by its geographic isolation.

Coasts. The coastline of Japan is about 30,000 km long. The shores of the Japanese islands (the main islands are Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu) that face the Sea of Japan, and the Pacific coast of Honshu north of 35° N lat., have comparatively few indentations and are accompanied by marine terraces for much of their length. The southern coast of Honshu and the coasts of Shikoku and Kyushu are incised by gulfs, bays, and straits, with numerous offshore islands and rocks; it is here that the Inland Sea, which has a highly irregular coastline, is located. Major peninsulas include the Kii Peninsula on Honshu and the Oshima Peninsula on Hokkaido. There are ingressive ria coasts in areas of recent subsidence, such as the shorelines of the Kii and Bungo straits. The southern Ryukyu Islands are enclosed by coral reefs.

Terrain. More than three-fourths of Japan is occupied by uplands and mountains, chiefly low- and medium-elevation mountains. Lowlands, the largest of which is the Kwanto, or Tokyo, Plain, occur in individual sections along the coastline. On Hokkaido the main ranges are an extension of the Sakhalin and Kuril island chains, which trend north to south and northeast to southwest, respectively. The highest peaks, which are located in the region where the ranges intersect, exceed 2,000 m in elevation (Mount Asahi, 2,290 m).

Northern Honshu has three longitudinal chains of medium-elevation mountains, separated by valleys and basins. The Ou Range, west of which lie the Dewa and Echigo ranges and east of which lie the Kitakami and Abukuma ranges, extends along the island’s axis. Volcanoes are found in the central and western chains. The Fossa Magna, a fault depression some 250 km long, crosses central Honshu; above it rise several volcanoes, including Mount Fuji (3,776 m), the highest peak in Japan. In central Honshu lie the Hida, Kiso, and Akaishi ranges (2,900–3,192 m), whose peaks have an alpine relief and are snow covered much of the year. Japan has a total of 16 peaks that are more than 3,000 m in elevation, all located on Honshu. The Kinki Plain and Lake Biwa lie within a tectonic depression in southwestern Honshu. The depression, whose western extension is occupied by the Inland Sea, separates an inner and outer mountain zone. The inner zone, to the north, extends along the axis of western Honshu; the outer zone is situated on the Kii Peninsula and the islands of Shikoku and Kyushu.

Shikoku reaches a maximum elevation of 1,981 m at Mount Ishizuchi; the highest peak on Kyushu is Mount Kuju (1,088 m), a volcano. Plateaus and lowlands predominate on the Ryukyu Islands.

Geological structure and mineral resources. The Japanese island arc belongs to the Western Pacific Geosynclinal Belt. The transverse zone of the Fossa Magna faults divides the territory of Japan into a southwestern and a northeastern region, which differ in geological structure.

The southwestern region of Japan—Kyushu, Shikoku, and southern Honshu—is complex in structure and includes numerous folds, longitudinal thrust faults, bodies of the gabbro-ultrabasic complex, granitoids, and narrow metamorphic zones of varying ages. The southwestern region is divided by a main line of dislocation into the outer zone, in the south, and the inner zone, in the north.

In the northern part of the inner zone, known as the Hida-Oki zone, folding, granitization, and the formation of gneisses occurred mainly in the Paleozoic and Triassic; Precambrian rocks are also found. In the southern part of the inner zone, known as the Sangun-Yaguchi and Rekyo zone, are found eugeosynclinal deposits of Carboniferous to Triassic age and younger terrigenous and superficial volcanic strata; the folded structure and granitic layer were formed during the Cretaceous. Volcanic-plutonic formations of the Upper Cretaceous are widespread. Terrigenous strata that were dislocated at the end of the Cretaceous and during the Paleogene are found in the Izumi Trough.

Throughout the outer zone of southwestern Japan occur thick eugeosynclinal strata, dating from the Paleozoic to the Jurassic in the Chichibu zone and from the Cretaceous to the early Miocene in the Shimanto zone. In the late Cenozoic, folding took place and the granitic layer was formed. The structural zones of southwestern Japan continue on to Kyushu and the Ryukyu Islands.

Most of the northeastern region of Japan, which comprises Hokkaido and northern Honshu, is formed of Paleozoic and Me-sozoic strata, metamorphosed in places. An area that includes the Kitakami and Abukuma ranges and their extension on Honshu dates from the Cretaceous, when folding occurred and a granitic crustal layer was formed. The rest of Hokkaido contains Paleozoic and Mesozoic eugeosynclinal deposits (occasionally metamorphosed), bodies of the gabbro-ultrabasic complex, and Cretaceous and Cenozoic terrigenous rocks; in the late Cenozoic, folding occurred, and the granitic layer was formed.

Superimposed on more ancient structures is a seismic zone of Neogene and Anthropogene (Quaternary) volcanoes that is characterized by recent dislocations and rearrangement of the crust of the Japanese island arc and the Ryukyu Islands. Recent volcanic formations are particularly widespread in the greenstone tuff zone, which occupies an extension of the Izu-Bonin island arc. Japan as a whole is a territory of high seismicity and active volcanism: destructive earthquakes occurred in 1855, 1891, and 1897, and Tokyo was devastated by an earthquake in 1923; there are about 150 volcanoes, 40 of which are active. The volcanic areas abound in mineral and hot springs.

In 1976, Japan had coal reserves of 8.63 billion tons, iron ore reserves of 228 million tons, sulfur reserves of 67.6 million tons, manganese ore reserves of 5.4 million tons, lead-zinc ore reserves of 4.7 million tons, petroleum reserves of 3.8 million tons, copper ore reserves of 2.0 million tons, chromite reserves of 1.0 million tons, and small amounts of gold, silver, and mercury.

Climate. Japan has a monsoon climate that is temperate in the north, subtropical in the southern part of the Japanese islands, and tropical on most of the Ryukyu Islands. The mean temperature on Hokkaido (at Sapporo) is –5°C in January and 22°C in July. Corresponding temperatures are 6°C and 27°C in the southern part of the Japanese islands (at Kagoshima) and 16°C and 28°C in the Ryukyu Islands (on Okinawa).

The winter monsoon comes from the Asian landmass and on the whole has a cooling effect, although the air becomes somewhat warmer and moister over the nonfreezing marginal seas. Associated with the monsoon are the winter maximums of precipitation and the snowy winters on the western coasts of Honshu and Hokkaido and in the Hida Mountains. The mountain slopes facing the Pacific Ocean are relatively dry in winter.

The summer monsoon is less dramatic in its effects, which are most pronounced on the southeastern mountain slopes. The peak summer precipitation comes from the bai-u (literally “plum rains”), which play a major role in rice cultivation; the rains are associated with the summer monsoon. Typhoons are common: the 15 to 30 that occur each year, mainly in the fall, bring hurricane-force winds and torrential rains that often shift the maximum precipitation to this season.

Japan’s climate is, on the whole, wet: the average annual precipitation is about 1,800 mm and exceeds 3,000 mm on the Pacific slopes of southern Honshu, in the Hida Mountains, and in some regions of Shikoku and Kyushu. Least wet, with an annual precipitation of 800–1,200 mm, are eastern Hokkaido, certain inter-montane basins, and the shores of the Inland Sea; all are separated from moisture-bearing winds by the mountains.

Ocean currents have a considerable warming influence on Japan’s climate, notably the Kuroshio (Japan) Current, which flows along the southern coasts of the Japanese islands, and the Tsushima Current, which flows along the northwestern and northern coasts. The Oyashio Current, on the other hand, cools the eastern coast of Hokkaido and the northeastern coast of Honshu.

Rivers and lakes. Japan has a dense network of short, deep rivers, usually found in the mountains; the largest are the Shinano, Tone, and Kitakami rivers on Honshu and the Ishikari River on Hokkaido. Japan has an estimated hydroelectric potential of 52.7 million kilowatts (kW), of which 21.8 kW had been harnessed by 1975. In the rivers of the Sea of Japan basin, high water occurs in winter or spring; in the rivers of the Pacific Ocean basin, high water occurs in summer. Flooding, often brought on by typhoons, is common. Many rivers are used for irrigation: Japan has thousands of reservoirs, small and large. Light-draft ships can navigate major rivers in the stretches that flow through the plains.

Lakes are numerous and of varied origin. Japan’s largest lake, Lake Biwa (area, 716 sq km), occupies a tectonic depression. There are volcanic lakes, such as Inawashiro, Towada, and Kutcharo, and lagoon lakes, such as Kasumigaura and Saroma.

Soils. Podzols and meadow-boggy soils are found in the north, brown forest soils in the southern part of the temperate belt, and yellow soils and red earths in the subtropical and tropical regions. In the mountains the soils are primarily stony, often with inclusions of volcanic ash; on the plains there are alluvial soils under cultivation.

Flora. More than two-thirds of Japan is occupied by forests and shrubs; many forests are the result of reforestation. In 1974, timber reserves were estimated at 1.9 billion cu m. Coniferous trees account for 50 percent of the total timber reserves and 37 percent of the forested area. The flora of Japan includes more than 700 species of trees and bushes and about 3,000 species of grasses. Numerous representatives of pre-Anthropogene flora, such as ferns and horsetails, have been preserved. Geographic isolation has contributed to the high level of endemism of Japan’s flora.

Coniferous forests of spruce and fir, with a dense undergrowth of bamboo, predominate on Hokkaido. As elevations increase, the forests give way to thickets of dwarf stone pine, birch groves, grass and bush formations, and heath. The upper limit of the coniferous forests increases from 500 m in northern Hokkaido to 1,800–2,000 m on Honshu. In the more southerly regions of Japan, coniferous forests gradually give way to deciduous broad-leaved forests of such trees as oak, beech, maple, chestnut, ash, linden, and a local variety of walnut. In southwestern Hokkaido, the broad-leaved coniferous forests grow in the coastal areas and up to an elevation of 500 m; on Honshu they are found up to 1,800 m.

On the lower slopes of Honshu’s mountains south of 38° N lat. and at up to 800 m on the mountain slopes on Shikoku and Kyushu there are subtropical evergreen forests that include evergreen oak, magnolia, camphor tree, Japanese cedar, and Japanese cypress, with a rich undergrowth and an abundance of lianas. Monsoon forests, with palms, figs, tree ferns, bamboo, and orchids, are found at up to 300 m in the extreme southern part of Kyushu and on the Ryukyu Islands.

Fauna. Japan is inhabited by some 270 species of mammals, about 800 species of birds, and 110 species of reptiles. More than 600 species of fish and more than 1,000 species of mollusks are found in the seas that wash Japan. The fauna, which includes many endemic and vestigial species, is somewhat impoverished (and the forms smaller) because of Japan’s geographic isolation. Species that have adapted to life in mountain forests predominate. Such animals as the wolf, fox, badger, raccoon dog, otter, and hare are found on both Hokkaido and Honshu; the brown bear, sable, ermine, and snow weasel are found only on Hokkaido.

The Tsugaru (Sangar) Strait acts as a boundary for many species that live to the south, such as the black bear, Japanese macaque, antelope, and giant salamander. Tropical fauna, represented by fruit bats and a variety of tropical birds and insects, are found south of the Togara Strait. The woodpecker, thrush, tit, swallow, starling, grouse, crane, stork, hawk, eagle, and owl are found in Japan, and many seabirds inhabit the coasts. Freshwater fish include the carp, sheatfish, eel, and lamprey; eels and Salmo-nidae, including trout, are raised. The commercial fish of the coastal waters include the Pacific herring, Pacific sardine, cod, flatfish, and the tuna. Crabs, shrimps, and oysters are caught commercially.

Preserves. About 10 million hectares (ha), or more than one-fourth of the country, are protected to one degree or another. In 1977, about 5 million ha of this area were accounted for by state preserves and by 23 national parks, the best known being Shikotsu-Toya, Yoshino-Kumano, Saikai, Daisetsuzan, Bandai-Asahi, Nikko, Towada, Fuji-Hakone-Izu, Seto-Naikai, and Aso. In addition, parks controlled by the prefectures, “quasi-national” parks, and more than 2,000 wildlife sanctuaries, with a total area of about 2.3 million ha, have been established in Japan. In 1970, underwater national parks were created in the shallow areas (depths to 20 m) of the seas; in 1976, 40 such parks were in existence.

Natural regions. Northern Japan, which comprises all of Hokkaido except for the Oshima Peninsula, is the most rugged region in Japan: low- and middle-mountain.relief prevails. The climate is moderately cool with snowy winters. Coniferous forests grow in the region.

Northeastern Japan, which comprises southern Hokkaido and northern Honshu, is characterized by middle- and low-mountain relief. The climate is moderately warm, with cool winters; the opposing slopes of the mountains receive markedly different amounts of precipitation. Broad-leaved forests are found in the low-mountain areas, and mountain taiga at higher elevations.

Central Japan comprises the middle, most elevated, part of Honshu. In addition to lowlands and low- and middle-mountain relief, there are areas of high-mountain relief: the Hida, Kiso, and Akaishi ranges and Mount Fuji. The climate is subtropical, becoming temperate in the mountains. Cultivated flora predominates in the plains; broad-leaved and coniferous forests grow in the mountains. Central Japan is the most highly developed and most densely populated region of Japan.

Southwestern Japan, which comprises southwestern Honshu, all of Shikoku, and all of Kyushu except for its southern periphery, has a low- and middle-mountain relief. The climate is subtropical, and the southeastern and northwestern slopes receive markedly different amounts of precipitation. Evergreen mountain forests give way to broad-leaved and coniferous forests as elevations increase. On the plains, rice is double-cropped.

In southern Japan, which comprises the southern part of Kyushu and all of the Ryukyu Islands, hills and middle-mountain relief predominate. The region has a tropical climate (subtropical in places) and tropical flora.


Geologiia i mineral’nye resursy Iaponii. Moscow, 1961. (Translated from English.)
Geologicheskoe razvitie Iaponskikh ostrovov. Moscow, 1968. (Translated from English.)
Ackerman, E. A. Prirodnye resursy Iaponii i perspektivy iaponskoi ekonomiki. Moscow, 1955. (Translated from English.)
Vitvitskii, G. N. Klimat Iaponii. Moscow, 1954.
Zarubezhnaia Aziia: Fizicheskaia geografiia. Moscow, 1956.

IU. K. EFREMOV (physical geography) and E. N. MELANKHOLINA (geological structure and mineral resources)

Japan is essentially a country of a single nation (natsiia, nation in the historical sense): more than 99 percent of the population is Japanese, including the Ryukyu ethnographic group. Remnants of the most ancient population—the Ainu—inhabit Hokkaido; they number about 20,000 and have to a great extent lost their distinctive culture and language. Members of other nations living in Japan include Koreans (more than 700,000) and Chinese. The official language is Japanese. The main religions are Shinto, which was the state religion until 1945, and Buddhism; Christianity has gained some acceptance. Japan has used the Gregorian calendar since 1873; time is also reckoned by the reigns of the Japanese emperors.

Japan has the sixth-largest population in the world. According to the postwar census of 1950, the population was 83.2 million; according to the 1975 census, it was 111.9 million. The rapid population growth characteristic of the 1940’s and 1950’s, when the number of births reached 36 per 1,000 inhabitants, changed markedly in the 1960’s, when the number of births fell to 17 per 1,000 inhabitants. The 1975 census showed that the birthrate had increased to 20 per 1,000 inhabitants. The mortality rate, which had decreased in the postwar years, rose slightly in the period from 1965 to 1975. The average annual rate of natural population growth was 1.4 percent in the period from 1970 to 1975, as compared to 1.1 percent from 1965 to 1970. In 1975 there were 56,845,000 women, who accounted for 50.8 percent of the population, and 55,089,000 men.

The 1975 census reflects substantial changes in Japan’s age structure. Beginning in the early 1960’s, the proportion of young people has decreased: the number of persons 14 or younger dropped to 24 percent of the total, as compared to 35 percent in 1950. Persons from 15 to 60 years of age accounted for 68 percent, as compared to 60 percent in 1950, and the number of elderly persons increased to 8 percent, as compared to 5 percent in 1950.

The economically active population totaled 52.2 million in 1975, as compared to 36.5 million in 1950. The employment structure among the various branches of industry changed in the period from 1950 to 1975: the number of industrial workers increased sharply from 18 percent of the total in 1950 to 27 percent in 1975; the number of workers in the service sector showed a similar increase. In 1975 about 22 percent were employed in trade, 6 percent in transport and communications, more than 3 percent in finance and insurance, and 23 percent in other services. The number of persons employed in construction and municipal economy has shown a nearly continual increase. The number of government workers has increased, and the number of those employed in agriculture and forestry has declined sharply, from 51 percent in 1950 to 12.6 percent in 1975. At the beginning of the 1950’s, the total number of workers was about 8 million; by the mid-1970’s it had increased to 25 million. The number of women employed in production was, on average, 35–40 percent of the total.

In 1975 the average population density of Japan was 298 persons per sq km. Because Japan has experienced an uneven economic development, the scale and trends of internal migration have fluctuated in different periods. The urban population has grown at an extremely rapid rate. In 1947 only 33 percent of the population was urban; in 1975 only 25 percent of the population was rural, and the urban population had risen to 75 percent. In 1950, Japan had 58 cities with a population of 100,000 or more; in 1975 the number was 175. In 1975 ten cities had a population exceeding 1 million, including Tokyo (8,841,000), Osaka (2,980,000), Yokohama (2,238,000), and Nagoya (2,030,000).

The large-scale migration to the cities has led to an expansion of urban areas and to the formation of conurbations. Keihin-Keiya, which includes Tokyo, Kawasaki, Yokohama, and Chiba, has a total population of 27 million. Hanshin, which encompasses Osaka, Kobe, and Kyoto, has a population of 17 million, and Chukyo, which includes Nagoya and its satellites, has a population of about 10 million. Kitakyushu, which includes Moji, Kokura, Tobata, and Wakamatsu, has a population of about 2 million, and Sapporo-Otaru has a population of about 1.5 million. The combined population of the conurbations is 57.5 million—more than half the country’s population.

Primitive communal system and emergence of a class society. The Neolithic Jomon culture, named after the cord pattern impressed in the pottery characteristic of the culture, existed in Japan from circa 7500 B.C to circa 300 B.C. It gradually was supplanted by the Yayoi culture, which existed from the fifth century B.C. to the fourth century of the Common Era. Characteristic of the Yayoi culture were the development of land cultivation and animal husbandry and the use of metal implements; bronze implements appeared in the first century B.C. and iron implements in the first century of the Common Era. The society became increasingly stratified from the first centuries of the Common Era, and slavery was introduced. The head of the village (or clan) had great authority over its inhabitants; he also exercised control over the religion, early Shinto (seeSHINTO).

Tribal alliances were formed as early as the late second century B.C. The large Yamato tribal alliance dates from the third century of the Common Era. The Japanese state emerged from this alliance as a class society formed. The Yamatos, who initially represented the interests of the communal-clan aristocracy, gradually assumed royal status. As feudal relations developed, a slavehold-ing system was formed.

The development of a class society and the intensification of the class struggle made it necessary to centralize the government. Shotoku Taishi (Prince Shotoku), who was regent from 593 to 621, implemented several reforms. He replaced the system of hereditary posts with a system of 12 court ranks; introduced the Seventeen-Article Constitution, which proclaimed the supreme authority of the Yamato rulers; and encouraged Buddhism, which had begun to spread in Japan in the sixth century.

The Yamato rulers sent several envoys to the Sui emperor of China. It was in the messages from these envoys that the title tenno, which the rulers of Japan adopted in their dealings with foreign powers, first was used; the title, translated in European languages as “emperor,” is still used today.

Early feudalism (mid-seventh to late 12th centuries). In 645, Prince Nakano Oe overthrew the Soga clan, which was associated with the clan and slaveholding aristocracy. The coup marked the beginning of the Taika reforms, named for the era in which they were implemented. The organizers of the coup took advantage of the weakening of the Soga clan, which had been caused by the liberation movement of the slaves and semifree peasants. The Taika reforms were carried out by groups of the ruling class interested in strengthening the feudal form of exploitation. In 646, after the coup, land was declared to be government property and the population was transformed into holders of government allotments. The peasants, each bound to an allotment, had to pay rent in the form of products of land cultivation and handicrafts; in addition, they had to perform various kinds of work. The semi-free peasants were given a status equal to that of the feudal-dependent peasants. A central administration patterned after that of the T’ang in China was created. The first permanent capital was built in Nara in 710; it was subsequently moved to Nagaoku and in 794 was shifted to Heian (now Kyoto).

Not all of Japan’s territory was government-owned land. The shoen—manors owned by the aristocracy and the temples—emerged as early as the ninth century. By the mid-tenth century the allotment system associated with feudal landownership by the government had ceased to exist; the manors became the predominant form of feudal landholding. Groups of military feudal lords under the leadership of chiefs formed in the 11th century. By the mid-12th century the strongest were the Minamoto group in northeastern Honshu and the Taira group in southwestern Honshu; the two feudal houses fought one another.

Developed feudalism (late 12th to 16th centuries). In 1185 the struggle between the Minamoto and Taira clans ended in the latter’s total defeat. Power in Japan passed to the northeastern feudal lords, who in 1192 proclaimed their leader, Minamoto Yoritomo, ruler of the state. His title, “shogun,” thenceforth was used to designate the feudal military ruler of Japan. Members of the largest feudal clans ruled by hereditary succession under the title beginning in the Middle Ages; the imperial dynasty retained only a nominal importance. The foundation of the shogunate was the military feudal estate, the bushi, especially the shogun’s personal vassals, who held administrative positions. The lowest level of the bushi estate consisted of the minor military nobility—the samurai. In 1274 and 1281 the Mongols, who had conquered China and Korea, undertook two expeditions against Japan, both unsuccessful.

The social division of labor developed in Japan. Trade and craft corporations, the za, rapidly increased in number beginning in the 13th century. Feudal cities grew: 40 were established before 1400, 45 in the 15th century, and 184 in the period from 1501 to 1580.

The period from the 14th to 16th centuries witnessed a transition from medium-size feudal holdings—the shoen—to large holdings—the domains. The central figure among the feudal lords became the landowning prince, or daimyo, under whose supervision agriculture, handicrafts, and trade developed. As feudal property became consolidated, feudal lords with small or medium-size holdings ceased to own land directly and were transformed into a military class. In the 1330’s the Ashikaga shoguns (ruled 1338–1573) succeeded the shoguns of the Minamoto clan. In the 15th and 16th centuries Japan experienced nearly continual peasant uprisings; a particularly large uprising took place from 1485 to 1493 in southern Yamashiro Province (see).

Japan carried on extensive trade with China and Korea in the 15th and 16th centuries. The development of trade with China was an important influence on the extraction industry in Japan. Feudal lords undertook the intensive mining of gold, silver, and copper on their lands, which promoted a further strengthening of the major feudal lords, who sought to free themselves from the shogun’s control. In the 16th century the central government of the Ashikaga shoguns completely lost its hold over the country. In the mid-16th century the Europeans, who acted primarily as middlemen in the trade between Asia and the West, arrived in Japan; the Portuguese came in 1542, and the Spanish in 1584. European missionaries began propagating Christianity in Japan.

Against a background of incessant peasant uprisings, the feudal lords increasingly sought to unify the country and create a central authority. The prosperous urban upper class also had a stake in creating a unified market in Japan. Unification of the country began under General Oda Nobunaga (1534–82) and was essentially completed under Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536–98). The peasant movement was ruthlessly crushed, and the free cities were deprived of their liberty. In 1588 an order was issued under which the peasants’ weapons were confiscated. During the national land survey of 1589–95 the peasants were bound to the land. Between 1592 and 1598, late in the reign of Hideyoshi, two campaigns of aggression were undertaken against Korea; both ended in the defeat of the invaders.

Late feudalism (17th century to the 1860’s). After the death of Hideyoshi, the feudal lord Tokugawa Ieyasu (1542–1616) completed the unification of Japan; in 1603 he was proclaimed shogun. Under the Tokugawa shoguns, who ruled until 1867, Japan was a centralized, absolutist feudal state. The large cities, mines, and holdings of the ruling house constituted the economic base of the Tokugawa. Under the Tokugawa, the domains became economic and administrative units, headed by the princes (daimyo), who had at their disposal large detachments of military retainers. The government established a system of rigid control over the daimyo. The samurai, who made up the military estate, were chiefly concentrated in the cities, where the daimyo resided; they received their salary in rice. The government created a system of four estates—samurai, peasants, artisans, and merchants—and strictly regulated the distinctions among them.

The Tokugawa government feared expansion by the Europeans and the spread of Christianity, which was becoming the ideology of a popular movement (seeSHIMABARA REBELLION). It promulgated orders against Christianity in 1612, 1613, and 1618 and restricted European trade. Three exclusion orders, designed to seal Japan off from the outside world, followed in 1633, 1636, and 1639; under penalty of death, it was forbidden for foreigners to enter Japan, for Japanese subjects to travel abroad, or for large ships to be built. Beginning in 1641, a limited trade with China and Holland was allowed, but only through the port of Nagasaki, at Deshima.

Tokugawa Japan reached its apogee in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. It then entered a prolonged period of crisis whose underlying cause was the disintegration of the feudal system. Between 1601 and 1867 there were 1,640 peasant disturbances, 216 of which occurred in the 17th century, 713 in the 18th century, and 711 in the period from 1801 to 1867. The first urban uprising occurred in 1712; 95 are known to have occurred in the 18th century, including 60 in the 1780’s. Through limited reforms carried out between 1716 and 1733, 1789 and 1793, and 1841 and 1843, the government attempted to resolve the contradictions of the feudal system. Feudal landownership in Japan in the Tokugawa period was characterized on the whole by a large number of small peasant farms, which performed feudal duties for the daimyo. At the same time, an intermediate stratum—the “new” landowners, who came from among the merchants, moneylenders, village leaders, and in part from the samurai—gradually emerged in rural areas. Textile mills, including cotton and silk mills, appeared. Capitalist textile mills appeared in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. A capitalist system gradually took shape.

In the 1850’s and 1860’s the Japanese government faced growing domestic difficulties as it retreated from its policy of isolation under pressure from the USA and Europe. By sending the squadron of Commodore M. Perry, the USA was able to open the ports of Shimoda and Hakodate to foreign ships in 1854. The treaties that the USA and the European powers concluded with Japan between 1854 and 1858 brought Japan into the world market (seeANSEI TREATIES). The first Russo-Japanese treaty, concluded in 1855, established intergovernmental relations between the two countries.

Incomplete bourgeois revolution of 1867–68; industrial capitalism (1868 to late 19th century). A bourgeois revolution took place in Japan in 1867 and 1868 (seeMEIJI RESTORATION). The shogunate was actively opposed by the broad masses of the peasantry and the urban poor; the lower strata of the nobility (the samurai), who were linked to the bourgeoisie; and the court aristocracy and anti-Tokugawa great feudal lords, among whom the leaders of the southwestern domains of Satsuma, Choshu, Tosa, and Hiza played a major role. The struggle of the peasant masses and the urban poor was the decisive force that undermined the shogunate and ultimately brought about its collapse.

The government of the shogun fell in 1868, and an imperial government came to power. The spontaneous nature of the popular movement, however, combined with the weakness of the Japanese bourgeoisie, resulted in the leadership of the anti-shogun movement being taken over by moderately radical elements closely tied to the imperial court and the opposition feudal elite. The revolution of 1867–68 consequently remained incomplete. At the same time, the new government was forced to carry out political and social reforms because of the profound crisis of the feudal system, the extreme exacerbation of the class struggle, the demands of the commercial and industrial bourgeoisie, and the need to make Japan’s economy stronger and therefore better able to resist the colonialist policy of the USA and Europe. The reforms were nonetheless halfhearted; although they did make possible the rise of the capitalist method of production, they ensured that many semifeudal vestiges were preserved.

In 1871 the domains were eliminated and prefectures were created in their stead. In 1872 three estates were established in place of the previous four: the aristocracy, which comprised the former feudal princes and the court aristocracy; the nobility, which comprised the former samurai; and the commoners, an estate that encompassed the remaining segments of the population, including the commercial and industrial bourgeoisie. Laws were adopted establishing the equality of all classes, the freedom to choose one’s occupation, and freedom of travel throughout the country.

Under the land reform implemented in 1872 and 1873, all who were in actual possession of land at the time of the reform were granted legal rights of private ownership. The land ended up, for the most part, in the hands of the new landowners and prosperous peasants; the overwhelming majority of peasants received tiny allotments. In June 1873 a law was adopted that abolished all feudal taxes and obligations and introduced an annual monetary assessment equal to 3 percent of the land’s value, to be collected by the central government.

The creation of a large-scale modern industry was made difficult by the incomplete nature of the revolution of 1867–68, the preservation of feudal vestiges, the narrow raw-materials base, and Japan’s surrender of control over customs duties under the Ansei treaties. Between 1868 and 1885 about 1,300 enterprises, primarily devoted to the processing of agricultural raw materials, were established in Japan with private capital. The state, taking into account the circumstances listed above, assumed the burden of substantial expenditures for the creation of large industrial enterprises; it was able to draw on the treasury’s reserves, which had been enhanced through constant increases in various taxes on the peasantry. Model enterprises were built with state funds and subsequently were transferred, at an extremely low price, to private entrepreneurs, notably to such large companies as Mitsui and Mitsubishi. The ties between the bourgeoisie and the monarchical state apparatus were thereby strengthened. Landowners who had taken over the lands of the ruined peasantry emerged as a mainstay of the new regime.

The formation of a working class, which by 1890 numbered about 350,000, accompanied the development of capitalist production in Japan. Cruel exploitation of the workers and their complete lack of political rights led to several large spontaneous uprisings in the 1870’s and 1880’s. The second half of the 1870’s and the 1880’s witnessed the rise of the “movement for freedom and people’s rights,” the Minken Undo. The movement gained the support of liberal circles of the ruling classes, which had sought the adoption of a constitution, and broader democratic strata.

In 1881, as the political crisis deepened, an imperial decree was issued promising that a Diet would be convoked in 1890. A constitution was promulgated in 1889; drawn up on the Prussian model, it gave unusually broad powers to the emperor. The prerogatives of the Diet were sharply limited. The constitution gave legal sanction to a reactionary alliance of the monarchy, the upper levels of the bureaucracy, the landowners, and the big bourgeoisie.

The ruling classes embarked on an aggressive foreign policy. In 1876, Japan imposed on Korea the inequitable Treaty of Kanghwa. Under the pretext of suppressing a peasant uprising that had broken out in Korea, Japan sent troops to Korea in June 1894 and started the Sino-Japanese War of 1894–95. As a result of the war, Japan, with the de facto support of Great Britain and the USA, acquired its first colonies (Taiwan and the Pescadores Islands), received a large indemnity, and significantly expanded its influence over China and Korea.

Era of imperialism (to 1917). At the turn of the 20th century, Japanese capitalism entered its imperialist stage. Japanese imperialism exhibited a number of features that had been shaped by the country’s historical development. It emerged as a military-feudal imperialism in which the dominance of monopoly capital coexisted with semifeudal vestiges and with a politically important landowner class. Japanese imperialism took the governmental form of a nominally constitutional, but in fact absolute, monarchy that embodied a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie and the landowners. The close proximity of economically and militarily weak countries—China and Korea—intensified the aggressiveness of Japanese imperialism.

An increase in the size of the working class and the growth of its political consciousness led to a major upsurge in the working-class movement. In 1897, Katayama Sen helped found the Society for Assisting the Organization of Trade Unions. In 1898 the Society for the Study of Socialism was founded with the help of Katayama and Kotoku Denjiro. The Social Democratic Party was created from the society in May 1901 and was immediately banned by the government.

In 1900, Japan joined forces with other powers to suppress the anti-imperialist Boxer Rebellion in China. The conflict between Japan and Russia over Manchuria became more acute in the early 20th century. The Japanese government actively prepared for war with Russia, thereby assuring itself of the de facto support of Great Britain and the USA. Great Britain and Japan concluded an agreement in 1902 (seeANGLO-JAPANESE ALLIANCE). In February 1904, Japan, in violation of previous Russo-Japanese treaties, started the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–05.

Japan won a series of victories over the tsarist forces but was exhausted by the war. In May 1905, Japan turned to the USA with a request that it mediate peace talks. In July 1905 an agreement was signed between the USA and Japan, under which the USA consented to the establishment of a Japanese protectorate over Korea. In August 1905 negotiations began, with the USA as mediator; in the following month Japan and Russia signed the Treaty of Portsmouth at Portsmouth, N.H. Under the treaty, Russia recognized Korea as lying within Japan’s sphere of influence. In addition, Russia granted to Japan its leasing rights in Kwantung Province, including the rights to Port Arthur and Dal’nii (Dairen); the southern spur of the Chinese Eastern Railway; and the southern part of Sakhalin, up to the 50th parallel.

In November 1905 a treaty establishing a protectorate over Korea was imposed on the Korean government. In August 1910, Japan annexed Korea and transformed it into a colony. In 1906 the South Manchurian Railway, a semigovernmental concern, was established in Japan to exploit southern Manchuria. The Japanese monopolies also moved into other regions of China. In 1914, Japanese investments in China amounted to $220 million, compared to $1 million in 1900. The capture of new markets and the militarization of the economy gave impetus to Japanese industrial development. The total volume of gross output by factories and plants nearly doubled between 1905 and 1914.

During the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–05, Japanese socialists mounted an active antiwar campaign. The Russian Revolution of 1905–07 considerably influenced the upsurge in the working-class and the democratic movement in Japan. In 1904 there were six strikes, involving 879 workers; in 1907 there were 57 strikes, involving about 10,000 workers. The Japanese Socialist Party was created in February 1906 but was banned in 1907. In 1910 the police arrested a group of socialists and anarchists headed by Kotoku for allegedly conspiring against the emperor. Kotoku and 11 of his comrades were executed in 1911. Police terror notwithstanding, a democratic movement developed in Japan on the eve of World War I; it demanded an expanded suffrage, an end to the use of force by military and bureaucratic elements, and a curtailment of military expenditures.

The ruling circles in Japan seized the opportunity presented by the outbreak of world war in Europe to strengthen and expand their position in the Far East. On Aug. 23, 1914, Japan declared war on Germany. After capturing Tsingtao Fortress, located on territory leased by Germany in Shantung Province (China), on November 7, Japanese troops proceeded to occupy almost all of Shantung. In October 1914 the Japanese fleet took the Marshall, Mariana, and Caroline islands, which also belonged to Germany. On Jan. 18, 1915, Japan presented China with a series of demands (the Twenty-one Demands), which the Chinese government accepted, in a modified version, on May 25, 1915, thereby greatly strengthening Japan’s position in China.

General crisis of capitalism (1918–45). During World War I, several branches of Japanese industry showed significant growth. In the Far East, Japan now faced far less competition from Great Britain, Germany, and Russia, a state of affairs that opened up broad opportunities for the sale of Japanese goods. The value of gross industrial output increased from 13 billion yen to 65 billion yen between 1914 and 1919. The economic upsurge did not, however, improve the position of the workers. Rising inflation led to an exacerbation of the class struggle. Large-scale revolutionary uprisings of the working people—the Rice Riots—took place in August and September 1918. The disturbances engulfed two-thirds of the country and involved 141 cities; from 10 million to 13 million persons took part in the riots.

The ruling circles of Japan rejected all proposals by Soviet Russia to establish neighborly relations and, in collusion with the USA, Great Britain, and France, moved toward armed intervention against the Soviet Republic. On Apr. 5, 1918, Japanese troops landed at Vladivostok, occupied the Soviet maritime region, and invaded Siberia. The Japanese government, in addition to intervening in Soviet Russia, continued its policy of colonization in Korea and China. In March and April 1919 it suppressed with extreme cruelty a popular uprising in Korea (seeMARCH 1919 UPRISING IN KOREA). At the Paris Peace Conference of 1919–20, Japan was given a mandate to govern the Marshall, Mariana, and Caroline islands; in addition, all German assets in Shantung were transferred to Japan.

Increasing Japanese expansion in China caused serious discontent among Japan’s imperialist rivals—Great Britain and the USA. At the Washington Conference of 1921–22, Japan was compelled to return to China the territory in Shantung that had formerly been leased by the Germans and to sign the Nine-Power Treaty, which called for a recognition in China of the Open Door and of equal opportunity for all nations wishing to trade. This was a major blow to Japan’s aspirations to hegemony in China.

In 1920 industrial production began a decline that lasted until 1924–25. Inroads by the monopolies on the working people’s standard of living led to a new upsurge in the working-class movement, which increasingly was influenced by socialist ideas and which put forward political as well as economic demands. The popular masses were resolute in demanding that intervention in Soviet Russia come to an end. In 1920 the first May Day demonstration in Tokyo was held. The creation of the Communist Party of Japan (CPJ) was announced in Tokyo on July 15, 1922. The CPJ embarked on a selfless struggle to defend the interests of the working people, to bring about the immediate withdrawal of interventionist troops from Soviet Russia, and to establish diplomatic relations with Russia. By the fall of 1922, the Japanese intervention in the Soviet Far East had failed completely. In October 1922, Japanese troops were evacuated from Vladivostok. Only northern Sakhalin remained in the hands of the occupying forces.

In 1925 and 1926, as the economy revived somewhat, the working class increased in numbers and a movement was initiated to create a mass legal party of workers and peasants (the CPJ had been forced underground). The Rodo Nominto (the Workers’ and Peasants’ Party) was organized in March 1926.

Japan’s interests continued to conflict with those of Great Britain and the USA in 1924 and 1925; the Japanese government decided therefore to move toward a normalization of relations with the USSR in order to strengthen its position with regard to foreign policy and to ease internal political tensions. On Jan. 20, 1925, the USSR and Japan signed a convention on the basic principles of mutual relations; it called for the establishment of diplomatic and consular relations and outlined the principal means of settling disputes. After the convention was signed, Japan withdrew its forces from northern Sakhalin.

In April 1927 the government of General Tanaka, a leader of the Japanese militarists, came to power. On two occasions, in 1927 and 1928, Tanaka’s government sent expeditionary forces to Shantung. Japan’s aggressive foreign policy was accompanied by a reactionary upsurge within the country. On Mar. 15, 1928, members and sympathizers of the CPJ were arrested throughout Japan. On Apr. 10, 1928, the Rodo Nominto and other leftist organizations were banned.

During the world economic crisis of 1929–33, the value of industrial output fell by 32.5 percent (50 percent in some branches of industry) between 1929 and 1931; the value of agricultural output fell by 40 percent. By the end of 1931 there were about 3 million unemployed in Japan. The devastation of the peasantry took place on a broad scale. The monopoly bourgeoisie saw a solution in the militarization of Japan and in foreign policy adventures. The most reactionary groups of the junior officer class, which sought to establish a fascist military dictatorship, became active in Japan. On May 15, 1932, they attempted to seize power, and Prime Minister Inukai was murdered. The putsch was suppressed, but the influence of the militarists on Japan’s domestic and foreign policy continued to grow.

On Sept. 18, 1931, Japan began its occupation of Manchuria. By occupying and cutting off Manchuria (where the puppet state of Manchukuo had been created) from China, Japan moved closer toward world war. Taking advantage of the League of Nations’ refusal to recognize Manchukuo, Japan quit the League on Mar. 27, 1933. Japanese aggression was unopposed by the USA, Great Britain, or France, all of which pursued a policy of placating the aggressor, in the belief that Japan would oppose the USSR and help stifle the revolutionary movement in China. Japanese aggression against China continued to grow from 1933 to 1936.

On Nov. 25, 1936, Japan and fascist Germany signed the Anti-Comintern Pact. In July 1937, Japan initiated a war to capture all of China. While the Soviet Union was providing considerable financial and moral support to China, the USA, Great Britain, and France systematically granted concessions to the Japanese imperialists. In 1938, Japan completed the occupation of the entire eastern part of China, the country’s most economically developed region. On Nov. 3, 1938, Prime Minister Konoe Fumimaro announced the creation of a “new order in East Asia,” which meant a policy of capturing and colonizing vast areas. Simultaneously with their aggression in China, the Japanese imperialists organized armed provocations against the Soviet Union and the Mongolian People’s Republic. In July 1938, Japanese troops invaded Soviet territory in the Lake Khasan area but suffered a crushing defeat. On May 11, 1939, units of the Japanese Kwantung Army invaded the Mongolian People’s Republic in the Khalkhin-Gol area. By late August, Soviet and Mongolian troops had completely crushed the invaders.

The defeats in the Soviet Union and Mongolia determined, to a considerable extent, the main direction of Japanese expansion. Japanese ruling circles increasingly favored a southern strategy—an assault on the colonial possessions of the European powers and the USA in Southeast Asia. The start of World War II in September 1939 inspired hopes in Tokyo that Great Britain and France, which were occupied with the war in Europe, would be unable to devote sufficient attention to the defense of their colonies and strongholds in Asia, which would then become easy prey to Japanese troops. An initial move in this direction was Japan’s occupation of northern Indochina in September 1940. The aggressive aspirations of Japanese imperialism were confirmed in the Tripartite Pact, signed on Sept. 27, 1940, between Germany, Italy, and Japan; the pact amounted to a joint agreement to divide up the world.

As preparations for war proceeded, there was a dramatic upsurge of reactionary forces, and the entire socioeconomic structure of Japan became fascist in nature. Trade unions were abolished in 1940. The Imperial Rule Assistance Association was created in October 1940 to replace the political parties, which had been dissolved; headed by the prime minister, the association formed the basis of the “new political structure.” As expansion continued southward, the ruling circles of Japan proceeded with active preparations for war against the USSR. In order to prevent possible Japanese attack, the Soviet government signed a neutrality pact with Japan on Apr. 13, 1941; it considered the agreement an important step toward stabilizing the situation in the Far East.

Japan chose to advance farther south, regarding the USA, Great Britain, and France as its principal rivals for influence in Asia and the Pacific. In the early hours of Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese naval and air forces, without declaration of war, attacked the American naval base at Pearl Harbor (in the Hawaiian Islands), Guam, Manila, and Hong Kong; war was declared by Japan on December 8. By mid-1942, Japan had taken the Philippines, Indochina, Thailand, Burma, Malaya, and Indonesia (seePACIFIC CAMPAIGNS OF 1941–45). A cruel colonial regime was established in the captured territories, which were made part of the “Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.”

The victories of the Soviet Army over fascist troops considerably influenced the course of military operations in the Pacific Theater. The heroic struggle of the Soviet people against Hitlerite occupying forces enabled the USA and Great Britain to mobilize their manpower and material reserves and to devote them largely to the battle against Japan.

Despite the serious difficulties that Japan encountered on the Pacific fronts beginning in late 1943, it kept the elite Kwantung Army, numbering about 1 million men, on the borders with the Soviet Union, refusing to give up its plan to attack the USSR. This tied up a large number of Soviet troops in the Far East and constituted Japanese assistance to Hitlerite Germany. Japan provided Germany with military intelligence on the Soviet Union, closed the La Perouse and Sangar straits to Soviet shipping, sank Soviet ships, and created serious obstacles to Soviet navigation. In view of Japan’s repeated violations of the neutrality pact, the Soviet government renounced it on Apr. 5, 1945.

In August 1945, American airplanes dropped atom bombs on Hiroshima (August 6) and Nagasaki (August 9). The bombings, militarily unjustified and primarily political in their objectives, inflicted enormous civilian losses.

The Soviet government, in fulfillment of treaty obligations undertaken with its Allies and in an effort to end the war as quickly as possible, announced on Aug. 8, 1945, that it would be in a state of war with Japan as of the following day; in addition, it joined the USA, Great Britain, and China in signing the Potsdam Declaration, which demanded Japan’s unconditional surrender and laid the foundations for its subsequent demilitarization and democratization. The rapid advance of the Soviet troops, which crushed the Kwantung Army and liberated Manchuria, North Korea, southern Sakhalin, and the Kuril Islands, brought about the rapid conclusion of the war in the Far East. On Sept. 2, 1945, Japan surrendered unconditionally.

After World War II. The defeat of imperialist Japan gave the Japanese people the opportunity to carry out fundamental socioeconomic reforms. The Soviet Union insisted that the Potsdam Declaration and other wartime agreements among the Allies be fulfilled completely and without exceptions; in addition, it insisted on the implementation of a series of measures that would extirpate Japanese militarism and ensure the transformation of Japan into a peace-loving democratic state. The USA, however, which on behalf of the Allies was in effect the sole occupying power, established as its principal goal the creation of an extensive and all-encompassing system to monitor Japan and make it dependent on the USA. The headquarters of the American commander set up an occupation regime that operated through Japanese governmental agencies, which were obliged to implement the directives and instructions of the occupation authorities. The USA considered it necessary to weaken the Japanese zaibatsu (monopoly production associations) enough to eliminate them as powerful competitors on the world market and to introduce a minimum of bourgeois liberties but not enough to allow an upsurge in the democratic and working-class movement that would pose a threat to the hegemony of the Japanese monopoly bourgeoisie.

In December 1945, at a conference in Moscow of the foreign ministers of the USSR, USA, and Great Britain, it was decided to create the Far Eastern Commission and the Allied Council for Japan. Speeches by the Soviet representatives in these organizations, the rapid upsurge in the working-class and democratic movement in Japan, and demands by the societies of the world, including the broad masses of the population of the USA, that the danger of a resurgence of Japanese militarism be eliminated forced the USA to implement a number of democratic reforms in Japan in the early postwar years.

The new Japanese constitution was adopted by the Diet in October 1946 and went into force on May 3, 1947. Article 9 states that Japan rejects the use of armed force as a means of resolving international conflicts and refuses to establish armed forces for this purpose. For all its shortcomings, the new constitution marked an important step toward the democratization of the Japanese system of government and in this respect represented an advance beyond the constitution of 1889, the Meiji Constitution.

The land reform carried out between 1946 and 1949 essentially abolished the property rights of the landlords. War criminals were purged from the government. The police system was decentralized: the police were made subordinate to local authorities, and the central police administration was abolished. The educational system was democratized. Measures to eliminate cartels restricted for a time the influence of the largest monopolies. The Tokyo Trials, in which the cases of the principal war criminals were heard, took place from 1946 to 1948.

As early as the end of 1948 the USA had decided to make Japan its main strategic and military bridgehead in the Far East. It executed an about-face in occupation policy, announcing in December 1948 an economic stabilization program that would contribute to the restoration of the Japanese monopolies. The rehabilitation of war criminals began, and in 1950 a reserve police force was created as the nucleus of a future army.

In the early postwar years the working class quickly achieved a high degree of organization, and there was a dramatic upsurge in the working-class and democratic movement. Trade unions were established at all major enterprises in 1946 and 1947. The CPJ, which had come out from underground and in October 1945 had legally resumed its activities, did important work to increase the political awareness of the Japanese working people. In the elections held in January 1949, the CPJ received about 3 million votes and won 35 seats in the House of Representatives. The Socialist Party of Japan (SPJ), formed in November 1945, also stepped up its activities.

The Japanese government, at the behest of the occupation authorities, implemented measures to restrict democratic freedoms in an attempt to halt the growing influence of progressive forces. In July 1948 a law was adopted that prohibited strikes by blue-collar and white-collar workers in state and municipal enterprises, who accounted for more than one-third of Japanese working people organized in trade unions. In 1950, on the eve of the Korean War, and soon after the outbreak of the war the occupation authorities repressed the CPJ and trade union activitists with unusual harshness in order to prevent the development of the antiwar movement.

The military intervention in Korea caused the USA to move rapidly to sign a peace treaty with Japan. The USA believed that by terminating occupation status and making Japan independent it would strengthen the position of conservative forces, who would then be better able to implement a policy of remilitarization, and would ensure broader support from that quarter for American policy in the Far East. At the same time, the ruling circles of the USA sought to maintain their armed forces in Japan. The peace treaty with Japan was signed on Sept. 8, 1951, at a conference in San Francisco, in disregard of many legitimate demands made by the USSR and several other countries (seeSAN FRANCISCO, PEACE TREATY OF [1951]). The USSR, Czechoslovakia, and Poland refused to sign the treaty. On the same day a Japanese-American “security treaty” was concluded; it allowed the USA to build bases in Japan and to keep its forces there for an indefinite period. When the Peace Treaty of San Francisco went into force on Apr. 28, 1952, all power in Japan was transferred to the Japanese government. The USA retained, however, important economic, political, and military levers for controlling Japan.

The inclusion of Japan in the military and strategic sphere of the USA and the move toward remilitarization encountered the stubborn resistance of the broad masses. Demonstrations for peace, freedom, and complete national independence were held on May 1, 1952, in Tokyo and other cities. The police provoked a number of bloody incidents. Beginning in 1953, the mass movement for withdrawal of all American troops from Japan, for the banning of atomic and hydrogen weapons, and against rearmament took on an increasingly wide scope. In December 1954 the mounting struggle of the Japanese people for a fundamental review of Japan’s foreign and domestic policy forced the retirement of Prime Minister Yoshida, who had openly pursued a pro-American policy. A new government was formed by Hatoyama Ichiro, president of the bourgeois Democratic Party (founded 1954), and, after the party’s merger in November 1955 with the Liberal Party (founded 1950), president of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Hatoyama announced as a main policy goal the normalization of relations with the Soviet Union.

A joint declaration announcing termination of the state of war and the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between the USSR and Japan was signed on Oct. 19, 1956. The Soviet Union renounced all reparation claims against Japan and agreed to support Japan’s request for admission to the UN. Both parties agreed to continue negotiations toward a peace treaty. The normalization of relations with the Soviet Union was shortly followed by the resumption of diplomatic relations with Poland, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria and Rumania. The admission of Japan to the UN in December 1956 enabled it to become much more active in the area of diplomacy.

Beginning in the early 1950’s, Japan experienced rapid economic development, based on increased exploitation of the workers and a sharp rise in the efficiency of material production that was made possible by scientific and technological progress. In terms of gross national product and industrial output, Japan in the late 1960’s became the second leading country in the capitalist world, surpassed only by the USA; in addition, it emerged as an active participant in the competitive struggle for markets and sources of raw materials.

As production became concentrated, the entire national economy essentially came under the control of a few powerful monopolistic financial groups. Japanese imperialism had lost its feudal military character and assumed the classic form ofa highly developed state-monopoly capitalism, as found in the USA and the leading countries of Western Europe. The economic upturn was accompanied by further sharpening of all contradictions in Japanese society, especially the contradictions between labor and capital. Although the working people achieved an increase in nominal wages through a persistent campaign of strikes, this was absorbed in large part by increased prices for consumer goods. On the whole, the standard of living of working people in Japan is lower than in the USA and some developed European capitalist states.

The onslaught of the monopolies and reactionary forces, the cultivation of nationalism, and the activities of neofascist elements encounter the stubborn resistance of the Japanese working people. In the spring and fall of every year since 1955, millions of workers have taken part in strikes, political meetings, and demonstrations, in the course of which economic and political demands have been put forward.

The growth of Japan’s economic might has brought about certain changes in the disposition of forces in the capitalist world and an enhancement of Japan’s role in world politics.

The governments of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party place at the foundation of their policy the preservation and development of the military and political alliance with the USA, while strengthening Japan’s position within the alliance. The Japanese-American treaty of mutual cooperation and security, which superseded the 1951 security treaty, was signed on Jan. 19, 1960. Despite the protests of the public, which demanded the promulgation of a policy of neutrality, the new treaty confirmed the right of the USA to maintain bases and armed forces on Japanese territory. Japan also assumed a number of obligations to increase its military and industrial potential. When the treaty expired in 1970, it was automatically extended and will remain in force until one of the parties announces a year in advance that it wishes to terminate the treaty.

Japan provided extensive political, diplomatic, financial, and technical support to the USA in the war against the Vietnamese people. In August 1964, Japan gave its consent for American atomic submarines to enter Japanese ports; in November 1967 it agreed to admit atomic aircraft carriers and other surface vessels. In view of Japan’s growing role in the American military and strategic system in Asia, the USA met some of Japan’s demands. In 1972 it returned to Japan the Ryukyu Islands, including the main island of Okinawa; these had been held illegally by the USA. All major military facilities, however, remained in the hands of the USA. The ruling circles of Japan paid particular attention to the development of relations with countries that were part of military alliances and blocs. A basic treaty and other agreements were signed with South Korea in June 1965. At Japan’s initiative, the Asian and Pacific Council (ASPAC) was created in June 1966.

Forced rates of economic development in the 1960’s led to a further sharpening of economic and social contradictions. Beginning in late 1973, the economy was gripped by a crisis of overproduction, the most serious in a cycle of similar crises in the postwar period. The crisis became especially acute and protracted as its effects were compounded by the currency and energy crisis in the capitalist world, by an unprecedented rise in inflation, and by a profound deterioration of world market conditions. The volume of industrial output in 1975 fell by 10.9 percent from the previous year and 13.8 percent from the figure for 1973. A rather tepid recovery began in the spring of 1976.

In February 1975 there were 1.1 million unemployed and more than 1.4 million underemployed persons in Japan. The high rate of inflation seriously affected the working people. Retail prices rose by 71 percent between April 1970 and April 1975. The lot of peasants with small and medium-size holdings worsened. The real income of peasant farms per hectare of land fell by 32 percent between 1970 and 1974. The pollution of the environment by industrial enterprises and transport has taken a heavy toll on the population.

The heightened exacerbation of social contradictions has been manifested in an upsurge in the working-class and democratic movement, in a clear shift to the left in the sentiments of the broad masses, and in the decreasing influence of the LDP.

In the elections to the House of Representatives in December 1976, the LDP received only 41.8 percent of the vote, as compared to 62.6 percent in 1955. For the first time since its formation in 1955, the LDP was unable to win a majority, receiving only 249 of 511 seats. The LDP was later strengthened by the support of several deputies who had been listed as independents, and the party gained a slight majority—260 seats in March 1977. The new government, formed in December 1976, was headed by Fukuda Takeo; Ohira Masayoshi became prime minister in December 1978.

The decline in the influence of the LDP was accompanied by a growth in the power of the opposition forces of the SPJ, which advocated the establishment of democratic control over the economy and an end to the dominance of the monopolies, abrogation of the military alliance with the USA, a proclamation of neutrality, and the development of neighborly relations with all countries. In the December 1976 elections, the SPJ sent 123 candidates to the Diet and received 11.7 million votes, or 20.7 percent of the total. Some 6 million voters, or 10.7 percent of the electorate, voted for candidates of the CPJ, which won 19 seats.

The opposition parties made significant progress in elections to local governmental bodies. In 1977 approximately one-third of the more than 600 cities and municipalities, including Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, and Yokohama, which account for nearly half of the country’s population, were governed by mayors from opposition parties.

The sharp exacerbation of interimperialist contradictions, the increased role of socialist countries in world politics, and profound shifts in the balance of forces in the imperialist camp forced the ruling circles of Japan to make corrections in their foreign policy. In the early 1970’s they proclaimed the doctrine of “multipole diplomacy,” by which they meant the development of relations with Western Europe, the Soviet Union, and China; the policy also called for an enhancement of Japan’s role in the military and political alliance with the USA, to which primary importance was attached, as before.

In the area of politics, the Japanese were dissatisfied with the agreement between the USA and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in June 1971 on a visit by President Nixon to Peking; the agreement, reached without the knowledge of the Japanese government, was regarded as a violation on the part of Washington of the understanding that the two countries would coordinate positions with regard to the PRC and as an attempt to diminish the role of Japan in the solution of Asian problems. The governments of the USA and Japan were likewise unable to resolve deep-seated commercial and economic conflicts between their countries. The USA’s trade deficit with Japan was $3.9 billion in 1976 and $7.3 billion in 1977.

Japan has greatly expanded its economic and political relations with Western Europe. The flood of Japanese goods has generated growing alarm and resistance, however, from influential Western European economic and political circles. Japan is therefore paying increasing attention to strengthening its positions in the Asian-Pacific region and to developing its relations with Asian countries, as well as with Australia and Canada, important trading partners of Japan.

A sober assessment of the balance of power that has emerged and of the importance of countries of the socialist community in the international arena has caused the ruling circles of Japan to look for ways to develop neighborly relations with socialist states, especially the Soviet Union, because of its role in the global system of international relations, its geographic proximity, and the interest of Japan’s business circles in developing commercial and economic relations with the USSR.

After the signing of a joint declaration in 1956, Soviet-Japanese relations in all areas have undergone considerable development. A commercial treaty was signed in 1957, a number of fishing agreements have been reached, and a consular convention was concluded in 1966. Regular maritime and air routes were established in 1958 and 1966, respectively. In addition to trade, economic cooperation has undergone development. Relations have expanded significantly in science, culture, and tourism as well as between democratic organizations and societies in the two countries. The high-level Soviet-Japanese negotiations held in Moscow from Oct. 7 to 10, 1973, were an important contribution to the development of neighborly relations between the USSR and Japan. It was agreed to expand political contacts, economic, scientific, and technical cooperation, and trade; in addition, a number of specific agreements were signed. Commodity turnover between the two countries increased in value from 15.4 million rubles in 1957 to 2.3 billion in 1977. An intergovernmental protocol calling for Japan to extend $1.05 billion in credits to the Soviet Union was signed on Apr. 22, 1974. Between 1974 and 1976, general agreements on Soviet-Japanese cooperation, on a compensatory basis, were concluded with regard to the exploitation of timber reserves in the Soviet Far East, the development of the Southern Yakut Coalfield, the exploration and extraction of petroleum and natural gas on the continental shelf off Sakhalin, and geological exploration in the Yakut gas fields. The implementation of these agreements is making it possible to develop Soviet-Japanese trade and economic relations on a stable basis and is easing the way for a significant expansion in the volume and variety of goods exchanged.

The ruling circles of Japan, however, have put forward unfounded and illegitimate claims to Soviet territory: the islands of Iturup, Kunashir, Habomai, and Shikotan, in the Kuril archipelago; these claims are obstacles to the further development of neighborly relations, including the signing of a peace treaty between the two countries.

Japan established diplomatic relations with the PRC on Sept. 29, 1972. Agreements on trade, air travel, navigation, and fishing were reached in 1974 and 1975. Economic, scientific, and technical ties have been greatly expanded. In 1977 the volume of trade between Japan and China reached $3.5 billion. At the same time, deep-seated conflicts have been developed between the two countries. Japan has viewed with alarm the growth of China’s nuclear potential and has condemned the nuclear tests that China has conducted. Both countries claim sovereignty over the Senkaku Islands, situated between the Ryukyu archipelago and Taiwan, and rights to the continental shelf adjacent to the islands. Although it has broken off diplomatic relations with Taiwan, Japan maintains extremely close ties, principally in the economic sphere, with the Kuomintang regime. In August 1978, Japan concluded a treaty of peace and friendship with the PRC; it agreed, with certain stipulations, to include in the text a reference to the struggle against “hegemonism,” a term the Chinese leadership uses to characterize the foreign policy of the Soviet Union.

Japan’s contradictory foreign policy exerts an increasing influence on the country’s domestic political situation; it promotes a sharpening of socioeconomic contradictions and struggle between conservative and democratic forces.


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Marx, K. F. Engel’su ot 8 okt. 1858. (Letter.) Ibid., vol. 29.
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Lenin, V. I. “Padenie Port-Artura.” Ibid., vol. 9.
Lenin, V. I. “Razgrom.” Ibid., vol. 10.
Lenin, V. I. “Goriuchii material v mirovoi politike.” Ibid., vol. 17.
Lenin, V. I. “Probuzhdenie Azii.” Ibid., vol. 23.
Lenin, V. I. “Otstalaia Evropa i peredovaia Aziia.” Ibid.
Lenin, V. I. “Voina i revoliutsiia.” Ibid., vol. 32.
Lenin, V. I. “I Vserossiiskii s”ezd Sovetov rabochikh i soldatskikh deputatov 3–24 iiunia (16 iiunia-7 iiulia) 1917 g.” Ibid., vol. 32.
Lenin, V. I. “Doklad o mezhdunarodnom polozhenii i osnovnykh zadachakh Kommunisticheskogo Internatsionala 19 iiulia—[II kongress Kommunisticheskogo Internatsionala 19 iiulia–7 avgusta 1920g.].” Ibid., vol. 41.
Lenin, V. I. “Sobranie aktiva mosk. organizatsii RKP(b) 6 dek. 1920 g.: Doklad o kontsessiiakh.” Ibid., vol. 42.
Lenin, V. I. “Doklad o kontsessiiakh na fraktsii RKP(b) VIII s”ezda Sovetov 21 dek.” Ibid.
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Kutakov, L. N. Istoriia sovetsko-iaponskikh diplomaticheskikh otnoshenii. Moscow, 1962.
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Inoue, K., S. Okonogi, and S. Suzuki, Istoriiasovr. Iaponii. Moscow, 1955. (Translated from Japanese.)
Hani Goro. Istoriia iaponskogo naroda. Moscow, 1957. (Translated from Japanese.)
Nihon-no rekishi (History of Japan), vols. 1–26. Tokyo, 1965–67.
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Shin Nihon shi taikei (Essays on Japanese History in a New Light), vols. 1–7. Tokyo, 1957–58.
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Sansom, G. A History of Japan to 1334. London, 1958.
Sansom, G. A History of Japan, 1334–1615. London, 1961.
Reischauer, E. O. Japan, Past and Present, 3rd ed. Tokyo, 1965.
Murdoch, J. A History of Japan, vols. 1–3. London, 1925–26.
Halliday, J. A Political History of Japanese Capitalism. New York, 1975.
Kajima Morinosuke. A Brief Diplomatic History of Modern Japan. Tokyo [1965].
Inoue Kiyoshi. Nihon-no gunkokushugi (Japanese Militarism), vols. 1–2. Tokyo, 1953–54.
Fujii Matsuichi, Ishii Kinichiro, and Ooe Shinobu. Nippon gendai shi (Modern History of Japan), vols. 1–3. Tokyo, 1961–62.
Reischauer, E. O. The United States and Japan, 3rd ed. Cambridge, 1965.
Japan from antiquity to the mid-19th century
Vorob’ev, M. V. Drevniaia Iaponiia. Moscow, 1958.
Iskenderov, A. A. Feodal’nyi gorod Iaponii XVI stoletiia. Moscow, 1961.
Zhukov, E. M. “Politika Khideesi v otnoshenii krest’ianstva.” Izvestiia AN SSSR: Ser. istorii i filosofii, no. 6, 1946.
Gal’perin, A. L. Ocherki sotsial’no-politicheskoi istorii Iaponii v period pozdnego feodalizma. Moscow, 1963.
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Petrov, D. V. Kolonial’naia ekspansiia Soedinennykh Shtatov Ameriki v Iaponii v seredine XIX v. Moscow, 1955.
Fainberg, E. Ia. Vnutrennee i mezhdunarodnoe polozhenie Iaponii v seredine XIX v. Moscow, 1954.
Fainberg, E. Ia. Russko-iaponskie otnosheniia v 1697–1875. Moscow, 1960.
Komatsu Isao. The Japanese People: Origins of the People and the Language. Tokyo, 1962.
Reischauer, R. K. Early Japanese History. London, 1937.
Haguenauer, C. Origines de la civilisation japonaise. Paris, 1956.
Kidder, J. E. Japan Before Buddhism. New York-Washington, D.C., 1966.
Sheldon, C. D. The Rise of the Merchant Class in Tokugawa Japan, 1600–1868. New York, 1958.
Smith, T. C. The Agrarian Origins of Modern Japan. Stanford, 1959.
Japan from 1868 to 1917
Bedniak, I. Ia. Iaponiia v period perekhoda k imperializmu. Moscow, 1962.
Gol’dberg, D.I. Ocherk istorii rabochego i sotsialisticheskogo dvizheniia v Iaponii (1868–1908gg.). Moscow, 1976.
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Japan from 1918 to 1945
Latyshev, I. Vnutrenniaia politika iaponskogo imperializma nakanune voiny na Tikhom okeane. Moscow, 1955.
Gol’dberg, D. I. V. I. Lenin i Iaponiia. Leningrad, 1970.
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Scalapino, R. American-Japanese Relations in a Changing Era. New York, 1972.

Political parties. The Liberal Democratic Party, founded in 1955, represents the interests of big monopoly capital, the court aristocracy, the upper levels of the bureaucracy, and the prosperous rural elite; it had about 1.5 million members in 1978. The Socialist Party of Japan (SPJ) was founded in 1945 and had 50,000 members in 1977. The Clean Government Party (Komeito) was founded in 1964 as the political organization of a Buddhist society known as the Value Creation Society (Soka-gakkai). It draws its support mainly from the urban petite bourgeoisie, proletarian strata, and unorganized workers; it also maintains ties with the big bourgeoisie. The party had 120,000 members in 1977. The Democratic Socialist Party (DSP), founded in 1960 by right-wing socialists who had left the SPJ, had 35,000 members in 1977.

The Communist Party of Japan (CPJ), founded in 1922, had about 400,000 members in 1977.

Trade unions and other public organizations. The General Council of Trade Unions of Japan (Sohyo), founded in 1950, had 4.58 million members in 1977. The largest of the left-wing trade union confederations, it supports the SPJ. The General Council of Japanese Labor Organizations (Domei), founded in 1964, is a right-wing reformist organization and had 2.21 million members in 1977; it supports the DSP and belongs to the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions. The Liaison Council of Neutral Trade Unions (Churitsuroren), founded in 1956, had 1.354 million members in 1977; it generally aligns itself with the Sohyo.

The Japanese Council of the Campaign to Ban Atomic and Hydrogen Weapons (Gensuikyo), founded in 1955, enjoys the support of the CPJ. The Japanese National Congress for the Banning of Nuclear Weapons (Gensuikin), founded in 1963 by several organizations that had left the Gensuikyo, enjoys the support of various organizations, including the SPJ, the Sohyo, and the Churitsuroren. The Japan Peace Committee, founded in 1950, maintains contacts with the CPJ; its representatives take part in the work of the World Peace Council. The All-Japan Federation of Women’s Organizations, founded in 1953, had about 300,000 members in 1974; it belongs to the Women’s International Democratic Federation. The Japan-USSR Society was founded in 1957, the Society for Japanese-Soviet Friendship in 1965, and the Society for Japanese-Soviet Contacts in 1966.


General state of the economy. Japan is a highly developed industrial country of the capitalist world. After regaining prewar economic growth rates in the early 1950’s, Japan achieved the highest economic growth rate of the developed capitalist countries. Between 1951 and 1973 the gross national product (GNP) grew at an average annual rate of 10 percent. In 1969, Japan moved into second place in the capitalist world in GNP and industrial output, the USA occupying first place. Japan’s share in world capitalist production was 9.5 percent in 1976, as compared to 2 percent in 1950 and 5.5 percent in 1965. In foreign trade, Japan ranks third among the capitalist countries, after the USA and the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). Its share of world capitalist exports and imports in the postwar period has continuously increased, reaching 7.5 percent and 7.1 percent, respectively, in 1976.

Numerous factors contributed to Japan’s high rate of economic growth. Chief among them were the wholesale modernizing of industry and other branches of the economy, using the latest engineering and technology; a high level of gross domestic investment (30–35 percent of the GNP) in state expenditures; a relative decrease in expenditures on social needs; a high level of private savings (about 30 percent of income); and the availability of highly skilled manpower. Until 1973 low world prices for imported raw materials, fuels, and energy sources also had an effect. These and a number of other factors shaped economic development; at the same time, measures were taken to increase the state monopoly regulation of the economy.

After the defeat of Japanese militarism in World War II, the Japanese state monopoly oligarchy regarded accelerated economic growth and rapid industrialization as the main objectives of national policy. The implementation of such a program required extensive government intervention in private production and the establishment of close contacts between the state and corporations. Leading branches of industry were given special government assistance, including the duty-free import of equipment, accelerated depreciation, loans, subsidies for exports, protection from foreign competition, tax benefits, and raw-materials quotas. The Japanese government helped industrial companies to obtain credits, thereby ensuring a high level of investment; deferred profits were taxed at lower rates than personal income, a policy that resulted in capital accumulation and a growth in savings. High indirect taxes also stimulated savings. The structure of state expenditures was reorganized to promote private investment in production.

The various means used by the government to control the economy led to a redistribution of material, manpower, and financial resources in favor of the most rapidly developing industries and corporations. Government influence on the Japanese economy is felt in nearly all areas of social reproduction. State funds account for about 25 percent of fixed capital formation. At the same time, the public sector in the Japanese economy is limited to such areas as transport, communications, and the tobacco industry. It accounts for only 12 percent of all employed persons, of which about half work for the central government.

In 1975, Japan’s GNP was $476.6 billion. In that year, 6.6 percent of the net domestic product (national income) was created in primary industry (agriculture, forestry, fishing, and the extraction industry); 35.9 percent in secondary industry, including 26.9 percent in manufacturing and 8.6 percent in construction; and 57.5 percent in the service sector, including 19.3 percent in trade, 7 percent in transport and communications, and 12 percent in banking, insurance, and real estate. In 1975 private final consumption expenditures accounted for 56.6 percent—the largest relative share—of total domestic expenditures. Final consumption expenditures of government services accounted for 11.1 percent, gross domestic capital formation for 30.8 percent, and increase in stocks for 1.5 percent.

Japan carries on an extensive foreign trade: exports of goods and services accounted for 13.9 percent of the GNP in 1975. At the same time, the national economy requires large quantities of imported raw materials and fuel. Imports account for 13 percent of total domestic expenditures. The country is therefore largely at the mercy of world capitalist market conditions. Japan is a major exporter of capital. In direct private capital investment abroad ($19.4 billion in 1976–77), it ranks fourth, after the USA, Great Britain, and the FRG.

A favorable foreign trade balance and balance of payments has brought an influx of foreign currency into Japan. After two revaluations, in 1971 and 1973, the yen was allowed to float against other currencies. Japan’s international reserves increased from $4.8 billion in 1970 to $29.4 billion in 1978. The accumulation of large currency reserves is causing the value of the yen to rise in comparison with other major currencies of the capitalist world, especially the American dollar, thereby making it more difficult to sell Japanese exports but at the same time stimulating the export of capital and reducing the cost of imported raw materials.

The Japanese economy is characterized by a high degree of concentration of production and the centralization of capital. After the old concerns—the zaibatsu—were disbanded in 1946, new monopolistic associations were formed in Japan. Among these the Mitsubishi, Mitsui, Sumitomo, Fuji-Yasuda, Sanwa, and Dai-Ichi Kangyo Ginko financial groups assumed the dominant positions. In contrast to the zaibatsu, which generally were directed by family “holding companies,” the modern financial groups are associations of powerful industrial and financial corporations bound by common commercial interests, mutually held shares, and intertwined boards of directors. This organization of the modern financial groups gives them great maneuverability in circumventing current antitrust regulations.

Such branches of industry as ferrous and nonferrous metallurgy, the petrochemical industry, shipbuilding, auto-making, the production of artificial fibers, and the food-processing industry are highly monopolized. For example, the three largest metallurgical companies—Nippon Steel Corporation, Nippon Kokan, and Kawasaki Steel Corporation—produce about 70 percent of the country’s pig iron and steel and 60 percent of its rolled metal. In the automotive industry, two companies—Toyota Motor Company and Nissan Motor Company—produce more than 90 percent of all motor vehicles. The ten leading trading companies account for more than half the total volume of domestic trade and handle half of Japan’s exports and three-fifths of its imports. The operations of the leading Japanese monopolies are international in scope. Of the 200 largest companies in the capitalist world, 18 were Japanese in 1976, as compared to only eight in 1961.

In the mid-1970’s, important changes occurred in the structure of Japanese economic development. The economic, currency, ecological, inflation, and energy crises that gripped the capitalist countries produced serious economic difficulties in Japan, which, among the main capitalist countries, is the most heavily dependent on foreign raw materials and energy sources. Many factors that had promoted high rates of economic growth now had little or no effect. As a result of the struggle of the working people, wage levels in Japan drew closer to those of the other capitalist countries. The sharp rise in world prices for petroleum and raw materials increased production costs, making Japanese goods less competitive on the world market.

The crisis of 1974 and 1975 hit hardest at the base industries, whose development had accounted for rapid economic growth in previous years. Japan was faced with the need to alter its economic structure: economic development could no longer emphasize industries requiring large amounts of raw materials and fuel, such as ferrous metallurgy, shipbuilding, and the petrochemical industry. State plans for economic development in the second half of the 1970’s and in the 1980’s have as their goal the preferential development of high-technology industries and the improvement of the economic and social infrastructure.

Industry. The share of heavy industry in the branch structure of industry rose from 41 percent to 70 percent between 1965 and 1975; machine building and metallurgy accounted for most of the increase. In the same period, the share of light industry and the food-processing industry fell from 52 percent to 29 percent. A distinctive feature of the Japanese manufacturing industry, especially machine building, is the coexistence of large-scale and small-scale production. Small and medium-sized (fewer than 100 employees) enterprises, which employ half of the labor force, produce about 30 percent of the standard net output. Many small enterprises are subcontractors for large companies. Such traditional branches of industry as shipbuilding, ferrous metallurgy, the building-materials industry, and petroleum refining have experienced considerable growth. The new branches that have shown especially vigorous growth in the postwar period are instrument-making, electronics, the production of medicines, the petrochemical industry, the machine tool industry, and the automotive industry (see Table 3).

Table 3. Structure of industry
 Employees (percent)
Industry as a whole ...............100.00100.00100.00
Extraction industry ...............4.901.870.61
Electric power, gas, and water supply ...............3.963.272.85
Petroleum refining ...............0.851.301.55
Metallurgy ...............8.019.1010.35
General machine building ...............14.5027.7337.63
Electrical engineering and electronics ...............2.577.8413.56
Transportation machine building ...............4.258.9910.98
Chemical industry ...............
Textile industry ...............13.328.85
Food-processing industry ...............19.2911.656.87

Although the structure of industry has changed, the geographic distribution of industry has for the most part remained stable. Nearly two-thirds of the country, where about 30 million people live, may be regarded as economically relatively underdeveloped. The remaining one-third—eastern Honshu, with a population of about 80 million—retains its leading position; it is here that the Pacific industrial and transportation zone, comprising 15 prefectures, is found. The zone accounts for three-fourths of Japan’s industrial production. The output of leading industrial products is shown in Table 4.

EXTRACTION INDUSTRY. The extraction industry has diminished in importance in the postwar period. Its leading branch is the coal industry. The extraction of natural gas has begun. Petroleum is extracted locally and in small amounts. Domestic iron ore covers less than 10 percent of the country’s needs. Japan has substantial copper reserves on Honshu and Shikoku; copper is found on Shikoku at Besshi and on Honshu in Akita, Tochigi, and Ibaraki prefectures, at the major deposits of Ashio and Hitachi. There are reserves of pyrites, zinc, lead, talc, and native sulfur. Kaolin is found primarily on Honshu (in the Ise Bay region) and in the northeast. Such minerals as manganese, chromites, bismuth, and platinum are mined in small quantities. Japan relies on imports, however, for most types of minerals.

ENERGY INDUSTRY. Traditional sources of energy—coal and hydroelectric power—have become of secondary importance, and the role played by domestic energy sources has consequently diminished. By 1975 the share of external energy sources had risen to 90 percent as a result of increased petroleum imports. In the mid-1970’s petroleum provided 75 percent of Japan’s energy, coal 18.5 percent, natural gas 1.5 percent, and other energy sources (including hydroelectric power) 5 percent. The world energy crisis has led to an increased use of coal; in addition, atomic

Table 4. Output of leading industrial products
Electricity (billion kilowatt-hours) ...............5598161283377427.5
Coal (million tons) ...............425149401918.2
Natural gas (billion cu m) ...............
Pig iron (million tons) ...............51227678785.9
Steel (million tons) ...............9224193102102.4
Hot-rolled steel products, ordinary (million tons) ...............71631687879.6
Electrolytic copper (thousand tons) ...............113248366705819934.0
Aluminum, primary (thousand tons) ...............571312927281,0131,188.0
Machine tools (thousand units) ...............18809025788131.0
Bearings (million units) ...............9881,1621,183.0
Radio receivers (million units) ...............21323331417.3
Television sets (million units) ...............
Tape recorders (million units) ...............
Passenger cars (thousand units) ...............201656963,1784,5695,429.0
Trucks (thousand units) ...............443091,1602,0642,3373,027.0
Ships, completed (million gross registered tons) ...............
Cameras (million units) ...............
Watches and clocks (million units) ...............13.827.249.756.179.0
Sulfuric acid (million tons) ...............
Ammonium sulfate (million tons) ...............
Polyethylene (thousand tons) ...............413961,3051,2911,467.0
Polyvinyl chloride (thousand tons) ...............2584831,1611,1211,031.0
Synthetic rubber (thousand tons) ...............19161698789971.0
Paper (million tons) ...............
Cement (million tons) ...............10.622.532.757.265.573.1
Cotton fabrics (million sq m) ...............2,5243,2223,0132,6162,1242,266.0
Rayon filament fabrics (million sq m) ...............674771390354154138.0
Spun rayon fabrics (million sq m) ...............1,057935827476560.0
Synthetic fiber fabrics (million sq m) ...............34341,2412,7462,4112,884.0

power plants are being built, and the feasibility of using geother-mal power is under study.

Japan imported about 70 million tons of petroleum in 1965 and 237 million tons in 1977. In early 1977 the country’s petroleum refineries had a capacity of 277.6 million tons. The installed capacity of electric power plants increased more than fivefold between 1955 and 1977, reaching 81.5 million kilowatts (kW), 50.5 million kW of which were produced by fossil-fuel-fired steam power plants, 23 million kW by hydroelectric power plants, and 8 million kW by atomic power plants. At the beginning of 1978, 14 atomic power plants were in operation, and another 13 plants were being built.

MANUFACTURING. The output of Japan’s ferrous metallurgy industry is the second largest among capitalist countries, the USA occupying first place. Particular attention has been paid to introducing advanced technology: more than 80 percent of output is produced by the converter method, and the unit capacity of blast furnaces has been increased. The leader in metallurgy is the large Nippon Steel Corporation, which is made up of more than 500 companies, organizations, and scientific research institutions of various kinds; it is the biggest metallurgical company in the capitalist world.

Imported iron ore accounts for 90 percent of all consumption. In 1977, 115 million tons of iron ore was imported, mainly from Australia, Latin America, and South Africa; more than 60 million tons of coal was imported from Australia, India, and Canada. The most important centers of ferrous metallurgy are the city of Kitakyushu; the Osaka conurbation, which encompasses a group of adjacent cities from Himeji in the west to Wakayama in the northeast; the city of Nagoya; the Tokyo conurbation, whose principal steel-producing center is Kawasaki; and the city of Chiba.

Nonferrous metallurgy has as its basis the traditional production of copper, zinc, and lead. Domestic requirements are largely met through imports, however; in 1977, Japan imported 115,000 tons of unrefined copper. Japan ranks second in the capitalist world in aluminum production; a major importer of aluminum, it buys 300,000–370,000 tons annually. Many other kinds of metal are smelted, including magnesium, titanium, nickel, and rare metals.

Machine building is among the branches that are developing at an especially rapid rate. Its most highly developed subbranches are power-engineering, electrical, transportation, agricultural, and construction machine building and the manufacture of production equipment, pumps and compressors, and refrigeration equipment. Instrument-making, the manufacture of precision tools and machinery, and the production of bearings, medical

Table 5. Area and harvest of principal crops
 Area (thousand ha)Harvest (thousand tons)
1Million tons
Rice ...............3,2223,2552,9232,75712.9112.4112.71171
Wheat, ...............663476229861,4681,287474236
Barley ...............433245170782,4081,234573206
Sweet potatoes ...............3762571511397,1804,9552,5643,200
Potatoes ...............211202129831,8694,0563,6113,200
Soybeans ...............3921819583507230126110
Sugar beets ...............16860.454.11,8132,3322,850
Sugarcane ...............2.413.112.37906811,800
Tea (leaves) ...............394952737791100

equipment, and optical equipment have experienced substantial growth. Part of the output of Japan’s machine-building industry—ships, motor vehicles, machine systems, and electronics equipment—is intended for the export market.

Japan leads the world in shipbuilding and the export of ships; in 1976 it accounted for more than half the total world tonnage of ships launched. More than half the ships produced in Japan are exported.

The electrical engineering and electronics industry produces chiefly durable consumer goods and a wide variety of industrial and scientific equipment. Japan’s durable consumer goods, which are sold widely on world markets, accounted for 39.7 percent of all capitalist output in that category in 1976. The electrical engineering and electronics industry relies heavily on experimental research. Small-scale producers play a major role in this branch. The electronics industry’s increased production is largely a result of a growth in exports, primarily of color television sets and small computers.

The automotive industry has become a rapidly developing branch of machine building. By 1976, Japan had moved into second place in the capitalist world, accounting for about 25 percent of all capitalist production; nearly half its output is exported. Tractor building, a highly developed industry, produced 288,000 units in 1977. Japan ranks third in the capitalist world in the production of machine tools and press-forging equipment; the value of output was $1 billion in 1976.

The machine-building industry is located chiefly in the Tokyo-Kawasaki-Yokohama region, Nagoya, and Osaka-Kobe. Some types of machine building have been developed in northwestern Kyushu, especially in the city of Nagasaki, where there are large shipyards.

The chemical industry is characterized by an extremely wide variety of output. In addition to traditional products—mineral fertilizers and the products of basic chemistry—the manufacture of synthetic materials (plastics, synthetic fibers, and synthetic rubber) from petroleum products is moving forward. Petroleum refining, on which the petrochemical industry is based, has undergone considerable development; the total output of petroleum products reached 192 million tons in 1976. In 1976, Japan produced 5.1 million tons of ethylene, one of the most important raw materials of the petrochemical industry. In the manufacture of many types of chemical products, Japan trails only the USA and the FRG among capitalist countries. The manufacture of medicinal preparations, vitamins, and protective agents for agricultural plants is highly developed. The chemical industry is located chiefly along the coast of Tokyo Bay, in the Nagoya region, and on the western tip of Honshu.

LUMBER AND WOOD-PRODUCTS INDUSTRIES. Every year, Japan produces about 35–37 million cu m of roundwood; in 1977, about 45 million cu m of logs was imported. In addition, chips are imported. Domestic timber resources meet only 40–45 percent of Japan’s needs. About 40 million cu m of industrial roundwood is produced annually. As far as possible, wood residues are put to use. Most sawmills that use local raw materials are small. Larger sawmills, which use imported roundwood, are located near major ports; they are found in southern Honshu (Hiroshima and Okayama), in northern Honshu, and on Hokkaido. Plywood is produced on a large scale; nearly one-third of plywood products are exported.

PULP AND PAPER INDUSTRY. The production of pulp and paper has become a large industry, whose output of 5.9 million tons consists of various kinds of paper and paperboard. Japan is second or third in the capitalist world in the total production of these commodities. The pulp and paper industry is located primarily on Hokkaido and in northern Honshu.

TEXTILE INDUSTRY. The textile industry is of great importance in terms of the number of enterprises, the number of employees, and exports. The production of imported cotton fabrics, imported woolen fabrics, and fabrics from Japanese-made synthetic fiber is very highly developed; Japan accounts for 12.4 percent of the total capitalist production of cotton fabrics and occupies third place among capitalist countries. Japan has retained its position as the world’s leading producer of natural silk fabrics. Faced with competition on the world market from developing countries, the Japanese textile industry has retained its position in foreign markets by emphasizing the production of high-quality fabrics.

FOOD-PROCESSING INDUSTRY. The food-processing industry employs more than 600,000 workers; the figure becomes much higher if the manufacture of food products by the rural population as a second source of income is taken into account. Two groups of food-processing industries are distinguished. The first comprises the traditional industries: rice and fish processing, the manufacture of sake and vegetable oil, and the tea industry. The second comprises such relatively new industries as the sugar, tobacco, milling, meat and dairy, canning, and brewing industries. The enterprises of the first group, found throughout Japan, are primarily small or medium-sized. Large factories and plants predominate among enterprises of the second group.

Agriculture, AGRARIAN RELATIONS. The agrarian reform of 1946–49 abolished the property rights of landlords. A landowner who worked the land independently was allowed a plot of 3 hectares (ha) on the average, except on Hokkaido. The reform covered only plowland, and the former landlords retained tracts of forest and irrigation systems. The size of a leased area was also restricted, to 1 ha, throughout most of the country and to 4 ha on Hokkaido, and lease in kind was replaced by a money lease that represented a substantially reduced cost. The agrarian reform made available more than 1 million ha of land for purchase. The principal beneficiaries were the prosperous farmers, who brought up the landlords’ holdings. In 1972, on the pretext of increasing the competitiveness of Japanese agriculture, restrictions on land use were lifted. The tiny peasant farm remained, however. Many peasant families are turning to auxiliary activities as a source of income.

LAND CULTIVATION. The branch structure of land cultivation has undergone important changes. By the mid-1970’s the land under cultivation totaled about 5.7 million ha; as a result of double-cropping in many regions, the sown area was more than 6 million ha. Of this area, grain crops (chiefly rice, almost exclusively irrigated) accounted for 54.5 percent, vegetables for 27.2 percent, industrial crops and mulberry bushes for 6.7 percent, and forage grasses for 11.6 percent.

About 45–46 percent of all cultivated land in Japan is occupied by rice paddies. The use of chemical fertilizers, an adequate water supply, and the introduction of new seed varieties have produced a high rice yield: an average of 50 quintals per ha of irrigated field. Vegetables are produced virtually’throughout the year on farms near the cities. Soybeans, beans, tea, and tobacco are cultivated. Citrus crops, apples, pears, plums, peaches, persimmons, and strawberries are grown. The harvest of fruits, including berries, increased more than fivefold between 1950 and 1977. Figures for the area and harvest of the principal crops are given in Table 5.

By the mid-1970’s, Japanese domestic production was meeting the country’s needs for rice, vegetables, and fruit.

Table 6. Livestock and poultry population
Cattle ...............3,058,0003,086,0003,593,0003,516,000
dairy cows ...............421,0001,289,0001,804,000
Horses ...............927,000322,000137,000
Swine ...............825,0003,976,0006,335,0007,901,000
Goats ...............533,000326,000165,00094,000
Sheep ...............784,000207,00022,00010,000
Poultry ...............45,700,000138,400,000223,500,000259,900,000

ANIMAL HUSBANDRY. Animal husbandry did not undergo significant development until the postwar period, when domestic demand for meat and dairy products, previously limited, increased. The northern part of the country—the island of Hokkaido—has become the principal animal-husbandry region; it accounts for about 80 percent of the country’s entire dairy production. Figures for the livestock and poultry population and the output of animal husbandry are given in Tables 6 and 7.

SERICULTURE. A traditional branch of Japanese agriculture, sericulture has long been in a state of decline: the production of raw silk was 20,600 tons in 1977.

FORESTRY. The total forested area is 23.3 million ha, of which half has been afforested and reforested; a large part of this area is in mountainous regions that are unsuitable for exploitation. Protective stands, which occupy 5.6 million ha, are of great importance. Nearly 60 percent of all forests are privately held.

FISHING INDUSTRY. Japan leads the world in fishing. In 1977 the total catch was 10.7 million tons, as compared to 4 million tons in the 1950’s. As of 1975 the fishing fleet included about 400,000 ships with a total tonnage of over 2.5 million tons. The main fish caught include herring, tuna, cod, salmon, and flounder. Algae and mollusks are gathered in the coastal waters. The coastal catch yields one-fourth of the value of all fishery commodities. Offshore fishing in the Pacific Ocean, in Antarctic waters (including whaling), and in the Indian and Atlantic oceans produces a large part of Japan’s catch.

Table 7. Output of animal husbandry and poultry raising (thousand tons)
Meat ...............2435901,0241,438
poultry meat ...............204328851
Milk ...............1,0003,2714,7895,534
Eggs (million units) ...............6,74318,62529,975

Transportation. The domestic freight turnover increased from 85 billion ton-km in 1955 to 343 billion ton-km in 1975. In this period, railroads suffered a sharp decrease in their share of the total freight turnover (from 51 to 18 percent), and the role of motor vehicle transport increased sharply (from 11 to 44 percent). Coastwise shipping retains its importance; it accounted for 38 percent of the total freight turnover in 1955 and 38 percent in 1975.

At the end of 1977, the railroads had a total length of 27,000 km, of which 16,000 km were electrified, as compared to 1,500 km in 1950. Because of the mountainous relief, single-track, narrow-gauge railroads predominate. There are many tunnels and bridges. Trunk railroads run chiefly along the coast of Honshu, forming an encircling ring. In 1942 the Kammon underwater tunnel, which runs for 3,614 m under Shimonoseki Strait between the islands of Honshu and Kyushu, went into operation. A second underwater tunnel, the Shin-Kammon, which links the cities of Shimonoseki and Kokura, was built between 1970 and 1975. In 1978 the longest underwater tunnel in the world, the Seikan, was under construction; it will run under the Tsugaru Strait, between the islands of Honshu and Hokkaido, for a distance of 36.4 km. A new direction in the modernizing of rail transport is the construction of lines for superhigh-speed trains (more than 200 km/-hr). The first line, the Tokaido (515 km), opened in 1964 and connected Tokyo with Osaka. In 1975 the line was extended southward to the city of Fukuoka, and its total length became 1,090 km.

Japan has about 260,000 km of paved highways. Superhighways connect nearly all of the largest cities in eastern Japan. In 1977 the country had 19.7 million passenger vehicles, 11.3 million trucks, and 0.2 million buses. Subway systems exist in Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Kobe, Nagoya, and Sapporo; in 1978 systems were under construction in Kyoto and Hiroshima. A monorail line is in operation in Tokyo.

The oceangoing merchant fleet, which serves mainly foreign trade, has grown almost continually: its total tonnage, which was 1.7 million gross registered tons in 1950, reached 40.0 million gross registered tons in 1977, or 12 percent of the world tonnage. Japan is second among capitalist countries (after Liberia) in tonnage of the ocean-going merchant fleet. The Japanese merchant fleet has grown primarily because of the vast scale of freight shipments. Each year Japan imports from 500,000 to 620,000 million tons of cargo. Among the six companies that dominate the merchant fleet are the Nippon Yusen Kafushiki Company (founded 1885), the Osaka Shosen Company (1883; renamed Osaka Shosen Mitsui Sempaku in 1942), and the Yamashita-Shinnihon Steamship Company.

Air transport has expanded appreciably in the postwar period, especially because of the considerable growth of foreign tourism. The main Japanese airline is Nippon Koku (Japan Air Lines). International routes serve the new Narita Airport, northeast of Tokyo, as well as international airports near Osaka and Niigata. Domestic airlines connect nearly all major cities in Japan.

Foreign trade. A large part of the output of the Japanese manufacturing industry is sold in foreign markets. Finished industrial products account for more than 80 percent of the value of exports. In 1975, 86 percent of the ships produced in Japan were exported; figures for other products included the following: television sets, 47 percent; still and movie cameras, 70 percent; watches and clocks, 59 percent; passenger cars, 41 percent; and steel pipe, 56 percent. The Japanese economy is heavily dependent on imported fuel and raw materials, which constitute about 70 percent of the country’s imports. The size of Japan’s foreign trade turnover is growing rapidly (see Table 8).

Table 8. Foreign trade (billion dollars)
1955 ...............2.02.5–0.5
1960 ...............4.14.5–0.4
1965 ...............8.48.2+0.2
1970 ...............19.318.9+0.4
1975 ...............55.757.9–2.2
1976 ...............67.264.8+2.4
1977 ...............80.570.9+9.6

In the first 20 years after the war, Japan showed a negative foreign trade balance. Since 1965, however, the foreign trade balance has tended to be favorable. A breakdown of exports and imports by commodity is given in Table 9, and the geographical distribution of foreign trade is shown in Table 10.

Japan trades mainly with the USA (23.3 percent of exports and 18.2 percent of imports) and Southeast Asia (20.9 percent of exports and 20.7 percent of imports). Western European countries account for 16.1 of exports and 7,6 percent of imports, the Middle East for 28.9 percent of imports, and Australia for 8.3 percent of imports. In 1976 about 6 percent of Japan’s foreign trade was with socialist countries. The total commodity turnover between the USSR and Japan was 2.3 billion rubles in 1977 (853.4 million rubles of exports, and 1,444.4 million rubles of imports).

Japan maintains economic ties with the USSR in the areas of

Table 9. Value of exports and imports by commodity (percent of total value)
1Included in Miscellaneous
Machinery and equipment ...............
Metals and metal products ...............19.220.319.717.5111
Chemicsls ...............
Textiles ...............37.218.712.55.8111
Industrial raw materials ...............11148.239.535.419.9
Mineral fuels ...............11111.719.920.744.0
Foodstuffs ...............
Miscellaneous ...............18.915.
Table 10. Geographical distribution of Japanese foreign trade (million dollars)
USA ...............1,0831,5452,4792,36619,71712,396
People’s Republic of China ...............3212452251,9391,547
South Korea ...............10019180414,0802,113
Taiwan ...............102642181572,5531,289
Indonesia ...............110702051491,7974,997
Hong Kong ...............15623288352,320348
Singapore ...............8714124331,719687
Saudi Arabia ...............16105482312,3428,505
Iran ...............3625582471,9264,243
Kuwait ...............22205413069352,488

trade (the trade treaty and agreement of 1957), fishing, the organizing of ground, air, and sea shipments, and joint participation in projects for the development of the natural resources of Siberia and the Far East. Japan’s imports from the Soviet Union include timber (roundwood, pulpwood, chips, and lumber), coal, petroleum, potassium salts, nonferrous metals, and cotton. Japan also purchases some types of Soviet equipment. It exports to the Soviet Union machinery and machine systems, means of transport (including ship equipment), rolled ferrous metals (especially steel pipe), and consumer goods. Coastal trade between regions of the Soviet Far East and the western regions of Japan has become a new form of commercial relations between Japan and the USSR.

In 1976,795,200 foreign tourists visited Japan.

The monetary unit is the yen.

Internal differences. The Japanese officially distinguish eight large economic regions: the island of Hokkaido; the regions of Tohoku (Ou), Kanto, Chubu, Kansai (Kinki), and Chugoku, all on Honshu; and the islands of Shikoku and Kyushu.

The economies of the prefectures and economic regions in Japan are discussed in the respective articles.



Trewartha, G. T. Iaponüa: Fizicheskaia i ekonomicheskaia geografiia. Moscow, 1949. (Translated from English.)
Popov, K. M. Mineral’nye resursy Iaponii. Moscow, 1949.
Moiseev, P. A. Rybolovstvo Iaponii. Moscow, 1967.
Vosproizvodstvo obshchestvennogo produkta v Iaponii. Moscow, 1970.
Dinkevich, A. I. Ocherki ekonomiki sovremennoi Iaponii. Moscow, 1972.
Yano, S. Iaponskaia ekonomika na poroge dvadtsat’ pervogo veka. Moscow, 1972. (Translated from Japanese.)
Sovremennaia Iaponiia, 2nd ed. Edited by I. A. Latyshev. Moscow, 1973.
Petrov, D. V. Iaponiia v mirovoi politike. Moscow, 1973.
Vlasov, V. A. Nauchno-tekhnicheskaia revoliutsiia v Iaponii. Moscow, 1975.
Ramzes, V. B. Sotsial’no-ekonomicheskaia rol’ sfery uslug v sovremennoi Iaponii. Moscow, 1975.
Dobrovinskii, B. N. Iaponiia: Problemy effektivnosti ekonomiki. Moscow, 1975.
Navlitskaia, G. B. Bambukovyi gorod. Moscow, 1975.
Baskakova, M. V. Iaponiia: Gosudarstvo i nakoplenie osnovnogo kapitala. Moscow, 1976.
Bragina, N. M. Sovremennaia iaponskaia derevnia. Moscow, 1975.
Vorob’ev, M. V., and G. A. Sokolova. Ocherki po istorii nauki, tekhniki i remesla v Iaponii. Moscow, 1976.
Pevzner, Ia. A. Gosudarstvo v ekonomike Iaponii. Moscow, 1976.
Iaponiia: Ezhegodnik. Moscow, 1972–77. (Published since 1972.)
Iaponiia v sisteme mirovykh khoziaistvennykh sviazei. Moscow, 1977.
Prokhozhev, A. A. Organizatsiia upravleniia ekonomikoi i gosudarstvom v Iaponii. Moscow, 1977.
Monopolisticheskii kapital Iaponii na rubezhe 60–70-kh godov. Moscow, 1977.
Kutsovina, N. K. Rybnoe khoziaistvo Iaponii. Moscow, 1978.
Khlynov. V. N. Rabochii klass Iaponii v usloviiakh nauchno-tekhnicheskoi revoliutsii. Moscow, 1978.
Statisticheskii material po ekonomike Iaponii (1960–1977). Moscow, 1978.

Japan’s armed forces, called the Self-Defense Forces, consist of ground forces, an air force, and a navy. The commander in chief is the prime minister. Direct control over the armed forces is exercised by the Defense Agency, which has the status of a ministry, through a joint committee of the chiefs of staff and through the staff offices of the ground forces, air force, and navy. The armed forces, made up of volunteers, had a total strength of about 265,000 men in 1977.

The ground forces, which number about 180,000 men, are organized into five field armies. They include one tank division, 12 infantry divisions, one airborne brigade, and seven antiaircraft artillery groups; among the separate special-forces units are artillery and engineer brigades. Weapons are of Japanese and foreign manufacture.

The air force, which numbers about 45,000 men, includes 450 combat aircraft, organized into 17 squadrons, including five fighter-bomber squadrons, ten fighter-interceptor squadrons, and one transport squadron. In addition, there are about 360 training aircraft. The air force also includes five surface-to-air missile battalions.

The navy, with about 42,000 men, includes 16 submarines, 30 destroyers, 17 frigates, 20 antisubmarine ships, 37 mine trawlers, 28 coastal minesweepers, six inshore minesweepers, five torpedo boats, nine patrol boats, and four landing ships. The navy has about 200 combat aircraft.

Medicine and public health. In 1976 the birthrate in Japan was 16.4 per 1,000 inhabitants, the death rate was 6.4 per 1,000 inhabitants, and the infant mortality was 9.3 per 1,000 live births. The average life expectancy is 72 for men and 77 for women.

The main causes of death are cardiovascular diseases, malignant neoplasms, and diseases of the respiratory organs. Trachoma, dysentery, venereal diseases, and tuberculosis are relatively common. Bronchial asthma, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis are increasing because of the intense pollution of the environment. Mental diseases are also becoming more common. Drug addiction and alcoholism are acute social problems. An important place among the principal causes of death is occupied by suicide and physical injuries. Work-related accidents occur very frequently; they numbered 1.4 million in 1972, of which 5,600 ended in death.

The public health system combines elements of private capitalism and insurance medicine. Nearly all care outside hospitals is handled by private practitioners. Most hospitals belong to private companies, organizations, or individuals. Only a small fraction of the population is entitled to free medical care in accordance with various laws, for example, legislation for assistance to the poor and for the control of tuberculosis. Japan has several social security systems. Current legislation provides for the granting of old-age pensions to men at age 60 and women at age 55, provided they have worked under a pension plan for at least 20 years. The state agency responsible for public health is the Ministry of Health and Welfare. Every prefecture or large municipal center has its own public health departments, which carry out programs in accordance with national policy and the programs of the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

In 1975 the country had 8,294 hospitals, with a total of 1,163,700 beds (more than ten beds per 1,000 inhabitants). In 1973 the state administered 2,453 hospitals, with a total of 377,200 beds. In 1973 there were 30,032 public health centers, with a total of 258,900 beds; 947 of the centers, with 9,200 beds, were state-managed. The public health centers provide first aid, assist mothers and children, give X-ray examinations, offer preventive measures and treatment for tuberculosis and other infectious diseases, and arrange house calls.

In 1974, Japan had 126,800 physicians (one physician per 860 inhabitants), of which only 2,100 were employed by the government (1973). Only 14 percent of the physicians serve the rural population; there is one physician for every 1,800 country dwellers. In 1974 the country had 40,600 dentists, 74,400 pharmacists, 26,800 midwives, 176,000 nurses, and 170,700 nurse’s assistants.

Medical personnel are trained at 68 medical schools, of which 30 are state-operated, eight municipal, and 30 private. State medical schools graduate 46 percent of all physicians. Japan has 15 schools of dental medicine, 34 schools of pharmacy, and 37 schools for training midwives. A network of medical schools trains nurses of various types.

In 1973, nine scientific research institutes operated under the Ministry of Health and Welfare: the National Institute of Hygienic Sciences, the National Institute of Health, the Institute of Nutrition, the Institute of Public Health, the National Institute of Hospital Administration, the Institute of Population Problems, the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute for Leprosy Research, and the National Cancer Center.

Japan has numerous health resorts, including the coastal climatic resorts of Kamakura and Oiso, the mountain and balneological resort of Nikko, and the balneological resorts of Beppu, Atami, Kusatsu, and Hakone. Expenditures on health services amounted to 1.8 percent of the state budget in 1973.


Veterinary services. Japan’s highly developed veterinary and quarantine services have helped eradicate such dangerous diseases as foot-and-mouth disease, plague, pleuropneumonia of cattle, glanders, fowl plague, rabies, trypanosomiasis, hemorrhagic septicemia, and scabies.

In 1977, Japan had four foci of anthrax, 88 foci of bovine tuberculosis, 28 foci of infectious equine anemia, 62 foci of blackleg, 64 foci of pyroplasmosis, 644 foci of pullorum disease, 2,448 foci of foulbrood, 41,851 foci of Newcastle disease, and 1,117 foci of erysipelas of swine.

Other recorded diseases include bovine influenza, bovine rhi-notracheitis, mastitis, infectious atrophic rhinitis of swine, fascioliasis, filariasis of poultry, mycoplasmosis, enzootic encephalomyelitis, Marek’s disease, coccidiosis, pox diseases, viral diarrhea, bluetongue, listeriosis, leptospirosis, toxoplasmosis, salmonellosis, vibriosis, actinomycosis, leukosis, babesiasis, strangles, infectious bronchitis of chickens, furunculosis, and infectious necrosis of the pancreas in salmon.

Veterinary services are supervised by the office of animal husbandry of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, which is responsible for the health of animals, and the Ministry of Public Health and Welfare, which is responsible for meat and milk inspection, environmental protection, and rabies control. Japan has laws dealing specifically with veterinary problems. Sanitation departments in each prefecture include an average of five veterinarians who supervise veterinary stations. The stations undertake major projects connected with veterinary medicine and check animal maintenance at farms. Seaports and airports have special quarantine stations.

Japan has 23,233 veterinarians. Veterinarians are trained at 16 institutions offering veterinary training, among which are state, private, and prefectural universities, as well as state and private veterinary colleges. Most veterinary research is conducted at state and private institutes, the largest of which is the National Institute of Animal Health, as well as the State Veterinary Testing Laboratory and Tokyo University.


The first schools in Japan were founded in the sixth century under the auspices of Buddhist monasteries. The first legislation on public education was adopted in the early eighth century. It marked an attempt to create a system of state schools in the capital and in the provinces where young men of the upper classes could study the Chinese classics, philosophy, law, history, and mathematics. The schools did not last long and fell into decline as the feudal division of lands intensified. Major feudal lords instead created at their courts clan schools where youths were trained as knights, studying military affairs, classical literature, mathematics, and etiquette. The education of the common people went no further than the teaching of labor skills, and cultural upbringing was limited to Buddhist prayer.

In the mid-17th century, as a result of the rapid growth of cities and the development of commerce and crafts, schools were founded where the children of merchants, tradesmen, and poor samurai (terakoya) could learn reading, writing, arithmetic, and manual skills. By the mid-19th century there was quite a large number of such schools in Japan.

A centralized educational system took shape after the incomplete bourgeois revolution of 1867–68. The rapid development of capitalism required a higher national educational level. The bourgeois educational reforms of the 1870’s created a unified centralized educational system, made elementary school compulsory, and opened a network of state schools to replace temple and private schools. The elementary school system developed rapidly. Specialized secondary schools were characteristic of the period; there were separate schools for men and women, schools offering general educational and vocational training, and schools that offered a complete course of study or prepared students for graduate work.

The entry of Japanese capitalism into the imperialist stage determined school curricula, as evinced in the Imperial Rescript on Education (Kyoiku Chokugo), a document of 1890. The rescript was permeated with militarism, chauvinism, and monarchism. It long instilled in students the principles of militarism and nationalism. After the defeat of Japan in World War II, the educational system was largely restructured. The Fundamental Law on Education, adopted in 1947, proclaimed equal opportunity in education and instituted a nine-year course of study that was to be universal, free, compulsory, and coeducational. A standard school structure was established; however, the democratic principles embodied in the law have not been fully realized. The existence of private and parochial schools and the absence of free education on the senior secondary and higher levels indicate the inconsistency of bourgeois law in education. The public school system is administered by the Ministry of Education and by prefectural and municipal committees. The Institute of School Inspectors, with officials on the prefectural and ministerial levels, directly monitors the schools.

Preschool education, for children of ages three to six, is represented mainly by the network of kindergartens. In 1975, Japan had approximately 13,100 kindergartens, caring for about 2.2 million children (62 percent of the children in the age group). Half of the kindergartens are private and expensive. A large percentage of the children enter kindergarten at age five, a year before entering school.

The first stage in compulsory education is a six-year elementary school for children of ages six to 12. In the 1975–76 school year, 10.2 million pupils were enrolled at 22,700 schools. The second stage is a three-year junior high school for students of ages 13 to 15. In the 1975–76 school year, about 4.5 million students were enrolled at 9,900 junior high schools. The curriculum includes both requirement courses and electives.

The senior high school offers a three-year course of study for pupils of ages 16 to 18; about 90 percent of children who complete the compulsory school program continue their studies in senior high school. In the 1975–76 school year, more than 2.6 million students were enrolled in 4,600 senior high schools. Entry is based on admission examinations and standardized tests. Study in senior high school is not free of charge and is strictly divided into programs of general studies and vocational training. The program of general studies is in turn divided into academic and general tracks; the academic track is further broken down into the humanities and the natural sciences and mathematics. The program of vocational training is divided into tracks offering instruction in agriculture, fishing, industry, business, and home economics, as well as more specialized fields, for example, energy, gardening, and agronomy.

In 1975, 63 percent of all students in senior high school were enrolled in general studies, and 37 percent in vocational training. Theoretically, all graduates of senior high school have the right to enter college, but in fact those who complete the program of vocational training are not properly equipped to make use of this right. The differentiation of school programs prevents many young people from acquiring a solid education. In the 1975–76 school year, 2.7 million students were enrolled in 3,300 schools.

Evening senior high schools offer a four-year course of instruction, with a short school week. In the 1975–76 school year, more than 230,000 students were enrolled in 1,400 evening schools. The state system for vocational and technical education is poorly developed. Workers learn skills at training centers located at enterprises, in short-term courses, and in private vocational and technical schools. In the 1975–76 school year, approximately 1.2 million students were enrolled in 7,952 vocational schools and programs.

Higher education is provided by a network of universities, junior colleges, and technical colleges. In 1975, Japan had 420 universities, with a total enrollment of more than 1.7 million. The standard course of study lasts four years, or six years in medical schools. Approximately 77 percent of the universities are private, and tuition is not free. Approximately 9 percent of all students are from working-class families.

The largest state universities are Tokyo University (18,500 students in the 1975–76 school year), Tohoku University in the city of Sendai (founded 1907; 10,500 students), and Kyoto University (1897; about 14,700 students).

Of the private universities the most popular are the following, all in Tokyo: Nihon University (1903; 102,000 students), Waseda University (1882; 41,600 students), Meiji University (1881; 33,500 students), Hosei University (1880; 29,000 students), and Tokai University (1942; 26,600 students).

The breakdown of enrollment by area of study is as follows: economics and law, 41 percent; engineering and natural sciences, 24 percent; literature, 12 percent; teacher education, 7 percent; medicine, 4.5 percent; and agriculture, 3 percent.

In addition to the major universities, there are mini-universities with 200–300 students and one or two departments. The curriculum open to each student depends on what he or she studied in senior high school. In 1975 about 354,000 students were enrolled in 513 junior colleges. These schools provide a secondary-level education in technology or teacher training. Approximately 85 percent of the junior colleges are private, and 86 percent of the students are women.

Technical colleges with a five-year course of study enroll graduates from the junior high school and are mainly run by the state. In the 1975–76 school year, approximately 48,000 students were enrolled in 65 such colleges.

Japan had 895 public libraries as of 1975. The largest public libraries belong to universities, the most notable being those of Tokyo University (founded 1887; more than 4 million volumes as of 1976) and Kyoto University (1899; more than 3.4 million volumes). The largest library in Japan is the National Diet Library (1948; more than 6.5 million volumes).

The country’s 409 museums include the Tokyo National Museum (1871), the Okura Museum (1917), the National Science Museum (1877), the National Museum of Western Art (1959), and the Bridgestone Museum of Art (1952), all in Tokyo; the National Museum (1889), the National Museum of Modern Art (1963), and the’ Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art (1933) in Kyoto; the Municipal Museum (1936) in Hokkaido; and the Osaka Municipal Museum of Fine Arts (1936).


Natural and technical sciences. In antiquity and the early part of the Middle Ages, scientific knowledge in Japan was accumulated chiefly in areas associated with agriculture, medicine, and crafts (including glassblowing, sericulture, weaving, and the production of lacquerware and ceramics). The cultures of China and Korea had a considerable influence on the development of such knowledge. Deposits of petroleum, antimony, and tin were discovered in the second half of the seventh century, and the rise of metallurgy and of paper production began. An observatory was built in Asuka in 675, and in the early eighth century an astronomy division was established at the royal court. The Japanese abacus (chikusaku) was invented in the eighth century.

Around 840 the art of printing books through the use of wood engravings came to Japan. In the early tenth century, S. Fukae compiled an 18-volume survey of the fauna and flora of Japan, and by the mid-tenth century a geographic description of the Japanese provinces had been completed. Scientific research had gathered momentum by the early 14th century, and S. Kajiwara published his 50-volume Notes on Medicine. The production of porcelain began in the 16th century.

Information on European natural sciences began filtering into Japan in the 16th century, although the country was completely closed to foreigners in 1639. Until the mid-19th century the achievements of world science became known in Japan principally through a special translators’ association (rangaku), which compiled surveys of various fields of knowledge.

The formation of independent Japanese scientific schools began in the 17th and early 18th centuries. Important works in the field of mathematics were produced by Seki Kowa and his students, who developed tenzan (Japanese algebra) and yenri (the theory of circles). Notable contributions were also made by such mathematicians as Yoshida Mitsuyoshi, S. Matsumura, and Mori Shigeyoshi. In 1726, Kurushima Yoshihiro substantiated the theory of repeating decimals.

An astronomical observatory was established in Edo in 1744, and in the late 17th century Shibukawa Shunkai constructed a celestial globe and compiled the Jokyo calendar. J. Iwahashi advanced the idea that changes in the weather are dependent on solar activity. Ino Tadataka made a geodetic survey of Japan, and in 1809, M. Rinzo plotted on maps some coastal areas bordering the seas of the Far East. Asada Goryu, M. Motoki, and Shizuki Tadao studied problems of astronomy and higher geodesy.

Aochi Rinso wrote the first Japanese textbook on general physics in 1825, and Udagawa Yoan produced the first original Japanese work on chemistry. In 1833, H. Yoshida obtained the first preparations of biocatalysts. The botanical studies of Ino Jakusui, Kaibara Ekiken, and Ono Ranzan and the agronomic works of Yasuzaki Yasusada contributed to the development of biological knowledge. Yamawaki Toyo made the first attempt in Japan to determine human anatomy through the dissection of corpses.

The rise of modern science in Japan was associated with the Meiji Restoration. The main European-style universities were the state-run Hokkaido University (founded 1876) in Sapporo and Tokyo University (1877) and four private institutions: Rikkyo University (1874), Gakushuin University (1877) in Tokyo, Doshisha University (1875) in Kyoto, and Kansai University in Osaka. A large number of Japanese were sent abroad to study. Many European scholars were invited to deliver lectures at Japanese universities, and Japanese translations of foreign scientific works appeared. The state encouraged scientific activity.

In the late 19th century a number of scientific institutions were founded, including a central meteorological observatory, a topographical division of the military, hydrographic and geological departments, an electrical engineering laboratory, and the Tokyo Industrial Laboratory. In all there were more than 70 scientific institutions (many of which were subordinate to governmental agencies), as well as approximately 70 scientific societies and associations. The construction of railroads was begun, and the first line, which ran between Tokyo and Yokohama, was opened in 1872. Telegraph lines were also laid, and shipyards and metallurgical plants were opened.

From 1870 to 1875 the Ministry of Technology played an important role in organizing research in the applied sciences. Research in astronomy was begun at the observatory of Tokyo University, and systematic work in geomagnetism was undertaken through the efforts of such scientists as Tanakadate Aikitsu. Omori Fusakichi played an important part in the rise of the Japanese schools of seismology and volcanology, and in 1897 a climatological atlas of Japan was compiled under the direction of Nakamura Kiyo-o. T. Harada helped found a modern Japanese school of geology.

An important development in biology was the discovery in the 1890’s by Sakugoro Shimose and Ikeno Seiichiro of antherozoids in sago palms. The work of Kitasato Shibasaburo in microbiology gained worldwide recognition. Kitasato, who first isolated the tetanus and diphtheria toxins in pure form, proposed methods of immunotherapy for the diseases and in 1894 discovered the pathogen that causes the plague. Shiga Kyoshi made important contributions to the study of infectious diseases, particularly dysentery.

The results of the state’s support of science began to appear in the first half of the 20th century. A number of new universities were founded, including the state-run Tohoku University (1907) in Sendai, Kyushu University (1911) in Fukuoka-Shi, and Osaka University (1931). The Japanese Science and Research Council was established in 1920 to coordinate scientific activity and maintain international scientific ties, and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science was founded in 1932.

Important contributions to mathematics were made by Takagi Teiji in the theory of similarity and by Kakeya Soichi in integral equations. An important role in the organization of research in physics was played by Nishina Yoshio, who was the first scientist in Japan to study cosmic rays; in the 1930’s, Nishina obtained the isotope 237U and undertook the construction of a cyclotron. One of his students, Yukawa Hideki (foreign member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR since 1966), developed the basic concepts of meson theory; he received a Nobel Prize for this achievement in 1949. Together with Sakata Shoichi, Yukawa also predicted the discovery of electron capture. A series of studies on problems of magnetism was carried out by Nagaoka Hantaro and Kaya Seiji; Nagaoka became a foreign honorary member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR in 1930, and Kaya became a foreign member of the Academy in 1958.

Mizushima San-ichiro carried out important research on physical chemistry. Noteworthy contributions were made by Akabori Shiro (foreign member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR from 1966) to biochemistry, by Asai Toshinobu and S. Akabane to organic chemistry, and by Sakurai Joji (foreign honorary member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR from 1927) to the chemistry of solutions.

In biology and medicine, a notable development was Taka-mine Jokichi’s isolation in 1901 of adrenaline in crystalline form. Suzuki Umetaro’s research in vitaminology was also important. Tawara Sakae completed a description of the elements of the heart’s conductive system in 1906, and Kato Genichi and I. Tasaka carried out research in neurophysiology. Furuhata Ta-nemoto played a leading role in the study of blood types. In 1915, Yamagiwa Katsusaburo and Ichikawa Koichi performed experiments involving the induced formation of cancerous tumors. T. Kabashima conducted research in virology, and Noguchi Hideyo and Miyagawa Yoneji carried out work in venereal science. Together with P. Erlich in 1909, Hata Sahachiro became the first to apply Salvarsan successfully. M. Masugi’s works of 1933 made a fundamental contribution to the study of renal diseases.

Of great importance for agriculture has been the research in plant cultivation conducted by T. Morinaga and Kihara Hitoshi (foreign member of the V. I. Lenin All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences from 1967). In the 1920’s and 1930’s, E. Kurosawa, Yabuta Teijiro, Hayashi Takashi, and Sumiki Yusuke discovered and studied the plant hormones known as gibberellins. In marine biology, Amemiya Ikusaku played an important role in developing scientific principles of fishing in Japan.

A notable contribution to the rise of modern geological and geographical sciences in Japan was made by Yamazaki Naokata, who compiled the ten-volume Geography of Japan (1904–15). Kimura Hisashi dealt with problems of the movement of the-earth’s axis, and Tsujimura Taro studied the theoretical foundations of geomorphology. In 1909 and 1933, respectively, B. Kobo and Kobayashi Teiichi conducted important research on the regional geology of Japan. The investigations of T. Akamoro stood out in hydrology, and the voyages of the Manshu between 1925 and 1928 laid the foundations for systematic research in oceanography. Suda Kanji made an important contribution to oceanology, and Imamura Akitsune contributed to the rise of systematic seismological research.

Applied scientific research has been conducted by the research and design subdivisions of private companies (such as Tokyo Denki and Mitsubishi), by the Ship Research Institute in Tokyo, and by various scientific research institutes affiliated with universities—including the Institute of Space and Aeronautical Science of Tokyo University (founded 1921), the Ocean Research Institute of Tokyo University (1923), and the Research Institute of Mineral Dressing and Metallurgy of Tohoku University (1923). Honda Kotaro founded an important school of physical metallurgy, and Mishima Tokushichi won worldwide recognition in the field of magnetic steels and alloys. Takayanagi Kenzo built an experimental televisor in 1928. With the increasing militarization of Japan, however, the activity of most of the country’s scientific centers was directed toward meeting the requirements of the military-industrial complex.

After 1945 scientific activity was reorganized. The Science Council of Japan was established in 1949 to coordinate scientific research, and the Scientific and Techno’ogical Administration was created in 1956 to implement national scientific and engineering policy. The Council for Science and Technology was organized in 1959 and placed under the prime minister. A well-developed network of national, municipal, and private scientific institutions was also formed. Scientific research was expanded at higher educational institutions, and Japanese scientists began taking advantage of international scientific ties.

When the American occupation authorities lifted the ban on nuclear research, work on atomic physics was renewed, and Nishina and Yukawa resumed their research. Tomonaga Shinichiro’s contributions to quantum field theory gained wide recognition; Tomonaga received a Nobel Prize in 1965 and became a corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR in 1971. Kubo Ryogo and Nishijima Kazuhiko made substantial contributions to the development in Japan of molecular physics and the theory of weak interactions, respectively. Leo Esaki, who began conducting research in the USA in 1960, has influenced research on semiconductor electronics; Esaki, who proposed the tunnel diode, received a Nobel Prize in 1973. Contributions to the development of mathematics have been made by Kodaira Kunihiko in algebraic geometry, Kato Toshio and Sato Mikio in functional analysis, Oka Kiyoshi in the analytic theory of functions, and M. Nagata in the theory of invariants. Much work is currently being done in such areas as applied mathematics and computer science (software).

The Japanese school of structural chemistry (Katayama Masao, Morino Yonezo, and Nitta Isamu) has won broad acclaim. An important school has also been formed in radio-chemistry (M. Kondo, Kimura Matsumi, and Kihara Kitoshi). A number of advances relating to the chemistry of polymers have been made by Furukawa Junji, Saegusa Takeo, and Okamura Seizo. Tomita Masaji and his school (at Tokyo University) have made important contributions to plant biochemistry, and Asai Toshinobu, M. Koike, Kondo Heizaburo, and K. Tatsuo have done noteworthy work in general-biochemistry. M. Nomura and H. Maruta have conducted groups of experiments on the chemistry of biologically active substances. The work of Ebashi Setsuro in pharmacological chemistry has also won recognition.

Major advances have been made in biology. H. Yoshikawa, N. Sueoka, R. Okazaki, M. Kimura, and D. Tomizawa have been studying various problems of genetics, and the research of I. Takahashi and D. Egami has played an important role in the study of the structure of RNA. Various problems of evolutionary genetics have been studied by Ono Susumu. An important contribution to modern embryology has been made by K. Nakata, M. Tanaka, and D. Iwanami, and a number of discoveries in plant virology have been made by I. Doi, M. Terenaka, and Hirumi Hiroyuki. Tamiya Hiroshi and Nakamura Hiroshi have carried out an important series of investigations on the ecology of closed systems. On the basis of research performed by such scientists as S. Kinoshita, industry has begun making use of microbiological synthesis, and Kitahara Kakuo, Tamura Tadashi, and Yantada Katsuhiro have studied problems of industrial microbiology and the biosynthesis of protein. Of great practical importance has also been the research of I. Umezaki, I. Yoneda, and Okamura Kintaro on algology, of A. Sakai on plant cultivation, and of T. Takeda and Y. Tagari on the selective breeding of rice.

Noteworthy contributions to medical science include those of S. Watanabe to the control of leukemia and radiation damage, those of Umezawa Hamao, M. Soeda, and I. Okami to chemotherapy for various groups of diseases, those of T, Tokatsu to oncology, and those of I. Ono to otolaryngology. Much attention is also being devoted to the control of environmental pollution.

Japan has become an important center of research in the geological and geographical sciences. Notable work has been done by Nagata Takeshi in geomagnetism and by Birukawa Shohei, Watanabe Manjiro, and Ito Taikichi in resource management and regional geography. Research has been undertaken in volcanology and seismology by such scientists as Wadachi Kiyo, S. Hisashi, Tsuboi Chuji, and Hagiwara Takahiro, and the prediction of typhoons and tsunamis has been studied by such scientists as Namekawa Tadao and Takahashi Koichiro. A system of typhoon and tsunami warning stations and an extensive network of seismic and volcanological observatories have been established.

Japanese scientists are investigating the earth’s crust and upper mantle in the Pacific Ocean. In 1971 the Japanese scientific research ship Hokuho-Maru conducted a joint underwater seismic experiment with the Soviet ship Vitiaz’. In 1977, scientists from Japan, the USSR, and the USA aboard the American scientific research ship Glomar Challenger began drilling the bottom of the Japan Trench, one of the deepest parts of the world’s oceans. Major oceanographic research was conducted in the 1950’s and 1960’s by scientific research vessels in the region of the Kuroshio Current in order to study the oceanographic and commercial-fishing conditions of the region. Important research in oceanography has been conducted by Hidaka Koji (founder and first director of the Ocean Research Institute) and also by I. Machizawa and Uda Michitaka in marine physics, by Imai Isao and Sugawara Ken in marine chemistry, and by R. Marumo and Matsui Yoshii-chi in marine biology. Japanese scientists are carrying out comprehensive research projects in the Arctic and Antarctic.

In the mid-1950’s Japan began a space program, and in 1970 it successfully launched its first satellite, Osumi.

The Japanese government has encouraged the importation of foreign equipment and technology and the application of the latest scientific and technical achievements, thereby promoting the rise of new areas of applied research and design that contribute to modern production. In the 1960’s Japan began carrying out its own research and development work in a number of branches of industry, and it soon assumed a leading position in the capitalist world in the petrochemical industry, shipbuilding, the production of motor vehicles, machine tools, and precision instruments, and the creation of new models of electronic and automated equipment, computers, and equipment for atomic power plants.


Social sciences, PHILOSOPHY. The rise of philosophical thought in Japan was connected with the penetration of Buddhist and Confucian ideas from China and Korea in the sixth to eighth centuries; these ideas were widely adopted alongside national religious and mythological concepts. Buddhist culture was assimilated by the Tendai and Shingon sects, the founders of which—Saicho and Kukai—advanced an independent interpretation of Buddhism. The doctrines of the Zen, Jodo, and Nichiren sects were formulated between the 12th and 14th centuries, and Dogen, Shinran, and Nichiren were among the important interpreters of Buddhist philosophy.

Buddhism reigned uncontestedly in the philosophical thought of the 14th to 16th centuries; however, Confucianism, which better complemented the feudal structure of Japanese society, acquired a predominant influence in the 17th century. The neo-Confucian school Shushigaku, which advanced the doctrines of the Chinese philosopher Chu Hsi, was the leading philosophical trend. Other schools included the Kokugaku (school of classical Confucianism) and Oyomeigaku (followers of the Chinese philosopher Wang Yang-ming); Butsu Sorai, Motoori Norinaga, and Kamo Mabuchi were the most important figures in the former school, and Takae Toju and Kumazawa Banzan headed the latter.

In the 17th and 18th centuries Muro Kyuso, Yamagata Shunan, and Miura Baien developed neoorthodox doctrines that rejected the dogmas of Confucianism. Ito Jinsai and Ando Shoeki presented materialist ideas in the 17th and 18th centuries, respectively, as did Nakae Chomin in the second half of the 19th century.

After the incomplete bourgeois revolution of 1867–68, the Japanese began assimilating European philosophy. Traditional Buddhist and Confucian ideas gradually lost influence and were supplanted by various bourgeois philosophical doctrines from Western Europe. In the last third of the 19th century and the early part of the 20th, British positivism and the philosophy of the French Enlightenment were popular, and German classical idealism also acquired influence. The penetration of Marxist ideas into Japan began in the same period, and the first Japanese translations of the Marxist philosophical classics appeared.

From the 1920’s to 1940’s Japanese bourgeois philosophy was strongly influenced by Kantianism, Hegelianism, pragmatism, phenomenology, and existentialism. Japanese classical idealism, as represented by the Kyoto school, was formulated. Its most prominent figures—Nishida Kitaro, Tanabe Hajime, and Miki Kiyoshi—drew upon certain ideas of Buddhist metaphysics and developed eclectic concepts in the spirit of Western European idealism. Various versions of the reactionary ideology of Japan-ism gained popularity.

After World War II, traditional Buddhist-Confucian philosophy lost its remaining influence. The Kyoto school essentially disbanded in the late 1940’s. In the 1950’s the leading trends in philosophy were existentialism and pragmatism; in the 1960’s analytic philosophy and other new schools of contemporary bourgeois philosophy gained influence. In addition to classical Western interpretations of various trends of idealism, Japanese versions appeared, including Japanese pragmatism and Japanese existentialism.

Marxist philosophy was widely studied in Japan beginning in the mid-1920’s. From 1932 to 1938 the Society for the Study of Materialism carried out systematic propaganda and helped popularize dialectical and historical materialism. Important contributions to the development of Marxist philosophy were made by Tosaka Jun and Nagata Hiroshi. Since the late 1940’s, the ideas of Marxism have become even more widespread, and translations of the most important philosophical works of K. Marx, F. Engels, and V. I. Lenin have been published. Kozai Yoshishige, Mori Koichi, Mita Sekisuke, Terezawa Tsunenobu, Iwasaki Chikatsugu, and Kawamura Nozomu are among the philosophers who deal with problems of dialectical and historical materialism and criticize contemporary bourgeois philosophy. Philosophical problems of the natural sciences are investigated by such philosophers as Sakata Shoichi, Taketani Mitsuo, and Miyahara Shosei.

Philosophical problems are studied at major universities in such cities as Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and Nagoya. In addition, several philosophical journals are published, including Shiso (since 1893), Riso (1927), Yuibutsuron kenkyu (1932), and Tetsugaku (1951).

HISTORIOGRAPHY. The first Japanese historical chronicles appeared in the eighth and ninth centuries. The most important of these were the Kojiki (Notes on Antiquity) and the Nihon-shoki (Annals of Japan); the former, by Ono Yasumaro, was completed in 712, and the latter, by Prince Toneri Shinno, in 720. Both chronicles cover the ancient history of Japan, beginning with the period known as the age of the gods; in addition to historically reliable information about the time chronicled (especially the period from the fifth to seventh centuries), they contain myths, legends, and tales. From the Edo period in the early 17th century until the defeat of the Japanese militarists in World War II, the sections of the chronicles devoted to the age of the gods were officially recognized as historical fact and were used to substantiate the reactionary nationalist theory of the divine origin of the Japanese nation.

Historiography was systematized in Japan in the period of developed feudalism; works written between the tenth and 15th centuries treated history from a feudal point of view. Rekishi monogatari (historical narratives), kagami (literally, “mirror works,” that is, works reflecting reality), miraiki (predictions of the future), and gunki (accounts of wars and battles) were widely read.

The Honcho tsugan (Comprehensive Mirror of Our State), a historical work in 310 volumes, was begun in the early 17th century by Hayashi Razan and was completed in the middle of the century. By the late 17th century, under the direction of Tokugawa Mitsukuni (the daimyo of the principality of Mito and the founder of the Mito historical school), the Hongi (Basic Annals) and Ritsuden (Biographies) were completed, and the Dai nihonshi (Histories of Great Japan) was started. (The Dai nihonshi, which comprised 397 volumes, was finished in 1906.) Written from a Confucian point of view, these historical works defend the theory of the divine origin of the Japanese nation, but at the same time they systematize historical facts and include references to reliable sources. Arai Hakuseki (1657–1725), a Confucian scholar and political figure, made an important contribution to historiography; on the basis of a comparative study of sources in the Tokushi yoron (Additional Commentaries on History), he assigned periods to Japanese history, and in his Koshi-tsu (Outline of Ancient History) he treated the old descriptions of the age of the gods as a reflection of human history.

In counterbalance to neo-Confucianism, wagaku, or kokugaku (national learning), began developing during the crisis of feudalism. The most important figures in the field—including Kamo Machubi (1697–1769) and Motoori Norinaga (1730–1801), the author of the Kojiki den (Commentaries on the Kojiki)—rejected the uncontested authority of Chinese neo-Confucian concepts, idealized the ancient historical development of Japan, and gave evidence of the need to replace the feudal military dictatorship of the shoguns with a system based on imperial authority.

During the period of bourgeois transformations that followed the incomplete bourgeois revolution of 1867–68, historiography was strongly influenced by European positivism and the Enlightenment, as is evidenced in the works of Taguchi Ukichi and Murota Mitsumi; thus, the bourgeois-liberal school was born. The history faculty at Tokyo University was founded in 1887, and the first historical society, the Shigakkai, was established in 1889. In 1895 began the publication of historical materials and documents under the titles Dai nihon shiryo (Materials on the History of Japan) and Dai nihon komonjo (Collection of Ancient Historical Documents).

Beginning at the end of the 19th century, ethnocentric, nationalistic concepts of Japanese history gradually assumed dominant positions. As a result, historiography experienced stagnation. Unconditional recognition of the legendary period as actual Japanese history, acceptance of the divine origin of the imperial dynasty, and belief in the racial superiority of the Japanese people were demanded. The study of history, especially ancient history, was thus rendered much more difficult.

In the 1920’s, the influence of the October Revolution in Russia and the spread of Marxist-Leninist ideas among the advanced intelligentsia became noticeable in Japan. As a result, such historians as Hani Goro, Hirano Yoshitaro, Noro Eitaro, and Hattori Shiso attempted to rethink problems in Japanese historiography; in particular, they sought to demonstrate the historical role played by the masses and to study the socioeconomic conditions that were necessary for such important historical events as the Meiji Restoration. The bourgeois-liberal school was also active; its most prominent figures were Takegoshi Yosaburo, Tsuchiya Takao, Tsuda Sokichi, Honjo Eijiro, Kokusho Iwao, Tamura Eitaro, Akiyama Kenzo, Ibara Nori, and Kurita Genji. In the 1930’s, however, these scholars were essentially deprived of the opportunity to advance their opinions and were punished for even slight deviations from official canons, as in the cases of Tatsukichi Minobe, Kawai Eijiro, and Yanaihara Tadao.

When the militarist system was defeated, Japanese historians for the first time had an opportunity freely to study the history of their country, especially its ancient history, and there was an increase in the number of sources on which they could draw. Hence, the range of problems they studied was expanded, and the number of publications grew. The progressive democratic school, which includes Marxist and similar trends, was formed and grew strong; important figures of the school include Uchida Jokichi, Furuhata Yoshikatsu, Fuji Shochi, Ooe Shinobu, Ienaga Saburo, and Toyama Shigeki. In the postwar period, a large group of bourgeois-objectivist scholars have also held positions of great influence in historiography; these scholars include Oka Yoshitake, Seizaburo Shinobu, Ishida Takeshi, Yanaibara Tadao, Sakamoto Taro, Takeuchi Rizo, and Ishimoto Masashi. In recent years there has been an increase in the number of publications in which Japanese history, especially prewar history, is newly interpreted from a nationalist point of view; among the historians writing in this vein are Nazu Masashi, Toko Shinegoi, and Saito Eisaburo.

The study of history is centered chiefly at scientific research institutes affiliated with universities, including the Institute of Social Sciences at Tokyo University, the Institute of Oriental Culture at Tokyo University, the Institute of Social Sciences at Waseda University in Tokyo, and the Institute of History at Kyushu University in Kitakyushu. Among the numerous historical societies are the Historical Society of Japan, the Scholarly Council of Historians (founded 1967), and the Japanese Society of Historical Studies (1930). Historical journals include Rekishi tokuhon (since 1952), Rekishigaku kenkyu (1933), Shigaku zasshi (1889), and Nihon rekishi (1946).


ECONOMICS. Economics became a science in Japan in the second half of the 19th century, during the consolidation of capitalism. The first economic measures of the bourgeois-landowner government, which had come to power as a result of the incomplete bourgeois revolution of 1867–68, were based on the ideas of Yokoi Shonan and Yuri Kimimasa. These economists held to the tenets of late mercantilism and attached great importance to state support of manufacturing and trade. They regarded profit as a result of exchanges on foreign markets, although they also recognized the importance of material production in the formation of a positive trade balance.

Taguchi Ukichi, Fukuzawa Yukichi, and Maeda Masana helped weaken the influence of mercantilism on Japanese economic thought in the same period. They taught that wealth could not be identified with money alone. Taguchi considered the expansion of progressive branches of the economy to be the decisive condition for economic development; he rejected the mercantilists’ fetishism of noble metals and recognized the necessity of using in the economy not only gold but also negotiable instruments, such as promissory notes and bank notes. Maeda advocated the comprehensive expansion of agriculture, industry, and trade and an increase in the technological level of industrial production; he viewed production as the fundamental capital of society and the principal source of the state’s wealth and power. Fukuzawa associated the economic sovereignty of the country not with protectionism and artificial means of eliminating competitors, but with improvement of productive forces and growth of commercial and industrial competition in both domestic and international markets.

By the end of the 1870’s, Japanese economists, influenced by Western European advocates of free competition, were devoting most of their attention to studying the motive forces of capitalist production, thus reflecting the growth of big Japanese industrial capital. They believed their main task to be the search for ways to eliminate obstacles to the accumulation of capital and to the expansion of markets. Such Japanese economists as Amano Tame-yuki, Takiri Inejiro, and Takada Sanae, however, included elements of vulgar political economy with the concepts of classical bourgeois political economy as a result of Japan’s late experience of the industrial revolution (in the 1870’s and 1880’s), the noticeable preservation of vestiges of feudalism, and the sway of ethno-centrism in the social consciousness. In the 1880’s, the new historical school had a great influence on Japanese economic thought (seeNEW HISTORICAL SCHOOL). Kato Hiroyuki, Oki Shuzo, and Shinagawa Yagiro, who were adherents of the school, focused attention on the specifics of Japanese socioeconomic processes and superstructural phenomena, such as economic policy.

During the rule of Emperor Yoshihito (1912–25), problems of general methodology and world view were at the center of the ideological struggle concerning the ways and methods of effecting socioeconomic transformations in Japan. The Marxists Katayama Sen, Abe Isao, and Sakai Toshihiko defended the dialectical-materialist concept of social development, whereas supporters of bourgeois reformism, such as Fukuda Tokuzo and Kawakami Hajime, supported an idealist and metaphysical approach to evaluating social phenomena, including economic phenomena. Fukuda considered the basic motivation of capitalist production to be egoism and the desire for gain; he viewed these drives as perpetually instinctive in man and as the cause of such characteristic features of the capitalist economy as rule and tyranny by private owners, the exploitation and alienation of labor, and the constant struggle in society for the means of existence. Kawakami, who “reconciled” K. Marx with H. Spencer, supported the idea that the psychological reactions of producers and consumers should be treated as an independent branch of economic analysis; he asserted that such a change required a rethinking of the doctrine of causality in the spirit of E. Mach’s emperiocriticism.

During the world economic crisis of 1929–33, Japanese bourgeois economists turned most of their attention to problems of money circulation and of monetary policy, which they viewed as the most effective instrument for curing the economy. Inoue Junnosuke advocated returning to the gold standard and setting the exchange rate at the level of the nominal value of the yen. Opposing him, Takahashi Kamekichi and Yamazaki Yasuzumi asserted that the proposed steps would only cause a decline in economic activity and would ultimately make it impossible to hold the exchange rate at the former level; hence, it would be impossible to improve the balance of payments. Emphasizing the interrelationship between devaluation of the currency within a country and the exchange rate, Takahashi and Yamazaki advocated a decrease in the exchange rate of the yen and the use of gold only in foreign exchange.

In the first half of the 1930’s, marginal utility theory occupied a predominant position in Japanese bourgeois economic thought, and the most common interpretation found in Japanese economic literature was that of the adherents of the mathematical school, including Nakayama Ichiro and Takata Yasuma. Sharing the ordinal approach to the determination of utility, Nakayama considered L. M. E. Walrus’ system of general economic equilibrium (as presented and corrected by V. Pareto) to be the highest achievement of the mathematical school.

In the second half of the 1930’s, the mathematical school lost its predominant influence as a result of the shift in economic studies from the microeconomic analysis of production functions to macroeconomic analysis; the shift occurred because of the practical problems of state-monopoly regulation. At the same time, the familiarity of Japanese economists with the legacy of the mathematical school made it much easier for them to adopt the teachings of J. M. Keynes; the most prominent Japanese interpreters of Keynes in the 1940’s were Kito Nisaburo and Shibata Kei.

In the early 1950’s, when Japan had regained its prewar economic potential and stabilized its economic and political situation, it entered a new stage in its economic development. To meet the requirements facing the country, Japanese economists had to solve problems relating to the increasing growth rate of industrial production, the technological reequipping of industry, and foreign economic expansion (including the new forms taken by such expansion). Beginning in the mid-1950’s, there was a dramatic increase in investments and their effectiveness, with a marked separation of accumulation from consumption. As a result, Japanese economists rejected direct analogies to the theoretical constructs of such British and American neo-Keynesians as R. Harrod and E. Domar, which focused on current demand and short-term changes and made use of constant coefficients of capital intensiveness.

Shimomura Osamu, the ideologist of neo-Keynesianism in Japan, related the share of savings chiefly to the volume and return on real capital formation. In view of the shortage of long-term capital resources in Japan and the overconsumption rather than underconsumption of the accumulation fund, he rejected Keynes’ thesis that investments and savings are equal, and he attempted to derive the rate of growth of the gross national product directly from the rate of accumulation and the productivity of net private investments. At the same time, he shared Keynes’ belief that a governmental policy of encouraging low interest rates was essential for providing an incentive to invest. Shimomura essentially ignored questions of scientific and technological progress, but Kanamori Hisao, another neo-Keynesian, paid great attention to the interaction of the multiplier and accelerator and made allowances for technological innovations and changes in consumer demand.

The neoclassical school of bourgeois political economy of the 1950’s and 1960’s received support from Inada Ken’ichi, Shinkai Yoichi, and Uzawa Hirobumi. They deal mainly with the modeling of economic processes by means of increasingly complicated modifications of the Cobb-Douglas productions function. They believe that the state should not interfere in the economy except to create a “free” market and to control money circulation. The negative socioeconomic consequences of capitalist urbanization and of scientific and technological progress contributed to the rise of institutionalism (seeINSTITUTIONALISM); a prominent Japanese institutionalist is Tsuru Shigeto.

A Marxist analysis of the contradictions of state-monopoly regulation and of the class character of the economic and social policy of the bourgeois state is presented by Ono Yoshihiko, Ouchi Tsutomu, Moriya Fumio, Sato Noboru, and Takenaka Ichio. These economists investigate new features of the production relations of contemporary capitalism in dialectical unity with the socially exploitative nature of capitalism.

In the mid-1970’s, the research of bourgeois economists was concentrated on problems of adapting to the crisis in economic development that was precipitated by the shortage of raw materials and energy resources, the preferential development of technology-intensive branches of industry, and the deterioration of the general conditions necessary for reproduction, as reflected in shifts in consumer demands and the increasing complexity of trade and payment (seeREPRODUCTION). Economists are searching for ways to overcome disproportions in the status and disposition of productive forces, to halt the destruction of the environment, and to correlate long-term trends in the domestic and world economies in a more flexible and productive way.

Problems of antitrust legislation are undergoing extensive debate. Most Japanese economists idealize perfect competition, as opposed to monopolization, which they depict as the subversion of healthy forces in the market and of valid means of market price formation. They therefore consider the main task of antitrust legislation to be the prohibition of collusion between large industrial and commercial firms, as exhibited in the secret cartels of the oil monopolies. Sumiya Mikio, Fujino Shozaburo, Inada Kenichi, Arano Kojiro, and Kumagai Hisao basically adhere to this point of view. At the same time, the apologists of the monopolies, especially such supporters of the neoclassical synthesis as Komiya Ryutaro, oppose any restrictions on purchase of mutual stock. They also defend the expediency of, such elements of price formation as price-fixing and the setting of high profit margins by monopolies.

Under the influence of the acute cyclic crisis of 1974–75, which discredited the traditional methods of anticyclic policy, Japanese economists are attempting more and more often to synthesize the neoclassical and neo-Keynesian school of economic thought. The neo-Keynesian Tsujimura Kotaro, together with Uzawa Hirobumi, consistently calls for the renewal and systematization of the ideological arsenal of economics. The failures of state economic development plans are forcing Japanese economists to improve models of economic regulation, programming, and forecasting. “Left radical” economists are increasing their research.

Centers of economic research include universities and scientific institutes under the Ministry of International Trade and Industry and the Economic Planning Agency; other centers are the Japan Economic Research Center, the Nomura Institute, and the Mitsubishi Economic Research Institute. The professional organization of Japanese economists is the Japan Union of Economic Associations. The most important economic journals are Daiyamondo (since 1913), Toyo keizai (1895), Ekonomisuto (1923), Keizai (1961), Keizai hyoron (1952), Gendal keizai (1972), Keidanren geppo (1964), The Oriental Economist (1934), and Zaikai (1953). The journal Zenei (1946), the theoretical organ of the Communist Party of Japan, devotes considerable space to economic problems.


JURISPRUDENCE. The study of law became an independent discipline in Japan in the second half of the 19th century. Until the incomplete bourgeois revolution of 1867–68, law was studied together with philosophical, ethical, and social problems in the framework of general Confucian doctrines. The capitalist development of the country, however, necessitated a fundamental restructuring of the Japanese legal system; the process was carried out basically by copying the pattern in developed capitalist countries. The restructuring of the legal system was accompanied by the development of jurisprudence as a separate field of study and by the rethinking of Western European legal doctrines.

The belated development of bourgeois jurisprudence in Japan and the importance of foreign influence in its development led to the formation of a multiplicity of schools and trends that generally were of an eclectic character. In the mid-1870’s and early 1880’s, popularity was gained by the French concepts of natural law, which constituted the ideological platform of the democratic movement for “freedom and popular rights.” The influence of positivism, particularly the British analytic school of law, was strengthened with the development of jurisprudence in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. For a prolonged period, however, a dominant influence was exercised by German political doctrines that advanced constitutional monarchy as the best form of government. These doctrines were ultimately expressed in the irrational, nationalistic theory of the uniqueness of the kokutai (Japanese national polity).

Although in the 20th century (especially from 1913 to 1924), formal, dogmatic jurisprudence was supplanted by other trends, the overwhelming majority of legal concepts did not go beyond the framework of legal positivism. In a political regard, all these theories served to justify the strengthening of the bureaucratic state; the only exception was the theory of Minobe Tatsukichi, who further developed the ideas of G. Jellinek, in particular, the thesis of the self-limitation of state power. The “legal state” was interpreted only as a state whose citizens strictly carried out the commands of the imperial government. With the strengthening of political reaction in the second half of the 1920’s, the statist concepts of fascist doctrine came to the fore and were advanced as an original “Japanese legal theory.”

The distinguishing feature of postwar Japanese jurisprudence is the important role played by such Marxist theorists as Hirano Yoshitaro, Kazahaya Yasoji, Tanaka Yasuo, Suzuki Yasuzo, Kako Yujiro, and Yamanuchi Ichiro. Marxist legal studies deal largely with the general theory of the state and law, methodology, and the Japanese legal system and its democratization. Much attention is also paid to the law and jurisprudence of socialist countries, notably by Hasegawa Masayasu, Watanabe Yozo, Numata Inejiro, and Fujita Isamu.

The sociological trend in jurisprudence became popular in the postwar period. It took shape in Japan in the 1930’s in the works of such theorists as Suehiro Izutaro, whose views were close to the Marxist understanding of the sociology of law. By the late 1950’s, sociological jurisprudence in the spirit of R. Pound had combined with American and other bourgeois doctrines to form a trend; sociological jurisprudence came to predominate the Japanese sociology of law, as seen in the works of Kowashima Takeyoshi and Kaino Michitaka. Nonetheless, within the framework established by the Japan Association of Sociology of Law, Japanese democratic jurists, including representatives of classical bourgeois liberal legal thought, advocate democratization and seek to defend the Japanese constitution. General theoretical legal thought, as exemplified by Odaka Tomoo and his students Inoue, Yazaki, and Aomi, on the whole supports positivism or the closely related concepts of such 20th-century bourgeois legal theorists as E. Huuserl, G. Radbruch, and H. Hart.

Until World War II, the most highly developed branches of jurisprudence were those devoted to civil law (Wagatsuma Sakae), commercial law (Matsumoto Joji), and criminal law (Takigawa Yukitoki and Makino Eiichi). Since 1945, legal scholars have also studied administrative law, administrative economic law (regulation of state intervention in the economy), and legal problems of environmental protection, education, and information.

Research in jurisprudence is carried out principally by universities and by national legal associations that are devoted to a given branch of the field. State institutions that conduct such research are Tokyo, Kyoto, Nagoya, Tohoku, and Kyushu universities; private institutions include Waseda, Keio, Meiji, Hosei, Ritsumeikan, Chuo, Sofiya, and Doshisha universities. The leading periodicals in the field are the yearbooks of the juridical associations, university journals, and the journals Horitsu jiho and Jurisuto.


LINGUISTICS. Until the 16th century, linguistics in Japan was devoted mainly to the study of the Chinese and Sanskrit classics, the study of Chinese ideogramic writing, and the development of the Japanese writing system and Japanese versification. By the end of the 17th century, a system of concepts pertaining to the Japanese language had taken shape. Auxiliary words and inflection were studied, and the first classifications of the parts of speech were established by Mabuchi Kamo and, later, Motoori Norinaga. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Japanese national linguistics was separated from classical philology and became an independent science. The study of languages through comparison and contrast was begun around the same time by such linguists as Kanazawa Shozaburo, Okakura Shimpei, and Kindaichi Kyosuke.

Such trends were continued in the 20th century by Fujioka Shoji, Hattori Shiro, and Shimmura Izuru, and the 1920’s and 1930’s, saw the appearance of works by Sakuma Kanae, Jimbo Kaku, and Kinaichi Haruhiko dealing with phonetics and stress. Grammatical studies, the groundwork for which had been laid in the early 20th century by Otsuki Fumihiko and Yamada Yoshio, were pursued in the 1930’s and 1940’s. An original linguistic conception was set forth by Tokieda Motoki in his Basic Principles of Japanese Linguistics (1941). Dialectology was dealt with by Yan-agida Kunio, Kobayashi Yoshiharu, and Fujiwara Yoichi. Socio-linguistic studies, upon which the school of language existence was based, developed in the late 1940’s; important figures in the school include Tokieda Motoki, Nishio Minoru, and Iwabuchi Etsutaro. Collective works, such as reports, collections, and multivolume series devoted to the modern Japanese language, have been published frequently since the 1950’s. In the 1960’s, experimental and applied studies of English, Russian, German, and various Asian languages were pursued at Tokyo University, Waseda University, and the International Christian University in Tokyo.

Since 1948, the main center of linguistic research has been the National Language Research Institute. Other centers include the Society for the Study of the Japanese Language (founded 1944), the Linguistic Society of Japan (1938), the Phonetic Society of Japan (1926), the Tokyo Scientific Research Institute of Language (1966), the Society of Mathematical Linguistics (1956), and the Institute for the Study of the Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa (1964). Periodicals devoted to linguistics include Gengo seikatsu (since 1951), Kokugogaku (1948), Kokugo to kokubun-gaku (1924), Keiryo kokugogaku (1957), Descriptive and Applied Linguistics (1962), and Russkii iazyk (1963).


Scientific institutions. Responsibility for the nationwide development and implementation of state policy regarding science and technology is invested in the Scientific and Technological Administration, which was founded in 1956. Fourteen state scientific research institutes are officially subordinate to the administration, but through legislative and financial measures the administration has an influence on all Japanese scientific research organizations.

The Science Council of Japan is an advisory agency associated with the government; founded in 1949, it has 210 members. The council’s functions include representing Japanese science in international forums and taking part in the organizing of scientific conferences. The Council for Science and Technology, which is subordinate to the prime minister, is the main coordinating agency; founded in 1969, it approves proposals of the Scientific and Technological Administration and other science agencies. The Japan Academy, which was founded in 1879, is an honorary institution. It has 150 members, all of whom are recognized scientists selected by the Science Council of Japan.

As of 1975, there were more than 4,500 scientific research institutions in Japan, including more than 3,100 institutions that belong to private companies, 880 specialized institutions, and 543 institutions affiliated with institutions of higher learning. As many as 83 percent of private companies in manufacturing industry have their own scientific research subdivisions, as do 32.2 percent of private companies involved in agriculture and fishing, 23.3 percent in the extraction industry, and 21.1 percent in construction. All monopoly groups have scientific research centers which include the institutes and laboratories of companies and individual enterprises. For example, the Mitsui financial-industrial monopoly group has more than 30 scientific research institutions (with more than 30,000 employees), the Hitachi Corporation has five scientific research institutions (with a total of 6,500 employees), and the Toshiba Electric Company has a scientific research center that comprises eight laboratories (2,000 employees). Such concentration makes it possible to deal with complicated, specialized problems. Owing to its capitalist economic system, however, Japan also has a large number of small, isolated research organizations.

There are three types of specialized scientific research institutes in Japan—national (of which there are 87), municipal (591), and private (202). The institutes concentrate on developing major programs of national or interdisciplinary significance and on solving individual problems that private companies are unable or, for financial reasons, unwilling to solve. National scientific research institutes may be subordinate to ministries or governmental departments, or they may exist independently under special status. The largest of these institutes are the Electrical Engineering Laboratory (1,206 employees), the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research (504 employees), the National Aerospace Laboratory (428 employees), and the Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute.

The scientific research establishments of institutions of higher learning are classified, according to the status of the institutions, as national (301), municipal (35), or private (207). The largest establishments are the Institute of Economic Research of Hitotsubashi University (1940), the Institute for Solid State Physics of Tokyo University (1957), the Institute of Space and Aeronautical Sciences of Tokyo University (1958), the Institute for Protein Research of Osaka University (1964), and the Institute of Atomic Energy of Nihon University (1957).

As of 1975, the total number of persons employed in science in Japan was approximately 491,000. The number of scientists exceeded 255,000, of whom 57 percent were at the scientific research institutes of private companies, 33 percent at higher educational institutions, and 10 percent at specialized scientific research institutes.

More patent applications are submitted annually in Japan than in any other capitalist country (160,000 in 1975). A maximum of 25 to 30 percent are approved (46,728 in 1975). Between 1950 and 1975, Japan concluded, chiefly with the United States, 16,692 major licensing agreements. The number of licenses purchased has declined, however, from 2,450 in 1973 to 1,836 in 1975.

Expenditures on scientific research are increasing rapidly, outstripping the growth rate of the national income. In the 1974 fiscal year, a total of 2,421.4 billion yen—that is, 2.15 percent of the national income—was spent; this amount was double the figure for the 1970 fiscal year. On the average, expenditures on scientific research and development work increased by a factor of 2–2.5 in each five-year period between 1955 and 1975. Most of the expenditures fall in the private sector; thus, in the 1974 fiscal year, 73.5 percent of such expenditures were in the private sector. The scientific research institutes of private companies accounted for 65.6 percent of the total, specialized institutes for 16 percent, and institutes affiliated with institutions of higher learning for 18.4 percent. Basic research consumed 15 percent of all allocations, applied research 21.7 percent, and experimental design work 63.3 percent. Basic research is conducted mainly at higher educational institutions, and experimental design work, at the scientific research institutes of private companies. Special attention is devoted to five major national research programs; in the 1974 fiscal year, they consumed 14.1 percent of the total outlays for scientific research and development. The five programs are environmental protection (94.5 billion yen), the development of information processing systems (91.7 billion), nuclear energy (90.3 billion), space research (48.6 billion), and the study of the oceans (15.8 billion).

An extensive network of national and private scientific and engineering information agencies has been established in Japan. The largest of these agencies are the Japan Information Center for Science and Technology (1957) and the Japan Patent Information Center (1971). The projects of the computerized National Scientific and Technical Information System and National Information System are unique in the capitalist world. In the number of computers it uses in science, technology, and the economy, Japan runs a strong second to the United States among the capitalist countries; in 1975, it had more than 30,000 computers in use.

Japan belongs to more than 50 international scientific organizations and takes part in many international scientific research programs. It has bilateral and multilateral agreements concerning science and technology with most countries of the world. Japan exchanges scientists with such Soviet institutions as the Academy of Sciences of the USSR and Moscow State University. In 1973, Japan concluded an intergovernmental agreement on scientific and technological cooperation with the USSR.



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Popov, K. M. Iaponiia: Ocherki razvitiia natsional’noi kul’tury i geograficheskoi mysli. Moscow, 1964.
Yuasa Mitsutomo. Kagaku shi (History of Japanese Science). Tokyo, 1961.
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Radul’-Zatulovskii, Ia. B. Iz istorii materialisticheskikh idei v Iaponii. Moscow, 1972.
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Marukusushugi tetsugaku (Marxist Philosophy), vols. 1–5. Tokyo, 1969–70.
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Azuma Shintaro. Kinsei Nihon-no keizai rinri (Economic Ethics of Modern Japan). Tokyo, 1962.
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As of 1975, Japan published 172 daily newspapers (total circulation, more than 55 million), 800 nondailies, and more than 5,700 periodicals. The Japanese press is dominated by three main firms: Asahi Shimbunsha, Mainichi Shimbunsha, and Yomiuri Shimbunsha. The largest daily newspapers are Asahi, which is published in Tokyo (since 1888), Osaka, Sapporo, Kitakyushu, and Nagoya (total circulation, approximately 10 million); Yomiuri, published in Tokyo (since 1874), Osaka, Kitakyushu, Sapporo, and Takaoka (total circulation, approximately 10 million); and Mainichi, published in Tokyo (since 1972), Osaka, Sapporo, Kitakyushu, and Nagoya (total circulation, 7.5 million). The central organ of the Japanese Communist Party, the newspaper Akahata, has been published in Tokyo since 1928 (until 1946, published as Sekki; circulation, 600,000).

Weeklies include Jiyu Minshu, organ of the Liberal-Democrat Party (Tokyo, since 1955; circulation, 550,000), Minsha Shumbun, organ of the Democratic Socialist Party (Tokyo; circulation, 120,000), and Sohyo Shumbun, organ of Sohyo, the Japan General Council of Trade Unions (Tokyo). Shakai Shimpo, the central organ of the Japan Socialist Party, is published twice weekly (Tokyo, since 1959; circulation, 156,000).

The country’s main information agencies are Kyodo Tsushin (founded 1945), which is a cooperative association of the leading Japanese newspapers and NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation); and Jiji Tsushin (founded 1945), a joint-stock company. Radio and television are partially controlled by the government, through NHK, but are for the most part privately owned. Radio broadcasting in Japan dates from 1925; foreign radio programs are broadcast in 21 languages. Television broadcasting began in 1953.


Oral poetic and song traditions and mythology were developed throughout Japan in the ancient period, before the mid-seventh century. By the middle of the first millennium, Japan had established cultural relations with Chinese Buddhists. At the turn of the fifth century, Chinese ideogrammatic writing was used in official documents and religious and philosophical works.

The first of the surviving monuments in the Japanese language (using Chinese characters) was the Kojiki (712), compiled by Ono Yasumaro. The work contains myths, legends, stories based on history, tales, songs, and chronicles; it is a major work of the beginning of the early Middle Ages (mid-seventh-late 12th centuries). The first Japanese poetry anthology, the Manyoshu (759), included 4,516 folkloric and original compositions by about 500 authors, mostly in the tanka (short song) genre.

The rise of narrative literature dates from the mid-ninth century, when Taketori Monogatari (The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter) appeared (the term monogatari dates from the early ninth century). The tale consists of a series of stories linked together. It employs folkloric and literary plots, and its heroes are endowed with both mythical and human traits. In the tenth and eleventh centuries the aesthetic concept of mono-no aware (the sadness of things) evolved under the influence of Shinto traditions and the doctrines of some Buddhist sects, leaving an imprint on the entire subsequent development of Japanese culture and literature. The emotional reaction of a character to natural phenomena acquired supreme importance in artistic description. The ability to respond with spontaneous sensitivity to an aesthetic moment or gesture was highly valued. Most literary works were written by the court aristocracy.

In the tenth century a special prose genre with generous use of verse evolved from the combination of poetic improvisation and prose presentation; the first example of the genre was Ise Monogatari (The Tales of Ise). Later the literature of diaries and memoirs (nikki) became popular. The “women’s stream,” which chronologically encompassed more than 150 years, was a prominent literary trend of the second half of the tenth century. Nikki occupied a special place in the trend, especially Tosa Diary, which was written by the poet Ki no Tsurayuki (882–946) on behalf of a woman, and the diaries of the female writers Michitsu-nano Haha (935 [?]-995), Lady Izumi (974–1036), and Lady Mu-rasaki (978[?]-1016).

The masterpiece of classical Japanese literature is Genji Monogatari (The Tale of Genji; late tenth-early 11th centuries) by Lady Murasaki. The first zuihitsu (essay), Pillow Book, was written by Sei Shonagon (c. 966-?) at the turn of the 11th century. The first zuihitsu were related to nikki but contained practically no verse. In addition to diary entries, they included descriptions of nature, reflections, and short works of fiction.

As political and cultural contacts with the continent were revived in the 11th century, Chinese and Indian subjects gained currency, for example, in the collection Konjaku Monogatari (Tales of Long Ago). A new genre combined history with literature, notably Eiga Monogatari (Tale of Splendor). Works in the genre described events in chronological order but lacked any concept of the historical process and were historically unreliable.

Two trends can be traced in the poetry of the ninth to late 12th centuries. Numerous literary collections were compiled, and canons for literary forms were established. The Department of Japanese Poetry (Wakadokoro) was established at the court in 951 to anthologize the greatest works of Japanese poetry. Poetry was classified thematically according to a scheme set forth by Ki no Tsurayuki, who edited the collection Kokin Wakashu (922). The most common genre was the tanka.

The period of developed feudalism (late 12th–16th centuries) saw the appearance of the feudal military epic gunki (13th–14th centuries), the flowering of dramaturgy and renga poetry (linked verse; 14th–15th centuries), and the rise of urban literature (16th century).

Five gunki have been preserved. Four of them date from the 13th century and tell of the peripeteias in the struggle for central authority between the feudal nouses of Taira and Minamoto: Tales of the Hogen Period, Tales of the Heiji Period, Record of the Rise and Fall of the Minamoto and Taira, and Tales of the Heike or Taira. The fifth work of the genre, Tale of the Great World, dates from the late 14th century and describes the war between the supporters of the emperor and the feudal military government (shogunate); the period is referred to as the Nambokucho era. The gunki were based on historical events but mainly drew on tales of wonder and on Japanese, Chinese, and Indian legends. They propagated Confucian morality, especially in regard to relations between master and servant, as well as the concept of duty.

The zuihitsu genre continued to develop in this period. The Buddhist concept of the fleeting quality of life is expressed in the works of Kamo Chomei (1153–1216), for example, Notes From a Ten-foot-Square Hut (1212), and the writings of Hoshi Kenko (1293–1350), principally Essays in Idleness (1331). Zuihitsu marked the culmination of the cultural traditions of the court aristocracy. Anchoritic motifs are found. Diary literature in the period was artistically inferior to that of the early medieval period but is interesting from the point of view of history, culture, and genre. Some of the diaries are similar in form to tales, while others are written as verse collections with elaborate prose introductions to the poetry. The best known is The Diary of the Waning Moon (1280) by Abutsuni, the last writer of the women’s stream in Japanese prose. Also important were collections known as setsuwa, which included popular stories on themes from religion, history, or everyday life, as well as legends, tales, and anecdotes. Setsuwa continued to some extent the line of the Konjaku Monogatari and imitated the “historical narratives,” such as the work Four Mirrors. The prose of the 13th and 14th centuries (especially the katarimono, epic works that had long existed in oral tradition) served in subsequent eras as a source of inspiration for folklore, stories, and plays. Works on lives of Buddhist saints appeared in the vernacular from the 13th century. They are filled with stories of voyages to other worlds, encounters with mythical beings, and fantastic deeds.

In addition to tanka, the imayo (present-style songs) became common in poetry. Free of the complex associative figurativeness of tanka, the imayo were especially popular among the little-educated samurai. Works published in the 13th and 14th centuries include a great number of anthologies, such as Shin kokinshu, compiled in 1205 by the poet and philologist Fujiwara no Teika (1162–1241); collections of individual poets; the records of poetry contests (uta awase); and collections of the most outstanding examples of poetry of the past. Traditional poetry became increasingly formal and refined.

In the 14th and 15th centuries, the common Buddhist motif of the fleetingness of earthly blessings was enriched by the Zen Buddhist concept of satori (the sudden attainment of truth, enlightenment). The concept exerted an influence on the composition of the yokyoku one-act lyrical dramas (plays of the no mask theater), which gave rise to Japanese dramaturgy. The themes of the dramas were drawn from Shinto myths, legends, folktales, and Buddhist sutras. The most prominent playwright was Zeami Motokiyo (1363–1443). One popular genre was the kyogen, a short, light play, often satirical.

The otogizoshi (short narratives), preserved only in 17th- and 18th-century transcriptions, were a widespread form of oral narrative. They employ a variety of narrative devices and are divided into six groups according to content: tales from the life of the court aristocracy, stories on Buddhist themes, war stories, folk versions of Indian and Chinese legends, and animal stories.

The renga genre, which appeared as early as the 12th century, reached its peak in the 14th and 15th centuries. The most prominent authors and theoreticians of renga were the anthology compilers Nijo no Yoshimoto (1320–88), who compiled Tsukubashu (1356), and Sogi (1421–1502), who compiled New Tsukubashu (1495).

The rise of urban literature dates from the 16th century. Tradesmen and merchants organized poetry competitions and compiled collections of the poetry of the winners. Especially popular was the kouta (little song), a short poem of free meter in which the theme of labor was especially important. The best-known collection is the Kanginshu (1518).

Beginning in 1542, when ties were established with Europe, the Greek and Roman classics were translated into Japanese. The translation of Aesop’s Fables (1593) had particular importance.

Democratic trends predominated in the literature of the late feudal period, from the 17th century to the 1860’s. The traditions of otogizoshi were continued in the 17th century by a new genre—kanazoshi, which were popular entertaining and moralizing stories. They were written by impoverished samurai turned state officials, as well as by Buddhist monks and city-dwelling book lovers. In the late 17th century these stories gave rise to another genre, ukiyozoshi (tales of the floating world), stories and tales of everyday life, often with erotic themes. The behavior of the heroes was determined by the morals of the developing bourgeoisie. Ukiyozoshi flourished during the reign of Genroku (1688–1703), the golden age of late medieval culture. Ihara Saikaku (1642–93) established three trends in the genre: koshoku-mono (tales of sensual love and amorous exploits), bukemono (samurai tales), and choninmono (tales from the lives of city-dwellers).

Dramaturgy in the 17th and 18th century was dominated by the joruri (puppet theater) and the Kabuki theater. The most prominent playwright of the era was Chikamatsu Monzaemon (1653–1724), author of jidaimono (historical dramas in several acts), which were drawn from the feudal military era, Japanese and Chinese history, and ancient legends and traditions; one example of note is The Battles of Coxinga (1715). In 1703, Chikamatsu Monzaemon wrote the first sewamono (drama of everyday life), The Lovers’ Double Suicide at Sonezaki. His plays include interpolated verse passages and literary digressions but are written principally in the vernacular; this is especially true of his sewamono.

The hokku genre, later called haiku, dominated 17th-century poetry. The three hokku schools were Teimon, founded by Mat-sunaga Teitoku (1571–1653); Danrin, founded by Nishiyama Soin (1605–86); and Shofu, headed by Matsuo Basho (1644–94). Matsuo Basho, the best-known hokku poet, introduced the caesura after the second verse and advanced the genre’s three fundamental aesthetic principles: sabi (exquisite simplicity), shiori (associative consciousness of the harmony of beauty), and hosomi (depth of penetration). In the 18th century the followers of Matsuo Basho dispersed and established several schools. The most popular was the Temmei school, originated by the poet and artist Yosa Buson (Taniguchi Buson, 1716–83). A new stage in the development of hokku was established by Kobayashi Issa (1763–1827), who used the vernacular and Japanese dialects and dealt with the lives of the common people.

In the last quarter of the 18th century the shogunate established strict control over the cultural life of Japan, including the themes of literary works. The works of such writers as Ihara Sai-kaku and Ejima Kiseki and entire literary genres, for example, the sharebon (humorous narrative of manners), were banned in 1791 as immoral. Writers sought new themes, forms, and ideas.

Narrative literature flourished at the turn of the 19th century. Wreath of Flowers, a collection of stories by Kinro Gyoja (1749), gave rise to yomihon (books for reading), which comprised stories, legends, and tales based on oral tradition. Writings on morals and manners gave way to purely fictional works, including adventure stories, ghost stories, and works glorifying the samurai code of ethics (bushido). The most famous collection was Tales of a Rainy Moon (1768) by Ueda Akinari (1734–1809). In the early 19th century, Takizawa Bakin (1767–1848) created a new literary form of yomihon, the didactic novel, which was intended to encourage readers to do good and to turn them away from evil. Of the 300 novels written by Takizawa Bakin, the most popular was Satomi and the Eight “Dogs” (1814). His heroes—half-man, half-dog—symbolize the eight Confucian virtues of humaneness, duty, decorum, wisdom, loyalty, honesty, filial piety, and obedience to elders.

The kusazoshi, or gokan (illustrated stories published as woodblock prints), were circulated in the same period as yomihon. They employed themes of heroism, adventure, romance, and virtue drawn from the literature of previous eras. The best known work of the kusazoshi was A Rustic Genji (1829–42; 152 issues of ten pages each) by Ruytei Tanehiko (1783–1842). The realistic traditions of the kyogen farces and ukiyozoshi stories were inherited and developed in the kokkeibon (small entertaining books), humorous tales written in the early 19th century that describe the mores of city-dwellers. The genre was originated by Jippensha Ikku (1765–1831) in his tale The Tokaido Road (1802–22), which was based on his travel adventures. In works of the same genre, such as Bath House of the Floating World (1809–12) and Barber Shop of the Floating World (1812–14), Shikitei Samba (1776–1822) depicted city-dwellers and made bold use of the vernacular. The sentimental ninjobon (books of human feelings), originated by Tamenaga Shunsui (1789–1843), enjoyed popularity, mainly because of their psychological analysis.

Playwrights of the 18th and early 19th centuries wrote plays for the joruri, for example, Chikamatsu Hanji (1725–83) and Hiraga Gennai (1728–79), and the Kabuki, for example, Tsuruya Namboku IV (1755–1829) and Namiki Gohei (1747–1808). They mainly followed the traditions of Chikamatsu Monzaemon in theme and dramaturgical technique.

The middle and lower strata of the urban population enjoyed humorous and satirical poetry not associated with classical cannons. The 1780’s are considered the golden age of kyoka (mad songs), notably the collection Kyoka of a Myriad Years (1783), a continuation of this work (1785), and Treasury of Kyoka Talents (1787). The collections included the poetry of Akera Kanko (1740–1800), Yomono Akara (1749–1823), and Ishikawa Masa-mochi (1753–1830). Works of kyoka were free in the selection of subject and images but used the tanka meter. A genre close to the epigram, senryu, which was named after the poet Karai Senryu (1718–90), was popular in the late 18th and early 19th centuries; it used hokku meter.

The patronage of Confucian scholarship by official authorities contributed to the revitalization of translation from the 17th to early 19th centuries. The Water Fringes, Ching Ping Mei and other Chinese novels were translated into Japanese. Works by European authors were translated from Dutch beginning in the mid-19th century. These were mainly historical and geographic works, including the notes on Japan by V. M. Golovnin.


The incomplete bourgeois revolution of 1867–68 was the dividing line between old and new Japanese literature. A great number of works of European literature, including several in Russian, were translated at this time. Tsubouchi Shoyo (1859–1935) founded a movement to create a new literature. In his treatise The Essence of the Novel (1885), he rejected the old aesthetic canons that demanded self-denial for the sake of feudal moral dogmas; he stressed sensuality and the value of the individual. However, Tsubouchi favored merely superficial descriptions of events. In the article “A General Discussion of the Novel” (1886), Futabatei Shimei (1864–1909) stated that the artist must not only depict events but also reveal their inner meaning. His novel Floating Cloud (1887–88), which he himself stated was influenced by F. M. Dostoevsky and I. A. Goncharov, gave rise to the development of critical realism in Japanese literature. Other popular works included those by writers who were members of Kenyusha (Friends of the Inkstone Society), a group that maintained old traditions; a notable example is the novel Love Confession of Two Nuns (1889) by Ozaki Koyo (1867–1903). Turning to the past in search of the ideal is characteristic of the tale The Five-storied Pagoda (1891) by Koda Rohan (1867–1947).

Sharp social contradictions arising after the Sino-Japanese War of 1894–95 gave rise to shakai shosetsu (social prose), which played an important part in the development of realism. Notable works of prose included the tale The Twenty-eighth of December (1898) by Uchida Roan (1868–1929), the novel Better Not to Live (1899) by Tokutomi Roka (1868–1927), and the novel Pillar of Fire (1904) by Kinoshita Naoe (1869–1937).

In the 1880’s a new literary movement, called the Movement for New Style Poetry, was headed by Inoue Tetsujiro (1855–1944), Yatabe Ryokichi (1851–99), and Toyama Masakazu (1848–1900). The group published the Collection of New Style Poetry (1882), in which they employed principles of European versification; this was the first experiment in new poetry. Chiefly romantic trends were characteristic of the poetry of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Kitamura Tokoku (1868–94), Shimazaki Toson (1872–1943), and Yosano Akiko (1878–1942) passionately opposed the feudal social foundations that inhibited the free development of the individual. The poets Onoe Saishu (1876–1957) and Kaneko Kunen (1876–1951) established the jiyushi (free verse in the spoken language), which became the main form of Japanese poetry in the 20th century. Kawaji Ryuko (1888–1959) was the originator of the jiyushi.

Problems of the development of national culture and its links with the West were touched on by Mori Ogai (1862–1922) in the trilogy Youth, Wild Goose, and Reduced to Ashes (1910–13). In the early 20th century shizenshugi undo (naturalism movement), which was influenced by the works of E. Zola, developed in Japan. It includes such tales as Flowers of Hell (1902) by Nagai Kafu (1879–1959) and The Fashionable Song (1902) by Kosugi Tengai (1865–1952). Realist writers who published harsh social critiques occupied the leading position in the movement. Outstanding works include the novel The Broken Commandment (1906) by Shimazaki Toson, the story “Fate” (1906) by Kunikida Doppo (1871–1908), the tale The Village Teacher (1908) by Ta-yama Katai (1871–1930), and the trilogy Sanshiro (1908), And Then (1909), and The Gates (1910) by Natsume Soseki (1867–1916). The term shizenshugi came to mean both naturalism and realism.

The works of Ishikawa Takuboku (1885–1912) were influenced by the anti-imperialist movement of the early 20th century. The democratic and socialist themes in his poetry reflected the growing self-awareness of the masses, for example, his poetry collection Whistle: Sound and the Instrument (1911); his works opened up a new path for the development of literature. The watakushi-shosetsu (novel in the first person) became popular, making an impact on the development of Japanese literature in the first half of the 20th century. Writers deliberately turned away from social problems, escaping into intimate experiences.

Japanese proletarian literature was born in the 1920’s, during the upsurge in the workers’ movement in Japan, which was influenced by the Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia. The first organ of proletarian writers, the journal Tanemakuhito (1921–23), brought together literary figures of anti-imperialist sentiments. From the mid-1920’s proletarian literature developed on a clearly defined ideological platform. Major works included “worker novels,” such as The Factory (1925) by Hosoi Wakizo (1897–1925) and Men Who Live on the Sea (1926) by Hayama Hoshiki (1894–1945), and the antiwar stories of Kuroshima Denji (1898–1944) “A Swirl of Birds” (1927) and “The Sleigh” (1928). The proletariat was supported by the best representatives of the bourgeois intelligentsia, who expressed sincere humanistic protest against the exploitative system; they included Ema Shu (1889–1975), Fujimori Seikichi (born 1892), and Takakura Teru (born 1891).

In 1928 proletarian literature entered a new phase with the founding of Nippon Artista Proleta Federatio, which united several scattered literary groups. The critic Kurahara Korehito (born 1902), who protested against dogmatism and the vulgarization of literature, played an important part in affirming the aesthetic principles of revolutionary literature. Prominent representatives of proletarian literature were Tokunaga Sunao (1899–1958), author of the novels Sunless Street (1929) and Tokyo, City of the Unemployed (1930), and Kobayashi Takiji (1903–33), who wrote the tales March 15th (1928), The Crabfishing Boat (1929), and A Life for the Party (1933). Poetry was especially important in proletarian literature. Outstanding poets included Nakano Shi-geharu (born 1902), whose works depicted revolutionaries; Oguma Hideo (1901–40), author of the collection Flying Sled (1935); and Kaneko Mitsuharu (1895–1975), who wrote the collection Shark (1937). These poets sang the praises of international solidarity among peoples in the struggle against the fascist plague.

The plays Professor Tsumura (1919) by Yamamoto Yuzo (1887–1974), Miura’s Textile Factory (1919) by Kume Masao (1891–1952), and The Son (1922) by Osanai Kaoru (1881–1928) contributed to the formation of realistic dramaturgy in the 1920’s. Also of note are the plays of Murayama Tomoyoshi (born 1901), for example, Tale of the Tough Gang (1929), devoted to the struggle of the working class against militarism. Kubo Sakae (1901–58) was the author of Land of Volcanic Ash (1938), a play about the struggle of the Japanese peasantry for their rights. The works of Murayama and Kubo are distinguished by acute social awareness and political relevance.

Neoromanticism, neohumanism, and the school of new craftsmanship arose in the 1920’s and 1930’s. The neoromantics sought to escape from the social crisis in refined aestheticism interwoven with the erotic, for example, the novel A Fool’s Love (1925) by Tanizaki Junichiro (1886–1965). The neohumanist writers, who were associated with the Shirakaba Society (1910–23), lacked a unified platform. Claiming to be disciples of L. N. Tolstoy and adopting his concept of social utopia, they tended to indulge in the introspective self-analysis of repentant noblemen.

An abstract perception of humanism and psychological subtlety are characteristic of such works as the tale Friendship (1919) and the play Long Live Humanity! (1922) by Mushanokoji Sa-neatsu (1885–1975) and the novel The Path in the Nocturnal Darkness (1921–22) by Shiga Naoya (1883–1971). One writer who stood out in this group was Arishima Takeo (1878–1923), whose novel One Woman’s Story (1911–19) was one of the best works of Japanese critical realism. In the article “A Confession” (1923), Arishima affirmed the necessity for social reconstruction. Akutagawa Ryunosuke (1892–1927), whose works are characterized by social relevance, psychological depth, and sharp satire, as in the tale Kappa (1927), was peripherally associated with the school of new craftsmanship. A major role in the development of realism was played by Miyamoto Yuriko (1899–1951), whose early works were influenced by the Shirakaba Society, for example, the autobiographical novel Nobuko (1924–26). In the late 1920’s, Miyamoto was active in the proletarian literary movement.

In the 1920’s, influenced by Western left-wing art, Japanese literature reflected avant-garde currents, characterized by the rejection of all moral standards, the call for the destruction of everything familiar and established, and formalist experimentation, as well as by the nonacceptance of capitalist reality. Characteristic works include the essay “Dada” (1923) by Takahashi Shinkichi (born 1901) and the poem Death Sentence (1925) by Hagiwara Kyojiro (1899–1938). The influence of symbolism is evident in the works of Hagiwara Sakutaro (1888–1942), for example, in the poetry collections The Blue Cat (1922) and Ice Island (1936). The leading surrealist poets were Kitagawa Fuyuhiko (born 1900), Haruyama Yukio (born 1902), and Miyoshi Tatsuji (1900–64).

The principles of modernist aesthetics were clearly expressed by the neosensualist writers, who believed that only the subjective perception of the world is of true value. The theoretician of the group, Yokomitsu Riichi (1898–1947), was the author of the stories “The Fly” (1923) and “Ringworm and Napoleon” (1926) and the novel Shanghai (1931).

In the 1930’s and 1940’s, apologist writings glorifying “holy war” dominated Japanese literature during the growth of fascism. A typical example is the trilogy Wheat and Soldiers, Earth and Soldiers, and Flowers and Soldiers (1938–39) by Hino Ashihei (1907–60). The Japan Literary Society for Service to the Fatherland, which became the bulwark of propaganda for chauvinistic Nipponism, was established in July 1942.

The defeat of Japanese militarism in World War II (1939–45) marked a new stage in the development of Japanese literature, characterized by complex interaction among several trends: traditional, democratic, and sengoha (of the postwar generation). Writers of the older generation, who represented the traditional trend, yearned for stable values not subject to the changing times and turned to the ancient traditions of national literature. The novel Flakes of Snow (1943–48) by Tanizaki Junichiro and the collections of tales Thousand Cranes (1951) and The Old Capital (1961–62) by 1968 Nobel Prize laureate Kawabata Yasunari (1899–1972) are exquisitely lyrical works noted for their classical concept of beauty.

Sharp ideological controversies arose as a result of the reexamination of the traditions of Japanese national culture. Mishima Yukio (1925–70) advocated the restoration of military traditions, supposedly inherent in Japanese culture from ancient times, in the trilogy The Patriot, Chrysanthemum, and The Voice of a Fallen Hero (1967); he later went over to the reactionary camp.

The movement for the development of democratic literature in postwar Japan was led by the writers Kurahara Korehito, Miyamoto Yuriko, Nakano Shigeharu, and Tokunaga Sunao. The New Japan Literary Society (Shin Nihon Bungakukai) was founded in December 1945. The autobiographical novels of Miyamoto Yuriko, Two Houses (1947) and Landmarks (1947–50), were interpreted by progressive Japanese critics as landmarks of socialist realism. Abe Tomoji (1903–73) raised the question of the responsibility of individuals for the fate of the world in his novel The White Obelisk (1959). The realistic novel in verse The Labyrinth (1948–56) by Nogami Yaeko (born 1885) describes the ideological and moral quest of the Japanese intelligentsia in the 1930’s and 1940’s. In the novel Drifting Cloud (1951), Hayashi Fumiko (1903–51) recounts the wanderings of a woman who finds no niche in life under the social conditions of postwar Japan. In the late 1950’s avant-garde writers of the Society for New Japanese Literature attempted to fuse realism and modernism.

The sengoha writers professed varied ideological and aesthetic views but were united by their rejection of militarism and traditionalism and their affirmation of human individuality. Realistic trends predominated in the works of the most prominent sengoha writers. Outstanding works include the tale Fires on the Plain (1951) by Ooka Shohei (born 1909), the novel A Vacuum Area (1952) by Noma Hiroshi (born 1915), and The Sea and Poison (1957), a novel devoted to World War II by Endo Shusako (born 1923). The novel Solitude in the Plaza (1951) by Hotta Yoshie (born 1918) tells of the postwar Japanese intelligentsia and its alarm in the face of growing reactionism.

Abandoning traditional literature, some sengoha writers turned to the literary techniques of western modernism. Attempting to use literary means to represent modern man, Naka-mura Shinichiro (born 1918) employed a psychoanalytical technique borrowed from M. Proust in the tales Maidens of Zion (1948) and Fountain of Love (1962). Existentialism influenced Shiina Rinzo (1911–73), author of the novels Perpetual Prologue (1948) and The Beautiful Woman (1955). J. Joyce and Proust had a strong impact on the novels of Ito Sei (1905–59), including Senkichi Narumi (1950) and A Bird of Fire (1949–53). The collections of stories of Dazai Osamu (1909–48), Sunset (1947) and Man’s Loss (1948), are permeated with despair and renunciation of social ideals.

The “literature of the flesh,” which openly propounded the cult of brutality and sex, gained wide currency in the 1950’s and 1960’s, for example, in the tale The Season of the Sun (1955) by Ishihara Shintaro (born 1932) and the novel Scorpions (1963) by Kurahashi Yumiko (born 1935). The “novel of morals,” which borders on mass literature, also became popular; notable writers of the trend include Niwa Fumio (born 1904) and Funabashi Seiichi (born 1904).

Decadent and modernistic trends were resisted by writers of democratic and critical realist sympathies. The acute social problems of modern Japan were reflected in the realistic novels The Human Condition (1958) by Gomikawa Junpei (born 1916) and The Human Wall (1958) by Ishikawa Tatsuzo (born 1905). Other noteworthy works include the collection Poetry of the Atomic Bomb (1951) by Toge Sankichi (1917–53), the tale Human Rags (1951) by Ota Yoko (1906–63), and the novels Black Rain (1960) by Ibuse Masuji (born 1898), The Crowd of the Ground (1963) by Inoue Mitsuharu (born 1926), and Judgment (1963) by Hotta Yoshie.

In the literature of the 1960’s and 1970’s realism and modernism often blend together in the works of a single writer, for example, in the novels of Abe Kobo (born 1924) The Woman in the Dunes (1963), Face of Another (1964), and The Box Man (1973). The life of young men in postwar Japan and their moral quest constitute the main theme of most of the novels by Oe Ken-zaburo (born 1935), for example, The Youth Who Arrived Late (1962) and A Personal Matter (1964). In Notes of a Savior (1976), Oe expressed his concern for the fate of mankind, threatened as it is by nuclear catastrophe. The alienation of modern youth in a materialistic world is an important theme in the works of Kaiko (Ken) Takeshi (born 1930), especially in the novel Robinson’s Descendants (1960).

Science fiction and detective novels, both containing elements of social criticism, developed considerably in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Notable examples are Underwater Current (1961) by Matsumoto Seicho (born 1909) and Japan Sinks (1973) by Komatsu Sakyo (born 1931).

Democratic poetry of the late 1940’s and 1950’s is represented by the collections Fruits (1946) by Tsuboi Shigeji (1898–1975), The Human Tragedy (1953) by Kaneko Mitsuharu (1895–1975), and The Bridge (1955) by Okamoto Jun (born 1901). The traditions of proletarian literature were continued by poets of the Archipelago Literary Association (1952), mainly Ando Tsuguo (born 1919), Sekine Hiroshi (born 1920), and Hasegawa Tatsuo (born 1928). The Congress of Japanese Poets, headed by Tsuboi Shigeji, was created in 1962. The leading position in the congress was held by Communist poets, including Doi Daisuke (born 1927), author of the collection Personal Message (1970).

Modernist poetry is represented by the works of Kitasono Kat-sue (born 1902), Nishiwaki Junzaburo (born 1894), and Murano Shiro (born 1901). The futurist poets are headed by Kitagawa Fuyuhiko (born 1900). The Wasteland Society, which arose in the early 1950’s, included existentialist poets, such as Ayukawa Nobuo (born 1919), Nakagiri Masao (born 1919), and Tamura Ryuichi (born 1923).

The best-known modern playwrights are Kinoshita Junji (born 1914), Abe Kobo, and Koyama Yoshi (born 1906). Kinoshita’s plays, realistic and closely linked with traditional Japanese theater, include Evening Crane (1949) and Between God and Man (1970). Abe’s plays are characterized by a unique perception of bourgeois reality, presented in a satirical style; a notable example is The Man Who Turned Into a Stick (1969). Koyama is the author of the dramas of everyday life A Ball for Two (1956) and Yellow Waves (1961). The tragedy of Hiroshima and the problem of the workers’ movement underlay the plays of Miyamoto Ken (born 1926), who strove to analyze the social structure of modern Japanese society in The Pilot (1964) and Legend of Beauty (1971).

Writers who joined the Union of Democratic Japanese Literature (Nihonminshushugi Bungaku Domei; founded 1965) have played an important part in the development of a socialist current in modern Japanese literature. The revolutionary struggle of the working class, the protest of the masses against militarism and the monopolies, and the social self-assertion of the individual are the main themes in contemporary works of democratic literature, such as the tale The Sea and the Hoisting Crane (1961) by Kubota Sei (born 1921), the tale The Japanese Soldier (1970) by Shimoda Seiji (born 1913), and such novels as A Nap (1969) by Nakazato Kisho (born 1936), River Without a Bridge (1970) by Sumii Sue (born 1902), and Deep Current (1974) by Oikawa Kazuo (born 1933).


Japanese literature in the Chinese language first appeared in the eighth century, the first major work being the poetry collection Kaifuso (751). Most works reflected continental Chinese culture. The first blossoming of literature in Chinese dates from the ninth century, including the poetry collection Ryounshu, Nihon Ryoiki (Miraculous Tale of Japan, a collection of Buddhist setsuwa tales), and Records of Buddhist Pilgrimages to China by Ennin. Diaries, essays, and santaishi poetry adhered to the standards of Chinese poetry and were influenced by Confucianism.

The 14th and 15th centuries saw the greatest upsurge in Chinese-language Japanese literature. As early as the 13th century many Chinese-educated monks of the Zen (Ch’an) sect emigrated to Japan, settling at different monasteries of the sect in the city of Kamakura. From here religious and philosophical literature in Chinese spread to other monasteries, becoming known as gozan bungaku (literature of the five mountains), including gathi (ko) poetry. The main features of gozan bungaku were the advocacy of Zen, “knowledge beyond learning,” and descriptions of the spiritual state of a person at times of satori (sudden enlightenment).

In the mid-14th century, the center of Chinese-language literature in Japan shifted to Kyoto, marking a turn from religion to art. The most famous poets were Muso Soseki (1275–1351) and Sesson Yubai (1290–1346). The authors of gozan bungaku promoted the aesthetic concepts of yugen (mystery and depth), wabi (subdued taste), and sabi (loneliness). In the 17th century, members of the kangaku school of Chinese scholarship studied, wrote commentaries on, and translated Chinese classics, succeeding the writers of scholarly prose of the gozan bungaku.

The official patronage of Confucian scholarship by the Japanese state led in the 17th to early 19th centuries to a renewed interest in translations from Chinese, as well as to the creation of original works of literature in Chinese, especially poetry. Outstanding poets included Kinoshita Junan (1621–98), Rai Sanyo (1780–1832), and Sakuma Shozan (1811–64). Specialists in Chinese studies (kangakusha) published numerous collections of shih poetry and prose works.


Literary criticism. The term bungeigaku, a caique from the German Literaturwissenschaft, was first used in reference to literary scholarship in Japan in the mid-1920’s. However, the sources of literary criticism date from the early Middle Ages; they consisted mainly of scholarly prefaces to and commentaries on classical poetry. Japanese literary criticism was influenced by various Western trends. One of the early figures in the field included the German-educated Haga Yaichi (1867–1927), author of Notes on the History of Japanese Literature (1900).

Japanese literary criticism was influenced by the exchange of ideas among several trends of thought. The bibliographic trend combines biographical methods with the study of sources; notable scholars include Sasaki Nobutsuna (1872–1963), author of Problems of Poetry (1908), and Hisamatsu Senichi (born 1894), Essays on the National Literature: The Object and Method of Study (1944). The cultural history trend, which was based on the positivist method of H.-A. Taine, is represented by Fujioka Sakutaro (1870–1910), known for his History of Japanese Literature in the Heian Period (1905), and Tsuda Sokichi (1873–1961), author of An Inquiry Into the Japanese Mind as Mirrored in Literature (1916–21).

The academic trend, which was associated with the Geistesgeschichte school of German literary criticism, is represented by Kaito Matsuzo (1878–1952), author of The Method of Studying the National Literature (1930), and Okazaki Yoshie (born 1892), author of New Theories of Japanese Literary Criticism (1961). The sociohistorical school, which relies on the principles of cultural history and Marxist doctrine, includes such scholars as Shinoda Taro, who wrote History of Japanese Literature From the Standpoint of Historical Materialism (1932), and Kondo Tadayoshi (born 1901), author of Foundations of Japanese Literature (1937).

Marxist literary critics who became known in the 1920’s included Kurahara Korehito, author of Theory of Art (1937), Moriyama Kei (born 1904), known for his Theory of Literature (1936), and Homma Yuiichi (1909–59), who wrote Literary Criticism (1937). Notable critics of Marxist sympathies from the 1950’s to 1970’s include Yamada Seizaburo (born 1896), author of History of Proletarian Literature (1954), Kawaguchi Hiroshi (born 1905); Yamamura Fusaji (born 1908), and Sato Shizuo (born 1919), author of The Marxist Theory of Literature (1974).

The anti-Marxist platform is represented by Takahasi Yoshitaka (born 1913), who wrote Problems of the Study of Literature (1958), Yoshimoto Takaaki (born 1924), author of End of the False System (1962), and Okuno Takeo (born 1926), who wrote Foundations of Modern Literature (1967). Outstanding scholars of comparative literature include Shimada Konji (born 1901), known for his Modern Comparative Literature (1956), and Ota Saburo (born 1909), who wrote Literature in Translation (1959).

The problems of modern Japanese literature are dealt with in the works of Odagiri Hideo (born 1966), for example, The Individual in Modern Literature (1958); Yoshida Seiichi (born 1908), notably Modern Literature and the Classics (1961); and Nakamura Mitsuo (born 1911), for example, Criticism and Creativity (1964). Also worthy of note are Honda Shugo (born 1908), author of History of Postwar Literature (1966), and Yamamoto Kenkichi (born 1907), author of One Hundred Years of Japanese Literature (1968). The series Literature (1977), which is devoted to current problems of Japanese and world literature, stands out among publications of literary criticism.


Literary periodicals. The first Japanese literary journal appeared in the 1870’s. Kokumin no tomo, published from 1887 to 1899, advocated general democratic views. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, during the years of the movement for a new Japanese literature, the journals Bungakakai (1893–98) and Myojo (1900–08) played an important part. The journals Waseda bungaku (1891–98) devoted attention to realist writers and critics. The journal Shirakaba (1910–23), organized by the literary group of the same name, advocated humanistic art. In the 1920’s and 1930’s, left-wing revolutionary journals appeared: Tanema-kuhito (1921–23), Bungei sensen (1924–32), Senki (1928–31), and NAPF (1930–31). Bungei jidai (1924–27) and Aka to kuro (1923–24) were among the modernist journals. The journal literature, interrupted by the war, was resumed in late 1945. Shin nihon bungaku, which brought together progressive writers, was founded in 1946. Minshu bungaku, the organ of the Union of Democratic Japanese Literature, has been published since 1965. The best-known modern periodicals are Shincho (since 1900), Bungei shunju (since 1923), Bungei (since 1933), Bungakukai (since 1933), and Gunjo (since 1946). Kokuto to kokubungaku (since 1924) and Bungaku (since 1933) are devoted to literary theory and history.



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Konrad, N. I. Iaponskaia literatura v obraztsakh i ocherkakh. Leningrad, 1927.
Konrad, N. I. Ocherki iaponskoi literatury. Moscow, 1973.
Gluskina, A. E., and V. V. Logunova. Ocherki istorii sovremennoi iaponskoi demokraticheskoi literatury. Moscow-Leningrad, 1955.
Kurahara, K. Stat’i o sovremennoi iaponskoi literature. Moscow, 1959. (Translated from Japanese.)
Iaponskaia literatura: Issledovaniia i materialy. Moscow, 1959.
Istoriia sovremennoi iaponskoi literatury. Moscow, 1961. (Translated from Japanese.)
Grigor’eva, T., and V. Logunova. Iaponskaia literatura: Kratkii ocherk. Moscow, 1964.
Mamonov, A. I. Svobodnyi stikh v iaponskoi poezii. Moscow, 1971.
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Rekho, K. Sovremennyi iaponskii roman. Moscow, 1977.
Hirano, Ken. Gendai Nihon Bungaku Nyumon (Introduction to Modern Japanese Literature.) Tokyo, 1955.
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Nakamura Mitsuo. Sakka Ronshu (Collection of Articles on the Work of Japanese Writers), vols. 1–3. Tokyo, 1957.
Honda Shugo. Monogatari Sengo Bungaku Shi (History of Postwar Literature). Tokyo, 1966.
Keene, Donald. Modern Japanese Poetry: An Essay. Michigan, 1964.
Janeira, A. M. Japanese and Western Literature: A Comparative Study. Tokyo, 1970.

The oldest remains of Japanese art are ornate clay vessels of the Jomon culture. Clay vessels later became simpler and more practical after the appearance of bronze ritual dotaku bells, mirrors, and other articles in the first century B.C.

In the third to sixth centuries A.D., majestic imperial burial mounds (kofun) were built. These moated, round or horseshoe-shaped mounds reflect the development of the cult of ancestors in Japan. Hollow clay figurines (haniwa) representing soldiers, priestesses, servants, horses, birds, and houses that were placed on the mounds are noted for the vivid, simple expressiveness of their features and gestures.

Aside from burial mounds, granaries were the first distinctive structures among the primitive earthen buildings of ancient Japan. Constructed of massive logs, the windowless structures stood on posts for protection from floods and had straw roofs and high ladders. The area cleared around the granaries served as the site of the first agriculture rituals. The granaries were used as models for Shinto sanctuaries in Ise and Izumo in the first century A.D. They were situated on vast gravel-covered pieces of land and were enclosed by four fences. The simplicity and clarity of their design became traditional for Japanese architecture.

In the late sixth and early seventh centuries, the spread of Buddhism led to the construction of monasteries, pagodas, and temples based on Chinese and Korean models. These years are referred to as the Asuka period, named for the country’s capital at the time. Small in area and diverse in interior plan, the ensembles of Asukadera (588), Shitennoji (593), Hokkiji (early seventh century), and Horyuji (607) included a pagoda, a Kondo main temple, and a number of south-facing one-story temple buildings that were adjacent, separated only by walls and covered corridors leading to the south and central gates. The buildings had frameworks of pillars and beams on foundations of white stone. Redlacquered columns and brackets supported a massive tiled one-tier or (in the main structures) two-tier roof curved at the edges; the roof covering itself (irimoya) was of the saddle or hip type. The pagodas, square in plan, were distinguished by clarity and efficiency of form and by considerable resistance to earthquakes.

In contrast to the Shinto sanctuaries, which were devoid of furnishings and decor, the central part of Buddhist temples had altars incorporating likenesses of Buddhist deities in gilded bronze or painted wood. A severe, ascetically aloof mien is characteristic of seventh-century statues of higher deities, which are linked with the early medieval sculpture of China and Korea. The deities of compassion, bosatsu (bodhisattva), are more varied in type and poses. Their faces glow with kindness, and their heads bear precious crowns.

In A.D. 710 the first Japanese capital was established at Nara (Heijo-Kyo) and was designed in the style of regularly planned Chinese cities. This was the time of assertion of the unified and centralized feudal state. The main temple ensembles of the city—Yakushiji, Todaiji, and Toshodaiji—were distinguished by precise symmetry of plan, unprecedented scale in squares and processional streets, and majestic, powerful design.

Buddhist sculpture also changed with the consolidation of the temples. The likenesses of various deities became more individualized and increased in number. The materials of Nara sculpture included bronze, wood, dry lacquer, and clay. The development of the Japanese governmental system was reflected in monumental, heroic statues, filled with inner strength and portrayed with distinctly Japanese features. The statues’ gestures became freer, and their bodies acquired roundness and plasticity, losing their former stiffness. Particularly expressive were the poses and gestures of demigods, the protectors of Buddhism, who were represented in armor. The first sculpted portraits of famous teachers of Buddhism appeared in the eighth century. Grotesque ritual masks became popular. The supple lines and delicate tints of the murals of the Horyuji temple, similar to Indian and Chinese models, attest to the high level of Japanese painting in this period.

The relocating of the capital at Heian (now Kyoto) in 794 initiated the Heian period (ninth-12th centuries). This period, which was associated with the further development of feudalism, heralded a deepening interest in the human senses and in pre-Buddhist animist concepts and a desire to establish genuine Japanese artistic values. In connection with the flourishing of the esoteric Tendai and Shingon sects, which identified Buddha with nature itself, monasteries were built in the capital, as well as in the surrounding mountains. Of special note are the temples of Enryakuji (782), Kongobuji (816), and Muroji (late eighth-early ninth centuries). Modestly scaled and integrated with the natural setting, the temples lacked a regular plan. Altar compositions became more complex and diverse in theme. Attempting to evoke the plenitude and infinite diversity of the forces of the universe, masters depicted deities with numerous heads and arms as the protectors of the countries of light and as healers of ailments. Painted in bright colors, these wooden statues lost their former majestic beauty and took on a fearsome, demonic aspect. Mándalas, symbolic schemes of the universe, became typical of Buddhist painting.

As a result of the growth of urban civilization in the tenth to 12th centuries, secular architecture developed significantly. The new type of living ensemble acquired features of the shinden zukuri style, which continued native traditions and also introduced continental Asian elements. A spacious one-hall pavilion (shinden) made of unfinished wood and raised on columns was bordered on two sides by galleries (tainoya) connecting the main building to the other parts of the ensemble. The facade of the shinden opened onto a sandy area that in its southern part ended in a spacious landscaped garden with an artificial lake, islands, bridges, and rocks. Of special note is the imperial court in Kyoto, rebuilt in 1789 in the style of the ninth century. Ornament and murals became increasingly important, along with sculpture, in interior decor.

The paintings of the yamato-e school, including horizontal emakimono scrolls illustrating literary works, achieved an especially high level of development in the Heian period. The illustrations, including those for the novel Genji Monogatari, were outstanding for their elegant figures and refined, distinct silhouettes, which served less to illustrate the story than to reveal the spiritual state of the heroes. In the 12th century, illustrations for Buddhist tales and historical legends, for example, the picture scrolls (emaki) of Shigisan Engi and Ban Dainagon were made in a different manner. They vividly depict throngs of fleeing people, fires, marvelous transformations, and animals imitating people in all their vices. Here the silhouette rather than the line predominates. Works of decorative art, such as lacquered objects (maki-e) sprinkled with gold powder, as well as fans and other items, are distinguished for their refined beauty.

Power was transferred to the feudal military class in the 12th to 14th centuries. During these years, which are referred to as the Kamakura period, after the capital of the Minamoto shoguns, Japanese art was practiced and appreciated by broader social strata. Artists strove for simplicity and blended religious and secular motifs. Monasteries of the Zen sect were typically patterned after Chinese models; majestic roofs dominated the monastery buildings, which consisted of columns, beams, and light partitions, for example, the main building of the Enryakuji monastery in Kamakura (1285). The style of residential architecture became quite simple and rational.

The sculptures of the Kamakura period were lifelike and monumental. The art of the sculpted portrait, best represented by the works of Kokei and Unkei, developed rapidly. Sculptors glorified legendary Buddhist teachers, notably Muchaku, Seshin, and Kuiya, as well as Shinto saints, such as Hachiman, and military leaders.

Portraits of soldiers and monks were painted in the 12th to 14th centuries. The tendency toward detailed narration increased in the illustrated emakimono scrolls. The ornamentation of swords and daggers, especially the guard (tsuba), as well as saddles and harnesses, reached a high artistic level in the applied and decorative arts.

In the late 14th to 16th centuries, the art of garden and park landscaping flourished under the influence of Zen teachings, for example, the gardens of the suburban villas of the Ashikaga shoguns in Kyoto, which were converted into the Kinkakuji and Ginkakuji temples (14th-late 15th centuries).

The shinden zukuri architectural style was succeeded by the shoin style. Houses no longer had the customary long galleries, and they had a greater number of rooms, which were separated by sliding partitions. Customary elements in the interior included the niche (tokonoma) for painted scrolls and a chest (tana) for sacred books. Floors were covered with mats (tatami), which became the standard unit for measuring the floorspace of a building. The movable walls brought the interior still closer to the garden. Gardens were made in the most varied styles. Dry landscapes consisting of pebbles, sand, and stones also appeared.

The 14th to 16th centuries were an era of decline in sculpture and of intensive development for painting in ink (suiboku-ga). The painting of monochrome landscapes on scrolls flourished, notably the works of Josetsu, Shubun, and Sesshu; the genre evolved under the influence of Chinese painting. In the late 15th century the traditions of the yamato-e school were developed by painters of the Kano school, including Kano Masanobu, Kano Motonobu, Kano Eitoku, and Kano Sanraku, in their bright, decorative compositions depicting birds and flowering trees. Yamato-e traditions were also developed by Tosa Mitsunobu and other painters of the Tosa school, who turned to themes of literary works taken from the life of the nobility and Buddhist religious leaders. Superb works of art inspired by the beauty of natural forms were produced in the ceramics workshops of Seto, Tamba, Shigaraki, Iga, and Bizen.

In the late 16th and early 17th centuries, Japanese architecture lost its unity of style. Influenced by Portuguese architecture, several majestic castles with lower cyclopean masonry and traditional wooden upper stories were built for defense. Of special note are the castles of Azuchi (1576), Osaka (1583), and Himeji (1601–09). The spacious, gloomy interiors of these structures and of palaces were decorated with wood carvings and colored murals richly ornamented with gold, for example, the Nijo Palace and the Fushimi Palace (now the Nishi Honganji monastery), both of which date from the early 17th century. A love for splendor also was expressed in ceremonial mausoleums, with their rich carvings, gilding, and murals, notably those of the Tokugawa shoguns in Nikko (early 17th century).

Beginning in the 15th century a new style of architecture evolved as a result of the spread of the tea ceremony. Extremely simple tea pavilions resembled a cross between a temple and a cottage. In their garden settings, the pavilions affirmed the beauty and value of everyday things and of nature. The relationship of the house to the garden became especially close. The “patina of things” and the perception of their ancientness was elevated to an aesthetic principle. The aesthetics of the teahouse with its lightness, organic link with the natural world, and open design exerted a significant influence on the style of all subsequent residential architecture in Japan. It found its highest embodiment in the ensemble of the Katsura imperial villa near Kyoto (1625).

The tea ceremony also stimulated the further development of ceramics. The production of porcelain flourished, especially in Kutani and Arita.

A new trend in art reflected life in the new capital of Edo (Tokyo). The paintings and lacquered objects of Ogata Korin and woodblock prints by masters of democratic sympathies (artists of the ukiyo-e school and Hishikawa Moronobu, and Masanobu Okumura) portrayed the toil and daily life of city dwellers. The early technique of hand-tinted monochrome prints was succeeded by more complex procedures, for example, polychrome prints from several plates. The printmakers’ perception of the world also grew more complex. Tender lyricism typified the female portraits of Suzuki Harunobu, Kitagawa Utamaro, and Katsukawa Shunsho, while psychological intensity was characteristic of the portraits of actors by Sharaku Toshusai (sometimes referred to as Saito Jurobei) and Toyokuni Utagawa. A new style of Japanese print was introduced by Katsushika Hokusai and Ando Hiroshige, both of whom mainly depicted genre scenes and idealized, epic landscapes.

The painting of the 18th and early 19th centuries revealed signs of decline, particularly in the attempt to combine European and Japanese styles, for example, by artists of the maruyama and ship school. Landscape painting was revived by artists of the nanga (bunjinga) school, including Ike-no-Taiga and Yosa Buson, who were known for their delicate, ethereal scenes.

After Japan entered onto the path of capitalist development in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, urban architecture was characterized by an eclectic mélange of Japanese and old European styles. In the early 1920’s the principles of European rationalism also won popularity, for example, in the designs of Yamada Mamoru.

Two trends became evident in painting at the turn of the 20th century: the traditional nihonga and the European yoga. Several masters of the traditional style, such as Tomioka Tessai and Yokoyama Taikan, continued to develop the principles of medieval decorative landscape painting. Yasui Sotaro, Umehara Ryuza-buro, Kuroda Seiki, and other oil painters trained abroad were influenced by impressionism, postimpressionism, and fauvism. Cubism, surrealism, and other modernist trends had an increasing influence in the 1920’s and 1930’s.

The Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia helped give rise to a new trend in Japanese art, polemic in theme and realistic in form. The League of Proletarian Artists and Writers was formed in 1925, and the Japanese Union of Proletarian Artists and Writers was founded in 1929. The painters Yabe Tomoe, Otsuki Genji, and Okamoto Toki and the graphic artists Yanase Masamu and Suzuki Kenji glorified the proletariat in works of great spiritual force. In the 1930’s all progressive art organizations were banned. Elements of chauvinism and the blind imitation of medieval traditions became common.

Architecture and the graphic and decorative arts developed intensively after Japan’s defeat in World War II and the fall of the militarist regime. Interest in traditional Japanese architecture was reborn. Light frame structures architecturally integrated with the surrounding environment were built in the latest materials and using the most modern construction techniques. Of special note are the designs of Maekawa Kunio and Tange Kenzo. The problem of synthesizing architecture, sculpture, and painting has received ever greater attention since the late 1950’s. The sculptural and decorative potential of concrete and wood is being used more fully, and mosaics and murals are common. However, despite the high technical and aesthetic level of current construction, modern Japan lacks a unified city-building program. The shortage of land, the country’s vulnerability to earthquakes, and the large-scale construction of one-story private homes complicate the rebuilding of cities.

Many diverse trends and schools have appeared in modern Japanese painting. Some artists belong to genuine democratic trends, while others, such as Shori Aran, have turned to the archaic. Artists who follow avant-garde Western European and American trends include Furozawa Iwami, Togo Seiji, and Okamoto Taro. A number of masters, such as Maeda Seison and Higashiyama Kai-i, skillfully combine traditional decorativeness and poetic expression with a modern world view. Civic enthusiasm and mastery of realist technique characterize the monumental murals of Akamatsu Toshiko and Maruki Iri and the works of Genjiro Mita and Sakurai Makoto.

Sculpture is the branch of modern Japanese art least bound to tradition. Most modern sculptors, who were educated in Europe, follow various foreign trends, for example, Ueki Shigeru and Tomonori Toyofuku. The upsurge of the postwar democratic movement is depicted in works by Kitamura Seibo and Kazuo Kikuchi.

The graphic arts are the most democratic and widespread branch of modern Japanese art. Since their complete break with tradition in the 1920’s, artists now strive to use native Japanese elements to express a modern world view. In contrast to past eras, modern artists design, engrave, and print their own works. The works of Ono Tadashige, Ueno Makoto, Sekino Junichiro, Jiro Takidaira and Nii Hiroharu share an interest in the fate of the common man and in the forces of nature in Japan. Maekawa Sempan, Haratsuka Unichi, Onchi Koshiro, and Munakata Shiko, who work in different styles, are attempting to integrate European and Japanese traditions.


Vseobshchaia istoriia iskusstv, vols. 1, 2 (book 2), 6 (book 1). Moscow, 1956–65.
Vseobshchaia istoriia arkhitektury, vols. 1, 9, 11. Moscow, 1970–73.
Iaponskaia graviura. Moscow, 1963.
Nikolaeva, N. S. Sovremennoe iskusstvo Iaponii: Kratkii ocherk. Moscow, 1968.
Nikolaeva, N. S. Dekorativnoe iskusstvo Iaponii. Moscow, 1972.
Fedorenko, N. T. Kraski vremeni: Cherty iaponskogo iskusstva. Moscow, 1972.
Kolomiets, A. S. Sovremennaia graviura Iaponii i ee mastera. Moscow, 1974.
Kultermann, U. Neues Bauen in Japan. Berlin, 1960.
Paine, R. T., and A. Soper. The Art and Architecture of Japan, 2nd ed. Edinburgh-London, 1974.
Newman, A. R., and E. Ryerson. Japanese Art. London, 1966.


Japanese music is an ancient and highly distinctive art. In the process of its development it was influenced by Korean and, especially, Chinese music and later by the music of India and Southeast Asian countries. Since the 19th century the influence of European countries and the United States has been significant. In the first centuries of the Common Era, music was a part of religious rites, for example, the kagura, which reflected Shinto mythology. Secular vocal and instrumental music in the seventh century was connected with the gigaku dance drama, in which music accompanied the distinctive movements of masked actors, and with the dengaku and sarugaku theatrical genres, which served as the basis for the no court theater.

In the seventh to ninth centuries, gigaku (refined music of the court) evolved under the influence of Chinese court music. Purely Japanese traditions developed after the codification of varied musical forms and performance styles in the ninth to 12th centuries. These traditions became the foundation of Japanese classical music. The two styles of gigaku, named according to the time of their appearance, are kogaku (old music) and shingaku (new music). The two main genres of gigaku are kangen (purely instrumental music) and bugaku (music for accompanying dances). The national traits of Japanese music were manifested in distinctive modal structure. Some modes were based on a pentatonic scale and lacked semitones; similar modes are preserved in folk music. Five-degree scales with alternating semitone, whole-tone, and two-tone intervals also gained currency, for example, the miyakobushi mode in urban music and the inakobushi mode in rural music.

The no lyric drama, which evolved in the 14th century, combined declamation with a distinctive singing style derived from Buddhist temple music. It also incorporated dance and was accompanied by the nohkan flute and percussion instruments. A complex notation system was used to write no music, and specific melodic formulas and a specific rhythmic pattern were marked.

Japanese string (plucked) instruments include the koto (a 13-string zither), the nigenkin (a two-string variety of the koto), the samisen (a kind of lute), and the biwa (a four-string lute borrowed from China). Wind instruments include various bamboo flutes, such as the kagurabue and yokobue, the ryuteki (fue), and the komabue and shakuhachi, as well as the hichiriki (a type of oboe) and the sho (a harmonica). The most common traditional percussion instruments are the taiko, kakko, shimetaiko (tsuritaiko), donagataiko, sannotsuzumi, kosuzumi, and otsuzumi (different types of drums), the shoko (a bronze gong), gane (small cymbals), and the suzu (a temple clapper with little bells). Works for koto, called sokyoku, became quite common. The outstanding performer of these works was Kengyo Yasuji (mid-17th century). Other major performers who also created musical schools included Ikuta Kengyo (17th century), Yamada Kosaku (late 18th-early 19th centuries), and Yaezaki Kengyo (19th century), a composer of sankyoki trios for koto, samisen, and shakuhachi. Traditional and classical Japanese music retains many instruments of Chinese origin.

From the 17th to the early 19th centuries, Japanese music became more democratic. In response to the gigaku and no genres of the court, the popular Kabuki theater and joruri puppet theater developed in the late 16th century. Kabuki music is based on the nagauta (long epic song), in which the singer’s couplets alternate with instrumental passages. In the second half of the 19th century, after the unsuccessful bourgeois uprising of 1867–68, European and American influences began penetrating into Japanese music. In 1879 the Japanese teacher Izawa Shuji and the American music teacher L. W. Mason introduced a system of universal instruction for choral singing in elementary schools. Izawa also founded in Tokyo the Institute of Music Studies (from 1886, the Tokyo Music School). In the late 19th century the first foreign guest artists toured in Japan, and Russian performers arrived somewhat later. The first concert of European music took place in 1881, and the first performance of a Japanese symphony orchestra was given in 1897. Interest in European music grew, and several Japanese composers studied in Europe, among them Yamada Kosaku and Nobutoki Kiyoshi and later Kiyose Yasuji and Matsudaira Yoritsune. These composers founded a federation (since 1930, the Japan Association for Modern Music). Although they used elements of Japanese music, they were influenced chiefly by German and French music.

Elements of the folk and classical music of Japan were widely used in the late 1940’s and 1950’s, notably by Mamiya Michio and Akutagawa Yasushi. Work in music education is conducted by the Workers” Society of Music Lovers (organized 1949), which has affiliates in many cities. Composition techniques have been borrowed from the European and American schools by another group, which includes Irino Yoshiro, Bekku Sadao, Miyoshi Aki-ra, Dan Ikuma, and Ishii Kan.

In the late 1940’s the influences of the avant-garde penetrated into Japan, and various styles of experimental music were cultivated, for example, by the Experimental Studio (founded 1949). Composers who came to the forefront in the late 1950’s and 1960’s include Takemitsu Toru, Fukushima Kazuo, and Mayuzumi Toshiro, who is known for his Nirvana Symphony (1958). The city of Karuizawa has become a center of experimental music. A group there known as the Ongaku Gakku, including Mayuzumi Toshiro, Moroi Makoto, Takahashi Yuji, and other avant-garde musicians, has developed the ideas of J. Cage, K. Stockhausen, and P. Boulez. Numerous amateur choral groups devoted to the antiwar movement were organized in the early 1950’s. One of the first such groups was the Central Choir Group (also known as Voices of Japan; founded 1952, directed by Seki Akiko), which toured the USSR in 1964. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, Noda Chiruyaki, Hachimura Yoshio, and Ikebe Shinichiro have continued to experiment in electronic music and sonics.

Outstanding Japanese conductors include Abe Komei, Ueda Masashi, Watanabe Akeo, Iwaki Hiroyuki, Moro Takashi, and Tayama Yuji. Distinguished musicians include the pianist Ta-naka Kiyoko and the violinist Kubo Yoko. The music scholar So-nobe Saburo is well known.

Tokyo is the center of Japan’s musical life. The Asakushi Opera Company performed there in 1920. Japan has 15 symphony orchestras (of which six are in Tokyo and two in Osaka), as well as chamber ensembles, choirs, and groups devoted to traditional classical music, for example, the Nipponia and Shigenkan ensembles. The main educational institutions are the Institute of the Arts and Toho-Gakuen School of Music. The country has several music publishing houses and recording companies. Music festivals are held in Tokyo, Osaka, and Karuizawa.

Different types of variety-stage music have enjoyed popularity in Japan. Jazz and pop music, which were introduced later, have also gained a considerable following.


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Harich-Schneider, E. A History of Japanese Music. London, 1973.


Dance in Japan is represented by the traditional classical dance (buyo) and European ballet. Buyo is based on the choreography of the no theater, which developed in the late 14th and early 15th centuries; it also incorporated elements of the religious and folk dances of previous generations. A freer dance style, which became an integral component of the Kabuki theater, took shape in the 17th century. Buyo was later widely performed independently of no and Kabuki. Japan has several buyo schools, directed by Hanayagi Juraku, Hanayagi Tokubei, Fujima Kanemon VI, Nakamura Utaemon, and Nakamura Tomijuro IV.

Buyo dances are accompanied by music with texts. In Japanese classical dance the movements of the body are not fixed. Attention is focused mainly on the harmoniously blending colors of the costumes and theatrical properties. The dance owes its subtlety to the waving of the sleeves and hem of the kimono and the fluttering of fans, drums, scarves, and flowering branches.

Interest in classical European ballet was stimulated in Japan in the early 20th century, especially as a result of guest performances by A. P. Pavlova in 1922. The first Japanese ballet dancers, Komaki Masahide, Matsuyama Mikiko, Kaitani Yaoko, and Tani Momoko, were trained abroad. They subsequently organized and headed companies, whose repertoires included Russian and Western European classics. Original ballets on Japanese themes were also created. The Japan Ballet Association, which stages ballet productions, was founded in 1958. The Tokyo Ballet regularly performs in various cities in Japan and foreign countries, including the USSR (1966, 1970). The company was created in 1964, using dancers from the Tchaikovsky Ballet School in Tokyo, which is directed by Soviet choreographers.


Cunji Masakatsu. Buyo: The Classical Dance. New York–Tokyo–Kyoto, 1970.


The Japanese theater traces its origins to ancient agricultural rites. In the seventh and eighth centuries, theatrical forms prevalent in East Asian countries penetrated Japan along with Buddhism. The gigaku and bugaku performances of music and dance led to the formation of the classical Japanese theater. The no theater, incorporating music, dance, and drama, had taken shape by the late 14th and early 15th centuries from various foreign and indigenous theatrical forms. The main characters of no dramas wear masks. The outstanding theoreticians, actors, and playwrights Kanami Kiyotsugu (1333–84) and Zeami Motokiyo (1363–1443) developed the aesthetic foundation of no art as the refined theater of warriors and aristocrats. The genre has been preserved through the 20th century in strict canonical form.

Other theatrical genres, reflecting the needs of the commoners, developed in the 17th century as a result of the growth of cities. These were the joruri (puppet theater) and the Kabuki theater, which became the leading traditional genres of the Japanese theater. The main features of joruri are vocal and instrumental accompaniment, the presence of the gidayu (a singing narrator), and the use of dolls as actors. The repertoire consists of classical plays by Japanese playwrights, written specifically in the joruri form. The leading playwright, who also wrote for the Kabuki, was Chikamatsu Monzaemon (1653–1724).

The Kabuki theater, in which live actors perform, combines elements of music, dance, and drama. It developed parallel with the joruri theater, and the two influenced one another. By the late 18th century the Kabuki theater had taken its final shape. Kabuki performances are intended for general audiences and are distinguished by dazzling spectacle. Female roles are traditionally performed by male actors (onnagata).

In the last third of the 19th century Japan started on the path of capitalist development, and resulting social and political changes had an appreciable influence on the theater. In the early 20th century new genres were created as a result of the revitalization of traditional theater, for example, shimpa and shinkokugeki. Other genres evolved from the borrowing of European forms, for example, contemporary drama (shingeki), opera, and ballet.

The theatrical art of modern Japan is readily divided into the traditional—bugaku, no, Kabuki, and joruri—and the European—drama, opera, and ballet. Shimpa (Japanese bourgeois melodrama) and shinkokugeki (popular drama based on swordfight scenes) serve as a distinctive dividing line between Eastern and Western trends. All of these various genres have their own aesthetic principles, repertoire, history, and leading figures. The traditional theaters have their own repertoire, which consists of Japanese classics and contemporary Japanese plays, which are chiefly historical, heroic, and romantic in theme. There are no stage directors in traditional Japanese theater.

The most outstanding actors of the 1970’s include Kita Minoru and Kuro Hosho Motomasa in the no theater. Notable Kabuki performers include Nakamura Kanzaburo, Nakamura Utaemon, Matsumoto Koshiro, and Onoe Baiko, as well as the young generation of actors—Ichikawa Ennosuke, Onoe Kikugoro, Nakamura Kichiemon, and Bando Tsumasaburo. Also of note are Mi-zutani Yaeko in shimpa and Shimada Shogo and Tatsumi Ryutaro in shinkokugeki.

The New National Theater, the only theater of its kind in Japan, was founded in Tokyo in 1966. It promotes the preservation and development of traditional genres. The first Japanese theatrical school for training actors for Kabuki and joruri was established at the theater; formerly, theatrical training was kept within families of actors.

The repertoire of the shingeki theaters consists of translations of European and American classical and contemporary plays, as well as modern Japanese works. Russian and Soviet plays occupy a prominent place in the repertoire. Approximately 100 shingeki companies perform in Japan, the largest being the Haiyuza, Mingei, and Bungakuza companies. The leading figures are the stage directors Senda Koreya and Uno Jukichi and the actors and actresses Takizawa Osamu, Ozawa Eitaro, Yamada Isuzu, Sugimura Haruko, Higashiyama Chieko, and Yamamoto Yasue. A studio was established in 1949 at the Haiyuza Theater for training shingeki actors.

Periodicals devoted to the theater include the theatrical annual Engeki nenkan (since 1966) and the ballet annual Bare nenkan (since 1972). The main theater journals are Teatoro, a theoretical journal of shingeki (since 1946), and Engekikai (since 1943), an illustrated journal that provides criticism of the traditional theater.


Iaponskii teatr. Collection of articles edited by N. I. Konrad. Moscow, 1928.
Konrad, N. I. Teatr Kabuki. Moscow-Leningrad, 1928.
Teatr i dramaturgiia Iaponii. Collection of articles edited by N. I. Konrad. Moscow, 1965.
Ozaki, K. Novyi iaponskii teatr. Moscow, 1960. (Translated from Japanese.)
Gunji, M. laponskii teatr Kabuki. Moscow, 1969. (Translated from Japanese.)
Sato, K. Sovremennyi dramaticheskii teatr Iaponii. Moscow, 1973.
Grisheleva, L. D. Teatr sovremennoi Iaponii. Moscow, 1977.


The first dramatic films in Japan were made in 1899. Japanese cinematography was characterized by two trends: gendai-geki (films on modern subjects), centered in Tokyo, and jidai-geki (films on historical and legendary subjects), centered in Kyoto.

As in the Japanese theater, female roles were performed by male actors (onnagata), and the action was commented on by narrators (benshi). Toward the end of the second decade of the 20th century, film-makers explored means of expression better suited to cinema. In 1923, Kyoto became the center of cinematography, a development that gave impetus to the jidai-geki trend. Notable films included Ito Daisuke’s>l Diary of Chuji’s Travels (1927) and Ooka’s Trial (1928) and Kinugasa Teinosuke’s Child Swordsman (1927). Films of the gendai-geki trend were made by Gosho Heinosuke, Ushihara Kiyohiko, and Mizoguchi Kenji.

The Union of Japanese Proletarian Cinema (Prokino), founded in 1929, released a number of films on the working-class movement. Several films of the late 1920’s criticized Japan’s social structure, for example Ito’s Servant (1927), Uchida Tomu’s A Living Doll (1929), and Kinugasa’s Before Dawn (1931). As a result of the growth of fascism in Japan, Prokino ceased to exist in 1934.

The first Japanese motion picture with sound was Gosho’s The Neighbor’s Wife and Mine (1931). The Osaka Elegy and Sisters of the Gion, both made by Mizoguchi in 1936, were pinnacles of realism in prewar Japanese cinema. Other significant films of the 1930’s included Itami Mansaku’s Peerless Patriot (1932), Yataro’s Sedge Hat by Inagaki (1932), Ozu Yasujiro’s The Only Son (1936), and Yamanaka Sadao’s Humanity and Paper Balloons (1937). Unique stylistic qualities became evident in Japanese cinema during these years in, for example, the duration of the long shots, the films’ slow-moving plots, and the composition of the frames, which were influenced by traditional Japanese painting.

The Motion Picture Law, which was adopted in 1939, subordinated the cinema to the needs of militarism. Nevertheless, several significant films appeared, for example, Uchida’s Earth (1939), Yamamoto Kajiro and Kurosawa Akira’s Horse (1941), and Inagaki’s The Rickshaw Man (1943). In the early postwar years, documentary films were the most highly developed genre.

In 1948, several progressive cinematographers were fired from the Toho Company’s studio after a six-month strike and went on to found independent motion-picture studios that released the best socially-oriented films of the 1950’s. These included Yama-moto Satsuo’s Vacuum Zone (1952) and The Sunless Street (1954), Imai Tadashi’s And Yet We Live (1951) and Darkness at Noon (1956), Shindo Kaneto’s Children of Hiroshima (1952) and The Island (1960), and the films of Kamei Fumio and Yoshimura Kazaburo.

By this time, Japan had become the world leader in number of films produced. The first Japanese films to become popular in foreign countries included Mizoguchi’s Tales of a Rainy Moon (1953) and Sansho the Bailiff (1954); Kurosawa Akira’s Rashomon (1950), The Idiot (1951, after Dostoevsky), Seven Samurai (1954), The Throne of Blood (1957, after Shakespeare), and Red Beard (1964); Ichikawa Kon’s Burmese Harp (1956), Tokyo Olympiad (1965), and The Wanderers (1973); and Kobayashi Ma-saki’s Rebellion (1967) and Fossils (1975).

The fate of the postwar generation has interested young directors since the 1960’s. Films of special note include Oshima Nagi-sa’s Cruel Story of Youth (I960) and The Ceremony (1971), Hani Susumi’s Bride of the Andes (1966), Teshigahara Hiroshi’s Woman in the Dunes (1964) and Man Without a Map (1968), Ura-yama Kirio’s Spoiled Brat (1963) and The Woman I Jilted (1969), Kumai Kei’s This Teeming Earth (1970), and Yamada Yoji’s When Spring Comes Late (1970) and The Village (1975).

The Japanese cinema enjoyed an upsurge in the 1960’s as a result of the movement of independent film-makers. Notable examples are Yamamoto Satsuo’s Slave Factory (1968), Morikawa Tokihisa’s Young People (1968), and Imai’s River Without a Bridge (1970).

In the 1970’s, Japanese cinema suffered a crisis as a result of competition from television and the country’s altered economic situation. Sex films, gangster movies (yakuza-eiga), and films depicting disasters (paniku-eiga) became common. The artistic level of films fell sharply.

In 1975, a total of 396 feature films were released, as opposed to 547 in 1960. Films are made by the leading firms Nikkatsu, Shochiku, Toho, and Toei, as well as by several small studios. Magazines and journals devoted to motion pictures include Kinema Jumpo and Shinario.


Iwasaki Akira. Istoriia iaponskogo kino. (Translated from Japanese.) Moscow, 1965.
Gens, I. Mech i Khirosima: Tema voiny v iaponskom kinoiskusstve. Moscow, 1972.



A glossy, black baking paint or varnish that consists primarily of a hard asphalt base.


A short-oil varnish, usually dark in color, which produces a hard glossy surface.


Official name: Japan

Capital city: Tokyo

 Internet country code: .jp

 Flag description: White with a large red disk (representing the sun without rays) in the center

National anthem: “Kimigayo,” lyrics from traditional poem of unknown authorship, music by Hayashi Hiro­mori

Geographical description: Eastern Asia, island chain between the North Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan, east of the Korean Peninsula

Total area: 145,902 sq. mi. (377,864 sq. km.)

Climate: Varies from tropical in south to cool temperate in north

Nationality: noun: Japanese (singular and plural); adjective: Japanese

Population: 127,433,494 (July 2007 CIA est.)

Ethnic groups: Japanese 98.5%, Koreans 0.5%, Chinese 0.4%, other 0.7%

Languages spoken: Japanese

Religions: observe both Shinto and Buddhist 84%, other 16% (including Christian 0.7%)

Legal Holidays:

Children's DayMay 5
Constitution Memorial DayMay 3
Culture DayNov 3
Emperor's BirthdayDec 23
Foundation DayFeb 11
Greenery DayMay 4
Labor-Thanksgiving DayNov 23
New Year's DayJan 1
New Year's EveDec 31
Respect-for-the-Aged DaySep 15
Showa DayApr 29


1. a glossy durable black lacquer originally from the Orient, used on wood, metal, etc.
2. work decorated and varnished in the Japanese manner
3. a liquid used as a paint drier


an archipelago and empire in E Asia, extending for 3200 km (2000 miles) between the Sea of Japan and the Pacific and consisting of the main islands of Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu and over 3000 smaller islands: feudalism abolished in 1871, followed by industrialization and expansion of territories, esp during World Wars I and II, when most of SE Asia came under Japanese control; dogma of the emperor's divinity abolished in 1946 under a new democratic constitution; rapid economic growth has made Japan the most industrialized nation in the Far East. Official language: Japanese. Religion: Shintoist majority, large Buddhist minority. Currency: yen. Capital: Tokyo. Pop.: 127 799 000 (2004 est.). Area: 369 660 sq. km (142 726 sq. miles)
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