Japan

to ordain. Having evident reference to the black clothes which follow ordination.—University.
JAPAN.Zipangu.
"Sunrise Kingdom."

An empire composed of islands lying east of Asia. Supposed to have been founded 660 B.C. Area, 148,456 square miles. Pop., 36,700,118. The population is divided into classes, as follows: Imperial family, 39; kwazokii, or nobles, 3,204; shizoku, or knights, 1,931,824; common people, 34,765,051. Tokio, formerly known as Jeddo, or Yedo, is the capital; pop., 823,557.

The government is an absolute monarchy. The title of the sovereign is Supreme Lord, or Emperor (Mikado).

Agriculture is followed to a great extent. The chief annual agricultural products are: rice, 155,629,409 bu.; wheat, 62,049,940 bu.; beans, 10,795,717 bu. The annual value of silk production is $20,500,000. The principal manufactures are silk and cotton goods, japanned ware, porcelain and bronze. The value of the exports, 1883, was $35,609,000; of imports, $28,548,000.

A law went into effect in 1874, by which the government gives nine bushels of rice annually to each person over seventy or under fifteen years of age unable to work, and to foundlings until they reach the age of thirteen. Latest reports place the number of paupers at 10,050, and expenditures at $88,975.

School attendance is compulsory. There are 30,275 schools in the empire, of which 71 are normal, 98 are technical, and 2 are universities; also, a military college and military school, with 1,200 students. Latest reports give 82,213 teachers and 2,703,343 pupils. School age is from 6 to 14. Total number of school age, 5,750,946. Public libraries, 21. Shintoism is the ancient religious faith; but Buddhism is the religion of nearly all the common people.

The first railroad in the empire was opened June, 1875; it extended from Hiogo to Osaka, twenty-five miles. At the end of June, 1884, there were 236 miles of railway in the empire. There are 4,880 miles of telegraph, with 13,144 miles of wire. Postoffices were first established in 1871, and now number about 5,200.

JAPAN , an island empire off the east coast of Asia, separated from Siberia by the Sea of Japan. The name Japan is a corruption of Zipangu, itself a corruption of the Chinese pronunciation of the native name Nihon  or Nippon  (“Land of the Rising Sun”).

Japan comprises four large islands, Honshu (the Japanese mainland), Shikoku, Kiushu, and Yezo or Hakkaido; the Luchu Islands, Formosa, divided from China by the Formosa Channel; and Korea (annexed in 1910 and renamed Chosen). A small group of islands, Bonia, six hundred miles southeast of Tokio, also belongs to Japan.

The Kwantung province, including Port Arthur and Darien, was leased to Japan by Russia (with the consent of China) in 1905, while the southern portion of Sakhalin (ceded to Russia in 1875) became once more Japanese.

The empire includes also nearly four thousand small islands.

The islands comprising the Japanese Empire have been likened to the British Isles in their position relative to the Continent, the Sea of Japan and the Strait of Korea resembling the North Sea and Strait of Dover. In their general extent of surface the comparison also holds good. The three contiguous islands of Japan proper are, however, considerably larger than Great Britain, while the northern possession of Yezo is three thousand square miles larger than Ireland.

The empire with its dependencies comprises an area of 235,886 square miles, with a population of 67,142,798.

Surface Characteristics.—The islands are eminently volcanic, and eighteen of the summits are still active; the chief of these, Fuji-san, or Fuji-yama, the loftiest and most sacred mountain of Japan, about sixty miles from Tokio, has been dormant since 1707. Japan is also liable to frequent, and occasionally disastrous, earthquakes.

The country is very mountainous, and not more than one-sixth of its area is available for cultivation. The numerous ranges extend in directions parallel to the length of the group, giving varied and picturesque landscapes of hill and valley. Their irregular coast-line is indented with splendid natural harbors, such as the Bay of Yedo on the southeast coast; the beautiful “inland sea” of Japan, with its intricate channel between hundreds of islets, separates the island of Shikoku from the larger one of Hondo, and the enclosed Suwonada and Bugo Channel, divide the southwestern island of Kiushu from both of these.

Lakes and Rivers.—From the mountainous character of the long narrow islands the rivers are generally impetuous, and of small economic importance, except for irrigation. Among the most important may be noted the Yodo-gawa, which flows from the fiddle-shaped Lake Biwa, the largest fresh water expanse in Japan, thirty-five miles long, to the “inland sea;” the broad and rapid Ten-riu-gawa, or “River of the Heavenly Dragon,” which flows south from the central mountains of Nippon; and the Tone-gawa, which enters the Pacific, but sends a branch to the Bay of Yedo, which is crossed within the capital by the Nippon Bassi, or bridge of Japan, from which, as a starting point, all distances throughout the kingdom are measured.

Climate.—The islands of Japan have a climate that may be compared with that of South Britain. The extremes, however, are greater, summer being hotter, and winter colder, than in England, increasing to almost Siberian rigor in the north. June, July, and August form the Satkasi, or rainiest period; the autumn succeeding is the pleasantest and most genial season of the year. Hurricanes, storms, and fogs, are frequent in the seas round Japan, where warm and cold ocean currents also bring about great differences of sea temperature.

Products and Industries.—The islands have a very beautiful flora, including many ornamental plants. The great feature of the vegetation is the intermixture of tropical growths, such as the bamboo, palms, tree-ferns, and bananas, with those of temperate regions, the pine, oak, beech, chestnut and maple. Characteristic are the paper mulberry, the vegetable-wax tree, the camphor and lacquer trees. The cultivated crops are rice, maize, wheat, barley, tobacco, tea, and cotton.

Japan is also very rich in minerals. Gold, silver, and copper are especially abundant in the north, and coal and iron beds seem to extend throughout the group. Petroleum is also being produced in large quantities, especially in the Province of Echigo.

People.—With the exception of the wilds of Yezo, peopled by eighteen thousand Ainos, the Japanese islands are inhabited by a single race speaking various dialects of the same tongue. Probably the Japanese are the issue of the intermarriage of victorious Tartar settlers, who entered Japan from the Korean peninsula, with Malays in the south and Ainos in the main island. See Book of Races.

There are two prevailing religions in Japan—Shintoism, the indigenous faith; and Buddhism, introduced from China in 552 and still the dominant religion among the people. Francis Xavier introduced Christianity in 1549, and the Roman Catholic Church and the Greek Church both carry on a flourishing work in Japan. Of the Protestant missions there are also many actively at work.

In education, as well as in matters of religion, enormous changes and advances have been made in recent years. Education is in the lower grades free and compulsory. Secondary schools are state aided, and prepare for a three years' course at the universities, which is largely devoted to the study of European languages. There are high schools for girls, and the technical and special schools are well attended. There are three State Universities, at Tokio, Kyoto, and Tohoku.

Production and Industry.—Agriculture is the chief occupation of the Japanese, and they are excellent and careful farmers. In the mechanical arts also they excel; especially in the use of metals, in the manufacture of porcelain and glass lacquered wares, and silk fabrics. The chief manufactures are silk and cotton, cotton yarn, matches, paper, glass, lacquer ware, porcelain, and bronze, and ship building is an important industry in the yards.

The chief exports are silk, cotton, yarns, rice, tea, fish, copper, matches, coal, camphor, straw plaits, porcelain, earthenware, lacquer-ware, and marine products.

The commercial development of Japan has of late been marvelous. There were five thousand nine hundred and eighty-five miles of railroad open in 1914, in addition to eight hundred and thirty-six miles open in Korea, while the South Manchurian Railway (China) is under Japanese control.

Government and Administration.—The government is an hereditary monarchy, the succession being now exclusively in the male line. The Cabinet consists of ten Ministers of State, presided over by a Minister President.

The Upper House, or House of Peers, consists of about three hundred and thirty members—male members of the royal house, life peers, peers elected either for life or for seven years, and other persons nominated by the emperor. The lower house, or House of Representatives, has three hundred and sixty-nine members, who serve for four years, elected by citizens paying taxes of not less than ten yen (five dollars) per annum. The first general election took place in 1890.

Penal and civil codes have been drafted on a European basis, and with a commercial code were published in 1890, and came into force in 1893.

Cities.—The capital of the Japanese Empire, Tôkiô, formerly called Yedo, is the residence of the emperor; population, 2,186,079. Other cities are: Osaka, 1,226,590; Kiôto, the ancient capital, 442,462; Nagoya, 378,231; Kōbe, 378,197; Yokohama, 394,303; Hiroshima, 142,763; Nagasaki, 176,480; Kanazawa, 110,994; Kure, 100,679. The chief ports are Yokohama, Kōbe, Osaka, Nagasaki, and Hakodate.

History.—Before 500 A. D. Japanese history is mere legend. Buddhism was introduced from Korea in 552; and in the next century Chinese civilization strongly influenced Japan. About the end of the twelfth century, the weakness of the emperor led the military head (Shogun) to assume a large share of the supreme power, and he handed it on to his descendants. Hence the statement often made that Japan had a Mikado or spiritual emperor who reigned but did not govern, and a “Tycoon” (Shogun) who did govern though he paid homage to the nominal sovereign. The military caste was now dominant until the reign of Iyeyasu (c. 1600), whose descendants reigned till 1868.

Total exclusion of foreigners was the rule till 1543, when the Portuguese effected a settlement; but in 1624 all foreigners were expelled and Christianity interdicted. The policy of isolation was rigidly pursued from 1638 till 1853, when Commodore Perry of the United States Navy steamed into a Japanese harbor, and effected a treaty with the Shogun. Soon sixteen other nations followed the American example, and free ports were opened to foreign commerce.

In 1867-1868 a sharp civil war broke the feudal power of the daimios or territorial magnates, suppressed the Shogunate, and unified the authority under the Mikado. In a very few years Japanese students took a place of their own in western science; and how thoroughly the Japanese had laid to heart what they had learned abroad in the military and naval arts was partially revealed by the swift and complete success of the war with China about Korea in 1894, and more impressively by their amazing triumph over the great military empire of Russia, in 1904-1905, whom they defeated in a succession of bloody battles, took Port Arthur, and utterly destroyed the Russian fleet. By the peace that followed the Russians not only evacuated southern Manchuria, but recognized Japan's preponderance in Korea, and gave up to Japan the “leases” of Port Arthur and the Liao-tung peninsula Russia had wrested from China.

A conspiracy against the life of the emperor was discovered in September, 1910. The same year saw the passing of a bill enabling foreigners to own land in Japan proper, under certain restrictions. But the principal event of 1910 in Japanese history was the formal annexation of Korea, the treaty with the emperor of Korea being promulgated on August 29. According to the new commercial treaty with the United States, ratified by the Senate on February 24, 1911, the clause in the old treaty was omitted, wherein each side reserved the right of regulating immigration from one country to the other. In 1910 and 1911 important agreements were also made with Russia with special reference to Manchuria.

Japan entered the European war on August 23, 1914, on the side of the Entente Allies, and immediately began the blockade and siege of the German colony at Kiao-Chow on the Shantung promontory of China. In November, 1915, the present emperor, Yoshihito, was crowned.