45+ Interesting Facts About Japan

  1. Japan is an island country in East Asia on the North Pacific Ocean. It shares maritime borders with Russia, China, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines.
  2. There are nearly 7,000 islands in Japan, and only 421 are inhabited. The four major islands are Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu. Japanese capital Tokyo is present on Honshu, the largest island.
  3. More than 80% of the landscape in Japan is mountainous. The majority of the population lives in low-lying coastal areas. Japan lies on the western edge of the Ring of Fire.
  4. The Greater Tokyo Area is the world’s most populous metropolitan area, with a population of 36.5 million. Nearly 30% of Japan’s population resides in this region. (Source)
  5. Yumiuri  Shimbun, a Japanese Newspaper founded in 1874, has the world’s highest circulation. In 2010, it had a total circulation of over 13.5 million copies. It is the only newspaper with a morning circulation of more than 10 million copies. (Source)
  6. Japan is one of the countries facing the highest risk from climate change. Climate change has increased the amount and severity of rainfall, heat waves, and cyclones in Japan. (Source)
  7. Japan is the world’s smartest country based on IQ level, school test ranking, and the number of Nobel Prizes. This East Asian country is in the 5th spot for school test rankings and 6th for Nobel Prizes and IQ rankings. (Source)
  8. More than 3,100 Japanese companies have been operating for more than 200 years, the highest in the world. The five oldest continuously operating companies also belong to Japan. These include Kongo Gumi (a construction company founded in 578 AD), followed by three hotels of the 8th Century, and Genda Shigyo (a ceremonial paper goods company opened in 771). The oldest operating company outside Japan is a restaurant in Austria, established in 803. (Source)
  9. Japan has a strong financial position due to the size of its reserve currency and the popularity of the Japanese Yen. It has $1.41 trillion worth of foreign reserve currency, the second highest after China. Japanese Yen has the 3rd highest value as a reserve currency after the US dollar and Euro. (Source)
    A 2000 Yen banknote
    Japanese Yen is the world's 3rd most valuable reserve currency

  10. A Japanese TV show is the longest TV talk show hosted by the same presenter. Shizuya Kawamura presented 2,231 episodes of “Shinkon san irasshai!” (Welcome Newlyweds!) from January 31, 1971, to June 7, 2015. (Source)
  11. Humans initially arrived in Japan around 30,000 years ago. The Japanese culture developed during the 10th Century after the emergence of native written characters.
  12. Samurai, members of the Japanese warrior class, emerged during the 12th Century and played a vital role in controlling government in Japan until the 19th Century. Their power diminished after Meiji Restoration in 1868, which reestablished imperial rule in Japan.
  13. Japan adopted western modernization and industrialization during the Meiji era (1868 to 1912). During this period, Japan expanded its realm to nearby areas after victories in the First Sino-Japanese War (1895-95) and the Russo-Japanese War (1904-05).
  14. Japan invaded China in 1937, and the Second Sino-Japanese War continued during World War 2. Japan allied with the Axis in WW2 and became the first country to suffer two nuclear bombings by the USA in 1945. The country remained under the occupation of Allied powers from 1945 to 1952.
  15. Japan has the highest life expectancy among sovereign countries. The average lifespan of Japanese people is 85 years. (Source)
  16. Japan has the 3rd longest coastline in Asia after Indonesia and the Philippines. Additionally, it has the 2nd largest EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) in Asia, only behind Indonesia.
  17. Lake Biwa is the largest freshwater lake in Japan. It is also the 6th oldest lake, dating back 4 million years.
  18. Japan is the only Asian country in the G7 (Group of Seven), a forum of the wealthiest countries with a combined GDP of nearly half of the global economy.
  19. The nuclear accident in Fukushima after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami is one of the two accidents with the highest score (7) on the INES (International Nuclear Event Scale). It is comparable to the 1986 Chernobyl (then USSR and now in Ukraine) disaster. (Source)
  20. Japan has the second-highest number of active volcanoes after Indonesia. In this island country, 44 volcanoes have been erupting since 1950. (Source)
  21. The 2011 Tohuku earthquake and tsunami of magnitude 9.0 was the most powerful earthquake in Japan and the 5th largest ever recorded. The deadliest earthquake in Japan was the 7.9-magnitude Great Kanto earthquake of 1923, which took the lives of around 142,800 people. Japan has suffered several times from earthquakes of magnitude 8.0 and above from the 18th to 21st centuries. (Source)
  22. There are 25 UNESCO world heritage sites in Japan. These include 20 cultural and five natural sites. (Source)
  23. Japanese Imperial Army forced around 200,000 women from China, Korea, and other parts of Southeast Asia to work as “comfort women” between 1932 and 1945. The “comfort stations” of these women ended in 1946. By this time, nearly 90% of these women had died. Japan acknowledged these atrocities in 1993 and announced to assist the remaining Korean “comfort women” in 2015.
  24. Japan has territorial disputes with almost all of its neighbors. These disputes are on Senkaku Islands (China and Taiwan), the Liancourt Rocks and Tsushima Island (South Korea), and the Kuril Islands (Russia).
  25. Japan is the 2nd safest country in Asia after Singapore. It has one of the lowest rates of murder, robbery, and other heinous crimes due to strict punishments. (Source)
  26. Japan has the world’s highest national debt related to the percentage of its GDP (259.43%) and the overall second-highest debt after the USA. The reason behind this enormous national debt is the policies it adopted to reverse the economic stagnation of the 1990s. (Source)
  27. There is a Rabbit Island in Japan, inhabited by hundreds of rabbits. Japanese Imperial Army brought rabbits in 1929 to check the effectiveness of their newly manufactured chemical weapons. Most of these rabbits died due to these experiments. However, a small number of them were released after the Second World War, and they multiplied many folds due to the absence of predators. (Source
    Rabbit Island in Japan
    Rabbit Island in Japan is a safe place for hundreds of rabbits

  28. Japan is the only Asian country and one of the three in the world (alongside Norway and Iceland) that hunts whales commercially. In 2019, Japan withdrew from IWC (International Whaling Commission), which restricts commercial whaling. However, it killed more than 300 whales in 2016, even as a member of the IWC. (Source)
  29. Japan is behind several inventions that changed the world. A few notable of these include car navigation, QR code, bullet train, and rice cooker. (Source)
  30. Japan has the 5th highest economic competitiveness in the world. The country ranks in 2nd position for this index among sovereign countries of Asia after Singapore. (Source)
  31. Toyota Motor, Honda Motor, and Nissan Motors are top multinational automotive companies in Japan. These are among the ten largest car companies worldwide. (Source)
  32. More than 98% population of Japan belongs to the Japanese people. The minority ethnicities include Chinese, Koreans, and Brazilians. Japanese is the national language of the country.
  33. Japan has the second-highest median age, behind Monaco (55.4 years). The median age in this East Asian country is 48.6 years. (Source)
  34. Shinto, a native polytheistic religion, and Buddhism are the two main religions in Japan. Many Japanese are believers in both Shinto and Buddhism. Christianity is a minority religion.
  35. “The Tale of Genji” is the world’s first novel. It was written by a woman in Japan around 1,000 years ago. (Source)
  36. Japanese manga are famous around the globe, and several of these are among the best-selling comic series. These include One Piece, Dragon Ball, Golgo 13, Doraemon, and others.
  37. Japanese media franchises are famous worldwide. Pokémon ($92 billion) and Hello Kitty ($80 billion), two Japanese merchandises, are the highest-grossing media franchises of all time. Anpanman, Mario, Gundam, and Dragon Ball are other most successful media franchises worldwide. (Source)
  38. Japan is the biggest exporter of large construction vehicles, electrical capacitors, disc chemicals for electronics, and hot-rolled iron. On the other hand, it is also the biggest importer of prepared meat, processed tobacco, fuel wood, and forage crops. (Source)
  39. Under Japanese law, residents aged between 40 and 74 must measure their waistline annually. People with bigger waists have to reduce their weight voluntarily or need to adopt a compulsory diet plan. (Source)
  40. Japan has the highest density of vending machines per capita, with one device for 23 persons. Buyers can purchase different items from these machines, like candy, soup, soft drinks, etc. Japan’s high urban population density, costly labor, and low crime rate have contributed to the boom of vending machines. (Source)
  41. Japanese workers sleep for an average of 6 hours and 22 minutes on work nights, the lowest in the world. Therefore, Japanese companies have allowed their employees to take a nap during work hours to remain fresh. (Source)
  42. The world’s deepest underwater postbox is in Susami Bay, Japan. It was erected on April 23, 1999, at 10 m beneath the water. (Source)
  43. Japanese researchers have invented an ice cream that can remain solid for more than 5 minutes under a hot sun. It happens due to the addition of polyphenol liquid extracted from strawberries. (Source)
  44. A Japanese company manufactures nearly half of all the zippers in the world. YKK (Yoshida Kogyo Kabushikigaisha) produces around 7 billion zippers annually. (Source)
  45. The Aokigahara forest in Japan is known as the “suicide forest,” where many people commit suicide. The suicide rate in Japan is 15.4, above most developed countries. South Korea and Japan are the only two developed nations where suicide rates increased between 1985 and 2010. (Source)
  46. Japanese farmers started growing cube-shaped square watermelons nearly 50 years ago for ornamental purposes. These inedible fruits are harvested while unripe and are far more expensive than regular watermelons. (Source)
  47. A Japanese businessman bought a giant tuna in Tokyo for $3.1 million in 2019. It is the world’s most expensive tuna ever. (Source)

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