Teacher Guide To Japan and Japanese Culture
When some people think of Japan, they see images in their minds of cherry blossom trees and think of a land rich in culture. Both of these things are parts of Japan.
Japan actually includes more than three thousand islands, and it is located on Asia's Pacific coast. Much of the country is covered with forests and mountains, which makes it of no value to farming, residential or industrial use. The land has steep elevations and uneven landslide areas brought about by earthquakes. Since there isn't a lot of land that can be lived on, the population centers are dense in the areas that are friendly to residential use. Japan is among the most densely populated nations on Earth.
Japan is located on what is known as the Ring of Fire in the Pacific ocean. There are three tectonic plates that come together underneath Japan, which causes the country to experience common earthquakes. Some of these quakes can trigger tsunamis. In 1923 there was an earthquake centered near Tokyo that killed over 140,000 people. Building codes now reflect the danger of quakes, and many of the more recently constructed buildings are made to withstand earthquakes. Japan is also home to over one hundred active volcanoes.
Japan is a fairly temperate country overall, as far as the climate is concerned, but the weather from south to north is very different. The most northern zone has cool summers and cold, long winters.
Along the Sea of Japan, the region is cool in the summer and has heavy winter snowfall. There will sometimes be warmer temperatures during the summer months.
In the Central highland area, the climate is typical for an inland area, with a large difference in summer and winter temperatures. This area does not experience a lot of precipitation.
Near the mountains in the Shikoku and Chuguko regions, there is shelter from the winds, which results in milder weather through all seasons.
The areas along the Pacific coast in Japan have cold winters, but with not much snow, and humid, hot summers, since the seasonal winds come from the southeast. The Ryukyu islands are subtropical in their weather, with hot summers and mild winters. They experience heavy rain during their rainy season, and typhoons are not uncommon.
The rainy season in Okinawa begins in May, and dissipates through July as it heads north. In the later summer months and early fall months, heavy rain often accompanies typhoons in the area.
Japan's government and businesses concentrate on the need for power for their residents and the need to help the environment. At first, the government downplayed ecological concerns, but since the 1960's, they have become more involved in preserving nature and harming the land less. Today, Japan leads the world, along with a few other countries, in developing new technologies that are beneficial to the environment.
Japan is a world power today, and they have experienced periods of expansion in the past. In World War I, they were actually on the side of the Allies, but they caused the United States to enter World War II when they bombed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in a sneak attack. The war would end for Japan with the dropping of atomic bombs by the United States on their cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Today, Japanese people enjoy a long life expectancy, and a low infant
mortality rate. They are among the most advanced countries in the field
of technology, and they are among the world leaders in exports.