In 1603, a Tokugawa shogunate (military dictatorship) ushered in a long period of isolation from foreign influence in order to secure its power. For more than two centuries this policy enabled Japan to enjoy stability and a flowering of its indigenous culture.

Following the Treaty of Kanagawa with the US in 1854, Japan opened its ports and began to intensively modernize and industrialize. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Japan became a regional power that was able to defeat the forces of both China and Russia. It occupied Korea, Formosa (Taiwan), and southern Sakhalin Island.

In 1931-32 Japan occupied Manchuria, and in 1937 it launched a full-scale invasion of China. Japan attacked US forces in 1941 – triggering America’s entry into World War II – and soon occupied much of East and Southeast Asia.

After its defeat in World War II, Japan recovered to become an economic power and a staunch ally of the US. While the emperor retains his throne as a symbol of national unity, elected politicians – with heavy input from bureaucrats and business executives – wield actual decision-making power.

The economy experienced a major slowdown starting in the 1990s following three decades of unprecedented growth, but Japan still remains a major economic power, both in Asia and globally. In January 2009, Japan assumed a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2009-10 term.

South Korea voices strong regrets over Japanese textbooks distorting wartime history
The foreign ministry also called in Japanese Ambassador to South Korea Koichi Aiboshi to deliver the formal protest message after Tokyo's education ministry approved two history textbooks for middle ...
Posted: April 19, 2024, 4:09 am
S. Korea voices strong regrets over Japanese textbooks distorting wartime history
South Korea lodged a strong protest against Japan on Friday after Tokyo approved new school textbooks that downplay the coercive nature of its wartime atrocities and reinforce its territorial claims ...
Posted: April 19, 2024, 2:44 am
Baseball Hall of Fame to highlight history of Japan-U.S. ties in new exhibit
Murakami, who turns 80 on May 6, is an indelible part of the long history between Japan and the U.S. on the baseball diamond. His experience paved the way for future players from Japan like Hideo Nomo ...
Posted: April 19, 2024, 1:56 am
Top 10 moments in Olympic soccer history
Olympics in Paris fast approaching, now is the perfect time to get ready for the men's and women's soccer tournaments by looking back at the top moments in history.
Posted: April 18, 2024, 3:53 pm
Pictures of Belonging: A Celebration of Japanese American Experiences
The exhibit honors the work of Miki Hayakawa, Hisako Hibi and Miné Okubo, three females of Japanese descent who lived throughout the World War II period.
Posted: April 18, 2024, 2:12 pm
Grand opening set for Japanese Hall museum exhibit
The transformation of the Japanese Hall from a gathering place to a museum involved a long, bumpy journey — literally.
Posted: April 18, 2024, 1:27 pm
Major Manga Piracy Site Forced to Pay Largest Cost in Damages in Japanese History
The biggest Japanese manga piracy site at its time of operation, Mangamura, has been forced to pay the largest cost in damages in Japanese history.
Posted: April 18, 2024, 8:07 am
Japan Court Denies Fishing Rights To Ainu People
A court in Japan dismissed a bid by Ainu Indigenous people to reclaim rights over river fishing for salmon, an official said Thursday.
Posted: April 18, 2024, 6:01 am
A Japanese Village Wants Tourists to Come for Heat, Soot and Steel
To lure visitors, residents of Yoshida, famed for its high-quality steel, are inviting tourists to help produce it.
Posted: April 18, 2024, 2:02 am
What would Sigmund Freud have thought of Japan’s largely peaceful history?
In an exchange of letters, Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud discussed human nature when it comes to why people go to war. How does Japan fit in?
Posted: April 17, 2024, 4:10 pm
How green are your trainers? Team Japan kits to have carbon footprint labels
Japanese Olympians stepping up to the podium in Paris will have more than a medal to be proud of this summer: the carbon footprint of their eco-friendly team kits.
Posted: April 17, 2024, 1:33 am
US may face backlash for condoning Japan's erroneous view on WWII history
With the release of the Oscar-winning film Oppenheimer in Japan, American and Japanese netizens have recently engaged in a "war of words" over the history of World War II (WWII), once again bringing ...
Posted: April 16, 2024, 4:44 am