A country"s location influences the breakthrough of its society and culture in many kind of ways. Its place in relation to various other nations has an effect on intersocial influences; its size affects demography, the advancement of social structures, and also its place in the international community. Its topography dictates to a huge degree wright here and exactly how its world earn their livings, and its climate impacts its agriculture and also formats of living. The following maps will demonstrate these and other elements of the influence of location on national development.

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Composition, Position, and also Relative Size

Japan is a shimaguni (island country): The Japanese archipelago (island chain) is composed of 4 main islands--Honsh�, Shikoku, Ky�sh� and Hokkaid�--and also countless smaller sized surrounding ones (view map 1). It lies off the Pacific coast of the Asian mainland; at the closest allude, the primary Japanese islands are 120 miles ameans from the mainland. (See map 2). Compare this via an additional shimaguni, Great Britain, which is, at the narrowest point of the English Channel, only 21 miles from Europe.

The complete land also area of the Japanese islands is around 142,000 square miles. As you have the right to see from map 2 and also map 3, it is an extremely little country once compared with the substantial Eastern mainland, or with the United States, wright here it is smaller sized than the single, although large, state of The golden state. It seems even smaller once you realize just how bit of its land also is valuable for farming or housing, as we will certainly comment on listed below. China, the USA, and also a few various other giants of the people are the unexplained ones, yet. Japan does not seem so small as soon as compared with some of the countries of Western Europe. It is, for instance, larger than Italy. (See map 4).


The Japanese islands are spanned by mountains, the majority of of them greatly forested, and crisscrossed by brief, swift rivers. Only a few of the rivers are navigable. Relatively little bit of Japan"s land also mass is suitable for farming -- only about 15 percent, the exact same land also that is likewise most suitable for living (check out map 5). The population and locations of farming are therefore concentrated together, as you will watch if you superimpose map 5 on map 6.

Japan"s islands are very beautiful and also differed, but they can be treacherous. Earthquakes are common and outcome from a fault that circles the Pacific Ocean, leading to earthquakes on the west coast of North and also South America also. They are frequent in Japan, developing even more often than they are felt. Even so, one significant sufficient to be noticed by researchers occurs every three days in T�ky�. Occasionally they execute severe damages. The hills of Japan contain 10 per-cent of the world"s the majority of energetic volcanoes. Mt. Fuji, Japan"s the majority of renowned hill and also one of its many beautiful and also revered, is a dormant volcano, which last erupted in 1707. Tidal waves occasionally result from undersea earthquakes, and typhoons occasionally hit Japan as they relocate north from the South Pacific.

The Japanese are even more impressed, however, by the beauty and also richness of their land also than by its dangers. Although its topography creates obstacles, its climate is even more benevolent.


The Japanese islands are for the the majority of part in the temperate zone; as you have the right to check out from map 7, they stretch from north to south in latitudes comparable to those of the eastern USA, from about 45 degrees in the north to around 20 in the southern. The capital, T�ky�, is in a similar position to Los Angeles or Washington in the USA (watch map 7).

But latitude and longitude are not the only things that influence climate. Ocean currental fees, such as the Kuroshio and also Tsushima currental fees from the southern, warmth the Pacific side of the islands and those close to the Oriental straits, particularly towards the southern, while the cold Kurile present, coming southward towards Hokkaid�, brings numerous nourishment to the coastal waters and also enhances the fishing (see map 8).

On the various other hand, cold winds from the northern Eastern continent blow east over the Sea of Japan, dumping deep, heavy scurrently on the northwestern shores of Japan. There is a significant comparison between winters on the coastline facing the Sea of Japan, dubbed Japan"s "scurrently nation," wright here people frequently need to tunnel under the snow to relocate from residence to residence, and also the clear, crisp winters on the eastern shore, via little snow at all, leaving dry winters on the even more heavily populated side of the major islands.

Even on the eastern shores, however, Japan has plentiful rainautumn, since seasonal winds bring moisture right into the country from its neighboring waters. In reality, in enhancement to the four seasons comparable to those of our U.S. temperate zone climate, tright here is a rainy seakid, lasting about a month in June, adhered to by a warm summer. This is important for the cultivation of rice, Japan"s standard staple food.

Area: 377,708 square kilometers (145,834 square miles) Coastline: 33,986 kilometers (18,487 miles) From Japan Today, Minisattempt of Foregime Affairs, Japan 1983

(1) Essay written by Dr. Amy Vladeck Heinwealthy, director, C.V. Starr East Oriental Library, Columbia University.

Map Exercises

1. Japan: The Islands Note for map 1: Ownership of the islands Kunashiri, Etorofu, Habomai and Shikotan (islands northeastern of Hokkaido) is discussed. The USSR occupied then in 1945 and Russia continues to assert sovereignty over them. Japan clintends these Northern Territories as original Japanese area not impacted by the San Francisco Peace Treaty of 1952. The concern is a continuing difficulty in Russo-Japanese relations.

2. Japan and also Asia

3. Japan and also California (comparison)

4. Japan and Italy (comparison)

5. Topography

6. Population Density

7. Latitudes / Japan and the U.S.

8. Winds and also Currents

9. Japan: A quiz

1) Look at map 2. Given the family member nearness of Japan to China and Korea, what can you imagine around Japan"s standard relations through these 2 countries? 2) In premodern-day times, as soon as take a trip and interactions were tough bereason of Japan"s mountainous terrain, the Japanese did not think of their nation as little. Look again at a href="map2.jpeg" onClick="rerevolve popitup("map2.jpeg")">map 2, map 3, and map 4. What modern-day advancements and requirements make it seem little today?

3) Examine and compare map 7 and map 8. From what you deserve to see of loved one latitudes in Japan and the eastern United States, and also from what you have actually read about the warm and cold sea and wind currental fees affecting Japan, comment on the climates you would suppose to discover in the locations noted A, B, and also C.

4) On map 9, insert the names of: a) the 4 significant islands (shown by ====) b) the 6 significant cities (noted by � ); c) the major sea and wind currental fees (shown by-----) and also d) the neighboring oceans and also seas (presented by ^^^^^).

Try to do this exercise without consulting the other maps.

5) Imagine that you are a tourist in Japan: It is January. First you travel to T�ky� and Ky�to to spend a week. Then you go to the northwest shore of the island also of Honsh� for a week.

Write one postcard to your household at residence describing the weather throughout your week in T�ky� and Ky�to.

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Write an additional postcard in the time of your second week, describing the weather on the northwest shore of Honsh� .

6) In land area Japan is around the size of California, however in populace it ranks 6th in the human being (behind China, India, the USA, Indonesia and also Brazil). How would certainly you explain Japan"s size?

Why is it essential to recognize both the land also area and also the population of a country?

7) Use the adhering to indevelopment to compare Japan and also the United States:

Japan United States
Total land also location 145,946 square miles 3,615,054 square miles
Population See Current Estimate for Japan See Current Estimate for UNITED STATE
Percent of land that deserve to be cultivated for crops 15 percent 46 percent
How many times larger than Japan is the United States in land also area? How many type of times bigger is the U.S. population? How many type of people per square mile are there in Japan? (People separated by square miles) In the United States? How many civilization are there per land location that can be grew in Japan? In the United States? What conclusions have the right to you attract around population thickness (people per square mile) in Japan and also the United States? What conclusions have the right to you attract about farming in the two countries?