71 Interesting Facts About Japan

Last updated on October 13th, 2022

Atomic weapon attacks, national anthem, Internet usage, etc

61. Japanese can say “Sorry” in 20 different ways.

62. Japan is the only country in the world that suffered from an atomic weapon attack.

63. Tokyo, the capital of Japan, is one of the most expensive cities to live in.

64. Kimigayo is Japan’s national anthem. It is the world’s shortest anthem with a length of 11 measures and 32 characters.

65. Japan boasts the longest reigning monarchy in the world.

66. Blowing your nose in Japan is considered inappropriate.

67. Average monthly disposable salary after tax in Japan is $2,782.

68. There are 118.3 million internet users in Japan in January 2022.

69. The average height of men in Japan is 171.4 cm.

70. More than 25% of Japan’s population is over 65 years of age.

71. Japan’s is slightly smaller than California in terms of total area.

About the Flag of Japan

flag of Japan
The flag of Japan. Image credit – CIA

1. Design and Symbolism

The flag of Japan depicts the country’s nickname: Land of the Rising Sun. It features a red circle at the center of a white rectangular field. The official Japanese name is Nisshoki (“flag of the sun”), while its common name is Hinomaru (“circle of the sun”).

Japan is east of the Asian mainland. Therefore, the sun rises there before other places on the continent. Letters dating to 607 AD refer to the Japanese ruler as “the emperor of the rising sun.”

According to Japanese mythology, the emperor is a descendant of the sun goddess Amaterasu. This direct connection to a deity in the Shinto religion is the source of the royal family’s legitimacy. Shinto features nature worship, treating the sun as a vital force in agriculture and fishing.

2. Adoption

The Meiji government adopted the Nisshoki as a civil ensign back in 1870. Merchant ships and navy vessels used it at sea. On August 13, 1999, Japan officially designated it as the national flag.

3. Technical Details

The flag follows a ratio of 2:3. The red circle is two-thirds of the flag’s length. The exact shade of red is 5R 4/12 using the Munsell color system and 156 using the DIC chart. The military can use nylon and acrylic fiber for flag construction.

4. History

In 701 AD, Emperor Monmu used a sun-motif flag for the New Year decorations in the ceremonial hall. It is the first recorded use of this design by a Japanese ruler.

In 1180, two powerful families clashed in the Genpei War. The Taira clan used a red flag with a gold circle, while the Minamoto clan raised a white flag with a red circle. Minamoto defeated Taira, making their banner a prominent battle flag.

In 1854, Japanese ships needed a flag to distinguish themselves from foreign vessels. They used the Hinomaru as the standard. It became the official merchant flag of Japan in 1870. People also raised it as the national flag to celebrate victories in the Sino-Japanese Wars and Russo-Japanese Wars.

After the Japanese defeat in World War II, the Allied forces restricted the use of the flag. The restrictions gradually relaxed in the late 1940s, although critics objected to its display due to past military links. The country had an ideological shift from patriotic to pacifist.

The debate over the use of the flag persisted until the late 1990s. Disputes erupted in schools over the controversy. In 1999, a law declared the Hinomaru as the national flag to end the confusion.

5. Flag Use

All homes in Japan had to display the Hinomaru flag during national holidays before World War II. Citizens greeted the emperor with it. After the war, displays in private homes and commercial buildings became rare. Only government buildings continued to raise it.

Friends and family often provided a signed flag to soldiers awaiting deployment for the empire’s military campaigns. The Good Luck Flag, known as the Hinomaru Yosegaki, was a charm for safety and victory. According to tradition, messages must not touch the red sun.

Japan – the country at a glance

Capital CityTokyo (35°41′N 139°46′E)
Largest CityTokyo (35°41′N 139°46′E)
Total areatotal: 377,915 sq km

land: 364,485 sq km

water: 13,430 sq km
Population124,214,766 (2022 est.)
National languageJapanese
BordersNorth Korea, Russia and South Korea
CurrencyYen (¥) / En 円 (JPY)
Highest pointMount Fuji 3,776 m
Lowest pointHachiro-gata -4 m
Mean elevation438 m
ReligionShinto, Buddhism
Life expectancy at birth84.65 years (est. 2021)
Literacy rate99%
Unemployment rate2.9%
Climatevaries from tropical in south to cool temperate in north
Terrainmostly rugged and mountainous
Mean elevation

438 m
Lowest point: Hachiro-gata -4 m
Highest pointMount Fuji 3,776 m
Natural resourcesnegligible mineral resources, fish
Agricultural land12.5%
Government typeparliamentary constitutional monarchy
Prime MinisterFumio Kishida
National anthem"Kimigayo" (The Emperor"s Reign)
National symbolred sun disc and chrysanthemum
National colorsred and white
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
Birth rate6.95 births/1,000 population (2022 est.)
Death rate11.59 deaths/1,000 population (2022 est.)
Sex ratio0.95 male(s)/female (2022 est.)
Industriesamong world's largest and most technologically advanced producers of motor vehicles, electronic equipment, machine tools, steel and nonferrous metals, ships, chemicals, textiles, processed foods
Exports$793.32 billion note: data are in current year dollars (2020 est.)
motor vehicles 14.9%; iron and steel products 5.4%; semiconductors 5%; auto parts 4.8%; power generating machinery 3.5%; plastic materials 3.3% (2014 est.)
Imports$799.52 billion note: data are in current year dollars (2020 est.)
petroleum 16.1%; liquid natural gas 9.1%; clothing 3.8%; semiconductors 3.3%; coal 2.4%; audio and visual apparatus 1.4% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$41,400 (2019 est.)
Time ZoneJST (UTC+9)
Internet country code.jp
Calling Code+81
Drives on theLeft
Table last updatedJuly 25, 2022