The things for which Japan is well known include its cuisine, aesthetic tradition, bonsai trees and its role in the Second World War. According to About.com expert Setsuko Yoshizuka, Japanese cuisine emphasizes raw and cooked seafood, rice and green vegetables. Soy foods, such as miso and tofu, also play central roles in Japanese kitchens. Culinary presentation is extremely important and demonstrates the marriage of Japanese cuisine and cultural aesthetic principles.Continue Reading
One of the most notable aspects of Japanese aesthetics is "wabi-sabi," or the beauty of imperfection. According to this principle, designs that are perfectly symmetrical and well proportioned are not as beautiful as those that contain at least one noticeable flaw.
Two other Japanese aesthetic principles are "mono no aware" and "yugen." According to Bradley Park, a professor at St. Mary's College of Maryland, mono no aware refers to the poignant beauty of transience and change within the natural world. The concept of yugen includes shadowy darkness, mystery and the impossibility of clear discernment. Clouds are an excellent example of this principle.
Japanese aesthetics have a huge influence on the bonsai tradition. Bonsai involves the cultivation, gradual training, pruning and shaping of otherwise ordinary trees into miniature versions of their standard-size counterparts. According to Bonsai Empire, the term "bonsai" means "container," and is a reference to the pots and trays in which bonsai grow. Bonsai trees are not genetically altered or bred to be small. Their size is a function of careful bonsai cultivation techniques.Learn more about Modern Asia
Historians agree Japan invaded Manchuria in 1931 for two main reasons: ideology and natural resources. Nationalist leaders in Japan desired to unite all of Asia under one emperor, an ideology known as hakkô ichiu.Full Answer >
Japan invaded Manchuria because they stated that the Chinese soldiers in Manchuria had ruined the Manchurian railway, which belonged to and was controlled by the Japanese.The invasion of Manchuria took place on September 18, 1931.Full Answer >
United States Naval Officer Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry negotiated a treaty that opened up Japan to trade with the United States of American on March 31, 1854. He negotiated with Japanese officials for months to facilitate trade between the two countries.Full Answer >
The emperor of Japan is Emperor Akihito, and the prime minister of Japan is Shinzo Abe. Emperor Akihito has a largely ceremonial role, while Prime Minister Abe is the head of government and is effectively the leader of the country.Full Answer >