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.Know More
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 >
During the Meiji Restoration, Japan radically altered its political structure and embarked on a plan of industrialization to help it compete with Western nations. Though the reforms caused some violent opposition, the government had reached its objectives by the early 20th century.Full Answer >
The Meiji government of Japan created a highly centralized, bureaucratic government. It instituted: a Constitution with an elected Parliament; well developed transportation and communication; a more educated populace; the destruction of the feudal system that had been in place for centuries; an established industrial sector based on the latest technology; and the creation of a powerful army and navy.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 >