A country"s geography influences the development of its culture and culture in numerous ways. Its ar in relation to various other nations has an result on intercultural influences; its size affects demography, the advancement of society structures, and also its place in the global community. That is topography dictates to a huge extent where and also how its world earn your livings, and also its climate influences its farming and styles of living. The following maps will show these and also other elements of the influence of geography on nationwide development.

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Composition, Position, and Relative Size

Japan is a shimaguni (island country): The Japanese archipelago (island chain) consists of 4 main islands--Honsh�, Shikoku, Ky�sh� and also Hokkaid�--and thousands of smaller surrounding ones (see map 1). That lies off the Pacific coastline of the asian mainland; at the closestly point, the key Japanese islands are 120 miles away from the mainland. (See map 2). Compare this with another shimaguni, great Britain, which is, in ~ the narrowest suggest of the English Channel, only 21 mile from Europe.

The total land space of the Japanese islands is about 142,000 square miles. Together you deserve to see indigenous map 2 and also map 3, it is a very small country when contrasted with the substantial Asian mainland, or through the unified States, wherein it is smaller sized than the single, return large, state that California. It seems also smaller once you realize how tiny of its floor is helpful for farming or housing, as we will talk about below. China, the united States, and also a few other giants the the human being are the unusual ones, however. Japan does no seem so small when compared with several of the nations of west Europe. That is, because that example, larger than Italy. (See map 4).


The Japanese islands room covered by mountains, many of them heavily forested, and also crisscrossed by short, swift rivers. Just a few of the rivers space navigable. Fairly little of Japan"s land fixed is an ideal for agriculture -- only around 15 percent, the same land that is also most an ideal for living (see map 5). The population and locations of agriculture are as such concentrated together, as you will watch if girlfriend superimpose map 5 top top map 6.

Japan"s islands are very beautiful and varied, yet they have the right to be treacherous. Earthquakes are common and result from a fault the circles the Pacific Ocean, causing earthquakes on the west shore of North and South America as well. They are regular in Japan, occurring much more often than they room felt. Even so, one big enough to be i found it by researchers occurs every 3 days in T�ky�. Sometimes they carry out serious damage. The mountains of Japan contain 10 per-cent of the world"s most energetic volcanoes. Mt. Fuji, Japan"s most famous mountain and also one the its most beautiful and also revered, is a dormant volcano, which last erupted in 1707. Tidal tide occasionally result from undersea earthquakes, and also typhoons sometimes hit Japan together they move north native the south Pacific.

The Japanese are more impressed, however, through the beauty and richness of their land 보다 by the dangers. Although its topography create difficulties, that is climate is more benevolent.


The Japanese islands space for the most part in the pleasant zone; as you deserve to see native map 7, they stretch from north to southern in latitudes similar to those the the eastern joined States, from around 45 levels in the north to around 20 in the south. The capital, T�ky�, is in a similar position to Los Angeles or Washington in the United states (see map 7).

But latitude and longitude space not the only things that influence climate. S currents, such as the Kuroshio and also Tsushima currents native the south, warmth the Pacific next of the islands and also those close to the oriental straits, specifically toward the south, while the cold Kurile current, coming southward towards Hokkaid�, brings plentiful nourishment to the seaside waters and also improves the fishing (see map 8).

On the other hand, cold winds native the northern eastern continent blow east over the Sea the Japan, dumping deep, heavy snow top top the northwestern shores of Japan. Over there is a significant contrast in between winters on the coastline facing the Sea the Japan, called Japan"s "snow country," where human being often need to tunnel under the snow to move from residence to house, and also the clear, fresh winters on the eastern shore, with small snow at all, leaving dry winters ~ above the more heavily occupied side of the main islands.

Even top top the eastern shores, however, Japan has abundant rainfall, because seasonal winds lug moisture into the nation from its neighboring waters. In fact, in addition to the 4 seasons comparable to those of ours U.S. Temperate zone climate, there is a merganser season, lasting around a month in June, adhered to by a warm summer. This is important for the growing of rice, Japan"s traditional staple food.

Area: 377,708 square kilometers (145,834 square miles) Coastline: 33,986 kilometers (18,487 miles) indigenous Japan Today, to adjust of foreign Affairs, Japan 1983

(1) Essay created by Dr. Amy Vladeck Heinrich, director, C.V. Starr East eastern Library, Columbia University.

Map Exercises

1. Japan: The Islands note for map 1: property of the archipelago Kunashiri, Etorofu, Habomai and Shikotan (islands northeast of Hokkaido) is disputed. The USSR lived in then in 1945 and also Russia continues to assert sovereignty end them. Japan claims these northern Territories as initial Japanese territory not impacted by the mountain Francisco peace Treaty that 1952. The issue is a proceeding problem in Russo-Japanese relations.

2. Japan and Asia

3. Japan and California (comparison)

4. Japan and also Italy (comparison)

5. Topography

6. Populace Density

7. Latitudes / Japan and also the U.S.

8. Winds and also Currents

9. Japan: A quiz

1) Look at map 2. Provided the family member nearness of Japan come China and Korea, what deserve to you imagine around Japan"s classic relations through these 2 countries? 2) In premodern times, when travel and communications were an overwhelming because that Japan"s like the mountain terrain, the Japanese did no think the their country as small. Watch again at a href="map2.jpeg" onClick="return popitup("map2.jpeg")">map 2, map 3, and map 4. What contemporary developments and requirements do it seem little today?

3) Examine and also compare map 7 and map 8. Indigenous what you can see of loved one latitudes in Japan and the eastern joined States, and from what you have read about the warm and also cold sea and also wind currents affecting Japan, discuss the climates you would intend to uncover in the areas marked A, B, and C.

4) top top map 9, insert the name of: a) the four major islands (indicated by ====) b) the six major cities (marked by � ); c) the major ocean and wind currents (shown by-----) and also d) the surrounding oceans and seas (shown through ^^^^^).

Try to carry out this practice without consulting the other maps.

5) Imagine that you space a tourist in Japan: that is January. First you take trip to T�ky� and Ky�to to invest a week. Then you walk to the northwest coast of the island the Honsh� because that a week.

Write one postcard come your family at residence describing the weather throughout your mainly in T�ky� and also Ky�to.

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Write another postcard throughout your 2nd week, explicate the weather on the northwest coast of Honsh� .

6) In floor area Japan is about the size of California, yet in populace it ranks sixth in the civilization (behind China, India, the unified States, Indonesia and Brazil). How would you explain Japan"s size?

Why is it essential to understand both the land area and also the populace of a country?

7) use the adhering to information to to compare Japan and the unified States:

Japan United States
Total land area 145,946 square miles 3,615,054 square mile
Population See existing Estimate for Japan See present Estimate for U.S.
Percent of soil that have the right to be grew for plants 15 percent 46 percent
How countless times bigger than Japan is the United states in soil area? How numerous times larger is the U.S. Population? just how many world per square mile are there in Japan? (People separated by square miles) In the joined States? exactly how many world are there per land area that have the right to be grew in Japan? In the joined States? What conclusions can you attract about populace density (people every square mile) in Japan and the united States? What conclusions deserve to you draw about agriculture in the two countries?