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There are about 125 million people. What’s interesting that during the period from 1870 to 1970 Japans population more than tripled, and now its one of the most populated countries in the world. Tokyo is the fourth largest city.
The scientists believe that the first culture on the Japan islands were so-called Jomon. The scientist think, that they came there, when the Asia continent was put together with the Japan islands. Jomon means cord pattern - the people made pottery that was decorated with ropelike designs.200 BS the culture called Yayoi replaced the Jomon.
In Japan are a lot of minority groups and the largest is Ainu group. There are Chinese and Koreans and they live on Hokkaido. Ainu comes from villages traditionally associated with such tasks as the execution of criminals and the slaughter of cattle.5
Japanese is the official language of Japan. Spoken Japanese has many local dialects. The Tokyo dialect is the standard form of spoken Japanese.
Many Japanese can also speak English to some extent. A number of Japanese words, such as aisu kuriimu (ice cream) and guruupu (group) are based on the English language.
Written Japanese is considered to be one of the most difficult in the world. Japanese have taken their writing system from China.
Way of life
About three-fourths of the Japanese people live in urban areas like Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka and Nagoya - all on the island of Honshu. In many ways, Japans big cities are similar to the western cities. There are numerous restaurants, which serve everything from hamburgers to sushi. There are a lot of traditional shops, which are usually on narrow side streets specialize in traditional items, such as straw mats called tatami, which are used as floor coverings. 6 The shops sell not only the latest electronic games but also sticks of ink and special brushes for Japanese calligraphy (the art of fine handwriting)
The Japanese have always placed great importance on their clothes, although especial in the home, is casual Western clothes becoming more and more popular. The traditional Japanese clothing of both men and women is the kimono. It is tied around the waist with a sash called an obi. Almost all Japanese wear kimonos during festivals, on holidays or other special occasion. Traditional Japanese footwear are wooden clogs called geta and flat sandals known as zori.
Food and drink
Japanese food and drink influenced also western civilization. A lot of people appreciate their food because of its low fat.
The main food is rice, which is usually being served with vegetables and at almost every meal. Fish provides the chief source of protein in the Japanese diet. A favorite method of preparing fish is to salt it and then broil it over open flame. The people also enjoy sashimi - thin slices of raw fish. A popular Japanese dish called sushi consist of rice flavored with vinegar and topped with raw fish, sliced vegetable, shell fish, or other ingredients. 7
Soybeans are another major source of protein in Japan. Many dishes contain miso (soybean paste) or tofu (soybean curd cake).
Popular alcoholic drinks include sake, a wine like beverage made from rice, and beer.
The Japanese take great care to arrange food attractively. They serve each kind of food on the separate dish to emphasize the foods color, shape. The Japanese eat with chopsticks.
Japans oldest religion is Shinto, which means the way of the gods. It is the native religion of Japan and dates from prehistoric times. Shintoists worship many gods called kami, which are found in mountains, rivers, rocks, trees, and other parts of nature. Shintoism tolds that all aspects of the natural environment-the plants and animals, hills and mountains, wins and rivers – are expressions of the divine spirit.8
The gods live in all of nature. At the entrance to many Shinto temples is a gate with two posts supporting a top piece with a straight crossbar below. The cross pieces symbolize the earth and the pillars represent supports for the heavens. These torii gateway separate the holy grounds of the shrine from the outside world.
About 60% of the Japanese people practice Buddhism. Many of these also follow Shinto. In fact, most Shintoists and Buddhists in Japan observe elements of both religions.
Christians make up about 3% of Japan s population. Spanish and Portuguese missionaries first brought Christianity to Japan about 1550.
Since WW2, religious sects called New Religions have developed in Japan. The largest of the New Religions is the Soka Gakkai, a Buddhist sect. Confucianism, a Chinese religion, has also great influence in Japan.