Japanese people (Japanese: 日本人 Hepburn: nihonjin) are a nation and an ethnic group that is native to Japan and makes up 98.5% of the total population of the country. Worldwide, approximately 129 million people are of Japanese descent; of these, approximately 125 million are residents of Japan. People of Japanese ancestry who live outside Japan are referred to as nikkeijin (日系人), the Japanese diaspora. The term ethnic Japanese is often used to refer to Japanese people, specifically Yamato people. Japanese are one of the largest ethnic groups in the world.
|c. 129 million|
|Regions with significant populations|
|Japan 125 million|
|Significant Japanese diaspora in:|
|United Kingdom||67,998 (2015)|
|South Korea||36,708note (2014)|
|Hong Kong||27,429 (2015)|
|Japanese, Portuguese, English, Spanish|
|Predominantly Mahayana Buddhist and Shinto,|
with minorities ascribing to Japanese new religions, Christianity, and other religions
^ note: For this country, only permanent residents with Japanese nationality are included, since the number of naturalized Japanese people and their descendants is unknown. note
The Japanese language is a Japonic language that is related to the Ryukyuan languages and was treated as a language isolate in the past. The earliest attested form of the language, Old Japanese, dates to the 8th century. Japanese phonology is characterized by a relatively small number of vowel phonemes, frequent gemination, and a distinctive pitch accent system. The modern Japanese language has a tripartite writing system using hiragana, katakana, and kanji. The language includes native Japanese words and a large number of words derived from the Chinese language. In Japan the adult literacy rate in the Japanese language exceeds 99%. Dozens of Japanese dialects are spoken in regions of Japan.
Japanese religion has traditionally been syncretic in nature, combining elements of Buddhism and Shinto (Shinbutsu-shūgō). Shinto, a polytheistic religion with no book of religious canon, is Japan's native religion. Shinto was one of the traditional grounds for the right to the throne of the Japanese imperial family, and was codified as the state religion in 1868 (State Shinto), but was abolished by the American occupation in 1945. Mahayana Buddhism came to Japan in the sixth century and evolved into many different sects. Today, the largest form of Buddhism among Japanese people is the Jōdo Shinshū sect founded by Shinran.
A large majority of Japanese people profess to believe in both Shinto and Buddhism. Japanese people's religion functions mostly as a foundation for mythology, traditions, and neighborhood activities, rather than as the single source of moral guidelines for one's life.
About one million, or slightly under 1%, of Japan's population are Christians. A larger proportion of members of the Japanese diaspora practice Christianity; about 60% of Japanese Brazilians and 90% of Japanese Mexicans are Roman Catholics, while about 37% of Japanese Americans are Christians (33% Protestant and 4% Catholic).
Certain genres of writing originated in and are often associated with Japanese society. These include the haiku, tanka, and I Novel, although modern writers generally avoid these writing styles. Historically, many works have sought to capture or codify traditional Japanese cultural values and aesthetics. Some of the most famous of these include Murasaki Shikibu's The Tale of Genji (1021), about Heian court culture; Miyamoto Musashi's The Book of Five Rings (1645), concerning military strategy; Matsuo Bashō's Oku no Hosomichi (1691), a travelogue; and Jun'ichirō Tanizaki's essay "In Praise of Shadows" (1933), which contrasts Eastern and Western cultures.
Following the opening of Japan to the West in 1854, some works of this style were written in English by natives of Japan; they include Bushido: The Soul of Japan by Nitobe Inazō (1900), concerning samurai ethics, and The Book of Tea by Okakura Kakuzō (1906), which deals with the philosophical implications of the Japanese tea ceremony. Western observers have often attempted to evaluate Japanese society as well, to varying degrees of success; one of the most well-known and controversial works resulting from this is Ruth Benedict's The Chrysanthemum and the Sword (1946).
Twentieth-century Japanese writers recorded changes in Japanese society through their works. Some of the most notable authors included Natsume Sōseki, Jun'ichirō Tanizaki, Osamu Dazai, Fumiko Enchi, Akiko Yosano, Yukio Mishima, and Ryōtarō Shiba. Popular contemporary authors such as Ryū Murakami, Haruki Murakami, and Banana Yoshimoto have been translated into many languages and enjoy international followings, and Yasunari Kawabata and Kenzaburō Ōe were awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Decorative arts in Japan date back to prehistoric times. Jōmon pottery includes examples with elaborate ornamentation. In the Yayoi period, artisans produced mirrors, spears, and ceremonial bells known as dōtaku. Later burial mounds, or kofun, preserve characteristic clay haniwa, as well as wall paintings.
Beginning in the Nara period, painting, calligraphy, and sculpture flourished under strong Confucian and Buddhist influences from China. Among the architectural achievements of this period are the Hōryū-ji and the Yakushi-ji, two Buddhist temples in Nara Prefecture. After the cessation of official relations with the Tang dynasty in the ninth century, Japanese art and architecture gradually became less influenced by China. Extravagant art and clothing was commissioned by nobles to decorate their court, and although the aristocracy was quite limited in size and power, many of these pieces are still extant. After the Tōdai-ji was attacked and burned during the Genpei War, a special office of restoration was founded, and the Tōdai-ji became an important artistic center. The leading masters of the time were Unkei and Kaikei.
Painting advanced in the Muromachi period in the form of ink wash painting under the influence of Zen Buddhism as practiced by such masters as Sesshū Tōyō. Zen Buddhist tenets were also elaborated into the tea ceremony during the Sengoku period. During the Edo period, the polychrome painting screens of the Kanō school were made influential thanks to their powerful patrons (including the Tokugawas). Popular artists created ukiyo-e, woodblock prints for sale to commoners in the flourishing cities. Pottery such as Imari ware was highly valued as far away as Europe.
In theater, Noh is a traditional, spare dramatic form that developed in tandem with kyōgen farce. In stark contrast to the restrained refinement of noh, kabuki, an "explosion of color", uses every possible stage trick for dramatic effect. Plays include sensational events such as suicides, and many such works were performed in both kabuki and bunraku puppet theaters.
Since the Meiji Restoration, Japan has absorbed elements of Western culture and has given them a "Japanese" feel or modification into it. Its modern decorative, practical and performing arts works span a spectrum ranging from the traditions of Japan to purely Western modes. Products of popular culture, including J-pop, J-rock, manga and anime have found audiences and fans around the world.
Archaeological evidence indicates that Stone Age people lived in the Japanese archipelago during the Paleolithic period between 39,000 and 21,000 years ago. Japan was then connected to mainland Asia by at least one land bridge, and nomadic hunter-gatherers crossed to Japan. Flint tools and bony implements of this era have been excavated in Japan.
In the 18th century, Arai Hakuseki suggested that the ancient stone tools in Japan were left behind by the Shukushin. Later, Philipp Franz von Siebold argued that the Ainu people were indigenous to northern Japan. Iha Fuyū suggested that Japanese and Ryukyuan people have the same ethnic origin, based on his 1906 research on the Ryukyuan languages. In the Taishō period, Torii Ryūzō claimed that Yamato people used Yayoi pottery and Ainu used Jōmon pottery.
After World War II, Kotondo Hasebe and Hisashi Suzuki claimed that the origin of Japanese people was not newcomers in the Yayoi period (300 BCE – 300 CE) but the people in the Jōmon period. However, Kazuro Hanihara announced a new racial admixture theory in 1984 and a "dual structure model" in 1991. According to Hanihara, modern Japanese lineages began with Jōmon people, who moved into the Japanese archipelago during Paleolithic times from their homeland in southeast Asia, followed by a second wave of immigration, from northeast Asia to Japan during the Yayoi period. Following a population expansion in Neolithic times, these newcomers then found their way to the Japanese archipelago sometime during the Yayoi period. As a result, admixture was common in the island regions of Kyūshū, Shikoku, and Honshū, but did not prevail in the outlying islands of Okinawa and Hokkaidō, and the Ryukyuan and Ainu people continued to dominate there. Mark J. Hudson claims that the main ethnic image of Japanese people was biologically and linguistically formed from 400 BCE to 1,200 CE. Currently, the most well-regarded theory is that present-day Japanese are descendants of both the indigenous Jōmon people and the immigrant Yayoi people.
Some of the world's oldest known pottery pieces were developed by the Jōmon people in the Upper Paleolithic period, dating back as far as 16,000 years. The name "Jōmon" (縄文 Jōmon) means "cord-impressed pattern", and comes from the characteristic markings found on the pottery. The Jōmon people were Mesolithic hunter-gatherers, though at least one middle to late Jōmon site (Minami Mizote (南溝手), ca. 1200–1000 BC) had a primitive rice-growing agriculture. They relied primarily on fish for protein.
Some, including anthropologist Joseph Powell, believe that the Jōmon migrated from South Asia or Southeast Asia and became the Ainu of today. A research, analysing the autosomal DNA of several Jomon bones, suggest an origin of the Jomon people in Siberia or northeastern Central Asia near lake Baikal.
Researchers suggests that the Ainu retain a certain degree of uniqueness in their genetic make-up, while having some affinities with other regional populations in Japan as well as with the Nivkhs of the Russian Far East.
Mark J. Hudson posits that Japan was settled by a Paleo-Mongoloid population in the Pleistocene who became the Jōmon, and that their features can be seen in the Ainu and Ryukyuan people. The Jōmon shared some physical characteristics, such as relatively abundant body hair and light skin, with Caucasians, but anthropological genetics shows them to derive from a separate genetic lineage from that of Europeans.
Beginning around 300 BC, the Yayoi people entered the Japanese islands and displaced or intermingled with the Jōmon. The Yayoi brought wet-rice farming and advanced bronze and iron technology to Japan. The more productive paddy field systems allowed the communities to support larger populations and spread over time, in turn becoming the basis for more advanced institutions and heralding the new civilization of the succeeding Kofun period.
The estimated population of Japan in the late Jōmon period was about one hundred thousand, compared to about three million by the Nara period. Taking the growth rates of hunting and agricultural societies into account, it is calculated that about one and half million immigrants moved to Japan in the period.
During the Japanese colonial period of 1895 to 1945, the phrase "Japanese people" was used to refer not only to residents of the Japanese archipelago, but also to people from colonies who held Japanese citizenship, such as Taiwanese people and Korean people. The official term used to refer to ethnic Japanese during this period was "inland people" (内地人 naichijin). Such linguistic distinctions facilitated forced assimilation of colonized ethnic identities into a single Imperial Japanese identity.
After the end of World War II, many Nivkh people and Orok people from southern Sakhalin, who held Japanese citizenship in Karafuto Prefecture, were forced to repatriate to Hokkaidō by the Soviet Union as a part of Japanese people. On the other hand, many Sakhalin Koreans who had held Japanese citizenship until the end of the war were left stateless by the Soviet occupation.
Article 10 of the Constitution of Japan defines the term "Japanese" based upon Japanese nationality. The concept of "ethnic groups" in Japanese census statistics differs from the concept applied in many other countries. For example, the United Kingdom Census queries the respondent's "ethnic or racial background", regardless of nationality. The Japanese Statistics Bureau, however, asks only about nationality in the census. Because the census equates nationality with ethnicity, its figures erroneously assume that naturalized Japanese citizens and Japanese nationals with multi-ethnic backgrounds are ethnically Japanese. John Lie, Eiji Oguma, and other scholars problematize the widespread belief that Japan is ethnically homogeneous, arguing that it is more accurate to describe Japan as a multiethnic society, although such claims have long been rejected by conservative elements of Japanese society such as former Japanese Prime Minister Tarō Asō, who once described Japan as being a nation of "one race, one civilization, one language and one culture".
The term nikkeijin (日系人) is used to refer to Japanese people who emigrated from Japan and their descendants.
Emigration from Japan was recorded as early as the 12th century to the Philippines and Borneo, and in the 16th and 17th centuries, thousands of traders from Japan also migrated to the Philippines and assimilated into the local population.:pp. 52–3 However, migration of Japanese people did not become a mass phenomenon until the Meiji era, when Japanese people began to go to Brazil, the United States, the Philippines, China, Canada, and Peru. There was also significant emigration to the territories of the Empire of Japan during the colonial period, but most of these emigrants and settlers repatriated to Japan after the end of World War II in Asia.
According to the Association of Nikkei and Japanese Abroad, there are about 2.5 million nikkeijin living in their adopted countries. The largest of these foreign communities are in the Brazilian states of São Paulo and Paraná. There are also significant cohesive Japanese communities in the Philippines, East Malaysia, Peru, Buenos Aires, Córdoba and Misiones in Argentina, the U.S. states of Hawaii, California, and Washington, and the Canadian cities of Vancouver and Toronto. Separately, the number of Japanese citizens living abroad is over one million according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Christian community itself counts only those who have been baptized and are currently regular churchgoers — some 1 million people, or less than 1 percent of the population, according to Nobuhisa Yamakita, moderator of the United Church of Christ in Japan
The population of Japan is less than one-percent Christian
Anti-Japanese sentiment (also called Japanophobia, Nipponophobia and anti-Japanism) involves the hatred or fear of anything Japanese. Its opposite is Japanophilia.Aya-Gozen
Lady Aya (綾御前, Aya-Gozen, 1524 – March 10, 1609) was the half-sister of Japanese warlord Uesugi Kenshin. She was the mother of Uesugi Kagekatsu and the first wife of Nagao Masakage.She was the second daughter of Nagao Tamekage. Her mother is believed to have later born Uesugi Kenshin. The term -gozen is an honorific suffix; her given name was Aya (綾). She had two sons and two daughters by Nagao Masakage: their oldest son in childhood, so their second son, Kagekatsu, was adopted into the Uesugi clan, as reportedly were their daughters. Aya-Gozen moved to Kasugayama Castle in 1564. According to legend, she recommended Naoe Kanetsugu to serve Kagekatsu.
After Kenshin's death, a dispute arose between Kagekatsu and Kagetora; Aya-Gozen tried to protect Kagetora's heir after the death of her eldest daughter (Kagetora's wife). She later returned to Kikuhime, died at Yonezawa Castle, and was enshrined at Risen-ji. Her Buddhist name was Sentō-In (仙洞院).Emperor Taishō
Emperor Taishō (大正天皇, Taishō-tennō, 31 August 1879 – 25 December 1926) was the 123rd Emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession, reigning from 30 July 1912 until his death on 25 December 1926.
The Emperor's personal name was Yoshihito (嘉仁). According to Japanese custom, during the reign the Emperor is called "the Emperor". After death, he is known by a posthumous name, which is the name of the era coinciding with his reign. Having ruled during the Taishō period, he is known as the "Emperor Taishō".Fūma Kotarō
Fūma Kotarō (風魔 小太郎) was the name adopted by the leader of the ninja Fūma clan (風魔一党, Fūma-ittō) during the Sengoku era of feudal Japan. According to some records, his name was originally Kazama (風間).Hatsume no Tsubone
Hatsume no Tsubone (初芽局) was a legendary Japanese woman from the Sengoku period. She was famous as the main character of the historical novel Sekigahara by Ryōtarō Shiba. In the novel, she was Kunoichi (female ninja) sent by Tokugawa Ieyasu to spy on his political enemy Ishida Mitsunari before the Battle of Sekigahara.Hideki Tojo
Hideki Tojo (Kyūjitai: 東條 英機; Shinjitai: 東条 英機; Tōjō Hideki ; December 30, 1884 – December 23, 1948) was a Japanese politician and general of the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) who concurrently served as the Imperial Rule Assistance Association's leader and 27th Prime Minister of Japan during much of World War II. He was among the most outspoken proponents for preventive war against the United States before the attack on Pearl Harbor and one of the leading perpetrators behind Japanese war crimes on prisoners of war and civilians during the Pacific conflict. After the end of the war, Tojo was arrested, condemned and sentenced to death by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, and hanged on December 23, 1948.Irohahime
Irohahime (五郎八姫, August 2, 1594 – June 4, 1661) was the first daughter of Date Masamune and Megohime, as well as the wife of Matsudaira Tadateru, the sixth son of Tokugawa Ieyasu. Her Buddhist name is Tenrin'in (天麟院).Japanese
Japanese may refer to:
Something from or related to Japan, an island country in East Asia
Japanese language, spoken mainly in Japan
Japanese people, the ethnic group that identifies with Japan through culture or ancestry
Japanese diaspora, Japanese emigrants and their descendants around the world
Foreign-born Japanese, naturalized citizens of Japan
Japanese writing system, consisting of kanji and kana
Japanese cuisine, the food and food culture of JapanJapanese Australians
Japanese Australians (日系オーストラリア人, Nikkei Ōsutoraria-jin) are Australian citizens who trace their Japanese ancestry, which includes Japanese immigrants and descendants born in Australia. According to a global survey conducted at the end of 2013, Australia is the most popular country for Japanese people to live in. Kuniko Yoshimitsu of Monash University wrote in 2013 that "Japanese people have not established themselves as a major ethnic subgroup in Australia (as have the Italian and Greek communities, for example)".Jukei-ni
Jukei-ni (寿桂尼, d. April 11, 1568) was a Japanese woman from the Sengoku period. She was born in the aristocrat Nakamikado Family of Kyoto. She was the wife of Imagawa Ujichika and mother of Imagawa Ujiteru and Imagawa Yoshimoto. She acted as guardian and advisor for Ujiteru, Yoshimoto and her grandson Imagawa Ujizane. For having passed four generations of Daimyos, Jukei-ni had great political power in Suruga, Totomi, and Mikawa provinces and was known as "Female Daimyō" of Imagawa clan. She died in 1568 at almost 80 years of age and is said to have truly been the last pillar of the Imagawa family as Sengoku Daimyo. Diplomatic relations between Imagawa and Takeda collapsed after the death of Jukei-ni, and in December of the same year Takeda Shigen began the invasion in the region of Imagawa (Invasion of the Suruga). Because of this crisis, Imagawa Ujizane surrenders to Tokugawa Ieyasu the following year.Kamehime
Kamehime (亀姫, 27 July 1560 - 1 August 1625) was a Japanese woman from the Sengoku period. She was the eldest daughter of Tokugawa Ieyasu with his wife, Lady Tsukiyama. She married Okudaira Nobumasa and he was given Nagashino Castle. She is known to have acted actively in the Siege of Nagashino. Kamehime helped her husband and Torii Suneemon on the mission to cross the enemy army to request aid to her father, Ieyasu in Okazaki and defended the Nagashino castle. After Ieyasu's death she had a larg part in the overthrow of Honda Masazumi whom she disliked.
In 1625, Kamehime died at age 66, her Buddhist name was Seitokuin and her remains were buried in Kokoku-ji Temple.Katō Danzō
Katō Danzō (加藤 段蔵, c. 1503 – 1569) was a famed 16th century ninja master during the Sengoku period Japan who was also known as flying Katō (飛び加藤, Tobi Katō).Komatsuhime
Komatsuhime (小松姫) (1573 – March 27, 1620) was a Japanese woman of the late Azuchi-Momoyama through early Edo periods. Born the daughter of Honda Tadakatsu, she was adopted by Tokugawa Ieyasu, before marrying Sanada Nobuyuki. She is described as having been very beautiful, highly intelligent and skillful in fighting.Lady Hayakawa
Lady Hayakawa (早川殿, died April 4, 1613) is a common nickname for one of Daimyō Hōjō Ujiyasu's daughters, who lived in the Sengoku through early Edo period. She is best known for marrying into the Imagawa clan as a condition for The Kōsōsun Triple Alliance.
Her current grave stands at Kansen-ji in modern-day Suginami, Tokyo.Maeda Matsu
Maeda Matsu (前田まつ), also known as Omatsu no Kata (お松の方) (1547–1617), was a Japanese woman of the 16th century. She was the wife of Maeda Toshiie, who founded the Kaga Domain. Matsu had a reputation for intelligence; she was skilled at both literary and martial arts and fought alongside her clan. She was eternalized for saving the Maeda clan from Tokugawa Ieyasu in Battle of Sekigahara and Siege of Osaka.Nōhime
Lady Nō (Japanese: 濃姫, Hepburn: Nōhime, Nohime), also known as Kichō (帰蝶), was the legal wife of Oda Nobunaga, a major daimyō during the Sengoku period of Japanese history. Her proper name was Kichō, but since she came from Mino Province, she is most commonly referred to as Nōhime ("Lady of Mino"; Nō is an abbreviation for Nōshū (濃州), other name of Mino Province, and hime means "lady, princess, woman of noble family"). She was renowned for her beauty and cleverness.
Nōhime's father was the daimyo Saitō Dōsan and her mother was known as Omi no Kata. Nō herself appears very little in any historical record, and there is not a lot of information on the dates of her birth or death; however, proposed dates for her birth fall in 1533–35. According to one historical record, Lady Nō was infertile, and when Nobunaga's concubine Lady Kitsuno gave birth to Oda Nobutada, the child was given to Lady Nō, Nobunaga's legal wife, to be raised as Nobunaga's heir.Okaji no Kata
Okaji no Kata (お梶の方) (December 7, 1578 – September 17, 1642) or Lady Okaji, was a concubine of Tokugawa Ieyasu. She came from a relatively unknown origin. She was maybe Ōta Yasusuke's adopted daughter. Her other names are Ohachi no Kata (お八の方) and Okatsu no Kata(お勝の方).Tadanobu Asano
Tadanobu Satō (佐藤 忠信, Satō Tadanobu, born November 27, 1973), better known by his stage name Tadanobu Asano (浅野 忠信, Asano Tadanobu), is a Japanese actor and musician.
He is known for his roles as Dragon Eye Morrison in Electric Dragon 80.000 V, Kakihara in Ichi the Killer, Mamoru Arita in Bright Future, Hattori Genosuke in Zatoichi, Kenji in Last Life in the Universe, A man in Survive Style 5+, Ayano in The Taste of Tea, Temujin in Mongol, Captain Yugi Nagata in Battleship, Lord Kira Yoshinaka in the 47 Ronin, and Hogun in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, based on the Marvel Comics character. In 2016, he appeared as the Interpreter in Martin Scorsese's Silence.Tokuhime (Oda)
Tokuhime (徳姫), also known as Gotokuhime (五徳姫) or Lady Toku (November 11, 1559 – February 16, 1636) was born the daughter of Japanese daimyō Oda Nobunaga and later married Matsudaira Nobuyasu, the first son of Tokugawa Ieyasu. She is also remembered as the person most responsible for the deaths of Nobuyasu and his mother, Ieyasu's wife, the Lady Tsukiyama.
|Countries and regions|
|Politics and economics|
|Science and technology|
Ethnic groups in Japan
|Post-classical – Modern|