Background: In 1603, a Tokugawa shogunate (military dictatorship) ushered in a long period of isolation from foreign influence in order to secure its power. For 250 years this policy enabled Japan to enjoy stability and a flowering of its indigenous culture. Following the Treaty of Kanagawa with the United States in 1854, Japan opened its ports and began to intensively modernize and industrialize. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Japan became a regional power that was able to defeat the forces of both China and Russia. It occupied Korea, Formosa (Taiwan), and southern Sakhalin Island. In 1933 Japan occupied Manchuria and in 1937 it launched a full-scale invasion of China. Japan attacked US forces in 1941 - triggering America's entry into World War II - and soon occupied much of East and Southeast Asia. After its defeat in World War II, Japan recovered to become an economic power and a staunch ally of the US. While the emperor retains his throne as a symbol of national unity, actual power rests in networks of powerful politicians, bureaucrats, and business executives. The economy experienced a major slowdown starting in the 1990s following three decades of unprecedented growth, but Japan still remains a major economic power, both in Asia and globally. In 2005, Japan began a two-year term as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.
Photos from Kumamoto
Blogs from Kumamoto
Latest Blogs from Kumamoto
- February 25th 2013 A bit of Kumamoto castle park
by Words: 14 Photos: 4
- February 8th 2013 Kyushu #1: Kumamoto
by Words: 1432 Photos: 30
- July 28th 2012 5 Days in Kyushu
by Words: 286 Photos: 2
- March 25th 2012 kumamoto and best gyoza ever
by Words: 290 Photos: 13
- March 23rd 2012 Buried Alive in Kyushu Province Japan
by Words: 1366 Photos: 48
- March 18th 2011 Photo Collection 15: Mt. Aso Tour in Kyusyu
by Words: 63 Photos: 5
- July 6th 2009 Less Than a Month
by Words: 1029 Photos: 12
- June 2nd 2009 2 Months
by Words: 1590 Photos: 0
- April 5th 2009 Hiroshima, Tokyo and the New Guys
by Words: 1489 Photos: 21
- February 8th 2009 Bored.
by Words: 912 Photos: 13
- January 14th 2009 Been a Long Time Comin'
by Words: 507 Photos: 12
- November 11th 2008 Lulz
by Words: 1022 Photos: 20
- October 24th 2008 Turning Japanese, we think we're turning Japanese, we really think so!!!
by Words: 1222 Photos: 101
- September 29th 2008 Oops.
by Words: 1329 Photos: 12
- September 29th 2008 Instant Gratification
by Words: 1035 Photos: 0
- September 12th 2008 Why I don't like Canada
by Words: 2366 Photos: 0
- August 7th 2008 Vacation in Japan!
by Words: 1595 Photos: 38
- March 20th 2008 Mt. Aso and Shinto Temple
by Words: 1179 Photos: 23
- January 30th 2008 Kumamoto Castle
by Words: 655 Photos: 22
- December 18th 2007 Konnichiha!
by Words: 579 Photos: 11