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.
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Blogs from Niigata
Latest Blogs from Niigata
- September 13th 2013 A Comedy of Just in Time Travel In Japan from Osaka to Sado Island
by Words: 623 Photos: 5
- June 3rd 2013 day 2 on Sado-ga-shima and an island tour
by Words: 532 Photos: 7
- June 2nd 2013 hopping back to Niigata, then over to Sado Island
by Words: 1399 Photos: 14
- January 9th 2012 searching for funpow!
by Words: 195 Photos: 7
- May 5th 2011 Niigata and a ridiculous amount of travel
by Words: 546 Photos: 5
- January 31st 2009 Winter Survival: Making the Best of a Cold Situation
by Words: 1212 Photos: 31
- July 24th 2008 Fuji rock festival and recovery in Japan!
by Words: 1268 Photos: 48
- July 30th 2007 Fuji Rock Festival!
by Words: 342 Photos: 0
- July 10th 2007 Niigata Japan!
by Words: 169 Photos: 8
- August 1st 2006 Fuji Rock Festival: 4 days of camping, concerts, mud, and fun
by Words: 2158 Photos: 31
- July 27th 2006 Fuji Rock Festival Weekend & Update
by Words: 242 Photos: 0
- May 10th 2003 Niigata
by Words: 40 Photos: 1