Facts for Kids- Japan
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Japan

The people of Japan call their country "Nippon", which means "the land of the rising sun". You can see the rising sun in the middle of their flag.

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Japan's People
Most Japanese people today wear western style clothes. But during holidays, festivals, and at other special times, they may wear traditional robes called kimonos. The patterns on kimonos change with the seasons to reflect the seasonal changes in nature.

The Japanese have strong family ties and deep respect for authority. In Japan, it is polite to greet one another by bowing.

Japanese students study calligraphy to learn the art of handwriting.  Children go to school in Japan Monday through Friday, plus a half day on Saturday. They only have one month off from school, during the school year, from the middle of July to the middle of August.   Because school is so difficult and competitive in Japan, many children go to juku, which is a school held in the evening that helps students keep up with their regular school work.

Japan's Homes
Japan is a very crowded country. Almost 75% of the population live in cities and towns.   People live in homes and apartments.  Most homes are made of wood and are decorated very simply. 

The Geisha were once an important part of Japanese social life.  Now in modern Japan, there are few geishas that practice this ancient art.  The geisha was trained in the traditional Japanese arts of music, poetry, calligraphy and tea ceremony.  They were expert hostesses that entertained with their beauty and charm.

Japan's Culture
Japanese culture has made many important contributions. Ikebana is the art of flower arranging, bonsai is the cultivation of miniature trees and origami is the art of paper folding. Haiku is a type of Japanese poetry.

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Japanese people catch and eat more fish than any other country in the world.  Fishing is a profitable occupation for many.

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Japan's Food
Rice is an important crop in Japan. Farmers grow crops on terraced fields since the land is so mountainous.

Rice is served at almost every meal in Japan. Another staple is fish, which is the main source of protein. A popular dish is sushi, which is rice and raw fish wrapped in sea weed.

Japan's Sports
Most Japanese people love to play and watch sports.  Baseball is one of the most popular sports.  Sumo wrestling and golf are also enjoyed. 

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Japan's Holidays and Celebrations 
Children's Day in Japan is held on May 5th.  It is a time for families to celebrate the joy of a child.  Children's Day is a tradition that has been celebrated since ancient times.  May 5th was traditionally a boy's holiday known as Tango no Sekku.   On this day, boys would fly carp-shaped flags and streamers, called koinobori.    Boys would also display dolls of famous warriors inside the home.   Girls also have their own holiday on March 3rd, called Hina Matsuri, or the Doll Festival.  The family flies one carp flag for each son.  The oldest son gets the largest flag and the youngest gets the smallest.  There is also a black carp flag for the father and a red carp flag for the mother.

The Cherry Blossom Festival, or Hanami, is a time for celebration in the Spring.   People gather in parks to view the cherry blossoms (called sakura).

Japan's Land
Tokyo is Japan's capital city.  It is a very busy and crowded city with many shops and restaurants.  It is a cultural center that has museums, temples, and parks.   The Imperial Palace is found in the middle of central Tokyo.

Mt. Fuji is Japan's highest mountain.  It is 12,387 feet high and located on Honshu Island near Tokyo.  Mt. Fuji is a dormant (not active) volcano and is a popular tourist attraction.
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Japan's Facts:
Area:
145,874 sq mi.

Capital City: Tokyo
Population: 126 million
Main Language: Japanese
Currency: Yen

Industries: electronics, cars, office machinery, steel, processed foods, and textiles

References:
Japan Guide,  http://www.lex5.k12.sc.us/ces/Japanmn.htm
Kids Window on Japan, http://www.jwindow.net/KIDS/
Kids Web Japan, http://www.jinjapan.org/kidsweb/
World Surfari- Japan,  http://www.supersurf.com/japan/
Kid's Life in Chichibu,  http://www.kumagaya.or.jp/~akihiroh
Lonely Planet, http://www.lonelyplanet.com
All images from Microsoft Office Clip Art and Gallery licensed through Microsoft Front Page and Microsoft.
Map images from Lonely Planet, http://www.lonelyplanet.com

Graham, Leland and Brandon, Traci.  A Trip Around the World.   North Carolina: Carson-Dellosa Publishing Company,  1996.
Graham, Leland and Brandon, Traci.  Another Trip Around the World.   North Carolina: Carson-Dellosa Publishing Company,  1996.
Adams, Ganeri, and Kay.  The DK Geography of the World.  New York: DK Publishing,  1996.

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