33 Japan Facts That Reveal The Truth About Samurai, Geisha, And So Much More

Published May 17, 2018

Whether it's Godzilla's citizenship or the unexpected origins of geishas, these interesting facts about Japan shine a light on the "Land of the Rising Sun."

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33 Japan Facts That Reveal The Truth About Samurai, Geisha, And So Much More
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Like many other countries, Japan is a nation of fascinating contradictions. "The Land of the Rising Sun" is at once highly modernized and filled with ancient shrines and temples. It is a place of businessmen and Buddhist monks. It has enthusiastically embraced Westernization yet remained steeped in its unique national traditions.

In fact — as the interesting facts about Japan above show — this country seems to bring a singular perspective to every facet of its culture, religions, architecture, infrastructure, and on and on. From the way they stock their vending machines to the way they design their hotels to the way they behave at sporting events, there is no place quite like Japan.

From the first unification of Japan under one rule sometime around 250 A.D., the people of this archipelago developed their customs in relative isolation compared to much of the rest of the world, allowing their particular traditions to remain one-of-a-kind.

This relative isolation lasted through the country's feudal period of emperors and samurai all the way until 1854, when U.S. Navy Commodore Matthew Perry and his ships opened Japanese ports for trading.

Afterward, Japan quickly modernized enough to become a world power, one now interested in expansion, colonialism, and militarization. Soon, Japanese incursions into nearby lands like Korea and China marked the turbulent decades of the late 1800s and early 1900s.

All of this culminated in Japan's 1931 invasion of Manchuria, eventually leading to the Second Sino-Japanese War, which itself quickly became part of the larger conflict of World War II. Following their costly wartime defeat, Japan once again rapidly modernized and built an economy that ranked among the largest in the world.

Today, Japan continues to number among the most powerful nations on Earth — not to mention the most fascinating. See for yourself in the gallery of interesting facts about Japan above.

After this look at some of the most interesting facts about Japan, discover more about the country's World War II-era history with a look at the Nanking Massacre as well as a photo collection revealing the aftermath of the Hiroshima bombing.

Erin Kelly
An All That's Interesting writer since 2013, Erin Kelly focuses on historic places, natural wonders, environmental issues, and the world of science. Her work has also been featured in Smithsonian and she's designed several book covers in her career as a graphic artist.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
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Kelly, Erin. "33 Japan Facts That Reveal The Truth About Samurai, Geisha, And So Much More." AllThatsInteresting.com, May 17, 2018, https://allthatsinteresting.com/interesting-facts-about-japan. Accessed May 21, 2024.