Japan is an collection of large and small islands, situated on the junction of four continental plates. This position makes the country susceptable to earthquakes and volcanoes. It is a modern East Asian country that has kept its older cultural aspects. Its economy was once the envy of the world but recent events have tarnished its reputation in some quarters. It has an elected body of government called the Diet and the Emperor Akihito suceeded his father, the former Emperor Hirohito whose reign called the Showa era, ended in 1989, ushering in the present Heisei era.
Japanese - influences from China
The most telling influence on Japanese culture is undisputeably the writing system. Along with it came the pronunciation and also the literature that was part and parcel of transmission of thought from China to its island neighbour. The chinese written language came to Japan via the Korean Peninsula from the second century AD onwards. Works of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism came to Japan along with the classical books of poetry. Even its kana syllabaries are derived from chinese characters.