A black enamel or lacquer used to produce a durable glossy finish.
An object decorated with this substance.
transitive verbja·panned, ja·pan·ning, ja·pans
To decorate with a black enamel or lacquer.
To coat with a glossy finish.
Origin: After Japan.
A country of Asia on an archipelago off the northeast coast of the mainland. Traditionally settled c. 660 B.C., Japan's written history began in the 5th century A.D. During the feudal period (12th-19th century) real power was held by the shoguns, whose dominance was finally ended by the restoration of the emperor Mutsuhito in 1868. Feudalism was abolished, and the country was opened to Western trade and industrial technology. Expansionist policies led to Japan's participation in World War II, which ended after atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki (August 1945). Today the country is highly industrialized and noted for its advanced technology. Tokyo is the capital and the largest city. Population: 127,000,000.
Word History: Stamp collectors know that Nihon and Nippon on Japanese stamps mean “Japan”; what they probably don't know is that Nihon, Nippon, and Japan are all ultimately the same word. In the early part of the Chinese Tang dynasty—in A.D. 670, to be precise—Japanese scholars who had studied Chinese created a new name for their country using the Chinese phrase for “origin of the sun, sunrise,” because Japan is located east of China. In the Chinese of the time (called Middle Chinese), the phrase was nzyet-pwun. To this the scholars added the Chinese suffix -kwuk, “country,” yielding a compound nzyet-pwun-kwuk, “sun-origin-country, land of the rising sun.” The consonant clusters in the word were not pronounceable in Old Japanese, so the form was simplified to Nip-pon-gu or *Ni-pon-gu, the latter developing by regular sound change to Ni-hon-gu. The forms Nippon and Nihon of today are the same as these, minus the “country” suffix. Interestingly, the Chinese themselves took to calling Japan by the name that the Japanese had invented, and it is from the Chinese version of the name that English Japan is ultimately derived. In Mandarin Chinese, one of the forms of Chinese to develop from Middle Chinese, the phrase evolved to Rìběnguó, an early form of which was recorded by Marco Polo as Chipangu, which he would have pronounced as (chĭ-pän-go͞o) or (shĭ-pän-go͞o). The early Mandarin word was borrowed into Malay as Japang, which was encountered by Portuguese traders in Moluccas in the 16th century. These traders may have been the ones to bring the word to Europe; it is first recorded in English in 1577, spelled Giapan.
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, Sea of or East Sea
An enclosed arm of the western Pacific Ocean between Japan and the Asian mainland. Several straits connect it with the East China Sea, the Pacific Ocean, and the Sea of Okhotsk.
Japanism1. devotion to or preference for the customs, policies, language, or culture of Japan.
2. anything peculiar to or characteristic of Japan or its people.
a style of art, idiom, custom, mannerism, etc., typical of the Japanese.
Island nation in the northwest Pacific Ocean off the coast of east Asia, separated by the Sea of Japan from Russian Siberia, China, and Korea. The Japanese archipelago includes four major islands (Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu, and Shikoku) as well as many smaller islands. Its capital and largest city is Tokyo.
Called the “Land of the Rising Sun,” Japan is symbolized by a red sun on a white background.
Another symbol (see also symbol) of Japan is Fujiyama, also called Mount Fuji, a volcano whose symmetrical snow-capped peak has been the object of countless pilgrimages, poems, and paintings. It has not erupted since 1707.
Imperial Japan was organized on a feudal system (seefeudalism), characterized by the samurai (the warrior class, which eventually became landed gentry) and the shogun (the hereditary administrative leader). The emperor, believed to be divine, was the ceremonial leader. Japan is a constitutional monarchy today.
Japan's ports were first opened to Western traders in the sixteenth century but were closed in the seventeenth century. Japan remained in virtual isolation until the 1850s, when an American naval officer, Matthew C. Perry, persuaded the government to reopen trade with the West.
Suffering from overcrowding, lack of natural resources, and the influence of powerful military factions, Japan pursued an aggressive policy of expansion in China during the 1930s, ultimately resulting in a military alliance with Germany and Italy to form the Axis powers in World War II. (See alsoHiroshima (see also Hiroshima), Pearl Harbor, and Douglas MacArthur.)
Although a world leader in shipbuilding, electronics, and automobile manufacture, Japan's economy suffered a severe slump during the 1990s.