History Of Japan For Kids: Teach Your Kid About The Fascinating Place

Arpitha Rajendra
Mar 07, 2023 By Arpitha Rajendra
Originally Published on Nov 22, 2021
Japanese people come up with clever innovations

The Japanese language is spoken by almost 12 million people around the world.

Japan's economy was destroyed in World War II. However, the Japanese people were able to come up with clever innovations that have made the country the second-largest economy in the world.

The island country, Japan, on the east coast of Asia, is situated northwest of the Pacific Ocean. The sea of Japan borders this country, extending from the Sea of Okhotsk (north) through to Taiwan and the East China Sea (south).

The East Sea divides Japan from Russia, North Korea, and South Korea. The archipelago of Japan includes 6,852 islands. The largest city in Japan is its capital city: Tokyo.

Some major cities of Japan are Kobe, Kyoto, Fukuoka, Sapporo, and Nagoya. Japan extends up to 145,937 sq mi (377,975 sq km) and is a part of the Ring of Fire. Japan's main islands are Okinawa, Shikoku, Kyushu, Honshu, and Hokkaido.

It stands in 11th position as one of the most populous countries in the world. It is also well-urbanized and densely populated.

The Japanese population is 125.7 million people, with the Tokyo's population reaching around 14 million. The origins of human beings in Japan trace back to 30,000 BCE in the prehistoric era.

It was in the first century CE, that the first-ever reference to Japan was made in the Chinese Book of Han. The Japanese language uses Chinese characters called kanji in its writing system with two kana sets. They also use Arabic numerals and the Katin alphabet.

In the prehistoric era, bridges of dry land connected Korea and Siberia to the main islands of Japan, and people were able to cross on foot. The first Japanese society, or the Jomon period, came into existence around 12,000 years ago.

Around this time, Ainu people arrived from the Siberian region by boat. The Yayoi people moved to Honshu island from China and Korea in 300 BC. They were toolmakers, farmers, and skilled weavers who began rice cultivation in flooded paddy fields.

Yayoi period started the use of metal utensils. Jimmu Tenno came to power as the first emperor of Japan in 660 BC.

Military rulers, known as shoguns, took control in the 12th century AD. However, emperors came back to power in 1868 after overthrowing the military government.

Japan did not fight with the United States in World War II. However, Japan bombed the US navy fleet located in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The United States then entered World War II.

Military leaders of Japan fought against the United States between 1941-1945. The United States, in 1945, dropped atomic bombs on Japanese cities (Hiroshima and Nagasaki).

If you enjoy reading these facts about the history of Japan for kids, then make sure to read some more interesting facts about Japan's flag and Japan's education here at Kidadl.

Japan's Wildlife And Nature

Japan's wildlife and nature consist of fauna, like birds, mammals, mollusks, insects, fish, reptiles, and amphibians, more than 4,000 plant species, and natural habitats.

Japan grew to be one of the world's largest economies by 1990. The Ancient Shinto religion states that natural features, such as waterfalls, forests, and mountains, have their own souls.

As a result, many Japanese people have a deep affection for their landscapes.

Although most of the land is covered by countryside, wildlife still suffers due to 100 million humans living on this small land. Around 136 animals have now been listed as Endangered.

The waters around Japan are rich in sea life due to the mixing of warm and cold currents. Many species are endemic to Japanese land that are not found anywhere else in the world.

Japan is the home of around 130 land mammal species, and the largest are two types of bears. Ursus thibetanus, or the Asian black bear, occupies the mountain regions of Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu, and Ursus arctos, or the Ussuri brown bear, occupies Hokkaido, playing a vital cultural role in the life of Ainu people.

Small mammals of Japan include raccoon dogs, red foxes, and Japanese marten.

Two wild cats of Japan are the Iriomote cat of the Irioomote island and the leopard cat found in the Island of Tsushima. Other mammals include Japanese serow, Japanese macaque, wild boar, and sika deer.

There are more than 600 bird species, including the endemic green pheasant, copper pheasant, and Japanese woodpecker. Izu thrush, Bonin white-eye, and Okinawa rail are all birds found in smaller islands of Japan.

There are around 73 reptile species and more than 40 amphibian species. Venomous snakes include the Okinawa habu, elegant pit viper, Tokara habu, mamushi, and Hime habu.

Some non-venomous snakes are the Japanese forest rat snake, the beauty rat snake, and the king rat snake. One of the largest amphibians in the world, the Japanese giant salamander, is endemic to Japan. The water around Japan is also home to more than 3,000 types of fish species.

Japan's vital freshwater fish species are the common carp, ayu, and crucian carp. Japan has around 190 dragonflies and 300 butterfly species.

The vegetation varies from northern coniferous forests to southern subtropical forests. You will find ferns, cycads, and mangroves in the subtropical zone.

The Shikoku, south-western Honshu, and Kyushu region's warm temperate climates are home to broad-leaf evergreen forest with a lot of oaks. Mount Fuji is on Honshu island, and it is the highest mountain of Japan and the second highest volcano found on an island all around Asia. Mount Fuji is also the world's seventh-highest peak on an island.

Japanese Traditions For Kids

Japanese traditions and interests for kids include sudoku, origami, pokemon, sushi, anime, manga, geisha, samurai, karate, ikebana, tea ceremony, and omiyage.

Japan is also called Nihon or Nippon. Nihon is usually used every day, and it reflects the change in Japanese phonology in the Edo period. There are several Japanese traditions that your kid may enjoy.

Some of you might have come across the word origami. It is a traditional method of folding paper. The word is the combination of the Japanese terms 'ori', meaning to fold, and 'gami', meaning paper.

Origami paper cranes are the best-known creations. Although origami has its origins in China, Japan developed origami into an art form. Origami designers in Japan make use of a thicker paper called washi that is made of bark or wood.

Many people around the world are aware of the number puzzle called sudoku. This puzzle was already played in France. It was first published in 1984 in Japan. Sudoku is a Japanese term which means 'numbers must remain single'.

Flower arranging is considered an art form. The term for this art in Japanese is 'Ikebana'.

Flower stems, leafy greens, branches, mosses, blossoms, and flower heads are used to make an art piece. The first school of flower arranging was developed in the seventh century. The term ikebana includes 'ikeru', meaning to arrange flowers and be alive, and 'hana', meaning flower.

We all know the famous martial art, karate, that has spread throughout the world since the '20s. This art form was brought to Japan by Chinese visitors. The white, loose-fitting karate uniform is called 'karategi'. The term karate means China hand or empty hand, and 'te' in Japanese means hand.

Like sushi, pokemon is a part of Japanese culture. It has been famous since the late 20th century. There are several toys, video games, trading cards, and movies that display over 800 pokemon characters. This Japanese term means pocket monster.

Giving souvenirs is also a tradition in Japan. When someone returns to Japan, they may get gifts for their friends, teachers, and colleagues. These gift boxes are wrapped in what is called an omiyage. The direct translation of 'omiyage' is a souvenir. People usually give local delicacies, chocolates, cookies, and sweets.

Japan's economy was destroyed in World War II

Japanese Food

Japanese cuisine includes udon, tofu, sushi, yakitori, tempura, ramen, sashimi, natto, donburi, curry rice, onigiri, and wagashi.

The traditional Japanese diet consists of well-balanced seasonal foods that are minimally processed and are served in several small dishes. This way, a dish's natural flavors are emphasized rather than adding flavors through seasonings and sauces.

When you think of Japanese cuisine, sushi may be what pops into your head. After the Meiji restoration, sushi was the first dish that was exported to the United States in 1868.

Sushi's popularity has only increased. The term 'sushi' can be used to describe any kind of dish made using Japanese rice seasoned with rice vinegar. Varieties of sushi are nigiri sushi, makizushi, and inarizushi.

The vegan alternatives of tofu and silken tofu are traditional foods in Japan. Tofu is coagulated soy milk, and this curd is pressed into blocks.

The noodle soup dish, called ramen, is famous all around Japan. It has wheat noodles in a savory broth with toppings like vegetables, meat, and protein. Did you know that there is a ramen-themed amusement park and museum in Tokyo?

Sashimi is raw meat or fish that has been cut into very thin slices, usually served with soy sauce, pickled ginger, daikon radish, and wasabi. This dish is not similar to sushi, as the main ingredient of Sashimi is raw fish.

The fish must be fresh to avoid contamination and for better taste. The original portable dish of Japan is onigiri rice balls.

It is also called nigirimeshi and omusubi. This dish has Japanese rice with center filling and is shaped into a cylindrical or triangular shape and then wrapped in nori seaweed. Curry rice in Japanese, called 'kare raisu' or 'kare', is a yoshoku food that was first introduced by the British in Japan in the Meiji era (1868-1912).

This rice curry differs from Indian versions, and it is sweeter and thicker. It is usually cooked as a stew.

Miso soup is made of dashi broth and miso paste. This is a side dish served with any meal and at any time. Toppings used are firm tofu, wakame seaweed, and green onions. Natto is made from fermented soybeans in a bacteria that is produced by the gastrointestinal tract of humans.

Japan's People And Culture

The Japanese Emperor is Naruhito, and the Prime Minister is Fumio Kishida. Japan's government is a constitutional monarchy. Japan's culture lies in its religion, sports, theater, music, dance, arts, literature, traditional clothes, and pop culture.

Japanese people have a close relationship with other people of East Asia. Also, many Japanese people have a similar cultural and ethnic background. Although Japanese people are still traditional, they are diversifying and changing constantly.

The three important values taught by many are self-development, order, and harmony. Children are taught about how associating with others provides fulfillment. Although emperors have no power in the country, they represent the country's traditions.

The oldest dish in Japanese cuisine is the Washoku dish. The authentic form of this food is known as Kaiseki and has one main dish, one soup dish, with two side dishes. The modern Washoku is quite different.

Early developments of painting in Japan in the 14th century were influenced by the Chinese. However, after Japan separated from other countries, a unique painting style developed in the 17th century. The painting style was naturalistic and abstract.

Bon Odori is a traditional Japanese dance style that is performed at festivals during summer. Dancers wear kimonos and dance at the Bon festival to commemorate their ancestors. Another traditional dance form of Japan is Nihan Buyo.

People wear kimonos (traditional clothing) and dance using Japanese ropes and fans. One of the traditional dance dramas of Japan is Kabuki, where people tell stories about the Japanese lifestyle, history, and society. Sumo is also a popular Japanese sport.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestion for 'The history of Japan for kids', then why not take a look at 'Japanese children's games' or 'Japanese art facts'?

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Written by Arpitha Rajendra

Bachelor of Engineering specializing in Aeronautical/Aerospace Technology, Master of Business Administration specializing in Management

Arpitha Rajendra picture

Arpitha RajendraBachelor of Engineering specializing in Aeronautical/Aerospace Technology, Master of Business Administration specializing in Management

With a background in Aeronautical Engineering and practical experience in various technical areas, Arpitha is a valuable member of the Kidadl content writing team. She did her Bachelor's degree in Engineering, specializing in Aeronautical Engineering, at Nitte Meenakshi Institute of Technology in 2020. Arpitha has honed her skills through her work with leading companies in Bangalore, where she contributed to several noteworthy projects, including the development of high-performance aircraft using morphing technology and the analysis of crack propagation using Abaqus XFEM.

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