#4 Japan

Kyoto North of Saipan, Japan consists of four major Islands, the largest being Honshu where the capital Tokyo is located. Three-quarters of the country is mountainous, concentrating its population of 126 million near the coast. Japan has been inhabited since the 30,000 BCE. Beginning in the 12th century, political power was held by the Shogun and feudal lords, and enforced by Samurai warriors. Japan had little contact with western countries until the middle of the 19th century.

Traditional Art, Music, Theater, and Architecture.

Woodblock-prints have been a typical form of art in Japan since the 17th century.

'The Great Wave' by Hokusai, c.1830 Many of the traditional musical instruments, such as the plucked-string Koto, were introduced in the 9th and 10th centuries. Traditional music is based on a scale of 12 notes, 7 notes, or a 5 note pentatonic scale - the same as the black notes on a piano. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDTp_YQizqE


Noh Theater is another ancient form of entertainment. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o--VbWf6M0c The traditional buildings in Japan are wooden, using complex joints to form the structure - temples in the ancient city of Kyoto, and Himeji castle are impressive examples.

Himeji Castle Ancient and modern Japan meet in the city of Osaka:

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