Geography & History
An Overview for China, Hong Kong
& Japan
Ajay Karippot
Peter Fisher
Suneet Bhatt
March 29, 2005
GATE – East Asia
Brief Introduction to East Asia
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This area includes
Korean Peninsula, China
mainland, Japan and
islands in the Pacific
Ocean.
Most populous region in
the world. (more than
1/5th of the world
population)
Has a history of more
than 5000 years.
Wide range of climatic
and geographical regions
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Subarctic in the north
Tropical in the south
Mountains and deserts
in west
hills, plains and river
deltas in east
Fun fact

What do you find common in the following
items?
Paper
 Gun Powder
 Compass
 Printing

Ans: MADE IN CHINA 
China
China
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Location: Eastern Asia, bordering the East China Sea, Korea Bay, Yellow
Sea, and South China Sea, between North Korea and Vietnam
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Land Area: 9.6 million square kilometers. (slightly smaller than the US )
Population: 1.3 Billion
Border countries: Russia and North Korea to the east; Russia and Mongolia
to the north; Russia and Afghanistan to the west; and Pakistan, India, Nepal,
Bhutan, Burma, Laos, and Vietnam to the south.
Currency: Yuan
Capital : Beijing Largest City: Shanghai
Language: Standard Chinese or Mandarin, Cantonese, Shanghaiese, Minbei,
Minnan, Xiang, Gan, minority languages
2004 chief of state: President HU Jintao (since 15 March 2003)
International dialing code - 86
http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ch.html
History: Ancient China
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Pre-Historic period
Xia C.21st-16th century B.C.
Shang C.16th-11th century B.C.
Western Zhou Dynasty C.11th century B.C.-770
B.C.
Eastern Zhou (Spring and Autumn and Warring
States periods) 770-221 B.C
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Confucius, a scholar, lived at this time. He developed
one of the Chinese religions known as Confucianism.
http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ch.html ,http://www.kidcyber.com.au/topics/chinahist.htm
History: Imperial China
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Qin Dynasty 221-207 B.C.
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Han Dynasty 206 B.C.-A.D. 220
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Building the Great Wall is started
After the Han dynasties, China has a period of great
instability. Terrible wars rage between different groups of
Chinese.
Three Kingdoms (Wei, Shu and Wu) 220-265
Jin Dynasty 265-420
Southern and Northern Dynasty 420-589
Sui Dynasty 581-618
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The Grand Canal is built. This 1800 kilometre waterway
linked many parts of China enabling people to travel and
trade with each other.
http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ch.html ,http://www.kidcyber.com.au/topics/chinahist.htm
History: Imperial China
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Tang Dynasty 618-907
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Greater contact is made with other countries and
China begins to trade with India, Malaysia, Japan.
Buddhism is introduced from India.
Five Dynasties 907-960
Song Dynasty 960-1279
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Marco Polo visits China and sees prosperous cities,
many more grand than the cities of Europe.
Mongol, Genghis Khan invades China, breaking
through the Great Wall. The Yuan dynasty
established by his grandson rules the Chinese.
http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ch.html ,http://www.kidcyber.com.au/topics/chinahist.htm
History: Imperial China
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Yuan Dynasty 1271-1368
Ming Dynasty 1368-1644
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Portuguese, Dutch, British and Spanish begin to trade with
China. Silk and tea are exported, wool and spices are imported.
In 1840 the Chinese fought a war against the British and lost.
France, Japan and Russia took control of Chinese lands. Hong
Kong island becomes British land.
Qing (say ching) Dynasty 1644-1911
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The last emperor of China was 2 year old Emperor Puyi.
The Qing dynasty was overthrown by a new leader, Sun Yat Sen,
who declared China to be a republic.
http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ch.html ,http://www.kidcyber.com.au/topics/chinahist.htm
History: Modern China
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Republic of China 1912-1949
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1937 – Second world war
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A civil war was fought for many years between the nationalists who
wanted to keep the republic and the communists.
The nationalist and the communist Chinese fight together during the war.
But later they start fighting each other again. The communists, led by
Mao Tse-Tung defeat the nationalists and set up a communist
government.
People's Republic of China 1949
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1978 Start of Chinese economic reforms
1997 Hong Kong becomes part of China again
Jiang Zemin retires from his post as Chairman of the Central Military
Commission. President HU Jintao is appointed.
2008 Beijing to hold the 2008 Summer Olympics
http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ch.html ,http://www.kidcyber.com.au/topics/chinahist.htm
Geography
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Geography: world's fourth largest country
(after Russia, Canada, and US); Mount Everest
on the border with Nepal is the world's tallest
peak;
 Climate: extremely diverse; tropical in south
to subarctic in north
 Terrain: mostly mountains, high plateaus,
deserts in west; plains, deltas, and hills in east
 Major Rivers: Huang He , Chang Jiang, Xi
Jiang, Mekong
Source: http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ch.html
Geography: Different regions
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The North China Plain (Beijing)
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The Loess Plateau
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winters are harsh
The Sichuan Basin
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Area subject to the extreme heat and frequent droughts
of summer or floods of spring.
climate generally is mild
The Southeast Coast and Shanghai
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area of the most active economic growth and
development in China.
Source: http://www.aasianst.org/EAA/mccoll.htm
Geography: Different regions
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The Yangzi (Changjiang Valley)
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Xinjiang
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Winters are damp and cold.
Tibet and Qinghai
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landscape of deserts, mountains, and oases
Northeast (Manchuria)
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Mountains and excessive wet lands
the Tibetan and Qinghai plateaus are extremely high in elevation (an
average of 4,000 meters (14,000 feet).
Southwest Uplands
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landscape of dissected plateaus, dense forests, and great ethnic
diversity
Source: http://www.aasianst.org/EAA/mccoll.htm
Hong Kong
“Fragrant Harbor”
Or
“Xianggang”
Hong Kong
Hong Kong
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“In fact, one of the most striking characteristics of
Hong Kong is this interweaving of seeming
contradictions and the interplay of the exotic and the
technically advanced. There are as many skyscrapers
here as you're likely to see anywhere, but they're built
with bamboo scaffolding. In addition to historic trams,
Hong Kong boasts one of the most efficient subways
in the world, complete with the world's first
"contactless" tickets, cards that are waved over a
scanner. The city has what are arguably some of the
best and most sophisticated restaurants in the world, as
well as a plethora of dai pai dong, street-side food stalls.”
Geography
History: Early
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Early
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Human activity dates back over 5 millennia
Bronze Age during the Shang Dynasty
History: Imperial China
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Has been settled by Han Chinese since the Han
Dynasty (Eastern Han Dynasty)
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History during some other dynasties lacks documentation
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Guangzhou flourished during the Tang Dynasty
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Three Kingdoms
Southern
Northern
Five Dynasties
10 Kingdoms
No significant residence until major migrations from
mainland China to Hong Kong during the Song Dynasty
(960-1279)
History: Imperial China (continued)
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1276 Southern Song Dynasty fled Mongol invaders
Two princes tried to lead a resistance effort
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1279 defeat of the Song army at the Battle of Yamen
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High official took Zhao Bing in his arms, and jumped into the sea
Tung Chung Valley
Hau Wong, who gave up his life for the emperor, still revered as a god
Mongolian conquest pushed more Han Chinese refugees into the
area
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Zhao Shi (9) and Zhao Bing (7)
Sought refuge in Silvermine Bay (Mui Wo) and then Kowloon City (Sung
Wong Toi)
Area was still barren, relying on salt, pearl and fishery trades
Remained a forgotten corner of the Qing Dynasty until 1841
History: The British
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The Opium Addiction
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British and Chinese had been trading since the 16th century
European demand for tea and silk grew causing a trade
imbalance
1773 British unloaded 70,000kgs (155,000lbs) of Bengal
opium in China
Emperor banned opium as he saw an increasing number of
addicts and a decrease in silver
Europeans found corrupt Chinese officials to keep the opium
trade going strong
1839, British traders were forced to hand over opium supplies
which were then publicly burned
History: The British
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The Opium War
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British responded by sending an expeditionary force to secure
new trade rules, standards and regulations
The force blockaded several ports, including Canton
China forced to cede Hong Kong island
Commodore Gordon Bremmer claimed the island on January
26, 1841
China invaded by Franco-British forces in 1859 and ceded
Kowloon Peninsula and Stonecutter’s Island
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British later acquired a 99-year lease on the New Territories (which
carried through 1997)
The 20th Century
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Chinese civil war (1920s) and Japanese invasion (1930s) hastened
shift away from trade to manufacturing
Japanese imperialism dominated HK for almost four years
(1941-1945)
US embargo on Chinese goods during the Korean War forced
HK to increase its manufacturing and increase its service
industry
Communism in China (1949) and the Cultural Revolution
(1960s) threatened HK’s independence from China
Communist takeover of China forced emigration of Chinese to
Hong Kong
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Skilled labor; capital; firms and businesses
Hong Kong then brought down the Labour movement (negative views of
communism)
1974 – Independent Commission Against Corruption
Transition: The Paradox
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December 1984, British agreed to hand over HK to China 1997
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July 1, 1997 Hong Kong was handed over to the People’s
Republic of China
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Tung Chee Hwa became the Chief Executive
Resigned on March 12, 2005 (elections on July 10)
Politically:
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Agreement allows HK to retain its pre-1997 social, economic and legal
systems for at least 50 years after 1997
Basic Law - “One country, two systems” (April 4, 1990)
Operated under Article 23 (anti-secession)
Lack a strong system of checks and balances
Economically:
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Rocked by Asian Financial Crisis
Responding well
Geography: Context
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Hong Kong has four main areas
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New Territories & Kowloon
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Hong Kong Island
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Southern side of Victoria Harbour facing Kowloon
Outlying Islands
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Peninsula of the Chinese mainland
Northern side of Victoria Harbour
Any of the other 234 islands
City
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Centred around Victoria Harbour
Geography
Geography
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Composition: 235 islands (6x the size of DC)
Land boundaries: 30 km (China, Shenzhen Special
Economic Zone)
Coastline: 733 km
Total Sea Area: 1,652.21 sq. km
Terrain: Lowlands in the north; Hilly to mountainous
with steep slopes
Elevation Estremes:
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Lowest Point: South China Sea (0 m)
Highest Point: Tai Mo Shan (958 m, New Territories)
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Other Principal Peaks
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Lantau Peak (934 m, Lantau Island)
Sunset Peak (869 m, Lantau Island)
Geography
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Climate
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Subtropical (South of the Tropic of Cancer) = Hawaii
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Winter – Strong and cold winds from the north
Summer – Wind reverses, warm/humid air from the south
May – End of ‘rainy season’
Land
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1,076 square miles
75% open countrysides
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2600 vascular plants
450 species of birds
200 species of butterflies/100 species of dragonflies
40 species of mammals
80 species of reptiles/20 species of amphibians
End of May, some pretty quirky MBA Students from Fuqua
Ecosystems
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Mangroves – Habitats of enclosed intertidal mud flats with
reduced wave action and influx of freshwater
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Deep Bay
Rocky Shores – Transition from terrestrial to a marine
environment.
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Day/High Tide – Covered; Night/Low Tide - Exposed
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Streams – lotic habitats
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Luk Keng
Kei Ling Ha Lo Wai
Wa Mei Shan
Lam Tsuen River
Sandy Shores
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Exposed vs. Protected
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Starfish Bay
Japan
Daigoji Temple (Kyoto)
Japan - Overview
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Population: 127.3 million
Size: 377,835 sq. km. (roughly the size of Italy or California)
Government: constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary
government
Capital: Tokyo
Currency: Yen
Religion: Shinto and Buddhist 84%
Japan - History
History – Early Japan
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During the Jomon Period (13000 BC to 300BC), inhabitants of
Japan were primarily hunters and gatherers
Agriculture (in particular rice as a crop) was introduced around
100BC, allowing for the development of social classes and
landowners
Around 400AD, the country was united under an emperor as
Yamato Japan
Good relations with Kudhara kingdom (Korean peninsula), lead
to increased influence from the mainland
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Buddhism was introduced circa 550AD and promoted by the ruling class
Confucianism, Taoism, and the Chinese writing system were all
introduced to Japan during this same period
History – Nara and Heian Periods (710 - 1185)
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In the year 710, the first capital was
established in Nara
In 794, the capital was moved to Heian
(Kyoto), where it would remain for 1000
years
This era represented a gradual decline in
mainland influence and growth of a more
pure Japanese culture
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Development of Kana symbols in 9th century
allowed for the creation of Japanese literature
Several distinct Buddhist sects emerged at this
time as well
Kana Symbols
History – Emergence of Military Power
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Due to a “death spiral” created by land and taxation reforms,
power gradually shifted from central government to wealthy land
owners
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As public order became difficult to control, land owners hired Samurai
for protection – thus beginning to raise the importance of military might
in Japan
A number of wars emerged between various clans and militant
Buddhist monasteries seeking to establish ruling power
Japan was essentially ruled by the Shoguns, the highest military
officer, until their power declined in the 15th and 16th centuries
Once again, wealthy land-owning families began to dominate by
becoming military families (ji-samurai) and warlords
History – Edo Period (1603 - 1867)
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Tokugawa Ieyasu was appointed Shogun by the
emperor in 1603 and established his government
in Edo (modern day Tokyo)
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Ieyasu brought all of Japan under his control, and
with the elimination of his major rivals, peace
prevailed during the Edo period
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Samurai focused on educating themselves in martial
arts, literature, and philosophy
The Tokugawa government lasted nearly 250
years unopposed
Tokugawa Ieyasu
History – Edo Period (cont.)
Shogun Iemitsu
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In 1633, Shogun Iemitsu established a
strict isolationist policy, forbidding travel
abroad and nearly completely restricting
foreign trade
External pressures grew in the 18th century
as Russia sought to expand trade with
Japan
In the 19th century, Europeans and
Americans also sought to establish trade
In 1853 and 1854, Commodore Perry
forced the Tokugawa government to open
trade for a limited number of ports
Commodore Perry
History – Edo Period (cont.)
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Despite isolationism, Japanese culture flourished during this time
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Over time, various factors began to impact the effectiveness of
the Tokugawa government
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New art forms emerged (kabuki, ukiyo-e)
Decline in government financial situation
Regular natural disasters
Collapse of social hierarchy (merchant class increases relative power
compared with military)
In 1868, the reign of the Tokugawa government came to an end
as Emperor Meiji was restored to power
With the restoration of the emperor, the capital was moved from
Kyoto to Tokyo
History – Meiji Period (1868 - 1912)
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The new regime sought to make Japan a respected
world power and close the gap with Western nations
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Establishment of a democratic state gradually brought down
the social classes in place for centuries (decline of the samurai)
Feudal lords returned all lands to the emperor (creation of
prefectures in 1870)
Creation of human rights, including religious freedom in 1873
National conscription for military was created, and the
Japanese army and navy were modeled after the Prussian and
British military
Japanese scholars were sent to study Western science and
technology to stimulate Japan’s industrialization
The education system was remodeled to mimic the French and
German systems
Emperor Meiji
History – Meiji Period (cont.)
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The first European style constitution was created in 1889
A parliament, the Diet, was established, though the emperor kept
sovereign rule
Victories in the Sino-Japanese (1894-1895) and Russo-Japanese
wars (1904-1905) built international respect for Japan and
fostered nationalism among the Japanese population
History – Early 20th Century (1912 - 1945)
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Japan joined the allied forces in WW1, but played only a minor
role in the war
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Tension between Japan and the Western powers increased as the League
of Nations rejected Japan’s “racial equality clause” proposal at the Paris
Peace Conference in 1919
In 1933, Japan withdrew from the League of Nations due to
increased perceived racism and for criticism over military actions
in China
In 1940, Japan allied with the Axis powers (Germany and Italy)
which then led to an oil boycott from USA and Great Britain
Deteriorating relations eventually led Japan to declare war on the
US and Britain
History – World War II
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In December 1941, Japan attacked US forces at Pearl Harbor
In June 1942, Allied forces defeated the Japanese at the Battle of
Midway, the turning point of the war in the Pacific
On July 27th, 1945 in the Postdam Declaration, the US
demanded an unconditional surrender, but no surrender was
given
On August 6th and 9th of the same year, the US dropped atomic
bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
On August 14th, Emperor Showa finally offered unconditional
surrender
History – Postwar Period (1945 - )
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Japan was devastated following the war
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A new constitution went into effect in 1947
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All major cities, industries, and transportation were damaged
A severe food shortage existed for several years
Japan was occupied from 1945 – 1952
The emperor lost all official power and became a symbol of the state
Universal suffrage and human rights were guaranteed
Reconstruction following the war and aid from the allied powers
helped to rebuild Japan into an international power
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In addition, the oil crisis of 1973 caused Japan to make a conscious shift
to high technology industries
Japan - Geography
Geography
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Japan’s islands lie between
45˚ and 32˚ north
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The Sea of Japan separates
the Asian continent from
the Japanese archipelago
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Japan’s closest neighbors are
Korea, Russia and China
Geography
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Japan consists of several
thousand islands. The four
largest are
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Honshu (largest, “mainland”)
Hokkaido
Kyushu
Shikoku
Japan is officially divided into
8 regions and 47 prefectures
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Kanto (Tokyo)
Kinki (Kyoto)
Geography – Climate
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Due to Japan’s long north-south range, its climate ranges from
tropical in the south to cool, temperate in the north
Japan’s climate is moderated by the sea
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Milder winters than places of equal latitude on the mainland
Far more precipitation
Avg. Minimum Temp in Avg. Maximum Temp. in
May (˚C / ˚F)
May (˚C / ˚F)
Tokyo
12 / 54
22 / 72
Kyoto
13 / 56
24 / 75
Geography –Terrain
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Japan’s terrain is mostly rugged and mountainous
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Japan is located where several continental & oceanic plates meet
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Mountains cover 2/3 of Japan’s land mass
Limiting to both transportation and agriculture
Roughly 12% of Japan’s total land is arable
Active and extinct volcanoes in Japan
Hot springs
Active earthquake region (1500 seismic occurrences a year)
Japan’s highest mountain, Mt. Fuji (3,776m/12,388ft), can be
seen from Tokyo on clear days
Resources
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The World FactBook
Japan-guide.com
Infoplease.com
Google Images
BBC World Weather
Weather.com
University of Alabama Maps
Useful links
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(www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook)
(www.japan-guide.com)
(www.infoplease.com)
(www.google.com)
(www.bbc.co.uk/weather)
(www.weather.com)
(http://alabamamaps.ua.edu/world/asia/)
http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ch.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_Chinese_history
http://www.kidcyber.com.au/topics/chinahist.htm
http://www.aasianst.org/EAA/mccoll.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_Chinese_history
http://www.answers.com/topic/people-s-republic-of-china&method=6
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