FACTS & STATISTICS
During the 1500's, Japan was divided and at war with itself. Three leaders came along, the first being Oda Nobunaga, who is known for being merciless. He showed no mercy to his adversaries and, through this ruthless approach, helped end the wars and created a foundation for peace. Vying for control and assuming leadership after Nobunaga was Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who was known for his intelligence. He built social structure and earned respect as a true leader. Gaining control after Hideyoshi was Tokugawa Iyeyasu. He had waited almost four decades for his turn as Shogun and, through patience and perseverance, the rewards finally came.(Meyer)
For the next 200 years, Japan endured a period of isolation from foreign influence. After the 1854 Treaty of Kanagawa with the US, Japan opened its ports, beginning a period of industrialization and modernization. In the late 1800's and early 1900's, Japan became a regional military power, defeating the forces of both China and Russia.
Japan then occupied the smaller surrounding countries of Korea and Taiwan. Upon its occupation of Manchuria in 1931, Japan proceeded to launch a full scale invasion of China. Following its defeat in World War II, Japan recovered to become an economic power and ally of the US.
Japan's form of government is parliamentarian democracy under the rule of a constitutional monarch. The Prime Minister is the chief government officer although Japan's emperor continues to retain his throne as a symbol of national unity. However, the true governing power resides in its legislature, also known as the National Diet. The legislature consists of the House of Representatives and House of Councilors. The House of Representatives is responsible for passing bills and is considered the more powerful of the two branches. There are 480...