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The Nuttall Encyclopedia
An island empire of the N. Pacific, lying along the E. coast of Asia, and separated from Corea and Primorsk by the Sea of Japan, consists of Honshiu (31,000), Shikoku (3,000), Kyushu (6,000), Yezo, and 4000 small islands; though not of volcanic origin, the islands are the most mountainous in the world, have many volcanoes and sulphur springs, and are subject to earthquakes; they are very picturesque, and have peaks from 8000 to 12,000 ft. high; the rivers are too swift for navigation; the coast, not much indented, has yet some good harbours; the valleys are well wooded, but the soil not very fertile; temperature and climate are various; nowhere is the heat intense, but in some parts the winter is very cold; there is much rain, but on the whole it is healthy; the chief industry is agriculture; farming is careful and intelligent; rice, cereals, pulse, tea, cotton, and tobacco are raised, and many fruits; gold, silver, all the useful metals, coal, granite, some decorative stones are found, but good building-stone is scarce; the manufacture of porcelain, lacquer-work, and silk is extensive, and in some artistic work the Japanese are unrivalled; the chief ports are Yokohama, on the E. of Honshiu, which has grown up since 1854, when the country was opened to trade; and Hyogo, on the S. coast of the same island, where are also shipbuilding yards; the chief exports are tea, silk, and rice; imports cotton, woollen, iron goods, and chemicals; the Japanese, sprung from an ancient union of Tartars with Ainos and with S. Malays, are a kindly, courteous, law-abiding folk, with highly developed artistic tastes; education is compulsory, and well provided for; religion is Shintoism and Buddhism, but Christianity is gaining rapid ground; the government is in the hands of the Mikado, who rules now with the aid of ministers and two houses of parliament; education, government, army, and navy—indeed the whole modern civilisation of the country—is on Western lines, though until 1853 foreigners were excluded; a civil war in 1867-68 effected the change from the old feudalism, and the amazing success of Japan in the war against China in 1894 has proved that the new civilisation is no mere veneer; the capital is Tokyo (1,162).
Wood, James, ed. Entry for 'Japan'. The Nuttall Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/nut/j/japan.html. Frederick Warne & Co Ltd. London. 1900.