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Popular Dishes

The Japanese cuisine offers a great variety of dishes and regional specialties. Some of the most
popular Japanese dishes are listed below. They are categorized below into rice dishes, seafood
dishes, noodle dishes, nabe dishes, meat dishes, soybean dishes, yoshoku dishes and other dishes.
Please note that some dishes may fit into multiple categories, but are listed only once.

Rice Dishes
For over 2000 years, rice has been the most important food in Japanese cuisine. Despite changes
in eating patterns over the last few decades and slowly decreasing rice consumption in recent
years, rice remains one of the most important ingredients in Japan today.

Rice Bowl
A bowl of plain cooked rice is served with most Japanese meals. For
breakfast, it is sometimes mixed with a raw egg and soya sauce
(tamago kake gohan) or enjoyed with natto or other toppings.
Sushi (more details)
Sushi may refer to any dish that contains sushi rice, cooked white
rice flavored with seasoned rice vinegar. There are various kinds of
sushi dishes, such as nigirizushi (hand formed sushi), makizushi
(rolled sushi), and chirashi (sushi rice topped with raw fish). Sushi is
the most famous Japanese dish outside of Japan, and one of the most
popular dishes among the Japanese themselves.
Donburi (more details)
Donburi refers to a bowl of plain cooked rice with some other food
on top of it. Donburi are served at specialty restaurants, but they are
also a common dish that can be found on all kinds of restaurants'
menus. Some of the most popular varieties are gyudon (stewed
beef), katsudon (tonkatsu), tendon (tempura), oyakodon (chicken
and egg), tekkadon (maguro), and kaisendon (raw seafood).
Rice Balls (Onigiri)
Rice balls, or Onigiri, are made of cooked rice and are usually
wrapped in nori seaweed. They are usually lightly seasoned with salt
and often contain a filling such as umeboshi (pickled Japanese
plum), okaka (dried bonito shavings and konbu), or salmon. Rice
balls are a popular and inexpensive portable snack available at
convenience stores, but are also commonly served at general
restaurants and izakaya.

Kare Raisu (Curry Rice) (more details)

Kare Raisu (Curry Rice) is cooked rice with a Japanese curry sauce.
It can be served with additional toppings such as tonkatsu. Curry is
not a native Japanese spice, but has been used in Japan for over a
century. Kare Raisu is a very popular dish, and many inexpensive
Kare Raisu restaurants can be found especially in and around train
Fried Rice (Chahan)
Fried rice, or chahan, is a dish that was originally introduced from
China. There are an infinite variety of ingredients that can be added
to fried rice. Some common ones are peas, egg, green onions (negi),
carrots and pork. Chahan is a suitable dish for using left over rice.
Chazuke (Ochazuke)
Chazuke, or ochazuke, is another simple comfort food consisting of
hot water, tea, or light fish stock poured over rice (sometimes made
with leftover rice). Chazuke is often garnished with toppings such as
umeboshi, grilled salmon, or pickles. Chazuke is commonly served
at izakaya, and is a popular dish to eat after drinking.
Kayu, or okayu, is Japanese rice porridge made by slow cooking rice
in lots of water. It tends to be thicker than other types of rice
porridge or gruel, and is a suitable dish for using left over rice. Kayu
is often garnished with umeboshi, and is commonly served to sick
people because it is easily digestible.

Seafood Dishes
Hundreds of different fish, shellfish and other seafood from the oceans, seas, lakes and rivers are
used in the Japanese cuisine. They are prepared and eaten in many different ways, such as raw,
dried, boiled, grilled, deep fried or steamed.

Sashimi (more details)

Sashimi is raw seafood. A large number of fish can be enjoyed raw
if they are fresh and prepared correctly. Most types of sashimi are
enjoyed with soy sauce and wasabi.

Yakizakana means grilled fish. Many varieties of fish are enjoyed in
this way, including mackerel (saba), salmon (sake), mackerel pike
(sanma), horse mackerel (aji), Okhotsk atka mackerel (hokke), sea
bream (tai) and sweetfish (ayu).

Noodle Dishes
There are various traditional Japanese noodle dishes as well as some dishes which were
introduced to Japan and subsequently Japanized. Noodle dishes are very popular in Japan, and
are served both hot and cold depending on the season. Noodle restaurants and food stands are
ubiquitous, and it is common to find noodle stands along train platforms.
Soba (more details)
Soba are native Japanese noodles made of buckwheat flour or a
mixture of buckwheat and wheat flour. Soba are about as thick as
spaghetti, and are served either hot or cold and with various
Udon (more details)
Udon are Japanese noodles made of wheat flour. Udon are thicker
than soba and are also served either hot or cold and with various
toppings such as fried tofu (kitsune udon), tempura (tempura udon),
and mountain vegetables (sansai udon).
Ramen (more details)
Ramen is Chinese style noodles prepared in a soup with various
toppings. Ramen is one of the many popular dishes that were
originally introduced from China but have become completely
Japanized over time.

Like Udon noodles, somen are Japanese noodles made of wheat
flour, but they are much thinner than Udon and Soba. Somen are
usually eaten cold and are considered a summer speciality.

Yakisoba are grilled or fried Chinese style noodles mixed with
pieces of meat, cabbage, carrots, or other vegetables, and garnished
with red ginger. It is a popular festival food.

Nabe Dishes
Nabe, or hot pot dishes, are prepared in a hot pot, usually at the table. Typical ingredients are
vegetables such as negi (Japanese leek) and hakusai (Chinese cabbage), various mushrooms,
seafood and/or meat. There are many regional and personal varieties, and they are especially
popular in the cold winter months. Some special nabe dishes are:
A nabe dish prepared with various fish cakes, daikon, boiled eggs,
konyaku and kombu seaweed, slow simmered in a soy sauce based
soup. Oden is a popular dish available at convenience stores in the
A nabe dish prepared with thinly sliced meat, vegetables,
mushrooms, tofu and shirataki (konyaku noodles) simmered in a
sweet soy sauce broth. The pieces of food are dipped into raw beaten
egg before being eaten.
Shabu Shabu
Shabu shabu is a Japanese style hot pot where pieces of thinly sliced
meat, seafood, vegetables, mushrooms and tofu, are cooked by
dipping them into a hot soup. The bite sized pieces are then dipped
into a ponzu citrus or sesame sauce before being eaten.
Chanko Nabe
Chanko nabe is the traditional staple diet of sumo wrestlers. There
are many varieties of chanko nabe, which can be tried at one of the
several specialty chanko nabe restaurants found around Ryogoku,
the sumo district in Tokyo.

Meat Dishes

Meat has been eaten in Japan in larger amounts only since the second half of the 19th century.
Nowadays there are a variety of popular Japanese meat dishes.

Yakitori (more details)

Yakitori are skewered grilled chicken pieces seasoned with salt or
sauce. Almost every part of the chicken is used for yakitori
including the white and dark meat, gizzards, skin, and other organs.

Tonkatsu (more details)

Tonkatsu are deep fried pork cutlets. Tonkatsu is usually served
accompanied by shredded cabbage or on top of cooked rice
(katsudon). It is also a common addition to Japanese style curry rice
(katsu kare).
Yakiniku literally means "grilled meat" and refers to grilling bitesize pieces of meat - mostly beef and pork - on a grill at the table.
Specialized yakiniku restaurants are among the most popular
restaurant types in Japan and usually serve a wide variety of meat
parts at multiple quality (and cost) levels.

Nikujaga is a popular dish of home style cooking made of sweet
stewed meat (niku) and potatoes (jagaimo).

Meat, seafood and vegetables are prepared on a large iron griddle
(teppan) around which the diners are seated. The chef artfully
prepares the dishes in front of his customers.

Soybean Dishes
Tofu, natto, miso and many other important ingredients of Japanese cooking are made of
soybeans. The following are some of the most popular soybean based dishes:

Hiyayakko is fresh chilled tofu (usually soft tofu) commonly
garnished with grated ginger, katsuobushi (shaved bonito flakes),
and green onions and seasoned with soy sauce. Diners should pour a
little soy sauce over the tofu before eating it if it did not come
already seasoned.
Yudofu are tofu pieces boiled in a clear, mild soup and dipped into
soy sauce or ponzu (citrus sauce) before being eaten. Yudofu is a
specialty of Kyoto and commonly served during the colder winter
Agedashidofu is made of lightly breaded tofu which is fried and
served hot in a dashi soy sauce broth and commonly garnished with
green onions or grated daikon. Agedashidofu can be found in a
variety of restaurants and is common izakaya food.

Miso Soup
Miso soup is made by dissolving miso paste in fish stock (dashi).
Common additions include wakame seaweed, small pieces of tofu,
and sliced aburaage, etc.

Yoshoku Dishes
A large number of Western dishes have been introduced to Japan over the centuries. Many of
them have become completely Japanized, and are referred to as Yoshoku dishes. Some of the
most popular ones are:
Korokke (more details)
Korokke has its origins in the croquettes which were introduced to
Japan in the 19th century. Korokke consist of a filling that is breaded
and deep fried, and are eaten with a worcestershire tonkatsu sauce
and shredded cabbage. They come in many varieties depending on
the filling, the most common of which is a mix of minced meat and
mashed potatoes.

Omuraisu, short for omelete rice, is fried rice wrapped in a thin egg
omelete. Omuraisu is usually shaped like an American football and
may be garnished with ketchup or demi-glace sauce. It is a common
diner or cafe food, although specialty omuraisu restaurants also
Hayashi Raisu
Hayashi rice is Japanese style hashed beef stew, thinly sliced beef
and onions in a demi-glace sauce served over or along side cooked
rice. It resembles kare raisu, and, like kare raisu, is also eaten with a
Hambagu is Japanese style hamburger steak (as opposed to
hambaga, which are hamburgers in a bun). Hambagu is usually
served on a plate along side vegetables and rice or bread, and
seasoned with a demi-glace sauce.

Other Dishes
Bento, or boxed meals, are inexpensive, single portion take out
meals served in a box. They usually consist of small portions of
meat, vegetables, fish, or pickles together with rice. Bento come in
both hot and cold varieties and are sold at specialty restaurants,
supermarkets, and convenience stores, and are a favorite item at
train stations (ekiben) and airports (soraben).
Tempura (more details)
Tempura consists of seafood, vegetables, mushrooms, or meat
coated with batter and deep fried. The resulting food has a light, but
crispy texture, that may be seasoned with salt or dipped in a light
sauce before eating. Tempura was introduced to Japan by the
Portuguese in the 16th century, and has become one of Japan's most
famous dishes internationally.
Okonomiyaki (more details)
Okonomiyaki is a type of pancake where various ingredients such as
seafood, vegetables and meat are mixed into a batter and grilled.
Okonomiyaki specialty restaurants have a large hotplate built into
the table where the patrons cook their own food.

Monjayaki is a Kanto region specialty that is similar to
okonomiyaki; however, the batter used is much thinner than
okonomiyaki resulting in a moister, less uniform dish. Monjayaki is
often served at okonomiyaki restaurants.
Gyoza (more details)
Gyoza are dumplings stuffed with a filling made of minced
vegetables and ground meat. Gyoza were introduced to Japan from
China. Japanese gyoza are usually prepared by frying them, and they
are commonly served as a side dish to ramen.

Chawanmushi is savory steamed egg custard that usually contains
pieces of chicken, shrimp, fish cake and a ginko nut mixed inside. It
is served in a small, lidded cup, and eaten with a spoon.

Pickles (more details)

Japanese pickles, or tsukemono, come in many varieties, and are
served as an appetizer, side dish, or snack, or used as a garnish or
topping. They are thought to aid in digestion, and a small dish of
pickles is usually served with traditional Japanese meals.
Sweets (more details)
Traditional Japanese sweets (wagashi) are typically enjoyed in combination
with a cup of green tea and come in a wide variety of shapes, flavors and
ingredients. The most common ingrdient used is sweet azuki bean paste
The 13 most popular foods you have to eat in Japan
22 Apr 2016

Today I will talk about the food in Japan. As many of you already know, Japan
has a wonderful an unique cuisine but mostly when we think about Japanese
food automatically comes to our minds fish and rice. This blog will help you
to have a different view about the food culture in Japan, and also will help you
to know what to order at the moment you sit at the restaurant.
Here you are my 13 favourite options when I want to feel Japan through its


1.- Sushi/sashimi

I will start with the one that most of us identify Japan with: Sushi and Sashimi.
Sushi is known all over the world. It is called sushi to every piece of rice
seasoned with a rice vinegar mix (made with sugar and salt) mixed with
different ingredients: variety of fishes, vegetables, nori (seaweed), etc.. You
grab the pieces of sushi with the chopsticks and dip them into soy sauce or
wasabi, or both. It is a mixed of flavors in your mouth! Sushi can be: Nigiri
sushi, Maki sushi , Oshi sushi , Temaki sushi, etc.
Depending on the shape an ingredients that are used.

Sashimi is basically raw fish or seafood served with wasabi (a very spicy
japanese condiment), soy sauce and generally it comes with slices of radish on
the side. The name sashimi comes from the tale of the fish the it used to come
with the meal to identify which kind of fish you are eating. Sashimi in kanji it
is written like this: . The first kanji means spine and the second kanji
means body.
2.- Ramen

Ramen is one of the most popular options at the moment of choosing a place
to eat. It is a wheat noodles bowl served in a soy sauce or miso soup mixed
with many kinds of ingredients. The most typical ones are slices of pork, green
onion, seaweed and egg. I cant compare the flavor of this dish with anything I
have tasted before. The most important part of this dish is the soup. It is the
most tasty flavor a ever tried, also strong according on where do you order it.
The way the pork is cooked, makes it so soft that sometimes it breaks into
pieces as son as you catch it with your chopsticks. With one order of ramen
and a side dish of rice, you can be sure that you will be satisfied when you
finish your meal... If you can...
3.- Tempura

Tempura is a Japanese fried snack made mostly from seafood and vegetables
but we can find tempura made also from fowl and fish, seasoned with a sauce
made with soy sauce, ginger and sugar previously. As vegetables, it can be
made by almost every vegetables. The size of the piece has to be able to be
eaten in one bite and even when it is fried, it is carefully looked after not to be
oily. Tempura is served with Tetsuyu sauce that it is a mix of consomme, sweet
sake, soy sauce, ginger, radish and spices.
4.- Kare raisu (rice with curry)

Also a very popular, simple and delicious dish that we can find in Japan. Kare
raisu is just rice with curry but the taste is different from the To make the
japanese curry, it is used a variety of meats and vegetables. The basics
vegetables are onions, carrots and sweet potatos, and the meats used are
chicken, pork, beef and sometimes duck. There are different levels of hot
spicy: soft, regular and hot are the most common. Which one would you
5.- Okonomiyaki

It is a mixed made with flour, yam and egg, but you can add also anything you
like. The most commons are green onion, beef, shrimp, squid, vegetables,
mochi and cheese. It is cooked in a griddle. In some restaurants, the chef goes
to the table and make it there with the customers who also help in the process
adding the ingredients. Because the preparation has to be cooked from both
sides, by the time it has to be turned, it is a stressful and also funny moment,
specially when it is your first time doing it!!!
6.- Shabu shabu

Shabu shabu is the japanese hot pot. For this dish it is used many kinds of
meats and seafood, mostly the soft ones, and sides of vegetables, tofu and
sometimes noodles. The way it works: you grab a piece of meat (you can also
pick some of the vegetables) and immerse it in the pot with hot water or
consomme. Once it is cooked, you dip it in a sesame sauce with some rice as a
side dish. Very delicious!
7.- Miso soup

Miso soup it is served as a side dish in mostly every meal and with almost
every dish. It is a soup made from a miso paste (fermented soybeans) and
dashi (the consomme). Inside this kind of base soup, you will find pieces of
tofu, onion wakane seaweed, and sometimes vegetables like sweet potatos,
carrots and radish. It is never served as a main dish. It always comes with a
bowl of rice and one or 2 more dishes.
8.- Yakitori

It is the Japanese brochette. At the begining the meat used was chicken
(tori=bird), but nowadays it is also made with pork, beef and fish. So, this
brochette is a mix of vegetables and meat cooked in a grill and dipped in
teriaki sauce. It is also a very typical kind of fast food in japanese style.

This is one of the options that foreigner could be more identified with. It has a
occidental flavor so if you are not sure about what to taste first or you find out
that Japanse flavors are not your thing but you still want to try, I would
recommend you to start with Yakitori so you can feel something familiar.
9.- Onigiri

This is the most popular snack in Japan. No matter what time is it, or where
you are, if you are hungry and you dont have time, you will buy an onigiri.
Onigiris are rice balls seasoned in many kinds of ways, some of them with
some fill like chicken, vegetables, fish, pork, others covered with a seaweed or
with a slice of egg, some of them they have just the rice mixed with some
sauce, vegetables, beans, furikake... Etc. As you can see, you can find a huge
variety of flavors for all the tastes. It is also cheap and you can buy it in any
convenience store, supermarket and also you may find some shop that only
makes onigiris.
10.- Udon

Udon is a thick noodle made from wheat flour. It is commonly served in a

consomme with soy sauce and mirin. Most of the times it comes with negi
(onion). The shape and the size depends on the prefecture it comes from. Udon
can be eaten cold or hot. Soba and Udon are very popular in Japan. It is a
common dish for black-coated workers and students when they have lunch
time and they need to eat something fast. There are Udon shops everywhere
and dont be surprised if it is always crowdy, but dont worry, you wont wait
long time to have a seat.
11.- Soba

Soba noodles are made by buckwheat flour which gives it the colour. Also
known as fast food in Japan because they are cheap and popular. Soba noodles
are thin (Udon noodles are thick) and they can be eaten also cold or hot. There
are shops in Japan that only cook soba, maybe with some simple side dish as
tempura. At the supermarket you can find the fresh noodles to cook at home.
This noodles can be also eaten just with a mentsuyu sauce to make it easy the
12.- Gyudon

Gyudon it is basically a bowl of rice with beef on the top seasoned with
different ingredientes and spices. The most famous place to eat gyudon is
Sukiya. Besides the simplicity, it is a very delicious dish, and the most
important, also cheap. In most of the places, you can order it in a set that
comes with a small salad and miso soup. Another important tip about this: the
service is very fast!!!! In less than 5 min you have it in your table. Also, the
sizes of the dishes are very suitable. You can pick from small, medium and
large. For a lunch quick time, gyudon is a very good option.
13.- Green Tea - Flavored sweets

This is the last one for this blog and I cant leave you without the tea time.
Greet tea in Japan is the most famous drink. It is related to history, to Geishas.
The Tea Houses are always harmonious and quiet places where you can enjoy
a peaceful time through the most typical drink in Japan. Green tea is never
alone. Tea in Japan has to be also accompanied with sweets, japanese sweets.
The most common sweets in japan are made with beans or sometimes with
matcha. Japan has the tastiest sweets and the most beautiful shapes and colors
in the world.

Sweets in Japan are Art.

Film and animation

Scene from the first episode of Pokmon, one of the most wellknown anime.

The mecha genre features combat scenes involving giant robots.

Pictured: mass-produced versions of Metal Gear REX on a
conventional battlefield.
See also: Cinema of Japan and Anime
Japanese animation, or anime, today widely popular among
both Japanese and Western children, and even adults, began
in the early 20th century.
Man with No Name
A stock character that originated with Akira Kurosawa's
Yojimbo (1961), where the archetype was first portrayed by
Toshir Mifune. The archetype was adapted by Sergio Leone
for his Spaghetti Western Dollars Trilogy (1964-1966), with
Clint Eastwood playing the role of the "Man with No Name". It
is now a common archetype in Samurai films and Western
films as well as other genres.[1]
The mecha genre of science fiction was founded in Japan. The
first depiction of mecha Super Robots being piloted by a user
from within a cockpit was introduced in the manga and anime
series Mazinger Z by Go Nagai in 1972.[2]
Postcyberpunk animation/film
The first postcyberpunk media work in an animated/film
format was Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex in 2002.
It has been called "the most interesting, sustained

postcyberpunk media work in existence." [3]

Steampunk animation
The earliest examples of steampunk animation are Hayao
Miyazaki's anime works Future Boy Conan (1978),[4] Nausica
of the Valley of the Wind (1984)[5] and Castle in the Sky
A postmodern art form, founded by the artist Takashi
Murakami, which is influenced by manga and anime.[8]


Nagoya Castle
See also: Japanese architecture
Japanese castle
Fortresses constructed primarily out of stone and wood used
for military defence in strategic locations. [9]
A post-war Japanese architectural movement developed by a
wide variety of Japanese architects including Kiyonori
Kikutake, Kisho Kurokawa and Fumihiko Maki, Metabolism
aimed to fuse ideas about architectural megastructures with
those of organic biological growth.[10]
Taht is a form of Japanese pagoda found primarily at
Esoteric Shingon and Tendai school Buddhist temples. Unlike
most pagodas, it has two stories. [11]

Atmospheric Sciences
Downbursts, strong ground-level wind systems that emanate
from a point above and blow radially, were discovered by Ted
Fujita scale
The first scale designed to measure tornado intensity, the
Fujita scale, was first introduced by Ted Fujita (in
collaboration with Allen Pearson) in 1971. The scale was
widely adopted throughout the world until the development
of the Enhanced Fujita scale.[13]
Fujiwhara effect
The Fujiwhara effect is an atmospheric phenomenon where
two nearby cyclonic vortices orbit each other and close the
distance between the circulations of their corresponding lowpressure areas. The effect was first described by Sakuhei
Fujiwhara in 1921.[14]
Jet stream
Jet streams were first discovered by Japanese meteorologist
Wasaburo Oishi by tracking ceiling balloons. However, Oishi's
work largely went unnoticed outside Japan because it was
published in Esperanto.[15][16]
The microburst was first discovered and identified as a small
scale downburst affecting an area 4 km (2.5 mi) in diameter
or less by Ted Fujita in 1974. Microbursts are recognized as
capable of generating wind speeds higher than 270 km/h
(170 mph). In addition, Fujita also discovered macrobursts
and classified them as downbursts larger than 4 km (2.5 mi).

See also: Japanese pottery and porcelain
Imari porcelain
Imari porcelain or Arita-yaki is a type of Japanese porcelain

made in the town of Arita. It was widely exported from the

port of Imari, Saga to Europe during the 17th and 18th


Written text from the earliest illustrated handscroll (12th century) of

The Tale of Genji
See also: Japanese literature
Flying saucer
A manuscript illustration of the 10th-century Japanese
narrative, The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, depicts a round
flying machine similar to a flying saucer. [18]
The Tale of Genji, written by Murasaki Shikibu in the early
11th century, is regarded as the first novel in general. [19]
Time travel
The 8th-century tale of Urashima Tar has been identified as
the earliest example of a story involving time travel. [20]

Drifting competition
In 1988, Keiichi Tsuchiya alongside Option magazine founder
and chief editor Daijiro Inada organised the first contest
specifically for sliding a car sideway. In 1996, Option
organized the first contest outside Japan[21] which began to
spread to other countries.

Radio-controlled touring car

In 1991, Tamiya mounted a 1/10 scale Nissan Skyline GT-R (a
Group A racer) body to a modified off-road buggy chassis[22]
which was credited for the resurgence of the R/C car market
in the mid-1990s[23][24]
Martial arts
See also: Japanese martial arts

All-Japan Judo Championships, 2007 men's final.

Aikido was created and developed by Morihei Ueshiba in first
half of the 20th century.
Jujutsu, the "way of yielding", is a collective name for
Japanese martial art styles including unarmed and armed
techniques. Jujutsu evolved among the samurai of feudal
Japan as a method for defeating an armed and armored
opponent without weapons. Due to the ineffectiveness of
striking against an armored opponent, the most efficient
methods for neutralizing an enemy took the form of pins,
joint locks, and throws. These techniques were developed
around the principle of using an attacker's energy against
him, rather than directly opposing it.[25]

It began as a common fighting system known as "ti" (or "te")
among the pechin class of the Ryukyuans. There were few
formal styles of ti, but rather many practitioners with their
own methods. One surviving example is the Motobu-ry
school passed down from the Motobu family by Seikichi
Uehara.[26] Early styles of karate are often generalized as
Shuri-te, Naha-te, and Tomari-te, named after the three cities
from which they emerged.[27]
Developed by groups of people mainly from the Iga Province
and Kka, Shiga of Japan. Throughout history, many different
schools (ry) have taught their unique versions of ninjutsu.
An example of these is the Togakure-ry. This ry was
developed after a defeated samurai warrior called Daisuke
Togakure escaped to the region of Iga. Later he came in
contact with the warrior-monk Kain Doshi who taught him a
new way of viewing life and the means of survival (ninjutsu).

Okinawan martial arts

In the 14th century, when the three kingdoms on Okinawa
(Chzan, Hokuzan, and Nanzan) entered into a tributary
relationship with the Ming Dynasty of China, Chinese Imperial
envoys and other Chinese arrived, some of whom taught
Chinese Chuan Fa (Kempo) to the Okinawans. The Okinawans
combined Chinese Chuan Fa with the existing martial art of Te
to form T-de ( Okinawan: T-d?, Tang hand), sometimes
called Okinawa-te (?).[29] By the 18th century, different
types of Te had developed in three different villages - Naha,
Shuri, and Tomari. The styles were named Naha-te, Shuri-te,
and Tomari-te, respectively. Practitioners from these three
villages went on to develop modern karate.[30]

Video games

Controller of the PlayStation 2, the best-selling video game console

of all time.

Playing Dance Dance Revolution, one of the most successful rhythm

The Sony PlayStation was invented by Ken Kutaragi. Research
and development for the PlayStation began in 1990, headed
by Kutaragi, a Sony engineer. [31]
Gunpei Yokoi was the creator of the Game Boy and Virtual
Boy and worked on Famicom (and NES), the Metroid series,
Game Boy Pocket and did extensive work on the system we
know today as the Nintendo Entertainment System. [32]
Active Time Battle
Hiroyuki Ito introduced the "Active Time Battle" system in
Final Fantasy IV (1991),[33] where the time-keeping system
does not stop.[34] Square Co., Ltd. filed a United States patent

application for the ATB system on March 16, 1992, under the
title "Video game apparatus, method and device for
controlling same" and was awarded the patent on February
21, 1995. On the battle screen, each character has an ATB
meter that gradually fills, and the player is allowed to issue a
command to that character once the meter is full. [35] The fact
that enemies can attack or be attacked at any time is
credited with injecting urgency and excitement into the
combat system.[34]
Beat 'em up
The first game to feature fist fighting was Sega's boxing
game Heavyweight Champ (1976), but it was Data East's
fighting game Karate Champ (1984) which popularized
martial arts themed games.[36] The same year, Hong Kong
cinema-inspired Kung-Fu Master laid the foundations for
scrolling beat 'em ups with its simple gameplay and multiple
enemies.[36][37] Nekketsu Kha Kunio-kun, released in 1986 in
Japan, deviated from the martial arts themes of earlier games
and introduced street brawling to the genre. Renegade
(released the same year) added an underworld revenge plot
that proved more popular with gamers than the principled
combat sport of other games.[38] Renegade set the standard
for future beat 'em up games as it introduced the ability to
move both horizontally and vertically.[39]
Bullet hell
The bullet hell or danmaku genre began to emerge in the
early 1990s as 2D developers needed to find a way to
compete with 3D games which were becoming increasingly
popular at the time. Toaplan's Batsugun (1993) is considered
to be the ancestor of the modern bullet hell genre. [40] The
Touhou Project series is one of the most popular bullet hell
Fighting game
Sega's black and white boxing game Heavyweight Champ
was released in 1976 as the first video game to feature fist
fighting.[41] However, Data East's Karate Champ from 1984 is
credited with establishing and popularizing the one-on-one
fighting game genre, and went on to influence Konami's Yie
Ar Kung-Fu from 1985.[42] Yie Ar Kung Fu expanded on Karate

Champ by pitting the player against a variety of opponents,

each with a unique appearance and fighting style. [42][43]
Capcom's Street Fighter (1987) introduced the use of special
moves that could only be discovered by experimenting with
the game controls. Street Fighter II (1991) established the
conventions of the fighting game genre and, whereas
previous games allowed players to combat computercontrolled fighters, Street Fighter II allowed players to play
against each other.[44]
Platform game
Space Panic, a 1980 arcade release, is sometimes credited as
the first platform game.[45] It was clearly an influence on the
genre, with gameplay centered on climbing ladders between
different floors, a common element in many early platform
games. Donkey Kong, an arcade game created by Nintendo,
released in July 1981, was the first game that allowed players
to jump over obstacles and across gaps, making it the first
true platformer.[46]
Psychological horror game
Silent Hill (1999) was praised for moving away survival horror
games from B movie horror elements to the psychological
style seen in art house or Japanese horror films,[47] due to the
game's emphasis on a disturbing atmosphere rather than
visceral horror.[48] The original Silent Hill is considered one of
the scariest games of all time,[49] and the strong narrative
from Silent Hill 2 in 2001 has made the series one of the most
influential in the genre.[50] Fatal Frame from 2001 was a
unique entry into the genre, as the player explores a mansion
and takes photographs of ghosts in order to defeat them. [51][52]
Rhythm game
Dance Aerobics was released in 1987, and allowed players to
create music by stepping on Nintendo's Power Pad peripheral.
It has been called the first rhythm-action game in retrospect,
although the 1996 title PaRappa the Rapper has also been
deemed the first rhythm game, whose basic template forms
the core of subsequent games in the genre. In 1997,
Konami's Beatmania sparked an emergent market for rhythm
games in Japan. The company's music division, Bemani,
released a number of music games over the next several

Scrolling platformer
The first platform game to use scrolling graphics was Jump
Bug (1981), a simple platform-shooter developed by Alpha
Denshi.[54] In August 1982, Taito released Jungle King,[55] which
featured scrolling jump and run sequences that had players
hopping over obstacles. Namco took the scrolling platformer
a step further with the 1984 release Pac-Land. Pac-Land
came after the genre had a few years to develop, and was an
evolution of earlier platform games, aspiring to be more than
a simple game of hurdle jumping, like some of its
predecessors.[56] It closely resembled later scrolling
platformers like Wonder Boy and Super Mario Bros and was
probably a direct influence on them. It also had multi-layered
parallax scrolling.[57][58]
Shoot 'em up
Space Invaders is frequently cited as the "first" or "original"
in the genre.[59][60] Space Invaders pitted the player against
multiple enemies descending from the top of the screen at a
constantly increasing rate of speed.[60] As with subsequent
shoot 'em ups of the time, the game was set in space as the
available technology only permitted a black background. The
game also introduced the idea of giving the player a number
of "lives". Space Invaders was a massive commercial success,
causing a coin shortage in Japan.[61][62] The following year,
Namco's Galaxian took the genre further with more complex
enemy patterns and richer graphics. [59][63]
Stealth game
The first stealth-based videogame was Sega's 005 (1981).[64]
The first commercially successful stealth game was
Hideo Kojima's Metal Gear (1987), the first in the Metal Gear
series. It was followed by Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake (1990)
which significantly expanded the genre, and then Metal Gear
Solid (1998).
Survival horror
The survival horror video game genre began with Capcom's
Resident Evil (1996), which coined the term "survival horror"
and defined the genre.[67][68] The game was inspired by

Capcom's earlier horror game Sweet Home (1989).[69]

Visual Novel
The visual novel genre is a type of Interactive fiction
developed in Japan in the early 1990s. As the name suggests,
visual novels typically have limited interactivity, as most
player interaction is restricted to clicking text and graphics. [70]

See also: Japanese philosophy
Lean manufacturing
A generic process management philosophy derived mostly
from the Toyota Production System (TPS) (hence the term
Toyotism is also prevalent) and identified as "Lean" only in
the 1990s.[71][72]

Biology, chemistry, and biomedical science

Image from "Surgical Casebook" (Kishitsu gery zukan) by Hanaoka

Tooth patch
Scientists in Japan have created a microscopically thin film
that can coat individual teeth to prevent decay or to make
them appear whiter, the chief researcher said. The tooth
patch is a hard-wearing and ultra-flexible material made

from hydroxyapatite, the main mineral in tooth enamel, that

could also mean an end to sensitive teeth. This is the
worlds first flexible apatite sheet, which we hope to use to
protect teeth or repair damaged enamel, said Shigeki
Hontsu, professor at Kinki Universitys Faculty of BiologyOriented Science and Technology in western Japan. [73]
Mutsuo Sugiura was a Japanese engineer famous for being
the first to develop a Gastro-camera (a present-day
Esophagogastroduodenoscope). His story was illustrated in
the NHK TV documentary feature, "Project X: Challengers:
The Development of a Gastro-camera Wholly Made in Japan".
Sugiura graduated from Tokyo Polytechnic University in 1938
and then joined Olympus Corporation. While working at this
company, he first developed an
esophagogastroduodenoscope in 1950.
General anesthesia
Hanaoka Seish was the first surgeon in the world who used
the general anaesthesia in surgery, in 1804, and who dared
to operate on cancers of the breast and oropharynx, to
remove necrotic bone, and to perform amputations of the
extremities in Japan.[74]
Chi Machine
A device created by Japanese scientist Shizuo Inoue. It holds
US FDA approval as a Class 1 Medical Device Regulation
A form of diastase which results from the growth,
development and nutrition of a distinct microscopic fungus
known as Aspergillus oryzae. Jokichi Takamine developed the
method first used for its extraction in the late 19th century. [76]
Taro Takemi invented vectorcardiograph in 1939.[77]
Agar was discovered in Japan around 1658 by Mino

Aspergillus oryzae
The genome for Aspergillus oryzae was sequenced and
released by a consortium of Japanese biotechnology
companies,[79] in late 2005.[80]
Ephedrine synthesis
Ephedrine in its natural form, known as m hung () in
traditional Chinese medicine, had been documented in China
since the Han dynasty.[81] However, it was not until 1885 that
the chemical synthesis of ephedrine was first accomplished
by Japanese organic chemist Nagai Nagayoshi.
Epinephrine (Adrenaline)
Japanese chemist Jokichi Takamine and his assistant Keizo
Uenaka first discovered epinephrine in 1900. [82][83] In 1901
Takamine successfully isolated and purified the hormone from
the adrenal glands of sheep and oxen. [84]
Immunoglobulin E (IgE)
Immunoglobulin E is a type of antibody only found in
mammals. IgE was simultaneously discovered in 1966-7 by
two independent groups:[85] Kimishige Ishizaka's team at the
Children's Asthma Research Institute and Hospital in Denver,
Colorado,[86] and by Gunnar Johansson and Hans Bennich in
Uppsala, Sweden.[87] Their joint paper was published in April

Chemical structure of methamphetamine.

Methamphetamine was first synthesized from ephedrine in
Japan in 1894 by chemist Nagayoshi Nagai.[89] n 1919,
methamphetamine hydrochloride was synthesized by

pharmacologist Akira Ogata.[90]

Okazaki fragment
Okazaki fragments are short, newly synthesized DNA
fragments that are formed on the lagging template strand
during DNA replication. They are complementary to the
lagging template strand, together forming short doublestranded DNA sections. A series of experiments led to the
discovery of Okazaki fragments. The experiments were
conducted during the 1960s by Reiji Okazaki, Tsuneko
Okazaki, Kiwako Sakabe, and their colleagues during their
research on DNA replication of Escherichia coli.[91] In 1966,
Kiwako Sakabe and Reiji Okazaki first showed that DNA
replication was a discontinuous process involving fragments.
The fragments were further investigated by the
researchers and their colleagues through their research
including the study on bacteriophage DNA replication in
Escherichia coli.[93][94][95]
Akira Fujishima discovered photocatalysis occurring on the
surface of titanium dioxide in 1967.[96]
Portable electrocardiograph
Taro Takemi built the first portable electrocardiograph in
The statin class of drugs was first discovered by Akira Endo, a
Japanese biochemist working for the pharmaceutical
company Sankyo. Mevastatin was the first discovered
member of the statin class.[97]
Thiamine (Vitamin B1)
Thiamine was the first of the water-soluble vitamins to be
described,[98] leading to the discovery of more such trace
compounds essential for survival and to the notion of vitamin.
It was not until 1884 that Kanehiro Takaki (1849-1920)
attributed beriberi to insufficient nitrogen intake (protein
deficiency). In 1910, Japanese scientist Umetaro Suzuki
succeeded in extracting a water-soluble complex of
micronutrients from rice bran and named it aberic acid. He

published this discovery in a Japanese scientific journal. [99]

The Polish biochemist Kazimierz Funk later proposed the
complex be named "Vitamine" (a portmanteau of "vital
amine") in 1912.[100]
Urushiol, a mixture of alkyl catechols, was discovered by
Rikou Majima. Majima also discovered that Urushiol was an
allergen which gave members of the Toxicodendron genus,
such as Poison Ivy and Poison Oak, their skin-irritating

Futures contract
The first futures exchange market was the Djima Rice
Exchange in Japan in the 1730s.[102]

Food science

Instant noodles before boiling.

Instant noodle
Invented by Momofuku Ando in 1958.[103]
Monosodium glutamate
Invented and patented by Kikunae Ikeda.[104]
Umami as a separate taste was first identified in 1908 by
Kikunae Ikeda of the Tokyo Imperial University while
researching the strong flavor in seaweed broth. [105]

See also: Japanese mathematics

A page from Seki Kwa's Katsuyo Sampo (1712), tabulating

binomial coefficients and Bernoulli numbers
Bernoulli number
Studied by Seki Kwa and published after his death, in 1712.
Jacob Bernoulli independently developed the concept in the
same period, though his work was published a year later. [106]

In Japan, determinants were introduced to study elimination
of variables in systems of higher-order algebraic equations.
They used it to give shorthand representation for the
resultant. The determinant as an independent function was
first studied by Seki Kwa in 1683.[108][109]
Elimination theory
In 1683 (Kai-Fukudai-no-H), Seki Kwa came up with
elimination theory, based on resultant.[109] To express
resultant, he developed the notion of determinant.[109]
Hironaka's example
Hironaka's example is a non-Khler complex manifold that is
a deformation of Khler manifolds discovered by Heisuke

It calculus
Developed by Kiyosi It throughout the 20th century, It
calculus extends calculus to stochastic processes such as
Brownian motion (Wiener process). Its basic concept is the It
integral, and among the most important results is a change
of variable formula known as It's lemma. It calculus is
widely applied in various fields, but is perhaps best known for
its use in mathematical finance.[111]
Iwasawa theory and the Main conjecture of Iwasawa theory
Initially created by Kenkichi Iwasawa, Iwasawa theory was
originally developed as a Galois module theory of ideal class
groups. The main conjecture of Iwasawa theory is a deep
relationship between p-adic L-functions and ideal class
groups of cyclotomic fields, proved by Iwasawa (1969) for
primes satisfying the KummerVandiver conjecture and
proved for all primes by Mazur and Wiles (1984).[112]
In 1683 (Kai-Fukudai-no-H), Seki Kwa came up with
elimination theory, based on resultant. To express resultant,
he developed the notion of determinant.[109]
Japanese geometrical puzzles in Euclidean geometry on
wooden tablets created during the Edo period (16031867)
by members of all social classes. The Dutch Japanologist
Isaac Titsingh first introduced sangaku to the West when he
returned to Europe in the late 1790s after more than twenty
years in the Far East.[113]
Soddy's hexlet
Irisawa Shintar Hiroatsu analyzed Soddy's hexlet in a
Sangaku in 1822 and was the first person to do so. [114]
Takagi existence theorem
Takagi existence theorem was developed by Teiji Takagi in
isolation during World War I. He presented it at the
International Congress of Mathematicians in 1920.[115]


Nagaoka model (first Saturnian model of the atom)

In 1904, Hantaro Nagaoka proposed the first planetary model
of the atom as an alternative to J. J. Thomson's plum pudding
model. Ernest Rutherford and Niels Bohr would later develop
the more viable Bohr model in 1913.[116]

See also: Science and technology in Japan
Airsoft originated in Japan, then spread to Hong Kong and
China in the late 1970s.[117] The inventor of the first airsoft
gun is Tanio Kobayashi.
Automatic power loom
Sakichi Toyoda invented numerous weaving devices. His most
famous invention was the automatic power loom in which he
implemented the principle of Jidoka (autonomation or
autonomous automation). It was the 1924 Toyoda Automatic
Loom, Type G, a completely automatic high-speed loom
featuring the ability to change shuttles without stopping and
dozens of other innovations. At the time it was the world's
most advanced loom, delivering a dramatic improvement in
quality and a twenty-fold increase in productivity. [118]
Japanese typewriter
The first typewriter to be based on the Japanese writing
system was invented by Kyota Sugimoto in 1929.[119]
Jmon Pottery
The Jmon Pottery ( Jmon-shiki Doki?) is a type of
ancient pottery which was made during the Jmon period in
Japan. The term "Jmon" () means "rope-patterned" in
Japanese, describing the patterns that are pressed into the
clay. The pottery vessels crafted in Ancient Japan during the
Jmon period are generally accepted to be the oldest pottery
in Japan. Bits of pottery discovered in a cave in the northwest
coast of modern-day Kyushu date back to as far as 12,700
BCE in radiometric dating tests.[120] It is believed by many that
Jmon pottery was probably made even earlier than this date.
However, due to ambiguity and multiple sources claiming

different dates based on different dating techniques, it is

difficult to say for sure how far back Jmon Pottery was made.
Some sources claim archaeological discoveries as far back as
the 14th millennium BCE.[121]
KS steel
Magnetic resistant steel that is three times more resistant
than tungsten steel, invented by Kotaro Honda.[122]
MKM steel
MKM steel, an alloy containing nickel and aluminum, was
developed in 1931 by the Japanese metallurgist Tokuhichi
Neodymium magnet
Neodymium magnets were invented independently in 1982
by General Motors (GM) and Sumitomo Special Metals.[124]

QR code for the URL of the English Wikipedia Mobile main page
QR code
The QR code, a type of matrix barcode was invented by
Denso Wave in 1994.[125]
Tactile paving
The original tactile paving was developed by Seiichi Miyake in
1965.[126] The paving was first introduced in a street in
Okayama city, Japan, in 1967. Its use gradually spread in
Japan and then around the world.

The second man-made fiber to be invented, after nylon. It
was first developed by Ichiro Sakurada, H. Kawakami, and
Korean scientist Ri Sung-gi at the Takatsuki chemical research
center in 1939 in Japan.[127][128]
Audio technology

Sony Discman D121

Compact Disc player
Sony released the world's first CD Player, called the CDP-101,
in 1982, utilising a slide-out tray design for the Compact
Physical modelling synthesis
The first commercially available physical modelling
synthesizer was Yamaha's VL-1 in 1994.[130]
Commercial digital recording
Commercial digital recording was pioneered in Japan by NHK
and Nippon Columbia, also known as Denon, in the 1960s.
The first commercial digital recordings were released in 1971.

There are various disputes about who first invented the name
karaoke (a Japanese word meaning "empty orchestra"). One
claim is that the karaoke styled machine was invented by

Japanese musician Daisuke Inoue[132] in Kobe, Japan, in 1971.


Portable CD player
Sony's Discman, released in 1984, was the first portable CD
Perpendicular recording
Perpendicular recording was first demonstrated in the late
nineteenth century by Danish scientist Valdemar Poulsen,
who was also the first person to demonstrate that sound
could be recorded magnetically. There werent many
advances in perpendicular recording until 1976 when Dr.
Shun-ichi Iwasaki (president of the Tohoku Institute of
Technology in Japan) verified the distinct density advantages
in perpendicular recording. Then in 1978, Dr. T. Fujiwara
began an intensive research and development program at
the Toshiba Corporation that eventually resulted in the
perfection of floppy disk media optimized for perpendicular
recording and the first commercially available magnetic
storage devices using the technique.[136]
Digital audio tape recorder
Heitaro Nakajima resigned from his post as head of NHK's
Technical Research Laboratories and joined Sony. Four years
earlier at NHK, Nakajima had commenced work on the
digitization of sound and within two years had developed the
first digital audio tape recorder[137]
Vowel-Consonant synthesis
A type of hybrid Digital-analogue synthesis first employed by
the early Casiotone keyboards in the early 1980s.
Lithium-ion battery
In 1991, Sony and Asahi Kasei released the first commercial
lithium-ion battery.[138]
Pocket calculator

The first portable calculators appeared in Japan in 1970, and

were soon marketed around the world. These included the
Sanyo ICC-0081 "Mini Calculator", the Canon Pocketronic, and
the Sharp QT-8B "micro Compet". Sharp put in great efforts in
size and power reduction and introduced in January 1971 the
Sharp EL-8, also marketed as the Facit 1111, which was close
to being a pocket calculator. It weighed about one pound, had
a vacuum fluorescent display, and rechargeable NiCad
batteries. The first truly pocket-sized electronic calculator
was the Busicom LE-120A "HANDY", which was marketed
early in 1971.[139]
Digital single-lens reflex camera
On August 25, 1981 Sony unveiled a prototype of the first still
video camera, the Sony Mavica. This camera was an analog
electronic camera that featured interchangeable lenses and a
SLR viewfinder. At photokina in 1986, Nikon revealed a
prototype analog electronic still SLR camera, the Nikon SVC,
the first digital SLR. The prototype body shared many
features with the N8008.[140]
In 1967, Sony unveiled the first self-contained video tape
analog recording system that was portable.[141]
Main article: Chindgu

Chindogu is the Japanese art of inventing ingenious everyday gadgets that, on

the face of it, seem like an ideal solution to a particular problem. However,
Chindogu has a distinctive feature: anyone actually attempting to use one of
these inventions would find that it causes so many new problems, or such
significant social embarrassment, that effectively it has no utility whatsoever.
Thus, Chindgu are sometimes described as "unuseless" that is, they cannot
be regarded as 'useless' in an absolute sense, since they do actually solve a
problem; however, in practical terms, they cannot positively be called
"useful." The term "Chindogu" was coined by Kenji Kawakami.
Domestic appliances

Electric rice cooker

Electric rice cooker
Invented by designers at the Toshiba Corporation in the late
An automatic cooking device, invented by Mamoru Imura and
patented in 2007.[143][144]

Sony U-matic cassette recorder tape

Glass integrated circuit
Shunpei Yamazaki invented an integrated circuit made
entirely from glass and with an 8-bit central processing unit.

Plastic central processing unit

Shunpei Yamazaki invented a central processing unit made

entirely from plastic.[145]

Videocassette recorder
The first machines (the VP-1100 videocassette player and the
VO-1700 videocassette recorder) to use the first
videocassette format, U-matic, were introduced by Sony in
Radio-controlled wheel transmitter
Futaba introduced the FP-T2F in 1974 that was the first to
utilize a steering wheel onto a box transmitter. [147] KO Propo
introduced the EX-1 in 1981 that integrated a wheel with a
pistol grip with its trigger acting as the throttle. This became
one of the two types of radio controlled transmitters currently
for surface use.[148][149]
Game controllers
In 1982, Nintendo's Gunpei Yokoi elaborated on the idea of a
circular pad, shrinking it and altering the points into the
familiar modern "cross" design for control of on-screen
characters in their Donkey Kong handheld game. It came to
be known as the "D-pad".[150] The design proved to be popular
for subsequent Game & Watch titles. This particular design
was patented. In 1984, the Japanese company Epoch created
a handheld game system called the Epoch Game Pocket
Computer. It featured a D-pad, but it was not popular for its
time and soon faded. Initially intended to be a compact
controller for the Game & Watch handheld games alongside
the prior non-connected style pad, Nintendo realized that
Gunpei's design would also be appropriate for regular
consoles, and Nintendo made the D-pad the standard
directional control for the hugely successful Nintendo
Entertainment System under the name "+Control Pad".
Motion-sensing controller
Invented by Nintendo for the Wii, the Wii Remote is the first
controller with motion-sensing capability. It was a candidate
for Time's Best Invention of 2006.[151]


DER-01, a Japanese actroid (an android intended to be very visually

similar to humans)
The world's first android, DER 01, was developed by a
Japanese research group, The Intelligent Robotics Lab,
directed by Hiroshi Ishiguro at Osaka University, and Kokoro
Co., Ltd. The Actroid is a humanoid robot with strong visual
human-likeness developed by Osaka University and
manufactured by Kokoro Company Ltd. (the animatronics
division of Sanrio). It was first unveiled at the 2003
International Robot Exposition in Tokyo, Japan. The Actroid
woman is a pioneer example of a real machine similar to
imagined machines called by the science fiction terms
android or gynoid, so far used only for fictional robots. It can
mimic such lifelike functions as blinking, speaking, and
breathing. The "Repliee" models are interactive robots with
the ability to recognise and process speech and respond in
Karakuri puppet
Karakuri puppets ( karakuri ningy?) are
traditional Japanese mechanized puppets or automata,
originally made from the 17th century to the 19th century.
The word karakuri means "mechanisms" or "trick".[155] The
dolls' gestures provided a form of entertainment. Three main
types of karakuri exist. Butai karakuri (?, stage

karakuri) were used in theatre. Zashiki karakuri (?,

tatami room karakuri) were small and used in homes. Dashi
karakuri (?, festival car karakuri) were used in
religious festivals, where the puppets were used to perform
reenactments of traditional myths and legends.
Ninja robot
Invented by Shigeo Hirose, it is capable of climbing buildings
and a seven-ton robot capable of climbing mountainous
slopes with the aim of installing bolts in the ground so as to
prevent landslides.[156]
Robotic exoskeleton for motion support (medicine)
The first HAL prototype was proposed by Yoshiyuki Sankai, a
professor at Tsukuba University.[157] Fascinated with robots
since he was in the third grade, Sankai had striven to make a
robotic suit in order to support humans. In 1989, after
receiving his Ph.D. in robotics, he began the development of
HAL. Sankai spent three years, from 1990 to 1993, mapping
out the neurons that govern leg movement. It took him and
his team an additional four years to make a prototype of the
Space exploration
Interplanetary solar sail spacecraft
IKAROS the world's first successful interplanetary solar sail
spacecraft was launched by JAXA on 21 May 2010.[159]
Storage technology

Betamax (top) and a VHS (bottom) tapes were respectively created

by Japanese companies Sony and JVC.

Blu-ray Disc (alongside with other nations)
After Shuji Nakamura's invention of practical blue laser
diodes,[160] Sony started two projects applying the new
diodes: UDO (Ultra Density Optical) and DVR Blue (together
with Pioneer), a format of rewritable discs which would
eventually become the Blu-ray Disc.[161] The Blu-ray Disc
Association was founded by Massachusetts Institute of
Technology alongside with nine companies: five from Japan,
two from Korea, one from the Netherlands and one from
Compact Disc (also Netherlands company Philips)
The compact disc was jointly developed by Philips (Joop
Sinjou) and Sony (Toshitada Doi). Sony first publicly
demonstrated an optical digital audio disc in September
1976. In September 1978, they demonstrated an optical
digital audio disc with a 150 minute playing time, and with
specifications of 44,056 Hz sampling rate, 16-bit linear
resolution, cross-interleaved error correction code, that were
similar to those of the Compact Disc they introduced in 1982.

Blue laser
In 1992 Japanese inventor Shuji Nakamura invented the first
efficient blue LED.[163]
Digital video disc (also Netherlands company Philips)
The DVD, first developed in 1995, resulted from a
cooperation between three Japanese companies (Sony,
Toshiba and Panasonic) and one Dutch company (Philips).
Flash memory
Flash memory (both NOR and NAND types) was invented by
Dr. Fujio Masuoka while working for Toshiba c. 1980.[164][165]
Betamax was an analog videocassette magnetic tape
marketed to consumers released by Sony on May 10, 1975.

VHS (Video Home System)

The VHS was invented in 1973 by Yuma Shiraishi and Shizuo
Takano who worked for JVC.[167]

A Seiko quartz wristwatch using the chronograph function

(movement 7T92).
Automatic quartz
The first watch to combine self-winding with a crystal
oscillator for timekeeping was unveiled by Seiko in 1986.[168]
Myriad year clock
The Myriad year clock ( Mannen Jimeishou, lit. TenThousand Year Self-ringing Bell), was a universal clock
designed by the Japanese inventor Hisashige Tanaka in 1851.
It belongs to the category of Japanese clocks called Wadokei.

Quartz wristwatch
The world's first quartz wristwatch was revealed in 1967: the
prototype of the Astron revealed by Seiko in Japan, where it
was in development since 1958. It was eventually released to
the public in 1969.[170]
Spring Drive
A watch movement which was first conceived by Yoshikazu
Akahane working for Seiko in 1977 and was patented in 1982.
It features a true continuously sweeping second hand, rather
than the traditional beats per time unit, as seen with
traditional mechanical and most quartz watches. [171]

Aircraft Carrier
Hsh was the world's first purpose-built aircraft carrier to be
completed. She was commissioned in 1922 for the Imperial
Japanese Navy (IJN). Hsh and her aircraft group
participated in the January 28 Incident in 1932 and in the
opening stages of the Second Sino-Japanese War in late

A bullet train in Tokyo, 1967

Bullet train
The world's first high volume capable (initially 12 car
maximum) "high-speed train" was Japan's Tkaid
Shinkansen, that officially opened in October 1964, with
construction commencing in April 1959.[173] The 0 Series
Shinkansen, built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries, achieved
maximum passenger service speeds of 210 km/h (130 mph)
on the TokyoNagoyaKyotoOsaka route, with earlier test
runs hitting top speeds in 1963 at 256 km/h.[173]
Electronically-controlled continuously variable transmission
In early 1987, Subaru launched the Justy in Tokyo with an
electronically-controlled continuously variable transmission
(ECVT) developed by Fuji Heavy Industries, which owns
Hydrogen car
In 2014, Toyota launched the first production hydrogen fuel
cell vehicle, the Toyota Mirai.[175] The Mirai has a range of 312
miles (502km) and takes about five minutes to refuel. The

initial sale price was roughly 7 million yen ($69,000).

Kei car
A category of small automobiles, including passenger cars,
vans, and pickup trucks. They are designed to exploit local
tax and insurance relaxations, and in more rural areas are
exempted from the requirement to certify that adequate
parking is available for the vehicle.[176][177]
Spiral escalator
Mitsubishi Electric unveiled the world's first practical spiral
escalator in 1985. Spiral escalators have the advantage of
taking up less space than their conventional counterparts. [178]
Fire balloon
A fire balloon, or balloon bomb, was an experimental weapon
launched by Japan from 1944 to 1945, during World War II.[179]

The katana originated in the Muromachi period (13921573)
as a result of changing battle conditions requiring faster
response times. The katana facilitated this by being worn
with the blade facing up, which allowed the samurai to draw
their blade and slash at their enemy in a single motion.
Previously, the curved sword of the samurai was worn with
the blade facing down. The ability to draw and cut in one
motion also became increasingly useful in the daily life of the

The shuriken was invented during the Gosannen War as a
concealed weapon, primarily for the purpose of distracting a
Wireless transmission
Meteor burst communications
The first observation of interaction between meteors and
radio propagation was reported by Hantaro Nagaoka in 1929.

Yagi antenna
The Yagi-Uda antenna was invented in 1926 by Shintaro Uda
of Tohoku Imperial University, Sendai, Japan, with the
collaboration of Hidetsugu Yagi, also of Tohoku Imperial
University. Yagi published the first English-language reference
on the antenna in a 1928 survey article on short wave
research in Japan and it came to be associated with his name.
However, Yagi always acknowledged Uda's principal
contribution to the design, and the proper name for the
antenna is, as above, the Yagi-Uda antenna (or array). [183]
Writing and Correction implementations

Model B in Pink
Correction tape
Correction tape was invented in 1989 by the Japanese
product manufacturer Seed. It is an alternative to correction
Gel pen
The gel pen was invented in 1984 by Sakura. [185]

Rollerball pen
The first rollerball pen was invented in 1963 by the Japanese
company Ohto.[186]

Artificial snowflake
The first artificial snowflake was created by Ukichiro Nakaya
in 1936, three years after his first attempt.[187]
Canned coffee
Canned coffee was invented in 1965 by Miura Yoshitake, a
coffee shop owner in Hamada, Shimane Prefecture, Japan. [188]
The first emoji was created in 1998 or 1999 in Japan by
Shigetaka Kurita.[189]
Fake food
Simulated food was invented after Japans surrender ending
World War II in 1945. Westerners traveling to Japan had
trouble reading Japanese menus and in response, Japanese
artisans and candlemakers created wax food so foreigners
could easily order something that looked appetizing. [190]
YoshizawaRandlett system
The YoshizawaRandlett system is a diagramming system
used for origami models. It was first developed by Akira
Yoshizawa in 1954. It was later improved upon by Samuel
Randlett and Robert Harbin.[191]

Kimono | Symbology | Obi
Symbols are a large part of Japanese culture. Designs on kimono, including
family crests, are often crucial to understanding the occasion where the
garment would have been worn, by whom and at what time of the year.
Please note: the following information has been gathered from the book:

Symbols of Japan by Merrily Baird.


The Japanese view butterflies as souls of the living and the dead. They are
considered symbols of joy and longevity.


Primarily a symbol of perseverance, the carp (koi) is also evocative of

faithfulness in marriage and general good fortune.
In Japan the carp is most commonly found in placid waters, however it is often
depicted in motion, arched upward with sprays of water. This motif suggests
the virtues of a determined warrior and is often associated with qualities
desirable in young males. A design of carp ascending rapids symbolises the
Childrens Day Festival on 5 May, which evolved from the Boys Day
Images of carp are often found on young boys kimono.

Cherry Blossoms

From the Heian Period (794 - 1185) on, the cherry blossom has been revered
by Japanese. The flowers brief blooming time and the fragility of its
blossoms, has led to an association with the transience of life.
On mass, the blossoms resemble clouds and the fallen blossoms can be likened
to snow images that have captivated Japanese artistic sensibilities.

As with many symbols in Japanese culture, the chrysanthemum motif began
with the Chinese. The flower was believed to have healing properties for
drunkenness, nervous disability and general debilitating illnesses. The Chinese
also associated the chrysanthemum with endurance and integrity.
Introduced to Japan in the pre-Nara period (before 710), focus remained on the
plants medicinal properties. Even today extracts of chrysanthemum are used
in Asian herbal medicine.
Japanese interest in the chrysanthemum as a subject for poetry and design
occurred in the Heian period (794 1185), and the flower became a primary
symbol of autumn.

Cranes in Japanese textiles generally represent longevity and good fortune.
They are most closely associated with Japanese New Year and wedding
ceremonies for example the crane is often woven into a wedding kimono or
Out of the many shapes, animals and works of art created by origami
(Japanese paper folding), the crane is produced most often. It is customary
within Japanese culture to fold one thousand paper cranes when making a
special wish. Giant colourful necklaces of cranes are a common sight outside
Japanese shrines and temples.
For those in the Western world, one thousand origami paper cranes have
become closely associated with the bombing of Hiroshima by the Allies in
1945 and the wider issue of world peace.


In Japan the dragonfly is emblematic of martial success, as various names for

the insect are homophones for words meaning victory. It is also a symbol of
late summer and early autumn.

Twenty-seven species of frog are found in Japan. Due to an agricultural
economy based on the flooded rice paddy, the presence of frogs is considered
to bring good fortune. Additionally, the frog has become a creature much
beloved in poetry and art. Ceramic frogs are often sold at shrines as the
Japanese word for frog is the same as to return.

The nandina bush reaches heights of two to three metres and bears clusters of
berries which the Japanese associate with winter. Its leaves are popularly
thought to have medicinal qualities. Because its name is homonymic for the
words difficulties and changing, the nandina is believed to have the power
to make bad fortune disappear. The plant appears as a motif in family crests,
art and textile design, but is best known for its use in New Years
arrangements where it symbolises longevity.

The Chinese introduced Japan to the tree peony in the Nara period (710
794). To the Chinese, the flower represented good fortune, high honour, and
the season of spring.
The flower gained prominence in Japanese scrolling patterns, especially those
used in brocades. Like the Chinese, the Japanese considered the peony to be
king of the flowers and therefore use it as a popular motif in textile design
often regardless of season.
The bush peony the type most often found in Western gardens rarely
features in Japanese art or textile design.

Pine Trees

Pine trees occur naturally in Japan and are prized for their practical uses and
attractive appearance. Influenced by Chinese symbology, the evergreen pine
has come to represent longevity, good fortune and steadfastness. Both
Japanese and Chinese art associate the pine with virtue, a motif of winter and
New Year, and as a premier symbol of long life and even immortality.

Once again influenced by the Chinese, the spider came to be seen in Japan as a
symbol of industry. Japanese folk stories say the appearance of a spider
foretells the visit of a good friend. As in Western culture the spider is also
perceived to have more sinister attributes. However, it continues to feature in
Japanese design, usually with other plants, insects or flowers.

Swallows are yearly migrants arriving in Japan in early spring. As a symbol of
that season they can be easily identified in textile representations by their vshaped tail. The swallow is also a symbol of good luck, fidelity in marriage,
and fertility.

Meanings derived from a turtle/tortoise motif are complex in Japanese culture.
Hinduism, Taoism, Confucism, and Buddhism all contribute understanding.
These traditions claim that the tortoise helps prop up the world, guards the
northern quadrant of the universe with the snake, and carries on its carapace
sacred inscriptions. The animal is believed to live to an exceptional age.
According to Japanese folklore the tortoise then develops a flowing white tail
and exhales special vapours that conjure up sacred jewels.
Primarily the tortoise is a symbol of longevity.

Flowering in early summer, purple wisteria flowers have been depicted in
Japanese kimono for many hundreds of years. For example, they were often
celebrated at parties sponsored by Japanese aristocrats in the late Heian period
(794 1185). Later on Fuji-musume, the Wisteria Maiden, became the subject

of art and doll-making. Wisteria is also used in many Japanese family crests

Symbolism of Japanese Fans

by Siva Stephens

In Japanese culture, fan paintings are symbolic.

Related Articles

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History of Japanese Fans

The Symbolism of the Japanese Maple Tree

What Is the Meaning of Color in Japanese Culture?

Difference Between Japanese & Chinese Dragons

What Are Shinto's Holy Places?

Fans are very important in Japanese culture; in fact, in traditional Japanese

dress you can't be considered fully clothed unless you are carrying a folding
fan (called an ogi). There are two types of Japanese fans, the folding fan and
the uchiwa or "screen" fan. Historically Japanese of every gender, age and
social level have carried fans, and many of them are beautifully painted to tell
stories or convey messages to those who know how to decipher the symbols

The Structure
The fan itself is symbolic, with the small end representing birth and the blades
symbolizing the many possible paths leading away from this beginning. The
colors on the fan are also significant. Red and white are considered lucky, and
gold is thought to attract wealth. Figures or designs are generally repeated an
odd number of times, since odd numbers are lucky-groups of five are thought
to be particularly auspicious.

The Usage
The main use of fans is to create a cooling breeze for the user, but in Japan it
goes beyond the obvious. Fans were once thought to keep away evil, were
used in religious ceremonies and to provide shade for royalty. Holding a fan
was also considered restorative to the soul. Fans are also used as a social
barometer. Placing a closed fan between yourself and someone else means you
are acknowledging their superior status. Fans are also used in Japanese theater
to accentuate the stylized movements of Kabuki and Noh.

Life and Longevity

Fans are often given as gifts to honor births or birthdays, and these fans are
often covered in floral designs. In Japanese imagery, flowers are symbolic of
life-chrysanthemums especially because their many petals stand for many long
years. Animals (such as the tortoise and the crane) that live long lives are also
painted on birthday fans. Flax plants grow tall and straight, so parents may
give a child a fan with flax leaves painted on it to convey their wish that he
grow like the flax plant.

Flowers and Plants

Representations of evergreen plants, such as bamboo and pine, symbolize
endurance. Cherry blossoms-a beloved Japanese symbol-are a sign of the love
between parents and children. Roses signify love, and the combination of
roses and pine trees are symbolic of the opposites-attract principle of yin and
yang. Plum blossom represents a hopeful new beginning.


Birds in pairs symbolize loving couples, but black birds represent evil. Lions
symbolize strength, royalty and protection, while tigers signify war. A horse
can symbolize mercy (particularly if it is white). One butterfly means a
conceited, fickle woman, but two symbolize a happy marriage. A koi fishpossibly the most well-known Japanese symbol-means wealth, luck and a
long, long life.
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