Over the years, Japan has become one of the most interesting countries in the world. Its unique culture, great food and technological edge has fascinated and inspired the rest of the world.
However, some of Japan’s customs and tastes have been widely misunderstood, and have even baffled some. Nonetheless, these 20 interesting facts have given the world a chance to see Japan as it is: An intriguing, culturally rich and economically sturdy super-power. Here are 20 interesting facts about Japan.
20. Raw horse meat is a popular entree in Japan. Sliced thinly and eaten raw it is called basashi – it is pictured above.
19. Over 70% of Japan consists of mountains. The country also has over 200 volcanoes.
18. A musk melon (similar to a cantaloupe) can sell for over 31,473 yen ($300.00).
17. The literacy rate in Japan is almost 100%.
16. There are vending machines in Japan that dispense beer!
15. Japanese people have an average life-expectancy that is 4 years longer than Americans. Maybe American’s should eat more basashi!
14. Some men in Japan shave their heads as a form of apology.
13. Japan has the second lowest homicide rate in the world, but is also home to the extremely spooky suicide forest, aokigahara. One occupant of the forest is pictured above.
12. Japan has produced 15 Nobel laureates (in chemistry, medicine and physics), 3 Fields medalists and one Gauss Prize laureate.
11. Younger sumo-wrestlers are traditionally required to clean and bathe the veteran sumo-wrestlers at their wrestling “stables”…including all the hard-to-reach places.
10. Japan’s unemployment rate is less than 4%.
9. Japan consists of over 6,800 islands.
8. “Tetsuo: Iron Man” (no relation to the comic book, or Robert Downey, Jr. film), a relatively popular, extreme, “Cyberpunk” film (a “cyberpunk” film is a science fiction film that involves technology – and the abuse thereof – and social unrest), was based on a play the director Shinya Tsukamoto wrote and directed in college. It is an excellent film.
7. A Paleolithic culture from about 30,000 BC is the first known inhabitants of Japan.
6. Prolific Japanese film-maker Takahi Miike made up to 50 films in a decade during the peak of his career.
4. 21% of the Japanese population is elderly, the highest proportion in the world.
3. In the past, the Japanese court system has had a conviction rate as high as 99%!
2. Japanese prisons (as of 2003) operated at an average of 117% capacity.
1. Raised floors help indicate when to take off slippers or shoes. At the entrance to a home in Japan, the floor will usually be raised about 6 inches (15.24 cm.) indicating you should take off your shoes and put on slippers. If the house has a tatami mat room, its floor may be raised 1-2 inches (2.54-5.08 cm.) indicating you should take off your slippers.