Japan has a new prime minister, Yasuo Fukuda, who took office on Sept 26th. The former prime minister, Shinzo Abe, resigned after just a year in office. His resignation came as quite a surprise, and his health was given as the reason. Abe’s time as a leader was quite rough – several ministers were involved in scandals while he was in office.
Japan also has an Emperor – it is the only country today where the ruler is called an Emperor. Most other countries use King/Queen or Prince/Princess. The Japanese name for Japan is Nippon which means “the land of the rising sun”. This was most likely because the sun rose earlier in Japan than China, the other main civilization that the Japanese interacted with in the olden days.
Youngsters all around the world today are entertained by Japanese creations such as Pokemon, Hello Kitty and Karaoke! Karaoke comes from two Japanese words meaning “empty orchestra”. Thanks to the Japanese, there are now millions of kids (and adults!) trying to imitate the voice of everyone from USA’s Britney Spears to Finland’s Lordi. The Japanese have also made a big impact in the area of martial arts – Judo was invented in Japan, and they also helped Karate evolve into the art it is today.
The Japanese are famous for inventing neat gadgets. Some are purely entertaining like the Tamagotchi – an electronic pet that has to be fed and taken care of. Others seem like they could be really useful – Toto’s luxurious toilet seats are heated and come with their own remote control, while Takanoha’s Nap Alarm buzzes in your ear when you doze off (so that you can stay awake in boring classes)! Yet others such as Honda’s Asimo Robot give us a glimpse of what the future may look like!