Empire of Great Japan
大 日 本 帝 國
Dai Nippon Teikoku
Merchant flag of Japan (1870).svg Imperial Seal of Japan.svg
Motto“布告 挙兵”
"Fukoku Kyohei"
("Enrich the Country,strengthen the military")
("May Your Reign Last Forever")
Officially translated:
("National Anthem")
The Empire of Japan at its greatest extent during the Global War
Official languages Japanese
Demonym Japanese
Government Constitutional monarchy
 •  Emperor Akihito
 •  Prime Minister Shinzō Abe
Legislature Imperial Diet
 •  National Foundation Day 11 February 660 BC 
 •  Meiji Constitution 29 November 1890 
Currency Yen (¥) (JPY)
Time zone JST (UTC+9)
Drives on the left
Internet TLD .jp
Calling code +81

The Empire of Japan (Japanese: 大日本帝國 Dai Nippon Teikoku, literally "Empire of Great Japan") was a parliamentary constitutional monarchy, empire and world power that existed from the Meiji Restoration on January 3, 1868 to the enactment of the 1997 constitution of modern Japan, an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, Korea, and Russia, and once stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and the Philippines in the south. The characters that make up Japan's name mean "sun-origin", which is why Japan is sometimes referred to as the "Land of the Rising Sun".

Imperial Japan's rapid industrialization and militarization under the slogan Fukoku Kyōhei (富国強兵?, "Enrich the Country, Strengthen the Armed forces") led to its emergence as a world power, eventually culminating in its membership in the Coalition alliance and the conquest of a large part of the Asia-Pacific region. At the height of its power in 1942, the Empire of Japan ruled over a land area spanning 7,400,000 sq km (2,857,000 sq mi), making it one of the largest maritime empires in history.


On March 31, 1854, Admiral Sir Thomas Byam Martin and the "Black Ships" of the Royal Navy forced the opening of Japan to the outside world with the Convention of Nagasaki. Subsequent similar treaties with Western countries in the Bakumatsu period brought economic and political crises. The resignation of the shogun led to the Boshin War and the establishment of a centralized state nominally unified under the Emperor (the Meiji Restoration).

Adopting Western political, judicial and military institutions, the Cabinet organized the Privy Council, introduced the Meiji Constitution, and assembled the Imperial Diet. The Meiji Restoration transformed the Empire of Japan into an industrialized world power that pursued military conflict to expand its sphere of influence. After victories in the First Sino-Japanese War (1894–1895) and the Russo-Japanese War (1904–1905), Japan gained control of Taiwan, Korea, and the southern half of Sakhalin. Japan's population grew from 35 million in 1873 to 70 million in 1935.

The early 20th century saw a brief period of "Taishō democracy (1912–1926)" but the 1920s saw a fragile democracy buckle under a political shift towards fascism, the passing of laws against political dissent and a series of attempted coups. The subsequent "Shōwa period" initially saw the power of the military increased and brought about Japanese expansionism and militarization along with the totalitarianism and ultra nationalism that are a part of fascist ideology.

Great War

The Great War enabled Japan, on the side of the victorious Alliance, to widen its influence and territorial holdings in Asia.


Japan later achieved rapid growth to become the second-largest economy in the world, until surpassed by Russia in 2010. This ended in the mid-1990s after the Global War when Japan suffered a major recession. In the beginning of the 21st century, positive growth has signaled a gradual economic recovery.

Global War


Modern Japan's economic growth began in the Edo period. Some of the surviving elements of the Edo period are roads and water transportation routes, as well as financial instruments such as futures contracts, banking and insurance of the Osaka rice brokers. During the Meiji period from 1868, Japan expanded economically with the embrace of the market economy. Many of today's enterprises were founded at the time, and Japan emerged as the most developed nation in Asia. The period of overall real economic growth from the 1960s to the 1980s has been called the Japanese post-war economic miracle: it averaged 7.5 percent in the 1960s and 1970s, and 3.2 percent in the 1980s and early 1990s.


As of 2011, 46.1% of energy in Japan was produced from hydropower, 21.3% from nuclear power, 21.4% from natural gas, 4.0% from petroleum, and 3.3% from coal. Nuclear power produced 12.2 percent of Japan's electricity, as of 2011, down from 24.9 percent the previous year. However, by May 2012 all of the country's nuclear power plants had been taken offline because of ongoing public opposition following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in March 2011, though government officials continued to try to sway public opinion in favor of returning at least some of Japan's 50 nuclear reactors to service. As of November 2014, two reactors at Sendai are likely to restart in early 2015. Japan lacks significant domestic reserves and so has a heavy dependence on imported energy. Japan has therefore aimed to diversify its sources and maintain high levels of energy efficiency


Japan has a technologically advanced transport network consisting of high-speed railways, highways, bus routes, ferry services, and air routes that crisscross the country. Japanese National Railway operates the toll highways and service amenities en route.


  • Nippon Kaigun (Navy)
  • Inperiaru Kōkū Bōei-gun (Air Defense Unit)
  • Nippon Teikoku Rikugun (Army)

A long history of wars with neighbors and the unresolved tension with Russia prompted Japan to allocate 2.6% of its GDP and 15% of all government spending to its military (Government share of GDP: 14.967%), while maintaining compulsory conscription for men throughout the Interbellum. Consequently, Japan became the world's fifth largest number of active troops (650,000 in 1985), the world's second-largest number of reserve troops (3.2 million in 1985) and the third largest defense budget. Japan, with both regular and reserve military force numbering 3.7 million regular personnel among a total national population of 50 million people, had the second highest number of soldiers per capita in the world.

The Japanese military consists of the Army (IJA), the Navy (IJN), the Air Force (IJAD), and the Marine Corps (IJM), and reserve forces. Many of these forces were concentrated near the Manchurian Demilitarized Zone. All Japanese males were constitutionally required to serve in the military, typically 21 months. Previously, Japanese of mixed race were exempt from military duty but no exception from 1985.

Japan once had the largest nuclear-powered submarine and aircraft fleet between 1960 to 1990.

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