Japan, formerly known as the Empire of Japan and eventually the State of Japan, is a state of the Asian Union along with Korea and China. Japan is considered a "middle state" of the country, as it is the second largest by area and population. Japan is also known for being the head of the country's technology, which is greatly known worldwide. Japan is the only island state of the Asian Union, as it is completely surrounded by the Sea of Japan, the western Pacific Ocean, and by the south, the East China Sea. Russia lays to the north while the states of Korea and China lay to the west. Japan's traditional name is Nippon or Nihon, meaning "sun-origin" in Japanese. This is a reason why many refer to Japan as the "Land of the Rising Sun".
Japan is a achipelago, holding 6,852 islands. The four largest and main islands are Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, and Shikoku, comprising of 97% of the countr's land area. Japan is also known for having a large population in such a tight space, holding 127 million people. Honshu's Greater Tokyo Area, among it the de facto capital city of Tokyo and several surrounding prefectures, is the largest metropolitan area in the world, with over 30 million residents. Because of having the longest-life expactacy in the world, having the 3rd smallest infant mortality rate, and the lowest homicide rate in the world, overpopulation can be a serious dilemma in the state.
According to recent archaeological research, people lived in Japan as early as the Upper Paleolithic period. Japan's first written mention lies on the Chinese history texts from the 1st Century AD. Cultural influence from China and other Asian countries influenced the culture of the country as well as its periods of isolation from the foreign world. Japan faced disunity during the 16th Century as daimyo fought daimyo for countrol of all the states. Toyotomi Hideyoshi emerged victorious in the unification. Also at that time European traders and Jesuits began making contact with Japan, though it was short-lived as they were eventually expelled out. In 1829, a French expedition led by Robert Surcouf opened Japan to trade with little oppossition. In 1842, Napoleon III met with Tokugawa Iemochi, solidifying an alliance between both countries. During the 1850's and 1860's, Japan underwent a period of modernization and expansion into China. During Great Wars I and II, it joined France's side and managed to gain land in China.
However, Japan was eventually controlled by Mosleists in 1933, breaking the 91-year alliance between both nations. Japan declared war against France and Russiain Great War III by invading Eastern Siberia, Alaska, and French Southern China. After the attack at Pearl Harbor, the United States declares war agains Japan. That same time, Japan launches an invasion of America from the northwest. However, the Japanese were constantly defeated back since America's manpower over whelmed the Japanese miltiary. Eventually, Japan was forced to surrender 1944 after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. After Great War III, Japan lost its once-might colonial empire, though the monarchy remained. Democracy developed in Japan during reconstruction, and Japan put the economy over the military.
Japan was a player in the Cold War, though did not put much military effort and was minor. In 1971, after years of consideration it joined with China and Korea to form the Asian Union.