Sultan Jessa: Japan – Land of the Rising Sun

Story and photographs By Sultan Jessa

Sultan Jessa: Japan - Land of the Rising Sun

TOKYO: Japan: This “land of the Rising Sun” is small in size with a big heart and lots of optimism.  Despite numerous setbacks in recent years, Japan, one of the world’s third largest economies, is open to tourists and for business.

This country has a lot to offer to tourists and entrepreneurs.

But, take heed. Japan is an expensive destination, tourists from around the world flock to the country because it is different from most other countries in culture, customs courtesy and what it has to offer. This Asian giant is much smaller than California yet supports nearly 128 million people. In fact, this tiny Asian country is more than four times as crowded as California.

Sultan Jessa: Japan - Land of the Rising Sun
A big tourist attraction

Japan has achieved remarkable growth in recent years. The country’s growth is propelled by highly successful automobile and consumer electronic industries.

Twenty per cent of the world’s earthquakes take place in Japan, which sits on the boundaries of at least three tectonic plates. The March 2011 earthquake unleashed a devastating tsunami. Today, Japan is still coming to terms with its horrendous impact. The major problem has been restarting its nuclear energy programme after the closure of the Fukushima plant.

Bullet train
Bullet train

Japan’s crowded conditions influence how the innovative Japanese people live. Almost three­ quarters of the Japanese people are crowded into the narrow plain between Tokyo, the capital and Hiroshima. The country consists of hundreds of islands, many of which are too small for people to live. Land prices are extremely high which means most Japanese people cannot afford to purchase individual homes. They live in small apartments which are no larger than a large room in a British or a Canadian home.

Japan’s highly industrialized and free market economy rules in both Asia and globally.

Japanese women shopping
Japanese women shopping

The Land of the Rising Sun is now also the land of longevity. According to latest statistics, the number of Japanese living beyond 100 has more than doubled over the past six years to a record high of more than 36,000 this year, with women dominating the centenarian club. In 2008, Japan had 36,276 people aged 100 years or older, surpassing last year’s total of 32,276. Women account for 86 per cent of the total. Japan has one of the world’s longest life expectancies – nearly 86 years for women and 79 years for men. The number of centenarians has been on the rise for nearly 40 years. According to projections by the United Nations, Japan’s centenarian population is expected to reach nearly one million – the world’s largest – by 2050. Okinawa has the highest concentrations of centenarians with 838, or 61 of every 100,000 people. That is far above a nationwide average of just over 28 per 100,000. The ratio for fast-­paced Tokyo is about 25 in 100,000. As of the end of last year, China with the world’s largest population (1.3 billion people) had 18,000 centenarians. But, Japan will not be able to hold to the title of longevity for many more years.

rainy day in Tokyo
Rainy day in Tokyo

The country has now been infested with numerous, American­-style fast­-food outlets like McDonalds, KFCs and pizza places. Since the Japanese people live extremely fast­paced lives, many are sacrificing healthy eating habits for fast food. During the recent visit to Japan, our tour guide told us he had to wait in a queue for nearly three hours to buy a dozen doughnuts.

golden temple
golden temple

Japan is already home to one of the highest rates of suicide in the industrialized world, with an estimated 30,000 killing themselves every year. Amid deepening fears of global recession, the rate is expected to soar much higher, fuelled by the growing prospect of job losses, decreased financial security and a rise in social dissatisfaction. During the 1998 financial crisis, the number of suicides in Japan surged 34 per cent compared to the previous year. “More middle aged men, including company executives, committed suicide from bankruptcies starting in 1998,” Yukio Saito, director of Japan’s Federation of Help lines, was quoted saying in a newspaper interview. “The number of suicides remains at this level because of continuing problems with economic conditions in Japan.”

making new friends
making new friends

A tourist official, who preferred to remain anonymous, said Japanese people are more dedicated to companies they work for than their families. “The competition is very severe,” he said. “People are always looking for jobs and better prospects.” Slackness at jobs is not tolerated.

Shintoism and Buddhism are Japan’s two principal religions. Shintoism is founded on myths and legends from the early animistic worship of natural phenomena. Today, many Japanese people are adherents of both faiths.

Author: ismailimail

Independent, civil society media featuring Ismaili Muslim community, inter and intra faith endeavors, achievements and humanitarian works.

One thought

  1. Mr. Jessa, You have explain Japan’s beauty very nicely and I want to add here that when I was commissner General of Pakistan in 1990 world expo 90 in OSAKA, where among over 100 countries we won first Gold prize as we had build the replica of SHALIMAR GARDEN OF PAKISTAN, as the theme of Expo was Garden & greenery. There after I was invited by the Pakistan Ambassador at his Residence in very expensive locality in Tokyo, therefore I asked the Ambassador that how come they managed to get the Residence in this expensive place so he replied me that this use to be the
    With Kind Regards
    Rehman Jinnah
    Los Angeles


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