World and Its Peoples: Eastern and Southern Asia - Vol. 8

World and Its Peoples: Eastern and Southern Asia - Vol. 8

World and Its Peoples: Eastern and Southern Asia - Vol. 8

World and Its Peoples: Eastern and Southern Asia - Vol. 8


Most of what is known about the outside world remains superficial and stereotypical. World and Its Peoples: Eastern and Southern Asia brings a long, rich story to light about ethnic groups, the impact of terrain and natural resources, and the influence of history. This unique reference work maps out how the nations of the modern world became what they are today through photographs of the geography and people of foreign lands, through discussion of ancient and contemporary works of art and events, and through scores of maps detailing geographical features, historic and modern places, natural habitats, rainfall, locations of ethnic and linguistic groups, natural resources, and centers of industry and transportation. No single resource assembles such comprehensive insight into the world and the people who live in it.


Japan is a chain of islands that stretches over 1,500 miles (2,400 km) from north to south in the western Pacific Ocean. The entire archipelago covers an area similar in size to Texas and New Mexico combined. Although the island chain contains about 3,300 islands, almost the entire area is made up of four large islands, Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, and Shikoku.


Nearly 275 miles (450 km) long, the Inland Sea lies between the islands of Honshu, Kyushu, and Shikoku. The sea, which is irregular in shape, varies in width between 9 miles (15 km) and 34 miles (55 km). Hundreds of islands, most of which are small and uninhabited, and several peninsulas divide the Inland Sea into five distinct basins, each of which has its own name as a separate sea in Japanese. The only significant island within the sea is Awaji, which covers 230 square miles (596 sq. km).

Despite being relatively shallow—the sea's average depth is only 121 feet (37 m)—the Inland Sea is a major transportation routeway. The sea provides a link between the Pacific Ocean in the west and the Sea of Japan in the east, and it gives access to Osaka Bay, along which stretches the populous Osaka metropolitan region, which is the second-largest urban and industrial area in Japan. Although important industrial areas line part of the coast of the Inland Sea. the region's moderate climate and beautiful scenery make it one of Japan's major tourist destinations.

Three narrow straits give entry to the Inland Sea, which was formerly known as the Seto Inland Sea. In the west, the Shimonoseki Strait forms a constricted passage between Honshu and Kyushu, linking the Inland Sea and the East China Sea; it is a major routeway for shipping between China and Japan. In the southwest, the Bungo Strait, between Kyushu and Shikoku, connects the Inland Sea with the Philippine Sea, while the Kii Strait links Osaka Bay, in the east of the Inland Sea. with the Pacillc Ocean.

In modern times, the straits that separate Honshu from Shikoku are crossed by a series of three bridges that have been constructed since the late 1970s. The Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge, which links Kobe on the mainland of Honshu with Awaji, is the northernmost of the three bridges. At its opening in 1988, it was the world's longest suspension bridge.

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