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Japan (Japanese: 日本, Nihon or Nippon) is an island country located in the Pacific Ocean, east of China and Korea, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea in the south. It is composed of over 3,000 islands, the largest of which are Hokkaidō, Honshū, Shikoku, and Kyūshū. Most of Japan's islands are mountainous, and many are volcanic; the highest peak is Mount Fuji.

Historically, Japan adopted many Chinese and Korean customs and institutions beginning in the 5th and 6th centuries. In the 8th century, an indigenous culture emerged during the Heian period, characterized by aesthetic refinement and aristocratic sophistication. The arts and literature flourished, culminating in Lady Murasaki's writing of The Tale of Genji, the world's first known novel. From the 12th century to the mid-1800s, Japan was a feudal country led by clans of warriors known as the samurai.

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