Far away from our land, on the other side of the world, lies a group of islands which form the kingdom of Japan. The word "Japan" means the "Land of the Rising Sun," and it is certainly a good name for a country of the Far East, the land of sunrise.
The flag of Japan, too, is painted with a rising sun which sheds its beams on every hand, and this flag is now for ever famous, so great and wonderful have been the victories in which it has been borne triumphant over Russian arms.
In some ways the Japanese are fond of comparing themselves with their English friends and allies. They point out that Japan is a cluster of islands off the coast of Asia, as Britain is a cluster of islands off the coast of Europe. They have proved themselves, like the English, brave and clever on the sea, while their troops have fought as nobly as British soldiers on the land. They are fond of calling themselves the "English of the East," and say that their land is the "Britain of the Pacific."
The rise of Japan in becoming one of the Great Powers of the world has been very sudden and wonderful. Fifty years ago Japan lay hidden from the world; she forbade strangers to visit the country, and very little was known of her people and her customs.