|Name||State of Japan (Nippon/Nihon-koku) (日本国)|
|Human Name||Honda Kiku (本田菊)|
|Height||165 cm (5' 5")|
|Volume||Hetalia: Axis Powers Volume 1|
|Strip||Hetalia: Chapter 1|
|Drama CD||Hetalia Drama CD: Prologue|
Ai Iwamura (child)
Yanagi (drama CD)
Alexis Tipton (child)
Japan (日本, Nihon, Nippon) is a main character in the series Hetalia: Axis Powers. He is a part of the Axis Powers. Between 2007 and 2008, Himaruya gave human names to some of the characters and he received the name Honda Kiku (本田菊).
He is a short, slim man with black (varying from brown-black to blue-black) hair, flatly-colored dark brown eyes, and is often depicted wearing a white naval uniform with black and gold accents. His first appearance in both the anime and the published manga shows him briefly wearing a more ornate version, with gold epaulets and frog clasps down in the front of the jacket. When he first appeared in the webcomic, he wore a standard gray/black uniform until sometime after joining the Axis. Despite looking young, he's actually quite an old man.
In some of Himaruya's official art, his hair is dark brown and his eyes are a lighter brown.
Personality and Interests
A shy, quiet and hard-working man, Japan doesn't know very much about the outside world and needs time to adjust to other people. But he's very curious and interested in learning things from other nations. His distinct island customs may seem mysterious to others, although he finds them perfectly normal. He tends to have the behavior of an "old man," and was a hikikomori for a long time (Japan had spent about 250 years in isolation keeping only contact with Netherlands). Though he appears to be horrified at the idea of nudity or intimate contact, he has erotic woodcuts in his possession, which he tries to hide secretly between his non-erotic books and was said to be very comfortable with nudity in the past. Japan also voiced his preference for 2D girls over 3D girls to England, Greece, and France in one strip, hinting that he has an otaku side. His otaku side is further shown when he decides to buy a Shonen Jump magazine in his preparations for the New Year.
Japan seems to be fond of food in general, very similar to China's fondness, his country's food in particular, as evidenced by his annoyance of having his salted salmon taken off Germany's diet plan. He expressed dismay at the increase of the price of eggs due to a bad economy. He also had the urge to touch the Italy brothers' ahoges due to them reminding him of vegetables. It is said that cockroaches are one of the things that Japan hates the most, to the extent where he could cry over them. Although he appears relatively calm most of the time, it is suggested that his anger would be the "scariest." However, it is shown that it's hard for him to get that angry, as he is mostly able to only summon an "unpleasant feeling."
He loves animals, especially cats, and owns a white dog called Pochi that resembles an Akita or Shiba Inu, both Japanese breeds. Some say it may be a Japanese Spitz due to his white and fluffy fur in some sketches and fanarts. He also eventually gets a rabbit and a guinea pig. He tends to have a weakness for things that are soft and fluffy.
When Prussia came over in attempt to clean his home, he'd already cleaned it by nine in the morning, causing him to explain that, in his old age, for enjoyment, he tends to Bonsai trees, cleans, gazes, plays video games, reads Shounen Jump, tends to Pochi-kun's fur, goes for walks, draws manga, and makes soba. As these are very relaxed and simple things, Prussia remarked that he must have fun every day.
Main Article: America
Japan first meets America in Black Ships have Come, when he is basically forced to accept America onto his formerly isolated island. Agitated at first, Japan eventually confessed his fear of not being able to get along with other countries to America in Japan and the footsteps of Westernization. With the help of "table turning", America is able to assure Japan that he will be fine.
In modern-day strips, these two get along well, sharing a love of technology and video games, and are frequently at each others' houses to play them together. In the Hetalia Fantasia series, America and Japan have created a video game together, in HF2 America says that, for a limited time only, when fighting enemies a colored hamburger has the possibility of falling out, with Japan stating that collecting all seven colors enables them to buy bunny ears. Japan has also apparently learned how to appease a crying, devastated America, as in HF2 he offers him "some candy that old ladies always carry with them but you don't know where they buy them from," calming America down. When asked about his method, he replied "It is a technique native only to Japan!" At times, Japan does remark about it being difficult to handle the younger country, but still continues to be in his company. It has been said that Japan always sides with America's descisions.
Differences between the American and Japanese culture and lifestyle are often explored using these two, such as in Traits of Japanese People that America-Kuns Have Noticed, and Why Americans Love Spring.
Main Article: China
It can be inferred from a reference made about the Battle of Keichou that their relations were already starting to strain before the betrayal, combined with their differing views and Japan's vow to "become stronger". It is also to be noted that while China considered Japan a younger brother, Japan himself denied there being such a connection when asked.
Main Article: England
The two nations are often shown to get along well. Despite not having much in common, Japan suggests they can be lonely together, as both of them do not have many friends. It is shown that throughout the course of the Anglo-Japanese alliance they were extremely loyal to each other, particularly with England going out of his way to make his decisions not only based on what would help himself but what could best benefit Japan as well. Though pitted against each other in World War 2, Japan and England are still seen to have a good friendship in present day, and enjoy spending time together.
Main Article: Germany
Japan and Germany get along relatively well, and tend to be the only ones who adapt to the situation while joined together as the Axis Powers. Japan had known Germany for some time (as depicted in the original strips), although Germany said he can never tell what Japan has in mind.
Main Article: Greece
The two nations have a very friendly relation and multiple strips can be seen of them visiting each other or bonding over their mutual love of cats. Their relationship could be associated with the real-life Greco-Japan diplomatic relationship, which started in 1899. It is implied in Lazy Comic Country that they slept together when Japan stated he had no "experience", and Greece said he'd fix that. He then woke up naked in bed with Greece, though Japan has denied that anything happened between them, believing that it was only a dream.
Main article: Hong Kong
Despite living geographically quite close to each other, Japan and Hong Kong are not shown together too often so far. In AsiAsia, Hong Kong came to Japan and begged him to make an air purifier for Kowloon, but Japan ended up suggesting miniaturizing the other.
Main Article: Italy
The two became acquainted with each other as part of the Axis, though Italy had once had a dream where he met a younger Japan.
Japan is shown to often be unnerved by Italy's "shameless" and unusual behavior, even as going as far as to order him to "take responsibility" and marry him after having been hugged and kissed. Italy's erratic driving had also inspired him to invent safer cars. The two have been shown to have a mutual respect of each others' history and artwork, and seem to be friends.
Main Article: Korea
They do not get along very well. S. Korea claims to hate Japan but often can be seen copying Japan's style and taking credit for others' work. He also has an unusual obsession with grabbing Japan's breasts, with the belief that they belong to him (though he once expressed interest in China's). At one point he wanted to dig a tunnel to connect their houses, but his plan did not succeed.
When asked about his complicated feelings, S. Korea claimed that he invented tsundere. It is unclear in the strips of what their relations were when they were younger, other than S. Korea mentioning that Japan had bullied him (and vowing to find proof to settle a bet).
- Main Article: Nikoniko
Japan is shown to interact with Nikoniko during a Halloween 2013 flashback sequence. Japan, concerned that an individual is planning to create a nation, visits Nikoniko while he is still a human. Nikoniko vows to work hard and become a nation, though Japan does not take his attempt seriously. Later, Nikoniko contacts him, declaring that he has officially become the Republic of Nikoniko through his hard work. Japan is astonished and unsure of what work Nikoniko did to achieve micronation status.
Main article: Prussia
While their only canonical meeting was in Prussia's Cleaning game, in which he helps him clean after Japan misinterpreted his demands as enthusiasm, Himaruya has stated that their relationship is near inseparable, and that it was something he wanted to show in Prussia's April Fools blog, but didn't get to. It's also notable, that Japan calls him "Prussia-kun", emphasizing this. Prussia possibly goes to Japan's house very often, as he said that he "usually" has tea and manjuu when he goes. When they finished cleaning, to show his gratitude, Japan gave him the cakes he had previously been asking for, however the work exhausted Prussia, so he could "only" eat 34.
Also stated in the game, was Prussia's enjoyment of reading manga(he had attempted to learn to draw his own, but he sneezed and abandoned the project), something he possibly got from befriending Japan.
Main Article: Russia
In the Lietuvis strips, Japan is shown to abhor Russia, his grudge stemming as far back as the Russo-Japanese War (although he defeated him, he wound up using up his life savings and became poor). After hearing of the alliance between Russia and Germany, Japan became distraught, claiming "That man is a monster created by fallout from nuclear tests! He tears down buildings! He breathes fire!" When Germany insists on continuing his relationship with Russia, Japan makes a resolution to dissolve himself and to become known as Minami-Centrair. This is loosely based off of an event that happened where the whole Japanese cabinet resigned due to the increasingly good relations between Russia and Germany.
During Russia's visit to Germany's house, Japan made many attempts to get revenge:
- Put caltrops on his seat, but failed as Russia noticed them and did not sit down.
- Hid in the ceiling and attempted to harpoon him, only to miss and for Russia to shake him down, revealing his hiding place.
- Placed an object (possibly an explosive or needle) in an ohagi in hopes that Russia would eat it, only for him to eat it and remain unaffected.
More Like Gamba Vs. Noroi shows that Russia was able to curse Japan and make him fall ill from simply staring at him, an allusion to when Japan was effected by the Great Kantou earthquake.
South Italy (Romano)
Main Article: South Italy
Though they have yet to meet in any of the actual strips, Himaruya has stated that they would both get along rather well and that Japan would refer to the other as "Romano-kun" (after initially "-san").
Main Article: Taiwan
Taiwan has a great preference for Japan, much to China's dismay; this probably stems from the fact that, in reality, the island of Taiwan was annexed by the Japanese government, an event yet to be addressed in the comics. In the strip Ilha Formosa ~Beautiful Island~, she is shown hanging out with Japan and discussing Taiwanese fortune-telling, and during the Halloween 2011 event, she is excited to show Japan her costume.
Main Article: Turkey
Turkey seems to have a soft spot for Japan, and Japan, in turn, has mutual respect for him. In one strip, Turkey starts fighting with Greece when he sees the two together, presuming Greece wanted to take over Japan. Turkey also threatened France on April Fool's with 'Don't you dare try anything on Japan. Or else I'll invade you.'
Japan first appears in Episode 01 at the "Meeting Of The World", where he agrees with America's ridiculous solution for global warming. He is also given an official cameo at the end of Episode 03 as a teaser before he is formally introduced in Episode 04.
Since the anime is based more off the published version of the manga than the original webcomic, Japan does not wear his black uniform in his introduction, instead wearing the decorative version of his naval suit before he becomes part of the Axis Powers. He is also depicted in his WWII naval suit in instances where he originally wore other clothing in the equivalent manga strips.
- His birthday (February 11th) corresponds to the date of National Foundation Day in Japan, which celebrates the foundation of Japan in 660 BC by Emperor Jimmu.
- Though his exact age is unknown and Himaruya listed it as a "secret", some Japanese fans consider him to be approximately 2,670 years old.
- Although being younger than China, Japan has expressed his old age on more than one occasion. In Salted Salmon, Germany and I, Japan explains how he no longer enjoys his birthday, suffers from high blood pressure which causes him to wake up early and wander his neighborhood, and has hip pains.
- In one published strip it is shown he sees the world as an RPG, another hint at his otaku nature.
- According to Himaruya, Japan would most likely have the blood type A (due to it being a common blood type in Japan).
- Japan was corrected from childhood to be ambidextrous, making it likely that he was born left-handed.
- As Hetalia was originally planned as a one chapter story, with Japan appearing only in a bonus strip, Himaruya drew him as a type of character he didn't often utilize, with "soulless" eyes. He also gave him shorter, shaggier hair in his initial appearance, and his face was drawn rather plain. He noted that if he had known the series would become bigger, the design would have been drastically different.
- In the Hetalia: The Beautiful World Radio Show, Japan stated that his age turns 2,673 as of 2013.
- In the 2008 April Fool's With Spain, one of Spain's stories refer to Japan by the surname of his human name for Honda's new CD release.
- Himaruya, Hidekaz (May 2007). "(cache) 【ジョルジュ長岡を心の底から愛でまくるサイト】 キタユメ。 【まゆ毛がステキ】". Archived from the original on November 22, 2007. http://megalodon.jp/2007-1122-0436-47/www.geocities.jp/himaruya/5gatu.htm. Retrieved October 8, 2012.
- Himaruya, Hidekaz (2008). ヘタリア Axis Powers [Hetalia: Axis Powers]. Gentosha. p. 42. ISBN 978-4-3448-1275-8.
- Himaruya, Hidekaz. "ヘタレ３ G-R Nonaggression Pact? [Hetare 3: G-R Nonaggression Pact?]". p. 8. http://www.geocities.jp/himaruya/i_i11.htm. Retrieved June 22, 2012.
- Hidekaz, Himaruya (2007). "MoeKan scanlations + a few interesting old bits of trivia". Archived from the original on November 8, 2009. http://z15.invisionfree.com/Hetayume_Forums/index.php?showtopic=22. Retrieved September 12, 2012.
- Himaruya, Hidekaz. "ハロウィーン漫画 その６ [Halloween 2013 Page 6]". http://www.geocities.jp/himaruya/2013hal_6.html. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
- Himaruya, Hidekaz (October 2006). "(cache) 【ジョルジュ長岡を心の底から愛でまくるサイト】 キタユメ。 【まゆ毛がステキ】". Archived from the original on ???. http://horror-vacui.net/hetarchive/extra/cache2.htm. Retrieved September 18, 2012.
- Himaruya, Hidekaz (2010). Axis Powers ヘタリア 3 特装版 [Axis Powers Hetalia 3 Specially Equipped Edition]. Gentosha. p. 25. ISBN 978-4-3448-1938-2.
- Himaruya, Hidekaz. "「エイプリルフールまとめ」 [April Fool Summary]". http://www.geocities.jp/himaruya/4_1matome.html. Retrieved September 6, 2014.