|Name:||State of Japan
|Human Name:||Kiku Honda/本田菊
|Height:||165 cm (5'5")|
|First Appearance (volume):||1|
|First Appearance (strip):||Hetalia: Prologue|
|First Appearance (anime):||Episode 01|
|Japanese VA:||Hiroki Takahashi|
|English VA:||Christopher Bevins, Alexis Tipton (young Japan)|
Japan (日本, Nihon, Nippon) is a main character in the series Hetalia: Axis Powers. He is a part of the Axis Powers. In 2008, Himaruya gave human names to some of the characters and he received the name Honda Kiku (本田菊).
Main article: Uniform Guide: Japan
He is a short, slim man with black hair, 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.
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 does not know very much about the outside world and needs time to adjust to other people. He is 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 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. 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 is 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. He also eventually gets a rabbit and a guinea pig. He tends to have a weakness for things that are soft and fluffy.
Main Article: America
In Black Ships have Come, America succeeds in getting Japan to open up his borders, but does so in a way that Japan feels as if there was no choice. Apparently the relationship gets better, since in Japan and the footsteps of Westernization, America visits his house. He introduces "table turning" to Japan, asking what he would like to question the table about. Japan eventually ends up confiding that, while he is happy to be opening up his borders and meeting new people, he is fearful of not being able to get along with other countries. He then goes on to request that America ask if he will be able to make new friends, and America promptly makes the table shift once, exclaiming "That means the answer's yes!".
In modern-day strips, these two get along well. They share a love of technology and video games, and are frequently at each others' houses to play them together. 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
After being discovered by China as a small child, Japan was raised by the older man, who taught him how to use kanji (which Japan used to create the hiragana alphabet). One day, Japan turned against China and attacked him with a katana, leaving a disfiguring scar on China's back. From this point, the two were enemies in war, and China despaired over how war had changed Japan.
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.
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 would 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: 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: Netherlands
Though Netherlands acted aggressive towards most others, he refrained from acting this way towards Japan to convince him to open trade with foreigners, due to having had a companionship with him for years before.
Also, in the Netherlands and Isolationist!Japan comic, it is shown that Netherlands is visibly bothered by the fact that Japan signed a peace treaty with America.
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 did not get to. It is 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. Japan's relationship towards her has yet to be addressed as well.
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. Despite this, Japan had not stated wether he likes Turkey or Greece more. Turkey also threatened France on April Fools with "Don't you dare try anything on Japan. Or else I'll invade you."
In The Anime
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.
The Western order for his name would be Kiku Honda, with the Eastern being Honda Kiku.
Kiku comes from the Japanese word for the Chrysanthemum flower, which is also the family crest of the Japanese Imperial family. Honda is a common Japanese surname that includes the kanji 本 hon, as in 日本 Nihon (Japan).
Wa! Wa!! World Ondo (featured)
Gakuen Fiesta (featured)
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (featured)
- 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).
- As Hetalia was originally planned as a one chapter story, Himaruya did not expect Japan to become a popular character and drew him as a type of character he did not often utilize, with "soulless" eyes. He noted that if he had known the series would become bigger, the design would have been drastically different.
- Japan's seiyuu also voices Superbi Squalo from Katekyo Hitman Reborn!. Incidentally, Squalo has the exact opposite personality of Japan (loud, rude, impulsive, quick-tempered).