Think you know Japan? Take our quiz to find out.

Melanie Stetson Freeman / The Christian Science Monitor
Tokyo skyline is seen from Tokyo Tower.

Japan is an ancient island nation with a rich and varied history. Home to paleolithic peoples, samurai, and robots, Japan has seen competing kingdoms, feudalism, isolation, empire, and a sprint to become one of the foremost economies in the modern world. How much do you know about The Land of the Rising Sun? Put your knowledge to the test in our quiz:

1. According to the Cultural Affairs Agency of Japan, karaoke is the most widely practiced cultural activity in the country. What does 'karaoke' mean?

A portmanteau of Japanese words for 'aspiring' and 'greatness'

A portmanteau of Japanese words for 'empty' and 'orchestra'

The Japanese word for 'public embarrassment'

A portmanteau of Japanese words for 'singer' and 'joy'

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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