THE JAPANESE RICE REGION 644. Bounds and character.—The Japanese Rice Region includes most of the Japanese islands and a part of the Korean peninsula. In this region the summers are warm enough, moist enough, and long enough for rice to grow well. Most of the people both of Japan and Korea live in the rice region, and eat rice as their chief food. Most of the land is forested mountains. Some of the mountains are vol canoes. One of them, the beautiful Fuji yama (Fig. 472), is regarded as sacred by the Japanese. Because the country is volcanic, Japan has many earthquakes. The valleys and plains are green with crops, and are dotted with villages in which millions of farmers live. They toil day in and day out on their little farms, the women and children helping them—working, working, working. Big and little, male and female, they seem to be forever at work. Because the climate is favorable for food production, this tiny region has more people than all the rest of Asia that we have studied. All the other Asiatic regions, except the wheat belt, ne too dry or too cold to support many people.
645. The cyclones.—Japan and Korea have rain both winter and summer. In autumn, winter, and spring they have cyclones very much as the United States and England do. Rains at these seasons let the people grow winter wheat (Sec. 74), and also barley and rye. Summer brings a new kind of rain wind, the monsoon.
646. The monsoon.—In summer the great, dry center of Asia becomes very hot. The heated air expands, becomes lighter and rises, and to take its place a great sea breeze of warm, moist air from the In dian and Pacific oceans blows into southeast ern Asia. This is the monsoon. It blows day and night for several months, bringing moisture an d sum mer rain to all shore lands lying between the Indus and Amur rivers. Summer heat and summer rain make plants grow and help the farmer to produce abundant crops. For this reason the monsoon lands of Asia hold about half the human race.