Brown bears are found in Asia, Europe, and North America, giving them the widest ranges of bear species. They also inhabited North Africa and the Middle East. In North America, grizzly bears previously ranged from Alaska down to Mexico and as far east as the western shores of Hudson Bay; the species is now found in Alaska, south through much of western Canada, and into portions of the northwestern United States (including Idaho, Montana, Washington, and Wyoming), extending as far south as Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. It is most commonly found in Canada. In Canada, there are approximately 25,000 grizzly bears occupying British Columbia, Alberta, the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and the northern part of Manitoba. An article published in 1954 suggested they may be present in the tundra areas of the Ungava Peninsula and the northern tip of Labrador-Quebec. In British Columbia, grizzly bears inhabit approximately 90% of their original territory. There were approximately 25,000 grizzly bears in British Columbia when the European settlers arrived. However, population size has since significantly decreased due to hunting and habitat loss. In 2003, researchers from the University of Alberta spotted a grizzly on Melville Island in the high Arctic, which is the most northerly sighting ever documented. In 2008, it was estimated there were 16,014 grizzly bears. Population estimates for British Columbia are based on hair-snagging, DNA-based inventories, mark-and-recapture, and a refined multiple regression model. A revised Grizzly bear count in 2012 for British Columbia was 15,075.
The Alaskan population of 30,000 individuals is the highest population of any province/state in North America. Populations in Alaska are densest along the coast, where food supplies such as salmon are more abundant. The Admiralty Island National Monument protects the densest population—1,600 bears on a 1,600-square mile island.
The Japanese word for Japan is 日本, which is pronounced Nihon or Nippon and literally means “the origin of the sun”. The character nichi (日) means “sun” or “day”; hon (本) means “base” or “origin”. The compound therefore means “origin of the sun” and is the source of the popular Western epithet “Land of the Rising Sun”.
The earliest record of the name Nihon appears in the Chinese historical records of the Tang dynasty, the Old Book of Tang. At the end of the seventh century, a delegation from Japan requested that Nihon be used as the name of their country. This name may have its origin in a letter sent in 607 and recorded in the official history of the Sui dynasty. Prince Shōtoku, the Regent of Japan, sent a mission to China with a letter in which he called himself “the Emperor of the Land where the Sun rises” (日出處天子). The message said: “Here, I, the emperor of the country where the sun rises, send a letter to the emperor of the country where the sun sets. How are you[?]”.