Citizens filled with pride in their country, anger at Mercator projection as distance from Hokkaido to Okinawa is shown to equal Denmark to Spain.

In Japanese, there’s a saying which translates to “Japan looks small, but it’s actually big.” It’s meant to be taken figuratively, with the implication that while Japan may not have the landmass of, say, the U.S., China, or Russia, the country nonetheless has a remarkable variety of local culture and scenic sites.

However, some Japanese Twitter users are feeling like the saying is true literally as well, following their minds being blown by a tweet from Twitter user @Kukking10Chan.

Opening with the disclaimer “I’m not typing nonsense while drunk,” @Kukking10Chan says he and a coworker were recently discussing the size of Japan, when his colleague showed him an eye-opening map of Europe. Superimposed onto the continent was Japan, and with its northern island of Hokkaido positioned over Denmark, Japan’s main island of Honshu stretches all the way into Spain, with its southern island as far south as the northern coast of Africa!

“I was incredibly surprised by this,” tweets @Kukking10Chan, “and I’m guessing there are a lot of other people who don’t really grasp how big Japan is.”

@Kukking10Chan blames the Mercator projection system for the lack of awareness, as the method for rendering the three-dimensional globe on a two-dimensional map can distort the sizes of landmasses depending on how close to or far from the equator they are

▼ Despite their differing sizes, each and every orange circle’s diameter represents a distance of 1,000 kilometers (621 miles).

@Kukking10Chan’s theory that many Japanese people aren’t aware of the country’s size was confirmed by online reactions, which included:

“That’s kind of…no, very surprising!”
“Seriously? They never taught me this in school.”
“I’m gonna go tell my son right away.”
“I always though Japan was a small island country, but it looks like I was wrong.”
“I travel between east Japan and west Japan every month, and I’m always surprised how different the weather is on the same day.”

Not everyone was so impressed by Japan’s vastness, though, as one Twitter user remarked:

“Wow, I guess Europe is actually pretty tiny.”

Because just like Japan’s deceptive largeness is a matter of map perspective, looking at the situation from a different angle leads to a different conclusion.

Source: Twitter/@Kukking10Chan via Hachima Kiko
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert image: Wikipedia/Justinkunimune