The pairing is sometimes referred to as AsaKiku, a portmanteau of the first few syllables of England's human name in Japanese and Japan's human first name. Another term for the pairing is Iggypan, a portmanteau of a popular nickname for England, Iggy, and the last syllable of Japan. The term, 島国同盟 (Shimaguni Doumei), Island-Nation Alliance, is the most commonly used term in the Japanese Fandom.
The Anglo-Japanese Alliance
In 1902, England, who was living in "splendid isolation," realized that it would be in his best interest to make friends. He attempted to befriend Germany first by showing up at his door with a bouquet of roses, but Germany slammed the door in his face. After that, England decided to try and befriend Japan instead; he learned that Japan had been looking for a friend too and was optimistic about his prospects with him until he also learned that Japan's boss was visiting Russia which could signal a possible alliance between them that would leave England out.
Just as England was about to resign himself to being alone, however, Japan showed up and explained to him that his boss acted without his counsel and that he would in fact like to form an alliance with him, which England accepted even as he insisted that he was only doing this for his own sake, not Japan's, and later bragged to France about how he was going to use this alliance to trounce him and Russia.
England also helped Japan learn the English language, and when he discovered that the English sentences Japan was writing were all insults about America, asked him if he has a grudge against America, which Japan denied.
In another strip explicitly set during the time of the Anglo-Japanese alliance, England stayed over at Japan's house to learn more about his culture and wound up meeting several of Japan's supernatural creatures, including tengu and kappa. He learned from the kappa that the supernatural creatures used to be able to converse with Japan and his people but that they now have to leave as they are becoming only superstition to the Japanese, and saw them off, saying that he hoped to see them again someday.
Japan was asked by his boss in one strip to cook the beef stew served at England's house and he initially protested but tried to fulfill his boss's request as best as he can, even though he couldn't quite remember the ingredients England used in his dish, eventually just throwing in random ingredients altogether. He ended up creating the new dish nikujaga.
When France and Greece both labeled England as the world's most perverted country, England pleaded with Japan to prove them wrong somehow. Japan replied that he couldn't and said that it would be better for him to get into 2-D so that his body would remain pure even if his heart wouldn't, a suggestion that England declined to take.
In another strip, England greeted Japan while wearing a shirt that contained spoilers for the final Harry Potter book. A horrified Japan quickly covered his eyes before he could be spoiled and England removed his shirt, making sure to tell Japan that it was for his own sake, not Japan's. Japan asked England what he could possibly gain from taking his shirt off, only to become even more horrified when he saw that the spoilers were also written on England's chest.
One of the main drawing points of the England/Japan pairing is their similarities as island nations who don't have many friends and are implied to be secretly perverted underneath their proper demeanors.
England tends to act bluntly tsundere around Japan at times, a fact that Japan himself notes, although he seems to be less genuinely cranky and combative about it with Japan than with America and France, most likely because Japan's relatively calm and polite personality would discourage England from getting truly angry or irritated with him.
Japan also appears comfortable with seeing England half-naked after he takes a bath in Ghost Culture of England and Japan even though he's shown to protest when other characters like Germany or Italy get equally half-naked.
In historical terms, the Anglo-Japanese alliance was the strongest point of relations between England and Japan, but the state of their Hetalia counterparts' relationship after the termination of the alliance in 1921 is largely left to speculation; most of their shown interaction is set during the time of the alliance, and by the time of the main WWII storyline they are confirmed enemies.
It can be argued that Japan has actually grown closer to America than England in the modern day strips, as he has helped America scare England at Halloween, breaking England's formerly perfect record of being the first to scare America. Overall, Japan has a significantly greater number of strips with America than he does with England. Nonetheless, Japan and England are indeed featured together in a few of post-WWII strips, indicating that they've remained friends in modern day time as well. As the Anglo-Japanese alliance was renewed after the end of World War 2 it can be assumed they still maintain a friendship.
- Ghost Culture of England and Japan (Axis Powers Hetalia volume 2)
Webcomic: Extra Stories
- The Anglo-Japanese Alliance Between Two Lonely People
- Ghost Culture of England and Japan
Webcomic: Comic Diaries
- Comic Diary 4
- Comic Diary 8
- Comic Diary 9
- Drama CD 2: Anglo-Japanese Alliance
- England Caught Himself a Cold (Character CD 4: UK)
- Ghost Culture of England and Japan (Character CD 3: Japan)
- Let's Talk About the G8 Members (Character CD 7: Russia)