The population consists almost entirely of Japanese. The Ainu , the first residents of the country, still have around 25,000 members in Hokkaido. The strongest foreign group are the Chinese, followed by the Koreans.
Japan’s population is declining. The very high post-war birth rates (3.4%) were greatly reduced by a targeted family planning program and legal regulations on birth control and lowered in the long term (2018 birth rate: 0.8%) while the death rate fell sharply (2018: 1.0%). The biggest population problem in Japan is the aging population, which is progressing faster than in other industrialized countries. Between 1980 and 2018, the proportion of people over 65 years of age rose from 9% to 28.4%. Accordingly, the economy lacks young talent and the social security systems are heavily burdened by high expenditure on pensions and care.
The population density is 348 residents / km 2 ; the population distribution is very different. Settlement is thinnest on Hokkaidō, but in the metropolitan areas on the southeast coast of Honshū there are up to 4,000 residents / km 2. The densely populated prefectures are located on the inland sea and in the region of the east coast route Tokaidō (Tokyo-Yokohama-Nagoya-Osaka-Kobe) and emerged with increasing urbanization as a result of the advancing industrialization of the country. The area is called “Omote-Nippon” (front side Japan). The density is lower on the west side facing the Sea of Japan, “Ura-Nippon” (back side Japan). Between 1950 and 2018, the proportion of the urban population rose from 40% to 92%. There are twelve megacities (Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Nagoya, Sapporo, Kobe, Kyōto, Fukuoka, Kawasaki, Saitama, Hiroshima, Sendai) and well over 140 cities. In the outskirts of some cities, the rural economy and living has been preserved.
The largest cities in Japan
|The largest cities in Japan (population ; as of 2018)|
|Tokyo||9 556 000|
|Sapporo||1 966 000|
The rural settlement development Central Japan is closely linked to the Jōri system, which was adopted by China in the course of the Taik reforms (646 AD). The basic unit of this right-angled land division is a ri (640 m) square, divided into 36 sections (Chō = 1.2 ha). This system is important not only for land division, but also for the course of roads, paths and irrigation canals. In the Middle Ages, the large villages were often replaced by small hamlets, and intensive use of the land also encouraged individual farm settlements. The Jōbo system is decisive for early urban development, in which a shorter Ri unit (545 m) in a square is used. A Ri-Block (Bo) is divided into 16 sections and these into 32 living spaces of 30 × 15 m each. The appearance of the old cities is characterized by the extensive complex of temples and shrines as well as the residences of the nobility; certain streets in the city center were reserved for trade early on. The Japanese cities of the Middle Ages can be divided into temple cities (Jinai-machi), castle cities (Jōka-machi), market towns (Monzen-machi) and port cities according to their essential functions. As early as the second half of the 1950s, settlement complexes with multi-storey blocks (Danchi) appeared next to the houses, which were still built using traditional timber construction. Subdivide market towns (Monzen-machi) and port towns. As early as the second half of the 1950s, settlement complexes with multi-storey blocks (Danchi) appeared next to the houses, which were still built using traditional timber construction. Subdivide market towns (Monzen-machi) and port towns. As early as the second half of the 1950s, settlement complexes with multi-storey blocks (Danchi) appeared next to the houses, which were still built using traditional timber construction.
The freedom of religion guaranteed in the constitution (Article 20) was guaranteed for the first time in 1889 (Article 28) and protected religious beliefs “which have not proven to be detrimental to peace and order in society”. The special status of Shinto (Shintoism), which formed the official state cult of Japan since 1868, remained until the separation of state and religion by the constitution of 1946. This describes the emperor – in contrast to his earlier constitutional predication as a deity (Tennō) – only as a “symbol of the state and the unity of the people” (Article 1) and places all religious communities on an equal footing with the state; the privilege of certain religious communities on the part of the state is expressly excluded in this context.
According to the latest available surveys, about 70% of the population profess Shintoism (85,000 Shinto shrines) and almost 70% to Buddhism (77,000 Buddhist temples). Most Japanese feel connected to both religions; the overlaps in the practice of faith are numerous. About 5% are assigned to new religious communities (Japanese religions) or other religions. Visit insidewatch.net for Asia religion.
Of the Japanese Christians (around 1.5% of the population), around 86% belong to classical Protestant churches (especially Presbyterians, Baptists, Lutherans, Adventists, Methodists) and a large number of Pentecostal churches and independent Christian communities (around 200 denominations in total), around 14% of the Catholic Church (three archdioceses [Tokyo, Nagasaki, Osaka] with 13 suffragan dioceses), whose history in Japan goes back to the 16th century (Japan’s first church was built in Kyoto in 1576). The largest Protestant church with about 0.16% of the population is the United Church of Christ in Japan (Kyōdan), which in its present form as a Reformed Church after the Second World War was replaced by the politically enforced in the 1940s, All the Protestant denominations comprehensive Japanese Protestant “unity church” (Kyōdan) emerged. The members of the Anglican Church (province of Japan) make up around 0.05% of the population. To be affiliated with the Moscow Patriarchate in canonical fellowshipAbout 0.02% of the population profess the Japanese Orthodox Church. The very small Jewish community (synagogues in Tokyo and Kobe) is historically v. a. on Jews who fled the Russian Empire in the face of pogroms in the 1880s (first Jewish community planted in Nagasaki). Traditional ethnic religions have been preserved among the Ainu (Northern Japan, especially Hokkaidō).