Japan Population Distribution
Statistical data on the population. – Attempts at an evaluation, necessarily approximate, of its population are not lacking in the history of the country. One of the first, if not the first, of which we have news, is the census carried out in 610 d. C. reigning the Empress Suiko, who gave as a result 4,990,000 souls. To this, up to the whole century. XVI, some other censuses followed, but their figures, like those of the first, are far from reliable, if we consider the inadequate means and the way in which they were carried out. More credit belongs instead to the figures obtained during the administration, from some points of view perfect, of the Tokugawa (1603-1868). From the figures of 12 censuses carried out during the two and a half centuries of their government (years 1726, 1744, 1750, 1762, 1768, 1780, 1786, 1792, 1804, 1828, 1834 and 1846) results in an almost constant population of between 26 and 27 million individuals. To these must be added the outcastes (age) and those belonging to the lower classes (domestic, etc.) who were not registered; this can approximately bring the average population of Japan to 30 million during that era.
According to getzipcodes.org, more exact statistics begin with the year 1872, in which, having modeled society on new foundations, for the successful adoption of European civilization, a first census was carried out with new and rational methods. The figures of this, and of the other nine that follow up to 1915, mark a continuous increase in the population of Japan, as the following table clearly shows:
it shows that, in the period 1872-1915, the population of Japan underwent an increase of about 70%, while the proportion of men compared to that of women remained almost constant.
All the previous figures concern only Japan proper. With regard to the total population of the Empire, accurate censuses were carried out in the years 1910, 1925, 1930 (i October for all the years): The following table combines the results of the last two (however, note that to that of 1930 figures are provisional):
From these figures it is clear that in the five years in question the population of the Empire underwent an increase of 7,225,342 souls, equal to an average of 1,445,068 per year. Based on this, it is easy to predict that in a few years, with its current territorial extension remaining unchanged, the Japanese Empire will have a population very close to 100 million residents.
Distribution of the population. – According to the figures of the last census, reported above, the average density of the population of Japan is about 168 residents per sq. km. However, it is unevenly distributed in the country. Almost without exception, in the plains, where agriculture is flourishing, and therefore the possibilities for work are greater, the population is much denser than on the mountains, where human activity is, by force of circumstances, limited, and the means of poor subsistence. On the other hand, about four-fifths of the country is not arable; it is therefore understandable what an enormous densification the remaining fifth must present. The most populated plain is that of Kwantō, where Tōkyō rises: there, in some regions, p. eg, that of Musashi, there are densities higher than 600 residents per sq. km. Soon after comes the flat land of Kinai, on which Osaka, Kobe and Kyōto rise, with more than 300 residents per sq. km. The plain of Nōbi, on which Nagoya stands, also has strong densities. On the island of Kyūshū the strongest densities are in the Tsukugo-gawa plain (280 residents); in Shikoku, on the other hand, in the regions bathed by the Inland Sea; among these, Fr. eg, the province of Kagawa has 380 residents per sq. km.
After the nature of the terrain, the geographical position has a great influence on the distribution of the population. In Hondo, the strong densities are found on the southern coasts, not on the western and eastern ones, facing seas and inactive continents. In the two large southern islands, on the other hand, the highest density follows the western coast, both because it faces China and Korea, with which trade is flourishing, and because, since ancient times, it penetrated from Korea through this coast. civilization, while the coasts washed by the Pacific are poor in soil and activity.
The density is generally decreasing towards the north, less rich in plains and with limited activities. In the province of Iwate, for example, it is already 64 residents per sq. km. In central Hondo, however, due to the very flourishing sericulture, densities are still around 100 residents per sq. km.
City centers also have considerable importance in the distribution of the population. The ancient cities passed from feuds and, for this reason, built in a position of easy defense. Due to the absence of favorable conditions for agriculture in the surrounding area, many of them could not undergo a demographic increase: such is the case, for example, of the cities of Mito, Morioka, Ōtsu, Shuri and other important cities in the past. and have now become small towns. On the other hand, the profound upheavals of a social and political nature that led to the opening of the country created new needs as a result of which small coastal villages, thanks to their privileged position, especially in relation to communications and trade with the abroad, they became centers of great importance. Such is the case of Yokohama, of Sasebo,
Industrial and mining development has also caused strong densification. In the region surrounding Fukuoka, for example, as many as five important industrial centers have sprung up and the Nagoya region and the mining districts of Yezo have also suffered the same fate. Thriving centers have also sprung up near thermal springs, such as Beppu, on the island of Kyushu.
The phenomenon of urbanism, after the opening of the country, and especially in recent years, has been taking on increasingly significant proportions and urban centers are increasing every year to the detriment of the countryside, small rural centers and villages. The figures in the table above, valid for Japan itself, show the phenomenon.