Japan Country Overview
Where is Japan located? The island nation of Japan lies off the eastern coast of the Asian continent. With more than 120 million inhabitants, it is one of the most populous countries in the world. The world time zone map divides countries into world time zones. The time difference between the respective country and the official world time (also called UTC) determines which time zone a country is assigned to. In Japan there is a time zone, the ‘Japan Standard Time’, which was introduced in the Meiji period more than 100 years ago. In this time zone, the clocks show the time 9 hours later than the clock of the coordinated world time (UTC+9). Despite efforts to reintroduce the changeover to summer time, this has not happened so far.
As of 2023, the latest population of Japan is 125,507,472, based on our calculation of the current data from UN (United Nations).
|Population growth rate||-0.27%|
|Birth rate||7.70 births per 1,000 people|
|Overall life expectancy||84.19 years|
|Men life expectancy||80.85 years|
|Women life expectancy||87.71 years|
|65 years and above||28.38%|
|Median age||46.50 years|
|Gender ratio (Male to Female)||0.95|
|Population density||332.11 residents per km²|
|Japanese – last census 2015 (preliminary): 127,110,047 residents – over 99% Japanese, 25,000-200,000 Ainu (natives) on Hokkaido|
|Followers of both Shinto and Buddhism Buddhists 84%, Others 16% (including 0.7% Christians)|
|Human Development Index (HDI)||0.915|
|HDI ranking||19th out of 194|
People in Japan
The population of the Japanese islands is very uniform compared to other Southeast Asian countries. This is also due to Japan’s island location. There was no steady immigration as on the mainland, so that in Japan there were hardly any ethnic groups. In the north of the island of Hokkaido there is still the Ainu tribe, which is very old and belongs to the indigenous population of the island.
Japan is one of the most populous countries in the world. Since the country is very mountainous, most of the people settle in the plains around the mountains. The population density is very high. Most people have their home in the Tokyo area and in other large cities, such as Nagoya and Osaka. Far fewer people live on the island of Hokkaido in northern Japan. Almost half of the 127 million Japanese live in large cities.
127 million people live in Japan, but the population is shrinking. It’s always bad for a country. Every woman in Japan has an average of 1.4 children, but to keep this level it needs 2.1 children per woman. Japan is the tenth largest country in the world. But right now more Japanese are dying than are being born. And the imbalance cannot be absorbed by immigration, because not as many people immigrate to Japan as to Germany.
Minorities in Japan
Ethnic minorities also live in Japan, and they often face difficulties. There are many people who come from Korea themselves or their ancestors and who did not necessarily come to Japan voluntarily. These often do not even seek Japanese citizenship.
There are also immigrants from South America of Japanese origin. These are the descendants of the Japanese who emigrated to Brazil and Peru towards the end of the 19th century, for example, and who returned after a while. These are considered foreigners and often face disadvantages.
Burakumin descendants are also despised. These are people who were born in Japan but had a job that was considered “inferior” in Japan. Professional groups such as animal slaughterers were just as much a part of this as midwives, but also actors and the homeless. However, the discrimination against these people has decreased today.
Languages in Japan
Most Japanese speak Japanese. Exactly where Japanese comes from has not yet been clarified. However, Japanese is similar to Korean, so that it is assumed that the two languages are related. A common language was probably the origin of both languages.
The Japanese language was initially just a spoken language and was probably not recorded until the 7th century. The script was “borrowed” from Chinese. Today, according to tradition, people write in columns, but there are also writings that, like us, were written from left to right.
Religions in Japan
Most of the Japanese are followers of Buddhism and Shintoism. Shintoism is a natural religion that is almost only found in Japan. His followers worship nature and at the same time many gods. In practice, these two religions often mix with one another. The Japanese go to the temples typical of Buddhism, but also visit Shinto shrines. Many Japanese cannot give a clear answer to the question of whether they are Buddhist or Shintoist.