Population History of Japan: Past, Present, and Future
March 2006 - February 2008
The object of this study is population as the foundation of society. Conceptually, the project “Population History of Japan” is designed both as an introduction and as a comprehensive survey, and it is mainly based on Japanese-language sources. The knowledge in the fields of demography and historical demography which has been created over the past six decades is available in Japanese mainly in the form of two voluminous encyclopedias. In addition to these two Jinkō Daijiten (Encyclopedia of Population) from 1957 (Heibonsha, 940 p.) and 2002 (Baifūkan, 999 p.), many special studies have been produced, but even in Japanese few works provide an easily accessible overview of the population history of Japan. In English such a book is a real desideratum. The period under review spans from the first agricultural revolution of the Neolithic Period to the present, i.e. from the ancient Jōmon Period to the current Heisei Period. A historical survey of Japanese population dynamics and population problems is by definition comparative, and comparisons with the past will facilitate an understanding of the present. The study may include sources and findings from specialized areas of history, such as social and economic history, history of technology, history of medicine, legal history as well as paleodemography and population anthropology.