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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien

Population History of Japan: Past, Present, and Future

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


Previous Staff

Matthias Koch
Social and Economic History of Japan, Business History, Germany and Japan in Comparative Studies, German-Japanese Relations
Head of German-Japanese Relations and Comparisons Section