Demographics of Imperial Japan

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This article deals with the population of the Empire of Japan. See also demographics of Japan and demographics of Japan before Meiji Restoration.
1920 Commemorative stamp for 1st national census of the Empire of Japan

The population of Japan at the time of the Meiji Restoration was estimated to be 34,985,000 on January 1, 1873,[1] while the official original family registries (本籍 honseki?) and de facto (or present registries (現住 genjū?)) populations on the same day were 33,300,644 and 33,416,939, respectively. These were comparable to the population of the United Kingdom (31,000,000), France (38,000,000) and Austria-Hungary (38,000,000).

Japan proper[edit]

Meiji government established the uniformed registered system of koseki (戸籍 family registries?) in 1872, which is called Jinshin koseki (壬申戸籍?).

Year honseki

population

A-type de facto

population

B-type de facto

population

Estimated population
Mar 8, 1872 33,110,796 33,238,011 34,806,000
Jan 1, 1873 33,300,644 33,416,939 34,985,000
Jan 1, 1874 33,625,646 33,749,932 35,154,000
Jan 1, 1875 33,997,415 33,997,250 35,316,000
Jan 1, 1876 34,338,367 34,302,068 35,555,000
Jan 1, 1877 34,628,328 35,870,000
Jan 1, 1878 34,898,540 36,166,000
Jan 1, 1879 35,768,547 36,464,000
Jan 1, 1880 35,929,023 36,649,000
Jan 1, 1881 36,358,955 36,965,000
Jan 1, 1882 36,700,079 37,259,000
Jan 1, 1883 37,017,262 37,569,000
Jan 1, 1884 37,451,727 37,687,645 37,451,800 37,962,000
Jan 1, 1885 37,868,949 37,975,069 37,704,100 38,313,000
Jan 1, 1886 38,151,217 38,276,376 38,147,600 38,541,000
Dec 31, 1886 38,507,177 38,833,415 38,530,400 38,703,000 (as of Jan 1, 1887)
Dec 31, 1887 39,069,691 39,510,146 39,137,100 39,029,000 (as of Jan 1, 1888)
Dec 31, 1888 39,607,234 40,105,479 39,626,600 39,473,000 (as of Jan 1, 1889)
Dec 31, 1889 40,072,020 40,692,808 40,076,500 39,902,000 (as of Jan 1, 1890)
Dec 31, 1890 40,453,461 40,968,835 40,460,300 40,251,000 (as of Jan 1, 1891)
Dec 31, 1891 40,718,677 41,268,732 40,718,800 40,508,000 (as of Jan 1, 1892)
Dec 31, 1892 41,089,940 41,696,847 41,083,400 40,860,000 (as of Jan 1, 1893)
Dec 31, 1893 41,388,313 42,060,976 41,378,600 41,142,000 (as of Jan 1, 1894)
Dec 31, 1894 41,813,215 42,430,985 41,694,700 41,557,000 (as of Jan 1, 1895)
Dec 31, 1895 42,270,620 43,048,226 42,225,300 41,992,000 (as of Jan 1, 1896)
Dec 31, 1896 42,708,264 43,499,833 42,665,300 42,400,000 (as of Jan 1, 1897)
Dec 31, 1897 43,228,863 43,978,495 43,180,400 42,886,000 (as of Jan 1, 1898)
Dec 31, 1898 43,763,855 45,403,041 43,716,400 43,404,000 (as of Jan 1, 1899)
Dec 31, 1899 44,270,495 44,269,900 43,847,000 (as of Jan 1, 1900)
Dec 31, 1900 44,825,597 44,831,300 44,359,000 (as of Jan 1, 1901)
Dec 31, 1901 45,446,369 45,404,700 44,964,000 (as of Jan 1, 1902)
Dec 31, 1902 46,041,768 45,990,000 45,546,000 (as of Jan 1, 1903)
Dec 31, 1903 46,732,876 48,542,736 46,588,000 46,135,000 (as of Jan 1, 1904)
Dec 31, 1904 47,219,566 47,197,600 46,620,000 (as of Jan 1, 1905)
Dec 31, 1905 47,678,396 47,819,300 47,038,000 (as of Jan 1, 1906)
Dec 31, 1906 48,164,761 48,451,100 47,416,000 (as of Jan 1, 1907)
Dec 31, 1907 48,819,630 49,092,000 47,965,000 (as of Jan 1, 1908)
Dec 31, 1908 49,588,804 51,742,486 49,318,300 48,554,000 (as of Jan 1, 1909)
Dec 31, 1909 50,254,471 50,011,700 49,184,000 (as of Jan 1, 1910)
Dec 31, 1910 50,984,844 50,716,600 49,852,000 (as of Jan 1, 1911)
Dec 31, 1911 51,753,934 51,435,400 50,577,000 (as of Jan 1, 1912)
Dec 31, 1912 52,522,753 52,167,000 51,305,000 (as of Jan 1, 1913)
Dec 31, 1913 53,362,682 55,131,270 52,911,800 52,039,000 (as of Jan 1, 1914)
Dec 31, 1914 54,142,441 53,668,600 52,752,000 (as of Jan 1, 1915)
Dec 31, 1915 54,935,755 54,439,400 53,496,000 (as of Jan 1, 1916)
Dec 31, 1916 55,637,431 55,224,500 54,134,000 (as of Jan 1, 1917)
Dec 31, 1917 56,335,971 56,022,700 54,739,000 (as of Jan 1, 1918)
Dec 31, 1918 56,667,711 58,087,277 55,662,900 55,033,000 (as of Jan 1, 1919)
Dec 31, 1919 57,233,906 56,253,200 55,473,000 (as of Jan 1, 1920)

The first national census based on full sampling of inhabitants was conducted in Japan in 1920, and was conducted every five years thereafter. Per the Statistics Bureau of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the population distribution of Japan proper from 1920 to 1945 is as follows [2]

Date Population  % Change Area (km2) Density (km2) % Urban
1920-10-01 55,963,053 NA 381,808.04 147 18.0
1925-10-01 59,736,822 6.7 381,810.06 156 21.6
1930-10-01 64,450,005 7.9 382,264.91 169 24.0
1935-10-01 69,254,148 7.5 382,545.42 181 32.7
1940-10-01 73,114,308 5.6 382,545.42 191 37.7
1945-11-01 71,998,104 -0.7 377,298.15 195 22.8

The above figures include Hokkaidō, the northernmost island, sparsely populated, with area similar to the state of Maine; the central island of Honshū, larger than Ohio and Indiana, site of the most important cities and industrial centers; and smaller islands of Kyūshū and Shikoku, and Okinawa (except for the 1945 census values).

In Japan proper, the population of major cities was as follows:

City or

town

Japanese Jan 1,

1873

Dec 31,

1886

Dec 31,

1889

Dec 31,

1893

Dec 31,

1898

Dec 31,

1903

Dec 31,

1908

Dec 31,

1913

Oct 1,

1920

Oct 1,

1925

Oct 1,

1930

Oct 1,

1935

Oct 1,

1940

Feb 22,

1944

Nov 1,

1945

Tōkyō 東京 595,905 1,121,883 1,389,684 1,214,113 1,440,121 1,818,655 2,186,079 2,050,126 2,173,201 1,995,567 2,070,529 5,875,667 6,778,804 6,558,161 2,777,010
Ōsaka 大阪 271,992 361,694 476,271 482,961 821,235 995,945 1,226,647 1,395,823 1,252,983 2,114,804 2,452,569 2,989,874 3,252,340 2,833,344 1,102,959
Nagoya 名古屋 125,193 131,492 162,767 194,796 244,145 288,639 378,231 452,043 429,997 768,558 907,402 1,082,816 1,328,084 1,344,100 597,941
Yokohama 横浜 64,602 89,545 121,985 152,451 193,762 326,035 394,303 397,574 422,938 405,888 620,296 704,290 968,091 1,019,466 624,994
Kyōto 京都 238,663 245,675 279,792 317,270 353,139 380,568 442,462 509,380 591,323 679,963 765,142 1,010,593 1,089,726 964,466 866,153
Kōbe 神戸 40,900 80,446 135,639 153,382 215,780 285,002 378,197 442,167 608,644 644,212 787,596 912,179 967,234 918,032 379,166
Kawasaki[3] 川崎 3,123 4,031 5,036 4,896 5,647 5,564 7,239 10,060 21,391 54,634 104,346 154,748 300,777 380,919 180,042
Hiroshima 広島 74,305 81,914 88,820 91,479 122,306 121,196 142,763 167,130 160,510 195,731 270,365 310,118 343,968 336,483 137,197
Fukuoka[4] 福岡 41,635 42,617 53,014 58,181 66,190 71,047 82,106 97,303 95,381 146,005 228,290 291,158 306,763 324,499 252,282
Yokosuka 横須賀 2,810 13,251 24,366 24,366 24,750 36,956 70,964 85,478 89,879 96,351 110,304 182,871 193,358 298,132 202,038
Miyahara/
Washō/
Kure[5]
宮原/
和庄/
n. d. 11,160 7,335 11,648 21,553 66,006 100,679 128,342 130,362 138,863 190,265 231,333 238,195 293,632 152,184
Nagasaki 長崎 29,656 38,229 55,063 65,374 107,422 153,293 176,480 161,174 176,534 189,071 204,179 211,702 252,630 270,113 142,748
Amagasaki 尼崎 12,404 12,742 13,580 13,955 15,066 18,006 19,888 25,045 38,461 44,241 50,064 71,072 181,011 270,073 153,051
Sendai 仙台 51,998 61,709 90,231 73,771 83,325 100,231 97,944 104,141 118,984 142,894 190,177 219,547 223,630 261,117 238,250
Yahata[3] 八幡 n. d. n. d. 3,068 2,309 3,014 7,592 22,767 45,630 100,235 118,376 168,218 208,629 261,309 252,662 151,378
Sasebo[5] 佐世保 n. d. n. d. 8,005 13,122 37,485 68,344 93,051 94,914 87,022 95,385 133,172 173,283 205,989 241,239 147,617
Sapporo 札幌 1,785 15,041 16,876 27,694 37,482 55,304 70,084 96,924 102,580 145,065 168,575 196,541 206,103 225,842 220,139
Sakai 38,838 44,015 48,165 46,138 50,203 54,040 61,103 67,706 84,999 105,009 120,347 141,286 182,147 217,939 168,348
Shizuoka 静岡 31,555 36,838 37,664 37,096 42,172 48,744 53,614 64,108 74,093 84,772 136,481 200,737 212,198 211,666 161,720
Kumamoto 熊本 44,620 44,384 52,833 62,432 61,463 59,717 61,233 68,167 70,388 147,174 164,449 187,382 194,193 211,011 181,128
Akamazeki/
Shimonoseki
赤間関/
下関
18,500 30,825 29,919 33,565 42,786 46,285 58,254 72,117 72,300 92,317 98,549 132,737 196,022 206,961 155,623
Wakayama 和歌山 61,124 54,868 56,713 55,726 63,667 68,527 77,303 77,683 83,500 95,622 117,437 179,732 195,203 205,396 147,523
Hakodate 函館 28,825 45,477 52,909 63,619 78,040 85,313 87,875 99,795 144,749 163,972 197,252 207,480 203,862 196,680 181,531
Kanazawa 金沢 109,685 97,653 94,257 91,531 83,662 99,657 110,994 129,804 129,265 147,420 157,309 163,733 186,297 193,560 200,584
Kagoshima 鹿児島 27,240 45,097 57,465 56,139 53,481 59,001 63,640 75,907 103,180 124,734 137,232 181,736 190,257 189,991 93,698
Niigata 新潟 33,152 40,778 46,353 49,700 53,366 59,576 61,616 66,622 92,130 108,941 125,106 134,992 150,903 177,289 174,170
Okayama 岡山 32,372 32,989 48,333 51,665 58,025 81,025 93,421 86,961 94,585 124,521 139,221 166,144 163,552 160,902 92,861
Toyama 富山 44,682 53,556 58,159 58,187 59,558 56,275 57,437 64,822 61,812 67,490 75,099 83,324 127,859 160,537 100,775
Otaru 小樽 3,903 15,882 12,629 34,259 56,961 79,361 91,281 92,864 108,113 134,469 144,884 153,587 164,282 151,905 145,510
Kōchi 高知 39,757 30,987 32,241 34,711 36,511 35,518 38,279 39,162 49,329 65,723 96,991 103,405 106,644 136,699 111,630
Tokushima 徳島 48,861 57,456 61,107 61,337 61,501 63,710 65,561 70,292 68,457 74,545 90,622 97,021 119,581 116,734 80,681
Takamatsu 高松 32,736 37,698 32,081 35,330 34,416 37,430 42,578 41,837 46,550 71,897 79,906 86,840 111,207 107,202 72,656
Fukui 福井 39,784 37,376 40,849 42,680 44,286 50,155 50,396 56,218 56,639 59,943 64,199 75,273 94,595 99,477 45,559
Akita 秋田 38,118 29,225 29,568 28,229 29,477 34,350 36,294 36,560 36,281 43,887 51,070 60,646 61,791 97,361 101,009
Matsue 松江 37,308 33,381 35,934 35,409 34,651 35,081 36,209 38,631 37,527 41,396 44,502 52,033 55,506 54,282 54,033
Hagi 45,318 21,206 19,804 19,274 15,877 18,114 18,069 17,129 14,386 33,225 32,106 32,587 32,270 30,960 38,388
Shuri 首里 44,984 25,587 26,205 25,359 24,809 23,827 25,141 24,102 22,838 20,582 20,199 19,305 17,537 17,964 n.d.

In 1937 Japanese demographers projected the Japanese population in 1980 to reach 100,000,000, in accordance with observed growth rates.

Japanese overseas possessions[edit]

Japan annexed Taiwan after the First Sino-Japanese War, while victory in the Russo-Japanese War gained Japan the Kwantung Leased Territory, Karafuto, and Korea. These acquisitions increased the area controlled by Japanese to 262,912 square miles (680,939 km2).

The total population of the Empire of Japan, including Taiwan, Korea and Karafuto was 64,940,034 in Dec 31, 1908, which could be broken down as follows:

  • Japan proper: 51,742,486
  • Korea: 9,918,566
  • Taiwan: 3,252,589
  • Karafuto: 26,393

And the population of concessions as of Dec 31, 1908 was as follows:

Territory 1920-10-01 1925-10-01 1930-10-01 1935-10-01 1940-10-01 Area as of 1920
(km2)
Empire of Japan 76,988,379 83,456,929 90,396,043 97,697,555 103,727,610 674,612.076
   Japan Proper 55,963,053 59,736,822 64,450,005 69,254,148 73,114,308 381,808.042
   Taiwan 3,655,308 3,993,408 4,592,537 5,212,426 5,872,084 35,973.550
   Korea 17,264,119 19,522,945 21,058,305 22,899,038 24,326,327 220,740.718
   Karafuto 105,899 203,754 295,196 331,943 414,891 36,089.766
Concessions 919,568 1,054,074 1,328,011 1,656,726 1,367,334 4,168.804
   Kwantung 688,130 765,776 955,741 1,134,081 1,367,334 3,374.655
   Railway Zone 231,438 288,298 372,270 522,645 To Manchuria 242.149
   Tsingtao 248,209 To Republic of China 552.000
South Pacific Mandate 52,222 56,294 69,626 102,537 131,258 2,514.026
Total 78,208,378 84,567,297 91,793,680 99,456,818 105,226,202 681,294.906

The census population in 1940 was:

  • Japan proper: 73,114,308 (of whom 71,810,022 were Japanese, 1,241,315 were Koreans, 22,499 were Taiwanese, 986 were Karafuto natives, 249 were South Pacific natives, and 39,237 of other nationalities)
  • Korea: 24,327,326 (of whom 707,742 were Japanese, 23,547,465 were Koreans, 226 were Taiwanese, 2 were South Pacific natives, and 70,892 of other nationalities)
  • Formosa: 5,746,959 (of whom 312,386 were Japanese, 5,510,259 were Taiwanese, 2,376 were Koreans, and 47,062 of other nationalities)
  • Karafuto: 339,357 (of whom 394,603 were Japanese, 19,505 were Koreans, 396 were Karafuto natives, 35 were Taiwanese, and 352 of other nationalities)
  • Kwantung: 1,889,123 (of whom 198,188 were Japanese, 6,384 were Koreans, 550 were Taiwanese, 1,158,083 were of Manchurian nationality, and 4,129 of other nationalities)
  • South Seas Mandate: 161,792 (of whom 77,011 were Japanese, 50,648 were South Pacific natives, 3,472 were Koreans, 7 were Taiwanese, and 120 of other nationalities)

Total: 105,226,202 (of whom 73,499,952 were Japanese, 24,820,517 were Koreans, 5,533,576 were Taiwanese, 50,899 were South Pacific natives, 1,382 were Karafuto natives, 1,158,083 were of Manchurian nationality in Kwangtung, and 161,792 of other nationalities)

Urban population in overseas territories[edit]

In terms of cities, the population of major cities:

Rank City 1890 census 1910 census 1920 census 1930 census 1940 census
1 Keijō 1,165,000 230,000 247,000 350,000 1,100,000
2 Fuzan NA 81,000 74,000 130,000 400,000
3 Heijō NA 40,000 60,000 137,000 286,000
4 Jinsen NA 30,000 40,000 54,000 171,000
5 Taihoku 78,000 95,000 164,000 249,000 326,000
6 Tainan NA 44,000 112,000 166,000 296,000
7 Kīrun NA NA 48,000 79,000 100,000

Taiwan and Korea[edit]

1st Census Poster
Year Population
(Taiwan)
Population
(Korea)
1897 2,728,800 NA
1900 3,046,000 11,310,000
1920 3,654,900 17,264,100
1925 3,994,900 19,522,900
1930 4,679,100 21,058,300
1935 5,212,400 22,899,000
1940 5,872,100 24,730,000
1945 6,940,000 27,275,000

Manchukuo[edit]

The population of Manchuria in early 1934 was estimated at 30,880,000. These numbers included 30,190,000 Chinese, 590,760 Japanese, and 98,431 other nationalities (Russians, Mongols, etc.). The Chinese numbers included 680,000 ethnic Koreans. In 1937, shortly after the foundation of Manchukuo, the government launched a twenty-year colonization program, with the goal of increasing the population through the immigration of 1,000,000 Japanese families (5 million people) between 1936 and 1956. This was in addition to the Japanese military garrison of approximately 300,000 men in 1937. Between 1938 and 1942 a contingent of young farmers of 200,000 arrived in Manchukuo; joining this group after 1936 were 20,000 complete families. In Shinkyō Japanese made up 25% of the population. By 1940, the total population of Manchukuo was estimated at 36,933,000, which included approximately 1 million Japanese civilian and 500,000 Japanese military personnel. These figures exclude that of the Kwantung Leased Territory and Dalien, which were included within that of the Japanese overseas territories.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Population of Japan after Meiji 5 compiled by the Cabinet Bureau of Statistics of Japan in 1930.
  2. ^ Statistics Bureau, The Population of Japan
  3. ^ a b Population in 1889 and 1893 excludes military residents and prisoners.
  4. ^ Population in 1873 includes those of Hakata (20,985) and Fukuoka (20,650). Population in 1879 includes those of Hakata (22,954) and Fukuoka (19,663).
  5. ^ a b Population in 1889 excludes military residents and prisoners.

Books[edit]

  • Taeuber Irene B., and Beal, Edwin G. The Demographic Heritage of the Japanese Empire,
  • Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 237, World Population in Transition (Jan., 1945), pp. 64–71

External links[edit]