How did the Ainu culture affect Japanese culture

Demographic aging in Japan

Table of Contents

List of figures and tables

List of abbreviations

List of attachments


1 Socio-cultural and health system-specific structures in the land of the rising sun
1.1 Some historical bases
1.2 Socio-cultural framework conditions in a health science context
1.2.1 Territory and population
1.2.2 Culture and tradition Dominance and influence of Shinto belief and Buddhism Importance of the elderly population
1.2.3 Family and Society
1.2.4 Lifestyles Parallelism of traditional and modern ways of life Eating habits
1.2.5 Education and working conditions with regard to the health of the population Education system Working conditions
1.2.6 Government and Politics
1.3 Health system-specific structures
1.3.1 History of Medical Care in Japan
1.3.2 Health Care in Japan Today

2 mortality and morbidity
2.1 Development of mortality
2.1.1 Mortality in Japan
2.1.2 Most common causes of death in Japan
2.1.2 Infant mortality in Japan
2.2 Patterns of morbidity
2.2.1 On the importance of morbidity
2.2.2 Morbidity in Japan

3. Demographic aging in Japan
3.1 Changes in the vital structure in Japan
3.1.1 Age and gender structure in Japan
3.1.2 Age groups in Japan
3.2 Mortality-Induced Aging - Long Life Expectancy
3.2.1 Age-Specific Death Rates for Japan
3.2.2 Mortality tables for Japan
3.2.3 Long life expectancy
3.2.4 Summary of the high life expectancy in Japan
3.3 Fertility-induced aging - declining birth rates
3.3.1 Birth rates, fertility rates and natural growth
3.3.2 Overall fertility rate for Japan
3.4 Demographic transition in Japan and consequences for demographic aging
3.5 Migration-induced aging
3.4.1 On the importance and lack of migration
3.4.2 Development of the balance of migration and the proportion of foreigners
3.6. Projections on Demographic Aging in Japan
3.6.1 Future changes in age and gender structure
3.6.2 Further development of population growth
3.6.3 Mortality and fertility projections

4. Synopsis of the connection between culture, society, lifestyle and demographic change in Japan
4.1 Consequences of the aging of the Japanese population
4.2 On the interdependence between socio-cultural and demographic change
4.3 Some options for action - between acting and reacting

5. Conclusion - outlook and conclusion



Internet source directory

List of lecture documents

Data source directory

List of figures and tables


Figure 1 Deaths and Raw Death Rates, Japan, 1899-2004

Figure 2 Most common causes of death in Japan by selected characteristics, 1900-2004

Figure 3 Deaths from malignant neoplasms by age group and gender in Japan, 2004

Figure 4 Deaths from cardiovascular disease by age group and gender in Japan, 2004

Figure 5 Deaths from cerebrovascular disease by age and gender in Japan, 2004

Figure 6 Deaths from pneumonia by age and sex in Japan, 2004

Figure 7 Infant Mortality and Raw Infant Mortality Rates in Japan, 1899-2004

Figure 8 Fetal mortality and fetal death rates in Japan, 1899-2004

Figure 9 Infant and fetal mortality in Japan, 1899-2004

Figure 10 Prevalence and incidence of tuberculosis in Japan, 1990-2004

Figure 11 Diabetes prevalence in rates per 1,000 inhabitants, in a country comparison, 2000

Figure 12 Trends in age-standardized incidence rates of malignant neoplasms by diagnosis and gender, in Japan, 1975-1999

Figure 13 countries with high populations in comparison, 1950 & 2005

Figure 14 Total population and growth rate in Japan, 1872-2005

Figure 15 Total population in Japan by gender, 1872-2005

Figure 16 Japan age pyramid, 2005

Figure 17 Japan age pyramid, 1950

Figure 18 Comparison of the total population in Japan by age, 1950 and 2005

Figure 19 Comparison of age groups in Japan, 1884 to 2005 ...

Figure 20 The age group of 65 years and older with the proportion of 80 year olds and older in Japan, 1920 to 2005

Figure 21 Median age in Japan, 1884 to 2004.

Figure 22 Comparison of the boy, old and dependency ratios in Japan, 1920-2005

Figure 23 Age-specific death rates in Japan, 1985 and 2004.

Figure 24 Age-specific death rates by sex in Japan, 1985

Figure 25 Age-specific death rates by gender in Japan, 2004

Figure 26 Life expectancy at birth in Japan, 1891-2005.

Figure 27 Increase in life expectancy in comparison of two sections in Japan, 1891-2050

Figure 28 Difference in Life Expectancy at Birth between Men and Women in Japan, 1891-2005

Figure 29 Life expectancy at birth in a country comparison, 2005

Figure 30 Healthy life expectancy at birth in a country comparison, 2005

Figure 31 Other life expectancy at age 65, in Japan, 1891-2005

Figure 32 Other life expectancy at age 90, in Japan, 1891-2005

Figure 33 Japan Birth Numbers and Crude Birth Rate, 1899-2004

Figure 34 Raw birth rates by age group in Japan, 1970-2004

Figure 35 CBR, CDR, Natural Growth in Japan, 1899-2004

Figure 36 Fertility rate (TFR) compared to industrialized countries, 2007

Figure 37 CBR, CDR, Natural Growth in Japan, 1899-2004

Figure 38 Five phase model, Japan, 1899-2004 ..

Figure 39 Registered Foreigners in Japan, 1985-2004 ...

Figure 40 Migration balance and net migration rate for Germany and Japan, 1995-2005

Figure 41 Population pyramid, Japan, 2025

Figure 42 Population pyramid, Japan, 2050

Figure 43 Projection of age groups in Japan, 1950 - 2100 (middle variant)

Figure 44 Projection of the boy, old and dependency quotient for Japan, 1950 - 2100 (middle variant)

Figure 45 Projection of median age in Japan, 1950 - 2100 (middle variant)

Figure 46 Projection for total population in Japan, 1950-2100

Figure 47 Projection of Population in Japan, by Sex, 1950-2100

Figure 48 Projection of median age in Japan, 1950 - 2100 (middle variant).

Figure 49 Interaction of the main subject complexes


Table 1 Mortality by age and selection of most common malignancies (and total) for men in Japan, 2004

Table 2 Mortality by age and selection of most common malignancies (and total) for women in Japan, 2004

Table 3 Five factors influencing life expectancy

Table 4 Biological - physiological, psychological and social aging

List of abbreviations

Figure not included in this excerpt

List of attachments

Appendix 1 Causes of Death by Leading Cause and Age Groups in Japan, 2004

Appendix 2 Incidence of Malignant Neoplasms in Japan, by Neoplasm type, 1999

Appendix 3 Population Development.

Appendix 4 Typical population pyramids

Appendix 5 Population pyramids for Germany, 1950 & 2001

Appendix 6 Age structure of the total population by country

Appendix 7 Deaths and Death Rates by Age in Japan, 1985-2004

Appendix 8 Number of Marriages in Japan

Appendix 9 Number of Initial Lockings, by Age, in Japan, 1930-2004

Appendix 10 ASFR for Women in Japan, 1930-2004


“The Japanese population is shrinking and getting older. What consequences will that have? "(DIJ, 2007)1. The country “has the highest average age and the highest life expectancy in the world. The so-called “demographic time bomb” associated with this is the greatest challenge Japan is facing today. Many problems arising from this are emerging, solutions are only rudimentary "(DIJ, 2007)2.

The German Institute for Japanese Studies is addressing a development that is generally problematic in industrialized nations. The greatest task in this regard is the consequences of demographic change in a society and the measures that have to be taken on many levels. “Demographic change is triggered by falling birth rates and increasing life expectancy. Both together lead to a population decline and an aging of the population ”(Grottkopp, 2003, p. 4). This requires a complete rethink on many levels for all affected societies. Japan is one of them. This raises the important question of which aspects Japan will finally orientate itself towards other democracies and where will it continue to go its own way (cf. DIJ, 2007).

In our work we would like to primarily make the demographic change in Japan visible by means of the description and analysis of statistical data. The advancing aging process, but also the threatening depopularization, represent the main focus of this work. We will therefore also deal with the development of the three most important demographic variables - mortality, fertility and migration - and these also on the basis of the data available to us describe and analyze. It can be stated here that these variables are directly related to the aging and depopularization process, which we will try to discuss in more detail and to project onto Japan.

Population projections also appear to be extremely meaningful in this context, which is why we will include them in our work. It is important to learn and show how serious demographic change can be for the future of Japan.

Furthermore, we also aim to investigate changes in the causes of death and morbidity over the last few decades in order to identify possible epidemiological consequences of increasing aging. This, in turn, can provide new knowledge from a medical point of view and possibly point out trends that can be prevented with timely preventive measures.

Ultimately, we would like to relate the ongoing process of aging to the changing socio-cultural circumstances in Japan. We see changes in lifestyles / styles as an important factor influencing the current development of the population in Japan. Overall, it is important for us to be able to draw conclusions about the reasons for current demographic processes in Japan. Overall, it is desirable to show the general consequences of demographic change and to provide possible solutions. The following approach is intended:

First of all, in the first chapter, a basis should be created based on the socio-cultural background, the demonstration of the change in lifestyles and styles, but also on the basis of the history and the development of Japanese culture itself, by means of which some reasons for the current demographic Discuss developments in Japan. Many trends and events, especially with regard to population development, can be better explained and interpreted in this way. In any case, this chapter should also offer an introduction to the culture that sometimes seems strange to us.

In the second section of the first chapter, the health care system in Japan will also be discussed. The increasing aging of society will, above all, lead to a major rethinking of the structure of health care for older people.

Japan still has to take great strides in this regard.

In Chapter 2 we will look at mortality and morbidity in Japan. As already mentioned, it is particularly important for us to highlight how mortality has developed in Japan over the past few decades. We not only look at general and crude death rates, but also focus on infant and fetal mortality and the development of the most common causes of death in Japan in the context of our research question. For the latter, we hope to see clear signs of a development induced by the aging of society.

The illustration of the changes in infant and fetal mortality should rather represent the irony of the current development of fertility in Japan. Of course, the circumstances have improved a lot, which is above all the result of medical progress. Nevertheless, ironically, we can report a decline in the birth rate with the consequence of depopularization and aging.

By presenting the development of morbidity in Japan, we want, as already mentioned, to clarify the consequences of aging from an epidemiological point of view. This is particularly instructive for the final synopsis on the entire subject.

Chapter 3 represents the focus of our empirical approach to the overall topic and deals with all demographic aspects that appear to be relevant to our question. First of all, we explicitly present the population relationships and their development in order to show the first signs of the aging and depopularization process in Japan. We then explain this with aspects of mortality, fertility and migration-induced aging. Furthermore, we present the demographic transition in Japan as evidence of falling fertility and rising mortality, which has the consequences already mentioned several times.

To illustrate the dramatic development, based on the demographically precarious situation, we will then finally go into population projections in order to primarily state that a rethink appears to be necessary, if only with regard to the future development of the country.

The results of the above-mentioned investigations flow into the 4th chapter, in which it should first be shown what consequences can be expected with the current demographic and epidemiological development in Japan. Another aspect will be the merging of the topics we dealt with in Chapters 1 - 3 in order to clearly work out their mutual interaction. We want to show the conciseness with which all factors interact. Approaches to solutions have to be created on several levels, as many aspects are interdependent.

All in all, we would like to present some possible solutions that at least slow down the dramatic development, if not completely reverse it.

Finally, in Chapter 5 we would like to make a final statement on the topic with an all-inclusive “summary”, conclude a conclusion from our empirical work and also discuss further research approaches on this topic by means of an outlook.

At this point it should be noted that due to the complexity of the topic and the given scope, it was of course not possible for us to explicitly address all areas. This includes, inter alia. the briefly mentioned epidemiological part. Nevertheless, within the scope of our empirical work on the question, we tried to clearly highlight the connections and to explicitly describe the most important developments. Further research approaches are therefore necessary if one wants to elaborate on this topic in more detail. We hope to be able to continue with this research focus by taking up the master's degree in "Public Health" at Bielefeld University.

In the following we would like to write a few more lines on the database in connection with this introduction. In addition to the specialist literature, a wealth of statistical material serves as the basis for the empirical approach to our question. With this preface to the database, we would like to briefly address the use of the most basic statistics so that we do not have to name them again and again in the course of the work. All the statistics we use on Japan come primarily from the country itself and other international sources and were mainly written in English and Japanese. In particular, we made use of the following statistics from Japanese ministries and state institutions:

- National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, Tokyo:

- Population Statistics for Japan 2006
- Population Projections for Japan 2001 - 2050. With long range Population Projections 2051 - 2100

- Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, Tokyo:

- Abridged Life Tables for Japan 2005
- The 20th Life Tables
- Trends in Vital Statistics by Prefecture in Japan, 1899-1998

- Japanese Statistics Bureau, Statistical Books & Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication, Tokyo:

- Japan in Figures 2007
- Statistical Handbook of Japan 2006
- Japan Statistical Yearbook 2007

When using other international data, particular use was made of information from the World Health Organization, the United Nations, the German Institute for Japanese Studies, the Federal Statistical Office and the Central Intelligence Agency.

Basically, it can be said that the database provided us with a very good working basis.However, it should be noted in advance that statistics on migration and morbidity in particular were very difficult to find. A more detailed list of the data used can be found in the data source directory.

1 Socio-cultural and health system-specific structures in the land of the rising sun

Nihon or Nippon is the Japanese name for the East Asian island state known to us as Japan, the west-Pacific region of the world (cf. Bünting et al., 1996). In the traditional Japanese script, called Kanji, the two characters 日本 are used for the country name Nihon / Nippon (cf. Walsh, 1969).日 stands for the word nichi or ni, meaning “sun” or “day”.本 stands for the word hon or moto, meaning “origin” or “root” (cf. Maderdonner, 2002). Translated, Nihon / Nippon means “the land in which the sun has its roots” or, better still, “the land of the rising sun”. A land of many contrasts (see Pörtner, 1998).

In the context of our question, we would first like to focus on the socio-cultural background in Japan. In this context, it is important to emphasize the change in society and thus in lifestyles. Changes associated with this, which were very strong in Japan, especially in the last century, can, in our opinion, have a significant impact on demographic processes. Our research has been able to identify essential connections to the aging process in society. In the first chapter, a basis of background information for the question of this work should be created, which we would like to refer to again and again.

We would like to begin with a brief introduction to the history of Japan to show the most important events that have shaped the people, but also to promote the understanding of the Japanese peculiarities. It turned out that in some areas this was characterized by an extreme cohesion, but in some cases it still is. In Japan, this has contributed significantly to some negative demographic effects. We will highlight the relevant aspects in the course of this work.

1.1 Some historical bases

The history of Japan is a history of strong contradictions that have strongly shaped the country and its people. Japan was primarily determined by an interplay of isolation and opening up of the country to the outside world, as a result of many class struggles and changes in power. On the one hand, this led to an isolated but also flourishing development of Japan on its own. On the other hand, there is a clearly alien further development (cf. Wikipedia, 2007)3. The socio-cultural influence is an essential aspect of the historical events.

In this section, we would therefore like, but also for the sake of completeness, to first summarize Japanese history. We use a division into distinctive epochs.

Early history (approx. 20,000 BC - approx. 10,000 BC)

Although human life in Japan can already be traced back to the Paleolithic in geological history (cf. Haasch, 1996), the origin of the inhabitants of the Japanese islands is still in the dark. However, an assumption does not rule out that the first inhabitants of Japan were seafaring Polynesians (cf.Online Travel Guide Japan, 2006)4. On the other hand, it is quite conceivable that the "Ainu"5, the so-called original inhabitants of Japan, were able to settle in what is now Japan through the intercontinental connection between Europe and Asia (Eurasia) that still existed at the time (cf. Haasch, 1996). It is more likely, however, that the Japanese people come from a mixture of different ethnic groups and that it is by no means to be concretized on just one particular ancestor (see Hammitzsch et al., 1990).

Jōmon epoch (approx. 10,000 BC - 300 BC)

According to several archaeological finds, there has been a distinct hunter, fisherman and collector population in Japan since 10,500 at the earliest, but at the latest since the 7th millennium BC. The impressive ceramics decorated with cords are characteristic of this culture. The name Jōmon is derived accordingly6 from this period (see Department of Asian Art, 2002)7.

Yayoi Period (approx. 400 BC - 300 AD)

During this time, a particularly large number of people immigrated to Japan from the Asian continent. In addition, a distinctive wet rice farming culture emerged and iron and bronze were used for the first time. In accordance with the extensive contacts and high levels of immigration, the country had a high level of cultural diversity and was by no means isolated. Over the years, a civilization of its own emerged from this cultural diversity, so that today's homogeneity of the people is based more on cultural exchange than on ethnic origin. The immigration itself lasted until the 700th century AD (see Burenhult et al, 2004). The Yayoi epoch was partly overlaid by the Jōmon epoch, so that the aspect of the hunter-gatherer and fishing people can also be found here. Much more important, however, is that this epoch was able to lay the foundation for the first historical state (cf. Hammitzsch et al., 1990).

Yamato Period (A.D. 300 - A.D. 710)

From the numerous clan associations that had sprung up in the meantime, clans soon formed that were keen to establish a political organization. These clans were aristocratic and most of their members were related by blood. A clan could be spread over the whole country. The largest and most powerful clan ultimately represented the authorities. However, this was often also associated with tribal struggles (cf. Hammitzsch et al., 1990). This was the first time that a kind of government and thus statehood was established. The Yamato clan, whose head claimed to be descended directly from the sun goddess Amaterasu, plays a central role in this. The Yamatos united Japan through their own form of government and, following the Chinese model, introduced the imperial title, the tennô, endowed with supreme political power for the first time in history. China and Korea influenced the country more and more. Chinese writing and Buddhism were thereby introduced. For the first time, a state constitution with 17 articles was published. Buddhism was made the state religion. (see Haasch, 1996). Other important features of this epoch are in particular the huge, key-shaped hill, called Kôfun. These offered splendid decorations inside the complex and, for the first time, valuable grave supplements were also needed. In this context, however, it is wrong to assume that the Japanese people at this point in history represented a Korean-influenced equestrian people. (see Burenhult et al., 2004). “Japan's political history begins with the Yamato state” (Hammitzsch et al., 1990, pp. 277/278).

Nara Period (710 AD - 782 AD)

This epoch is characterized by central rule and an official state with a hierarchical system based on the Chinese model. For the first time there was a permanent settlement for the imperial court, after a different settlement had been chosen with each new emperor. Thus Nara became the first permanent capital. A central bureaucracy also developed for the first time, with 10,000 civil servants, divided into eight offices. For the first time there was also a religious dispute between followers of Buddhism and Shintoism. The Shintô belief finally took a back seat (cf. Hammitzsch et al. 1990). Furthermore, palace and temple construction as well as the writing of history in the form of poems based on the Chinese model were carried out (cf. Haasch, 1996).

Heian Period (AD 794 - AD 1185)

Due to the great state influence of Buddhism, it was decided to strictly separate state and religion. The emperor and court gave up Nara in order to build a new capital in Heian, today's Kyotô, 50 km away. Haasch (1996) also describes this epoch as the heyday of the Japanese court nobility, as well as Japanese architecture, art and science. The reason for this was the break in relations with China. This meant that Japanese culture could develop independently (cf. Haasch, 1996). In addition, as a response to the new court nobility and the associated corruption towards the common people (peasants etc.), an independent warrior caste or warrior nobility, the samurai (侍) or bushi (武士) called. They soon took up arms in order to be able to defend their autonomy against the imperial court (cf. Haasch, 1996). Accordingly, revolutions soon followed. Hammitzsch (1990) describes the latter as the transition to warrior rule in Japan.

Kamakura Period (1185 AD - 1333 AD)

This period is marked by the expanding power of the warrior families (samurai) and the exhaustion of the imperial court. For the first time, the samurai also had a leader in the warrior caste, the Shogun. The so-called military shogunate finally went to war against the imperial court. After the shogunate was able to successfully stand against the imperial troops and thus a new order of government was created, relations between Japan and China were resumed. Despite the clashes, after the fronts were cleared, peace soon returned to the country. However, the still fresh government soon had to struggle with new armed confrontations. This time it was the Mongols, on their campaign against all of South-East Asia. After the Japanese samurai had successfully fended off several invasion attempts by the Mongols, they turned their loyalty back to the emperor after the military shogunate denied them the reward due to lack of money. The emperor used this to renew his imperial power (see Embjapan, 2007)8

Muromachi Period (1333 AD - 1568 AD)

A new occupation of the Shō gun leadership and an associated change in the samurai culture resulted in a peaceful cooperation with the imperial court. Samurai culture and courtly elements were eventually united, which led to the development of new cultural characteristics. At this point the Japanese garden art, interior architecture, sword art, ink painting or calligraphy and tea ceremony should be mentioned. This was ultimately overshadowed by a 100-year civil war among the noble families, which finally led to the end of the so-called Ashikaga shogunate (cf. Haasch, 1996). For the first time it took place through a confrontation with Europe. With the arrival of the Portuguese (1532) and Christian missionaries (1543), a commercial and cultural exchange took place. The first Europeans were warmly received. They brought Christianity and firearms (cf. Haasch, 1996).

Azu-Momoyama Period (1573 AD - 1603 AD)

The position of the samurai culture now lost more of its importance. Centralized rule was sought again. Rather, the unification of the empire was also sought. For this purpose, farmers were disarmed and the samurai turned into officials. The rapid spread of Christianity by missionaries from Europe was banned and the persecution of Christians was increased. Furthermore, an attempt to subjugate China and Korea to China failed. China turned out to be too powerful. The conquests in Korea, however, led to a further technical and artistic development in the country (cf. Haasch, 1996).

Tokugawa or Edo Period (AD 1600 - AD 1867)

For this epoch, the establishment of modern elements of the state in Japan is significant, as well as the revival of the Shogun culture and a corrupt state leadership and violent appropriation of power. Important cornerstones are the establishment of an imperial unity, disempowerment of the imperial house, hierarchical reorganization of society in favor of peasants and warriors. But also a ban on foreign religious societies and the total isolation of Japan from the rest of the world, which also guaranteed a high degree of security and peace, describe important events of this epoch. The Shôgun moved its headquarters to Tokyo while the Imperial Court remained in Kyoto (cf. Haasch, 1996). At the same time, the urban culture and economy flourished again, which continued for years afterwards (cf. Pörtner, 1998).

Meji Period (1867 AD - 1912 AD)

The corrupt Tokugawa government lost its prestige and power and ultimately collapsed under pressure from within and outside the country. The imperial court gained new influence and officially named Tōkyo the new capital. Further cornerstones were extensive reforms in various areas, reintroduction of Shintoism as the state religion and temporal discrimination of Buddhism, opening of Japan and connection to the West, building of a modern army and final deposition of the Shôgun and the Samurai. Industrialization and westernization now determined the everyday picture. Furthermore, victorious campaigns against Russia and China followed, as well as the annexation of Korea and the preservation of some former German colonies as a result of the First World War. Here, too, a further cultural development took place over time (cf. Haasch, 1996).

Heisei - epoch up to modern times (1912 AD - today)

The war successes of Japan and successful expansion policy tempted the Japanese - very sure of themselves - to attack Pearl Harbor in 1941 in the course of the Second World War. However, this had devastating consequences for Japan and its people. The American setback was of bloody proportions. After the United States had recaptured the Pacific and dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan's unconditional surrender followed. The country was occupied for the first time in history between 1945 and 1951. The emperor largely held back. In the 1950s, Japan gradually rose again in all areas. Buddhism and Shintoism were put on an equal footing. Japan also joined the UN. Above all, however, westernization and the economic boom are still taking place today. Japan itself is now one of the most important and most modern industrial countries in the world (cf. Haasch, 1996).

At the international level, Japan has made great strides, especially in the economic field. As an industrialized country, Japan has become an economically very serious competitor, primarily due to its immense exports, with Japan making great financial profits. Targeted marketing, as well as targeted export offensives and price dumping, should be the key to Japan's economic success concept. Own production facilities are increasingly being set up abroad and strengthened by domestic suppliers in order to secure the "conquered" markets worldwide. There are also a large number of Japanese lobbyists in Washington, London, etc., who act in the interests of both the “economic giant” and the “export machine”. A great deal of financial resources are being invested overseas and the United States' rank as the number one economic powerhouse is increasingly threatened. Japan is no longer just a “copycat” of Western technologies, but is largely the market leader, especially in high technology and electronics. Proof of this would be the reason that the production of microchips is almost exclusively carried out by Japanese companies. This immense economic boom in Japan in the 1970s has had a major impact on contemporary Japanese culture. The Japanese are proud of their progress and want to continue working on economic power, which inevitably leads to a rethink in many ways. It is increasingly oriented towards the West, since the economic development of the western area is also becoming more and more important for one's own economic interests (cf. Büscher and Homann, 1990). This development and thus opening up to the world also brings changes on several levels with it. Much of this also has an impact on demographic processes. For example, the increased entry of women into working life leads to significantly fewer births. Education and work history also influence the number of marriages and, in turn, fertility. Fast and positive developments in the medical sector can lead to a further increase in life expectancy, especially that of the "very old" (see Chapter 3ff).

The advancing westernization of Japan can no longer be stopped. This turns out to be particularly difficult for the country itself, since at the same time there is a strong attempt to cling to culture and tradition, which is not always successful and has also brought about many socio-economic changes (cf. Büscher and Homann, 1990).

It can now be summarized that for a little more than 120 years the opening of Japan - after almost 200 years of closure - has resulted in rapid social, cultural and political changes, etc. This had serious consequences for the country's development (cf. Hammitzsch, 1990). The changes have had no insignificant influence on demographic processes for the country up to the present, as the empirical approach to our question will show. In the following, we would therefore like to explicitly address the socio-cultural background of the last century.Here we will above all show the change in societal, social and political structures and the associated change in lifestyles.

1.2 Socio-cultural framework conditions in a health science context

After we have put together a brief overview of Japanese history, as already mentioned, in this chapter we will rather go into the social and cultural backgrounds of the country. In our opinion, these have a considerable influence on the demographic aging process in particular, and thus also on changes in mortality, morbidity, fertility and other influencing variables. In our opinion, a significant aspect of this is the obvious change in lifestyles due to, among other things, the increasing westernization. In the background of our entire question, we will try again and again to show connections in this. We would like to start with a brief introduction to geographic culture. An essential aspect is the size of the country or the habitable land area in relation to the number of inhabitants. As far as we know, this can have a significant impact on morbidity.

1.2.1 Geography

The country of Japan is a narrow and arched chain of islands made up of four main islands, Honshu, Kyushu, Hokkaido, Shikoku and approx. 6,800 smaller islands. About 98% of the land area is, however, distributed over the main islands. The total area of ​​the country is currently 377,835 km². The island chain stretches between the North Pacific and the Sea of ​​Japan, east of the Korean peninsula. The lowest point is in Hachiro-gata at 4 m below sea level, the highest at the legendary and for the Japanese holy Fuji (Japanese 富士山, Fujisan) at 3,776 m above sea level (see The World Factbook, 2007)9. Most of the land area is criss-crossed by a mountain range with around 240 active and dormant volcanoes. This can be explained by the fact that the country lies in the middle of a zone of three very active tectonic plates. Earthquakes are therefore the order of the day. In addition, the southern part of the island chain, in particular, is crossed by strong typhoons towards the middle of the year, during the rainy season, which can often result in flooding and also threaten the country and population. (see Pörtner, 1998). As a result of these natural events, it is hardly surprising that the land mass in your area does not remain constant, but is subject to annual fluctuations of up to 80km² (cf. Federal Statistical Office, 2004)10. On the other hand, there is a colorful and magnificent nature, which can irritate one or the other person, as nothing in the diversity of flora and fauna the country has to offer points to the unpredictable and destructive forces of nature (cf.Pörtner, 1998) .

As already mentioned, the flatlands of Japan are rare, as ¾ of the land area is mountainous and criss-crossed by forests. Only in the main metropolitan areas of Tokyō (capital), Yokohama, Nagoya, Sapporo, Õsaka, Kyōto and Kobe, there is sufficient usable space. Mountain slopes or even artificial islands are cultivated accordingly11 created. In our opinion, this lack of space is one reason among many for the causal relationships with which our question is concerned.

Japan itself with its four main islands is - for historical reasons - divided into a total of eight administrative areas, equal to the federal states of the Federal Republic. These represent a fusion of historical heritage and modern administrative matters, and are therefore of particular cultural and economic importance nowadays (cf. Wikipedia, 2007)12.

The eight regions are the Hokkaido region, the Tohoku region, the Kanto region, the Chubu region, the Kinki region, the Chugoku region, the Shioku region and the Kyushu region (cf. Web Japan Organization, 2007)13.

Due to the long north-south expansion of the country, a division into four climatic regions is characteristic of the country. The region around Hokkaido describes a sub-arctic zone, with not too much rainfall throughout the year, but very cold winters. The Pacific region around Honshū is a well-tempered zone with very hot summers. The region facing the Sea of ​​Japan is characterized by a lot of rain and snowfall. Their summers are cooler than those of the Pacific region due to seasonal winds. Finally, there is the subtropical region around Okinawa Prefecture, with its warm winters and very hot summers. Here you can also find very heavy rainfall and most typhoons around the above-mentioned. Make up the rainy season. (see Web Japan Organization, 2007)14

1.2.2 Culture and tradition

Although we have also examined the cultural history of Japan under point 1.1 "Overview of Japanese history", we would like to address important aspects of cultural and traditional phenomena that can sometimes have an influence on demographic developments

Our research shows that despite the triumph of modernity, especially among young people and young adults, culture and tradition are still relevant and thus shape and determine everyday life. Later we will also be able to establish connections to demographic processes. Dominance and influence of Shinto - belief and Buddhism

As already mentioned, the cultural history of Japan shows that religion has always been of great importance to the people of this country. Despite all the historical downsides, in the end there was even peace between any practice of religion. In addition to the two main religions Buddhism and Shintōism, other (mixed) religions, but especially sects, also play a no less important role (cf. Grein et al. 1994). However, in the following we would like to only go into the main religions with the longest tradition - Buddhism and Shinto.

If one looks at the statistically recorded membership figures for all religions, it is noticeable that at around 90,000,000 they clearly exceed the total population of Japan. This shows that about 90% of the Japanese i. d. Usually belong to both main religions. From a religious point of view, this is no longer a problem at all (see Schneid, 2001 - 2007)15.

Although only a few Japanese profess Shintoism, this religion is an integral part of the everyday life of the Japanese. This is expressed through participation in traditional customs and festivals and the inspection of shrines, up to and including the use of. shintō istischen amulets, which are supposed to bring luck to the wearer. The cult of ancestors is an important part of this religion16, the worship of the gods by means of shrines (as their residence) and the worship of landscapes17. At this point the holy mountain and beautiful Fuji-san should be mentioned again, which counts as an important settlement of the gods in the Shinto sense. This religion plays an important role, especially at birth. Most Japanese are born according to the Shinto rite18. In contrast to Buddhism, Shintōism is not a written teaching, but a kind of attitude to life (cf. Grein, 1994).

Contrary to Shinto, Buddhism is initially a worldwide widespread and, inter alia. through the teachings of the Buddha, written religion. The main aspects of Buddhism are the cult of the dead and ancestors, as well as the building of temples. The dead are buried according to Buddhist tradition. Most households have smaller altars to commemorate and honor them. In addition, additional rites for the cult of the dead and ancestors are performed in Buddhist temples. Various Buddhist holidays and traditions derived from Buddhism (e.g. the tea ceremony) also determine the everyday image of the Japanese (see Schneid, 2001 - 2007).

Religion plays an important role for the Japanese. Exercising in everyday life, on the other hand, happens in a barely noticeable way. Religious customs are followed as a matter of course and integrated into everyday life and thus they also make up part of the identity of the Japanese. No great demands are made on the religious side. The practice of religious practice occurs mostly out of habit and less out of belief itself. Not infrequently, social prestige also plays a significant role. The Japanese consider the tradition, which is supposed to convey a unity of the people, important. However, the invasion of western structures and lifestyles should not be underestimated. In particular, more and more religious sects are springing up (see Schneid, 2001 - 2007). Importance of the elderly population

Historically, the importance of the elderly in Japan is very high. By religious standards, the elderly are closest to the ancestors. They also represent the future “new” ancestors during their lifetime (cf. Hammitsch, 1990). The worship in the background of religion is therefore, as already mentioned in point of this work, obvious.

According to tradition, entry into the “older age” is completed at the age of 60. In the past it was even common for the person concerned to be welcomed into their "old age" by means of a ceremony and also to be released from all duties towards society19. The older people, but especially the men, now held a privileged position within the family. On them lay the responsibility of the family unit, family welfare and administration. (see Hammitsch, 1990). However, the situation of the elderly in Japan today is anything but unproblematic. I.a. the introduction of a social policy replaced the tradition, so that the responsibility of family management no longer rested on just one person, but was also regulated by the state. This worsened the situation and the social role of the elderly. The responsibility for the welfare of the elderly was consequently disregarded for a long time. In the mid-1960s, one effect of this disregard was one of the highest suicide rates among frustrated people over the age of 65. Mass media and government committed to instilling understanding of the plight of the elderly. For this purpose, the government of Japan even paid a special national holiday in 1966 to honor the elderly ("Day of Honoring the Elderly" on the third Monday in September) (Dehn, 1996)20. In particular from the fact that life expectancy has increased significantly and thus, among other things. When there is a greater need for care, a greater sense of responsibility towards old age must be created. However, this also gives rise to new problems, such as the problem of time and finance on the part of the family in terms of care. But accommodation in old people's homes also leads to financing problems. In addition, the image of the old people's homes and clubs for the elderly in Japan was shaped by loneliness, seclusion and darkness for a long time. In addition, the tradition of living together is preserved in Japan. The elderly themselves do not want to fall into a dependency on their children, which can lead to frustration and depression on the part of the elderly, as it is not according to tradition. They want to maintain their independence (see Hammitsch, 1990). We would like to go into more detail in the third chapter on the problem of increasing aging in Japan, but above all on statistical indicators. In the next section we describe the nature of the Japanese.

1.2.3 Family and Society

The distribution of roles in the Japanese family has always been understood in a historical-traditional context. Due to the socio-cultural influence of China (from approx. 400 AD), patriarchal family structures in the sense of Confucianism were adopted. This is how the basic structures of the typical Japanese family emerged, as they can still be largely recognized today (cf. Thiede, 1996).

Founded in Confucianism are the essential requirements for social relationships, sometimes also for the network of relationships that exist within a family. Confucianist ideas put in the foreground that social coexistence is subject to a hierarchy. In the sense of the family, this means that the man is the "head" of the family and the woman should be his in every respect. Obedience to one's husband has only been exceeded by obedience to one's father. This fact speaks for the great recognition and honor of one's own ancestors, especially the "older generations". In Japan, a family is also referred to as a “house”, which includes all generations who have passed through this “house” in the course of the family's history (cf. Thiede, 1996).

At the beginning of the twentieth century, family life was such that the heads of family had total power over their own children and wives. The judgment of a chief had to be strictly obeyed. Disobedience usually had dire consequences. The marriage of children, for example, always happened between two families of the same rank or social status. They tried to prevent other relationships consistently. Furthermore, the woman had to serve and serve the man unconditionally, and was thus always exposed to his rebukes. If the wife of a family could not have children, did not fit into the "house" or the family community, or had a serious, mostly incurable disease (mostly tuberculosis at that time), it was common practice to get a divorce. This prevented the family line from being interrupted. This also shows very clearly the discrimination against women at that time (cf. Neuss-Kaneko, 1990). We now want to take up the latter by means of a small digression.

From the establishment of Confucianism to the first attempts at equality between men and women - towards the middle of the 20th century - women were inferior to men in many ways. Several laws, such as the “Equal Employment Law” 1986 on equality in the workplace, aimed at enabling the female population to have equal rights in many areas, but this was mainly only possible on paper. This has led to the fact that even today many families in Japan still live according to conservative values ​​with their traditional roles (cf. Thiede, 1996).

However, it should not be prematurely assumed that women in Japan today have no opportunity for self-actualization. The man alone is mainly the breadwinner of the family, while the woman manages all the income and takes care of the home and the upbringing of the children. Many women are even very satisfied with the financial influence, as it gives them the opportunity to use the funds available to you from your husband's salary to plan personal leisure activities for which there is usually a lot of time while the man is working. Many women also continue their education in musical or artistic fields, and start certain courses and courses. This means that older women are usually much more educated than men (cf. Grein, 1994).

In addition, women have at least the opportunity to climb the career ladder (albeit similar to Germany with actually lower salaries than their male colleagues in the same professional position). However, this is not used too often because it would not allow you to lead the family and develop yourself. The explanation lies in the fact that most Japanese men, purely from experience, are enormously overwhelmed with bringing up children and household management and are “trimmed” through social values ​​and norms and especially through their own upbringing to give women their specific, traditional role in the family to be awarded (see Thiede, 1996).

The following quote from a Japanese woman describes her satisfaction with the distribution of roles: “A Japanese woman studies, works, marries, raises the children and then has a lot of time to develop herself. A Western woman, on the other hand, goes to school, works, runs the household, has children, continues to work and has to bring family, household and work under one roof until retirement age. Where is the time for self-development? ”(Cf. Grein, 1994).

For us, the connection between this distribution of roles and the differences in age structure in Japan is not excluded. The life expectancy of a woman is much higher than that of a Japanese man. This can be attributed to biological and environmental factors. In addition to the role of genes, the different lifestyles and thus the more risky way of life of men with regard to smoking, alcohol, stress, diet and exercise are decisive (cf. Hohmann, 2007).21.

After the end of the Second World War, the family structure in Japan experienced a great change. It approached those of western nations of the time, as the couple had joint responsibility for the family.However, this change required enormous adaptability of the population, especially of older generations. The first baby boom in Japan followed between 1937 and 1949, because many marriages that had been prevented by the war were now concluded prematurely. With many abortions recorded out of economic hardship, the government was forced to pass a law in 1948 to legitimize abortion (cf. Neuss-Kaneko, 1990).

Food shortages, extreme inflation and unemployment accompanied the first post-war years. The turning point and upswing began in 1950, as Japan gained importance for the United States of America in the course of the Korean War, and wholesale prices rose enormously. In 1956 it was announced that the post-war period was officially over. From now on, a rapid rise in the standard of living was evident (Reischauer, 1982).

In the mid-1950s, violent discussions about the emerging generation conflict appeared in many magazines for the first time. Contents included the neglect of many children by single mothers, the new "freedoms" of young women and husbands, which have been completely taken over by their work. Alienation ensued, as the young distanced themselves more and more from the old in the course of increasing economic growth (cf. Neuss-Kaneko, 1990).

The American occupation after the end of the Second World War intervened for the first time in Japan's family and labor policy, which was to lead to fundamental changes. The marriage was now designed for the will of both spouses, and to this extent both partners were accorded the same right and the same duty to uphold the marriage and the family. In addition, both men and women were granted the same right to divorce. The sole heir or the right to appoint the head of the house was abolished. This now established law was and is partially underpinned by the fact that ancestor veneration was and is still maintained in order not to let the tradition get lost (cf. Neuss-Kaneko, 1990).

In the mid-1960s, “women's work” had become necessary due to the labor shortage. In this necessity, however, the government saw the danger that women could no longer fulfill their maternal duties. The government was now forced to set up more kindergartens and after-school care centers, to improve unemployment insurance, to adjust pensions and even, due to the pressure of the population, to promote medical facilities in order to be able to maintain the expected image of the family as far as possible (cf.Neuss -Kaneko, 1990).

In 1961 it was mentioned in an investigation report that despite all efforts, the number of family members would fall sharply, and above all the proportion of the elderly population would begin to rise (cf. Neuss-Kaneko, 1990).

Regarding the current situation, it can be said that, in particular, there has been a steady decline in the birth rate, which can mainly be explained by economic factors, the increasing average age at marriage and the high costs of schooling. The aging of society is inherent and associated with it (cf. Neuss-Kaneko, 1990). We want to take up the latter at a later date. Japan is still a nation that is “happy to marry”. Unmarried people are viewed as “abnormal” in Japan (cf. Neuss-Kaneko, 1990). However, the statistics speak of shifting tendencies.

In order to understand the Japanese social conditions, it would make sense to explain the word amae in more detail at this point, as it describes an essential characteristic of the Japanese. The word amae expresses the desire for support. This relationship is mainly used in the relationship between the child and his or her parents, but also between man and woman, between “master” and “subordinate” and between colleagues and friends. It is similar to a feeling that the baby feels towards the mother, a basic trust that allows you to let yourself go and feel that you are in good hands with the other person, but also dependent on someone. These Amae relationships are characterized by a voluntary nature. One subordinates oneself to the other, is obedient, but does not perceive this as a duty or even torment. From a political point of view, this results in a strong feeling of loyalty to the authorities. The above-mentioned relationship structure of the Amae is desired and tried to practice by the entire Japanese population, as it is a basic requirement for a harmonious coexistence in Japan. In an amae relationship between family members and regular groups, every action for the common good is taken for granted. You don't even say thank you for the support offered and nothing in return is expected. The consequence of this bond is that if a member of a family or a group makes a mistake, the consequences are borne by the entire family or group. The same applies to praise for good deeds. In the present, however, this behavior has been overturned a bit, so that nowadays more and more individual companies are praised. The stringent striving for harmony is also particularly evident in the fact that negative words are avoided; mostly phrases such as “we / I will think about it again” are used (cf. Grein, 1994). In addition, it can also be pointed out at this point that the “Japanese in themselves” is more of a personality oriented towards social relationships. In western industrialized nations, what counts is individualism, which says that the individual has to pursue his or her life and career alone as far and well as possible, whereas in Japan the almost selfless fusion of the (individual) “I” with the social group is the ideal in society (cf. Reischauer, 1982).

But there are still other social structures to be crystallized out. Simple friends or acquaintances only partially live according to the Amae principle. The aim here is also to achieve a harmonic relationship in which none of the “parties” or persons take on a dominant role. Limits based on social status are lifted and if someone has done the other a favor, the other owes his / her debt until the right time has come to revenge. At least in this social milieu the situation is similar to that in western countries (cf. Grein, 1994).

It is difficult with strangers22. From the Japanese point of view, there is absolutely nothing that connects Japanese and foreigners. Only by getting to know each other, which takes a lot of time in Japan, can the stranger "move up" into a social group. In order to be able to do business with a Japanese company, for example, good and above all trust-based “business relationships” must first be established (cf. Grein, 1994).

Only a change in social and family structures in Japan should - in this case according to the opinion of some experts - through a prior rethinking of the goals and priorities of Japanese society, should be the way out of the misery. Economic upturn was always the top priority in Japan after the end of the World War; social and family structures were then adapted and subordinated to this. From a historical perspective, group orientation in Japan was a constant companion with which the Japanese population also liked to befriend. From the point of view of western industrial nations, the suggestion in this regard would be an orientation towards a comparable individualism. It should be noted here, however, that the Japanese, from a purely cultural point of view, would find a pure adaptation of this individualism to be very difficult and the group orientation also harbors its advantages. Just think of the rapid economic success and progressiveness of Japan, which can sometimes be explained by the work-motivated and striving group orientation (cf. Thiede, 1996).

1.2.4 Lifestyles

The Japanese lifestyle is largely determined by everyday work. In Japan, the company or company in which one works has a much higher social status than is the case in western capitalist nations (e.g. Germany and France). This can be seen from the fact that when people in Japan introduce themselves to each other, they first say which company they come from and then the actual name follows. It would be like introducing yourself in Germany as follows: “Hello, this is Volkswagen's Mr Frank Mustermann and this is Opel's wife Sandra Musterfrau.” The company as a substitute for the family is not yet like this in Japan long established. In the beginning, the only thing that was important for the employees was to work where the highest wages were available. The change in status mentioned above has only occurred in the last two decades or so. Employees are tried as long as possible, preferably forever, to integrate into their own company so that they begin to identify with their company and want only the best for it in the area of ​​economic progress and success. Ultimately, this type of loyalty even goes so far that the associated company has a much higher status than loyalty to one's own state / country or a religion. The disadvantage here is that women were enormously disadvantaged in all areas of economic life. In all companies, women were sent to separate rooms for job interviews, in which there were personnel officers who only specialize in the recruitment of women. The jobs women got in companies were just low-level jobs such as secretary and servant jobs. And that was not the only reason why the wages women received were simply lower than those of men. Finally, in 1986 a law was passed that gave women the opportunity to take two paths in a company:

- The first way includes about the work that women did in companies before this law, so simply more subordinate tasks.
- the second way gave women the opportunity to pursue a “real” career, which was previously withheld only to men.

(see Woronoff, 1997)

From now on, interviews were held in the same rooms and by the same staff in which men apply. However, if a woman wants to pursue a career, she is initially advised against it, as she should be aware that it will then be more difficult, possibly even impossible, for her to start a family. The attempt to achieve equality between the sexes in Japan is bearing growing fruit, but absolute equality in terms of wages and recognition has not yet been achieved. A work for future generations (see Woronoff, 1997)

As more and more women strive to pursue a career, a social conflict arises, the status of a family with their own children declines, men and women identify more and more with their own company, common interests are usually only the witnessing of common children. It is not uncommon that after a long-term relationship with now grown-up children, the couple no longer has much to say to each other, as interests have gone in different directions (mostly professional interests) and the only common ground was / are their own children. The divorce rate of 1.6 divorces per 1,000 people in 1995 is not very high compared to America, but close to the rates in Europe and much higher than the rates in other Asian countries at the time, and the trend is still rising today. The divorce rates would, however, be a lot higher if more couples divorced who also wish to divorce, however, especially in Japan, a divorce amounts to a loss of face, social relationships inevitably suffer from it and a second engagement with another person is, also statistically speaking , rather seldom. Because of this “stress”, the role of the family is in a very shaky position, even though it is a pillar of every society (cf. Woronoff, 1997). Parallelism of traditional and modern ways of life

Society in its original form is destructuring and restructuring itself into completely new forms. According to Woronoff 1997, an important factor is the ever increasing urbanization. In addition, there is a constant focus on Western values, lifestyles and expectations.

When Japan increasingly opened up to "the West" in the 19th century, the island was characterized by rural / rural conditions. The majority of the population, although there were already larger cities such as Kyoto, Osaka and Edo (Tokyo), lived on farms, in small villages and towns. The population consisted largely of peasants, and only a small part made up artisans, traders, samurai and the nobility (cf. Woronoff, 1997).

Especially after the end of the Second World War, there was a reversal and urbanization took its course. Today it is the case that only about 3 percent of the population are pure farmers, the rest mainly work in companies, office complexes and shops, and the group of bureaucrats and politicians is currently growing particularly rapidly. Large cities are characterized by the fact that green spaces appear rather seldom and in the few days that the Japanese have vacation, they sometimes have to accept long journeys to get to non-urbanized areas (cf. Woronoff, 1997).

All professions are meanwhile undergoing an absolute reversal, there are no more traders, but "business men and women", small companies are becoming global companies. Japanese citizens with relatively little education became the great mass of workers in various factories; those with higher education were trained as technicians, engineers, and scientists. Farmers became so-called "farmers". Because of this development, it is an absolute mistake nowadays to think of Japan and still have the image of a "peasant nation" in mind. The advancing degree of technology has resulted in Japan's farmers, first of all, no longer being as dependent on the weather as they used to be, but rather on subsidies from economic policy. In addition, so much “manpower” is no longer required, as the number of modern machines reduces the need for (rather) less well-trained workers. The latter can also be seen in all other professional areas (cf. Woronoff, 1997).

In addition to the changes mentioned above, another significant change has also occurred: the age structure of the population changed rapidly. Originally Japan was a nation in which a large part of the population was made up of the younger people and only a few old people lived. There are proportionally more elderly people in Japan today than before. And it is forecast that in 2020 the percentage of people over 65 years of age in relation to the total population in Japan will be considerably higher than in any other country, which should also result from the continuously falling birth rate (cf. Woronoff, 1997). Eating habits

The food culture of the Japanese is still very different from Western cuisine and has so far even been spared its influences. There is no denying that Japanese food culture is one of the healthiest in the world. The Japanese themselves even claim that the reason for their high life expectancy is due to their good diet. Experts also regard this as an argument anyway (cf. Stimac, 2005)23. Sea products, including the main food of fish and seaweed, as well as noodles, vegetables and soy and their products such as tofu, soy milk, soy sauce, etc. determine everyday eating. The most important food is rice, which is served as a side dish at all times of the day. As a result, the diet of the Japanese is very rich in vitamins, carbohydrates and protein, but above all also low in fat, since significantly less meat is used than in western cuisine (cf.Nohn, 2004)24. Another important factor is the freshness and variety of a meal. From a nutritional point of view, all of these factors lead to the fact that the Japanese have very healthy cuisine. Many studies even show that the high consumption of fish by the Japanese and thus the high consumption of omega-3 fatty acids have a positive effect on the flow properties of the blood and thus prevent cardiovascular diseases. In a global comparison of cardiovascular diseases, Japan is still in last place. However, this trend is also subject to change in the face of advancing globalization (cf. Stimac, 2005). So far, even Japanese fast food - when it has to be quick - has not been considered to be nearly as unhealthy.While in Germany, for example, a “kebab” or “cheeseburger” is preferred, in Japan rice, noodle and fish dishes are mainly served, mostly with plenty of vegetables. Even if the preparation is not always gentle, this type of fast food is still a much healthier variant compared to the West (cf. Schmidt-Denter, 2005)25.


1 Source according to: German Institute for Japanese Studies (2007): Challenges of demographic change., date of access: June 24, 2007.

2 Source according to: German Institute for Japanese Studies (2007): Challenges of demographic change., date of access: June 24, 2007.

3 Source based on: Wikipedia (2007): History of Japan., date of access: April 03, 07.

4 Source based on: Online Travel Guide Japan (2006): History. http: //www.japan-, date of access: April 04, 07.

5 Ainu (dt. "Human" or "comrade") is the name for the indigenous people of Japan, who differ in several peoples with their own hunter-gatherer culture. However, much of the information about the Ainu culture is still controversial and is largely based on hypotheses (cf. Burenhult et al, 2004, pp. 348 - 349).

6 jomon means in German "tied up"

7 Source according to: Department of Asian Arts (2002): Jomon Culture., last accessed 04 April 07

8 Source from: The Japan Community Embjapan (2007): Kamakura period., date of access: April 04, 07.

9 Source according to: Central Intelligence Agency (2007): The World Factbook 2007., date of access: April 05, 07.

10 Source according to: Federal Statistical Office (2004): Country Profile Japan., date of access: April 05, 07

11 A well-known example of this is the man-made airport in Kobe. The 272 hectare artificial island was built in Osaka Bay. For this purpose, 66 million m³ of rubble, 8 million m³ of sand and 16 million m³ of rock were moved (cf. source from: Wikipedia (2007): Kobe Airport. Http:// 8Dbe, date of access April 05, 07).

12 Source according to: Wikipedia (2007): Japan., date of access: April 07, 07.

13 Source according to: Japan Organization (2007): Japan Factsheet - Regions of Japan, http: // web-, date of access April 05, 07

14 Source: Web Japan Organization (2007): Japan Factsheet - Geography and Climate,, date of access: April 16, 2007

15 Source according to: Schneid B. (2007): Religion in Japan - Ein Web-Handbuch,, date of access: April 16, 07.

16 According to the Shinto belief, the number of ancestral gods in Japan increases with every person who dies. As a result, the number of gods is constantly increasing (cf. Grein 1994).

17 It is believed that the gods settle in particularly beautiful landscapes, so that there are also many shrines to be found here (cf. Grein 1994).

18 What is meant here are own traditions and rites such as visiting a shrine on the first New Year's Day in the life of a newborn. Baptism is analogous to this in the Christian image of faith.

19 Equated with the nowadays common "retirement" from a certain age. The release of all duties for the Japanese meant that the elderly no longer had to do any work.

20 Source based on: Dehn U. (1996): New Religious Movements in Japan,, date of access: April 16, 07

21 Source according to: Hohmann, C. (2007): Why men die earlier. http: //, date of access: April 16, 2007.

22 What is meant are foreign people, who the Japanese use the rather radical word Gaijin (foreigner) to describe.

23 Source based on: Stimac, M. (2005): Do the Japanese eat healthier?, date of access: April 17, 07

24 Source based on: Nohn, R. (2004): Japanese Diet - Long Life Expectancy., date of access: April 17, 07

25 Source according to: Schmidt-Denter, K. (2004): French fries in Japanese., date of access: April 17, 07

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