For the moment, Japan has more than 130 million inhabitants of whom 99% belong to the Mongoloid race. 0.6% of the population are Korean immigrants and the remaining 0.4% consists of Chinese, Americans and Europeans. Although Japan has a large population, the land surface is not so great making Japan a very densely populated country. Large parts of the country are mountainous and difficult to develop further so the people in reality live in less than 10% of the country. 76% of the population lives in the cities. In Tokyo, the Japanese capital and largest city, there are 12 million. Other cities with over 1 million inhabitants include: Fukuoka, Kobe, Kyoto, Osaka, Sapporo, Yokohama, Nagoya, Hiroshima, Kawasaki and Kitakyushu.
After World War II Japanese life underwent a great change. The traditional Japanese house was detached, wooden, tiled, and almost all rooms had tatami mats on the floor. The rooms in modern houses are mostly now in the western style with wooden floors and the houses themselves are often built on steel pillars.
The people in urban areas live in large apartment blocks of reinforced concrete. The biggest difference between Japanese and Western houses is that in Japanese homes no shoes can be worn and at least one room is decorated in Japanese style with tatami floor.
In April after their sixth birthday Japanese children go to the primary school for the first time. For six years they go to primary school, where they are taught the Japanese language, mathematics, natural sciences, social sciences, music, crafts, gymnastics and home economics (simple cooking and sewing). In middle school they will be taught English as well. A typical primary school class has 30 students. The maintenance of their school is provided by the children themselves. Every day they brush the classrooms, toilets, hall and playground. At most middle schools students wear a school uniform. All students are also required to participate in extra curricular activities including drama, sports or science. The choice of activity is free.
All children are also required to attend school until the ninth grade (16 years). They are then free to choose to follow another three years of high school. After graduation, they can go to the university. Today, most families only have one or two children. Grandparents used to live with their children and grandchildren, but now they often live alone. Even the Japanese live longer than before, which means that Japan must develop new methods to help the elderly and care for them.
Many Japanese work at large companies some of which have become world renowned. They spend much time at the office and sometimes they must also work in places far from their residence. Of course, Japan has very many small businesses. Some are farms, factories and family farms. In family businesses everyone lends a hand and some have existed for generations. Though once it was mostly the men who were working, now there are many more women working. In 1997, nearly 40% of the workforce were women.