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National census of start 100 years to know in history

Last update date June 5, 2020

We count national census from 1920 (Taisho 9) performed for the first time in Japan in this 2020 (Raiwa 2) and are investigated knot of just 100 years.
At this opportunity, we dig into some historical national censuses and introduce.

History of national census

The etymology of national census (general survey)

National census is considered to be equivalent of English popyureshon general survey (Population Census) and means "complete survey" to check all of investigation eligible people.

The etymology of this general survey (Census) called the staff in charge of civic registration (population registration), evaluation of property, income, assessment of tax Censor (sensoru) in the ancient Roman age, but we say this job title in Latin with Censere (sensor), and it is said that this throws, and it was in Census.

The origin of national census (general survey)

History of population general survey (national census) was old, and, in before B.C. 3000, oldest land, census seems to have been carried out for the purpose of grasp of financial power of a nation in ancient Babylonia (ancient empire of west Asia). In Egypt, census is carried out for pyramid construction. In China, census is carried out for distribution of farmland and the collection of land tax, and statistics record that investigation about agriculture and industry, commerce was performed is left.
In Japan, there is description that we carried out census for levy of choyaku in the times of the Emperor Sujin (the tenth Emperor) of the third to the fourth century in the Chronicles of Japan.

In this way, investigation was carried out about population and land, property for a long time, but these were not for profit of people and were only intelligence to just achieve the tax payment and the draft, forced labor.

The beginning of modern general survey

However, when it was the 17th century, it came to be intended that we clarified change of social structure, and we came to intend for all people, and, as for the subjects of survey, it was opened curtain of general survey in modern times by specific people.

Thing in the United States of America was regarded as the world's first thing in 1790, and modern population general survey was carried out to get the basics data to distribute the fixed number of tax burden and member of the House of Representatives in proportion to population of each state. Afterwards, the 19th century began and was carried out in sequence in France, the U.K. (1801), Western countries including Belgium (1831).

The first national census


Koji Sugi

In Japan, statistician, Koji Sugi examination investigation of modern population general survey of beginning was carried out in worth country (current Yamanashi) in 1879 (Meiji 12).
In 1895 (Meiji 28) after Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95, there was pressure of participation in "1900 world population general survey" from International statistical Institute for Japanese Government and "national census ni Seki through law" was passed in 1902 (Meiji 35) and was promulgated.
The first national census was going to be originally carried out in 1905 (Meiji 38), but we were seen off for Russo-Japanese War, and conduct was canceled under the influence of World War I afterwards in 1915 (Taisho 4). As a result, the first of expectation was performed under the Takashi Hara Cabinet in 1920 (Taisho 9).

Trivia of national census that you do not know

Not "population general survey" "national census"

It is called "population general survey" globally, but name "national census" is used in Japan.
It came to settle as national census that the word "national census" came to be used formally first in Japan since "national census ni Seki through law" was established in the House of Representatives "national census execution proposal" voted for in March, 1896 (Meiji 29) and the House of Peers "national census ni Seki through proposal" afterwards in 1902 (Meiji 35).

It is meaning of "the situation of country" with "the state of the nation"

Is apt to arrest with investigation to pronounce "the state of the nation" in the Japanese way, and to check "force of country" into national census, but, according to the above-mentioned "national census ni Seki through proposal", "is chi man and woman age occupation the national census ha whole country people no current situation immediately…(omission)…We see ni in minute ni reality no situation o investigation surumononishite one tabi this no investigation o line futokiha whole country no joseikore o palm, and there is with ruo profit beshi.
In other words, "the state of the nation" is meaning of "the situation of country".

It is person using words of "the state of the nation" before the national census


Shigenobu Okuma

Before national census, there is person who used the word this "state of the nation".
Politician, Shigenobu Okuma who that extended over twice, and acted as the Prime Minister. It was famous as the founder of Waseda University, but made an effort for maintenance of statistics organization of our country.
Okuma who felt the need of correct statistics proposed about establishment of the House of statistics in 1881 (Meiji 14). It is written in the recommendation as follows.
"We lose convenience of shomei sezareba, the government namely the administration in the current state of the nation. Reason makes result of the past administration if we know kagamiteri sezareba, advantages and disadvantages of the government policy"
(the government cannot hold politics meaning if they do not clarify the situation of: country clearly. In addition, the government cannot know the quality of administration if they do not compare with result of the past administration)

Why is it that we investigate on October 1?

"Person doing trip, excursion in spring is squeezed for reasons of a lot of" in autumn, and "distribution of population is relatively normal condition, and, according to the report of the first national census, there is "intense heat is intense as for the summer" "the snow is deep in winter" saying we decided with investigation date when it is the most suitable on October 1 that necessarily passed with three-fourths for not the busy season for farmers and one year for agriculturalist occupying most of of total population".

In this way, investigation into national census date is set to the north and south by climate climate, manners and customs of the slim Japanese Islands, economic activities of people, but, as for the findings, it seems to have possibilities to be said that it is convenient for the use administrative for the median in the year because it is the center day in the fiscal year to begin from April on October 1.

Why is it that we investigate once in five years?

According to promulgated "national census ni Seki through law" passed in 1902 (Meiji 35), we were to perform at first every ten years.
However, in every ten years, it was decided to perform every five years by law revision in 1922 (Taisho 11) to hit two years after the first national census saying that it was difficult to grasp change of sudden society, economy and was insufficient as the basics information about various measures.
Furthermore, in 1947, it is prescribed with "statistical law" (fundamental law about statistics of our country) about conduct of national census, and this is succeeded in current "statistical law" (2007 law No. 53) and continues up to the present day.

1920 (Taisho 9) is beginning, and the end of year investigates national census on a large scale in "0" years in the Christian era, and simple investigation that "5" years have few investigation items is performed. (there is not big difference in the number of the items, but investigates "education" and "the use transportation" in large-scale investigation.)

National census that was called off alone

It is national census that has been performed every five years from 1920 (Taisho 9), but age that was out of period is only once.
That was the sixth investigation of 1945 (Showa 20), and conduct was canceled under the influence of World War II.
Temporary national census to obtain basic material of postwar reconstruction in 1947 (Showa 22) is carried out two years later from the end of the war and is carried out after the seventh investigation every five years.

Old days and now of Yokohama-shi

City limits were Yokohama Port and areas of 37.03 square kilometers in area in the neighboring levels, and, in Yokohama-shi at the time of 1920 (Taisho 9) when national census was carried out for the first time, population was 422,938 people.
Afterwards, with development as city, city limits were expanded, too, and population largely increased, too. We count 3,724,844 in national census of 2015 (Heisei 27) and increase in scale of about 9 times.


Comparison (1920, 2015) of population of Yokohama-shi
 1920 (Taisho 9)2015 (Heisei 27)
Area (square kilometer)37.03435.23
Population422,938 people3,724,844 people

Under 15 years old

131,848 (31.2%)468,535 (12.7%)

15-64 years old

278,493 (65.8%)2,368,291 (64.0%)

65 years or older

12,597 (3.0%)865,490 (23.4%)
The number of the households95,243 households1,645,618 households
The staff per one household4.44 people2.26 people
Foreigner9,659 people68,325 people
The number of the employees184,078 people1,673,913 people

Agriculture (2015 agriculture, forestry)

4,470 (2.4%)7,529 (0.4%)

Industry (the manufacturing industry)

63,709 (34.6%)212,487 (12.7%)

Commerce (the wholesale trade, retail business)

53,637 (29.1%)257,221 (15.4%)

※Age three wards classification ratio in 2015 is ratio among total population that removed age unknown o.

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※We quote the contents mentioned above from homepage of some Statistics Bureau.

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