As at July 1998, the population of Japan is estimated to be at 125,931,533
people. Due to the mountainous condition of the island, Japan's
population density is very high, at 333.7 person per sq km.
Japanese is the official language. Some English is spoken in major
cities. Linguists are not sure about the exact origins of the Japanese
language. It is believed to be linked to the Altaic language family
(Turkish, Mongolian) but also shows similarities to Austronesian
languages like Polynesian. Women speak a different Japanese from
men. There are many words that are which are peculiar to either
women or men. Children, too, speak differently.
The writing system of the Japanese language is very complicated.
There are three different kinds of writings Kanji (Chinese
characters), Hiragana and Katakana.Texts can be written in two
ways, either horizontally from the top to the bottom, or vertically
starting in the upper right corner and proceeding to the left. This
is the traditional and still the common way in which books are written.
Japan today enjoy complete freedom in the exercise of their beliefs.
Religions in Japan are classified into Shinto, Buddhism, Christianity,
and miscellaneous religions. Shinto is essentially indigenous, but
has been heavily influenced by Buddhist ideas and practices. Miscellaneous
religions are mostly the so-called New Religions. Confucianism,
has functioned primarily in the sphere of moral precepts rather
than as an organized religion.