Facts & Trivia 3

Japan: Facts, Statistics, and Trivia Vol. 3


Japan has more active volcanoes than any other country in the world, with more than 10% of all the earth's volcanoes, calculated as 110 volcanoes. All this volcanic activity has created more than 10,000 known thermal vents in the surface of the country, and of these, over 2,100 have been developed into hot-spring spas - Onsen.

Blood Groups

The most common blood group in Japan is type A, with 38% of the population. In the U.S. and Britain the most common blood group is type O. Many people in Japan believe that a person's blood-type is an indicator of personality.


Sex Museum, Japan.

In an annual global survey of sexuality, Japan consistently ranks last in terms of the frequency of which people have sex. In Japan the average is a paltry 36 times a year, compared with a global average of 97 times a year. When asked what activities they would rather do than have sex, 20% of Japanese said sleeping, and 13% said shopping. Japan fares better in other areas of sexuality though, ranking 7th in the world in the number of sexual partners, with an average of 10.2 partners compared with the global average of 7.7. Japan is close to the average in the age of first sexual experiences at 18.2 years old, close to the world's average of 18.0. Another statistic of interest from a survey within Japan is that almost half of Japanese men have paid for the services of a sex-professional, 75% of those by visiting brothels in Japan and 25% using prostitutes in a foreign country.

Love Hotels

Love Hotel Interior.

The Japanese Love Hotel industry is estimated to generate an annual 4 trillion yen in sales- four times the 2003 profit of Japan's richest company - Toyota Motor Corporation. The occupancy rate for a love hotel is 260% compared with around 70% for an average hotel. Love Hotel charges in the capital, Tokyo, range from between ,000 and 4,000 yen for a two-hour "rest" or 8,000 yen for an overnight stay; prices that compare favorably with room rates at most hotels in Tokyo. After the downturn in the Japanese economy in the 1990s and the decrease in the price of land, foreign equity firms are now buying into this lucrative businesss. The majority of love hotel customers are in the 20-27 year-old age group. 20% of all Japan's Love Hotels are believed to have organized crime (yakuza) connections. The most expensive part of a Love Hotel room's decor is the bathroom, with a large part of the average 4 million - 5 million yen (US$36,000 - US$45,000) spent on each room being splashed on the bathroom, in an attempt to attract repeat business from the industry's main target customers - young Japanese women - many of whom still live at home. Short-term hotels for sexual pleasure and privacy have existed in Japan since the early 1600's.

The Tale of Genji

The oldest novel in the world was written in Japan over a thousand years ago. The Tale of Genji was written in the 11th Century by Murasaki Shikibu, a member of the Imperial Court. Her lengthy (over 500,000 words) novel concerns the romantic and sexual exploits and intrigues of the Imperial Court centered on the main character of Genji. If written today, it would probably be classified as a soap opera.


In April 2002, Tamori (real name Kazuyoshi Morita) a Japanese comedian, entered the Guinness Book Of Records by hosting his TV show Waratte Iitomo (It's OK to Laugh) for the 5000th time. No other presenter has come close to hosting so many live programs. Tamori finally retired the show in 2013.


The Japanese read more newspapers than any other people in the world. 67% of all Japanese read at least one daily newspaper, which is almost twice the rate of the British or the Dutch, the countries closest in newspaper readership. The newspaper with the highest circulation in the world is the Yomiuri Shinbun, with a daily circulation of 14.5 million copies. Compare that with the highest circulation of an English language newspaper, The Sun in Britain, which sells less than 4 million copies. In fact, of the 10 most read newspapers in the world, 6 are produced in Japan. However, in terms of press freedom, the international organization of journalists, Reporters Without Borders, ranks Japan 26th in the world (along with Austria & South Africa). This is largely due to Japan's kisha (press club) system that limits access to news sources.


Japan experiences about 1,000 earthquakes each year of a magnitude sufficient to be felt. While the rest of the world uses the Richter scale to measure earthquakes, the Japan Meteorological Agency uses a seismic intensity scale - used also in Taiwan - known as the shindo (literally 'tremor') scale. Whereas the Richter scale measures a quake at its epicenter, the 'shindo scale' measures it at a specific location where the quake is felt. Therefore the effects of a single earthquake have a variable 'shindo scale' reading depending how far the affected area is from the epicenter.

A Shindo Scale 1 quake is the lightest, while a 7 is the most severe.

In detail, the points on the scale are defined as follows:

  • 0: Goes unnoticed by humans. Speed of shock waves on the ground is less than 0.008 m/s
  • 1: Barely noticable, but only if inside. Ground speed of 0.0080.025 m/s
  • 2: Noticable if inside, and sufficient to wake some sleepers. Ground speed of 0.0250.08 m/s
  • 3: Felt by most people if inside. Sufficient to inspire fear in some people. Ground speed of 0.080.25 m/s
  • 4: Sufficient to inspire fear in many people, wake most sleepers, and prompt some people to seek escape. Ground speed of 0.250.80 m/s
  • 5−: Prompts most people to seek escape, but strong enough to prevent some people from moving. Ground speed of 0.801.40 m/s
  • 5+: Strong enough to cause the collapse of a few unreinforced concrete-block walls and gravestones. Driving difficult or impossible. Ground speed of 1.402.50 m/s
  • 6−: Will cause collapse of wall tiles and windowpanes in some buildings. Ground speed of 2.503.15 m/s
  • 6+: In many buildings, wall tiles and windowpanes are damaged and fall. Strong enough to cause the collapse of some unreinforced concrete-block walls and gravestones. Ground speed of 3.154.00 m/s
  • 7: Wall tiles and windowpanes are damaged and fall in most buildings. Even reinforced concrete-block walls may collapse. Ground speed of over 4 m/s
  • Disasters

    The costliest natural disaster on the planet was the Kobe Earthquake that hit in January 1995. Over 100 billion dollars worth of damage was caused by the quake and the subsequent fires. It must be stated though that as Japan has the most expensive real estate in the world; it's no surprise that a Japanese quake should be the costliest purely in monetary terms. However, Japan was also the site of the world's worst devastation due to an earthquake. The Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 destroyed 575,000 dwellings and killed almost 142,000 people. Japan was also the site of the world's highest death toll from a tsunami. An earthquake off the coast of Sanriku in 1896 caused a tidal wave reaching 125 feet in height. 27,000 people perished when the water hit the land.

    J.League Soccer

    Japan is starting to become a force in the world of soccer since the formation of the J.League in 1993. The most consecutive top-level games in which a single player has scored a hat trick is four. Playing for Jubilo Iwata, Masashi Nakayama scored 5 goals against Cerezo Osaka on 15th April, 1998, followed by four goals against Sanfrecce Hiroshima on 18th April, then on 25th April he scored 4 against Avispa Fukuoka, and finally, on 29th April he scored 3 against Consadole Sapporo. The oldest player to have scored a goal in the J-League is Kazu Miura, who is still going at 46.


    Japan has long been labeled a "smoker's paradise". According to WHO figures published in 2002 about 49% of the adult male population smokes in Japan compared to 28% in the US and the UK and 17% in Sweden. This figure has seen an year-on-year decrease for the last eight years. 13.4% of women now smoke and this percentage is gradually rising. Japanese smokers consumed 312.6 billion cigarettes in 2002 which is the equivalent of 2,861 per adult smoker. Tax revenues from tobacco amount to 2 trillion yen a year. Anti-smoking legislation has recently been passed and many offices, public buildings and schools are now smoke free. In response Japan Tobacco (JT) - the world's third largest tobacco company - has introduced "SmoCars" in Tokyo's business district - mobile trailers equipped with drinks' vending machines where smokers can puff away in peace.


    More than 48 million households in Japan keep pets, according to a 2004 survey by the Japanese pet food manufacturers' association. In 2003, the number of dogs rose by more than 1.5 million to 11.3 million. The number of dogs being kept as domestic pets in Japan (along with other more exotic animals) began increasing sharply during the economic boom of the "Bubble Years" of the 1980s. The domestic pet population is experiencing a second spike as the economy picks up again and Japan's population rapidly ages. Nearly a fifth of Japanese - 24 million people - are aged 65 or older; by 2050, they will account for 35% of the population. More pensioners are turning to pets for companionship as their children leave home and dogs are also cute accessories for the younger generation. Specialist restaurants for pets have appeared in Tokyo and there is now a 40-room pet hotel at Kansai International Airport - costing up to US$100 a night - for owners to leave their animals while away on holiday.

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