Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

The demographic dilemma facing Japan is “Sato-ization”

By b0oua Apr 4, 2024
News

Because of the way the country’s surnames are distributed, there is a possibility that every single person living there will be Mr. or Mrs. Sato-san.

It may sound like a Kafkaesque dream, but if a European were to take a stroll through the streets of Tokyo or any other city in Japan in a few decades, it is highly probable that all of the postboxes will display the same name: Mr. or Mrs. Sato-san.

Additionally, the same thing will occur with the shirts that your soccer team wears, the posters that are displayed in law and medical offices, the business cards that are used to introduce businessmen, and the posters that are displayed in family businesses. When you look in any direction, you will notice the same four letters: Sato. This is the surname that will be shared by everything, even the entire nation.

We are Mr. and Mrs. Sato. Along with Suzuki, Takahashi, and Tanaka, the surname Sato dominates the list of the most common surnames in Japan. In 2008, it is estimated that about two million people used it, which is equivalent to 1.6% of the total population of the country.

On the other hand, in the country of the Rising Sun, they already have simulations that show that Sato will continue to grow exponentially over the next few decades until it eclipses the other tens of thousands of Japanese surnames. This is a relatively small footprint when compared to what the GarcĂ­as have in Spain, where there are approximately 1.44 million people who share that surname, which accounts for 3% of the national census. Sato-ization is the word given to the procedure simply because it is so overpowering and startling that it already has its own name.

This is a question about numbers. Using a calculator, Professor Hiroshi Yoshida from Tohoku University has performed some calculations that contribute to a better understanding of the existing footprint of the surname and, more importantly, the future footprint of the surname. These calculations were in partnership with the Think Name Project. Taking into consideration the fact that Sato was the most prevalent in the Asian nation in March 2023, with a hit of 1.529%, and that its proportion increased over the course of the previous year with data that was available – between 2022 and 2023 – 1.0083 times – this is the beginning point.

That is the year 2531, Sato. Using the information that was available to him, Yoshida devised a mathematical simulation that demonstrated that in the year 2446, approximately fifty percent of the Japanese population would reply to Sato’s plea. In the year 2531, the proportion would already have reached one hundred percent if the computations were prolonged.

His estimates are mathematical calculations that are based on data and assumptions, such as the assumption that the yearly growth rate will remain constant over time. Yoshida himself acknowledges that his projections are just that: mathematical calculations. over the course of the subsequent decades and possibly even centuries; yet, he asserts that his study is important in gaining an understanding of what the future of Japan may be like if the method that is used to assign surnames is not reinterpreted.

Engaging in the game of scenarios. Yoshida has also studied other possibilities, such as what would occur if the Japanese system that governs surnames were altered to the point where it now requires couples to share a surname once they have passed through the altar.

One of the questions that the researcher pondered was, for instance, what would occur if married couples were permitted to use two different names. In addition, his results are remarkable. In that scenario, the Sato footprint would be far smaller: in the year 2531, they would constitute “barely” 7.96% of the population, which is significantly lower than the 100% that would be attained in the same year if the couples continued to share a last name.

Yes, you should downshift, but you shouldn’t brake. Despite the fact that the Japanese bride and groom would be able to preserve their surnames after passing through the altar, the process of Sato-ization of Japan would continue unabated. This is the most peculiar aspect of the situation, not the vast disparity that exists between the two percentages. Indeed, slow down; but, do so without pausing.

The calculations made by Yoshida indicate that even in the year 3310, almost all Japanese people would answer the phone when Mr. and Mrs. Sato-san called. Because of this, the modification to the legislation would only serve to postpone the inevitable for around seven hundred and fifty years, despite the fact that the forecasts indicate that by the year 3310, the population of the Asian nation, which is currently experiencing a concerning demographic problem, will have plummeted significantly.

This is due to a very evident reason. Furthermore, it is a response to studies, extrapolations, and some assumptions that have been considered. In support of his argument, the professor cited findings from a poll that was carried out in 2022 by the Japan Trade Union Confederation. The survey revealed that 39.9% of unmarried individuals were in favor of married couples sharing the same surname. despite the fact that you have the option of keeping yours distinct. The analysis, on the other hand, was carried out using a small sample size of one thousand individuals.

On the other hand… Where did the study originate? The question is intriguing due to the fact that the research appears to have a very specific objective, which is to stir up controversy regarding the Japanese surname registration system. It was introduced on April 1, which is known in the English-speaking world as April Fool’s Day, or the “day of jokes.

” Professor Yoshida, who is affiliated with Tohoku University, is also a part of the Think Name Project, which is responsible for it. As can be seen in the statement itself, in which the Think Name Project summarizes the findings of Yoshida’s study, the choice appears to have been made on purpose with the intention of specifically gaining media awareness and taking advantage of the provocative tone that was prevalent at the time.

“As a means of raising awareness, the action known as ‘#2531 Sato-san Problem’ is being developed in collaboration with businesses and other partners in order to take advantage of April Fool’s Day, which arrives on April 1. According to the letter, this is based on the findings of a simulation that was based on statistics. The simulation demonstrates that in the year 2531, everyone would have the surname Sato. This is based on the present trends in surnames in Japan. Does this imply that the demographic study is a work of fiction or a complete and utter fabrication? No.

As a traditional study, Yoshida’s calculations and report, which date back to the end of the previous month, have been uploaded on the Think Name website. They have also been reiterated by media sites like as the Japan Times, Nikkei, Le Parisien, and The Telegraph, which published it on April 1 of the previous year. According to The Guardian newspaper, there were initially people on social networks who “wrongly” concluded that Yoshida’s research was harmless. This is something that is acknowledged by the publication.

Regarding the laws and the straightforwardness. In spite of the fact that the study is both a mathematical exercise and a simulation that is founded on data and assumptions, its history goes far further than that. Think Name illustrates a characteristic of the Japanese administration, which is that after going through the altar, the spouses must have the same surname.

This implies that in 95% of situations, it is the women who adopt their husband’s name. The objective of this is to portray this oddity. the husbands. “It has been hypothesized that, if the current system continues, the 130,000 different types of surnames will gradually decrease and will end up becoming a single surname,” caution the researchers who are conducting the analysis.

As a cultural sign, each surname carries with it a history of the family as well as a value. Professor Yoshida cautions that if it is never found again, its history would likewise be gone forever. Not to mention the troubles that would be brought about by having a nation in which every single person, every single person who lives there, has the same surname.

Speculating on the possibility that “if everyone becomes Sato, we may have to address each other by name or by number,” the expert acknowledges that this is feasible. “I don’t think that’s a good world to live in.”

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