The Secret Worldwide Transit Cabal

Informed but opinionated commentary and analysis on urban transportation topics from the Secret Worldwide Transit Cabal. Names have been omitted to protect the guilty.

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Friday, October 18, 2002

He's Not Mediocre -- He's Just Average -- 4

"It is the unfortunate destiny of the ridiculous to be subject to ridicule." James Howard Kunstler

From the Cabalmaster:

Here is Part 4 of our continuing critique of Wendell Cox's websites, and

You may have gathered from our previous posts that we don't think very highly of Demographia. Among the better examples of poor (and skewed) presentation of data are the Demographia pages on the three largest Japanese metropolitan areas. It seems that the Denizens of Demographia can't tell the difference between "central city" and "suburb" -- and have cobbled together their own definitions of what areas are included in the Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya metropolitan areas.

(Nan ja, o Wendell-sama? Anata wa Nihon-go o yomimasu ka?)

We've looked at the following:

-----the "suburbanization" data pages: "Tokyo" and "Outside" are not defined. This page does have a definition: "Osaka metropolitan region includes Hyogo, Kyoto and Osaka Prefectures." This does not match the official definition. "Nagoya metropolitan region is Aichi Prefecture," according to this page. Again, this does not match the official definition.

-----the "suburbanization" chart pages: This chart shows "Central City" vs. "Suburbs" for the Tokyo area, but does not define either category. This chart, for Osaka, shows "Central City" vs. "Balance Prefecture."

-----the "Densely Inhabited Districts" data pages: This shows population for the Tokyo-Yokohama region; Prefecture: "Tokyo," "Chiba," "Kanagawa," "Saitama" and "Total." This shows population for the Osaka-Kyoto-Kobe region; Prefecture: "Kyoto," "Hyogo," "Osaka" and "Total." This shows population for the Nagoya region; Prefecture: "Aichi," and "Total" -- same numbers.

-----the "Central City Population from 1890" data pages: This makes no mention of the large-scale expansion of Tokyo's land area since 1890. This gives no information on Osaka land area changes.

----the "Metropolitan Area Population from 1920" data pages: For the Osaka-Kyoto-Kobe region, this shows annual change for three prefectures combined, but NOT for individual prefectures. For the Tokyo-Yokohama region, this shows annual change for four prefectures combined, but NOT for individual prefectures.

-----and the "Japan Population 1965-1995 & 3 Largest Metropolitan Areas (Tokyo, Osaka & Nagoya)" data page (see: This shows population "In 3 Largest Metropolitan Areas," "Core Cities," "Outside Core Cities," and "All Other," but does not define any of these categories.

As we've noted before, all of Japan's largest metropolitan regions are polycentric ("poly" = "more than one," Wendell). This is also true of Tokyo and Osaka proper (especially Tokyo). There is no justification for classifying all regional population outside of the Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya city boundaries as "suburban."

We've commented before about the "other" large centers in the Tokyo region (Chiba, Kawasaki and Yokohama), and the Osaka region (Kobe and Kyoto). Demographia defines the Nagoya metropolitan region as "Aichi Prefecture." Nagoya does dominate, but Aichi Prefecture includes three relatively small centers that would be difficult to classify as "suburbs" for historic reasons: Ichinomiya, Okazaki, Seto and Toyohashi. Not only that, but the Demographia Denizens have also slighted nearby Gifu and Mie prefectures.

Gifu: 400,000 (capital, Gifu Prefecture).
Ichinomiya: 270,000.
Nagoya: 2.1 million.
Okazaki: 330,000 (outside the 25-mile radius).
Seto: 130,000.
Toyohashi: 350,000 (outside the 25-mile radius).
Yokkaichi (Mie Prefecture): 290,000.

We noted before that the denizens of "Demographia" seem not to have heard of the customary names for each of the metropolitan regions. For your erudition, these are:

"Kanto" for the Tokyo region. This means "east of the barrier," back in the days of the Shoguns, passage between cities and towns was tightly monitored. At the historic Hakone barrier (which resembled a primeval toll booth), one had to present the proper credentials in order to pass. (Attempts at barrier bypassing might lead to an encounter with true "cutting-edge" technology.)

"Kansai" for for the Kyoto--Osaka--Kobe region. This (as you may have guessed) means "west of the barrier." Another, more specific name, is "Keihanshin," which is a Sino-Japanese-style contraction of . . . you guessed it, "Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe."

"Chukyo" for Nagoya and nearby cities. This means "Middle Capital," referring to the location between Tokyo ("Eastern Capital") and Kyoto (Japan's historic Imperial capital).

The "Populstat" page on Japanese cities provides an alternative to "Demographia" (see: For the most recent population figures, see the "Japan Statistical Yearbook" site (Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications, Statistics Bureau and Statistics Center,

Fact heaped upon fact, attribution incomplete at best, little or no context, derived statistics presented separately from "raw data" (which may not be present at all), strategic "adjustments" and selection of data, analysis and conclusions without reference to causal relationships . . . if we didn't know better, we'd swear we were "back in the USSR!"

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