Tokyo is now 20 percent old people

Tokyo is now 20 percent old people

Watch out, kids: The Nikkei reports that those aged 65 and above make up more than one fifth of the Tokyo population for the first time ever
Tokyo elderly
The elderly work out with wooden dumb-bells on September 21, 2009. Are they preparing for the coming age war?

A graying country just got a little more gray. reports that Tokyo's over-65 population has crossed the 20% line for the first time ever. There are now 2.55 million elderly in Tokyo, up 2.69% from the previous year.

Although the total number of young people (0-14) also rose, there are only 1.49 million in that age bracket, and their rate of growth -- 0.52% -- was much less significant.

So we can extrapolate these statistics to mean that every child has more and more grandparents, great aunts and great uncles from whom to receive cash and presents. This sounds good, but beware: Kids may crack under the pressure of writing all those thank you cards in return.

For those who love Tokyo for the youth culture, don't worry too much. Pop culture center areas Harajuku and Shibuya are in no danger of premature graying. Most of the city's elderly are confined to faraway districts like Kita-ku and Tama City. The good news is that now you know where to head when you want to play a pick-up game of gateball.

W. David Marx was CNNGo's initial Tokyo City Editor. His writing has also appeared in magazines such as GQ, Brutus, Weekly Diamond, and Nylon, as well as his web joural Néojaponisme.

Read more about W. David Marx