statistics and applied probability

national university of singapore

Japan’s chowty dars

You probably know of Stamp’s law:

The government are very keen on amassing statistics. They collect them, add them, raise them to the nth power, take the cube root and prepare wonderful diagrams. But you must never forget that every one of these figures comes in the first instance from the chowty dar (village watchman), who just puts down what he damn pleases.

I couldn’t help but think of it when I read news coming out of Tokyo this week.  As is well known, the Japanese (women) have the longest life expectancy on Earth.  Well, that’s according to official figures.  When officials went to congratulate Kato Sogen, Tokyo’s oldest man, on his 111th birthday, they found… his mummified corpse!  It seems his family might have kept his death a secret for the last 30 years, to get his pension.  So Japan’s officialdom started checking up on some of their other masses of centenarians, and when they went to visit the oldest woman in Tokyo, Furuya Fusa, her daughter said she hadn’t been seen since 1986. I wonder what the age pyramid looks like once you cut out all the dead people in Japan?

Maybe washoku doesn’t have as many miraculous life extending properties as has been claimed…

PS Apparently Stamp’s law wasn’t created by Stamp but by Cox.

1 Comment

  1. this actually answered one of the lingering questions I had ><

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