Home Facts About Java Population, People & Culture
Java is by far the most populated island in Indonesia with approximately 62% of the country's population; incidently making it the greatest populous island in the world. With 130 million inhabitants at 940 people per km▓, it is also one of the most densely-populated parts of the world. If Java were a country, it would be the second-most densely-populated country of the world after Bangladesh, if very small city-states are excluded. Approximately 45% of the population of Indonesia is ethnically Javanese.
Since the 1970s, the Indonesian government has run transmigration programs aimed at resettling the population of Java on other less-populated islands of Indonesia. This program has met with mixed results, and sometimes caused conflicts between the locals and the recently arrived settlers.
Generally speaking, the three major cultures of Java are the Sundanese culture of West Java, the Central Javanese culture, and the Eastern Javanese culture. In the southwestern part of Central Java, usually named the Banyumasan region, a cultural mingling occurred; bringing together Javanese culture and Sundanese culture to create the Banyumasan culture.
In the central Javanese court cities of Yogyakarta and Surakarta, contemporary kings trace their lineages back to the pre-colonial Islamic kingdoms that ruled the region, making those places especially strong repositories of classical Javanese culture. Classic arts of Java include gamelan music and wayang puppet shows.
Java was the site of many influential kingdoms in the Southeast Asian region, and as a result many literary works have been written by Javanese authors. These include Ken Arok and Ken Dedes, the story of the orphan who usurped his king and married the queen of the ancient Javanese kingdom; and translations of Ramayana and Mahabarata. Pramoedya Ananta Toer is a famous contemporary Indonesian author who has written many stories based on his own experiences of having grown up in Java, and takes many elements from Javanese folklore and historical legends.
Java acts as Indonesia's center of cultural and economic activity. The main ethnic group in Java is Javanese, except for the West Java region where most people are Sundanese. In the province of East Java, 22% of the population is of Madurese descent. Half of them live on the island of Madura.
Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia is located on the northwest region of Java. Population: 8 million (within city limits). The total population of Jakarta and its suburbs: 12 million. The population of Jakarta is a mix of many ethnics. The native ethnic group of Jakarta is Betawi.
Surabaya (the second largest city in Indonesia), is located in East Java.