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All the cities in the world have some common characteristics as well as some distinctions. The aim of this essay is to scrutinize and analyze the principal differences and similarities between two cities: Istanbul and Tokyo. This report will consider such topics as demographics and population, economic structure, socio-political culture, environmental issues, culture and religion.

Istanbul is the biggest city in Turkey and it is situated in the south-east Europe amidst the Marmara Sea and the Black Sea. The vast area of Istanbul makes up 5343 square kilometers. The population of Istanbul is 10, 072,447 people that makes it one of the highly populated cities in the world. Approximately 75 per cent of the inhabitants in Istanbul are of Turkish ethnic origin; the rest of people are the immigrants from Eastern Europe. The number of men and women is almost the same, although men mostly dominate the community: males form 50, 5 percent of the population while females make 49.5 percent. The number of men is larger in almost all age groups, except for age 64. On average, the life expectancy of men is 65 that is a little bit lower than for women. The numerous age groups in the population in Instanbul are 10-14 and 25-33. A major role for the potential growth of Turkish population plays pregnant women (Istanbul 2010).

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In comparison to Istanbul, Tokyo is bigger city if to consider its size. Its area makes 2187 square kilometers. It is locates in the southern part of Kanto and central region of the archipelago of Japan. Tokyo is the capital of Japan and the biggest metropolitan district in the world. According to the database created in 2011, the population of Tokyo is 13.189 million people, which makes 10 percent of the whole population of Japan. Besides that, Tokyo is considered to be the most densely populated political unit in Japan. According to the figures revealed in 2011, the number of foreign redidents in Tokyo is over 408,000 people. The population in the Tokyo can be divided into three groups:

- The working-age group (15-64) – 8,85 million that makes 68, 2 % of the whole population.

- The aged group (over 65) – 2, 642 million, which is 20, 4 % of the whole population.

- The child group (0-14) – 1, 477 million, making 11, 4 % of the whole population.

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The life expectancy in Tokyo is the longest in the world. As compared to Istanbul, where men are dominating, in Tokyo women’s life expectancy is higher than men’s. Female life expectancy is up to 85 years, whereas male live till the age of 78.

Istanbul is a marketable center, in terms of its high development of the economy. It is obvious that Istanbul is one of the most crucial commercial centers in Turkey, due to its location at the international intersection of land and sea trade routes. Istanbul is responsible for 36 % of all exports and 40 % of imports. The city is famous for producing textile fabrics, chemical, metals, oil, leather, electronics and cars. Istanbul is the place where one can successfully run the business. Moreover, almost all insurance companies, existing in Turkey, are situated in Istanbul. It makes 22 % of national product and, additionally, pays 45 % of the taxes of Turkey. Furthermore, it is the foundation for more than 50 % of trade amidst Turkey and other countries. In accordance to the latest data, 13,613 international companies out of 22,055 which are situated in Istanbul took control over 76 % of the foreign investments.

Much alike with Istanbul, Tokyo is considered being the Japan’s most influential industial, management and finance center. Tokyo incorporates one third of Japan’s leading industrious regions. It is widely known as a city of electronics, automobiles, chemical and heavy industry. The quantity of private enterprises in Tokyo is more than 800,000. Given GDP (gross domestic product), Tokyo holds the biggest metropolitan economy in the world. It was estimated that being an utmost international financial centre, Tokyo runs various biggest investment banks and insurance companies in the world. Tokyo Stock Exchange is the highest in Japan and takes the second place in the world. Up to these points, Tokyo is still considered as one of the most high-priced cities in the world.

According to the Kum Company (Sinan Ikinci), Turkey faces profit differences amidst social classes if to consider the socio-political issues. The prosperous families in Istanbul have approximately 6,000 dollars income a month, while impoverished ones get fewer than 100 dollars. The average income of Istanbul people is 300 dollars that is considerably small sum for the existence. More than 48 % of Turkish population belongs to this low-income category. When poverty is the somehow hidden problem, health care issues are still disputable among people. Most cities, including Istanbul, have restricted the number of hospitals. Moreover, the healthcare system is riddled with mishaps while it fails to provide citizens with an appropriate medical service (Ikinci S. ,2003, April 24).

To draw an analogy with Istanbul, it needs to be mentioned that Tokyo is experiencing a big despondency, as compared with other developed countries. Japan is the country with the numerous serious social problems. For instance, it is theplace where once in a while one can experience abuse, rape, domestic violence, assault, juvenile crime, truancy, bullying, unemployment and indifference. The people class in Tokyo is separated into categories of Shitamachi and Yamanote. In other words, people are divided into those who are in incorporate and informal settings. Discrimination in employment, education and marriage also plays a crucial role in the process of settling socio-political relations in Tokyo.

The residents of Istanbul, the number of which is approximately 10 million people, come up against environmental issues almost everyday.With a high economic level the city of Istanbul started to suffer from environmental degradation. The results of gross industrialization are displayed in air pollution which is becoming more and more hazardous for the country and its citizens. The extrem problem in Turkey, especially in Istanbul, is smog. A huge variety of cars and excessive energy consumption have greatly increased air pollution. The total energy consumption in Istanbul is used by industrial sector (50 %), residents (only 27 %), transportation (16, 4 %), and commercial (6, 7 %). An additional issue that influences the ecological level of city is water pollution, caused by dumping of chemicals and detergents. Consequently, the serious spills lead to instant environmental outcomes, as well as to everyday utilizing of contaminated water. Another issue disturbing the citizens is deforestation. Although forestry is of a big importance nowadays in Turkish industry, it may bring the country several serious drawbacks, such as global warming, greenhouse gas emissions, carbon dioxide emissions, erosions, flooding etc.

As well as Istanbul, Tokyo has its environmental issues and if to compare them, they have much in common. According to TMG (Tokyo Metropolian Government), the two major environmental problems that bother the city are air pollution, caused by the increased number of automobiles, and great amount of hazardous chemicals in the atmosphere. The other problem is the heat island effect, produced by enormous waste of energy and carbon dioxide release (Tokyo Metropolitan Government. Bureau of Environment, 2005).

The cultural principles of Istanbul grounded on the point that it used to be the capital of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. The most attractive historical works in Istanbul are at the peninsula amidst the Marmara Sea and the Golden Horn. It is like an open air riddled with various architectural works. In addition, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism determined that there are 69 museums in Istanbul. Being an astonishing historical monument, the city of Istanbul has many mosques. Consequently, one of them, the Sultanahmet Mosque,  built in seventeenth century by Sultan Ahmet I and has six minarets, is the symbol of Istanbul. The second name of it is The Blue Mosque, since it is decorated with the blue glazed tiles. Additionally, Istanbul is considered to be a cultural center with a great variety of music and cinema festivals, theaters, operas, ballets and concerts (Isayev I. 2011, August).

Contrary to Istanbul, the culture of Tokyo has its roots from various world cultures. Firstly it was the ethnic Jomon culture which was further combined with Korean, Chinese, Indian, Greek and American cultures until it formed its own unique one. It has its reflexion in traditional arts, which are ikebana, origami and ukiyo. As well as Istambul, Tokyo is the city of festivals, rituals and celebrations. Some of them are: Sanja Festival, Osunafumi Taisai, Kachiya Festival, Hinode Matsuri, Meiji Shrine Spring Festival and Hinode Matsuri (Brightman D. James, 2005).

The last but not the least category, which is worth mentioning in this report is religion. Istanbul, as well as the whole Turkey, is represented by three religious parties: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. 99% of Turkish people nowadays are Muslims. The city of Istanbul is considered to be the place of Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, thus it still has a number of live Orthodox Christian churches. The Roman Catholic has some churches on the territory of Istanbul. The headmen of the principal religious communities are the Chief Mufti, the Chief Rabbi and the Ecumenical Patriarch (Tugal C).

Japanese do not see themselves as adherents of a single religion. That is why the main religious waves in Japan are Shintoism and Buddhism. For instance, most Japanese can marry in a Shinto ritual, but for the funeral they can gravitate to the Buddhist. Shintoism is a spiritual religion, infused by admiration of natural things, such as formations of rocks, trees, animals and sounds. After Buddhism came to Japan in the 6th century, a few disputes arised amidst the representatives of these two religions. But later they came out with the reasonable solutions of how to co-exist in harmony. As well as Shintoism, Buddhism comes up with a spiritual consolation and instructions for daily living (Lee, 2012, November 16).

All in all, the two cities appeared to be quite similar due to their economic level, environmental problems, demographics and population. According to this report one can definitely say that Istanbul and Tokyo are very influential and at the same time unmanageable. Both of them have serious problems with air and water pollution and an excessive usage of energy power. Nevertheless, they remain the cities which attract a lot of visitors because of their rich culture and breathtaking views.

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