Reading: Japanese Roots Notes
Evidence is conflicting; 4 different theories; culturally and biologically homogeneous
(except for Ainu on the island of Hokkaido)
o Gradually evolved from ancient Ice Age people who occupied Japan long before
20 000 BC
o Descended from horse-riding Asian nomads who passed through Korea to
conquer Japan in the fourth century *not Korean
o Descended from immigrants from Korea who arrived with rice-paddy agriculture
around 400 BC
The above three, mixed to form modern Japanese
Chronicles invented 13 fictitious emperors to fill the gap between 660 BC (when Ninigi’s
great-grandson Jimmu became emperor) and the earliest historically documented
Preserved its independence and culture while emerging from isolation to create an
industrialized society in the late nineteenth century
o Want to believe their distinctive language and culture required unique complex
Interpretations of the past affect present behavior
o Who has historical claims to whose land?
o Who among East Asian peoples brought culture to whom?
o Koreans vs. Japanese
Ancestors seemed to have reached Japan before they had writing but biology suggests a
more recent arrival
Poor farmers and rich hunter-gatherers
o Land was not as good for farming as it was for gathering due to the many
mountains, valleys, rushing rivers, and ravines.