quick look on Japanese history (1) Jomon, Yayoi age

1.Birth of Japan Archipelago

Japan Archipelago was originally part of Eurasia continent , but by some reason

Sea of Japan occurred presumably between 15millions to 24millions years ago .

It was enlarged and finally formed island arc .

Changes to the Japanese archipelago over time:from WIKIPEDIA


Japan Archipelago is composed of four main islands namely Hokkaidou, Honshuu,Shikoku, Kyuushuu and nearly 7000 islands including Chishima, Amami, Ryuukyuu, Izu islands .

It is on the point of four plates ( Eurasia, Philippine sea , Pacific ocean, North America) collide each other which causes frequent earthquakes and many volcanoes’ action.

It is presumed people started to live on these islands at latest 200thousands to 300thousands years ago. it is also presumed plural races reached to the Archipelago through plural ice bridges during glacial era.

However after the last glacial period, around 12000yesra ago, ice bridges had disappeared and the Archipelago was separated from the continent.

After that, people living inside the Archipelago had no other way but to create and cultivate their own characteristic culture.

For example, Japanese, presumably one of the world oldest language, does not have a similar type of language in the world and it could survive owing to the geographical features.

2.Jomon age begins

Japanese history begins with Old Stone age, then Jomon age follows. Recent study revealed Jomon age went back up to 12000 years ago or much older. People in Jomon age created earthen vessel, a pit dwelling and enjoyed a rich hunting and gathering life.

Oldest and highest quality earthen vessel

Lots of earthen vessels which were older than 12000 were excavated from various ruins in Japan and the oldest among them was 16500 years old. Except Japan, the oldest vessel was 8000 years old from west Asia. Thwrefore as far as excavated vessel tells, Jomon produced by far the world oldest vessel.
ots of Kaenn vesselflaming vesselwere also produced around 5000- 7000years ago which were by far the best quality vessel at that time as you can see from the photo.

Highest quality vessel called Kaenn vessel

 (photo from wikipedia)

Jomon as age of delicious food

Japanese vegetation has been divided into two types, namely one is east Japan covered by deciduous trees, the other is west Japan covered by evergreen forests . Deciduous forests cultivated various nuts and wild plants and also fish, shellfish, beasts, birds and so on. During Jomon age, thanks to deciduous forests, east Japan was richer and had heavier population than west.

From various ruins, we can see people at that time enjoyed rich delicious seasonal fresh food such as chestnut, walnut, acorn and sermon, trout, bonito, bream, seabass, clam, oyster, boar, venison, wild duck, pheasant and so on. Beside these natural blessings, people already started primitive cultivation of nuts, vegetables, rice and even oysters.

The Sannai Maruyama site

Above site has been excavated since 1992 which revealing continuous occupation from 5500- 4000years ago. The site shows there were world most advanced culture in Japan Archipelago at that time. You can see further details about the site from the following rink.

1. sannaimaruyama.pref.aomori.jp/

3.Yayoi age

Yayoi age was presumed to begin around BC500. There were two big factors to open new age. One was metal instrument such as bronze ware and iron ware. The other was rice fields. As it was mentioned before ,Jomon people had started to cultivate rice long time ago but probably it was not effective enough and people preferred to continue hunting and gathering life style. New advanced technology of rice fields had arrived from the continent or developed in the western part of Japan and gradually prevailed from west to east Japan.

The age of turmoil

Metal instruments, rice fields and other new technologies contributed lots to the rapid growth of production and also population which would lead to form an ancient state. Until the end of Edo period, Japan had been peaceful and orderly nation throughout it’s whole history except two ages. One was Yayoi age and the other was 15-16th century’s age of civil wars. In Yayoi age each settlement build high barrier against attackers. Yayoi was the age when small settlements fought each other just before they formed an ancient state.

1. Above is the photo of Yoshinogari which is one of ruins of that age . You can see more about Yoshinogari from the site below.