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Japanese origins

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  • Popplestone, Ann
    From today s NY Times: Out of the Mist Looms, Maybe, the First Japanese /library/world/asia/040299japan-origins.1.jpg.html
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 2, 1999
    • 0 Attachment
      From today's NY Times:




      Out of the Mist Looms, Maybe, the First Japanese
      /library/world/asia/040299japan-origins.1.jpg.html
      </library/world/asia/040299japan-origins.1.jpg.html>
      /library/world/asia/040299japan-origins.1.jpg.html
      </library/world/asia/040299japan-origins.1.jpg.html>
      By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF


      OMORI, Japan -- When he was a boy, Tomihiro Yoshizaki used
      to dig for arrowheads in some strange mounds of earth outside this city in
      northern Japan.
      Now those mounds have been excavated, resolving crucial
      mysteries about the ancient hunter-gatherers who lived here 5,000 years ago.
      Just one mystery remains: to what extent are Yoshizaki and other modern
      Japanese descended from those ancient people?



      The origins of the Japanese people remain a much-debated puzzle, but part of
      it is being pieced together here on the vast archeological site near Aomori,
      375 miles north of Tokyo. Local people like Yoshizaki, 45, had long known
      about the mounds and the artifacts. But they were investigated only in 1992
      when surveyors preparing to build a baseball stadium uncovered evidence that
      this was once a village of the Jomon people who lived in Japan from 10,000
      B.C. to about 300 B.C.
      Now the site is perhaps the most important archeological dig in Japan,
      attracting half a million tourists a year and shedding new insights into
      prehistoric life here. Moreover, even after filling 40,000 boxes of
      material, archeologists say that they have at least 15 more years' work
      before they have completed their investigations here.
      "The city of Aomori had very little history," mused Yoshizaki. "But now all
      of a sudden we have a great deal of history, and we're very proud of it."
      The excavations have aroused enormous interest in Japan, where archeology is
      a national craze. Japan spends more than $1 billion annually in public funds
      to excavate some 13,000 sites each year, archeology books become best
      sellers, and leading experts often appear on television.
      The issues are in some ways political as well as archeological because of
      the intense rivalries in East Asia. North Korea claims that it, not Africa,
      is where humans first appeared. South Koreans believe that it was their
      emigrants who brought civilization to Japan and that a Korean clan probably
      founded the Japanese imperial family. Chinese suggest that Xu Fu, an ancient
      Chinese envoy who was sent to Japan in the third century B.C., became
      Japan's first emperor, Jimmu.
      These theories have not been a big hit in Japan. But the underlying
      competition may be one reason for the pride in new findings that the Jomon
      people who lived in Japan even earlier -- about 10,000 B.C. to 300 B.C. --
      were much more sophisticated than anybody had expected.
      Jomon sites have been found all over Japan, but the excavations here have
      been the most startling. The first discovery was of six enormous holes in
      the ground with the remains of wooden pillars one yard thick, evidently the
      base for some huge structure.
      "This stunned people, and not only because it raised questions about how
      they cut and dragged the logs," said Yasuhiro Okada, a chief archeologist at
      the site in Aomori. "But also because it suggests a certain population and
      level of technology and social organization. This all showed much greater
      skills than we had assumed for these hunter-gatherers, and it was a stunning
      discovery for most Japanese."
      Further investigation showed that the site was a settled village with
      hundreds of inhabitants and separate cemeteries for children and adults, and
      that its people had dabbled in agriculture by planting chestnuts and millet
      and other domesticated plants. There apparently was trade, for the dig
      turned up jade from 400 miles to the south and obsidian from the northern
      island of Hokkaido.
      The traditional view had been that virtually all culture originated in Korea
      and China and then spread to Japan, but now some Japanese archeologists
      point to evidence that some innovations went the other way. They suggest
      that buckwheat farming, lacquerware-making and other innovations originated
      in Japan and then traveled to Korea and China.
      "We know that we have learned many things from Korea and China," said Makoto
      Sahara, a historian and director general of the National Museum of Japanese
      History. "But not all things."
      There is a complication, though. While modern Japanese feel pride in Jomon
      achievements, analysis of skeletons suggests that the Jomon did not look
      like modern Japanese.
      Instead, they had features that made them look more like Caucasians and they
      seem to have resembled the Ainu, an ethnic group that still lives in tiny
      numbers in northern Japan. In the museum here in Aomori, Japanese tourists
      wandered by exhibits about the Jomon and gazed affectionately at pictures of
      what their Jomon ancestors are believed to have looked like -- even though
      the only one in the room who looked much like the pictures was an American.
      One theory has been that waves of immigrants from China and Korea quickly
      displaced the Jomon people and their culture in about 300 B.C.They ushered
      in the Yayoi period, which emphasized rice paddy cultivation and whose
      people looked more like today's Japanese.
      In the last decade, a growing body of skeletal, DNA and linguistic analysis
      has suggested that modern Japanese are the product of both Jomon people and
      the Yayoi immigrants from China and Korea -- and perhaps other population
      infusions as well.
      Satoshi Horai, a scholar, argues that modern Japanese are a mix of about 35
      percent Jomon and 65 percent Yayoi. That would mean that Japanese are
      descended mostly from Chinese and Koreans but also have an important Jomon
      component.
      "The recent DNA studies clearly indicate the close genetic relationship
      between the Japanese on the main islands and the Koreans in particular,"
      said Keiichi Omoto, a leading scholar on the origins of Japanese.
      Scholars note that despite the perception in Japan and abroad that Japanese
      are homogeneous, there is considerable regional variation in physical
      appearance. In particular, Japanese in northern provinces tend to have
      rounder eyes and more body hair and wider faces, traits that may suggest a
      bit more Jomon heritage.
      A museum at the site in Aomori offers a computer screen to advise visitors
      on the proportion of their blood that comes from the Jomon, based on their
      eyes and body hair and other characteristics.
      "People in northern Japan can be 60 to 80 percent of Jomon origin, while
      those from western or southern Japan are 40 percent Jomon or less," said
      Okada, the archeologist. He added: "The Jomon people were the real ancestors
      of the Japanese. They formed the base."

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    • mirabarska
      ... Yoshizaki used ... city in ... crucial ... years ago. ... modern ... but part of ... near Aomori, ... long known ... only in 1992 ... evidence that ...
      Message 2 of 2 , Aug 29, 2005
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        --- In SACC-L@yahoogroups.com, "Popplestone, Ann"
        <Ann.Popplestone@... wrote:
        > From today's NY Times:
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Out of the Mist Looms, Maybe, the First Japanese
        > /library/world/asia/040299japan-origins.1.jpg.html
        > </library/world/asia/040299japan-origins.1.jpg.html>
        > /library/world/asia/040299japan-origins.1.jpg.html
        > </library/world/asia/040299japan-origins.1.jpg.html>
        > By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
        >
        >
        > OMORI, Japan -- When he was a boy, Tomihiro
        Yoshizaki used
        > to dig for arrowheads in some strange mounds of earth outside this
        city in
        > northern Japan.
        > Now those mounds have been excavated, resolving
        crucial
        > mysteries about the ancient hunter-gatherers who lived here 5,000
        years ago.
        > Just one mystery remains: to what extent are Yoshizaki and other
        modern
        > Japanese descended from those ancient people?
        >
        >
        >
        > The origins of the Japanese people remain a much-debated puzzle,
        but part of
        > it is being pieced together here on the vast archeological site
        near Aomori,
        > 375 miles north of Tokyo. Local people like Yoshizaki, 45, had
        long known
        > about the mounds and the artifacts. But they were investigated
        only in 1992
        > when surveyors preparing to build a baseball stadium uncovered
        evidence that
        > this was once a village of the Jomon people who lived in Japan
        from 10,000
        > B.C. to about 300 B.C.
        > Now the site is perhaps the most important archeological dig in
        Japan,
        > attracting half a million tourists a year and shedding new
        insights into
        > prehistoric life here. Moreover, even after filling 40,000 boxes of
        > material, archeologists say that they have at least 15 more years'
        work
        > before they have completed their investigations here.
        > "The city of Aomori had very little history," mused
        Yoshizaki. "But now all
        > of a sudden we have a great deal of history, and we're very proud
        of it."
        > The excavations have aroused enormous interest in Japan, where
        archeology is
        > a national craze. Japan spends more than $1 billion annually in
        public funds
        > to excavate some 13,000 sites each year, archeology books become
        best
        > sellers, and leading experts often appear on television.
        > The issues are in some ways political as well as archeological
        because of
        > the intense rivalries in East Asia. North Korea claims that it,
        not Africa,
        > is where humans first appeared. South Koreans believe that it was
        their
        > emigrants who brought civilization to Japan and that a Korean clan
        probably
        > founded the Japanese imperial family. Chinese suggest that Xu Fu,
        an ancient
        > Chinese envoy who was sent to Japan in the third century B.C.,
        became
        > Japan's first emperor, Jimmu.
        > These theories have not been a big hit in Japan. But the underlying
        > competition may be one reason for the pride in new findings that
        the Jomon
        > people who lived in Japan even earlier -- about 10,000 B.C. to 300
        B.C. --
        > were much more sophisticated than anybody had expected.
        > Jomon sites have been found all over Japan, but the excavations
        here have
        > been the most startling. The first discovery was of six enormous
        holes in
        > the ground with the remains of wooden pillars one yard thick,
        evidently the
        > base for some huge structure.
        > "This stunned people, and not only because it raised questions
        about how
        > they cut and dragged the logs," said Yasuhiro Okada, a chief
        archeologist at
        > the site in Aomori. "But also because it suggests a certain
        population and
        > level of technology and social organization. This all showed much
        greater
        > skills than we had assumed for these hunter-gatherers, and it was
        a stunning
        > discovery for most Japanese."
        > Further investigation showed that the site was a settled village
        with
        > hundreds of inhabitants and separate cemeteries for children and
        adults, and
        > that its people had dabbled in agriculture by planting chestnuts
        and millet
        > and other domesticated plants. There apparently was trade, for the
        dig
        > turned up jade from 400 miles to the south and obsidian from the
        northern
        > island of Hokkaido.
        > The traditional view had been that virtually all culture
        originated in Korea
        > and China and then spread to Japan, but now some Japanese
        archeologists
        > point to evidence that some innovations went the other way. They
        suggest
        > that buckwheat farming, lacquerware-making and other innovations
        originated
        > in Japan and then traveled to Korea and China.
        > "We know that we have learned many things from Korea and China,"
        said Makoto
        > Sahara, a historian and director general of the National Museum of
        Japanese
        > History. "But not all things."
        > There is a complication, though. While modern Japanese feel pride
        in Jomon
        > achievements, analysis of skeletons suggests that the Jomon did
        not look
        > like modern Japanese.
        > Instead, they had features that made them look more like
        Caucasians and they
        > seem to have resembled the Ainu, an ethnic group that still lives
        in tiny
        > numbers in northern Japan. In the museum here in Aomori, Japanese
        tourists
        > wandered by exhibits about the Jomon and gazed affectionately at
        pictures of
        > what their Jomon ancestors are believed to have looked like --
        even though
        > the only one in the room who looked much like the pictures was an
        American.
        > One theory has been that waves of immigrants from China and Korea
        quickly
        > displaced the Jomon people and their culture in about 300 B.C.They
        ushered
        > in the Yayoi period, which emphasized rice paddy cultivation and
        whose
        > people looked more like today's Japanese.
        > In the last decade, a growing body of skeletal, DNA and linguistic
        analysis
        > has suggested that modern Japanese are the product of both Jomon
        people and
        > the Yayoi immigrants from China and Korea -- and perhaps other
        population
        > infusions as well.
        > Satoshi Horai, a scholar, argues that modern Japanese are a mix of
        about 35
        > percent Jomon and 65 percent Yayoi. That would mean that Japanese
        are
        > descended mostly from Chinese and Koreans but also have an
        important Jomon
        > component.
        > "The recent DNA studies clearly indicate the close genetic
        relationship
        > between the Japanese on the main islands and the Koreans in
        particular,"
        > said Keiichi Omoto, a leading scholar on the origins of Japanese.
        > Scholars note that despite the perception in Japan and abroad that
        Japanese
        > are homogeneous, there is considerable regional variation in
        physical
        > appearance. In particular, Japanese in northern provinces tend to
        have
        > rounder eyes and more body hair and wider faces, traits that may
        suggest a
        > bit more Jomon heritage.
        > A museum at the site in Aomori offers a computer screen to advise
        visitors
        > on the proportion of their blood that comes from the Jomon, based
        on their
        > eyes and body hair and other characteristics.
        > "People in northern Japan can be 60 to 80 percent of Jomon origin,
        while
        > those from western or southern Japan are 40 percent Jomon or
        less," said
        > Okada, the archeologist. He added: "The Jomon people were the real
        ancestors
        > of the Japanese. They formed the base."
        >
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        > <<...>>
        > <<...>>
        > Bottom of Form 1
        >
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