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8940Re: [SCA-JML] Looking for suggestions for Kofun and Yayoi.

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  • Anthony J. Bryant
    Dec 22, 2002
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      "daviem01 " wrote:

      > -Time: Middle to Late Yayoi, around the time that the Wei Chronicle
      > was written* (239-248 AD). I'm interested in what life was like
      > BEFORE the large-scale funerary tumulus cult that marks the Kofun
      > period came over from the continent. The Yayoi period saw a huge
      > number of changes in Japanese life and culture-- they started
      > cultivating rice large-scale, which required more organization, which
      > required designated leaders, which led to social stratification, and
      > over time the leadership became a lineage thing instead of a talent
      > thing, and people in general started being much more concerned with
      > family and so on. (This is a ridiculously simplistic description but
      > it'll suffice for now.)

      Tough period. The only things we really know about is in the Wajinden, so
      you're really limiting your sources. Even much of the archaeological
      evidence is sketchy to this period. Personally, I'm a fan of the middle-late
      Kofun; at least we can recreate a larger percentage of artifacta.

      The text in Wajinden is, unfortunately, formulaic in a way (the Chinese
      tended to portray *all* barbarians in the same light, so we can't really be
      sure how much is hyperbole and how much is true accounting. We also suffer
      from a near total lack of names. We can always look at the Kojiki, but we
      have to wonder how accurate the Kojiki is with the protohistoric naming. The
      Kojiki doesn't mention the the two historical characters we *do* know
      (Himiko and Iyo), so that's another problem.

      > Anyway, it was a time when lots of upheavals in the nature and
      > organization of society were happening-- and although there was
      > social stratification, it wasn't yet quite as rigid as it would
      > become later on when a true ruling family appeared.

      That we know of. We don't even know if the government of Yamatai was a
      unified one, a confederation, or a loose alliance.

      > -Place: somewhere within the Kansai area. In particular, there is a
      > shrine in Osaka city called Tamatsukuri Inari Jinja which has
      > supposedly been there since 20 BCE or so,

      Interesting. I'll have to visit the shrine next time I'm out that way! Have
      you ever been there?

      > -Job/Family: a member of a priestly organization, lineage or
      > corporation. The problem here is that we know about a large number
      > of the uji (lineages/clans) and be ("corporations"/guilds) in early
      > Japan, but I haven't yet been able to pin down exactly when those
      > actually APPEARED, and none of the books I've consulted has been
      > precise on that subject.

      Not surprising. Any that did would be guesstimating at best, I'm afraid.

      > For example, I was thinking of becoming one of the Nakatomi, the
      > uji that later became the Fujiwara. The problem is that "Nakatomi"
      > as a CLAN rather than a job title seems to be defined in terms of a
      > relationship to the ruling Yamato dynasty of Japan from the 5th
      > century on. The Nakatomi were a family responsible for performing
      > various rituals for the good of the Yamato rulers. The Nihongi and
      > Kojiki, for example, both mention that the Nakatomi ujigami, Ame-no-
      > Koyane-no-Mikoto, was present at the emergence of the Sun Goddess
      > from the Heavenly Rock Cave, and was also sent down from heaven as an
      > advisor and assistant to the first Emperor. The chronicles were thus
      > a convenient way for the Nakatomi to legitimate their own
      > relationship to the throne: "we're here because our tutelary god and
      > ultimate ancestor did the Exact Same Job!".

      Interesting choice. I'd think you'd have a conflict deciding between one of
      the big uji and one of the -be. At least with the Nakatomi you're dealing
      with a family that has a deal of written history -- even if most of the
      early parts are arguably propaganda.

      > In late Yayoi, however, that single central authority had not yet
      > appeared, and so calling myself one of the "Nakatomi" is a little
      > ambiguous and could be misleading to those who are familiar with the
      > later history of that family. Which clan do I and my family serve?
      > If it's not the lineage that will eventually take over in the 5th
      > century, then I'm not REALLY a "Nakatomi", am I?

      This is a more interesting question. I'm personally a big fan of the
      Mononobe and the Ôtomo myself (yeah, I know there's that whole rivalry
      thing... <G>). There are quite a few interesting families and a lot
      happening, but you have to move into the later Kofun period to hit anything
      where recorded history as we know it provides enough clues to fully develop

      > -Name: Beats the heck outta me, especially when it comes to personal
      > names as there's not much record of them from that time. <g>

      Oh, yeah. That's a tuffie.

      > Anyway, pray forgive my long-winded rambling, and please feel free to
      > correct my mistakes. I welcome any and all suggestions!

      I wish I could come up with some. Have you read Gina Barnes' "Protohistoric
      Yamato"? It's an archaeological book -- not really cultural or historical --
      but its got some interesting things. I'd also recommend William Wayne
      Farris' "Sacred Treasures," although that tends to focus more on

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