8943Re: Looking for suggestions for Kofun and Yayoi.
- Dec 22, 2002
> The text in Wajinden is, unfortunately, formulaic in a way (theChinese
> tended to portray *all* barbarians in the same light, so we can'treally be
> sure how much is hyperbole and how much is true accounting.Very true. Did Himiko really have 1000 maidservants? :)
There are some little things, though, that definitely pop out as
"In their worship, the high-ranking men simply clap their hands
together instead of bowing in the kneeling position."
"The lower arm of their bows is shorter, and the upper arm longer."
And, of course, "People enjoy liquor." :D
> >is a
> > -Place: somewhere within the Kansai area. In particular, there
> > shrine in Osaka city called Tamatsukuri Inari Jinja which hasway! Have
> > supposedly been there since 20 BCE or so,
> Interesting. I'll have to visit the shrine next time I'm out that
> you ever been there?No, I've just heard about it recently (there's an excellent book on
past and present Inari worship that mentions it). It's an unusual
example of an Inari shrine because the normal wishing jewel imagery
is here replaced entirely by magatama, reflecting the age and
historical background of the shrine and its surroundings.
I'm compiling a list of everywhere I need to go when I return to
Japan. Unfortunately, it would probably take me several years.
When's the next SCA-JML trip?
> > -Job/Family: a member of a priestly organization, lineage ornumber
> > corporation. The problem here is that we know about a large
> > of the uji (lineages/clans) and be ("corporations"/guilds) inearly
> > Japan, but I haven't yet been able to pin down exactly when thoseafraid.
> > 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
Well, I read a little more since that last post and there's one idea
that says that the be really didn't appear in their "typical" form
until middle or late Kofun, when individual family lineages started
to become more important than general clan affiliation. Only then
did the "be" came into formal existence as sort of "pseudo-clans",
when the same thing (groups of workers related by blood) had really
been there all along in a much more informal way.
Interesting theory, and it does make a lot of sense from an
anthropological viewpoint. (There's also a suggestion that this same
decline in the importance of clan affiliation may have contributed to
the rise of Buddhism in Japan, but that's an entirely different
> This is a more interesting question. I'm personally a big fan of therivalry
> Mononobe and the Ôtomo myself (yeah, I know there's that whole
> thing... <G>). There are quite a few interesting families and a lotanything
> happening, but you have to move into the later Kofun period to hit
> where recorded history as we know it provides enough clues to fullydevelop
> anything.It looks like Yayoi-period clans had an elite, ruling lineage
segment, and other segments which had some sort of hereditary linkage
to certain jobs or functions within society, although it wasn't quite
as rigid as the be later on.
In that sense, I could portray myself as a member of any clan-- but
as a member of a "sub-lineage" that performed a sort of priestly duty
such as divination (later the role of the Urabe), the keeping of
taboos (Imibe), or similar. Some members of my lineage group do this
job, and some do not; those that do perform that function may do it
for the general populace, and some do it in the capacity of direct
assistants to the elites.
(I particularly like the idea of being a diviner...come by my tent at
Pennsic and I'll fry up some oracle bones for ya! <G>)
It's iffy, but given what I'm reading about the period, it would be a
reasonable way to represent the likely structure of the society. Of
course, there is still the name issue, and I may never come up with
anything I can be remotely confident is accurate.
> I wish I could come up with some. Have you read GinaBarnes' "Protohistoric
> Yamato"? It's an archaeological book -- not really cultural orhistorical --
> but its got some interesting things. I'd also recommend WilliamWayne
> Farris' "Sacred Treasures," although that tends to focus more onI have not read Barnes' book yet, but that was next on my Amazon wish
list. Archaeological books are absolutely fine with me-- that's my
educational background, so I don't get intimidated by most of the
One that I've been reading recently is Koji Mizoguchi's "An
Archeological History of Japan: 30,000 BC to AD 700". I can honestly
say it's one of the best-written and most interesting archeological
texts I've seen in a long time. It focuses on how the physical
topography of Jomon, Yayoi and Kofun sites reflect the mental,
social, and spiritual "topography" of life in those periods, and
presents a lot of interesting ideas about how any individual person
might have perceived his or her position within the society and the
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