2:the Yayoi period

08/21/2017

About Himiko, who was a monarch and shaman in the Yayoi period

Later Han Dynasty perished in 220. After that the era of three kingdoms, Gi, Go, Shu, started.

According to the chapter on Japan in the Book of Gi, many battles between Japan's provinces occurred from the late 2nd century. Although Japanese people became tired of wars, the battles continued. Finally, many provinces cooperated and made Himiko a monarch. After that, the battles ceased and a united kingdom of 30 provinces centering around Yamataikoku was born.

Himiko sent an envoy to the Emperor of Gi in 239 AD and she was given an honorific title; 親魏倭王 which means “King of Japan which is a friend of Gi”. She was also given many precious bronze mirrors. It is said that Himiko was a gifted shaman; therefore she governed Yamataikoku by that ability.

 

the Yayoi period ranged from around 400 B.C. to around 300 A.D.

08/19/2017

Descriptions about Japan in the Yayoi period

In those days, people in Japan didn't have writing, so there are no history books written in Japan about the situation in the Jomon period※1 and the Yayoi period※2 .

However, Japan's circumstances in the Yayoi period were described a little in Chinese history books. One of the history books is “Kanjyo-Chirishi”, which means the chapter on geography in the Book of Han. According to that book, the society of people in Japan was divided into about 100 provinces and their envoys regularly visited the Lelang Commandery.

According to another history book “Book of the Later Han”, an envoy from Na-province in Japan received a gold seal from Emperor Kobu in 57 BC. The seal was found at Shikanoshima-island in Fukuoka-city in the 18th century. Five Chinese characters, “漢(Han)倭(Japan)奴(Na-province)国王(King”were carved on the seal. It is not clear how these Chinese characters should be interpreted.

 

 ※1 the Jomon period ranged from around 12,000 B.C. to around 400 B.C.

※2 the Yayoi period ranged from around 400 B.C. to around 300 A.D.

08/18/2017

social positions in the Yayoi period

In the Jomon period※1, people ate meat and fish and people seemed generally equal.

In the Yayoi period※2, however, the difference between people appeared when people started planting rice which could be preserved. Some people had good farming skills and could store a lot of crops but other people couldn't.

In addition, when people planted rice, they had to work cooperatively, so they needed a leader of their group. This caused differences in social positions between them.

Furthermore, shamans became powerful because they were believed to be able to predict good or bad harvest of the crop.

Little by little, small villages were formed. These were combined and then became provinces. Some provinces became big and powerful.  Leaders of these big provinces were called Kings.

※1 the Jomon period ranged from around 12,000 B.C. to around 400 B.C.

※2 the Yayoi period ranged from around 400 B.C. to around 300 A.D.

08/16/2017

food and community in the Yayoi period

In the Jomon period※1, people ate meat and fish and people seemed generally equal.

However, the difference between people appeared in the Yayoi period※2. When people started planting rice which could be preserved. Some people had good farming skills and could store a lot of crops but other people couldn't.

In addition, when people planted rice, they had to work cooperatively, so they needed a leader of their group. This caused differences in social positions between them.

Furthermore, shamans became powerful because they were believed to be able to predict good or bad harvest of the crop.

Little by little, small villages were formed. These were combined and then became provinces. Some provinces became big and powerful.  Leaders of these big provinces were called Kings.

Yayoi_earthenware1

Yayoi earthenware

 

※1 the Jomon period ranged from around 12,000 B.C. to around 400 B.C.

※2 the Yayoi period ranged from around 400 B.C. to around 300 A.D.

This photo was taken in the Nerima Furusato museum.

08/14/2017

About the Yayoi period rice farming, bronze products, ironware, earthenware, storehouse

In the late Jomon period※1,, about 2700 years ago, rice farming at paddy fields was started in northern Kyusyu region.

Around the same time, it is considered that metal ware made of bronze was introduced to Japan from the Continent. Bronze bells, bronze swords and bronze pikes were produced in those days. These bronze products were very heavy; therefore it is thought these were used for rituals. Around the 6th century BC, people started practical use of ironware, such as farm tools, implements and arms.

In this period, thin strong earthenware without straw rope patterns was created. The type of earthenware was first discovered at Yayoi-town in Tokyo. Therefore, the type of earthenware was named the Yayoi earthenware and the period is called the Yayoi period※2.

Yayoi_earthenware_2

Around the 4th century BC, the Yayoi culture based on rice farming was formed in western Japan and it expanded to eastern Japan.

When people started rice farming, they needed storehouses to preserve the crops. Then they built storehouses having floors that were raised above the ground. The pillars under the floors had boards that prevented mice from entering the storehouses.

※1 the Jomon period ranged over from around 12,000 B.C. to around 400 B.C.

※2 the Yayoi period ranged from around 400 B.C. to around 300 A.D.

◎This photo was taken at The Nerima Furusato museum.

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  • Hi there! I'm Lala. I'm a Japanese living in Tokyo. I'm an English speaking licensed guide and authorized tour conductor. If you have questions, please leave comments on this blog or send me e-mails. lalalamumin☆yahoo.co.jp (please replace ☆ with @ when you send me e-mails)

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