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Shrouds of Mystery Surround the Early History of Japan

Japan’s historical origin was believed to be narrated in the Shinto literature. Most of the records concerning Japan are hard to claim as fact and full of mystery since they were derived from oral traditions and Chinese writings.  Based on the story of creation that was found in the Kojiki or Record of Ancient Matters written in 712 AD, the islands of Japan were created by two gods who were sent from heaven. They also created various deities who ruled over the wind, mountains, woods, rivers and seas. Among these deities were Amaterasu Omikami (Sun Goddess) and Susano-o (Storm God) who fought against each other. Eventually, Amaterasu won the battle. Then, Amaterasu assigned Ninigi, her grandson, to rule over the islands.

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Ancient Japanese Cultures

According to archaeologists, hominid activities in Japan may have begun by 200,000 BC, during the time when the islands were still connected to mainland Asia. However, there was archaeological evidence that prove the existence of Homo Sapiens in Japan between 35,000 and 30,000 BC. These are believed to have come from the eastern and southeastern part of Asia, and they are notable for their established tool-making, gathering and hunting techniques. Traces of stone tools and human fossils were discovered to have existed in Japan during this period.

During 10,000 BC, stable lifestyles have existed in Japan, and this was referred to as the Neolithic era. Researchers believe that the Ainu people who were members of the Jomon culture left more evidence of residing in the islands. The Jomon people also began making vessels and clay figures by 3,000 BC, and they made use of chipped stone tools, bows and traps for hunting.

The Yayoi was the following cultural period in Japan, and it occurred between 300 BC and 250 AD, which originated from the southern part of Kyushu to northern Honshu. Scientists discovered evidence that the earliest groups of these people were originally from Korea and relocated to northern Kyushu.

While Yayoi pottery was more advanced than Jomon ware, the latter was more appealing because of the intricate designs. The Yayoi also created ceremonial objects made of bronze, as well as weapons and mirrors, and they improved their weaponry and agricultural tools by the 1st century.

Written Records about Japan’s Earliest History

According to scholars who studied the origin of Japan, the earliest records about the country’s history came from Chinese sources. Wa, which was Japan’s early Chinese name, was initially mentioned in texts in 57 AD. This is where the history of Japan and it’s mysteries is listed on the Bible Timeline Chart with World History. Historians in China referred to Wa as the land made up of scattered tribal groups instead of being a unified land that was established in 660 BC, based in the Nihongi. Chinese sources from the 3rd century further reported that the people of Wa lived on fish, rice and vegetable served on wooden trays and bamboo. They also clapped their hands to express their reverence to their gods, and they observed mourning rituals.

Also, Himiko, the head of the Yamatai political federation, was quite active in performing her responsibilities during the 3rd century. As Himiko delivered her tasks as a spiritual leader, her brother was appointed to undertake state affairs such as the diplomatic relations with the Chinese Wei Dynasty in 220 to 265 AD.

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