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Japanese History - The Prehistoric Era (Jomon Culture)

By Edited Oct 20, 2015 0 0

Where do the Japanese originally come from? There are a lot of ideas out there but one common belief in Japan is that the Japanese origins come from only one race. Many people believe this because Japan is surrounded by the ocean and because it was long cut off from the rest of the world. Others say that the original residents of Japan came from a land bridge or frozen pathway from Korea or China.

Japan consists of four major islands and roughly three thousand smaller islands. Archaeologists have found mammoths and many other animals from other parts of the world in Japan. More than two thousand prehistoric artifacts have been discovered in Japan.

The earliest record of Japan life was set around 11,000 - 300 B.C. and was characterized by primitive villages of hunters and fishermen. The people of this time made clay pots (the period is known for these clay pots). The pottery was decorated with cord marks, designs they called "jomon" which literally means "chord impressed".

The early pottery vessels were quickly and easily made, by kneading and punching the clay in the hand. They had smooth sides and large interiors, enabling easy storage and retrieval of contents. The earliest Jomon pottery first appeared around 7500 B.C. and could be found anywhere within the islands. It is usually highly textured and is built up from piled or coiled clay rings, hand-joined inside and outside, and the outer surface is entirely covered with texture decoration. The cord marks are probably what took the longest to create (a process which involved rolling a cord-covered stick along the surface of the clay cone).

Jomon culture produced other items besides pottery, such as decorated blades of ivory, horn and bone, bracelets and earing's. For spiritual purposes, Jomon men carved figurines from stone and molded them in clay. Towards the end of the Jomon Period, the detail on the figurines had become highly ornate.  Other religious artifacts during this period included stone circles found in the Tohoku area of Akita and in Hokkaido. These were used as tombs or burial pits to place bones.

During the Jomon Period, the Japanese gradually imported farming skills from the rest of Asia. At the same time in China, the Chinese writing system and many other technologies were developed. The writing system and technologies were then exported to other countries and to other tribes near China.



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