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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

And the Philippines to Malaysia and Polynesia



Thus the conclusion suggested by historical evidence is that the Japanese nation is composed of four elements: the Yamato; the Yemishi (modern Ainu); the Kumaso (or Hayato), and the Sushen. As to the last of these, there is no conclusive indication that they ever immigrated in appreciable numbers. It does not follow, of course, that the historical evidence is exhaustive, especially Japanese historical evidence; for the annalists of Japan do not appear to have paid any special attention to racial questions.


ENGRAVING: FUTAMI-GA-URA (The Husband and Wife Rocks)




THE group of islands forming Japan may be said to have routes of communication with the continent of Asia at six places: two in the north; two in the southwest, and two in the south. The principal connexion in the north is across the narrow strait of Soya from the northwest point of Yezo to Saghalien and thence to the Amur region of Manchuria. The secondary connexion is from the north-east point of Yezo via the long chain of the Kuriles to Kamchatka. The first of the southwestern

routes is from the northwest of Kyushu via the islands of Iki and Tsushima to the southeast of Korea; and the second is from the south of the Izumo promontory in Japan, by the aid of the current which sets up the two southern routes. One of these is from the southwest of Kyushu via the Goto Islands to southeastern China; the other is from the south of Kyushu via the Ryukyu Islands, Formosa, and the Philippines to Malaysia and Polynesia. It has also been proved geologically* that the islands now forming Japan must at one time have been a part of the Asiatic continent. Evidently these various avenues may have given access to immigrants from Siberia, from China, from Malaysia, and from Polynesia.

*There have been found in the gravel Tertiary mammals including elephas primigenius, elephas Namadicus, stegodon Clifti, and unnamed varieties of bear, deer, bison, ox, horse, rhinoceros, and whale. (Outlines of the Geology of Japan; Imperial Geological Survey).


Archaeological research indicates the existence of two distinct cultures in Japan together with traces of a third. One of these cultures has left its relics chiefly in shell-heaps or embedded in the soil, while the remains of another are found mainly in sepulchral chambers or in caves. The relics themselves are palpably distinct except when they show transitional approach to each other.

The older culture is attested by more than four thousand residential sites and shell-heaps. Its most distinctive features are the absence of all metallic objects and the presence of pottery not turned on the wheel. Polished, finely chipped, and roughly hewn implements and weapons of stone are found, as are implements of bone and horn.

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