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  • Print publication year: 1993
  • Online publication date: March 2008

5 - Japan and the continent

This chapter reviews archaeological findings and Chinese records to examine relations between Japan and the continent, beginning with Japan's transition to an agrarian society and ending with the dawn of the historical age. Archaeologists have established the following relative chronology for the prehistoric cultures of Japan: first a Paleolithic culture, followed by the hunting-and-gathering Jomon culture, the agrarian Yayoi culture, and finally the Burial Mound culture. The widespread adoption of rice cultivation distinguished the Yayoi culture from the earlier Jomon and laid the foundation for a settled society. According to Chinese records compiled in the late third century, Japan was composed of a number of small states, thirty of which maintained relations with the Chinese court. One of these states, Yamatai, maintained hegemony over its neighbors. Japan's relations with the Chinese court were thus of great importance in the slow process of political consolidation and cultural development in the late Yayoi and early Burial Mound periods.
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The Cambridge History of Japan
  • Online ISBN: 9781139055062
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