Himiko and Yamatai: A New Synthesis on the Emergence of the Ancient Japanese Monarchy
19 Pages Posted: 5 Feb 2020
Date Written: August 9, 2019
The recent discovery of a complex of large-scale buildings at the Makimuku site in the southeastern Nara basin, together with advances in dating the construction of the Hashihaka tomb and thereby the start of the Kofun period through typological analysis of triangular-rimmed mirrors along with 14C dating of relevant sites using native dendrochronologically based calibration, plus the analysis of Han period mirror distributions based on their dates of production, combine with renewed understandings of documentary materials for the period preceding the Wei Chronicle’s account of Himiko and Yamatai to provide a more detailed image of the conditions attending the emergence of the earliest pan-regional Japanese monarchy, now understood as based in Yamato, around the start of the third century A.D. Focus turns next to an even earlier hegemony which made a diplomatic overture to the Han dynasty at the start of the second century. Questions about the nature of that prior event and its leader indicate that debate over Kyushu versus Yamato as locus of the earliest political alliance in Japan, while apparently settled with regard to Himiko, is reborn with a new set of players.
Keywords: Himiko, Yamatai, Ancient Japanese Monarchy, Keyhole Tombs, Chinese Mirrors
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