Japanese History: Yayoi period. 日本史: 弥生時代

The Yayoi period (弥生時代) is known as the iron age of Japan and lasted from about 300 BC to 300 AD. It is named after the neighborhood of Tokyo (東京) in which archaeologists first discovered artifacts and features from that era.  Distinguishing characteristics of the Yayoi period (弥生時代) include the appearance of new pottery styles and the start of an intensive rice agriculture in paddy fields. Techniques in metallurgy based of the use of iron and bronze along with hierarchical social class structure also emerged in this period.

The earliest archaeological evidence of the Yayoi period (弥生時代) is found on northern Kyushu (九州) though this is still debated. As the Yayoi (弥生) population increased, the society became more stratified and complex. They wove textiles, lived in permanent farming villages, and constructed buildings with wood and stone. They also accumulated wealth through land ownership and the storage of grain. These factors promoted the development of distinct social classes. Yayoi (弥生) chiefs, in some parts of Kyūshū (九州), appear to have sponsored, and politically manipulated, trade in bronze and other prestige objects. This was possible due to the introduction of an irrigated, wet-rice culture from the Yangtze estuary in southern China. Wet-rice agriculture led to the development and growth of a sedentary, agrarian society in Japan. Local political and social developments in Japan were more important than the activities of the central authority within a stratified society.

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Direct comparisons between Jōmon (縄文) and Yayoi (弥生) skeletons show that the two peoples are noticeably distinguishable. The Jōmon (縄文) tended to be shorter, with relatively longer forearms and lower legs, more wide-set eyes, shorter and wider faces, and much more pronounced facial topography. They also have strikingly raised brow ridges, noses, and nose bridges. Yayoi (弥生) people, on the other hand, averaged an inch or two taller, with close-set eyes, high and narrow faces, and flat brow ridges and noses.

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The origin of Yayoi (弥生) culture has long been debated. Chinese influence was obvious in the bronze and copper weapons, dokyo, dotaku, as well as irrigated paddy rice cultivation. Three major symbols of the Yayoi (弥生) culture are the bronze mirror, the bronze sword, and the royal seal stone.

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Some scholars have also concluded that Korean influence existed. Hudson has cited archaeological evidence that included but were not limited to “bounded paddy fields, new types of polished stone tools, wooden farming implements, iron tools, weaving technology, ceramic storage jars, exterior bonding of clay coils in pottery fabrication, ditched settlements, domesticated pigs, and jawbone rituals.” The migrant transfusion via the Korean peninsula also gains strength due to the fact that Yayoi (弥生) culture began on the north coast of Kyūshū (九州), where Japan is closest to Korea. Yayoi (弥生) pottery, burial mounds, and food preservation were discovered to be very similar to the pottery of southern Korea.

However, some scholars argue that the rapid increase of roughly four million people in Japan between the Jōmon (縄文) and Yayoi (弥生) periods cannot be explained by migration alone. They attribute the increase primarily to a shift from a hunter-gatherer to an agricultural diet on the islands, with the introduction of rice. It is quite likely that rice cultivation and its subsequent deification allowed for mass population increase.

Regardless, there is archaeological evidence that supports the idea that there was an influx of farmers from the continent to Japan that absorbed or overwhelmed the native hunter-gatherer population.

I hope this gives you more of an understanding of the Yayoi period (弥生時代).  As always if you have any questions on this or any other topic that I cover you can always email me at colormeindie@gmail.com or leave a comment below.

Ten Words in Japanese! 日本語で10ワード

Here are your ten new Japanese words for the day! It may be helpful for you to label things around your house with the Japanese words so you can remember them and see what the words look like! I will give you the english, romaji, the hiragana or katakana, and lastly the kanji. °˖ ✧◝(○ ヮ ○)◜✧˖ °

Juice, jyuusu, ジュース

Machine, kikai, きかい, 機械

Knife, naifu, ナイフ

Lemon, remon, レモン

Piano, piano, ピアノ

Shoe, kutsu, くつ, 靴

Tree, ki, き, 木

Art, bijyutsu, びじゅつ, 美術

Curtain, kaaten, カーテン

Dictionary, jisho, じしょ, 辞書

Remember if you have any questions on this or any other topic I cover you can always email me at colormeindie@gmail.com or leave a comment below.

Today’s phrase in Japanese! 日本語での今日のフレーズ!

Hello everyone! 皆さんこにちは!

Today’s phrase is in honor of the New Year! In Japan the new year is one of the most important holidays. It has the same hype as christmas would in the west. Usually, people will get days off of work, you visit your family, and children even get money for presents. So it is super important to know how to wish someone a happy new year in Japan.

The most common phrase used formally is Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu. あけましておめでとうございます。(happy new year). A more casual way to say happy new year would be Akemashite omedetou. あけましておめでとう。

Some other phrases you will hear often during this time of year are:

I wish you will have a good new year. (used at the end of the year.)

  • yoi otoshi o omukae kudasai. (formal)
  • よいお年をお迎えください。
  • Yoi otoshi o! (casual)
  • よいお年を!

Long time no see.

  • Oshashiburi desu. (formal)
  • お久しぶりです。
  • Hisashiburi! (casual)
  • 久しぶり!

I haven’t seen you in a long time

  • Gobusata shite imasu. (very formal)
  • ご無沙汰しています。

To reply to ” ご無沙汰しています。”  you would simply reply “こちらこそ” (Kochira koso) or “same here” in English.

I hope everyone has had a safe and fun new year! Try practicing saying Happy new years with your friends and family! Hope this is helpful to you all! Until next time! まったね!

Japanese Grammar! 日本語文法!

Our first grammar lesson will be a simple one about the particle “は (wa)” and the particle “が (ga)”. We use the particle “は (wa)” as a topic marker and the particle “が (ga)” is a subject marker. The topic is often the same as the subject but not necessarily. The topic can be anything that a speaker wants to talk about. In a sense it is similar to the english expression “as for” or “speaking of”. Here are a couple of examples.

  • Watashi wa gakusei desu.
  • 学生です。
  • I am a student.
  • (As for me, I am a student.)
  • Nihongo wa omoshiroi desu.
  • 日本語面白いです。
  • Japanese is interesting.
  • (Speaking of Japanese, it is interesting.)

Beside being a topic marker, “は wa” is used to show contrast or to emphasize the subject. For example:

  • Biiru wa nomimasu ga, wain wa nomimasen.
  • ビール飲みますがワイン飲みません。
  • I drink beer, but I don’t drink wine.

The thing being contrasted may or may not stated, but with this usage, the contrast is implied. For example:

  • Ano hon wa yomimasen deshita.
  • あの本読みませんでした。
  • I didn’t read that book (though I read this one).

Particles such as “に (ni)”, “で (de)”, “から (kara)”, and “まで (made)” can be combined with “は (wa)” to show contrast. (This usage is called double particles.) For example:

  • Osaka ni wa ikimashita ga, Tokyo ni wa ikimasen deshita.
  • 大阪には行きましたが東京には行きませんでした。
  • I went to Osaka, but I didn’t go to Tokyo.
  • Koko de wa tabako o suwanaide kudasai.
  • ここでは詫バコを吸わないで下さい。
  • Please don’t smoke here (but you can smoke there).

“が (ga)”  is used when a situation or happening is just noticed or newly introduced. For example:

  • Mukashi mukashi, ojii-san ga sunde imashita. Ojii-san wa totemo shinsetsu deshita.
  • 昔々、お爺さん住んでいました。お爺さんとても親切でした。
  • Once upon a time, there lived an old man. He was very kind.

In the first sentence, “お爺さん (ojii-san)” is introduced for the first time. It is the subject, not the topic. The second sentence describes about “お爺さん (ojii-san)” that is previously mentioned. “お爺さん (ojii-san)” is now the topic, and is marked with “は (wa)” instead of “が (ga).”

When a question word such as “who” and “what” is the subject of a sentence, it is always followed by “ga,” never by “wa.” To answer the question, it also has to be followed by “ga.” For example:

  • Dare ga kimasu ka.
  • 来ますか。
  • Who is coming?
  • Maeda san ga kimasu.
  • 前田さん来ます。
  • Maeda is coming.

“が (ga)” is used for emphasis, to distinguish a person or thing from all others. If a topic is marked with “は(wa),” the comment is the most important part of the sentence. On the other hand, if a subject is marked with “ga,” the subject is the most important part of the sentence. In English, these differences are sometimes expressed in tone of voice. Compare these sentences.

  • Maeda san wa gakkou ni ikimashita.
  • 前田さん学校に行きました。
  • Maeda went to school.
  • Maeda san ga gakkou ni ikimashita.
  • 前田さん学校に行きました。
  • Maeda is the one who went to school.

The object of the sentence is usually marked by the particle “を (wo),” but some verbs and adjectives (when expressing like or dislike, desire, necessity, envy, fear, etc.) take “が (ga)” instead of “を (wo).” For example:

  • Ringo ga hoshii desu.
  • りんご欲しいです。
  • I want an apple.
  • Nihongo ga wakarimasu.
  • 日本語分かります。
  • I understand Japanese.

The subject of a subordinate clause normally takes “ga” to show that the subjects of the subordinate and main clauses are different.

  • Watashi wa Maeda san ga kekkon shita koto o shiranakatta.
  • 私は前田さん結婚したことを知らなかった。
  • I didn’t know that Maeda got married.

Now let’s review what we have learned about “は(wa)” and “が (ga).” は (wa) is used as a topic marker and when contrasting things while が (ga)” is used as a subject marker, with question words, to emphasize, instead of the particle を (wo),” and in subordinate clauses.

I hope that this lesson is super helpful to you when trying to make sentences in Japanese. As always if you have any questions you can always email me at colormeindie@gmail.com or leave a comment below! Remember to keep practicing and you will be able to do it! Until next time Japanese language learners!

Ten Words in Japanese! 日本語で10ワード

Here are your ten new Japanese words for the day! It may be helpful for you to label things around your house with the Japanese words so you can remember them and see what the words look like! I will give you the english, romaji, the hiragana or katakana, and lastly the kanji. \\\(۶•̀ᴗ•́)۶////

Scissors, hasami, はさみ, 鋏

Map, chizu, ちず, 地図

Cup, coppu, コップ

Grill, yaku, やく, 焼く

Dessert, dezaato, デザート

Box, hako, はこ, 箱

Button, botan, ボタン

Computer, conpuutaa, コンピューター

Flute, furuuto, フルート

Mail, dasu, だす, 出す

Remember if you have any questions on this or any other topic I cover you can always email me at colormeindie@gmail.com or leave a comment below.

Japanese History: Jōmon period. 日本史:縄文時代。

The Jōmon period (縄文時代) is a time in prehistoric Japan that ranged from about 14,500 BC to about 300 BC. The very long—approximately 14,000 years—Jōmon period (縄文時代) is conventionally divided into a number of phases: Incipient, Initial, Early, Middle, Late and Final, with the phases getting progressively shorter. Most dates for the change of phase are broadly agreed, but dates given for the start of the Incipient phase still vary rather considerably, from about 14,000 BC to 10,500 BC. The fact that this entire period is given the same name by archaeologists should not be taken to mean that there was not considerable regional and temporal diversity; the chronological distance between the earliest Jōmon (縄文) pottery and that of the more well-known Middle Jōmon period (縄文時代) is about twice as long as the span separating the building of the great pyramid of Giza from the 21st century.

This period was rich in tools and jewelry made from bone, stone, shell and antler; pottery figurines, vessels, and lacquered wood.The Jōmon (縄文) culture is often compared to pre-Columbian cultures of Pacific Northwest North America because in both regions cultural complexity developed within a primarily hunting-gathering context.

fishing hooks

The name Jōmon (縄文) means “cord-marked” and was first applied by the American scholar Edward S Morse whom discovered sherds of pottery in 1877. This pottery style was characteristic of the first phases of the Jōmon period (縄文時代) and was decorated by impressing cords into the surface of wet clay. The earliest vessels were mostly smallish round-bottomed bowls 10–50 cm high that are assumed to have been used for boiling food, and perhaps storing it beforehand. The size of the vessels may have been limited by a need for portability; as later bowls increase in size, this is taken to be a sign of an increasingly settled pattern of living. This pottery, dated to around 16,000 years ago, is perhaps the oldest in the world.

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By the end of the Incipient Jōmon (縄文) phase, around 8,000 BC, a semi-sedentary lifestyle apparently led to an increase in population density, so that the subsequent phase, the Initial Jōmon (縄文), exhibits some of the highest densities known for foraging populations. Genetic mapping studies by Cavalli-Sforza have shown a pattern of expansion from the Sea of Japan towards the rest of eastern Asia. This appears as the third principal component of genetic variation in Eurasia (after the “Great expansion” from the African continent, and a second expansion from the area of Northern Siberia), which suggests geographical expansion during the early Jōmon period (縄文時代). These studies also suggest that the Jōmon (縄文) demographic expansion may have reached America along a path following the Pacific coast.

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The foundation myths of the origins of Japanese civilization extend back to the periods now regarded as the Jōmon period (縄文時代), though they show little or no relation to what we know archaeologically of Jōmon (縄文) culture. 11 February 660 BC is the traditional founding date of the Japanese nation by Emperor Jimmu. This version of Japanese history however comes the country’s first written records, the Kojiki (古事記) and the Nihongi (日本紀) or Nihon shoki (日本書紀), dating from the 6th to the 8th centuries after Japan had adopted the Chinese writing system.

Some elements of modern Japanese culture may date from this period and reflect the influences of a mingled migration from the northern Asian continent and the southern Pacific areas and the Jōmon peoples. Among these elements are the precursors to the Shinto religion, some marriage customs, architectural styles, and technology developments such as laquerware, laminated bows, metal working and glass making.

I hope this gives you more of an understanding of the Jōmon period (縄文時代). As always if you have any questions on this or any other topic that I cover you can always email me at colormeindie@gmail.com or leave a comment below.

Chopstick etiquette in Japan. 日本では箸のエチケット。

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As many of you know the Japanese use chopsticks (箸) normally while eating food. Knives and forks are used for Western food only. Spoons however, may be used with certain Japanese dishes such as donburi or Japanese style curry rice. The proper usage of chopsticks is the most fundamental element of Japanese table manners. Some of the most important rules to remember while dining with chopstick are as followed:

  • Hold the chopsticks (箸) towards the end, not in the middle or the front.
  • When you are not using your chopstick (箸) or have finished eating you lay the chopstick down in front of you the tips to the left.
  • Do not stick your chopsticks (箸) into your food. This is especially important with rice because it is only done at funerals with the rice that is placed upon the altar for the ancestors.
  • Do not pass food directly from your set of chopsticks (箸) to another. Again this is only done at funerals.
  • Do not spear food with your chopsticks. (箸)
  • Do not point with your chopsticks. (箸)
  • Do not wave your chopsticks (箸) around in the air or play with them.
  • Do not move plates or bowls around with your chopsticks. (箸)
  • To separate a piece of food in two, exert controlled pressure on the chopsticks (箸) while moving them apart from each other in order to tear the food. This takes some practice. With larger pieces of food such as tempura, it is also acceptable to pick up the entire piece with your chopsticks (箸), and take a bite.
  • If you have already eaten with your chopsticks (箸), use the opposite end to take food from a shared plate.

Just remember these simple guidelines while dining with chopsticks (箸) and you should be fine. I suggest practicing at home not only using chopsticks (箸) but also using the guidelines I have given you.

If you have any questions on this or any other topic I cover you can always email me at colormeindie@gmail.com or just leave a comment below!