The original inhabitants of this small, sunny but cool group of mountainous islands off the coast of China were not the people now known as the Japanese. Recent archaeological evidence indicates occupancy as early as 15000 BCE by an enigmatic race who made pottery and, apparently benefiting from a brief phase of warming during the last ice age, may have been the world’s first farming villagers. Then whatever social structure they had achieved appears to have been obliterated by the renewed onset of extreme cold. The broken shards of their pots reveal little else about them, except a hint that they caught and cooked fish. The record next identifies primitive hunter-gatherers who, by perhaps 5000 BCE, had established small farming settlements, and whose simple round- or pointed-bottomed pottery is radiocarbon dated back to around 10000 BCE. During the preceding ice age the Japanese islands, part of a mountain range skirting the Asian mainland coast, were joined to that mainland, allowing free passage to animals and humans.
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
To get access to this content you need the following product:
- Early Japan and the Tang Dynasty in China
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number
- Chapter number