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Inventing the Japanese
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51aBlSPDX8L._SX342_BO1,204,203,200_ One of the more interesting things about reading a book like The Making of Modern Japan, which is a relatively deep dive into the political and social history of Japan from 1600 on, is that it gives you an interesting window onto your own country. For example, I know from American history that there was a period of Southern dominance from the early 1800s down to the decades before the Civil War, followed by marginalization of the South in national politics. I had not known that for 50 years after the Meiji Restoration Japanese politics was dominated by a group of men who emerged from the Choshu and Satsuma domains, which were at the far west of Honshu and in southwest Kyushu respectively. These men were arguably the founders of modern Japan, and they were geographically and socially (i.e., they came from the samurai class by and large) very narrow in their origins. I had assumed that Japanese history, and the loci of power, had shifted gradually east in a unidirectional sense, from Kansai to the Kanto plain and what became Tokyo (Edo).

AinuGroup

Ainu 1904

The reason I’m fascinated by the resurgence of Choshu and Satsuma is that this is the region of Japan where the Japanese as we understand them began. That is, the Yayoi culture, which spread across Honshu between 500 BC and 500 AD, from the south and west, to the north and east. Long present before them on the Japanese islands were the Jomon people, a relatively advanced hunter-gatherer culture. They are presumed to be related to the Ainu of Hokkaido. More intriguingly, in the second half of the first millennium the Tokohu region of northern Honshu was inhabited by a non-Japanese people termed the Emishi. Some of these people apparently accompanied a Japanese embassy to the court of Tang China, and their hirsute appearance was commented upon.

A fair amount of DNA evidence seems to suggest that the Ainu and Jomon are connected and that some of the ancestry of modern Japanese descend from the Jomon. Additionally, the Yayoi were probably rice farmers from Korea. I have some Korean data, so I ran TreeMix a bunch of times. As you can see usually the Japanese and Koreans are rather close. Japan is placed closer to the Yakut though. This makes sense if the Jomon were Siberian.

JapanOut1

JapanOut5

JapanOut9

JapanOut2

JapanOut3

JapanOut6

JapanOut8

JapanOut4

JapanOut7

JapanOut10

In May there was a publication that confirmed using Bayesian methods that the Japanese are a dual origin population. Instead of simple inspection and confirmation of a particular pattern, they tested an explicit set of models; replacement of Jomon by Yayoi, Jomon to Yayoi continuity, and Yayoi absorption of the Jomon. They found that the hybridization model was 29 to 63 times more likely than the replacement and continuity models. It’s great precision on what we already knew. And, if you look at their dates, the Yayoi begin to admix with the Jomon thousands of years before they show up in Japan archaeologically! They have some clever ways around this, but it seems that they’re trying to square a circle.

So today I was talking to Greg Cochran and he said someone should do some D-statistics on Ainu. Well, after I got off the phone with him I found this paper, Unique characteristics of the Ainu population in Northern Japan. They didn’t use D-statistics, but they employ and f3 and f4 ratio tests (see this paper for what all this means).



jhg201579f1 On the PC plot to the left you see a cline running from Chinese, to Koreans, to Japanese, to Ryukyuans (Okinowa and other islands). Then, on the larger PC (explains 3 times more proportion of the variance), you see a cline out toward the Ainu. In the TreeMix plots above there were gene flow edges from Southeast Asians and Yakuts into the Southern and Northern Chinese populations respectively. One could hypothesize that this reflects demographic absorption of indigenous groups by an expanding group of Han agriculturalists. The Yayoi were almost certainly part of this broader set of groups on the move. To the east you have the Japanese, but also the Han in all directions, and the various Southeast Asian groups as well.

jhg201579f2 The second PC plot is very interesting. It has a huge data set from all over Japan and a much thicker marker set (that’s why the Koreans aren’t on the plot, they didn’t overlap with it). What you see is a cline toward the Chinese, and then an axis defining the Ainu and Ryukyuan. The Ryukyuans have been found to have more Jomon-like ancestry in previous research, so it’s entirely unsurprisingly that they’re somewhat Ainu-shifted. But, observe that they are somewhat parallel to the Ainu. In all likelihood the Japan developed some population structure. The Ryukyuan and Ainu would be the northern and southern ends of the Jomon distribution, respectively. Additionally, there’s a subtle pattern in the results from the Japanese from the main islands: the Tohoku region. The authors observe that these samples, highlighted in red, seem skewed. And not toward the Hokkaido Ainu. In all likelihood that means that the Emshi were another branch of the broader Jomon population, distinct from the Ainu, and those peoples to the south. Additionally, there’s probably a “Jomon-cline” within Honshu, with more the further you go from the far west of Japan.

jhg201579f3 For the f4 ratio tests to determine admixture across a specified topology, they used the one to the left. It seems reasonable enough to me. By all phylogenetic results that I’ve seen the highest probability seems to be that the Ainu are a branch of Northeast Asian people if any. Roughly they find that the Jomon ancestry for mainland Japanese is a bit less than 20%, and for Ryukyuans it is a bit less than 30%. Reference population matters, so these are not gospel estimates. Probably they are a slight underestimate if I had to guess, as the Ainu are not perfect proxies for the Jomon.

Finally, they used rolloff to estimate admixture dates. For the mainland Japanese it was about 1,500 years ago. For the Ryukyuans it’s closer to 1,000 years ago. This dovetails well with the order in which the Yayoi occupied these regions. I wouldn’t, and they don’t, take the dates as gospel. They probably are underestimates (see The Spatial Mixing of Genomes in Secondary Contact Zones for some good arguments and results which indicate these methods underestimate time since admixture). But, they’re far closer to the archaeology than what the other paper above found, and don’t require a lot of special conditions to make the genetic inferences align with the rest of reality.

Japanese actress But the most interesting part of this paper is not the phylogenomics. I’ll just quote:

We also identified SNP loci that are differentiated between the Ainu and Mainland Japanese by using pairwise Fst values. The pairwise Fst values ranged from 0 to 0.8903, with a mean of 0.0407. The majority of the SNPs (approximately 400 000) have Fst values of less than 0.02. We picked 6413 SNPs that were within the top 1% and had Fst values higher than 0.36. The Fst values and annotations for these top 1% SNP are listed in Supplementary Table 1. Within those top 1% of SNP, some of them were found in genes reported to be associated with facial structure in Europeans2…and hair and tooth morphology in East Asians…The distribution of Fst values for SNPs in those genes are shown in Figure 4. Two out of five genes for facial morphology (PAX3 and COL17A1) contain highly differentiated SNPs, as with the hair/tooth morphology gene (EDAR). The results of gene annotation analysis on those top 1% SNPs showed enrichment for biological processes and cellular components involving collagen (Supplementary Figure 8).

The derived variant of EDAR is found in high frequencies in both East Asians and Amerindians, so it has to be somewhat old. But in places like Korea it’s very close to fixation. To me the high pairwise Fst on this gene is a tell that the Ainu did look very different when they were numerous and not admixed, even if they shared Pleistocene ancestry with the incoming Yayoi. That being said, when I looked at the list of genes that back with high Fst hits in their supplemental table a lot of them looked very familiar. So we should be cautious about over-imputing form these results. But perhaps with a better exploration of the genomics of these phenotypes we can figure out the details of the epicanthic fold…though I suppose phenotyping adults would be a little strange in Korea.

Finally, the very last sentence kind of annoys me: “If we consider a very unique genetic status of Jomon people, then it is understandable that Ainu people, who inherited the highest proportion of Jomon DNA, are quite unique among all extant East Eurasians.” I am curious how the Ainu and the Jomon relate to other Asian, an non-Asian, people. Normally I don’t do anything like this, but I sent an email asking for the genotypes to test myself.

 
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  1. There was the 2013 “Ancient genomic DNA analysis of Jomon people”, which found that Jomon are (naturally) closest to modern Japanese people, especially Ainu and Ryukyuans (possibly with additional Northeast Asian admixture in the Ainu), and that they appear to branch off Eastern Non-Africans after Australians and Melanesians but before everyone else. I don’t know if the genomes were ever released.

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  2. Hideaki Kanzawa-Kiriyama, Nuclear Genome Analysis of Ancient Japanese Archipelago Humans

    The Jomon period, characterized by chord-marked potteries, lasted from ~16,000 to <3,000 years before present (YBP), and abundant human skeletal remains have been excavated from shell mounds and other sites throughout the Japanese Archipelago. However, their genetic origin and the relationships with modern populations are largely unknown. Here we determined 10% and 80% of the genomic DNA sequences from two Jomon individuals, excavated at Yugura cave site, Nagano, and Shitsukariabe cave site, Aomori, respectively, and compared their genome sequences with worldwide populations. We found a unique genetic position of the Jomon people who had diverged before the diversification of most of present-day East Eurasian populations including East Eurasian Islanders. This indicates that Jomon people were a basal population in East Eurasia and genetically isolated from other East Eurasians for long time. However, their genetic affinities to modern East Eurasians are uneven. The heterogeneity might be a hint to clarify human migration and gene flow in East Eurasia after the divergence of Jomon ancestors.

    Read More
  3. I disagree with you over two points though they may not affect the main arguments. The first one is unquestionable. Satsuma is usually associated with Jomon in the traditional dichotomy of the Jomon and Yayoi peoples. You may think Western Japan is narrow, but it’s an ecologically diverse region. Satsuma’s volcanic ash soils were a natural barrier against rice farmers. You can draw a parallel between southern Kyushu and northern Tohoku, in that they were the last lands of mainland Japan being conquered by the imperial court.

    The second point is controversial. There is a centuries-long debate on the ethnolinguistic affinity of the Emishi. I lean toward a less known theory: they were predominantly Japanese-speaking people(s). I am aware of toponymic evidence of the presence of Ainu-speaking people in northern Tohoku (and in southern Tohoku to a lesser extent), but I think they had been replaced or marginalized by Japanese-speaking people(s) before the so-called Emishi were recorded by the imperial court from the late 7th century to the early 10th century. Archaeological evidence indicates that northeastern Tohoku was populated by horse breeders from the late 6th to 7th centuries. There was also a population expansion of rice farmers in the 9th and 10th centuries in northwestern Tohoku. They were by no means hunter-gatherers.

    Read More
    • Replies: @spandrell
    Do these people look Japanese-speaking?

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/archive/5/5a/20140624121647!Emishi_from_an_emaki_circa_1324.jpg

    They look like Ainus, they were called "hairy people". It's pretty obvious they were phenotypically Jomon. Although indeed they did pick up farming and metal working from the Yayoi, and presumably had acquired some Yayoi admixture after the 1000+ years of contact. And perhaps they even picked up the language. The Northern Fujiwara, who were pure Yayoi, also messed the record by claiming Emishi descent, but still. The Emishi must have been ethnically very distinct. Else the Fushuu sent around the West wouldn't have been as picturesque as they were.

    The real mystery of Japanese prehistory is who brought the Kofun culture, and how related was the Yamato elite to the 3 kingdoms of the Korean peninsula.
  4. I wouldn’t say that Choshu and Satsuma were ever very central regions, even during the Yayoi period. The Yayoi entered Japan through Tsukushi (modern Fukuoka), and then moved West from there. Choshu isn’t particularly good land, and was never very prominent (the Mori Daimyo were sent there as punishment for opposing the Tokugawa), and Satsuma actually was one of the last areas to be conquered by the Yamato court. There are records of the native indigenous people, the Hayato, who were short and dark skinned.

    Erwin Balz, a doctor working for the Meiji, actually discovered the Yayoi-Jomon dichotomy, and he explained saying that there were two kinds of Japanese, the Choshu type (light skinned, flat faced) and the Satsuma type (short, dark, hairy).

    In Japan the Jomon are described as “old mongoloid”, in contrast to the Yayoi, “new mongoloid”. I wonder what’s the base to call the Jomon mongoloid at all. IIRC there’s no consensus on where and when the mongoloids evolved at all, and the Jomon sure look distinct. The Ainu were admixed with Sakhalin-type natives, right? Without that they would’ve looked even less mongoloid.

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  5. @murawaki
    I disagree with you over two points though they may not affect the main arguments. The first one is unquestionable. Satsuma is usually associated with Jomon in the traditional dichotomy of the Jomon and Yayoi peoples. You may think Western Japan is narrow, but it's an ecologically diverse region. Satsuma's volcanic ash soils were a natural barrier against rice farmers. You can draw a parallel between southern Kyushu and northern Tohoku, in that they were the last lands of mainland Japan being conquered by the imperial court.

    The second point is controversial. There is a centuries-long debate on the ethnolinguistic affinity of the Emishi. I lean toward a less known theory: they were predominantly Japanese-speaking people(s). I am aware of toponymic evidence of the presence of Ainu-speaking people in northern Tohoku (and in southern Tohoku to a lesser extent), but I think they had been replaced or marginalized by Japanese-speaking people(s) before the so-called Emishi were recorded by the imperial court from the late 7th century to the early 10th century. Archaeological evidence indicates that northeastern Tohoku was populated by horse breeders from the late 6th to 7th centuries. There was also a population expansion of rice farmers in the 9th and 10th centuries in northwestern Tohoku. They were by no means hunter-gatherers.

    Do these people look Japanese-speaking?

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/archive/5/5a/20140624121647!Emishi_from_an_emaki_circa_1324.jpg

    They look like Ainus, they were called “hairy people”. It’s pretty obvious they were phenotypically Jomon. Although indeed they did pick up farming and metal working from the Yayoi, and presumably had acquired some Yayoi admixture after the 1000+ years of contact. And perhaps they even picked up the language. The Northern Fujiwara, who were pure Yayoi, also messed the record by claiming Emishi descent, but still. The Emishi must have been ethnically very distinct. Else the Fushuu sent around the West wouldn’t have been as picturesque as they were.

    The real mystery of Japanese prehistory is who brought the Kofun culture, and how related was the Yamato elite to the 3 kingdoms of the Korean peninsula.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Twinkie

    The real mystery of Japanese prehistory is who brought the Kofun culture, and how related was the Yamato elite to the 3 kingdoms of the Korean peninsula.
     
    Don't forget the Gaya Confederacy/Mimana Command Post:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaya_confederacy
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mimana

    Although Baekje later became Wa/Yamato's main Korean ally, and likely many Baekje elites fled to Yamato after the destruction of their kingdom, Gaya might have had a more significant relationship with Yamato earlier on (before it was pressured by Goguryeo and absorbed by Silla).

    Japanese and Korean scholars are unfortunately laboring under nationalist urges and may debate whether it was a Japanese colony on the Korean peninsula or the source of the Japanese aristocracy, respectively, and seem to be neglecting the more obvious possibility that the people who made up the Gaya Confederacy/Mimana or people highly related to it may have also formed a part of the Yamato elite.

    In this context, it is highly inappropriate to speak of "Koreans" and "Japanese," since neither existed as a coherent national entity (Gina Barnes writes at length about this in "Rise of Civilization in East Asia). Gaya/Kara/Mimana thus may have existed as a series of polities on the peninsula with insular counterparts of the same or very similar people on what is now Japan. Certainly the fact that there was a series of Guguryeo-Wa/Yamato military conflicts on the peninsula shows that the Yamato had a significant presence in what is now Korea (which, again, should not be viewed as an ancient equivalent to modern Japanese colonialism, but as an evidence of the pre-modern/pre-national identity of polities such as the Yamato and the Gaya, for which the sea may have been simply a physical barrier/transport route and not a line of political demarcation separating nation-states).

    Aside from major migrations of peoples from the continent to what is now Japan, there were also several major infusions of elites from the Korean peninsula to Japan, the impetus for which was created by the destruction of polities in the former (Gaya, Baekje, Goguryeo, Balhae/Bohai, etc.). Although my memory is fuzzy on this topic, I think at least one linguistic scholar has unearthed a closer possible connection between Buyeo/Gogureyo languages and the modern Japanese compared to that between the former and the modern Korean language.

    Unfortunately so much of the "integrated" history of East Asia tends to be viewed retrospectively through the nationalistic prisms when in reality Japan and Korea, as such, did not exist when these polities were extant.
    , @murawaki
    The hairy-barbarian stereotype was adopted from the Chinese literature by the imperial court. For ideological reasons, it needed barbarians on its periphery who longed for the emperor's virtue. Emishi was not an autonym but a label given by the imperial court irrespective of their true ethnolinguistic identity. Also, according to the mainstream theory, modern Japanese were formed by Jomon-Yayoi admixture, possibly with great geographic varieties. Even today you can easily pick up hairy persons in the Kanto region. In my opinion, main admixture events did not happen in northern Tohoku but somewhere else before colonizers from the south triggered a sudden population growth in the late 6th and the 7th centuries.

    What is overlooked by Razib and others is that the Emishi were characterized by domesticated horses, which is well attested both archaeologically and in the literature. They were distinct from those who later formed the Hokkaido Ainu.
  6. @spandrell
    Do these people look Japanese-speaking?

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/archive/5/5a/20140624121647!Emishi_from_an_emaki_circa_1324.jpg

    They look like Ainus, they were called "hairy people". It's pretty obvious they were phenotypically Jomon. Although indeed they did pick up farming and metal working from the Yayoi, and presumably had acquired some Yayoi admixture after the 1000+ years of contact. And perhaps they even picked up the language. The Northern Fujiwara, who were pure Yayoi, also messed the record by claiming Emishi descent, but still. The Emishi must have been ethnically very distinct. Else the Fushuu sent around the West wouldn't have been as picturesque as they were.

    The real mystery of Japanese prehistory is who brought the Kofun culture, and how related was the Yamato elite to the 3 kingdoms of the Korean peninsula.

    The real mystery of Japanese prehistory is who brought the Kofun culture, and how related was the Yamato elite to the 3 kingdoms of the Korean peninsula.

    Don’t forget the Gaya Confederacy/Mimana Command Post:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaya_confederacy

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mimana

    Although Baekje later became Wa/Yamato’s main Korean ally, and likely many Baekje elites fled to Yamato after the destruction of their kingdom, Gaya might have had a more significant relationship with Yamato earlier on (before it was pressured by Goguryeo and absorbed by Silla).

    Japanese and Korean scholars are unfortunately laboring under nationalist urges and may debate whether it was a Japanese colony on the Korean peninsula or the source of the Japanese aristocracy, respectively, and seem to be neglecting the more obvious possibility that the people who made up the Gaya Confederacy/Mimana or people highly related to it may have also formed a part of the Yamato elite.

    In this context, it is highly inappropriate to speak of “Koreans” and “Japanese,” since neither existed as a coherent national entity (Gina Barnes writes at length about this in “Rise of Civilization in East Asia). Gaya/Kara/Mimana thus may have existed as a series of polities on the peninsula with insular counterparts of the same or very similar people on what is now Japan. Certainly the fact that there was a series of Guguryeo-Wa/Yamato military conflicts on the peninsula shows that the Yamato had a significant presence in what is now Korea (which, again, should not be viewed as an ancient equivalent to modern Japanese colonialism, but as an evidence of the pre-modern/pre-national identity of polities such as the Yamato and the Gaya, for which the sea may have been simply a physical barrier/transport route and not a line of political demarcation separating nation-states).

    Aside from major migrations of peoples from the continent to what is now Japan, there were also several major infusions of elites from the Korean peninsula to Japan, the impetus for which was created by the destruction of polities in the former (Gaya, Baekje, Goguryeo, Balhae/Bohai, etc.). Although my memory is fuzzy on this topic, I think at least one linguistic scholar has unearthed a closer possible connection between Buyeo/Gogureyo languages and the modern Japanese compared to that between the former and the modern Korean language.

    Unfortunately so much of the “integrated” history of East Asia tends to be viewed retrospectively through the nationalistic prisms when in reality Japan and Korea, as such, did not exist when these polities were extant.

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    • Replies: @spandrell
    There's an interesting theory, that says that the Wa state, who fought the Goguryeo and had all those commanderies in the peninsula, was actually based in northern Kyushu, and was distinct from the Yamato state, centered in modern Nara.

    As the theory goes, the Wa and Yamato were enemies, Wa aligned with Baekje and fighting to recover their continental holdings; while Yamato was aligned with China and undermining the Wa.

    Then in 663 the Wa expeditionary army was crushed by Tang-Silla; and disappears from the historical record. Yamato takes over the Wa state in Kyushu; and soon after renames itself Nippon; where the sun rises, i.e. the East, East from Wa in Kyushu.

    It makes a lot of sense; as the Chinese records on visiting Wa describe the geography of Kyushu, not of central Japan; and it's hard to see why a state centered in Nara would go all the way to wage war in Korea, when it had all Eastern Japan yet to colonize.

    But of course this goes against the national mythology of the eternal imperial house of Yamato, so not given much regard in Japanese academic circles.

    Also the theory has its share of loopholes. Yamato was centered in "Nara", which conspicuously means country in Korean, but nothing in Japanese. And there were thousands of Baekje and Goguryeo settlers across Yamato, some of them very well connected to the royal house. It's all very mysterious.
  7. Has there ever been DNA research into the natives of Tsushima?

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    • Replies: @22pp22
    If memory serves, the majority of the original population was killed or driven away during the Mongol Invasions. That would imply that the islands were resettled from the mainland.
  8. @spandrell
    Do these people look Japanese-speaking?

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/archive/5/5a/20140624121647!Emishi_from_an_emaki_circa_1324.jpg

    They look like Ainus, they were called "hairy people". It's pretty obvious they were phenotypically Jomon. Although indeed they did pick up farming and metal working from the Yayoi, and presumably had acquired some Yayoi admixture after the 1000+ years of contact. And perhaps they even picked up the language. The Northern Fujiwara, who were pure Yayoi, also messed the record by claiming Emishi descent, but still. The Emishi must have been ethnically very distinct. Else the Fushuu sent around the West wouldn't have been as picturesque as they were.

    The real mystery of Japanese prehistory is who brought the Kofun culture, and how related was the Yamato elite to the 3 kingdoms of the Korean peninsula.

    The hairy-barbarian stereotype was adopted from the Chinese literature by the imperial court. For ideological reasons, it needed barbarians on its periphery who longed for the emperor’s virtue. Emishi was not an autonym but a label given by the imperial court irrespective of their true ethnolinguistic identity. Also, according to the mainstream theory, modern Japanese were formed by Jomon-Yayoi admixture, possibly with great geographic varieties. Even today you can easily pick up hairy persons in the Kanto region. In my opinion, main admixture events did not happen in northern Tohoku but somewhere else before colonizers from the south triggered a sudden population growth in the late 6th and the 7th centuries.

    What is overlooked by Razib and others is that the Emishi were characterized by domesticated horses, which is well attested both archaeologically and in the literature. They were distinct from those who later formed the Hokkaido Ainu.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Twinkie

    What is overlooked by Razib and others is that the Emishi were characterized by domesticated horses, which is well attested both archaeologically and in the literature.
     
    In military history circles, there is some discussion about the effective use of cavalry made by the Emishi being an impetus for the changing military techniques of the contemporary Japanese.
    , @spandrell
    That's what irks me. The Jomon happen to be one of the hairiest people on Earth, living alongside one of the least hairy people on earth.
    But somehow the Yamato calling the Eastern barbarians is a stereotype adopted from the Chinese, who didn't especially emphasize their barbarians being particularly hairy; because of course they weren't.
    And what's about the imperial virtue? Wa emissaries to the southern courts of China were bragging about all those hairy countries they had crushed. They weren't bragging of Confucian virtue.

    Indeed the Emishi trained horses and worked metal, none of which was Jomon technology. So sure, a big share of their culture was adopted from the Yayoi, and alongside they must have acquired some genetic admixture too. Perhaps they weren't quite as hairy as the Yamato made them look; but Tohoku wasn't good farmland back then; most likely the Emishi were majority Jomon, and not Japonic speaking; though we'll never know the latter for certain.
  9. @murawaki
    The hairy-barbarian stereotype was adopted from the Chinese literature by the imperial court. For ideological reasons, it needed barbarians on its periphery who longed for the emperor's virtue. Emishi was not an autonym but a label given by the imperial court irrespective of their true ethnolinguistic identity. Also, according to the mainstream theory, modern Japanese were formed by Jomon-Yayoi admixture, possibly with great geographic varieties. Even today you can easily pick up hairy persons in the Kanto region. In my opinion, main admixture events did not happen in northern Tohoku but somewhere else before colonizers from the south triggered a sudden population growth in the late 6th and the 7th centuries.

    What is overlooked by Razib and others is that the Emishi were characterized by domesticated horses, which is well attested both archaeologically and in the literature. They were distinct from those who later formed the Hokkaido Ainu.

    What is overlooked by Razib and others is that the Emishi were characterized by domesticated horses, which is well attested both archaeologically and in the literature.

    In military history circles, there is some discussion about the effective use of cavalry made by the Emishi being an impetus for the changing military techniques of the contemporary Japanese.

    Read More
  10. what’s the big deal about horses? i don’t get the point. hunter-gatherers have a history actually of switching to pastoralism much more easily than becoming peasant farmers. the reduction in labor needs in the australian wool industry apparently has been a major issue for aborigines. and obviously the native people of the new world took to horses immediately despite not being familiar.

    (not saying that the emishi are post-jomon, just saying that horses may not be saying much either way)

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    • Replies: @murawaki
    Suppose that the Jomon hunter-gatherers smoothly adopted domesticated horses in northern Tohoku. Then a natural question arises. Why didn't the Hokkaido Ainu do the same thing? A more general question is why the Emishi were so different from the modern Hokkaido Ainu. Not just horse breeding. Farming (not necessarily rice farming), metalworking, types of earthenware, burial mounds, all these link the Emishi to the south. The new JHG paper appears to reinforce my hypothesis.

    I do support Jomon-Yayoi admixture, but that must have happened somewhere other than sparsely populated northern Tohoku. Also note that not all territories under ancient Japan were suitable for rice farming. Horse breeders in Shinano (modern-day Nagano) and Kozuke (Gunma) farmed millet. I conjecture that the ancestors of the Emishi migrated from these mountainous regions of central Japan and spoke some varieties of Eastern Old Japanese. The strange-shaped administrative division of Tosando must have some rationale behind it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T%C5%8Dsand%C5%8D Yamauchi-Kabata et al. (2008) should have used the ancient administrative divisions, not modern ones, to investigate Japanese population structure.
  11. @murawaki
    The hairy-barbarian stereotype was adopted from the Chinese literature by the imperial court. For ideological reasons, it needed barbarians on its periphery who longed for the emperor's virtue. Emishi was not an autonym but a label given by the imperial court irrespective of their true ethnolinguistic identity. Also, according to the mainstream theory, modern Japanese were formed by Jomon-Yayoi admixture, possibly with great geographic varieties. Even today you can easily pick up hairy persons in the Kanto region. In my opinion, main admixture events did not happen in northern Tohoku but somewhere else before colonizers from the south triggered a sudden population growth in the late 6th and the 7th centuries.

    What is overlooked by Razib and others is that the Emishi were characterized by domesticated horses, which is well attested both archaeologically and in the literature. They were distinct from those who later formed the Hokkaido Ainu.

    That’s what irks me. The Jomon happen to be one of the hairiest people on Earth, living alongside one of the least hairy people on earth.
    But somehow the Yamato calling the Eastern barbarians is a stereotype adopted from the Chinese, who didn’t especially emphasize their barbarians being particularly hairy; because of course they weren’t.
    And what’s about the imperial virtue? Wa emissaries to the southern courts of China were bragging about all those hairy countries they had crushed. They weren’t bragging of Confucian virtue.

    Indeed the Emishi trained horses and worked metal, none of which was Jomon technology. So sure, a big share of their culture was adopted from the Yayoi, and alongside they must have acquired some genetic admixture too. Perhaps they weren’t quite as hairy as the Yamato made them look; but Tohoku wasn’t good farmland back then; most likely the Emishi were majority Jomon, and not Japonic speaking; though we’ll never know the latter for certain.

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  12. @Twinkie

    The real mystery of Japanese prehistory is who brought the Kofun culture, and how related was the Yamato elite to the 3 kingdoms of the Korean peninsula.
     
    Don't forget the Gaya Confederacy/Mimana Command Post:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaya_confederacy
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mimana

    Although Baekje later became Wa/Yamato's main Korean ally, and likely many Baekje elites fled to Yamato after the destruction of their kingdom, Gaya might have had a more significant relationship with Yamato earlier on (before it was pressured by Goguryeo and absorbed by Silla).

    Japanese and Korean scholars are unfortunately laboring under nationalist urges and may debate whether it was a Japanese colony on the Korean peninsula or the source of the Japanese aristocracy, respectively, and seem to be neglecting the more obvious possibility that the people who made up the Gaya Confederacy/Mimana or people highly related to it may have also formed a part of the Yamato elite.

    In this context, it is highly inappropriate to speak of "Koreans" and "Japanese," since neither existed as a coherent national entity (Gina Barnes writes at length about this in "Rise of Civilization in East Asia). Gaya/Kara/Mimana thus may have existed as a series of polities on the peninsula with insular counterparts of the same or very similar people on what is now Japan. Certainly the fact that there was a series of Guguryeo-Wa/Yamato military conflicts on the peninsula shows that the Yamato had a significant presence in what is now Korea (which, again, should not be viewed as an ancient equivalent to modern Japanese colonialism, but as an evidence of the pre-modern/pre-national identity of polities such as the Yamato and the Gaya, for which the sea may have been simply a physical barrier/transport route and not a line of political demarcation separating nation-states).

    Aside from major migrations of peoples from the continent to what is now Japan, there were also several major infusions of elites from the Korean peninsula to Japan, the impetus for which was created by the destruction of polities in the former (Gaya, Baekje, Goguryeo, Balhae/Bohai, etc.). Although my memory is fuzzy on this topic, I think at least one linguistic scholar has unearthed a closer possible connection between Buyeo/Gogureyo languages and the modern Japanese compared to that between the former and the modern Korean language.

    Unfortunately so much of the "integrated" history of East Asia tends to be viewed retrospectively through the nationalistic prisms when in reality Japan and Korea, as such, did not exist when these polities were extant.

    There’s an interesting theory, that says that the Wa state, who fought the Goguryeo and had all those commanderies in the peninsula, was actually based in northern Kyushu, and was distinct from the Yamato state, centered in modern Nara.

    As the theory goes, the Wa and Yamato were enemies, Wa aligned with Baekje and fighting to recover their continental holdings; while Yamato was aligned with China and undermining the Wa.

    Then in 663 the Wa expeditionary army was crushed by Tang-Silla; and disappears from the historical record. Yamato takes over the Wa state in Kyushu; and soon after renames itself Nippon; where the sun rises, i.e. the East, East from Wa in Kyushu.

    It makes a lot of sense; as the Chinese records on visiting Wa describe the geography of Kyushu, not of central Japan; and it’s hard to see why a state centered in Nara would go all the way to wage war in Korea, when it had all Eastern Japan yet to colonize.

    But of course this goes against the national mythology of the eternal imperial house of Yamato, so not given much regard in Japanese academic circles.

    Also the theory has its share of loopholes. Yamato was centered in “Nara”, which conspicuously means country in Korean, but nothing in Japanese. And there were thousands of Baekje and Goguryeo settlers across Yamato, some of them very well connected to the royal house. It’s all very mysterious.

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  13. Five observations:

    1). I don’t know if it is interest but there is a book length study of this in English.

    Hudson, Mark J., Ruins of Identity: Ethnogenesis in the Japanese Islands, University of Hawai`i Press, 1999

    He also stresses that Northern and Southern Japanese have more in common with each other than with central Japanese in whom the Yayoi strain is stronger.

    2). Those Ainu in you picture are nowhere near pure-blooded. I have met a couple of (almost) pure Ainu and they really are a race apart. They look more European than East Asian. They look nothing like the Okinawans who are essentially Japanese to look at with a slight Filipino overlay.

    3). The Emishi probably did not belong to the same racial group as the Ainu and probably spoke a form of Japanese (although Japanese officials sent to the north did need translators).

    The North of Honshu fell under the control of the Oshu Fujiwara in the tenth and eleventh centuries and they claimed Emishi ancestry. In the 1970′s some of their tombs were opened and they bodies inside were in a remarkably good state of preservation. They were closely examined but no evidence of Ainu ancestry could be found.

    4). There is little evidence of settlement from the south. There were cultures in southern Kyushu whose material culture was from the south, but they were wiped out when the Kagoshima Caldera was formed (I have seen it. It would have been a huge volcanic eruption).

    5). I asked about Champa earlier. The Chams were had relatively advanced agriculture and the ruined cities they left behind indicate a large population. If they have left no significant genetic imprint, they probably were wiped out. That would tally with the documentary evidence.

    Saigon was actually Cambodian before it was Vietnamese. The Vietnamese did not finish colonizing the area until the seventeenth centuries and many of the settlers were actually refugees from recently conquered Ming China. That would explain the Cambodian element in the Vietnamese bloodlines.

    I would expect, however, for this to be much much bigger among southern Vietnamese. Vietnam spent much of its history divided into two mutually hostile kingdoms, Tonkin and Cochin China. The settlement of the south was undertaken solely by the Cochin Chinese.

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  14. @Razib Khan
    what's the big deal about horses? i don't get the point. hunter-gatherers have a history actually of switching to pastoralism much more easily than becoming peasant farmers. the reduction in labor needs in the australian wool industry apparently has been a major issue for aborigines. and obviously the native people of the new world took to horses immediately despite not being familiar.

    (not saying that the emishi are post-jomon, just saying that horses may not be saying much either way)

    Suppose that the Jomon hunter-gatherers smoothly adopted domesticated horses in northern Tohoku. Then a natural question arises. Why didn’t the Hokkaido Ainu do the same thing? A more general question is why the Emishi were so different from the modern Hokkaido Ainu. Not just horse breeding. Farming (not necessarily rice farming), metalworking, types of earthenware, burial mounds, all these link the Emishi to the south. The new JHG paper appears to reinforce my hypothesis.

    I do support Jomon-Yayoi admixture, but that must have happened somewhere other than sparsely populated northern Tohoku. Also note that not all territories under ancient Japan were suitable for rice farming. Horse breeders in Shinano (modern-day Nagano) and Kozuke (Gunma) farmed millet. I conjecture that the ancestors of the Emishi migrated from these mountainous regions of central Japan and spoke some varieties of Eastern Old Japanese. The strange-shaped administrative division of Tosando must have some rationale behind it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T%C5%8Dsand%C5%8D Yamauchi-Kabata et al. (2008) should have used the ancient administrative divisions, not modern ones, to investigate Japanese population structure.

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  15. @Twinkie
    Has there ever been DNA research into the natives of Tsushima?

    If memory serves, the majority of the original population was killed or driven away during the Mongol Invasions. That would imply that the islands were resettled from the mainland.

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  16. Razib,

    Am I the only one who thinks that the physical resemblance of Ainu to Europeans was overstated?
    I mean sure, they don’t look like everyday East Asians, but even looking at the old pictures of them, I could probably tell they weren’t European if they were walking around.

    I guess what I’m getting at is I just don’t get how anyone used to think the Ainu were a lost white race, and I personally see some East Asian-like facial features when I look at the old pictures of them.

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    • Replies: @22pp22
    The Ainu are like the Maori. The ones with the strongest ethnic identity are often the ones with the east Ainu blood. The ones who are purer blooded don't look at all Japanese. Take a look at this guy.

    https://www.google.co.nz/search?q=pure-blooded+ainu&biw=1600&bih=787&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0CCsQsARqFQoTCPKrvMO9n8cCFWLgpgodrqQACQ#tbm=isch&q=pure-blooded+ainu+features&imgrc=WP6LI7o3q-DDCM%3A

    I have pictures of an Ainu I met in Kushiro who is even more European looking than that.
    , @Twinkie

    I guess what I’m getting at is I just don’t get how anyone used to think the Ainu were a lost white race
     
    The legend of Prester John lives! There has always been a myth or a fantasy of a powerful lost white race in the Orient coming to the rescue of Europa under siege by the Muslims.

    And, of course, the Japanese victory over the Russians in the Russo-Japanese war became much more palatable to some Europeans if the Japanese were, in fact, a lost white race (the Japanese also acquired a very positive, chivalrous reputation during that particular war, and chivalry in war was considered an entirely Western trait at the same, in contrast to "Oriental perfidy").
  17. The Ainu have significant Paleo-Siberian admixture (at least based on uniparental markers) that is absent other other Japanese people and was probably absent in the Jomon people. This makes this population somewhat problematic to use as a proxy for Jomon further to the South.

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  18. @Beowulf
    Razib,

    Am I the only one who thinks that the physical resemblance of Ainu to Europeans was overstated?
    I mean sure, they don't look like everyday East Asians, but even looking at the old pictures of them, I could probably tell they weren't European if they were walking around.

    I guess what I'm getting at is I just don't get how anyone used to think the Ainu were a lost white race, and I personally see some East Asian-like facial features when I look at the old pictures of them.

    The Ainu are like the Maori. The ones with the strongest ethnic identity are often the ones with the east Ainu blood. The ones who are purer blooded don’t look at all Japanese. Take a look at this guy.

    https://www.google.co.nz/search?q=pure-blooded+ainu&biw=1600&bih=787&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0CCsQsARqFQoTCPKrvMO9n8cCFWLgpgodrqQACQ#tbm=isch&q=pure-blooded+ainu+features&imgrc=WP6LI7o3q-DDCM%3A

    I have pictures of an Ainu I met in Kushiro who is even more European looking than that.

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  19. It would be interesting to see some of this analysis repeated with samples like La-Brana 1 if that’s feasible. His Y-Chromosome had some distant and obscure relation to the Y chromosomes of the Jomon at least.

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  20. @Beowulf
    Razib,

    Am I the only one who thinks that the physical resemblance of Ainu to Europeans was overstated?
    I mean sure, they don't look like everyday East Asians, but even looking at the old pictures of them, I could probably tell they weren't European if they were walking around.

    I guess what I'm getting at is I just don't get how anyone used to think the Ainu were a lost white race, and I personally see some East Asian-like facial features when I look at the old pictures of them.

    I guess what I’m getting at is I just don’t get how anyone used to think the Ainu were a lost white race

    The legend of Prester John lives! There has always been a myth or a fantasy of a powerful lost white race in the Orient coming to the rescue of Europa under siege by the Muslims.

    And, of course, the Japanese victory over the Russians in the Russo-Japanese war became much more palatable to some Europeans if the Japanese were, in fact, a lost white race (the Japanese also acquired a very positive, chivalrous reputation during that particular war, and chivalry in war was considered an entirely Western trait at the same, in contrast to “Oriental perfidy”).

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    • Replies: @syonredux

    The legend of Prester John lives! There has always been a myth or a fantasy of a powerful lost white race in the Orient coming to the rescue of Europa under siege by the Muslims.
     
    In the case of Prester John, it was more a matter of a fantasy regarding a Christian Empire in the Orient coming to the aid of Western Christendom.
  21. @Twinkie

    I guess what I’m getting at is I just don’t get how anyone used to think the Ainu were a lost white race
     
    The legend of Prester John lives! There has always been a myth or a fantasy of a powerful lost white race in the Orient coming to the rescue of Europa under siege by the Muslims.

    And, of course, the Japanese victory over the Russians in the Russo-Japanese war became much more palatable to some Europeans if the Japanese were, in fact, a lost white race (the Japanese also acquired a very positive, chivalrous reputation during that particular war, and chivalry in war was considered an entirely Western trait at the same, in contrast to "Oriental perfidy").

    The legend of Prester John lives! There has always been a myth or a fantasy of a powerful lost white race in the Orient coming to the rescue of Europa under siege by the Muslims.

    In the case of Prester John, it was more a matter of a fantasy regarding a Christian Empire in the Orient coming to the aid of Western Christendom.

    Read More

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