Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Japanese (日本人, Nihon-jin) are the native people of the Japanese Archipelago. While most still live on the Japanese islands, many emigrated to to various locations; predominantly Hawaii, the west coast of the United States, and Latin America, Russia(Sakhalin, Primorsky Krai).
Origins of the Japanese people
There is archeological evidence of stone age people living in Japan from 32,000 years ago in the paleolithic period. At this time Japan was connected to Asia by land bridges, and nomadic hunter-gatherers crossed. They left flint tools, but no evidence of permanent settlements. According to one theory, it was during this time that the earliest immigrants to Japan came from the islands lying off the Southeastern coast of Asia. Borne along on the swift Japan current, they drifted past the Ryukyu Islands (now known as Okinawa)where some settled, then continued on to Kyushu and Honshu, two of Japan's principle islands. The large-eyed, heavy-lidded, oval-faced, high-nosed segment of the Japanese people derives from this source, which was of Malayan ancestry. However the most accepted theory is that modern Japanese are principally descended from the Jōmon and the Yayoi people, with later cultural influences from Tang China and Paekche Korea .
Pottery was first developed by the Jōmon people in the 11th millennium BC. Their name, which means "rope pattern", comes from the characteristic markings they made in Jōmon pottery. The Jōmon people were Mesolithic hunter-gatherers, though late Jōmon people may have developed a proto-agriculture.
In about 300 BC the Jōmon were displaced and absorbed by the Yayoi. The Yayoi people were a bronze-age people and they introduced metalworking and rice cultivation to Japan. The Yayoi were probably descendants of people living in what is now the Gobi desert. (Genetics data suspects, Buryat share the common ancestors) Displaced by the desertification of their land they spread east. it is possible that the Yayoi language eventually developed into modern Japanese. The Shinto religion also probably developed from Yayoi beliefs.
Genetics and Biology
Skeletons of Jomon and Yayoi people have been examined and detailed DNA studies have been made in recent years. Most Jomon and Yayoi skeletons are readily distinguishable. The Jomon people were shorter, with relatively longer forearms and lower legs, more wide-set eyes, shorter and wider faces, and much more pronounced facial topography, with strikingly raised browridges, noses, and nose bridges, while the Yayoi people averaged an inch or two taller, with close-set eyes, high and narrow faces, and flat browridges and noses. (Diamond 1998)
Studies of teeth show two distinct patterns — Sundadonty and Sinodonty. The former represents Southeast Asians, Micronesians, and Polynesians and the latter Koreans and Manchus. The former is preeminent among pure-blood Ainu and Okinawans. The teeth evidence supports the thesis that "ancient demic diffusion commencing with the Yayoi era at about 300 B.C. when an immigrant population from continental Asia entered the archipelago in north Kyushu and expanded eastward, assimilating the aboriginal inhabitants". (Riley 2002)
Japanese people abroad
- Issei Japanese, Issei Japanese American - "issei" means first generation, referring to the first generation of migrants.
- Nisei Japanese, Nisei Japanese American - "nisei" = second generation.
- Sansei Japanese American - "sansei" = third generation.
- Demographics of Japan
- Ethnic issues in Japan
- Japanese Peace Bell
- Foreign-born Japanese
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