Scholars from Japan's Meiji University Give Lectures at the Institute of Archaeology (CASS)
The Institute of Archaeology (CASS) recently organized an academic symposium, which was held on the eighth floor of the Institute at 2pm on December 3, 2009. Professor Yoshimura Takehiko, Dean of the Graduate School at Japan's Meiji University, and Professor Ishikawa Hideshi, also from Meiji University, were both invited to give lectures at the symposium.
Professor Ishikawa's lecture was entitled "The Beginnings of the Yayoi Period on the Japanese Archipelago" and was an exploration of the historical significance of the origins of rice cultivation during Japan's Yayoi period.
Professor Ishikawa believes that research on the Yayoi Period not only requires an understanding of the formation of the Japanese nation but also some consideration of Japanese prehistoric Age and the Jomon period. He began with an analysis of the research conducted on the Yayoi Period and discussed the course of social change during the Yayoi Period within the context of the origins of agriculture on the Japanese archipelago, social stratification and the evolving nature of the Japanese nation. This was followed by a brief description of the origins and dissemination of Asian rice culture and an overview of the transition from the Jomon to the Yayoi Period. Professor Ishikawa outlined some of the key characteristics of the Jomon Period and argued that the Yayoi production methods were a result of a combination of Jomon production activities and the introduction of irrigated rice cultivation, which had spread to Japan from continental Asia and helped trigger an acceleration in social change.
Professor Yoshimura relied on documentary evidence in his lecture on "The Establishment of Yamato Royal Authority and Keyhole Tomb Mounds". He began with a detailed account of the findings of the most recent excavations conducted at the Makimuku ruins and the questions these raised about the ancient country of Yamataikoku. He then went on to explore and discuss a number of issues relating to the research conducted on the royal authority of Yamataikoku, Queen Himiko and Yamato royal authority, and the relationship between Yamato royal authority and keyhole tomb mounds. (Translated by Kelly McGuire)