The emergence and development of stone houses, stone shelves along with decorated kofun and other archaeological elements of the Kikuchi River region of north Kumamoto Prefecture, spreading across Kyushu

Remarks on the Stone Shelves in Corridor-Style Stone Chambers in Kyushu
NIHON KÔKOGAKU No.14, November 2002, 159p; ISSN 1340-8488, ISBN 4-642-09089-4, by KURAFUJI Hiroshi

Stone shelves (ishidana) are shelf-like architectural features found inside corridor-style stone chambers. This article aims to clarify the origin and characteristics of these stone shelves in Kyushu, looking particularly at their relationship with a similar feature that the author terms ‘stone houses’ (ishiyakata).

In Kyushu, stone shelves can be divided into a type that derives from the stone houses and another type that has a different origin. There is a possibility that specialist stone workers were involved in the construction of the former type, and the role of craftsmen may be a basic difference between the two types. Furthermore, in Kyushu the stone house features are always found within the main area of distribution of the stone shelves, the former appearing before the latter. This shows that even though their origins may have been separate, stone house features had an important influence on the establishment of the stone shelves.

During the first third of the 6th century, stone house features, decorated kofun and other archaeological elements of the Kikuchi River region of north Kumamoto Prefecture began to spread across Kyushu. The appearance and development of stone shelves can be seen as part of this process. Groups from north Kumamoto had an important influence on tomb mounds across Kyushu, but the tombs that they left were not particularly large. Overland connections with the groups of the Yame region who built large tombs in the homeland of the Tsukushi-no-kimi were probably behind this influence.

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