Archaeological finds from 8th century Kudara-ji indicate Paekche craftsmanship and influence

A trench used to cast iron and bronze utensils was discovered at the site of  Kudara-ji, an 8th century Buddhist temple in Osaka, announced the Education Committee of Hirakata, Osaka, and the city’s cultural treasure research and survey association. The Kudara-ji temple dates back to the latter half of the 8th century and is said to have been built by members of the Paekche royal family who had fled to Japan from the Korean Peninsula. Kudara read in Japanese, written in Chinese characters is 百済 which is Paekche (or Baekche).

The researchers think they’ve discovered the remnants of the facility used to build the temple and make the implements used there. Only a handful of these facilities have been unearthed nationwide, so scholars consider the find important because it may shed light on the structure of the temple buildings of the time.

The committee said they found a pit 2.5 meters in circumference at the northeast section of the site used for the placement of casting molds. In addition to iron and bronze utensils nearby, they found about 300 shards from a melting furnace which is thought to have been used for casting.

They also found the remains of six posts, which they think formed a gateway at the northern wall. About 500 meters to the north of that gate is the site of ruins in Kinyahon-machi. The researchers say the find tends to confirm the close connection between the latter district and the Baekche royal family, which was given preferential treatment by the Japanese state at the time–including intermarriage with the Imperial family.

City officials noted that in addition to aiding research into temple structure of the period, the discovery is important because it provides further support for the idea that the Baekche royal family enjoyed great influence in that area from the Nara period to the Heian period (covering the 8th century).

Source: The Buddhist temple Koreans built in Japan

Founded by Kyofuku, a descendant of the Kudara (in Paekche, an ancient country in the Korean Peninsula) people around 750 A.D. Kyofuku moved to Japan as a lord in the Kawachi-era.

It was designated a national historic site for its unique building layout and the temple is surrounded by beautiful pine trees, and is well known as a cherry blossom viewing spot.

Address: 1-60 Nakamiyanishino-cho, Hirakata-shi, Osaka Access: From Keihan Railway Hirakatashi Station: 5 mins by Keihan bus bound for Tsuda / Hotani, get down at Chugu bus stop. Phone: 072-804-0033

Related links and readings:

Kudara Royal Family website More about the Paekche royal family here.

The Legend of Dr. Wangin, the scholar from Paekche

Korean Contributions to Agriculture, Technology, and State Formation in Japan: Archaeology and History of an Epochal Thousand Years, 400 B.C.-A.D. 600 Journal article by Song-Nai Rhee, C. Melvin Aikens, Sung-Rak Choi, Hyuk-Jin Ro; Asian Perspectives: the Journal of Archaeology for Asia and the Pacific, Vol. 46, 2007.

Constructing “Korean” Origins by Hyung Il Pai  This study examines how archaeological finds from throughout Northeast Asia have been used in Korea to construct a myth of state formation that holds a pure Korean race had created a civilization rivaling those of China and Japan and a unified state controlling a wide area in Asia. Through a new analysis of the archaeological data, Pai shows that the Korean state was in fact formed much later and that it reflected diverse influences from throughout Northern Asia, particularly the material culture of Han China..

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2 responses to “Archaeological finds from 8th century Kudara-ji indicate Paekche craftsmanship and influence

  1. Hey I read this a little while ago. It contains many pictures of Paekje architecture:
    http://www.mahrs.org/blogs/lyndon_baekje.php

  2. Oh and there’s are really interesting and informative podcast: ‘Topics in Korean History’. Check it out: http://topicsinkoreanhistory.wordpress.com/

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