Origins of the Yoshinogari people and culture

Where the Yoshinogari people came from is not a settled question today.

When the site was first discovered, some archaeologists felt that the moated settlement resembled the circular castle wall settlements of China.

Other experts were certain that Yoshinogari had its origins in the Mumun culture, and that the settlers were Mumun farmers from Korea. These experts believe Yoshinogari had connections with the Mumun period settlements of Korea. Yoshinogari shared the same features such as Igeum-dong site’s large raised floor buildings; the multiple-ditch and palisade settlements of Daepyeong and Geomdan-ni (that appeared 850-550 BC during the Middle Mumun Pottery period), and the large cemeteries of Yulha-ri’s (that appeared 550 – 300 B.C during the Late Mumun period).

Because the Mumun period settlements went into decline just as the Yayoi period settlements in Kyushu began, some archaeologists believe that Mumun farmers migrated to Japan and began the Yayoi culture.

Others thought of the Yayoi people as indigenous Japanese inhabitants who had strong economic, trade and cultural associations with the Mumun peoples.
However, DNA testing of the rice and silk excavated in the deepest layer of the soil unexpectedly found a perfect match in the DNA of the ones found in the archaeological sites that were dug out along the Yangtze River in southern China. The rice of the Chinese and Yoshinogari sites were all of the tropical Japonica type. By contrast, none of the DNA tests matched the ones found in northern China or the Korean Peninsula.
It was concluded from the DNA tests, that people from southern China 江南、the Long River Civilization had brought with them the rice and silk to Japan.
Supporting this conclusion, is the theory that although seagoing craft and technology were primitive at the time, the sea currents possibly helped voyages from Jiangsu and Zhejiang across the East China Sea to Kyushu, making a reasonable sea route between ancient Japan. It is thought that these sea voyages may have begun in the Hemudu periods bringing to Japan, the Hemudu neolithic culture and other cultural factors popular in the lower Yangtze basin such as the making of jiatanheitao (a kind of pottery containing fibers), woodware and the habit of tooth extraction. This allows us to conclude jue and lacquerware were not the only elements exported, and that ties of Hemudu culture and later cultural periods continued. Thus, it is thought that jade jue and lacquerware arrived in Japan as early as 4000-5000 BC; rice cultivation was taken to Korea and Japan ca. 1000 BC; and balustrade construction was introduced to Japan before Han Dynasty.
These results are similar to tests of DNA of rice samples from the Karako-Kagi site which also matched those from the sites of the Long River area, southern China.
Testing of DNA samples from Yoshinogari and Karako-kagi sites, however, contrast with those of DNA sequences found in ancient human remains excavated from the Tottori prefecture, the results showed that the Yayoi settlers in the site belonged to the same group as those of present-day South Koreans and Japanese living on the island of Honshu.
However, DNA tests of Yoshinogari artefacts from the later period however showed that these settlers of southern Chinese origin also interacted with people from the Korean peninsula.
It appears that a picture of mixed origins is emerging in the search for origins of the Yayoi people.

Excavations of Large-scale Megalithic Burials at Yulha-ri, Gimhae-si, Gyeongsang Nam-do by Martin T. Bale, University of Toronto, Canada

Origin of rice paddy cultivation at the Hemudu site by Shao Jinhua, Hemudu Site Museum, Zhejiang Province, China

The Hemudu site

Ancient culture of the Lower Yangtze River and Ancient Japan by An, Jimin

See also Yayoi linked Yangtze area: DNA tests reveal similarities to early wet-rice farmers

10 responses to “Origins of the Yoshinogari people and culture

  1. I have a question about other indigenous Japanese inhabitants as “Kumaso”, “Utari”, “Abashiri”, “Emishi”,
    “Tsuchigumo”, “Ezo” and “Ainu”.
    From where did they come?
    Where all Jomon people?
    If the latest Japanese have their origins in Korea and China who are the others?
    When did they mixed, if they did that?
    Thank you.
    Waiting for an answer.

    • Again, I don’t have space here, please read the relevant pages on origins. The DNA studies show complicated patterns of immigrants, and regional variations in gene pools. Briefly, however, further back in time, the earliest populations were of Southern Mongoloid stock (they can be traced genetically to people in the Tibetan Baikal area) who had populated the East Asia and particularly the Southeast corners of the Chinese mainland continent. Genetically they are closest to the Ryukyuans in the south and the Jomon people as well as Ainu populations. As mentioned before, although the Jomon people came to have a common culture with common characteristics over many thousands of years, the people varied regionally in origins. Lacquer producing trees from Jomon times are of a species found in China, different to those in Korea. Even the Jomon people of south Mongoloid stock who shared the same gene pools as the Central Asian Baikal area populations, did not have the same origins … they entered Japan via different land bridges from the south and from the north. These differences show up in the shared genes but different blood type chromosome characteristics studies between the Ryukyuans and Jomon/Ainu populations. It has been long postulated that there were entry points from the south .. Vietnam and Austronesian origins, but I don’t know too well the evidence in support of these yet…mostly cultural and mythological and a few linguistic affinities. From the Yayoi era, evidence of immigration patterns from both the Korean and Chinese mainland can be observed – in some places, settlement patterns even suggest there were places where the earlier Jomon people lived alongside with the Yayoi immigrants, suggesting eventual admixture of population. Burial types and tooth pulling patterns suggest that the Yayoi society had ways of differentiating who were the “outsiders” and who were not. Culturally where admixture might have occurred, pottery studies show regional pottery characteristics merging with or absorbed into Yayoi types. However, where native indigenous populations did not mix well with the incoming continental late arrivals, settlement patterns as well as DNA bloodtype studies earwax maps and such suggest that the earlier Jomon and Emishi populations were pushed into the forested or coastal areas and places not conducive to rice agriculture and gene maps show indigenous gene pools strongest at southern and north-to northeast ends of the archipelago…all at the boundaries for rice-growing. Hayato populations for example at the southern part of Kyushu are thought to never have mixed in with the immigrant populations, and their gene characteristics confirm this. The local populations that show the closest affinity to the Korean gene pool is strongest in the Nara basin radiating but weakening from there, and also at the northern part of Kyushu .. the landing point for all Korean immigrants. Some experts more recently see a picture of Japan in early times as an immigrant nation receiving small groups of immigrants of different origins arriving in waves who land and settle in different places over time…but that the strongest Korean migrant influx came into the Nara basin with the largest numbers of royal elites from Paekche, but also other kingdoms in Korea, and many immigrants with occupational specialized knowledge and skills. The later immigrants from the Korean continents are of the Northern Mongoloid stock and their blood type chromosomal characteristics are different from those of earlier populations. A logical but layered picture is the result … the genetic map matches the likely settlement patterns that can be inferred from early immigration influx events found in early historical records. The genetic resulting situation is certainly complex and we can’t say exactly the numbers of immigrants or exactly when and where they came from since such facts are obscured by the vast periods of time before the events.

    • Good Morning, Ioannis. I’m CharlyPanda.
      Click and find my thread topic article there
      This may be of some help to you. See you.

  2. I think this Chu in Japanese (楚)
    has closer relation to Yoshinogari rather than Mummuns of Korea. Certain features we observe in Yamataikoku, bird totem burial ritual, house construction style can be better explained by this Chu connection. Xufu legends is same thing. Mercury gathering is also due to this.

  3. Y-DNA component O3a3c-M134 10.4% in Japanese gene pool might have cpme from former Qi State of Shangdong, purporting to be the progeny of Shihuandi.

  4. Miyazaki History Blogspot has a new post “New Research on the Kumaso, Hayato” in which it says the Austronesian theory of origin for Hayato and Kumaso is wrong. The poster writes that “the Yamato who were genetically linked to the Kumaso and Hayato invaded Kyushu to expand their empire”. Citing Dr. Ryu Otani’s book “The Kumaso”, we read:
    “There is absolutely no evidence, genetically, to show the Kumaso or Hayato were separate in lineage or language from the rest of Shikoku or Honshu. They were simply the indigenous people of Kyushu. Both the Kumaso and Hayato inhabited areas all over the island of Kyushu… The Kumaso were generally highlanders and the Hayato were generally lowland dwelling people. Kumaso and Hayato were brothers of the Yamato.” The blog also says that “Archaeology and testing show a definite link to Hayato and Kumaso being influenced at the same times as the rest of Japan’s archipelago by the Sinic people of China and Korea. … It also shows the Hayato and Kumaso were genetically linked to the rest of Japan, barring the Ainu of Hokkaido who are actually the sole people of Japan that are genetically different from the rest of the Japanese people. (92)
    The same conclusion was reached by geneticists who conducted tests on Kumaso, Hayato, Yamato, and Ainu remains. This is what was reported in the “Japanese Journal of Genetics”:
    Genetic testing on Yamato, Kumaso, Hayato, and Ainu remains found the following results. Yamato, Hayato, and Kumaso were genetically related. The Ainu, however, were genetically more related to Siberian people of the time, and distant from other people of the Japanese islands. The people of Okinawa are also distant genetically from the Kumaso, Hayato, and Yamato. This disproves previous postulations of south to north migration of the Hayato and Kumaso. Barring the people of Okinawa and the Ainu, the people of Japan are genetically identical. ”
    Read the entire blog post at

    HOWEVER, we do have other views: 隼人 : オーストロネシア系の古代日本部族 HAYATO : An Austronesian speaking tribe in southern Japan by Kakubayashi FUMIO URL:

  5. Umm…may I ask a few questions related to the Kumaso?

    Since in that new Miyazaki History blog says that the Kumaso are generally the highlanders while the Hayato are generally the lowland dwelling people…does that mean that if I portray someone in a story as a direct descendant of the Kumaso, proudly saying that they had been on that property since the Kofun period, I should pick a mountainous locale in Kyushu for the setting?

    Does this place near enough to Kyushu’s mountains to count as highland?,_Kagoshima

    Also, do you know any place where local folklore says “Here or somewhere around here, is where Yamato Takeru supposedly killed Kumaso Takeru brothers (I’m picking the Kojiki version for my story)”

    The reason why I’m asking is I have future plans of including such information in this story I’m writing…which counts as a mix of military fiction, magical fantasy (to be specific, the magical girl subgenre), slice of life, and mythology of various places as either taken at face value and my own take on them, an example of the latter as…Izanami as the Earth/Mother goddess of the Jomon tribe who encountered the first Yayoi immigrants whose god was Izanagi, and the two being married in the story as a result of the ensuing alliance/intermixing/assimilation between that Jomon tribe and that first group of Yayoi in Japan.

  6. If it kind of interests you…my story is in the following:

    Please forgive me the strangeness of the first few chapters. I’m still a little new at writing fiction.

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