2.x Beginning of Japan (History)

I'm going to tell some stories related with history of Japan here, especially the beginning, because I'm very curious about and interested in when and how Japan started. Some of what I write is well known to most Japanese, but the other is not known. I hope these are interesting and useful for topics when you talk in the second language you're learning. By the way, I'm not a historian. So, please don't make an severe objection against what I write.


< Japanese Hamlet >
After I heard the story that Israeli came to Japan (Refer bellow), I told the NOVA teacher the one story concerning Japanese history because I thought he is interested in history.

Before I tell you the story, why do you think "SHOTOKU-TAISHI" is very famous in Japan? He used to be printed on the Japanese \10,000 bills. I read some books, but he didn't seem to do so many important jobs. However, he really seemed to be admired by a lot of people, while he was alive and after he died. I think he must have been the only one whom people were able to believe in the world where there weren't any rules but blood and plots. After the emperor KEITAI, a great-grandfather of SHOTOKUTAISHI, ruled (conquered!?) Japan, the world seemed to be very fierce until "FUJIWARA" became the most powerful family. What I told him was one of those tragedies.

When I was a elementary school student, I was given a map of our prefecture at a social studies' lesson. When I saw the map, I recognized the nearest place of interest from my home was "FUJISHIRA-SAKA" in the map, although there are other famous sites around my home town. It's about 10km away from my home. I'd not been there and didn't know why it's famous. When I asked it to some people, they told me they didn't know, too. I was very curious at that time, but I forgot it and I've not been there yet.

Japanese learns the imperial court of "YAMATO" as the earliest nation of Japan and SHOTOKUTAISHI as a famous person in the era at elementary school. Therefore, all Japanese should know them. When I was a University student, I started to get interested in the beginning of Japan and read a lot of books about it. One of the books was about "ASUKA" era. When SHOTOKUTAISHI was alive, the Imperial court was in ASUKA and he was a member of the most powerful clan, "SOGA", at that time. SOGA was the clan that was in charge of finance, but there had been 2 more powerful clans than SOGA that were in charge of military affairs before SOGA had the most power. One of the more powerful clans lost its prestige about a half century before SHOTOKUTAISHI was born, the other was exterminated when he was in his teens, and SOGA played a key role at these incidents. SOGA could keep its prosperity while he was alive. It might have been owed to his personal grace.

The famous coup d'etat, "TAIKA-NO-KAISHIN", happened about 20 years after he died, and SOGA fell. All Japanese should know this coup d'etat, because they learned at elementary school that it's one of the most important incidents in the era. The leaders of this incident were "NAKANOOE-NO-OJI", the prince, and "NAKATOMI", called FUJIWARA later.

NAKANOOENOOJI was very strong-minded. It seemed proper that NAKANOOENOOJI would become an emperor after the incident, but he didn't. There are some reasons historians guessed, and one of them is a bit interesting. However, I don't tell it here. If you want to know, you should read a book that explains ASUKA era. Anyway, his uncle became an emperor, but he had a substantial power. After his uncle died, he didn't become an emperor again, and this caused one tragedy.

Instead of him, his mother became an emperor, although his uncle had a son when he died, and it was proper that the son, "ARIMA-NO-MIKO", became an emperor. Unfortunately, people who are against NAKANOOENOOJI hoped that. ARIMANOMIKO knew the end of a person who goes against the most powerful person of the time. That was obvious by the history, although I didn't write about that kind of incidents. Therefore, he must have thought that it was the best way for him to pretend a crazy person and he did it. That is the reason why he is called "Japanese Hamlet". If you don't know the story of Hamlet, you should read the famous book by Shakespeare.

The differernce from the real Hamlet was that his end was tragic. When NAKANOOENOOJI was out of ASUKA, one powerful person told ARIMANOMIKO a complaint against NAKANOOENOOJI, and ARIMANOMIKO stopped pretending a crazy person, and started to plot treason with him. However, that was a trap, and he was executed for the treason. Where he was executed was "FUJISHIRA-SAKA".

I thought the person who made the maps of our prefecture that were distributed at elementary school must have loved the stories in ASUKA era.


< Ancient Israeli Culture in Japan >
One of NOVA English School teachers has told me the story that ancient Israeli people who were exiled came to Japan. The ground of this hypothesis is that there are some cultures similar to ancient Israeli ones in Japan. He found that article in internet. You can also easily find it using the search engine of "yahoo.com" with the words "ancient" and "Japan".

When I heard this story from the teacher, I didn't believe it. However, what attracted me in that article when I read it was that the traditional festival called ONTO-SAI at SUWA-TAISHA (Shrine) is very similar to the story in the Bible. My imagination suddenly expanded then. That's because I remembered the story in "KOJIKI", the oldest history book in Japan.

- TAKEMINAKATA got away at once. TAKEMIKAATSUCHI chased him and drove him into the Lake "SUWA" in the country SHINANO. "I'm sorry. Don't kill me. I won't go anywhere except here. ... omission ... I'm gonna present the country ASHIHARANAKA following the words of the AMA's prince." -

This story is called KUNI-YUZURI. TAKEMINAKATA is a son of OKUNI-NUSHI, the king of IZUMO. TAKEMIKATSUCHI is a mission from AMA. AMA forced IZUMO to allow a prince of AMA to rule their ASHIHARANAKA. I guess ASHIHARANAKA is a part of IZUMO.

OKUNINUSHI is a descendant of "SUSANO". SUSANO is one of AMA's gods around the time just after the islands of Japan appeared. He was exiled from AMA because of his bad behavior. Therefore, He went to IZUMO and lived there.

The imagination I came up with is that SUSANO might have been a man or people exiled from Israel. I guess most of powerful people in AMA must have been from China or Korea. Therefore, SUSANO was a heretic, so he was exiled. His descendants escaped to "SUWA" during the war against AMA, so the Israeli festival might have held at SUWATAISHA.


< Oldest Evidence >
The oldest reliable written evidence that explains the existence of Japan is in the history book KAN-JO written by Chinese historians. KAN is one of the Chinese dynasties that existed BC 202 - AD 8. The contents are as follows.

- There are people in "WA" across the sea of RAKURO-GUN (Korea), and they separately live in more than 100 of countries. It is told that they bring tributes (presents) to us periodically. -

It also depends on the definition of Japan if these countries are Japan. According to the oldest history book KOJIKI in Japan, JINMU was the first emperor of Japan, and he had his own country near NARA. However, I think WA means the countries in northern part of KYUSHU and "SANIN", because these areas must have geometrically had advantages to absorb civilization from the continent, so there must have been powerful families. Therefore, WA was not Japan. In addition, JINMU had not been born yet at that time, I think.

Other famous history book in China that explain WA are GOKAN-JO and GI-SHI-WA-JIN-DEN of SANGOKU-SHI. It is written in GOKANJO that the emperor of China gave the INJU made of gold to the king of NA in WA, and in GISHIWAJINDEN about YAMATAI-KOKU and HIMIKO.