restricted access Chapter 11 The Endless Search for Yamatai
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229 The relatively successful efforts before World War II to move Yamatai and Himiko out of the mainstream of Japanese history have been sketched, but there remained those who believed that the description of Yamatai applied to the Yamato area and that the directions and distances did not prove otherwise. The more vulnerable national university professors had become particularly adept at treading lightly, and those in Kyoto had found they could study relevant topics and still avoid the most sensitive issue of all.The trauma of war changed the political scene, but left traces of the mentality intact. On the questions of dating mirrors and tombs, the archaeological community was stuck with a view conditioned by years of bending to authority , but it was at least shed of its psychological trappings and reduced to a simple archaeological problem. It will be helpful to look at some of the steps in the history of the work of the Kyoto school before dealing with its contributions.Then the next generation is represented by the Nara archaeologists and the countrywide, multipronged approach to scholarship that led to much broader views on chronological problems. Subsequently , a summary of the attempts over the years to locate Yamatai will initiate my view of its location. The Kyoto School Tomioka Kenzò was not the first to study the mirrors—Miyake Yonekichi of the Imperial Museum had done so before him—but he was the first to recognize the existence of Japanese copies: many mirrors recovered from tombs were in fact of Japanese manufacture. A study of the (relatively few) dates, expressions, and the use of certain terms in inscriptions on Chinese mirrors made it clear that mirrors were made in both the Han and the Wei dynasties. Mirrors would be the key to dating the Japanese tombs.Tomioka died in 1918, but Umehara collected his material and published it as Kokyò no kenkyû (Study of old mirrors) two years later.1 Tomioka also began the process of dating Yayoi-period burials in Kyushu by the presence of Han mirrors, a process that ultimately drew sharp lines between the Yayoi and Kofun cultures .Kyushu’s mirrors were Han;Yamato’s mirrors were post-Han.As the first major proponent of using archaeological data to equate Yamatai with Yamato, in effect he CHAPTER 11 The Endless Search for Yamatai initiated the “Kyoto school,” which has spoken with one voice since.The search was on for Himiko’s mirrors. If the Chinese had not said she was sent one hundred mirrors Japanese archaeologists would have ignored her as only a cipher in history. Once stylistic sequences in mirror patterns began to emerge from these studies, an applicable chronology allowed Umehara to place the earliest tumuli in the Yamato area.Although periodically challenged, the view still holds. Given available materials and some unavoidable regional variation, the indeterminate hereditary status of mirrors, and the debatable extent of Yamato political control, it remains as an article of faith, no argument yet compelling enough to upset it. Moreover, Yamato set the style and other areas followed suit. Kobayashi believed the political strings of other areas were being pulled from Yamato by using mirrors as symbolic rewards and giving authorization to build the trademark keyhole-shaped tombs.2 While archaeologists and historians had little to say to or for each other, the question was whether the archaeological evidence was impressive enough to sway the historians. The archaeologists now found a sounding board of considerable authority and readership in the Journal of Archaeology (Kòkogaku zasshi). Historians were divided between Yamato and Kyushu,archaeologists less so.Takahashi Kenji was pro-Yamato. His earliest writing of note was in 1908 in volume 7 of Kòkokai (which by 1913 was being called Kòkogaku zasshi) on the country of origin and the development of mirrors.3 He and others in the early 1920s honed their ideas in numerous articles in several journals,Takahashi seeing the haniwa and the other arts of the period through the eyes of an art historian. Kyoto University made the results of its investigations look more prestigious with hard-bound site reports: Kyoto Teikoku Daigaku Bungakubu Kòkogaku Kenkyû Hòkoku (Report upon Archaeological Research in the College of Literature, Kyoto Imperial University), begun in 1917 and terminated with volume 16 in 1943 only because of the war. Kasai Shinya is best known for an article identifying the Hashihaka Tomb with Princess Yamato-totohi-momoso, but he speculated on other points in the...