Japanese people

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Japanese people
Japanese people
Total population
About 130,000,000
Regions with significant populations
 Japan   127 million
Significant Japanese diaspora populations in:
 Brazil 1,500,000[1]
 United States 1,404,286[2]
 China (PRC) 140,134[3]
 Philippines 120,000[4][5]
 Canada 109,740[6]
 Peru 100,000[7]
 Australia 71,013[8]
 United Kingdom 63,017[9]
 Thailand 45,805[8]
 Germany 36,960[8]
 Argentina 34,000[10]
 France 30,947[8]
     New Caledonia 8,000[11]
 South Korea 28,320[8]
 Singapore 23,000[12]
 Hong Kong 21,297[3]
 Taiwan (ROC) 20,373[8]
 Micronesia 20,000[13]
 Mexico 20,000[14]
 Bolivia 14,000[15]
 New Zealand 13,447[8]
 Italy 12,156[8]
 Indonesia 11,263[8]
 Vietnam 9,468[8]
 Malaysia 9,142[8]
  Switzerland 8,499[8]
 Spain 7,046[8]
 Netherlands 6,616[8]
 Belgium 6,519[8]
 Marshall Islands 6,000[16]
 India 5,554[17]
 Palau 5,000[18]
Languages
Japanese and Japanese dialects
Religion
Non-religious but strongly influenced by Shinto, Mahayana Buddhism.[19][20][21]

The Japanese people ( Nihonjin, Nipponjin?) are an ethnic group native to Japan.[22][23][24][25][26] Japanese make up 98.5% of the total population.[27] Worldwide, approximately 130 million people are of Japanese descent; of these, approximately 127 million are residents of Japan. People of Japanese ancestry who live in other countries are referred to as nikkeijin (日系人?). The term ethnic Japanese may also be used in some contexts to refer to a locus of ethnic groups including the Yamato, Ainu, and Ryukyuan people.

Language[edit]

The Japanese language is a Japonic language that is treated as a language isolate; it is also related to the Ryukyuan languages, and both are sometimes suggested to be part of the proposed Altaic language family. The Japanese language has a tripartite writing system using Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji. Domestic Japanese people use primarily Japanese for daily interaction. The adult literacy rate in Japan exceeds 99%.[28]

Religion[edit]

Japanese religion has traditionally been syncretic in nature, combining elements of Buddhism and Shinto. Shinto, a polytheistic religion with no book of religious canon, is Japan's native religion. Shinto was one of the traditional grounds for the right to the throne of the Japanese imperial family, and was codified as the state religion in 1868 (State Shinto was abolished by the American occupation in 1945). Mahayana Buddhism came to Japan in the sixth century and evolved into many different sects. Today the largest form of Buddhism among Japanese people is the Jōdo Shinshū sect founded by Shinran.[citation needed]

Most Japanese people (84% to 96%)[29][30][31] profess to believe in both Shinto and Buddhism. The Japanese people's religion functions mostly as a foundation for mythology, traditions, and neighborhood activities, rather than as the single source of moral guidelines for one's life.[citation needed]

Literature[edit]

Bisque doll of Momotarō,
a character from Japanese literature and folklore.

Certain genres of writing originated in and are often associated with Japanese society. These include the haiku, tanka, and I Novel, although modern writers generally avoid these writing styles. Historically, many works have sought to capture or codify traditional Japanese cultural values and aesthetics. Some of the most famous of these include Murasaki Shikibu's The Tale of Genji (1021), about Heian court culture; Miyamoto Musashi's The Book of Five Rings (1645), concerning military strategy; Matsuo Bashō's Oku no Hosomichi (1691), a travelogue; and Jun'ichirō Tanizaki's essay "In Praise of Shadows" (1933), which contrasts Eastern and Western cultures.

Following the opening of Japan to the West in 1854, some works of this style were written in English by natives of Japan; they include Bushido: The Soul of Japan by Nitobe Inazo (1900), concerning samurai ethics, and The Book of Tea by Okakura Kakuzo (1906), which deals with the philosophical implications of the Japanese tea ceremony. Western observers have often attempted to evaluate Japanese society as well, to varying degrees of success; one of the most well-known and controversial works resulting from this is Ruth Benedict's The Chrysanthemum and the Sword (1946).

Twentieth-century Japanese writers recorded changes in Japanese society through their works. Some of the most notable authors included Natsume Sōseki, Jun'ichirō Tanizaki, Osamu Dazai, Yasunari Kawabata, Fumiko Enchi, Yukio Mishima, and Ryōtarō Shiba. In contemporary Japan, popular authors such as Ryū Murakami, Haruki Murakami, and Banana Yoshimoto are highly regarded.

Arts[edit]

The print Red Fuji from Hokusai's series, Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji.

Decorative arts in Japan date back to prehistoric times. Jōmon pottery includes examples with elaborate ornamentation. In the Yayoi period, artisans produced mirrors, spears, and ceremonial bells known as dōtaku. Later burial mounds, or kofun, preserve characteristic clay haniwa, as well as wall paintings.

Beginning in the Nara period, painting, calligraphy, and sculpture flourished under strong Confucian and Buddhist influences from China. Among the architectural achievements of this period are the Hōryū-ji and the Yakushi-ji, two Buddhist temples in Nara Prefecture. After the cessation of official relations with the Tang Dynasty in the ninth century, Japanese art and architecture gradually became less influenced by China. Extravagant art and clothing was commissioned by nobles to decorate their court, and although the aristocracy was quite limited in size and power, many of these pieces are still extant. After the Todai-ji was attacked and burned during the Gempei War, a special office of restoration was founded, and the Todai-ji became an important artistic center. The leading masters of the time were Unkei and Kaikei.

Painting advanced in the Muromachi period in the form of ink and painting under the influence of Zen Buddhism as practiced by such masters as Sesshū Tōyō. Zen Buddhist tenets were also elaborated into the tea ceremony during the Sengoku period. During the Edo period, the polychrome painting screens of the Kano school were made influential thanks to their powerful patrons (including the Tokugawas). Popular artists created ukiyo-e, woodblock prints for sale to commoners in the flourishing cities. Pottery such as Imari ware was highly valued as far away as Europe.

In theater, Noh is a traditional, spare dramatic form that developed in tandem with kyōgen farce. In stark contrast to the restrained refinement of noh, kabuki, an "explosion of color," uses every possible stage trick for dramatic effect. Plays include sensational events such as suicides, and many such works were performed in both kabuki and bunraku puppet theaters.

Since the Meiji Restoration, Japan has absorbed elements of Western culture. Its modern decorative, practical, and performing arts works span a spectrum ranging from the traditions of Japan to purely Western modes. Products of popular culture, including J-pop, manga, and anime have found audiences around the world.

Theories of origins[edit]

An Ainu man, circa 1930

Arai Hakuseki, who knew in the 18th century that there were stone tools in Japan, suggested that there was Shukushin in ancient Japan, and then Philipp Franz von Siebold claimed that indigenous Japanese was Ainu people.[32] Iha Fuyū suggested that Japanese and Ryukyuan people have the same ethnic origin, based on his 1906 research of the Ryukyuan languages.[33] In the Taishō period, Torii Ryūzō claimed that Yamato people used Yayoi pottery and Ainu used Jōmon pottery.[32]

A photograph of a Japanese samurai taken by Felice Beato in 1867

A common origin of Japanese has been proposed by a number of scholars since Arai Hakuseki first brought up the theory and Fujii Sadamoto, a pioneer of modern archeology in Japan, also treated the issue in 1781.[34] But after the end of World War II, Kotondo Hasebe and Hisashi Suzuki claimed that the origin of Japanese people was not the newcomers in the Yayoi period (300 BCE – 300 CE) but the people in the Jōmon period.[35]

However, Kazuro Hanihara announced a new racial admixture theory in 1984.[35] Hanihara also announced the theory "dual structure model" in English in 1991.[36] According to Hanihara, modern Japanese lineages began with Jōmon people, who moved into the Japanese archipelago during Paleolithic times from their homeland in southeast Asia. Hanihara believed that there was a second wave of immigrants, from northeast Asia to Japan from the Yayoi period. Following a population expansion in Neolithic times, these newcomers then found their way to the Japanese archipelago sometime during the Yayoi period. As a result, miscegenation was rife in the island regions of Kyūshū, Shikoku, and Honshū, but did not prevail in the outlying islands of Okinawa and Hokkaidō, and the Ryukyuan and Ainu people continued to dominate here. Mark J. Hudson claimed that the main ethnic image of Japanese people was biologically and linguistically formed from 400 BCE to 1,200 CE.[35]

Masatoshi Nei opposed the "dual structure model" and alleged that the genetic distance data show that the Japanese people originated in northeast Asia, moving to Japan perhaps more than thirty thousand years ago.[37]

On the other hand, research in October 2009 by the National Museum of Nature and Science et al. concluded that the Minatogawa Man, who was found in Okinawa and was regarded as evidence that Jōmon people came to Japan via the southern route, had a slender face unlike the Jōmon.[38] Hiroto Takamiya of the Sapporo University suggested that the people of Kyushu immigrated to Okinawa between the 10th and 12th centuries CE.[39]

A 2011 study by Sean Lee and Toshikazu Hasegawa[40] reported that a common origin of Japonic languages had originated around 2,182 years before present.[41]

Origin of Jōmon and Yayoi[edit]

Japan at the height of the last glaciation about 20,000 years ago

Currently, the most well-regarded theory is that present-day Japanese are descendants of both the indigenous Jōmon people and the immigrant Yayoi people. The origins of the Jōmon and Yayoi people have often been a subject of dispute, and a recent Japanese publisher[42] has divided the potential routes of the people living on the Japanese archipelago as follows:

  • Aboriginals that have been living in Japan for more than 10,000 years. (Without geographic distinction, which means, the group of people living in islands from Hokkaido to Okinawa may all be considered to be Aboriginals in this case.)
  • Immigrants from the northern route (北方ルート in Japanese) including the people from the Korean Peninsula, Mainland China, Sakhalin Island, Mongolia, and Siberia.
  • Immigrants from the southern route (南方ルートin Japanese) including the people from the Pacific Islands, Southeast Asia, and in some context, India.

However, a clear consensus has not been reached.[43][44][45][46][47][48] [49][50][51][52][53]

History[edit]

Paleolithic era[edit]

Archaeological evidence indicates that Stone Age people lived in the Japanese archipelago during the Paleolithic period between 39,000 and 21,000 years ago.[54][55] Japan was then connected to mainland Asia by at least one land bridge, and nomadic hunter-gatherers crossed to Japan from East Asia, Siberia, and possibly Kamchatka. Flint tools and bony implements of this era have been excavated in Japan.[56]

Jōmon people[edit]

Shakōki-dogū (遮光器土偶) (1000–400 BC), "goggle-eyed type" figurine. Tokyo National Museum, Japan.

Some of the world's oldest known pottery pieces were developed by the Jōmon people in the Upper Paleolithic period, 14th millennium BC. The name, "Jōmon" (縄文 Jōmon), which means "cord-impressed pattern", comes from the characteristic markings found on the pottery. The Jōmon people were Mesolithic hunter-gatherers, though at least one middle to late Jōmon site (Minami Mizote (南溝手?), ca. 1200–1000 BC) had a primitive rice-growing agriculture. They relied primarily on fish for protein. It is believed that the Jōmon had very likely migrated from North Asia or Central Asia and became the Ainu of today. Research suggests that the Ainu retain a certain degree of uniqueness in their genetic make-up, while having some affinities with other regional populations in Japan as well as the Nivkhs of the Russian Far East. Based on more than a dozen genetic markers on a variety of chromosomes and from archaeological data showing habitation of the Japanese archipelago dating back 30,000 years, it is argued that the Jōmon actually came from northeastern Asia and settled on the islands far earlier than some have proposed.[57]

Yayoi people[edit]

Around 400–300 BC, the Yayoi people began to enter the Japanese islands, intermingling with the Jōmon. The Yayoi brought wet-rice farming and advanced bronze and iron technology to Japan. Although the islands were already abundant with resources for hunting and dry-rice farming, Yayoi farmers created more productive wet-rice paddy field systems. This allowed the communities to support larger populations and spread over time, in turn becoming the basis for more advanced institutions and heralding the new civilization of the succeeding Kofun period.

The estimated population in the late Jōmon period was about one hundred thousand, compared to about three million by the Nara period. Taking the growth rates of hunting and agricultural societies into account, it is calculated that about one and half million immigrants moved to Japan in the period.

Genetics[edit]

Y-chromosome DNA[edit]

A 2007 study by Nonaka et al. reported that Japanese males in the Kantō region, which includes the Greater Tokyo Area and is the most densely populated region of Japan, mainly belong to haplogroup D-M55 (48%), haplogroup O2b (31%), haplogroup O3 (15%), or haplogroup C-M130 (4%).[58]

Mitochondrial DNA[edit]

According to an analysis of the 1000 Genome Project's sample of Japanese from the Tokyo metropolitan area, the mtDNA haplogroups found among modern Japanese include D (42/118 = 35.6%, including 39/118 = 33.1% D4 and 3/118 = 2.5% D5), B (16/118 = 13.6%, including 11/118 = 9.3% B4 and 5/118 = 4.2% B5), M7 (12/118 = 10.2%), G (12/118 = 10.2%), N9 (10/118 = 8.5%), F (9/118 = 7.6%), A (8/118 = 6.8%), Z (4/118 = 3.4%), M9 (3/118 = 2.5%), and M8 (2/118 = 1.7%).[59]

Single-nucleotide polymorphism[edit]

A 2008 study about genome-wide SNPs of East Asians by Chao Tian et al. reported that populations of Japanese from Tokyo, Koreans, and Chinese from Beijing are genetically less different from one another than any of those populations is different from Filipino, Cambodian, Yakut, Lahu, Dai, Hezhen, Naxi, Oroqen, or She populations. The authors also found that Koreans are genetically intermediate between Chinese from Beijing and Japanese from Tokyo; the Koreans are approximately equally different from the Japanese and the Chinese, but the Japanese from Tokyo are as different from the Chinese from Beijing as the latter are different from the Vietnamese.[60]

Colonialism[edit]

Location of Imperial Japan

During the Japanese colonial period of 1895 to 1945, the phrase "Japanese people" was used to refer not only to residents of the Japanese archipelago, but also to people from colonies who held Japanese citizenship, such as Taiwanese people and Korean people. The official term used to refer to ethnic Japanese during this period was "inland people" (内地人 naichijin?). Such linguistic distinctions facilitated forced assimilation of colonized ethnic identities into a single Imperial Japanese identity.[61]

After the end of World War II, many Nivkh people and Orok people from southern Sakhalin, who held Japanese citizenship in Karafuto Prefecture, were forced to repatriate to Hokkaidō by the Soviet Union as a part of Japanese people. On the other hand, many Sakhalin Koreans who had held Japanese citizenship until the end of the war were left stateless by the Soviet occupation.[62]

Citizenship[edit]

Article 10 of the Constitution of Japan defines the term Japanese based on the Japanese Nationality.[63] Indeed, Japan accepts a steady flow of 15,000 new Japanese citizens by naturalization (帰化) per year.[64] The concept of the ethnic groups by the Japanese statistics is different from the ethnicity census of North American or some Western European statistics. For example, the United Kingdom Census asks ethnic or racial background which composites the population of the United Kingdom, regardless of their nationalities.[65] The Japanese Statistics Bureau, however, does not have this question. Since the Japanese population census asks the people's nationality rather than their ethnic background, naturalized Japanese citizens and Japanese nationals with multi-ethnic background are considered to be ethnically Japanese in the population census of Japan. Thus, in spite of the widespread belief that Japan is ethnically homogeneous, it is probably more accurate to describe it as a multiethnic society.[66]

As a result, the word kei (系, can be translated roughly as lineage or origin) is used when the Japanese citizen describe their origin of ancestors other than the Japanese archipelago. For example, Tanya Ishii, a former Japanese member to the Japanese Diet referred herself as a "Russian Japanese" (ロシア系日本人 Roshiakeinihonjin?), since she had Russian roots from her maternal lineage.

Diaspora[edit]

The Japantown Peace Plaza during the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival.

The term nikkeijin (日系人?) is used to refer to Japanese people who emigrated from Japan and their descendants.

Emigration from Japan was recorded as early as the 12th century to the Philippines and Borneo,[67] but did not become a mass phenomenon until the Meiji Era, when Japanese began to go to the Philippines, United States, Canada, Peru, Colombia, Brazil, and Argentina. There was also significant emigration to the territories of the Empire of Japan during the colonial period; however, most such emigrants repatriated to Japan after the end of World War II in Asia.[68]

According to the Association of Nikkei and Japanese Abroad, there are about 2.5 million nikkeijin living in their adopted countries. The largest of these foreign communities are in the Brazilian states of São Paulo and Paraná.[69] There are also significant cohesive Japanese communities in the Philippines,[70] East Malaysia, Peru, Buenos Aires, Córdoba and Misiones in Argentina, and the U.S states of Hawaii, California, and Washington. There is also a small group of Japanese descendants living in Caribbean countries such as Cuba and the Dominican Republic, where hundreds of these immigrants were brought in by Rafael L. Trujillo in the 1930s.[citation needed] Separately, the number of Japanese citizens living abroad is over one million according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  42. ^ {{from the book, 2009, Japanese published by Heidansha. "日本人". マイペディア. 平凡社. Original sentence:旧石器時代または縄文時代以来、現在の北海道から琉球諸島までの地域に住んだ集団を祖先に持つ。シベリア、樺太、朝鮮半島などを経由する北方ルート、南西諸島などを経由する南方ルートなど複数の渡来経路が考えられる}}
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External links[edit]