Mozu tombs

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Mozu kofungun
Daisen Kofun, 2.8 km in circumference — the largest kofun in Japan, is thought to be the Tomb of Nintoku
Mozu tombs is located in Japan
Mozu tombs
Shown within Japan
Established 3rd to 6th century
Location Sakai, Osaka Prefecture, Japan
Coordinates 34°33′50″N 135°29′13″E / 34.564°N 135.487°E / 34.564; 135.487
Kamiishizu Misanzai Kofun(Tomb of emperor Richu) which was drawn in 3DCG.This is a kofun of the second size in the group.
Haze Nisanzai Kofun which was drawn in 3DCG.This is a kofun of the third size in the group.

Mozu kofungun (百舌鳥古墳群) is a group of kofun or tumuli in Sakai, Osaka Prefecture, Japan. Originally consisting of more than 100 tombs, less than 50% of the key-hole, round and rectangular tombs remain.[1][2]

In 2010 the Mozu kofungun cluster of tumuli, along with those of Furuichi kofungun, was proposed by the Permanent Delegation of Japan to UNESCO State, Province or Region: Ōsaka Prefecture for inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List as a cultural property under Criteria: (ii),(iii) and (iv), and approval is pending.[3]


The Mozu Kofungun is located in Sakai city in southern Osaka Prefecture, on terraced land overlooking Osaka Bay. The Furuichi kofungun is located in nearby Habikino and Fujiidera cities.[4]


In the Japanese archipelago, there are tumulis (kofuns), which are mounds of earth and stones erected over graves of the ruling class. More than 20,000 were built as monuments between the later part of the 3rd century and the 6th century.[3] It was the peak period of building such mounds.[4] They represent a cultural tradition which is an expression of "forms, and design of the kofun" of the sociopolitical hierarchical order and the link that was prevalent during that period between regions. This period is termed as the Kofun Period.[3] The most proniment imperial masoleum in this cluster of tumulus are of emperor Nintoku and emperor Richu.[5]


The kofun are found in many shapes and dimensions in varying patterns. Some are of simple circular or square shape (empun and hōfun). The larger ones are keyhole-shaped (zempō kōenfun); they represent the highest class of kofun and were built in great detail.[3] The three prominent aspects of these kofun are their massive size and being surrounded by several moats and many secondary kofun.[4]

In the Osaka Plain and Nara Basin, which were the cultural centre of the Kofun Period, the rounded keyhole-shaped tombs were built extending to very large lengths, out of which the Mozu-Furuichi Kofunguns are the most prominent. These are in two kofun groups which are dated to the later part of 4th and early part of 6th centuries. These kofun are of the largest dimensions in the country. The Nintoku-tennō-ryō Kofun, is one grave mound which is a 486 metres (1,594 ft) long tumulus enclosed by a moat and a fortification which is 840 metres (2,760 ft) in length; this is said to be the largest such mound in the world. This cluster also has the Richū-tennō-ryō Kofun, made of a tumulus of 360 metres (1,180 ft) length and said to be the third largest in the country.[3]

Another group of mounds, located about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) away from the Mozu cluster is known as the Furuichi cluster. It has the Ōjin-tennō-ryō Kofun of 425 metres (1,394 ft) length which is said to be the second largest in the country. This group also has 11 more huge massive rounded "keyhole-shaped kofun" with mound length of 200 metres (660 ft) or more.[3]

A feature of these funerary mounds is that they contain – along with the buried people – items made of iron, weapons worn by individuals including arrowheads, swords, hoe and spade tips, and many other similar items. Also found in the mounds are antiquities made of gilded bronze such as horse tacks and sash buckles.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Enjoying Sakai - Kofun Tombs (Tumuli)". Sakai City. Archived from the original on 22 July 2011. Retrieved 8 May 2011.
  2. ^ "Kofun Database". Sakai City. Archived from the original on 22 July 2011. Retrieved 8 May 2011.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Mozu-Furuichi Kofungun, Ancient Tumulus Clusters". UNESCO. Retrieved 22 November 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d "Characteristics of Mozu-Furuichi Kofungun". World Cultural Heritage for Osaka. Retrieved 22 November 2015.
  5. ^ Fawcett 1990, p. 111.


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