Yayoi people

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The Yayoi people (弥生, Yayoi jin) were migrants to the Japanese archipelago from Asia (China or Korea) during the Yayoi period (1000 BCE–300 CE). They interacted with the Jōmon people to form a new culture.

Physical anthropology[edit]

The Yayoi people were Neo-Mongoloid. Their orbit of the nose was flatter, rounded up and down in the top and bottom. Their teeth were larger than those of the Jōmon. Their average height was around 162 to 163 cm, which was greater than that of the Jōmon people.[citation needed]


There are several hypotheses about the origin of the Yayoi people.

The most popular one is that they were the people who brought wet rice cultivation to Japan from the Korean peninsula and Jiangnan near the Yangtze River Delta in China.[1] This is supported by archeological researches and bones found in today southeastern China.[2]

Another is that they are from Primorskaya Oblast or northern part of the Korean peninsula. This is because the human bones of the Doigahama ruins resemble the ancient human bones of the northern part of the Korean peninsula, and pottery is similar to the "Engraved band sentence pottery", widely used during the Yayoi period, was discovered in the Sini-Gai culture in the southwestern coastal province of Primorskaya Oblast.[3]

The theory that Yayoi people have multiple origins has also been suggested and is influential.[4][5]

It is estimated that Yayoi people mainly belonged to Haplogroup O-M176 and Haplogroup O-M122 which are typical for East- and Southeast-Asians.[6]

The linguist Ann Kumar presented genetic and linguistic evidence that the Yayoi people are of Austronesian origin, believing that they were possibly an elite group from Java.[7]


The Yayoi may have spoken an Austroasiatic language or Kra–Dai language, based on the reconstructed Japonic terms *(z/h)ina-Ci 'rice (plant)', *koma-Ci '(hulled) rice', and *pwo 'ear of grain' which Vovin assumes to be agricultural terms of Yayoi origin. Vovin suggests that Japonic was in contact with Austronesian, before the migration from Southern China to Japan, pointing to an ultimate origin of Japonic in southern China.[8][9] Although Vovin (2014)[9] is unsure if Japonic is genetically related to Kra–Dai, but he claims that Japonic must have been in contact with Kra–Dai, pointing to an ultimate origin of Japonic in southern China.

There is typological evidence that Proto-Japonic may have been a monosyllabic, SVO syntax and isolating language; which are features that the Kra–Dai languages also famously exhibit.[9]

A 2015 analysis using the Automated Similarity Judgment Program resulted in the Japonic languages being grouped with the Austroasiatic languages within the Austric macro languages The same analysis also showed a connection to Ainu languages, but this is possibly because of heavy influence from Japonic to Ainu.[10]

Numerous linguistists including Karl H. Menges (1975), Roy Andrew Miller (1971, 1980, 1986, 1996), Oleg A. Mudrak (S. Starostin et al. 2003), Alexis Manaster Ramer, George Starostin (A. Dybo and G. Starostin 2008), and Sergei Starostin (1991, S. Starostin et al. 2003,[11]), however, instead support the hypothesis that Japonic languages are derived from the Yayoi language which was part of an Altaic language family, that also includes the Turkish language family, the Mongolian language family and the Tungistic language family, based upon similarities in grammar, phonetics, and vocabulary at a proto-language stage (bibliographic information cited above found at here). Also, some scholars, including Joseph Greenberg (2000–2002)[12] and Alexander Vovin, who do not agree that Japonic is part of an Altaic language family, still see a common origin for Korean and Japanese, with one of the Korean languages in use ca. 1000 BCE constituting the language of the Yayoi.

But, scholars who see the Japonic and Korean languages as related disagree over which of the several Korean languages in existence ca. 1000 BCE was most closely related to the language of the Yayoi. Linguists including Christopher Beckwith argue for Japanese as a relative of Goguryeo, and for Korean as a descendant of the Silla language, based on lexical similarities between Goguryeo and Japanese, and based upon Silla's ultimate triumph in the quest for political control of Korea. Other linguistists, including Kim Banghan, Alexander Vovin, and J. Marshall Unger argue that Japanese is related to the pre-Goguryeo language of the central and southern part of Korean peninsula, including what would become the Kingdom of Silla, and that Old Korean is Goguryeo with a pre-Goguryeo Japonic substrate, in part, because Japanese-like toponyms found in the historical homeland of Silla were also distributed in southern part of Korean peninsula, and are not found in the northern part of Korean peninsula or south-western Manchuria.[13]


  1. ^ 崎谷満『DNA・考古・言語の学際研究が示す新・日本列島史』(勉誠出版 2009年)(in Japanese)
  2. ^ http://www.trussel.com/prehist/news111.htm
  3. ^ ロシア極東新石器時代研究の新展開 (in Japanese)
  4. ^ 徳永勝士 (2003)「HLA と人類の移動」『Science of humanity Bensei 』(42), 4-9, 東京:勉誠出版 (in Japanese)
  5. ^ 岡正雄『異人その他 日本民族=文化の源流と日本国家の形成』 言叢社 1979 (in Japanese)
  6. ^ Hammer, Michael F; Karafet, Tatiana M; Park, Hwayong; Omoto, Keiichi; Harihara, Shinji; Stoneking, Mark; Horai, Satoshi (2006). "Dual origins of the Japanese: common ground for hunter-gatherer and farmer Y chromosomes". Journal of Human Genetics. 51 (1): 47–58. doi:10.1007/s10038-005-0322-0. PMID 16328082.
  7. ^ "Javanese influence on Japanese - Languages Of The World". Languages Of The World. 2011-05-09. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
  8. ^ Vovin, Alexander. 1998. Japanese rice agriculture terminology and linguistic affiliation of Yayoi culture. In Archaeology and Language II: Archaeological Data and Linguistic Hypotheses. Routledge.
  9. ^ a b c Vovin, Alexander. 2014. "Out of Southern China? – Philological and linguistic musings on the possible Urheimat of Proto-Japonic". Journées de CRLAO 2014. June 27–28, 2014. INALCO, Paris.
  10. ^ Jäger, G (2015). "Support for linguistic macrofamilies from weighted sequence alignment". Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 112: 12752–7. doi:10.1073/pnas.1500331112. PMC 4611657. PMID 26403857.
  11. ^ Oxford Research Encyclopedia: Linguistics "Altaic Languages" http://linguistics.oxfordre.com/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780199384655.001.0001/acrefore-9780199384655-e-35
  12. ^ Greenberg, Joseph H. 2000–2002. Indo-European and Its Closest Relatives: The Eurasiatic Language Family, 2 volumes. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
  13. ^ Blažek, Václav. 2006. "Current progress in Altaic etymology." Linguistica Online, 30 January 2006