The Yayoi people (弥生人 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.
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.
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. This is supported by archeological researches and bones found in today southeastern China.
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.
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. Although Vovin (2014) 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.
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.
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,), 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) 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.
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