Around 4 to 6 century, Kofun (古墳) culture appeared.  Kofun is a huge burial place for the powerful people at the time.  They are often Zenpo-Koen-Fun (前方後円墳) that is the front is square and the back is round shape.  If you look at it from the sly, it shapes like a keyhole.  The largest one is Ninntoku Tenno Ryo (仁徳天皇陵) in Osaka, the tomb for the Emperor Nintoku.  The length is 480M X 305M.  The height is 35M.  Inside, we found swords, armors, bronze mirror, jewelry, iron, metal tools.  Sometimes, iron itself, since iron was considered very precious, they are only for the ruling class.  The outside of the Kofun, a large number of Haniwa *¹ were placed.  It is said they are for the retaining wall purpose.  Originally they were just simple tube shape, eventually became very elaborate figurines.  Smiling people, Smiling soldier, a dog with a bell around the neck, a female with hat, farmers, house, monkey, ship, bird, etc.  Some of them are really elaborately made and very cute.  you can see people in those days wore elaborate clothes.  Haniwa is very popular among children in Japan.  We have a children’s TV program “Haniwa-kun”, Haniwa is the main character.  Those Haniwa somewhat suggests us what was their life like.  Their facial expression is all happy and smiling.   According to the old Japanese history book Nihon Shoki (日本書紀), it said Haniwa is the replacement of martyrdom, but it is not proved.  Like I described in chapter 3|Joko-to, from Ogonzuka Kofun (黄金塚古墳), another huge Kofun in Osaka, they found a sword.  The hilt was made in Japan and the blade is made in China.  This sword has round hilt and on the hilt, it has some character.  It said 中 平 ⌈   ⌋ 年.   We can not see the third letter.  But we know 中平 is from 184 to 189 AD, and 年 indicate the year, therefore it was made between 184 to 189.  And this sword came out from the 4th Century tomb.    I took archaeology at Meiji University.  I found it most fascinating subject.  The professor explained to us how to determine when a particular bronze mirror was made by reading the half disappearing character on the back of it.  Or he explained to us that a large number of Doutaku*² has excavated from one particular place, fit inside one another.  Doutaku is a musical instrument for the ritual.  Therefore scholars think people then were being attacked by their enemy so they hid Doutaku in a hurry and escaped.  On and on.  In many countries, excavation is a time-consuming tedious work and often it takes a long time to find anything.  But in Japan, it is not as hard as other countries.   We often find things, it may not what you are looking for, but we excavate items quite often.

398px-群馬県大泉町古海出土_埴輪_腰かける巫女

*¹ 腰かける巫女(群馬県大泉町古海出土)国立博物館蔵                                             Sitting Shrine Maiden (Excavated from Gunma Prefecture)  Owned by National Museum

滋賀県野洲市小篠原字大岩山出土_突線紐5式銅鐸    *² 滋賀県野洲市小篠原字大岩屋出土突線紐5式銅鐸  東京国立博物館展示              Doutaku     Excavated from Shiga Prefecture   Displayed at Tokyo National Museum

 

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