A Brief Sketch of Ainu History from Jomon till nowadays
1. Jomon/Neolithic epoch
Ainu are the most ancient population of Japanese archipelago, Kuril islands, Sakhalin and Kamchatka peninsula. From the point of view of physical anthropology Ainu have no similarities with any population of Asia and Pasific Rim except people of Japanese Neolithic culture or so called «Jomon culture». (Jomon is Japanese calque of English term 'cord mark', 'cord marked pottery' which describes a characteristic feature of the pottery of this archaeological culture and on which this culture or a group of cultures was named. Jomon pottery is the oldest pottery of the world and one of the most beautiful also. This archaeological culture or a group of cultures existed in Japanese archipelago since about 13000 BC till about 500 BC.)
Situation in historical linguistics is analogous of that of physical anthropology: Ainu language is considered as an isolated by contemporary linguistics. Ainu language differ radically from neighboor languages: Japanese, Korean, Nivkh, Itelmen, Chinese, Tungusic languages and Austronesian languages.
It is impossible now to say how exactly Ainu came to the Japanese erchipelago (though there are some facts that tell us that Ainu came from South) but it is well known that they settled all over archipelago from southern Ryukyu till Hokkaido and also Kuril islands and southern half of Sakhalin and southern end of Kamchatka.
Toponyms of Ainu origin corroborate this fact, for example: Tsushima <- Ainu.: tuyma – "distant", Fuji <- Ainu: huci – "grandma", "kamuy of fireplace"; Tsukuba <- Ainu: ty ku pa – "head of two bows", Yamatai <- Ainu: ya ma ta i - «place where harbour deeply cuts the land", many examples of Ainu toponyms can be found in Kindaichi Kyousuke works.
Ainu of Jomon epoch were sea fishers and hunters and gatherers and didn't practise agriculture so a vast space of wild nature was a matter of high importance for existence of their culture. Ainu have never had any big settlements, the biggest social unit of Ainu was local group (utari). To maintain balance in nature and in human population was matter of vital importance for Ainu.
About the mid of Jomon period some groups of Austronesian people from South-East Asia appeared in the southern part of Japanese archipelago. (This group is named austronesian with a certain degree of conventionalism because there could be also some people of Yue and Hmong-Mien. And it is important to note that we have little information of this group.) This new migration destroyed the balance of nature and some groups of Ainu were forced to move northward/ Ainu migration to the island of Sakhalin, the islands of Kuriles and Kamchatka began.
When Ainu moved northward they influenced strongly on the culture of Nivkh, Itelmen and Oroch. This fact had been reflected by language: for example: Ainu word kotan – "settlement", "inhabited area" exists in Old Mongolian as gotan, in the language of Gold – hoton, in Manchurian language – hotan, in Nivkh language – hoton. Or, for example, Ainu word inaw, designating little baton with shavings – one of the most important objects of Ainu religion, exists in Nivkh language – nau, in Oroch language – ilau. In Itelmen language exists word kamul designating spirits living in volcanoes and geysers, I believe that this word originated from Ainu word kamuy – “super human being”. I think that it is possible to speak about Ainu colonization because in Ainu language exists original not borrowed word for expression of modality “should”, “must” – easirki while such a languages as Nivkh, Itelmen, Oroch use borrowed words to express this modality and originally have just two modalities: “want” and “cannot”. Modality of “should” is a marker of high organized social system. Due to this parameter Ainu differ radically from such ethnical group as Nivkh, Oroch and Itelmen and due to this fact I think it is possible to speak about Ainu colonization of these territories.
Yamatai - Yamato
While some groups of Ainu were moving northward in the southern part of Japanese archipelago appeared some ethnic groups from Korea. These migrants were of Mongoloid anthropological type and spoke an Altaic language. First groups of this migration appeared in japanese archipelago in the end of Jomon and in the beginning of Yayoi epoch (Yayoi is archaeological culture which came in the stead of Jomon. It is also named after its ceramics which was named after teh place where it was found - Yayoi district in Tokyo. Yayoi culture lasted from 500 BC till about 300 AD). And the last groups of these ancient Korean migrants appeared in the Japanese islands in the very end of Yayoi and even in the beginning of the next period - Kofun.
It is generally supposed that this last group was the root of emperor kin tenno and established Yamato state and that after the establish of Yamato began the epoch of permanent war between Wajin(Japanese) and Emishi(Ainu). But reality was a bit more difficult.
First, word Yamato obviously originated from word Yamatai. (Yamatai is the most ancient state placed in the Japanese archipelago. Yamatai state was described in Chinese chronicle "Wei Zhi". We are to note that Wei Zi is allocated against others Chinese text of this epoch: it has no fantasy and it's very realistic, for example distance between Korean peninsula and Yamatai is described very close to reality. "Wei Zhi" is jsut a diary of a traveller. And there are a lot of Ainu toponyms and names in it; this fact will be decribed in a certain post in my blog later.)
Word "Yamato" is written down by hieroglyfes as 大和 and according to the rules these kanji should be read as 'dai wa' - 'great wa'. ("Great Wa" is the name invented by Chinese to denote ancient Japan and it was used until term Nihon was invented.) But they are not read so, they are read 'Yamato', so I am to note that redaing of these kanji as "Yamato" isn't even ateji (meaningless kanji which express the phonetics) but is just a reading which is attached to these kanji. This fact tells us that word Yamato is of island origin. Moreover I state that Yamatai/Yamato is a word of Ainu origin. (Yamato is just a transformation of Yamatai cause in Old Japanese diphtongs were not allowed and they became a single soud.) The word Yamatai definitely consists of clear Ainu roots and has clear meaning if it is read in Ainu (this toponym describing a characteristic feature of a certain local landscape as well as all Ainu toponyms): ya ma ta i - place where hardour deeply cuts the land. (In Wei Zhi word Yamatai is written down as ateji i.e. using some meaningless hieroglyphes which express phonetics, here 邪馬台 so it is possible to restore phonetics)
The most probable place where Yamatai state could be is a harbour in the mouth of Tikugo river near of the town with the same name (i.e. Yamato) in Fukuoka prefecture in the island of Kyushu. All these facts are well described in book "Wei Zhi read via Ainu language" by Hashimoto Kiyoshi who though is an amateur and made some mistakes but general ideas are definetily true and shoul be paid attention for.
Having analysed Wei Zhi Hashimoto defined the place of Yamatai as it's shown in the following schemes:
Pimiko queen of Yamatai described in Wei Zhi is sometimes indetified with empress Jingu described in Nihon shoki. More exactly some writings related to Pimiko were just copypasted to the certain part of Nihon shoki so it's possible to state that Jingu = Pimiko.
Second, there are no serious objections for there could not appear a state structure on the base of Jomon culture.
There was appropriate material base, though agriculture which usually is the precondition for appear of statehood, was practised restrictedly by the Ainu, but rich sea hunting sea fishing and sea gathering definitely could be the base of material stratification and statehood.
Then from the point of view of ancinet times Jomon culture was an advaced one and not even from the point of view of ancient but even from contemporary point of view it is very advaced. If we look at Jomon ceramics we can see great masterpieces which are hardly reached by any of contemporary artists. This art testifies of high development of consiousness and a very advanced culture. on the base of such culture could appear a state.
Then we are to ask what is state? If we speak of ancient tmes state is first of all a certain territory and a certain population and also some authority basing on a certain institutionalised violence/ institutionalised force (i.e. on a group of people who are engaged in military activity or violence profecionally) while the other population should feed this group and pay some fee to it.
And there are obvious archaeological evidence of existence of state:
"The Jomon people, though as affluent as the North-west Coast indians pf North America. They occasionally diverted axes for cutting down trees and bows and arrows for hunting to the purpose of killing people, but the number of such victims was very small; among several thousand bodies of Jomon people so far discovered, less than ten bodies (!) were the victims of homicide.
On the other hand, the evidence of warfare during the Yayoi Period is quite clear. Defencive settlements appeared, which were surrounded by either moats of defensive walls or which were located on the hilltops characterized by poor productivity but by excellent command of view. An extensive defensive moat and a watch tower are exemplified by the recent discovery of the Yoshinogari settlement site (dated to the first to third century. A. D.) in Saga Prefecture, western Kyushu Island.
While no homicide tools per se in the Jomon Period, there were many kinds made of bronze, iron, and stones used in the Yayoi Period. Among these, the evolution of stone arrowheads in western Japan tends to illustrate this transformation from a peaceful jomon community to an aggressive Yayoi village. For ten thousand years since the beginning of jomon Period, the form of arrowheads was triangular, and the arrowheads weighted less than two grams. The lighter an arrow was, the further and faster the arrow flew. On the other hand, the heavier an arrow, the deeper the arrow could penetrate into the prey's or victim's body.
...Archaeologistss have also discovered many Yayoi Period tombs for the victims against whom such homicide tools were used or those un which such homicide tools were buried with the bodies...
Sahara Makoto: 200 -201
research of DNA of Japanese population showed that most widely spread Y-japlogroup is D2 which is main Ainu Y-haplogroup (abou 80% of Ainu have it). The most notable fact is that most part of Japanese nobility is of Ainu origin. This fact tells us that the rulers were Ainu. But how it could be? from a common point of view Japanese culture has practically no similarities with Ainu culture. (Though as it will be shown in special text the roots of Japanese culture are of Ainu origin) Japanese speak Japanese language but not Ainu. Below I try to explain how it could be.
Just image the following: in the beginning of our era a group of Korean came to the Japanese archipelago. The archipelago is inhabited by some groups of Austronesian and Ainu. And in order to secure his people the chief of Korean decided to become a relative with an Ainu group. Korean chief has beautiful daughter and he wanted his daughter marry the main Ainu chief for his son-in-law can protect him from other Ainu bands. Ainu chief also has his own iterest: the daughter of Korean chief is much more attractive than Ainu women. moreover Korean people brought such a technologies which Ainu don't know but using which he can easily coquer other Ainu groups. thus the most brutal Ainu chief marries the most beautiful and educated Korean princess. their son becomes tenno. and he has D2 Y chromosome and Korean Mitochondrial DNA.
When in the beginning of Yayoi epoch in Japanese archipelago started to appear first groups of Korean newcomers the archipelago is completely occupied by Ainu and there are almost no free territories and no newcomers are desirable. There are some groups of Ainu, some principalities which wage war between each other and safety of korean newcomers is quite questionable. This because the first newcomers from Korea set themselves in those territories which are close to Korean peninsula: in North-West of Kyushu and in Izumo. With the arrival of Korean newcomers social tension and opposition not only between islanders and newcomers but also between various groups of Ainu and newly arrived Koreans and, it is probable somehow to strengthen the position of their clans Korean leaders decided to enter the relations with leaders of the most powerful Ainu clans. And let's image the following situation: Korean chief has a daughter and he made her to marry the chief of most powerful Ainu clan which is Yamatai clan. The "Korean" leader counts that his son-in-law will battle for his clan against other Ainu group and other "Koreans".
The Ainu leader also has his interests: first, strangers with whom it is going to become related, brought such technologies, possessing which, he can subdue hostile Ainu groups almost without any efforts; besides, the fact of possession the foreign woman also will lift his prestige and prestige of his clan in eyes of another groups of Ainu. And thus the most brutal Ainu leader takes as wife the most beautiful and educated «Korean princess». They give birth to a boy who gets the "Korean" education, learns to be at war at the father and inherits to the grandfather – becomes head of the "Korean" clan, but he bears Ainu Y-haplogroup.
And one of such sons of the Ainu chief and "Korean princess" became the ancestor of a clan which later was called tenno.
It is just the general outline of the story about how Yamatay became Yamato.
Moreover it should be noted that from the very beginning there were very different groups of Ainu: certain groups created state structures and certain didn't. It is highly probable that those Ainu who later fought with Yamato state were considerd as savages even by the people of Yamatai. Also it hiighly possible that there were several Ainu states and that kingdom/principality of Yamatai subdued those which were more weak.
Also it should be noted that even early Yamatai was very different in its ethnic aspect. From the very beginning there were not only Ainu but also Austronesian and possibly some Korean and Chinese (Korean and Chinese could be on service of prices of Yamatai as ambassadors of Yamatai to Han and Wei)
(will be continued)