HOME > Journal > No.14 > Abstracts

NIHON KÔKOGAKU  14  Abstracts

[A] : Article, [RN] : Research Note, [PR] : Preliminary Report of Excavation, [ER] : Event Report, [SL] : Special Lecture

No.14, November 2002, 159p; ISSN 1340-8488, ISBN 4-642-09089-4
[A] FURUYA Noriyuki Funerary Rituals and the Yayoi-Kofun Transition1-20
[A] KURAFUJI Hiroshi Remarks on the Stone Shelves in Corridor-Style Stone Chambers in Kyushu21-36
[A] KAKU Takayo Haniwa Birds37-52
[A] NAKAMURA Goro The Relations Between Sutra Mounds and Social and Religious Movements in Japan from the 10th to 12th Centuries53-70
[A] SUZUKI Yasuyuki Medieval Earthenware as a Symbol of Temporality71-87
[A] NISHIDA Yasutami On pottery form, classification, and usage89-104
[A] TOKITSU Yuko A Study of the "Discerning Eye"105-125
[RN] AKIYAMA Kozo Stone Rods of the Yayoi Period127-136
[PR] KAWASAKI Shino and HONDO Hiroyuki Results of the Excavation of the Sujikai Site137-144
[PR] HAGIWARA Hirofumi and KATO Arishige The Foundation Deposits of a 1639 Storehouse at the Dutch Factory Site in Hirado145-156

Funerary Rituals and the Yayoi-Kofun Transition

FURUYA Noriyuki


Many studies have been conducted on the excavational contexts of pottery and haniwa from burial mounds of the Yayoi and Kofun periods. These studies have dealt with a wide range of regions and phases. Despite the importance of this topic, however, there has been little mutual communication between researchers and methodological approaches remain underdeveloped.

Within the general framework of this research, in this article I discuss social changes in the Late Yayoi to Early Kofun periods from the perspective of funerary ritual. The analysis uses arrangements of pottery and haniwa found on burial mounds of these periods without distinguishing types of burial or ceramic objects (i.e., pots versus haniwa). A reconsideration of methodology is divided into five sections on 'Arrangements and positioning', 'Types of vessels', 'Origins of utilized ceramics', 'The context of finds upon discovery', and 'Relationships with the rank of the burial'. Examples with certain similarities and whose general patern can be read from the data are discussed as "funerary rituals" and the origin of each ritual is investigated.

As a result of the analysis, the following broad changes could be traced. (1) The Late Yayoi saw a peak in regionally-varied community feasting rituals. Rituals involving the placement of pottery above the main burial were shared across northeast Shikoku, Kibi, San'in, and the northern Kinki, but the relationship between the arrangement of pottery and the rank of the burial varied between regions. (2) A period of ritual reorganization followed in the period equivalent to the Shonai and Old Furu ceramic phases. In each area, ritual artifacts became more symbolic and regionally-specific enclosure-type arrangements of pottery and haniwa appeared. The artifacts used in these enclosure-type arrangements bore strong influences from the local ritual artifacts of the preceding phase and regional differences thus became more prominent. (3) The third stage was the time of the completion of kofun funerary rituals. In the latter half of the Early Kofun period, cylindrical haniwa stands spread with the increase in areas practicing enclosure-type arrangements. Feasting ceremonies disappeared to be replaced by more formal banquets.

An important result of the present analysis was the regional differences in the relationship between tomb rank and funerary ritual in the Yayoi period. This was probably the cause of differences in the social roles of funerary rituals in each region and it is thought that this had an important effect on the funerary rituals of the keyhole-shaped tombs of the following Kofun period.


Late Yayoi, Early Kofun, west Japan, burial rituals, feasting

Remarks on the Stone Shelves in Corridor-Style Stone Chambers in Kyushu



Stone shelves (ishidana) are shelf-like architectural features found inside corridor-style stone chambers. This article aims to clarify the origin and characteristics of these stone shelves in Kyushu, looking particularly at their relationship with a similar feature that the author terms 'stone houses' (ishiyakata).

In Kyushu, stone shelves can be divided into a type that derives from the stone houses and another type that has a different origin. There is a possibility that specialist stone workers were involved in the construction of the former type, and the role of craftsmen may be a basic difference between the two types. Furthermore, in Kyushu the stone house features are always found within the main area of distribution of the stone shelves, the former appearing before the latter. This shows that even though their origins may have been separate, stone house features had an important influence on the establishment of the stone shelves.

During the first third of the 6th century, stone house features, decorated kofun and other archaeological elements of the Kikuchi River region of north Kumamoto Prefecture began to spread across Kyushu. The appearance and development of stone shelves can be seen as part of this process. Groups from north Kumamoto had an important influence on tomb mounds across Kyushu, but the tombs that they left were not particularly large. Overland connections with the groups of the Yame region who built large tombs in the homeland of the Tsukushi-no-kimi were probably behind this influence.


Kofun period, Kyushu, tomb architecture,

Haniwa Birds

KAKU Takayo


This article discusses bird-shaped haniwa that were placed on kofun burial mounds in Kofun period Japan. These bird haniwa include chickens, waterfowl, cormorants, hawks, and cranes or herons. In this paper, I analyze the morphology of these haniwa in comparison with the actual shape and ecology of these birds.

Haniwa chickens are found from the very beginning of the custom of placing these sculptures on tombs and they continue right through the period of haniwa use. Their numbers are also much greater than finds of other birds. Haniwa chickens are found from Kagoshima to Iwate Prefectures, a distribution that is more or less the same as the distribution of kofun with haniwa.

Bird-shaped haniwa differ as to the time of their appearance and their locations on tombs depending on the type of bird. This means that all birds did not play the same role but that their significance probably differed depending on the type of bird. Bird-shaped haniwa cannot be considered as one group but must be seen separately depending on the bird. In order to classify these haniwa, therefore, this article considers the ways in which the characteristics of the actual birds are represented in haniwa form. Since they are all birds, there are certain shared features common to the whole category, but there are also differences in expression than can be used to differentiate different types of bird.

If one looks in detail at the expression of each part of the body, early examples use actual birds as models but before long the stylistic expression becomes fixed and in the majority of cases the sculpture was made based on bird-shaped haniwa rather than the birds themselves. The types of birds also became limited and it was not possible to freely represent birds in haniwa form.


Kofun period, western Japan, bird-shaped haniwa

The Relations Between Sutra Mounds and Social and Religious Movements in Japan from the 10th to 12th Centuries



The sutra mound built by the nun Hoyaku at Oku-no-In on Mt. Koya has three main characteristics: (1) for a sutra mound built by a woman it contains extremely high quality objects; (2) the stated strong desire that, under the divine protection of Kukai, it would encounter the future coming of the Maitreya and be placed under the grace of the Buddha; and (3) the existence of the philosophy of nirvana. The author considers Hoyaku as Chugu Atsuko Naishinno, wife of the Emperor Horikawa, and argues that the mound was built as a memorial service for the Emperor, the sutras being buried shortly before the death of the empress. It can be presumed that this rare support for Maitreya beliefs derived from the particular ardent belief of those who cherished the memory of the emperor that they would be able to meet him again in the event of the coming of the Maitreya. The empress was a devout Buddhist who also accepted popular Buddhist beliefs.

It is rare that the identity of a person who erected a sutra mound is known; in many cases we also have no clues as to the beliefs of that person. On the other hand, there are a few cases where sutra mounds are known to have been built by individuals such as Fujiwara-no-Michinaga, Fujiwara-no-Moromichi and the retired emperor Shirakawa for whom there is a massive quantity of available information. If we consider Hoyaku's Oku-no-In sutra mound as having been built by the Horikawa Empress, then we have another such example of an identifiable mound. The custom of erecting sutra mounds began with Michinaga burying sutras on Mt. Kinpu. These four individuals all belonged to the highest level of society. Michinaga lived a few decades earlier, but the other three were all closely related. Political power was concentrated in the hands of Michinaga and retired emperor Shirakawa who consequently held practical, worldly beliefs; in contrast, the Horikawa Empress clearly had beliefs that negated the mundane and it is interesting that such popular ideas should have also spread to the highest echelons of society.

The priest Saichu who practiced on Mt. Hiei emphasized that everyone has the potential to achieve Buddhahood. Michinaga's great-grandfather and grandfather had used their marital relations with the imperial family to strengthen their political power. At the same time, their financial support for Mt. Hiei increased their influence over the priests there. The political power of these Sekkanke Regents reached its peak during the time of Michinaga who built sutra mounds based on the beliefs found on Mt. Hiei. The Regents were opposed by the imperial family who took back power during the time of the Emperor Go-Sanjo. In the following generation, retired emperor Shirakawa followed Michinaga's custom and buried sutras on Mt. Kinpu; he later became passionate about Kumano shrine and his grandson Toba also placed sutras in that shrine.

The Pure Land sect and nirvana beliefs that supported the construction of sutra mounds were popular movements that grew mainly through the proselytism of hijiri (holy men). In the Kyoto area, these hijiri were based in the holy parts of Rakuhoku and traveled between the believers in Kyoto and the main temples of Mt. Hiei and the southern capital. Within this wide area of operations, there are also examples of hijiri traveling between Kyoto and shoen estates and between different estates owned by the same landowner. These beliefs and practices spread both geographically and socially and gradually developed into Kamakura Buddhism.


Heian Buddhism, sutra mounds, Mt. Hiei

Medieval Earthenware as a Symbol of Temporality

SUZUKI Yasuyuki


Haji-type earthenware, the most common earthenware from medieval sites in Japan, is thought to have been a special type of pottery for use in rituals and banquets, but some scholars are of the opinion that it had varied functions centered on daily use. There are still many aspects of the meaning and use of Haji-type earthenware that are not understood. The object of this article is to clarify the essence of the meaning of Haji-type earthenware and to link that meaning with its actual use.

Historical documents confirm that Haji-type earthenware was used in ceremonies performed by the warrior class. From an investigation of the social function of these ceremonies, it was concluded that they can be defined as attempts to strengthen group bonds by the temporary dissolution of social unification through the non-ordinary world. There were two ways of making this non-ordinary world appear: one involved strengthening the worldly order into a supra-ordinary world, the other deviation from the mundane into an anti-ordinary world. As ways of dissolving social unity these were complete opposites, but neither method could achieve its purpose on its own and they developed a mutually dependent relationship.

The non-ordinary world was cut from the ordinary world like a frame and expressed through the concept of karisome, that which is impermanent or trifling. Haji-type earthenware carried this message of 'impermanence' because it was easily broken and thus could not be used for long periods of time. It is argued here that through this message of 'impermanence', Haji-type earthenware was used as a tool for the non-ordinary world. Various archaeological, documentary and pictorial sources can be used to reconstruct the use patterns of Haji-type earthenware, but it can be seen that these all contain a coherent meaning of 'impermanence'.


Haji-type earthenware, rituals, non-ordinary world, medieval Japan

On pottery form, classification, and usage

NISHIDA Yasutami

Abstract :

As a principle, pottery usage is usually explained by its form. Systematic methods of form classifications have been developed. It seems likely, however, that usually a usage demands a form, whereas a form can serve multiple usages.

The author conducted a analysis on the cognition of two pairs of pottery forms, using illustrations with gradually changing elements such as depth, neck length and pedestal height, similar to the work done by Kempton (1981). The pairs were Tsubo and Kame (almost equivalent to jar and vase), and Sara and Wan (saucer and bowl). The results showed significant differences between archaeology students and others, also differences were noticed by gender and age (609 samples).

Ethnoarchaeological studies on pottery form and usage, though not so many, have suggested that forms, the names of the forms and their usages often do not coincide. The cognition and classification of pots depends on how often one works with them and one's social status ? a fact that can also be applied to those who classify archaeological finds. Archaeological classifications should be systematic though their limitations for usage studies must be recognized.


pottery usage; form; classification; cognition

A Study of the "Discerning Eye"



The objectives of this article are (1) to understand the particular cognitive style used by archaeologists through an experimental procedure derived from cognitive science that focuses on skill, and (2) to show the implications of the experimental results for archaeology.

For objective (1), the exceptional abilities in information processing (classification, identification, memory, etc) exhibited by experienced archaeologists with respect to artifacts were termed the "discerning eye" and an attempt was made to clarify the characteristics of this "eye" through three experiments. The first experiment used drawing to analyze the nature of archaeological knowledge. It was shown that coarse-grained visual and non-linguistic attributes were especially important elements of the structure of this knowledge. In the second experiment, an eye camera was used to measure the eye movements of subjects who were observing pottery and it was found that experienced archaeologists posses a characteristic observational pattern. In comparison with the results of a memory test where the subjects were required to draw the artifacts they had just observed, it was shown that there is an intimate relationship between methods of observation and the contents and accuracy of the archaeologists' memory. The third experiment moved out of the laboratory in order to confirm the results of the first and second experiments in a more day-to-day context. This experiment focused on the cognitive abilities of archaeologists actually engaged in excavation. An eye camera was used to measure the observational patterns of subjects who were observing features and stratigraphic sections. A drawing test carried out after the eye camera experiment was used to investigate the subjects' cognitive view of the features they had observed. It was confirmed that there is a relationship between observational behavior and cognitive contents.

These empirical studies showed how a particular cognitive style, mastered through experience, influences the quality of archaeological judgment (information processing). In this way, a more accurate understanding of the cognitive properties of our topics of research may increase the possibility of the development of more refined methodologies and effective teaching. A further significance of this approach may lie in its encouragement to reformulate our knowledge, something which may have great value for archaeology as a whole at a time of deepening confusion following the Early Paleolithic scandal.


"discerning eye", cognitive ability, eye camera, ceramic analysis

Stone Rods of the Yayoi Period



Magical or ritual objects which had a long history of intimate connections with the spiritual life of the Jomon period have traditionally been studied as so-called 'secondary tools' within Jomon archaeology. Within this category, sekibo or 'stone rods' occupy an important position. These 'rods' include stone swords, daggers and phallic-shaped objects. Stone rods can be seen as artifacts that are representative of the Jomon period.

Stone rods have mainly been discovered from the eastern half of the archipelago and so far most research has also been conducted in that area. Recently, however, research on Jomon stone rods has been increasing in western Japan. In particular, Seiji Kobayashi and Yutaka Nakamura have compiled and published an exhaustive list of related materials. However, some of the stone rods contained in Kawachi Heiya Isekigun no Dotai [The Evolution of the Kawachi Plain Site Complex] (Osaka Maizo Bunkazai Center, eds. 1987-2000) were unfortunately omitted from their work due to the unsatisfactory level of publication in that site report. This article, therefore, attempts to supplement these published materials by a preliminary re-examination of the stone rods excavated from the various sites around the southern shore of the Paleo-Kawachi Lake, the central part of present-day Osaka Prefecture. As a result, it is shown that in this region there are relatively many finds from Yayoi-period features and thus we can confirm the existence of "Yayoi-period stone rods" which are different from those of the Jomon period. Furthermore, if we look at related data from neighboring areas, we can confirm the same phenomenon across the whole Kinki region.

In this region at the beginning of the Yayoi period, a Yayoi group with the new technology of wet rice cultivation and new Ongagawa-type domestic pottery moved into an area settled by existing Jomon groups and for a certain while these two groups coexisted together. Later, the new Yayoi culture became established over the whole region. Against this background, this article shows that most of the "Yayoi-period stone rods" discussed here date from a limited time span from the beginning of the Yayoi, when Jomon-type groups and Yayoi-type groups were coexisting, through until the start of the Middle Yayoi phase. This phenomenon is quite conspicuous in the Osaka Bay area and is especially noticeable around the periphery of the area that produced the oldest ditched Yayoi settlements in the Kinki.

In existing research, stone rods that possibly belong to the Yayoi period have usually been interpreted as objects of a different genealogy that were produced through principles that differed from those behind the Jomon rods. There has not been detailed discussion of those examples that appear to show a Jomon inheritance. The stone rods discussed in this article, however, also show their Jomon lineage in their morphology. If we reanalyze the contexts in which these ceremonial objects were maintained by each group, then the following facts become clear.

We can suggest that, at the beginning of the Yayoi period, in the dramatic process of encounter, co-existence and fusion between Jomon and Yayoi groups, very close individual and social contacts were probably achieved between both groups from first contact. This was the required prerequisite for two different groups to coexist in the same place. In the next stage when Yayoi culture became universally established, stone rods did not disappear but continued to be firmly rooted, suggesting that important elements of the new Yayoi culture derived from existing Jomon groups. This constitutes proof that the arrival of Yayoi groups was not a sort of invasion in which the existing Jomon people were conquered and exterminated, but that rather the Jomon-Yayoi transition saw the very rapid fusion of two different groups without major friction or conflict.


Jomon-Yayoi transition, stone rods, ritual artifacts, Kinki region

Results of the Excavation of the Sujikai Site

KAWASAKI Shino and HONDO Hiroyuki


The Sujikai site is located on the alluvial plain of the lower reaches of the Kumozu River in Ureshino Town, Ichishi-gun, Mie Prefecture. Excavations associated with the construction of a bypass around National Route 23 in 2001, resulted in the discovery of dry field and wet paddy field features dating to the Early Yayoi.

The archaeological features appeared on two land surfaces. The base of the lower surface is secondary sediment of so-called kuroboku-do, black silt from decayed plants. This surface was used according to the elevation of the land: higher areas were used for dry fields and lower areas for wet paddies. A main irrigation canal ran between the two types of fields. The dry fields had a ridge and furrow system with a very narrow span between each ridge. Circular pits were also discovered. Branch irrigation canals led to parts of the dry fields. Both dry and paddy fields were covered by a sand layer caused by a flood which also filled the irrigation canals. This sand layer served as the base of the upper land surface on which both sides of the main irrigation canal were used as paddy fields.

Along the west coast of Ise Bay, the possibility has already been suggested that wet rice cultivation was carried out at the Kamimida and Noso sites. The present discoveries at Sujikai have confirmed the existence of paddy fields and irrigation facilities and shown that a managerial-type irrigation system for the growing of paddy rice had already been established at this site. The results of the excavations at Sujikai are further noteworthy because there are few examples of dry fields known from the Early Yayoi period in Japan. Analyses of plant remains and changes in land use were carried out as part of the excavations and it is hoped that a range of interesting perspectives will be forthcoming in the near future.


Early Yayoi, Ise Bay, agricultural field remains

The Foundation Deposits of a 1639 Storehouse at the Dutch Factory Site in Hirado

HAGIWARA Hirofumi and KATO Arishige


The Dutch Factory at Hirado was established in 1609 as the Japanese trading base of the Dutch East India Company. In 1641, the Factory was moved to Dejima in Nagasaki, but until then it fulfilled an important role as the focus of exchanges between Japan and the Netherlands. Little had been known about the Factory buildings until recent archaeological excavations and research on Dutch documents began to clarify the size, function and layout of the buildings.

Based on the excavations, features from the time of the Factory were divided into three phases that fit well with the process of coastal reclamation for Factory land. The first phase saw the use of existing buildings on the site. The second phase lasted from 1612, when the Factory began construction work on its own facilities, until 1636. Finally, phase three began with the construction of Western-style stone storehouses in 1637 and lasted until 1641?a very short phase but one which has many historical records.

Hirado City Board of Education began excavations with the objective of preserving and reconstructing the Factory site. In the 2002 season, these excavations revealed a Western-style stone storehouse that dated from 1639. This storehouse had been built from December 1638 until July 1639, but on November 9, 1640 the Tokugawa bakufu issued its first order to destroy it.

According to account books and other records, this was a rectangular building whose inner walls had a length of 148 feet, a width of 41 feet and stone walls two feet thick. If one converts feet into Japanese shaku, however, the measurements fit better with the dimensions of the actual foundations discovered in the archaeological excavations. The wall foundations are a ditch with an upper width of 100-160 cm, a lower width of 60-100 cm and a depth of 30cm. A 10 cm layer of sand was found at the bottom of this ditch. Stones were laid on top of this sand and then hardened with mortar.

A foundation feature in the centre of the south end of this building is thought to have been an outside staircase. This feature had an upper width of 210 cm, a lower width of 170 cm, a depth of 50 cm and a length of 10 m. The foundation stones were packed tightly in a pit that had a diameter of 200 cm and a depth of 40 cm.

The foundation features of the 1639 storehouse at Hirado were built using a type of construction that has no parallels elsewhere in Japan. The present excavations have shown that the archaeological deposits of this building conform well with the historical diaries and account books from the Dutch Factory.


Hirado, Dutch East India Company, Western-style architectural deposits, early Tokugawa period