ca. 10,500 to 300 BCE
• Japan, 8000-2000 B.C. [Timeline of Art History, The Metropolitan Museum of Art]
"Japan's Neolithic Age coincides with a long period of climatic warming that begins about 10,000 B.C. and causes sea levels to rise — separating the Japanese archipelago from the Asian continent. This epoch, known as Jomon, or 'cord-marked,' takes its name from the distinctive vessels made during this time." With a period overview, list of key events, and one related artwork.
• Japan, 2000-1000 B.C. [Timeline of Art History, The Metropolitan Museum of Art]
"The people of this period live primarily in the foothills and along the coast. As indicated by huge shell mounds and the appearance of new fishing devices, the sea provides the primary source of food." With a period overview, list of key events, and four related artworks.
• Jomon Culture [Timeline of Art History, The Metropolitan Museum of Art]
A short introduction, with images of seven artifacts in the museum's collection.
• Prehistoric Japan: Ceramics and Metallurgy [Princeton University Art Museum]
An excellent short overview of the Jomon and Yayoi periods.
• New Genetic Evidence Resolves Origins of Japanese People [Molecular Biology and Evolution]
"Was there a single migration event or gradual mixing of cultures that gave rise to modern Japanese?According to current theory, about 2,000–3,000 years ago, two populations, the hunter-gatherer Jomon from the Japanese archipelago and the agricultural Yayoi from continental East Asia, intermingled to give rise to the modern Japanese population. However, some researchers have suggested otherwise, with the Jomon culture gradually transformed into the Yayoi culture without large migrations into modern day Japan. To resolve the controversy, researchers Nakagome et al. (2015) identified the differences between the Ainu people (direct descendants of indigenous Jomon) with Chinese from Beijing (same ancestry as Yayoi)."
• Map of Possible Migrations of Jomon and Yayoi Peoples [Japan Policy Forum]
Scroll down page to map.
• Japan Rediscovers its Korean Past [New York Times]
• Early Japan (50,000 BC - 710 AD) [About Japan: A Teacher's Resource]
An overview of Japanese history from 50,000 BCE to 710 CE. Section 2 is about the Jomon Period.
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Primary Source • The Legendary Past: The Age of the Gods [Asia for Educators]
Introduction to the creation myths of Japan. Contains a paraphrased version of these myths as told in the Kojiki and the Nihon Shoki. These legends have been important to Japanese religion, historical consciousness, and national identity. Includes discussion questions for students.
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• Shinto [Asia for Educators]
Text adapted from an article originally published in 1982 in FOCUS magazine, by Paul B. Watt, currently professor of Asian studies at DePauw University. Includes discussion questions for students.
• Shinto [Asia Society]
A short introductory reading.
• Religion & Ethics: Shinto [BBC]
The BBC's Religion & Ethics portal page on Shinto, with links to articles about many aspects of Shinto, including beliefs, history, rites and rituals, key texts, and festivals.
• Sacred Spaces in Shinto [Teaching Comparative Religion through Art and Architecture, Office of Resources for International Area Studies, University of California at Berkeley]
Excellent information about Shinto shrines. This is a visual resources website created for a teacher workshop on teaching comparative religion through art and architecture. (Berkeley is redoing its website and will alert us when this resource is again available).
Find more resources on Shinto
at OMuRAA (Online Museum Resources on Asian Art)
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