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Thread: What's the origin of the Japanese people ?

  1. #1
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Post What's the origin of the Japanese people ?

    Like Kjeld mention it in another thread, there has been a lot of migrations from the Asian mainland to the islands of Indonesia and Japan during the ice age. I recommend a very good book on the development and migration of human societies : Guns, Germs, and Steel, by Jared Diamond.

    Indonesians, Malaysians and Philipinos actually originate from Southern China. They'd have migrated on boats via Taiwan and displace the original inhabitants that might have been related to Dravidians of Southern India. In Papua-New Guinea, the indigenous people were more numerous and well settled, so that they had to go around them and continued to Polynesia (all the pacific islands) and New Zealand. With pimitive boats, they were able to travel as far as Hawai or the Easter Islands. Linguistically, all polynesian languages, from Hawai to the Fiji and New Zealand, via the Marianias, Kiribati, Tuvalu, etc. are closely related. They are related to Indonesians languages as well. Differences between regions increase with the time they were settled, not the distance between them. So, 2 groups of islands in the pacific might be 500km away, but the inhabitants of one may only have been settled a few generations away by inhabitants of the other group.

    Indonesians ?

    I have noticed myself quite a few similarities between Bahasa Indonesia/Malaysia and Japanese language. Apart from the very similar pronounciation in both languages, there is the same hierarchical differences in personal pronouns. For example "you" is either "anda" or "kamu" with the same meaning and wa of using as "anata" and "kimi" in Japanese. Likewise, "suki" D (to like) translates "suka" in Bahasa. Such similarities are striking. In both languages you can make a plural by doubling the word, like wareware in Japanese (ware = I or you, wareware = we). Doubling of words is so common that there is a kanji that only means the word is doubled(" X") in written Japanese. However, it is more common in Bahasa nowadays where it is almost systematical. Expressions like "ittekimasu, itteirashai, tadaima and okaeri" also exist in Indonesian (selamat jalan, selamat tinggal...), but not in European languages. I am not a specialist of any of these languages at all. I barely know a few words in Indonesian, but it's enough to see the link with Japanese.

    Japanese matsuri ressembles so much Balinese ones that one could wonder if they are actually the same country. I've seen a cremation in Bali ; they cary the dead body very much like Japanese carry a mikoshi. Balinese funerals are joyful and people swinging the "mikoshi" in the streets and making loud noise to scare the evil sprits. Basically, Bali is Hindu, but has mixed it with the original animist religion. Shinto is also an animisn, and we can see lots of other cultural similarities between non-muslim/non-christian Indonesia and non-buddhist Japan. For example, the wall and entrance around traditional houses and the style of Balinese temples and Japanese shrines. Buddhism, Islam and Christianity all arrived much later after the supposed original ancestors of the 2 archipelago split from each other, but have changed radically both societies. We have to look for the purely original culture (what might be very difficult nowadays) to find the connection existing in late prehistoric time.

    Koreans ?

    Japanese and Korean grammar are very similar. My Koreans acquaintances in Japan told me that some words were also almost identical, such as kazoku, sentaku or hakkiri. Both languages are classsified in the Altaic group of languages. Check this comparison of Altaic languages together.

    About half of Japanese vocabulary comes from Chinese via kanji compounds. However, it seems that there hasn't been any much direct migration from China to Japan, except a few scholars or monks. But ultimately, going back a few millenia, all East Asian are from Chinese-Mongolian origin. Linguistically and culturally, Japanese are closer to Koreans and Indonesians.
    Last edited by Maciamo; Sep 9, 2002 at 15:24.

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  2. #2
    Decommissioned ex-admin thomas's Avatar
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    Doubling of words is so common that there is a kanji that only means the word is doubled(" X") in written Japanese.
    Orang orang = orang²



    Thanks for your excellent expos, Maciamo!

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    Regular Member moyashi's Avatar
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    hehe, the turtle boy story and the lost island of Atlantis finds proof in more of maciamo's posts

    Have you found anything more about the Mongolian influence? I know that linguistically both Mongolians and Japanese share deep connections. Let alone appearance wise some are difficult to differienciate. Hmmm, WWI + WWII influences?
    crazy gonna crazy

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    Regular Member hua he's Avatar
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    well actually

    suki in Japanese have the same meaning with suka in Malay
    Well, actually the Malay term "suka" was translated directly from Hokkien dialect into Malay.

    There is a group of people in Malaysia called "Baba" (also called Peranakan). They are mix-blooded descendants of Malay-Chinese (mostly Hokkien). So, Malay absorbed many Hokkien words into their language, like "pangkin" "di mana". The word "suka" in Hokkien and Malay have the same meaning.
    Sayonara!

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    Junior Member dark_masamune's Avatar
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    i know from what i've studied, i believe the oldest known skeleton found in japan was believed to be at least 400,000 years old. there's a popular idea that because the japanese are much taller than their asian neighbors, there might have been some siberian influence, maybe even european at some point. correct me if im wrong, but the Ainu, being the indegnious class of japan shared alot of characteristics that weren't "typical asian." i also read in another book that some types of tools were excavated in northern honshu that didn't appear to be japanese at all, but norse. with language, the same can be considered of the entire world. it changes with times, based on legitamacy in religion, leadership, ect. not to mention being modified over such a long period of time. its my opinion that it did derive from korean and chinese influence, maybe brought with the first buddists. and eventually added on to. mexican spanish is another great example. spaniards taught the aztrecs their language for trade and missionary purpose but today its more or so a refined mexi-spainish-aztec language. adhering to their own culture and grammar.

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    Plural?

    Hello Maciamo,

    probably I don't know much more about Bahasa Indonesia than you (and maybe I should better ask my Indonesian friends) but I think that doubling is not a plural in a grammtical sense but gives "enhanced" meaning to words. Word e.g. is kata but kata-kata is not just words but a sentence, orang is person but orang-orang may refer to a tribe or nation (actually orang alone already means people and I experienced Indonesians to use "people" for a single person), jalan is the street and jalan-jalan might be journey (using many roads probably) or means to take a walk (maybe also detour but I cannot remember). At least that is how I understood it.

    Regard the similarity of suka and suki.: This also struck me in one of my first Japanses lessons but I think that could be pure coincidence. There was a very intersting issue of the German publication "Spektrum der Wissenschaften" dealing with the development and history of human languages. The basis of linguistic sciences is, simply put, comparison and one article warned against "obvious" analogies.

    Finally you may find many Sanskrit words spread by Buddhism in Indonesian and hence may found similar words in all of south and sout-eastern Asia.

    Just once again, I'm not a linguist and all I had to say might have been wrong but this topic has always excited me and your contribution is extremely interesting.

  7. #7
    Regular Member Tellklaus's Avatar
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    Ancient Korean word for Japanese "matsuri" was "ma'z'ri" which meant "welcome the Gods"

  8. #8
    Regular Member Hanada Tattsu's Avatar
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    Well, I think that two migrations happened in Japan. The first was by the Ainu, who arrived from Europe long before the Yayoi and Jomons from present day South Korea arrived, and drove the Ainu to Hokkaido and Okinawa, where they still reside today.
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  9. #9
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Hanada Tattsu
    Well, I think that two migrations happened in Japan. The first was by the Ainu, who arrived from Europe long before the Yayoi and Jomons from present day South Korea arrived, and drove the Ainu to Hokkaido and Okinawa, where they still reside today.
    What do you mean from Europe ?

    Ainu where from North East Asia (Siberia ?), weren't they ?

    I've never heard of Ainu living in Okinawa and those in Hokkaido (less than 1% of all people in Hokkaido) have all mixed blood with Japanese nowadays

  10. #10
    Regular Member Hanada Tattsu's Avatar
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    No, I read that the Ainu were from Europe, not Western Europe, like England and France, but more of East Europe, like Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania. That's what I read.

    And as for the Okinawa thing, when the Yayoi and Jomon migrated to Japan, they pushed the Ainu from the main islands, they pushed them down to Okinawa Island, and up to Hokkaido.

  11. #11
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    From what I read, the only Ainu still living in Japan are restricted to Hokkaido. They used to occupy all the north of Japan (Tohoku) till a few centuries ago, then were pushed to Hokkaido (but maybe in the Edo period, not Jomon or Yayoi). People from Okinawa don't look Ainu at all. Their language is related to some native languages of Taiwan (i.e. not Mandarin Chinese), not to the Ainu language, nor Japanese. Besides, it would suprise me that Ainu would have ventured at sea to reach small islands hundreds of km off the coast of Kyushu which they might not have known of. From what I've read, Japanese already lived in Western Japan in Jomon and Ainu in the North-East. Not sure when Japanese arrived in Japan (and from where ? probably Korea, but they also seem to be related to Indonesians ?).

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    We have mainly 4 theories about Jomon Jin and Yayoi jin.
    Recentry many people support (4).(Some deny (4).)

    (1)Native Japanese (Jomon jin) were thrown out of Japan by Yayoi jin.
    (2)Native Japanese (Jomon jin) were mixed with Yayoi Jin.
    (3)Native Japanese gradually changed their physical features.
    And they became Yayoi Jin.
    (4)There lived Native Japanese.They were called Jomon Jin who had physical features from south ward.In Yayoi period,people who had physical features from nothern ward (Yayoi Jin) came to nothern Kyusyu from Eurasia.They went down to Kyusyu and up to Honsyu.Jomon Jin moved to Okinawa and Hokkaido.

    According to a study of gene (blood), there are two Mongorians.
    Nothern Mongorians are Japanese or Native Americans.
    (Japanese or Native Americans are "Old" Mongorians.Inuit are "New" Mongorians.)
    Southern Mongorians are Chinese,Filipinos,Malayans.
    Tamil in India are mixed.
    The origin of gene (blood) of Japanese was from near the Lake Bikal, one of a gene hunter,Matsumoto Hideo said.
    DNA of Jomon people were mainly (90%) the same as DNA of people who lived near the Lake Bikal.

    I got these informations from some books.
    Old Mongorians have wet ear wax,and New Mongorians have dry one.
    Interesting!

  13. #13
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    I don't think Japanese are closer to Amerindians or Inuits than from Korean and Chinese (and even South-East Asian). Physically they are much closer to Korean and Chinese. SE Asian have darker skin and can be divided in subgroups. Cambodian have very dark skin, but not Vietnamese. Real Thai have brown skin, but many are white because of Chinese imigration (especiallu\y in Bangkok).

    I read that Indonesians, Malays, Philipinos and Polynesians were all originally from South China and then migrated by boat.

    Japanese can't be from the same Northern Mongoloid group as Ameridians because Ameridians went to America about 10.000 years ago, while even Han Chinese only invaded China from Mongolia only about 3000 years ago. Then, there were no other way than crossing from Korea before the first civilizations (2000BC in China) and the development of proper boats/ships.

    Have a look at American Indians from Inuits to Sioux, Cheyenne, Apache, Aztecs, Caribi, Tupi and Quechuas. Eventhough they were the same original group of migrants and it took no longer than 1000 years for them to spread from Canada to Chile/Argentina, they now look very different physically, but all have darker skin. If any of those people had lived in Jomon in Japan, they are probably extinct and surely haven't mixed with further migrants from Korea and China who are present day Japanese.

    The ear wax thing is certainly just a matter of climate (even if its in the genes, it could change after a a only few hundred years, like physical features).

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    It is true that Japaneses are genetically close to Chineses and Koreans.

    The ape-man from Africa reached Eurasia 1,000,000 years ago.
    They reached China at least 400,000 or 500,000 years ago.
    They already had Mongorian's features.
    It is thought that some reached Japan.
    (Other assertion: They went to south-east Asia.
    They were ancestors of all Asians.
    Some of them went to China,southern China to Japan.)
    They were "old" Mongoroid (Jomon Jin) and had southern features.

    Jomon Jin's gene were fit with people near Lake Bikal.
    So some assert that "old" Mongoroid devided into three groups(Siberia,China,south-east Asia) from here.

    Some "old" Mongoroid went to China(around Beijin) and Japan.
    Others went to south-east Asia.

    Others went to northern part of China,Siberia and crossed Bering sea to America.
    Then they gradually got other features to live in cold regions.
    They were "new" Mongoroid.
    "New" Mongoroid in China or korea went to Japan in Yayoi period.
    Thus, bodily features of Jomon jin and Yayoi jin were different.
    It is said that Ainu and Okinawa people have Jomon jin's features.

    Chinese,Koreans,South-east Asiens,Japanese,Native Americans and Inuits are genetically all Mongoroid.

    In Kofun period(3rd-6th century), many people with skills were from China and Korea.We call them "Torai jin." They also lived in Japan.

  15. #15
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    I've also noticed that some Japanese (out of 1000 maybe) had darker skin, almost like Indonesians (but they were pure Japanese, I am sure). Could they be descendant from the Jomon-jin who mixed with Yayoi-jin in Honshu, Kyushuu and Shikoku ?

    What about Burakumin ? Do they have particular physical features ? How did people recognise them ?

    In Edo-jidai, the Japanese class system was very similar to the Indian Caste system. In either country, there were 4 fixed classes (people cannot change class) + outclassed : the "Untouchables" in India and the "Burakumin" in Japan. Both were given dirty jobs and only them were allowed to kill animals and make leather.

    In India, the caste system was established by (white) Aryan invaders around 2000BC to sepate dark-skinned native Dravidians and the new white-skinned ruling class (2 higher castes of priest and warriors). Obviously there has been some mixed blood since then, but generally upper-caste have fairer skin (sometimes blue-grey eyes) and lower castes and especially untouchables are darker.

    Could the same have happen in Japan with Jomon-jin ? Are they the burakumin ? Do burakumin have darker skin ?

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    Follower of None jspecdan's Avatar
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    This whole thing would explain why when I hear Korean I'm thinking that I'm hearing a totally different Japanese dialect. Korean sounds very similar to Japanese.
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  17. #17
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Korean is 70% similar to Japanese. The grammar and word order is almost the same.

    I don't speak Korean myself, but I've lots of Korean friends in Japan, some of whom speak very well Japanese and English as well, so they explained to me how similiar Korean and Japanese are.

    As there are so many dialect of Japanese and that a Aomori-ben speaker wouldn't understand a Kagoshima-ben speaker, I guess some of Western Japan's dialect must be even closer to Korean. Unfortunately, I don't know anyobody who speaks Western Japanese dialects (such as Northern Kyushuu) and Korean. Any Japano-Korean linguists here ?

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    Regular Member neko_girl22's Avatar
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    I can hardly speak "standard" Japanese let alone the kagoshima dialect here. Picking up a few words though like "kingo-kingo" and "tege-tege"..... it's fun
    but confusing as I also know some kansai-ben (hubby is from Kobe originally)

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    this is one of answers of post #15....

    (answer to post #15)

    Burakumin is not a proper name to describe some nations nor some class.
    I recognize it a kind of antiwords like an eskimo.
    We learn about status distinctions like this.
    (you may be boring.sorry...)

    In Yayoi period, there were many small countries.
    Each counties have rulers and slaves.

    I am not sure where such ancient slaves came.
    Jomon jin gradually moved toward the north and south.
    As there were battles between each Yayoi jin's countries,they might be defeated people,I guess.

    In Kamakura or Muromachi period,there were some people thought to be a lower class.
    It mainly depended on their occupation.
    They were gardeners or singers or performers who walked around village to village etc,.
    Some of them made gardens of Ginkaku or Ryoan ji in Kyoto.
    They had no houses or they lived by the side of rivers.
    Because such non-productive places were free of duty.
    As for them,if they wanted or if they could have a chance,they could change their occupation freely.

    At Toyotomi Hideyoshi's age (Azuchi Momoyama period), he devided farmers and bushi by laws.By his laws,farmers couldn't be allowed to have any weapons or couldn't move their inhabited areas.

    In Edo period, Bakufu succeded Hideyoshi's policy.
    They fixed people's class by their occupation or inhabited areas.
    They were bushi,farmer,craftman and merchants.
    All of them were organized strictly.
    They made farmer of low positions.
    (They were origins of burakumin,you said.)
    It is said that they had to make such positions so that they might not band together against bushi.
    At that age, 85% of the populations were farmers. 7% were bushi.

    <my opinion>
    People had descriminated against some occupations or inhabited areas through such history.
    But they could change their occupations or inhabited areas freely until Hideyoshi's age.
    Edo bakufu used people's such consciousness in their system.
    In fact,they tightened up their laws against farmers of law positions in times of dearth.
    Your word "burakumin" may be after Meiji period,after the law on 1871 that made people free from class discrimination of Edo.
    Government announced so,but it was not easy to change people's mind immediately.
    As for us,educated people never use the word (I believe).

  20. #20
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    Maciamo san asked me about color of skin.....
    sorry my answer is far from your question..............................

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    but I coudn't let your word pass.............................................. ................

  22. #22
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    please start your topic 'what's the orgin of japanese people' again............................................. .................................................. ...

  23. #23
    Emperor Gakihito Gaki's Avatar
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    It's most likely that Japanese are of a Chinese origin.

    BUT i think that along the way they have mixed with other groups, creating the Japanese race we have today.

    A belief is that during the reign of the first emperor of China Qin Shi HuangDi ~ when he was in his search for the magical herb of immortality, sent thousands of people to the east for the "mushroom islands".
    But of course we know these thing doesnt exist, and since they couldnt find and going back to China would only mean death (for not finding it, is an offence to the emperor). So these people who travelled to the east, found the island of Japan and settled there.

    LOL ~ just re~read what i wrote and i sound like such a story-teller ^^;

    Also you can see with facial looks there are many similarities between the two.
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  24. #24
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    The encyclopedia Britannica has this explanation on the Burakumin. The term itself is apparently neutral ("hamlet peolpe") :

    also called Eta (gpollution abundanth), outcaste, or guntouchable,h Japanese minority, occupying the lowest level of the traditional Japanese social system. The Japanese term eta is highly pejorative, but prejudice has tended even to tarnish the otherwise neutral term burakumin itself.

    Unfortunately I haven't suscribed to this site, so I can't get the rest of the article. If someone has, or has a paper or CD-Rom version, could they give us more info.

  25. #25
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    I looled up my dictionaries.
    Kojien and Super nihongo daijiten(CD-ROM) explain Buraku shortly.
    But both don't have the word "Burakumin."
    Others explain Buraku = villages.

    Kojien (Iwanami)
    Kokugo Jiten (Kadokawa)
    Kanwa Tyu Jiten (Kadokawa)
    Shin Kokugo Reikai Jiten (Syogakukan)
    Shinsyu Kokugo Kanwa Jiten (Syueisya)
    Super nihongo daijiten CD-ROM (Gakkenn)

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