Around 4500 years ago the Indo-Europeans migrated from their homeland around the Black Sea to Europe and central Asia. They brought with them the first domesticated horses, the first wool sheep (which they created through selective breeding), bronze technology (including the first bronze swords), domesticated fruits (apples, cherries) and the Europe's first truly hierarchical system of society. It was a true revolution in lifestyle for Europe, one that still shapes the way we live today.

A similar kind of migration brought just as revolutionary changes to Japanese society. It happened much later, approximately 2500 years ago, with the arrival of the Yayoi people. Just as for the Indo-Europeans the exact origin of the Yayoi people is disputed, but it is almost certain that they came from eastern China and/or Korea. The Jomon people who had occupied the Japanese archipelago until then were fishermen and hunter-gatherers, who occasionally practised some primitive form of agriculture. The Yayoi people introduced irrigated rice cultivation, bronze technology, as well as a whole package of new crops and domesticated animals, such as horses, cows and pigs. Cherries and plums were probably brought to Japan around that time too. The Yayoi were a more organised and hierarchical society than the Jomon, and their colonisation of the Kyushu, Honshu and Shikoku led to the creation of the Japanese civilisation, a de facto offshoot of the budding Chinese civilisation.