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SA podcast: Answering your Japanese archaeology questions
Topic Started: May 13 2018, 02:27 AM (104 Views)
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Hello, everyone!

My name is Joseph Ryan and I have the honor of participating in an upcoming Samurai Archives podcast. My specialty is Japanese archaeology – specifically the Yayoi and Kofun periods.

I received my MA and PhD in archaeology in Japan, where I am currently a postgraduate fellow.

Rather than devoting the episode entirely to a discussion of my own research, I would like to do something more interactive with the listeners. We will be fielding your questions about ancient Japan (my specialty is pre-Asuka) or about the actual practice of archaeology as conducted in Japan.

The podcast will most likely air next month, so ask away!
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The Shogun

In other words, ask your questions here :P
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Much as terms like "Xia" and "Shang" reflect a traditional focus on sites along the Yellow River valley in ancient Chinese archaeology (to include various attempts to associate Erlitou with the semi-mythological Xia dynasty), terms such as "Yayoi" and "Kofun" may be most directly applied to those regions of the archipelago traditionally associated with early "Wajin" (from northern Kyushu to western Honshu) culture.

Yet, as remarkable sites such as Sanxingdui have emerged to challenge "traditional" narratives of Chinese prehistory, I might wonder how archaeologists in Japan might - or might not - be minded to use more flexible terms when describing sites of more distant peoples running in parallel to the early Wajin: such as the Hayato in southern Kyushu, the Emishi in Tohoku, the Satsumon and Okhotsk forerunners of the Ainu in Hokkaido, or the diverse peoples of the central (Amami-Okinawa) and southern (Sakishima) Ryukyu islands.

Or to put it another way, are there moves towards a more integrated view of the non-Wajin peoples of what would become today's Japan, or is there still somewhat of a divide between the dominant Yamato-focused narrative and that of those who study one (or more) non-Wajin group(s) at a time?
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Tosa no kami
I have heard certain Japanese archaeologists speak of the various downsides and problems with technological dating techniques, e.g. carbon dating, and have emphasized the great strengths of their own personal knowledge of pottery styles, essentially asserting that they can date a piece of pottery - just with their eyes, and their knowledge - to precise centuries, even precise decades, within the Jomon/Yayoi/Kofun periods, better than any high-tech techniques. I wonder if you could talk about this, or about other ways in which personal knowledge & expertise is prized over technology, or other ways in which Japanese archaeology methods or approaches differ from in the West. Thanks!!
上り口説 Nubui Kuduchi – Musings on the arts of Japan and beyond
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