Skip to comments.Japanese kayaker hopes to show Kennewick Man could have traveled by boat
Posted on 04/23/2012 9:44:02 PM PDT by Theoria
By week's end, Ryota Yamada hopes to slip his sea kayak gently into the Columbia River at Clover Island, embarking on the first leg of a 10,000-mile adventure to Japan.
The retired scientist who did nanotechnological research intends to paddle downriver to the ocean, then via the Inland Passage north to Alaska, and eventually across the Bering Strait to the Asian continent.
It will take him four summers, but if he succeeds in reaching his homeland, Yamada said, he will have shown that Kennewick Man could have made his way by boat 9,300 years ago from Japan to North America.
"That is my main purpose," he said Monday from his temporary camp on Clover Island in downtown Kennewick.
The 42-year-old Japanese native who lives near Tokyo said the story of Kennewick Man, whose skeletal remains were found on the shores of the Columbia River near Kennewick in July 1996, inspired him to attempt the adventure of a lifetime.
"This represents my entire life's work," he said, adding that he has been willing to invest all that he has to complete the journey.
Yamada will carry everything he needs to survive in the kayak, and he will travel alone, without a companion boat to assist in rough seas.
Kennewick Man's bones, which are being held for research at the University of Washington's Burke Museum in Seattle, are controversial.
While the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Nation believe Kennewick Man is one of their ancestors, researchers believe the ancient bones are not Native American in origin, but may be genetically linked to the Ainu people, who have lived in Japan for thousands of years and appear to have a genetic link to Northern Europe.
A professor of anthropology at the University of Michigan, C. Loring Brace, told the Herald in a 2006 interview that Kennewick Man's heritage likely connected with the Ainu of Japan, or the Jomon people, who were ancestors of the Ainu.
Unlike Native American peoples, the Ainu and Jomon are believed to have had light skin, wavy hair and body hair, Brace said.
"I believe the Ainu and Jomon came like the Kennewick Man," said Yamada, who during the past week has visited the Columbia River near where the bones were found and the Kennewick Man exhibit at the East Benton County Historical Museum.
Mid-Columbia tribes unsuccessfully argued in a court case that the bones of Kennewick Man, whom they call the Ancient One, should be turned over to the tribes for ceremonial burial, according to terms of the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979.
The Asatru Folk Assembly, which follows early European pre-Christian theology, also claims Kennewick Man as an ancestor.
Yamada said he has been collecting the necessary equipment for his trip since arriving in Washington. He used a rental car to go to Vancouver, British Columbia, where he purchased a new sea kayak that is about 20 feet long and weighs barely 20 pounds.
It will take Yamada about four summers to complete the journey, paddling about 2,500 miles on each leg. He expects to get as far as Whitehorse in British Columbia this summer, including a side trip of about 50 miles up the Yukon River.
The Yukon Territory is familiar to the kayaker, who paddled about 200 miles down the Yukon River five years ago.
Yamada will hug the coastlines, coming ashore nightly to camp in his tent.
He will fish along the way, too. "It is important for me as a food supply," said Yamada, who has been planning the journey for two years.
"My hat is off to the guy," said Mike Meila, a Port of Kennewick employee who loaned a bicycle to Yamada for the week. Meila said Yamada has a huge challenge ahead, and he wished him well.
Kennewick Mayor Steve Young met Yamada on Monday afternoon, promising to provide him a personal message the kayaker will deliver in Japan.
"He's a very interesting individual. He was thrilled when I showed up," Young said.
Yamada said he wants to be "a bridge" between the Tri-Cities and his homeland, noting that the two share a nuclear legacy.
Japanese adventurer Ryota Yamada, 42, is starting a four-year kayak trip in Kennewick that will take him back to his home near Tokyo, Japan. Yamada's main reason for departing from Kennewick is because of the discovery of the Kennewick Man skeleton and his belief he could be of Japanese descent. Yamada's trek in his sea kayak will loosely retrace the path some believe existed as the Bering land bridge.
Cool dude, ainu, kennewick, good stuff.
live long and prosper
Shouldn’t he go from Japan to Kennewick to prove his theory?
The kid who found Kennewick Man took the skull home on the back of his motorcycle. Brought it back later and notified the police. Clinton destroyed the site by burying it under 150 tons of rock saying he was “preserving” it for future study. Indians wanted him to do it so their claim of being here first couldn’t be disputed.
Awesome, I have a view of the McNary dam on the Columbia from my window. Keep up the research! Let us us know what you find.
Sure. I think it comes down to simple logistics, ie his kayak is from canada and most of his gear from the washington area.
Someone tell the Japanese guy he can order all his gear on E-Bay, have it shipped to Japan and then do his journey in the correct direction.
He may not have traveled by canoe, at least that far.
Back then the sea levels were a lot lower, leaving more land. It’s not inconceivable that his trip was no more than a couple hundred kilometres. It’s possible that the more eastern point of Asia was within sight of the most western point of Alaska.
If Sarah Palin lived back then, she really would have seen Russia from her back door. :)
He will be fighting the Japanese Current which brings cold water to the West Coast.
Subtle humor in the story: The nuclear legacy shared by the Tri-Cities and Japan is the plutonium for “Fat Man” (Nagasaki bomb) was made here.
I would be surprised if he makes it through the first winter. Except, where he’s going, winter is always at the door.
Do you think he will use the fish ladder or go for it and go over the top with all the water they are spilling to flush little salmon downstream?
For those out of the area, the 13 dams on the Columbia dump about 1/3 of the annual flow over the spillways each year instead of making electricity with it on the theory that it helps little salmon get to the ocean. It does kill adult fish in the river by increasing the dissolved nitrogen in the water and the fish get bubbles under their skin that rupture and infection sets in.
State law says hydropower in not renewable so our hills are littered with turbines to meet the mandate of 20% renewable power sometime in the future.
I don’t understand why he isn’t going from west to east with the Japan/Humboldt current. And why isn’t he making a right at the Kamchatka Peninsula and just following the Aleutian archipelago?
All they need to due is a DNA test which has been done . The Russian tribes don’t want to give up the power and perks.
The reason that there was only one Kennewick Man is that he forgot to bring Kennewick Woman with him.
Kennewick could have walked/sledded the entire trip on the sea ice.
Peter Freuchen, the Danish explorer, walked across the ice from Greenland to Canada eating seals along the way.
It was hazardous, but Stone Age people could have made the journey.
Why would they go? The Shaman got loaded on mushrooms and told them they had to.
Note, the ocean levels were lower but not that much lower ~ as the last Glacial peak period began ending about 14,000 years ago you had a rather rapid increase in world ocean levels. That slowed during the Younger Dryas, then it took off again reaching roughly the current level about 8500 years ago.
There are variations over time.
A much better bet than kayak for getting from Japan to America is to get a ride on a mass of debris created in a major (once every thousand years) tsunami. Should be able to survive the trip provided there aren't too many folks coming along. Such a tsunami should create plenty of opportunities to hop off along the PAC NW or Central American coastlines.
Ydebris flow from japan tsunami ~ do that look up on Google and you’ll get just all sorts of animations.
My father was a Port Pilot there for a time. And that place is a killer of even big ships.
The Eggman has spoken!
I recently heard that some tribes bury their ancestors in rock out croppings above the rivers. He explained that they would sit them up right in a fetal position and then cover them with rocks. As the body decomposed the ooze would seep in to the river and this ooze was what created in the scent in the river that the salmaon would follow upstream to the right sopt to spawn.
As he explained this was the “circle of life”...
|GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach|
Thanks Theoria. BTW, I'm still laughing at some of the jokes that popped up into my mind, and a little ashamed. ;')
You have to tell us the jokes! Then we can say: Shame on you!
What I’m really worried about is the way the outraged mods would say “shame on ‘Civ’. :’)
Dr C Loring Brace
Findings by American anthropologist C. Loring Brace, University of Michigan, will surely be controversial in race conscious Japan. The eye of the predicted storm will be the Ainu, a "racially different" group of some 18,000 people now living on the northern island of Hokkaido. Pure-blooded Ainu are easy to spot: they have lighter skin, more body hair, and higher-bridged noses than most Japanese. Most Japanese tend to look down on the Ainu.
Brace has studied the skeletons of about 1,100 Japanese, Ainu, and other Asian ethnic groups and has concluded that the revered samurai of Japan are actually descendants of the Ainu, not of the Yayoi from whom most modern Japanese are descended. In fact, Brace threw more fuel on the fire with:
"Dr. Brace said this interpretation also explains why the facial features of the Japanese ruling class are so often unlike those of typical modern Japanese. The Ainu-related samurai achieved such power and prestige in medieval Japan that they intermarried with royality and nobility, passing on Jomon-Ainu blood in the upper classes, while other Japanese were primarily descended from the Yoyoi." The reactions of Japanese scientists have been muted so. One Japanese anthropologist did say to Brace," I hope you are wrong."
The Ainu and their origin have always been rather mysterious, with some people claiming that the Ainu are really Caucasian or proto-Caucasian - in other words, "white." At present, Brace's study denies this interpretation.
High Speed Plus
The language of the Ainu bear-worshippers of Northern Japan has generally been considered a language-isolate, supposedly being unlike any other language on earth. A few researchers noticed a relationship with languages in south-east Asia, others saw similarity with the Ostiak and Uralic languages of northern Siberia. The Ainu look like Caucasian people, they have white skin, their hair is wavy and thick, their heads are mesocephalic (round) and a few have grey or blue eyes.
However, their blood types are more like the Mongolian people, possibly through many millennia of intermixing.
The Ainu are a semi-nomadic hunting and fishing tribe but also practice simple planting methods, which knowledge may have been acquired from the newcomers. The invading people, under their Yamato government, called them the Ezo, the unwanted, and forced the Ainu in fierce fighting to retreat north to the island of Hokkaido. The name Ezo likely is an abbreviation of the Basque word ezonartu (to disapprove of)
Archaeologists have determined that the Ainu have been living on many of Japan's islands, from Okinawa to Sakhalin, for 7,000 years and likely longer. Their Jomon pottery is found everywhere; it is characteristic although somewhat clumsy and can be dated from 5,000 B.C. until just before the Christian era. It is very attractive and is distinguished by the fantasy of its shapes with elegant and imaginative cord decorations. Some of the most striking finds were the clearly anthropomorphic clay and stone figurines resembling pregnant females with mask-like faces and protuberant eyes; very similar to those found in many other parts of the world, especially in Europe.
A number of stone circles have also been found, similar to those in Cornwall (England) and Senegal (North-West Africa). A few still have the slender upright stone in the center, also found in the British Isles and elsewhere in Atlantic Europe and N.W. Africa. Around 300 B.C., Mongolian type people moved in from Korea and aggressively forced the Ainu north onto the large island of Hokkaido where an estimated 17,000 of them are still living. Some 10 dialects have been recognized, such as those of Sakhalin, Hokkaido and the Kurils, but several are at the point of being lost for ever. In Hokkaido young Ainu are now making an effort to restore their ancient language and traditions.
There are many intriguing resemblances between the religious customs of the Ainu and the Shinto Japanese. The Ainu called their God Kami while the Japanese called him Kamisama. The Aleut and Eskimo word kammi means "ancient thing" or "at the beginning," one of a great many correlations between Ainu and Inuktitut. (The Eskimo people call themselves the Inuit; note the similarity between the names Inuk and Ainu). Bear worship is still part of the Ainu religion and is described in detail by Joseph Campbell in Primitive Mythology. This paleolithic bear-worship may date back as far as 200,000 years, to the days of the Neanderthal people. It appears to have been practiced world-wide; wherever the bear was not found (mainly in Africa), its place was taken by similar panther-worship.
Bear worship was not tolerated in those areas later dominated by the major religions, therefore it was only possible for anthropologists to study the religion in the peripheral areas of northern Europe and Siberia. This gave rise to the idea that the Ainu must have moved eastward through Siberia, even though the nearest people of their type are found almost 5,000 miles away. But bear-worship has also been reported from Indonesia where languages similar to the Ainu language are still spoken (to be discussed with the Indonesian language). Could it be that the Ainu were part of the mass migration of "Caucasian" type Sea Peoples who fled the burning Sahara and, among others, became the "Caucasian" looking Polynesians and Maories? The following language comparison for the Ainu seems to indicate that this was the case.
THE NAMES AND WORDS OF JAPAN
In books about Japan it is often remarked that many of the names of Japan's geographical features were taken over from the Ainu. For instance the many names beginning or ending with ama (Goddess) are all thought to be of Ainu origin. In 1994 the newly married prince and princess of Japan travelled to the cave of the Goddess Amaterasu to ask her blessings for their marriage. The name Amaterasu is agglutinated from ama-atera-asu, ama (Goddess) atera (to come out, to appear) asturu (blessings flow): Blessings flow when the Goddess appears. This name is made up of perfect Basque! Other well-known names were similarly assembled such as Hokkaido: oka-aidu: oka (big meal) aiduru (looking foreward to): Looking forward to a big meal; and Fujiyama, fa-uji-ama: fa (happy) uju (cry of joy) ama (Goddess): "A happy cry of joy for the Goddess" is uttered by everyone who reaches the top of the holy mountain, just like is still being heard on many other mountains of the world (e.g . at Croag Patrick in Ireland, on the last Sunday of July). The Basques even have a word for this yodel cry for the Goddess, they call it the irrintzi.
The name Amaterasu is made up with the vowel-interlocking Ogam formula, which was surprising to me because in the Ainu language itself there is not a hint of this agglutinating formula. I then searched for more Japanese names and words which were assembled with the vowel-interlocking Ogam formula and found many such as Kamikaze and Samurai. The surprise which came from this comparison was that those words which showed vowel-interlocking were usually associated with fighting and male domination. This appeared to be true all over the Pacific, including Peru and Mexico. Could this mean that there were two major migrations, the first one many millennia ago from Mesopotamia which brought the peaceful people of the Goddess to the Pacific and a much later one, missionary based, bringing aggressive male domination and the language-distorting vowel-consonant-vowel (VCV) formula to these same areas?
None of the Ainu words were exactly the same as in Basque, but many were extremely close such as ikoro and koro (money), kokor and gogor (to scold), tasum and eritasun (illness), iska and xiska (to steal). A surprise was the Ainu word nok (testicle) which is much like the Basque word noka (familiarity with women). In English slang the same word is used in "to knock up" meaning "to cause a woman to become pregnant." In Indonesian nok means "unmarried young woman," while dénok means "slender, elegant woman." In Dutch slang the word is slightly altered to neuk (sexual intercourse). There is little doubt that the word goes way back to the Neolithic or even Paleolithic. From the following comparisons it seems clear to me that Ainu and Basque are genetically related. In comparing Ainu with Dravidian, I did not find such a relationship, although Dravidian itself is obviously also related to Basque. Two separate branches of the same tree?
The following words were taken from: An Ainu Dialect Dictionary edited by Shiro Hattori and (thank goodness) printed mostly in Latin characters. This work provided a wealth of excellent material for my comparison. Don't forget that the Basque "s" is pronounced as a soft "sh" and that our sharp "sh" is written as "x" in Basque. (The page column shows the word number/page number)
(There is a whole column of word comparsions listed here. Please click on the site to see...to difficult to html, thanks)
It is easy to find hundreds more like the ones above, all it takes is time, but I can see little reason for doing that. To me this comparison is quite convincing: the Ainu language is genetically related to the universal language, Saharan/Basque; the similarities are just too many to be accidental. Considering that the Ainu have probably been separated from the west for some 7,000 years, if not 8,000, it is not surprising that the language has drifted away from the neolithic language as it had developed in the Sahara. The fact that so many Ainu words are still clearly recognizable when compared to modern Basque words, this is nothing short of amazing and tells us that the ancient oral traditions had been faithfully maintained since they left the Sahara or Mesopotamia. The Ainu had no writing system but memorized their history and legends as yukar, which means that the poetry and epics were performed by professional memorymen with elaborate display and ritual. Similarly, in the west, the universal language was maintained by regular meetings, probably at the central shrine on Malta, where the bertsolari (professional memorymen) of all the tribes and regions met to re-inforce and standardize their language and knowledge.
The Pacific sea peoples settled on hundreds of islands, they scattered over the entire endless Pacific, and it must be assumed that the single unifying educational exchange practiced in the Mediterranean was impossible to repeat. Similar local meeting-islands must have been designated in the Marianas, Polynesia, Melanesia, Indonesia, New Zealand etc. but regular contact with the far-away Ainu could hardly have been maintained. Consequently the formerly universal language drifted and diversified into what we know today as the many languages of the Pacific islands, including those of the Kurils and Aleutians. Several of the Pacific languages, such as Japanese and Hawaian, do not have the "r". It has been theorized that these languages have lost this letter over the centuries.
Another suggestion was that the original "Caucasians" coming from Africa or Mesopotamia, some 7,000 years ago, did not know this letter. However, it appears that the Ainu were the first to arrive in the Pacific and they have the "r". The lost "r" theory may well be correct. It is interesting to note that the name Ainu possibly comes from ain'u, an abbreviation of ainbanatu (to distribute, to scatter all over). Another origin could be the Basque word aienatu (the disappeared, departed).These astute navigators of the Pacific must also have discovered the west coast of North America at a very early date. The island-chain of the Aleutians was a ready-made pathway to Alaska, which must have been reached well before 6,000 B.C., possibly before the east coast of North America was spotted. It may have been about the same time that the Eskimos started to spread east into Arctic Canada and Greenland, bringing along a pidgin-type, Ainu-related, Basque to Labrador and Greenland, but I will discuss this with the Eskimo language.
WERE THE AINU "NOMADS OF THE WIND"?
There are indications that the Ainu sailed regularly to Alaska to obtain reindeer hides from the Aleuts established there, which they needed for their sails, exactly the same as was done by the Basques, the Irish and Scots who went to Arctic Norway for their reindeer-leather sails (Mt. Komsa people). The Ainu must have been great long-distance sea-farers to keep up contact with their home-base which may have been in Mesopotamia. All over the Pacific this incredible sailing tradition waned fast when the social structure changed after the coming of European or Asiatic domination. Today the Ainu still sail the ocean but mostly on fishing trips. The complex navigational techniques, acquired over millennia had been the property of a few special families and were never popular wisdom. They are now lost. The astonishing amount of astronomical knowledge which the members of such navigator families had to memorize was taught them at a very young age and was built up during a lifetime on the ocean. To these highly skilled and proud people the Pacific was no hostile place, the ocean was their life and joy, and an indispensible part of their culture. Only in the Carolines the ancient spirit, some of the secret navigational techniques and much astronomical wisdom has been maintained to this day. All this is described in a wonderful book called: We, the Navigators by David Lewis.
The people who sailed the Pacific without the aid of instruments have recently been called the "Nomads of the Wind", a most appropriate title for these courageous and resourceful people. The Ainu appeared to have been the avant garde of the Pacific migration. The desertification of the Sahara had probably forced these tribes to flee for their lives. It was then that the name "Africa" was coined: af.-.ri-ika, afa-ari-ika: afa (happy) arinari eman (to escape) ikara (terror): Happy to have escaped the terror. Some of these displaced tribes sailed around Asia and started to populate the nearest Pacific islands, all of them speaking the same universal language and bringing along the same religion.
While looking in more detail at the names in the Pacific, I found that many of the Pacific islands had names which could be translated with the Basque dictionary such as: "Tahiti", from tahi-iti, tahiu (appearance) iti (ox): "Resembles an ox" the sharp pointed mountains indeed resemble ox horns. Or: "Rapa Nui" (Easter Island), arra-apa ' nui, erraldoi (giant) aparta (far, far away), nui (enormous, in Hawaiian): "Enormous giants, far, far away". Or: "Hawaii", ha'u-ahi: ha'u (this one) ahigarri (exhausting): This one is exhausting! It still is. Or: "Papua", apapua (living in poverty); stone age people don't own much, they don't pollute and they live as part of nature. One tantalizing hint comes from Peru where the patriarchal Incas established a complex civilization, complete with highly evolved Sumerian-type irrigation. The Incas were living gods and the Basque word for "God" is ainkoa! More later about this.
With lower sea levels during the Ice Age, his progentors probably followed the herds of elk.
TRULY interesting! Self reminder ping. ;^)
As for the salmon, are there more salmon in the river now? Or were there more before the dams were built? The corp of engineers seem to be putting an awful lot of effort into making the dams “transparent” to fish migration.
The fish are counted at each dam by swimming past a window and tallied by a trained fish counter. ( trained to identify types of fish).
There are several fish hatcheries so some runs are more than the wild populations of the pre-dam fish. Indians claim the hatchery fish aren’t as good as wild fish so you can’t satisfy everyone.
The Panama Canal wouldn’t work if water wasn’t renewable as rainfall refills the lake the ships travel through on the top of the hill on the isthmus.