Skip to comments.Archaeologists Granted Access To Japan's Sacred Tombs
Posted on 09/20/2007 11:59:40 AM PDT by blam
Archaeologists granted access to Japan's sacred tombs
The divine origins of Japan's imperial family come under scrutiny as it allows limited access to two burial sites.
Justin McCurry in Tokyo
Thursday September 20, 2007
Guardian Unlimited (UK)
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko attend the opening ceremony of the World Athletics Championships in Osaka last month. Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty Images
Japan's imperial household agency is to open the doors to some of the country's mysterious imperial tombs early next year after decades of pressure from archaeologists, in a move expected to anger ultra-conservatives. Experts have long been denied access to the hundreds of imperial mausoleums and tombs, which the agency regards as not so much cultural relics as sacred religious sites.
Some historians, however, put the agency's reticence down to fears that close inspection of the burial mounds could unearth evidence that shatters commonly accepted theories about the origins of the Japanese imperial family.
Members of archaeological and historical societies will be granted limited access to two tombs in February and March, the Kyodo news agency said, quoting imperial household sources. Excavation work will be prohibited and researchers will be permitted to enter only the tombs' fringes. The mausoleums are those of the Meiji emperor (1852-1912) and Empress Jingu (170-269), wife of the Emperor Chuai, whose date of birth is unknown.
While the move by the agency - the opaque bureaucracy that runs the affairs of the imperial family - is unlikely to shed new light on the origins of what some believe is the world's oldest monarchy, for Japan's increasingly vocal ultra-right, even this modest concession is a step too far.
They subscribe to the ancient myth that holds that Japan's emperors are the direct descendants of the sun goddess Amaterasu Omikami, and that the current monarch is
(Excerpt) Read more at guardian.co.uk ...
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.
Is that a pancake on Empress Michiko’ forehead?
A handful of DNA samples will either prove or disprove the theory...................
it’s IHOP’s Rooty Tooty Jr. special!
Thanks Blam. I coney ven see that without laughing.
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Do you mean that these are actually “Orieyentahs”???
Is that a pancake on her head?
It looks more like pecan pralines to me.