Kofun period

The Kofun period (古墳時代 Kofun jidai) is an era in the history of Japan from around 250 to 538 AD. It follows the Yayoi period. The word kofun is Japanese for the type of burial mounds dating from this era. The Kofun and the subsequent Asuka periods are sometimes referred to collectively as the Yamato period. The Kofun period is the earliest era of recorded history in Japan; as the chronology of its historical sources tends to be very distorted, studies of this period require deliberate criticism and the aid of archaeology.

The Kofun period is divided from the Asuka period by its cultural differences. The Kofun period is characterized by a Shinto culture which existed prior to the introduction of Buddhism. Politically, the leader of a powerful clan won control over much of west Honshū and the northern half of Kyūshū and eventually established the Imperial House of Japan. Kofun burial mounds on Tanegashima and two very old Shinto shrines on Yakushima suggest that these islands were the southern boundaries of the Yamato state,[1] while its northernmost extent was as far north as Tainai in the modern Niigata Prefecture, where mounds have been excavated associated with a person with close links to the Yamato kingdom.[2]

Kofun tombs

Main article: Kofun
Daisenryō Kofun, Osaka, 5th century.
Kofun period jewelry. British Museum.

Kofun (from Middle Chinese 古 "ancient" + bjun 墳 "burial mound") are defined as the burial mounds built for the people of the ruling class during the 3rd to 7th centuries in Japan,[3] and the Kofun period takes its name from these distinctive earthen mounds. The mounds contained large stone burial chambers. Some are surrounded by moats.

Kofun come in many shapes, with round and square being the most common. A distinct style is the keyhole-shaped kofun, with its square front and round back. Kofun range in size from several meters to over 400 meters in length and unglazed pottery figures called Haniwa were often buried under the circumference of the kofun.


Iron helmet and armour with gilt bronze decoration, Kofun period, 5th century. Tokyo National Museum.

The oldest Japanese kofun is said to be Hokenoyama Kofun located in Sakurai, Nara, which dates to the late 3rd century. In the Makimuku district of Sakurai, later keyhole kofuns (Hashihaka Kofun, Shibuya Mukaiyama Kofun) were built around the early 4th century. The trend of the keyhole kofun first spread from Yamato to Kawachi (where gigantic kofun such as Daisenryō Kofun exist), and then throughout the country (except for Tōhoku region) in the 5th century. Keyhole kofun disappeared later in the 6th century, probably because of the drastic reformation which took place in the Yamato court; Nihon Shoki records the introduction of Buddhism at this time. The last two great kofun are the Imashirozuka kofun (length: 190m) of Osaka, which is believed by current scholars to be the tomb of Emperor Keitai, and the Iwatoyama kofun (length: 135m) of Fukuoka which was recorded in Fudoki of Chikugo to be the tomb of Iwai, the political archrival of Keitai.

Yamato court

Due to the controversy over Yamataikoku the actual start of Yamato rule is disputed. However, it is usually believed to have been created around 250 CE. Regardless, it is generally agreed that Yamato rulers possessed keyhole kofun culture and held hegemony in Yamato up to the 4th century. The regional autonomy of local powers remained throughout the period, particularly in places such as Kibi (current Okayama prefecture), Izumo (current Shimane Prefecture), Koshi (current Fukui and Niigata Prefecture), Kenu (northern Kantō), Chikushi (northern Kyūshū), and Hi (central Kyūshū); it was only in the 6th century that the Yamato clans began to assert dominance over the entire southern half of Japan. Yamato's relationships with China are likely to have begun in the late 4th century, according to the Book of Song.

The Yamato polity, which emerged by the late 5th century, was distinguished by powerful clans (豪族: Gōzoku). Each clan was headed by a patriarch (氏上: Uji-no-kami) who performed sacred rites to the clan's kami to ensure the long-term welfare of the clan. Clan members were the aristocracy, and the kingly line that controlled the Yamato court was at its pinnacle. Powerful clan leaders were awarded kabane, a title that denoted a political rank. This title was inherited, and used instead of the family name.

The Kofun period of Japanese culture is also sometimes called the Yamato period by some Western scholars, since this local chieftainship rose to become the Imperial dynasty at the end of the Kofun period. Yamato and its dynasty however were just one rival polity among others throughout the Kofun era. Japanese archaeologists emphasise instead the fact that, in the first half of the Kofun period, other regional chieftainships, such as Kibi were in close contention for dominance or importance. The Tsukuriyama Kofun of Kibi is the fourth largest kofun in Japan.

Gilded sword hilt pommels, Kofun period, 6th century, Japan

The Yamato court ultimately exercised power over clans in Kyūshū and Honshū, bestowing titles, some hereditary, on clan chieftains. The Yamato name became synonymous with all of Japan as the Yamato rulers suppressed the clans and acquired agricultural lands. Based on Chinese models (including the adoption of the Chinese written language), they started to develop a central administration and an imperial court attended by subordinate clan chieftains but with no permanent capital. The famous powerful clans were the Soga, Katsuraki, Heguri, Koze clans in the Yamato and Bizen Province, and the Kibi clans in the Izumo Province. The Ōtomo and Mononobe clans were the military leaders, and the Nakatomi and Inbe clans handled rituals. The Soga clan provided the highest minister in the government, while the Ōtomo and Mononobe clans provided the second highest ministers. The heads of provinces were called Kuni-no-miyatsuko. The crafts were organized into guilds.

Territorial expansion of Yamato

Reconstitution of a Kofun Era warehouse.

In addition to archaeological findings indicating a local monarchy in the Kibi Province as an important rival, the legend of the 4th century Prince Yamato Takeru alludes to the borders of the Yamato and battlegrounds in the area. A frontier was obviously somewhere close to the later Izumo Province (the eastern part of today's Shimane Prefecture). Another frontier, in Kyūshū, was apparently somewhere north of today's Kumamoto Prefecture. The legend specifically states that there was an eastern land in Honshū "whose people disobeyed the imperial court", against whom Yamato Takeru was sent to fight. It's not clear whether the rivalling country was located rather close to the Yamato nucleus area itself, or relatively far away. The modern-day Kai province is mentioned as one of the locations where prince Yamato Takeru sojourned in his said military expedition.

The northern frontier of this age was also explained in Kojiki as the legend of Shido Shogun's (四道将軍: Shoguns to four ways) expedition. Out of four shoguns, Ōbiko set northward to Koshi and his son Take Nunakawawake set to eastern states. The father moved east from northern Koshi while the son moved north on his way, and they finally met at Aizu (current western Fukushima). Although the legend itself is not likely to be a historical fact, Aizu is rather close to southern Tōhoku, where the north end of keyhole kofun culture as of the late 4th century is located.


A late kofun, earthen covering gone. (Ishibutai kofun in Nara)

During the Kofun period, a highly aristocratic society with militaristic rulers developed.

The Kofun period was a critical stage in Japan's evolution toward a more cohesive and recognized state. This society was most developed in the Kinai Region and the easternmost part of the Inland Sea. Japan's rulers of the time even petitioned the Chinese court for confirmation of royal titles.

While the rulers' titles are diplomatically King, they locally titled themselves as Ōkimi (Great King) during this period. Inscriptions in two swords, Inariyama Sword and Eta Funayama Sword had records of Amenoshita Shiroshimesu (治天下; "ruling of Heaven and Earth") and Ōkimi (大王) in common, to be a ruler that the bearers of these swords were subjected to. It reveals that rulers of this age also grasped religious authorities to justify their thrones through heavenly dignities. The title of Amenoshita Shiroshimesu Okimi was used up to 7th century, until being replaced by Tenno.

Clans of the Yamato Court

Many of the clans and local chieftains that made up the Yamato polity claimed descent from the imperial family or other tribal Gods. The archeological evidence for such clans is found in the Inariyama sword, on which the bearer recorded the names of his ancestors to claim its origin to Ōbiko (大彦) who was recorded in Nihon Shoki as a son of Emperor Kōgen. On the other hand, there are also a number of clans claiming origins in China or the Korean peninsula.

In the 5th century, the Kazuraki clan (葛城氏), descending from the legendary grandson of Emperor Kōgen, was the most prominent power in the court and intermarried with the imperial family. After Kazuraki declined in the late 5th century, the Ōtomo clan temporarily took its place. When Emperor Buretsu died with no apparent heir, it was Ōtomo no Kanamura who recommended Emperor Keitai, a very distant imperial relative who resided in Koshi Province, as the new monarch. However, Kanamura resigned due to the failure of his diplomatic policies, and the court was eventually controlled by the Mononobe and Soga clans at the beginning of the Asuka period.

Kofun society

Detail of horse chariots on a Chinese bronze mirror sent to Japan during the Kofun period (5th-6th century). Eta-Funayama Tumulus, Kumamoto. Tokyo National Museum.


Toraijin refers to people who came to Japan from abroad in a broad sense, but it also refers to people who became naturalized citizens of ancient Japan from the Chinese continent via the Nansei Islands or the Korean Peninsula in ancient times in a limited sense. They introduced many aspects of Chinese culture to Japan. Valuing their knowledge and culture, the Yamato government gave preferential treatment to toraijin. The elements of Chinese culture introduced to the Yamato Imperial Court are very important.[4] According to the book Shinsen Shōjiroku compiled in 815, a total 154 out of 1,182 clans in the Kinai area on Honshū were regarded as people with foreign genealogy. The book specifically mentions 163 were from China, 104 such families from Baekje (Paekche in the older romanization), 41 from Goguryeo, 6 from Silla, and 3 from Gaya.[5] They might be families that moved to Japan between the years A.D. 356-645.

Chinese migration

Many important figures were also immigrants from China. Chinese immigrants also had considerable influence according to the Shinsen Shōjiroku,[5] which was used as a directory of aristocrats. Yamato Imperial Court had officially edited the directory in 815, and 163 Chinese clans were registered.

According to Nihon Shoki, the Hata clan, which was composed of descendants of Qin Shi Huang,[6] arrived at Yamato in 403 (the fourteenth year of Ōjin) leading the people of 120 provinces. According to the Shinsen Shōjiroku, the Hata clan were dispersed in various provinces during the reign of Emperor Nintoku and were made to undertake sericulture and the manufacturing of silk for the court. When the finance ministry was set up in Yamato Court, Hata no Otsuchichi became Tomo no miyatsuko (the chief of various departments of the Yamato Court) and was appointed Okura no jo (Ministry of the Treasury), and the heads of family seem to have served as financial officials of the Yamato Court.

In 409 (the twentieth year of Ōjin), Achi-no-Omi, the ancestor of the Yamato-Aya clan, which was also composed of Chinese immigrants, arrived with people from 17 districts. According to the Shinsen Shōjiroku, Achi obtained the permission to establish the Province of Imaki. The Kawachi-no-Fumi clan, descendants of Gaozu of Han, introduced aspects of Chinese writing to the Yamato court.

The Takamuko clan is a descendant of Cao Cao. Takamuko no Kuromaro was a center member of Taika Reform.[7]

Korean migration

Among the many Korean immigrants who settled in Japan beginning in the 4th century, some came to be the progenitors of Japanese clans. According to Kojiki and Nihon Shoki, the oldest record of a Silla immigrant is Amenohiboko, a legendary prince of Silla who settled to Japan at the era of Emperor Suinin, perhaps around the 3rd or 4th century.

Baekje and Silla sent their princes as hostages to the Yamato court in exchange for military support.[8][9][10][11] For example, King Muryeong of Baekje was born in Kyushu (筑紫) of Japan as a child of hostage in 462,[12] and left a son in Japan who settled there and became an ancestor of the Yamato no Fubito (和史 "Scribes of Yamato") clan of minor nobility. According to the Shoku Nihongi (続日本紀), Takano no Niigasa, background of the naturalized clansmen Yamato no Fumito (和史), was a 10th-generation descendant of King Muryeong of Baekje who was chosen as a concubine for Emperor Kōnin and subsequently became the mother of Emperor Kanmu.

Kofun Culture


Main article: Japanese language

Chinese, Korean and Japanese wrote accounts of history mostly in Chinese characters, making original pronunciations difficult to trace.

While writing was largely unknown to the indigenous Japanese of this period, the literary skills of foreigners seem to have become increasingly appreciated by the Japanese elite in many regions. The Inariyama Sword, tentatively dated 471 or 531, contains Chinese-character inscriptions in styles used in China at the time.[13]


Kofun period haniwa chieftain, Ibaraki, circa 500 CE. British Museum.
Kofun haniwa soldier.

The cavalry wore armour, carried swords and other weapons, and used advanced military methods like those of northeast Asia. Evidence of these advances is seen in haniwa (埴輪, "clay ring"), the clay offerings placed in a ring on and around the tomb mounds of the ruling elite. The most important of these haniwa were found in southern Honshū—especially the Kinai region around Nara Prefecture—and northern Kyūshū. Haniwa grave offerings were made in numerous forms, such as horses, chickens, birds, fans, fish, houses, weapons, shields, sunshades, pillows, and male and female humans. Another funerary piece, the magatama (勾玉, "curved jewel"), became one of the symbols of the power of the imperial house.

Introduction of material culture to Japan

Much of the material culture of the Kofun period demonstrates that Japan at this time was in close political and economic contact with continental Asia, especially with the southern dynasties of China, via the countries of the Korean peninsula. Indeed, bronze mirrors cast from the same mould have been found on both sides of the Tsushima Strait. Irrigation, sericulture, and weaving were also brought to Japan by Chinese immigrants who are mentioned in the ancient Japanese histories. For instance, the Hata clan of Chinese origin (, read "Qín" in Chinese) introduced sericulture and certain kinds of weaving.[14]

Towards Asuka period

The Kofun period gave way to the Asuka period in mid-6th century AD with the introduction of Buddhism. The religion was officially introduced the year 538, and this year is traditionally taken as the start of the new period. The Asuka period also coincided with the reunification of China under the Sui dynasty later in this century. Japan became deeply influenced by Chinese culture, adding a broader cultural context to the religious distinction between the Kofun and Asuka periods.

Relations between the Yamato court and the Korean kingdoms

Chinese records

Korean records

Japanese records

According to the Nihon Shoki, Silla was conquered by the Japanese Empress-consort Jingū in the third century.[23] According to Nihon Shoki, the prince of Silla came to Japan to serve the Japanese Emperor,[24] and he lived in Tajima Province. He was called Amenohiboko. His descendant is Tajima mori.[25] According to Kojiki [26] and Nihon Shoki,[27] during Emperor Ōjin's reign, Geunchogo of Baekje presented stallions and broodmares with horse trainers to the Japanese emperor.[28]


Japan and South Korea have revisited previous interpretations of the history of this period, voiding many erroneous quotes and interpretations after several studies over the past decade. The first joint history project between Japan and South Korea was halted in 2005 due to disagreements between the two countries,[29] but later resumed.[30]

The archaeological record, and ancient Chinese sources, indicate that the various tribes and chiefdoms of Japan did not begin to coalesce into states until 300 AD, when large tombs began to appear. Some describe the "mysterious century" as a time of internecine warfare as various chiefdoms competed for hegemony on Kyūshū and Honshū.[31] Even more complicating is the Nihon Shoki referencing the Japanese king who is Korean rulers sovereign.[32][33][34] Due to this conflicting information, nothing can be concluded for the book of Song or Nihon Shoki.

According to the history records in Japan (Nihon Shoki) and Korea (Samguk Sagi), Korean princes were sent to Japan as hostages.[33] Due to the confusion on the exact nature of this relationship of whether Japanese is the founder of Silla[35] or hostages and the fact that the Nihon Shoki is a compilation of myths make it difficult to evaluate. In Japan the hostage interpretation is dominant. Other historians like the ones who collaborated in the works for "Paekche of Korea and the origin of Yamato Japan" and Jonathan W Best who helped translate what was left of the Baekjae annals[36] have noted Silla King served as horse keeper for the Japanese Emperor[37] and were the vanguard of the Japanese Navy during the war with Koguryeo as evidence of them being diplomats with some kind of familial tie to the Japanese imperial family and not hostages. In addition, the translation of these documents are difficult because in the past the term "Wa" was derogatory meaning "midget pirate" or "dwarf pirate" in Chinese. It is difficult to assess what is truly being stated; this could have been a derogatory statement between 2 warring nations.

Part of the reason the Joint history project finds these Japanese views questionable: There is no evidence of Japan ever having been sophisticated enough to control any part of Korea during the time of Jingu.[4][38] However, there is archaeological evidence of Koreans going to Japan during this time, According to the book "Korea and Japan in East Asian History",[39] and "Paekche of Korea and the Origin of Yamato Japan"[40] such findings as horse sculptures, Shinju-kyo, painting and iron-ware made in Northern Wei China which do not match the dates of Emperor Ojin's reign.[41] The question that always comes up within the Korean community is, 'Why would a Japanese culture that doesn't have Korean ceramic ability or horses yet have horse sculptures in their tombs?'. Also significant is Emperor Ōjin's reign is off by more than a century with Geunchogo of Baekje in other words these people did not exist in the same time period. According to the book "Paekchae of Korea and the origin of Yamato Japan”, "The prince of Silla was the ancestor to the Japanese Emperor. The translation of "Nihon Shoki Vol.6" was added and Amenohiboko is described in Nihon Shoki as a maternal predecessor of Tajima-no-morosuku (但馬諸助),[42] whose controversial legend says that she defeated Silla in the 5th century. This is highly inconsistent, as Jingū is said to have lived in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, and she is supposed to have died in 269 AD which would make her 300 to 400 years old. This conflicting information makes it difficult to understand these records.

According to the book Paekchae of Korea and the origin of Yamato Japan, "The prince of Silla was the ancestor to the Japanese Emperor." The translation of "Nihon Shoki Vol.6" was added and Amenohiboko is described in Nihon Shoki as a maternal predecessor of Empress Jingū, whose controversial legend says that she defeated Silla in the 5th Century. This is highly inconsistent, as Jingū is said to have lived in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, and she is supposed to have died in 269 AD which would make her 300 to 400 years old. This conflicting information makes it difficult to understand these records. "天日槍對曰 僕新羅國主之子也 然聞日本國有聖皇 則以己國授弟知古而化歸之" Amehiboko was said to have stated 2 possible translations depending on how you punctuate the sentence and how you evaluate the syntax. 1. "I am a prince in Korea. I heard that there was saint's king in Japan. To become a vassal of the king in Japan, I transferred the country to younger brother." Again in the past the original text and not modern Japanese or Korean translations, lacking past tense/present tense and words like transferring or transferred or transfer would be impossible to interpret. This same sentence can be 2. "I am a prince in Korea. I heard that there was a saint's King in Japan to become a vassal. The king in Japan I transfer the country to my younger brother." It is impossible to tell whether the sentence is stating that a Korean prince loves his younger brother, calling him a saint and ordaining his younger brother to be his vassal (and to rule as the King of Japan), or simply the other way around.

According to the Book of Song, a Chinese emperor appointed five kings of Wa to the position of ruler of Silla in 421,[43] but what is confusing is that Japan wielded influence over the southern part of the Korean peninsula through the remote region according to the Nihon Shoki.[44] In addition, the book of Song and the book of Sui can not be possible because many of the states considered to be Japan's vassal such as Chinhan and Mahan did not exist in the same time period as the vassal king of Yamato. In addition, the Book of Song was incomplete with missing volumes and filled in centuries later in a biased manner for political reasons. Also, Silla did not have official contact with the Song/Sui until the 6th century making this 4th to 5th century statement impossible. "As Egami (1964) notes, it may look very strange that the names of six or seven states listed in the self-claimed titles included Chin-han and Ma-han which had preceded, respectively, the states of Silla and Paekche. Perhaps the King of Wa had included the names of six or seven south Korean states in his title merely to boast of the extent of his rule. But Wa Kings could not have included the names of nonexistent states." Other historians also dispute Japan's theory, claiming there is no evidence of Japanese rule in Gaya or any other part of Korea.[4][45] Another problem with the book of Song and book of Sui is that many of the volumes of the books were missing and re-written later in a biased manner. It is difficult to make any sense of what the relationship was like in the past.

Japan of the Kofun period was very receptive to the Chinese culture and Korean culture.[46] Chinese and Korean immigrants played an important role in introducing elements of both to early Japan.[33] [47]

The special burial customs of the Goguryeo culture had an important influence on other cultures in Japan.[48] Decorated tombs and painted tumuli which date from the fifth century and later found in Japan are generally accepted as Northeast of China and Northern part of Korean peninsula exports to Japan.[49] The Takamatsuzuka Tomb even has paintings of a woman dressed in distinctive clothes, similar to wall paintings from Goguryeo and Tang Dynasty China.[50][51] In addition, Chinese astrology was being introduced during this time.

According to the Book of Song, of the Liu Song Dynasty, the Emperor of China bestowed military sovereignty over Silla, Imna, Gaya, Chinhan, and Mahan on King Sai of Wa. However, this theory is widely rejected even in Japan as there is no evidence of Japanese rule in Gaya or any other part of Korea.[4][45] After the death of King Kō of Wa, his younger brother Bu acceeded to the throne; King Bu requested to have Baekje added to the list of protectorates included in the official title bestowed upon the King of Wa by mandate of the Emperor of China, but his title was only renewed as "Supervisor of All Military Affairs of the Six Countries of Wa, Silla, Imna, Gara, Chinhan, and Mahan, Great General Who Keeps Peace in the East, King of the Country of Wa."[16] This entire statement is impossible because Chinhan and Mahan did not exist in the same time period as Silla, Baekje when the vassal Kings of Yamato were supposed to rule. As Egami wrote in 1964 "But Wa Kings could not have included the names of nonexistent states." In addition, Silla did not have official contact with the Song/Sui until the 6th century making this 4th to 5th century claim not possible. Due to the lack of evidence, and the confusion of whether the Wa were the descendants of Koreans, again no certain information is discernible.

Chinese chronicles note that horses were absent from the islands of Japan; they are first noted in the chronicles during the reign of Nintoku, most likely imported by Chinese and Korean immigrants.[32][33] According to some accounts, the horse was one of the treasures presented when the king of Silla surrendered to Empress Jingū in the Nihon Shoki.[52] Other accounts contend that there is no evidence of this from Silla, and the king who supposedly surrendered dates to the 5th century, thus making Empress Jingu 200 years old. The Nihon Shoki states that the father of Empress Jingu was Emperor Kaika's grandchild, and her mother was from the Katuragi clan.[53] In addition, the Nihon Shoki states that a Korean from Silla, Amenohiboko, was an ancestor of Jingu so both the Nihon Shoki and the Chinese chronicles relating to Japan are difficult to interpret. In addition, there is no evidence of Japanese war with Korea or any Japanese presence in Korea at this time[4][45] and the Japanese did not have actual knowledge about horses until well after this time.[4][45]

Restricted access to Gosashi tomb

In 1976 Japan stopped all foreign archaeologists from studying the Gosashi tomb, which is supposedly the resting place of Emperor Jingu. In 2008, Japan allowed controlled, limited access to foreign archaeologists, but the international community still has many unanswered questions. National Geographic News reported that Japan "the agency has kept access to the tombs restricted, prompting rumors that officials fear excavation would reveal bloodline links between the "pure" imperial family and Korea—or that some tombs hold no royal remains at all."[54]

The Yamato court had ties to the Gaya confederacy, called Mimana in Japanese. This region of the Korean peninsula has burial mounds similar to kofun. This has caused scholars to begin examining the shared relationship between the Yamato and Baekje during the 3rd and the 7th centuries AD, including the method of tomb construction. While a variety of theories exist, most have come to the conclusion that there was sharing of culture and construction methods both directions.[55] For example, earrings discovered in Silla and Kaya tombs are very similar to Japanese earrings dated to the Kofun period, "The ultimate source of such elaborate techniques as granulation is probably the Greek and Etruscan goldsmiths of western Asia and Europe, whose skills were transmitted to northern China and later to Korea. The resemblance of earrings found in Japan in the Kofun period (ca. 3rd century—538 A.D.) to those from Silla and Kaya tombs suggests that such articles are imported from Korea."[56] Spread of Chinese civilisation, Han styles of tomb construction were gradually adopted in all three kingdoms of Korea, mainly from the 4th century onwards.[57] The tombs in the southern part of Korea and Japan appear to have a relationship.[55] However, all the kofun-style tombs discovered in Korea have been dated as younger than those found in Japan. Leading Japanese scholars to insist that those found in Korea were either built by Japanese immigrants or influenced by culture brought by them, but the advanced artifacts found in Korean's huge tombs are Japanese Haniwa,[58] and Japan's tombs are Mongol people who came from Korea like the pottery,[59] horse sculptures and earrings,.[54][60][61][62][63][64]

Important note regarding these records is Japan and South Korea had revisited many of these interpretations in history and came to void many erroneous quotes and interpretations after a three-year study. Both countries agreed in a joint Japan and South Korea history project that Japan's interpretation of the 4th century was incorrect but the Japanese government did not agree with the historians of both countries.[30] "After conducting research for three years since 2002, scholars of the two countries announced their first report on three categories - the ancient, medieval, and modern times. At that time, Seoul demanded that the research institute’s findings be reflected in the textbooks of the two nations, but Japan rejected this request"[29]

See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kofun.



  1. Denoon, Donald et al. (2001). Multicultural Japan: Palaeolithic to Postmodern, p. 107., p. 107, at Google Books
  2. "Yamato kingdom traces found in Niigata Pref.". Daily Yomiuri Online. September 17, 2012. Retrieved September 23, 2012.
  3. Keally, Charles T. (2009-04-29). "Kofun Culture". Retrieved 2009-05-30.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Kōzō (1997:311)
  5. 1 2 Saeki (1981)
  6. "Nihon no myōji 7000 ketsu seishi ruibetsu taikan Hata uji 日本の苗字7000傑 姓氏類別大観 秦氏". Retrieved 2006-05-31.
  7. "Nihon no myōji 7000 ketsu seishi ruibetsu taikan Takamuko uji 日本の苗字7000傑 姓氏類別大観 高向氏". Retrieved 2006-10-15.
  8. Brown, Delmer M. (1993). The Cambridge History of Japan: Ancient Japan. Cambridge University Press. p. 141. ISBN 0-521-22352-0. Faced with this comeback by Koguryo, Paekche leaders turned to Yamato for military support, even sending its crown prince to Yamato as a hostage in 397 - just as Silla had dispatched princely hostage to Koguryo in 392 when that kingdom was in dire need of military support.
  9. Pratt, Keith (2007). Everlasting Flower: A History of Korea. Reaktion Books. p. 42. ISBN 1-86189-335-3. We can only guess, for example, what it felt like for the girls periodically sent as brides to foreign courts, for the crown prince of Paekche when he was dispatched to the Yamato court as a hostage in AD 397, or for a Silla prince who experienced the same fate in 402.
  10. The New Encyclopaedia Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica. 2003. p. 279. ISBN 0-85229-961-3. Paekche was frequently attacked by Koguryo during the century, prompting continued requests for assistance from Yamato; it is recorded that Paekche even sent a crown prince to Yamato as a hostage on one occasion and the mother of the king on another. Yet, probably because of internal dissension, Yamato did not dispatch any troops to the peninsula. Yamato's interest in Korea was apparently a desire for access to improved continental technology and resources, especially iron.
  11. Henthorn, William E. (1971). A history of Korea. Free Press. p. 37. In 402, Silla concluded a peace with the Wa. Prince Misahun was then sent to Japan as a hostage. This may have been an act of revenge by the Silla monarch, who, as Prince Silsong, had been sent as hostage to Koguryo by Prince Misahun's father. Despite the peace, Silla-Wa relations were never friendly, due no doubt in part to the Wa-Kaya alliance.
  12. Nihon Shoki Vol.14 "Chronicle of Emperor Yūryaku" 六月丙戌朔 孕婦果如加須利君言 於Chikuzen Province (筑紫) 各羅嶋産兒 仍名此兒曰嶋君 於是 軍君即以一船 送嶋君於國 是爲King Muryeong of Baekje (武寧王) 百濟人呼此嶋曰主嶋也
  13. Seeley (2000:19-23)
  14. 国語大辞典 (Kokugo Dai Jiten Dictionary) (in Japanese) (新装版 (Revised Edition) ed.), Tokyo: Shogakukan, 1988, 姓氏。古代の有力帰化系氏族。出自は諸説あるが、おそらく五世紀に渡来した中国人の子孫で、養蚕・機織の技術をもって朝廷に仕え、伴造(とものみやつこ)の一員として秦造(はたのみやつこ)を称したと思われる。
    Surname. Influential immigrant clan in ancient times. Various theories about origins, but most likely descendants of Chinese immigrants who came to Japan in the fifth century, who are thought to have brought sericulture and weaving technologies and served in the imperial court, and to have been granted the title Hata no Miyatsuko as members of the Tomo no Miyatsuko [an imperial rank responsible for overseeing technically skilled artisans].
  15. Chinese History Record Book of Sui, Vol. 81, Liezhuan 46 : 隋書 東夷伝 第81巻列伝46 : 新羅、百濟皆以倭為大國,多珍物,並敬仰之,恆通使往來 "Silla and Baekje both take Wa to be a great country, with many rare and precious things; also [Silla and Baekje] respect and look up to them, and regularly send embassies there."
  16. 1 2 Chinese History Record Book of Song : 宋書 列傳第五十七 夷蠻 : 詔除武使持節、都督倭新羅任那加羅秦韓慕韓六國諸軍事、安東大將軍、倭王。興死,弟武立,自稱使持節、都督倭百濟新羅任那加羅秦韓慕韓七國諸軍事、安東大將軍、倭國王
  17. 百残新羅舊是属民由来朝貢而倭以辛卯年来渡海破百残XX新羅以為臣民
  18. 徐建新 (2006-02-07). 好太王碑拓本の研究. 東京堂出版. ISBN 4-490-20569-4.
  19. Portraits of Periodical Offering 斯羅国 : 斯羅國,本東夷辰韓之小國也。魏時曰新羅,宋時曰斯羅,其實一也。或屬韓或屬倭,國王不能自通使聘。普通二年,其王姓募名泰,始使隨百濟奉表献方物。其國有城,號曰健年。其俗與高麗相類。無文字,刻木為範,言語待百濟而後通焉
  20. Korean History Record Samguk Sagi : 三國史記 新羅本紀 : 元年 三月 與倭國通好 以奈勿王子未斯欣爲質
  21. Korean History Record Samguk Sagi : 三國史記 百済本紀 : 六年夏五月 王與倭國結好 以太子腆支爲質 秋七月大閱於漢水之南 
  22. Korean History Record Samguk Sagi :三國史記 卷第一 新羅本紀第一 始祖赫居世, 瓠公者 未詳其族姓 本倭人
  23. Sakamoto (1967:336-340)
  24. Nihon Shoki, Vol.6 "天日槍對曰 僕新羅國主之子也 然聞日本國有聖皇 則以己國授弟知古而化歸(to serve)之"
  25. Nihon Shoki, Vol.6 "故天日槍娶但馬出嶋人 太耳女麻多烏 生但馬諸助也 諸助生但馬日楢杵 日楢杵生清彦 清彦生田道間守也"
  26. 百濟國主照古王遣阿知吉師獻雄馬雌馬各壹以貢上此阿知吉師者 阿直史等之祖
  27. 十五年秋八月 壬戌朔丁卯 百濟王遣阿直岐 貢良馬二匹 即養於輕阪上廄 因以阿直岐令掌飼 故號其養馬之處曰 廄阪
  28. Kurano (1958:248-249)
  29. 1 2 "S.K.-Japan joint history project to be revived : International : Home". English.hani.co.kr. 2007-04-26. Retrieved 2014-03-12.
  30. 1 2 "Japan office never existed in 4th century-INSIDE Korea JoongAng Daily". Koreajoongangdaily.joinsmsn.com. 2010-03-24. Retrieved 2014-03-12.
  31. Farris (1998:7)
  32. 1 2 Coval, Dr John Carter and Alan, 1984, "Korean impact on Japanese culture: Japan's hidden History" Hollym International Corp., Elizabeth, New Jersey
  33. 1 2 3 4 Hong, Wontack (1994). Paekche of Korea and the Origin of Yamato Japan. Seoul: Kudara International. ISBN 978-89-85567-02-2. Archived from the original on 2007-02-05.
  34. Nihon Shoki Vol.6
  35. Samguk Sagi Silla bongi Vol1 (三國史記 卷第一 新羅本紀第一 脱解尼師今) "脱解本多婆那國所生也 其國在倭國東北一千里"
  36. Best JW 2007 A History of the Early Korean Kingdom of Paekche, together with an annotated translation of The Paekche Annals of the Samguk sagi (Harvard East Asian Monographs) Massachusetts, Harvard University, Asia studies
  37. Nihon shoki Vol.9 "降於王船之前。因以叩頭之曰。従今以後。長与乾坤。伏為飼部。其不乾船柁。而春秋献馬梳及馬鞭。"
  38. Kenneth B. Lee (1997). "4. Korea and Early Japan, 200 B.C. – 700 A.D.". Korea and East Asia: The Story of a Phoenix. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 31 ~ 35p. ISBN 0-275-95823-X.
  39. "Hong Wontack 2005, KOREA AND JAPAN IN EAST ASIAN HISTORY Seoul, Kadura International"
  40. "Peakche of Korea and the Origin of Yamato Japan" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-03-12.
  41. Tenri University : Harness of the ancient Fujinoki burial mound exhumation (藤ノ木古墳出土の馬具 - 畏獣図像からその来歴を探る)
    "藤ノ木古墳の「鬼面」の手指は2体とも3本であり、足指については左畏獣が2本、右畏獣は3本あるように見える。この観察が正しければ、これらは中国の伝統的な畏獣であり、原則が崩れかける前段階すなわち北魏末期から東魏(Northern Wei) にかけて、北朝の領域で製作されたと考えられる。北斉までは下らず、6世紀前半の製作とみなのが妥当であろう。"
  42. "Nihon Shoki Vol.6" "昔有一人 乘艇而泊于但馬國 因問曰 汝何國人也 對曰 新羅王子 名曰 天日槍 則留于但馬 娶其國前津耳女 一云 前津見 一云 太耳 麻拖能烏 生 但馬諸助 是清彥之祖父也"
  43. Book of Song
  44. Nihon Shoki Vol.19 Emperor Kimmei April, 2 "与任那日本府吉備臣"
  45. 1 2 3 4 Lee (1997:31-35)
  46. Imamura (1996)
  47. Stearns (2001:56)
  48. "Complex of Koguryo Tombs". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 2006-05-31.
  49. "Complex of Koguryo Tombs". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 2006-05-31. "totalling about 30 individual graves, from the later period of the Koguryo Kingdom, one of the strongest kingdoms in north-eastern China and half of the Korean peninsula between the 3rd century BC and 7th century AD."
  50. Farris (1998:95)
  51. MSN Encarta http://jp.encarta.msn.com/media_262538992_761577854_-1_1/content.html. Archived 2009-10-31.
  52. Sakamoto (1967:338-339)
  53. Nihon Shoki Vol.9 "Empress Jingu (気長足姫尊). Emperor Kaika (稚日本根子彦大日日天皇) 之曾孫。気長宿禰王之女也。母曰葛城高顙媛。"
  54. 1 2 "Japanese Royal Tomb Opened to Scholars for First Time". News.nationalgeographic.com. 2010-10-28. Retrieved 2014-03-12.
  55. 1 2 Yoshii, Hideo. "Keyhole-shaped tombs in Korean Peninsula" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-05-30.
  56. "Korea, 1-500 A.D. in Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History". Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2000. Retrieved 2009-05-30.
  57. Richard Rutt, James Hoare. Korea: a historical and cultural dictionary (474 page). Routledge. ISBN 978-0-7007-0464-4. ISBN 0-7007-0464-7.
  58. The Hankyoreh 2001.9.6 (in korean) "일본식 닮은 영산강가 5~6세기 고분" Yeongsan River (영산강) kofuns were made in 5th and 6th centuries are similar to the Japanese style Kofun
  59. Pottery - MSN Encarta. Archived from the original on 2009-10-31. ""made by a Mongol people who came from Korea to Kyūshū, has been found throughout Japan.""
  60. Choson Sinbo "Kitora Tomb Originates in Koguryo Murals" By Chon Ho Chon
  61. Archived February 26, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  62. "Japanese history: Jomon, Yayoi, Kofun". Japan-guide.com. 2002-06-09. Retrieved 2014-03-12.
  63. "Asia Society: The Collection In Context". Asiasocietymuseum.com. Retrieved 2014-03-12.
  64. The Arts of Japan: Late medieval to modern - 清六ˇ野間 - Google Boeken. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2014-03-12.

This period is part of the Yamato period of Japanese History.

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