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Japan

  • John M. Steele
Chapter
Part of the Archimedes book series (ARIM, volume 4)

Abstract

The history of Japan emerges from the legendary period around the sixth century AD. The Nihongi, a chronicle written in about AD 720, recounts the history of Japan from the time of the gods down to AD 679. However, at least before the fifth century AD, it is clear that much of this history is fictitious, albeit a fiction that is probably based partly upon fact.1 From archaeological evidence it seems that even as late as the third century BC, Japan was still in the stone age.2 Chinese culture began to enter Japan from Korea around this time, and by the third century AD, local rule had been established in parts of the country.3 One of these small village states, Yamato, began to grow in power and by around AD 350 had subdued the others to form Japan’s first unified state.4

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References

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    As Aston (1972: xv-xvi), who has translated the Nihongi, has written, “The earlier part furnishes a very complete assortment of all the forms of Untrue of which the human mind is capable, whether myth, legend, fable, romance, gossip, mere blundering, or downright fiction ... Then we have a series of legendary stories full of miraculous incidents, but in which grains of truth may here and there be discerned ... The narrative becomes more and more real as it goes on, until about the 5th century (AD) we find ourselves in what, without too violent a departure from truth, may be called genuine history...”Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • John M. Steele
    • 1
  1. 1.University of DurhamUK

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