Could Kharkhorum, Kharkhorin or Khara Khuree hint of the remote Mongolic origins of Karakuni (via Korea)? … considering Mongolia’s prehistoric population links

In Japan, the name “karakuni” is considered to be of Korean provenance.

Eg. Karakuni-dake (韓国岳?) or Mount Karakuni (1700m) is a mountain in Kagoshima and Miyazaki Prefectures, southern Japan.

There are many Karakuni shrines. One of the oldest in Matsue is said to clearly indicate the Korean origins of the karakuni-jinja and the deity Susano enshrined in it, read on below:

“It takes about an hour to reach this place by train from Matsue, the provincial seat of Shimane Prefecture. Hinomisaki Shrine is near the seashore of Izumo city. According to an old legend about the origin of the Hinomisaki Shrine, Susanoonomikoto, the brother of Amateras, the legendary founder of Japan, migrated there from the Korean Peninsula and settled down. Karakuni Shrine was originally in the precincts of Hinomisaki Shrine, but nothing remains now….

Was Hinomisaki Shrine actually Karakuni Shrine? There are plenty of cases in which a main temple became a small temple within the pale of a shrine (a branch temple where gods who are closely related to the shrine are served) after the core temple had collapsed. In particular, it is highly possible that this shrine experienced the same situation since Hinomisaki Shrine was a place where the solar god was served like Shilla.

There is much evidence that shows the vigorous trading with not only Shilla but also Balhae and Goryeo in Shimane Prefecture. Also, there are 11 shrines, which contain the character “Han,” meaning the Korean Peninsula in the ancient times, which exist in Shimane including Karashima, Karakamishiragi, and Karakuniitate. However, Karakuni Shrine, which tells the fact that the origin of Japan in the old times may have been from the Korean Peninsula, has disappeared and was reduced to a branch shrine and nothing has remained as Kim saw. Korean-Japanese Kim Ho-su, who lamented the fact, restored the shrine in 1996 near the pale of the shrine, but it was so small and wretched that it was hard to see even the plate containing “Hankooksinsa” (meaning Korean shrine) in Chinese characters.” — source: Hankooksinsa, a Korean shrine was also destroyed

Given that Silla was a country that had strong Silk Road  trade links with Central Asia, and also that the words “kara” are used in place names all over Central Asia – Karasuk in the Altai, Karakum Desert Kara-Kum or Gara Gum (“Black Sand”) and see below – khara-khuree or kharakhorum “Black Forest” local name for the center of the Mongol popuations.

Given that the kayagum is also a name for the string instrument that has its origins in traveling Central Asian music troupes, it is likely that the prefix “kara” suggests various lineages migrating out of Central Asia arriving via Korea.

Kayagum is an instrument associated with Kaya (or Gaya) but kaya and gaya are often interchangeable with kara as well.

See also “Before nationality | Being Japanese from antiquity to Meiji” \ William Wetherall’s explanation of “kara” in

Karako

“Kara” (韓) could mean “Korea” generally but probably refers only to the several smaller countries that were part of or near Mimana on the southernmost part of the peninsula with which Yamato was most intimately engaged. These countries included Kaya (伽耶, 伽倻), which is often equated with 加羅 (Kara), which is sometimes the name for the entire group of smaller countries that partly or entirely formed Mimana.

The “ko” (子) could mean “child” or “offspring” without regard to sex, but in many classical and even in some present-day contexts it refers to a patrilineal male descendant or son.

The “kara” (韓) of Karako (韓子) is the “han” of Hanguk (韓国 한국) and the “kan” of Kankoku (韓国 かんこく), the Sino-Korean and Sino-Japanese names for the Republic of Korea. There was, of course, no “Korea” at the time — north, south, east, or west. In fact, the term 韓国 (Karakuni) appears in Nihon shoki only as part of the personal name of a servant of the court.

All of the above speak of Korean and Japanese lineages’ ancient links with Central ~ North Asia which are borne out from not only genetics research, but from the elements of kofun / kurgan and horse-riding culture seen in the pre-Buddhist archaeological artefacts of both countries.

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From the Korean perspective, they speak of a …
Mythical Korean kingdom: South Koreans wearing masks of Dangun, the legendary founder of Gojoseon, the mythical Korean kingdom, march during a parade to celebrate the country’s 4,346rd National Foundation Day in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday. The banner reads: ” Congratulation, 4,346rd National Foundation Day.” (AP/Ahn Young-joon)

Origin of the name Khara Khorum or Kharkhorum=Black Khorum=”Black Forest”

“Scholars have researched into the origin of this word individually. The majority of them believe it to be the name of the capital city of the Uighur Empire. Some historians perceive that the word originated from the names of surrounding mountains and rivers. This name “Kharkhorum” became known to the Europe in 1246 for the first time. The history book of Yuan dynasty called it as Black Forest because of the black forest and mountains in its west. The ancient Turkic dictionary recorded as Khara (or Black) Khorum. The word has been used in folk oral literature by some people as Khar Khuree.”

Kharkhorum

Kharkhorum, the capital city of the Mongolian Empire in the thirteenth century, remains in ruins today. However, of history we know it was a beautiful city at its prosperity. There is a saying “one, who does not know the past history, looks like a monkey lost in a forest.”

The Orkhon river valley (some 360 km southwest of Ulaanbaatar), inseparably linked with Kharkhorum, keeps attracting the interests of not only the Mongolians, also foreigners due to its combination of grassland nomadic culture with remains of ancient urban, centralized or highly socially structured societies, strong religious evidence, and where above all these remains are of national and international importance.

It is very interesting to find out preference of our ancestors to have Kharkhorum in the Orkhon valley, representing the middle of mountainous plains, steppe and desert- steppe, instead of the forest region in the north, or Gobi region in the south. The choice was not accidental. To identify the reasons, we have to look back at history.

Mongolia is considered to be one of the cradles of first human beings. Many scholars are of the opinion that the choice was not accidental as the nomadic civilization originated and being developed around the localities of Khangai mountain ranges, Orkhon river valley and areas surrounding the present Kharkhorum. This process continued until erection of Erdenezuu monastery survived to the present day from the xiongnu era.

In the 3rd century B.C., the xiongnu people, who were the ancient ancestors of Mongolians, constructed Shanyu Khaan’s palace on the Orkhon River and created the first powerful state of nomads with its capital city located on the site of the present Kharkhorum. The history develops from here onward.

The Khaan’s palace of Xianbi state (Syanbi), the successor of the xiongnu was also in the Orkhon valley. Similarly, the capital city of Nyrun state was located near Kharkhorum. The Nyrun followed by Turkics who created a powerful empire. Their capital city and Khaan’s palace were located again in the vicinity of Kharkhorum and Orkhon valley.

In the 8th century Uighurs erected two twin cities: Kharakhorum and Khar Balgas in the Orkhon valley. Khirghis Khaan Chen Minh, the successor of Uighurs used to stay at Khar Balgas. Khar Balgas is located 25 km away from Kharakhorum. There are ruins of some other cities of the Kidan Empire.

Later Kereyid Ong Khaan preferred to have his palace at Kharkhorum and ruled his state from here.

However, Chinggis Khaan established a great Mongolian Empire in 1206 by uniting all the people of felt walls into a single Mongolian nation. Kharkhorum was made the capital city instead of Avarga.

Much later in 1586, Erdenezuu Monastery, the Buddhist center began to be built exactly on this site.

Of an interest is that the Syanbi from somewhere, Jujuan from a distant Gobi, Turkics from far south side of Altai Mountain and Uighurs from the Selenge river estuary beyond Lake Baikal moved to the Orkhon valley, and created their empires and established their capital city, taking turns.

The area has been the focus for settlements since early years, not only because of its beautiful landscape. There are many picturesque places all over Mongolia.

Therefore, there might be another reason for the Xiongnu, Syanbi, Nyrun, Turkics, Uighurs, Khirghis, Kidans and Kereyids to move to the Orkhon valley.

Some scholars put forward an interesting hypothesis that the Orkhon valley has been the center of Mongolia obtaining energy from the earth core. According to Batsuuri’s study who is a biological doctor, this area represents the geological genetic center of Mongolia. Thus, any empire settled there obtained energy to achieve unity and prosperity.

It could be the perception of our ancestors who continuously occupied the Orkhon valley, having khaans and lords residential palaces in its vicinity, alternatively replacing one empire by another for many hundreds of years.

As for the city name, it has been pronounced differently like Kharakhorum and Kharkhorum and the present Kharkhorin. Kharkhorum reminds us the ancient capital city, whereas Kharhorin means one of the soums of today’s Uverkhangai aimag.

Scholars have researched into the origin of this word individually. The majority of them believe it to be the name of the capital city of the Uighur Empire. Some historians perceive that the word originated from the names of surrounding mountains and rivers. This name “Kharkhorum” became known to the Europe in 1246 for the first time. The history book of Yuan dynasty called it as Black Forest because of the black forest and mountains in its west. The ancient Turkic dictionary recorded as Khara (or Black) Khorum. The word has been used in folk oral literature by some people as Khar Khuree.

Kharkhorum has been mentioned in notes of ambassadors and travelers visited Mongolia at this time. The French monk William Rubruck (ca. 1210-ca. 1270) left the most detailed note. From the note, it has become clear that the city was named as Khara Khorum since its foundation in the 8th century.

However, with Chinggis Khaan’s occupation of the city, it was named as Kharkhorum. The name reflected the features of surroundings abundant in black rocks, mountains, rivers and forests. The detailed studies have illustrated that the word Kharkhorum originated from a Mongolian word “Khar Khurem”. The Turkish word “Khara Khorum” means in Mongolian “Khar Khurem”. Thus, the name has been Khar Khurem, not Kharkhorum. Many scholars have proved it.
Chinggis Khaan was unable to stay in Kharkhorum due to great wars. However, Ogodei Khaan rebuilt the capital city in 1228-1235 according to the will of Chinggis Khaan, and established it as the capital city. His successors Guyug Khaan and Munk Khaan also announced it to be the capital city of the Mongolian Empire….

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Mongolia: Prehistoric Populations
According to archaeological data, the territory of Mongolia was inhabited 700.000 years ago. It has been hypothesized that nomadic hunter-gatherer groups migrated across Mongolia, Siberia, Russian Far East, Southeast Asia and Middle Asia. A large number of ethnicities inhabited Mongolia since prehistoric times were mostly nomads who, from time to time, formed great confederations that rose to prominence. Human remains belonging to different historical periods of Mongolia have been studied. Based on the results obtained from craniofacial studies of prehistoric remains in Mongolia, scholars concluded that prehistoric populations of Mongolia reveal great heterogeneity of morphological traits. People with Caucasoid morphological features inhabited Western Mongolia while populations with developed Mongoloid traits occupied central and eastern Mongolia. However, the western Mongolian population of the Bronze Age exhibited more pronounced Mongoloid morphological features than seen in earlier times. It can be hypothesized that the Early Bronze Age was characterized by movements from eastern Mongolia to western Mongolia where intensive intermingling between local Caucasoid and Mongoloid populations took place. Mongolian scholars carried out a comparative study of Neolithic, Bronze and Early Iron Age populations of Mongolia and Northeast Asia to clarify the historical and biological relationships between those populations in Asia.

The results of the comparative analysis show that the ancient and contemporary populations of Mongolia are divided into two clusters.
The first cluster includes all historical populations from east and central Mongolia, and it may indicate the genetic relations of those populations of Mongolia. However, the second cluster includes Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Age populations from western Mongolia. Comparative morphological analysis shows that the Neolithic populations in Asia are divided into two major clusters.

The first cluster includes all populations from the Lake Baikal region, Eastern Siberia, the Amur River basin and Japan. [However, the populations from western Mongolia and Altai occupy a separate position in this cluster.
The second cluster includes populations from China and Korea.

Surprisingly, the Neolithic populations from East Mongolia and Promorie are distinct from other Asians.

Comparison of Asian Bronze and Early Iron Age populations shows that these populations are divided into five major clusters except for the population from Manchuria.

①The first cluster combines most of the populations from West Mongolia, the Altai mountain region, South Siberia, Korea and Japan (Yayoi period), but in turn the first cluster divides into three subclusters.
②The second cluster includes populations from Inner Mongolia, Central and Northwest China.
③The populations from Altai (Afanasevo culture), North Kazakhstan (Usunian culture) and South Siberia (Minusinsk culture) belong to the third cluster.
④The populations from the slab grave culture [altar-annexed and/or rectangular] from East Mongolia and Karasuk culture from Central Tuva belong to the fourth cluster.
⑤The fifth cluster combines the populations from Cis-Baikalia (slab grave culture [figure]), Minusinsk (Okunev culture) and West Mongolia (culture of graves with no inventory).

The separation of Bronze Age populations from Northeast Asia into several clusters and subclusters may show intensive intermingling of the Caucasoid and Mongoloid populations during this historical period.

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new version:

According to archaeological data, the territory of Mongolia was inhabited 700.000 years ago. It has been hypothesized that nomadic hunter-gatherer groups migrated across Mongolia, Siberia, Russian Far East, Southeast Asia and Middle Asia. A large number of ethnicities inhabited Mongolia since prehistoric times were mostly nomads who, from time to time, formed great confederations that rose to prominence. Human remains belonging to different historical periods of Mongolia have been studied. Based on the results obtained from craniofacial studies of prehistoric remains in Mongolia, scholars concluded that prehistoric populations of Mongolia reveal great heterogeneity of morphological traits. People with Caucasoid morphological features inhabited Western Mongolia while populations with developed Mongoloid traits occupied central and eastern Mongolia. However, the western Mongolian population of the Bronze Age exhibited more pronounced Mongoloid morphological features than seen in earlier times. It can be hypothesized that the Early Bronze Age was characterized by movements from eastern Mongolia to western Mongolia where intensive intermingling between local Caucasoid and Mongoloid populations took place.

Mongolian scholars carried out a comparative study of Neolithic, Bronze and Early Iron Age populations of Mongolia and Northeast Asia to clarify the historical and biological relationships between those populations in Asia. The results of the comparative analysis show that the ancient and contemporary populations of Mongolia are divided into two clusters. The first cluster includes all historical populations from east and central Mongolia, and it may indicate the genetic relations of those populations of Mongolia. However, the second cluster includes Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Age populations from western Mongolia. Comparative morphological analysis shows that the Neolithic populations in Asia are divided into two major clusters. The first cluster includes all populations from the Lake Baikal region, Eastern Siberia, the Amur River basin and Japan. However, the populations from western Mongolia and Altai occupy a separate position in this cluster. The second cluster includes populations from China and Korea. Surprisingly, the Neolithic populations from East Mongolia and Promor’e are distinct from other Asians.

Comparison of Asian Bronze and Early Iron Age populations shows that these populations are divided into five major clusters except for the population from Manchuria. The first cluster combines most of the populations from West Mongolia, the Altai mountain region, South Siberia, Korea and Japan (Yayoi period), but in turn the first cluster divides into three subclusters. The second cluster includes populations from Inner Mongolia, Central and Northwest China. The populations from Altai (Afanasevo culture), North Kazakhstan (Usunian culture) and South Siberia (Minusinsk culture) belong to the third cluster. The populations from the slab grave culture from East Mongolia and Karasuk culture from Central Tuva belong to the fourth cluster. The fifth cluster combines the populations from Cis-Baikalia (slab grave culture), Minusinsk (Okunevo culture) and West Mongolia (culture of graves with no inventory). The separation of Bronze Age populations from Northeast Asia into several clusters and subclusters may show intensive intermingling of the Caucasoid and Mongoloid populations during this historical period.

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