The Historical Significance of the Discovery of Large Scale Remnants of Buildings in the Makimuku Ruins, Nara Prefecture — the Yamatai Kingdom

The Historical Significance of the Discovery of Large Scale Remnants of Buildings in the Makimuku Ruins, Nara Prefecture
On November 11th, the discovery of large scale remnants of buildings from the early third century in the Makimura Ruins, Nara, appeared as a front-page headline, competing with other top news: the arrest of a suspect of abandoning the corpse of a British woman and the death of Hisaya Morishige, renowned actor in Japan. In addition to the front page coverage of the discovery was a detailed description inside, implying that the remnants could be of a central facility of the Yamatai Kingdom as mentioned in the Gishi Wajin Den section of the Wei Chronicle. Articles on archaeology are seldom regarded as front-page news at major newspapers, except when they are on Egypt. I’m sure the popularity of Himiko among ancient history fans contributed to the coverage.
This discovery brought by the excavation has great significance not only for the controversy of the actual location of the Yamatai Kingdom, whether in Yamato or Kyushu, but also for all of us who live in Japan now, not to mention for the whole world of Japanese History. In this sense, it is quite reasonable that major newspapers scrambled to report the news.
The other day His Majesty the Emperor mentioned that he was concerned about history being forgotten. Although he specifically meant the horror of war in modern times, his words also apply to history as a whole, since history is continuous, and not segmented. Of course it is interesting to imagine whether the Yamatai Kingdom was located in this site at the foot of Mount Miwa or not, or whether the remains were those of a temple or a palace, but these ruins may give a clue to clarify when, where and how power, status, armed forces, religion, cities and nations started to appear in Japan. That is the most important part of this discovery.The other day His Majesty the Emperor mentioned that he was concerned about history being forgotten. Although he specifically meant the horror of war in modern times, his words also apply to history as a whole, since history is continuous, and not segmented. Of course it is interesting to imagine whether the Yamatai Kingdom was located in this site at the foot of Mount Miwa or not, or whether the remains were those of a temple or a palace, but these ruins may give a clue to clarify when, where and how power, status, armed forces, religion, cities and nations started to appear in Japan. That is the most important part of this discovery.
By Tetsuo Kikuchi
Professor, Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences of Waseda University
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