Bridge of Hida by Hokusai
The land of Hida, where the Kanayama Megaliths are located, may not be so well known historically as other parts of the country such as Kyoto and Nara. And yet its history stems from the Jomon Period, 12,000 BCE to 300 BCE. In the article presented below, the unnamed author declares that there are many folkloric sources that reveal the possibility that Hida was the place where civilization began, ultimately leading to the modern nation of Japan.
An article was posted in Japanese at http://www.geocities.jp/mb1527/N3-01-1hidakoku.html that is so informative that we have rendered it into English, believing that it is of value to our readers. We are grateful to Hitoshi Uchimura for calling it to our attention and for his assistance with translation. The author’s name is unknown to us although we have tried to contact her or him. About the source website, the home page is http://www.geocities.jp/mb1527/index.htm. The lead article on the home page is entitled, 古代史の復元, Reconstruction of Ancient History. The author asks: “もし伝承が真実を伝えているとすれば、どのような歴史が浮かび上がってくるか・・・ If tradition is to tell the truth, … what kind of history emerges?” This is a fascinating question, isn’t it? Let’s find out!
Birth of Hida Kuni Jomon Dynasty
日本列島への石器時代人の流入 Influx of Stone Age People to the Japanese Archipelago
Prior to about 20,000 years ago was the time of the frigid ice age. Stone tools from this time have been found in the Japanese archipelago. Early humans came here at around this time.
Around 12,500 years ago, monsoons caused big changes, and global warming began, the ice age coming to an end. Broad-leaved forests of beech and oak began rapidly expanding.
A culture from around Lake Baikal began moving around 20,000 to 30,000 years ago through northeast China, northern Asia southward to the Korean Peninsula, and spread to Alaska. A large number of stone age people streamed into the Japanese arichipelago.
The culture reached Hokkaido, went south from the Tohoku region to Niigata and Nagano prefectures. People who could not withstand the climate change migrated over Sakhalin. In this geological period, Hokkaido and Sakhalin were connected, and in winter Hokkaido and Honshu were connected.
The Seto Insland Sea was not yet present. Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu, and Tsushima formed one large island separated from the Korean Peninsula by water. Although there was an intermittent inflow of people from the Korean Peninsula to Western Japan, the numbers were rather small.
Map showing Baikal in North Asia (black) from http://julian.way-nifty.com/sophy/2010/04/post-61dc.html
縄文時代の到来 Advent of the Jomon Period
In the warming period which lasted until around 4500 years ago, the Jomon population is believed to have reached 300,000 people at its peak. However, as the climate became colder, the population was gradually reduced so that at its last stage, there were only about 70,000 people.
Transmitted lore are mostly from the later Yayoi era [Yayoi era, 300 BCE to 300 CE]. However, there remains a tradition from the Jomon period. It is the lore of Hida Takaamahara. [See Part 2.]