Himiko and Japan's Elusive Chiefdom of Yamatai: Archaeology, History, and Mythology

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University of Hawaii Press, 2007 - History - 401 pages
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The third-century Chinese chronicle Wei zhi (Record of Wei) is responsible for Japan s most enduring ancient mystery. This early history tells of a group of islands off the China coast that were dominated by a female shaman named Himiko. Himiko ruled for more than half a century as head of the largest chiefdom, traditionally known as Yamatai, until her death in 248. Yet no such person appears in the old Japanese literature. Who was Himiko and where was the Yamatai she governed? In this, the most comprehensive treatment in English to date, a senior scholar of early Japan turns to three sources historical, archaeological, and mythological to provide a multifaceted study of Himiko and ancient Japanese society.
 

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Contents

Ancient Texts and Sources
1
The Wei Zhi and the Wa People
8
The Initial Problem and Three Centuries of Compounding It
21
Travel by Land and Water to Neighboring Countries
36
Han Commanderies Korean Kingdoms and Wei China
53
Japan in Transition from Yayoi to Kofun
59
The IzumoYamato Contention
114
Himiko Shamans Divination and Other Magic
127
The Endless Search for Yamatai
229
Makimuku and the Location of Yamatai
239
List of Abbreviations
283
Notes
285
Wei Zhi Text
339
Select Glossary
343
Bibliography
359
Index
391

Mirrors and Himikos Allotment
160
The Japanese View of the Wei Zhi Years
186

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2007)

J. Edward Kidder, Jr., is emeritus professor of Japanese at International Christian University, Tokyo.

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