Sueki Stoneware from the Kofun Period

Sueki Stoneware from the Kofun Period

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Goshogawara Sue Pottery Kiln Site

The Goshogawara Sue Pottery Kiln Site ( 五所川原須恵器窯跡 , Goshogawara Sueki kama ato) is an archaeological site consisting of the remains of Heian period kilns located in what is now the city of Goshogawara, Aomori Prefecture in the Tōhoku region of northern Japan. It is protected by the central government as a National Historic Site. [1]

Sueki Stoneware from the Kofun Period - History

Jomon pottery, made using coils or slabs, and fired in outdoor bonfires/ditches characterized by chord-marked pottery hunting and gathering lifestyle see photos from Nigata Pref. Musuem or learn more by clicking here.

Introduction of iron/bronze development of coil-built pottery known as Yayoi (see photos from Kyoto National Museum) use of finer alluvial clays to produce thinner-walled shapes techniques may have come from Korea or China rice cultivation Eastern Han and Three Kingdoms Period in China

Introduction of anagama (sloping tunnel kiln) from Korea introduction of the potter's wheel introduction from Korea of Sueki ware (see below) introduction from Korea of three-color ware (green, brown, white) introduction of Buddhism 552 A.D. Sui and Tang Dynastys in China

Nara Sansai style (three-color glaze) Japanese fully start using glaze to decorate their wares with colors flowering of Buddhism

Major period of creativity introduction of Tokoname (9th century) spread of China's celadon and green glaze (ryokuyuto) to Japan during China's Sung Dynasty (960-1270) introduction of Bizen Shiki-style pottery introduced (see below) Korea's Korai jawan style (slip inlay, or zogan) appears (see Mishima) green glaze and ash glaze become more popular than three-color glaze Sanage ware (green glaze) becomes widespread

Introduction of Shigaraki style and Seto style further development of Bizen new Buddhist sects introduced, including Zen and Lotus Sutra sect of Nichiren Yuan Dynasty China Magna Carta signed in England

The Sueki Tradition (or Sue Tradition), from the 5th to 12th centuries, plays a major role in the styles and aesthetics of Japanese pottery up to this point. Sueki ware was typically gray and vitreous. It was introduced to Japan from Korean in the middle of the 5th century. Sueki was fired to yellow heat, between 1100 - 1200 degrees centigrade, in a reduction atmosphere, and generally made on the wheel. The Bizen, Shigaraki, and Tamba styles (all from western Japan, each considered to be one of Japan's six old potting centers) stem from the Sueki Tradition. For more, please see Shiho Kanzaki's review.

The Hajiki and Shiki Traditions
Two other major traditional influences on Japanese pottery up to this point were the Hajiki and Shiki traditions. Hajiki-style pottery began in the Kofun period (around 300 A.D.). Hajiki was typically reddish bisque ware fired at lower temperatures (from 600 to 800 centigrade). Shiki-style pottery is the oldest glazed bisque ware in Japan, often using a three-color lead glaze (sansai-enyu), and fired at around 800 centigrade. Again, see Shiho Kanzaki's web site .

North/South Courts
Warring States

Seto ware reaches its golden age in early 14th century Bizen enters golden age in late Muromachi Period Mishima-style chawan first mentioned in Japanese records Japanese tea ceremony becomes major conduit of cultural taste, and together with Zen, causes great interest in Bizen, Tanba, Shigaraki and Echizen tea ware Columbus discovers America

Golden Age of Bizen pottery continues introduction of Hagi style tea utensils become more popular introduction of Iga introduction of Karatsu , Takatori , Agano , and Satsuma wares start of Mino Ware ( Shino , Oribe , Ki-Seto , Setoguro )

Introduction of porcelain with Imari , Ko-Kutani , Nabeshima , Kutani , and Sometsuke ) start of Kyo-yaki style by Ninsei and Kenzan nobirigama kilns and porcelain kilns largely replace the anagama (see Kilns) popularity of Mino and Bizen wares declines

Japan undergoes industrialization

World War I representative potters include Kusube Yaichi (1897-1984), Kawai Kanjiro (1890-1966) and Hamada Shoji (1894-1978)

World War II start of Mingei Movement in 1926 (folk craft movement) start of Sodeisha Movement in 1948 and its focus on sculptural forms, led by Yagi Kazuo (1918-1979) and Suzuki Osamu (1926-) revival of anagama kilns starting in the 1960s representive potters of Showa Era include Itaya Hazan (1872-1963), Tomimoto Kenkichi (1886-1963), Kanashige Toyo (1896-1967), Arakwa Toyozo (1894-1985), and Kato Tokuro (1898-1985)

Sueki Stoneware from the Kofun Period - History

Its Roots can be Found in 6th Century Unglazed Wares

It is said that the origin of Bizen Pottery is found in the famed “Sueki earthenware vessels of the Oku region.”
It is said that Sueki earthenware were elaborate unglazed vessels that came to be made from technology that was transmitted to Japan from Korea in the period spanning the ‘Kofun’ (late 5th century), Nara and Heian periods.Because they were reduction fired at a high temperature exceeding 1000 degrees celcius in the anagama (cave kiln), they were generally grayish brown in colour.
The techniques used to make Sueki unglazed wares were transmitted to southeast Okayama prefecture around the middle of the 6th century. During this time, the kiln industry was centred around the town of Osafune in Oku (now Setouchi City) and not only were the wares used in that area, but they were also offered to the Imperial Court.

Kilns in the Latter Half of the Heian Period – The Early Stage of Bizen Pottery

Leading up to the latter half of the 12th century, kilns came to be constructed at the foot of the mountains that surrounded the villiage settlement of Imbe away from the Oku area.
The kiln ruins that first confirmed the presence of Bizen pottery were found at the foot of Mt. Koya and up in the mountains of Mt. Kuma.
The coastal area formed a strip for salt production that was blessed with fine weather and at a stretch of land in Osafune, the sword industry flourished from the latter Heian period. As a result, the scarcity of firewood intensified. Because of this, it is supposed that Sueki potters moved to Imbe in search of wood that would serve as fuel for their kilns.
What was made there were not artistic crafts like Sueki, but switched to pottery that was necessary for the daily lives of the populace. The improvement of popular living gave way to the birth of Bizen pottery.

Kilns in the Kamakura Period – Establishment Period of Bizen Pottery

There are two kiln ruins that have been excavated for investigation and have been identified as those used in the early period of Bizen pottery. These are the Guibigadani and Aigabuchi kiln ruins and are found halfway up in the mountains of Mt. Kuma.The kilns from back then were the Anagama that used the slope of the mountain, and wares of a dark grey complexion increased. Also, brownish coloured wares came to be mixed in among them.
At this stage where the production of wares was largely limited to containers, mortar bowls and jars, it can be said that Bizen pottery was established by the kilns of medieval period.

Kiln in Muromachi Period – Flourishing Period of Bizen Pottery

Old Bizen: Muromachi Wave Crest Jar (owned by Gallery Mugen-an)

As the years developed from the Kamakura period into the Muromachi period, Bizen pottery faced an age of unprecedented mass production and purchasing.The kilns that were once up in the mountains began to be moved further down, eventually reaching the foot of the mountains. As this happened, the mountain clay once used for Bizen pottery shifted to the use of clay from rice paddies also at the end of the Muromachi period.
Demand increased and so did popularity, meaning that when wares came to be loaded and sent off from the harbour, Kilns were gradually moved closer to the village for the convenient transportation of goods. As seen in the expression: “even if you throw a Bizen earthenware mortar, it isn’t ‘broken'”, practical Bizen Wares were fired in large quantities and eventually spread to various regions in Japan.

Giant Kilns in the Momoyama Period – Golden Age of Bizen Pottery

The Giant Southern Kiln (Minami-Ogama) ruins in Imbe.

After the mid-16th century, the kilns were unified to 3, namely, the Giant Southern, Northern and Western Kilns. Because it was a communal kiln, a maker’s mark was put on the works to easily identify whose it was. A maker’s mark was also a trademark for one’s own family.
Since the wares were fired in the giant kiln for about one month, there are some fascinating effects created by the Yohen.

The Giant Northern Kiln (Kita-Ogama) ruins in Imbe

The Giant Western Kiln (Nishi-Ogama) ruins in Imbe

From the late Muromachi and into the Momoyama period, masters of the tea ceremony who had no wares or utensils for their art discovered aesthetic beauty in the practical wares of containers. Thus, by selecting water jars and flower vases for use in the tea ceremony, daily articles grew ever popular.Even at the production sites of Bizen pottery, the people there grasped this trend and began to make ‘Chato’ or ‘tea-wares’ for use in the tea ceremonies.
In the first half of the Momoyama Period, Sen no Rikyu who was one of the key proponents and developers of the tea ceremony, advocated that “the tea ceremony is the simple practice of boiling water and drinking tea” and preferred to do this in “a small rustic room laid with tatami mats, following the school of ‘directness in approach'”.What satisfied this preference was the Bizen ‘Mizusashi’ (water jar) and the flower vase.
Even though they constituted ‘Old Bizen’, wares from the Momoyama period were highly treasured as ‘Momoyama Bizen’ from the history of its background as mentioned above.

Old Bizen: Momoyama jar (owned by Gallery Mugen-an)

The famous feudal lord, general and pacifier Toyotomi Hideyoshi was also a great admirer of Bizen Pottery. At the great Kitano tea ceremony gathering that he hosted himself in the year of Tensho 15 (1587), he displayed Bizen water jars and flower vases alongside many other rare and famous wares.Hideyoshi ordered the production of a 2 koku (360 litre) Bizen jar to serve as his burial casket and serves to prove the extent of his extraordinary attachment to Bizen pottery.

Edo Period – Decline Period of Bizen Pottery

From around the Genwa year of the Edo period (1615-24), Bizen Pottery began to show signs of its prolonged decline.One of the reasons for this was that the patrons and proponents of the tea ceremony had changed and the people’s tastes moved towards more elegant and refined wares. People went so far as to say that such pottery as Bizen was crude and ugyly with its exposed reddish and earthy surface.

Hideyoshi’s expedition to Korea ended in faliure and because a number of generals took Korean potters back with them, there emerged a new type of pottery in the western regions of Japan. This was porcelain, or china. Amongst them, the porcelain of Arita had a smooth white surface that was totally different to the pottery that came before.
If one was to suggest that porcelain is the daughter of the city filled with style, then Bizen pottery woud be said to be the unrefined provincial daughter.Bizen pottery became the focus of ornaments that replaced the tea-wares that came before.

In order to resist porcelain, the technique of ‘Inbe-de’ was developed at Bizen kilns. This involved the application of slip from clay that had a relatively high iron content on the surface of fine wares and firing them. Once they had been fired, it would give a lustre to it like that of glazed wares or copperware. Furthermore, ‘Saikumono’ or figurative works that were combined with ‘Inbe-de’ techniques were devised.

Shizutani Pottery, White Bizen and Colored Bizen

Porcelain not only spread to Arita, but to Kyoto and Seto as well. Even Okayama domain could not resist making only ornamental wares so they took up the challenge of incorporating colours into pottery. This was know as Shizutani pottery.
Special Historical Site: Former Shizutani School

National Treasure : Auditorium of Former Shizutani School

The impetus was when the feudal lord of Okayama domain, Ikeda Mitsumasa, ran an inspection of Kitani village in Wake, in the 6th year of Kambun (1666), and decided to construct Shizutani School.
The roof of Shizutani School (which is best known for being the oldest school in Japan to educate commoners), is laid with Bizen tiles even to this day. Back then the kiln where the tiles were fired was constructed 4 kilometres south of the school. It is said that Shizutani pottery began by using the ruins of the kiln to fire utensils used in rituals to pay reverence to the sacred deity that resided within the school, and that wares of both celadon and white types of porcelain remain.

Shizutani Pottery didn’t succeed commercially, but persisted in its challenge with coloured wares. At the beginning of the 18th century, figurative Bizen wares were fired at a high temperature with clear or white glazes on white clay, thus giving birth to the firing of ‘White Bizen’. Unfortunately this also did not prove to be successful. Furthermore, from the cooperation of leading painters from Okayama domain, colored Bizen works were made whereby painters of the Kano school used rock pigments to apply colour on bisque fired figures. However, these are rarely seen today.

Tempo Kiln

The demand for Bizen pottery declined to the extent that large kilns could not be fired. Drawing close to the Bakumatsu period in Tenpo 3 (1832), a vortex-fired, multi-chambered climbing kiln similar to those that fired porcelain was built.Back then this kiln was referred to as versatile because it could conveniently fire wares for the necessary time and amount. Because it was built during the Tenpo period, it was simply called the ‘Tenpo Kiln’.

Risen from the Sea’

Among the masterpieces of Bizen there are works given the title of ‘Risen from the Sea’.
The first ‘Risen from the Sea’ work was salvaged from the seabed in the offing of Naoshima in the 8th year of Taisho (1919) and it is said that it was placed alongside Seto wares in an shop in Yoshima.
The title ‘Risen from the Sea’ became famous when in the 15th year of Showa (1940), more were salvaged from the seabed in the offing of Naoshima. During a search based on a legend that “approximately 300 years ago, a ship carrying Bizen wares sailed from Katakami port and capsized in the Naoshima offing”, an astounding number of around 400 ‘Kobizen’ or ‘Old Bizen’ wares were recovered.
More recently, in the 52nd year of Showa (1977) Bizen wares estimated to be from the Muromachi period were recovered in large quantitites from the seabed of the offing in Utsumi town, Shodoshima. These can be viewed in the Okayama Prefectural Museum today.

Meiji and Taisho Periods

From the age of ‘civilization and enlightenment’ (bunmei kaika) in Meiji, the predominance of ideologies from European civilization flourished and the traditional culture of the Orient, particularly of Japan, was given considerably lower regard. Moreover, crude, earthy, undecorated wares such as those from Bizen were largely not looked back on anymore.
Furthermore, from the development of transportation systems such as the railroad, the glazed porcelain wares of Seto and Arita were able to be obtained at a reasonable price and this hastened the departure from Bizen wares.
The Tenpo Kiln used in the Bakumatsu period was still fired even in the Meiji period, but in the 6th year of Meiji (1873) a new communal kiln known as the ‘Meiji Kiln’ was built along with two small kilns referred to as the ‘site for the re-selction of pottery’. However, failing in its management as a company, it went bankrupt and was assimilated by a larger businness corporation.In the 20th year of Meiji (1877), personalized kilns were built and Bizen entered a new age of kilns that were significantly different to the communal kilns that were used continuously from the end of the Muromachi period.

Although it is difficult to imagine today, at this time the goods that were produced in the largest quantitites by kilns in Imbe were earthenware pipes and bricks.
Small models of earthenware pipes came to be made as early as the beginning of the Edo period. However, from the Meiji period there grew a demand for large quantitites and dozens of workers were called from Tokoname in Aichi prefecture to introduce the know-how for the manufacture of larger models of earthenware pipes. Furthermore, bricks also came to be fired thereafter.

Bizen Pottery during Wartime and Grenades

During the Pacific War, bronze and iron products such as bronze statues and hanging temple bells from various regions of Japan were contributed to the war effort.The Ninomiya Sontoku figures that were placed at the entrance of elementary schools were also contributed and in replacement, Bizen ceramic statues of Sontoku were made.
Furthermore, the hardness of Bizen wares was noted to be a formidable match for metal and there were orders from the military to use them to make hand-grenades.The fact that there was once an unfortunate and morbid age to which potters were forced to make weapons is something that must be told to succuessive generations.

Ancestry of Restoration of Bizen Pottery – Kaneshige Toyo

After World War 1, the Japanese economy reached a stage where it could stand equally alongside the nations of Europe and America.
In a cultural aspect, the decline of the Japanese cultural tradition from time immemorial as a result of worshipping the culture and civilization of the West has come to be reassessed with much enthusiasm.
One of the preferences of the newly emerging class of the wealthy born from the development of new industry is the tea ceremony, and the representative wares of this practice were teabowls, water jars and vases of the porcelain industry.
What’s more, the tea wares from Japan that they craved were Seto pieces from the Momoyama period, Mino, Iga, Karatsu and more importantly, Bizen wares.

For Bizen, there was one potter who who paid attention to the tea wares of the Momoyama period. His name was Kaneshige Toyo (1896-1967).
Toyo, who had once been famous in figurative handiwork decided to focus on the ‘return to Momoyama’ in his mid 30’s and began to observe famous wares of Momoyama Bizen as his samples.
However, because he wasn’t in an age where such things as exhibitions were held like they are today, he had to create links by calling on the lineages of ancient noble families and tea masters as well as businessmen. As a result of this, his companionship grew throughout the country. Out of them, the visit of Kitaoji Rosanjin and Osamu Noguchi to Toyo’s kiln in the 27th year of Showa (1952), was greatly influential for him.
Toyo thought it was necessary to embrace the tea ceremony in order to create truly great tea wares. In order to make them, he entered the Mushanokoji-Senke school of the eminent tea master Sen Soshu who had visited his kiln. By associating with this tea master who lived in Kyoto, Toyo was able to learn techniques for his tea wares which required a profound sense of delicacy.
In addition, Toyo thoroughly carried out research on the production of pottery and their effects from firing with his own kiln. The secret chambers of the climbing kiln that were discovered through trial and error, the loading of wares into the kiln through precise and thorough calculation and the stoking of the kiln itself are subjects that have been passed on down the generations.
In the 30th year of Showa (1955), the institution of ‘Holders of Important Intangible Cultural Property’, or better known as ‘Living National Treasure’ was established. Currently, there have been 4 pottery and ceramics related figures who have been designated ‘Living National Treasure’ and Toyo was designated as the very first in Bizen pottery in the 31st year of Showa (1956).

Thanks to Toyo’s existence, potters of the same generation were also greatly encouraged and from this, successive potters continued to thrive under his influence. As a result, potters pursue their art independently in Bizen and this is precisely the reason why it has not become an industrialized region.

Present Bizen Pottery

Bizen Pottery Festival

Sueki Stoneware from the Kofun Period - History

Mino ware (Mino yaki in Japanese) refers to pottery made mainly in eastern Gifu Prefecture in the towns of Tajimi, Toki, Mizunami, and Kani. Presently, Mino ceramics accounts for around 50% of the total production of ceramics in Japan (Gifu Economic and Industrial Promotion Center, 2017 Ceramics Industry).

Mino ceramics has a long history of over 1,300 years, thought to have first begun during the late Kofun period of the 7th century in the Tono region of Gifu Prefecture when hard Sueki earthenware were fired in anagama kilns, an ancient style of mountainside kilns.

Before World War I, European countries had been exporting dishware all across the world. However, they became unable to manufacture these products due to the war, leading to the growth of Japanese exports. Therefore, in southeastern Gifu where the ceramics industry already had been active, the number of manufacturers and scale of facilities increased further. After World War II, some potters proved that momoyama-to ceramics were derived from the Mino area and resulted in an increase of Mino-ware artists.

Presently, the Tono region (southeast Gifu) holds Japan’s top share for pottery production.

Sueki Stoneware from the Kofun Period - History

This time we would like to feature a special pottery product that is found in various parts of Japan, mino ware (yaki)! I’m sure most of you have no idea what it is when you hear this word. As opposed to other pottery, mino ware does not have one specific style. Here we go!

History of mino ware

In the areas where mino ware is currently made, there is a history of making pottery from ancient times, and it is known that a hard pottery called “sueki” was made from the Kofun Period to the Nara Period. In the Heian period, “shiraji” baked with glaze was made, and in the Kamakura period “yamajawan” that was rigid and could be made by ordinary civilians without glaze was invented.

During the Sengoku period, a lot of underground and semi-underground type large kilns (anagama) were replaced with above-ground and semi-above-ground kilns (oogama). Around this time, “tetsuyuu” baked with iron-containing glaze were made, and in the oogama a lot of pots and dishes such as the “tenmokuchawan” and plates with glaze were made.

In the Azuchi-Momoyama period, tea ceremonies became the trend, and many pieces of pottery with strong traits such as “setoguro”, “shino”, and “haishino” appeared. In the Edo period, “noborigama” was passed on from Kyuushu, and many pieces made with the highly transparent “ofukeyuu” (deep glaze) such as “ofukeyaki” and “oribeyaki” became common.

What are mino ware’s traits?

Mino ware is a pottery made mainly in Eastern Mino (Tono region) in Gifu Prefecture. By the way, this district is Japan’s largest ceramic production base, and apparently accounts for about 50% of Japan’s ceramic production. And interestingly, there is no one trait that makes a certain piece mino ware!

Mino ware does not have any specific traits

Mino ware is somewhat different from other pottery producing areas such as kutani, keiyaki, arita ware (yaki), shigaraki, bizen, etc., and does not have one particular pottery style.
Because there are many areas that make it and items that are made, it is so diverse. Therefore, it is difficult to say for any piece that “this is mino ware!”

With that being said, “oribe”, “shino”, “kizeto”, and “setoguro” are considered innovative and beautiful, and are also highly popular as art objects.

Types of mino ware


Oribeyaki was created by Furuta Oribe no Shido, who was the apprentice of Sennorikyuu and was a renowned tea practitioner. It is considered to have an innovative shape and patterns among mino warei, and is often made with green glaze.
Amongst the well-known types of oribeyaki, there is “aooribe” made with green glaze, as well as “kurooribe”, “oribeguro”, “akaoribe”, “shinooribe”, “souoribe”, “igaoribe”, “karatsuoribe”, “narumioribe”, “eoribe”, and “yachihitaoribe”, making it 11 large classification types.

Although there are very minor details per type, they are generally characterized by uniqueness. There are many types of oribeyaki that have distinct traits, such as distorted shapes, fan shapes, and patterns unseen in prior types of pottery.


Mino ware baked with white shino glaze. Most of these are baked into white colors, and have textures called yuzuhada, meaning skin of citrus. It features scarlet colors in little holes, and is baked slowly and carefully to enhance the white and scarlet colors.

There are many types, such as “mujishino” “eshino”, “nezushino”, “akashino”, “benishino”, “kuriageshino”, and “haishino”. “Eshino” using paint called “enogu oni-ita” made from minerals, is the first pottery in Japan that had patterns drawn using brushes.


Kizeto which becomes a warm and yellow-roasted color, can be divided into “guinomite”, “ayamete”, and “kikuzarate”.

“Guinomite” are lustrous and thick, with a clear yellow texture, and “ayamete” is thin with a smooth texture like fried tofu, and is sometimes called “aburaagete”. “Kikuzarate” was first made in the Edo period, and is lustrous with a strong yellow color.

With kizeto, there are types with lines and incisions made with green glaze on its yellow foundation, with copper green or iron brown patches. In the Momoyama period mainly bowls and tiny dishes were baked, with rare cases of rice bowls and vases.


Setoguro, also called “tenshoguro”, is a type of pottery that was made during the Tensho years (1573

1592) during the Momoyama period. Its biggest feature is the black shades using glaze containing iron and iron glaze. In order to give it its black color, a technique called “hikidashiguro” is used, which means to quickly pull the piece while it it is baked in the kiln in high temperature and cooling it rapidly in cold water.

Many kurooribe that were made in the Keicho years (1596

1615) contain bold drawings and patterns, with many cases of shoe-shaped rice bowls. Oribeguro do not have drawings or patterns, and its shape is usually cylindrical or shoe-shaped, and often distorted.

Nihon sandai tooki matsuri

“Toki mino ware matsuri” is an exhibition that displays not only mino ware like shinoyaki and oribeyaki, but also many magnetic products. It is held on the 3rd, 4th, and 5th of May every year in Toki City in Gifu Prefecture, and more than 300,000 people visit each year.
Many companies and porcelain makers present their pieces, with a large collection of craftsmen, gourmet food, events, etc.

Sueki Stoneware from the Kofun Period - History

Above: Runners by Inariyama Kofun (Tekken was excavated) at The Sakitama Ancient Burial Mound Park

In National Treasure Exhibition Room, you can see the valuable artifacts, not only national treasure, Gold-inlaid Iron Sword and other artifacts on Inariyama Kofun and Shogunyama Kofun

Artifacts including Gold-inlaid Iron Sword from Inariyama Kofun were designated to national treasure as one set. All artifacts in showcase are also national treasure like Iron Sword.

Gold-inlaid Iron Sword

(1)National Treasure Gold-inlaid Iron Sword

National Treasure Iron Sword was displayed under preservation treatment.

Iron sword crumbles with rust, however clearly we can read the characters in gold-inlaid now.

There are 57 characters on the face of the sword and 58 characters on the rear side, so totally 115 characters were remained.

The character 「 SHINGAI 」 shows that this sword was produced in 471, more than 1500 years ago. And this is the centennial and marvelous discovery in archeological and ancient history.

The simplified version of the inscription on the sword

“Inscribed in the seventh month of the Shingai year(A.D.471). I ,Wowake and our ancestors served the royal family as guard for generations.

I served the Great King Wakatakeru and contributed to his rules over the whole land. I, hereby, engrave this grand sword as the commemoration of our families’ distinguished achievements.”

Coffee Break 2: 5 W and 1H on Inariyama Kofun

There are two important points on this sword.

1.The sword has perfect information of 5W+1H except one.

When: AD471

Who: Wowake

What: Made Tekken (Iron sword)

Why: To commemorate the brilliant performance

How: Engrave the names

So, this sword and AD471 became the fixed point in Ancient Japanese History.

2. Title: The Great King and The Emperor

On this sword made in 471, title of “The Great King” was used. The other hand, title of “The Emperor” was used on wooden slats written in 677. Mean time between in 471 and 677, new title “Emperor” was introduced in Japan. Later, it turned out that Wakatakeru the Great King on this sword was the Emperor Yuryaku (21 st Emperor in his family).

World History 2: Wakatakeru and Li Shimin

Wakatakeru the Great King (21 st Emperor Yuryaku) was a unique man. He killed his two brothers, four his rivals to climb the throne of the Emperor and he had four his wives. He ruled most of Japan from Kyushu to Kanto district in the 2 nd half of the 5 th century. He also sent a letter to China.

About 150 years later, Li Shimin the second Emperor of Tang Dynasty, was born in China. He made cornerstone of the Tang Dynasty. He killed his two brothers to get a throne of the Emperor. However, he listened advices of his subordinates and he became one of the great Emperors in Chinese history.

(2) Artifacts on Inariyama Kofun

You can see the straight sword, iron hoe, gold belt decorations and mirror in this showcase.

These artifacts together with Gold-inlaid Iron Sword that were unearthed in the sand coffin on Inariyama Kofun are all national treasure.

Haniwas, unglazed earthenware artifacts were found around Kofun.

There are valuable materials that were unearthed from other Kofuns in showcases.

These Gold belt decorations are thin copper placed with gold. They include fretwork that depicts dragon and bells around the waist. They are gorgeous and rare decorations. Most of these accessories were either imported or made by artisans from China or the Korean Peninsula.

These are Deity-and-Beast Mirror and comma-shaped beads made of nephrite found on Inariyama Kofun. These two artifacts were unearthed around the head of the king. The silver earrings were also found at near place to mirror and beads.

There are iron ax, a pair of pincers, tweezers, plane and grindstone etc in this showcase. So, the king might have a group of smith artisan.

Left: Warrior Head-Haniwa Middle: Morning Glory-shaped Haniwa Right: Female Haniwa

It is supposed, these Hajiki and Sueki in this showcase were placed at Tsukuridashi that were produced at the west side of Kofun and used for ritual objects.

These in this showcase are Haniwas unearthed on Inariyama Kofun. Haniwas were placed on the top of the Kofun and around the Kofun.

There are several types of Haniwas such as House-shaped, Cylinder-shaped, Warriors Head-shaped, Shrine-Maiden, Horse, Wild boar and other animals.

These were made for ritual use and buried with the dead as funeral objects.

Coffee Break 3: Haniwa

Haniwas are terracotta clay figures that were made for ritual used and buried with the dead as funerary objects during the Kofun period(3-6 th centuries).

Hajiki is a type of plain, unglazed, reddish-brown earthenware that was produced during the Kofun, Nara and Heian periods. It was used for both ritual and utilitarian purposes.

It was a blue-gray form of high-fired pottery. It was initially used for funerary and ritual objects.

Artifacts on Kawarazuka Kofun:

In this showcase, they exhibit Haniwas unearthed at Kawarazyka Kofun in front of this Museum.

This Kofun was built from the early 6 th century to middle of the century.

A lot of Haniwas were remained at middle bank of the west side of Kofun.

Animal shaped Haniwas like waterfowl, dog, human shaped Haniwas like male playing the Japanese zither, shrine maiden and house shaped Haniwa were placed.

Artifacts on Shogunyama Kofun:

This showcase shows us the artifacts unearthed at Shogunyama Kofun. The Kofun was built in the 2 nd half of the 6 th century, about 100 years later than Inariyama Kofun.

Shogunyama Kofun Exhibit Hall shows the situation that was excavated in 1894. You can enter the hall of the Kofun with the ticket of this hall. So, please enjoy yourself.

Variety artifacts such as copper bowl, simple armor, Kanto-sword and decoration accessories for horse were unearthed. Artifacts are kept at Tokyo National Museum, General Research Museum of Tokyo University and this

Stones with holes used at stone chamber were called Boshuishi-stone that were carried up to 60 miles from Boshu(Chiba prefecture) faced the Pacific Ocean. This means that logistics on river by ships was more developed than that on land in those days.

One of the unique artifacts is the helmet for horse. Only three helmets were unearthed in Japan, however these were found more often at Kofun in Korean Peninsula.

4. Hagi-yaki Lacquer Ware (Yamaguchi)

Hagi-yaki pottery has over 400 years worth of history. This kind of lacquer ware originated with a tea bowl (a kind of pottery used with boiled tea water) that was made in Suo and Nagato as an order kiln from the Mori clan.

A change in color of the Hagi-yaki occurs due to the penetration of tea and sake

As time passed, Hagi-yaki developed its own unique style by mixing Japanese techniques. The clay used for Hagi-yaki is high in absorbency. After being used for several years, Hagi-yaki items tend to absorb the colors of whatever is served inside it, such as alcohol or tea. This characteristic is called, “Hagi no nanabake”.

Hagi-yaki lacquer ware does not have many patterns on them rather they are produced based on material, impressions, glaze, and baking style. The beautiful blue Hagi-yaki lacquer ware, pictured above, is created by the famous potter Yamane Seigan. The color is even referred to as Seigan Blue. This item is particularly popular because of its outer space-like beauty.

History of Hagi-Yaki

Hagi-yaki lacquer ware originates from the city of Hagi in Yamaguchi. The history of Hagi-yaki dates back to around 400 years ago, when feudal lord Mori Terumoto brought two Korean potters to Hagi to open up a kiln.

After the death of one of the two potters, the other remained in Hagi at the kiln. He was then named Saka Koraizaemon by the domain lord, and his legacy is continued to this day by his descendants. At its beginnings, Hagi-yaki was very similar to that of Korean pottery. As time passed, Hagi-yaki developed its own unique style by mixing Japanese techniques.

The history of mino ware

Mino ceramics have a 1,300-year history, with hard Sueki earthenware being fired in anagama kilns, an ancient style of mountainside kilns, during the late Kofun period of the 7th century in the Tono area of Gifu Prefecture. For centuries, Mino has been a center of ceramic manufacturing. It began producing high-fired Sue ware in the seventh century and yamajawan wares for everyday use between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries. Many popular pieces were being manufactured in Mino by the Momoyama era in the latter half of the sixteenth century. Since 1868, potters have been able to paint Mino ware with imported coloring pigments. New painting techniques for Mino ware, such as transfer printing and screen printing, were developed, and production expanded in scale. In 1978, Mino ware was designated as a traditional Japanese craft as a result of all of this development. Mino ware is the most widely made pottery in Japan today, accounting for more than 60% of all traditional Japanese tableware.

Are the Tonkararin Tunnels a Shrine?

Thanks to a cursory discussion of the history and religion of Kyushu, it seems likely that Tonkararin Tunnel could be a shrine. First, it is located in close proximity to its community, burial mound and in the slope of a mountain. This mysterious tunnel has clearly existed for thousands of years and could be the prototype of Shinto shrines . Its carefully carved stone shows great respect for the surrounding nature. The artifacts buried inside the Eta Funayama tomb include ritualistic items associated with the Shinto religion. Perhaps the Goddess Amaterasu herself disappeared into this rock laden slope and to hide from brother. Either way, the Tonkararin tunnel remains a sacred and mysterious ruin, which serves to allow our historic imagination run wild.

Top image: Archaeologists, scientists, and locals constantly argue about why the Tonkararin Tunnels were built. Source: Pakon / Adobe Stock

Battle of Hakusonko ( 白村江、Baekgang )

Can't understand what you're saying. Please stop using Google Translate. It's notorious for being inaccutrate.

How is the eventual fate of the Baekje Royal house in 660 AD relevant here?

there is no similar sounds and same meaning words

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Did keyhole-shaped tombs originate in the Korean peninsula?
There are about 30,000 keyhole-shaped tombs or kofun (of which around 5,000 can still be visited) have been discovered over a vast area from Kyushu to Honshu. The larger ones (over 200m) are concentrated in the Kinki region – where the center of the ancient state of Yamato emerged.

On the continent, 13 keyhole-shaped tombs dated to the latter half of 5th century to the first half of 6th century – have been found in Korea, all located in South Cholla province in the area of the Yongsan River basin — six of these have been excavated. All 13 tombs were surrounded by moats with many Korean-made “haniwa” (埴輪)-like cylindrical potteries placed on top of these mounds. The tombs also had corridor-style stone chambers, some of which with walls that are painted with red coloring…closely resembling corridor-style tombs in North Kyushu dating to the 5th and the 6th century.

The contents of the tombs had assorted origins – potteries from South Cholla province as well as Kaya and Japan prestige goods (especially gilt-bronze ornaments) of Paekche origin.

The keyhole-shaped tombs have long been regarded a characteristic unique to Japan during the Kofun period. However, after Dr Kang in-gu’s claim in 1985 that he had discovered keyhole-shaped tomb in the Korean peninsula at the tomb of Changgo-bong — many historians began to claim that the keyhole shaped tombs originated in Korea … like so many of the other continental imports from the Yayoi through the Kofun periods. One popular Korean theory that has been gaining ground claims that the keyhole tombs in South Cholla were constructed for the ruling elites from Paekche who had invaded the Kinki region of Japan to form the dominant ruling group of Kofun period Japan.

Did keyhole tombs originate from Korea?

Archaeological evidence suggests that it is unlikely that Japanese keyhole shaped tombs originated in Korea’s South Cholla, for these reasons:

1) The South Cholla tombs were built from the latter half of the 5th century to the first half of the 6th century, but keyhole shaped kofun mounds were first constructed first in the the second half of the 3rd century in the Kinai region (Nara and the vicinity) then spreading to other parts of Japan, with the tombs reaching massive sizes in the 4th century and into the 5th century. Since the keyhole tombs emerged much later than the largest of the keyhole tombs in Japan, it is hard to hold that keyhole tombs emerged in Korea spreading to Japan.

2) In Japan, mound tombs had already existed from the Late Yayoi period or earlier with many reaching massive sizes in the transition period into the Kofun period, and the evolution of and merging of various shapes into the keyhole shapes over time can be evinced from the layout of the regional tombs. Most Japanese and Western archaeologists and historians believe that “Yayoi evolved without obvious break directly into the KOFUN culture”. By contrast, in South Cholla, at time when keyhole tombs were constructed, square-shaped mounded tombs were also being constructed at the same time indicating that the keyhole tombs were imported ideas from their neighbours in Japan with whom they long had close trading ties. Another evidence of the local South Cholla culture was that the local elites continued to keep their traditional burial culture of giant jar coffins which was distinct from that of incoming Paekche arrivals and its other neighbours.

3) From archaeological viewpoints, it appears that the keyhole tombs in the South Cholla province of Korea were constructed by the local elite group of a culture that was distinct from Paekche’s – but that had long acted as trading intermediaries with its neighbouring groups — with Kaya, Japan as well as the people from Paekche who had begun to expand their territorial control into South Cholla. Archaeological evidence also showed that integration with Paekche only happened much later — the local elite in South Cholla province only became bureaucrats of Paekche after the mid 6th century, judging from the late emergence of corridor style stone chambers of Nungsan-ri type were constructed in the mound of tomb No.3 at Pogam-ri.

From the foregoing, the new and perhaps the most plausible view is that the local ruling elite groups in South Cholla had imported the Japanese Kofun style of building the keyhole tombs, while furnishing a mixture of grave goods with local-Kaya-and-Japanese potteries and gilt-bronze-ornaments-prestige goods from Paekche. It is like that South Cholla acted as a buffer and intermediary zone, one that enriched all those in the Peninsula through trade and demand for its luxury goods, so much so that the its burial customs and societal traits became so similar to and intertwined with those in the Japanese islands. The consensus among scholars is that there was a brisk trading and maritime network between Korea and Japan. The conditions were favourable for royal lineages and certain occupational clans from Kaya, Silla and Paekche to settle in Japan. Northern Kyushu, stretches of the Inland Sea and post-4th century Nara region became areas where the presence of Korean immigrant settlers were particularly felt. It is likely that through a combination of royal alliances and with ruling elites present in Japan as well as coercive force or military action, the Korean ruling elites helped usher the unification of Kofun Period Japan. The clever weaving of key local and regional legends as well as continental ancestral legends in the first historical chronicles, the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki, appears to mirror this process of a minority ruling power coopting, pacifying as well as allying with regional elites in Japan, while consolidating its centralized authority through the creation of a highly stratified caste-like society.

While it is not denied here that many Korean immigrants (from various parts of Korea) brought their skills, techniques and technologies for gilt-bronze working, ironworking, horse-riding, and sueki-ware, the keyhole-construction style of the Kofun tombs remains uniquely Japanese … at least for now.

“Keyhole-shaped Tombs in the Korean Peninsula” by Hideo Yoshii(Kyoto University), translated by Hyung Il Pai (UC Santa Barbara), UCLA Center for Korean Studies, retrieved 28 May 2004

Watch the video: Ancient Aliens: Keyhole Kofun Season 12, Episode 14. History