Vol. LCI           Jul. 1982       No. 7          Research Notes                                        SHIGAKU-ZASSHI

On the Appearance of Pluralistic Views of Ancient Japanese History
: Method of Research into 'Yamaichi-koku' (邪馬壹国) and their Applications

By Takehiko Furuta

     Once before (Sept. ,78) I published a paper on the 'Yamaichi-koku' in this periodical, using the following approach.
     Since the Edo (江戸) period the term 'Yamatai-ko (邪馬臺国) has been used to refer to Japan during the time it was considered to be under the ultracentralized rule of the Kinki area imperial family (近畿天皇家).   That there was " no centralized rule over the islands of Japan except by the Kinki imperial family " was believed in by Matsushita Kenrin, Motoori Norinaga and others. They changed the name 'Yamaichi-koku' (邪馬壹国) found in the original text of the Sangoku-shi (Chinese History) to 'Yamatai-koku' (邪馬臺国) and associated this name with 'Yamato' (大和), part of the Kinki area.   On the other hand Arai Hakuseki applied this changed name Yamatai to ' Yamato' (山門) in Kyushu regardless of why the name had really been changed.   So there was a basic fallacy in his theory.
     I followed a different path calling instead for a corroborative stance : we should try to understand the contemporary Chinese text as a part of the whole book without prejudice.   Based on this approach I criticised the historical viewpoint which stresses ultracentralized rule by the Kinki imperial family.
     This method of research which looks for corroborative proof also needs to be followed in studying ri (里) (distance), position, etc. as applied to Yamaichi in the third century.   The old Japanese images of each century depicted in the official histories of the Sung, Yuan and Tang dynasties (Sung-shu (宋書); Sui-shu (隋書), Chiu T'ang-shu (旧唐書) etc. ) of the 5th-7th centuries must also be seen in the same light.
     As a result of this search for corroboration, it has been shown that the inherited ideas of ultra-centralized rule by the Kinki imperial family were mistaken at their very foundation and that the Japanese islands had a history of pluralistic rule.
     This paper has been written to show the meaning of this corroborative approach and its rigid application.

( The Historical Society of Japan)
     Faculty of Letters
     University of Tokyo

  I look forward to hearing from you, please send E-mail to here.

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Created by "Yukio Yokota"
Copyrighted by "Takehiko Furuta"