Vol. LCI Jul. 1982 No. 7 Research Notes SHIGAKU-ZASSHI
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 period the term 'Yamatai-koku' 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. 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' found in the original text of the Sangoku-shi (Chinese History) to 'Yamatai-koku' and associated this name with 'Yamato', part of the Kinki area. On the other hand Arai Hakuseki applied this changed name Yamatai to ' Yamato' 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 (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 ; Sui-shu , Chiu T'ang-shu 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.
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