Vol. LXXVIII      Sep. 1969       No. 9        Notes and Suggestions        SHIGAKU-ZASSHI

   The Country of Yama-(w)i

By Takehiko Furuta

     The controversy concerning the so-called country of Yamatai has been the most extensive and protracted serious controversy in Japanese historical society.
     Many investigators have been crowded and lots of their papers have been piled up for either side of the opposed theories, that are Kyushu-theory and Kinki-theory.   But we have not, yet reached to a conclusion.
     The present writer believes that he found out a serious fault in the text-critique of the existing theories enough to upset the arguments from the ground.
     The point is as follows.
     The name of the country at issue is always printed as Yama-(w)i in any editions : of Sanguozhi from the earliest time of Shaoxingben and Shaoxiben of the Song period to much later days.
     It was the revisers of the later day who changed Yama-(w)i to Yamatai, probably in consideration of the following three points.
     (1)  Houhanshu and other books of much later compilation than Sanguozhi always refer to the country of Yamatai.
     (2)  It is possible to read Yamatai as Yamato, and to think the country corresponds to the country of the same name in Japan.
     (3)  The forms of the characters (w)i and tai are enough resembling to be confused within themselves.

     The present writer, however, can not agree to this argument for the next three reasons.
     (1)  As an historical evidence, Sanguozhi which was compiled in the third century when the country of Yama-(w)i was existing should be put before Houhanshu and other books which compiled in and after the fifth century.
     (2)  We have no evidence of the existence of the country named Yamato in Japan as early as in the third century.
     (3)  There is no confusion at all between (w)i and Tai in all the cases of their appearances in Sanguozhi.
     The last fact was discovered by the present investigator.   The consequence of the fact is that (w)i and tai are not easily confusable characters in Sanguozhi and so the country in question which existed in Japan in the third century should be named Yama-(w)i just as it was properly printed in all the editions of Sanguozhi.   This conclusion is moreover strengthened by another fact which the present writer discovered that the name of Yamatai was impossible to occur in Sanguozhi for some important speculative reasons.
     Now the controversy should make a fresh start which has hitherto tried to locate the country of Yama-(w)i by misinterpreting it for the country of Yamato, at Yamato in Kinki or at Yamato in Chikugo.

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

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