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Who lived on Japan first?


Japan is a fascinating country with a rich cultural history. Its earliest inhabitants continue to be a topic of interest for historians, archaeologists, and anthropologists. In this article, we will delve into the question: Who lived on Japan first?

Theories about the first inhabitants

There are several theories about the first inhabitants of Japan. One theory suggests that the Jomon people were the first to settle in Japan around 14,000 BC. Another theory proposes that the Ainu people, who are indigenous to northern Japan, were the first inhabitants.

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The Jomon people

The Jomon people were hunter-gatherers who lived in Japan from around 14,000 BC to 300 BC. They are known for their distinctive pottery, which was decorated with rope-like patterns. The Jomon people were also skilled fishermen and lived in villages along the coast.

The Yayoi period

The Yayoi period began around 300 BC and lasted until 300 AD. During this time, rice cultivation became widespread in Japan, and communities began to form around rice paddies. It is believed that the Yayoi people migrated to Japan from China and Korea.

The Kofun period

The Kofun period lasted from 300 AD to 710 AD and is named after the large burial mounds that were built during this time. The Kofun people were skilled metalworkers and made elaborate bronze mirrors and swords. They also introduced new technologies such as irrigation systems and iron tools.

The Nara period

The Nara period began in 710 AD and lasted until 794 AD. During this time, Buddhism was introduced to Japan from China and Korea. The Nara period is also known for its elaborate artwork and architecture, such as the Todai-ji temple and its Great Buddha statue.

The Heian period

The Heian period began in 794 AD and lasted until 1185 AD. This was a time of great cultural flourishing in Japan, with literature, poetry, and art reaching new heights. The Heian period is also known for its courtly culture and aristocratic society.

The Kamakura period

The Kamakura period began in 1185 AD and lasted until 1333 AD. This was a time of political upheaval in Japan, with power shifting from the imperial court to the samurai class. The Kamakura period is also known for its Zen Buddhism and its influence on Japanese culture.

The Muromachi period

The Muromachi period began in 1336 AD and lasted until 1573 AD. During this time, Japan experienced a cultural renaissance with new forms of art, such as tea ceremony, flower arrangement, and Noh theater. The Muromachi period is also known for its civil wars between rival samurai clans.

The Edo period

The Edo period began in 1603 AD and lasted until 1868 AD. This was a time of relative peace in Japan, with a strict social hierarchy and isolationist policies towards foreign countries. The Edo period is also known for its woodblock prints, Kabuki theater, and ukiyo-e art.

Modern Japan

Modern Japan began in 1868 with the Meiji Restoration, which ended the Edo period and opened up Japan to the world. Since then, Japan has undergone rapid modernization and has become a major economic power. Today, Japan is known for its cutting-edge technology, pop culture, and unique blend of tradition and modernity.


In conclusion, Japan’s history is long and complex, with many different cultures leaving their mark on the country over thousands of years. While we may never know for sure who lived on Japan first, we can appreciate the rich legacy of those who came before us and shaped Japanese culture into what it is today.

Who came to Japan first?

The initial European arrival in Japan was not planned but rather a result of an unfortunate event. In 1543, a Portuguese ship was shipwrecked on Tanegashima Island due to a typhoon, leading to the first encounter of Europeans with Japan.

Where did the first people of Japan come from?

Recent scientific research indicates that the ethnic Japanese can trace their ancestry back to Asia, potentially through a land bridge over 38,000 years ago. As they migrated and settled across various islands, their genetic diversity likely increased.

What race are the Ainu?

The Ainu are an indigenous group that originates from the northern part of Japan’s archipelago, specifically Hokkaido.

Which country is older China or Japan?

Japan dates back 15 million years, while China’s history can be traced back to 2100 BC. Armenia has roots dating back to 6500 BC, and Iran’s history dates back to 620 BC. This information was last updated on January 14th, 2021.

When was Japan first settled by humans?

Research indicates that humans inhabited Japan as far back as 38,000 years ago, although little information is available about them. It is possible that they were the predecessors of hunter-gatherers who were responsible for creating pottery during the Jōmon period, which extended from 13,000 to 300 B.C.E.

Who were native to Japan?

The Ainu and Okinawans are the two indigenous groups of Japan. They reside on the furthest northern and southern islands of the country’s archipelago.

It is important to note that Japan’s history is not without its controversies and conflicts. For example, the treatment of the Ainu people, who were marginalized and discriminated against for centuries, remains a sensitive issue in modern-day Japan. Additionally, Japan’s actions during World War II continue to be a topic of debate and reflection both within Japan and globally.

Despite these challenges, Japan has continued to thrive as a unique and fascinating country. Its natural beauty, from the cherry blossom trees in spring to the snowy landscapes in winter, draws visitors from around the world. Its cuisine, from sushi to ramen, is renowned for its taste and quality. And its pop culture, including anime, manga, and video games, has gained a global following.

In recent years, Japan has also faced new challenges, such as an aging population and declining birth rate. However, the country remains innovative and adaptable, with a strong focus on technology and sustainability. It will be interesting to see how Japan continues to evolve in the years to come while still honoring its rich cultural heritage.

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