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The YAMATO PEOPLE (大和民族, Yamato minzoku, also in older literature Yamato race ) and WAJIN (和人, Wajin, literally "Wa people") are the dominant native ethnic group of Japan
Japan
.

The term came to be used around the late 19th century to distinguish the settlers of mainland Japan
Japan
from minority ethnic groups who have settled the peripheral areas of Japan, such as the Ainu , Ryukyuans , Nivkh , Oroks , as well as Koreans
Koreans
, Taiwanese , and Taiwanese aborigines who were incorporated into the Empire of Japan
Japan
in the early 20th century. The name was applied to the Imperial House of Japan
Japan
or "Yamato Court" that existed in Japan
Japan
in the 4th century, and was originally the name of the region where the Yamato people first settled in Yamato Province
Yamato Province
(modern-day Nara Prefecture
Nara Prefecture
). Generations of Japanese historians, linguists, and archeologists have debated whether the word is related to the earlier Yamatai (邪馬台). The Yamato clan set up Japan's first and only dynasty.

CONTENTS

* 1 Etymology * 2 History of usage * 3 Ryukyuan people
Ryukyuan people
* 4 See also * 5 References

ETYMOLOGY

Further information: Wa (Japan) and Yamatai

Wa (Wō) or Yamato were the names early China used to refer to an ethnic group living in Japan
Japan
around the time of the Three Kingdoms period . Chinese, Korean, and Japanese scribes regularly wrote Wa or Yamato with one and the same Chinese character 倭 until the 8th century, when the Japanese found fault with it, replacing it with 和 "harmony, peace, balance". Retroactively, this character was adopted in Japan
Japan
to refer to the country itself, often combined with the character 大, literally meaning "Great", similar to Great Britain, so as to write the preexisting name Yamato (大和) (e.g., such as 大清帝國 “Great Qing Empire ”, 大英帝國 “Great British Empire ”). The pronunciation Yamato cannot be formed from the sounds of its constituent characters; it is speculated to originally refer to a place in Japan
Japan
meaning "Mountain Gate" (山戸). The historical province of Yamato (now Nara Prefecture
Nara Prefecture
in central Honshu) borders Yamashiro Province
Yamashiro Province
(now the southern part of Kyōto Prefecture), whose name is likewise etymologically obscure; however, the names of both provinces appear to contain the Japonic etymon yama, usually meaning "mountain(s)" (but sometimes having a meaning closer to "forest," especially in some Ryukyuan languages). Some other pairs of historical provinces of Japan
Japan
exhibit similar sharing of one etymological element, such as Kazusa (

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