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The Yamato people
Yamato people
(大和民族, Yamato minzoku, also in older literature "Yamato race") and Wajin (和人, Wajin, literally "Wa people")[2] are an East Asian ethnic group native to the Japanese archipelago.[3][4][5] 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, Taiwanese, and Taiwanese aborigines who were incorporated into the Empire of Japan
Japan
in the early 20th century. The Yamato clan incorporated native Japanese as well as Korean migrants. Clan leaders also elevated their own belief system that featured ancestor worship into a national religion known as Shinto.[6] 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
Yamato people
first settled in Yamato Province
Yamato Province
(modern-day Nara Prefecture).[citation needed] Generations of Japanese historians, linguists, and archeologists have debated whether the word is related to the earlier Yamatai
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 4 See also 5 References

Etymology[edit] Further information: Wa (Japan)
Wa (Japan)
and Yamatai Wa (Wō) or Yamato were the names early China
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).[7] 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); 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 (<*Kami-tu-Fusa, "Upper Fusa") and Shimōsa (<*Simo-tu-Fusa, "Lower Fusa") or Kōzuke (<*Kami-tu-Ke, "Upper Ke") and Shimotsuke (<*Simo-tu-Ke, "Lower Ke"). In these latter cases, the pairs of provinces with similar names are thought to have been created through the subdivision of an earlier single province in prehistoric or protohistoric times. Although the etymological origins of Wa remain uncertain, Chinese historical texts recorded an ancient people residing in the Japanese archipelago, named something like *ʼWâ or *ʼWər 倭. Carr[8] surveys prevalent proposals for Wa's etymology ranging from feasible (transcribing Japanese first-person pronouns waga 我が "my; our" and ware 我 "I; we; oneself") to shameful (writing Japanese Wa as 倭 implying "dwarf"), and summarizes interpretations for *ʼWâ "Japanese" into variations on two etymologies: "behaviorally 'submissive' or physically 'short'." The first "submissive; obedient" explanation began with the (121 CE) Shuowen Jiezi dictionary. It defines 倭 as shùnmào 順皃 "obedient/submissive/docile appearance", graphically explains the "person; human' radical with a wěi 委 "bent" phonetic, and quotes the above Shi Jing poem. "Conceivably, when Chinese first met Japanese," Carr[9] suggests "they transcribed Wa as *ʼWâ 'bent back' signifying 'compliant' bowing/obeisance. Bowing is noted in early historical references to Japan." Examples include "Respect is shown by squatting",[10] and "they either squat or kneel, with both hands on the ground. This is the way they show respect."[11] Koji Nakayama interprets wēi 逶 "winding" as "very far away" and euphemistically translates Wō 倭 as "separated from the continent." The second etymology of wō 倭 meaning "dwarf (variety of an animal or plant species), midget, little people" has possible cognates in ǎi 矮 "low, short (of stature)", wō 踒 "strain; sprain; bent legs", and wò 臥 "lie down; crouch; sit (animals and birds)". Early Chinese dynastic histories refer to a Zhūrúguó 侏儒國 "pygmy/dwarf country" located south of Japan, associated with possibly Okinawa Island or the Ryukyu Islands. Carr cites the historical precedence of construing Wa as "submissive people" and the "Country of Dwarfs" legend as evidence that the "little people" etymology was a secondary development. History of usage[edit] In the 6th century, the Yamato dynasty
Yamato dynasty
— one of many tribes, of various origins, who had settled Japan
Japan
in prehistory—founded a state modeled on the Chinese states of Sui and Tang, the center of East Asian political influence at the time. As the Yamato influence expanded, their Old Japanese language
Japanese language
became the common spoken language. The concept of “pure blood” as a criterion for the uniqueness of the Yamato minzoku began circulating around 1880 in Japan, around the time some Japanese scientists began investigations into eugenics.[12] In present-day Japan, the term Yamato minzoku may be seen as antiquated for connoting racial notions that have been discarded in many circles since Japan’s defeat in World War II[13] “Japanese people” or even “Japanese-Japanese” are often used instead, although these terms also have complications owing to their ambiguous blending of notions of ethnicity and nationality.[14] Professor Mark Levin[15] suggests adopting into general use the term wajin (和人), already used in discourse to distinguish non-Ainu Japanese from Ainu, as a suitable global term for ethnic Japanese in Japan
Japan
today. If regarded as a single ethnic group, the Yamato people
Yamato people
are among the world's largest. They have ruled Japan
Japan
for almost its entire history. Ryukyuan people[edit] There was disagreement on whether to include the Ryukyuans in the Yamato, or identify them as an independent ethnic group, or as a sub-group that constitutes Japanese ethnicity together with the Yamato. From the Meiji period onward, Japanese scholars supported the later discredited ideological viewpoint that they were related to the Yamato people. The Ryukyuans were assimilated into Japanese (Yamato) people with their ethnic identity suppressed by the Meiji government. Shinobu Orikuchi
Shinobu Orikuchi
argued that the Ryukyuans were the "proto-Japanese" (原日本人, gen nippon jin), whereas Kunio Yanagita
Kunio Yanagita
suggested they were a sub-group who settled in the Ryukyu Islands
Ryukyu Islands
while the main migratory wave moved north to settle the Japanese archipelago and became the Yamato people. See also[edit]

Japan
Japan
portal

An Investigation of Global Policy with the Yamato Race as Nucleus

Ainu people Battleship Yamato Emishi
Emishi
people Ethnic groups of Japan            Japanese people Nihonjinron

Ryukyuan people Yamato (other) Yamato-damashii—‘the Japanese spirit’ Yamato period Yamato Province Yama-bito

References[edit]

^ [1] ^ David Blake Willis and Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu: Transcultural Japan: At the Borderlands of Race, Gender and Identity,, p. 272: "“Wajin,” which is written with Chinese characters that can also be read “Yamato no hito” (Yamato person)". ^ Levin, Mark (February 1, 2008). "The Wajin's Whiteness: Law and Race Privilege in Japan". Hōritsu Jihō (法律時報). 80 (2): 80–91. SSRN 1551462 .  ^ Robertson, J. (2002). "Blood talks: Eugenic modernity and the creation of new Japanese". History and Anthropology. 13 (3): 191–216. doi:10.1080/0275720022000025547. PMID 19499628.  ^ Weiner, Michael, ed. (2009). Japan’s Minorities: The Illusion of Homogeneity (2nd ed.). Routledge.  ^ Tignor, Robert (2013). Worlds Together, Worlds Apart Volume 1: Beginnings through the Fifteenth Century. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. p. 346. ISBN 978-0-393-12376-0.  ^ "Ž×"n'ä?'‹ã?B?à". Inoues.net. Retrieved 2011-09-26.  ^ Carr 1992, 9-10. ^ Carr 1992, 9. ^ Hou Han Shu, tr. Tsunoda 1951, 2. ^ Wei Zhi, tr. Tsunoda 1951, 13. ^ Robertson 2002. ^ Weiner 2009, xiv-xv. ^ Levin 2008, 6. ^ Levin 2008, 7.

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