JOMON AOMORI for World Heritage Listing


What’s JOMON?

The Jomon culture was a Neolithic culture that continued from c. 13,000 years ago up until c. 2,300 years ago. Some Jomon pottery and Lacquer ware are counted among the oldest ever discovered, and the Jomon culture lasted approximately 10,000 years. In comparison to its Neolithic counterparts in Europe and Asia, the Jomon culture was unusual in that it lacked true agriculture and pastoralism, instead living in harmony with nature.

The beliefs of Jomon people were animistic in nature, like many other peoples from around the world. They prayed and held festivals in a world in which they believed spirits dwelled in all things. The earthen dolls called “Dogu” and the other beautiful pottery that were used in their rituals let us know that the flower of art bloomed on the Japanese archipelago.

Let ‘s make the Jomon archaeological sites in Hokkaido and northern Tohoku World Heritage Sites!

Hokkaido and northern Tohoku are a treasure trove of Jomon archaeological sites, including the Sannai-Maruyama site, one of Japan’s largest sites of a Jomon settlement. The four prefectures of Hokkaido, Aomori, Iwate and Akita are seeking designation as World Heritage Sites for these Jomon archaeological sites, so that they may be preserved into the future as treasure for all of humanity. In 2009, the “Jomon Archaelogical Sites Centered in Hokkaido and Northern Tohoku” were catalogued in Japan’s tentative list of official candidates for registration as World Heritage Sites. We will continue working towards getting these sites registered as World Heritage Sites.

Incipient stage ~ Initial stage
Changes in lifestyle brought about by global warming

The dawn of the Jomon Period goes back to the end of the Ice Age. Oceans began to advance, the Japanese archipelago was severed from the Eurasian continent, and the coniferous forests that had covered the archipelago were replaced by broad-leaved deciduous forests. An environment was formed in which it was easy to gather nuts and edible wild plants, and pottery came to be made for use with those foods. Eventually full-scale settling began and villages appeared, and with this gravesites and garbage dumps were built, and people came to live their lives based on rules.

Early stage ~ Middle stage
Art created by animistic spirituality

Various earthen dolls that express the Jomon people’s bountiful spirituality. Alcohol was already being made at this time, and the Jomon people prayed and held festivals within the framework of the animism in which they believed, in which spirits dwell in all things.

Late stage ~ Final stage
Masterpieces that show creativity and technical capability

Masks and accoutrements for warding off evil were developed and stone circles were erected primarily in the northern part of the Japanese archipelago.

Jomon sensibilities hidden deep in the hearts of the Japanese

From those times through the present day, the people who live on the Japanese archipelago have piled the elements of each era onto the base of the Jomon way of living in harmony with nature, and in so doing have created a set of values that is uniquely Japanese. The recent aesthetic of “kawaii”(cute) and the fantastic expression seen in manga, anime and games can all be placed within the flow of that stream. For example, we think that many people have sensed a commonality in the themes of the films of anime director Miyazaki Hayao and the Japanese outlook on nature that has continued since Jomon times. Jomon sensibilities remain strong in the hearts of the Japanese even today, and continue to enthrall the world.

Chronological Table of the Jomon Period and World History
Years Period Primary events
The Paleothic Period Peking men roamed
The cave wall in Lascaux was painted
Micro blade culture spread over the Japanese Archipelago
Ca. 13,000 years ago The Jomon Period Incipient stage Pottery and stone tools started to be used and people increasingly settled Settlements emerged
Ca.9,000 years ago Initial stage The warming in climate proceeded and the sea level rose (the Jomon Sea Advancing)
Rice planting started in the area of the Chang Jiang River Shell mounds emerged
Ca.6,000 years ago Early stage Chinese civilization began Mesopotamia civilization started Cylindrical pottery formed
Ca.5,000 years ago Middle stage Large settlements developed in east Japan
King Khufu constructed a pyramid lndus civilization began
Ca.4,000 years ago Late stage Stone circles emerged
Code of Hamrnurabi was made Yin dynasty started King Tutankhamen ascended to the throne
Ca.3,000 years ago
Final stage Kamegaoka culture flourished Rice planting was brought to northern Kyushu
Spring and Autumn Period in Chinna
Ca.2,300 years ago The Yayoi Period Qin ruled in China
Colosseum was constructed
Yoshinogari Site flourished