Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Sketches of Myahk explores indigenous Japanese roots - still alive in northern Japan & Okinawa

スケッチ・オブ・ミャーク 宮古島スペシャル

Koichi Onishi's documentary film, Sketches of Myahk, is a fascinating exploration of Japan's obscured indigenous heritage still extant in northern Japan and  Okinawa:
"I think Aomori connections with ancient Japan are much like those of Miyakojima," said Onishi, adding that he intends to shoot his next film in Aomori Prefecture.

Miyako is pronounced "Myahk" by locals. Two types of songs have been handed down through generations: "Aagu" folk songs that differ in style from traditional verses of the main Okinawa island and "kamiuta" sacred songs...

"Aomori (Prefecture) is home to the Sannai-Maruyama archaeological site and many other ruins from the prehistoric Jomon period (14,000 B.C. to 300 B.C.). Psychics closely related to folk beliefs like 'itako' shamans are still very much alive in our everyday lives," Onishi said. "(Aomori and) Miyakojima share a common bond in the way they retain traces of ancient Japan."
More about this beautiful film at Asahi.

Background: DNA research has confirmed that Ainu and Okinawans are direct descendants of Japan's first people, the Jomon, who entered what is now known as the Japanese archipelago through the area now known as Sakhalin, original home (along with the Kuriles, Hokkaido, and northern Tohoku)  to Ainu. Therefore Ainu and Okinawan cultures give us a sense of the richness of indigenous Japanese (Jomon)  culture.

Geneticists have also confirmed that mainland Japanese have descended from intermarriage of Jomon and later immigrants from Asia who brought rice and metal culture to Japan during the Yayoi period which lasted from around 300 BCE to 300. The later-comers entered the archipelago through Kyushu. New findings show that cultural exchanges went in multiple directions, with Asian mainlanders adopting Jomon culture as well as the other way around.


Sophelia said...

That's so interesting, I had no idea that the peoples of Okinawa and Hokkaido were related. Thank you for sharing this!

TenThousandThings said...

Thanks! It's interesting that this research hasn't reached the mainstream least news reports no longer refer to Ainu as "mysterious Caucasoids" with no clear origin...this view was actually related to an early modern European hypothesis that Ainu were a far-flung tribe of a mythological "Aryan" race.