Yayoi Culture

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Yayoi Culture


a Neolithic to early Iron Age archaeological culture in Japan, named after the finds on Yayoi Street in Tokyo.

The Yayoi culture was brought to Japan from southern Korea, but it absorbed many elements of the local Neolithic Jomon culture (seeJOMON). It is subdivided into three stages. Among the characteristic remains of the early stage (fifth to second centuries B.C.) on the islands of Kyushu and Shikoku and in the southern part of the island of Honshu are temporary settlements near rice paddies, raised-floor structures for storing grain, burials in cists, polished stone implements, and large vessels. The middle stage (first century B.C. to first century A.D.; Aeneolithic) is represented by two local variants: the Kyushu variant and the Honshu and Shikoku variant. The Kyushu variant is characterized by burials in clay urns beneath dolmens containing bronze implements (of Korean origin) and bronze Chinese mirrors and by smooth-walled pottery. The Honshu and Shikoku variant is characterized by large settlements, burials in cists with bronze dotaku bells, and pottery decorated with comb impressions. There were many polished stone implements, as well as some iron tools. During the late stage, in the early Iron Age (second to fourth centuries A.D.), the Yayoi culture spread throughout most of Japan except the island of Hokkaido. The late stage is characterized by farming settlements with surface dwellings and by burial mounds, bronze and iron articles of local production, and smooth-walled pottery.

The influence of the Chinese and Korean civilizations on the Yayoi culture made it possible for the Stone Age to be gradually superseded, by the Iron Age, completely bypassing the Bronze Age.


Vorob’ev, M. V. Drevniaia Iaponiia, Moscow, 1958.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The Yayoi culture, marked by weaving, metalworking, and, most important, the farming of rice, soon supplanted that of the Jomon.
The transformation hypothesis holds that the Yayoi culture did supplant the Jomon culture but that the Yayoi did not come to Japan in large enough numbers to influence significantly the Jomon gene pool.