. 3
( 6)


whether it was the emperor who executed absolute power and overturned the decisions made by the
ministers at will is the most signi¬cant consideration. However, it is generally agreed that the emperor
was regarded as having the ˜¬nal say™ in every matter concerning the running of the state (e.g. Yasuda
Nation-state, circularity and paradox 63

time re-embedded them in a state and integrated them as a nation without going
through the process of making them citizens.
At the same time, the ˜national body™ had to be an entity with a certain spatio-
temporal extension and boundary, and for that it needed be de¬ned and visu-
alised/materialised by the differentiation and articulation of what could and could
not be incorporated into the ˜national body ™. The image and the positionality of the
emperor and imperial family, and the spatio-temporal boundaries of the ˜national
body™; i.e., the national boundary and the origin of the imperial genealogy became
the basic conceptual constructs which functioned as the main constitutive elements
of the ˜national body™, as the perfectly preserved, pure ethnie from the beginning of
its origin.
As mentioned, a signi¬cant characteristic of this concept is that it was a purely con-
ceptual construct. The concept of the nation has elements of arti¬ciality. However,
as Anthony Smith suggests (1986), nations were commonly constructed through
the mobilisation of pre-existing, actualistic similarities and differences, and Ander-
son suggests that these similarities and differences needed to be differentiated, or
made tangible, in one way or another, and articulated into ˜ethnies™ or ˜traditions™.
In contrast, the discourse of the ˜national body™, perhaps ironically, could not totally
rely on the traditional ˜Japanese™ way of life, because westernisation was the policy of
the then government. Accordingly, the introduction of the items of ˜Western Civil-
isation™ was regarded as more important than the articulation of uniquely Japanese
traditions (Komori 2001). Because of that, the ˜national body™ was articulated by
relying heavily upon image and the historical positionality of the emperor and the
imperial family rather than upon the traditional way of life and other traits of the
ethnie. Accordingly, the basis/foundation of the concept, inevitably, could only be
found in arti¬cial discursive formation, not in the realm of concrete experiences by
the nation, and the intrinsic arti¬ciality of the concept of the national body, deriving
from this fact, necessitated the invention of a range of devices for the concealment of
its arti¬ciality: academic discourses were heavily mobilised for that purpose, and at
the same time they were strictly regulated so as not to cast doubt on its authenticity.
Archaeology was mobilised particularly intensely to support the above-mentioned
two main constitutive elements of the ˜national body™: (a) the image and the posi-
tionality of the emperor, and (b) the spatio-temporal boundaries of the ˜national

The image and the positionality of the emperor
These were the most important and most vulnerable of the constitutive elements
of the ˜national body™; the imperial household under the Edo feudal regime was an
obscure entity to commoners: it has been revealed that the image of the emperor
was often connected to deities of local folkloric religions and was not at all per-
ceived as representative of the nation (cf. Fujitani 1994). Social formation under the
Edo feudal regime comprised a typical hierarchical differentiation (Fujitani 1994,
9“11). Society was vertically divided into clearly marked hierarchical status-classes
and horizontally divided into feudal domains. Rather than homogeneity throughout
Archaeology, Society and Identity 64

the domain under the control of the Tokugawa feudal clan, differences and con-
trolled discommunication between the status-classes and between feudal domains
were mobilised for the maintenance of the stability of society. Political authority and
capital were monopolised by the feudal clans and warrior class, and the integration
of the systems of the society did not rely upon the acceptance by the majority of a
symbolic norm and order (Fujitani 1994, 10“11). In all, the social formation of the
Edo feudal regime was one which was not easily transformed to that of a modern
nation-state; it was not only hierarchically differentiated but also lacked a symbolic
entity which could be mobilised for the construction of a sense of unity and homo-
geneity. Hence, the image of the emperor and his positionality as the representative/
embodiment of the nation and the centre of its integration had to be hastily formu-
lated from scratch over a relatively short period of time around the Meiji restoration
and the consolidation period of the nation-state (Fujitani 1994). A range of media
were mobilised for the purpose, and the imperial mythology featured in such imperial
chronicles as Kojiki and Nihon-shoki, compiled in the late seventh and early eighth
centuries to legitimise the then newly established ancient state of Japan and the
imperial household (e.g. Isomae 1998), was utilised in a particularly intense manner.
The mythology described how the ancestors of the imperial family descended from
heaven, created the land and, somewhat contradictorily, conquered and assimilated
aboriginal populations. The story implied that traces of the migration of the ancestors
of the imperial family and, effectively, the Japanese, were identi¬able in archaeo-
logical evidence if the story re¬‚ected what actually happened. Interestingly, it was
foreign scholars who ¬rst took an interest in the origin of the Japanese, including
Edward Morse who initially argued that the heaven mentioned in the chronicles was
somewhere outside the archipelago and that the ancestors of the imperial family
were a migrant population (Oguma 1995, 19“24), and this view was inherited by
Japanese scholars. This further implied that the archaeological evidence of the period
before the migration of the ancestors of the imperial family was a trace of the life of
the aboriginal populations, and in that sense was from the prehistory of Japan. The
true history of the Japanese, from that point of view, started with the ancestors of
the imperial family coming from outside the archipelago.
This also meant that the study of the true history of the imperial family and the
Japanese, the archaeology of the periods after the supposed migration, had to be
strictly regulated because, naturally, the study of the material evidence of the peri-
ods after the migration could throw doubt on the validity of the mythology-based
contents of the image and the positionality of the emperor and his family. In the ˜of¬-
cially™ accepted view, a consensus existed that the Jomon ˜culture™ of hunter-gatherers
was the culture of aboriginal populations (senjyu(indigenous)-minzoku(race)) which
were conquered and assimilated by the ancestors of the imperial family4 (e.g. Tsuboi
1887, 95; Hashiba 1889, 236“237; Yagi and Shimomura 1893, 388“389; Teshi-
gawara 1995, 46“47). So, the study of Jomon ˜culture™ (its position in the relative

4 Ten(heaven)son(descendant)-zoku, meaning the group descended from heaven, from which the entire
Japanese population at that time was claimed to have descended.
Nation-state, circularity and paradox 65

Table 4.1 The ˜safe™ and ˜dangerous™ domains in Japanese pre-Second World War

˜Safe™ archaeology ˜Dangerous™ archaeology

The Stone Age/Jomon The Yayoi
= The aboriginal population of the Japanese = Beginning of the ˜rice cultivating Japan™
= History of the population (Tenson-zoku)
= Before the descent of the imperial decended from ˜Takamagahara™ (heaven)
ancestors (Tanson-zoku) from The Kofun
= The origin of the imperial ancestors
˜Takamagahara™ (heaven)
= History of the population descended
from ˜Takamagahara™ (heaven)
Nothing to do with the imperial history and Might cast doubt on the authenticity and
its genealogical continuation the genealogical continuity of the
Imperial family

chronology of Japanese prehistory, particularly its transition to the Yayoi period, was
not fully established until the 1920s/30s) and the period before this was a ˜safer™
domain for the state authority and, hence, archaeologists, because it had nothing to
do with imperial history, the history of the tenson-zoku group and, hence, nothing
to do with Japanese history. However, the cultures coming afterwards showed, from
the above-illustrated (¬ctional) framework, evidence of the history of the imperial
family and the ˜national body™ which it embodied. Hence, the study of these latter
cultures and periods was regarded as ˜dangerous™, i.e., potentially casting doubt on
the authenticity of the narrative of the national body (Table 4.1).
This division of archaeology into two domains, i.e, the ˜safe™ and the ˜dangerous™,
rather than the ˜true™ and the ˜false™, constituted an important binary code for the
structuration of the archaeological communication system of the pre-Second World
War period of Japan, and the binary code was used to make a distinction between
appropriate and inappropriate archaeological commentaries: appropriate being the
commentaries supporting/not casting doubt upon the authenticity of the narrative
of the national body, and inappropriate being the commentaries potentially endan-
gering the public perception of the authenticity of the narrative of the national body
(Table 4.1).

The spatio-temporal boundaries of the ˜national body™ This section
will illustrate particularly vividly how the notion of the ˜national body™ played a
constitutive role in the reproduction of the archaeological communication system
of the period. (a) Who were the ¬rst inhabitants of the territorial domain of Japan
and (b) how the make-up of the people occupying it have changed since then were
issues which were investigated, speculated upon, and vigorously debated not only
by anthropologists/archaeologists but also by scholars of various other disciplines,
politicians and social activists (cf. Oguma 1995, 1998), i.e., intellectuals and the elite.
This was partly because the study fell into the category of ˜safe™ archaeology (see
Archaeology, Society and Identity 66

Table 4.1). This also exempli¬es the signi¬cant role commonly played by intellectuals
in the invention of tradition/ethnie underpinning a new nation-state (Kan 2001,
Chapter 2). However, there appears to have been another, overtly political, reason.
The theses put forward can be classi¬ed into the following: (1) The Japanese
are racially singular and their content has not changed much since the beginning
of the habitation of Japan; and (2) the Japanese are racially mixed and plural, and
their racial mix has changed as a number of foreign populations invaded/joined
through time. The latter is further subdivided by differences on such points as to
who was the ¬rst inhabitant of Japan and how many migrant populations came to
the archipelago and conquered and assimilated the aboriginal population. These two
statements functioned as two axes of discursive formation and were articulated in
speci¬c political issues and agendas.
The theses which fell into category (1) were articulated in the discourse of the
necessary consolidation of the ˜national body™, and were vigorously promoted and
debated from the Meiji restoration to the end of the nineteenth century (cf. Oguma
1995, 50“55). After that, the theses gradually ceased to be issues of public debate
as Japan completed the initial phase of nation-building through westernisation and
began colonising neighbouring countries.
The theses which fell into category (2) were articulated in the discourse for
the legitimation of the colonization of neighbouring countries (Oguma 1995, 242“
249). The necessity of legitimising the territorial expansion, i.e., colonisation, which
inevitably involved the incorporation of peoples of colonised regions/countries into
the ˜national body™ in one way or another, rose, and the discourse of the plural ori-
gins, not the singular origin, of the Japanese became the main axis of the discursive
formation underpinning and legitimising this unfolding reality; the claim that Japan
had been through a history of incorporation and the assimilation of a number of racial
groups was actively moblised for the legitimation of ongoing colonisation and the
policy of assimilation, and adopted in a particularly drastic manner in the case of
the colonisation of Korea (Oguma 1998, Chapter 8).
Let us examine in detail the debate about the ˜¬rst inhabitants™ of the archipelago,
because this typically shows how the boundaries of the ˜national body™ were drawn
and redrawn as the socio-political context in which Japan as a newly founded nation-
state was situated changed, and how archaeology was involved in the boundary
The point of dispute was whether the Ainu were the ¬rst inhabitants of the
archipelago or not. The Ainu (issues concerning their ethno-genesis are far too
diverse to be covered here, cf. Hudson 1999) inhabited Hokkaido and the smaller
islands in the vicinity, and their population was so small that it was not regarded
as relevant to the security of the Edo feudal regime (cf. Oguma 1998, Chapter 3,
from which the factual information for the following is derived). However, due to
pressure from Russia towards the end of the Edo period, when the fear materialised
in the form of territorial threats, the Ainu were put under the direct rule of the
feudal domain entrusted to control Hokkaido Island, called the Matsumae feudal
domain. Once the Meiji government came to recognise Hokkaido Island as a subject
Nation-state, circularity and paradox 67

of ˜internal colonisation™ and started sending a large number of people there, the
importance of controlling the Ainu and claiming them as Japanese in order to make
a territorial claim against Russia ceased.
However, as the living conditions of the Ainu rapidly degenerated as a result
of the colonisation, and Christian missionaries began conducting various aid and
educational activities, the national government was forced to take notice of the Ainu
again. The Ainu issue now, from the national government™s point of view, became
a sort of issue of aboriginal minority. The intellectuals™ reaction to this change of
situation varied, but Tsuboi Shogoro, the above-mentioned founder of anthropology
in Japan, for instance, actively intervened in the debate about governmental policy
concerning the Ainu by comparing them with the native American population and
by quoting an example of the attempt to assimilate them to the western way of life
by Christianising them (Oguma 1995, 81“83).
Regardless of inferring the Ainu as the ¬rst inhabitants or not, it was argued that
the early inhabitants of Japan were, without exception, conquered by a group coming
from outside the archipelago, most often inferred to have come from mainland Asia,
to which, it was further argued, the genealogy of the imperial family and the Japanese
nation could be traced back (see Table 4.1) (cf. Teshigawara 1995, 91“99). The
redifferentiation and rearticulation of the Ainu as an aboriginal minority in the newly
established domain of the nation-state of Japan and their assimilation to it would
have been compared to the pseudo-historical narrative of the foundation of the roots
of the ˜national body™ in which the ancestors of the imperial family conquered and
assimilated aboriginal populations comparable to the Ainu, and would have been
mobilised to support this imaginary creation, i.e., the narrative of the roots of the
national body, by providing it with a pseudo ˜direct historical parallel™. In other
words, the Ainu and the ˜¬rst inhabitants issue™ functioned to allow those who were
concerned to re-enact and relive the origin of the nation and national body. This
might partly explain why the issue attracted such intense interest and debate. And,
because the historical narrative of the foundation of the ˜national body™ was the
narrative of the coming of new groups from outside and the assimilation by them of
the aboriginal populations, the methods employed in the relevant studies were those
which enabled the archaeologist to trace the diffusion of the incoming populations
and the cultures they brought and to ¬nd the traces of the habitation of the old aboriginal
groups (see Table 4.1).
In that sense, only the methodological tools and theoretical premises with which to
trace the migration of people and their assimilation of pre-existing, aboriginal popu-
lations were necessary, and other archaeological concepts and methods which would
potentially systematise inferences about the past were not only unnecessary but (cate-
gorised in the perception of the people as) dangerous (Table 4.1). After all, the public
appears, quite naturally, to have been aware of the mythical, thus imaginary, nature
of the narrative of the foundation of the national body (Teshigawara 1995, 78“79),
and the executive appears to have been well aware of its fragile foundation. Hence,
any development in archaeology, methodological or otherwise, which had the slight-
est possibility of endangering the foundation of the notion of the national body and
Archaeology, Society and Identity 68

its antiquity, e.g., the authenticity of the imperial mythology and the genealogical
continuity of the imperial family from the beginning of history, was regarded as
dangerous and subject to censorship and persecution.
Elsewhere, the development of diffusionism as a conceptual/explanatory frame-
work for archaeological practice and that of typo-chronology went hand in hand
(Trigger 1989, Chapter 5). However, in Japan, the development of the latter was sig-
ni¬cantly delayed. Archaeology had not been taught as an academic discipline until
the establishment of the ¬rst Department of Archaeology in the Faculty of Literature
of Kyoto University in 1916, and the most basic methodological tools of archaeol-
ogy, such as stratigraphic excavations and typo-chronology, were not systematically
introduced and adopted until the ¬rst quarter of the twentieth century (Teshigawara
1995, 108“115). Until that time, the ¬eld of archaeological knowledge production/
discourse had not had any means or markers with which to differentiate itself from
anthropology and history (cf. Teshigawara 1995, 109“110), and that made the ¬eld
a most suitable arena (and the easiest to manipulate) where the discourse of the
formation of the national body was reproduced by not excluding but involving a
wider community of intellectuals who consciously and unconsciously played a role
in supporting the maintenance and re-enforcement of the foundation of the ˜national
body™ (Kan 2001, Chapter 2). However, the delay in the disciplinisation of archae-
ology, I would argue, was also to do with the fact that the disciplinisation in the form
of methodologisation would have undermined the authenticity of the intrinsically
diffusionist narrative of the invasion of the imperial ancestors and their assimilation
of the aboriginal populations of the archipelago (Table 4.1).
The systematisation of archaeological studies progressed from the ¬rst quarter
of the twentieth century, and speculative diffusionist accounts, such as the Jomon
˜culture™ as the culture of the aboriginal population, continued to be practised in the
periphery of the expanding horizons of new, higher ˜cultures™ coming from the out-
side, such as the Yayoi and the Kofun (mounded tomb) (Figure 4.2) (Teshigawara
1995, 139“143), gradually vanished. These ˜cultures™, instead, were gradually reor-
ganised into intra- and inter-regional chronological stages, and the progression of the
construction of a nation-wide chronological network (Figure 4.2) effectively threw
doubt on the validity of the mythology-based diffusionist narratives. They nicely ¬t
into the narrative of the foundation of the roots of the national body, illustrated in
Figure 4.2.
However, importantly for the current argument, these doubts were carefully con-
cealed by archaeologists themselves or modi¬ed so as not to contradict the doctrine
of the national body. And interestingly, the Kofun (mounded tomb) period, char-
acterised by gigantic keyhole-shaped tumuli, the largest examples of which were
designated as the mausolea of ancient emperors, was the period about which the
construction of a chronological system was slowest (cf. Teshigawara 1995, 69“72);
the systematisation of the archaeology of the Kofun period would have almost cer-
tainly contradicted the mythology-based early imperial history; and the investigation
of the period, especially from the viewpoint of the emergence and development of
social strati¬cation, was carefully and intentionally avoided. Instead, the study of the
Nation-state, circularity and paradox 69


Figure 4.2 From the ˜coexistence and assimilation of cultures™ image to chronological charts (a) from
Nakaya 1934, (b) by the present author. (a) and (b) show the image commonly shared that the ˜Chalcol-
ithic™ Yoyoi culture coming in from the Korean peninsula gradually replaced the aboriginal ˜Stone-Age™
Jomon culture over a number of centuries, during which time different ˜cultures™ coexisted in different
parts of the archipelago. This view was replaced by modern typo-chronological charts such as 4.2 (c)
which is a modern typo-chronological chart, created by Sugao Yamanouchi (1937).
Archaeology, Society and Identity 70

˜Stages and sub-phases in the classification of the Jomon pottery™ created by Sugao Yamanouchi (1937)


The original caption (in Japanese) says: (1) This chart is tentative and shall be revised. (2) (+) indicates a
temporal type not yet named. (3) (—) indicates the name of the site where pots originally from other regions which
are relative-dated have been excavated. The rows indicate the Earliest, Early, Middle, Late and Final stages, and
columns indicate regional units of the archipelago.

Figure 4.2 (Cont.)

period was con¬ned mainly to cultural reconstruction such as that of the usage and
function of funerary features and artefacts by comparing the data to the contents of
such ancient imperial chronicles as Kojiki and Nihon-shoki in an uncritical manner
(e.g. Takahashi 1914). Meanwhile, touching upon anything social appears to have
been carefully avoided. In contrast, the construction of a nation-wide chronological
system progressed most rapidly in the study of the Jomon ˜culture™. The prehistory of
the imperial family and the Japanese hence fell into the category of safe archaeology
(Table 4.1).
Ironically, the domain of organising archaeological evidence into nation-wide
chronological systems, aided by the notion of stratigraphic excavation/observation
and typology introduced5 in the second decade of the twentieth century, almost half
a century after Morse™s Omori shell-middens excavation, came to function as a kind
of ˜refuge™ for archaeologists who were forced to conceal their political consciences
and scienti¬c observations and instead immersed themselves in the mechanistic,
descriptive practice of constructing pottery typo-chronologies.
Archaeology, under such circumstances, on the one hand had to organise its dis-
course to ¬t the discursive formation directly regulated by state power and on the
other had to con¬ne itself to practices irrelevant to the dominant discursive formation

5 By Seiryo Hamada, who studied under the tutorage of Flinders Petrie in London and was appointed
the ¬rst professor of the Department of Archaeology of Kyoto University, the ¬rst ever archaeology
department founded in Japan. cf. Hamada 1918.
Nation-state, circularity and paradox 71

concerning the past. The concept of the body of the ˜nation™, which was a variant
of the technology of integrating the nation-state by creating a transcendental con-
ceptual construct with which disembedded individuals reidentify themselves (see
Chapters 1 and 3.8), occupied such a dominant position in discursive formation
that individual communication ¬elds were, regardless of being for or against the
concept, condemned to be structured by it.

Japanese post-Second World War discursive formation and archaeology
Post-Second World War archaeology here means the period between the end of the
war and the late 1970s. It constituted its discursive formation by the continuing
existence of the basic structure of the pre-war discursive space. As illustrated later,
this was necessitated and helped by the rapidly crystallizing Cold War equilibrium
of global socio-economic/political systems, which also made the general discursive
formation of the time highly stable. Bearing this in mind, let us begin by examining
the cause and effect of the continuation of the basic structure of the pre-war discourse
into the post-war period. The concept of the ˜national body™ again played a pivotal
role (parts of the following arguments in this section are from Mizoguchi 2005a).
Japan™s catastrophic defeat in the Second World War seemingly changed the sit-
uation completely. The old systems, embodied by the ˜Meiji constitution™, were
abolished or replaced by the new, and the ˜national body™ ceased to be mentioned
in public. However, the structuring principles of general discursive formation and
archaeological discourse as one of its ¬elds remained almost unchanged (Kan 2001,
Chapter 5). This was partly because Japan had to be quickly resituated in a new,
rapidly crystallized structure of politico-economic powers which was later to become
the foundation of the Cold War equilibrium; Japan, in that structure, was designated
to function as a front-line nation with the US and its allies against the USSR (Kan
2001). In order for that to be achieved, the conceptual machinery proven to be
most effective in integrating the Japanese, i.e., the ˜national body™ and its principal
features, the emperor and his historical positionality, had to be preserved.
The emperor, whose previous status had been absolute sovereign of the nation,
became the ˜symbol of the integration of the nation™: he became, constitutionally,
detached from the realm of the running of the country, but he remained of¬cially
the embodiment of the voluntary unity of individuals constituting the nation. This
meant that the ˜national body™ as a multi-functional conceptual entity remained
intact although it was rarely overtly mentioned: as long as what was perceived to
embody this entity, the emperor system, remained intact, the entity itself was nat-
urally perceived as intact. Besides, the very nature of the entity as a conceptual,
arti¬cial, and hence extremely ¬‚exible construct, worked as its strength; Japan had
lost its colonies and the territories it had gained during the war, but that was con-
ceived by the intellectual class (who had formerly produced narratives supporting
and legitimising the changing/expanding spatial extension of the national body) as
the puri¬cation of the content of the ˜national body™ (Oguma 1995, Chapter 17). They
claimed that the national body was now constituted by a single, hence pure, race.
They claimed that this was the original form of the national body, and the national
Archaeology, Society and Identity 72

body and the authentic nature of the Japanese had become polluted through an
irresponsible misadventure conducted by a hyper-ambitious bunch of individuals in
the military and the executive during the years up to the end of the war. The narra-
tives of the multiple origins of the Japanese, which were mobilised for the legitimation
of the colonisation and occupation, were conveniently forgotten or abandoned, and
the loss of the colonies and occupied areas was tacitly portrayed as a returning-back
to the genuine, authentic state/shape of the Japanese as a single-race, hence ˜pure™,
Quite ironically, the rise of the single origin/race theory was also convenient for
those who were trying to form a counter discourse against the ˜national body™ dis-
course, the advocates of a Marxist history and archaeology. They were under varying
degrees of in¬‚uence from USSR-led communism/Marxism; and a unifying element
of their not-so-uni¬ed discourses was the doctrine of ˜racial self-determination™ as
a slogan against US-led ˜imperialism™, i.e., the forceful expansion of the/a capitalist
economy and of the ˜Western block™. The slogan increasingly gained reality as it
became apparent that the US was utilising the emperor system and the continuation
of the concept of the ˜national body™ to reconstruct Japan as a successful capitalist
state by preserving the old institutions, both economic and political, which were
regarded by many as the sources of the ills of pre-war Japan. For Marxist histori-
ans/archaeologists, the critical investigation of the origin of the imperial household
as an original source of the ills of pre-war Japan had to be conducted hand-in-hand
with a historical investigation of the (singular, not plural) origin of the Japanese race
because the study of the origin of the Japanese nation had to seek not only the origin
of the ills of Japan as a state but also the source of pride to be Japanese as a nation
(e.g. Toma 1951a). Seita Toma, a Marxist historian, portrayed the Japanese state-
formation and that of the polities on the periphery of the Chinese empire, by drawing
heavily upon archaeological evidence, as a process of continuous struggle for laying
the foundation of the nation under the shadow of the powerful Chinese dynasties (cf.
Toma 1951b). It can easily be inferred from this that China was metaphorically com-
pared to the US; and the struggle against US-led imperialism, which was preventing
the total reform and democratisation of Japan, was compared to the Japanese ancient
state formation as a process of struggle in the sphere of strong Chinese in¬‚uence. We
can see a kind of seed of a core“periphery/world-systems perspective here, although
it was never systematically compared to Wallerstein™s version (Wallerstein 1974) or
those archaeological works in¬‚uenced by it.
These factors constituted the post-Second World War structure of archaeological
discourse until the 1970s. The ghost of the notion of the ˜national body™ contin-
ued to play a pivotal role in discursive formation, and one™s position in the dis-
cursive space continued to be determined, even if tacitly/unconsciously, by one™s
attitude to the very notion: although the notion itself gradually became unrecognis-
able as an explicitly articulated concept, it continued to legitimise the continuation
of reactionary discourses and institutions continuing from the pre-war period, and
that effectively preserved the pre-war division of archaeology into safe/apolitical
and dangerous/political/anti-imperial domains. The former was embodied by Jomon
archaeology and the latter by Marxist archaeology.
Nation-state, circularity and paradox 73

Let us begin by examining Marxist archaeology. The foundation of the discourse
dates back to the 1920s/30s. Deepening economic dif¬culty and in¬‚uence from
communist Russia encouraged a group of historians to initiate a project analytically
revealing the roots of the nature of the historical trajectory leading to the formation
of a Japanese version of an imperialist capitalist state (Watabe 1936, 1937). From the
Marxist perspective, they regarded the investigation of the origin of social inequality
as an absolutely vital component of the project. To understand this historical event
by situating it in the universal theory of the developmental stages (which claimed that
every human society evolved from a stage of primitive communism through ancient
slavery and feudalism to the stage of capitalism) was of particular importance for
deciding what strategy should be taken to lead a socialist revolution in Japan (Yoshida
1972) because, according to the communist doctrine of the time, the strategy of the
socialist revolution of a given country had to be decided according to the historical
trajectory the country had taken (Yoshida 1972).
The large tumuli of the Kofun (mounded tomb) period, including the designated
˜imperial mausolea™, were thought to be an indication of the establishment of the
rulers of a despotic character and of the power which enabled them to mobilise a
large number of people like slaves. Their study and the study of the preceding histor-
ical process was conducted aiming at ˜scienti¬cally™ (i.e., from the Marxist point of
view) revealing the origin of social inequality not only as the root of the problems of
a capitalist society but also of the ills of the Japanese nation-state, i.e., the emperor
system, a vital constitutive element of the ˜national body™, and the machineries of the
imperialistic capitalism ideologically based upon the emperor system (Toma 1951a).
As mentioned in the previous section, basic archaeological tools, concepts and sys-
tems were underdeveloped at the time, and the involvement of archaeologists in the
project was minimal (cf. Hara 1972): many of the practitioners were politically active
historians. The outcome of the study, retrospectively, inevitably included many
shortcomings. However, this pre-war development constituted the backbone of the
Japanese Marxist approach and was equipped with a strong political self-awareness.
Any Marxist approach, as a holistic interpretative framework, sorts a concerned
body of evidence into interconnected/interdependent units and investigates in which
connections/ties ˜contradictions™ reside; contradictions, for the Marxist, are the
source of social change, and change is the intrinsic nature of society. In the case of
Japanese Marxist archaeology, the contradictions leading to the formation and estab-
lishment of a class-difference based strati¬cation, the differentiation based upon the
possession and non-possession of the means of production, were the ultimate subject
of study, and the Yayoi period (between c. the sixth century BC and the late third
century AD) and the Kofun (mounded tomb) period (between c. the late third cen-
tury AD and the sixth century AD) were grasped as the decisive phases in the process
(Figure 4.3).
The introduction of rice paddy-¬eld agriculture at the beginning of the Yayoi
period, c. sixth century BC, ignited the process of widening contradiction between
tribal social organisation, based upon communal labour and communal ownership,
i.e., communal storage and consumption of products, and smaller semi-autonomous
units, functioning as the basic unit of daily corporate labour and accumulating
Archaeology, Society and Identity 74

Figure 4.3 The Yoyoi and Kofun periods as the decisive phase in the process toward the establishment of
a class-difference-based strati¬cation, i.e., an ancient state: a model. The intensi¬cation of the mediation
of contradiction and the consequent rise in the status of communal chiefs are widely thought to be re¬‚ected
in the increasing size of bronze ritual implements (see Figure 4.4).

privately owned wealth. The process was interpreted as having led to the genera-
tion and enhancement of communal chieftainship which was entrusted by the rest
of the community to mediate the contradiction between the principle of communal
ownership and the accumulating desire of the smaller, actual unit of daily labour of
private ownership. Through the mediation of the contradiction and inter-communal
negotiations and tension, the authority and power of the chief was increasingly
enhanced through the Yayoi period, and the process reached a kind of threshold
in the transitional phase between the Yayoi and Kofun periods when an alliance of
local chieftains covering most of the western portion and parts of the eastern portion
Nation-state, circularity and paradox 75

of the archipelago was formed from the increasing necessity of the organisation of
inter-regional exchange and collaboration. In this thesis, the formation of the dis-
tributional horizon of the earliest keyhole-shaped tumuli and a homogeneous set
of grave goods was interpreted as having re¬‚ected the formation of ¬ctive kinship
ties between the local chieftains in which the chieftains of the Nara basin and the
Kawachi plain in the present-day Kinki region became dominant (e.g. Kondo 1983).
This assembly of the chieftains of the Kinai region became the ancestoral foundation
of the imperial household, around which the ancient Japanese state was established
in the seventh century AD.
In order to investigate this long-term process from the Marxist perspective, the
body of evidence was classi¬ed into such analytical units as infrastructural elements
and superstructure/ideology, units of social integration of various scales, and so on,
and their interrelations and co-transformations were studied as the indicators of a
deepening contradiction. For instance, the dominant trend in the stylistic develop-
ment of Yayoi bronze implements such as bronze weapon-shaped implements and
bronze bells, the enhancement of their visual impressiveness by enlarging their size
and visually distinct traits (Figure 4.4), was explained as the re¬‚ection of the devel-
opmental process of an ideological device concealing this deepening contradiction
between communal interest and private ownership. As illustrated above, principles
indispensable for the maintenance of communal egalitarianism such as communal
ownership were undermined by the increasing autonomy of smaller units of actual
daily agricultural labour. However, the mobilisation of the labour force from a larger
corporate group scale, consisting of a number of smaller units of actual daily labour,
was of absolute necessity in the case of the construction and mending of irriga-
tion systems for the opening and maintenance of paddy ¬elds: the maintenance of a
small number of paddies was possible for a smaller unit, but in the case of the sudden
destruction of an irrigation system due to a natural disaster such as a typhoon, for
instance, the coordination of a larger corporate group scale was necessary (cf. Kondo
1983). Therefore, the larger corporate group based upon and sustained by commu-
nal egalitarianism needed to be preserved. The thesis contended that the communal
ritual in which the bronze implements were mobilised functioned to conceal this
ever-deepening crisis, and the importance of the ritual increased as the contradiction
between the necessity of maintaining communal order and the increasing autonomy
of the unit of daily labour deepened. Accordingly, those who were entrusted by the
community to be in charge of the ritual accumulated authority and power, and, quite
ironically, the deepening crisis consolidated the status of those who were in charge
of the ritual. However, they needed to disguise themselves as representative of com-
munal interests, and, accordingly, the meaning content and appearance of the ritual
they conducted increasingly inclined to an emphasis on communal togetherness. The
thesis contended that the enlargement in size and exaggeration in the visual charac-
teristic traits of the bronze implements re¬‚ected this process of the co-transformation
of social domains (Figures 4.3 and 4.4).
As illustrated, the study of the process of social strati¬cation and the emergence of
the ancient state deriving from Marxist perspectives resulted in the methodological
Archaeology, Society and Identity 76

Figure 4.4 The development of Dohoko bronze spearheads (from Iwanaga 1986). Each of the specimens
shown represents a typo-chronological stage of the temporal sequence of changes progressing from left
to right.

systematisation of the practice of Japanese archaeology, which had formerly been
somewhat undisciplined, and led to the formation of a unique tradition of social
archaeological theorisation and praxis, to which we shall return later.
However, it has to be noted here that what was behind the formation of this social
archaeological theorisation and the systematisation of archaeology was the shadow of
the ˜national body™. Since the 1950s, the revival of the symbols of the ills of pre-war
Japan, such as the redesignation of the ˜anniversary™ of the founding of the nation
as a national holiday, using a date taken from imperial mythology (cf. Aston 1972),
was gathering pace, and the danger of going down the same road to the catastrophe
of another war was acutely felt. The theorisation and systematisation, in that sense,
were ¬rmly based upon a sense of reality, the reality of doing something good for
society, and this feeling provided practitioners with a stable self identity: they felt
they knew who they were in terms of the expected effect of what they were doing
for society. Both the systematising tendency of Marxist theorisation and the sense of
connectedness to social reality provided by the historical background and political
objective of Marxist discourse functioned as a source of stability in the archaeological
discursive formation of the period.
Jomon archaeology, meanwhile, shows a stark contrast. The study of Jomon culture
during the pre-Second World War period constituted a ˜safe™ domain, i.e., a domain
Nation-state, circularity and paradox 77

which was regarded as harmless and irrelevant to the validity/legitimacy of the posi-
tion of the emperor and the imperial household. Jomon ˜culture™ was regarded as
the culture of aboriginal populations conquered and assimilated by the ancestors of
the imperial family and the Japanese people (Table 4.1). That would have been a
reason why the attempt at reconstructing certain elements of the social organisa-
tion of the culture (e.g. Kono 1935) could be made, even if sporadically, unchecked
by state power during the pre-Second World War period. This positionality of the
study of Jomon culture, despite its recognition as a temporal entity, a ˜period™, after
the establishment of the nation-wide chronological system around the 1920s/30s
(Figure 4.2; cf. Yamanouchi 1937), remained intact after the Second World War:
innumerable, seemingly endless attempts at re¬ning the intra- and inter-regional
chronological systems were made, but the period was predominantly the subject of
culture-historical reconstructions. The functional reconstruction of individual mate-
rial items was a major topic of study, and the investigation of individual settlements
and their interrelations/interactions was conducted for the reconstruction of the
social organisation of the phase to which the settlements concerned belonged (e.g.
Mizuno 1969). The study of the Jomon period remained as the reconstruction of
the contents of a synchronic ˜slice™ extracted from the trajectory of the reproduction
and transformation of society, except for a few attempts at incorporating the Jomon
period and its internal phases into the narrative of Marxist developmental stages.
This ˜synchronism™ constituted a distinct characteristic of the discourse of Jomon
studies and reinforced its tacitly perceived character as pre-history, i.e. changeless,
hence historyless period of Japanese prehistory.
The coexistence of these two discourses in the discursive space of the period had
some signi¬cant implications. The contrast between Yayoi“Kofun archaeology and
Jomon archaeology in terms of their structuring principles in¬‚uenced the ways in
which western archaeological theories and methodologies were introduced to Japan
(Table 4.1).
The Yayoi“Kofun discourse was Marxist and political, and produced some
remarkable case studies conducted with a strong critical awareness of their political
implications on both micro/local and macro/national scales. A good example is the
excavation of the Tsukinowa tumulus in Okayama Prefecture. The residents of a
small mining town in the Chugoku mountain range became interested in local his-
tory through the encouragement of a group of archaeologists, and learnt the way
to connect the condition in which they lived to the past as a sequence of episodes
forming a trajectory leading to the present, which had many problems yet to be over-
come (Tsukinowa kofun kanko kai 1960; Teshigawara 1995, 214“218). The Marxist
thesis of developmental stages, and the notion of contradictions taking place between
the infra- and superstructures of a social whole that moved society upward in those
stages, helped the residents connect their living conditions and the contradictions
they faced there to a point/stage in the historical trajectory and make sense of the
causal connections between them. This discursive characteristic of Marxist theory,
which explained the present in terms of the past, made those who advocated it feel
that the ills of the present had their roots in certain points in the past, and in that
Archaeology, Society and Identity 78

characteristic converged two aims of post-Second World War critical archaeology,
one a critique of the concept of the ˜national body™ and the other the critique of the
ills of the present continuing from the past, together. The critique of the past became
the critique of the present in the discursive space of Japanese Marxist archaeology,
which might deserve to be described as a precursor of the critical social archaeology
which emerged in the west in the 1980s. However, in actuality this constituted the
condition in which neither the processual nor post-processual developments in the
west were enthusiastically accepted in Japan, because on the one hand the proces-
sual theoretico-methodological package looked, to the practitioners of the Japanese
Marxist tradition, anti-historical, and, hence, apolitical and reactionary, and on the
other hand the signi¬cant characteristic of the post-processual approach, i.e., its
critical political self-awareness, looked very familiar. At this point, though, it has
to be added that an effort to articulate and synthesise ways to bridge/mediate the
gap between abstract Marxist theory and archaeological reality in the past and in
the present, in other words an effort at opening up the domain of bridging argu-
mentation of various scales and degrees of abstraction, was rarely made (although in
actuality it was tacitly made in each individual case study in a rather undisciplined
manner by classifying the evidence into analytical units and by explaining the rea-
son why particular units were given deeper, more careful treatment than others).
This anti-theorisation tendency in Japan was deep-rooted and its cause was compli-
cated (Ikawa-Smith 1982). However, in the case of Japanese Marxist archaeology, a
mixture of these factors signi¬cantly contributed towards indifference to theoretical
developments abroad.
At the same time, the discourse of pre-Yayoi“Kofun archaeology, i.e., Jomon
archaeology, was, as illustrated above, dominated by the reconstruction of the static,
synchronic slice of social reproduction and transformation; and some constitu-
tive elements of processual archaeology such as the application of ˜middle-range™
research strategy and systemic thinking ¬tted nicely into the range of its analyti-
cal requirements. This formed the background against which both the autonomous
development and the introduction of the processual methods and perspectives took
place relatively easily in the Jomon discourse. The application of site-catchment ana-
lysis (cf. Hayashi 1979, 114; Akazawa 1983) and the reconstruction of the subsis-
tence scheduling of the Jomon period (Akazawa 1983) are two notable examples.
This discursive division was also supported and in a way embodied by the dif-
ferential distribution of the Jomon and Yayoi“Kofun sites between the eastern and
western portions of the archipelago. The distribution of the former is denser in the
east than in the west, and that of the latter is vice versa (cf. Nihon Daiyonki gakkai
et al. 1992, 82“85, 128“131). This naturally resulted in different daily archaeologi-
cal experiences such as what one saw in the museums, what one dug up at the sites,
and what one talked about, and these all added a strong spatial dimension to the
discursive division (Mizoguchi 2002, 31“38).
In all, what characterised the discursive space of the post-Second World War period
in the history of Japanese archaeology was its stability. The two discourses, the Jomon
discourse and the Yayoi“Kofun discourse, that coexisted in the discursive space of
Nation-state, circularity and paradox 79

post-Second World War archaeology constituted their positionality by the structure
of the discursive space of the pre-war archaeology (Table 4.1). As something which
had to be referred to when one identi¬ed one™s position in the discursive space,
regardless of being for or against it, the shadow of the ˜national body™ remained as
the dominant referent, and functioned as the pivotal axis of the structuration of the
archaeological discourse of the post-war period. The Jomon discourse continued
to be about synchronic cultural reconstruction and rarely attempted to investigate the
historical process of social transformations (towards social strati¬cation). The Yayoi“
Kofun discourse, in contrast, was about the investigation of the mechanism of the
emergence of social inequality which resulted in the emergence of the ancestors
of the imperial household, one of the ills of pre-war, imperialist“capitalist, Japan
(Table 4.1).
The existence of the dominant axis of the structuration of archaeological dis-
course, continuing from the pre-war period, made the structure of the multiple
layers of choices archaeologists had to make in their practice/praxis relatively simple;
the existence of the stable discursive structure constituted by the coexistence of the
Jomon/apolitical and the Yayoi“Kofun/radical political discourses and the principle
of classifying archaeological information into a stable set of analytical categories
which were automatically determined by the discourses in which one participated
minimised the dif¬culties and stress levels which archaeologists had to deal with in
choosing what to see, what to say, how to talk about it, and so on in their archaeo-
logical practice. It also has to be noted that the reproduction of the discursive space
was ¬rmly embedded in the Cold War equilibrium (Figure 4.5).
This fortunate stability came to an end when the Cold War equilibrium collapsed
and a new condition which is often described as late-/high-/post-modern set in. We
shall come back to the dif¬culties archaeology has come to be confronted with later in
the volume (Chapter 5.2). Here, we have to conclude the argument so far by exam-
ining the generality and unique nature of Japanese modernity and the positionality
of archaeology in it.

Unbearable arti¬ciality of the nation-state and the emperor system
We saw the uncertainty/indeterminacy which any communication inevitably implies
and how it comes/can come to terms with it in Chapter 3.6 and 3.7. In order
for communication to continue despite that, those who take part in it have to be
able to acquire a sense of understanding and being understood, and that sense can
only be acquired through the continuation of communication. This circularity and
paradox, shown to exist between the continuation of communication and the de-
paradoxisation of communication, also exist between the reproduction and the
de-paradoxisation of the nation-state.
As the hierarchical differentiation of communication systems, i.e., the pre-modern
social formation, came to an end and was replaced by the functional differentiation
of communication systems, i.e., the modern social formation, not only the uncer-
tainty/indeterminacy of communication, which people used to come to terms with
by referring to the hierarchical categorisation system of people and values, but also
Archaeology, Society and Identity 80

Figure 4.5 The Cold War equilibrium and the discursive space of archaeology. Note that functionally
differentiated social systems are linked by the Cold War equilibrium-based illusion (see Chapter 2.3).

the arti¬ciality of the nation-state, which used to be overcome by referring to God™s
will, had to be dealt with in a new manner. The de-paradoxisation by temporalisation
of the paradox, so to speak; i.e., to set up a point of origin of the nation-state in the
form of a particular group of people (an ˜ethnie™) in the depth of time and create
an arti¬cial cause“effect relationship between that and the nation-state, has commonly
Nation-state, circularity and paradox 81

been conducted: there was once a body of people whose mutual ties were so tight
that they effectively laid the foundation upon which a nation was to be built. The
circularity (between a nation-state and an ethnie) was transformed to a directional,
causal sequence of events in this de-paradoxisation strategy in which the (invented)
pre-existence of an ethnie was the cause, and hence guaranteed the legitimacy, of
the formation and sovereignty of a nation-state.
What makes the Japanese case unique is twofold: the existence of the emperor
and the underdevelopment of the disembedding mechanisms such as the national
currency, taxation, and conscription when the foundation of the modern nation-
state of Japan began. Instead, the emperor became the principal de-paradoxisation
device. The emperor was made to be the embodiment of Japaneseness, and many
of the traditions and mental characteristics which were supposed to characterise
the Japanese nation were invented in relation to the mythology, again, invented
to shroud the emperor system. However, in order for the emperor to be the
embodiment of the Japanese people, which would have been the prerequisite for
this de-paradoxising device to work, a narrative directly connecting the emperor
and the people was necessary. For that purpose, a metaphorical kinship between the
emperor and the people was also invented, in the form of the myth that the descent
from heaven of the founder(s) of the imperial genealogy also marked the beginning
of the Japanese people (cf. Isomae 1998). These ¬ctitious factors, because of their
¬ctitiousness, emphasised their organic interrelations and were put together to form
the conceptual construct of the ˜national body™ in which each Japanese person was
situated in a way in which neither the individual nor the national body could survive
without one another.
However, this tight relationship of mutual mediation/support was a mere elabora-
tion in the realm of perception, and because of that it had to be further shrouded with
layers of supporting narratives and material symbols. Archaeology was mobilised to
create/support them.
Education was a discursive space where such narratives and material symbols
were invested in the most intensive manner because education is one of the most
effective/ef¬cient ways for engineering the masses, engineering the nation to make it
take the mutual mediation of the nation-state and the emperor system for granted.
Chapter 4.3 examines how this circularity and interdependence between the nation-
state and the emperor system are dealt with in the domain of education.

4.3 The illusion of enlightenment and social engineering: archaeological
knowledge and education
Two versions of a textbook drawing
Figure 4.6 shows two drawings. They are two versions of a drawing for a school
textbook, depicting a scene which, the title claims, would have been seen somewhere
in the western part of the Japanese archipelago back in the third century AD, the era
of the ˜Yamatai-koku™ polity recorded in a Chinese of¬cial document, the imperial
chronicle of ˜Weizhi™ of the Wei dynasty.
Archaeology, Society and Identity 82

We have already observed in Chapter 1 the unique position which the Yamatai
and Queen Himiko discourse occupies in Japanese archaeology and the Japanese
perception of the past in general. As we saw, Weizhi was used as the ultimate source
of reference when the reconstruction of the unreconstructable was attempted at the
Yoshinogari, designated the ¬rst national historical park, and the discourse func-
tioned to mediate the con¬‚icting and contradictory interests of the stakeholders
involved. In other words, the Yamatai and Queen Himiko discourse was mobilised
during the uncertainty which might have disturbed the continuation of the discourse
concerning the reconstruction at the site. Concerning the fact that the stakeholders
involved include not only the archaeologist but also the general public, the media
and the state, it can be inferred that the discourse has a sphere of in¬‚uence cutting
across the borders of various sectors constituting society.
The textbook featuring the drawing was published in 1989 for sixth-grade primary
school students aged eleven to twelve. One is the original and the other amended
following instructions from a committee appointed by the then Ministry of Edu-
cation (since then reorganised and renamed the Ministry of Education, Culture,
Sports, Science and Technology, which abbreviates itself as ˜MEXT™). The sup-
posed function of the committee is to check and authorise the ˜appropriateness™
of the contents of textbooks for the primary, secondary and high schools in Japan
(www.mext.go.jp/a menu/shotou/kyoukasho/).
Both the original and the amended versions are meant to be accurate, or at least
based upon factual evidence, archaeological as well as historical, even if some ˜infer-
ence™ is involved for the purpose of making the drawing effective in helping the
student understand what the society of the period was like. In that sense, the orig-
inal drawing would not have needed any signi¬cant amendment except for unlikely
factual errors. However, as illustrated below, amendments which were not necessar-
ily to do with obvious factual errors were recommended and implemented, whilst
some obvious factual errors were left untouched.6 It is striking to see how minute
and subtle many of the amendments are. Some of the alterations are so subtle and
small in size that one cannot see the point of making them at all in terms of ˜correct-
ing™ the content of the textbook; schoolchildren would not even notice them even
if they were shown the original and the amended side by side. In other words, it is
quite unlikely that the act of ˜correcting™ recommended by the education-ministry
appointed committee had any pragmatic effect upon the way in which the drawing
was understood.
Then, why did the committee do, or feel obliged to do, such a ˜¬ne job™? The
set of criteria set up for the school textbook screening (sometimes described as
˜censorship™) requires the textbooks submitted to be authorised by the ministry to
be ¬t for the purpose of observing the objectives and guidelines provided by the
6 Akira Teshigawara not only noticed some of the amendments made, which will be examined later in
this section, but also put forward a thesis inferring the intention behind them (1991). The following is
much inspired by his pioneering work, though the current author™s interpretation differs considerably
from Teshigawara™s and tries to go further into the character of the discourse, i.e., the communication
system of those who are involved in the production and amendment of the picture and its positionality
in contemporary Japanese society.
Nation-state, circularity and paradox 83

Fundamental Law of Education and the School Education Law, and detailed criteria
are set up to examine appropriateness in coverage, level, selection of topics and their
structure and quantity, accuracy, manner of description, and expression.
The criteria speci¬cally include that a given textbook™s contents need to be polit-
ically and religiously neutral, impartial in the selection of topics and in expression,
accurate, and properly observing what are provided by the two above-mentioned
laws.7 This means that even the most minute of amendments has to be done if
required, regardless of what could or could not be accomplished by making the
alterations. However, as mentioned above, some alterations appear to have nothing
to do with accuracy or other considerations such as impartiality, as we will see later
in detail. It might rather be the case that the members of the committee simply could
not stand what were depicted as the ˜facts™ of the life of the people in the third century
AD. It might be the case that they made such subtle and minute ˜corrections™ being
fully aware that schoolchildren might not care at all. In other words, it might only be
whether or not a depiction is ¬t for the continuation/disturbance of communication
amongst the appointed committee members rather than what to amend and what
not to amend that matters.
In any case, no de¬nite answer is obtainable, ¬rstly because the school textbook
screening exercise, often dubbed ˜censorship™, has long been such a hotly debated
topic among intellectuals, politicians, teachers and activists of both left and right
that no one involved in the work would, if tracked down and interviewed, give their
account or ˜genuine™ feeling about what they did and why. It also has to be noted
that the amendment of this particular drawing is now ˜history™, a materialised seg-
ment of a discourse in the past, and history can only mediate communication in the
present; i.e., it can only be interpreted and can never have its ˜truth™ revealed, even
by those who were directly involved in it. In other words, any interpretation of and
communication about history can only open up a continuously rearticulated horizon
of choices (see Chapter 3.4). Then, what can one expect to achieve by examining
this drawing and its two versions? Is there any signi¬cance in doing this?

Communicating about the drawing
Let us begin by considering the purpose of drawing and amending the picture.
For the moment, let us bracket out the of¬cially stated purpose emphasising its
universality and impartiality as we saw above. This drawing and its two versions
were supposed, or intended, to be appreciated by children. Children grow up to
become adults, like those who drew and those who amended the drawing in 1989.
By drawing or amending the drawing, they would have hoped that the children who
saw it would become adults like them: adults who would imagine what the past was
like from the way in which the drawing was drawn or amended. Their acts, if this
were the case, were, ultimately, acts of projecting ˜their™ versions of the past onto
the future through the mediation of children, acts attempting to make their version
7 See the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) webpage:
www.mext.go.jp/english/org/f formal 16.htm, ˜Elementary and Secondary Education™, Section 3 ˜Text-
Archaeology, Society and Identity 84

of the future ˜everyone™s future™. In that sense, what we see as a drawing of the past
was actually a space where different hopes and desires for the future, in the form of
different opinions over how a particular period of the past would have looked, were
competing for dominance and hegemony.
Despite the different hopes and desires which those who drew and those who
amended the drawing appear to have had, they seem to have shared a deep-rooted
feeling: they had an utter commitment to doing what they were supposed to do,
despite the likelihood, as mentioned above, that the implications and messages of
their works would never be fully appreciated. Where did this commitment come
from? How could one maintain one™s enthusiasm when one knew that what one was
doing was destined to be almost in vain? Could one be so serious and enthusiastic,
had one not believed that what one created/amended would have some impact upon
the way readers of the textbook, i.e., primary school children, would see the world
and do things in future? Almost certainly, they did know that what they did would
not bear any substantial and visible fruit within the short term.
To believe that the consequence of socially organised mass supervision, including
education, could be rigidly controlled and engineered for the common and univer-
sal good was an important element of modernity, classical modernity to be precise
(cf. Bauman 1988, 9“27). To eliminate the uncontrollable elements of society by
making the mass look, behave and think like one another was the ultimate objective
of education. The project of modernity, in other words, was the act, by those who
occupied a privileged position in the expanding topography of the uneven distribu-
tion of reason, knowledge, wealth and power, of differentiating the educated/civilized
self from the uneducated/uncivilised others.8 In order to change society, those
who were to educate the uneducated ¬rst had to articulate the latter as a uni¬ed
and internally homogeneous category by imposing the classi¬catory scheme which
moulded the created/discovered ˜other™ into the ˜savage™/˜barbaric™ (cf. Trigger 1989,
Chapter 4), and the desire of ˜discovering™ and ˜articulating™ the unenlightened (i.e.,
thinking and behaving differently from the modern self), for the self identi¬cation of
the educated/enlightened, was not only projected onto the realm of the ˜other™, i.e., the
periphery of the colonial/imperial expansion and beyond; it was also projected onto
the inside of the habitat of the enlightened itself. In Japan during the early years of
the Meiji period, for instance, folkloric beliefs and shamanistic religions were perse-
cuted as backward-looking superstitions, and various folk customs such as gambling
were legally prohibited (Fujitani 1994, 26“27): those who practised them were stig-
matised as unenlightened and obstacles to the construction of a modern nation and
subject to various projects of enlightenment including school education.

8 Here, we have to be reminded that the beginning of the colonial era, i.e., the late ¬fteenth century
and the early sixteenth centuries, also witnessed the emergence/articulation of vernacular/national lan-
guages to be the subject of grammatical systematisation, hence, to be taught to the unenlightened (the
publication of the ¬rst book of the grammar of Castilian by Antonio de Nebrija was 1492, the same year
that Christopher Columbus reached the Americas), and the enlightenment and modernisation were
inseparably associated with the articulation of the child as a distinct human category/agency (Aries
Nation-state, circularity and paradox 85

Discovering, creating and educating the other is the operation of a self-referential
system, which can only reproduce itself by creating a boundary between itself and
its environment, and by reducing the complexity of the environment by controlling
incoming information from the environment and outgoing reaction to it by utilising
the boundary as a ¬lter (see Chapter 3.5). Without the boundary, the system could
not exist and reproduce itself. The ˜discovery™ of the child and childhood, in that
sense, can be understood as a consequence of unfolding functional differentiation
and the emergence of allied semantics (cf. Aries 1965, see Chapter 2). By utilising the
boundary between themselves and children, they, the adults, resecured their iden-
tity, which was previously situated in social hierarchy and hierarchically organised
communication systems. Such concepts to do with the character of the individual
as ˜self discipline™, ˜diligence™, ˜industriousness™ and so on, together with various
˜etiquettes™, came to constitute the semantics for the articulation of functionally
differentiated, hence horizontally organised, communication systems, the reproduc-
tion of which could no longer rely on social hierarchy and allied religious cosmology
(e.g. Luhmann 1995, 426“430 and see Chapter 3.6, 45“46). Instead, these types of
semantics, themselves being fragmentary, were connected to such non-hierarchical,
universal factors as ˜reason™, and were made to help articulate the horizontally organ-
ised, fragmentary communication systems (Luhmann 1995, 340“344).
In other words, those concepts, i.e., self discipline, diligence, and so on, which
were to do with the way the self itself regulated the way the self was constituted (a
self-referential operation), enabled communication systems to de-paradoxise them-
selves and to continue across time and space without referring to such hierarchical
notions as the god and the king, and because of that they ¬tted the reproduction of
functionally differentiated social formation. The rise of functional differentiation and
the ˜modern self ™, was, in that sense, destined to be accompanied by the semantics
of an educational character, and that move was also associated with the rise/ differ-
entiation of the uneducated/uncivilised, consisting of the child and the barbarian. In
that sense, the differentiation of the child as a social category and of education as
an autonomous communication system was an essential condition for, and a con-
sequence of, the articulation of functionally differentiated communication systems.
In addition, it has to be emphasised that ¬rmly programmed in the semantics of the
reproduction of functionally differentiated communication systems and modernity
was the notion that the intrinsic character of society and social being was chaos,
or constant renewal of everything, and that both society and social being had to be
disciplined and structured, i.e., educated, constantly and recurrently.
To see it from a different perspective, adults who are given the honourable duty of
educating and enlightening the child were once children themselves. In that sense,
children are the unenlightened within, and they are so in two ways: the child inhabits
the same life“world as the adult, and the child inhabits the adult in the form of
memory. The feeling that the child has to be educated, disciplined and structured is
naturally acute because educating, disciplining and structuring the child, as far as the
above is concerned, is educating, disciplining and structuring the adult him/herself
through the mediation of the memory of his or her having been a child. The child
Archaeology, Society and Identity 86

was, in that sense, the closest ˜other™, from which one differentiates oneself to identify
Those who were involved in the creation and amendment of an image of the past
in the form of a textbook drawing, as far as the above argument is concerned, were
likely to have acquired, constituted and maintained their self identities by involving
themselves in the project of educating the child as the unenlightened. The author(s)
of the textbook and those who amended it were in dispute over the way the past
should be imagined and projected onto the future, but they were united about one
point: they were what they taught. Their seriousness and enthusiasm can be inferred
to have been derived from it. Once this type of attitude and the technology of self
identi¬cation had crystallised, it would not matter much whether what they did
bore fruit or not; it was to discover/differentiate such ˜others™ as the child, the poor,
the religious fundamentalist or whatever and to educate/enlighten them that mat-
tered most because in modernity education has constituted an ontological base of
human existence, or an essential semantics for the articulation of communication.
In that sense, the discourse about/the communication system generated through the
drawing and amendment of this particular drawing (including this writing itself),
depicting a scene in the past, is about the present, and, as a communication system,
the discourse continues by reducing the complexity created by various other com-
munication systems such as the socio-economic, socio-political and socio-historical
in a self-referential manner, and hence by articulating various desires and hopes for
the future.

Examining the drawing
As mentioned above, this textbook drawing has two versions, the original and the
amended. The drawing is entitled ˜people of (the era of) the Yamatai-koku polity™
(Figure 4.6).
Let us begin by comparing the two and picking out one by one the ˜amendments™,
i.e., alterations ordered by the committee, and then proceed to examine historical and
archaeological evidence and analyses for and against the original and the amended
No doubt the most striking and visually signi¬cant alteration made is the facial
expression of the three persons walking down the road at the centre of the drawing
(Figure 4.6). In the original, their faces look arrogant and aloof with their eyebrows
raised and mouths stiff. In the amended version, the facial expression is softened by
altering the way the eyebrows and the mouths are depicted. This point was made by
Teshigawara (1991, 7). Besides, it is noticeable that the head of the person leading
the party is made to slightly lean forward compared with the original, as if looking
with affection at the kneeling person who looks up at him. If we look into the detail
further, it can be pointed out that the line of the shoulder and the upper sleeve
of the garments worn by this person leading the party is also softened. This last
point is so subtle that one can imagine how thorough and far reaching not only the
instructions and requests of the committee were but also the way the recipient of
the instructions reacted to them. It is as if the amendment were intended not only
Nation-state, circularity and paradox 87

Figure 4.6 Two versions of a textbook drawing. Left: original, right: amended (originally in Teikoku
Shoin 1991, featured in Teshigawara 1991, by kind permission from Teikoku Shoin, June 2005). Note
amended parts marked by circles, and the relocation of the mother and child marked by arrows.

to reduce the hierarchical gap between those who walked down the road and those
who knelt down in the roadside bush but also to transform the relationship between
them from a hostile one to one of mutual affection and respect.
There is another series of signi¬cant amendments, that were not noted by
Teshigawara (1991). That is the alteration of the positions of the three persons
kneeling on the roadside (Figure 4.6). In the original, all three persons are out of
the bush, and two of them are depicted bowing deeply as one of them looks up at
the person who leads the party walking down the road. In the amended version,
the position of the person who looks up is left unchanged, but the other two are,
interestingly, moved into the roadside bush.
The person who looks up is bearded and can safely be inferred to be depicted
as male. Given that, the individual next to him can be assumed to be male as
well, because their clothes are similar. Concerning the fact that this bowing man
is depicted to be smaller and skinnier, he can safely be assumed to be a juvenile.
The person who is on the opposite side of the road wears different garments, some-
thing which looks like a ˜poncho™, and the hair is styled differently. From the size
of the body, this person is depicted as adult. From these differences, this person
can be inferred to be depicted as an adult female. The person who remains in the
same position after the alteration is the adult male, and the two who are moved into
the roadside bush turn out to be the juvenile male and the adult female. It is as if
these persons are depicted as a family, a nuclear family-like component to be more
speci¬c, and it seems that the amendment has widened the depiction of the status
gap/difference between the husband/father, the wife/mother and the son.
We have two mutually contradictory sets of alterations here in terms of the way
social positional differences are depicted. The ¬rst, which includes the softening
Archaeology, Society and Identity 88

of the facial expression of the individuals who are walking down the road (noted
by Teshigawara), reduces the gap between those who appear to be higher-ranked
individuals and those who appear to be members of a lower rank. The second widens
the gap between the sexes and age groups within the lower-ranked individuals. What
sort of hopes and desires are behind this mutually contradictory series of alterations?
In order to obtain some clues, let us ¬rstly examine what sort of information is chosen
in creating and amending the drawing and how.
First let us examine the clothes the individuals wear. As far as the description of
the Chinese imperial chronicle Weizhi goes, the clothes worn by those who kneel
at the roadside are more or less ˜accurately™ depicted. Weizhi records in detail the
different garments worn by the male and female of the people of ˜Wa™, the name
given to the population occupying the domain roughly coinciding with present-day
western Japan (Yamao 1986).
However, the clothes which those who are walking down the road wear are quite
problematic: these individuals, who appear to be male, are depicted wearing dif-
ferent clothes from those kneeling. The description of clothes in Weizhi does not
say anything about the existence of rank-related differences in the clothing. In this
regard, both the original and the amended make a serious ˜error™, or a misleading
over-inference, on factual grounds. To be precise, the original had an error, and the
committee failed to ask for its amendment/elimination.
As far as the comparison between what Weizhi says and the depiction of the cloth-
ing goes, the following are clear: (1) both the original and the amended contradict
Weizhi by depicting those who kneel and those who walk down the road as differently
attired; and (2) the clothes worn by those who kneel more or less conform to the
description of Weizhi in both the original and the amended versions.
Those who were involved in the making of the original seem to have felt it necessary
to make explicit the existence of a fairly rigid social strati¬cation by putting different
clothes on those who knelt at the roadside and those who walked down the road. In
contrast, relationships among those who knelt were depicted as ˜egalitarian™ in the
original, agreeing with the description in Weizhi. In the amended version, though,
relationships among those who knelt were made ˜non-egalitarian™ by relocating the
juvenile male and the adult female to different positions.
In order to make sense of this emerging complex picture of following and defying
the descriptions in Weizhi in both the original and the amended versions, let us now
turn to the problem of whether a rigid system of strati¬cation/ranking existed in the
period depicted in the drawing. Weizhi describes how the population was divided into
two ranked strata (e.g. Yamao 1986, 169“177; Yoshida 1995, 82“96). The division,
Weizhi says, was marked with such etiquette as the lower-ranked kneeling when
meeting the upper-ranked. The upper-ranked male is also described as marrying
four or ¬ve females while a few of the lower-ranked males married two or three.
Let us turn to archaeological evidence. The period of the Yamatai-koku polity is
widely thought to date from the transitional phase between the Yayoi and the Kofun
(mounded tomb) periods, around AD 250/275 (e.g. Tsude 1998). The preceding
Late Yayoi period, dating between c. AD 1 and AD 250/275, saw the beginning
throughout western Japan of the custom of burying three or four adults of both sexes
Nation-state, circularity and paradox 89



Figure 4.7 Middle and Late Yayoi mortuary compounds: (a.i) general plan of the Kuriyama C site
(from Mizoguchi 2005b). (a.ii) Burial sequences at the Kuriyama C site inferred to have represented
distinct lineages/clans (from Mizoguchi 2005b). Key: 1“7: Burial sequences; Arrows: formation process
of individual sequences.
Archaeology, Society and Identity 90


Figure 4.7 (Cont.) (b) The Mikumo-Teraguchi site (Fukuoka PBE 1983).
Key: C: cist, J: jar burial, R: ritual feature.

and a small number of infants or children in a mortuary compound, often either
covered with an earthen mound or encircled by a ditch (Figure 4.7 (b)) (Mizoguchi
2002, 190“193).
In the preceding late Middle Yayoi period, between c. 100 BC and AD1, the cus-
tom of burying a limited number of the dead in a mortuary compound was practised
(Figure 4.7 (a.i)). However, those who were buried in the mortuary compounds
appear to have been the individuals chosen from wider corporate units such as clans
(Mizoguchi 1995, 2002, 149“183). Those who were buried at each of the mortuary
compounds do not appear to have been members of a household/lineage. A large
majority of those who were buried in the compounds were male, and they were
buried as if forming burial sequences; a newly dead person was quite intention-
ally buried right next to a pre-existing burial, and that practice was often repeated to
form a spatio-temporal sequence of burials (Figure 4.7 (a.ii); Mizoguchi 1995, 2002,
2005b). Each of the compounds has a number of such burial sequences (Figure 4.7
Nation-state, circularity and paradox 91

(a.ii)). Besides, those mortuary compounds with burial sequences tend to have
existed only at large-scale settlements of a central-place-like character (Mizoguchi
2005b). These facts lead to the inference that those who were buried in the mortuary
compounds of the late Middle Yayoi period were members of clans constituting a
regional community such as a tribe and were chosen to be buried there as represen-
tatives of individual clans (Figure 4.7 (a)) (Mizoguchi 2005b). If this were the case,
the social organisation would have been the one which is commonly described as
˜tribal™, the social strati¬cation of the period would have been minimal and higher
status would have been achieved rather than ascribed. In that sense, the emergence
during the Late Yayoi period of the custom of burying individuals, likely to have
been members of a group on a household scale, together in a segregated mortuary
compound can be understood to have marked the beginning of social strati¬ca-
tion and ascribed status differences based upon inter-household differentiation. As
shown below, a household, at this period, can be inferred to have been a lineage-
scale or sub lineage-scale grouping (for a more detailed description of the matter, see
Mizoguchi 2001, 153“155; 2002, 190“193). That the dead buried in the mortuary
compounds of the Late Yayoi period included infants, buried in the same manner
as adults, e.g., buried in cists (Figure 4.7 (b)), supports the thesis that the status of
infants would have been determined by their group af¬liation rather than by their
Concurrently, a signi¬cant change took place in the settlements. A segregated
ditch-encircled cluster of around ¬ve pit dwellings and raised ¬‚oor buildings, inferred
to be granaries, emerged in settlements (Figure 4.8) (e.g. Takesue 2002, 68“74). In
the preceding Middle Yayoi period, individual settlement sites consisted of some
clusters of pit dwellings. Occasionally, such settlements were encircled by a ditch,
but none of the clusters constituting such a settlement was ever individually ditch-
enclosed. In that regard, the emergence of the segregated, ditch-enclosed, single
residential compound amongst the clusters of pit dwellings constituting a settlement
site is important. Concerning the fact that around ¬ve pit dwellings constituted a
cluster and each dwelling can be inferred from its size (c. 40 square metres) to
have been occupied by a nuclear family-scale group, those who lived in such a clus-
ter, around twenty or thirty in number, would have formed a lineage-scale group
(Mizoguchi 2001, 153“155). Considering that granaries were exclusively located in
a segregated, ditch-encircled compound, the phenomenon suggests that strati¬ca-
tion between lineage-scale groups, relating to the control of the storage of agricultural
products, emerged during the Late Yayoi period.
The mortuary and settlement evidence of the period suggests that the society,
as the textbook drawings depict, was divided into two strata, the upper one being
occupied by the lineage-scale groups, living in segregated, ditch-encircled residential
compounds, buried in segregated mortuary compounds, and being in charge of the
control of agricultural products (Mizoguchi 2002, 190“193).
The existence of a social strati¬cation consisting of two strata, as far as the descrip-
tions of Weizhi and the related archaeological evidence go, appears to be certain. The
next problem is whether rank difference was as ˜severe™ as that depicted in the draw-
ing, particularly in the ˜original™ version. There is another description in Weizhi of
Figure 4.8 The site of Sendoyama. Note the ditch-enclosed compound in the right-hand of the plan with pit dwellings and raised-¬‚oor buildings (probably granaries)
(from: Kiyama-machi Iseki hakkutsu chosa-dan 1983).
Key: PBs: pit buildings (probably pit dwellings), RFBs: raised-¬‚oor buildings (probably granaries), B: burials, C: mortuary compound, D: ditch.
Nation-state, circularity and paradox 93

the strati¬cation in the society. This was about the way in which communal meetings
were carried out (cf. Yamao 1986, 173). It says that there was no difference between
male and female in their code of conduct/etiquette at the meeting. It is also mentioned
that the lower-ranked just clapped hands rather than kneeling down when meeting
those of higher-rank on such occasions. In contrast, the existence of a strict rank-
related code of conduct at such meetings is depicted for the polity called ˜Koguryo™,
located in the northern part of the Korean peninsula and the southern part of north-
eastern China. Here, the commoners were not able to mingle with such upper-
ranking people as the messenger of the ˜king™. Compared with this, the rank division
and rank-based code of conduct depicted to have been played out in communal
gatherings in the archipelago appears minimal.9
In addition, it has been claimed from an osteoarchaeological reconstruction of
the kin organisation of the Late Yayoi and Early Kofun periods that the unilinear
male-line descent of the chieftainship had not yet been established. According to
Yoshiyuki Tanaka, the male and female individuals buried together in a mortuary
compound of the Late Yayoi (see Figure 4.11) are, concerning genetically inherited
traits such as af¬nities in tooth-crown measurements and non-metric characteristics
of the skull, brothers and sisters or cousins rather than husbands and wives (Tanaka
1995, 140“145). This suggests that spouses were sent back to their original corporate
groups, such as their home lineages, and buried there (Tanaka 1995). If this were
the case, it would further suggest that kin af¬liation remained important, and that
the basic function of the lineage and the clan as the unit of communal ownership and
the inheritance of wealth and right was preserved to a signi¬cant degree. In other
words, communal egalitarianism still remained in place.
Let us now turn to sex/gender relations. Weizhi records that there was no differ-
ence between male and female etiquette at communal meetings. This suggests that
the relationship between male and female was not as strictly strati¬ed as the original
version of the textbook drawing depicted, and which the amendment, intriguingly,
further exaggerated. Weizhi recorded that the upper-ranked males tended to have
four or ¬ve wives and some lower-ranked males also had two or three wives. This
might be taken to suggest that polygamy, a trait of the patriarchal family-based social
organisation, was practised. However, again, the above-mentioned osteoarchaeolog-
ical research suggests that the post-marital residential rule of the period was bilocal
(Tanaka 1995), and in some cases a mode in which a man visited a number of women
in a loose relation of marriage would have been practised (Obayashi 1977, Chapter
5). This rather points away from the polygamy thesis. It is rather more likely to have
been the case that those who gathered the information for the compilation of Weizhi
tried to make sense of what was going on in the domain of Wa, which no doubt
appeared to them a primitive place compared to an equivalent-looking practice in

9 Akira Yoshida emphasises the severity of the rank differentiation by interpreting the act of clapping to
show respect to the upper-ranked as a unique indigenous custom as courteous as kneeling (Yoshida
1995, 83“85). However, if his interpretation were indeed the case, it still is undeniable that the Koguryo
custom did not allow the commoners to be co-present with the messenger of the king and hence it must
have depicted a much severer rank-based code than that of the Yamatai-koku polity.
Archaeology, Society and Identity 94

contemporary China, one of the empires of the ancient world, where patriarchal
authority and polygamy were already well established.
The archaeological mortuary evidence of the phase does not support the strict
strati¬cation of the relationship between male and female either. Females and
infants/children were buried in the same manner as males in the mortuary com-
pounds of the Late Yayoi, and a female was sometimes buried in the central cist
on top of the round part of the keyhole-shaped tumulus in the Early Kofun period,
partially overlapping the time of the Yamatai-koku polity (cf. Tanaka 1995).
The above have further complicated the picture. As far as the depiction of ranking
is concerned, the softening of the expression required by the committee is ˜relatively™
closer to what Weizhi and the archaeological evidence suggest. However, concerning
the depiction of the age“gender-based relationship, i.e., the relationship between
male, female and juvenile, what the committee required strongly contradicts what
the document recorded and what the archaeological evidence suggests.
In all, both the original and the amended versions contain elements which clearly
contradict both the contemporary document, i.e., Weizhi, which is regarded as the
most valuable source for the investigation of societies in the archipelago in the third
century AD and also the contemporary archaeological evidence. Why?

Competing desires
The complex picture emerging from the above suggests that desires driven by the zeal
to educate, a signi¬cant constitutive element of the technology of self identi¬cation
in classical modernity, forced the scholars involved in writing and amending the
textbook to articulate an image of the past which contains elements contradicting
the available evidence. Both those who created and those who amended the drawing
can safely be inferred to have been operating according to different agendas, can
be assumed to have been equally motivated by a sense of ˜duty™ to make the pupils
proper citizens, which, again, is a constitutive element of the technology of modern self
identi¬cation, and knowingly and selectively ignored parts of the available evidence,
as revealed above. Then, what are the agendas behind the creation and the actual
amendments of the drawing?
The investigation in Chapter 4.2 has revealed the decisive role played by the notion
of a ˜national body™ in the structuration of both the archaeological and the general
discursive space of Japan since its foundation as a modern nation-state. This leads
to the inference that differences dividing those who produced the original drawing
and those who demanded its amendment are in some way related to differences
in their attitudes toward this notion. Bearing in mind that the notion of a national
body is constituted by a network of metaphorical inter-references between basically
somatic/kinship-related units and concepts (see the previous section), it can be fur-
ther inferred that the points of dispute are related to differences in the way such units
as a family and its constitutive elements are properly, or desirably, depicted. On this
basis, let us interpret the differences between the drawings.
Drawing upon the above, let me begin by holistically formulating a hypothesis: for
those who amended the drawing, promoting a patriarchy as the ideal organisational
Nation-state, circularity and paradox 95

Figure 4.9 Two hierarchically positioned levels of patriarchy depicted in the textbook drawing. Note that
the relationship between those who walk down the road and those who kneel is made signi¬cantly less
severe and that the difference in status between the father and the mother and the son who are kneeling
is made more obvious (see schematised diagrams below the drawings).

model for society as well as for the desirable family unit was the agendum with which
to operate. In relation to the notion of the national body, the patriarchy depicted here
appears to consist of two hierarchically positioned levels (Figure 4.9).
As shown in Figure 4.9, a probable ˜family™, kneeling at the roadside, looking rather
like a modern nuclear family which would not have existed as a basic unit of social
organisation back in the third century AD (as fully illustrated in Chapter 4.4 below,
the basic unit of social organisation at the time was a lineage-like grouping), was
Archaeology, Society and Identity 96

depicted in the original as fairly ˜egalitarian™ in its internal structure in comparison
with the amended version (Figures 4.6 and 4.9). In the amended version, in contrast,
the ˜father™ not only looked up at the face of the person leading the party of higher-
ranked individuals walking down the road but was also positioned differently from
the ˜mother™ and the ˜child™: the father remained kneeling out of the roadside bush,
while the ˜mother™ and ˜child™ were relocated to kneel down in the bush with their
torsos almost hidden by the grass (Figure 4.9). The status of the father, in terms of
his relational distance from those who walked down the road, was made higher than
the original: he was allowed to be out of the roadside bush and to look up while the
mother and the child were not allowed to be out of the roadside bush nor to look up
at the faces of those who walked down the road, i.e., the higher-ranked.
Another hierachical relation depicted here lay between those who knelt in the
roadside bush and those who walked down the road. The latter, the superior, can
be inferred to be depicted as male from their hairstyle, attire and accessories, and
in that sense they are situated in the position of patriarchal ¬gures relative to those
kneeling (Figure 4.9).
The amendments made to these two hierarchically positioned patriarchal rela-
tionships includes another very suggestive clue to the character of the patriarchal
organisation which those who amended the drawing considered desirable/ideal. In
the amended version, the person leading the party was made to smile gently at the
kneeling father. This amendment was carried out with such a degree of care as to
add some wrinkles to the shoulder part of his cloth (Figure 4.6). Those who fol-
lowed him were made to smile too. The contrast with the stern faces in the original
is signi¬cant. What is this gentleness and air of sympathy, coexisting with authority
and dominance?
Here we have two seemingly mutually contradictory axes of alterations coexist-
ing in the drawing: one exaggerating hierarchical relations, the other softening the
relation of dominance and authority (Figure 4.9). I would contend that they draw
upon a uni¬ed intention. In other words, a social model has to be sought which can
accommodate two axes of the alterations, i.e., (a) the alteration concerning those
kneeling, and (b) the alteration concerning those who walk down the road, if we
wish to make sense of this hidden intention (Figure 4.9).
Let us begin by con¬rming a simple fact: (a) and (b) are both to do with authority,
domination and subordination. In (a), the relation of dominance exists between a
male (father), a female (mother) and a child (son), and in (b) it exists between those
who walk down the road and those who kneel. What we can do next is to look
for a dominant“subordinate relation which can accommodate them as two different
expressions of a single cause/character (Figure 4.9).
Let me put forward a model: as suggested, the relationship between those who
kneel and those who walk down the road depicted in the amended version can be
transformed to that between the father as the dominant ¬gure and the other family
members as the subordinates as a community (Figure 4.9). If this were accepted,
it would not be too far fetched to infer that the relationship between the dominant
and the subordinate was amended by the committee appointed by the education
Nation-state, circularity and paradox 97

ministry to be depicted as one of mutual respect and affection. If the two dominant“
subordinate relationships, (a) and (b), were in the relationship of mutual media-
tion/transformation, and if one of them depicted the relationship as one of mutual
respect and affection, the other would also be understood to imply the same, or at
least be designed to draw one™s understanding in that direction (Figure 4.9). In other
words, the whole scene is transformed from the depiction of the stricture of dominance
to that of gentleness and mutual affection.
I put forward an inference at the beginning of the above argument that the disputes
between the original and the amended versions of the drawing were over the notion of
the national body. The inference appears to have turned out to be feasible, to say the
least. The national body, as illustrated in the previous section, is conceptually consti-
tuted by the ¬ctive kinship between the emperor and the subject, the former the father
and the latter his children, and by the organic ties imagined to exist between them.
The amendment, as far as the outcome of the above investigation is concerned, tried
to strengthen the authority and power of the patriarchal ¬gure in the depiction of the
commoner family and to ease the air of domination, subordination and tension in
the depiction of the social hierarchy of the society. We have already revealed that both
the original and the amended versions include contradictions to the available written
and archaeological evidence. Let us now look into the implications of these ¬ndings.
In order to undertake the task, we have to begin with the positionality of the ˜Yamatai-
koku discourse™ in the general discursive formation of Japanese classical modernity.

The emperor and the subject
The period of the ˜Yamatai-koku™ polity is treated in archaeology as well as in
lay knowledge as the period beginning with the formation of the polity later to
become the ˜Yamato court™ polity which ruled the archipelago except for the Ryukyu
islands, Hokkaido island and the northernmost part of Honshu island (e.g. Fukunaga
2002). The ˜Yamato court™ was ruled by successive ˜Okimi™ (O (great)-kimi (leader))
paramount chiefs, to whom the genealogy of the current emperor is ˜believed™ to be
traced back. This understanding is actually quite problematic archaeologically as
well as historically, and this will be fully illustrated in the next section in this chapter.
However, the belief, as illustrated in the next section as well, has a strong hold within
the discourse of the origin and identity of the Japanese. Bearing this information in
mind, i.e., the widespread association between this speci¬c period and the origin


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