Origins of the Jomon People

3 Jan 2012

At ... the Jomon, as well as the people of Okinawa, and the Ainu (thought to be descended from the Jomon) all have a genetic/blood marker they share with other Mongoloid populations (in Korea, Tibet, Siberia, among the Eskimo, and is commonest amongst the Buryat people that lived around Lake Baikal). In fact, mitochondrial DNA taken from 30 Jomon bodies was very close to that of modern Buryats (in southern Siberia), and a smaller proportion of DNA markers existed betweeen the Jomon and modern Korean and Chinese populations. The marker is also found in many modern Japanese women. Scientists have deduced that prehistoric people in Japan originated from Siberia as the Lake Baikal region was inhabited during the height of the Late Glacial Maximum. It is assumed that back then only small tribes were able to flourish as it was so cold and inhospitable, and it is thought they probably lived in small pockets like they do in modern Siberia - which is unarguably cold and inhospitable. However, humans are attracted to water, for a variety of reasons, and as such they lived not only around Lake Baikal but along various rivers that flow into the Arctic Ocean - and humans, it has been established, were using boats to at least navigate the Siberian coast. The question then to be asked - was it really as cold as consensus theory allows? Again, it is assumed people moved south at the end of the Ice Age - is that because Siberia became cold and inhospitable? In fact, these people, or the remnants of them, spread towards the end of the Pleistocene over a remarkably wide area of the world, into SE Asia, the Americas, and even towards Europe. Why would people make such extensive migrations if the world was warming up on a global basis? Most of them appear to have thought it expedient to get out of Siberia - which clearly has become a very cold place in which to live.

Interestingly, contemporary with the Buryats there were already related people living in Japan and Okinawa (and no doubt in various other places as well) - so what does that tell us about temperatures in Japan between 35 and 20,000 years ago? It has usually been assumed that the Ainu and others had an origin in a warmer clime - usually somewhere such as SE Asia. The evidence in the field invalidates this and has overturned such assumptions. Various research programmes have established that the minority Ainu population of Japan is genetically related to the Jomon - and they are one and the same, or direct descendants, and further, they are closely related to the Tungus people of the north and have no such origin in the south. They are particularly related to the current Tungus tribes of the Amur river valley, and in addition, currently there is five sites in this region with pottery shards that appear to be similar to those of the Jomon. However, the Jomon people also display an attribute associated with other coastal dwelling people as far south as SE Asia and China - so we may imagine there was more than one strand that made up the Jomon.