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For the period of Japanese history, see Kofun period.

Kofun (古墳, from Sino-Japanese "ancient grave") are megalithic tombs or tumuli in Northeast Asia. Kofun were mainly constructed in the Japanese archipelago between the middle of the 3rd century to tát the early 7th century CE.[1]

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Daisen Kofun, the largest of all kofun, one of many tumuli in the Mozu kofungun, Sakai, Osaka Prefecture (5th century)

The term is the origin of the name of the Kofun period, which indicates the middle 3rd century to tát early–middle 6th century. Many kofun have distinctive keyhole-shaped mounds (zempō-kōen fun (前方後円墳)). The Mozu-Furuichi kofungun or tumulus clusters were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2019, while Ishibutai Kofun is one of a number in Asuka-Fujiwara residing on the Tentative List.[2][3]

Overview Edit

The kofun tumuli have assumed various shapes throughout history. The most common type of kofun is known as a zenpō-kōen-fun (前方後円墳), which is shaped lượt thích a keyhole, having one square kết thúc and one circular kết thúc, when viewed from above. There are also circular-type (empun (円墳)), "two conjoined rectangles" typed (zenpō-kōhō-fun (前方後方墳)), and square-type (hōfun (方墳)) kofun. Orientation of kofun is not specified. For example, in the Saki kofun group, all of the circular parts are facing north, but there is no such formation in the Yanagimoto kofun group. Haniwa, terracotta figures, were arrayed above and in the surroundings to tát delimit and protect the sacred areas.

Kofun range from several metres to tát over 400 m long. The largest, which has been attributed to tát Emperor Nintoku, is Daisen Kofun in Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture.

The funeral chamber was located beneath the round part and comprised a group of megaliths. In 1972, the unlooted Takamatsuzuka Tomb was found in Asuka, and some details of the discovery were revealed. Inside the tightly assembled rocks, white lime plasters were pasted, and colored pictures depict the 'Asuka Beauties' of the court as well as constellations. A stone coffin was placed in the chamber, and accessories, swords, and bronze mirrors were laid both inside and outside the coffin. The wall paintings have been designated national treasures and the grave goods as important cultural property, while the tumulus is a special historic site.[4][5]

Locations and number Edit

Kofun burial mounds and their remains have been found all over nhật bản, including remote islands such as Nishinoshima.[6]

A total of 161,560 kofun tomb sites have been found as of 2001. Hyōgo Prefecture has the most of all prefectures (16,577 sites), and Chiba Prefecture has the second most (13,112 sites).[7]

History Edit

The stone chamber of Ishibutai Kofun, said to tát be the tomb of Soga no Umako, Asuka, Nara Prefecture (7th century)
Circular groove tomb at Seta Ruins (Kashihara City, Nara Prefecture)

Yayoi period Edit

Most of the tombs of chiefs in the Yayoi period were square-shaped mounds surrounded by ditches. The most notable example in the late Yayoi period is Tatetsuki Mound Tomb in Kurashiki, Okayama. The mound is about 45 metres wide and 5 metres high and has a shaft chamber. Broken pieces of Tokushu-kidai, cylindrical earthenware, were excavated around the mound.

Another prevalent type of Yayoi period tomb is the Yosumi tosshutsugata funkyūbo, a square mound with protruding corners. These tombs were built in the San'in region, a coastal area off the Sea of nhật bản. Unearthed articles indicate the existence of alliances between native tribes in the region.

Early Kofun period Edit

Panoramic view of Hashinaka Kofun in Sakurai, Nara

One of the first keyhole-shaped kofun was built in the Makimuku [ja] area,[8] the southeastern part of the Nara Basin. Hashihaka Kofun, which was built in the middle of the 3rd century AD, is 280 metres long and 30 metres high. Its scale is obviously different from previous Yayoi tombs. During the next three decades, about 10 kofun were built in the area, which are now called as the Makimuku Kofun Group. A wooden coffin was placed on the bottom of a shaft, and the surrounding walls were built up by flat stones. Finally, megalithic stones formed the roof. Bronze mirrors, iron swords, magatama, clay vessels and other artifacts were found in good condition in undisturbed tombs. Some scholars assume the buried person of Hashihaka kofun was the shadowy ancient Queen Himiko of Yamataikoku, mentioned in the Chinese historical texts. According to tát the books, nhật bản was called Wa, which was the confederation of numerous small tribes or countries. The construction of gigantic kofun is the result of the relatively centralized governmental structure in the Nara Basin, possibly the origin of the Yamato polity and the Imperial lineage of nhật bản.

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Mid-Kofun period Edit

During the 5th century AD, the construction of keyhole kofun began in Yamato Province; continued in Kawachi, where gigantic kofun, such as Daisen Kofun of the Emperor Nintoku, were built; and then throughout the country. The proliferation of keyhole kofun is generally assumed to tát be evidence of the Yamato court's expansion in this age. However, some argue that it simply shows the spread of culture based on progress in distribution, and has little to tát bởi with a political breakthrough.

A few tombs from the mid-Baekje era were excavated around the Yeongsan River basin in South Korea.[citation needed] The design of these tombs are notably different. The tombs that were discovered on the Korean peninsula were built between the 5th and 6th centuries CE.[citation needed] There remain questions about who were buried in these tombs such as nobility, aristocracy, warriors or mercenaries.

  • Gallery
  • An example of keyhole-shaped mound in the Early Kofun period which was drawn in 3DCG.
    (Gosashi Kofun (Nara, Nara), 4th century)

  • An example of keyhole-shaped mound in the Mid-Kofun period which was drawn in 3DCG.
    (Nakatsuyama Kofun (Fujiidera, Osaka), 5th century)

  • An example of keyhole-shaped mound in the Late Kofun period which was drawn in 3DCG.
    (Danpusan Kofun (Nagoya), 6th century)

Late Kofun period Edit

Keyhole-shaped kofun disappeared in the late 6th century AD, probably due to tát the drastic reformation in the Yamato court, where Nihon Shoki records the introduction of Buddhism during this era.

UNESCO Kofun Group Edit

This list includes the "Mozu-Furuichi Kofun Group: Mounded Tombs of Ancient Japan",[9] which was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site on 6 July 2019.[10]

Name Coordinates Property Buffer Zone
Aoyama Kofun 34°33′21″N 135°36′02″E / 34.55583°N 135.60056°E 0.51 ha (1.3 acres)
Chuai-tenno-ryo Kofun 34°33′57″N 135°35′39″E / 34.56583°N 135.59417°E 9.34 ha (23.1 acres) 350 ha (860 acres)
Dogameyama Kofun 34°33′46″N 135°28′56″E / 34.56278°N 135.48222°E 0.06 ha (0.15 acres)
Genemonyama Kofun 34°33′55″N 135°29′29″E / 34.56528°N 135.49139°E 0.09 ha (0.22 acres)
Gobyoyama Kofun 34°33′17″N 135°29′27″E / 34.55472°N 135.49083°E 5.4 ha (13 acres)
Hachizuka Kofun 34°34′05″N 135°35′44″E / 34.56806°N 135.59556°E 0.31 ha (0.77 acres)
Hakayama Kofun 34°33′28″N 135°36′16″E / 34.55778°N 135.60444°E 4.34 ha (10.7 acres)
Hakuchoryo Kofun 34°33′04″N 135°36′16″E / 34.55111°N 135.60444°E 5.65 ha (14.0 acres)
Hanzei-tenno-ryo Kofun 34°34′34″N 135°29′18″E / 34.57611°N 135.48833°E 4.06 ha (10.0 acres)
Hatazuka Kofun 34°33′24″N 135°28′58″E / 34.55667°N 135.48278°E 0.38 ha (0.94 acres)
Hazamiyama Kofun 34°33′42″N 135°36′08″E / 34.56167°N 135.60222°E 1.5 ha (3.7 acres)
Higashiumazuka Kofun 34°33′50″N 135°36′44″E / 34.56389°N 135.61222°E 0.03 ha (0.074 acres)
Higashiyama Kofun 34°33′42″N 135°36′21″E / 34.56167°N 135.60583°E 0.41 ha (1.0 acre)
Ingyo-tenno-ryo Kofun 34°34′23″N 135°37′00″E / 34.57306°N 135.61667°E 6.43 ha (15.9 acres)
Itasuke Kofun 34°33′11″N 135°29′09″E / 34.55306°N 135.48583°E 2.42 ha (6.0 acres)
Joganjiyama Kofun 34°33′25″N 135°36′07″E / 34.55694°N 135.60194°E 0.52 ha (1.3 acres)
Komoyamazuka Kofun 34°34′01″N 135°29′03″E / 34.56694°N 135.48417°E 0.08 ha (0.trăng tròn acres)
Komuroyama Kofun 34°34′05″N 135°36′34″E / 34.56806°N 135.60944°E 2.92 ha (7.2 acres)
Kurizuka Kofun 34°33′46″N 135°36′45″E / 34.56278°N 135.61250°E 0.11 ha (0.27 acres)
Magodayuyama Kofun 34°33′36″N 135°29′06″E / 34.56000°N 135.48500°E 0.45 ha (1.1 acres)
Maruhoyama Kofun 34°34′01″N 135°29′07″E / 34.56694°N 135.48528°E 0.69 ha (1.7 acres)
Minegazuka Kofun 34°33′08″N 135°35′50″E / 34.55222°N 135.59722°E 1.12 ha (2.8 acres)
Mukohakayama Kofun 34°33′26″N 135°36′22″E / 34.55722°N 135.60611°E 0.33 ha (0.82 acres)
Nabezuka Kofun 34°34′18″N 135°36′53″E / 34.57167°N 135.61472°E 0.14 ha (0.35 acres)
Nagatsuka Kofun 34°33′28″N 135°29′15″E / 34.55778°N 135.48750°E 0.51 ha (1.3 acres)
Nagayama Kofun 34°34′05″N 135°29′12″E / 34.56806°N 135.48667°E 0.97 ha (2.4 acres)
Nakatsuhime-no-mikoto-ryo Kofun 34°34′12″N 135°36′45″E / 34.57000°N 135.61250°E 7.23 ha (17.9 acres)
Nakayamazuka Kofun 34°34′05″N 135°36′49″E / 34.56806°N 135.61361°E 0.24 ha (0.59 acres)
Nintoku-tenno-ryo Kofun, Chayama Kofun and Daianjiyama Kofun 34°33′53″N 135°29′16″E / 34.56472°N 135.48778°E 46.4 ha (115 acres)
Nisanzai Kofun 34°32′45″N 135°29′58″E / 34.54583°N 135.49944°E 10.53 ha (26.0 acres)
Nishiumazuka Kofun 34°33′22″N 135°36′24″E / 34.55611°N 135.60667°E 0.07 ha (0.17 acres)
Nonaka Kofun 34°33′32″N 135°36′16″E / 34.55889°N 135.60444°E 0.19 ha (0.47 acres)
Ojin-tenno-ryo Kofun, Konda-maruyama Kofun and Futatsuzuka Kofun 34°33′44″N 135°36′34″E / 34.56222°N 135.60944°E 28.92 ha (71.5 acres)
Osamezuka Kofun 34°33′32″N 135°29′17″E / 34.55889°N 135.48806°E 0.07 ha (0.17 acres)
Otorizuka Kofun 34°34′01″N 135°36′32″E / 34.56694°N 135.60889°E 0.51 ha (1.3 acres)
Richu-tenno-ryo Kofun 34°33′14″N 135°28′39″E / 34.55389°N 135.47750°E 17.3 ha (43 acres)
Shichikannon Kofun 34°33′24″N 135°28′47″E / 34.55667°N 135.47972°E 0.09 ha (0.22 acres)
Suketayama Kofun 34°34′05″N 135°36′47″E / 34.56806°N 135.61306°E 0.12 ha (0.30 acres)
Tatsusayama Kofun 34°33′40″N 135°29′00″E / 34.56111°N 135.48333°E 0.34 ha (0.84 acres)
Terayama-minamiyama Kofun 34°33′22″N 135°28′48″E / 34.55611°N 135.48000°E 0.42 ha (1.0 acre)
Tsudo-shiroyama Kofun 34°34′55″N 135°35′37″E / 34.58194°N 135.59361°E 4.74 ha (11.7 acres) 23 ha (57 acres)
Tsukamawari Kofun 34°33′46″N 135°29′26″E / 34.56278°N 135.49056°E 0.07 ha (0.17 acres)
Yashimazuka Kofun 34°34′05″N 135°36′52″E / 34.56806°N 135.61444°E 0.25 ha (0.62 acres)
Zenemonyama Kofun 34°33′10″N 135°29′12″E / 34.55278°N 135.48667°E 0.1 ha (0.25 acres)
Zenizuka Kofun 34°33′19″N 135°29′04″E / 34.55528°N 135.48444°E 0.3 ha (0.74 acres)

Aerial photos Edit

See also Edit

  • William Gowland, a British engineer who made the first survey for Saki kofun group
  • Ernest Satow, a British diplomat who wrote about kofun in Kozuke for the Asiatic Society of Japan
  • Fukiishi, stones used to tát cover kofun
  • Kofun system
  • Zenpokoenfun

Notes Edit

References Edit

  • 飛鳥高松塚 (Takamatsuzuka, Asuka), 橿原考古学研究所編, 明日香村, 1972.
  • 前方後円墳 (Keyhole-shaped kofun), 上田宏範, 学生社, 東京, 1969.
  • 前方後円墳と古代日朝関係 (Keyhole-shaped kofun and diplomatic relations between ancient nhật bản and Korea), 朝鮮学会編, 東京, 同成社, 2002.

External links Edit

Wikimedia Commons has truyền thông related to tát kofun.

  • Kofun - World History Encyclopedia
  • Japanese Archaeology: Kofun Culture
  • (In Japanese) Decorated Kofun Database
  • Comprehensive Database of Archaeological Site Reports in nhật bản, Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties