Opening the Doors to Jomon Culture
Date March 20 (Tuesday) - May 20 (Sunday), 2001
Admission Including in General Admission Fee

Jomon culture existed for 10,000 years in the Japanese Archipelago. Until recently it has been described as a primitive culture in which sharp-edged stone tools were used and food was obtained through hunting, fishing and gathering. However, this view is now under revision.

The Jomon people settled and resided continually in villages, and, using knowledge gained from previous experience, hunted, gathered and stored plant and animal resources by season. It has also come to be recognized that they had agricultural elements, including cultivation and preservation, exchange and trade, the formation of relationships of a cooperative society, the construction of large-scale memorials and the maintenance of various places and structures within an ordered village. It has come to be thought that it was a period that had a foundation of cyclical living, with a hierarchical society and complex means of production

This presents an image of a rich Jomon Period, but this society did not progress beyond the scope of the Neolithic age. It is true that it differs from the Yayoi Period, which had a society that expanded in population, had a governing system, semi-compulsory large-scale production of rice of which the surplus production could also be used as currency, and a society that continued to advance and expand.

On the other hand, other developments of the Jomon Period include the development of bone tools, the commencement of salt production, and the development of accessories of jade, lacquer and dignitary materials. A small amount of interchange with the Korean Peninsula and the Asian continent has been noted. The aspects of development of each age have also been recognized.

This revised view of Jomon culture is indicated at archaeological survey sites in various regions. Adaptations have been found in each area, such as places for religious services, wood processing techniques, and villages in the mountains. It has also come to be known that trade was conducted over a wide area.

The most concentrated information comes from the finds at the Sannai Maruyama site, a large-village in the cylindrical earthenware culture of the Northeast region.

In this exhibition other collections have been added to the National Museum of Japanese History's main collection's existing earthenware items from the Sannai Maruyama site. In addition to introducing the latest findings of archaeological research that have come from survey, we will also span periods and regions to introduce some of the findings that have been reported successively in other areas. This exhibition hopes to open the doors to Jomon culture and a revised view of that culture.