Demic Diffusion of the Yayoi People in the Japanese Archipelago

  • Hisashi Nakao Nanzan University
  • Tomomi Nakagawa Nagoya University
  • Akihiro Kaneda Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties
  • Kohei Tamura Tohoku University
  • Koji Noshita Kyushu University
Keywords: Yayoi, human skeletal remains, 3D data, geometric morphometrics


The present study examines the 3-dimensional data of human crania from the Yayoi period (800 BC to AD 250) of the Japanese archipelago by geometric morphometrics to investigate demic diffusion patterns. This is the first study on the Yayoi crania using their 3D data and geometric morphometrics with a much larger number of skeletal remains outside of the Kyushu regions than previous studies. The comparative results between the Jōmon and Yayoi samples show that the Yayoi people not only in the eastern parts but also in the western parts of the archipelago are significantly different from the final Jōmon people and the Yayoi people were not strongly affected by the Jōmon people. A relatively gradual geological cline is also found among the Yayoi population, suggesting that the immigrants from the continental East Asia moved from the western parts to the eastern parts of the archipelago though the causes of the morphological changes are unclear.

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