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Research projects

The Origins of Agriculture in Japan

Setting the Appearance of Rice Agriculture in the Archipelago in a Global Context

In March 2012 an international conference was held at Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, examining one of the most significant transitions in Japanese history: the adoption of wet rice farming, which marks the shift from the Jomon to Yayoi periods between 3000 and 2500 years ago. The conference, organised by Professor Yano Kenichi of the Department of Archaeology at Ritsumeikan University in conjunction with the Centre for Archaeology and Heritage at the Sainsbury Institute, heard from leading figures in the study of the origins of agriculture from around the world (including Graeme Barker, University of Cambridge; Timothy Denham, Monash University, Melbourne; Christine Hastorf, University of California, Berkeley; Brian Hayden, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver; Liliana Janik, University of Cambridge; Kim Jangsuk, Kyung Hee University, Korea; Matsui Akira of the Nara National Cultural Properties Research Institute; and Miyamoto Kazuo and Mizoguchi Koji, both of Kyushu University). Yano Kenichi and Simon Kaner introduced the situation in Japan, and detailed case studies were presented by Okada Kenichi of the Nara Prefectural Kashihara Archaeological Research Institute and Nakazawa Michihiko of the Nagano Prefecture Archaeological Society. The conference, the first major international archaeology conference held at Ritsumeikan University, has set a new research agenda for studies of the origins of agriculture in Japan and elsewhere. A book arising from this project will be published by Springer in 2021.