Jomon, a culture that lasted for 10,000 years

Let's close our eyes, sharpen our senses, and contemplate the ancient Jomon culture of Japan. Through the Jomon culture, which lived in harmony with the forest for 10,000 years, you may find hints for thinking about modern society.

Jomon Culture Sustained for 10,000 Years

Comparison of cultural periods

In the history of the world, many civilizations have been born, flourished, and disappeared. Even the Yellow River civilization, which lasted the longest of the world’s four major civilizations, declined after about 3,300 years.

On the other hand, the Jomon period lasted for more than 10,000 years while coexisting with the natural environment. This is something that has never been seen before in the history of the world, and is noteworthy as a sustainable society. Traces of the Jomon people’s coexistence with nature can be found in the Japanese language, which is at the core of Japanese spiritual culture. The Japanese language has the largest number of onomatopoeia* related to nature of any language in the world.

*These kinds of words, which in Japanese are called “giseigo”, include for example the sounds of water (“chorochoro”, “zabun-zabun”, etc.). In addition, while in English there is only the word “snow”, Japanese distinguishes between powdered snow (“konayuki”), large snowflakes (“watayuki”), light snowfall (“sasameyuki”) and other kinds of snow. other kinds of snow.

YUKIGUNI Wordpedia

YUKIGUNI is particularly famous in Japan for its many snowfalls. It is said that climate change about 8,000 years ago triggered the start of heavy snowfall similar to what we see today. That was around the middle of the 10,000 years of the Jomon period. The 10,000 years of the Jomon period were not an uneventful one. However, they used their wisdom and sharpened their senses to cope with the changing environment and sustain their culture.

Today, climate change is a growing issue in the world, and people are concerned about how to realize a sustainable society. It is in this day and age that we need to learn from the Jomon culture, which emphasized the continuous coexistence of humans and nature.

YUKIGUNI at 37 degrees north latitude

YUKIGUNI and San Francisco are actually located at the same 37 degrees north latitude. However, while San Francisco is warmer, YUKIGUNI gets a tremendous amount of snow every year and has four distinct seasons. It is hard to believe that we are at the same distance from the equator, but we are in a completely different world.

"Meguro-tei" Japanese traditional house of wealthy farmers in YUKIGUNI, Japan

The reason why so much snow falls in YUKIGUNI is because warm currents from the south began to flow into the Sea of Japan about 8,000 years ago. In the winter, the moist air carried by the warm currents, along with the winds from the western continent, began to blow over Japan. This moist air hits the mountains and is cooled in the air, turning into snow. This is how the world’s special Snowy country – YUKIGUNI – was born.