Toraijin (Settlers) (渡来人)

Toraijin refers to people who came to Japan from abroad in a broad sense, but it also refers to people who became naturalized citizens of Japan from the Chinese continent via the Nansei Islands or the Korean Peninsula in ancient times in a limited sense. Torai (that people came from abroad) did not happen at a time, but there were supposedly some waves of immigration to Japan. In addition, as to the roots, it is said that they originated from various places such as from the Yellow River basin to the Shandong Peninsula, the Yangzi jiang, or from Manchuria to the Korean Peninsula, and until now still the subjects of discussion are the roots and the scale of torai (one compelling theory is that Toraijin mostly came from the North East Asia according to the latest genetic research). It is thought that they played an important role in the formation of culture and administration in ancient Japan by beginning with rice cultivation (wet rice culture) and by bringing Buddhism and temple architecture to Japan later.

It seems that they came to Japan avoiding turmoil and war damage of the Chunqiu period to the later Warring States period (in China) from the Asian Continent about 2500 years ago, at the end of the Jomon period in days gone by. Archeological research indicates that they first imported paddy rice, which led to, as it is called, the Yayoi period.
(It is said that upland rice has existed for about 3500 years, but there is another theory of about 6000 years.)
Later in the Kofun period, people from the Korean Peninsula also entered Japan serving the Yamato Court as a group of art. However, Japan in this period neither accepted Toraijin unilaterally nor grew into their culture easily. It is written in the 'Wa; Wajin Kanren no Chugoku Bunken' (Chinese Documents about Japan and Japanese People) that Wajin (Japanese people) sent forth envoys seasonally to Lelang Commandery (an ancient county existed in the northern Korean Peninsula) and that Suisho, the king of Wa, dispatched 160 people (that is known as seiko meaning slave) as paying tribute (to the Han Dynasty) in 107, just after 50 years of Wa no Na no Kokuo no in (the golden seal unearthed in Japan that is curved the kanji that might signify the king of Wa).

It is also recorded that they conveyed seiko in the time of Himiko or Toyo (the kanji of Toyo is台与 or 壹與), which proves that such people were sent from Japan side as well.

The leading Toraijin serving the Yamato Court were the Hata clan, the Yamatonoaya clan, the Kawachi no Fumi clan and the others were such as KURATSUKURI no Suguri Shibatatsuto (known as the Han race of Great Tang, Emperor Keitai, Emperor Bidatsu), KURATSUKURI no Suruna (Emperor Yomei), KURATSUKURI no Tori (Emperor Suiko) who served as busshi (sculptor of Buddhist Statues), TAKAMUKO no Kuromaro, Imakino Ayahitomin, and Ganjin.

Exiling nobles came over to Japan because of the fall of Baekje during the Asuka period. Above all, Zenko KUDARANOKONIKISHI, who was the prince of Gijio (Uija of Baekje), the last King of Paekche, was given the surname of Kudaranokonikishi by Emperor Jito and became the clan of Baekje ancestry.

The name Kikajin (naturalized citizen) used to be the mainstream of an academic society, but some people including Masaaki UEDA renamed it to 'Toraijin,' which became the mainstream of academy, as they claimed that 'kika' (to naturalize) implies that Japan is central. Nevertheless, Kunio HIRANO and Akira SEKI advocated that it was still more appropriate to use 'kika,' for 'torai' only signifies to come over without meaning to attribute to the King of Wa (great king [Yamato kingship]).