Yamatai (The state of Yamatai) (邪馬台国)
Yamatai (邪馬台国) is a vassal state which is mentioned in Gishiwajinden ('Worenchuan' [the account of the people of 'Wa'] in "Wei chih" [The History of the Wei Dynasty]).
It is also called 'Yamatokoku' and 'Yamadaikoku.'
It is also written '耶馬台国.'
Although kings had originally run Yamatai, long-term turmoil occurred throughout Wa (Japan) 70 to 80 years after the establishment of the state (The civil war in Wa). Yamatai was unable to escape from this influence, but the chaos was remedied by putting in place a woman called Himiko as a co-queen sovereign. Her younger brother assisted her in ruling the state. The queen sent an envoy to Wei and received the title given to a country engaged in a vassal relationship with China: Shingi Wao (the ruler of Wa). It is apparent that although a man was appointed king when Himiko died during the war against Kuna (another state in Japan) around 248, he was unable to resolve the turmoil at the time, which was only cleared up when 'Iyo' (壹與 [壱与]) or 'Toyo' (臺與 [台与}) became a queen sovereign.
The relationship between Yamatai and later Yamato kingdom (the ancient Japanese kingdom) is uncertain. Concerning the location too, there is a lot of argument because the accounts in Gishiwajinden are puzzling. It is generally read 'Yamatai' but there are various theories as to how it was read originally.
Yamatai in the 'Gishiwajinden'
The following is the summary of Yamatai as described in the section concerning Wajin in Encounters with Eastern Barbarians of the 'Wei Chih' (Gishiwajinden). There are various theories, not necessarily accurate, as to the conditions in Japan at that time.
The route and journey towards Yamatai
The route and journey towards Yamatai from a commandery, which existed in the northern part of the Korean Peninsula at that time and was a territory of the Wei dynasty (Three Kingdoms Period), is written in Gishiwajinden.
If you use ri as a measurement of distance, which is about 400 meters and is generally used in historical records of the Han Dynasty, and think in a straight line bearing right, there is only one possible location for the state of Ito which was 500 ri in-land from the embarkation point, that is Hyuga, Miyazaki Prefecture, 200 Km to the southeast of the northern shore of Kyushu.
(Scholars of Japanese classical literature before the Edo period thought so, and that later writings about the journey toward Yamatai were entered incorrectly.)
If the journey is simply 200 ri (100 ri plus 100 ri) from Ito, ending up in the state of Fumi (possibly near today's Osumi Peninsula), to then travel south by sea for 10 days would mean that Yamatai is located in the Pacific Ocean, past the Japanese islands. Consequently, there have been debates about identifying the location, the route and the journey (refer to the debates on Yamatai). About the location, the Kinai district theory and the Kyushu theory are widely accepted (refer to the debate on the location). Also about the route and journey, there is the 'sequence theory' and the 'radiant theory' (refer to the debate on the route and journey).
The politics of Yamatai
Although men had originally been placed as sovereigns in Yamatai, 70 to 80 years after the establishment of the state, which was during the Guanghe period (178 to 184) of the Emperor Ling in Han, political instability took hold. After many long years of war, a woman was placed as co-sovereign. The queen was Himiko. This war is thought to be the 'civil war in Wa' referred to in a Chinese history book.
Because of the description about Himiko in 'Gishiwajinden,' some say that Himiko was a shaman-like person who conducted magic and that Yamatai was a primitive magic state. On the other hand, based on references to her younger brother's support of the government, there is also a view that Yamatai had a binary system of government in which shaman Himiko conducted the rituals and men delivered the real administration. Some people say that Yamatai was a matriarchal state because it had queens as sovereigns, but this theory is problematic since a king ruled before Himiko and another king ruled right after Himiko's death.
There are detailed descriptions in 'Gishiwajinden' of the states of Tsuma, Iki, Matsura, Ito, Na, Fumi and Toma. Also, there are descriptions of the states of Shima, Iwaki, Iya, Toki, Mina, Okada, Fuko, Sana, Tosu, Sagana, Ogi, Kanasakina, Ki, Igo, Kina, Yama, Kuji, Hari, Kiku, Ana and Na. Yamatai governed these twenty-some states. However, Yamatai didn't assume control over the entire island of Japan. There were states outside of the territory, especially the southern state of Kuna, where a king called Himikoko ruled, and was feuding and at war with Yamatai.
One position called taisui (general) was established, responsible for monitoring the northern states of Yamatai. The office for taisui was in the state of Ito, and served a similar function as shishi (provincial governor) in Wei. The Ito state was the centre of diplomacy, where envoys and translators from Wei and Han stayed and had their written materials and gifts checked to send to the queen.
The land tax and Fueki (tax paid in the form of labour) were collected, and each state built storehouses to store the land tax. Also, markets were opened in various places, monitored by officers called Tai.
Queen Himiko sent envoys to Wei through Daifang Commandery a couple of times after 239, and she was appointed as the ruler of Wa by the Emperor. An official called Zhang Zheng (Chang Cheng) was dispatched from Daifang Commandery because of a dispute with the state of Kuna in 248. According to the description in Gishiwajinden, Yamatai apparently exchanged envoys with countries on the Korean Peninsula.
When Himiko died, a huge tomb was constructed and 100 people followed her to the grave. After her death, although a man became king, people didn't obey him and a domestic conflict ensued which led to the deaths of 1,000 people. As a result, Iyo (壹与 [台与]), a 13-year-old girl who was a relative of Himiko, was appointed as queen. Zhang Zheng (Chang Cheng), who had been dispatched to Wa before, encouraged Iyo to follow what he advised; Iyo sent envoys to Wei too.
Diplomacy with Wei and Chin Dynasty
There is a record of the diplomatic relations between Yamatai and Wei through Daifang Commandery in 'Gishiwajinden.'
In June 238 or 239, Queen Himiko sent Commissioner Nashime and deputy Tsushi Gori to Daifang Commandery in order to ask for an audience with the Emperor. Governor-General Liu Xia of Daifang Commandery in Korea sent them to the capital of Wei, and the envoy gave the Emperor presents of 4 male slaves, 6 female slaves and a textile product which was 53 centimeters in width, 24.2 meters in length. The Emperor of Wei (Cao Rui [Emperor Ming] if it was in 238 and Cao Fang in 239), who was pleased with this, conferred the title of the ruler of Wa (Japan) upon Queen Himiko and endowed her the Gold Seal with Purple Ribbon, as well as enormous gifts including 100 bronze mirrors. Also, the Emperor appointed Nashime as Lieutenant Colonel in the Imperial Guard and Gori as Commandant in the Imperial Guard.
On 23rd August, Gongsun Yuan, who had controlled Daifang and Lelang Commandery (an ancient county in the northern Korean Peninsula), was beheaded by Sima Yi.
Daifang and Lelang Commandery were taken over by Wei.
In 240, Governor-General Gong Zun of Daifang Commandery dispatched Ti Zhun, a commandant of the Imperial Guard, with the imperial rescript and ribbon seal to Wa, conferring upon Himiko the title of the ruler of Wa (Japan), along with other gifts.
In 244, the queen sent envoys, such as Commissioner Iseri and Ekiyaku, to Wei again and gave the Emperor slaves and textile product as presents. Emperor (Cao Fang) appointed envoys including Ekiyaku as Lieutenant Colonel in the Imperial Guard.
In 246, Emperor (King of Qi) gave Nashime a yellow streamer via Daifang Commandery.
In 248, Queen Himiko sent an envoy, Sashiuetsu, to Governor-General Wang Qi to inform him of the war against the state of Kuna. The Governor-General sent officials, such as Zhang Zheng (Chang Cheng), to Wa.
Iyo, who took over the throne, made Zhang Zheng who was going back to his country, bring 20 people including Ekiyaku, along with him. They went to the capital of Wei and gave the Emperor 30 slaves (male and female), 5,000 pearls, 2 jades and a figured fabric with exotic patterns which was 53 centimeters in width, and 184 meters in length.
There is also a description in one of the documents that recorded the Emperor's life, sayings and doings, in "Jin Shu" (History of the Jin Dynasty), which was cited in the Jingu section of "Nihonshoki" (Chronicles of Japan), of envoys from the queen of Wa bringing a tribute to the Chinese court in 266. Because there is an account that the Eastern barbarians brought a tribute to the Chinese court in the same year and made preparations for Zenjo (one of the forms of the emperor replacement whereby the emperor was not decided by succession but instead the throne moved to the most virtuous person) according to 三少帝紀 in Wei chih, this queen must have been Iyo and her envoys apparently brought a tribute to the emperor of the Western Jin Dynasty (Sima Yan) which was established after Wei.
In Gishiwajinden, ancient Japanese people's folkways at that time are depicted.
All men were tattooed on their face and body. People painted vermilion and red color onto their bodies.
Males didn't wear headgear, and their hair was tied in a topknot. Females had loose and disheveled hair.
They wore large pieces of cloth, with simple knots.
Pikes, shields and wooden bows (weapon) were used as arms.
As the climate was mild, people ate fresh vegetables both in summer and winter.
When someone died, people cried loudly, mourned the passing and didn't eat meat for about 10 days. Others drank alcohol, sang and danced. When an entombment was finished, people went into the water to clean their bodies.
When Wa people sailed the sea using ships, a 'Jisai' would be chosen. The Jisai waited for the ship to return without seeing anybody in the meantime, catching lice, letting their clothes get dirty and without eating any meat. If the ship came back safely, the Jisai would be entitled to rewards. But if there was some misfortune, the Jisai would be killed.
When someone had something special coming up, they set fire to a bone to see which way it would crack, as a form of divination.
People lived for a long time: there were people who were 80, 90 and 100 years old.
Females were modest and not jealous.
People didn't commit theft and there were few 'lawsuits.'
When a law was broken, a person whose crime was relatively minor would have his wife and children confiscated, while someone committed a serious crime would have his whole lineage eradicated.
Each sozoku (patrilineal family group of Han people in China) had a hierarchy of aristocrat and plebeian and what the people in higher ranks said was followed carefully by the rest.
After Iyo's bringing tributes to the court in the middle of the 3rd century, there is no record concerning the Wa state in Chinese history books for nearly 150 years, until the bringing of tributes in 413 by the Wa king San (The five kings of Wa). Because of this, the 4th century is called 'the blank century' in Japanese history. The relationship between Yamatai and later Yamato kingdom is unclear because there are various theories.
Debates about Yamatai
The account of a Yamatai state features in 'Gishiwajinden' and there are also descriptions of it in other Chinese history books. However, not only do the notation systems of Chinese characters depend on the materials available, there is also no unified understanding as to whether 'Yamataikoku (the state of Yamatai in Japanese)' is the right way to read according to Chinese-style reading of characters in the time when the books were written. Also, because there are not enough descriptions in the official history books of Japan, "Kojiki" (The Records of Ancient Matters) and "Chronicles of Japan," in order to discern the reality of Yamatai and Himiko, long-standing discussions about the location and the relationship with the Yamato Dynasty continue.
These controversies began in the late Edo period, when Hakuseki ARAI discussed the Yamato Province theory in 'Koshitsuwakumon' and offered the Yamato County in Chikugo Province theory in 'Gaikokunokoto shirabegaki.'
After that, a scholar of Japanese classical literature, Norinaga MOTOORI, taking the viewpoint that 'it is unlikely that the Japanese Imperial family took tributes to China,' in 'Gyoju Gaigen,' he claimed that Yamatai was a small state in Chikushi (Kyushu), distinct from Yamato Province, and that Himiko was a female chief of Kumaso (a tribe living in the ancient Kyushu district) who assumed the false name of Empress Jingu. Since then, the controversies, which have involved amateur researchers as well as academic societies, have carried on. Various controversies on Yamatai are introduced as follows.
How to read Yamatai in Japanese
It is common nowadays that '邪馬台国' is read 'Yamataikoku' in Japanese.
Apparently, it was the scholar of Japanese classical literature, Norinaga MOTOORI, who was the first to read '邪馬台' as 'Yamatai.'
Given that Hakuseki ARAI suggested that the location was in Yamato Province and Yamato County in his writing 'Koshitsuwakumon' and 'Gaikokunokoto shirabegaki,' it is understandable that Hakuseki read it as 'Yamato.'
Norinaga MOTOORI, however, denied the identification with the Yamato Dynasty from the point of view of Japanese classical literature and dared to read it 'Yamatai.'
This reading of 'Yamataikoku' is mixed up with two kinds of different reading systems of Chinese characters, the Han reading and the Wu reading. It is not the right way to read because, for example, it would be Yamadai or Yamedai if it was read all in the Wu reading, and it would be Yabatai in the Han reading. Furthermore, it is unclear how it was read at the time when the ancient Chinese "Sanguo Zhi" (History of the Three Kingdoms) (Gishiwajinden) was written.
It is written '邪馬壹國' or '邪馬一國' (both 'Yamaichikoku' in Japanese reading) in printed books of "Sanguo Zhi" (Gishiwajinden). It appeared as '邪馬臺国' in accounts of Wa in "Hou Han Shu" (History of the Later Han Dynasty) which was written in the fifth century after "Sanguo Zhi," '祁馬臺国' in accounts of Wa in "Liang Shu" (History of the Liang) in the seventh century, and '都於邪靡堆 則魏志所謂邪馬臺者也' in "Sui Shu" (the Book of the Sui Dynasty) in the seventh century. There are theories about the indefinite nature of the notation: a theory that '壹' is a writing error of '臺,' an alternative theory that they were written distinctly to avoid confusion, which can be guessed from '壹與遣,倭大夫率善中郎將掖邪狗等二十人送,政等還。因詣臺,' and another theory that the letter '臺,' which indicated the place in which the emperors of Wei lived, was not supposed to be used for the country name of the eastern barbarians.
There is a theory that both '邪馬壹國' and '邪馬臺国' are phonetic equivalents for 'Yamato' because of the close pronunciations. However, a theory that '邪馬壹國' is 'Yamaikoku', and 'Yamato' is a different state, still enjoys currency among amateur researchers. Also, some people say that Yamai (ya・ma・i) is not natural because there were no consecutive vowels in ancient Japanese.
The body of Chinese characters assumes the reading in the 3rd century, so it was apparent that '壹' was pronounced 'to' as well as 登 or 澄 because the body of '壹' is '豆.'
For reference, the following are Yamatai when represented in pinyin.
邪馬壹國:xie2 ma3 yi1 guo2 (Xiémǎyī guó)
邪馬臺国:xie2 ma3 tai2 guo2 (Xiémǎtái guó)
Controversies concerning location
The presumed location of Yamatai has been interpreted variously because Yamatai is supposed to be in the middle of the ocean, farther south of the Japanese islands, if you follow the direction and the distances written in 'Gishiwajinden.'
In ancient times, the editors of "Chronicles of Japan" identified the Yamatai and Yamato Dynasty and also Himiko and Empress Jingu. Chikafusa KITABATAKE, in the period of the Northern and Southern Courts (Japan) advocated likewise. In the Edo period, Hakuseki ARAI and Norinaga MOTOORI delivered their own theories about the presumed location and the journey. The controversies started in the Meiji period and many theories have been proposed. Some called these 'Yamataikoku Ronso' (the Yamatai controversy). Although the controversies were originally among scholars, the Yamatai controversy became a 'Yamataikoku boom,' triggered by a book called "Yamatai: the Phantom Kingdom" (Kodansha), by Kohei MIYAZAKI, published in 1967: the controversies now spread to the general Japanese population.
Two major hypotheses
About the location of Yamatai, although there are some who seek the location worldwide instead of in Japan, academics are mainly divided between two theories: 'the Kinai region theory' and 'the Kyushu theory.'
In the Kyushu theory, there is the 'Tosen theory' (literally, the theory of the capital relocating toward the east) in which Yamatai is considered to have been relocated, and the Kyushu dynasty theory. The controversy concerning the location of Yamatai is centered around the confrontation between these two theories.
The Kinai region theory was found among many researchers who thought the direction written in 'Gishiwajinden' was incorrect ('the contiguous journey theory,' mainly found in connection with Kyoto University). The Kyushu theory was found among researchers who doubted the description of distance ('the writing error theory,' mainly held in connection with the University of Tokyo; see Kurakichi SHIRATORI and Konan NAITO for details) or researchers who took 'the radial journey theory' as represented by Kazuo ENOKI. Also, recent Kinai region theory tends to see archaeological findings as more certain than interpretations of 'Gishiwajinden,' which easily fall into barren controversies. The theory is also supported strongly by archaeologists.
The 'contiguous journey theory' (reading the journey contiguously), which is used in the Kinai region theory, uses the directions and distances described in Gishiwajinden: after setting out from Daifang Commandery, passing through the state of Kuyakan, Tsuma, Iki to northern Kyushu, and taking the land route through the state of Matsura, Ito, Na, Fumi and Toma to Yamatai. On the other hand, although 'the radial journey theory' (reading the journey radially), which is used in the Kyushu theory, takes the same route as the contiguous reading until the state of Ito, after that it takes Ito as the starting point, such as Ito to Na, Ito to Fumi, Ito to Toma, and Ito to Yamatai.
In addition, Kohei MIYAZAKI caused a stir in the academic world at that time, where there were discussions concerning the coastline of the time, by pointing out the route and journey and saying 'it should be recalled that the ancient coastline was different from the one at present.'
However, even if you look at the possible locations on the basis of the ancient coastline, it is no longer a very influential part of the contiguous journey theory or the radial journey theory because it would imply only minor alterations to distances where likely locations are concerned (Kinai region and Kyushu), thus, it is not treated as an issue to be discussed anymore.
Because of the archaeological achievements of recent years, especially the new date estimations of dendrochronology, the theory which suggests the establishment of an embryonic nation in Yamato Region going back to about the 2nd century, contemporary with Yamatai, has come to be dominant. As a result, the focus of the controversy is now whether pre-Yamato kingdom (the ancient Japan sovereignty) is connected directly with Yamatai (or whether the embryonic Yamato kingdom is actually the same as Yamatai). On the other hand, there are some researchers who have doubts about the new estimated date of the beginning of the sovereignty. This is because not only is dendrochronology limited to determining the maximum possible age of remains in principle, but also the number of experts is still small. Sufficient independent verifications also can't be done because assessment of the average annual growth rings in trees is made by just one research group in Japan.
If you go by the Kinai region theory, you could at least say that a power which could ensure traffic routes from Yamato to the continent may have existed in Japan in the 3rd century. This leads to the notion that a power which held great influence all around western Japan, centering upon Yamato - that is to say, Yamato kingdom - had already been established at that time.
If you take another theory, the Kyushu theory, Yamatai was just a provincial power in Kyushu and it becomes doubtful as to whether Yamato kingdom existed in the 3rd century. The controversy over the location of Yamatai is integral to clarifying the establishment of Japan.
The Kinai region theory
Within the Kinai region theory, there are theories that point to the lakeside of Lake Biwa and Osaka Prefecture as the capital of Yamatai, but the theory which points to the Makimuku ruins near Mt. Miwa in Sakurai City, Nara Prefecture, as the capital of Yamatai is popular because of the following reasons.
As the dendrochronological data suggests, because the dates inscribed in mirrors, such as the Gamontai Shinju-kyo Mirror (Mirror with figures of deities and sacred animals which was excavated from Makimuku ruins) correspond with the time of Yamatai, it is apparent that the construction of the original buildings had already begun in the time of Yamatai, and they were in their prime from the late Yayoi period to Tumulus period, which matches the dates of Yamatai.
Large keyhole-shaped tomb mounds of an early date apparently constructed using the techniques of groups in Kibi and Asan (East Shikoku) were distributed centering in Yamato, and spread throughout Japan in subsequent years.
It can be seen from earthenware from all over northern Kyushu to southern Kanto excavated from the Makimuku ruins that these buildings played roles such as exchange centers controlling most of the Japanese Islands at that time.
Triangular-rimmed mirrors inscribed 景初三年 or 正始元年 (Chinese names of an era, 239 or 240), which apparently commemorated Himiko's dispatching of envoys, were distributed centering upon Kinai region, and also many tumuli from which these mirrors were excavated presumed to have been constructed in the 3rd century - according to the findings of dendrochronology - which match with the dates of Yamatai.
About 4,000 mirrors from Yayoi period to Tumulus period have been unearthed, and 12 of 13 date-inscribed mirrors amongst them featured dates between 235 and 244, and were distributed around the Kinai region. This suggests that the group in power in Kinai at that time had access to the Chinese names of eras.
The account of Empress Jingu in "Chronicles of Japan" connected the queen of the Wa state in Wei chih and "History of the Later Han Dynasty" directly with Empress Jingu.
In Chinese history books, the Imperial Record in "Jin shu" (History of the Jin Dynasty) referred to Yamatai as 'eastern Wa.'
Also, "Sui shu," which features reliable geographical information, without any question identifies the capital Yamato as 'Yamatai written in Wei chih'. That is, while 'Wei chih' was based on written records from the Sung era, it is possible that some manuscripts before then described the south and east correctly.
Alternatively, the following are vulnerabilities of the Kinai region theory.
Amongst the things thought to have been products from the Wa state, iron and silk were mainly unearthed in northern Kyushu.
The ethnic customs and folkways described in 'Gishiwajinden' give an impression of the south, which, it has been pointed out, are characteristics shared in common with Hayato (an ancient tribe in Kyushu) based in southern Kyushu.
While 'Gishiwajinden' discussed small states in northern Kyushu in detail, it didn't mention anything about Kibi Province or Izumo Province, which should have existed in the west of Kinki Region at this time, so it is questionable as to whether this discussion was describing locations as far away as Kinki Region.
Taking 'Gishiwajinden' by itself, it can be inferred that Yamatai existed to the south of the states in northern Kyushu, such as Ito and Na.
The following are some theories upon which emphasis is no longer placed but which used to be aspects of the Kinai region theory.
The theory which assumed that excavated triangular-rimmed mirrors were from amongst the 100 mirrors which Himiko was given by the Emperor of Wei.
However, because more than 400 mirrors have been found and Zhongshu WANG, who was director of the Institute of Archaeology under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, insisted that 'they are not Han mirrors,' this theory was refuted by researchers of the Kyushu theory, who said that 'all the triangular-rimmed mirrors are forged.'
There is a theory that pointed out the similarity between Ikima, a Yamatai high ranking officer, and 'Ikume,' the name of Emperor Suinin, but details such as the names of envoys by Himiko are not specified in the "Record of Ancient Matters" and the "Chronicles of Japan," the history books of Yamato Dynasty. Some see a legend of a journey to a distant land over the sea by Tajimamori as the sending of an envoy.
The Kyushu theory
The Kyushu theory doesn't contain a specific potential site like the Makimuku ruins for the Kinai region theory. Instead, there are many different theories which suggest places in Kyushu as the capital, such as areas around Dazaifu-tenmangu Shrine in Fukuoka Prefecture, Usa-jingu Shrine in Oita Prefecture and the Saitobaru Burial Mounds in Miyazaki Prefecture.
As it was 12,000 ri from Daifang Commandery to the queen's state and it was already 10,500 ri to the state of Ito, which is presumed to have been in Fukuoka Prefecture, the location of Yamatai is supposed not to have been outside Kyushu with just 1,500 ri to go.
If it is presumed that the Kuna state, which conflicted with Yamatai, was the group in Kumamoto Prefecture (球磨 [Kuma]), a Kuna officer, 'Kukochihiku,' who appeared in Gishiwajinden, can be thought the transliteration of Japanese name '菊池彦' (Kukuchihiko or Kikuchihiko).
There is a view that the phrase "有棺無槨" in Gishiwajinden, which refers to burial methods in Yamatai, describes earthenware-jar coffins, of which many have been excavated in northern Kyushu.
There are two theories about the subsequent Yamatai: one that it was conquered by a group in Kinai and another that the capital was moved towards the east and the Kinai region was conquered.
It is included in some Kyushu theories that envoys usually thought to have been sent by the five kings of Wa were actually sent by a group in Kyushu, unconnected to Kinai court.
While 'Gishiwajinden' discussed small states in northern Kyushu in detail, it didn't mention Kibi Province or Izumo Province at all, which should have existed in the west of Kinki Region at this time, so it is questionable as to whether this discussion was describing locations as far away as Kinki Region.
The following are vulnerabilities of the Kyushu theory.
It is difficult to imagine that settlements on a scale of more than 20,000 houses in Na, more than 50,000 houses in Toma and more than 70,000 houses in Yamatai, as well as Kuna, could fit into Kyushu as these theories suggest.
There were more tumuli and settlements in the Chugoku region and the Kinki region than in Kyushu.
The starting date of the construction of tumuli is thought to be after the 4th century based on the old theory, but as a result of newer research results from dendrochronology and carbon dating, fewer archaeologists are supporting this theory.
Gifts and ranks given by Wei to the queen and her people represented 'most favored nation' treatment, comparable to that given to Kusana in the west, and it is difficult to imagine this in the case of a small feudal ruler.
Points to consider where the date-inscribed mirrors in the 3rd century are concerned. From early on, Kaichiro YABUTA and Koichi Mori expressed their view as follows, on the basis of the general understanding at that time that the Tumulus Period began in the 4th century.
All triangular-rimmed mirrors were unearthed from tumuli and there are no triangular-rimmed mirrors from tombs in the Yayoi Period, which was the time of Yamatai.'
Therefore, triangular-rimmed mirrors do not belong to the time of Yamatai, and the later Yamato rulers forged them in an attempt to demonstrate a relationship with Yamatai.'
Subsequently, most of the supporters of the Kyushu theory followed theories such as these. However, the following can be suggested as problems for such theories.
From our present perspective, it seems that Tumulus construction had already started at the time of Yamatai, and so the assumption that triangular-rimmed mirrors were forged falls down.
The date-inscribed mirrors include non-triangular-rimmed mirrors.
Because some date-inscribed mirrors such as '青龍3年' (235), which carries the name of the Wei dynasty era (Three Kingdoms Period) and '赤烏元年' (238) and '赤烏7年' (244), carrying the name of the Wu dynasty era (Three Kingdoms Period), have been found, the proposition that they were merely forged in relation to Yamatai is questionable, and hasn't been accepted in academia.
Also, although there is a theory that triangular-rimmed mirrors were made during the Wu dynasty (Three Kingdoms) or were made by Wu craftsmen after the Wu dynasty was conquered by the Western Jin in 280, theories of style would suggest that these works may not have any connection with the Wu dynasty (Three Kingdoms) at all. Xuzhou, at least, which is inscribed on one of the mirrors, cannot be said to have been one of the territories of Wu. If it is argued that these mirrors were produced after 280, it is difficult to understand why the era inscribed in them was between 235 and 244 during the Three Kingdom Period (China). For these reasons, the theory hasn't convinced most academics.
Also, the so-called 'Himiko's mirrors' come from the Later Han Dynasty, from the perspective of the supporters of the Kyushu theory. But, it is another difficulty of that theory that mirrors during the Later Han Dynasty unearthed at a Yayoi Period site in northern Kyushu are dated mainly from the 1st century according to both the circumstances of the archaeological dig and written records in China - not as late as Himiko's era. As the mirrors from the 2nd century are small in number and a good number have been excavated in the Kinai region too, this can't be seen to indicate the predominance of northern Kyushu. Since the predominance of northern Kyushu is generally vanishing in the 2nd century in remains during the Yayoi Period, this is one of the reasons why many archeologists can't agree with the Kyushu theory.
Where accounts of the route and journey towards Yamatai are concerned, there are the following drawbacks, even if you take the radial journey reading rather than the usual contiguous journey reading (the journey can't be finished within Kyushu if you take the contiguous journey reading).
In order to make the radial journey reading defensible, there must have been Chinese rules at that time that '到' and '至' (literal main meaning: reach [the destination]) should be read distinctly when they are used differently. However, different uses of '到' and '至' do not appear in "Liang Shu" (History of the Liang), which virtually copied the contents of Gishiwajinden, and so it can't be supposed that there is a special meaning to the differential use of the two characters.
If you accept the radial journey reading, Yamatai should be 10 days by sea and a month on land south of the state of Ito. However, even if this can be understood as going southward on the sea rounding Kyushu, it leads to the location of Yamatai in south-central Kyushu, which means that Yamatai would have been located in the same place as Kumaso in a later era. And the state of Kuna must have been further south. Therefore, though this theory has a comparatively large number of adherents, it is impossible to fit all these states within northern Kyushu.
The following are theories upon which emphasis is no longer placed, but which used to be aspects of the Kyushu theory.
There is a theory that the bronze spearhead civilization, which used the so-called Three Imperial Regalia in its rituals - a sword, a mirror and a curved jewel, described in 'Gishiwajinden' and also in "Chronicles of Japan"- destroyed the bronze bell civilization, whose solemn rituals used bronze bells and which had spread from Kinki region to Tokai region. However, with an expansion of excavation this theory is now viewed in a negative light because of more bronze spearheads and bronze swords being found in the region of the 'bronze bell cultural area' and, on the other hand, more bronze bells and their molds being found within the 'bronze spearheads cultural area' such as Yoshinogari Ruins. Also, the fact that the 'Gishiwajinden' does not mention rituals, and the fact that not merely three kinds but various ritual utensils were used in each place before the 6th century, can be used to suggest that the above theory is not essential to the Kyushu theory.
In addition to the two main theories, some people believe that various places in Japan would be a candidate site for Yamatai, such as Kibi Province, Izumo Province, Shikoku region, Owari Province, Chiba Prefecture, Koshinetsu Region and Iwate Prefecture. Some also say that there were capitals in two places, Kinai region and Kyushu. There are also the Ryukyu Islands theory and the Java theory.
On the other hand, for various views looking for the candidate site based on the accounts of "Wei chih," it has been suggested that 'it makes no sense to look for the site of Yamatai based on these accounts because there are biases in the descriptions.'
The presumed locations of each theory are featured in 'Yamataikoku Hiteichi Ichiran' (A complete list of the presumed locations for Yamatai) (* Beware of sound volume).