Rice arrived during the Jomon Period
After much debate over the subject through the years, the current view of when rice farming began in Japan is that it occurred in the Initial Yayoi period. However, several examples of rice and millet impressions have been discovered on pottery dated to the Final Jomon Period (known as the Etsuji SX-1 stage), which predates the pottery found in northern Kyushu dating to the start of the Yayoi period (believed to be where rice farming initially arrived in Japan from the continent) that is known as ‘Yama-no-Dera/Yusu I style pottery’. The pottery discovered at the standard site known as Etsui Site SX-1 (Pit) has been subjected to investigation using CT imaging, which detected large numbers of latent impressions as well as exposed ones of millet, rice, perilla, and other plants that were cultivated by humans. Carbonised seeds have been extracted from these samples and subjected to carbon dating. The results showed that they were cultivated during the Jomon period, 50 to 80 years prior to the Yayoi period.
Thus, it is possible that grain cultivation containing rice farming was already being practised in the Jomon period. This means that this research adds a new perspective to the transmission of grain cultivation to Japan. Furthermore, we newly discovered an earlier arrival of rice farming into southern Kyushu against the basic notion of the conventional theory that the transmission of rice farming to southern Kyushu was 200 to 300 years behind northern Kyushu, the use of the method known as the ‘method to extract and date of carbonised material in pottery’ has shown that the delay was thirty years—an extremely short period of time.
3D images of potsherd and unexposed impressions of foxtail grains from Estuji site in Kasuya-machi (2,850 BP)
３D image of pottery with rice husks from Kozako site in Shibushi City (2,700 BP)
３D image of rice husk from Kozako site in Shibushi City (2,700 BP)
３D image of rice husk from Kozako site in Shibushi City
３D image of the potsherd mixed with foxtail millet from Etsuji site in Kasuya-machi