June 04, 2004

Future Japanese Look?

Japanese are always said to be a homogeneous race of people nowadays. This is quite true if you exclude the people from "琉球" (ryuukyuu) - mainly residing in "沖縄" (okinawa) and "アイヌ" (ainu) - indigenous people living in "北海道" (hokkaidou). For people living on the mainland, if you look back in Japanese history, their roots are basically of two types - "縄文人" (jyoumonjin) and "弥生人" (yayoijin). And modern Japanese people are said to be a mixed-blood of these two races. This may help in explaining the wide varieties of Japanese facial features.

Ten of thousands of years ago, it is said that the Japanese islands were occupied mainly by Jyoumon people of Southern origin who had bigger physical built and more prominent facial features such as angular skull, higher nose, thicker lip and eye-brows etc. Later in history around 300 BC, another group of people called Yayoi of Northern origin migrated to Japan and became quite a dominant race. Their look was quite the opposite from the Jyoumon people though - round face with flat nose, smaller eyes and thinner lip etc... For more detail analysis of ancient Japan, read Yayoi and Joumon.

Due to several thousand years of evolution and inter-racial marriages, you can hardly find a person in Japan who is pure jyoumon or pure yayoi type. Modern Japanese facial features are more likely to be a mixture of both. However, you can still find Japanese who tend to have either stronger jyoumon features or stronger yayoi features. A good example of jyoumon type is the famous male singer "平井堅" (hirai ken). I thought he was half Japanese and half Caucasian in the first place but I turned out to be wrong.

Somebody at Tokyo University did a simulation to predict the look of future Japanese people, what do you think?