Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 14.djvu/279

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265
TRACES OF AN EARLY RACE IN JAPAN.

impossible to separate them by a single character!—even to the depression on top and in front, as shown in Fig. 12.

A curious stone ornament, having the general shape of a comma, with the big end perforated, is known as the magatama. These peculiar-shaped objects are looked upon as ornaments belonging to the primitive inhabitants of Japan. Mr. Borlase[1] says the traditions about them have been handed down from mythological times.

Siebold says: "To this day they are in use among the Ainos of Yesso and in the Kuriles, as precious ornaments, under the name of sitogi. The inhabitants, too, of Liukiu wear a stone resembling the magatama; so that this little jewel helps us to a noteworthy historic fact, namely, to the connection which in remote times existed between the inhabitants of the whole chain of islands from Taiwan to Kamtchatka."

An exhaustive examination of the Omori deposits did not reveal anything like a magatama.

Were the Ainos cannibals?

Repeated inquiries among eminent Japanese scholars and archæologists, like Mr. Kanda, Mr. NinagaAva, and others, as to this question, are always answered in the same way. Not only were they not cannibals, but they are reported as being so mild and gentle that murder was never known to have occurred. So monstrous a habit would certainly have been known and recorded, particularly in the painstaking annals of early historians.

In conclusion, then, the Omori shell-heap presents all the leading characteristics of the typical Kjoekkenmoedding. And the evidences

PSM V14 D279 Ancient north japanese ornaments.jpg
Fig. 30. Fig. 31.

which Prof. Wyman cites as evidence of cannibalism, in the shell-heaps of Florida and Massachusetts, are likewise present in the Omori deposit. The recent occupation of America by the white race renders it difficult to determine how recent the shell-heaps along the coast may be, since the savages when first encountered were living in much the same condition as their ancestors had lived, just as to-day there still exist in some parts of the world veritable Stone-age savages. In Japan, however, where historians have chronicled with remarkable fidelity the minute details of their history, we get, as it were, some standard for

  1. "Niphon and its Antiquities."