In the late 19th and early 20th centuries two Americans, E. S. Morse and N. G. Munro, did much to open Japanese eyes to dirt archaeology as one of the historical tools for elucidating Japan's past. Thereafter Japanese researchers published some English or German summaries on Japan's ancient remains and for a few decades Westerners wrote with much interest of new discoveries concerning Jōmon, Yayoi, and, occasionally, Tomb cultures. But Western interest was short lived and Japanese archaeology went out of fashion in Western journals for more than a quarter century. Japanese research went ahead, however, and has given rise to radical reinterpretations which have not found their way into Western language literature. My purpose here is to present briefly a review of the periods prior to the first flourishing of Buddhism in Japan and to offer some suggestions toward fitting these findings into the larger picture of Asiatic cultural development.

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