The Prehistory of Japan
by Gerard J Groot S. V. D. Director, Archaeological Institute of Japan

Edited by Bertram S Kraus

First published 60 years ago by Columbia University Press, The Prehistory of Japan by Gerard J Groot remains an invaluable reference work for those interested in the archaeology and the prehistory of Japan.


IN THIS BOOK I have endeavored to describe the various stages of the Japanese Stone Age and their relationships with foreign cultures. I realize, however, that I have but summarily treated the many problems that are connected with Japanese prehistory.

Because of a number of conditions related to the study of Japanese prehistory any present treatment of the subject will eventually require numerous revisions, some of a fundamental nature. In addition, certain materials and problems of, perhaps, major importance may have been over- looked. The conditions that have, in part, been responsible for such errors of interpretation or omission are the following: the vast number of prehistoric sites in Japan which have been dug and which still await excavation; the great quantity of archaeological reports, of scientific or of amateurish caliber, which are dispersed throughout hundreds of books, journals, and papers; and the inadequate number of studies devoted to the problem of prehistoric cultural interrelationships.

Nevertheless, I hope that this presentation may be of some service to archaeologists who are unfamiliar with the Japanese field and that it may provide a jumping-off point for a future revised work on the prehistory of Japan.


Archaeological Institute
Kichijoji, Japan
April 18, 1946


I. Introduction

II. The Relative Chronological Sequence of Jomon Pottery Types

III. Geology and Relative Chronology in the Jomon Period

IV. The Proto-Jomon Period

V. The Early-Jomon Period

VI. The Moroiso Culture

VII. The Middle-Jomon Period

VIII. The later-Jomon Period

IX. The Final-Jomon Period

X. The Problem of the Identity of Jomon Man

Appendix A: The Jomon Period and Absolute Chronology

Appendix B: The Shouldered-Axe Culture in East Asia and Japan

Appendix C: The Violin-Shaped Axe on Formosa

Appendix D: Alphabetical List of Jomon Sites in Japan Correlated with List
by Region, Province, and District

Appendix E: List of Jomon Period Sites by Region, Province, and District


Plates following


Columbia University Press, New York 1951. Published in Great Britain, Canada, and India, London Toronto and Bombay by Geoffrey Cumberledge, Oxford University Press.