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Earthenware fragments containing what are believed to be among the oldest examples of Hiragana (one of two Japanese phonetic scripts)
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The Mainichi Newspapers
 
The Mainichi Newspaper reports on the 30 November that –
 
Earthenware vessels bearing what are believed to be some of the oldest examples of hiragana characters in Japan have been recovered from the remains of the residence of ninth century noble Fujiwara Yoshimi (813-67) in Kyoto.
 
It had been held that hiragana were perfected sometime between the mid-ninth century, and the time the “Kokin Wakashu” (Anthology of ancient and modern waka poetry) was compiled in 905, but surviving examples were sparse. The latest discovery, announced by the Kyoto City Archaeological Research Institute on Nov. 28, has been called a valuable find, filling a gap in research on how hiragana came to be formed. “Not only is this among the oldest hiragana material, it makes literary references and contains advanced unbroken lines of characters, making it a precious find,” commented Kyoto University professor Ryohei Nishiyama, a specialist in ancient Japanese history.
 
Full story here. See also our earlier feature on The Kyoto City Archaeological Museum (京都市考古資料館).