Himiko and Japan's Elusive Chiefdom of Yamatai: Archaeology, History, and Mythology

Hardback: $67.00
ISBN-13: 9780824830359
Published: February 2007

Additional Information

416 pages | 45 illus.
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  • About the Book
  • The third-century Chinese chronicle Wei zhi (Record of Wei) is responsible for Japan’s most enduring ancient mystery. This early history tells of a group of islands off the China coast that were dominated by a female shaman named Himiko. Himiko ruled for more than half a century as head of the largest chiefdom, traditionally known as Yamatai, until her death in 248. Yet no such person appears in the old Japanese literature. Who was Himiko and where was the Yamatai she governed? In this, the most comprehensive treatment in English to date, a senior scholar of early Japan turns to three sources—historical, archaeological, and mythological—to provide a multifaceted study of Himiko and ancient Japanese society.

  • About the Author(s)
    • J. Edward Kidder, Author

      J. Edward Kidder, Jr., is professor emeritus, International Christian University, Tokyo.
  • Reviews and Endorsements
    • One of the best books in recent years on the ancient history of Japan because of the author’s wide-ranging knowledge and meticulous research; all recent archaeological discoveries are detailed and relevant theories are examined. As the most up-to-date source of academic information on ancient Japan, this book is essential reading for scholars of Japanology.
      Religious Studies Review
    • The most comprehensive and persuasive treatment in English to date of the great ancient Japanese mystery that has captured the imagination of the Japanese: the location of Yamatai and the identity of its female shaman leader, Himiko. . . . In what must be the magnum opus and capstone of his illustrious career, Kidder meticulously and thoroughly examines all historical, archaeological, and mythological materials, creating a grand synthesis. . . . Highly recommended.
      CHOICE