Japan’s archeology world is buzzing after evidence that an ancient burial mound near Nara may have contained Queen Himiko, the legendary early ruler of Japan. According to Chinese records including the famous Legend of Three Kingdoms, Himiko was the queen of a land called Yamatai in the nation of Wa (the oldest Chinese name for Japan), a mysterious sorceress who could use magic to foretell the future, and who was waited on by 1,000 female attendants, and one male one. She’s celebrated in popular culture in many ways today, including an anime and manga series by OH! Great. Now a 280-meter “keyhole type” burial mound has been successfully dated to around the year 248 A.D., the year of Himiko’s death, indicating that it may have been the actual resting place for the legendary ruler. Sadly, it’s like likely that we’ll never know for sure if the burial mound did contain Himiko or not. The exact location of Yamatai isn’t known, and scholars debate whether it was located near Nara or instead in the Kyushu area, with each region loudly insisting that it is the location of the ancient kingdom, no doubt so they can sell little boxes of Himiko-themed cakes to tourists. The city of Saga, in Kyushu, even went so far as to create a replica of a 3rd-century Japanese village for visitors to explore, in order to cement its claim as the birthplace of culture in Japan in the minds of people.
Himiko is the legendary early ruler of Japan during the Yayoi Period.