Ethnogenesis and Craniofacial Change in Japan from the Perspective of Nonmetric Traits
Ossenberg, Nancy Suzanne
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To examine population affinities in light of the ‘dual structure model’, frequencies of 21 nonmetric cranial traits were analyzed in 17 prehistoric to recent samples from Japan and five from continental northeast Asia. Eight bivariate plots, each representing a different bone or region of the skull, as well as cluster analysis of 21-trait mean measures of divergence using multidimensional scaling and additive tree techniques, revealed good discrimination between the Jomon-Ainu indigenous lineage and that of the immigrants who arrived from continental Asia after 300 BC. In Hokkaido, in agreement with historical records, Ainu villages of Hidaka province were least, and those close to the Japan Sea coast were most, hybridized with Wajin. In the central islands, clines were identified among Wajin skeletal samples whereby those from Kyushu most resembled continental northeast Asians, while those from the northernmost prefectures of Tohoku apparently retained the strongest indigenous heritage. In the more southerly prefectures of Tohoku, stronger traces of Jomon ancestry prevailed in the cohort born during the latest Edo period than in the one born after 1870. Thus, it seems that increased inter-regional mobility and gene flow following the Meiji Restoration initiated the most recent episode in the long process of demic diffusion that has helped to shape craniofacial change in Japan.