Dec 17, 2018

A Kofun Near You

A Kofun Near You photo

In my quiet suburban neighborhood with middle class apparently the previous inhabitants were well to do. So swank was their lifestyle mile min ago that their descendants built burial mounds for their repose. 

The Iwana Burial Mound, a round one dated over 1500 years old, is quite small. You can walk around it in a minute.A Kofun Near You photo

Children used to play inside the kofun burial mound but today, the entrance is blocked with sandbags.

The biggest one in Japan is 400 meters long. Ours is overgrown with mature trees, but it’s still quite an imposing sight near the Edo River banks. And there said to be over 13,000 sites in Chiba Prefecture, second only to Hyogo Prefecture.

Archaeologists and historians identify the kofun burial mound builders as the bridge between prehistoric people and the beginning of literate societies in Japan. They were constructed between the 3rd and 6th century, and are associated with haniwa figures, the terra cotta statues with distinctive and sometimes alien-looking shapes. 

I find it fascinating that tumuli like these kofun were also built in Europe, but thousands of years before. The kofun craze happened much later than the European tumuli-building culture, and only lasted a few hundred years in Japan, but resulted in a huge amount of these tombs. And some are remarkable for their huge size. 

Do you have a monument over 1000 years old in your neighborhood? Have you got a burial mound around the corner? 



Living between the Tone and Edo Rivers in Higashi Katsushika area of Chiba Prefecture.