Monday, March 28, 2011

Japan and Xu Fu(徐福)

The earliest documentary record of contact between Japan and China was a Qin navigator, Xu Fu(徐福). A Chinese legend of uncertain provenance states that Xu Fu(徐福), a Qin Dynasty court sorcerer, was sent by Qin Shi Huang(秦始皇) to Penglai Mountain (Mount Fuji) in 219 BC to retrieve an elixir of life. Unwilling to return without the elixir, the myth asserts that Xu instead chose to settle in Japan. It was believed that the fleet included 60 barques and around 5,000 crew members, 3,000 boys and girls, and craftsmen of different fields.

Xu Fu from China

Xu Fu was from the state of Qi(齊/齐). Qi was a state during Spring and Autumn Period(春秋时代)and Period of the Warring States(战国时代)in ancient China. In 221 BC, Qi was the last state of pre-Imperial China to be conquered by the State of Qin, the final obstacle which allowed the Qin Dynasty(under Qin Shi Huang)to consolidate the 6 kingdoms and found the first centralized and imperial empire over China. Xu Fu become people of Qin, with personal humiliation of destruction of his own home state by Qin.

His hometown is from Longkou city(龍口市),formerly Huang County (黄县). Longkou literally means dragon(龍)'s mouth(口). It is a port city in northeastern Shandong Province(山东省), on the eastern coast of the People's Republic of China. Longkou, now a county-level city, is administered by the prefecture-level city of Yantai(烟台市). The total population of Longkou is 620,000. However there are other theory stated that he was born and growth up in Xu Fu village(徐福村,原名叫徐阜村),JinShan Zhen(金山镇),Ganyu County (赣榆县),a county of Jiangsu Province(江苏省), China, now under the administration of Lianyungang(连云港)city. This was also the port he departed to the east. The third opinion is that he was from Langya(琅琊), Jiaonan (胶南)which is now a county-level city of Qingdao sub-provincial city, Shandong Province, China. All these three places were in Qi state in ancient time. Ganyu county was under Langya Prefecture during Qin Dynasty period, that caused the confusion in history.

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Mission to find Mount Penglai and Long-life Elixir
Upon summoning and inquiries made by Emperor Qin, Xu Fu replied that, in-order to get the Long-life Elixir, oneself will needed to travel to the various Immortal Islands that are far from China. According to the records of Spiritual Master Gui Gu (鬼谷先師), there are 3 Immortal Mountains, which are known as Peng Lai, Fang Zhan & Ying Zhou (蓬萊,方丈,瀛洲). Penglai shan was inhabited by immortals, tortoises, cranes, stags and auspicious plants including the pine, peach, plum and mushrooms all symbols of longevity. On these 3 Mountains, there are plenty of Immortal Plants that are able to made into Elixir for consuming to gain Long-life. Xu Fu requested for 3,000 virgin boys and girls to accompany him for the expedition.

The expedition was much earlier than the famous Admiral Cheng Ho or Zheng He(郑和)'s voyages from 1405 to 1433. Xu Fu should be the early great ancient navigator of China, or the first navigator of sea silk route. In Japan he was called Jofuku, he come to Japan during Jomon Era in the 3rd century B.C. Xu Fu never return to China, he and other people of Qin, remained in Japan, and they changed their surnames in order to escape detection by Qing Shi Huang. Their surnames used included 「佃」、Fukuda(福田),Hata(秦,羽田,波多,鈿),「福台」、Fukuyama(福山), Saitou(斉藤/斎藤). Some said Xu Fu actually planned the great escape from Qin(秦国), the conqueror of his own country state, Qi(齊国). The story of Xu Fu, should ended as" They happily settled down in the new land, and lived there forever" as part of modern Japanese....

Is it a myth or history?

On the other hand, there are as many as twenty or more legendary landing places of Jofuku in Japan, including Northern Kyushu. In the central part of Japan, among others, there are three representative of Mt. Horai(蓬莱山)or Mount Penglai, such as Mt. Fuji(富士山, Fuji-san), Mt Kumano(熊野岳)in Kumano, and Atsuta(熱田), the legendary landing places of Jofuku who came over in the third century B.C. And there is Hata family(秦,Qin), who can be observed by the existence in the Kinki region, in the fifth century A.D. They are both called Hata family in Japan and it is presumed that their roots go back to Shi-Ko-Tei.(Shih-huang-ti), the First Chinese Emperor.

The descendant of Xu Fu, former Prime Minister Tsutomu Hata(徐福后代的日本首相羽田孜)

Tsutomu Hata (羽田孜, Hata Tsutomu(はたつとむ, b. August 24, 1935) is a Japanese politician and was the 80th Prime Minister of Japan for 9 weeks in 1994.

He was born in Tokyo, a son of the Liberal Democratic Party Member of Parliament Bushiro Hata. Hata graduated from Seijo University and was employed by the Odakyu bus company from 1958 to 1969. In 1969, he entered the House of Representatives of Japan, representing Nagano Prefecture as a member of the Liberal Democratic Party. He rose to become a top lieutenant in the Tanaka/Takeshita faction in the 1980s.

In 1991, he served as Minister of Finance under Kiichi Miyazawa. He left the LDP in 1993 to found the Japan Renewal Party with longtime LDP ally Ichirō Ozawa, which became part of Morihiro Hosokawa's anti-LDP coalition government later that year. Hata served as foreign minister in the Hosokawa cabinet.

On April 28, 1994, Hosokawa resigned and Hata became prime minister. However, the Japan Socialist Party had recently left the coalition, destroying its majority in the Diet. Rather than face a vote of no confidence, Hata elected to resign in June, allowing SDP leader Tomiichi Murayama to take over the position on June 30.

After the Shinseito merged into the Shinshinto in 1996, Hata contested the leadership against Ichiro Ozawa. After losing this contest, he and twelve other Diet members formed the splinter Sun Party (太陽党 Taiyōtō). The Sun Party in January 1998 became a part of the Good Governance Party which itself was subsumed by the Democratic Party of Japan in April 1998. Hata remains with the DPJ where he is currently "supreme advisor" to chairman Ichirō Ozawa.

Hata's son, Yuichiro, is a member of the House of Councillors of Japan.

(source: wikipedia)

Hata family

The Hata clan (秦氏) was an immigrant clan active in Japan since the Kofun period 古墳時代,(an era in the history of Japan from around 250 to 538. It follows the Yayoi period 弥生時代), according to the epic history Nihonshoki(日本書紀).The Kofun period is characterized by a Shinto culture which existed prior to the introduction of Buddhism. Hata is the Japanese reading of the Chinese (state and dynasty) name 秦 given to the Qin Dynasty (the real family name was Ying), and given to their descendants established in Japan. The Nihonshoki presents the Hata as a clan or house, and not as a tribe; also only the members of the head family had the right to use the name of Hata. The Hata are said to have been adept at financial matters, and to have introduced silk raising and weaving to Japan. reported that:
An ancient clan descended from the family and followers of Yuzuki no Kimi, a Korean prince who claimed descent from Qin Shihuangdi, the first Emperor of China (259–210 bc). According to the Nihon shoki, Yuzuki no Kimi migrated to Japan during the reign of Emperor Ojin (late 4th century) with thousands of followers, many of whom were skilled silk producers and weavers; they were therefore given the name Hata meaning ‘loom’. They settled in the Yamato-Yamashiro heartland, especially in the region of present-day Kyoto. The family later enjoyed very close relations with Prince Regent Shotoku (564–622), a statesman and Sinophile known as the ‘father of Japanese civilization’. Listed in the Shinsen shojiroku, the name is related etymologically to Hattori. Actually, the character qin (or ch’in) has nothing to do with weaving; it means ‘flourishing rice plants’. As the name of the first clan to conquer and unify the rest of China, it is the source of the name China. It is most likely that the reading hata was arbitrarily applied by the newly literate Japanese to the character qin because the newly arrived weavers claimed Qin clan connections, or at least were ‘Chinese’. Be that as it may, it is possible for some Qin refugees to have escaped to Korea after their empire fell in 206 bc, and for their descendants to have moved on to Japan during the 4th century, when the growing might of the Korean Shilla kingdom made life precarious for some in that peninsula. Other immigrant groups were also arriving in Japan at this time.(source:

Tsutomu Hata told the reporters that he is the descendant of Jofuku or Xu Fu(徐福). He is the President of Japan Xufu Association.

Xu Fu or Seobol in Korea

From the port of departure at Ganyu County (赣榆县),a county of Jiangsu Province(江苏省), China, now under the administration of Lianyungang(连云港)city. Xu Fu stopped in Korea, Cheju island on his way to Japan...

Cheju Island has a legend of Jofuku (Hsufu). Jofuku came to Cheju Island to seek medicinal herbs on Mt. Harura. However he couldn't find any and so he left for Japan. The legend says that he later realized that he had left three men on Cheju Island and he subsequently sent three women over to Cheju to marry the men. To this day, there are three holes that are said to represent the three demi-gods which show this legend of the father and the place names handed down from the visit made by Jofuku in the island. Xu Fu is also called Seobok or Seobol in Korea. Other said Xu Fu visited Jeju and found the elixir plant on Mt. Halla. Jeongbangpokpo waterfall on Jeju Island is said to be the only waterfall in Asia that falls directly into the ocean. On rocks beside the waterfall, there is an inscription written “Seobulgwacha,” or "Xu Fu Visited Jeju Island" on a rock. The name Seogwipo was reported given to the city based on this story.

The Jeolmul Recreation Forest on Jeju Island in South Korea has a road called the Jangsaeng Woodland Road. Jangsaeng is a Korean word that originated from ancient Korean Sundo culture. It means “longevity”. This famous walking trail is easy enough even for the older adult. It is said that if you walk this road frequently you will have a Jangsaeng life. Samhap Bigyeong Ravine, which is said to be the last place Xu Fu went in search of the Elixir of Life.

Jofuku Park, Cheju Island , Korea(韩国济州徐福公园)

Xu Fu or Jofuku in Japan


It is reported that Jofuku landed near Shingu and brought with him Chinese culture and technology. Shingu(新宮)in Japanese language means new shrine. The name may refer to the following places in Japan:

•Shingū ((新宮市,Shingū-shi), Wakayama(和歌山県, Wakayama-ken),a city
•Shingū(新宮村 Shingū-mura), Ehime (新宮村), a village, now part of the city of Shikokuchūō
•Shingū( Shingū-machi), Fukuoka (新宮町), town
•Shingū (Shingū-chō), Hyōgo (新宮町), a town, now part of the city of Tatsuno

Both Shingu at Wakayama and Fukuoka reported the arrival of Jofuku. These places are all named Shin-gu(新宮), which means new shrine. The names indicated new arrival as culturally whenever the Chinese arrived at a new settlement, they will built a new shrine. Jofuku shrine are found in Wakayama and Fukuoka, there may be also new shrines in Shikoku and Hyogo...

Xu Fu landed in Fukuoka

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Xu Fu was reported landed in Shingu, Fukuoka. Looking at the map of Kyushu island,Shingu is located at the North-west tip of Kyushu island, facing the Korea Strait. Jeju Island(now Korea) on the west and Tsushima island(now Japan)is between Busan, Korea and Shingu,Japan. So geographically it is seaworthy that Xu Fu landed in Shingu, Fukuoka.

Fukuoka ,the largest city in Kyushu Island and where Xu Fu was reported to have landed, was named after two places, Fuku(福)and Oka(岡).One could perhaps guess that the place Fuku was name after Xu Fu, whose name in Japanese was jou-fuku. Fukuoka (福岡市, Fukuoka-shi) is the capital city of Fukuoka Prefecture and is situated on the northern shore of the island of Kyūshū in Japan. Fukuoka (the area of Kashii, Hakata, Sawara and Imazu) is said to be the oldest city in Japan, because it is the nearest city to China and Korea.

Ancient texts, such as the Kojiki(古事記) or "Record of Ancient Matters",the oldest extant chronicle in Japan, dating from the early 8th century 711-2. The Kojiki is divided into three parts: Kamitsumaki (lit. "upper roll"), Nakatsumaki (lit. "middle roll") and Shimotsumaki (lit. "lower roll"). The "Nakatsumaki" begins with the story of Emperor Jimmu, the first Emperor, and his conquest of Japan, and ends with the 15th Emperor, Emperor Ōjin. Many of the stories it contains are mythological, and the allegedly historical information in them is highly suspect. For unknown reasons, the 2nd to 9th Emperors are listed but their achievements are largely missing. Recent studies support the view that these emperors were invented to push Jimmu's reign further back to the year 660 BC.

Archaeology confirm this was a very critical place in the founding of Japan. Some scholars even go as far as to claim it was the first place outsiders and the Imperial Family set foot, but like many early Japan origin theories, it remains contested.

Being closest to Korea and Japan, it was highly probably that Xu Fu landed here after sailing from Cheju Ialand, Korea. Today there are still ferry service between Fukuoka and Busan. JR Kyushu's Beetle hydrofoils from Busan to Fukuoka run five times a day and take just under 3 hrs.

From Fukuoka, Xu Fu and his people were relocated to elsewhere in Japan...

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From Fukuoka, northern Kyushu island, crossing the Kamon Street between Shimonoseki of Yamaguchi and Mojiko of Kitakyushu, it is able to land in the coastal part of Honshu island, the nearest being Yamaguchi-ken. Hiroshima-ken and Shikoku island is nearby. The sea voyage is protected by the 3 islands(Kyushu, Honshu and Shikoku), surrounding the Inland Sea, which facilitated the sea voyage to other places in the larger Honshu island of Japan. Geographically, it is sound and possible.

Xu Fu died in Kumano

However his tomb is only reported found in Kumano(熊野市). Kumano area is considered the concentration of Xu Fu influence. Both Kumano city and Shingū city((新宮市,Shingū-shi), Wakayama(和歌山県, Wakayama-ken),are within Kumano area. Please do not confuse Kumano area with Kumano city, Kumano area is larger area included Wakayama-ken and Mie-ken Prefectures, Kumano city is only refereed to Kumano of Mie Prefectures.

The Kumano area is located around the southern tip of the Kii Peninsula, about 100 kilometers south of Osaka. It spans Wakayama and Mie Prefectures, though most of the attractions and religious sites are in Wakayama.

Kumano is centered around three shrines, Hongu Taisha, Nachi Taisha and Hayatama Taisha, collectively known as the Kumano Sanzan. Pilgrims have traveled to the Kumano Sanzan via walking trails, called Kumano Kodo, for over 1000 years. The shrines are even older, with mention in Japan's founding mythology.

The region is infused with religious and historical value that emanates from the three shrines. The Shinto sun goddess' great grandson, Jimmu, came to Kumano to unify the country as Japan's first Emperor. To further add to the area's sanctity, Kumano is often called "The Land of the Dead", in reference to the belief that Shinto spirits and family ancestors dwell here after they die.

In 2004, Kumano's religious treasures and pilgrimage routes were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Named "The Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range", the designation also includes neighboring Koyasan, Yoshino and Ominesan.

Jofuku Shrine
However his tomb is only reported found in Kumano(熊野市).The tombstone was built by order of Tokugawa Yorinobu, the lord of Kishu. Next to it, under the shade of a Tendai Uyaku plant and a big camphor tree, lies a monument of the 'seven disciples' which honours Jofuku's seven senior retainers. Recently, this site has been designated as 'Jofuku Memorial Park' complete with a Chinese style gate, where a memorial festival is now held every August.

Jofuku no Miya
In the city of Kumano (熊野市) in the small town of Hadasu-chō (波田須町). “Hadasu (波田須)” was originally written as “秦住” to depict the meaning, “A place where people from the Qin Dynasty of China have settled.” Also, the Jofuku Shrine (徐福の宮, jofuku no miya) and Jofuku’s grave have been built there in memory of the agricultural, medical and handicraft techniques he passed on after he arrived in Japan.

The Jofuku Nomiya Shrine is where Jofuku is enshrined. He was instructed by Emperor Qin Shi Huang to find the secret of eternal life, so he gathered groups of large boats and crossed the ocean. When he learned of Emperor Qin Shi Huang`s death, Jofuku gave up on returning to China and spread Chinese culture such as public works and agriculture in Japan. The Angelica keiseki herb and Japanese evergreen spicebushes are considered to be the panacea of eternal life, and they are planted in this area.

Location - A 15 minute walk from JR Hadasu Station (JR波田須駅, JR hadasu-eki). 2) A 20 minute bus ride on the Shiokaze Kahoru Kumano Kodō Line (潮風かほる熊野古道線) to the Jofuku Chaya-mae bus stop (徐福茶屋前バス停, jofuku chaya-mae basutei), and then a 5 minute walk from that point. 3) From JR Kumanoshi Station (熊野市駅, kumanoshi-eki), take Route 42 going towards Ōdomari (大泊) or take Route 311 going towards Hadasu (波田須). Either way takes approximately 20 minutes.

Tendai Uyaku
This plant which is called 'Tendai Uyaku' is said to be the plant which Jofuku succeeded in gathering after searching in the Horai Mountain area. This plant is of the camphor family and naturally grows in the mountains of Kumano. It does not guarantee eternal life, but its root is used as a potent medicine for kidney disease and rheumatism. This plant is now made into 'Jofuku tea' and 'Jofuku wine'

Kumano City, Mie Prefecture, Japan,several ancient coins of China were dug out. They are believed to belong to the age of the Qin Dynasty. It is said that seven or eight Chinese coins were discovered but Kumano City Historical Museum keeps only one.

It was reported that at least 30% of Japanese today are descendant of Xufu, as from the early 3,000 pairs of male and female, and some hundreds craftsmen, with the multiplier effect after generations, it is not impossible.......

There are many temples and shrines in Japan that were built to remember Xufu or Jofuku; and there are Xufu festivals in Japan that celebrated by Japanese to remember Xu Fu.

Other than Kumono city, Wakayama-ken(和歌山県), Kanagawa-ken(神奈川県), Saga ken(佐賀県),Kagoshima-ken(鹿儿岛县),Yamaguchi-ken(山口県), Hiroshima ken( 広島県),Kōchi-ken(高知県),Kyoto-fu(京都府), Mie ken(三重県), Aichi-ken(愛知県), Yamanashi-ken(山梨県),Nagano-ken(長野県),Akita-ken(秋田県),Aomori-ken(青森県) etc were reported arrival of Xufu. Many places in Japan , even Korea , have formed their Xufu Association in Japan to promote friendship among the descendants in the three countries of China, Korea and Japan;together with research and study on the life of Xufu.

Xufu had been the early Chinese that provide the symbol of good relationship between China, Korea and Japan in ancient time. The places where the descendants of Xu Fu are found, are the ancient cultural circle of Xu Fu, are now the circle of friendship among the three countries of China, Korea and Japan. As the traditional saying in China, "Within the four seas, all man are brothers".


In DNA analysis conducted it was in conclusion that, approximately 43% modern Japanese men carry a Y-chromosome of Jomon origin. Jomon are associated with the original natives of Japan. The highest proportions of Y-DNA haplogroup C and D is found in northern Japan (over 60%) and the lowest in Western Japan (25%). This is concordant with the history of Japan; the Yayoi people of Sino-Korean origins having settled first and most heavily in Kyushu and Chūgoku, in Western Japan.The Yayoi originally came from Central Asia but passed through China, Manuchuria, and Korea. The Yayoi are described as "elements of the Northeast Asian, Chinese and Korean civilizations".. "introduced to the Japanese Archipelago in waves of migration."

It is now believed that the modern Japanese descend mostly from the interbreeding of the Jomon Era people (15,000-500 BCE), composed of the above Ice Age settlers, and a later arrival from China and/or Korea. Around 500 BCE, the Yayoi people crossed the sea from Korea to Kyushu, bringing with them a brand new culture, based on wet rice cultivation and horses

The Yamato are associated with the so-called HATA family. The Hata were descendants of the Chinese Han dynasty who found refuge in Japan and served the ruling Yamato clan. The Yayoi (Yamato) were originally a group amongst the northerners but in modern terminology the name is applied to the dominant Japanese element in general as distinct from the Jomon. Yamato included people developed from the assimilation and intermarriage of ancient Jomon; Yayoi who come from other places in China and Korea(which included Xu Fu and his group), from ancient time which developed into the modern Nihonjin or Japanese today......

Jimmu, in full Jimmu Tennō, original name Kow-yamato-iware-hiko No Mikoto, Jimmu, woodblock print by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi.legendary first emperor of Japan and founder of the imperial Yamato dynasty. Japanese chronicles record Jimmu’s expedition eastward from Hyuga in 607 bc along Japan’s Inland Sea, subduing tribes as he went and ending in Yamato, where he established his centre of power. Although modern historians do not accept such details as a 7th century bc date, preferring a date in the Early Christian era, they affirm the tradition of an aggressive movement of peoples from the west.

Yamato people (大和民族, Yamato-minzoku) is a name for the dominant native ethnic group of modern Japan. It is a term that came to be used around the late 19th century to distinguish the residents of the mainland Japan from other minority ethnic groups who have resided in the peripheral areas of Japan such as Ainu, Ryukyuan, Nivkh, Ulta, as well as Koreans, Taiwanese, and Taiwanese aborigines who were incorporated into the Empire of Japan in the early 20th century. The name "Yamato" comes from the Yamato Court that existed in Japan in the 4th century. It was originally the name of the region where the Yamato people first settled in Nara Prefecture.

Japan is after all, not actually ethnically homogeneous, it is probably more accurate to describe it as a multiethnic society.....Yamato people or Japanese (Nihonjin) is actually a national identity rather than racial or ethnic identity.

From the above, you can ponder about the relationship of Xu Fu, with Yayoi, Yamato, and Hata family.....Xu Fu may not be the name of a person in racial development of Japanese, it may be the representative of "Xu Fu and his group" from Qin. Can you get the clue?....

Recommended websites/books/articles:
1. Zou Jin Xu Fu(走近徐福),
2. 徐福友好塾, From a Legend to a History,
3. 新宮徐福協会,
4. Chinese Xufu Association(中国徐福会),
5. Shingu(新宮, しんぐう)
6. The stories of Kumano - Jofuku,
7. 徐福公園,徐福公園(in Chinese),徐福公園(in Japanese)
8. 阿須賀神社(あすかじんじゃ), Japanese)
8.熊野発祥の地、阿須賀神社, Japanese)
9.Seobul was here, is Korean name for Xu Fu)

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