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  • Archaeology in Japan

    I am unaware if this is the best place where I could ask this question, however, it seemed to be a reasonable place. I will soon be graduating from high school and I have been interested in a career in archaeology. I am sure you can guess where I am interested in working judging from where this is being posted and the title, however, it seems there are very few resources regarding archaeology in Japan and the best way to go about specializing in this area. I have read a few sources on this matter, such as the information provided by Charles T. Keally [http://www.t-net.ne.jp/~keally/keally.html], yet I fear it is not enough information to gain a full understanding of the nature of archaeology in Japan or how to become employed in this field. As this is not the first place I have asked this question, I would like to first state that I understand that it will not be easy to become employed in this profession and that I will require a highly advanced knowledge of the Japanese language. Any knowledge into this matter would be highly appreciated, however, my main area of concern would be where to attend my higher level studies. Would it be best to complete my Bachelor's degree in the States and then finish my education in Japan or would it be beneficial to learn in strictly America/Japan?

  • #2
    Welcome to the forum. I know nothing about Archaeology, so let me answer this from the viewpoint of a general career in academia.
    The best way would be to do a BA back home and be brilliant enough to continue to a MA an PhD. Within that course, you should also spend some time as a student/researcher in Japan to start learning the language and get contacts. So maybe chose a university that has some exchange program with Japan in the first place.
    However, I would rather doubt that Japan is a leading nation in the field of Archaeology. My hunch is that you would have better prospects if you get a thorough education/repuitation abroad with publications,reseach papers, conferences, presentations, etc. and then come to Japan as a foreign experts.

    The other thing is that Japanese Archaeologists do not necessarily have to specialize in Japan itself. JAFAIK, apan is also doing/sponsoring a lot of field work overseas as well. On the other hand, if you want to focus on Japanese History, you should learn Japanese, which -depending on your talent- would probably take another 3-5 years.

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    • #3
      OP, any archeological research done in Japan on Japanese sites must be ok'd by the Imperial Household Agency, an agency I might add that doesn't like outsiders or scrutiny from the outside. As examining the Japan's historical treasures, the many ancient digs and Kofuns would be denied to you why would you wish to enter the field?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by edin日本 View Post
        OP, any archeological research done in Japan on Japanese sites must be ok'd by the Imperial Household Agency, an agency I might add that doesn't like outsiders or scrutiny from the outside. As examining the Japan's historical treasures, the many ancient digs and Kofuns would be denied to you why would you wish to enter the field?
        Not sure, but think that only applies to the Imperial Tombs. Can't have old emperors with "Made In Korea" goods in their tombs. But yes, it is a very closed field, and can't have foreigners interpreting things the "wrong" way. Remember in the 80's, archaeologists were actively trying to find evidence that the Japanese developed apart from the mainland. You would have to be a world famous archaeologist and invited over for a specific site to be able to dig around here.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by ttokyo View Post
          Welcome to the forum. I know nothing about Archaeology, so let me answer this from the viewpoint of a general career in academia.
          The best way would be to do a BA back home and be brilliant enough to continue to a MA an PhD. Within that course, you should also spend some time as a student/researcher in Japan to start learning the language and get contacts. So maybe chose a university that has some exchange program with Japan in the first place.
          However, I would rather doubt that Japan is a leading nation in the field of Archaeology. My hunch is that you would have better prospects if you get a thorough education/repuitation abroad with publications,reseach papers, conferences, presentations, etc. and then come to Japan as a foreign experts.

          The other thing is that Japanese Archaeologists do not necessarily have to specialize in Japan itself. JAFAIK, apan is also doing/sponsoring a lot of field work overseas as well. On the other hand, if you want to focus on Japanese History, you should learn Japanese, which -depending on your talent- would probably take another 3-5 years.
          Thank you for the insight and advice into this matter, I was more interested into the Japaneses history aspect, rather than working in Japan in foreign digs.

          Originally posted by edin日本 View Post
          OP, any archeological research done in Japan on Japanese sites must be ok'd by the Imperial Household Agency, an agency I might add that doesn't like outsiders or scrutiny from the outside. As examining the Japan's historical treasures, the many ancient digs and Kofuns would be denied to you why would you wish to enter the field?
          Most of what I would be uncovering would not necessarily be considered a "historical treasure" from a non-archaeologist's perspective, and even then not hugely. The article in particular that I mentioned by Dr. Charles T. Keally described his journey as an archaeologist in Japan over the course of around 35-years, I understand that it would not be necessarily easy to work in Japan as a foreigner, however, from my understanding it is not as difficult as you have made it sound.

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          • #6
            Keally's home page(?) stated that he is a retired professor - and as such, I'd guess that he would enjoy giving you advice, if asked politely. Why not contact him?

            http://www.t-net.ne.jp/~keally/keally.html

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            • #7
              Hey, I worked as an anthropologist (modern social) at a Japanese university, so I might be able to give you some useful tips.

              But first, I have to go skiing.

              So, in the meantime, maybe you could clarify your interests more:


              Originally posted by KStrz View Post
              I was more interested into the Japaneses history aspect, rather than working in Japan in foreign digs..
              I don't understand what you mean; which is to say, it seems contradictory. How can you work in Japan on a foreign dig??

              What sort of history are you interested in, and are you looking to dig (Bones & Stones), or are you more interested in reading ancient texts and such (often more Philology, but related)????

              Also, I think it would be useful for all if you would explain, in one short, well written paragrah:

              Why the Archaeology of Japan???



              Anyways, here are some more links to look at:

              http://www.google.com/cse?cx=0132369...ogy&gsc.page=1


              And..............

              http://archaeology.jp/

              At any rate, your plan is neither as difficult as some have suggested, nor as straightforward as you seem to think. But we can go over that later.

              Oh, and you should definitely get a good BA from a well known school at home, and then you can think about grad school in Japan. The Japanese government will pay for your grad school under the MEXT programme............if you're good enough. Your Japanese will also have to be downright amazing, which will rpobably be the most difficult and complicating part (no Japanese means no entry to a Jpn university, but no entry means it's hard to learn Japanese).

              Anyways, answer those questions, and we'll keep at it.
              Last edited by kurogane; 2013-04-04, 05:14 AM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by kurogane View Post
                Hey, I worked as an anthropologist (modern social) at a Japanese university, so I might be able to give you some useful tips.

                I don't understand what you mean; which is to say, it seems contradictory. How can you work in Japan on a foreign dig??
                That was in reference to a previous post stating that it would be possible to live in Japan and work in digs abroad with Japanese archaeologists through the JAFAIK program. I was trying to say that I was not interested in living in Japan and studying a non-Japanese culture; my interest lies with the history of Japan.

                Originally posted by kurogane View Post
                Hey, I worked as an anthropologist (modern social) at a Japanese university, so I might be able to give you some useful tips.

                What sort of history are you interested in, and are you looking to dig (Bones & Stones), or are you more interested in reading ancient texts and such (often more Philology, but related)????

                Also, I think it would be useful for all if you would explain, in one short, well written paragrah:

                Why the Archaeology of Japan???
                I would be most interested in specializing in the history between the Classical Period on up through the Medieval Period. I of course realize this is an incredibly broad compass of time and do not plan on attempting to specialize in this entire span. I suppose the time frame I find most interesting would be the Kamakura-Muromachi Periods. I would prefer to specialize more in archaeology rather than philology, however, I am not completely closed off to the idea.

                I feel this next part may be rather difficult to put into words, as it is rather difficult to explain why one may find something is interesting. I have always enjoyed learning about the past and have always been particularly interested in the history and culture of Japan. After searching through possible careers I may wish to practice in the future, archaeology always stood out as one that I may enjoy. I fear that I am unable to explain the exact reason why Japanese culture is interesting to me, however, I am not sure if that is particularly relevant. I apologize for not being able to provide the information requested, would you be able to explain what in particular you wish to know about my interest in Japanese Archaeology?



                Thank you for the information you provided so far, it has already answered one of my bigger questions into this matter. I hope that the little information I have provided is sufficient, however, if it is not, I would have no problem trying to explain once more; I apologize if this post has only wasted your time. I really do appreciate the information this thread has provided so far.

                Have fun skiing!

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                • #9
                  This article might explain why there aren' t many resources about Japanese archaeology:

                  http://www.davidappleyard.com/japan/jp45.htm

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                  • #10
                    The "JAFAIK apan" was a typo when I tried to insert "AFAIK" into "Japan".
                    Similar as other nations, Japan sponsors research in overseas - as far as I remember, these dig sites are even usually the home turf of the different countries (something like 'the Japanese at Luxor, the Brits at Abu Simbel, the French at Alexandria').
                    So what I mean is that Japanese Archeologist do not automatically have to study Japanese history, but also have experts on America, Europe, Afirica...

                    BTW, found this :
                    http://www.oneworld365.org/search/ar...nteer-projects

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by kurogane View Post
                      Hey, I worked as an anthropologist (modern social) at a Japanese university, so I might be able to give you some useful tips.
                      kurogane never ceases to amaze! I'm impressed!

                      Originally posted by kurogane View Post
                      But first, I have to go skiing.
                      priorities! This man has them in order!

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