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Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Partial Kanji Character Found on Ancient Bowl in Japan

Thursday, January 11, 2018

IKI, JAPAN—According to a report in the Asahi Shimbun, a small pottery fragment found at the Karakami archaeological site on an island off the coast of Kyushu bears the left half of a kanji character. The piece is thought have been part of a bowl produced in China, and to date to the late Yayoi Pottery Culture period, between 300 B.C. and A.D. 300, making the kanji character, pronounced “shu” in Japanese, one of the oldest to be found on pottery in Japan. The character appears to have been etched onto the surface of the finished bowl with a sharp tool, and may have represented a person’s name. For more, go to “Japan’s Early Anglers.”

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