The Jomon Mind

Parental Love

Clay tablets with impressions of feet - impressions made by pressing the clay with the soles of children's feet (Hakodate City's Kakinoshima Site)

Buried in graves on Hakodate's Kakinoshima Site are clay tablets with impressions of feet, created by pressing children's sole into the clay and then baking the clay tablet. Because there is a hole in the tablet through which perhaps string could be threaded, it has been suggested that these tablets were hung nearby before being interred in the grave. The clay tablet is discovered from the grave of adult, and guessed that the buried person is parents of the child who put the soleprint. The heart of parents who strongly love child is transmitted from this clay tablet.

A Culture that Lived in Harmony with the Disadvantaged

Irie・Takasago Shell-Mounds in Toya-ko Town have been found to contain the remains of society members who had suffered from polio. From this we can deduce that the Jomon worked to enable members of their communities to live long lives, even those with handicaps for whom living alone would have been difficult. This suggests that in Jomon society stronger people bestowed kindness on the less fortunate.


Clay Mask found on a grave (Chitose City's Mamachi Site)

Clay figures have been found from as far back as the early Jomon period, yet their numbers increase after the middle Jomon era. After the peek of climatic warming, the climate cooled and the Jomon people probably pray to clay figures for their assistance in dealing with the social stresses brought about by the changes. Hokkaido graves have often contained the figures which have led many to think they were offerings for the deceased's rebirth.

Clay figure believed to express a sea animal (Chitose City's Bibi Site)

Furthermore, in Chitose City's Mamachi Site, the clay mask has been found on a grave from the final stages of the Jomon era. Though only one of these mask has been unearthed in Hokkaido, it seems that the masks served much the same purpose as clay figures.