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  1. #1
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    Question Did Judaism Shape Japan?

    I decided to see if there were any similarities or connections between the Jews and the Japanese. I wasn't expecting to find much, if anything at all --aside from Japan sheltering the Jews during WWII. Much to my surprise and excitement, I found the ancient Israelites may have actually shaped and influenced Japan/the Japanese in almost every facet of their lives. The evidence is extremely compelling.

    Please, see for yourself.

    Israelites Came To Ancient Japan
    Israelites Came To Ancient Japan: Chapter 3
    Israelites Came To Ancient Japan: Chapter 4

    Examples:





    -------------------





    -------------------




    A "yamabushi" with a "tokin" blowing a horn


    A Jew with a phylactery blowing a shofar

  2. #2
    IRL is not real Cimarron's Avatar
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    I'm just wondering what brought you to that kind of connection. Did you see similarity in cultures?

    Oh that set of pictures at the bottom--yup, Jews wear similar headgear during prayer, as shown.
    Last edited by Cimarron; 12-25-2008 at 08:09 PM. Reason: pictures
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cimarron View Post
    I'm just wondering what brought you to that kind of connection. Did you see similarity in cultures?
    I have 5 Jewish friends. I'm part Japanese. I was truly just curious to see if there was a connection. I had no inkling beforehand, as I'm not well versed in Japanese culture.

    Anyway, the evidence the guy collected is interesting. I would even go as far as to say, he has a solid case stating one of the lost tribes settled there.

  4. #4
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    This is interetings, and I had not thought of this before. However, I would seriouly caution making connections based on things like their buildings. What is demonstrated there are buldings that are similar in terms of being extremely basic geometric shapes, and by they standard of basic shapes, you might even say they are actually rather different. It's kind of like when people think there must be a connection between Egyptian and Aztec pyramids. The fact is, humans discover basic shapes, and they discover what works for certain purposes, so the same things repeat a lot.

    This happens all the time. Like when people try to find a relation between a name in two cultures. If the name is monosylabic, than there's a good chance it will have independently formed in two places. A great point here being Lee.
    And so, that might even be the case with clothing, based on the amount of similarity I see there between the two pictures.

    Incidentally, Catholics also have a hat like that, and we know that Portuguese heavily influenced the Japanese more recently. I guess the one other problem here is that Judaism ranges so far back, if it's influences came to Japan early on, they may be nearly impossible to identify in any conclusive way.

    I did already know, for a fact, that at one time or another, Jews migrated to the far east, because I learned about their blood traces in China. However, knowing that they went there at one time does not tell us how much of their culture actually difused into the area.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    I know its a popular theory among Japanese Christians (I think there is a connected theory that the Ainu are one of the Lost Tribes of Israel, but its been awhile since I heard the supposed details and evidence). I'm more than a little skeptical about the whole thing, though.

  6. #6
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    I know its a popular theory among Japanese Christians (I think there is a connected theory that the Ainu are one of the Lost Tribes of Israel, but its been awhile since I heard the supposed details and evidence). I'm more than a little skeptical about the whole thing, though.
    Hrmm... I know that Japanese mixed with Ainu, which created part of their distinct genetic makeup. It's one of the reasons Japanese are more Caucasian than Chinese. However, I doubt the Jewish source came from the Ainu, especially since there appears to be less resemblance between Ainu culture and Judaic culture than there is between Japanese and Judaic, no?
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  7. #7
    Member Oleander's Avatar
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    I think there are other ways to read it. We know very little about what ancient 'Jews' did or believed. The Jewish and Protestant Old Testament comes from a version edited during the Babylonian Exile about 600BC, the Orthodox and Catholic one from an older version translated into Greek about 250BC. What does that tell us about actual Hebrew practices?

    What does the Bible tell us about Christianity as practised in the Vatican or in a Nigerian Pentacostal church? Something it tells us repeatedly is that Hebrews were forever getting up to no good in high places worshiping Asherah, Ba`al and Tanith as well as Yehowah. What we have in the Bible is probably what the priests of Yehowah wanted everybody to have fixed on their Temple but no closer to real folk beliefs than a sermon by John Knox to a Catholic peasant's faith in Holy Water, Relics, and prayers to Saint Theresa to have a word in Mary's ear to ask her Son to put in a good word with his Father - in other words could as easily be the Chinese Heavenly Burocracy.

    We know other things though. We know that Christianity had spread throughout most of Europe and large parts of North Africa, West Asia, Pakistan and parts of India before Islam over-ran much of it by 700CE. We know that the Roman Empire had Jews in all major cities and they were in most before Rome conquered them. If they went West it's reasonable to assume that others settled East. More reasonable in fact. Zarathustrianism (Zoroastrianism) is the only religion not denounced in the Bible. Christians borrowed a lot of symbology from its offshoot Mithraism with a similar relationship as Christians to Jews. Cyrus the Great, who sent the Jewish exiles home was a Zarathustrian. The Dead Sea Scrolls, Christian, Samaritan and fringe Zarathustrian writings share a lot they do not with anything else known from the time. In Roman times, kings like the Herods generally preferred their Eastern Power Bloc to Rome. (By that time the Parthians from Afghanistan-Pakistan had over-run the Iranian Persians)

    We know how Jews spread in the West. In fact they always had very close relations with Egypt - Pharoah had a Jewish regiment and before Cyrus, the kingdoms usually looked to Egyptian protection from Eastern attackers - something else the Bible does not lead us to expect. Christians spread too. We can say that Christians proselytise and Jews do not but that is now after Christians forbade Jewish proselytisation. They wouldn't forbid it if it wasn't happening! And 'Acts' is full of 'God-fearers', Gentiles who attended Synagogue and kept Jewish tabus. Few men were circumcised because apart from painful, in those days it was appallingly dangerous and regarded much as many moderns regard genital piercings and tattooes.

    So - call them Israelites because they are too early for Jews and the natives of 'Israel' (including Samaritans and Galileeans) had a name in later 'Judea' for heresy - had all that time and twice as long to spread East and (apart from Egypt) far more reason to do so. Civilisation lay East, trade lay East. The chances that Israelites settled East and that many of them were not at all as strict about their religion as the priestly Bible editors would have liked is as high as might as well be near-certainty.

    That does not mean they went to Japan. It does mean they may have influenced other peoples just as Christian missionaries inspired the hats Tibetan monks wear. Religion was much more fluid in the past than today, seen more as a practicality based around a central belief, much as it still can be in parts of Africa and some Buddhist countries happy to ordain trees as monks to stop them from being cut down.

    We'd need to know where the Japanese came from. The language has been described as Central Asian with a Polynesian accent but a language only written in the last thousand years and then most of it non-phonetic Chinese ideograms does not give many clues. Nor does Japanese mythology - though it bears some loose similarity to Polynesian. Japanese legendary prehistory starts about 600CE. Is that when settlers arrived? If so, why no legends of settlement? England is much the same, though it has Roman history and a history of settlement with only a century or two of legend around 'Arthur' and 'Vortigern'.

    The Japanese must have arrived from the South, so by boat, because they only annexed the Northern islands in the 19th century. Yet if there's one thing to be said about Polynesians, they must be about the greatest sailors of all time. The Japanese live on islands requiring marine connection - and have all the maritime tradition of a camel. They share some similarities because of their location with the British but that is the one they most certainly do not share. (Probably because Britain could always cross the sea to some country it was not at war with and Japan could only cross to Korea or China and more China)

    There is a possibility without any support whatsoever that the Japanese originated as ancient Chinese deportees, some rebellious Asiatic tribe, and later gained a strong Polynesian influx. It's possible (Thor Heyerdahl thought so) that the Polynesians got to the central Pacific without leaving any traces in intervening Melanesia and Indonesia by following the Japan current up to Vancouver (where they chare cultural similarities with the Kwakiutl) and then South to Hawai'i and ultimately New Zealand. In that case, the Japanese would be very early 'Polynesians' mixed with Central Asians and the 'real' Polynesians set off from either side of Puget Sound.

    All these things are possible. What is also possible is that many things Jews have preserved were once very widespread and spread to Japan as well via some trek while the pre-Japanese were still in Asia, where cut off geographically, they continued as cut off culturally they did among Jews. There are South African tribes with remarkable similarities to Jewish custom and in the reverse, the Ethiopian Falasha who claim to be Jews and have been airlifted to Israel but lack everything 'Jewish' since and including the Exodus (and are as black as any other Ethiopian). Presumably they went the other way when that happened!

    Enough language similarities for the same thing can add up but it is always dangerous to base too much on language. The Latin Deus and Greek T'eos (modern Theos) are not as related as they look. The archeologist who exclaimed "This is pure Greek" when discovering that the Aztecs called their ziggurats Teocalli - God-House - because it is so close to the Greek T'eo-kallia meaning exactly the same was either jumping to conclusions or finding some ancient contact we know nothing of. But either way, that does not show no more connection between Aztec and Greek religion than Conquistadores found in Quetzalcoatl's cross and another god they identified as St. Bernard. The Cross, Swastika, Crossed Circle are all universal symbols, usually representing the Sun.

    We have widespread religions like Christianity and Islam and Buddhism as well as 'national' ones like Judaeism and Hinduism and for that matter Shinto. I think it possible that even though all the religions of the past may look very different to us, there may well have been practices and general beliefs that the all shared. There certainly was not the feeling that Romans and Greeks had different religions though they saw their deities differently. Probably they did not feel Egyptian or Hindu as much different religion as different sects of Religion. If that's the case then we should expect a lot to be shared because its origin is human and different versions have borrowed and reborrowed off of each other.

  8. #8
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    I think this is kind of a silly theory, but if you take any of the history of the bible into any sort of chronological account in the development and spread of populations, then ALL civilizations stem from the earliest Israelites and Japan would be no exception.

  9. #9
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    I would say this is a silly theory. A few years ago, I heard another make the case that the Pashtuns of Pakistan were the lost tribes of Israel. Then of course there's the old notion of the British being a lost tribe of Israel, which helped spawn the concepts behind what we know today as Christian Identity.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    This is interetings, and I had not thought of this before. However, I would seriouly caution making connections based on things like their buildings.
    Ok, let's forget the aesthetic stuff altogether.

    I'm not saying one of the lost tribes actually went to Japan in a biblical sense, but it's very difficult to deny there wasn't a presence or influence if you actually go through all 3 pages. It's not like a connection is being forged based on one or two elements. The "presence" has affected Japanese life on almost every level.

    Though, I can accept what someone else said about widespread practices.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oleander View Post
    We'd need to know where the Japanese came from. The language has been described as Central Asian with a Polynesian accent but a language only written in the last thousand years and then most of it non-phonetic Chinese ideograms does not give many clues.
    I'm not the best candidate for representing Japanese people physically, but most people's first guess to my ethnicity is Polynesian. That's mostly Japanese people, mind you. They never think I'm one of them.

    DNA wise, the Japanese are not very similar to the Koreans or the Chinese. So, it is kind of a mystery as to their origin.

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