Item description for Quest for Kibi & the True Origins by Michael S.F. Gorman...
This monograph is the result of thirty years' research by New Zealander Michael Gorman into the Korean influences on the little known ancient Kingdom of Kibi in Western Japan. Archaeological evidence is combined with legends and tales from the eight-century histories of Japan which, until now, have cleverly managed to obfuscate the real ethnic and cultural origins of the Japanese people. Ancient Kibi was situated on the inland seaway between Korea and Yamato in central Japan. Nothing travelled to or from Yamato without the sufferance of Kibi. In the mid fourth century, warring Puyo warriors from Manchuria invaded the Japanese archipelago after conquering large areas of Korea, creating their own kingdoms as they went. Gorman takes the reader through this fascinating period, introducing new and exciting ideas which question traditionally held views and perceptions. This book is illustrated in colour with the beautiful photography of Akio Nakamura, one of Japan's leading photographers.
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Reviews - What do customers think about Quest for Kibi & the True Origins?
Very good book on the subject & well researched Mar 14, 2005
It's obvious by the book, that the author has done his research on a subject that is highly neglected in western circles. The reason why the author uses Kibi as a center of focus for his theoris on the origins of the Japanese imperial clan is because of its important location and interaction with ancient Korea at the time. The book is a good primer on further studies of ancient Korea/Japan interaction. I wish there were more books written in English on this subject.
Not very readable Feb 15, 2003
Clearly, Korea's influence on early Japanese history is a worthy field of study for any serious student of East Asian History. I had high hopes for this book (it also put an unappreciated dent in my checking account) but it chose to prove it's point by focusing on an obscure kingdom and with beautiful, but totally unnecessary, photographs. There are many times where the author says, "if only they would open up the imperial tombs, everything would be so clear..." Get over it, you don't have access to them, don't use it as an excuse to write a fluffy book with little meat and detail.
Horseriders Beware! Dec 17, 2002
It's a very well illustrated work, but one rather of the amateur enthusiast than academic. He just hasn't kept up with current thinking on the topic. Gorman's main fault is following the earlier theories of Egami Namio about Puyo horsemen, first made in the 1950's. These are now largely discredited as further archaeological research in Korea and Japan has shown that interaction between the mainland and archipelago was far more rich and complex. Egami's theories are based on what is now known to be misidentification and misdating of evidence. Furthermore the desire to make the Imperial Family crypto-Koreans is in some ways an understandable reaction to the Imperial cults of Meiji and Hirohito and Japanese treatment of Korea in the 20th century, but it doesn't necessarily make it true. Egamis' theory is almost an apology for the Imperial family in some way -not their fault, they couldn't be trusted, they were Koreans all along. This is a very political and sensitive question for some to this day in Japan but hopefully not for too much longer will anyone in Japan or elsewhere give a hoot whether there might (gasp!) be non-Yamato blood flowing through Imperial and common veins...
Controversial evidence of the true origins of Japan Jan 5, 2000
In "The Quest for Kibi", Michael Gorman uses evidence from archaeology, together with insights into the truth behind Japan's early folk-tales and legends, to challenge the officially held views of the origins of imperial Japan. In an immensely readable narrative style, Gorman presents the remarkable story of the ancient state of Kibi on the Inland Sea, conquered in the 4th century AD by warrior horsemen from Korea. Gorman painstakingly exposes the deliberate attempts by the imperial courts of the 8th century and later, to obscure their cultural and ethnic origins. Readers familiar with Japanese prejudice in this sensitive area will appreciate the controversial nature of this evidence for the Korean origins of Imperial Japan - rather as if the House of Windsor were shown to have originated in Bangladesh. It deserves to start a lively debate with establishment historians and Imperial apologists.
Gorman's erudite text is perfectly complemented by Akio Nakamura's superb photographs of the scenery, artifacts and architecture of this beautiful and little-known region.
All in all, this is an essential book for anyone with a serious interest in Japan's ancient history.