Documents Released Under Public Information Disclosure Law Show Government Designated Tombs of Ancient Emperors Based on Questionable Evidence

23 June 2005

Noboru Toike, a professor and expert on Imperial tombs, used Japan’s public information disclosure law to obtain academic studies conducted by the Imperial Household Agency regarding the discovery of at least 10 ancient tombs that the government has claimed hold the remains of emperors from the 5th through 13th centuries. The documents support the belief by many historians and archaeologists, including Toike, that the government designated dozens of tombs as those of some of the 124 past emperors without adequate scientific proof or academic research; instead, the designation of the ancient tombs were made in the late 19th century, largely based on references in ancient documents and folklore. Japanese historians have been prohibited from conducting their own excavations and scientific probes into the supposed imperial tombs to gain additional knowledge about Japanese history. [SOURCE: Yoshida Reij, “New Weapon Wielded in Old Tomb Debate,” Japan Times, June 23, 2005.]

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