Windows on the Japanese Past reports the state of the art in the archaeology and prehistory of Japan by presenting both original research and reflections by leading scholars on both sides of the Pacific. The 649-page book is divided into five sections:
Part I. Background
Part II. Race, Language, and Culture: Japanese Identity
Part III. Prehistory, Culture History, and Society
Part IV. Typological Studies in Japanese Archaeology
Part V. Japanese Cultural Resource Management
The discussions move from studies of the vegetational history of Japan and premodern “archaeology” to studies of Japan’s link—in race, language, and culture—to continental peoples and cultures. The third section presents detailed analyses of current archaeological research in Japan. These articles are grouped to provide the reader with a history of Japan as seen through archaeology—the section is subdivided into the Paleolithic, Jomon, and Yayoi/Kofun periods. Section four focuses on typology, and both presentations outline the way in which Japanese archaeologists formulate their typological categories, as distinct from Western archaeologists. Pottery is the main focus. The final section details the intricate system that Japan has devised for preserving archaeological sites, as well as the problems surrounding those preservation efforts. The 110-page glossary of Japanese archaeological terms is itself an important scholarly contribution.