No one knows exactly where the Japanese
came from or who they are. It is believed that the humanoid - human-like
creatures - appeared about two and half million years ago and that the
humans as we know today, homo sapiens sapiens, came into being some 35,000
years ago. Although the oldest known writings - written language - date
back only 5,000 years at best, we can 'read' our history by studying fossils,
our DNA, geological data, cosmological data, our language, and so on,
and from these records, we can determine the origin, or rather the prehistoric
history, of the Japanese
Japanese are classified as the Mongoloid (the 'yellow' race) along with Chinese, Korean, Native Americans, Mongols, Eskimos, and so on. The Yellow race makes up 33% of the world population. The Caucasoid (the "white" race), including the Australian aborigines, Arabs, Indians, Polynesians, and so on, accounts for 59% of the world population, while the Negroid (the 'black' race) accounts for only 8%. It is believed the Negroid and Caucasoid are more closely related than the Mongoloid, which gave rise to the regionalism hypothesis whereby the Mongoloid has evolved from homo erectus while the Negroid and the Caucasoid have evolved from a common ancestor homo antecessor.
The character 'Yi', as shown above, was originally meant for barbarians in the east, but later expanded to be more an inclusive word to mean aliens. The big Japanese school of thought, touched on in prehistory section, claimed that the Japanese were true descendants of the Dongyi [Dong-yi] people. Hence, the identities of Japanese had changed dramatically during the course of history. As one reader speculated, "modern-day Japanese" might very well have "appropriated their (Dongyi) history and myths". Charcoal remains of 2000-year-old rice in western Japan pointed to China's Yantze Delta as the origin. DNA studies conducted on human remains excavated in Shandong Peninsula suggested southern and northern points of origin for Jormon and Yayoi Japanese. On basis of various historical records and modern technology analysis, I would speculate that early Japanese culture was very much connected with eastern China as a result of nascent human migration from south to north and ii) that Tungusic invasions from Manchuria gradually overtook the early Continental traits. In both cases, Tungusic or continental, Japaneses shared inseparable relations with the Chinese.