Immigrant culture and ancient Asuka

303The first immigrant to settle in Asuka was Hinokuma no Tami no Tsukai Hakatoko.

Hinokuma no Tami Tsukai no Hakatoko and Musa no Suguri Ao are said to be the first immigrants to set foot in Asuka in 457, and their descendants eventually formed the Yamato no Ayauji family, who later played a significant role in developing Asuka culture. It is inferred from place names surviving to the present that Hinokuma no Tami Tsukai no Hakatoko lived in the southwest part of Asuka, in a region that includes the modern Hinokuma area.

Many immigrants from overseas are thought to have settled in the Japanese archipelago over the period from the end of the Jomon to the Asuka and Nara periods. Immigrants coming during the 5th to 7th centuries introduced a variety of technologies, learning, philosopy, and the arts, and greatly influenced the advancement of technology and culture in Japan. They were called “Imaki no Tehito,” which means “newly immigrated engineers.”

A certain Imaki no Tehito who is named among the creators of the Kitora murals is Kibumi no Honjitsu. As a member of a party of painters, he had arrived with advanced skills as an immigrant, and is thought to have participated in the drawing of the murals.