Ancient Minoans and the Japanese (線文字Aは日本語です)(その2)

フランシス・ローレライ

 古代ギリシャの哲人プラトンの著述には海中に沈んだ島「アトランテイス」が登場しますが、その実態は、エーゲ海のクレタ島やサントリーニ島を中心とする古代ミノア文明圏だとする説があります。
 古代ミノア文明に関しては、固有文字が2種類発見され、線文字A、Bと称されます。線文字Bは解読され、古代ギリシャ語と判明。線文字Aは未解読ですが、音声から判断する限り、日本語にそっくり。
 幾つかの原文を日本語として解読しましたが、それぞれ推察される文脈に合うラインで意味が通じるので、日本語と確信する次第です。
 ここでは線文字Aに通じる「聖刻文字」を取り上げました。Phaistos Disc(フェストスの円盤)を解読した文章は、クレタ島唯一の湖(「Lake Kournas」で画像の御検索を)にまつわる伝説と符合します。また深読みすれば、ミノタウロスを倒した英雄テーセウスの話とも解釈可能です。(順方向・逆方向、何れでも日本語として読める「回文」もどきである事も判明)
 この事から日本語の歴史は、紀元前2000年にまで遡る事となり、日本の文化や歴史に関し、新たな洞察が得られるでしょう。

7. Phaistos Disc


Discovered in 1908 on Phaistos palace grounds, the Phaistos Disc is in fired clay and the writing has been stamped on with Cretan hieroglyphs, said to predate Linear A by about a century.

It is circular in shape, and the writing gradually spirals in from the outer rim of the disc toward the center, in clockwise fashion, so that it may represent a whirlpool or labyrinth.

(1)The following has been taken down from a live reading of the Phaistos disc presented in public by Gareth Owens on You-tube.( Question marks have been inserted where pronunciation is unknown. Q and J have been written as QU and Y to better fit the pronunciation when read aloud.)

(Side A)

I-QUE-PA-JE-RJU  E-TU-QUE  AU-DI-TI  AU-AU-PI
I-QUE-NWA-TU-SA  WA-DI-TI-QUE WA-?-NO I-QUE-KE-RJU-NE.

KU-RJA-TE I-QUE-?-DA-TE JE-?-TU-TI I-QUE-RA-NA-KA.
RE-TWE I-WA-DWA- ZO-NA-RJU YO-YE I-QUE-KU-RJA.

I-QUE-WA-WA-TE-RAI-SWI SA-NA I-QUE-KU-RJA.
I-WA-DWA- SO-NA-RJU YO-YE I-QUE-KU-RJA.

I-QUE- WA-TA-RA-RJU-WA KE-RJU-?-DA KU-RJA-QUE
I-QUE-PA-YE NA-DA-TE

ZO-U-KA I-QUE-WA-WA-TE-RAI-SWI PA-YE ZO-U-KA.

(Side B)

I-QUE-?-TU-TI WA-DI-TI-TE I-RAI- NA-PU.
?-DWA-WA SA-E-NE-QUE ZE-NA-RJU-TJA.

PA-YE-RE-SA SO-TI-PA-JE-RJU.
?-RAI- ? -DWA TI-E-TU-TE I-RJA-NI-TU.

WA-DWA-KA-YE AU-E-E-NE-TE ZE-TA-RJU AU-SA-YE.
KE-TE-RA-RE-SA I-PE-WA-YE AU-NI-TI-NO AU-NO-PA

AU-DI-TI ?-AU-NI-TI-NO WA-PI-NA-DWA TI-RJU-TE
TI-DI-TI TI-NA-RJU-E ?-AU-NI-TI-NO PE-QUI-RE-RJU-TI

I-KE-TE-NA-TI AU-PI-NA-DWA DI-TI.


(2) Common Words

I-QUE―KU-RJA 

Japanese is a language that is littered with homophones, words that sound the same but which take on different meanings, and this phrase can be construed in different ways.

(a) 池来りゃ (Now coming onto the lake)
IKE means lake or pond in Japanese, and the inscription may well describe someone who is rowing a boat out onto a lake.

(b) 行け来りゃ(船を漕ぐ際の掛け声?)Come and go !
With a lake in the background, this may be translated as “ Heave and ho !” (as in a row-boat)

(c) いくえくりや、いく重来りゃ (Passing through how many folds)

I-QUE may be construed as I-KU-E and refer to the circular shape and tree-trunk like design of the Phaistos disc, on which words have been inscribed conically, as if on a snail’s shell, with the lines revolving around one another, in whirlwind fashion. The lines may then allude to someone trying to find his way inside a labyrinth, or the passing of years, with repetition of seasons.

(d) There is still another possibility, that I-QUE means “alive.”

Consequently, one will pursue the possibility that, given this recurring phrase I-QUE-KU-RYA, the lines describe an oarsman who is out onto a lake on a rowboat.

AU-NI-TI-NO あうにちの(会う日の) (On the day of the meeting)、or 往日の(過去の) (On a day in the past)


(3) Sound Replacements for Easier Reading

(a) P ⇒ B, H or K (P does not commonly appear in Japanese.)

(b) As certain syllabics in Japanese are missing in tables of Linear A symbols and phonetics, the following substitutions will be made for particular unknown signs, to make better sense of otherwise difficult phrases.

---Side A : bone-shaped sign, often construed as a flute ⇒ SO

--- Side B : 人 ⇒ NI


(4) Translation as Japanese

(Side A)

I-QUE-HA-JE-RJU  E-TU-QUE  AU-DI-TI 
池(の水面)映える   いつか   おお父(上)  
The lake shines, One day, great father !

AU-AU-KI I-QUE-NWA-TU-SA
おお青き  池(湖)の なつ(かし)さ。
Oh, the blue lake, what memories it brings back !

WA-DI-TI-QUE WA-?-NO I-QUE-KE-RJU-NE.
お 父 上    (必ず) 生き 返るね。                                 
Father,   (You) will surely come back alive.

KU-RJA-TE    I-QUE-(SO)-DA-TE   JE-(SO)-TU-TI    I-QUE-RA-NA-KA.
くりゃて!   生き(てい)そうだって 家(は)そっち   池(湖)の中(に)   
Come on! (You) must still live on. Though home is now yonder, within the Lake

RE-TWE      [ I-WA-DWA- ZO-NA-RJU YO-YE I-QUE-KU-RJA ]
(あ)りて 岩戸は ぞ 鳴りう   おおい  行け来りゃ!
The entrance rock resonates. O yeah, when I heave and ho!

I-QUE-WA-WA-TE-RAI-SWI   SA-NA I-QUE-KU-RJA.
池は あたらしい(古語:素晴らしい)  そんな 湖(に)来りや!
It’s wonderful to be on the Lake, Heave and ho!

[ I-WA-DWA- SO-NA-RJU YO-YE I-QUE-KU-RJA ]
岩  戸は ぞ 鳴りう  おおい  行け来りゃ!
The entrance rock resonates. O yeah, when I heave and ho!

I-QUE- WA-TA-RA-RJU-WA   KE-RJU-?-DA  KU-RJA-QUE
湖 (を) 渡れるわ    軽(そう)だ  来りゃ(と)!
Crossing the Lake to the other side, looks light and easy. Heave, ho!

I-QUE-HA-YE    NA-DA-TE
湖の(水面は)映え  名だて(名の通り)
The Lake looks picture perfect, and true to its name.

ZO-U-KA     I-QUE-WA-WA-TE-RAI-SWI    HA-YE ZO-U-KA.
「そうか」(なるほど) 池は  素晴らしい。   「はい   そうか」
"I understand." The Lake is a wonderful place.  "Yes, I see."

(Side B)

I-QUE-(NI)-TU-TI WA-DI-TI-TE
湖   に 着き、  お 父 上 ! 
I arrive at the Lake. Oh father !

I-RAI- NA-KU. (NI)-DWA-WA SA-E-NE-QUE ZE-NA-RJU-TJA.
いらいなくにとは  残念 !    「そう なった」
絶望されたとは        大変残念です。  「そんな顛末だ」
Having lost trust and hope, is most regrettable. “That’s what happened.”

KA-YE-RE-SA SO-TI-KA-JE-RJU.
「帰れさ、   そっち(に)帰る(のだ)」
「戻れ、    そっちに戻るのだ」
“Go back.  You are going back.”

(NI)-RAI- ? -DWA TI-E-TU-TE I-RJA-NI-TU.
いらいなくとは   ちえつて   いやに(なる)。
絶望されたとは    酷い話で   落ち込みます。   
Having lost trust and hope, that’s terrible and most depressing.

WA-DWA-KA-YE AU-E-E-NE-TE ZE-TA-RJU AU-SA-YE.
「あとは 早よう 王位に(つい)て」  知っている。 押さえ(て)
「あとは遅滞なく王位について」     知っています、気をつけて
“The rest is, start to reign without delay.” I know, please be discreet when

KE-TE-RA-RE-SA I-KE-WA-YE    AU-NI-TI-NO AU-NO-KA
語られさ。     湖の(水面)映え   逢う日の  あるの(だろう)か。
話して下さい。   湖が輝いている。  父との再会は叶うのだろうか。
you speak to me. The Lake shines, Will we see each other ever again?

AU-DI-TI (NI)-AU-NI-TI-NO WA-BI-NA-DWA TI-RJU-TE
おお 父   にあう日の     わびな  戸は  知るて。
父王    に逢う日について    わびしい戸は知っている。
The day I’ll meet with great father, the lonesome door recognizes.

TI-DI-TI TI-NA-RJU-E (NI)-AU-NI-TI-NO HE-QUI-RE-RJU-TI
信じて  しなるよ   (父)に あう日の 入れる  地
思いを馳せて気力を保とう、 父との再会の日に戻る土地に。
I stoop in belief, on the day to meet father again, the land where that will be.

I-KE-TE-NA-TI   AU-KI-NA-DWA DI-TI.
癒えてなし    大きな戸は     父
気持ちが癒えない。    巨大な岩戸は   父そのもの。
I need to heal my feelings. The huge door, that is father.



(5) Legend of Lake Kournas

(a) According to information on the internet, the only natural lake on Crete is Kournas, with the ancient name of Korisia, near Chania. This lake is known for the legend of a water nymph who appears on moonlit nights, combing her hair, with 2 versions to the story.

(i) The water nymph was the daughter of a villager who sat down with her father on the spot where the lake is today. Her father, bewitched by her beauty, was tempted and approached here with evil intentions. The terrified girl cried out a wish that the whole area should sink and become a lake. Then the ground shook and sank with a terrible noise, leaving a lake where the valley had been, and the maiden took refuge in its dark waters.

(ii) The inhabitants of the area lived and acted in a way that provoked the wrath of the deities. It rained heavily for a long time, so that the whole village was drowned into a newly created lake. The maiden was the only one to survive, and she can still be seen combing her hair on a rock in the lake.

(b) So the translation as Japanese seems to fit the second version of the legend very well, and the writing must describe the maiden rowing a boat onto Lake Kournas and talking to her lost father.

He mentions that she is to become queen, and this reveals that the girl is a princess and her father, now gone, was king.

(c) If so, the shape of the Phaistos Disc and the sequence of words, in whirlwind fashion, is consistent with the legend of Lake Kournas, as it obviously replicates the way the whole valley sank and became submerged in the lake.


(6) In Reverse Order

(a) The shape and design of the Phaistos disc, in which words are laid out in circular, whirlwind fashion, hints at a sense of playfulness and entertainment, whereby it can be read in both directions, from left to right or from right to left, and make sense in 2 different ways. Such a traditional game is known in Japan as kaibun, and made possible by the syllabary nature of the language.

---AU-NI-TI-NO becomes NO-TI-NI-AU(のちにあう、のちに会う)
(To be met with later on)

(b) Here, we shall reverse the word ordering on each side to see if the whole Phaistos Disc can be deciphered as a kaibun game.

(Side A)

KA-U-ZO YE-KA SWI-RAI-TE-WA-WA-QUE-I    KA-U-ZO
請うぞ   良いか 白い(帆)を   若い(の)、   請うぞ。
お願いするよ。良いか、白い帆を掲げるんだ、若いの。   お願いだ。
I beg of you, remember to use the white sail, young one, I beg of you.

TE-DA-NA    YE-KA-QUE-I   QUE-RYA-KU DA-?-RJU-KE
手(握手)だな  良いか、兄   契 約(約束) だ  行け
ここで握手。   良いか、兄弟。 約束だ、    さあ行け。
Then shake hands. Remember, brother, it’s a promise, now go.

WA-RJU-RA-TA-WA-QUE-I
悪かった(な)、 若い(の)。
Sorry about all this, young one.

[ RJA-KU-QUE-I    YE-YO   RJU-NA-SO-DWA-WA-I ]
「約   束      しよう」   う ん、そうだ(わい)。
“I’ll keep the promise,” (said Theseus.) Yes, that’s it.

RJA-KU-QUE-I  NA-SA   SWI-RAI-TE-WA-WA-QUE-I
約    束    の さ   白い(帆)を 若い(の)
約束守ってくれよ、          白い帆の、若いの。
Keep your promise on the    white sail, young one.

[ RJA-KU-QUE-I  YE-YO   RJU-NA-ZO-DWA-WA-I ]
「約    束    しよう」   う ん、 そうだ(わい)。
“I’ll keep the promise,” (said Theseus.) Yes, that’s it.

TWE-RE KA-NA-RA-QUE-I TI-TU-(SO)-JE TE-DA-(SO)-QUE-I
つまり   必ず、兄。    (言葉)質 そえ 手出そう(握手しよう)、兄。
ぬかることなく、兄弟。   この言葉で握手しよう、兄弟。
Without failure, brother. On these words, let’s shake hands, brother.

TE-RJA-KU    NE-RJU-KE-QUE-I  NO-?-WA   QUE-TI-DI-WA
手(前の)約(束) ネグる  けい   の(とき)は この父は。
約束が        無視される様な   場合、    この父は。
Should this promise, be neglected by ruse, then this father,

SA-TU-NWA-QUE-I    KI-AU-AU    TI-DI-AU
さすがに  兄      気負い合う(ので)     信じよう。
しかし兄弟、さすがに  お互い重荷に感じるだろうから  信じよう。
But brother, since the thought is too much for both of us, I’ll believe you.

QUE-TU-E RJU-JE-KA-HE-(R)I
き つ い   ゆえ   帰ろう。
これは重すぎるので   戻ろうかと思う。
Since this is stressful,   I’ll now go back.


(Side B)  (A) : Aegeus (T) : Theseus  テ:テーセウス

TI-DI  DWA-NA-KI-AU  TI-NA-TE-KE-I 
父    とは 泣きあう   しな て けり。
そこで父と お互いに落ち込み、涙を流す。
Father and I are brought down, in tears together.

TI-RJU-RE-QUI-KE NO-TI-NI-AU-(NI) E-RJU-NA-TI
父:ちょっと聴け。  後 に 逢うに  得る(ところ)なし。
父:良く聴け。    また会えるので  こんな事してても意味はない。
(A) Listen to me, since we’ll meet again, this is uncalled for.

TI-DI-TI  TE-RJU-TI DWA-NA-KI-WA NO-TI-NI-AU-(NI)
信じて   照る地    永遠 泣き は   後に   逢うに。
輝く成功の地を信じなさい。泣き続けても意味ない、 また逢えるので。
Believe in the shining land, there’s no need to linger in tears, since we’ll meet again.

TI-DI-AU  KA-NO-AU  NO-TI-NI-AU 
テ:信じよう 彼の世(で) 後に 逢う。  
テ:後世を信じるので、   また逢いましょう。
(T) I believe in the afterlife, so we’ll meet anyway.

YE-WA-KE-I       SA-RE-RA-TE-KE
父: いや、若けい!    さら ば、 行け。
(A) No, you’re just too young. Bye for now, and go!

YE-SA-AU RJU-TA-ZE  TE-NE-E-E-AU
テ:ええさよう(なら) 言うたぜ。てめえ(出)よう。
テ:さらば言われたし、もう帰ろう。
(T) Yes, goodbye, he says. So now I’ll take leave.

YE-KA-DWA-WA TU-NI-RJA-I 
父:いいか、永遠(長丁場)はついに厭になるから。     
(A) Look, a long goodbye leads nowhere.

TE-TU-E-TI   DWA-?-RAI-(NI)
テ: テツ得し、  と笑い。 
テ:分かりました、 と笑う。
(T) I understand, says Theseus and he laughs.

RJU-JE-KA-TI-SO  SA-RE-JE-KA  TJA-RJU-NA-ZE
父:ゆ  え 勝ちそう。去れ、良いか。 揶揄(するのは)なぜ?
父:きっと勝つんだから、もう行けよ。 何故、嘲るのか?
(A) You’re bound to win, so take leave now, all right? Why make such a mockery?

QUE-NE-E-SA  WA-DWA-(NI)     KU-NA-RAI-I
帰えんねえさ  (彼)は 永遠 に。   こう 習い
テーセウスは  いつまでも帰ってくれない。 そう諦めて
He will not take leave, ever. So understood,

TE-TI-DI-WA     TI-TU-(NI)-HE-RI
テ(ーセウスの)父は   室 に(帰)へり。
エーゲウスは       部屋に戻った。
Theseus’s father Aegeus retired into his room.


(c) So we may gather there had been an attempt at creating something akin to “kaibun,” or a reversed version for the purpose of playful entertainment. Accordingly, there must be room and tolerance for inaccuracies in the use of letters, pronunciation and grammar, that need to be adjusted as one reads on, to create sense out of sentences which must be strained in the choice of words.

(d) Much may depend on how SWI-RAI-TE-WA, at the beginning of Side A, is interpreted, and it could be either white hand, or white sail.

(In Japanese, SWI-RAI sounds close to SI-ROI, meaning white, and TE means hand. WA at the end could either be a suffix that makes SWI-RAI-TE the subject in the sentence, or could also mean, circle. In the latter case, TE-WA could be construed as a noun with the image of a hand and circle put together, probably a fan or sail, and so the phrase can be read as, white sail.)

(e) QUE-I, that frequently appears on side A may also be interpreted in different ways.

(i) If SWI-RAI-TE-WA means, white hand, then QUE-I could be the name of a woman, and this could be a bawdy song about a man confronting his favorite prostitute QUE-I (side A), and an ensuing scene of wrenchingly sad, tearful departure (side B). In fact, it may evoke some of the obscene graffiti left on the walls of Pompeii.

In this case, the story is in line with the legend of Lake Kournas, in its first version, perhaps describing an incestuous scene between father and daughter, before she cried out her wish for a cataclysm, so that everything should be submerged within a lake.

(QUE-I could also be read as KE-SI, which is the poppy flower, then RJA-KU may be YA-KU, meaning drug, and the whole story may be about a visit to an opium den.)

(ii) On the other hand, if SWI-RAI-TE-WA means white sail, then QUE-I may be taken to be a fill-in word to express affection, with the literal meaning of, brother.

In this case, this reversed version could be interpreted as the story of Theseus before leaving Athens for Crete on his mission to slay the Minotaur, with his father imploring Theseus to hoist a white sail on his return voyage, or else, and the difficult ensuing conversation. TE-TU and TE-TI could stand for Theseus.

(The English translation has been written, consistent with this line of interpretation.)


(7) Story of Theseus and his father, Aegeus

Thus, given the information available in the reversed version, we may interpret the word lake as to allude to the Aegean Sea, and an entirely different story emerges.

(a) Minotaur Legend

There was a monster called the Minotaur, with a human body and the head of a bull, kept in a labyrinth in Crete. It was the horrible offspring of the queen of King Minos, to which the city of Athens had to offer 7 boys and 7 girls as offerings at the end of every 7 year cycle.

Theseus, son of Aegeus, King of Athens, decides to put an end to this unspeakable custom, goes to Crete and enters the labyrinth with the help of Ariadne, the daughter of King Minos, who gives him a ball of thread to unroll inside the labyrinth, to guide him swiftly on his way back. Theseus successfully kills the Minotaur inside the labyrinth, and leaves Crete with Ariadne.

(b) Theseus’s Return to Athens

Theseus, upon his return to Athens after killing the Minotaur, finds out that his father Aegeus had taken his own life by throwing himself into the sea. This tragedy had occurred because Aegeus had mistakenly believed that Theseus had been killed by the Minotaur.

Aegeus had made Theseus promise that, should he successfully conquer the Minotaur, he should use a white sail on his way back to Athens, and a black sail if he was killed, as an early message to Aegeus.

Theseus had met Ariadne, daughter of King Minos, in Crete and they became lovers. She helped him kill the Minotaur in the labyrinth and come back alive by entrusting him with the ball of thread. Theseus intended to bring Ariadne back to Athens with him, but had to leave her forsaken on Naxos island at the behest of the deity Dionysus, who had fallen in love with her.

Theseus was so overcome with grief at the loss of Ariadne that he forgot to hoist the white sail on his ship from Naxos back to Athens and inadvertently used the black color instead. Aegeus spotted Theseus’ ship as it approached Athens and, recognizing the black sail, lost all hope and threw himself into the sea from a cliff, in a fit of despair. Because of this tragedy, the sea was thereafter named the Aegean.

(c) Phaistos Disc

Interpreted in this context, the writing on the Phaistos Disc, read in the normal direction, recounts Theseus’s nostalgic memories for his lost father Aegeus as he rows a boat into the Aegean Sea upon his return to Athens.

There is a huge rock that looks like a door, that reflects the sounds in echoes when Theseus rows and throws his voice, and this must be the rock from which Aegeus had hurled himself into the ocean.

On side A, Theseus, as he rows, keeps reminding himself that his father will someday come back alive. On side B, Theseus talks to his father in his imagination, divulging his melancholy feelings.

Theseus had taken upon himself the mission to go to Crete and kill the Minotaur, and there was a moving scene of farewell with his father before leaving Athens, but that was the last he ever saw of him.

The huge rock is now a symbol and reminder of Aegeus for Theseus, and brings back cherished memories of his father. If “the lake is picture perfect and true to its name,” it must be called the Aegean Sea.

Consequently, there may be a good reason why the writing on the Phaistos Disc is presented in spiral fashion, i.e. to remind the reader of the labyrinth and, also, of the swirls of the ocean when Aegeus threw himself off the cliff.


(8) Conclusion (Phaistos Disc is in Japanese)

(a) Thus, the Phaistos Disc must be written in Japanese, for it makes sense read in both the normal and reverse directions. It may either describe the legend of Lake Kournas or of Theseus and the Minotaur, both of which are well-known stories on the island of Crete, and such a series of coincidences may not be a product of chance.

(b) We must recognize that the words in the Phaistos Disc are arranged in whirlwind fashion on both sides, so that a speaker of the Minoan language from those times would have naturally suspected a hidden version in reverse, created as a playful gesture and for posterity.


8. Arkalochori Axe


This was a bronze double axe excavated in 1934 in the Arkalochori cave on Crete, and believed to date from the 2nd millennium BCE. It is inscribed with 15 symbols, many of which are shared with or that can be deduced from the symbols on the Phaistos Disc. Using the same phonetic methodology on the Phaistos Disc, as employed by Gareth Owens, it can be transcribed and translated as Japanese, in the following manner:

KO-RE-DA-I-SA-NA-I-MA-TE-I-SA-MA-NA-PU-ZE

こ れだ いさない まて い さまな  ぷ ぜ。
これだ イザない  マテ いさめるぜ。
これだ  誘い(の)斧(?) 諫めるぜ。

This is it, the axe of temptation, it’s going to wreak on punishment.


IV. Conclusion


Given the above analyses of Linear A texts, we are consistently led to the conclusion that these texts can be read, deciphered and interpreted in the Japanese language and make sense in a context consistent with and fulfilling expectations on inscriptions on tablets, artifacts or commodities, each with their particular utility, purpose, design and idiosyncrasies.

At the same, scrutiny of each of the Linear A symbols has demonstrated that they were invented by people who spoke Japanese, apt to create symbols derived from simple drawings of animals, plants, objects and ideas that represented the sound of the first syllable of their names in Japanese.

Consequently, it is most probable that the underlying language of Linear A is Japanese, i.e. the ancient Minoans spoke the Japanese language, no matter how absurd it may sound on first impression.

When and how the ancient Minoans ever reached Japan to settle down and leave the legacy of their language is another question, and here are some of the more basic points that need to be covered.


1. Migration

On first impression, the island of Crete may be unimaginably remote from the Japanese isles, but given present day theories on the origins of mankind in the African rift valley and the diaspora into Europe and Asia via the Middle East, it may be reasonable to consider that the origin and pathway of the different human languages must have followed a more or less similar course as they branched out, i.e. from the African rift valley, to Asia minor, the choke point where all races and tribes had to pass through, and farther onwards to the different continents.

(1) The ancient civilizations that developed around the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea are known to have traded with one another, and the Minoans were prolific traders who exchanged goods with diverse nations including ancient Egypt. They must also have had commercial relations with such peoples as the Hittites in Anatolia and the Assyrians and Babylonians in Mesopotamia. The Mesopotamians in turn are known to have carried out trade with people of the Indus civilization.

If so, the Minoans may have known that the civilized world was already expansive enough to reach the Indus valley.

(2) The Minoans may have been gradually pressured into and compelled to emigrate from Crete to distant lands for the following reasons:

(a) A cataclysmic earthquake on Thera (circa 1628 BCE) caused huge tsunamis to reach Crete, causing great havoc and destruction on the island, so that the Minoans were faced with the loss of their merchant fleet and other seagoing vessels that were key to their prosperity and high standards of living, based on international trade. This eventually was to encroach upon their livelihood, as they could no longer compete with other nations in the Eastern Mediterranean region as before.

(b) The Mycenaean Greeks came into Crete around 1450 BCE to become the new rulers, so that the Minoan language was replaced with ancient Greek, that was written in the Linear B script, replacing the older Linear A script with which the Minoan tongue was written.

(c) According to the archaeologist Eric Cline, there was a general collapse of Bronze age civilizations in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East around 1177 BCE, that adversely affected the Egyptians, Hittites, Canaanites, Cypriots, Minoans, Mycenaeans, Assyrians and Babylonians, and which led to the collapse of the Minoan, Mycenaean, Trojan, Hittite and Babylonian cultures. He lists a number of causes that must have worked together, including drought, famine, the aggressive “sea peoples,” and earthquakes.

Perhaps it was during this age of late Bronze age cataclysm when the Minoans were finally prompted to leave Crete and the Eastern Mediterranean region, to seek new lands to settle in.

(3) The migrants who made their way eastwards may have made stopovers within their sphere of influence in the Cycladic Islands and Cyprus, and once having reached the Eurasian continent, probably Asia Minor or Anatolia, they must have branched out in groups, depending on their preferences of whether to settle down in the Mediterranean or Black Sea region, or to continue on still eastwards. For the latter group, the southern route could be taken on sailboats to necklace the southern fringes of the Indian Ocean, the South China Sea and further, to the East China Sea.

(4) An important objective would be to reach lands with a similar natural setting as Crete, including the configuration of stars and planets. This meant that the destination should be on a similar latitude as Crete, and have easy access to the ocean as well. Furthermore, they may have felt an affinity for volcanic islands.

(5) Jo-mon to Yayoi Transition

There is an intriguing question in Japanese ancient history concerning the transition from the Jo-mon age to the Yayoi age, symbolized by the coming into fashion of a new style of making earthenware pottery. This is said to have occurred in the latter half of the 10th century BCE in Japan, judging from new data obtained from carbon dating methods on Yayoi style pottery.

The Yayoi age is also associated with the inception of rice cultivation in paddy fields in Japan. This new method of cultivating rice is said to have spread to Japan via the Korean Peninsula where, in turn, the practice had begun toward the end of the 11th century BCE.

Researchers point to a reorganization of local communities on the Korean Peninsula in the 11th century BCE that may have prompted overseas migration from the south to places including Japan, and it was probably these migrants from Korea who taught the Japanese how to cultivate rice this way.

However, researchers are still kept wondering what might have been the strong stimulus behind this dramatic wave of migration from the Korean Peninsula into Japan in the 11~10th centuries BCE, that caused the transition from the Jo-mon to Yayoi age.

(6) The Japanese were referred to as Wa-jin in the Chinese text known as “Gishi-Wajin-Den” dating from the late 3rd century CE, that described them as the diminutive people. This may possibly be attributed to their roots in a long and difficult sea-bound voyage from geographically distant lands, that allowed only the smallest but hardiest among their race to make the long trip that finally led them to Japan.

To cross the seas, they may have used small boats that permitted only the smallest members to board, excluding the big ones because they would take up too much space and cause the vessels to become easily unstable during rough seas.

(7) Hypothesis

The ancient Minoans, faced with adverse conditions in the eastern Mediterranean region circa 1177 BCE, including drought, famine, the Sea Peoples and earthquakes, must have decided to set out on a journey of migration in search of new lands to settle in, and eventually found their way to the Far East.

They passed through China, where they taught Linear A to the Chinese, as they were trying to develop their own “kanji” writing system. The Minoans then arrived on the Korean Peninsula within the 11th century BCE, and arrived in Japan in the 10th century BCE, bringing in new technology including Yayoi pottery and rice cultivation in paddy fields, as well as the Minoan language that used to be recorded in the Linear A script, thus causing the dramatic transition from the Jo-mon to the Yayoi age.

(a) Such a grand story of migration from Crete to Japan may be apt to cause initial disbelief, because the distance seems utterly unrealistic to cover in ancient times. However, one must take the following factors into consideration:

(i) The Minoans need not have covered the distance from Crete to Japan in the course of a trip on a single leg; they may not even have had to reach Japan in a lifetime. With the above long timeframe, allowing for perhaps 200 years, between 1177~900 BCE, for the journey, it is quite conceivable for them to have made long stopovers on the way in the hope for hospitality, settled down temporarily and then, dissatisfied with the location, continued on with their journey like nomads in search of the perfect new home.

The quest was continued by the 2nd or later generations as necessary, all the while maintaining their language and customs, albeit with modifications, until they finally reached the shores of the Japanese isles.

(ii) From the 4th to the 6th centuries CE, Japan was characterized by the ko-fun, or huge, expansive mounds (tumuli) created as tombs for the ruling class, and surrounded by moats. From this age are also excavated the haniwa, or terra cotta figurines of people, animals and houses, often found in these ko-fun.

Some of these haniwa are known to depict foreigners, including bearded men wearing hats, often interpreted to be of the Jewish faith and attributed to the Hata clan, known to come from the Korean Peninsula, but probably with roots in the Middle East.

If there were immigrants who came to settle in Japan from the Middle East in the 4~6th centuries CE, it may not be such a great fantasy to imagine Minoans who left Crete and whose families eventually reached Japan, albeit much earlier, in the Yayoi age.

(b) Emigration from Crete may have taken place in stages, because a plural number of groups may have departed on ships from different ports in intermittent fashion.

After all, because of Crete’s flat and oblong geography, the 4 palaces, located at a distance from one another, depended on different ports from where they conducted trade with somewhat different regions in the eastern Mediterranean.

For example, if people depending on the palace of Phaistos were to emigrate, they might use the port of Matala on the southern coast and form a completely different group of migrants from those who left areas close to the northern coast, e.g. Knossos. This is not to speak of Minoan speakers who lived on islands other than Crete, such as Santorini (Thera) or Cyprus.

(c) As regards the place of settlement when these Minoans reached Japan, it may have been initially in the land of Izumo (Shimane Prefecture), judging from its latitude very close to Crete, the abundance of mythology surrounding Susanoo-no Mikoto and his arrival from the Korean Peninsula, as well as the innumerable bronze artifacts including swords and ceremonial bells (do-taku) unearthed from excavations, that attest to Izumo’s importance as a center of political and military power in Yayoi age Japan.

After the first wave of Minoan settlers had established themselves in Shimane Prefecture and found it comfortable there, rumors, news and tidings may have reached other Minoan groups in the East Asian region, prompting them to cross the Sea of Japan too, thus creating new waves of migration into Japan.

According to myths and legends recorded in texts such as Koji-Ki, Izumo eventually conceded central power to Yamato, whose people seem to have come from the southern island of Kyushu, and established their capital in Nara Prefecture after winning a power struggle with Izumo.

If the people from Izumo and Yamato spoke the same language, the Yamato people may have been a different group of Minoans who arrived in Japan to become rivals of the Izumo group of Minoans. Their original differences on Crete must have been further pronounced by stopovers in different places over the course of their journey, including China and the Korean Peninsula. Each group of migrant Minoans would be bound by strong bonds of solidarity and somewhat different customs and traditions.

(d) One of the more apparent consequences of this hypothesis is that, during the transition from the Jo-mon to the Yayoi age, there must have been a dramatic change in the spoken language, i.e. a shift from the language spoken by the Jo-mon people toward the Minoan tongue.

While it may not be easy to find plausible proof or evidence for such an idea, it may be conjectured that the Minoans who reached Japan, with their new technology, lifestyle and customs, must have been received as demi-gods by the more indigenous natives, and eventually given highest social status.

This is because, unless the Minoans had come into Japan in such great numbers or with such high-tech weaponry as to overpower the natives, the Minoan tongue may not have left such a big footprint in the Japanese language, such as to allow ancient Linear A texts to be deciphered using modern Japanese, plus background knowledge of classic Japanese literature.

 In any case, we are led to the conclusion that modern Japanese must have developed basically as a mixture of the original Japanese tongue, spoken by the natives in the Jo-mon age, and the language of the Minoan immigrants who reached and settled in Japan much later, in the 11th to 10th centuries BCE, so as to trigger the big transformation into the Yayoi age.


2. Comparative Mythology


Given the understanding that an old form of Japanese was spoken by the Minoans in ancient Crete and recorded in Linear A inscriptions, we may start exploring for links between the Minoan and Japanese civilizations, for relics of the Minoan past that may be preserved in present day Japan. It may be a good idea to begin with mythology, as the oldest cultural tradition to be handed down from prehistoric times.

(1) Crete

(a) Minotaur

As above,there was a monster called the Minotaur, with a human body and the head of a bull, kept in a labyrinth in Crete. It was the horrible offspring of the queen of King Minos, to which the city of Athens had to offer 7 boys and 7 girls as offerings at the end of every 7 year cycle. Theseus, son of Aegeus, King of Athens, goes to Crete and kills the Minotaur with the aid of Ariadne, daughter of King Minos.

(The idea of a monster with a bull’s head and man’s body may somehow recall the monster in Japanese folklore called the Oni, that is a gigantic monster with a man’ body, often red, with horns on its head, and living on an island. It is known for cruelty and wrongdoing, causing people to suffer, so Japanese folktales are full of episodes describing how they were conquered by different heroes.)

(b) Birth of Zeus

Zeus’ father, Chronos, had the habit of gulping down all of his children as soon as they were born, for fear of being toppled from power by one of them, as he had been warned.

So when Zeus was born, he was hidden in a cave on the sides of Mt Ida, the highest peak in Crete. To protect the newborn baby, the supporters created an enormous din and commotion outside the cave by banging on their shields with their spears whenever it cried, to prevent Chronos from noticing the baby inside.

(2) Japan

(a) 8 Headed Snake (Yamata no Orochi)

In Shimane Prefecture (that is located very close to Crete in terms of latitude) the hero Susano-o no Mikoto (Valiant Intrepid Raging Male Deity), ruler of the oceans and younger brother of the sun goddess Amaterasu Ohmikami (the Sun Goddess ), comes to meet Kushi Inada Hime (Rice Paddy Princess of the Comb), for whom the parents are crying with grief. They had had 8 children, but the monster Yamata no Orochi, a gigantic snake with 8 heads, had come to devour one of them every year and, this way, they had lost 7 children already. This year, it would come for Kushi Inada Hime, the last one. Susano -o no Mikoto decides to put an end to this.

To protect Kushi Inada Hime, he turns her into a comb that he secures in his hair and prepares 8 urns filled with sake. The monster Yamata no Orochi arrives and, finding the sake, starts to drink from each of the urns with its 8 heads. After it is completely drunk, Susano-o no Mikoto beheads all the 8 heads, kills the monster, and marries Kushi Inada Hime.

(b) Sun Goddess Hides behind Huge Rock (Amano Iwato)

When Amaterasu Ohmikami (Sun Goddess)was born, she was assigned to rule the Plain of High Heaven. Her younger brother, Susano-o no Mikoto (Valiant Intrepid Raging Male Deity) was told to rule the oceans, but he was not satisfied, and went to the Plain of High Heaven in a fit of uncontrollable rage, then committed such obnoxious acts of atrocity there that the Sun Goddess, in unspeakable distress and sadness, decided to hide herself inside the Heavenly Rock Cave, sealed herself in with a huge rock, and refused to come out. The entire Plain of Heaven became devoid of light and pitch dark, as did the earth, that was Japan.

To resolve this intolerable situation, the gods gathered and made a plan. One female deity began to dance in front of the cave in hilarious attire and in an uninhibited manner. All the gods laughed at this and created such din and raucous commotion that the Sun Goddess, becoming curious, decided to take a peek from behind the seal rock.

At this moment, one of the deities who was known for inordinate physical strength, opened the cave and pulled the Sun Goddess out, so that light was restored to shine on heaven and earth. Then a sacred rope was hung at the cave’s entrance, so that the Sun Goddess could never lock herself in again.

(3) Minotaur replaced with 8-Headed Snake

In Crete, archaeologists have dug up evidence of human sacrifice near Knossos and there may be an element of truth behind these myths. Many civilizations are known to have practiced the sacrifice of live animals to appease the supernatural and, in certain parts of the world, this seems to have involved human sacrifice.

If the Minoans had practiced human sacrifice to appease their god (that some researchers consider to have been the snake goddess), they obviously would have preferred to victimize foreigners who lived at a distance, e.g. mainland Greece. Consequently, there may have been something akin to the legendary pact between Athens and Crete for the provision of humans, especially youngsters, for sacrifice, and leading to the story of the minotaur.

The legend may have been passed on over the years to other lands, finally reaching Japan, where the minotaur was replaced with a snake with 8 heads, to better represent the Minoan snake goddess and to fit in with the image of a labyrinth. This way, they could dispense with the idea of killing a monster with the head of a bull, which people knew was sacred in India, whence came Buddhism into Japan.

(4) Japanese Deity with Bull’s Head

The hero’s name in the Japanese version of the myth is Susanoo-no-Mikoto, evocative of Theseus, and there may be evidence for a logical connection.

There is a deity in Japan called Gozu-Tenno (牛頭天王), who is the embodiment of Shintoism and Buddhism converged together. This deity, in the form of a man with the head of a bull with horns, is worshipped in such places as Yasaka Shrine in Kyoto, where it is considered to be Susanoo-no-Mikoto in another likeness. Yasaka Shrine, meaning 8 hills, evokes the myth of the snake Yamata-no-Orochi with 8 heads, eradicated by Susanoo-no-Mikoto.

One may infer that the roots of the deity Gozu-Tenno is the Minotaur, and for the hero Susanoo-no-Mikoto, Theseus. In Japan, the Minotaur was replaced by an 8-headed snake, and Theseus and the bull monster were unified into the deity, Gozu-Tenno, apparently to integrate the symbols of Shintoism and Buddhism. However, since the bull does not normally symbolize Buddhism in Japan, this explanation must be taken with a bit of salt.

Susanoo-no-Mikoto is said to have arrived in Japan from a place in Korea called Soshi-mori, said to mean “bull’s head” in the Korean language. Soshi-mori is a mountain located toward the east of Seoul, along an imaginary center line running through the Korean Peninsula.


3. Minoan Symbols in Japan


In a similar context, i.e. the very close relationship between the ancient Minoans and the Japanese in terms of spoken language, we may look for artifacts and cultural traditions in Japan that date from ancient times, including architectural design, that reflect the Minoan past.

(1) Earthenware Sarcophagi

(a) Visitors to the palace of Knossos on the island of Crete are left with a strong impression of the many gigantic, earthenware urns or vases that are left exposed in the archaeological sites to adorn the landscape.

If migrants from ancient Crete did indeed reach Japan to settle down, they may have brought with them the practice of creating such large earthenware urns or vases, because such containers have been found as sarcophagi in places of burial starting in the late Jo-mon era, and becoming more common in the Yayoi era. In the early stages, this practice was largely for the burial of children, then it became customary for adults as well, although neither such usage seems to have been the custom in Crete.

(b) If it were indeed the ancient Minoans or their descendants who introduced large urns or vases to Japan, the footsteps of their long voyage of migration to the Far East may be traced by following the lands where similar urns are found as sarcophagi, dating from ancient times.

In this context, one may cite southwestern Korea, eastern China, the mid- region of Vietnam and Java.

(i) In Korea, not only have such earthenware sarcophagi been found in archaeological sites, but if one compares the design of Linear A symbols with Korean Hangul letters, one may discover a taste and preference for similar diagrams, although the sounds represented may not be the same. (A close call is the Linear A symbol トthat stands for “da,” and this sign represents the vowel “a” in Korean.) Korean is also known to be one of the few languages with marked similarities in words and syntax with Japanese.

(ii) In China, urn sarcophagi have been unearthed in the eastern region lying between the Yellow River and the Yangzi River, and facing the Yellow Sea. The latitude of this area in general happens to match that of Crete, as well as the San-in region in Japan, including Shimane Prefecture.


(2) Do-Taku (Bronze Bells)

The do-taku, ceremonial bronze bells from the Yayoi age, are found in large numbers in the Kansai area, notably in Shimane Prefecture, where Susanoo-no-Mikoto is supposed to have slain the 8-headed snake, and this hints at the fact that they were created by migrants from the Korean Peninsula.

They were probably used in religious ceremony, with a symbolic meaning that outweighed their practical use in creating a loud, clanging noise.

The following factors seem to hint that do-taku were symbols of authority in the Minoan tradition in Japan:

(a) The unique but uniform shape of do-taku resembles the head of an axe, which is associated with Minoan central authority.

(b) The typical do-taku has its 2 sides divided by horizontal and vertical stripes into rectangular blocks, into which animals are often sculptured. These stripes intersect each other to create the kanji 王, that signifies king, or an expanded, duplicate version of 王, on the sides of each do-taku.

(c) The kanji 王 for king, seems to have been imported from the Linear A symbol for NE (王) by virtue of its resemblance to the head of a double axe, symbol of authority of the Minoan king, in horizontal position.


(3) Figure of 8 Shields

These were originally devised by the Minoans and became popular among the Mycenaean Greeks. They are known to be painted on the walls of the palace of Knossos for decoration.

In Japan, the same design is found on the walls of ancient tombs as frescoes and also on the hull of ceremonial ships that serve to carry the dead. Given the name of chokko-mon (直弧文), they form part of an ancient art form in Japan, believed to be for magical purposes based on a superstitious belief from prehistoric times.


(4) Keyhole Tumuli

From the 4th to the 6th centuries CE in Japan, one finds extensively large, mound cemeteries (tumuli) of the Emperors, in the exotic shape of a keyhole (circle welded onto a square or rectangle), and surrounded by a moat. Some of the minor ones have been subject to excavation, and sarcophagi have been found within the circular part, just near to the rectangle.

Their unique shape has intrigued people over the ages, and one interpretation may be that it represents the Korean Peninsula, so that the circle corresponds to the southern, and the rectangle, the northern part of the Peninsula. The site of burial may correspond to the location of Soshi-mori, near Seoul, whence came Susanoo-no-Mikoto. The deceased emperors must be buried on the spot that symbolizes Soshi-mori, so that their spirits may pay homage to the place where Susanoo-no-Mikoto came from.

However, if we adopt the interpretation that Linear A is proto-Japanese, then the deity Susanoo-no-Mikoto may not be Korean by birth, as his original point of departure must have been the island of Crete, whence he came to settle in Japan following a temporary stopover in Korea.


(5) Ancient Mirrors with Labyrinth Patterns

From the age of such tumuli, circular bronze mirrors have been found with exotic patterns, using a combination of straight lines and arcs, so as to give rise to the term chokko-mon (直弧文), as mentioned above.

In fact, this design may be representative of a labyrinth, where one must choose from the many lines inscribed, connected in a confusing manner, as pathways to follow, eventually to reach the center of the mirror.

If so, this must be a reminder of the Minoan past and traditions, including the legend of the Minotaur kept in a labyrinth within the palace of Knossos.


(6) Tori-I

In Japan, Shinto Shrines are known for the enormous and ostentatious Tori-I entrances in bright scarlet color, typically with high beams across 2 pillars standing wide apart. They are supposed to mark the transition from the mundane to the sacred. Visitors from abroad are left wondering where the huge pillars ever came from, and even the natives have difficulty in explaining why they take such an exotic form. Given the fact that the Japanese language was spoken in ancient Crete, the following explanations come to mind.

(a) The Tori-I could possibly be copied transplants of the red pillars from the palace of Knossos, standing in pairs to mark the entrance of a shrine.

(b) The Tori-I could be an iconic representation of the bull, akin to the Minoan symbol of bull’s horns, or horns of consecration. One may recall that the simplest of Tori-I consisted of 2 simple pillars and the more elaborate Tori-I became common later on. In this case, they may represent,

(i) Horns of consecration with a boat or sea-going vessel placed across the top. This may symbolize the arrival in Japan by boat, of Susanoo-no-Mikoto or Gozu-Tenno.

(ii) A bull on its front legs (the 2 pillars) with the head represented at the top, eyes glaring out and horns sticking outwards.

(The top crossbeam are the bull’s horns, with a slight, upward curvature at both ends. They resemble the horns of the aurochs from antiquity, known from cave paintings in Lascaux and Altamira; they grow out of the head rather horizontally, with upward curves at both ends, like the horns of water buffalo.)


(7) Sumo Wrestling

The Japanese national sport of wrestling, known as Sumo, has been practiced from ancient times, and is often written in the kanji 角力that denote “power of horns.”

In the Grand Sumo Tournament, the contestants are known for their heavy- weight demeanor, evocative of bulls and each belongs to a “stable.” Each one comes into the circular ring, clad in a black loin cloth or “fun-doshi” (G string) that looks like it might have come right out of the fresco painting of boxers from ancient Crete, and their hair is arranged into a top knot that somehow resembles the hair style of those Minoan boxers when disheveled. A referee in traditional costume closely follows each contest inside the ring with a “gun-bai” in hand, and this looks exactly like a double ax.

Sumo has close links with Shintoism, and sumo tournaments are often conducted within the premises of shrines as an offering to deities.


(8) Helmets

Something similar to bull’s horns may be found as typical decoration on the helmets of Japanese warlords. They are called “kuwagata,” typically in the shape of large antlers or horns, and with no other purpose than ostentatious display of status, strength and fierce spirit, as if to recall the Minotaur in Greek mythology.



4. Geographic Names in Japan


Symbolic geographic names link Crete and Japan, as follows:

(1) Linear A symbol for WA and MIWA Mountain (Nara Prefecture)

In Nara Prefecture, there is a small mountain called Miwa-san, known for prospectively the oldest Shinto shrine in Japan, O-o Miwa Shrine, said to date from the Yayoi era. Here, they worship O-o Mono Nushi no O-o Kami.

According to the old texts, the Izumo people, based in Shimane Prefecture and led by O-o Kuni Nushi no Mikoto (son of the deity who slew the 8 headed snake), used to be most powerful in Japan, but they eventually agreed to cede this position to the Yamato people. Thus, the center of power in Japan moved from Shimane to the Nara region in the 1st half of the 4th century CE.

In retrospect, Izumo may have been the region where Minoans first settled in Japan and there, they wielded power in the Yayoi age, but the Izumo people ceded power peacefully to the Yamato people. The Yamato people then established their capital in and around Miwa-San or Miwa Mountain in Nara Prefecture.

It may be hypothesized that the Yamato people were also Minoans, but a group that had arrived in Japan later than the Izumo people. In forming a truce, these two peoples introduced the spirit of WA, or peace and harmony, with recourse to the Linear A symbol for WA (*054) in the image of a tripod, i.e. a square supported by 3 legs.

The Izumo and Yamato peoples agreed that the word MI-WA should symbolize peace and concord, as the Linear A symbol for WA can be analyzed and read as MI-WA, MI meaning 3, for the 3 legs, and WA denoting the square, for the container part of the tripod.

Accordingly, it was agreed that the new capital should be established on Miwa Mountain, where O-o Miwa Shrine was established to become symbol of truce between the Izumo and Yamato people. The deity revered in this shrine is said to be a reincarnation of the deity revered by the Izumo people, now a symbol of integration.


(2) MINOS

(a) MINO, or Mino-no-Kuni is the name of a geographic region from ancient times (with mention in the Koji-Ki) in the southern part of Gifu Prefecture that is located on a latitude similar to Crete, i.e. 35~36 degrees north. In fact, because of its location toward the center of Honshu island, it may correspond to the area encompassing Knossos palace, in central Crete.

(b) In the city of Mino (Gifu Prefecture), an annual festival is held in memory of the hero Susa-no-o no Mikoto (Valiant Intrepid Raging Male Deity) who slew the monster snake that was tormenting farmers, just as in the legend from Shimane Prefecture.

(c) If the sound U is added as a prefix, MINO becomes UMI-NO, and comes to mean, of the sea or ocean, in Japanese.


(3) IDA (Mount Ida is the highest mountain in Crete, known for the cave where Zeus was born.)

(a) HIDA

(i) HIDA, or Hida-no-Kuni, is also an old geographical name, mentioned in texts from the 4th century CE, and known for kofun tumuli. The region corresponds to the northern part of Gifu Prefecture, just to the northeast of what used to be MINO.

(ii) It is known for the Hi-da Highlands, located north of Mino City in Gifu Prefecture, and leading north-northeastwards to the Hi-da Mountain Range that covers Nagano, Toyama and Niigata Prefectures. This area is known as the Northern Alps.

(b) IIDA City

This city in Nagano Prefecture is surrounded by mountains, with the Ina Mountains toward the east, and wonderful scenic views evoking the surroundings of Mount Ida on Crete. This includes Hijiri-Take, meaning sacred mountain.


(4) DWA (Sound from the Cretan hieroglyph symbol of a harbor)

SUWA

This is a region in Nagano Prefecture, just to the north of Gifu Prefecture, and known for Suwa Lake and Suwa-Taisha, an important shrine near the shores of the Lake.

This shrine is said to have been founded in ancient times by people who had fled from Izumo, as they were strongly against the decision in Izumo to concede power to the Yamato people, who thereupon established their capital in Nara Prefecture. For this reason, Suwa-Taisha is known to be a center of worship for Susanoo-No-Mikoto, whose roots are in Izumo, and a stronghold and sanctuary for people with anti-establishment views and behavior patterns.

The name Suwa may have come from DWA in the Minoan language, represented in Cretan hieroglyphs (that preceded Linear A) by the symbol of a harbor. Harbor, in modern Japanese, is Wan.



5. Early Forms of Writing in Japan


Most Japanese scholars believe kanji was the earliest form of writing in Japan, and that there was no earlier local writing system. If the ancient Minoans had indeed immigrated to Japan, why aren’t there any traces of their written language, Linear A, left in the Jo-mon or Ya-yoi age artifacts and archaeological sites in Japan?

Did these Minoans set out on their journey destined for Japan before the invention of Linear A? Were the successful migrants illiterate by chance, or were the traces of Linear A completely lost in Japan over the ages?

Some Japanese have made claims on the existence of Kami-yo Moji, or indigenous writing systems that were used prior to kanji, but most scholars seem skeptical on such ideas.

Linear A texts are records written in proto-Japanese, and the Linear A writing system may later have developed into kanji as well as hiragana and katakana.

(1) Branching out from Linear A

(a)Linear A is estimated to have been in use in Crete from 1800~1450 BCE, after which it was replaced by Linear B to write ancient Greek, probably with the arrival of the Mycenaeans.

The Chinese started to invent kanji circa 1400 BCE; the Japanese started using kanji from 200~400 CE. Hiragana is said to have been developed as simplified kanji during the Heian era, and circa 900 CE.

If there were migrants fleeing from Crete after the volcanic eruption in Santorini and before the arrival of the Mycenaeans, their departure would be between 1600 and 1450 BCE.

(b)Some of them may have arrived in China before the inception of kanji, estimated at 1400 BCE.

Because of this sequence of events, certain symbols in Linear A seem to have found their way into kanji in China. For example, the Linear A symbol for Ka, that looks like a cross inside a circle, may have inspired the kanji for mother, which is “母.” Ka happens to be the first syllable in the Japanese word Ka-san, meaning mother, and it can be conjectured that the ancient Minoans created the Linear A symbol for Ka from the word Ka-san.

In turn, the Chinese invented the kanji “母” from Ka in Linear A, and retained its original meaning of mother in the Minoan (or Japanese) language.

(c)If some Minoans had reached Japan, that may also have been prior to 1400 BCE. In that case, that would allow about 1600 years before the introduction of kanji and perhaps 2300 years before the invention of hiragana, according to established views.

Therefore, it is totally conceivable that some letters in hiragana were direct offshoots from Linear A; however, others may have been simplified kanji, some of which were offshoots from Linear A.

Nowadays, the Yayoi era in Japan is estimated to start at least in the 10th century BCE, and the Minoans, had they migrated to Japan, would have provided an important impetus of transition from the Jo-mon era.

(2) Spoken Japanese and Written Japanese

(a) When the Minoan migrants reached the shores of what is now Japan, they would have spoken the same language as they did in Crete, notwithstanding the length of their journey that may have taken a lifetime or longer, and this language, mixed with the language of the indigenous Jo-mon people, was passed on to succeeding generations to become Japanese.

Thus, the Minoans would have spoken proto-Japanese, so that when Linear A texts are read out loud on the basis of phonetics derived from Linear B, they sound and feel very familiar to Japanese speakers.

(b) After the Minoans set on their long journey of emigration from Crete and the eastern Mediterranean region, the Linear A writing system may have fallen into disuse and almost lost over the generations, and such a view is consistent with the fact that, for 200 years following the Bronze age collapse circa 1175 BCE, there were no written records made with regard to the Minoan civilization, or for any of the other neighboring civilizations that collapsed simultaneously, including the Mycenaeans and the Hittites.

(c) Linear A may have been absorbed and subsumed, leaving its influence in other forms of writing.

Its offshoots must include the Chinese kanji as well as the syllabic writing systems of hiragana and katakana that were reinvented in Japan, possibly with distant memories of Linear A, as evident in the hiragana symbol for Yu.

That must be why no traces of Linear A have been discovered from archaeological sites in Japan.


6. DNA Analysis


At the same time however, we should also be soberly aware that, despite attempts to establish the identity of the ancient Minoans according to their DNA grouping and similar DNA testing carried out separately for Japanese people from the Jo-mon age, there seems little evidence that the 2 peoples were closely related genetically.

(1) This may not necessarily disprove the idea, however, because, a minority group of settlers may have an over-reaching influence on the indigenous language, way beyond their influence on DNA makeup, if they happen to come to power.

The Norman conquest instilled the English language with a heavy dose of French, and the colonial powers of Spain and Portugal brought their languages into the New World, where they are still spoken, not to mention the British colonial empire and its linguistic legacy.

Had refugees from Minoan Crete reached Japan to settle down, they may have left a lasting legacy in the Japanese language without a traceable change in DNA composition, if they were to end up in the upper echelons of ancient Japanese society, for reasons such as being revered as gods upon arrival, by the indigenous people who were more backward.

(2) Recent studies on DNA makeup based on the Y chromosome seem to have come to the conclusion that Japanese are of the D type, which probably branched out from the DE type, commonly found in the Middle East. Since the Y chromosome is handed down only from father to son, it constitutes an important factor in male lineage.

If there were indeed migrants from distant Crete to Japan in the bronze age, one would normally expect most of them to be male, considering the physical demands, perils and stress associated with a long voyage out of the ordinary.

The less hardy would have preferred to drop off and settle down somewhere closer to the point of departure, rather than to doggedly continue on until they had reached the Far East, and to cross the seas from the Eurasian continent onto the Japanese isles.

Ancient Minoans and the Japanese (線文字Aは日本語です)(その2)

Ancient Minoans and the Japanese (線文字Aは日本語です)(その2)

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登録日 2020-01-02

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