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The genetic make up of modern Japanese

polisny

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My title will be misleading unless you read my question, which I explain here.

I have been looking for simple answers on how much of the modern Japanese genetic sequence(s) comes from the Yayoi people and how much from the Jomon and, further, how much from other non-related populations. Of course I should be careful to add that recognized experts should be mentioned and if possible, whether such percentages are the current consensus or mere hypotheses from various experts or amateurs.

First, one of the problems is that I am not a geneticist. This means that using terminology such "haplogroups O2B.156 thousand multiplied by the third power of ten with an inch of salt on the end" doesn't but confuse the otherwise simple answer. Now, of course, that is not a criticism of the nomenclature or dialogue concerning DNA research. It is my way of saying that for someone who has never studied genetics, running into such terminology doesn't usually help but only confuses the problem.

In other words, is there a way to put in clear and concise wording how much of the modern Japanese genetic sequence comes from Jomon and how much of it from Yayoi and, if not that simple, then the major regional categories of genetic sequence relating the modern Japanese people to the Yayoi and Jomon?

I guess I can explain my issue via analogy. Language. English is both a Germanic and Latinian language. Germanic in origin though Latinian historically. Often times, people say given words come from French or Spanish or, if they are somewhat better educated on the subject, from Latin or Greek. They will of course almost never they say that a word comes from Proto-Indo-European, a language that is theorized (scientifically) to have predated all of these langauges. Russian, German, Latin, Sanskrit, etc. The same issue can be brought about in talking about the genetic history of a people.

Let's say that I want to know the direct ancestor of old English, the "language". Well, of course, the vocabulary was much different and so was the grammar, but in short, we would never say that it was Proto-Indo-European even if the two "languages" were related and even if Proto-Indo-European came before old English. Even if all these different European langauges were founded on a "language" that was much older and one that evolved into the many different languages of Europe today, Proto-Indo-European is the wrong answer in asking the question, what is the language that became old English.

As I said was an analogy, I am of course talking about genetics. When I ask about the relationship between the modern Japanese people and the Yayoi and Jomon, I am not asking for someone to respond by saying that some of the modern Japanese people come from Africa and some from different parts of China, since this doesn't say anything about the Yayoi or Jomon, the direct ancestors of the modern Japanese. In other words, if we take away the Jomon and the Yayoi people, should there not be but a very small portion of the genetic sequence left over?

If we consider it regionally, are not all the Japanese people in most regions of Japan excluding Okinawa and Hokkaido, of Yayoi descendence, while in Hokkaido and Okinawa, Jomon ancestry? Of course, if you have the answers for which I am looking, you understand that my quantifications are just examples of the types of answer for which I am looking. Please know of course that I stress and repeat and explain my question in this way not to be rude but to make sure that you understand.

I have seen a Japanese video on Youtube entitled "Looking for the Genetic Roots of the Japanese," which was uploaded in 2009 and states "according to professor Horai, only 4.8 percent of the Japanese genetic sequence is unique. 24.2 percent is from Korea and 25.2 from China. 8.1 is Ainu and 18.1 is Okinawan."

My criticism? Simple. Where is the Yayoi and Jomon?

The uploader added that "the other 21 percent is apparently unknown." And, like I explained above, confuses the point in the following way: "The Modern Japanese were thought to be a mixture of ancient Jomon and Yayoi Peoples. Recent Genetic Research has proven that the Jomon and Yayoi People themselves were a mixed ethnicity even when they first reached the Japanese Islands."

Do you see the confusion? He writes that the modern Japanese were thought to be a mixture of ancient Jomon and Yayoi. But then he talks about the genetic make up of the Jomon and Yayoi as though the modern Japanese are no longer made up of those two distinct ethinicities because the Jomon and Yayoi were themselves genetically diverse.

I do not mean to stress too much the same question, though for the sake of clarity, what I am looking for, should anyone have the time and interest, is information that is as definitive as possible. When I say definitive, I don't mean that an unrecognized semi-expert has an opinion of how to interpret genetic data produced by scholars in any given university but a consensus concerning all the genetic data brought fourth, pusblished by a major university or group of authors. How much of the genetic sequence (south of Hokkaido and excluding Okinanwa) makes up the modern Japanese sequence?

Before I end, I can of course understand that genetically, there is no way to see "who" is "who". It's not in looking at a genetic code that we see "written" in the "data" the nationality or ethnicity of a person or people. Of course not.

Surely though, there must be some way to recognize via genetic “information" who was who without saying that the Japanese are merely related to the "Chinese" or "Koreans" etc. No?
 
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polisny

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As you can see from a site by Thayer Watkins entitled The Genetic Origins of the Japanese, the answer given is very simple and includes what is obviously elementary knowledge on the history of the country, but the references are left out except by allusion to three or so different names. No publication dates are given and no citations that would show explicitly what the consensus were, if there were one.

His page reads, which as a group of about six paragraphs follows,

"The culture identified with the Japanese was not brought to the islands of Japan until about 300 B.C. It was brought by a people called the Yayoi from the Korean peninsula. It included rice cultivation and the use of steel for tools and weapons. There were aborigines in the islands at the time of the Yayoi migration. They had a hunting and gathering culture but they did make pottery and they are known by the name for the pottery, Jomon. The Jomon people were in the Japanese islands as far back as 30,000 B.C.

The people of Japan could derive genetically from either the Yayoi or the Jomon or a combination. Under one scenario the Yayoi largely replaced the Jomon. Under an alternate scenario the Yayoi brought the culture which was assimulated by the Jomon and the genes of the Yayoi are lost in the ocean of Jomon genes. In between these scenarios is the one in which the Japanese people are a mixture of the Yayoi and the Jomon. To the outside world the answer to which of these scenarios occurred is only mildly interesting, but to the Japanese themselves the answer is psychologically quite important.

At this point it must be noted that there has survived in Japan a people and culture of a hunting-and-gathering society called the Ainu. Whether the Ainu are the survivors of the Jomon people or not is a question still to be decided. Now the Ainu survive only on the northern island of Hokkaido but a few centuries ago they were an important element of the population of the main island of Honshu. The Ainu differ from the Japanese in that they have lighter skin and more body hairy. They were frequently referred to as the hairy Ainu.

To settle the question genetic researchers have been studying the presence of a particular gene on the Y-chromosome called the Y Alu polymorphic element (YAP). It developed in relatively recent history and so not all males have this gene. Michael Hammer at the University of Arizona at Tucson and Satoshi Horai of the National Institute of Genetics in Japan studied the occurrence of the YAP gene in populations in Asia. They found that the YAP gene does not occur among men from Korea or Taiwan. It occurs among Japanese men and then only with a special regional distribution. The YAP gene only occurs in Japan among the Ainu, the northern part of Japan and the southern part of Japan. In the central part of Japan the YAP gene does not occur. This suggests that the YAP gene developed among the Jomon and was passed on to the Yayoi only were there was racial mixing.

Hammer and Horai studied the distribution of another gene on the Y-chromosome. In this second case males in Korea possess this gene and it is more commonly found in the central part of Japan. The conclusion from the study is that there was a mixing of the Yayoi and Jomon in the extreme south (Okinawa) and the extreme north but none in the central area of Japan.

Masatoshi Nei of Pennsylvania State University investigated the occurrence of this other gene among males in Asia. He found a small occurrence among Mongolians but a 50 percent occurrence among Tibetan males. This suggests that the gene developed in north Asia and was carried by the ancestors of the Japanese and Koreans to the Korean peninsula and by the ancestors of the Tibetans from north Asia to the Tibetan plateau. This was perhaps the first evidence that the Tibetans were the descendants of migrants from north Asia.

The evidence appears to indicate that the Japanese are largely the descendants of the Yahoi with some mixture with the Jomon in the far north and the far south."
 

Uncle Frank

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Since 2002(start of JREF) there have been......

several posts and threads on this topic. If you search JREF for "Yayoi" and "Jomon" there may be some interesting info for you to read.

Uncle Frank

🙂
 

polisny

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several posts and threads on this topic. If you search JREF for "Yayoi" and "Jomon" there may be some interesting info for you to read.
Uncle Frank
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Actually, I found this forum via a JREF page related directly to the genetic sequence of the Japanese, whose sources were based on either amateurish internet pages or ones that did not answer my question. The JREF page of which I am speaking (through which I found this forum) complicated the issue (as I explained above about genetic information) and didn't actually answer my question but of course because it had taken its information from the sources that also didn't answer it, only touched on it briefly in various ways. Thank you though. That is nice of you.

The page of which I am speaking is, again on JREF, entitled "The origins of the Japanese people."

I will search some more for other threads, but I have already searched it with reference to Japanese genetics though didn't find anything useful.

Thank you for your suggestion, nonetheless.
 

polisny

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several posts and threads on this topic. If you search JREF for "Yayoi" and "Jomon" there may be some interesting info for you to read.
Uncle Frank
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Ah, no, you are right, it looks like I did something wrong the first time, maybe too specific in my original search. There are countless pages generated by "Yayoi" and "Jomon" "genetics" as search terms. Thanks for the suggestion, I will make sure to explain the answer if I find it.
 

polisny

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Okay, so, it seems that I was being too meticulous in my approach, however because I needed to see the names Yayoi and Jomon versus mere percentages, I was unable to accept documents that did not tag their percentages with corresponding ethnicities.

According to Dual Origins of the Japanese: Common ground for hunter-gatherer and farmer Y chromosomes,

Just over thirty-four and a half percent of the modern Japanese sequence (occurring most in the Ryukyu islands and Hokkaido) are by inference, Jomon. That's 34.7 percent.

At 51.8 percent, the inference is Yayoi, occurring most in Kyushu.

The authors, who I will add below, insert that their "results support the hypothesis of a Central Asian origin of Jomonese ancestors, and a Southeast Asian origin of the ancestors of the Yayoi, contra previous models based on morphologial and genetic evidence," which is excellent.

A quick shout out to Mimizuka and the moderator, Uncle Frank, for their help. Thank you! If anyone here has ever done research, you will know how frustrating it is to not find answers or worse, to be ignored.

I'll likely be around on the forum a lot more.

I should also add that the original JREF page was actually just fine, but too confusing for a first time reader.

The authors of the article are, Michael F. Hammer, Tatiana M. Karafet, Hwayong Park, Keiichi Omoto, Shinji Harihara, Mark Stoneking and Satoshi Horai
Published online November 2005
 

nice gaijin

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The internet is a tough place for research. Resources online can be pretty shady, or designed with some sort of agenda in mind. I've ignored the "origins" discussions here because it always seems like those involved in the discussion have something to prove, rather than something to better understand. They throw around a lot of complicated terms and statistics taken from this or that source, and I could never shake the impression that they were just cherry-picking the research that agrees with their preconceptions or prejudices.

Just my opinion, but if you're looking for solid research, stick to academic journals (online or otherwise). The internet is too full of crackpots, you should consider what they produce to be for entertainment purposes only.
 
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