The King of Na gold seal (Japanese : 漢委奴国王印) is a solid gold seal discovered in the year 1784 on Shikanoshima Island in Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan. The seal is designated as a National Treasure of Japan. The seal is believed to have been cast in China and bestowed by Emperor Guangwu of Han upon a diplomatic official (envoy) visiting from Japan in the year 57 AD. The five Chinese characters appearing on the seal identify it as the seal of the King of Na state of Wa (Japan), vassal state of the Han Dynasty. The seal is currently in the collection of the Fukuoka City Museum in Fukuoka, Japan.
The seal is composed of gold of 95% purity. cm. The base of the seal averages 2.347 cm on a side. This dimension roughly corresponds to the traditional Chinese standard unit of length of one cun, as used in the Later Han Dynasty (about 2.304 cm).It is made up of a square base, with the seal itself on the bottom face, and a handle on top of the base in the shape of a coiled serpent. It has a mass of 108.729 grams. The total height from base to handle is 2.236
The five characters engraved on the seal are (in the order in which they are to be read):
The meanings of these characters (in the context of this seal) are: "Han" (referring to the Han Dynasty of China), "Wa" (an ancient name for Japan), "Na" (an ancient kingdom / state within Japan), "state / country", and "ruler". The last two characters, when combined, mean "king / sovereign". Altogether, the meaning of the seal inscription is: "(seal of) the King of the Na state of the Wa [vassal?] of the Han Dynasty".
The characters are engraved in the seal script style.
The seal has been judged to be the one described in the Book of the Later Han , a Chinese chronicle of the history of the Eastern Han Dynasty. According to the chronicle, the Chinese Emperor Guangwu conferred the seal on a diplomatic official visiting from Japan.
The following is the original Chinese text from the chronicle:
This passage can be translated into English as:
During the Han Dynasty, similar seals were bestowed on other regional sovereigns, in an attempt by the dynasty to bring these sovereigns into the Han ruling order.
After being lost for an undetermined period of time, the seal was reportedly rediscovered on April 12, 1784, on Shika Island in Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan. According to contemporary reports, the seal was discovered by a farmer named Jinbei while repairing an irrigation ditch. It was found surrounded by stones forming a box-like structure around it. The stone above the seal required two adults to lift. After rediscovery, the seal was kept by the Kuroda clan, rulers of the Fukuoka Domain, and eventually donated by the Kuroda family to the city of Fukuoka in 1978.
The Chinese sovereign is the ruler of a particular period in ancient China, and later imperial China. Several titles and naming schemes have been used throughout history.
Han may refer to:
The Kofun period is an era in the history of Japan from about 300 to 538 AD, following the Yayoi period. The Kofun and the subsequent Asuka periods are sometimes collectively called the Yamato period. This period is the earliest era of recorded history in Japan, but studies depend heavily on archaeology since the chronology of historical sources tends to be distorted.
The Yamato period is the period of Japanese history when the Japanese Imperial court ruled from modern-day Nara Prefecture, then known as Yamato Province.
The five kings of Wa are kings of ancient Japan who sent envoys to China during the 5th century to strengthen the legitimacy of their claims to power by gaining the recognition of the Chinese emperor. Details about them are unknown. According to written records in China, their names were San (讃), Chin (珍), Sai (濟), Kō (興) and Bu (武).
Himiko, also known as Shingi Waō, was a shamaness-queen of Yamatai-koku in Wakoku (倭国). Early Chinese dynastic histories chronicle tributary relations between Queen Himiko and the Cao Wei Kingdom (220–265), and record that the Yayoi period people chose her as ruler following decades of warfare among the kings of Wa. Early Japanese histories do not mention Himiko, but historians associate her with legendary figures such as Empress Consort Jingū, who was regent in roughly the same era as Himiko. Scholarly debates over the identity of Himiko and the location of her domain, Yamatai, have raged since the late Edo period, with opinions divided between northern Kyūshū or traditional Yamato province in present-day Kinki. The "Yamatai controversy", writes Keiji Imamura, is "the greatest debate over the ancient history of Japan."
The Yamato people or Wajin are an East Asian ethnic group and nation native to the Japanese archipelago. The term came to be used around the late 19th century to distinguish the settlers of mainland Japan from minority ethnic groups who have settled the peripheral areas of the Japanese empire, such as the Ainu, Ryukyuans, Nivkh, Oroks, as well as Koreans, Han, Han Taiwanese, Taiwanese aborigines, and Micronesian peoples who were incorporated into the Empire of Japan in the early 20th century. Clan leaders also elevated their own belief system that featured ancestor worship into a national religion known as Shinto.
Wa is the oldest attested name of Japan in foreign sources unlike Fusang or Penglai. The Chinese and Korean scribes regularly wrote it in reference to the inhabitants of the Wa Kingdoms in Kyushu and the ancient Yamato kingdom with the Chinese character 倭 "submissive, distant, dwarf", until the 8th century, when the Japanese replaced it with 和 "harmony, peace, balance".
The Book of Han or History of the Former Han is a history of China finished in 111, covering the Western, or Former Han dynasty from the first emperor in 206 BCE to the fall of Wang Mang in 23 CE. It is also called the Book of Former Han.
A seal, in an East and Southeast Asian context, is a general name for printing stamps and impressions thereof which are used in lieu of signatures in personal documents, office paperwork, contracts, art, or any item requiring acknowledgement or authorship. In the western world they were traditionally known by traders as chop marks or simply chops. The process started in China and soon spread across East Asia. China, Japan and Korea currently use a mixture of seals and hand signatures, and, increasingly, electronic signatures.
The word Japan is an exonym, and is used by many languages. The Japanese names for Japan are Nippon and Nihon. They are both written in Japanese using the kanji 日本.
The Book of Liang, was compiled under Yao Silian and completed in 635. Yao heavily relied on an original manuscript by his father Yao Cha, which has not independently survived, although Yao Cha's comments are quoted in several chapters.
Yamatai-koku or Yamato-koku (邪馬台国)(c. 1st century –c. 3rd century) is the Sino-Japanese name of an ancient country in Wa (Japan) during the late Yayoi period (c. BC 1,000 –c. 300 CE). The Chinese text Records of the Three Kingdoms first recorded as Yamatai guo or Yemayi guo as the domain of Priest-Queen Himiko (卑弥呼). Generations of Japanese historians, linguists, and archeologists have debated where Yamatai-koku was located and whether it was related to the later Yamato (大和国).
The Seven-Branched Sword is a sword of continental manufacture believed to be identical with the artifact of that name, a present of the king of Baekje that was granted upon a Yamato ruler as a present who is mentioned in the Nihon Shoki in the fifty-second year of the reign of the semi-mythical Empress Jingū. It is a 74.9 cm (29.5 in) long iron sword with six branch-like protrusions along the central blade. The original sword has been conserved since antiquity in the Isonokami Shrine in Nara Prefecture, Japan and is not on public display. An inscription on the side of the blade is an important source for understanding the relationships between kingdoms of the Korean peninsula and Japan in that period.
Nakoku was a state which was located in and around modern-day Fukuoka City, on the Japanese island of Kyūshū, from the 1st to early 3rd centuries. Much of what is known about it comes from ancient records of both China and Japan.
Tōdaijiyama Sword, also known as Tōdaijiyama Kofun Iron Sword in Japan is an ancient iron sword excavated in Tōdaijiyama kofun in Nara Prefecture, Japan. The sword was forged in China in the 2nd century and it's the oldest inscribed iron sword excavated in Japan to this day. Its inscription is the important source of the ancient diplomatic relations between China and Japan and its domestic politics.
Shikanoshima Island is an island in Higashi-ku, Fukuoka, Japan. The island is known as the spot where the Gold Seal of the King of Na, a national treasure, was discovered. The island is about 11 kilometres around and connected to the Umi no Nakamichi (road) on the mainland by a causeway.
Wang Zhongshu was a Chinese archaeologist who helped to establish and develop the field of archaeology in China. One of the most prominent Asian archaeologists, he was awarded the Grand Prize of the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize in 1996 by the Japanese city of Fukuoka. Wang specializes in the archaeology of China's Han and Tang dynasties, as well as Japanese archaeology. He is noted for his achievements in the study of ancient Sino-Japanese relations.
Emperor at home, king abroad was a system of conducting relations between states within the East Asian cultural sphere. Rulers of non-Chinese regimes would use the title of emperor domestically and adopt the title of king (王) when dealing with China.This system was applicable to Japan, Korea and Vietnam, among others.