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Forbidden Secrets of Ancient Japanese Tombs Revealed from Satellite Images


Published on: January 31, 2022,

Kofun are names of ancient Japanese tombs. A research group at Politecnico di Milano city analyzed the orientation of Kofuns. This study have never been carried before as access to these areas is usually forbidden. The results from research show that these tombs are oriented towards the arc of rising sun, the Goddess Amaterasu and Japanese emperors are linked to the mythical origin of their dynasty.


The Japanese islands are dotted with hundreds of ancient burial mounds the largest if which are in typical shape of a keyhole and are called Kofun. They were built between third and seventh centuries AD. The smaller Kofuns belong to court officers and to members of the royal family. Among these the so called Daisen Kofun is one of the largest monuments ever built on earth. It measures 486 meters length. They are recently inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage list.


There are no written sources on these tombs. Many monuments are and it is not allowed and it is not allowed to enter the perimeter. It is thus impossible to obtain accurate measurement of size, height and orientation. Thus it is therefore natural to study using high resolution satellite images which is a powerful tool for remote sensing investigations. The research was helpful to study the relationship between these fascinating monuments with the landscape and the sky and came to interesting conclusions. As per the results published there was a strong connection of Kofun entrance corridors with the arc in the sky where the Sun and the Moon are visible every day of the year and show the orientation of the hugest keyhole shaped Kofuns to the arc of the Sun rising. In particular, the Daisen Kofun is oriented towards the Sun rising at the winter solstice. Orientation of the imperial tombs towards the Sun does not happen by chance and it is in full agreement with the Japanese imperial traditions. Indeed the mythical origin of the dynasty of Japanese Emerors considers them as direct descendants of the Sun Goddess Amaterasu.


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