Why Japan is the oldest country in the world?

May 23, 2015 Juju Kurihara History Tags: , , 24 Comments

Would you be surprised if I say Japan is the oldest country in the world? I can almost visualise some of you even stood up the chair. Or some of you may be offended. But don´t worry. I´m also the one having a doubt to see such a news. But this is certificated by the Guinness and CIA in the US.
 
When they say, the oldest country, they see the countries according to its independence (see The world Factbook by CIA: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2088.html)
 
You may think, what about China or Egypt where the very first civilizations were born? True, when these civilizations appeared, Japan was just a floating sardine on the sea and hadn´t been formed as a country. But neither Chinese dynasty or Mesopotamia no longer exist.
 
Chinese dynasty, for instance, ended in 1911 when the last emperor, Puyi abdicated as some of you might´ve seen in “The Last Emperor”. Since then, there is no dynasty in China.
 
England has probably the longest dynasty in Europe, The first King of England, William I conquered England in 1066. This means the royal family of England has a 949 years of history. Elizabeth II, the current Queen is the 41st successor.
  
There are less than 30 countries around the world remain monarchy at the moment. And Japan has the longest monarchial system among them, which began in 660BC. According to “Kojiki (古事記)”, the oldest history book in Japan, the country was created by Kamuyamatoiwarebiko no mikoto (神日本磐余彦命) on the land of Yamato (大和) about 2,700 years ago. This man later became the first Emperor of Japan and called, Jinmu Ten-no (神武天皇/ the Emperor Jinmu).    
 
Japan claims that the current Emperor is the direct descendant of the Emperor Jinmu and therefore, Japan is the oldest independent country of the world. This is called, bansei Ikkei (万世一系/ unbroken line of emperor) in Japanese. 
 
It seems like many historians in Japan think this result is normal. But my history teacher at high school dropped us a hint of doubt as I remember. It was in Nanboku-cho period (南北朝時代/ 1334-1392) when the Emperor Godaigo (後醍醐天皇) ruled Japan. He wasn´t a fond of samurai and not happy at all about samurai was taking over the government. The emperor had planned to destroy the Shogunate.
 
The problem was he was the Emperor and had no soldiers. He asked some shoguns, Ashikaga Takauji (足利尊氏) or Nitta Yoshisada (新田義貞) for a help. He won but as soon as he got his power back, he ignored those shoguns and started a tyranny. 
Of course the shoguns were angry and they had decided to attack the Emperor Godaigo. He was lost and exiled to Nara. He didn´t just lose the fight but also lost the Imperial Regalia of Japan, also called the Three Sacred Treasures of Japan, in Japanese Sanshu no Jingi (三種の神器), which have been assigned only to the successors over the generations, and which also proves that he is the Emperor.      
The imperial Regalia of Japan consists, Kusanagi no Tsurugi (草薙剣/ Sword Kusanagi), Yata no Kagami (八咫鏡) and Yasakani no Magatama (八尺瓊勾玉). I will talk about the mythology behinds the three treasures later. 

jingi
http://jhfk1413.blog.fc2.com/blog-entry-1469.html?sp

 

 

 

Meantime, the new Emperor succeeded to the throne in Kyoto. His name was the Emperor Komyo (光明天皇). 
 
However, the Emperor Godaigo wasn´t in Nara being quiet. He announced that Sanshu no jingi he gave up were fake and the real ones were still in his hand. This makes the Emperor Godaigo the Emperor.
Since he was in the south and the Emperor Komyo was in the north, this period was called Nanboku-cho period. Nan (南) is south and boku/hoku (北) is north in Japanese.  
 
After many civil wars, the ancestry of the Emperor Godaigo ended and the current Emperor in Japan is the descendant of the Emperor Komyo. Both of them were from the royal family but which one was actually direct from the Emperor Jinmu? 
There is also a theory that there were´t two Emperors but three. Moreover, there were actually three sets of Sanshu no jingi. 
It´s an honour that Japan is certificated as the oldest country in the world but we can´t ignore some small doubts either. 
 
By the way, the second oldest country is Denmark, which founded in the 10th century. And until 1974, Ethiopia was the oldest Imperial in the world. Solomonic Dynasty ruled Ethiopia in the 10th century BC and continued about 3,000 years, however it was destoroyed by the revolution.
 

 

References : Kokyo no kyokasho
 
 
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24 Comments

  1. Mürsel 3 years Reply

    Turks are the oldest nation in the world !!!

  2. Jay 3 years Reply

    Hi I’m Japanese. We know China, India, Egypt, Percia and so on has the older history. What he is trying to say that Japan is the oldest existing country that has kept the emperors from the same cran for almost 2000 years, even though autholities changed from time to time. In other words, Japan was Japan 2000 years ago under the emperor from the same cran.

  3. sss 4 years Reply

    China is established in 1949.
    Egypt is 1953.
    Most oldest culture, not easy to tell, many culture from more than 10,000 years back from everywhere.

  4. sam 4 years Reply

    iran is a oldest country in world

    • Yeetus 2 years

      No Japan is

  5. Ismail Abdullahi ALi 5 years Reply

    the oldest country in the world is Somalia

  6. Rose 5 years Reply

    It depends on your subjective definition of “country”. The disclaimer at the beginning of the CIA link you provided states that the qualifications for date of independence are vastly different for each of the countries listed. If rather than “traditional foundation date” you go by timeline of inhabitation, cohesive ethnic nation, modern nation state, continuous monarchy (kind of a weird metric), or continuously held territory, or whatever you pick, you’ll get a different answer.

  7. Mahdi 5 years Reply

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oldest_countries

    Iran is the world’s oldest country

  8. Moocah 5 years Reply

    China and Korea have been longer than Japan.

    • A 4 years

      What you are saying is the same Egypt is the oldest country. China and Korea is really new country which started after ww2.

  9. The oldest country in the world is Ethiopia. It is the longest civilization. Ethiopians were the first to establish laws, and worship Gods. It has also been proven that while Egypt has been regarded as the oldest civilization in Africa, Egypt was in fact a colony of Ethiopia. Mesopotamia, Sumeria, the Dravidians of India all have origin in ancient Ethiopia. Please fact check in scientific publications before posting a bunch of guesses, thank you!

  10. The oldest country in the world is Ethiopia. It is the longest civilization. Ethiopians were the first to establish laws, and worship Gods. It has also been proven that while Egypt has been regarded as the oldest civilization in Africa, Egypt was in fact a colony of Ethiopia. Mesopotamia, Sumeria, the Dravidians of India all have origin in ancient Ethiopia. Please fact check in scientific publications before posting a bunch of guesses.

  11. Jay Chakraborti 5 years Reply

    Hey! you fools , are you mad!, INDIA is the oldest country in the world.

  12. Mazu 5 years Reply

    This article is a joke I don’t know if anyone can take it seriously. But it was written by a Japanophile. Egypt, Mestopotamia or China would qualify for the oldest before Japan can ever dream of getting close to the picture.

  13. Reza 5 years Reply

    Iran (or Persia) is the oldest country in the world (3200 BC).

  14. Jane 5 years Reply

    The oldest country is not Japan. You probably have to say the oldest “continuous” country is Japan.
    Japan has been preserving the longest monarchical system for 2700 years until now, even if it’s not direct descendant as this article say.

  15. pedram 5 years Reply

    The oldest country in the world is persian also the biggest kingdom in the past belong to this country

  16. meli 6 years Reply

    The oldest country in the world is PERSIA

  17. meli 6 years Reply

    As that person said the oldest country ever is PERSIA you can search in giness book.

  18. meli 6 years Reply

    The oldest country is Peryou can search in Giness booksia.

  19. Tore 6 years Reply

    Persia (Iran) is the oldest country in the world.

    http://www.iran-heritage.org/interestgroups/history-article3.htm

  20. Historian 6 years Reply

    And, while this may not be accepted by many people (although it was proven time and again), but the oldest nation is the jewish nation.
    And their true monarch is God, the kings were viewed as his messengers.
    And no, the jews did not start as a nation in mesopotamia (although, Abraham, the first jew (more accurately, hebrew, ivry, from Ever, his ancestor) was born there), rather in the Sainai (Sinai) desert, at Mt. Sainai (Sinai), where God revealed himself (this is just for our limited brains, he do not have a gender) to the entire nation (~48,000,000 people, including women and children), after liberating them from Egypt’s ~‎‏200 (I forget the exact number, I’ll return with it when I check it) year brutal slavery.

  21. Historian 6 years Reply

    Actually, the first country was in mesopotamia, it was just a different nation.

    • Aman shukla 4 years

      INDIA is the oldest country in the world ,there are many proofs mentioned in ramayan written by valmiki

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