The Shirakawa FunadaMotonuma Remains Group (白河舟田・本沼遺跡群)

The Shirakawa Funada/Motonuma remains group, located in the northern part of Shiraka City, Fukushima Prefecture, are composed of the Shimousazuka tumulus, the Yajikubo tumulus, and the Funada Nakamichi remains. They were designated as national historical sites in May, 2005.


The Shimousazuka tumulus
This is a 71-meter-long keyhole-shaped tumulus with a stylobate. Its horizontal stone chamber is constructed using Anzangan rock (andesite), and the length between the entrance and the innermost wall is approx. seven meters. Cylindrical haniwa (unglazed terra-cotta cylinders and hollow sculptures arranged on and around the mounded tombs [kofun]) and keisho haniwa (clay figures in the shape of a human or beast) were unearthed, but it is not known where they were located exactly. It is presumed that the tumulus was constructed in the latter half of the sixth century, and it is also considered that it may be the tomb of a 'Shirakawa no Kuni no Miyatsuko' governor (the governor of the Shirakawa Province).

The Funada Nakamichi remains
The remains are located on an fluvial terrace at 315 meters above sea level, in the northwest of the Shimousazuka tumulus. This is remains of an approx. 70 square meters residence of a gozoku (local ruling family), and remains of wooden fences and of tateanajukyo (pit dwelling houses) were also found there. It is presumed that the residence was used in the era from the latter half of the sixth century to the first half of the seventh century, and it is considered having been resided by the 'Shirakawa no Kuni no Miyatsuko' governor who followed the person buried in the Shimousazuka tumulus.

The Yajikubo tumulus
The Yajikubo tumulus is located on the south slope of a hill in an approx. 1.8 km northwest of the two remains described above, featuring that it is built in the land shape called 'yamayose' in which its southern part is lower than the north, east and west parts. In 1926, the site was surveyed and the size of the sekkaku (or ishki) (the stone case for a coffin) was measured. In 1983, the size of the sekkaku was measured by the archaeological research laboratory of Kansai University again. Furthermore, in 2003, the board of education at Shirakawa City Board of Education excavated the site for checks. It is a round tumulus with a diameter of approx. 17 meters, and it is pointed out that the sekkaku resembles the one in the Kinai region (the five capital provinces surrounding the ancient capitals of Nara and Kyoto) whose portion to be opened is provided on a side. The yamayose gland shape is the same as those of tumuli in the Kinai region in the final era of the kofun period. Although no relic is found there, it is presumed that from the shape of the sekkan, the tumulus was constructed in the era from towards the end of the seventh century to the early eighth century.

Related remains in the surrounding area

In the Kariyado community on the east side of the Shimousazuka tumulus, the former site of a temple (called Kariyadohai-ji Temple) was found, and at the location in an approx. 5 km north of the Shimousazuka tumulus, the former site of Sekiwagu Kanga, a governmental office in the ritsuryo (codes-based) period, exists. With Izumizaki Yokoana cave graves also existing in an approx. 5 km north of the Shimousazuka tumulus, it is considered that the area of the Shirakawa Funada/Motonuma remains group was the center of the Shirakawa region in ancient times.

Furthermore, many tumuli and remains are concentrated along the Abukuma-gawa River.

As far as this area is concerned, in addition to the remains described here, it was also confirmed that the Harayama Ichigo-fun tumulus in the Zumizaki-mura Village is a 20m keyhole-shaped one constructed towards the end of the fifth century.

Furthermore, Ezoana Yokoanabo cave graves were found in the Nakajima-mura Village bordering the northeastern side of the river. In addition, Odan burial tumuli and Akudo tumuli are located in the Ishikawa-cho Town on the other (eastern) side of the river, and Miyamae tumuli in the Tamagawa-mura Village.

Oniana tumuli, Koboyama tumuli, and Yanaka tumuli are located in a wide area in the Yabuki-machi Town on the west side of the Miyamae tumuli across the Abukuma-gawa River. The area concerned with the descriptions above covers approx. 20 km along the river.

Many other tumuli and remains have been found in the area as well.

For why so many tumuli and remains are concentrated in this area, the following reason is considered: This area was an important one in the Shirakawa area in ancient times and these tumuli and remains constitute the evidence that many powerful gozoku families (local influential families) existed there.

[Original Japanese]