Japanese scientists recreate the face of a “Yayoi” man

Japanese researchers have recreated the facial image of an ancient man based on DNA analysis of human bones found at a site in Tottori Prefecture in western Japan.

A large number of human bones dating from around the 2nd century AD during the Yayoi period have been unearthed in the remains of Aoyakamijichi in the town of Tottori.

Three skulls were found to contain the brains of ancient people. It was the first such discovery in Japan.

Researchers from the National Museum of Nature and Science and other institutions performed detailed analysis of DNA extracted from bone samples.

They reproduced the face of a man from the Yayoi era from genetic information gathered from one of the human remains with the best-preserved brain.

The research team claim that the Yayoi man likely had a paternal connection to the Jomon people who had inhabited across the Japanese archipelago, and his maternal side came from the Asian mainland. They say the man was thin and had thick hair.

The recreated facial image on display at a local facility has gone viral on the internet and prompted officials in Tottori Prefecture to launch a nationwide campaign to recruit people who look like the Yayoi man.

Officials say 10 lookalikes on the shortlist will be registered as the first citizens of an imaginary Yayoi kingdom.

The finalists will also be invited to a tour of the ancient site of Tottori in May next year where they will participate in a lookalike competition.

Tottori Governor Hirai Shinji said he wanted many people to visit the Aoyakamijichi site and think about the roots of the Japanese people.


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