2005 Volume 113 Issue 2 Pages 131-139
From at least 1976 until his exposure by the media in November 2000, amateur archaeologist Shinichi Fujimura planted artifacts at over 180 Paleolithic ‘sites’ in Miyagi Prefecture and other parts of eastern Japan. As a result of this hoax, the existence of an Early Paleolithic stretching back more than half a million years became widely accepted in Japan. Fujimura perpetrated one of the biggest archaeological hoaxes of the 20th century and his actions have important implications for the way archaeological research is conducted in Japan and beyond. This article explores the sociopolitical background to the hoax and argues that the emphasis on archaeology as ‘people’s history’ in postwar Japan was one important factor in the favorable evaluations given to Fujimura’s discoveries. It is suggested that the lessons of the Fujimura hoax support the need for a stronger and more reflexive relationship between archaeology and anthropology in Japan.