Hepatitis B virus has been coexisting with human beings for longer than 85 million years over several million generations on our planet. The virus has been transmitted from hepatitis Be antigen positive mothers to newborn babies or from community members to infants through close contact at the immunologically immatured stage to HBs antigen. The number of hepatitis B virus carriers is estimated to be 215 millions in the world, corresponding to more than 5% of general population on our planet. Of these, 78% of hepatitis B virus carriers in the world are now living in Asian countries. There are four main subtypes of the virus, “ayw”, “adr”, “adw”and “ayr”which are coded by the virus genome. Therefore, to elucidate the route of transmission of this virus, distribution of these subtypes has been investigated through WHO collaborative studies. Since the virus was mainly transmitted through maternal or intrafamiliar route from generation to the next generation, analysis of the subtype distribution and interaction of different subtype groups will give information about the origin or movement of various ethnic groups in Asia. There are three zones with predominant characteristic subtype in Asia as described as follows. Zone“ayw”is mainly west Asia (USSR, Xinjiang, Meinggu, Xizang, north India, Iran, Israel) extending to Mediterranean area and north and central Africa, distributed over steppe or desert areas. Zone“adr”is distributed from north east Asia (Japan main islands, Korea, Han ethnic group in mainland China, originally in north) to south part of Asian continent such as Laos, Thailand and Malaysia, spreading over agrarian groups in green woods area. Tamil-nadu and Nepal are the borderline between“adr”and“ayw”zones. Zone“adw”is the most southern parts of Asia, such as Okinawa, Amami, Taiwan, Philippines, Indonesia, minorities in southern China, southwest coast of India and east coast of Africa continent, crossing over Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean to American natives.
The relation between the geographical distribution of the Hepatitis B virus investigated by Dr. Kusuya Nishioka et al., and the genealogical classification of languages is discussed, focussing on the Japanese chain of islands, Korea, and China. It is generally accepted that the linguistic relationship (la parenté) between the dialects of the Japanese mainland islands and those of the Ryukyuan chain of islands is established, and Proto-Japanese (i.e, the protolanguage of the above dialects) is being reconstructed. In the author's opinion, however, the relationship between Japanese and Korean, to say nothing of other languages, is not yet established. Therefore, according to the author, the probable divergent development of Japanese from Korean should be assumed to have begun before around 5, 000 years ago. Dr. Nishioka argues that an adr nation invaded from Korea into Japan, where an adw nation inhabited. The author argues that the invasion, which is probable, must have begun mainly before around 5, 000 years ago, not around 2, 000 years ago. Besides, the author thinks it possible that the kind of the aboriginal adw people of Japan was not singular, but plural. When based upon the data presented by Dr. Nishioka, the author is obliged to assume that the majority of the people who began to invade, probably around 2, 000 years ago, from Kyushu into the Ryukyuan islands, must have been men, not women. Incidentally, the author wants to notify that the kind of the adr people is not singular, but plural. For instance, the linguistic relationship, if any, between Korean and Chinese has to be assumed extremely remote, when compared with that between Korean and Japanese.