After centuries of belief that ancient Japan was relatively isolated from other parts of the world, researchers have discovered evidence of a Persian official working in the former capital Nara at least 1,000 years ago.
According to Science News Journal, a recently examined piece of wood brings new information about life in the ancient capital of Japan. It was unearthed in the 1960s, but the inscription was not easy to read. Due to modern methods of reading texts carved in ancient wood, the researchers were able to finally transcribe the inscription. The result overwhelmed everybody – the piece of wood confirmed a legendary story about the Persian people, who lived and worked in Japan during the 8th century AD.
The research work led by Akirhiro Watanabe of the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, became a pivotal moment for understanding the history of the country. There has been emerging evidence that ancient Japan was more multicultural than previously believed. Watanabe suggested that the man whose life was noted on the piece of the wood, may have been knowledgeable in mathematics due to Persia's expertise in the subject at the time. As he said to Japan Times: ''Although earlier studies have suggested there were exchanges with Persia as early as the 7th century, this is the first time a person as far away as Persia was known to have worked in Japan. This suggests Nara was a cosmopolitan city where foreigners were treated equally.''
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