Value of Mozu-Furuichi Kofungun

百舌鳥・古市古墳群▲ Mozu-Furuichi Kofungun The property “Mozu-Furuichi Kofun Group (Kofungun)”, nominated for World Heritage status, is a tomb group of the king's clan and the clan's affiliates that ruled the ancient Japanese archipelago and took charge of diplomacy with contemporary East Asian powers. The tombs were constructed between the late 4th century and the late 5th century, which was the peak of the Kofun period, characterized by construction of distinctive mounded tombs called kofun. A set of 49 kofun in 45 component parts is located on a plateau overlooking the bay which was the maritime gateway to the continent, in the southern part of the Osaka Plain which was one of the important political cultural centers. The property includes many tombs with plans in the shape of a keyhole, a feature unique in the world, on an extraordinary scale of civil engineering work in terms of world-wide constructions; among these tombs several measure as much as 500 meters in mound length. They form a group, along with smaller tombs that are differentiated by their various sizes and shapes. In contrast to the type of burial mound commonly found in many parts of the world, which is an earth or piled-stone mound forming a simple covering over a coffin or a burial chamber, kofun are architectural achievements with geometrically elaborate designs created as a stage for funerary rituals, decorated with haniwa clay figures. During this period, political turmoil in China triggered a change in the regional power dynamic throughout East Asia, thereby prompting the emergence of kingly powers in numerous parts of the region. While these various kingly powers built their tombs in their own styles, the mounded tombs on the Japanese archipelago developed a unique appearance as monumental forms rising above the ground. The significant size differences, variety of mound shapes, and arrangement of the concentrated kofun observed in the nominated property visually demonstrate the hierarchical power structure of the kingly authority of the time. The funerary rituals practiced at kofun throughout the archipelago were instrumental in confirming and strengthening the succession of power, as well as in connecting the central and local powers. With the mounds possessing such high social significance, grandeur and structural beauty were pursued in kofun construction, showing a dedication which resulted in kofun becoming exceptional technical achievements of earthen construction. The fact that they still retain their exceptional form and character today, 1600 years since the time of construction, shows how advanced their technical level was. The nominated property bears outstanding witness to the history of the people of the Japanese archipelago, characterized by the expression of power through the formation of mounded tombs, which was a phenomenon that occurred as a response to the political turmoil in East Asia before Japanese society entered into a new phase of history with an established centralized state under the influence of the Chinese system of law.

  Name of Kofun Mound length Area
1 Nintoku-tenno-ryo Kofun 486m Mozu
2 Ojin-tenno-ryo Kofun 425m Furuichi
3 Richu-tenno-ryo Kofun 365m Mozu
4 Nisanzai Kofun 300m Mozu
5 Nakatsuhime-no-mikoto-ryo Kofun 290m Furuichi
6 Chuai-tenno-ryo Kofun 245m Furuichi
7 Ingyo-tenno-ryo Kofun 230m Furuichi
8 Hakayama Kofun 225m Furuichi
9 Tsudo-shiroyama Kofun 210m Furuichi
10 Gobyoyama Kofun 203m Mozu
11 Hakuchoryo Kofun 200m Furuichi

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