The Mozu Tombs (百舌鳥古墳群, Mozu kofungun) are a group of kofun (Japanese: 古墳)—megalithic tombs—in Sakai, Osaka Prefecture, Japan. Originally consisting of more than 100 tombs, only less than 50% of the key-hole, round, and rectangular tombs remain.

The Daisenryo Kofun (大仙陵古墳, Daisenryō kofun), the largest kofun in Japan, is believed to have been constructed over a period of 20 years in the mid 5th century during the Kofun Period. While it cannot be accurately confirmed, it is commonly accepted that the tomb was built for the late Emperor Nintoku. The Imperial Household Agency of Japan treats it as such.

In the Japanese archipelago, more than 20,000 tumuli (kofun), which are mounds of earth and stones erected over graves of the ruling class, were built between the later part of the 3rd century and the 6th century.[1] It was the peak period of building such mounds.[2] They represent a cultural tradition which is an expression of "forms, and design of the kofun" of the sociopolitical hierarchical order and the link that was prevalent during that period between regions. This period is termed as the Kofun Period.[1] The most prominent imperial mausolea in this cluster of tumuli are those of Emperor Nintoku and Emperor Richū.[3]

There are 44 burial mounds in the Mozu cluster, including those that are partially destroyed.[4] Of these, 19 have been designated as national historic sites,[5][6] and separately, the Imperial Household Agency has ruled three to be Imperial mausoleums, two to be "Tomb Reference Sites", and 18 to be "baichō", or ancillary mausoleums connected with an Imperial mausoleum.[7] There used to be more than 100 burial mounds, but due to the rapid development of residential land after World War II, more than half of the burial mounds were destroyed.[4]

In 2010, the Japanese government proposed that the Daisen Kofun and the entire cluster of Mozu Tombs and Furuichi Tombs be designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.[8] 9 years later on 6 July 2019, the site was approved and inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site under Criteria: (iii) and (iv) as the Mozu-Furuichi Kofun Group: Mounded Tombs of Ancient Japan.[9]

^ a b "Mozu-Furuichi Kofungun, Ancient Tumulus Clusters". UNESCO. Retrieved 22 November 2015. ^ Cite error: The named reference Osaka was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ Fawcett 1990, p. 111. ^ a b 古墳データベース – 堺市ウェブサイト(2017年6月11日閲覧) ^ "百舌鳥古墳群" [Mozu kofungun] (in Japanese). Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved August 20, 2020. ^ Isomura, Yukio; Sakai, Hideya (2012). (国指定史跡事典) National Historic Site Encyclopedia. 学生社. ISBN 978-4311750403.(in Japanese) ^ Of the burial mounds, the Itasuke burial mound was designated as a national historic site in 1956, and 19 units have been designated by 2019, including those that were additionally designated after that (Notice of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology on October 15, 2018). No. 193, February 26, 2019, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Notification No. 25). ^ Centre, UNESCO World Heritage. "Mozu-Furuichi Kofungun, Ancient Tumulus Clusters – UNESCO World Heritage Centre". Retrieved 23 February 2017. ^ "Seven cultural sites inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List". UNESCO. 6 July 2019.
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