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To this present day, many are still uncertain where the people of Japan have originated. Archeological excavations of prehistoric sites had only begun in the 1960s, thus there is no clear picture on the earliest human habitation. However, it is generally agreed that people from South Asia and the northern regions of the Asian continent had settled in Japan. It is also agreed that these first settlers were present in the archipelago for quite a long period of time, and continued to be there without any interruption until modern times.

The Japanese language and customs include elements from both the northern and southern cultures. From the viewpoint of usage and phraseology, it is apparent that Japanese belongs to the Altaic system of language, which is used by the northern people of the Asian continent. Its vocabulary, however, includes many words that are of southern origin. For example, rice cultivation rituals are of southern origin whereas the ancestor of the race - who descends from the heavens to a mountain - is of northern origin. Hence, it is believed that people from both the north and south had come to the islands over a long period in prehistory. It is the mingling of different races that gradually produced the unique Japanese race that we know of today.

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