• Kyodo

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A third-century clay pot emblazoned with a Chinese character found at an archaeological excavation site in Nagareyma, Chiba Prefecture, indicates literate people had moved from western to eastern Japan by the end of that century, prefectural officials said Tuesday.

The character was painted with black ink on the upper part of the 9-cm pot found at the Ichinomiyajiri archaeological site.

The oldest clay pot bearing kanji is believed to have been made at the end of the second century. It was found at the Kaizo archaeological site in Ureshino, Mie Prefecture.

Hatsushige Otsuka, professor emeritus at Meiji University, said the latest discovery suggests that people had moved to the east, believed to have been an undeveloped region at the time, in the late third century to avoid conflict.

In those days, only people engaged in trade and diplomacy were believed literate.

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