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Japan

Tomb Raider China Publishes 3-Part Article on the Wei Mirror

Those of you who have been following the latest story arc of Dark Horse’s Tomb Raider comic series will no doubt be familiar with the Wei Mirror – an ancient artefact dubbed the “Prison of Souls” – that Lara Croft is searching for in her bid to save her friend Sam’s soul from the clutches of the shaman queen Himiko. But did you know that this mirror is modelled after real-life bronze mirrors found at a number of ancient sites in Japan and China? In early ... [Continue Reading]

January 18, 2017 // 1 Comment

A Pilgrimage to Himiko’s Tomb

It’s not every day you get the chance to visit Yamatai or take a leisurely stroll around Himiko’s tomb. But one hot (and thankfully not too humid) day in September, my husband and I got the chance to do just that when we took some time off from our regular sightseeing and boarded a train bound for Nara, a former capital city not far from Osaka that’s renowned for its ancient temples, giant Buddha statue, and free-roaming deer. Once there, we transferred onto a smaller ... [Continue Reading]

October 7, 2015 // 6 Comments

Lara’s Travels: The Dragon’s Triangle

Fans of Tomb Raider 2013 will recall that Lara and the Endurance crew venture into the region known as the Dragon’s Triangle in search of the lost kingdom of Yamatai. Throughout the course of the game, players became well-acquainted with this fictional island, its inhabitants, and the supernatural conditions that prevented people from leaving its shores. But what do we know about the Triangle itself? The Dragon’s Triangle, also referred to as the Devil’s Sea (Ma no Umi, ... [Continue Reading]

November 29, 2014 // 5 Comments

Arte-Factual: 100 Mon Coin (Tomb Raider 2013)

It’s been a while since I last wrote about one of Tomb Raider 2013’s collectable relics and since it’s been a year since the game was released, what better time than to examine one of the ancient coins Lara finds inside the Cliffside Bunker on Yamatai? The 100 mon coin, also referred to as a “Tempō Tsūhō” (天保通寶), is one of the two Japanese coins Lara finds inside the cliffside bunker (the other being the “2 sen coin“) and, as Lara quite ... [Continue Reading]

March 13, 2014 // 4 Comments

The Hunt for Himiko Continues: Has Himiko’s Palace Been Found?

The search for the shaman queen Himiko and her kingdom Yamatai has long been one of the holy grails of Japanese archaeology but it seems that archaeologists are another step closer to pinpointing the exact location of her long-lost kingdom. Archaeologists working at the Makimuku archaeological site in Sakurai, Nara Prefecture, one of the possible locations of Yamatai’s ancient capital, have uncovered the ruins of a building that may have been part of the queen’s residential ... [Continue Reading]

February 9, 2014 // 6 Comments

Arte-Factual: Metal Inro (Tomb Raider 2013)

It’s been a while since I last wrote about an artefact from Tomb Raider 2013. Over a month, in fact. So without further ado, it’s time to examine one of the many collectable items hidden throughout the Shanty Town: the Metal Inrō. Inrō are small cases that were once used by Japanese men and women to carry identity seals (hanko), herbal medicine, tobacco, acupuncture needles, or other small personal effects around with them, not unlike a modern-day wallet or pouch. These cases, ... [Continue Reading]

August 25, 2013 // 15 Comments

The Hunt for Himiko: Will Archaeologists Ever Excavate the Hashihaka Tomb?

In Tomb Raider 2013, Lara and the rest of the Endurance crew set out to look for the lost kingdom of Yamatai and its mysterious queen, Himiko, but, in reality, Japanese archaeologists have known the possible location of Himiko’s tomb for a few years now. Long-time readers of this blog may recall that a group of researchers were allowed access to the Hashihaka kofun burial mound earlier this year in the hope that they’d be able to confirm whether the tomb in Sakurai, Nara ... [Continue Reading]

July 30, 2013 // 12 Comments

Arte-Factual: Kansu Burial Urn (Tomb Raider 2013)

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for another edition of Arte-Factual! Last time, we looked at the killer whale bottle from Tomb Raider: Anniversary and learnt a little about the Nasca, their beliefs, and their art. This time we’ll be taking a close look at one of the many collectable items found in Tomb Raider 2013: the Kansu burial urn. The “Kansu burial urn” bears a striking resemblance to a ceramic jar in the Asia Society’s collection, a Banshan type storage ... [Continue Reading]

July 10, 2013 // 11 Comments

Arte-Factual: Gunbai War Fan (Tomb Raider 2013)

In the last edition of Arte-Factual, we looked at the history and context of the Ban Chiang vase, one of the many collectable relics Lara stumbles upon in Tomb Raider 2013. This time, we will look at one of the relics Lara finds in the Mountain Temple: a Gunbai war fan. Gunbai fans, also known as gunbai uchiwa (軍配団扇) in Japanese, were once part of a samurai military commander’s standard command equipment and were used to direct troops in battle as well as offer the commander ... [Continue Reading]

May 3, 2013 // 7 Comments

Have Archaeologists Discovered Himiko’s Tomb?

Queen Himiko (卑弥呼) and her kingdom, Yamatai (or  Yamatai-koku) (邪馬台国), play a central role in Tomb Raider 2013. But did you know that in February 2013, a group of researchers were granted access to a burial mound in Sakurai (桜井), Nara Prefecture, Japan, which may be the actual final resting place of this mysterious queen? The location of Yamatai-koku is a subject of intense debate within Japanese archaeological circles. Some believe that it was located as far south as Okinawa ... [Continue Reading]

March 11, 2013 // 7 Comments