Shinichi Fujimura’s Discoveries
In 1981, Shinchi Fujimora, a self-taught Japanese archaeologist, discovered stone age artifacts dating back 40,000 years, thus establishing human presence in Japan for at least that long. It was a spectacular find which launched Fujimora’s career, gained him national and international fame, and quickly put him in the forefront of Japanese archaeology.
Archaeology is a particularly popular subject in Japan. The Japanese people revel in their country’s uniqueness, and exhibit greater fascination with their pre history than any other people do about theirs. In that country, new archaeological finds are frequently announced in bold headlines on the front pages of leading newspapers, and bookshops usually have entire sections devoted to Stone Age Japan. In that environment, Fujimora became a national celebrity, and his findings were incorporated into school textbooks and taught to Japanese children for years.
Following his first discovery, Fujimora worked on over a hundred archaeological projects around Japan. Amazingly, the spectacular luck with which he began his career continued without cease or letup, and Fujimora kept finding older and older artifacts, that kept pushing Japan’s human pre-history further and further back. His fame and prestige, already high, reached stratospheric levels in 1993, when he discovered stone age evidence of humans near the village of Tsukidate, which dated back over half a million years. At a stroke, Japan became the equal of its rival, China, in the antiquity scale.
So remarkable was that streak, and so fortunate did Fujimura seem in his ability to unearth objects that few if any other archaeologists could find, that awestruck admirers began referring to the seemingly divinely guided Fujimora as “God’s Hands”. His archaeological skills just seemed too good to be true. And as the adage goes, things too good to be true usually are.
Such was the case with Fujimora. In 2000, Japan was rocked when a daily newspaper published three photographs showing the respected and celebrated archaeologist planting supposedly ancient stone age tools at a dig site. Forced to confess after being caught on film, red handed, Fujimora admitted to planting evidence not only at that site, but in other locations across Japan, and throughout his entire career. When asked why he did that, a sobbing Fujimora tearfully responded “the devil made me do it“.