Was Japan ever part of Korea?

I seem to recall reading somewhere that 20,000 years ago or so, Japan was connected to the Asian mainland. So what exactly did (the Japanese vicinity of) Eastern Asial look like?

At a glance, it seems as though Japan would connect nicely to Korea in the south, and to Sakhalin Island (probably connected to the mainland in olden days) and possibly thru the Kuril Islands to the Kamchatka peninsula in the north.

Would there have been a large “inland sea,” or just a great plain that eventually got flooded?

We ain’t talking Pangea or Gondwanaland time frames, so this shouldn’t be hard to figure out, but I haven’t had any luck.

Twenty thousand years ago it would have looked like this:

Sakhalin Island was joined to the continent and formed a bridge all the way to Hokkaido. All four main Japanese islands were joined up. I don’t think Japan was joined to Korea, but separated by a narrow deep channel near Tsushima Islands. The Kurils did not form a bridge, but some of the Kurils (the ones that Japan has a territorial claim on) were linked to the Japanese mainland.

The Sea of Japan was much the same as it is today.

Korea was not a peninsula at all, as the Yellow Sea basically didn’t exist. And Taiwan was also part of the mainland.

There was a land bridge between Korea and Japan, according to one site I found. I don’t know how reliable it is. http://www.permanent.com/mark/japan.htm

Japan must have been connected to Korea at one time within the history of homo sapiens because some of the inhabitants of northern Japan are of Korean ancestry.

I could be remembering this wrong, but I thought the current dominant group in Japan are decendants people who arrived from Korea, and the Ainu in the north are the decendants of the indigenous people who were displaced by the more recent immigrants. Is that right, or are the Ainu culturally tied to Siberia. Argh - all my books are at home! At any rate, I do not think the Koreans came by land, but by sea. The Ainu may have come over the land bridge from northern Asia.

I don’t know much about the paleogeography of the Korean penninsula or Japan. However, I can relate a humorous discussion I had with a Japanese colleague a couple of years ago when I was in Japan taking part in a research project in the neurosciences.

This guy was obviously one of those Japanese who seem to worship their emperor. He also shared, to my mind at least, the smug sense of racial and cultural superiority that characterizes more than just a few well-educated Japanese who ought to know better. That is the subject for another discussion…

I asked this fellow, with an admittedly waggish desire to press his buttons, “Of course you realize that the Imperial Family can be traced back to Koreans…even your Japanese historians admit that.”

Without losing a beat, his reply to me was: “Well, we can all trace our ancestry back to the apes, can’t we?”

From what I recall, modern Japanese did cross over from Korea. However, the languages arent that easily linked (As far as I know, if any of you have evidence the two languages are linked, i’d like to know). The Ainu however, are indigenous, and once occupied most of the archipelago. Invading Japanese pushed them northward until they ended up in Hokkaido. There were Ainu in either Sakhalin, or the Kurils (i had a book that talked about both Japanese and Ainu, and it said where they were). The Ainu language is an Isolate, despite attempts to link it with just about every other language isolate (as with Basque).

Doobieous writes:

> However, the languages arent that easily linked (As far
> as I know, if any of you have evidence the two languages
> are linked, i’d like to know).

The best guess of historical linguists at the moment is that Japanese and Korean are probably related to the Altaic language family, although this relationship must be on the order of 8,000 to 12,000 years ago. Several millennia before that, all of those languages are probably related to the Uralic language family, and several millenia before that, they are all probably part of the Nostratic superfamily.

This isn’t universally accepted. Many historical linguists say that any relationship going back more than 8,000 years is simply too far back to ever be definitely established.