|The story below is originally published on Mainichi Daily News by Mainichi Shinbun (http://mdn.mainichi.jp).|
|They admitted inventing its kinky features, or rather deliberately mistranslating them from the original gossip magazine.|
|In fact, this is far from the general Japanese' behavior or sense of worth.|
Shukan Shincho (11/9)
Of the 20,000 or so ancient burial mounds scattered around Japan, all but a handful are accessible.
The ones that remain off limits are those that are administered by the Imperial Household Agency as the final resting places of emperors and empresses in the long line of ancestors of Emperor Akihito.
These tombs are sacred places of worship in the Imperial Shinto religion but are also of great interest to historians and archaeologists.
If they were allowed in the mausolea, the archaeologists suspect they might find clues to some unanswered questions concerning the early years of theJapanese nation.
They have been asking for permission to excavate the mounds for years now. But so far no one has been allowed to conduct a dig at an Imperial burial mound, much less enter one.
The agency isn't likely to open the tombs to the scholars soon, either, says Shukan Shincho (Nov.9), because the burial mounds are empty and the agency doesn't want anyone to find out.
Very little is known about the Imperial burial mounds other than what is reported by the agency in its annual report.
Shukan Shincho says two things are clear, many of the tombs have been robbed over the years, and many of them are not genuine Imperial burial mounds.
For example, no one knows for sure who is buried in the keyhole shaped tomb in Sakai ,Osaka Prefecture.
The agency says it as the burial mound of Emperor Nintoku.
In Boston, a museum has in its possession a large bronze mirror and a sword with ring-shaped designs on its hilt.
The artifacts are said to be from Nintoku's mausoleum.
If such is the case, the museum is exhibiting treasures looted from an Imperial burial mound.
Shukan Shincho quotes a Saitama University professor as saying that the reason most of the keyhole-shaped burial mounds are caved in on top is because they have been broken into.
"According to one record, some scholars entered Nintoku's tomb in the mid-Edo Period and looked inside his coffin, but found that it was bare,"the professor says.
Another reason the agency doesn't want archaeologists snooping around is to keep quiet the fact that many of the burial mounds are incorrectly indentified.
"If the agency were to admit that the designation on an Imperial burial mound was wrong and tried to designate an erstwhile normal burial mound as an Imperial burial mound, it would have to purchase land from private owners.
On their tight budget, this would be a difficult thing to do, and the socialists and communists would surely opposite it," the magazine quotes a Nara University professor as saying. (NW)