An ancient sword bearing kanji characters that show the year 570 according to the Chinese sexagenary cycle has been unearthed from an ancient burial mound here, the local education board announced on Sept. 21.
The discovery made by the Fukuoka Municipal Board of Education is consistent with the Chronicles of Japan, one of Japan's oldest history books, which says Japan imported the Chinese calendar from Paekche, one of the countries that existed on the Korean Peninsula.
It is an epoch-making discovery in that it is the oldest item showing that Japan used a calendar in ancient times.
It was the seventh sword with inscriptions of characters excavated from an ancient burial mound, and fourth with the inscriptions of characters indicating years. All the previous ones had been discovered before the 1980s.
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