audio
Unlocking the Mysteries of Ancient Asuka
Journeys in Japan
13m 58s

Broadcast on February 25, 2021
Available until February 25, 2022

Asuka in Nara Prefecture was the center of Japan's politics and culture for more than 100 years from the end of the 6th century. Ancient Japan is shrouded in mystery, and the stone structures that were found in the region have fired the popular imagination about who built them and why. Actor Luke Bridgford explores Asuka to find out the secret behind these stone structures. (This program was broadcast on March 31, 2020.)

photo Actor Luke Bridgford photo Asukadera Temple, built in the late 6th century, was Japan's first Buddhist temple complex. A nearly 3-meter tall Buddhist statue -- one of the country's oldest -- is enshrined as the main object of worship. photo The Ishibutai Kofun Tumulus, thought to be the tomb of an influential figure, was built in the early 7th century. The total weight of the gigantic stones is estimated to exceed 2,000 tons. photo The Masudanoiwafune, or Masuda Stone Ship, is carved out of a single rock and believed to weigh several hundred tons.