Shinichi Fujimura (藤村 新一 Fujimura Shin'ichi, b. 4 May 1950) is a Japanese archaeologist who claimed he had found a large number of stone artifacts dating back to the Lower Paleolithic and Middle Paleolithic periods. These objects were later revealed to be forgeries.
Fujimura was born in Kami, Miyagi, in 1950. After graduating from a high school in Sendai, he obtained a job in a manufacturing company. He became intrigued by archaeology when he was a child, finding shards of Jōmon pottery in the backyard of his house.
In 1972 Fujimura began to study archaeology and to look for Paleolithic artifacts during his holidays. Within the few years to follow, he rose to fame among amateur and academic archaeologists in Sendai by which he was appointed the head of the NGO group, Sekki Bunka Kenkyukai in 1975. Fujimura discovered and excavated many Paleolithic stone artifacts in Miyagi prefecture, such as at Zazaragi site in 1981, Nakamine C site in 1983 and Babadan A site in 1984. From a cross-dating investigation of the stratum these stone tools were estimated to be about 50,000 years old.
He established his reputation as a leading amateur archaeologist because he found most of the artifacts on his own. He even became known as the archaeologist with the "divine hands".
After this success, he participated in 180 archaeological digs in northern Japan and almost always found artifacts, their age becoming increasingly older. Based on his discoveries the history of the Japanese Paleolithic period was extended to about 300,000 years. Most of the archaeologists did not question Fujimura's work and this discovery was written in the history textbooks. Later he gained a position as a deputy director at the private NGO group Tohoku Paleolithic Institute.
Despite the acquiescence from the archeologists, some geologists and anthropologists claimed the discovery was dubious and lacked consistency with the geologic analysis of the sites.
Stone artifacts which were recently discovered at Japanese Upper Paleolithic sites, such as Kamitakamori site are so different from the characteristics of these Upper Paleolithic stones. ... Those are the same as the stone shafts of the Jōmon period in their shape or fabrication method. ... This site and their archaeological finds are undoubtedly abnormal, a kind of OOPARTS.
Shizuo Oda and Charles T. Keally also mentioned some peculiarities in their article
After talking to the principal investigators, Okamura and Kamata, and a thorough study of the relevant publications and the lithics themselves, we have concluded that no proven artifacts of human origin predating 30,000 B. P. exist in Miyagi prefecture. The claims of Okamura, Kamata, and some other Miyagi archaeologists that they have discovered a "Lower Palaeolithic" are based on flawed research and are dubious claims.
On October 23, 2000, Fujimura and his team announced that they had another finding at the Kamitakamori site near Tsukidate town. The finds were estimated to be 570,000 years old.
On November 5, 2000, the newspaper Mainichi Shimbun published pictures of Fujimura digging holes and burying the artifacts his team later found. The pictures had been taken one day before the finding was announced. Fujimura admitted his forgery in an interview with the newspaper.
Fujimura confessed and apologized the same day in a press conference. He said that he had been "possessed by an uncontrollable urge". He had planted the artifacts from his own collection in strata that would have indicated earlier dates. In Kamitakamori he had planted 61 of 65 artifacts, and had earlier planted all of the stonework in the Soshin Fudozaka site in Hokkaidō. He claimed that these were the only times he had planted artifacts.
The Japanese Archaeological Association disaffiliated Fujimura from its members. A special investigation team of the Association revealed that almost all the artifacts which he had found were his fabrication.
In a series of articles in the Japanese magazine Shūkan Bunshun published on January 25, February 1 and March 15, 2001, the magazine alleged that the stone tools discovered at the Hijiridaki cave site (聖嶽洞窟遺跡) in Ōita Prefecture had also been forgeries, and indicated that Mitsuo Kagawa, a professor at Beppu University, had been involved in that hoax. Kagawa committed suicide and left a suicide note in which he pleaded his innocence.
His family filed a defamation suit against Shūkan Bunshun the same year. The Ōita district Court and the Fukuoka High Court decided to order the magazine to pay the damages and issue an apology to the family of Kagawa. The magazine appealed to the Supreme Court of Japan, although the appeal was rejected in September 2004. An apology statement was published in the September 2, 2004, issue.
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