This study represents a comprehensive examination of all the available evidence regarding blade technology in the Japanese Archipelago in the early Upper Paleolithic (EUP) with a special focus on possible influences from western Eurasia, China, and Korea. Based on the evaluation of AMS radiocarbon dates from the Japanese EUP sites and the related techno-morphological characteristics of stone tools, we confirmed that while EUP flake assemblages appeared ca. 38,000–37,000 cal yr BP in the Japanese Archipelago, the first blade technology emerged slightly later at ca. 36,000 cal yr BP in this region. A comparative study of the Japanese EUP blade technology with the Initial Upper Paleolithic (IUP) in western Eurasia, IUP-like assemblages in China, and EUP assemblages in Korea presents compelling evidence for links in developments in blade technology between Japan and Korea while showing direct influence from China or western Eurasia to be at best improbable.
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