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This article is about the real world use of the word "Yamato"; for the location in Ōkami,, see Ark of Yamato.

Yamato is a word that refers to a number of different things in Japanese culture.

Yamato Province

Yamato

The Yamato Province is highlighted.

Yamato Province (「大和国」?; Yamato no Kuni) was a province of Japan, located in Kinai, corresponding to present-day Nara Prefecture in Honshū. It was also called Washū (「和州」?). At first, the name was written with one different character (「大倭」?), and for about ten years after 737, this was revised to use more desirable characters (「大養徳」?). The final revision was made in the second year of the Tenpyō-hōji era (c. 758). It is classified as a great province in the Engishiki.

The name Yamato derives from the Yamato people; the Yamato period in the history of Japan refers to the late Kofun period (c. 250–538) and Asuka period (538–710). Japanese archaeologists and historians emphasize the fact that during the early Kofun period, the Yamato chieftainship was in close contention with other regional powers, such as Kibi province near present-day Okayama Prefecture. Around the 6th century, the local chieftainship gained national control and established the Imperial court in Yamato Province.

Yamato People

Yamato people (「大和民族」?; Yamato-minzoku) is a name for the dominant native ethnic group of Japan.

It is a term that came to be used around the late 19th century to distinguish the residents of the mainland Japan from other minority ethnic groups who have resided in the peripheral areas of Japan such as Ainu, Ryukyuans, Nivkhs, Ulta, as well as Koreans, Taiwanese, and Taiwanese aborigines who were incorporated into the Empire of Japan in the early 20th century.

The name "Yamato" comes from the Yamato Court that existed in Japan in the 4th century. It was originally the name of the region where the Yamato people first settled in Nara Prefecture.

In the 6th century, the Yamato people—one of many tribes, of various origins, who had colonized Japan in prehistory—founded a state modeled on the Chinese states of Sui and Tang, the center of Asian political influence at the time. As the Yamato influence expanded, their Old Japanese language became the common spoken language. Ryukyuan, the languages of the Ryukyu Islands, split from Old Japanese somewhere between the 3rd and 5th centuries.

In present day Japan, the term Yamato-minzoku may be seen as antiquated for connoting racial notions that have been discarded in many circles since Japan's defeat in World War II. "Japanese people" or even "Japanese-Japanese" are often used instead, although these terms also have complications owing to their ambiguous blending of notions of ethnicity and nationality. Professor Mark Levin suggests adopting into general use the term "wajin" (「和人」?), already used in discourse to distinguish non-Ainu Japanese people from Ainu people, as a suitable global term for ethnic Japanese people in Japan today.

Japanese battleship Yamato

Yamato WWII
Yamato (「大和」?), named after the ancient Japanese Yamato Province, was the lead ship of the Yamato class of battleships that served with the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II. She and her sister ship, Musashi, "were the largest and most powerful battleships ever built", displacing 72,800 tonnes at full load and armed with nine 46 cm (18.1 inch) main guns. Neither survived the war.

During 1944 the balance of naval power in the Pacific decisively turned against Japan, and by early 1945 the Japanese fleet was much depleted and critically short of fuel stocks in the home islands, limiting its usefulness. In April 1945, in a desperate attempt to slow the Allied advance, Yamato was dispatched on a one-way voyage to Okinawa, where it was intended that she should protect the island from invasion and fight until destroyed. Her task force was spotted south of Kyushu by US submarines and aircraft, and on 7 April she was sunk by American carrier-based bombers and torpedo bombers with the loss of most of her crew.

Ōkami

Ark of Yamato
The word Yamato is used in the Ark of Yamato, a large ship used by Waka to escape the Moon Tribe cataclysm and in an attempt to evacuate the Celestials from the Celestial Plain during the attack of Orochi. The Ark of Yamato probably draws it's name from the Japanese battleship and shares a similar fate to its namesake. The Ark is located in Laochi Lake, in the Kamui region, home to the Oina Tribe who are based on the Ainu, one of the groups labeled as Yamato people.

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