Hemp / Cannabis History in East Asia

The Chinese character for hemp (麻 or má) depicts two plants under a shelter. Cannabis cultivation dates back at least 3000 years in Taiwan.

Hemp is possibly one of the earliest plants to be cultivated. Cannabis has been cultivated in Japan since the pre-Neolithic period for its fibres and as a food source and possibly as a psychoactive material. An archeological site in the Oki Islands near Japan contained cannabis achenes from about 8000 BC, probably signifying use of the plant. Hemp use archaeologically dates back to the Neolithic Age in China, with hemp fiber imprints found on Yangshao culture pottery dating from the 5th millennium BC.The Chinese later used hemp to make clothes, shoes, ropes, and an early form of paper.

Cannabis was an important crop in ancient Korea, with samples of hempen fabric discovered dating back as early as 3000 BCE.

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