TOTTORI -- The 10 finalists for the western Japan prefecture of Tottori's look-alike contest for people across the country resembling an ancient Japanese man's face as reconstructed using DNA were announced Jan. 31.
The Tottori Prefectural Government received 215 submissions in its Aoya Yayoi man look-alike competition open for entries over November and December 2021, with 10 chosen as finalists. It was also announced that the ancient man, whose skull was found in the prefectural capital of Tottori's Aoya Kamijichi ruins, has been named Kamijiro Aoya after the ruins.
Kamijiro Aoya's face was recreated based on DNA extracted from the skull thought to be around 1,800 years old, and a bust of what he would have looked like has been released. Because he has a face that you often see even today, the prefectural government decided to hold a contest to find his look-alikes, and invite the potential descendants to Tottori as part of the "Aoya Yayoi man's great search operation."
The 215 entrants were first whittled down to 20 using artificial intelligence (AI) testing, and a three-judge panel including a writer who has reported on the ruins and the owner of an eatery near the ruins chose the 10 finalists. The prefectural government will invite the 10 to an "Aoya Yayoi man great get-together tour" slated for around May, in which a winner will be chosen.
Three of the 10 finalists took part online in the official announcement event held at the prefectural government building. They were Junji Aoyagi and Hiroki Ushiyama from Tokyo, and Masahiro Yoshida from Osaka Prefecture. Ushiyama said, "A lot of people told me, he looks like you, he looks like you. When I had a look, I could see it. I'm looking forward to the day we can all meet." Yoshida commented, "We all look like each other, it's like we're relatives. I want to go to Tottori and take the top spot."
(Japanese original by Hirofumi Nohara, Tottori Bureau)