Family name origins & meanings
- Japanese : an ancient clan descended from the family and followers of Yuzuki no Kimi, a Korean prince who claimed descent from Qin Shihuangdi, the first Emperor of China (259–210 bc). According to the Nihon shoki, Yuzuki no Kimi migrated to Japan during the reign of Emperor Ōjin (late 4th century) with thousands of followers, many of whom were skilled silk producers and weavers; they were therefore given the name Hata meaning ‘loom’. They settled in the Yamato-Yamashiro heartland, especially in the region of present-day Kyōto. The family later enjoyed very close relations with Prince Regent Shōtoku (564–622), a statesman and Sinophile known as the ‘father of Japanese civilization’. Listed in the Shinsen shōjiroku, the name is related etymologically toHattori. Actually, the character qin (or ch’in) has nothing to do with weaving; it means ‘flourishing rice plants’. As the name of the first clan to conquer and unify the rest of China, it is the source of the name China. It is most likely that the reading hata was arbitrarily applied by the newly literate Japanese to the character qin because the newly arrived weavers claimed Qin clan connections, or at least were ‘Chinese’. Be that as it may, it is possible for some Qin refugees to have escaped to Korea after their empire fell in 206 bc, and for their descendants to have moved on to Japan during the 4th century, when the growing might of the Korean Shilla kingdom made life precarious for some in that peninsula. Other immigrant groups were also arriving in Japan at this time. See also Hada.