Aliens knew what they were doing when they landed in New Mexico all those years ago. Weird things have been popping up in the Land of Enchantment since forever. Besides the ‘Taos Hum‘, one of the most baffling discoveries is a tribe of Native Americans who happen to speak a language unlike any around them: Japanese!
OK, maybe the Zuni people aren’t speaking Japanese-Japanese, but there are enough similarities between the two languages that a few experts are spooked. The theory of a Japanese/Native American connection came about when graduate student Nancy Yaw Davis took an anthropology class on Southwestern Native American culture. She noticed that some Zuni words sounded a hell of a lot like Japanese words, and at a rate way above random chance. For example, the Zuni word for “clan” is “kwe,” while in Japanese it is “kwai.” The word for “clown” is “newe” in Japanese and “niwaka” in Zuni. “Priest” is “shawani” in Japanese and “shiwani” in Zuni.
And then there was the whole syntax thing: both languages use the verb as the last word of a sentence, a feature only 45 percent of languages share. That may not seem like a lot, but considering the Zuni language is nothing like the languages of the people who surround it, it’s a pretty odd connection.
So then Davis really started digging, and that was when she discovered all kinds of spooky crap: like that both the Zuni and the Japanese share frequency of Type B blood, a rare kidney disease and specific oral traditions about their origins. So her theory is that sometime around the 12th century Buddhist missionaries made it all the way to California and traveled inland. Somehow.