Trips of Mankind: Kayaker Ryota Yamada paddling from Washington to Japan

The story of Kennewick Man inspires a Japanese kayaker to undertake an epic paddling trip to show that ancient peoples could have traveled by boat between Japan and the Columbia River area.

By week’s end, Ryota Yamada hopes to slip his sea kayak gently into the Columbia River at Clover Island, embarking on the first leg of adventure to Japan.

The retired scientist who did nanotechnological research intends to paddle downriver from Kennewick to the Pacific, then via the Inland Passage north to Alaska, and eventually across the Bering Strait to the Asian continent.

It will take him four summers to paddle the thousands of miles but, if he succeeds in reaching his homeland, Yamada said he will have shown that Kennewick Man could have made his way by boat 9,300 years ago from Japan to North America.

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