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  • For a full list of Clans: See Clans.


The Emishi (蝦夷 – Eastern Barbarians), also called at time the Ezo People1, were a Clan of people living on the periphery of the Yamato borders. Some scholars believe they could be the ancestors of the Ainu.2 Historically they are known to have lived in northern Japan, in particular Mutsu Province.1

Legendary Period

Yamato Takeru accompanied by Takehiko, Takehi no Muraji and Nanatsukahagi are sent to go subdue these people for the Emperor Keikō.2

Asuka Period

Abe no Hirafu is recorded in the nihongi as being sent three times by Emperor Saimei between 658 and 660 to subdue the Ezo People, with some believing he may have gone as far north as Hokkaido.1 He is said to have had 180 ships for his attacks on the Ezo.3

Nara Period

Fujiwara no Tsuginawa (727-796AD) and Fujiwara no Oguromaro (733-794) are sent north to battle the Emishi.3

Heian Period

Miltary outposts known as Nutari no Ki and Iwafune no Ki were constructed in the Province of Echigo to hold troops to aid in the control of the Emishi/Ezo people1 and by 801AD they had been subdued by Sakanoue no Tamuramaro. Additonally, other buidlings, such as Tagajō, Izawajō and Akitajō were built to also aide in the subjugation of these people.13



1. Kodansha. (1993) ”Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia”. Tokyo: Kodansha Ltd.
2. Littleton. C.S. (1995) “Yamato-takeru: An Arthurian Hero in Japanese Tradition”. Asian Folklore Studies, Vol. 54, No.2, pp.259-274.
3. Louis Frederic, translated by Kathe Roth (2002) “Japan Encyclopedia”. London: Harvard University Press.

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