Talk:Emishi

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Wording changes[edit]

Just wondering if we can change "THe" to "The" at the bottom, and "flick" to "film." Do we use "flick" when discussing movies? Looks like that has been done. I was wondering about the use of AD BC and CE. Shouldn't we standardise on one or the other?

 Done - era names were standardized, unnecessary usage was removed, and grammar was corrected in the lead section. - Boneyard90 (talk) 13:37, 26 December 2014 (UTC)

Emishi theories[edit]

Much like the Native American who is represented by a large number of different tribes, so the Emishi were also represented by different tribes with different ways of life. The Emishi were semi-nomadic and relied on their horses in warfare, and played a significant role in the development of the early samurai, who took to horse archery to counter the Emishi during Aterui's War.

Soon after the Second World War mummmies were discovered in Hiraizumi (the capital city of the Northern Fujiwara) who were thought to be related to the Emishi who had originally submitted to Yamato rule, and hence were thought to have been related to the Ainu. However, after further research on the mummies it was found that the rulers of Hiraizumi were like other Japanese of the time, and certainly not related to ethnic Ainu. This was seen as evidence that the Emishi were not related to the Ainu. This had the effect of popularizing the idea that the Emishi were like other contemporary ethnic Japanese who lived in northeast Japan, outside of Yamato rule.

This viewpoint went hand in hand with the idea that the Japanese were a single ethnic group that had undergone little change since antiquity. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Japan was a melting pot of many different ethnic groups ranging from continental Asians, both distant in time, such as those related to Native Americans, and more recent migrants such as the Chinese and Koreans, as well as various groups of Pacific Islanders related to the Polynesians. In the study of Jomon skeletal remains dating from thousands of years ago, a very ancient Asian was recovered, someone who was directly ancestral to the Ainu. This said, it was found that diachronically, and geographically, the skeletal structure of the Jomon population changed over time from southwest to northeast, paralleling the actual migration of Japanese speakers historically.

Even relying on historical documents, it was clear that the ancestors of the Ainu left many Ainu place names in the main island of Honshu, indicating that an Ainoid population had lived in the area before the Yamato expansion. Further, even as late as the nineteenth century, there were remnant Ainu who were living in Aomori province in far northeastern Honshu. Though still inconclusive, the main body of Satsumon culture, seen by all scholars as definitely ancestral to Ainu culture in Hokkaido, may have gotten its start from migrants from northeastern Japan.

Finally, the so-called Emishi rulers of Hiraizumi were not actually direct descendants of that ethnic group and therefore cannot be seen as any sort of evidence. It was customary for local rulers to take on local titles that would suggest a direct ancestry. There is no doubt that the Northern Fujiwara had some Emishi blood in them a few generations removed, but for the most part they were from the Japanese aristocracy. For example, many Ainu in Hokkaido today, are typically one-fourth to one-eighth Ainu, and cannot be easily distinguished from other ethnic Japanese. Even though the pattern of assimilation is not known in detail for the Emishi who fought against Yamato (Japanese) control in northeast Honshu, ethnic characteristics are lost after three generations of intermarriage or interbreeding in areas that did not remain isolated from the immigrant Japanese population that poured into the area after the conquest.

In a time when the Ainu of Hakkaido have been more vocal in breaking the majority's silence in regard to the ethnic diversity of Japan, their history is still being denied them through the back door--a history that was not just confined to Hokkaido but included the rich cultural heritage of the main island of Honshu.


Kenjiro Hakomori

inconsistency between articles[edit]

The separate article on Sakanoue no Tamuramaro asserts that he (in the late 8th century) conquered the Emishi and expelled them from Honshu. That is nearly the opposite of what this article asserts about Emperor Kammu -- can anyone with topical knowledge sort out the inconsistency and fix whichever article is off?


Does it really? My VERY limited knowledge of the subject - a general knowledge of Japanese history and the film Princess Mononoke - tells me that they were almost wiped out, but not completely. I don't recognise any such contradiction.

The Emishi in Princess Mononoke are fictionalised and should not be thought of as a source, rather as a fictional derivative.

Correction[edit]

The Tamuramaro article has been corrected. Thanks for pointing this out. I don't know who authored the article but I have corrected it with a brief as description of a real migration that scholars believe took place between Honshu and Hokkaido sometime between the Seventh and Eighth centuries AD. -KH

Watarishima Emishi[edit]

I have found reference to a particular group of Emishi, referred to as the Watarishima Emishi:

[reference to a] new group called the Watarishima Emishi, a people who appear to differ from earlier Emishi groups. In tribute, for example, the Watarishima Emishi brought animal skins rather than horses, and Dewa lords prohibited other groups from trading with the Watarishima Emishi, suggesting that their tribute was exotic enough to warrant trade restrictions. Emori Susumu, a historian of Hokkaido, points out that the Watarishima Emishi share many traits with the people that would later be identified as the Ezo and, ultimately, the Ainu.

Walker, Brett. Conquest of Ainu Lands : Ecology and Culture in Japanese Expansion, 1590-1800. Ewing, NJ, USA: University of California Press, 2001. p 22.

L Hamm 00:14, 6 September 2006 (UTC)


The Watarishima Emishi are thought to have lived in present-day Aomori and southern Hokkaido. I am planning to do a long overdue revision of the main article (done as of Sept. 13th, 2006). Watarishima means "island on the other side" and refers to Hokkaido. -K.H.

Kennewick Man connection[edit]

I see that the Kennewick Man item was taken out as being "dubious." The lead scholar of Kennewick Man, James Chatters who has studied the skull of Kennewick Man see the closest affinity to be the Jomon of Japan. The book, In the Wake of the Jomon by Jon Turk looks at the possibility of a sea-going vessel from Japan to the Pacific Northwest coast of America. Far from being questionable then there is a definite link with the Jomon, and thus through the Jomon to the Emishi. However, this is just a side note so leaving it out of the main article is fine. Putting it here in the discussion section is perhaps more appropriate. -K.H.

Latest info is that the skull and remains have been tied closest to the tribe living in the region so this is no longer accurate. Kennewick Man is definitely native American. -K.H. — Preceding unsigned comment added by K.H. (talkcontribs) 20:38, 10 August 2020 (UTC)

Point of View[edit]

It seems to me that this entire article is written from a Japanese point of view and so revolves around their military exploits in opposition. While it is true that all of our information about the Emishi comes from Japanese sources, the article can be written from a more neutral, or even positive perspective.

I would like to see sections on Emishi clothing, food, political system etc. and their military exploits downplayed a bit. It seems to me they were not naturally a warlike people but did defend themselves against those who attacked them.

There are inaccuracies: The Battle of the Koromo River in 789 should be the Battle of Sufuse / Subuse Village for example. The mummies in Hiraizumi were not discovered after WWII either. The were put there in the 12th century and nobody ever forgot about them. Basho went to Hiraizumi to see them in the 16th century. He knew they were there and wrote about them!


Sufuse is the name of the village close to where the battle took place; however, the Battle of Koromo river is a much older name for this battle so cannot be considered inaccurate as the battle did take place on that river. The article is an introduction and is not intended to be exhaustive or complete. Omissions are a choice made for brevity's sake. -K.H.

The Hiraizumi mummies they were first studied after WW2. They were known earlier but were not studied scientifically. I may not have made this clear (this has been corrected).-K.H.

Unfortunately, we do not have much record of their political organization, or much about their social structure. Though we can indirectly infer certain lifeways from studying their Jomon ancestors and archeological remains, and even from what is written about them in the Japanese sources much of their culture is not known. -K.H.

Website link changed[edit]

I have not been able to get to Suzuta Yukinori's website lately, and have thus changed the external link to "Who were the Emishi?" to a copy of that page. It is the exact same except for the addition of commentary on the image that appears on that page. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 12.176.226.1 (talk) 11:49, August 29, 2007 (UTC)

The "Conquest" section...[edit]

I have completed edits for inline references for the main sections that needed the most work. Sorry to say it doesn't work. When I press the reference button it says to >insert footnote text here<,but when that is done it all disappears except for the reference number. I will have to put the references in again below the article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by K.H. (talkcontribs) 11:45, 29 November 2008 (UTC)


I have not updated this article for at least a while and it needs it badly. I am the original author. I have also been made aware of petty vandalism which I find extremely troubling since I have not been aware of this issue before. I have typically updated my own Emishi web page and so have neglected this space, but I see that there are some edits which have been made that are either incorrect or make the article somewhat disjointed.

Thanks for finding the offensive edits. There has to be some way to control this. —Preceding unsigned comment added by K.H. (talkcontribs) 23:14, 28 November 2008 (UTC)


...introduces a lot of specific vocabulary without explaining it, making the whole section somewhat difficult to read for someone who knows next to nothing about the Emishi. Could someone knowledgable look into it? I'm in the "knows next to nothing" camp, so I can't do it.

Also, some of the words should probably be checked out - I'm talking about the "present day [town of] Unchi" and the term "chinko shogun". These could be legitimite, but are probably petty vandalism. Again, I don't know much the whole subject, so I can't tell, it's just something I noticed. TomorrowTime (talk) 11:30, 18 November 2008 (UTC)

I scanned through the article history briefly, and came up with the offending edit (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Emishi&diff=prev&oldid=230639142) for the second part of my previous message. It was vandalism, as I suspected. TomorrowTime (talk) 11:48, 18 November 2008 (UTC)

Edited in a few footnotes for the other sections. The footnotes are working now.--K.H. (talk) 19:02, 30 November 2008 (UTC)

Origin of the word Emishi[edit]

Very strange edits found here under "Cite." Made no sense and disjointed from the rest of the article. Changed the name of the section and added more. —Preceding unsigned comment added by K.H. (talkcontribs) 12:13, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

Ashihase vs Mishihase[edit]

I am unsure as to the correct reading. I will have to look into this before making a definite decision which is best.--K.H. (talk) 03:26, 3 December 2008 (UTC)

I am not an expert on this subject, but I noticed that the link to Ashihase redirects to Mishihase. The article Mishihase does not really explain why there are the two variants. My inclination would be to replace Ashihase with Mishihase.imars (talk) 21:39, 30 November 2008 (UTC)

Funny stuff[edit]

"The imperial armies, which were modeled after the mainland Chinese armies, were no match for the guerrilla tactics of the Emishi."

The author of this passage does realise, I hope, that mainland Chinese armies had been dealing with guerilla tactics similar to those used by the Emishi for, let's see, hundreds of years? And these enemies were far more formidable and numerous than the Emishi — Preceding unsigned comment added by 77.99.63.125 (talk) 18:07, 17 April 2012 (UTC)

This does not imply that Chinese armies at the time were ineffective. The T'ang armies were very effective. The Japanese adaptation of it relied on heavy infantry which was no match for the faster Emishi cavalry. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 99.89.105.22 (talk) 17:50, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

Correction of "michi no oku"[edit]

"michi no oku" is the name Japanese used for the Tohoku location, literally, "deep road" not another name for the people. This has been corrected. KH. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 99.89.105.22 (talk) 16:36, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

Restored broken links and picture of Emishi. — Preceding unsigned comment added by K.H. (talkcontribs) 19:25, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

Genetics?[edit]

Have there been any genetic studies of the Emishi? I realize the Emishi do not exist as a separate ethnicity today, but I imagine it would be possible to test older remains. Also, I seem to recall reading that there is significant north-south variation in the genetics of the Japanese population, which I suspect must be relevant in trying to establish the "identity" of the Emishi? Maitreya (talk) 11:26, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

I came here to help somebody who made a mistake. Apparently the genetic article of this says absolutely nothing about Emishi paternal DNA. Nothing about the percentage. Everything written is clearly original research. There's no English translation and I tried to find this study but it says nothing related to Emish haplogroups. This study 崎谷満『DNA・考古・言語の学際研究が示す新・日本列島史』(勉誠出版 2009年)(in Japanese)124.109.40.53 (talk) 13:39, 14 July 2020 (UTC)

Emishi history[edit]

http://books.google.com/books?id=eTFMPO5NdKgC&pg=PA223&lpg=PA223&dq=ando+clan+tohoku&source=bl&ots=SxuLJ9fv7p&sig=C4LBLOYkALJIdZDr_iKVzhB29Ec&hl=en&sa=X&ei=4t22UtDAMomgkgWGiICABw&ved=0CDcQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=ando%20clan%20tohoku&f=false

http://www.okutsugaru.com/e/okutsugaru/okutsugaru-history.html

http://web-japan.org/atlas/historical/his04.html

http://ejje.weblio.jp/sentence/content/防人

http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/obj/s4/f2/dsk2/ftp02/NQ48593.pdf

Rajmaan (talk) 06:51, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

Linguistic evidence[edit]

It is very strange that the evidence in Ainu language § Ainu on mainland Japan, on which the Ainu hypothesis is based, is not mentioned here at all. The objections to the hypothesis based on cultural and genetic differences are indirectly addressed there too: the modern Ainu are the result of a fusion of the evidently Ainu-speaking Emishi with the Siberian Okhotsk culture, which was most likely Nivkh-speaking. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 18:02, 8 July 2020 (UTC)

Emishi vs. Ainu[edit]

If the Ainu didn't ride horses and the Emishi were expert archers/horsemen, is it possible that the Emishi were Mongol or Hun transplants? If the Huns could make their way westward all the way to Germany and France, could't some of them have travelled east to northern Japan? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2605:E000:C787:F700:C504:5399:8F42:5ED6 (talk) 07:38, 3 August 2020 (UTC)

The Mongols were not the only horse riding culture. Their expansion and empire began in the 13th century, while the Emishi were already assimilated by the 10th century, and they didn't manage to conquer Japan due to typhoons. Though if you have access to credible sources, you can include them in the article and write a subheading. Fanasiro (talk) 13:45, 3 August 2020 (UTC)

Emishi from an Emakimono circa 1324.png[edit]

This image is a part of "Prince Shotoku Eden Emaki" (Domoto family book), but there is no established theory that the hair man is Emishi (someone's idea, original research). Please do not use it on Wikipedia. And It is WP:V violation because no verified source (just image uploader on Commons says that, "a certain Japanese book says that.") --Krkrkrme (talk) 04:23, 30 October 2020 (UTC)