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The people of Sado regarded them as demons and carefully
avoided them, a reception which implies total absence of previous
intercourse. Finally they withdrew, and nothing more is heard of
their race for over a hundred years, when, in A.D. 658, Hirafu, omi
of Abe and warden of Koshi (the northwestern provinces, Etchu,
Echizen, and Echigo), went on an expedition against them.

Nothing is recorded as to the origin or incidents of this campaign.
One account says that Hirafu, on his return, presented two white
bears to the Empress; that he fought with the Sushen and carried back
forty-nine captives. It may be assumed, however, that the enterprise
proved abortive, for, two years later (660), he was again sent
against the Sushen with two hundred ships. En route for his
destination he took on board his own vessel some of the inhabitants
of Yezo (Yemishi) to act as guides, and the flotilla arrived
presently in the vicinity of a long river, unnamed in the annals but
supposed to have been the Ishikari, which debouches on the west coast
of Yezo. There a body of over a thousand Yemishi in a camp facing the
river sent messengers to report that the Sushen fleet had arrived in
great force and that they were in imminent danger. The Sushen had
over twenty vessels and were lying in a concealed port whence Hirafu
in vain sent messengers to summon them.

What ensued in thus told in the Chronicles: "Hirafu heaped up on the
beach coloured silk stuffs, weapons, iron, etc.," to excite the
cupidity of the Sushen, who thereupon drew up their fleet in order,
approached "with equal oars, flying flags made of feathers tied to
poles, and halted in a shallow place. Then from one of their ships
they sent forth two old men who went round the coloured silk stuffs
and other articles which had been piled up, examined them closely,
whereafter they changed the single garments they had on, and each
taking up a piece of cloth went on board their ship and departed."
Meanwhile the Japanese had not made any attempt to molest them.
Presently the two old men returned, took off the exchanged garments
and, laying them down together with the cloth they had taken away,
re-embarked and departed.

Up to this Hirafu seems to have aimed at commercial intercourse. But
his overtures having been rejected, he sent to summon the Sushen.
They refused to come, and their prayer for peace having been
unsuccessful, they retired to "their own palisades." There the
Japanese attacked them, and the Sushen, seeing that defeat was
inevitable, put to death their own wives and children. How they
themselves fared is not recorded, nor do the Chronicles indicate
where "their own palisades" were situated, but in Japan it has always
been believed that the desperate engagement was fought in the Amur
River, and its issue may be inferred from the fact that although the
Japanese lost one general officer, Hirafu was able on his return to
present to the Empress more than fifty "barbarians," presumably
Sushen. Nevertheless, it is recorded that in the same year (A.D.
660), forty-seven men of Sushen were entertained at Court, and the
inference is either that these were among the above "savages"--in
which case Japan's treatment of her captured foes in ancient times
would merit applause--or that the Sushen had previously established
relations with Japan, and that Hirafu's campaign was merely to repel
trespass.

During the next sixteen years nothing more is heard of the Sushen,
but, in A.D. 676, seven of them arrived in the train of an envoy from
Sinra, the eastern of the three kingdoms into which Korea was then
divided. This incident evokes no remark whatever from the compilers
of the Chronicles, and they treat with equal indifference the
statement that during the reign of the Empress Jito, in the year A.D.
696, presents of coats and trousers made of brocade, together with
dark-red and deep-purple coarse silks, oxen, and other things were
given to two men of Sushen. Nothing in this brief record suggests
that any considerable intercourse existed in ancient times between
the Japanese and the Tungusic Manchu, or that the latter settled in
Japan in any appreciable numbers.

THE YEMISHI

The Yemishi are identified with the modern Ainu. It appears that the
continental immigrants into Japan applied to the semi-savage races
encountered by them the epithet "Yebisu" or "Yemishi," terms which
may have been interchangeable onomatopes for "barbarian." The
Yemishi are a moribund race. Only a remnant, numbering a few
thousands, survives, now in the northern island of Yezo. Nevertheless
it has been proved by Chamberlain's investigations into the origin of
place-names, that in early times the Yemishi extended from the north
down the eastern section of Japan as far as the region where the
present capital (Tokyo) stands, and on the west to the province now
called Echizen; and that, when the Nihongi was written, they still
occupied a large part of the main island.

We find the first mention of them in a poem attributed to the Emperor
Jimmu. Conducting his campaign for the re-conquest of Japan, Jimmu,
uncertain of the disposition of a band of inhabitants, ordered his
general, Michi, to construct a spacious hut (muro) and invite the
eighty doubtful characters to a banquet. An equal number of Jimmu's
soldiers acted as hosts, and, at a given signal, when the guests were
all drunk, they were slaughtered. Jimmu composed a couplet expressing
his troops' delight at having disposed of a formidable foe so easily,
and in this verselet he spoke of one Yemishi being reputed to be a
match for a hundred men.

Whether this couplet really belongs to its context, however, is
questionable; the eighty warriors killed in the muro may not have
been Yemishi at all. But the verse does certainly tend to show that
the Yemishi had a high fighting reputation in ancient times, though
it will presently be seen that such fame scarcely consists with the
facts revealed by history. It is true that when next we hear of the
Yemishi more than seven and a half centuries have passed, and during
that long interval they may have been engaged in a fierce struggle
for the right of existence. There is no evidence, however, that such
was the case.

On the contrary, it would seem that the Japanese invaders encountered
no great resistance from the Yemishi in the south, and were for a
long time content to leave them unmolested in the northern and
eastern regions. In A.D. 95, however, Takenouchi-no-Sukune was
commissioned by the Emperor Keiko to explore those regions. He
devoted two years to the task, and, on his return in 97, he submitted
to his sovereign this request: "In the eastern wilds there is a
country called Hi-taka-mi (Sun-height). The people of this country,
both men and women, tie up their hair in the form of a mallet and
tattoo their bodies. They are of fierce temper and their general name
is Yemishi. Moreover, the land is wide and fertile. We should attack
it and take it." [Aston's translation.] It is observable that the
principal motive of this advice is aggressive. The Yemishi had not
molested the Japanese or shown any turbulence. They ought to be
attacked because their conquest would be profitable: that was
sufficient.

Takenouchi's counsels could not be immediately followed. Other
business of a cognate nature in the south occupied the Court's
attention, and thirteen years elapsed before (A.D. 110) the
celebrated hero, Prince Yamato-dake, led an expedition against the
Yemishi of the east. In commanding him to undertake this task, the
Emperor, according to the Chronicles, made a speech which, owing to
its Chinese tone, has been called apocryphal, though some, at any
rate, of the statements it embodies are attested by modern
observation of Ainu manners and customs. He spoke of the Yemishi as
being the most powerful among the "eastern savages;" said that their
"men and women lived together promiscuously," that there was "no
distinction of father and child;" that in winter "they dwelt in holes
and in summer they lived in huts;" that their clothing consisted of
furs and that they drank blood; that when they received a favour they
forgot it, but if an injury was done them they never failed to avenge
it, and that they kept arrows in their top-knots and carried swords
within their clothing. How correct these attributes may have been at
the time they were uttered, there are no means of judging, but the
customs of the modern Ainu go far to attest the accuracy of the
Emperor Keiko's remarks about their ancestors.

Yamato-dake prefaced his campaign by worshipping at the shrine of
Ise, where he received the sword "Herb-queller," which Susanoo had
taken from the last chieftain of the Izumo tribesmen. Thence he
sailed along the coast to Suruga, where he landed, and was nearly
destroyed by the burning of a moor into which he had been persuaded
to penetrate in search of game. Escaping with difficulty, and having
taken a terrible vengeance upon the "brigands" who had sought to
compass his destruction, he pushed on into Sagami, crossed the bay to
Kazusa and, sailing north, reached the southern shore of Shimosa,
which was the frontier of the Yemishi. The vessels of the latter
assembled with the intention of offering resistance, but at the
aspect of the Japanese fleet and the incomparably superior arms and
arrows of the men it carried, they submitted unconditionally and
became personal attendants on Yamato-dake.

Three things are noticeable in this narrative. The first is that the
"brigands of Suruga" were not Yemishi; the second, that the Yemishi
offered no resistance, and the third, that the Yemishi chiefs are
called in the Chronicles "Kami of the islands" and "Kami of the
country"--titles which indicate that they were held in some respect
by the Japanese. It is not explicitly recorded that Yamato-dake had
any further encounter with the Yemishi, but figurative references
show that he had much fighting. The Chronicles quote him as saying,
after his return to Kii from an extended march through the
northeastern provinces and after penetrating as far as Hi-taka-mi
(modern Hitachi), the headquarters of the Yemishi, that the only
Yemishi who remained unsubmissive were those of Shinano and Koshi
(Echigo, Etchu, and Echizen).



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