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Notice was sent (783) to the provincial authorities
directing them to make preparations and to instruct the people that
an armed expedition was inevitable. News had just been received of
fresh outrages in Dewa. The Yemishi had completely dispersed and
despoiled the inhabitants of two districts, so that it was found
necessary to allot lands to them elsewhere and to erect houses for
their shelter.

The Emperor said in his decree that the barbarian tribes, when
pursued, fled like birds; when unmolested, gathered like ants; that
the conscripts from the Bando provinces were reported to be weak and
unfit for campaigning, and that those skilled in archery and
physically robust stood aloof from military service, forgetting that
they all owed a common duty to their country and their sovereign.
Therefore, his Majesty directed that the sons and younger brothers of
all local officials or provincial magnates should be examined with a
view to the selection of those suited for military service, who
should be enrolled and drilled, to the number of not less than five
hundred and not more than two thousand per province according to its
size. Thus, the eight Bando provinces must have furnished a force of
from four to sixteen thousand men, all belonging to the aristocratic
class. These formed the nucleus of the army. They were supplemented
by 52,800 men, infantry and cavalry, collected from the provinces
along the Eastern Sea (Tokai) and the Eastern Mountains (Tosan). so
that the total force must have aggregated sixty thousand. The command
in chief was conferred on Ki no Kosami, thirteenth in descent from
the renowned Takenouchi-no-Sukune, who had been second in command of
the Fujiwara Tsugunawa expedition nine years previously. A sword was
conferred on him by the Emperor, and he received authority to act on
his own discretion without seeking instructions from the Throne.

Meanwhile, the province of Mutsu had been ordered to send 35,000 koku
(175,000 bushels) of hulled rice to Taga Castle, and the other
provinces adjacent were required to store 23,000 koku (115,000
bushels) of hoshi-i (rice boiled and dried) and salt at the same
place. The troops were to be massed at Taga, and all the provisions
and munitions were collected there by April, 789. These figures are
suggestive of the light in which the Government regarded the affair.
Kosami moved out of Taga at the appointed time and pushed northward.
But with every forward movement the difficulties multiplied. Snow in
those regions lies many feet deep until the end of May, and the thaw
ensuing brings down from the mountains heavy floods which convert the
rivers into raging torrents and the roads into quagmires. On reaching
the bank of the Koromo River, forty-five miles north of Taga, the
troops halted. Their delay provoked much censure in the capital where
the climatic conditions do not appear to have been fully understood
or the transport difficulties appreciated. Urged by the Court to push
on rapidly, Kosami resumed his march in June; failed to preserve
efficient connexion between the parts of his army; had his van
ambushed; fled precipitately himself, and suffered a heavy defeat,
though only 2500 of his big army had come into action. His casualties
were 25 killed, 245 wounded, and 1036 drowned. A truce was effected
and the forces withdrew to Taga, while, as for Kosami, though he
attempted to deceive the Court by a bombastic despatch, he was
recalled and degraded together with all the senior officers of his
army.

It would seem as though this disaster to one comparatively small
section of a force aggregating from fifty to sixty thousand men need
not have finally interrupted the campaign, especially when the enemy
consisted of semi-civilized aborigines. The Government thought
differently, however. There was no idea of abandoning the struggle,
but the programme for its renewal assumed large dimensions, and
events in the capital were not propitious for immediate action. The
training of picked soldiers commenced at once, and the provision of
arms and horses. Kosami's discomfiture took place in 789, and during
the next two years orders were issued for the manufacture of 2000
suits of leather armour and 3000 of iron armour; the making of 34,500
arms, and the preparation of 1 10,000 bushels of hoshi-i. To the
command-in-chief the Emperor (Kwammu) appointed Saka-no-ye no
Tamuramaro.

This selection illustrates a conclusion already proved by the annals,
namely, that racial prejudice had no weight in ancient Japan. For
Tamuramaro was a direct descendant of that Achi no Omi who, as
already related, crossed from China during the Han dynasty and became
naturalized in Japan. His father, Karitamaro, distinguished himself
by reporting the Dokyo intrigue, in the year 770, and received the
post of chief of the palace guards, in which corps his son,
Tamuramaro, thereafter served. Tradition has assigned supernatural
capacities to Tamuramaro, and certainly in respect of personal
prowess no less than strategical talent he was highly gifted. In
June, 794, he invaded Mutsu at the head of a great army and, by a
series of rapidly delivered blows, effectually crushed the
aborigines, taking 457 heads, 100 prisoners, and 85 horses, and
destroying the strongholds of 75 tribes. Thereafter, until the year
of his death (811), he effectually held in check the spirit of
revolt, crushing two other insurrections--in 801 and 804--and
virtually annihilating the insurgents. He transferred the garrison
headquarters from Taga to Isawa, where he erected a castle,
organizing a body of four thousand militia (tonden-hei) to guard it;
and in the following year (803), he built the castle of Shiba at a
point still further north.

NATIONALITY OF THE INSURGENTS

Annals of historical repute are confined to the above account. There
is, however, one unexplained feature, which reveals itself to even a
casual reader. In their early opposition to Yamato aggression, the
Yemishi--or Ainu, or Yezo, by whatever name they be called--displayed
no fighting qualities that could be called formidable. Yet now, in
the eighth century, they suddenly show themselves men of such prowess
that the task of subduing them taxes the resources of the Yamato to
the fullest. Some annalists are disposed to seek an explanation of
this discrepancy in climatic and topographical difficulties. Kosami,
in his despatch referring to the Koromo-gawa campaign, explains that
12,440 men had to be constantly employed in transporting provisions
and that the quantity carried by them in twenty-four days did not
exceed eleven days' rations for the troops. The hardship of
campaigning in a country where means of communication were so
defective is easily conjectured, and it has also to be noted that
during only a brief period in summer did the climate of Mutsu permit
taking the field. But these conditions existed equally in the eras of
Yamato-dake and Hirafu. Whatever obstacles they presented in the
eighth century must have been equally potent in the second and in the
seventh.

Two explanations are offered. They are more or less conjectural. One
is that the Yemishi of Mutsu were led by chieftains of Yamato origin,
men who had migrated to the northeast in search of fortune or
impelled by disaffection. It seems scarcely credible, however, that a
fact so special would have eluded historical reference, whereas only
one passing allusion is made to it and that, too, in a book not fully
credible. The other explanation is that the Yemishi were in league
with hordes of Tatars who had crossed from the mainland of Asia, or
travelled south by the islands of Saghalien and Yezo. The main
evidence in support of this theory is furnished by the names of the
insurgent leaders Akuro-o, Akagashira, and Akahige. Ideographists
point out that the character aku is frequently pronounced o, and with
that reading the name "Akuro-o" becomes "Oro-o," which was the term
used for "Russian." As for "Akagashira" and "Akahige," they frankly
signify "red head" and "red beard," common Japanese names for
foreigners. In a shrine at Suzuka-yama in Ise, to which point the
insurgents pushed southward before Tamuramaro took the field, there
used to be preserved a box, obviously of foreign construction, said
to have been left there by the "Eastern Barbarians;" and in the
Tsugaru district of the modern Mutsu province, relics exist of an
extensive fortress presenting features not Japanese, which is
conjectured to have been the basis of the Tatar invaders. But all
these inferences rest on little more than hypothesis.

RISE OF MILITARY HOUSES

What is certain, however, is that a collateral result of these
disturbances was to discredit the great Court nobles--the Otomo, the
Tachibana, the Ki, and the Fujiwara--as leaders of armies, and to lay
the foundation of the military houses (buke) which were destined to
become feudal rulers of Japan in after ages. Ki no Hirozumi, Ki no
Kosami, Otomo Yakamochi, Fujiwara Umakai, and Fujiwara Tsugunawa
having all failed, the Court was compelled to have recourse to the
representatives of a Chinese immigrant family, the Saka-no-ye. By
those who trace the ringer of fate in earthly happenings, it has been
called a dispensation that, at this particular juncture, a descendant
of Achi no Omi should have been a warrior with a height of six feet
nine inches,* eyes of a falcon, a beard like plaited gold-wire, a
frown that terrified wild animals, and a smile that attracted
children. For such is the traditional description of Tamuramaro.
Another incidental issue of the situation was that conspicuous credit
for fighting qualities attached to the troops specially organized in
the Bando (Kwanto) provinces with the sons and younger brothers of
local officials. These became the nucleus of a military class which
ultimately monopolized the profession of arms.

*The height recorded is five feet eight inches, but as that would be
a normal stature, there can be little doubt that "great" (dai)
measure is referred to and that the figures indicate six feet nine
inches.

RELATIONS WITH KOREA

During the eighth century relations of friendship were once more
established with Koma.



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