HokkaidōHokkaido PrefectureHokkaidō Prefecture
As more people moved to the settlement to avoid battles, disputes arose between the Japanese and the Ainu. The disputes eventually developed into a war. Takeda Nobuhiro killed the Ainu leader, Koshamain, and defeated the opposition in 1457. Nobuhiro's descendants became the rulers of the Matsumae-han, which was granted exclusive trading rights with the Ainu in the Azuchi-Momoyama and Edo periods (1568–1868). The Matsumae family's economy relied upon trade with the Ainu. They held authority over the south of Ezochi until the end of the Edo period in 1868. The Matsumae clan rule over the Ainu must be understood in the context of the expansion of the Japanese feudal state.

Shakushain's revolt

ShakushainAinu rebellionled a revolt
The only other comparable large-scale revolt by Ainu against Japanese rule was the Menashi-Kunashir Battle of 1789. An earlier rebellion along the same lines was Koshamain's Revolt in 1456. *Brett L. Walker, The Conquest of Ainu Lands: Ecology and Culture in Japanese Expansion 1590–1800. University of California Press, 2001, pages 49–56, 61–71.

Matsumae clan

Matsumae DomainMatsumaeLord of Matsumae
Takeda Nobuhiro (1431–1494) (ancestor of the Matsumae clan). Empire of Japan–Russian Empire relations. Howell, David (2005). Geographies of Identity in Nineteenth-Century Japan. University of California Press. McDougall, Walter (1993). Let the Sea Make a Noise: Four Hundred Years of Cataclysm, Conquest, War and Folly in the North Pacific. New York: Avon Books. First volume of The House Record of Matsumae, in Japanese. List of the generations of Matsumae daimyō.

Yamato people

As a result, admixture was common in the island regions of Kyūshū, Shikoku, and Honshū, but did not prevail in the outlying islands of Okinawa and Hokkaidō, and the Ryukyuan and Ainu people of Jōmon ancestry continued to dominate there. Mark J. Hudson claims that the main ethnic image of Japanese people was biologically and linguistically formed from 400 BCE to 1,200 CE. The most well-regarded theory is that present-day Yamato Japanese are descendants of both the indigenous Jōmon people and predominantly the immigrant Yayoi people.


Sakhalin IslandIsland of SakhalinKarafuto
Among the indigenous people of Sakhalin are the Ainu in the southern half, the Oroks in the central region, and the Nivkhs in the north. Chinese chronicled the Xianbei and Hezhe tribes, which had a way of life based on fishing. The Mongol Empire made some efforts to subjugate the native people of Sakhalin starting in about 1264 A.D. According to Yuanshi, the official history of the Yuan dynasty, the Mongols invaded Sakhalin and militarily subdued the Guwei (骨嵬, Gǔwéi), and by 1308, all inhabitants of Sakhalin had submitted to the Yuan. The Nivkhs were subjugated earlier, whereas the Ainu people submitted to the Mongols later.


YezoAinu peopleEzo chi
Their descendants are suspected to be the Ainu people. Ezo is a Japanese word meaning "foreigner" and referred to the Ainu lands to the north, which the Japanese named Ezo-chi. The spelling "Yezo" reflects its pronunciation c. 1600, when Europeans first came in contact with Japan. It is this historical spelling that is reflected in the scientific Latin term yezoensis, as in Fragaria yezoensis and Porphyra yezoensis. However, there are species that use the new spelling such as the Japanese scallop known as hotategai : Mizuhopecten yessoensis. The first published description of Ezo in the West was brought to Europe by Isaac Titsingh in 1796.

Menashi–Kunashir rebellion

Menashi-Kunashir RebellionMenashi-Kunashir BattleMenashi-Kunashiri Battle
The Menashi-Kunashir rebellion or war or Menashi-Kunashir battle was a battle in 1789 between Ainu and Japanese on the Shiretoko Peninsula in northeastern Hokkaido. It began in May 1789 when Ainu attacked Japanese on Kunashir Island and parts of the Menashi District as well as at sea. More than 70 Japanese were killed. The Japanese executed 37 Ainu identified as conspirators and arrested many others. Reasons for the revolt are not entirely clear, but they are believed to include a suspicion of poisoned sake being given to Ainu in a loyalty ceremony, and other objectionable behavior by Japanese traders.

Shinra no Kiroku

Its two scrolls recount the early history of the Matsumae clan and describe the extension of Wajin influence over Ezo and encounters with the Ainu. The history is named after Shinra Saburō, an alias of Minamoto no Yoshimitsu, from whom the Matsumae clan claimed descent. The original text from 1643 is preserved in private hands in Okushiri and is the earliest extended record of Hokkaidō. List of Cultural Properties of Japan - writings (Hokkaidō). Koshamain's War. Scroll One. Scroll Two.

Meiji Restoration

Meiji RevolutionRestorationindustrialization of Japan
The Meiji Restoration, known contemporaneously as the Honorable Restoration, and also known as the Meiji Renovation, Revolution, Reform, or Renewal, was an event that restored practical imperial rule to the Empire of Japan in 1868 under Emperor Meiji.


Shinori-dateCoins excavated from the medieval remains of Shinori, HokkaidōShinori Date
First laid out around the end of the fourteenth century, Shinoridate features in the Matsumae Domainal history Shinra no Kiroku, which tells of it being sacked by the Ainu in Chōroku 1 (1457), during Koshamain's War, and again falling to the Ainu in Eishō 9 (1512), after which its occupants, the house of Kobayashi, became subject to the Matsumae clan.

Timeline of Japanese history

This is a timeline of Japanese history, comprising important legal, territorial and cultural changes and political events in Japan and its predecessor states. To read about the background to these events, see History of Japan. See also the list of Emperors of Japan and Prime Ministers of Japan and the list of years in Japan.

List of wars: 1000–1499

List of wars 1000–1499
This is a list of wars that began between 1000 and 1499. Other wars can be found in the historical lists of wars and the list of wars extended by diplomatic irregularity.

Indigenous peoples

indigenousindigenous peopleaboriginal
The reason of nonrecognition is the size of the population and relatively late advent to their current regions, thus indigenous peoples in Russia should be numbered less than 50 000 people Ainu people are an ethnic group indigenous to Hokkaidō, the Kuril Islands, and much of Sakhalin. As Japanese settlement expanded, the Ainu were pushed northward and fought against the Japanese in Shakushain's Revolt and Menashi-Kunashir Rebellion, until by the Meiji period they were confined by the government to a small area in Hokkaidō, in a manner similar to the placing of Native Americans on reservations. The Dzungar Oirats are indigenous to the Dzungaria in Northern Xinjiang.


This was followed from around 14,000 BC (the start of the Jōmon period) by a Mesolithic to Neolithic semi-sedentary hunter-gatherer culture characterized by pit dwelling and rudimentary agriculture, including by ancestors of contemporary Ainu people and Yamato people. The Jōmon pottery and decorated clay vessels from this period are some of the oldest surviving examples of pottery in the world. Around 300 BC, the Yayoi people began to enter the Japanese islands, intermingling with the Jōmon. The Yayoi period, starting around 500 BC, saw the introduction of practices like wet-rice farming, a new style of pottery and metallurgy, introduced from China and Korea.

Mongol invasions of Sakhalin

invaded Sakhalin Islandmade attempts to subjugateMongols invaded Sakhalin
Eventually, population pressure and the need for agricultural lands pushed the Satsumon, identified as the precursors of the Ainu people, into warfare with the Okhotsk in the 10th to 11th century, causing the Okhotsk to retreat to Sakhalin. The conflicts of the period were reflected in the yukar oral traditions of the northern Hokkaido Ainu, in which the heroes of the "land people" (yaunkur) prevailed over the "sea people" (repunkur). The Ainu followed up with an invasion into southern Sakhalin in the 11th to 12th century, leaving behind oral traditions telling how the Ainu defeated the Tonchi people there (likely the Nivkhs), and sent them fleeing north by boat.

Ainu language

AinuAinu languagesSakhalin Ainu
More recently, the Japanese government has acknowledged the Ainu people as an indigenous population. As of 1997 they were given indigenous rights under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) to their culture, heritage, and language. The Ainu Cultural Promotion Act in 1997 appointed the Foundation for Research and Promotion of Ainu Culture (FRPAC). This foundation is tasked with language education, where they promote Ainu language learning through training instructors, advanced language classes, and creation and development of language materials.

Oki (musician)

OkiOki KanoDub Ainu Band
His earlier solo albums include collaborations with the female Ainu singing group Marewrew, who sometimes appear in his live show as well. More recently, he has played with his own Oki Dub Ainu Band, which plays mostly traditional Ainu songs in an electric style which mixes dub rhythms with tonkori playing. During live concerts, he either plays with the Dub Ainu Band or as a solo acoustic act, singing and playing the tonkori. *Ainu music Albums, singles. Hankapuy (feat. Umeko Ando) March 20, 1999. Kamuy Kor Nupurpe May 27, 2001. No-One'S Land June 2, 2002. Dub Ainu October 17, 2004. Tonkori May 12, 2005. "Tóg É Go Bog É" (Single) February 17, 2006 (Kíla and OKI).


The tonkori is a plucked string instrument played by the Ainu people of Hokkaidō, northern Japan and Sakhalin. It generally has five strings, which are not stopped or fretted but simply played "open". The instrument is believed to have been developed in Sakhalin. By the 1970s the instrument was practically extinct, but is experiencing a revival along with the increased interest in Ainu heritage. The instrument is typically constructed of a single piece of Jezo spruce approximately a metre long. Its shape is traditionally said to resemble a woman's body, and the corresponding words are used for its parts.

Kuril Islands dispute

Northern TerritoriesdisputedKuril Islands
Some individuals of the Ainu also claim the Kuril Islands, on the basis that their ethnic group inhabited the archipelago and Sakhalin prior to the arrival of Japanese and Russian settlers in the 19th century. In 2004, the small Ainu community living in Kamchatka Krai wrote a letter to Vladimir Putin, urging him to reconsider any move to award the Southern Kuril islands to Japan. In the letter they blamed the Japanese, the Tsarist Russians, and the Soviets for crimes against the Ainu such as killings and assimilation, and they also urged him to recognize the Japanese genocide against the Ainu people, which was turned down by Putin.

Khabarovsk Krai

KhabarovskKhabarovsky KraiKhabarovsk Region
The population is mostly ethnic Russians, but indigenous people of the area are various Tungusic peoples (Evenks, Negidals, Ulchs, Nanai, Oroch, Udege) and Amur Nivkhs and Ainu. Khabarovsk Krai shares its borders with Magadan Oblast in the north, with the Sakha Republic and Amur Oblast in the west, with the Jewish Autonomous Oblast, China (Heilongjiang), and Primorsky Krai in the south, and is limited by the Sea of Okhotsk in the east. In terms of area, it is the fourth-largest federal subject within Russia. Major islands include Shantar Islands. Taiga and tundra in the north, swampy forest in the central depression, and deciduous forest in the south are the natural vegetation in the area.

Kuril Islands

KurilesKurilsChishima Islands
Since the very end of 19th century, Japanese administration started the forced assimilation of native Ainu people. Also at this time, the Ainu were granted automatic Japanese citizenship, effectively denying them the status of an indigenous group. Many Japanese moved over to former Ainu lands, including Kuril islands. The Ainu were forced to learn Japanese, required to adopt Japanese names, and ordered to cease religious practices such as animal sacrifice and the custom of tattooing. It must be noted, though, that prior to Japanese colonization (in 1868) there were reportedly just about 100 Ainu living in the Kuril islands., 19,434 people inhabited the Kuril Islands.


Yukar are Ainu sagas that form a long rich tradition of oral literature. In older periods, the epics were performed by both men and women; during the 19th and early 20th centuries, when Ainu culture was in decline, women were generally the most skillful performers. Traditional tales describe floating worlds with "Ainu Mosir", or the land of the humans (as opposed to "Kamuy Mosir", the land of the gods), resting on the back of a fish whose movements cause earthquakes. Professor Kyōsuke Kindaichi collected yukar and translated them into Japanese.

Jōmon people

JōmonJapanJomon woman
Other likely similar religions are the Ryukyuan and Ainu religion. This section deals with the suggested descendants of the people during the Jōmon period. It is generally agreed that the Ainu people are the direct descendants of the Jōmon people. Although the Ainu show some influence from the Okhotsk people, a genetic study shows that the Hokkaido Ainu share most of their genome with ancient Jomon samples from northern Honshu and Hokkaido. The Emishi, a former non-Yamato group in Honshu, are often linked to the Ainu people, but several historians suggest that they were their own Jōmon group and did not share close cultural connections to the Ainu.

Ainu in Russia

Ainu community living in RussiaAinuAinus
Those who identify as Ainu, neither speak the Ainu language, nor practice any aspect of the traditional Ainu culture. In social behavior and customs, they are almost identical with the Old Russian settlers of Kamchatka and therefore the benefits which are given to the Itelmen cannot be given to the Ainu of Kamchatka. The Ainu language is extinct as a spoken language in Russia. The Bolsheretsky Kurile stopped using the language as early as the beginning of the 20th century. Only 3 fluent speakers remained in Sakhalin as of 1979, and the language was extinct by the 1980s there.

Shiraoi, Hokkaido

ShiraoiShiraoi, HokkaidōShiraoi, Japan
Giichi Nomura, advocate and activist for the Ainu people. Hiromi Yamamoto, speed skater. Official Website. The Ainu Museum Website.