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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

The headquarters of the Yemishi


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). But although Yamato-dake subsequently entered Shinano, where he suffered much from the arduous nature of the ground, and though he sent a general to explore Koshi, he ultimately retired to Owari, where he died from the effects of fatigue and exposure according to some authorities, of a wound from a poisoned arrow according to others. His last act was to present as slaves to the shrine of Ise the Yemishi who had originally surrendered and who had subsequently attached themselves to his person. They proved so noisy, however, that the priestess of the shrine sent them to the Yamato Court, which assigned for them a settlement on Mount Mimoro. Here, too, their conduct was so turbulent that they received orders to divide and take up their abode at any place throughout the five provinces of Harima, Sanuki, Iyo, Aki, and Awa, where, in after ages, they constituted a hereditary corporation of Saeki (Saekibe).

These details deserve to be recorded, for their sequel shows historically that there is an Yemishi element in the Japanese race. Thus, in later times we find the high rank of muraji borne by a member of the Saekibe. Fifteen years (A.D. 125) after the death of Yamato-dake, Prince Sajima was appointed governor-general of the fifteen provinces of Tosan-do (the Eastern Mountain circuit); that is to say, the provinces along the east coast. He died en route and his son, Prince Mimoro, succeeded to the office. During his tenure of power the Yemishi raised a disturbance, but no sooner was force employed against them than they made obeisance and threw themselves on the mercy of the Japanese, who pardoned all that submitted.

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