Menashi-Kunashir Rebellion
or Menashi-Kunashir Battle was a battle in 1789 between Ainu
Ainu people
The , also called Aynu, Aino , and in historical texts Ezo , are indigenous people or groups in Japan and Russia. Historically they spoke the Ainu language and related varieties and lived in Hokkaidō, the Kuril Islands, and much of Sakhalin...

 and Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

ese on the Shiretoko Peninsula
Shiretoko Peninsula
is located on the easternmost portion of the Japanese island of Hokkaidō, protruding into the Sea of Okhotsk. It is separated from the Kunashir Island of Russia by the Nemuro Strait. The name Shiretoko is derived from the Ainu language word sir etok, meaning the end of the Earth or the place where...

 in northeastern Hokkaidō
, formerly known as Ezo, Yezo, Yeso, or Yesso, is Japan's second largest island; it is also the largest and northernmost of Japan's 47 prefectural-level subdivisions. The Tsugaru Strait separates Hokkaido from Honshu, although the two islands are connected by the underwater railway Seikan Tunnel...

. It began in May, 1789 when Ainu attacked Japanese on Kunashir Island
Kunashir Island
Kunashir Island , possibly meaning Black Island or Grass Island in Ainu, is the southernmost island of the Kuril Islands, which are controlled by Russia and claimed by Japan ....

 and parts of the Menashi District
Menashi District, Hokkaido
is a district located in Nemuro Subprefecture, Hokkaidō, Japan. As of 2010, its population is estimated at 6,069 and its area is 397.88 km², with a population density of 15.3/km2 The origin of the name “Menashi” comes from the Ainu word menashi, meaning “to the east.” The local government...

 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 saké being given to Ainu in a loyalty ceremony, and other objectionable behavior by Japanese traders.

The battle is the subject of Majin no Umi, a children's novel by Maekawa Yasuo that received the Japanese Association of Writers for Children Prize in 1970.

A similar large-scale Ainu revolt against Japanese influence in Yezo was Shakushain's Revolt
Shakushain's Revolt
was an Ainu rebellion against Japanese authority on Hokkaidō between 1669 to 1672. It was led by Ainu chieftain Shakushain against the Matsumae clan, who represented Japanese trading and governmental interests in the area of Hokkaidō then controlled by the Japanese .The war initially began as a...

from c. 1669-1672.

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