The , also read as Ashihase and Shukushin, were a people of ancient 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...

, believed to have lived along the northern portion of the coast of the Sea of Japan
Sea of Japan
The Sea of Japan is a marginal sea of the western Pacific Ocean, between the Asian mainland, the Japanese archipelago and Sakhalin. It is bordered by Japan, North Korea, Russia and South Korea. Like the Mediterranean Sea, it has almost no tides due to its nearly complete enclosure from the Pacific...

. The term Sushen
Sushen was an ancient ethnic group or people who dwelt in the northeastern part of China and the Russian Maritime Province, in the area of modern Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces. They were active during the Zhou Dynasty period...

, rendered 肅愼, is found in Chinese records, but is pronounced Mishihase or Ashihase in Japanese language
Japanese language
is a language spoken by over 130 million people in Japan and in Japanese emigrant communities. It is a member of the Japonic language family, which has a number of proposed relationships with other languages, none of which has gained wide acceptance among historical linguists .Japanese is an...


According to the Nihon Shoki
Nihon Shoki
The , sometimes translated as The Chronicles of Japan, is the second oldest book of classical Japanese history. It is more elaborate and detailed than the Kojiki, the oldest, and has proven to be an important tool for historians and archaeologists as it includes the most complete extant historical...

, the Mishihase first arrived at Sado Island during the reign of Emperor Kimmei
Emperor Kimmei
was the 29th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession.His reign is said to have spanned the years from 539 through 571.-Traditional narrative:...

. In 660, Japanese General Abe no Hirafu
Abe no Hirafu
was a governor of Koshi Province. He fought against the aboriginal inhabitants of Japan . This was in 658...

 defeated the Mishihase in Watarishima at the request of the Watarishima Emishi
The constituted a group of people who lived in northeastern Honshū in the Tōhoku region. They are referred to as in contemporary sources. Some Emishi tribes resisted the rule of the Japanese Emperors during the late Nara and early Heian periods...

. A theory by Arai Hakuseki
Arai Hakuseki
was a Confucianist, scholar-bureaucrat, academic, administrator, writer and politician in Japan during the middle of the Edo Period, who advised the Shogun Tokugawa Ienobu. His personal name was Kinmi or Kimiyoshi . Hakuseki was his pen name...

 in Edo period
Edo period
The , or , is a division of Japanese history which was ruled by the shoguns of the Tokugawa family, running from 1603 to 1868. The political entity of this period was the Tokugawa shogunate....

 proposed that Watarishima was Ezo
is a Japanese name which historically referred to the lands to the north of Japan. It was used in various senses, sometimes meaning the northern Japanese island of Hokkaidō, and sometimes meaning lands and waters further north in the Sea of Okhotsk, like Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands...

, which was later renamed to 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...

. The battle place was recorded as the mouth of a large river, which is proposed to be Ishikari River
Ishikari River
is a river in Hokkaidō, Japan. At in length, the river is the third longest in Japan and the longest in Hokkaidō. The river has a drainage area of , making it the second largest in Japan, as is its total discharge of around per year....


Some historians consider that the Mishihase were identical to the Sushen in Chinese records, but others think that the Japanese people
Japanese people
The are an ethnic group originating in the Japanese archipelago and are the predominant ethnic group of Japan. Worldwide, approximately 130 million people are of Japanese descent; of these, approximately 127 million are residents of Japan. People of Japanese ancestry who live in other countries...

 named the indigenous people in the northeast based on their knowledge of Chinese records, just as the Chinese did during the Three Kingdoms Period. Kisao Ishizuki of the Sapporo University
Sapporo University
, also known as 札大 for an abbreviation, is a private university in Sapporo, Japan. It was founded in 1967.-Teaching staff:*Yūtokutaishi Akiyama, artist*Carlo Forlivesi, composer*Tama Morita, writer-Alumni:*Kazuya Kawabata, footballer...

 suggested that the Mishihase was the Gilyak belonging to the Okhotsk culture
Okhotsk culture
The Okhotsk culture is an archeological coastal fishing and hunter-gatherer culture of the lands surrounding the Sea of Okhotsk : the Amur River basin, Sakhalin, northern Hokkaido, the Kuril Islands, and Kamchatka...

 on Hokkaido Shimbun
Hokkaido Shimbun
The , which is often abbreviated as , is a Japanese language daily newspaper published mainly in Hokkaidō, Japan by . As of November 2006, its morning edition has a circulation of 1,208,175. It was first published in Sapporo in 1887.- External links :*...

in 1979.

They are believed to have spoken a Tungusic
Tungusic languages
The Tungusic languages form a language family spoken in Eastern Siberia and Manchuria by Tungusic peoples. Many Tungusic languages are endangered, and the long-term future of the family is uncertain...

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