The Hoki War (the rebellion of Emishi in Rikuzen Province in the Nara period) (宝亀の乱)

The Hoki War was the rebellion of Emishi (natives of the Japanese islands of Hokkaido and northern Honshu that opposed and resisted the rule of the Japanese Emperors) in Tohoku region (later Rikuzen Province) in the Nara period. It is also called the KOREHARI no Azamaro War by the name of the ringleader.

The Cause of the War
KOREHARI no Azamaro (also known as KOREHARI no Kimi Azamaro or KOREHARU no Kimi Azamaro), the leader of the barbarians who served the provincial office of Mutsu Province, became Tairyo (the director of the County) of Kamihari County (from the major view, it was a writing error of 'Korehari County' or 'Koreharu County') and conferred Gejugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade, given to persons outside Kyoto) in July 28, 778 for the success of the subjection of the Emishi. "Shoku Nihongi" (Chronicle of Japan Continued) describes that the Inspector of Mutsu (Mutsu no azuchi) KI no Hirozumi disliked Azamaro at first then fully trusted him later, but Azamaro secretly bore a deep grudge against MICHISHIMA no Otate, Dairyo of Oshika County, who was the same barbarian as Azamaro, looked down on Azamaro as Ifu (Emishi). By this description, the theory that the grudge caused the war is most common.

The Course of the War
On May 5, 780 when KI no Hirozumi visited Korehari-jo Castle proposing the construction of Kakubetsu-jo Castle, Azamaro, who caught this opportunity, moved the armed forces of barbarians (military of barbarians), and woke up rebellion to kill Otate at first, then Hirozumi surrounding with many soldiers. Azamaro stopped his enveloping attack only for Mutsu no suke (assistant governor of Mutsu Province) Matsuna OTOMO and transferred him to Taga-jo Castle, while, the residents in the castle town entering the Taga-jo Castle tried to protect it, however, ISHIKAWA no Kiyotari, the jo (secretary of provincial offices), and Matsuna escaped together secretly from the rear gate then the residents scattered out of necessity. It is said that after several days the military of barbarians left the Taga-jo Castle after plundered and set fire.

At that time, in the warehouse of the Taga-jo Castle,'the storage of weapons and foods were not enough to win the battle' (in "Shoku Nihongi").

However, the record of official history does not go any further on this matter. The commander of the plunder of the Taga-jo Castle is unknown as well, it is considered that even after Seito Taishi (great general who subdues the eastern barbarians) FUJIWARA no Tsugutada joined, the battle was further expanded.

After the War
The time the battle ended is unknown since no records exist, however, considering the description of "Shoku Nihongi," as FUJIWARA no Oguromaro became the Seito Taishi in October and 'the subjugation was done' in 781, the following year, it is estimated that the war was subdued then. However, it is written that 'there are still many remnants' as well.

[Original Japanese]