Shakushain's Revolt

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  • Dates: 1669-1672
  • Type: Ainu revolt
  • Japanese: シャクシャインの戦い (Shakushain no tatakai)

A prominent Ainu leader by the name of Shakushain led a large force of Ainu against Japanese merchant operations and settlements in Ezochi in 1669, as well as marching on Matsumae han.

The forces of the Matsumae clan were supplemented by armies from Tsugaru, Nanbu, Akita, and Sendai han. The Ainu armies had some small number of Japanese swords, and perhaps firearms, along with their own indigenous forms of weaponry, but were ultimately defeated by the samurai armies. It is said that the use of roughly 200 firearms by the Japanese played an important role in the decisive battle of the Kunnui River.

In the end, hundreds of Japanese settlers were killed, along with an unknown, but presumably larger, number of Ainu.


  • Morris-Suzuki, Tessa. "Creating the Frontier: Border, Identity, and History in Japan's Far North." East Asian History 7 (June 1994). p8.