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The Emishi were natives of the Japanese islands of Hokkaido and northern Honshu that opposed and resisted the rule of the Japanese Emperors during the late Nara and early Heian periods. They are also called Ezo[?].

The Emishi are by Japanese tradition said to be ancestors of, or related to, the Ainu. However there are arguments and evidence against this theory.

The first major attempts to finally subjugate the Emishi by the emperors of Japan, particularly Emperor Kammu in the late 8th century were largely unsuccessful. The imperial armies modelled after the mainland Chinese were no match for the guerilla tactics of the Emishi until the emperors began to rely on the powerful regional clans. By the mid 9th century, the Emishi were driven to Hokkaido and their land in Honshu was conquered.

It was during this conflict between the Emishi and the emperors that the title of Shogun was introduced and the regional clans formed the basis of the Samurai.

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