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Ezo facts for kids

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Karta över Japan vid 1900-talets början (ur Nordisk familjebok)
Swedish map of Japan (c. 1900) with the Yezo region featured.

Ezo (蝦夷 ), also known as Yezo or Yeso, is an ancient Japanese name for the lands to the north of Japan. It was the name of the northern Japanese island of Hokkaidō. It was also used as a name for islands in the Sea of Okhotsk, including the Kurile Islands and Sakhalin.

Brooklyn Museum - Ezo Shima Kikan 3 of a set of three scrolls
Ezo people, woodblock print circa 1840

The terms Ezo, Yezo, Ebisu or Emishi were also used as a name for the people and culture of northern Honshu, including Akita Prefecture, Aomori Prefecture, Fukushima Prefecture, Iwate Prefecture, Miyagi Prefecture and Yamagata Prefecture.


The first published description of Ezo in the West was brought to Europe by Isaac Titsingh in 1796. His small library of Japanese books included Sangoku Tsūran Zusetsu (三国通覧図説 , An Illustrated Description of Three Countries) by Hayashi Shihei. This book, which was published in Japan in 1785, described the Ezo region and people.

Titsingh's translation of Sankoku Tsūran Zusetsu was published in 1832.

  • Waseda University, 三国通覧図説 (Sangoku Tsuran Zusetsu)
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