(also spelled or ) is the Japanese term historically used to refer to the lands to the north of the Japanese island of Honshu. It included the northern Japanese island of , which changed its name from to in 1869,Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005)
in ''Japan Encyclopedia'', p. 184.
and sometimes included Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands. The same two kanji used to write the word , which literally mean "shrimp barbarians" in Chinese, can also be read in the Japanese language as , the name given to the indigenous people of these lands, the descendants of whom are most likely the Ainu people.


is a Japanese word meaning "foreigner" and referred to the Ainu lands to the north, which the Japanese named .Editors: David N. Livingstone and Charles W. J. Withers (1999) "Geography and Enlightenment", University of Chicago Press, page 20

/ref> The spelling reflects its pronunciation c. 1600, when Europeans first came in contact with Japan. It is this historical spelling that is reflected in the scientific Latin term ''yezoensis'', as in ''Fragaria yezoensis'' and ''Porphyra yezoensis''. However, there are species that use the new spelling such as the Japanese scallop known as : ''Mizuhopecten yessoensis''.


The first published description of in the West was brought to Europe by Isaac Titsingh in 1796. His small library of Japanese books included by . This book, which was published in Japan in 1785, described the region and its people. In 1832, the Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland supported the posthumous abridged publication of Titsingh's French translation of . Julius Klaproth was the editor, completing the task which was left incomplete by the death of the book's initial editor, Jean-Pierre Abel-Rémusat.


or (lit., "Island of the ") was divided into several districts. The first was the , or Japanese Lands, which covered the Japanese settlements on and around the Oshima Peninsula. The rest of was known as the (lit., "-land"), or Ainu Lands. was in turn divided into three sections: North covered southern Sakhalin; West included the northern half of ; and East included the populous southern and the Kuril Islands.Frey, Christopher J. (2007)

See also

*Ainu people * *Republic of Ezo *Jeddo, Japan, a former Romanization of the name of Edo, now Tokyo.



* Cullen, Louis M. (2003)
''A History of Japan, 1582-1941: Internal and External Worlds.''
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ;
OCLC 50694793
* Hayashi, Shihei. (1786). . Edo: Manuscript
OCLC 44014900
* Klaproth, Julius. (1832). ''San kokf tsou ran to sets, ou Aperçu général des trois royaumes.'' Paris: Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland
OCLC 2563166
OCLC 561284561

External links

* Waseda UniversityHayashi Shihei. (1785)
(''Sangoku Tsuran Zusetsu'')
Maps of Ezo, Sakhalin, and Kuril Islands
from 1854 {{DEFAULTSORT:Ezo