The following essay is based on a symposium on the Ainu and Ancient Japanese history published in 1982. In this particular section Tomio Takahashi, a well known professor who devoted his life to studying Tohoku history, presented a paper on "Hitakami," thought to have been located in what is now the Kitakami river in Iwate prefecture. From a historical perspective the Kitakami river was home to the most feared Emishi "confederacy," the Isawa, so it is central to any discussion about the people. This discussion centers on the Emishi culture, in particular the mounted archer, in comparison to what is known of later Ainu culture. Takahashi believes the inhabitants of Hitakami were by and large an Ainoid people.In the Nihon Shoki, an account of the "eastern barbarians" is mentioned by Takahashi because it is the earliest account that mentions the country called Hitakami and the inhabitants there. This account is said to be from the second century, but the chronology is not reliable (taken from W.G. Aston's translation):"Takechi no Sukune returned from the East Country and informed the Emperor, saying:--'In the Eastern wilds there is a country called Hitakami. The people of this country, both men and women, tie up their hair in the form of a mallet, and tattoo their bodies. They are of fierce temper, and their general name is Yemishi. Moreover, their land is wide and fertile. We should attack them and take it."(p.200)The account is a fairly accurate description of the geography of the Tohoku plain surrounding the Kitakami river. However, the real evidence comes in the form of a shrine north of what is now Miyagi prefecture, the Hitakami shrine. The shrine is also mentioned in a work called Sandai Jitsuryoku in connection with the Hitakami river god. In local tradition which Takahashi believes is accurate, Hitakami river was somehow corrupted or changed to Kitakami river. Furthermore, the reputation for going against authority tagged on the inhabitants of this country matched the historical reality that in this remote region court authority was non-existent. The expression michi-no-oku (deep road) used by the inhabitants of Kyoto referred to this region.He tackles the question of the name of the inhabitants Emishi and Ezo. The name Ezo began its use about the middle of the Heian period, (the eleventh century) and originally Ezo is a corruption of the Ainu word Enjyu which means "man." The ancestors of the Ainu were Ezo with one qualification (p.36). In order for the word Ezo to be descriptive of the Ainu, the limits must be placed on the northern Tohoku region and Hokkaido. This historical limitation comes from the usage of Ezo during the middle Heian era as the particular name for inhabitants of that region. Takahashi is not convinced that Emishi is equivalent to Ezo, however, believes that unequivocally Ezo = Ainu ancestors. The word Emishi on the other hand was used by the court about all inhabitants of the east who were outside the imperial court's jurisdiction and control, and is thus not a name for a single ethnic group.In the northern Tohoku region before the name Ezo came into usage, the Emishi designation is reliably the ancestors of the Ainu. But this name also included other groups who were not Ainu ancestors. This is the important distinction that Takahashi makes. In between this far northern region and the Kanto there were peoples that were racially in between the Yamato and Ainoid people who were also called Emishi which I have covered extensively elsewhere. The further north one traveled the ethnic stock became predominantly Ainoid, and that cultural differences with Yamato Japan were more pronounced.The evolution of the word Emishi bagan as a description of anyone in the eastern part of the archipelago who were not under court authority. The kanji used was kebito or literally "hairy people," but spoken as Emishi. Another word that was used to describe the native peoples was dochakumin or aborigines. This word was used along with Emishi by the Yamato court when they encountered the various tribes who were eventually conquered. Takahashi believes that the word Emishi changed its meaning over the centuries from being a general term about all the native dochakumin to those who lived in the east to the more specific usage of the people who resisted their authority in the north generally, and in Hitakami in particular (pgs. 41-3).The Emishi could be seen as people who were primarilly hunter-gatherers in contrast to the Yayoi inhabitants of the Empire who were agriculturalists. Besides a primary focus on hunting and gathering which was generally true of the Emishi, the cultural differences were great between them (p.46). He compares the Yamato-Emishi conflict with other "civilized-barbarian" encounters, from the Chinese Empire's view of the southern peoples as "barbarians" to the Greek view that those who spoke a tongue other than their own were "barbarians" (pgs.46-7). Recent archeological work has forced a reassessment as it seems that agriculture was much more widely practiced by the Emishi than what had been believed before.During the eighth century Yamato court records indicate that there was an extensive trade that had developed between the people of Yamato and the Emishi. The Emishi traded their fine horses for military equipment that had been converted into agricultural implements. The former also sold slaves to the people of Yamato (pgs.38-9). The Kyoto nobles were condemned by the court for pursuing this trade because of its potential for undermining national defense! The court believed that by using agricultural implements the Emishi had the potential to become as powerful as the Yamato. They also did not like the idea that military equipment made by the state was being converted and traded to the Emishi. What is of note here is the existence of Emishi horses that were so good that nobles (and commoners) were willing to defy the state's ban on this trade. In the two decrees they reveal it is clear that not only did the Emishi possess horses they practiced farming as well.The greatest mystery of the Emishi-Ezo connection is again considered with clear alternatives (pg.52). When the Ezo are mentioned in the first part of the medieval period they are clearly the Ainu without horses! They live in Aomori prefecture and Hokkaido, and they are not the fierce Emishi horse archers encountered by the Yamato armies of the ninth century. There are three alternatives to consider: 1) the Ainoid peoples of the Tohoku were horse archers, and the ones in Hokkaido were not; 2) the Ainu were not descendants of the Ezo of Tohoku, but were people of Hokkaido exclusively; 3) the ancestors of the Ainu lost their horse riding culture sometime between the tenth and eleventh centuries. Whatever the case may be, the Ainu of the later periods of Japanese history were not a horse riding people.