Abe no Hirafu

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  • seventh century
  • Distinction: General
  • Other Name: Abe no Hikita no Omi Hirafu

Empress Saimei sent Abe no Hirafu to attack the Emishi, located in Northeastern Japan, in 658. He is supposed to have commanded an impressive 180 ships against the native peoples.

In 659, he crossed the Japan Sea to China for another military expedition. This time, he attacked the Mishihase (Suchen) State. Iwao Seiichi mentions that this is the first example of Yamato Court efforts to spread the feelers of its control as far as the Tohoku region and Hokkaido. If Abe no Hirafu actually attacked the Chinese racial group is a matter of debate. Iwao further mentions that it is possible this group was simply another racial group within Northern Japan.

In 662, when the Korean kingdom of Paekche was being attacked by Silla and Tang forces, Abe no Hirafu was sent to aid the former, a Japanese ally. Hirafu was a commander of the rear division, alongside Ôyake no Omi Kamara. Including the front, rear, and center divisions, the army numbered 27,000. It is believed that this rear division was a naval force originating in the Hokuriku region. The Japanese were completely defeated in 663 at the Battle of Hakusukinoe.


  • Iwao Seiichi. Biographical Dictionary of Japanese History
  • The History of Kanagawa Kanagawa Prefectural Government, Japan, 1985
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