Sites & cities that bear the name of Otafunbe Chashi

Otafunbe Chashi

Today in : Japan
First trace of activity : ca. 16th century C.E
Last trace of activity : ca. 18th century C.E
Recorded names : オタフンベチャシ跡, Otafunbe chashi ato

Description : The site of Otafunbe Chashi (オタフンベチャシ跡, Otafunbe chashi ato) in Urahoro, Hokkaidō, Japan, is that once occupied by the Ainu fortified chashi of Otafunbe. It has been designated a national Historic Site. The name combines the Ainu for "sand" (ota) with that for "whale" (funbe or humbe). At the edge of the Shiranuka Hills (白糠丘陵), the low elevation, rising to some 27 metres (89 ft), is now separated from the Pacific coast by Hokkaido Route 1038 (ja). The mound is topped by a flattish area of some 21 metres (69 ft) by 7 metres (23 ft), surrounded by a ditch. The chashi features in the historical record, and legends about the place have been handed down: in days of yore, the Akkeshi Ainu attacked the Shiranuka Ainu, who held out in the chashi. Unable to prevail, in the middle of the night, the Akkeshi Ainu formed a whale from the sand, and lay low behind. At daybreak, the Shiranuka Ainu approached this offered-up whale, whereupon the Akkeshi Ainu sprung upon them. As the arrows flew, one struck the Shiranuka Ainu chief in the testicles, whence the place became known as Opushomainai (オプショマイナイ) or "the testicle-bursting stream". Attempting to flee across a small watercourse, he succumbed to his injuries, whence it became known as Nokomanai (ノコマナイ) or the "stream that dropped the testicles". As the waters flowed red, it also became known as Furebetsu (フレベツ) or "red river". When the Akkeshi Ainu subsequently boarded their boats and were rowing out, a swarm of bees such as had never before been seen flew forth from where the dead were buried, and the greater part of them were stung to death.

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