Takasaka no Okimi (高坂王)

Takasaka no Okimi (year of birth unknown - June 6, 683) lived in the Asuka period in Japan. In old Japanese syllabary characters, he is called "TAKASAKA no Ohokimi". He was a member of the Imperial family, but his pedigree record is unknown. Although he supported Emperor Kobun during the Jinshin War in 672, they lost and he was obedient to Prince Oama (Emperor Tenmu).


Takasaka no Okimi served as a guard of the City in Yamato at the time of the outbreak of the Jinshin war. The city in Yamato was an ancient capital in Asuka as against Omi no miya, the capital at that time, and the guard of the city was a officer to protect the City in Yamato. 倭 is pronounced "Yamato" and was Yamato Province.

Prince Oama dispatched MURAKUNI no Oyori and others to Mino province in June 22 and ordered them to take up arms. It was the start of the Jinshin War. However, according to "Nihonshoki" (Chronicles of Japan), Prince Oama became anxious and tried to call back Oyori on June 24. Then, he dispatched three envoys, OITA no Esaka, KIFUMI no Otomo and AU no Shima to Takasaka no Okimi to ask Takasaka no Okimi to hand over ekirei (a bell needed for the exercise of imperial power) for sending a courier. Takasaka no Okimi declined to hand over ekirei, but he didn't capture the envoys. Prince Oama who received a report from AU no Shima that they failed to obtain ekirei departed for the east immediately.

Prince Otomo dispatched HOZUMI no Momotari, HOZUMI no Ioe and MONONOBE no Himuka to the city in Yamato to order Takasaka no Okimi to organize an army. Takasaka no Okimi and Momotari set up camp under the zelkova tree on the western side of Asuka-dera Temple (a sacred place). However, OTOMO no Hukei was in the in city in Yamato at this time and gathered fellows who supported Prince Oama. On June 29, Hukei organized a plot with SAKANOUE no Kumake, another guard of city, to enter the camp from outside using the name of Prince Takechi and take over the camp with some of the Kumage clan and the Wakan clan who were assured to betray the Prince Otomo. They successfully took over enemy's command authority and HOZUMI no Momotari was killed. HOZUMI no Inoe and MONONOBE no Himuka were confined for a while, but they joined the Prince Oama's army soon. Both Takasaka no Okimi and Wakasa no Okimi also came to fight on Prince Oama's side.

Prince Oama won the Jinshin war, but there is no records of the treatment of Takasaka no Okimi after the Jinshin war. Since many of followers in defeated army were absolved, it is assumed that Katasaka no Okimi who joined the Prince Oama's army wasn't punished. He died on June 8, 683 and he was Third rank at this time.

Ekirei and Takasaka no Okimi's course of action

The act of Prince Oama who took up arms when he only had two dozen followers, to send envoys to call for Takasaka no Okimi to hand over ekirei cast discredit on many scholars as well as emphasized Takasaka no Okimi's idleness. Even in dispatching couriers two days after, Oyori's party were supposed to arrive and there was no way couriers were able to catch up with Oyori's party. In history societies, a theory that Prince Oama called for ekirei in order to look for Takasaka no Okimi's reaction and use him to help their transportation if possible, became established after an argument over the Jinshin war was planned or unplanned in 1950's.

In 1990's, a new theory saying that Takasaka no Okimi agreed to the plot with Prince Oama preliminary and demanding ekirei was just excuse for contact or this was a creation of "Nihonshoki" (Chronicles of Japan) editor appeared. This theory says that not only Kumage, but also Takasaka no Okimi supported OTOMO no Fukei's surprise attack.

[Original Japanese]