Saekibe (佐伯部)

Saekibe is one of the Shinabe (technical groups) that existed in ancient Japan. Saekibe was organized in the extension period of the Yamato sovereignty during the invasion of eastern Japan eastward of Chubu region by moving the local people, who became captives, to western Japan westward of Kinki region.

The "Nihonshoki" (Chronicles of Japan) narrates as follows. Yamato Takeru no Mikoto at first offered the Emishi (native people of Hokkaido) captivated during the eastern conquest to the Ise Jingu Shrine. However, as they made much noise day and night and also acted disrespectfully to the shrine, they were sent to the Imperial Court by the order of Yamatohime no mikoto. The Emishi were sent to live at the foot of Mount Mimoro (Mount Miwa), where they then acted disrespectfully to the Omiwa Shrine and scared the villagers. With the order of Emperor Keiko, the Emishi were forbidden to live within Kinai and were sent to five provinces, namely, Harima Province, Sanuki Province, Iyo Province, Aki Province, and Awa Province, and became the origin of Saekibe. The "Nihonshoki" also narrates that the origin of 'Saekibe of Nuta, Aki province' was the member of the Saekibe of Inano Agata who hunted and offered a deer which Emperor Nintoku had been secretly admiring without knowing this and was in turn sent to Nuta, Aki province by the resentful Emperor. Whether these legendary stories are based on historical truth or not, it seems to be true that during the middle of the Tumulus period, the captives of the eastern countries were moved to the five provinces mentioned above and were set up and organized as Saeki be. The 'Saeki no atai' and 'Saeki no miyatsuko of the Saeki clan' took charge of it as the Tomonomiyatsuko (the chief of various departments at the Imperial court), and these gozoku (powerful local clans) were then taken in control by the Saeki clan (later given the family name of Sukune by the Emperor) which was the central gozoku of Kinai. Therefore, Saekibe was indirectly made a Bemin (a group of people who belonged to Yamato sovereignty) of the central Saeki clan. It is thought that among these people, there were those that were made to serve as guards of the Imperial court.

The origin of the name
Saekibe has been said to derive from 'Sakebu' (to shout) since the Heian period. In Ibaraki in "Hitachi no kuni fudoki" (the topography of Hitachi Province), it is written that the natives 'Saeki of the mountains and Saeki of the fields' had resisted the sovereignty. Therefore, there are those who say that the name of Saekibe is 'Saegiru' (an obstacle) and 'ki' (person), meaning the people who resist against the Imperial court. Paying attention to the record of the Emperor Keiko where it says that the Saekibe 'sawai-da' (made noise), it is also said that 'Saekibe was engaged in the work of magical ceremonies such as shouting out to drive away evil spirits and powers and to intimidate the opposition', and that the Saekibe is 'Sawagube' (the Shinabe that made noise).

[Original Japanese]