Arima no miko (Prince Arima) (有間皇子)

Arima no miko (640 - December 13, 658) was a prince of Emperor Kotoku. His mother was Otarashihime, a daughter of Sadaijin (minister of the left) ABE no Uchimaro. The daughters of Emperor Tenji (also pronounced Tenchi, who was Naka no Oe no Oji (Prince Naka no Oe)), Asuka no himemiko (Princess Asuka) and Niitabe no himemiko (Princess Niitabe) sisters were his maternal cousins. His name is commonly written as '有馬' in later years.

His father Emperor Kotoku was enthroned on July 15, 645. Emperor Kotoku moved the capital to the Naniwa no miya (Naniwa Palace) on January 4, 646. In 653, however, Emperor Tenji demanded the capital be returned to Wakyo (lit. the Japanese capital). However, Emperor Kotoku refused to listen to the demand, and members of the Imperial Family including Naka no Oe and most of the vassals returned to Wakyo. Even his Empress Hashihito no Himemiko followed her elder brother (Naka no Oe) and returned to Wakyo. Feeling hopeless, Emperor Kotoku died on November 27, 654. Therefore, Takara no Himemiko was enthroned a second time as Empress Saimei in Asuka Itabuki no Miya Palace on February 17, 655.

Arima no miko pretended to have emotional disorders and went to Nanki Shirahama Onsen (hot spring resort in present-day Wakayama Prefecture) on the pretext of receiving therapy. When he returned to Asuka, he told Empress Saimei that his illness was completely cured and described the part of the country with admiration, which led to a imperial visit to Ki no yu (old name of Shirahama Onsen) by Empress Saimei. Soga no Akae, supposedly under Naka no Oe no Oji's wishes, approached Arima no miko, who was staying behind in Asuka, by indicating the mistakes of the government under Empress Saimei and Naka no Oe no Oji and convinced Arima of his support and they plotted together to overthrow Empress Saimei and Naka no Oe no Oji. Recently, a hypothesis (written in "Manyoshu no Kokogaku" (The Archaeology of Manyoshu) by Koichi MORI, and so on) that Arima no miko might have intended to raid the Empress and those around her using the suigun (small sea force attached to a feudal lord) of the Abe clan, the home of Otarashihime, Arima no miko's mother.

Akae's betrayal exposed the plot and Arima no miko was arrested with Mori no kimi Oiwa and Sakaibe no Muraji Kusuri, and interrogated by Naka no Oe no Oji on December 15, 658.
At the time, Arima no miko answered, 'Only Heaven and Akae know. (In Chinese, 天與赤兄知)
I know nothing.'
(In Chinese, 吾全不知)
Arima no miko was hung at the Fujishiro Hill on December 17, 658. Two of his death poems (poems composed near the time of one's own death) composed prior to his execution in Iwashiro are in the "Manyoshu" (Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves). However, since the work of Shinobu ORIKUCHI, one convincing view is that the two poems may have been made by someone in later times (written in "Orikuchi Shinobu Zenshu" (Collected Works of Shinobu Orikuchi) Vol. 29.).

Manyoshu contains elegies by NAGA no Okimaro and YAMANOUE no Okura which might have been composed during the Imperial visit to Kii Province in 701 after the execution of Arima no miko. Although forgotten in history for a while, the name of Arima no miko began appearing in some historical sources again and Iwashiro became an Utamakura (names of famous places usually associated with poetry) when the Manyoshu was re-evaluated and appreciated in the latter half of Heian period. There was a tendency to treat Arima no miko as a legend, however, and the death poems were described in "Toshiyori Zuino" (Toshiyori's Treatise; written by MINAMOTO no Toshiyori) as written by Arima no miko when he quarrelled with his father Kotoku and ran away from home.
One extreme case is a commentary on "Hyakunin Isshu" (One Hundred Waka Poems by One Hundred Poets) written in the Edo period where it was described that 'he was enthroned later.'

Arima no miko-jinja Shrine was founded in the precincts of Fujishiro-jinja Shrine in memory of Arima no miko.
At the Fujishiro Hill, a stone monument inscribed with a poem supposedly composed in memory of Arima no miko by an unknown composer stands: 'Having walked over the Fujishiro Hill, the white cloth of my sleeves is wet with tears.'

Arima no miko's important poems

I have pulled down the branch of a pine-tree of Iwashiro beach and bound it in a knot, if I be happy and safe, I hope to come back and see it once more. When I am at home, I pile the rice in a dish, but I place it on oak leaves now because I am on a journey.

[Original Japanese]