Fujiwara no Kusumaro (藤原訓儒麻呂)

FUJIWARA no Kusumaro (year of birth unknown - October 14, 764) was a court noble during the Nara period. He was the third son of FUJIWARA no Nakamaro (though there are incorrect assertions that he was the oldest son). His mother was FUJIWARA no Ohira (the daughter of FUJIWARA no Fusasaki). He was married to KAZURA no Okimi (Prince Mishima's daughter) and had a son named FUJIWARA no Mioka. EMI no Kusumaro. His first name 訓儒麻呂 (Kusumaro) is also written as 久須麻呂.

His father Nakamaro, having the confidence of Empress Komyo and Empress Koken, was known to have wielded great political influence.

In February 758, Kusumaro was appointed to Momikushi (a Ritsuryo version of an ombudsman) for Tokaido and Tosando Roads. After Emperor Kenko's abdication of the throne in September of the same year, Prince Oi ascended to the throne (Emperor Junnin) upon Nakamaro's recommendation. Nakamaro was appointed to Taiho (Minister of the Right) and given the name EMI no Oshikatsu. Kusumaro was also promoted to Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade) Shikibu shoyu (Junior Assistant of the Ministry of Ceremonial). In 759, he was appointed to Mino no kuni Kokushi (Governor of Mino Province) and promoted to Jushiinoge (Junior Forth Rank, Lower Grade).

In 760, Nakamaro was appointed to Taishi (Grand Minister). In 761, Kusumaro was appointed to Yamato no kuni no kami (Governor of Yamato Province). In August 762, Kusumaro served in Chuguin Palace (the residence of Emperor Junnin) and issued an imperial order. At the time, he was sayu keiin (Mayor of the Right and Left Capital districts). In December of the same year, Kusumaro was appointed to Sangi (councilor) together with his brothers, FUJIWARA no Masaki and FUJIWARA no Asakari. In 763, he also served as Tanba no kuni no kami (Governor of Tanba Province).

Nakamaro's family dominated the highest ranking positions and was surrounded by wealth and power until the Retired Empress Koken began to favor Dokyo. Nakamaro, through Emperor Junnin, remonstrated with the Retired Empress Koken on her favor towards Dokyo, but she eventually stripped all power away from the emperor. As Retired Empress Koken's favoritism toward Dokyo further deepened, Nakamaro sensed his political influence was in danger.

In October 764, Nakamaro attempted a rebellion with the military power he amassed by becoming totoku (Governor General) and Military Chief of Shikinai (four provinces close to the Capital Kyoto; Yamato, Yamashiro, Settsu, Kawachi), Sangen (three major barrier stations), Omi, Tanba, Harima and other provinces, but was foiled by an anonymous report. On October 14, the Retired Empress Koken quickly moved to send Shonagon (lesser councilor of state) Yamamura-O to the Chuguin Palace to collect the Imperial Seal and ekirei (bell) that were needed to exercise imperial power. Upon this news, Nakamaro ordered Kusumaro, who served in the Chuguin Palace, to recover these items. Kusumaro attacked Yamamura-O during his return trip and recovered the ekirei. The Retired Emperor Koken immediately sent Jr. Lieutenant SAKANOUE no Karitamaro and Shoso OSHIKA no Shimatari of Jyutoei (Division of Inner Palace Guards). In the battle between Kusumaro's men and Karitamaro's army, Kusumaro was shot to death.

After that, Nakamaro led his family and escaped from the Heijo-kyo (the ancient capital of Japan in current Nara). They lost battles in various locations and finally retreated to an old castle in Sanbi, Takashima County, Omi Province, where their resistance proved futile, resulting in the collapse of the Nakamaro family (Rebellion of Fujiwara no Nakamaro).

Manyoshu' (Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves) includes poems presented by Kusumaro and OTOMO no Yakamochi.

[Original Japanese]