Fujiwara no Shikachi (藤原辛加知)

FUJIWARA no Shikachi, or Karakachi, (year of birth unknown - 764) was one of the nobility during the Nara Period. He was the 8th son of FUJIWARA no Nakamaro. His mother was Princess Yoko (a daughter of Imperial Prince Niitabe). EMI no Shikachi.

His father Nakamaro was deeply trusted by Empress Koken and held the reins of power, and in 758 Empress Koken abdicated the throne to Prince Oi (Emperor Junnin), who was recommended by Nakamaro, while Nakamaro was appointed to the position of Taiho (Udaijin [Minister of the Right]) and given the name of EMI no Oshikatsu. In 760, Nakamaro became the first Taishi (Daijo-daijin [Grand Minister]) among subjects. In 761, Shikachi was promoted to the rank of Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade) and was appointed to the position of Sakohon no kami (Captain of the Left Division of Middle Palace Guards).

The Nakamaro family was at the height of its prosperity, but once Empress Koken began to favor Dokyo and confront Nakamaro, Nakamaro had a deep sense of danger. In the personnel affairs held in January, 764, Shikachi was appointed to Echizen no kuni Kokushi (Governor of Echizen Province). Shikachi was asked to guard Arachi no-seki checking station (a checking station between Omi Province and Echizen Province) in preparation for coups.

In September, 764, Nakamaro gained the position of Totoku shikinai sangen omi tanba harima to koku hyojishi (Governor general; four provinces close to the capital: Yamato, Yamashiro, Setsu, Kawachi; three major barrier stations; Omi Province; Tanba Province; Harima Province; and other provinces; military chief), and held the military power for a planned rebellion. Nakamaro secretly ordered the mobilization of the armies of each province, but the plan was betrayed. On September 11, Nakamaro, who supported the side of the retired Empress Koken, lead his family out of Heijo-kyo (the ancient capital of Japan in current Nara) to Omi Province, his power base. The retired Empress Koken ordered KIBI no Makibi to kill Nakamaro.

Makibi, who predicted Nakamaro's action, made the Imperial army lead by Yamashiro no kuni no kami (Governor of Yamashiro Province) KUSAKABE no Komaro and Emon no shojo (Junior Lieutenant of the Outer Palace Guards) SAEKI no Itachi go ahead of them and shut their headway to the provincial office of Omi Province by burning the Setabashi Bridge. Nakamaro advanced toward the north along the west bank of Lake Biwa and headed for Shikachi's Echizen Province. SAEKI no Itachi lead the Imperial army and rushed to the provincial government office of Echizen Province, and killed Shikachi, who had not known about the coup.

The Imperial army made Jutoei (Division of Inner Palace Guards) MONONOBE no Hironari guard Arachi no-seki checking station and intercept Nakamaro. Dozens of Nakamaro's elite vanguard soldiers were repulsed at Arachi no-seki checking station. Nakamaro, who did not know of Shikachi's death, tried to reach Echizen Province without passing Arachi no-seki cheking station by sailing over Lake Biwa to the east coast, but he could not help landing from Shiotsu due to the storm on the lake and tried to break through Arachi-no seki checking station. SAEKI no Itachi, who killed Shikachi, defended the station and repulsed the army of Nakamaro.

The army of Nakamaro retreated to an old castle located at Mio, Takashima County, Omi Province, but was attacked by the Imperial army from the land and sea and defeated at last. The Nakamaro family were all killed and became extinct.
(The Rebellion of FUJIWARA no Nakamaro)

[Original Japanese]