Haji no Umate (土師馬手)

HAJI no Umate (year of birth unknown, February 26, 711) was a person of the Asuka Period in Japan.
His name also can be read as 'HAJI no Mate.'
The reading of his name is the same in the old Japanese syallabary characters. His kabane (hereditary title) was Muraji, later to become Sukune (third highest of the eight hereditary titles). He sided with Prince Oama (Emperor Tenmu) during the Jinshin War of 672, and became an envoy that raised an army that belonged to the Tosando Road region of the Shinano Province. He played a role in orchestrating the funeral ceremonies for Emperor Jito and Emperor Tenmu. He was given the rank of Jushiinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade).


HAJI no Umate was the toneri (palace servant) for the Minister of Imperial Domains when the Jinshin War broke out. It is not clear as to which Imperial Domain he belonged to, but it is assumed to be somewhere near the later-mentioned Uda (Uda County of Yamato Province). There is a theory purporting that the Imperial Domain belonged to Prince Oama, and also a theory which mentions this is not all true.

On June 24th during the year of Mizunoe-Saru (one of the Oriental Zodiac signs), having decided to declare war on the Imperial Court of Omi, Prince Oama departed from the Yoshinomiya Imperial Palace and hurriedly headed east for his own palace of Uda. At this time, HAJI no Umate offered food to the accompanying party. It is believed that Umate just joined the procession under the orders of the Emperor. At the Asake County in Ise Province, the Emperor dispatched HAJI no Umate with WAKASAKURABE no Iose to Mt. Higashiyama (Tosando Road) to raisean army. Thus far is what has been written in "The Nihonshoki," and it is pointed out by "The Shaku Nihongi" (an annotated text of the Nihonshoki) that there is a passage in "The Diary of ATO no Chitoko" saying that the Emperor "raised an army in the Shinano Province." The differences in the two texts pertain to whether the army was mobilized as far as Kozuke Province and Shimotsuke Province and so on.

After the War, Umate's name does not appear in the Nihonshoki records that covers the eras of Emperor Tenmu and Emperor Jito. On February 2nd, 684, HAJI no Muraji as well as 50 other clans were given the kabane of Sukune.

In the "The Shoku Nihongi," during the era of Emperor Monmu and Emperor Genmei, Umate's name is frequently mentioned in the articles related to the Emperor's misasagi (an Imperial mausoleum) and funeral ceremony. Umate was not necessarily the central figure during the funeral, but rather, he was known as one of the figures among the many officials. First, on January 19th, 697, Umate was dispatched to Oyamauchi no Misasagi to offer the misagimono (tribute) brought over by Kinhitsutoku, the envoy from Shiragi (an ancient Korean kingdom). On October 20th, 700, when the two teams of government officials were dispatched to mend Ochi no Misasagi and Yamashina no Misasagi, OISHI no Okimi, AWATA no Mahito, HAJI no Umate, Oharida no Taima and three hangan (judges), two sakans (low level officials) and two carpenters were sent.

When Emperor Jito died on December 22nd, 702, a gososhi (an official who handled imperial funerals) was appointed on October 9th, 703. Shogoinoge (Senior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade), HAJI no Sukune Umate became the second person in charge who assisted The Director of Imperial Funeral Pyre, Prince Shiki along with OKINAGA no Okimi and TAKAHASHI no Kasama. The funeral ceremony took place in December 703. When Emperor Monmu died on June 15th, 707, HAJI no Sukune Umate who was promoted to Shogoinojo (Senior Fifth Rank, Upper Grade) on October 3rd, was appointed as the Imperial envoy to Tusukuriyama no Misasagi along with SHIMOTSUKENU no Komaro, TAMI no Hirao, and ISONOKAMI no Toyoniwa. This funeral took place in November.

He was promoted to Jushinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade) on January 9th, 709, and Jushinoge HAJI no Sukukne Umate died two years later on February 26th, 711.

Chronological list of main events

On June 24th, 672, Umate departed from the Yoshinomiya Imperial House under the orders of Prince Oama (Emperor Tenmu).

June 26th, 672: Umate Went to Mt. Higashiyama to raise an army.

December 2nd, 684: Umate was given the kabane of Muraji.

January 19th, 697: Umate was dispatched to Oyamauchi no Misasagi to offer the mitsugimono from Shiragi. Umate was given the rank of Jikikosan (equivalent to Senior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade).

October 20th, 700: Umate was dispatched to mend Yamashina no Misasagi. He was ranked as Jikikosan.

December 22nd, 702: Umate became the second person in charge under the Director of Imperial Funeral Pyre for Emperor Jito. Umate was ranked as Shogoinoge (Senior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade).

June 15th, 707: Umate became the Imperial envoy of Emperor Tenmu for Tsukuriyama no Misasagi. Umate was ranked as Shogoinojo (Senior Fifth Rank, Upper Grade).

On January 9th, 709: Umate was promoted to Jushinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade) from Shogoinojo.

February 26th, 711: Umate died ranked as Jushinoge.

[Original Japanese]