Hata no Kawakatsu (秦河勝)

HATA no Kawakatsu (dates of birth and death unknown) was a member of the local ruling family from the Hata clan which worked for the Yamato sovereignty (the ancient Japan sovereignty) from the late sixth century to the middle of the seventh century.

It is said that the Hata clan was a group of immigrants to Wakoku (the ancient Japan) in the Japanese archipelago via the Korean Peninsula during the sixth century and its roots are traced to the first Qin Emperor. It is believed that Kawakatsu was considered as the head of the Hata clan and played a role as a strategist for Prince Shotoku. It is also said that he was a rich merchant and involved with the financial affairs of the Imperial Court. There is a view that his financial power enabled him to be involved in the construction of Heian-kyo (the ancient capital in current Kyoto) and the Ise-jingu Shrine. He was given the statue of Maitreya Bodhisattva in manas in a semi-lotus position by Prince Shotoku and then constructed the Koryu-ji Temple to enshrine the statue. He was appointed to a guide to welcome an envoy from Shilla (ancient Korean kingdom) in 610. It is said that Kawakatsu subdued a (religious) group led by OFUBE no O, which enshrined "Tokonoyokami (a deity coming from an utopia of immortality or a world where the souls of the dead go)" around the Fuji River in Suruga Province in 644.

He died in Sakoshi, Ako City. One theory states that he was exiled to there. The Osake-jinja Shrine which enshrines HATA no Kawakatsu as a deity faces Sakakoshiura, and there is his grave in Ikushima Island, the holly precincts of the shrine.

The name of Hata has been left in Uzumasa, Ukyo Ward in Kyoto City which was his home, and Uzumasa, Neyagawa City in Osaka Prefecture where HATA no Kawakatsu's grave is located. Moreover, in Nishi Kyogoku in Ukyo Ward, there is a temple called the Sensho-ji Temple, and the epitaph saying "Last place of HATA no Kawatsu" is found in the neighborhood. This area was called Senshoji Village until the early Meiji period and most residents knew that they were descendants of Kawakatsu. Many people claimed to be descendants of the Hata clan, and the famous one is the Chosokabe clan of Tosa Province known as a feudal lord during the Sengoku period. The Kawakatsu clan, a shogun's retainer also claimed to be a descendant of Kawakatsu. Many performers of theater such as sarugaku (comical mimicry and speech performance) claimed to be descendants of Kawakatsu, and Konparu-ryu school of No play is considered as a representative example. According to its oral tradition, Kawakatsu was the founder of Sarugaku. Noh play's father and son pair, Kanami and Zeami also claimed to be descendants of Kawakatsu. The Togi family now known as a musician is a descendant of Kawakatsu.

Relation to Luminous Religion
In January, 1908, Yoshiro SAEKI released his theory in "Uzumasa o ronzuru (Arguing on Uzumasa)" in "the 100th issue of Chiri-rekishi (Geography-history)" (edited by Sadakichi KITA), which stated that the Hata clan was Jewish believing in Luminous Religion (Nestorian Christianity). His theory was based on the fact that Luminous Religion of Oriental Orthodoxy had been already introduced to Tang before the sixth century when the Hata family came to Japan and its temple was called the Daishin-ji Temple. His theory, however, has not been accepted within the academic society.

[Original Japanese]