Hieda no Are (稗田阿礼)

HIEDA no Are (dates of birth and death unknown; lived in the latter half of the 7th century through the beginning of the 8th century) compiled "Kojiki" (The Records of Ancient Matters).

Nothing is known about HIEDA no Are beyond the fact Are was 'one of the compilers of Kojiki.'
Are's name does not appear in "Nihonshoki" (the Chronicle of Japan) which was compiled around the same time as Kojiki or in "Shoku Nihongi" (Chronicle of Japan Continued) which described about the period when Are lived. According to the preface of "Kojiki," Are served the Emperor Tenmu as a toneri (a palace servant). Able to memorize something upon seeing or hearing it, Are was assigned to memorize "Tei-ki" (records of Emperor's family tree) and "Kyuji" (mythical tradition) for Are's incredible memory. Are was reportedly 28 years old at that time. In the era of the Empress Genmei, Are recited what Are memorized for O no Yasumaro, who wrote it down on paper to compile "Kojiki" by Imperial command.

(Preface of "Kojiki")

Translation: There was one toneri (a palace servant). Her first name was Are and family name was HIEDA. She was 28 years old. Naturally bright and intelligent, Are could recite upon reading but once and memorize upon hearing but once. The Emperor Tenmu immediately ordered Are to memorize "Teio no Hitsugi" (Imperial Sun-Lineage) and "Sendai no Kuji" (Ancient Dicta of Former Ages).

Debatable issues
Normally, a 'toneri' refers to a male servant, but Kunio YANAGIDA, a folklorist, and Nobutsuna SAIGO, a mythologist, insisted that 'HIEDA no Are was a woman.'
They argue that the Hieda clan stemmed from the same family as the Sarume no kimi clan who had Amenouzume (goddess of entertainment) as its earliest ancestor and was assigned to serve the Imperial Court as miko (a shrine maiden) and nyoju (a court lady in a lower rank).

Although this theory has been treated as an established one for a long time, recently, Takeshi UMEHARA who studies ancient history vigorously as what he calls himself 'an outsider' released his analysis on Are; judging from the bold and blunt writing style of "Kojiki" and the age of Are, the name HIEDA no Are may be another name of FUJIWARA no Fuhito. This new theory is accepted among ancient history fanatics, but not academically.

Related Historic Sites
Meta-jinja Shrine in Hieda cho, Yamatokoriyama City, Nara Prefecture, enshrines HIEDA no Are as shusaijin (main enshrined deity) (HIEDA no Are no mikoto). This is because the Sarume-no-kimi HIEDA family lived in the area near the Shrine and Are was reportedly born there.

In Hieda-jinja Shrine in Taishi Town, Ibo County, Hyogo Prefecture, Are is honored as an enshrined deity.

[Original Japanese]