Korehari no Azamaro (伊治呰麻呂)

KOREHARI no Azamaro (also known as KOREHARU no Azamaro, date of birth and death unknown) was an Ezo leader of Mutsu Province (later Rikuzen Province) in the Nara period. He served kokufu (ancient provincial office/capital) and became Dairyo (high-ranking local magistrate) of Ueharu-gun, given Ge-jugoinoge (Jugoinoge [Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade] given to persons outside Kyoto) by ancient Japanese government of centralized governance but launched Hoki no Ran at the Iharu jo-Castle. He was often called KOREHARI no Kimi Azamaro or KOREHARU no Kimi Azamaro as written in the historical materials.

KOREHARI no Azamaro was believed to be an influential person of Iharu (now Kurihara City, Miyagi Prefecture.)
How to read 伊治 was unwritten in the historical materials, 伊治 was read as 'Iji' by on-yomi (Chinese reading of kanji) for a long time. According to the "Shoku Nihongi" (Chronicle of Japan Continued), Azamaro was a Dairyo of Korehari-gun but Korehari-gun was an unknown place. Later, a mokkan (a long and narrow wood plate with a script written with a brush) written as 'Koreharu-gun' was excavated so 'kore' and 'I' were homophonic and the theory that korehari was koreharu's writing error became stronger.
Guns, castles, persons were named the same as 'korehari' or 'koreharu.'

At that time, the war between ancient Japanese government of centrized governance and Ezo in Kitakata had been continued for many years and Koreharu-gun was located on the front lines. KOREHARI no Azamaro was from Ifu (barbarians) but took credit for the Ezo Conquest in the Shiwa Village that was under the jurisdiction of Dewa Province so he was appointed Ge-jugoinoge (Jugoinoge [Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade] given to the persons outside Kyoto) on July 24, 778. According to the "Shoku Nihongi"(Chronicle of Japan Continued), Hirozumi KINO, Inspector of Mutsu disliked Azamaro at first but he came to trust Azamaro later. However, the Dairyo of Oshika-gun, Odate MICHISHIMA looked down on Azamaro as Ifu so Azamaro held a grudge deep in his heart.

In 780, Hirozumi KINO visited Koreharu-jo Castle during the construction of Kakubetsu-jo Castle. On May 1, Azamaro took the chance and staged a rebellion using a barbarian army killing Odate first and clustered around Hirozumi next and killed him. Only Masatsuna OTOMO of Mutsu Province broke the crowd and escaped to the Taga-jo Castle. The castle town residents were tried to protect the Taga-jo Castle inside but Masatuna sneaked out from the back gate with ISHIKAWA no Kiyotari of Jo. The residents had no choice but straggled out. Several days later, Ezo army came to the castle for looting, arsoning and gone after that.

Azamaro's record had ended in the rebellion of Koreharu-jo Castle. The looting of the Taka-jo Castle was a direct consequence of the rebellion but historical materials didn't indicate who was a commander. It is highly possible that the Taga-jo Castle fall was led by Azamaro but it cannot be denied another possibility. Central government appointed FUJIWARA no Tsugutada as Seito taishi (great general who subdues the eastern barbarians) and sent the army but the battle became larger without results and it is unknown that key person Azamaro played a what part and what happened to him after that. It was claimed that Azamaro lost the battle and was killed by Seito army, it was written in the "Shoku Nihongi", this missing part of record implies that Azamaro didn't die like that. By this rebellion, Koreharu-jo Castle and nearby spots bailed out of the dominion of Ezo for many years but were conquered again later.

[Original Japanese]