Kose no Hito (巨勢人)

OKISOME no Usagi (year of birth and death unknown) was a historical figure lived during Japan's Asuka Period. His name Hito, "人," was also written as "比等" or "毘登." His kabane (hereditary title) was Omi. He was a child of Shotokui (the second grade of "Twelve Grades of Cap Rank") KOSE no Oama. He served Emperor Tenchi and was promoted to Gyoshi taifu (a chief of controlling the officials), and during the Jinshin War of 672, he became shogun of the army of Otomo no Oji (Prince Otomo), who later became Emperor Kobun. However, he was involved in an internal strife and lost; after the war, he was exiled.


He was born as a child of Shotokui KOSE no Oama, a member of the powerful KOSE clan, whose brother was Daishii (Fifth Rank) Sadaijin (Minister of the Left) KOSE no Tokuta in the Asuka Period.

KOSE no Hito and SOGA no Akae spoke ceremonial New Year's greetings in front of Emperor Tenchi in January 2, 671 (old lunar calendar). His rank at this time was Daikinge. He, SOGA no Hatayasu, and KI no Ushi were assigned to Gyoshi taifu on January 5. Prince Otomo was assgined to Daijo-daijin (Grand Minister), SOGA no Akae was assigned to Sadaijin, and NAKATOMI no Kane was assigned to Udaijin (Minister of the Right) on the same day. The rank of Gyoshi taifu was immediately below these ranks.

Prince Otomo and his six chief retainers exchanged vows in front of the textile depicting Buddha in the west wing of the Imperial Palace on November 23 of the same year. First, Otomo no Oji stood up holding a koro (incense burner) in hand and pledged as below.
'The six of us, acting as one, promise to obey Emperor's orders. The heaven shall punish us if the promise were broken. '
Then the rest of five members with tears in their eyes stood up holding a koro in hand one after the other and pledged as below.
'We, the six of us, promise to follow Emperor and obey his orders.'
Shitenno (four guardian kings) shall strike us down if the promise were broken.'
'The gods of heaven and earth shall punish us.'
Let Sanjusanten (the 33 heavens) bear witness.'
'Our family lineages shall die and cease to exist.'
The five retainers obeyed Otomo no Oji and made an oath in front of Emperor on November 29.
The above accounts in "Nihonshoki" (Chronicles of Japan) did not include the detailed contents of 'Emperor's orders.'
However, according to the commonly accepted theory, Emperor Tenchi ordered the retainers to back up Otomo no Oji to be the next emperor. The five retainers obeyed Otomo no Oji and made an oath in front of Emperor Tenchi again on November 29. The details were unknown; however it was probably the same oath as before.

Emperor Tenchi died on December 3. Emperor Tenmu, who had already moved to Yoshinomiya, decided to go ahead with the war on June 22 of the following year. He gathered his troops in Fuwa-gun in Mino Province and moved there himself. KOSE no Hito, Yamabe no Okimi (Prince Yamabe), and SOGA no Hatayasu led tens of thousands of soldiers and advanced to Fuwa to defeat Oama no Miko (Prince Oama). However, Hatayasu and Hito killed Yamabe no Okimi around July 2 when they had set up a camp on the bank of Inugami River. The reason for his action was not written in "Nihonshoki." The troops stopped advancing because of the confusion and Hatayasu committed suicide by piercing his own neck upon his return. Hito's actions before and after the incident were unknown and it was unclear whether he was in command of the troops then.

The Jinshin War ended in Oama no Miko's victory; after the war, Dainagon (Major Counselor) KOSE no Hito and his descendants were exiled ("Nihonshoki"). The nature of the internal strife was unknown; however, it is believed that Hito didn't intend to gain favor from Oama no Miko. Hito's title, Gyoshitaifu, is written as 'Dainagon ' because an editor of "Nihonshoki" substituted the new titles used at the time of compilation for the old ones.

Hito had two children, KOSE no Nademaro and KOSE no Iratsume. Nademaro was a government official and reached a position of Dainagon in later years and Iratsume was married to OTOMO no Yasumaro. Yasumaro fought and had a great success in the Jinshin War on Oama no Miko's side; however, the chronological order of his marriage to Iratsume, the Jinshin War, and KOSE family's exile is unknown.

[Original Japanese]