Sakanoue no Karitamaro (坂上苅田麻呂)

SAKANOUE no Karitamaro (727-February 14, 786) was a warrior in the Nara period. His official court rank was Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank). He was appointed as Chuefu chujo (Middle Captain of the Inner-Most Palace Guards). He was also appointed as Sakyo no daibu (Master of the Eastern Capital Offices). He was a son of SAKANOUE no Inukai. He was the father of SAKANOUE no Tamuramaro.

The SAKANOUE clan is a linage that is related to HIGASHIKAN clan which was said to be a branch of the holy Chinese Emperor (KAN) in the Later Han Dynasty in China, and they guarded the Imperial Court for several emperors as a clan of martial arts who eagerly practiced archery and horse-back riding in all their generations.

Karitamaro was appointed as Konoehei Ryoge no kan shojo (junior lieutenant of the imperial guard, a post outside the original Ritsuryo code created by Imperial edicts) during the Tenpyo hoji era (757 - 765). In September 764, it was secretly informed that the Daishi (Daijo-daijin [Grand Minister]), FUJIWARA no Nakamaro (EMI no Oshikatsu) would raise a rebellion, and the Retired Empress Koken sent Shonagon (lesser councilor of state), Prince Yamamura to Chuguin (the Imperial Palace) of the Emperor Junjin who was in the Nakamaro's fact, and caused Yamamurao to collect gyokuji (the jewelry emperor's seal) and ekirin (literally, a station bell) which were necessary for exercising the right of the emperor. Nakamaro sent his son, FUJIWARA no Norijumaro to take back the gyokuji and ekirin by force. Prince Yamamura sent an urgent report and SAKANOUE no Karitamaro rushed together with shoso (a general) Narito OJIKA, receiving an Imperial order shot to kill Norijumaro. Later on, Nakamaro escaped from Heijo-kyo Capital and lost in fighting in Omi Province and collapsed.
(Rebellion of FUJIWARA no Nakamaro)

Due to this exploit, Karitamaro was promoted to Jushiinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade) and was honored with the Second Order of Merit and a family name, Oimiki was given to him. He was additionally appointed as Chue no shosho (Minor Captain of the Imperial Guard) and also appointed as the governor of Kai Province.

When the Empress Shotoku (which name the Empress Koken doubly used for herself) died in 770, Karitamaro reported a scandalous plan of Dokyo (a Buddhism priest deeply concerned the politics) and performed an exploit of expelling Dokyo and, therefore, Karitamaro was promoted to Shoshiinoge (Senior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade) and was appointed as Commander-in-Chief of the Defense of Mutsu Province. Karitamaro worked as a state officer in succession as Chue no chujo (middle captain of the imperial guard), the governor of Aki Province, the governor of Tanba Province and so on. In 781, He was promoted to Shoshiinojo (Senior Fourth Rank, Upper Grade) and was appointed as Ueji no kami (Captain of the Right Division of Outer Palace Guards).

In 782, he was implicated in the rebellion lead by HIKAMI no Kawatsugu (Hikami no Kawatsugu's rebellion) and fired due to it; however, he was forgiven soon and returned to the position. He was appointed as a state officer in succession as the governor of Iyo Province and the governor of Bizen Province. In 785, he was promoted to Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank), sent a message to the Emperor and, thereby, was allowed to have the family name of SUKUNE (SAKANOUE no SUKUNE no Karitamaro). In the same year, he was appointed as Sakyo no daibu and simultaneously worked also as Ueji no kami and the governor of Shimousa Province. He died in 786.

[Original Japanese]