Soga no Hatayasu (蘇我果安)

SOGA no Hatayasu (year of birth unknown - August 3?, 672) was a person who lived during Japan's Asuka period. His name is pronounced the same in the old Japanese kana syllabary. His kabane (hereditary title) was Omi. He became Gyoshi taifu (a chief of controlling the officials) in 671, and together with Prince Otomo (Emperor Kobun) and other four senior vassals, he swore to obey an imperial edict issued by Emperor Tenchi who was in serious condition. After the death of Emperor Tenchi, he became shogun on the side of Prince Otomo in the Jinshin War of 672, but committed suicide after having internal discord.


SOGA no Hatayasu was a child of SOGA no Kuramaro and a grandchild of SOGA no Umako. Kuramaro's family line became a main lineage of SOGA clan after SOGA no Emishi and SOGA no Iruka died in 645. SOGA no Ishikawamaro, SOGA no Himuka, SOGA no Akae and SOGA no Murajiko were the brothers of Hatayasu.

SOGA no Hatayasu became Gyoshi taifu (a chief of controlling the officials) together with KOSE no Hito and KI no Ushi in February 22, 671. On the same day, Prince Otomo, SOGA no Akae and NAKATOMI no Kane were appointed Daijo-daijin (Grand Minister), Sadaijin (Minister of the left) and Udaijin (minister of the right), respectively, and Gyoshi taifu was an important post next to them.

On November 26 of the same year, Emperor Tenchi who was critically ill called Prince Oama (later Emperor Tenmu) to Otono (a palace or residence of the nobility). At the time, Prince Oama advised Emperor Tenchi to designate the Empress as the next emperor and Prince Otomo as the crown prince, while telling that he would enter into priesthood. It is thought that he left Omi no miya (Omi Court) clearing himself from the suspicion of a rebellion, as he knew he was suspected by the Emperor. Two days later, together with SOGA no Akae and NAKATOMI no Kane, Hatayasu went to Todo (Uji City) to see off Prince Oama in a priest's robe who left for Yoshino.

On January 1, 672, the above mentioned six senior vassals including Prince Otomo swore an oath in front of a tapestry image of the Buddha in the west hall of the Imperial Palace.
Firstly, Prince Otomo stood up with koro (incense burner) in his hand, and swore as follows:
'We, six of us, obey the imperial edict in the same spirit.'
'If we fail to do so, we will receive divine punishment."
The other five vassals also stood up one after the other with the incense burner in hand and said in tears as follows:
'We, the six vassals, obey the imperial edict under his imperial highness.'
'If we fail to do so, Shitenno (four guardian kings) will punish us.'
'The gods of heaven and earth will also punish us.'
'Sanjusanten (a class of gods residing in the second of the six heavens into which the realm of desire is divided in Buddhist cosmology) will be a witness.'
'We will fail to have descendants and our family line will fail." On 7th, the five vassals under Prince Otomo swore in front of the Emperor. Although the above description in "Nihonshoki" (Chronicles of Japan) does not clearly state the contents of the 'imperial edict', it is generally believed that the edict was to make Prince Otomo the next emperor.

On 7th, the five vassals under Prince Otomo swore in front of Emperor Tenchi. Although the contents of the oath was unknown, it is thought to be the same oath as before.

On January 10, Emperor Tenchi died. On July 25, Prince Oama decided to raise a rebellion, and moved to Fuwa County, Mino Province, where he had gathered troops. At that time, Yamabe no Okimi, SOGA no Hatayasu and KOSE no Hito set off for Fuwa with tens of thousands of troops to attack Prince Oama. However, around August 3, when they pitched a camp on the bank of Inukami-gawa River, Yamabe no Okimi was killed by Hatayasu and Hito. The reason is not stated in "Nihonshoki." The march was stopped due to confusion. Hatayasu committed suicide by stabbing his neck after he returned.

After the Jinshin War was over with the victory of Prince Oama, Hatayasu's children were exiled. Although the details of the internal discord are unknown, it is thought that Hatayasu at least had no intention to switch to the side of Prince Oama.

[Original Japanese]