Heguri Clan (an ancient powerful local clan based in Heguri County, Yamato Province) (平群氏)

The Heguri clan is said to be a descendant of TAKENOUCHI no Sukune and one of the ancient powerful local clans based in Heguri no go, Heguri County in Yamato Province (present Heguri Town, Ikoma County, Nara Prefecture). Kabane (hereditary title) was Omi and later it was changed to Ason.

According to "Nihon Shoki" (Chronicles of Japan), the Heguri clan was active as a military clan from Emperor Ojin's Court and HEGURI no Tsuku no Sukune came to participate in the national politics in Emperor Richu's Court. Since Emperor Yuryaku's Court after the fall of the Katsuragi clan, HEGURI no Matori, a child of Tsuku successively held the position of 'Oomi' (a highest officer in national politics of the Yamato dynasty) and the clan fully enjoyed their prosperity. However, after Emperor Ninken's death, Matori Oomi, having wanted to be the King of Japan, became tyrannical to govern the nation as he wanted and was feared his power excluding even the Imperial Family, which is considered to be a cause that Kanamura OTOMO by the order of Prince Wakasazaki (later Emperor Buretsu) killed Matori and his son, HEGURI no Shibi in 498.

After this, members of the Heguri clan disappear from "Nihon Shoki" (The Chronicle of Japan) for a while, but in 587 the name of HEGURI no Kamite appears as the General to subjugate the Mononobe clan; by this time the Heguri clan had gained the position to be elected as daibu (master). In November, 684 the Heguri clan was granted kabane (hereditary title) of Ason again when the Imperial Court enforced the yakusa no kabane system (eight official titles conferred upon nobles by Emperor Tenmu). The Heguri clan produced government officials such as HEGURI no Hironari in the Nara period, but afterwards the clan went to ruin.

Various Theories

According to archeologists, when they see the changes of Heguridani-kofun Tumulus Cluster (located in present Heguri Town) which is said to be the okutsuki (Shinto tomb) of the Heguri clan, the emergence of the Heguri clan cannot be traced before the middle of the sixth century. Based on the above fact, a theory that regards the Heguri clan to be a new powerful local clan after Kamite of the later sixth century is gaining supporters recently. Accordingly, the description in "Nihon Shoki" in which Matori took the position of Oomi and wielded arbitrary power is not accepted as a historical fact; it is explained that the story was intentionally made up by the Heguri clan themselves driven by a feeling of competition to the Soga clan who is considered to be the descendant of the same TAKENOUCHI no Sukune as the Heguri clan. We should note, related with the formation of the legend of the clan, that in 681 HEGURI no Kobito participated in the project of Teiki (the genealogy of the Imperial Family) and Kyuji (a record of stories current at court) and also included in the various clans asked to submit an 'epitaph' in 691.