Fumi no Nemaro (書根麻呂)

FUMI no Nemaro (year of birth unknown - October 25, 707) lived during Japan's Asuka period. His clan name Fumi (書) was also written as 文 and his given name Nemaro (根麻呂) was also written as 尼麻呂, 祢麻呂 and 禰麻呂. In the old Japanese kana syllabary, too, his name was pronounced as "FUMI no Nemaro." His hereditary title was Obito (one of the lower titles under Yamato dynasty), and later he was awarded Muraji (seventh highest of the eight hereditary titles) and finally granted Imiki (fourth highest). He was a general in Omi area on the side of Emperor Tenmu in the Jinshin War of 672. Later he was upgraded to Captain of the Left Division of the Outer Palace Guards. His tomb was excavated in the Edo period and the buried properties were designated as national treasures later.

His achievement in the Jinshin War

Fumi clan were immigrants to ancient Japan. Nemaro was one of Prince Oama's toneri (palace servants) when the Jinshin War started.

When the prince decided to take up arms and departed Yoshino no miya toward the east on July 27, his followers were only his wife, children, two dozen vassals and more than a dozen court ladies. FUMI no Nemaro was in this party.

After Prince Oama got to Mino Province safely and raised his army, he divided the army into two on August 3 and ordered one to go to Omi Province directly and the other to Yamato (Yamato province). FUMI no Nemaro was assigned to a general heading to Omi Province together with MURAKUNI no Oyori, WANIBE no Kimite and IKAGO no Ahe. Following the first victory over Omi at Okinaga-no-Yokokawa River on August 8, they moved forward with further victories at Tokono-yama Mountain on 10th and Yasunokawa-hama Shore on 14th. On the 18th, they defeated the force in Kurita near Omi no miya where their enemy's headquarters were located, and got to Seta on the 23nd. A large force led by Emperor Kobun was defeated at this combat on this day. On the following day, Prince Otomo committed suicide and the domestic conflict ended.

A meritorious retainer's later life

According to "Nihonshoki" (Chronicles of Japan), on December 31, 672, those who were selected for their deed of valor were promoted to a shosen (cap rank) or upper rank. Therefore, Nemaro was supposed to be granted the same or higher rank. An article of July 21, 701 of "Shoku Nihongi" (Chronicle of Japan Continued) reported that FUMI no Nemaro was allotted 100 households for his previous merits.

On October 21, 683, 38 clans including FUMI no Obito were awarded the title 'Muraji'. On July 29, 685, 11 clans including FUMI no Muraji were awarded the title 'Imiki'.

A epitaph excavated later proved that FUMI no Nemaro was a Captain of the Left Division of Outer Palace Guards in the end. The captain of the division of guards is an important post in military officers.

In 707, FUMI no Nemaro died. He was Jushiinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade). Empress Genmei sent an envoy to state an imperial edict and granted Shoshiinojo (Senior Fourth Rank Upper Grade) together with thick silk fabric (silk cloth) and cloth for his achievements in the Jinshin War. "Shoku Nihongi" (Chronicle of Japan Continued) reported that he died on October 24, but the epitaph mentioned later says he died on September 21.

FUMI no Nemaro's tomb

In October 1831 in the Edo period, the tomb of FUMI no Nemaro was excavated.
It is located in Yataki, Haibara Ward, Uda City, Nara Prefecture (at northern latitude 34.30.3.5 and east longitude 135.58.35.3)
His ashes were kept in a glass urn, wrapped by cloth, and further stored in a gilt bronze-made urn. A copper epitaph board kept in a copper box was inscribed that a general in the Jinshin War, Captain of the Left Division of Outer Palace Guards, jitei (old man at the age of 61 to 65, later changed to 60 to 64 under ritsuryo system) FUMI no Nemaro Imiki passed away on September 21, 707. Later, his tomb was buried again and artifacts were placed in a local Ryusen-ji Temple. In 1952, the artifacts were designated as national treasures and the Tokyo National Museum owns them at present.

The remains of his tomb were discovered near the epitaph found during reinvestigation in 1982 and the remains were designated as a historic site as "tomb of FUMI no Nemaro" on April 5, 1984.