Hata no Yakuni (羽田矢国)
HATA no Yakuni (the date of birth unknown - died on April 26, 686) was a historical figure lived during Japan's Asuka Period. His name "矢国" was also written as "八国." His name is pronounced the same in the old Japanese kana syllabary. His kabane (hereditary title) was Kimi and later promoted to Mahito. In the Jinshin War of 672, he changed sides to support Oama no Miko (Prince Oama, later Emperor Tenmu) and led the troop on a northern route along Lake Biwa to take over the Mionoki Castle. He was Daibenkan (Major Controller). He was awarded with Jikidaiichi.
Achievements in the Jinshin War
When the Jinshin War broke out, HATA no Yakuni was a shogun of the Omi Imperial Court army among several tens of thousands of soldiers led by YAMABE no Okimi (Prince Yamabe), SOGA no Hatayasu, and KOSE no Hito. This army planned to attack the headquarters of Oama no Miko (Prince Oama) in Fuwa-gun in Mino Province by following a route along the east coast of Lake Biwa. However, Hatayasu and Hito killed YAMABE no Okimi sometime around August 2 and the army halted the advance in confusion. This was when a shogun of Omi army HATA no Kimi Yakuni and his son HATA no Ushi, followed by other members of Hata family, changed sides to support Oama no Miko. Yakuni was bestowed Fuetsu (a ceremonial ax), assigned to a shogun, and ordered to go to Hokuetsu at once.
It is believed that Yakuni headed north along the east coast of Lake Biwa, blocked the entrance to Koshi Province, then headed south along the west coast of the lake. On August 23, Yakuni attacked the Mionoki Castle together with IZUMO no Koma and took it over. The location of Sanbi is believed to be present-day Miozato in Takashima City, Shiga Prefecture. The main troop of Oama no Miko defeated the last line of defense of Omi's army in Seta on the same day. On the following day, Otomo no Oji committed suicide and the Jinshin War came to the end.
The Meritorious Retainer's Life After the War
After the war, on December 31, 672, retainers who made great contributions to the victory were promoted to the ranks of Shosen or higher. It is believed that HATA no Yakuni was also promoted to an equivalent rank.
On January 8, 684, ISE no O, HATA no Yakuni, O no Honji, and NAKATOMI no Oshima set off on a journey around the country to set boundaries between provinces accompanied by their subordinates including hangan (Judge Magistrate), rokushi (secretaries keeping records), and kosho (engineers). This project wasn't completed by the end of the month. The rank of Yakuni at this time was Daikinge.
Daibenkan (Major Controller) Jikidaisan HATA no Mahito Yakuni became ill on April 7, 686, and three men were asked to enter the Buddhist priesthood to pray for his illness. Yakuni died on April 26. The rank of Jikidaiichi was awarded to him.