Kumanokuni no miyatsuko (熊野国造)

Kumanokuni no miyatsuko (Kumano Kokuso) was shizoku (clan) who ruled Kumano Province (later Muro-gun, Kii Province, present Southern area of Wakayama Prefecture and Southern area of Mie Prefecture) in ancient times. This clan had the same ancestor as the Mononobe clan and the Suzuki clan. The descendants called themselves the Wada clan (need clarification).

History
It was said that the descendant of Nigihayahi (Nigihayahi no mikoto), OOATO no Sukune became Kumanokuni no miyatsuko in the era of the Emperor Seimu and his child Inehi was given kabane (hereditary title) of Kumano no atae.

According to "Shinsen Shojiroku" (Newly Compiled Register of Clan Names and Titles of Nobility) Yamashiro (Shinbetsu, Tenjin), the kabane was Kumano no muraji [descendant of Umashinigita no mikoto who was grandchild of Nigihayahi no mikoto].

After Kumano Province was incorporated into Kii Province, the clan served as Dairyo (high-ranking local magistrate) of Muro-gun as well as Negi (Shinto priest) of Kumano-hongu Shrine and consecrated hongu (main shrine) for generations.

In the Heian period, the clan changed their family name to the Tachibana clan. As Shinto priest, the clan was overwhelmed by the power of Kumano betto (title of an official who administered the shrines at Kumano) having the backing of the central government.

Later, the Kuni no miyatsuko family called themselves Wada Shoji (Wadakuni no miyatsuko) and the descendants became a powerful local clan with strong influence over the whole area in Kii province, Kawachi Province, or in other areas.

Key persons

According to "Shoku Nihongi" (Chronicle of Japan Continued), Kumano no atae Hirohama, an uneme (a court lady) of Muro, served four generations of emperors, from the Emperor Shomu to the Empress Shotoku (died in 769, Jushiinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade)).

In the Heian period, a branch family Masago shoji also prospered and was called 'choja (millionaire) of Masago'. According to the legend of Kiyohime (Princess Kiyo), the woman of main character was said to be a daughter of Seiji of Masago shoji (according to an ancient tradition, this is supposed to be Seiji's wife or widow). The Masago clan is one of the 'eight shoji of Kumano' appeared in some stories such as "Taiheiki" (The Record of the Great Peace).

In the period of the Northern and Southern Courts (Japan), Masato KUSUNOKI of Kawachi Province succeeded to the family line of the Kusunoki clan (the Iyotachibana clan), while the family of other sons (Masasue KUSUNOKI and others) reverted to the Wada clan, except the family of Masashige KUSUNOKI.

The family tree of Masaoki WADA, who was vassal of the Southern Court (Japan), is unknown. According to "Taiheiki", Masaoki WADA was the same family as the Kusunoki clan, but it is also possible that he was actually from the Mikita (Nigita) clan (the Onakatomi clan) who was the gokenin (an immediate vassal of the shogunate in the Kamakura and Muromachi through Edo periods) of Izumi Province (it is possible that he became the same family through marital relation). Still, many clans (the Hashimoto clan, the Jinguji clan and so on) that were descended from the Kuni no miyatsuko Wada clan took the side of the Southern Court (Japan), and fought together with the Kusunoki clan with the same root.