Mononobe no Moriya (物部守屋)

MONONOBE no Moriya was Omuraji (ancient Japan) (powerful local ruling family) during the Asuka Period. He was the son of MONONOBE no Okoshi. His mother was Princess Asa from the Yuge clan.

The Mononobe clan was a powerful military clan.
The Mononobe clan was strongly against buddhism, which was introduced to Japan, and conflicted with the Soga clan since they were for buddhism

At around the time of the enthronement of their new Emperor Bidatsu, Moriya was promoted to Omuraji during 572.

During 585, Minister SOGA no Umako asked Emperor Bidatsu for his permission to practice Buddhism due to his sickness. The Emperor gave him the permission; however, an epidemic disease started spreading at around this time. MONONOBE no Moriya and NAKATOMI no Katsumi (from the clan supportive of Shinto) believed that an epidemic started spreading due to having faith in God of a foreign country, and thus asked for its prohibition. The Emperor issued an Imperial edict to ban Buddhism. Moriya went to a temple and sat on the agura (a special stool) forcing people to destroy a Buddhist pagoda, burn down the Buddha hall, and throw Buddha statues into the ocean. After verbally abusing Buddhist followers like Umako and SHIBA no Tachito, he captured Tachito's daughter Zenshin-ni (female monk) and two of her followers, Ezen-ni and Zenzo-ni and took them to a station building in Tsubaichi (now in Sakurai City, Nara Prefecture) and whipped their naked bodies in front of a crowd.

The epidemic spread even more, and even the Emperor became sick. Umako was not getting any better and asked for permission to practice Buddhism once again. The Emperor gave the permission only to Umako. Umako worshiped three female monks and ran a temple.

Not long after, the Emperor died. The funeral was held in Hinkyu, and Umako presented his eulogy.
Moriya laughed saying 'he is just like a sparrow that has been shot with a big arrow.'
When Umako saw Moriya presenting his eulogy and his body shaking from sadness, Umako laughed saying 'if he had a bell on his body, it sure would make a lot of noise.'

After Emperor Bidatsu, the Empress Yomei (the daughter of Emperor Kinmei, and her mother was a sister of Umako) was enthroned with the help of Umako. Moriya formed an alliance with Prince Anahobe who was the half brother of Emperor Bindatsu.

During 586, Prince Anahobe tried to break into Hinkyu to perpetrate Empress Suiko (Empress of Emperor Bidatsu); however, he was prevented by MIWA no Sakau. Prince Anahobe who held a grudge against MIWA no Sakau ordered Moriya to kill him.
Umako said 'a time shall come when a massive war will break out.'
Moriya replied; 'it is not for someone like you to worry about.'

In April 2, 587, Emperor Yomei began having a desire to practice Sanpo (three treasures of Buddhism) when he became sick, and thus he issued the Imperial edict to discuss this matter among vassals.
Moriya and NAKATOMI no Katsumi strongly disagreed with this saying 'we have never heard of any emperor worship the God of a foreign country and not his own.'
Umako said 'we should follow the Imperial edict' and made Prince Anahobe find a Buddhist preacher named Toyokuni. Moriya glared at him with such anger. The secretary, Hitokekuso told Moriya that other retainers were trying to attack him on his way home. Moriya left the Imperial Court and headed to his villa in Ato (Kawachi Province), where he looked for allies.

NAKATOMI no Katsumi who was anti-Buddhist made statues of Prince OSHISAKA no Hikohito no Oe and Prince Takeda (in favor of Umako) to curse them. However, NAKATOMI no Katsumi eventually went to Prince Hikohito's house and promised to withdraw (some believe that it was because his situation was looking downhill, whereas others believe it was because he wanted to create a new government led by Prince Hikohito while his relationship with Umako was not going well), but was killed by Toneri (a palace servant), TOMI no Ichi on his way home.

Moriya sent MONONOBE no Yasaka, OHOCHI no Miyatsuko Osaka and NURIBE no Miyatsukoani to Umako and told him 'I moved to Ato because a large number of retainers were trying to kill me.'

On April 9, Emperor Yomei died.

Although Moriya tried to promote Prince Anahobe to become the Emperor, he surrounded the Prince's palace and murdered him after receiving the edict from Princess Kashiyaki to do so. He killed Prince Yakabe the next day.

Near MONONOBE no Moriya's grave
In July, Umako spoke with his retainers and decided to murder Moriya. Umako led the party which consisted of troops from Armies of Emperor Sushun, Prince Takeda, and Prince Shotoku as well as Gozokus(local ruling families), and marched to Moriya's house in Shibukawa District, Kawachi Province (now known as Kizuri, Higashi-Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture). Moriya gathered members from the same clan and built Inagi to strengthen their defenses. Their army was very strong, and Moriya climbed up the magnolia tree and kept shooting arrows like they were raining. The Princes' armies were so terrified they had no choice but to evacuate. After witnessing what happened, Prince Umayado (Prince Shotoku) decided to make statues of Shitenno (the Four Devas) out of a Nurude tree to pray for victory and receive blessings, and then promised himself that if he won the battle, he would build a Buddhist pagoda and work his hardest to spread Buddhism. Umako reorganized his army and marched the troops into battle.

TOMI no Ichii found Moriya up on this big tree and was able to successfully shoot him with an arrow that killed him.
They started attacking and murdered Moriya's children which resulted in their enemies' loss in the battle

The members of Moriya's families escaped to Ashihara, and some changed their names while others were missing.

Prince Umayado built Shitenno-ji Temple in Settu Province (now known as Tennoji Ward, Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture). All the properties and slaves of the Mononobe clan were divided into two and Umako received half of it. It was because Umako's wife was a sister of Moriya and they claimed their inheritance rights. The other half was donated to Shitenno-ji Temple.

Sendai Kujihongi (Ancient Japanese History)

In Tenson hongi (the original record of the heavenly grandchild), volume five, he was said to be the son of MONONOBE no Okoshi and a brother of MONONOBE no Oichinomikari no Muraji, and given the title of Omuraji, then Itsuki of a shrine in the reign of Emperor Ikenobe no Namitsuki (Emperor Yomei).

According to Teiko hongi (the original record of earthly sovereigns) in volume nine, on September 5 when Emperor Yomei was enthroned, MONONOBE no Yuge no Moriya no Muraji no Kimi was promoted to Omuraji and as a Minister. On April 2, 587, when the Emperor came back from the Niname Festival, held in Iware, due to his health condition and made his request to discuss among his retainers about his desire to worship Buddhism, Moriya and NAKATOMI no Katsumi disagreed strongly saying that one could not worship a God of a foreign country when one has his own.

However, some suggests that articles above were altered versions of the Nihonshoki (Chronicles of Japan) and suspect it was changed by FUJIWARA no Fuhito

Moriya's sister

According to the "Nihonshoki" (Chronicles of Japan), it is said that she was the wife of SOGA no Umako (her name not specified).

She was described as SOGA no Umako's wife, 'Futohime' in the "Kishi Kacho" (Lineage of the Kishi clan), "Isonokamifuri Jingu Ryakusho" (A Brief History of Isonokamifuri Jingu Shrine) and Lineage of the Shinto Priest FURU no Sukune.

It is said in "Sendai Kujihongi (Ancient Japanese History) that she was MONONOBE no Moriya's real sister named Futohime and married to his half brother, ISONOKAMI no Nieko Omuraji and later became the mother of MONONOBE no Kamatarihime Otoji (a wife of SOGA no Umako).

[Original Japanese]