Okida no Esaka (大分恵尺)

OKIDA no Esaka (date of birth unknown - June 675) was a person who lived in the Askua Period. His hereditary title was Kimi. He fought for Prince Oama during the Jinshin War in 672.

He played an active role in the Jinshin War.

Okida clan was a powerful local ruling family in Oita District, Bungo Province. It is said that he was probably a Prince Oama's palace servant when the Jinshin War broke out.

When Prince Oama took action on June 24, he sent messengers to Rusutsukasa (a guard of the City), King Takasaka, in Wa (Yamato Province) to receive an ekirin (a bell needed for the exercise of imperial power). OKIDA no Esaka, KIFUMI no Otomo, and AU no Shima were chosen for this task.
The Prince said as follows;
If you were unable to get the bell, Shima must return immediately.'
Esaka must go to Omi (Omino miya) and take Prince Takechi and Prince Otsu to Ise and meet me there.'
Although Esaka and two others went to see King Takasaka, they were unable to receive the bell. Esaka made his way to Omi.

Although it is unknown how Prince Takechi and Prince Otsu came to create different groups and escaped separately, Prince Takeichi joined Prince Oama's party the next day on the 25th at the entrance of Mt. Tsumue in Iga. OKIDA no Esaka traveled to Ise with Prince Otsu; however, they were stopped at the Suzuka-no-seki Checkpoint by a Prince Oama's subordinate. The chief officer of Suzuka-no-seki Checkpoint first mistook them for Prince Yamabe and Prince Ishikawa but realized it was Prince Otsu the next day. There is no further records about Esaka on this subject.

After his achievements

It is stated in the "Nihonshoki" (Chronicles of Japan) that those with distinctive merits were selected on December 4 and given the title Shosen or higher. Therefore, Esaka probably received the same or a higher title as well.

On June 23, 675, OKIDA no Esaka became very sick and did not have much time left until his death. The emperor was very shocked to hear the news and issued the imperial edict to promise him that his stories would be passed on, and his children would be taken good care of. Esaka was given the title of Shoshi (the 6th highest rank). Shoshi is a high rank but the one he was given was Gei (given to those who were from different lineages as theirs). The reason Esaka received Gei was probably because the emperor wanted to acknowledge his achievements yet was unable to give the same title as the dominant nobility since he was from a lower ranking family. He died in his house a few days later.