Otomo no Komaro (大伴古麻呂)

OTOMO no Komaro (year of birth unknown - July 4, 757) was one of the nobility during the Nara Period. He was a child of OTOMO no Tanushi, or of OTOMO no Sukunamaro. He was a nephew of OTOMO no Tabito. OTOMO no Tsuguhito was one of his children.

In 732, he visited China as Kento-shi (Japanese envoy to Tang Dynasty China) rugakusho (overseas students). After his return from abroad, in 738 he was appointed to the position of Hyobu taijo (Senior Secretary of the Ministry of War). In 749, he was appointed to the position of Sashoben (Minor Controller of the Left).

In 752, he was appointed to vice-commander of the Japanese envoy to Tang and visited China with commander-in-chief FUJIWARA no Kiyokawa. In January, 753, he attended the meeting of the New Year's salutation from the surrounding countries to the Chinese Emperor, Xuan Zong (of Tang). Komaro made a protest about Japan's seat being the second on the west side, although Shiragi (ancient Korean kingdom) was the first on the east side, which gave Shiragi's precedence over Japan, so he forced Shiragi exchange positions ("Shoku Nihongi" [Chronicle of Japan Continued], Article of the 6th Year of Tenpyo-shoho). In 754, when returning to Japan, the party of Kento-shi tried to board Ganjin (Jianzhen), but Tang officials did not allow it. Taishi (commander-in-chief) FUJIWARA no Kiyokawa, rejected the boarding of Ganjin and other members, but Komaro permitted them to board on vice-commander's ship at his own decision. On their way back to Japan, commander's ship was caught in a storm and drifted to the south, and they could not return to Japan (FUJIWARA no Kiyokawa died in Tang), but vice-commander's ship returned to Japan safely and brought Ganjin to Japan. In the same year, he was appointed to the position of Sadaiben (Major Controller of the Left).

In March, 757, Prince Funado, who had been appointed by Emperor Shomu's will, was dethroned by the idea of Empress Koken. In April, Empress Koken asked her vassals who should be the new prince, then Udaijin (Minister of the Right) FUJIWARA no Toyonari recommended Prince Shioyaki and Komaro recommended Prince Ikeda, but Empress's intension was Emperor Junnin, who was recommended by Shibirei (Director General of Shibi Institution) FUJIWARA no Nakamaro, so Prince Oi was selected as a new prince.

Since Nakamaro was deeply trusted by Empress Koken and also he was tyrannical, Komaro was dissatified with it and tried to kill Nakamaro in a conspiracy with Hyobukyo (Minister of Military Affairs) TACHIBANA no Naramaro. TACHIBANA no Naramaro, Komaro, and other members conspired to raise an army and plotted to kill Nakamaro, dethrone the crown prince and Emperess Koken, and enthrone the Emperor from among Prince Shioyaki, Prince Funado, Prince Asukabe, and Prince Kibumi.

In June, Komaro in Shoshiinoge (Senior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade) was appointed as Commander-in-Chief of the Defense at Mustsu Province and also to Inspector of Mutsu Province, and was ordered to go to Mutsu Province. The military power of TACHIBANA no Naramaro was forfeited and he was downgraded to Sadaiben (Major Controller of the Left). On July 3, their rebellion plan was revealed by the tip-off from Prince Yamashiro. Naramaro, Komaro, Prince Funado, Prince Kibumi, and others were captured and tortured to death by flogging under the surveillance of Fujiwara no Nagate, Kyofuku KUDARANOKONIKISHI, Prince Fune, and others.
(The Revolt of TACHIBANA no Naramaro)

OTOMO no Komaro appears in the emakimono (illustrated scroll) "Ganjin-wajo Tosei-den" (Eastern Expedition of Priest Jianzhen).

[Original Japanese]