Otomo no Miyuki (大伴御行)

OTOMO no Miyuki (646? – March 3, 701) was a figure in the Asuka period of Japan. In old Japanese orthography, his name had been written as Ohotomo no Miyuki, and it is considered to have been pronounced as Ofotomo no Miyuki. His kabane (hereditary title) was Muraji; later he was given a new kabane, Sukune (third highest of the eight hereditary titles). In the Jinshin War of 672, he played an important role supporting Oama no Miko (Oshiama no Miko or Prince Oama, who became Emperor Tenmu following the victory in the war). In the period of Emperor Tenmu, he served as Tsuwamono no Tsukasa no Taifu (subordinate officer of the department of military affairs). In the period of Empress Jito and of Emperor Monmu, he served as Dainagon (chief councilor of state) at a high rank. His last rank and post was Shokoni and Udaijin (Minister of the Right at Junior Second Rank of Taiho Ritsuryo), posthumously conferred.

The Otomo clan was a powerful clan in the Asuka period. Miyuki's father was OTOMO no Nagatoko who served Emperor Kotoku as a minister; OTOMO no Maguta and OTOMO no Fukei were Miyuki's uncles; OTOMO no Yasumaro was his younger brother. His lawful wife was Ki no onna; OTOMO no Miyori was his son.

According to "Kugyobunin" (directory of court nobles), he died in 701 at the age of 56. Therefore, he is considered to have been born in 646.

Dainagon Otomo no Miyuki' which was one of characters of "Taketori Monogatari" (The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter) is considered to have been modeled on this actual OTOMO no Miyuki.

The period of Emperor Tenmu

Although he fought for Oama no Miko (later became Emperor Tenmu) in the Jinshin War of 672, the detail of his role is unknown. In this war, OTOMO no Maguta is considered to have accompanied Oama no Miko probably to Mino Province, and Fukei became a general and led the army mainly in Yamato Province. Immediately after Fukei raise his army, Miyuki's younger brother Yasumaro was one of messengers delivering Fukei's important message to Oama no Miko. Therefore, Miyuki is considered to have become a commander of a troop as a member of the same clan as Fukei. According to the article about July 21of the first year of the Taiho era (September 2, 701) of "Shoku Nihongi" (Chronicle of Japan Continued), OTOMO no Muraji Miyuki was given a salary of 100 fuko (equal to 100 taxed families) for his achievement in the war. Some people tend to presume that the reason why Miyuki's name was written with the title 'Daishogun' (the great general) in the oldest anthology of Japanese poetry, "Manyoshu" (Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves), is that Miyuki had accomplished an outstanding achievement in the war. However, others say that Miyuki was given the title not for his own achievement but for the whole achievements the Otomo clan such as Fukei had produced.

On April 19, 675, when his rank was Shokinjo (fifth rank), OTOMO no Muraji Miyuki was appointed to Tsuwamono no Tsukasa no Taifu (subordinate officer of the department of military affairs). At the same time, Kurukuma no Okimi was appointed to Tsuwamono no Tsukasa no Kami (director general of the department of military affairs).

On January 15, 685, OTOMO no Muraji was given a new kabane (hereditary title), Sukune (third highest of the eight hereditary titles).

On October 24, 685, Emperor Tenmu invited the imperial family and vassals to Oan-dono (Oan Hall), and was amused with games and gambles. At this time, although Emperor Tenmu sat inside Oan-dono, the imperial family and vassals sat outside Oan-dono to play games. On this day, the Emperor gave ten vassals his robe and hakama (pleated and divided skirt for men), and OTOMO no Sukune Miyuki was one of them.

When Emperor Tenmu who had died in the previous year was buried in Ochi-no-misasagi Tomb on December 11, 688, OTOMO no Sukune Miyuki and FUSE no Minushi (AHE no Minushi) delivered eulogies.

The period of Empress Jito

Although Miyuki had been at the middle rank in the period of Emperor Tenmu, he was ranked as high as FUSE no Minushi (AHE no Minushi) following Takechi no Miko (Prince Takechi) and of TAJIHI no Shima in the period of Empress Jito.

On February 19, 691, Miyuki and FUSE no Minushi were given the additional salary, 80 fuko (equal to 80 taxed families); at the result their salary was increased to 300 fuko (300 taxed families). Although 100 fuko (100 taxed families) of the existing 220 fuko were given for his achievement in the Jinshin War, the rest 120 fuko were unknown when and why given. His rank was Jikidaiichi (forth rank) which was equal to the rank of Minushi.

Raising to Shokoshi (junior third rank) on February 4, 694, Miyuki and FUSE no Minushi were given additional 200 fuko (equal to 200 taxed families) to amount 500 fuko and became Ujinokonokami (head of clan).

The period of Emperor Monmu

After Takechi no Miko (Prince Takechi) had died in 696, TAJIHI no Shima served Emperor Monmu as the leader of Giseikan (the legislature). OTOMO no Miyuki served as Dainagon (chief councilor of state), the next highest to Shima.

On October 12, 700, OTOMO no Sukune Miyuki and AHE no Minushi were raised to Shokosan (senior third rank). Regarding the part of awards given to kokushi (provincial governor) which was based on the reports of the Junsatsushi (circuit inspector), it is known that Miyuki and Minushi served as kokushi but unlike FUNE no Hatakatsu and NURIBE no Michimaro, known to have been made the governors of Inaba Province and Totomi Province, respectively, no indication is given as to which provinces Miyuki and Minushi governed.

It is known that Miyuki sent MITA no Itsuse to Tsushima Island of Tsushima Province to refine gold, but unknown when it was.

On March 3, 701, Miyuki died. That was the period of turns as Taiho Ritsuryo (Taiho Code) was about to be applied. There are differences in details between the records in "Shoku Nihongi" (Chronicle of Japan Continued) and those in "Kugyobunin" (directory of court nobles).

According to "Kugyobunin," OTOMO no Sukune Miyuki was appointed to Dainagon (chief councilor of state) on January 5 (February 21 in the Gregorian calendar), and raised to Shosanmi (senior third rank) on the same day. And on March 3, he died at the age of 56, and was given posthumous rank and post, Shokoni Udaijin (minister of the right at second rank). There is some confusion because Shokoni, a rank used before Taiho Ritsuryo, was given while Shosanmi, a rank used after Taiho Ritsuryo, had been given.

In "Shoku Nihongi," the article of the appointment on January 5 (February 21 in the Gregorian calendar) is not found. According to this book, OTOMO no Sukune Miyuki, Shokosan Dainagon (chief councilor of state at senior third rank), died on January 15 (March 3 in the Gregorian calendar). The Emperor grieved and sent ENOI no Yamatomaro to protect Miyuki's funeral. The Emperor also sent FUJIWARA no Fuhito and the followers to Miyuki's residence to deliver the imperial edict to confer posthumous rank and post, Shokoni Udaijin (Minister of the Right at Junior Second Rank of Taiho Ritsuryo) on Miyuki. On March 6, the Emperor canceled Taisha (ceremony of archery and party) in mourning for Miyuki. According to "Shoku Nihongi," the new rank code by Taiho Ritsuryo was applied in May, 701.

After Miyuki's death, on September 17, 701, people who had been involved in the refinement of gold in Tsushima Island were given some prizes, and Miyuki's son was given a salary of 100 fuko (equal to 100 taxed families) and 40 cho (1 cho = 9917 sq.m.) of rice field. However, this turned out to be MITA no Itsuse's fraud later; Miyuki had been cheated by him.

Miyuki's famous waka (Japanese poetry)

Since our emperor is a god, he changed rice fields, in which even a plowing horse's belly had been covered with mud, into the capital city.

Chronological list of the main events

646: 1 year old
He was born.

672: 27 years old
He played an important role in the Jinshin War.

April 19, 675: 30 years old
He was appointed to Tsuwamono no Tsukasa no Taifu (subordinate officer of the department of military affairs) at Shokinjo (fifth rank).

January 15, 685: 39 years old
His kabane (hereditary title) was changed from Muraji to Sukune.

October 24, 685: 40 years old
Miyuki was given a robe and hakama (pleated and divided skirt for men) by the Emperor.

December 11, 688: 43 years old
When Emperor Tenmu was buried in Ochi-no-misasagi Tomb, Miyuki delivered eulogies.

February 19, 691: 46 years old
He was given the additional salary, 80 fuko (equal to 80 taxed families), and at the result, his salary was increased to 300 fuko (300 taxed families). At that time, his rank was Jikidaiichi (forth rank).

February 4, 694: 49 years old
He was given the additional salary, 200 fuko (equal to 200 taxed families), and at the result, his salary was increased to 500 fuko (500 taxed families). At the same time, he was raised to Shokoshi (junior third rank) and he became Ujinokonokami (head of clan).

October 12, 700: 55 years old
He was raised to Shokosan (senior third rank).

February 21, 701: 56 years old
He was raised to Dainagon Shosanmi (chief councilor of state at senior third rank) (according to "Kugyobunin").

March 3, 701: 56 years old
He died as Dainagon Shokosan (chief councilor of state at senior third rank). Posthumously, he was given Shokoni Udaijin (minister of the right at second rank).

March 6, 701
The Emperor canceled Taisha (ceremony of archery and party) in mourning for Udaijin (minister of the right) conferred posthumously.

March 8, 701
Miyuki was given Shokoni Udaijin (according to "Kugyobunin").

September 17, 701
Miyuki's child was given 100 fuko (equal to 100 taxed families) and 40 cho (1 cho = 9917 sq.m.) of rice field for the refinement of gold which Zo-Udaijin OTOMO no Sukune Miyuki had been involved when he had been alive.
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