Otomo no Yasumaro (大伴安麻呂)
OTOMO no Yasumaro (date of birth unknown - 21 June 714) was a person who lived during the Nara and Asuka Periods. His name is also spelled 安麿. It is read as 'OHOTOMO no Yasumaro' in old Japanese. His hereditary title was Muraji and later it became Sukune. He was on Prince Oama's (Emperor Tenmu) side during the Jinshin War during 672 and became an envoy to receive messages from OTOMO no Fukei. After the death of his brother OTOMO no Miyuki, he entered the Imperial court during 702 and became Dainagon (Major Councilor) during 705. He was a Dainagon (Major Councilor) and Daishogun (Commander-in-Chief) Shosanmi (Senior Third Rank) and given the rank of Junii (Junior Second Rank) after his death.
The Otomo was a powerful clan during the Aska and Nara Periods. Yasumaro was the sixth child of OTOMO no Nagatoko and the younger brother of OTOMO no Miyuki. OTOMO no Makuta and OTOMO no Fukei were his uncles. He had KOSE no Iratsume and ISHIKAWA no Uchimyobu as his wives, and OTOMO no Tabito, OTOMO no Tanushi, OTOMO no Sukunamaro, OTOMO no Inakimi and OTOMO no Sakanoue no Iratsume as his children.
Reigns of Emperor Tenmu and Empress Jito
In June, 672, when he headed to Togoku (the eastern part of Japan) to raise an army against the Imperial court at Omi, OTOMO no Fukei, who was at his house in Wa (Yamato Province), searched for allies and acquired a few dozen people including 'heroic figures and two of the greatest members from the clan.'
OTOMO no Yasumaro is thought to have been included as 'one of the best members.'
Fukei raised an army on 29 and was able to capture the city in Yamato as there was a betrayer amongst the enemy. OTOMO no Yasumaro, Sakanoue no Okina, and Sami no Sukunamaro were chosen to report this success to Fuwanomiya in Mino Province. They successfully accomplished their task. Although Yasumaro returned immediately and fought under Fukei, it is unknown what happened to Tasumaro after that. He might have returned to Fukei, or he might have gone in the opposite direction.
On February 28, 684, Prince Hirose and OTOMO no Yasumaro took an inspector, a secretary, a carpenter and the Yin Yang Master to the Kinai region to look for possible locations for the next capital. His rank then was Shokinchu.
In January, 686, Prince Kawachi, OTOMO no Yasumaro, FUJUWARA no Oshima, SAKAIBE no Konoshiro and HOZUMI no Mushimaro were sent to Chikushi to welcome an envoy from Silla, Chisho KON. OTOMO no Sukune Yasumaro held the rank Jikikosan then.
When Emperor Tenmu died on September 9, Jikikosan OTOMO no Sukune Yasumaro killed Okura. On August 10, 688, there was a mourning ceremony held in the Emperor Tenmu's Hinkyu where people got together. OTOMO no Sukune Yasumaro presented an eulogy then.
The head of Otomo clan was his brother OTOMO no Miyuki and therefore Yasumaro never played a crucial role in the government until the beginning of the reign of Emperor Tenmu. However, when Miyuki died on January 15, Yasumaro became the head of the Otomo clan and began participating in the Imperial Court.
On March 21, 701, OTOMO no Sukune Yasumaro was promoted from Jikidaiichi to Shojusanmi (Junior Third Rank). On January 17, 702, Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank) OTOMO no Sukune Yasumaro became the head of the Ministry of Shikibu. On May 21 of the same year, he was ordered to be a part of the Imperial court along with AWATA no Mahito, TAKAMUKO no Maro, SHIMOTSUKENU no Komaro and ONO no Kenu.
This was the beginning of the council and although at this time he was not assigned as the Councilor, he was given a job in order 'to participate.'
On June 24 of the same year, Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank) OTOMO no Sukune Yasumaro became the head of the Ministry for Military Affairs.
The above was mentioned in the "Shoku Nihongi" (Chronicle of Japan Continued), and "Kugyobunin" states slightly different details. It says that Yasumaro was given the position of Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank) Chunagon (Middle Councilor) on March 19, 701, but on 21, he resigned from Chunagon and became Sanni (government official without a post). Although where it says about him becoming Shikibukyo (the head of the Ministry of Shikibu is the same, it gives different dates, January 1 and April 7, in two parts. Furthermore, it states that he became councilor on May 17, and held a concurrent position of the head of the Minister for Military Affairs) on June 19.
On August 11, 705, Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank) OTOMO no Sukune Yasumaro became Dainagon (Major Councilor). On November 28, Dainagon (Major Council) Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank) OTOMO no Sukune Yasumaro concurrently worked as Dazai no sochi, and ISONOKAMI no Miyamaro was assigned as his assistant. "Kugyobunin" states different dates for when Yasumaro became Chunagon on April 20 and Dainagon on August 1 and he held a concurrent position of Dazai no sochi on November 14.
On March 13, 708, Shosanmi (Senior Third Rank) OTOMO no Sukune Yasumaro became Dainagon (Major Council). It is unknown why the same event that happened three years previous was stated once again. According to "Kugyobunin," Yasumaro was promoted to Shosanmi (Junior Third Rank) on March 12 and left the position of Dazai no sochi. On July 15, Empress Genmei separated councilors and the rest of the government officials of high ranks and gave each different instructions. Dainagon (Major Councilor) OTOMO no Sukune Yasumaro was in the former group.
Dainagon(Major Councilor) as well as Commander in Chief Shosanmi (Senior Third Rank) OTOMO no Sukune Yasumaro died on May 1, 714. Empress Genmei mourned over his death and offered him Junii (Junior Second Rank). According to "Kugyobunin," Prince Suzuka was sent for this task.
Foundation of Eiryu-ji Temple
Eiryu-ji Temple was a temple for the Otomo clan and referred as Tomo-dera Temple. It is said in the "Todaijiyoroku," written during the Heian Period, that it was built by OTOMO no Yasumaro. According to the book, Eiryu-ji Temple was built in Narazaka Higashi Akoya Valley during the reign of Empress Iitaka (Empress Gensho), in 718. However, it was a few years after the death of Yasumaro.
Chronological list of the main events
On June 29, 672
OTOMO no Muraji Yasumaro was sent from the city of Yamato to Fuwanomiya-Palace as an envoy.
On February 28, 684
OTOMO no Muraji Yasumaro searched for possible locations for the next capital in the Kinai region.
In January, 686, Jikikosan OTOMO no Sukune Yasumaro was sent to welcome an envoy from Silla, Chisho KON.
On September 28, 686, Jikikosan OTOMO no Sukune Yasumaro killed Okura at Emperor Tenmu's funeral.
On August 10, 688, OTOMO no Sukune Yasumaro read an eulogy in Emperor Tenmu's Hinkyu (funeral parlor).
On March 21, 701, Jikidaiichi OTOMO no Sukune Yasumaro was promoted to Shojusanmi.
On January 17, 702, Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank) OTOMO no Sukune Yasumaro became the head of the Ministry of Shikibu (the dates are January 7 and April 7 in "Kugyobunin").
On May 21, 702, Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank) OTOMO no Sukune Yasumaro received an order to participate in the Imperial Court.
On June 24, 702, Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank) OTOMO no Sukune Yasumaro became head of the Minister for Military Affairs.