Saeki no Matanari (佐伯全成)

SAEKI no Matanari (date of birth unknown - 757) was a noble in the Nara Period. His main name was "SAEKI SUKUNE." He was a Mutsu no Kami (the governor of Mutsu Province) and Vice-Shogun for the Defense. He was a Jugoinojo (Junior Fifth Rank, Upper Grade).


In 743, TACHIBANA no Naramaro urged Matanari to raise a rebellion by installing Prince Kibumi as the Crown Prince.

In 746, he became a Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade). During this period, Matanari is believed to have engaged in the subjection of indigenous inhabitants in the Eastern Japan and the political affairs of Mutsu Province as Mutsu no Kuni no Suke (the assistant governor of Mutsu Province).

In 749, Kyofuku KUDARANOKONIKISHI, who was Mutsuno Kami (the governor of Mutsu Province) then, found gold in Japan, where gold had never been found until then, and presented it (900 ryo) to Emperor Shomu. Since he was in need for a huge amount of gold for building Todai-ji Temple, Emperor Shomu became frenzied with joy about this gold, so he changed the era from Tenpyo into Tenpyo Kanpo, and on May 11 in the same year, Matanari, the former Mutsu no Kuni no Suke, was promoted to Shogoinojo (Senior Fifth Rank, Upper Grade). Further, on May 26, 752, when Kyofuku KUDARANOKONIKISHI was appointed to be Hitachi no Kami (the governor of Hitachi Province), Matanari was appointed to become Mutsu no Kami in order to take over his place. Matanari also was the head of Kumemai dance at the service for the consecration of the Rushana Great Buddha of Todai-ji on April 9.

In November, 749, when Emperor Shomu abdicated the throne and Empress Koken acceeded, Matanari was again approached by Naramaro to take part in a rebellion. However, Matanari refused to be part of the rebellion again.

In april, 756, when Shomu Daijo Tenno (the retired Emperor) was sick, Matanari took gold to Kyoto from Mutsu, he was approched by Naramaro to be part of the rebellion for the third time. The rebellion plan was to back up Prince Kibumi by leading both the SAEKI and OTOMO clans with OTOMO no Komaro in order to purge the group of Nakamaro, but both of them rejected it. On June 4, 756, with the demise of Shomu Daijo Tenno, Funado no Okimi was installed as the Crown Prince of Empress Koken according to the will. However, in March, 757, when Funado no Okimi was deposed because Empress Koken was displeased with him, Oi no Okimi, backed up by Nakamaro, was installed as the Crown Prince in May. This incident made the confrontation between the group of Naramaro and the group of FUJIWARA no Nakamaro even more severe. This confrontation was caused by the fact that being from the FUJIWARA clan herself, Empress Komyo (Komyoshi), the mother of Empress Koken, favored Nakamaro, which enabled him to gain power rapidly. There is also a theory that Empress Komyo and Nakamaro were involved in the deposition of Funado no Okimi.

On June 16, 757, OTOMO no Komaro bacame the Commander-in-Chief of the Defense for Mutsu Province, and Matanari took the position of the Vice-Shogun of the Defense for Mutsu. These personnel appointments were virtually demotions planned by Nakamaro, who wanted to banish Komaro from the center, who was regarded as part of the group of Naramaro. Matanari was also regarded as part of the group of Nakamaro, so these personnel appointments were made in order to keep him inside Mutsu for good. Naramaro was also removed from the position of Hyobukyo (minister for millitary affairs) and demoted to be an Udaiben (major controller of the right).

After mid-June, the group of Naramaro had meetings for conspiracy against Nakamaro at such places as the residence of Naramaro. OTOMO no Komaro and Ono no Azumahito attended these meetings, but it is not known whether Matanari did too. However, the conspiracy was disclosed on June 28, when Yamashiro no Okimi informed Empress Koken on that "Naramaro will surround the residence of Nakamaro with his troops." On July 2, in response to Kamitsumichi no Hitatsu's information that he was approached by Ono no Azumahito to be in part of the rebellion planned by Naramaro and others, Nakamaro instantly led the troops of Chuefu (guard) to surround the residence of Funado no Okimi, the former Crown Orince, and capture Ono no Azumahito and others to throw them into jail of Sa-Ejifu (the revolt of TACHIBANA no Naramaro).

Those in the group of Naramaro who were captured were tortured one after another. Matanari was one of them, and on July 4, he took his own life after testifying the rebellion of Naramaro. In the revolt of TACHIBANA no Naramaro, many of those against Nakamaro who had nothing to do with the rebellion itself were also captured, and many of them died after being tortured or were deported after their official court ranks were deprived, so Matanari is considered as one of those people.