Soga no Akae (蘇我赤兄)

SOGA no Akae (circa. 623 - date of death unknown) was a person in the Asuka period. The reading of his name in old Japanese syllabary characters is the same. His kabane (hereditary title) was Omi (one of the highest rank of kabane). There are two different theories on SOGA no Toneri; it is either Akae's other name or it is a different person.

In 658, he tempted Prince Arima to start a rebellion, and then he reported the incident and caused Prince Arima to die. Serving Emperor Tenji, he became Tsukushi no kami (Governor-General of Tsukushi Province) in 669 and Sadaijin (Minister of the Left) in 671. At the time of the Jinshin War in 672, he was a major ally of Prince Otomo (Emperor Kobun), and he was defeated, caught and banished with his descendants.

The Soga clan was a powerful clan in the Asuka period. As to the age of Akae, "Kugyobunin" (directory of court nobles) has 'the age of fifty' written following his banishment in September 672. If we believe this, his birth year would be 623. His father was SOGA no Kuramaro (雄当), and his older brothers were SOGA no Ishikawamaro, SOGA no Hyuga, SOGA no Murajiko and SOGA no Hatayasu. His daugther, Hitachi no Iratsume, became Hin (imperial wife of the lowest rank) of Emperor Tenji and gave birth to Princess Yamanobe. Onu no Iratsume became Bunin/Fujin (consort of the emperor) of Emperor Tenmu and gave birth to Imperial Prince Hozumi, Princess Ki and Princess Takata.

Prince Arima's War

In 658, when the Emperor was on a trip to Nanki-Shirahama-onsen Hot Spring, Akae became Rusukan (officer to guard while master's away) of the Capital. During this absence of the Emperor, in December 6, SOGA no omi Akae said to Prince Arima as follows. There are three failures in the politics of the Emperor.
One is that he built a huge storage to collect the wealth of his people, and the second is that he spent the public wealth to construct a long canal, and the third is that he carried rocks by boat to make a hill.'
Prince Arima rejoiced at this approach from Akae, and he conveyed a wish of raising an army. When Akae had a secret meeting with Prince Arima in December 8, an armrest was broken; therefore they regarded the event as ominous, and they swore to support each other. The following night when Prince Arima went back home, Akae told MONONOBE no Enoi no shibi to lead the workers of constructing the palace to lay siege to the Prince's house in 市経, and he rapidly reported to the Emperor by ekiba (horses for transportation of official travellers). Prince Arima, who was caught and interrogated by Naka no Oe no Oji (later Emperor Tenji) in December 12, answered the question of why he planned a rebellion as follows. God and Akae know.
I don't know anything at all.'
Prince Arima was killed with SHIOYA no Konoshiro and NITTABE no Yonemaro on December 15, and MORI no Oishi and SAKAAIBE no Kusuri (SAKAIBE no Kusuri) were banished.

In addition to the above story, "Nihonshoki" (Chronicles of Japan) has another story written as 'a book said'.
According to the story, Prince Arima, SOGA no Akae, SHIOYA no Konoshiro, MORI no Oishi and SAKAAIBE no Kusuri forecasted the prospects of the rebellion with Hineribumi (twisted strips of paper)
Prince Arima explained his plan for raising an army, but a person remonstrated with the Prince by reason of his young age; he was still 19 years old. On another date, during the Prince consulted with a hanji (judge), his armrest was broken. Even so, the Prince didn't give up his plan, and finally he was executed.

Among modern historians, there are two theories that Naka no Oe no Oji told Akae to exclude Prince Arima and that Akae himself tried to bring down Prince Arima.

Tsukushi no kami, Sadaijin (Minister of the Left)

In February 17, 669, SOGA no Akae was appointed to Tsukushi no kami. After the death of FUJIWARA no Kamatari in November 17 of the same year, in November 18, Emperor Tenji went to Kamatari's home to give heartfelt Mikotonori (imperial decree, imperial edict) and a golden koro (incense burner). On this occasion Daikinjo SOGA no Akae no omi took the role of stating Mikotonori with orders from the Emperor.
However, "Toshi Kaden" (Biographies of the Fujiwara clan) says that the person who served on this occasion was 'SOGA no Toneri no omi'
Since the SOGA clan had a precedent that SOGA no Iruka had another name, Kuratsukuri (saddle makers), also in the case of Akae Toneri (palace servant) could be Akae's another name, but there is another theory that Toneri refers to a different person.

Based on this date, it is as if either Akae didn't proceed to Tsukushi Province or he returned to the Capital in a short period. The Tsukushi no kami before Akae is 栗前王(Kurikuma no okimi), who was appointed in August 668, and after Akae was also Kurikuma no okimi, who was appointed to Tsukushi no sochi/sotsu ('帥') (same meaning as kami ('率')) in July 671. All of these things are only known by the article about appointment written in "Nihonshoki", neither the date of resignation nor the person of replacement are known. Because of this complication, some historians think that this part of the descriptions in Nihonshoki includes errors.

In February 19, 671 (January 2, 671 in old calendar), SOGA no Akae and Kose no Hito went to court to give New Year's greetings. On this occasion, Akae's position was also Daikinjo. In February 19, 671 (January 5, 671 in old calendar), Prince Otomo was assigned as Daijo-Daijin (Grand Minister), SOGA no Akae as Sadaijin (Minister of the Left), NAKATOMI no Kane as Udaijin (Minister of the Right), and the three of SOGA no Hatayasu, Kose no Hito and KI no Ushi as Gyoshi Taifu (chief of controlling the officials).

In January 1, 672, Prince Otomo and above both of Daijin and three of Gyoshi Taifu pledged to follow the Emperor's Mikotonori in front of the textile of Buddha in Sei-den (western hall) of Dairi (Imperial Palace). That is to say, Prince Otomo stood up with holding a koro (incense burner) in his hand, and he swore as follows. I receive the Mikotonori of the Emperor.
If I disregard the orders, I will be certainly punished by heaven.'
In succession, five people including Akae stood up with handing koro in order, and they swore as follows with sending tears. We receive the Mikotonori of the Emperor by following the Prince. If we disregard the orders, Shitenno (the big four) will strike us. The gods of heaven and earth will also punish us.
The thirty three Gods, prove and know this:
Our descendants will cease to exist, and our family lines will certainly die out. The content of 'the Emperor's Mikotonori' is unknown, but in general it is regarded as enthroning Prince Otomo after the death of Emperor Tenji.

In January 7, the five courts served Prince Otomo to conclude a pact in front of the Emperor Tenji. The content of the pact is also unknown, but it seems to be same as the former pledge.

The Jinshin War and hairu (banishment)

There is little information about Akae's success in the Jinshin War in 672, but it seems that he supported Prince Otomo as the court in the highest position of the Omi court. The final decisive battle, the battle of Seta in August 23, Akae went into the battle with Prince Otomo (Emperor Kobun),but he was defeated and escaped. In August 24, Prince Otomo committed a suicide, and in August 25, Akae was arrested. In August 26, Akae was exiled with his descendants. The place of exile is unknown.

It can't be said for certain but the Aki clan, which extended their influence in Aki County, Tosa Province in the Medieval period, claimed to be the descendant of SOGA no Akae who was exiled to Tosa Province. There are various theories about the origin of the Aki clan, and that remains undetermined. Whatever the case, son's of Kuramaro including Akae came to fall, except for SOGA no Yasumaro of Murajiko's ancestry (It is assumed that even he passed away in a while), and the era without the Soga clan in high rank continued for a long time.