Soga no Yasumaro (蘇我安麻呂)

SOGA no Yasumaro (date of birth and death unknown) was a Japanese noble who lived during the late Asuka period, toward the end of the 7th century. A member of the Soga clan, a distinguished clan in ancient and medieval Japan, SOGA no Yasumaro was a son of SOGA no Murajiko, a brother of SOGA no Shoshi (who became a lawful wife of SOGA no Fuhito), and the father of ISHIKAWA no Iwatari. Two different sets of Japanese kanji (安麻侶 and 安摩侶) are used for his given name in the first volume of 'Chronicles of the Emperor Tenmu' in the "Nihonshoki" (Chronicles of Japan), and his name is also written as ISHIKAWA no Yasumaro in "Sonpi Bunmyaku" (a text compiled in the fourteenth century that records the lineages of the aristocracy).

Biography

When the Emperor Tenchi was critically ill in bed, Yasumaro was dispatched as a messenger to Prince Oama (later enthroned as the Emperor Tenmu) to invite the Prince to see him. Yasumaro, who had a close and approved relation with Prince Oama, recommended him to 'think twice before you speak words to the Emperor". Thanks to his advice, it is said that Prince Oama was able to take a decision to decline the Emperor's offer of abdication and escaped to Yoshino area.
Given that other members of the Soga clan such as SOGA no Akae and SOGA no Hatayasu backed Emperor Kobun, Yasumaro's position was contrasting and it is not too exaggerated to say that he 'saved the life of Emperor Tenmu.'
Naturally, he would have been given a high position by Emperor Tenmu thanks to his contribution, however, his name is not mentioned in any of the later historical records, and even the year of his death is unknown. Although his name appears in the article of August of the first year of the Tenpyo Era of "Shoku Nihongi" (Chronicles of Japan Continued) as 'Shonagon Shokage,' it was a position under the official rank system effective in 670 or before, and therefore, it is probable that Yasumaro died young soon after the Jinshin War.