Tachibana no Naramaro (橘奈良麻呂)

TACHIBANA no Naramaro (721-July 757) was a noble who lived in the Nara period. He was a son of TACHIBANA no Moroe who was Sadaijin (minister of the left). He held the rank of Shoshii (Senior Fourth Rank) and served as a councilor. He was conferred a posthumous rank of Shoichii (Senior First Rank) and Daijo-daijin (Grand minister of state). He was also a chieftain of the Tachibana clan.

His father Moroe was relied on by Emperor Shomu and in charge of administration, and he was promoted to Juichii-sadaijin (minister of the left at the Junior First Rank) in 743.

In 740, Naramaro was assigned to Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade) and promoted to Jugoinojo (Junior Fifth Rank, Upper Grade) in the same year. In 741, he was assigned to Daigaku no kami (Director of the Bureau of Education). In 743, Shogoinojo (Senior Fifth Rank, Upper Grade). In 745, daibu (master) of the Settsu Province. In 746, Minbusho taifu (Senior Assistant Minister of the Ministry of Popular Affairs). In 747, Jushiinoge (Junior Forth Rank, Lower Grade).

After Emperor Shomu abdicated the throne and Imperial princess Abe ascended the throne (Empress Koken), FUJIWARA no Nakamaro who was deeply relied on by Empress Komyo and favored by Empress Koken rapidly gained power and became to be opposed to Moroe. In the same year, Naramaro was promoted to Jushiijo (Junior Fourth Rank, Upper Grade) and became jiju (a chamberlain) and Sangi. In 752, he was assigned to Azechi (inspector of the provincial government) of Tajima Province and Inaba Province. In 754, he was assigned to Shoshiinoge (Senior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade).

In 755, Moroe was informed that he blamed the Imperial Court in a feast, and as a result, he resigned in the following year and died in frustration in 757.

In 756, Shomu Daijo Tenno (the retired Emperor) died and Prince Funado was formally installed as Crown Prince by his will. However, on March 757, Emperor Koken relieved Prince Funado of Crown Prince because of his misconduct, and in May, Emperor Junnin was installed as Crown Prince by Nakamaro's recommendation.

On June of the same year, Naramaro was assigned to benkan (officials of the dajokan). Naramaro had a strong grievance against Nakamaro's tyranny and maneuvered to get rid of Nakamaro, together with OTOMO no Komaro, Ono no Azumahito and so on. Naramaro had meetings several times and tried to gather allies secretly, but it came out due to those activities.
Prince Yamashiro informed against Nakamaro as 'Naramaro and others prepare weapons.'

On July 26, Kamitsumichi no Hitatsu informed that he was asked to join the betrayal of Naramaro by Ono no Azumahito. Azumahito and others were arrested and questioned. Azumahito was tortured with a stick and confessed everything. The plan was as follows; Naramaro and others would rise an army to kill Nakamaro and relieve the Crown Prince of his position, then deprive ekirei (a bell needed for the exercise of imperial power) and Imperial Seal, enact the decree under udaijin (minister of the right) FUJIWARA no Toyonari, relieve the Emperor of his position and enthrone a new emperor among Prince Shioyaki, Prince Funado, Prince Asukabe and Prince Kibumi.

Based on Azumahito's confession, all people whose names were mentioned such as Naramaro, Prince Funado, Prince Kibumi, Komaro, TAJIHI no Koshikai and KAMO no Tsunotari were arrested all at once on the next day, July 27.
To the question by Chunagon (middle counselor) FUJIWARA no Nagate, Naramaro answered, 'Because of the tyranny of the government, I was going to rise an army and make representations after that.'
When Nagate asked, 'What do you mean by tyranny?' Naramaro answered, 'The government built Todai-ji Temple and so on, which burdens people.'
When Nagate confronted, 'Todai-ji Temple was built in the period of his father's generation. You should not say that,' Naramaro could not answered. According to the confession of SAEKI no Matanari, Naramaro began to think about the betrayal when Emperor Shomu went to Naniwa in 745, and Naramaro asked him to join the betrayal then for the first time. After the questions, SAEKI no Matanari committed a suicide.

Although the people who were arrested should have been given capital punishment, Empress Koken ordered to reduce the penalty by one degree which was transportation. However, Nakamaro who wanted to clean up the government did not back off at all. On the following day, the people who were involved in the betrayal such as Prince Fudo, Prince Kobun, Komaro and Koshikai (including Azumahito who was tortured before) were tortured with a stick several times under the directions of Nagate, Kyofuku KUDARANOKONIKISHI, Prince Fune and so on. These people died in a prison one after another due to a long time torture. It seems that Naramaro who was the mastermind also died in the prison although there is no record in Shoku Nihongi (Chronicle of Japan Continued). It is thought that his name was wiped from the record because TACHIBANA no Kachiko, a grandchild of Naramaro, became the empress (Empress Danrin) of Emperor Saga later (the revolt of TACHIBANA no Naramaro). However, since Naramaro's names are sometimes seen in the articles of Shoku Nihongi after the revolt, there are many questions about the theory that an article on his death was wiped out.

It is an irony that since TACHIBANA no Kachiko, a daughter of TACHIBANA no Kiyotomo who was a son of Naramaro, was born after Naramaro's death and became the empress of Emperor Saga and delivered Emperor Ninmyo later, he was posthumously conferred the position of Daijo-daijin (Grand minister of state) which his political enemy Nakamaro lost by rising a betrayal in 847.

[Original Japanese]