Haji no Umate

Haji no Umate

Haji no Umate (馬手) was a member of the Haji Clan known to have fought in the Jinshin War during his lifetime.

When the future Emperor Tenmu left to become a monk Umate was his retainer at the time. Tenmu asked his men if they had political ambitions then they should leave his retinue, but Umate stayed. During the later Jinshin War he was a retainer in the Office of Crown Lands (mita no tsukasa no toneri) and was ordred to give out food to fifty or so men. Merely two days later he was told to go to the Tōsandō Region and mobilise troops.

After the war ended he was promoted to junior fourth rank, lower grade, the highest position ever of a Haji. When the kabane system was reoganised by Tenmu in 684 he was given the title of sukune

The remainder of his career sees Umate burying emperors and maintaining Imperial tombs. In 698 we know he made offerings from Silla at the tomb of the now deceased Tenmu.

He died in 711AD.1


1. Borgen, R. (1975) “The Origins of the Sugawara. A History of the Haji Family”. Monumenta Nipponica. Vol.30 No.4 pp.405-422

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