Nakatomi no Kamatari

Nakatomi no Kamatari
Kamatari by Kikuchi Yosai.

Nakatomi no Kamatari

Nakatomi no Kamatari (中臣 鎌足) was a member of the Nakatomi Clan and later founder of the Fujiwara Clan.

Kamatari lived from 614-669AD12 and was the father of Fujiwara no Fubito.2

During his life Kamatari was the leader of Shinto Rituals (jinji no haku) though it was during this time that Buddhism was growing in popularity at court.1

In 552, the Nakatomi and Mononobe fought unsuccesfully to stop Buddhism being introduced, the Soga winning out who favored Buddhism.2

By now the Soga Clan had grow vastly in power and so Prince Naka no Ōe enlisted the help of Kamatari to try and destory the Soga Clan. This led to a coup in 645 where Soga no Iruka was killed and Soga no Emishi committed suicide.

From this Empress Kōgyoku was forced to abdicate for her younger brother Karu.12

Legends say the plan to eradicate the Soga were made in a wisteria arbor (fujiwara).

After this Emperor Kōtoku designated Naka no Ōe as his heir and made Kamatari Inner Minister (uchi-tsuomo), a position later called Naidaijin from 669. Due to this Kamatari was the first to hold the position of Naidaijin (Minister of Domestic Affairs).

Kamatari launched a program of reforms with Naka no Ōe in 645 called the Taika Reforms to reinforce Imperial Authority.2

Later the Emperor Tenji allowed him to change his family name to Fujiwara. Kamatari’s nephew Nakatomi no Omimaro therefore kept the Nakatomi Clan name going.1


1. Louis Frederic, translated by Kathe Roth (2002) “Japan Encyclopedia”. London: Harvard University Press.
2. Kodansha. (1993) ”Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia”. Tokyo: Kodansha Ltd.

Check out the Japan Archives, our Japanese History Podcast

Follow us on social media
Twitter: @japanarchives Instagram: @nexus_travels