One of the earliest traces of The Hidden Lineage lies with the coming of Achi no Omi (阿知使主) and his son Tsuka no Omi (都加使主) from Kudara to Japan. Achi, the great-grandson of Chinese Emperor, Ling of Han, fled from mainland China to the Korean kingdom Kudara and eventually settled in Japan with his son Tsuga no Omi after the fall of their reign, the Han Dynasty. In Japan Achi became the founding ancestor of the Yamato no Aya and Sakanoue clans. As stated in the Nihon Shoki (289 AD) “Achi no Omi, ancestor of the Atahi of the Aya of Yamato, and his son Tsuka no Omi immigrated to Japan from Kudara, bringing with them a company of their people of seventeen districts” (Nihon Shoki X:13; p.264). In total it was over 2,040 immigrants that went to Japan with Achi and his son. Among these immigrants were astrologers, diviners, medicine men, artists, etc. But more importantly, they brought with them the latest advancements in steel making technology, civil engineering and mainland military science or the martial arts.
After settling in Japan, Achi no Omi had two more sons. The first son that accompanied him to Japan took on the name Yamato no Aya no Atai Tsuka (東漢直掬都加). His second son, born in Asuka village (飛鳥村) of Yamato, took the name Sakanoue no Atai Shina (坂上直志拏) while his younger brother was named Yamato no Aya no Atai Tonaki (東漢直爾波伎).
The second son, Sakanoue no Atai Shina, along with many others of the Yamato no Aya clan, came to serve as warriors under the command of the powerful Yamato tribal leader Soga no Umako. As the descendants of Achi no Omi were known to be a family who exceeded at the arts of war, both on foot and on horseback, they often served as castle gate guards and imperial police. The Sakanoue clan members often held positions as Kenbi Ishi (検非違使) or “imperial investigators” and imperial bodyguards known as Hyoefu (兵衛府). (『日本書紀』欽明天皇三十一年七月条及び敏達天皇元年六月条)
In the 8th century text titled Hizen no Kuni ni Fudoki 『肥前国風土記』it is recorded that in the year 602 CE when Yamato (Japan) was planning a conquest of the Korean Kingdom known as Silla, the Yamato no Aya and Sakanoue clans were assigned to making the weapons. They already had a good reputation as warriors and were highly skilled at producing high quality steel weapons with imported Kudara steel making technology. (兵庫県の教育史、鈴木正幸, 布川清司, 藤井讓治 · 1994)
As early as the year 592 CE, just the second generation of the clan in Japan, the Sakanoue line of the Yamato no Aya clan was running assassinations for the powerful Soga clan. In that year Soga no Umako ordered the 6th son of Shima, Sakanoue Atai Koma (坂上値駒) to assassinate the 32nd Japanese emperor, Sushun 崇峻天皇 (『日本書紀』崇峻天皇5年10月4日条,11月3日条). The mission was a success, but Koma, unfortunately, fell for one of the women in the emperor’s harem and took her to be his wife. Later it turned out that this women also happened to be the daughter of his employer, Soga no Umako, who then had him killed for defiling his daughter (『日本書紀』崇峻天皇5年11月条).
The descendants of Sakanoue no Atai Shina (坂上直志拏) all continued to use the family/clan name of Sakanoue and produced some of the great heroes of Japanese and Gyokkō Ryū history, namely Sakanoue no Karitamaro and Sakanoue Tamuramaro.
To be continued in…
Volume 2 of The Hidden Lineage – The Fighting Art of the Imperial Tigers
Bujinkan Kokusai Renkoumyo