Wake no Kiyomaro

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Statue of Wake no Kiyomaro at Goô Shrine in Kyoto.
  • Born: 733
  • Died: 799
  • Japanese: 和気清麻呂 (Wake no Kiyomaro)

Originally from Bizen province, Wake no Kiyomaro lived from 733-799, and was a trusted advisor to Emperor Kammu. He is most famous for his involvement in the 769 Dôkyô Incident, in which he acted to preserve the imperial lineage by declaring false the claims of the monk Dôkyô that Dôkyô had been selected by the gods to be the next emperor, according to the oracles of Usa Hachiman.

Kiyomaro was exiled to Ôsumi province in Kyushu due to Dôkyô's influence at court. On his way to Ôsumi, he was attacked by Dôkyô's men and suffered a serious injury in his leg; it is said, however, that 300 wild boars appeared and escorted him 40 kilometers to Usa Hachimangû, where his leg was miraculously healed.

Kiyomaro eventually returned to the capital and was given numerous court titles. In the last years of his life, he aided Emperor Kammu in establishing the new capital at Heian-kyô. Posthumously elevated to the Senior Third Rank, he was elevated again to the Senior First Rank in 1851 and granted deification as Goô Daimyôjin (roughly, "the great deity of protecting the ruler").[1]


  1. Ishin Shiryô Kôyô 維新史料綱要, vol 1 (1937), 301.