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Title: An Introduction to the History of Japan
Author: Hara, Katsuro
Language: English
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                           AN INTRODUCTION TO
                          THE HISTORY OF JAPAN

                              KATSURO HARA

                       YAMATO SOCIETY PUBLICATION


                          G. P. Putnam's Sons
                          New York and London
                        The Knickerbocker Press

                          COPYRIGHT, 1920, BY
                           THE YAMATO SOCIETY

                     OBJECTS OF THE YAMATO SOCIETY

The military achievements of Japan in the last twenty years have done
much to make the world appreciate and acknowledge the intrinsic worth of
the Japanese nation. It is, however, very doubtful whether the other
nations find in us many other things to admire besides our military
excellence. Some of them, indeed, without fully investigating their
deeper causes, have entertained serious misgivings as to the probable
consequence of our military successes. The continual occurrence of
anti-Japanese movements in the various States of America and in the
dependencies of Great Britain and Russia, countries with which Japan is
most intimately connected, has been chiefly due to this want of
knowledge as to the real state of affairs in Japan, the progress in the
arts of peace, in science, literature, art, law and economics.

Japan has a brilliant civilisation of which we can justly be proud. In
fine art, we have painting, sculpture, architecture, lacquer-work,
metal-carving, ceramics, etc.,--all of striking quality; in literature,
our poetry, fiction and drama are worthy of serious study; in music and
on the stage our progress has been along lines which accord with the
development of our distinctive national character, and is by no means
behind that of Europe.

Europeans and Americans, however, have failed as yet to appreciate the
essential worth of Japan's civilisation. Some foreigners, it is true,
speak highly of Japanese fine art, praising Japan as a country devoted
to art; but the works that they admire are not always essentially
characteristic of Japan, nor are they representative works of Japanese
fine arts. The number of foreigners aware of the existence of an
influential literature in Japan is extremely limited.

For such regrettable ignorance, however, we can blame no one but
ourselves; for we have made very little effort to promote the
appreciation of our civilisation by other peoples. If Japan, in her
eagerness to learn the best of European civilisation, continues to
disregard the necessity of making known her own civilisation to peoples
abroad, the world's misconception of Japan will forever remain
undispelled. It is our duty, indeed, to demonstrate to the world the
fact that Japanese literature and art have foundations not less deep
than those of our Bushido.

On the other hand, we must have the broadness of mind to recognise and
correct our faults, so that we may make ours a civilisation that will
compel the admiration of the world. Whether or not European
civilisation, which we have to some extent adopted, is really good for
the wholesome development of our nation is a question which still
awaits our mature consideration. In order to enjoy unrestricted the
future possibilities of the world, we must look at things not only from
a national, but also, from a world-wide point of view, abandoning the
present Far Eastern exclusiveness and endeavouring to improve our
position in the family of nations not by military achievements but by
pacific means. This is, indeed, the surest way to make Japan one of the
First Powers both in name and in reality.

To accomplish the above purpose is no doubt a task of no small magnitude
and one which will require a great deal of time and labour; but as our
conviction is that we should not hesitate because of difficulties, so we
have undertaken the organisation of this Society to help towards the
attainment of this ideal.


ART. I. The Society has for its object to make clear the meaning and
extent of Japanese culture in order to reveal the fundamental character
of the nation to the world; and also the introduction of the best
literature and art of foreign countries to Japan so that a common
understanding of Eastern and Western thought may be promoted.

ART. II. In order to accomplish the object stated in the foregoing
Article the Society shall carry on the following enterprises:

1. Publication in foreign languages of works relating to various
branches of Japanese history.

2. Translation of Japanese literary works.

3. Publication in foreign languages of works of Japanese literature and

4. Publication in foreign languages of a periodical relating to Japanese
literature and art.

5. Such steps as may be necessary for the introduction into Japan of the
best literature and art of foreign countries.

6. Exchange exhibitions of foreign and Japanese art objects to be
arranged between Japan and other countries.

7. Investigation and application of means necessary for the maintenance
and improvement of Japanese art.

8. Despatch to foreign countries of qualified persons for the study and
investigation of important matters relating to or arising out of the
purposes of the Society.

9. Investigation and application of means necessary for the improvement
of the customs and ideals of the Japanese people in general.

ART. III. A Standing Committee shall be elected by the members.

ART. IV. The Standing Committee shall have power to appoint or dismiss a
Secretary and clerks.

ART. V. Candidates for membership of the Society shall be recommended by
the Society.

ART. VI. The expenses of the Society shall be defrayed out of the
revenue derived from the contributions of members and of persons
interested in the work of the Society, from the sale of publications and
from other miscellaneous sources.

ART. VII. Meetings of the Society shall be held as occasion may require.

ART. VIII. The Standing Committee of the Society shall submit to the
members once a year an annual report of the revenue and expenditures,
accomplishments, and condition of the Society.

_Members of the Yamato Society_:

    SHIGENOBU HIRAYAMA, Member of the
        House of Peers.
    BARON HISAYA IWASAKI,     } Partners of the
    BARON KOYATA IWASAKI,     } Mitsubishi Goshi
                              } Kaisha, Tokyo.
    CHOZO KOIKE, Director of Mr. Kuhara's
        Head Office, Tokyo.
    FUSANOSUKE KUHARA, President of the
        Kuhara Mining Co., Tokyo.
    BARON NOBUAKI MAKINO, Member of the
        House of Peers.
    SHIGEMICHI MIYOSHI, Member of the Mitsubishi
        Goshi Kaisha, Tokyo.
    JOKICHI TAKAMINE, President of the Takamine
        Laboratory, New York.
    SANAE TAKATA, Member of the House of Peers.
    SEIICHI TAKI, Professor of Art History, Imperial
        University, Tokyo.
        of the House of Peers.
    YUZO TSUBOUCHI, former Professor of the
        Waseda University, Tokyo.
    KAZUTOSHI UYEDA, Dean of Literary College,
        Imperial University, Tokyo.
        Imperial University, Tokyo.

    _Members of the Standing Committee_:

        CHOZO KOIKE.


The principal aim of this work, written at the request of the Yamato
Society as the first of its projected series of publications, is to
furnish a synopsis, or perhaps rather to give a general sketch, of the
history of Japan. The public to which it is tendered is not those
professional historians and students of history now abounding in our
country, who are already perplexedly encumbered with, and engrossed by,
a superfluity of overdetailed materials and a plethora of contradictory
conjectures and hypotheses. In short, the book is, strictly speaking,
intended for those Europeans and Americans who would like to dip into
the past, as well as peer into the future, of Japan,--Japan, not as a
land of quaint curios and picturesque paradoxes only worthy to be
preserved intact for a show, but as a land inhabited by a nation
striving hard to improve itself, and to take a share, however humble, in
the common progress of the civilisation of the world.

Having such an aim on the one hand, it becomes on the other a matter of
urgent necessity for the author to exercise great caution against
extolling bombastically our national merits or falling into a coarse and
futile jingoism. To be ostentatious proves, after all, some lack of
sincerity and impartiality, and is the very vice which should be avoided
by historians worthy of the name. In order to guard against such a
blunder, however, and attain as far as possible the aim I have set
before me, I thought it wisest to approximate the standpoint from which
the book was to be written as nearly as possible to that of a foreigner,
free from our national prejudices and at the same time intensely
sympathetic with our country. Of course, it can hardly be disputed that
to place oneself unerringly on the standpoint of another, different
widely in thought as well as in nationality, is an affair very easy to
talk of, but exceedingly difficult to put into practice. I dare not
presume that I have been at all equal to the task. Still it may be of
some use for the reader to learn beforehand whither my earnest efforts
are directed.

There is some truth in the saying that the time is not yet ripe for a
conscientious Japanese scholar to write a history of our country
covering all ages, ancient and modern, especially if that history is to
be canvassed in a small volume of some three or four hundred pages. The
reason generally alleged is that too many important questions in the
history of Japan remain yet undecided. It is to be doubted, however,
whether there can be found any country in the whole world whose
historical problems are all definitely solved. Therefore it would be
folly to wait till the Yellow River becomes pellucid, as a Chinese
proverb has it. Since the opening of our country, we have had many
foreign scholars investigating ourselves, our origins and our history,
which in most cases have been misunderstood and misrepresented. By some
we are overestimated, flattered, caressed, and cajoled. By others we are
undervalued, despised, and condemned. We are sometimes elevated to a
rank so high that no earthly nation could ever deserve it, and sometimes
we are mercilessly relegated to a stage of savagery, to get back to
which we should have to forego our cherished long history, the
beginnings of which are lost in the myths of ages. Such an astonishing
oscillation of opinion as regards the estimation of the merits and
demerits of the Japanese nation and its history is more than to be
endured. Surely the cause of being undervalued at one time lies in being
overestimated at another, and vice versa. We must put an end to this
oscillation and must be fairly represented, and in order to avoid
misrepresentation we must portray ourselves as fairly as we can. We
ought not to wait for the appearance of foreign authors, capable,
unprejudiced, and deeply interested in our country.

It seems that there are not a few foreign publicists who suppose that
Japan is not yet sufficiently advanced in her civilisation to require
long years of study to understand her. This is why there is such a
number of tourist-writers, who skip over the whole country in a few
weeks, and are presuming enough to make sweeping assertions about all
sorts and conditions of things Japanese with which they come into touch
at haphazard. Again, there is another class of writers, who would like
to rate the Japanese nation and its history much higher than the
above-mentioned do, and who know that it is not such a very easy matter
to understand them. Unluckily, however, they are generally of the
opinion that it is only they, and not the Japanese, who are competent to
take up the task of interpretation, if those things are to be understood
at all. Standing upon this point of view, they would gladly accept any
kind of materials furnished by the Japanese, but flatly refuse to listen
to any theories or arguments devised by Japanese scholars, and
systematically repudiate almost all conclusions arrived at by the
latter. Writers of such a type think that the intellectual capacity of
the Japanese as a nation is not yet so high as to be able to elaborate
logical argumentations. These two sets of foreign writers mentioned
above sometimes praise us _sans phrase_, it is true. They are not,
however, with their eulogistic and gracious verdict, the sort of
champions to dispel the misrepresentations and misunderstandings under
which we suffer.

Moreover, for Japanese historians, the need has never been more urgent
than now to make a trial in writing a history of their own country for
the sake of foreign readers. On account of the Great War, the so-called
European Concert, that is to say, the Areopagus of a few nations, will
be superseded by the Concert of the World. The post-bellum readjustment
and reconstruction, national as well as international, of countries
belligerent and neutral will be an overwhelming task such as the nations
of the world have never before undertaken. Perhaps there will follow a
long period of peace, but the feeling of nations toward one another will
in all natural probability continue sensitive and acute, and will not
easily subside. And in such a nervous and critical age as that, Japan's
position will be an exceedingly difficult one. Hitherto every move she
has made, every feat she has achieved, has been made an object of
international suspicion, especially in recent times. Japan, however,
cannot help making progress in the future, whether welcomed by other
nations or not, for where there is no progress, there is stagnation.
Hence arises the imperative necessity, at the juncture, of an attempt by
the Japanese to explain themselves through telling their own history,
and by so doing procure thorough understanding of themselves, their
character and characteristics, not only as they now really are, but as
they used to be in the past. That is the one object which I have pursued
in this volume.

In preparing this work I acknowledge that I am greatly indebted to my
colleagues in our University of Kyoto. Warmest thanks are due to
Professor A. H. Sayce of Oxford, who, during his sojourn in our ancient
metropolis, kindly revised that part of my manuscript dealing with the
early history of Japan. It is also my greatest pleasure to acknowledge
my gratitude to Mr. Edward Clarke, B.A. (Cantab.), Professor of English
Language and Literature in this College, who went to a great deal of
trouble in revising my awkward English through the whole volume.

                                                        KATSURO HARA

    _College of Literature,
        Kyoto Imperial University,
            October, 1918._


    CHAPTER                                                     PAGE

       I. INTRODUCTION                                             1

      II. THE RACES AND CLIMATE OF JAPAN                          21

          CHINESE CIVILISATION                                    50


       V. REMODELING OF THE STATE                                104

          THE MILITARY RÉGIME                                    128

          THE SHOGUNATE OF KAMAKURA                              156

          DISINTEGRATION OF THE COUNTRY                          194

      IX. END OF MEDIEVAL JAPAN                                  221




    XIII. THE RESTORATION OF THE MEIDJI                          355

     XIV. EPILOGUE                                               382

          INDEX                                                  399



                               CHAPTER I


The history of Japan may be useful to foreigners in several different
ways. If we do not take into account the serviceableness of detached
historical data or groups of data, that is to say, when we exclude those
cases where the historical data of Japan are studied not for the sake of
understanding Japan herself, but in behalf of some other scientific
purposes, then it can be said that Japanese history will serve
foreigners in two principal and distinct ways. Firstly, it will interest
them as the history of one special nation among many in the world.
Secondly, it may be useful to historical study in general, seeing that
it can be regarded as constituting in itself a microcosm of miniature of
the history of the world manifested in that of a small nation. The
former point is that which attracts most foreigners by the strength of
novelty, while the latter will be none the less suggestive to
comprehensive and reflective historians. Both points need some
explanations. Let me begin with the first.

Japan is a country inhabited by a people differing remarkably in racial
features from those who now occupy the greater part of Europe. She
remained for a long time shut up against the foreigners knocking at her
gate, and on that account her history, compared with that of other
nations, presents striking and unique characteristics. Many ancient
manners and customs, some of them having their origins in ages
prehistoric and unintelligible even to the present Japanese themselves,
are handed down almost unchanged to this day. On the other hand, the
history of Japan is not so simple as the histories of many
semi-civilised countries, which are generally nothing but incredible
legends and records of chronic disturbances arising out of some
inevitable natural causes. Full of charming oddities, which might
provide sources of wild speculations, and at the same time not lacking a
certain complexity,--a complexity indispensable if it is to become an
object of interest and investigation to any scientific historian, the
history of Japan should prove a very fascinating study. In this it
resembles the relation many rare indigenous flora and fauna bear to
foreign biologists. It should be noticed, however, that biologists may
safely remain constant as regards their points of view, whatever plant
or animal they happen to study, while historians ought always to bear in
mind that every nation and every age has its own criterion. In the
study of Japanese history the same truth must hold good. It is a very
regrettable fact, however, that many foreign Japanologists are too fond
of neglecting the Japanese point of view, and would like to apply the
western standard to the things Japanese they encounter in their
researches concerning our country. Frequently they are rash enough to
criticise before they have a proper understanding of those things which
it is their business to criticise. Sometimes they get at a truth to
which Japanese scholars have never attained, but they almost as a rule
forget that things Japanese too should be considered from many sides, as
occidental things should necessarily be, and inflexibly adhere to that
one line of insight which they were once fortunate enough to seize. Or
sometimes they attack pitilessly those legendary parts of our history,
which are to be found in some school text-books or are not yet entirely
expunged from some more scholarly works, on account of a national
reluctance to part with those cherished memories of our forefathers.
They blame us as if no country in the world were chauvinistic except
Japan, and Japan only. Such treatment of Japanese history, however, will
avail them nothing at all, not to mention that we suffer very much in
our outward relations from it. As chapter II. and the following,
however, are chiefly devoted to the purpose of showing that the history
of Japan may be interpreted side by side with that of many European
nations, I will cease dwelling further on this topic, and will directly
go over to the second point.

To consider Japanese history as a miniature of the world's history is
rather a new assertion, so that it requires conclusive justification. It
is now generally believed or assumed that every nation continues to
evolve as an individual does, till it reaches its climax of growth and
begins to decay. Hence many modern historians have successively tried to
extract certain principles by the process of induction from kindred
historical events which took place in different countries and ages, and
thus to raise the study of history to the rank of a science in the same
sense as that in which the word is used when we speak of natural
phenomena. It is a great pity, however, that every historical event is
of a very ephemeral nature, never to be repeated in exactly the same
form in which it once occurred. And if it passes away, it passes away
forever, not to be retarded in the midst of its course by the will of an
investigator. Often one can contribute with full consciousness to the
happening of an event, or can alter the course of it, but one cannot
undo by any means the event itself and wash the ground as if nothing had
taken place. Moreover, historical facts are very difficult to detach
from their environment entirely, however isolated they seem to be, and
on that account they are not fit to be made objects of laboratory
experiments. In a school classroom the pupils are taught to solve an
algebraic equation of a binomial expression by supposing the value of x
and y alternately to be equal to zero. How much the task of historians
would be lightened, if we could for some time trace the effect of a
certain cause exclusively, setting at naught other concurrent causes, as
if those causes might be supposed to be standing still for a moment of
observation or hypothetically cancelled for a necessary time!

Strictly speaking, the above device is out of the question in the case
of any historical investigation. Setting that aside, there is still
another greater difficulty to encounter in the study of history. Every
school-boy knows that there is a fundamental law in physics, that when a
body is set in motion by a certain impetus, it will move on continuously
in one direction with the same momentum, so long as it is left
uninfluenced by any other new force. It is true, however, that such a
case exists very rarely even in natural phenomena, and it would be quite
absurd to look for the like in the domain of history. More than one
cause acts conjointly upon individuals, families, tribes, or nations,
and before those causes cease to influence, other new causes generally
come into play, so that the influences of the latter are interwoven with
those of the former causes or groups of causes, and make discrimination
between them exceedingly difficult.

Summing up the above, one cannot entirely isolate a country from its
surroundings, in order to see what a country or a nation would be able
to achieve, if untouched by any outward influence, that is to say,
solely out of its own immanent evolving forces. Next, it is none the
less difficult to observe scientifically the effects of some outward
forces acting on a nation, by warding off the influx of subsequent
influences and thus giving to the forces in question the full scope and
time to exert their influence. It often happens, however, that what
cannot be done artificially may be found produced spontaneously, and
though we cannot make experiments, in the strict sense of the word,
while observing historical data, it is possible that the history of a
nation or of an age may be taken as a case or a phase of an experiment,
if such an experiment could ever be tried at all. And indeed the history
of Japan may be considered as one of a few such happy cases.

Here I need not talk much about the history of our country anterior to
the introduction of the Chinese civilisation. After the opening of the
regular intercourse between this country and China in the beginning of
the seventh century, institutions, arts, learning, and even the manners
of every day life continued for a long time to be brought thence by many
official emissaries and students, and copied faithfully here, though
generally with slight modifications. At that time, however, there being
no country far advanced in civilisation other than China near us, the
Chinese influence, the only exotic one, was allowed to take sole and
full effect. Besides this, that Chinese civilisation itself was not
encouraged to flow in endlessly. When, with the decay of the T'ang
dynasty and the setting in of the anarchical condition following it in
China, the highly finished culture attained during that dynasty, perhaps
the most perfect one China had ever seen, began to degenerate there, the
official intercourse between that country and Japan was interrupted. Of
course, I do not mean to say that even private and intermittent
commercial intercourse was also suspended at the same time, for the
geographical position of our country toward China does not allow the
former to remain entirely isolated from the latter. The suspension of
the regular intercourse itself, however, was enough to save Japan from
becoming entangled in the vicissitudes of the various dynasties
following the T'ang, and our forefathers were left to themselves to make
the best use of, that is to say, to digest, what had already been
brought in abundantly. In the succeeding period the quiet process of
rumination went on for several centuries. If we look back into the
Japanese history of that time, therefore, we can ascertain fairly
scientifically the effect of a high civilisation acting on a naïve
population not yet sufficiently organised as a nation, as our country
was at that period, and likewise we can observe many traits of the old
T'ang culture, which is now difficult to trace in China herself. This
is our first experiment in Chinese civilisation.

Among the dynasties that followed the fall of the T'ang, that which
longest held the rule was the Sung, and between China under the latter
dynasty and Japan merchant ships plied now and then. Some Japanese
Buddhist priests followed the track of their predecessors, and went over
to China to study Buddhism. At the time of the Yuen dynasty founded by
the Mongols, China sent many Buddhist missionaries successively to
Japan, where religious innovations were in course of progress. This is
our second experiment in Chinese civilisation. In the first experiment
the religious element was of course not excluded. The essential
characteristic, however, of the culture of the T'ang dynasty was
politico-æsthetical, and as the result of the introduction of that
culture, Japan became enlightened in general. In other words, the first
experiment may be said to have been an æsthetical one, while the second
is one apt to be termed a religious one, and by the blending of the
results of the two experiments, we became a tolerably æsthetic and
religious people. Still there remained much to be wished for in respect
of national unification and social solidarity, and it is the culture of
the Sung dynasty itself which provided that very need, being
politico-ethical in its essential nature. By the introduction of that
culture the doctrines of the Confucian philosophers, which were made the
means of regulating the social and political organisation of Japan,
were inculcated widely and deeply, and forced into practice more
rigorously than they were in China herself. This is our third experiment
in Chinese civilisation. And when this experiment was almost finished,
we were faced by the inundation of western civilisation, which at last
made it impossible for us to continue the process of rumination, and
compelled us to plunge headlong into the maelstrom of world history.

It is rather derogatory to our national pride to have to aver that we
are so deeply indebted to Chinese civilisation. Yet the facts cannot be
denied, nor the truth falsified. Moreover, we need not be ashamed that
we brought in so much from China, while we gave very little to the
Chinese in exchange. How could we, who were very late in commencing a
civilised national life, initiate a new civilisation independent of that
of China, without imitating it? Was not the Chinese civilisation too far
advanced and too overpowering for the Japanese of that time, the
Japanese who were still at the outset of their evolutionary march? On
the contrary, justice should be done to the fact, that we not only
improved ourselves by availing ourselves of such a high civilisation,
but withstood it at the same time, being far from dwindling away as a
result of having come into contact with it, as many uncivilised races
have done in a similar case. No impartial historian would fail to
observe that there is some capacity not borrowed but inborn in the
Japanese people, by force of which they were able to consolidate
themselves as a compact nation, possessing striking characteristics
quite different from those of China. And it is especially to be noted to
the honour of the Japanese, that the more we helped ourselves to Chinese
culture, the wider became the divergence between the two countries.
Could such a way of introducing an alien civilisation be designated a
servile imitation? I am far from trying to embellish every phase of the
history of Japan, whatever its due merit may be, and would be content if
even a few of the wanton calumnies current vis à vis Japan be set aright
by making her real history understood, which is not very easy to grasp,
but yet not so sterile as it is reputed to be by some foreign

What I want to call attention to next is that the history of our country
is not that monotonous repetition of a certain kind of historical data,
however peculiar the data in themselves may be. Nay, the history of
Japan is full of varieties in the nature of its data. The history of
Greece is sometimes stated to be a miniature of the world's history on
account of the richness in variety of the historical phenomena which
occurred there, it being possible to find there also most of the
important subjects treated in history at large, though of course on a
much reduced scale. In this regard, too, the history of Japan closely
resembles that of ancient Greece. Our country had been disunited for a
long time, each section constituting itself a political quasi-unit
governed by a certain local semi-independent lord, like the tyrant of
Greek history. Those local potentates, however, were not so arrogant as
not to recognise the hereditary, political and spiritual sovereignty of
the Emperor. Not only that. They also reluctantly rejected the hegemony
of the Shogunate, though as a matter of fact this had but a nominal
existence. From this point of view, it might be asserted that our
country never ceased to be a united one. The bond of unity, however,
became very slack at intervals, so that the very existence of the unity
itself was often in doubt. In our history, therefore, there were many
obstacles to progress, especially in those lines of progress which
necessarily depend on the close unification of the whole country. At the
same time, however, advantages are not to be neglected, which might be
considered to result from the dismemberment itself. Japan had many small
centres at some periods. But it was, to some extent, owing to similar
circumstances that those centres came into existence, and for that
reason there was to be found much in common in all of them, in respect
of the tone of the culture fostered in the respective centres. That is a
matter of course. Among those centres, however, there arose naturally
much vying with one another in the promotion of their progress, and thus
the general standard of civilisation in Japan came to be raised to a
not inconsiderable height. Moreover, something like international
relations began to grow up between those units, which contributed
largely to the perfection of the culture within each of them. This is
the same interesting phenomenon, which we can trace not in the history
of Greece only, but in that of the Holy Roman Empire, nay, even in the
history of Europe itself. The difference is simply that in Europe the
same phenomenon developed on a grand scale, while it took place in Japan
in a very small compass. No wonder that as a result of having had a
national experience of the nature stated above, the history of Japan is
rich in varieties of data and deserves the attention of highly qualified
historians. So let me here submit to a hasty examination a few of the
important items in Japanese history, which even to European readers, may
be of no small interest, having their parallels in the histories of the

The first and the most important item to be mentioned is feudalism. A
famous living French historian once told me that it was absurd to speak
of Japanese feudalism, since feudalism was a special historical
phenomenon originated by the Franks, and therefore not to be found
outside of Europe. How is the word "feudalism" rightly to be defined
then? May it not be extended to a similar system which prevailed in
western Europe, but not under Frankish authority? If it can be said that
feudalism also obtained in the Swabian, the Saxonian and the
Marcomanian land, surely it would not be absurd to extend it a bit
further so as to make it cover similar phenomena which arose in
non-European countries, for example in China and especially in Japan.
For centuries in Europe historians successively tried to solve the
question, What is feudalism? A great number of hypotheses has been
presented. Some of them held the ground against their antagonists in
bitter scientific controversies, but were soon obliged to give way to
clever newly-started theories, and no conclusive solution has yet been
given to the problem. The cause of the failure chiefly lies in the
mistaken idea, that feudalism is a kind of systematic legislation, which
originated in the elaboration of some rules put together by some
sagacious ruler, or in the time-honoured invention of some very gifted
tribe, and starting from this erroneous supposition some scholars have
believed that they would be able to generalise from those overwhelmingly
chaotic materials, and thereby to establish certain fundamental
principles applicable to the feudal relation of whichever country they
chose. Far from their assumption being true, however, feudalism is not
an invention of somebody, made consciously, nor a result of a
deliberately devised enactment. A few general rules may be extracted
perhaps by so-called generalising, but even these few would be provided
with exceptional conditions. Therefore, the truth we reach at last by
studying the historical sources concerning feudalism is rather the
general spirit pervading all kinds of feudalism, and not any concrete
rule applicable everywhere, as we see in the case of natural sciences.
If the granting of the usufruct of a certain extent of land in exchange
for military service is the essence of feudalism, it is indisputable
that feudalism existed in Japan too.

Feudalism is indeed a necessity, as a Chinese servant has said in a
memorable essay. It is a necessity which any nation must undergo, if
that nation is to become consolidated. Feudalism is often described as a
backward movement with respect to the political organisation. Primitive
races, however, cannot be described as having been either centralised or
decentralised, socially and politically, and the first stage which they
must pass is that of a vague centralisation. In this stage,
superficially observed, it appears as if the race were centralised at
one point, but the truth is that in so early a stage of civilisation, it
is not probable that more than one prominent centre would at once be
formed conspicuous enough to attract attention. And even that one centre
itself is formed, not because it is strong enough to centralise, but
because centripetalism actuates the environment, and no other force is
yet so strong as to compete with it. In early times, however, the degree
of prominency of a single centre over all others must have been very
slight. As time passes, lesser centres begin to distinguish themselves,
closely following the prominent first in strength of centralisation,
and become at last so powerful as to be able to challenge the hegemony
of the first centre. This state of affairs we generally denote as the
age of dismemberment, as if a true centralisation had been accomplished
in the age preceding. This view is utterly false. Without the power to
centralise, no political centre can be said to exist really, and without
any strong centre effective centralisation is not possible. The apparent
centralised, that is to say, unified condition of the ancient empires,
is nothing but a chaotic condition with one bright point only, and the
state of being seemingly dismembered is in truth a step toward the real
unification, centralisation _in partibus_ paving the way for
centralisation on a larger scale. This phase in the preparatory process
for the unity and consolidation of a nation is feudalism itself.
Feudalism is a test through which every nation must pass, if it aspires
to become a well organised body at all. There are some tribes, indeed,
which have never passed through the feudal period in their history, but
that is due to the fact that these tribes had certain defective traits
which hindered them from undergoing that experience, and on account of
that they have been unable to achieve a sound, well-proportioned
progress in their civilisation, which must necessarily be accompanied by
a well-organised political centralisation, whether it be monarchical or
democratic. Other nations have passed, it is true, the test of the
feudal régime, but very imperfectly, and for that reason have had great
difficulty in amending the defect afterwards.

By no means need we lament that we were under the feudal régime for a
considerable time in our history. On the contrary, I am rejoiced that we
were. Every political development must go side by side with the
corresponding social progress. The latter, unless sheltered by the
former, lacks stability, while the former, if unaccompanied by the
latter, is not tenable, and will break down before long and be of no
avail. Feudalism can be compared to a nut-shell, which protects the
kernel till it quietly consummates its maturing process within. Social
progress, of whatever sort it be, ought to be covered by a political
régime of a certain kind, especially adapted to discharge the task of
protection, and must be allowed thereby to prosecute its own development
free from disturbing influences. Feudalism is one of the political
régimes indispensable to perform such a function. Though it seems to be
fortunate for a nation not to tarry too long in the stage of feudalism,
yet it is not desirable for the nation to emerge out of this stage

To sum up, in order that a nation may continue in its healthy progress,
it should have feudalism once in its historical course, and must pass
that test fairly. And as passing a test can be fruitful only on
condition that that test itself be fair, it becomes necessary as a
natural consequence that a fair test must be passed fairly. Then how is
it with Japan? It cannot be safely said that we have passed the test
exceedingly well, but at the same time we can presume that we have not
passed it badly. If someone should say that the Japanese stayed
unnecessarily long in that condition and have not even yet entirely
emerged from it, he must have forgotten that even the most civilised
countries of Europe could not shake off the shackles of the feudal
system entirely until very recent times, the first half of the
nineteenth century still retaining an easily perceptible tincture of it,
as we see in the survival of the patrimonial jurisdiction in some
continental states of Europe. On the other hand foreign observers
generally fail to see that the régime of the Tokugawa Shogunate, which I
shall expatiate upon in a later chapter, is of a sort quite different
from that of the European feudalism in the middle ages, and are induced
to believe that the Japanese nation has been quit of the miserable
régime for only fifty years. These views are both totally mistaken. In
our relation to feudalism, we went through almost the same experience as
other civilised nations did, neither more nor less. Because, in so far
as we speak of the history of any nation ranging from its beginning till
our day, more than half of it can be held to have been occupied by
feudalism, the history of Japan may also be said to have in common with
other nations more than half of the essential elements which the
so-called history of the world could teach.

After having seen that our history is not totally unlike that of the
nations of Europe in its most essential trait, it is not strange that
the history of Japan should contain many other things, besides
feudalism, which can be reckoned as the typical items necessary to make
up the history of any civilised nation, that is to say, as the chief
ingredients not to be dispensed with in the world's history,--viz.,
various religious movements keeping pace with the social development at
large, economic evolution conditioning and conditioned by the changes of
other factors constituting civilisation in general, etc. As the foreign
influences can be traced comparatively distinctly, the history of Japan
can, to a large extent, be subjected to a scientific analysis. So if we
look for the history of a nation, which is fit to represent the gradual
evolution of national progress in general, Japanese history must be a
select one. It is in this respect that I said that the history of our
country is a miniature of the world's history. After all the history of
Japan is not so simple and naïve as to be either an easy topic for
amateur historians, or a suitable theme for ordinary anthropologists,
ethnographers, or philologists, who are not specially qualified to deal
with histories of civilised times. Those whom I should heartily welcome
as the investigators of the history of our country, are those historians
in Europe and America, who, more than amply qualified to write the
history of their own countries, have continued to disdain extending
their field of investigation to the corners of the world, thought by
them not civilised enough to be worthy of their labour. If they care to
peep into the history of our country, perhaps the result will not be so
barren as to disappoint them utterly. The greatest misfortune to our
country at the present day is that her history has been written by very
few first-rate historians of Europe and America, those who have written
upon it being mostly of the second or third rank. Nay, there are many
who cannot be called historians at all. The best qualifications they
have are that, by some means or other, they can write a book, or that
they were once residents of Japan, and if they venture to write a
history about a country outside of their own, Japan seems to them to be
the easiest subject, the greater part of their compatriots being quite
ignorant of it.

I dwell thus long, however, on the significance of the history of Japan,
not in order to silence these quasi-historians, nor forcibly to induce
the first-rate foreign historian to study the history of Japan against
his own will. The former attempt is useless, while the latter may be
almost hopeless. The principal reason for having long dwelt on the
subject, is only to have it understood by foreigners, that the Japanese
nation, which has such an advanced historical experience in the past, is
not to be considered as one only recently awakened, and therefore to be
admired, patted, encouraged, feared and despised in rapid succession. If
once they happen to understand the true history of Japan, then the
fluctuations in their estimation of us will also cease; then, perhaps,
we shall not be feared, or rather, made an object of scare any more, as
now we are, but at the same time we shall be happy not to be disliked or

                               CHAPTER II

                     THE RACES AND CLIMATE OF JAPAN

Which is the more potent factor in building up the edifice of
civilisation, race or climate? This has been a riddle repeatedly
presented to various scholars of various ages, and has not yet been
completely solved. The immanent force of the race deeply rooted in the
principle of heredity on the one hand, and the influence of the physical
milieu on the other, have been, are, and will be, ever the two important
factors, coöperating in engendering any sort of civilisation, yet are
they not always friendly forces, but, in a sense, rivals, competing for
the ascendency. Looking back into the history of the interminable
controversy as to the position of the two, and taking into consideration
the fact that they are not the only factors contributing to the progress
of civilisation, it would perhaps seem to be a waste of labour to try
anew to solve the question. If one should endeavour to explain the
respective importance of the two factors, putting due stress on each at
the same time, he would then be in danger of falling into a
self-contradiction or of begging the question endlessly; otherwise he
must be satisfied with being the sermoniser of quite a commonplace
truism! This is not, however, the place to enter into a discussion to
determine the preponderant influence of either of the two, a discussion
perhaps fruitful enough, but almost hopeless of arriving at a final
solution. But as in recording the history of any country one should
begin well at the beginning, I, too, cannot desist from starting with a
description of the race and of the climate, with their relations to the
history, of Japan.

Of these two factors, I need not say much about the first. It is about
forty years since meteorological observations have been regularly and
continuously made in this country and the results published in
periodical reports, so that almost all requisite data pertaining to the
climatology of Japan are at the disposal of the investigator. Assuming
that the climate of Japan at present, which can be ascertained, not
exhaustively perhaps, but scientifically enough, is not a widely
different one from what it was in the past, there is the less need of
dwelling upon the topic, so far as the scope of this book is concerned.
I will content myself, therefore, with treating it very briefly.

Generally speaking, it must be admitted that the ideal climate for the
progress of civilisation must not be either a very hot or a very cold
one; in other words, it must be a temperate one. At the same time, it is
necessarily true that, for the sake of fostering a civilisation, the
climate should be stimulative, that is to say, should be variable, but
not running to such extremes as to impede the vital activity of the
population. When a climate is constant and has no seasonal change, that
climate, however mild it be, is very enervating, and not fitted for any
strenuous human exertion, physical or mental, and is therefore adverse
to the onward march of civilisation. Judged by this standard, the
climate of Japan is a good one. If we put aside all the recently
organised or annexed parts of the Empire, that is to say, Korea,
Saghalen, Formosa, Loochoo, and Hokkaido, the remaining part, that is to
say, the whole of historic Japan, which includes the three principal
islands, was formerly divided into sixty-six _kuni_ or provinces, and
stretches over a wide range of latitude, extending from 31°--41.5° N.,
so that the difference in temperature at its two extremes is very
considerable. It must be remembered, however, that the difference is not
so great as to necessitate totally different modes of living. In the
province of Satsuma, for instance, the falling of snow can often be
witnessed, while in Mutsu the temperature, in the height of summer,
frequently climbs above 90° F. The southern Japanese, therefore, can
settle in the northern provinces quite comfortably without changing many
of their accustomed habits, and the northerners, on the other hand, can
shift their abode to the island of Kyushu, with very little modification
in their ways of living. This almost similar way of living throughout
the whole of historic Japan, with very slight local modifications only,
is the cause why the unity of the nation was accomplished comparatively

As to the seasonal changes, they occur somewhat frequently in Japan, and
impart a highly stimulative quality to her climate. According to the
interesting investigation made by an American climatologist, for a
climate to be stimulative it is necessary that there should be not only
marked seasonal changes, but also frequent variations within each of the
seasons themselves, and it is nothing but the storms which induce such
important daily climatic changes. If we may accept his conclusion, then
Japan may rank fairly high among the countries with the best kind of
climate. For not to speak of the seasonal changes so clearly definable,
in Japan, the cyclonic storms, the main cause of the daily climatic
changes, occur very frequently. It can be said that no one desires to
have them occur more often on this account. After all, the climate of
Japan would have been almost an ideal one, if there had been less rain
in the early summer, the long rainy season being evidently the chief
cause of the enervating dampness. By the way, it should be remarked that
the dampness which is the weakest point of the climate of Japan, not
only in the summer, but throughout the whole year, is in excess more in
the regions bordering on the Sea of Japan than in those facing the
Pacific Ocean and the Inland Sea. This fact explains the historical
phenomenon that the most momentous events in Japanese history have taken
place not in the former but in the latter regions. If we look into the
history of Europe, the Inland Sea of Japan has its counterpart in the
Mediterranean, the Pacific, in the Atlantic, and the Sea of Japan in the
Baltic Sea. Perhaps the attentive traveller will notice that the same
greyish hue of the sea-surface can be perceived in the Sea of Japan as
in the Baltic Sea, and that very sombre colour imparts the same gloomy
tone to the atmosphere of the regions bordering on those two seas. It is
true that many mythical legends of our country have their scenes in the
coastal regions along the Sea of Japan, the so-called "Back of Japan,"
and, moreover, in standard of civilisation, these regions, compared with
the other parts of the Empire, decidedly do not rank low. That is due,
however, not to the influence of the fair climate prevailing in those
parts of Japan, but to the proximity of the Asiatic continent. For, as
the result of that proximity, there must have been very intimate
relations between those regions of Japan and the continental tribes on
the opposite shore, some of whom are sometimes supposed to have had the
same origin as the Japanese. At present the influence of the climatic
drawback in those districts is very evident, and it will be in the
distant future that the time will arrive when the "Back of Japan" will
become more thriving and enlightened than the other side of Japan facing
the Pacific, unless there should be a sudden upheaval in the progress of
the civilisation, and in the growth of prosperity, on the opposite
continental shore.

Between northern and southern Japan, it is not very easy to distinguish
what influence the climates of the two regions had on their history. It
is certain that northern Japan is inferior to southern Japan in climatic
conditions, if we consider the impediments put on human activity there,
on account of the intense cold during the winter. It is doubtful,
however, whether the backwardness of the North in the forward march of
civilisation can be solely attributed to its climatic inferiority. Even
in the depth of winter, the cold in the northern provinces of Hon-to
cannot be said to be more unbearable and unfit for the strenuous
activity of the inhabitants, than that of the Scandinavian countries or
of northeastern Germany. The principal cause of the retardation of
progress in northern Japan lies rather in the fact that it is a
comparatively recently exploited part of the Empire. Since the beginning
of historic times, the Japanese have pushed their settlements more and
more toward the north, so that the population in those regions has grown
denser and denser. If this process had continued with the same vigour
until today, the northern provinces might have become far more populous,
civilised, and prosperous, than we see them now. Unfortunately for the
North, however, just at the most critical time in its development, the
attention of the nation was compelled to turn from inner colonisation to
foreign relations. Besides, the subsequent acquisition of new dominions
oversea made the nation still more indifferent to the exploitation of
the less remunerative northern half of Hon-to. As to the climatic
conditions of Hokkaido and Loochoo, it is needless to say that they are
far different from that of the historic part of the Empire, and each of
them needs special consideration. They have had, however, very little to
do with the history of Japan. The same may also be said still more
emphatically about Formosa, Saghalen, and Korea, though the influence of
their climates on the destiny of future Japan will without doubt be
immense; but as these regions do not come within the purview of my book,
I can, without prejudice, omit further reference to them.

Together with the climate, the race stands forth as an indispensable
factor in the promotion of its civilisation. Then to what race do the
Japanese belong? Can all the people of Japan be homogeneously comprised
under a single racial appellation, or must they be treated as an
agglomeration of several different races? Are the Japanese, or the bulk
at least of the Japanese, indigenous or immigrant? If the Japanese are
an immigrant race, then whence did they originate, and what is the
probable date of their immigration into this country? What race, if not
the Japanese, are the aborigines of these islands? Questions of this
kind, and others of a similar nature have stood waiting for solution
these many years! But none of them has yet been completely answered,
though attempts have been made not only by a large number of native
investigators, professional as well as amateur, but also by not a few
foreign philologists and archæologists, who were tolerably well-versed
in things Japanese. Recently many interesting excavations of ancient
tombs and historical sites have been made, and various remains
pertaining to the old inhabitants of the islands have been submitted to
the speculative scrutiny of specialists. They have served, however,
rather to lead one to deeper, more obstinate, scepticism, than to shed
light on those doubtful and tentative answers and indecisive
controversies. It is very much to be regretted that we have no authentic
record of the early immigration into Japan from the pen of a
contemporaneous writer, so that we could thereby verify the
interpretations assigned to the remains found in the ancient tombs. This
is to be attributed to the lack of the use of written characters among
the aboriginal people, as well as to the illiteracy of the early
immigrants. If we had as remains of prehistoric Japan such valuable
historic materials as have been excavated in Europe and Western Asia, we
should have been able to deduce the history of its early ages with a
tolerable degree of certainty from the remains themselves,
independently of any documental evidence. Unfortunately, however, in
this respect also, our prehistoric remains consist only of a few kinds
of earthenware, mostly with very simple patterns on them, and some other
kinds of primitive utensils of daily use, such as saddles, bridles,
sword-blades, and the like. Huge tombstones are sometimes found, but
they have no such inscriptions as we see on many Greek sarcophagi, being
provided only with a few unintelligible, perhaps meaningless, scratches.
As to the primitive Japanese ornaments, very few historical data can be
gathered from them, for they are generally beads of very simple design,
and of three or four different shapes. It is quite hopeless to think
that we should ever be able to dig out a single dwelling, not to speak
of a whole palace, village, or town, on any Japanese historical site,
since no stone, brick or other durable material was ever used in the
construction of buildings. As our stock of reliable, authentic
information concerning our origins is so scanty, it is at the disposal
of any one to manufacture whatever hypothesis he chooses, however wild a
speculation it be, and sustain it as long as he likes against any
antagonist, not by proving it positively and convincingly, but by
pointing out the impossibility of the opposing hypothesis, so that the
present state of archæological research in Japan may be summed up as an
intellectual skirmish carried on by regular as well as by irregular
militant scholars. Therefore, in spite of the fact that Japan now
abounds in ethnologists, big and small, each fashioning some new
hypothesis every day, there can be perceived only a very slow progress
in the solution of the fundamental question, "Who are the Japanese?" We
are almost at a loss to decide to which assertion we can most agreeably
give our countenance with the least risk of receiving an immediate
setback. So I shall be content to state here only those hypotheses,
which may be considered comparatively safe, although they may not rise
far above the level of conjecture.

The only thing virtually agreed to by all investigators engaged in
ethnological inquiry concerning Japan, is that the Ainu is the
aboriginal race, and that the Japanese so called belongs to a stock
different from the Ainu. Once for a time there prevailed a hypothesis
that there was a people settled in this country previous to the coming
of the Ainu, who must be therefore an immigrant race. It is said that
the Ainu called this people by the name of Koropokkuru. But very little
indeed is known about these supposed autochthons, except that they were
very small in stature, and that this pigmy race receded and vanished
before the advancing Ainu. The theory had its foundation only in some
Ainu legends, and was not supported by any archæological remains, which
could be attributed, not to the Ainu, but to a special pigmy race only.
Much reliance, therefore, could not be placed upon this hypothesis, or
rather vague suggestion, and it was speedily dropped. Still it is not
yet decided whether the Ainu is the real autochthon in Japan or an
immigrant from some quarter outside the Empire. Most of the Ainologists
are rather inclined to the opinion that the Ainu himself is also an
immigrant, though no other race prior to him had settled in Japan. But
then there arises among scholars another disagreement, that about the
original home of the race. Some hold the opinion that the Ainu came over
to the Japanese islands from the north or the northwest, that is, from
some coastal region of the Asiatic continent on the other side of the
Sea of Japan. And there are not a few, too, who not only trace the
origin of the race into the heart of Asia, but even go so far as to say
that the Ainu came from the same cradle as the Caucasian race. Some go
still further and localise the origin of the race more minutely,
identifying the race as a branch of the protonordic race, akin to the
modern Scandinavians. On the other hand there is a certain number of
ethnologists, who entertain the opinion that the Ainu immigrated into
Japan, from the south, and not from the north; but no specified locality
in the south has yet been designated as the original home of the race.
The last hypothesis seems, however, not to be untenable, when we
consider that in historic times the Japanese drove the Ainu more and
more northward, till the latter lost entirely its foothold in Hon-to,
and was at last hemmed in within a small area in the island of Hokkaido
and the adjacent islets. From this fact it can be imagined with some
probability that the same direction of expansion might have been taken
by the Ainu also in prehistoric times. The custom of tattooing, also,
which can be very seldom seen among the northern Asiatic tribes,
suggests to us, though faintly, the possibility of the existence of a
certain kind of affinity between the Ainu and the inhabitants of the
tropical regions. On the other hand, if we turn our attention to the
outward features of the Ainu race, and remember that races very much
resembling the Ainu are still lingering on the northeastern shores of
Asia, the immigration from the northwest becomes not utterly improbable.
Even the supposition that the Ainu belongs to the Aryan stock cannot be
rejected as quite a worthless speculation, if the paleness of the
complexion, the shape of the skull, and some other characteristic
features be taken into account. In short, the ethnological uncertainty
regarding the Ainu race is, in all likelihood, one of the principal
causes of the obscurity concerning Japanese race-origins. Sometime in
the future, I have no doubt, the racial riddle concerning the Ainu will
be cleared from the haze in which it is now shrouded. Here, however,
especially as I am not now treating of ethnology, I will avoid forming
any hasty conclusion, and leave the question as it stands.

Whether the Ainu be autochthonous or immigrant, and whatever be the
original home of the race, if immigrant at all, the hairy people, it is
true, once spread all over these islands, not in Hon-to only, but even
to the southern end of the island of Kyushu. This can be proved by the
pottery excavated in the provinces of Satsuma and Ohsumi, and also by
several geographical names in Kyushu, the etymological origin of which
may best be traced to an Ainu source. As a matter of fact, the Ainu had
been gradually driven northward, and the island of Kyushu wrested from
their hands, before the dawn of the historical age, leaving perhaps here
and there patches of tribesmen, who were too brave or not speedy enough
to flee before the advancing conquerors. And those remnants, too, after
a faint survival of some generations, were at last subdued,
exterminated, or swallowed up among the multitudes of the surrounding
victorious race or races. Thus Shikoku, the island of the four
provinces, and the southwestern part of Hon-to were evacuated by the
Ainu before the end of the prehistoric age. When the curtain rises on
Japanese history, we find the Ainu fighting hard against the Japanese in
the north of Hon-to.

We have here designated the vanquishers of the Ainu, for the sake of
convenience, simply by the name of Japanese. Were they the Japanese in
the same sense as the word is understood by us now? Were the vanquishers
a homogeneous people, or a heterogeneous one? If the Japanese were
heterogeneous, who were the first comers among them? Who were the most
prominent? All these are questions very hard to answer clearly. It is
sometimes argued that we had only one stock of people in Japan besides
the Ainu, and that that stock is the homogeneous Japanese. This view is
not avowed openly by any scholar worthy of mention, for it is an
undeniable fact that in the historical ages groups of immigrants,
intentional as well as unintentional, happened to drift into Japan now
and then, not only from Korea and China, but from the southern islands
also, though not in great numbers, and the occurrence of migrations
similar to those in historic ages cannot be absolutely denied to
prehistoric times. Besides, any one who pays even but cursory attention
to the physical features of the Japanese can easily discern that,
besides those who might be regarded as of a genuine Korean or Chinese
type, there are many among them who have a physiognomy quite different
from either the Korean or the Chinese, though one might be at a loss to
tell exactly whether the tincture of the Malayan, Polynesian, or
Melanesian blood is predominant. In face of such diversity, too clear to
be neglected, none would be bold enough to assert that the Japanese has
been a homogeneous race from the beginning. Strangely enough, however,
this evidently untenable conception still lies at the bottom of many
historical hypotheses, which will be set right in the future.

If it is most probable that the Japanese is a heterogeneous race, then
what are the elements which constitute it? The results of the
investigation of many scholars tend to place the home of the bulk of the
forefathers of the so-called Japanese in the northeast of the Asiatic
continent. Perhaps, from the purely philological point of view, this
assumption may be more approximate to the truth than any other. The
singular position of the Japanese language in the linguistic system of
the world leaves little room for the hypothesis that the bulk of the
race came from the south, though it is not at all easy to derive it from
the north. In our language we have very few words in common with those
now prevailing in the islands which stud the sea to the south of Japan,
or in the southern part of the Asiatic continent. On the other hand, the
language the most akin to ours is the Korean, though the gap between it
and the Japanese language is far wider than that between the Korean and
the other continental languages, such as the Mongolian and the
Manchurian. If we take, therefore, linguistic similarity as the sole
test of the existence of racial affinity, as many scholars are prone
implicitly to do, then the bulk of the Japanese must belong to a stock
which stood at some time very near to the forefathers of the Koreans,
though not descended from the Koreans themselves. In other words, the
Japanese race may be supposed to have had as its integral part a stock
of people, who might have lived side by side with the ancestors of the
Koreans for a longer time than with other kindred tribes. And if that be
really so, the Japanese must have separated from the Koreans long before
the end of the prehistoric ages; otherwise we cannot account for so wide
a divergence of the two languages as we see at present.

It is a very dangerous feat, of course, to determine any ethnological
question solely from a philological standpoint. For the sake of
argument, however, let us assume for a while the hypothesis that the
main element in the Japanese race came over from the northern Asiatic
continent on the opposite shore of the Sea of Japan, by way, perhaps, of
the peninsula of Korea and the island of Tsushima, or across the Sea of
Japan. The ethnologists who adopt this view assume that the Chinese must
be excluded from the above body of immigrants, the Chinese who were
doubtlessly a far more advanced people even in those ages than the other
neighbouring races, and were destined to become the most influential
benefactors of Japanese civilisation. If regarded from the linguistic
point of view only, it may be not at all unnatural thus to exclude the
Chinese blood from the veins of our forefathers. In order to do so,
however, it would be necessary at the same time to presuppose that the
Chinese never came into close contact with the forefathers of the
Japanese while the latter were sojourning on the Asiatic continent. It
is not, of course, impossible to suppose that the ancestors of the
greater part of the Japanese came over into this country without
touching China anywhere, because they might have come from eastern
Siberia, northern Manchuria, or some other quarter, narrowly avoiding
coming into contact with the Chinese, though, actually, it is not a very
easy matter to imagine such a case.

Let us, then, drop all idea of the Chinese, and suppose that that race
can be put aside in our consideration of the prehistoric Japanese
without glaring unnaturalness. Still the question remains unsettled,
whether the bulk of our ancestors from the continent contained within it
the ruling class, who gave a unity to the heterogeneous population of
this Island Empire. One would say that a certain stock among many, who
had their abode in northeastern Asia, might have become predominant over
the kindred people of various stocks settled previously in Japan. And
the cause of the predominance may be supposed to have been a decided
advance in civilisation on the part of the chosen stock. That is to say,
the tribe in question might have been already in the iron age with
respect to its civilisation, while other tribes were still lingering in
the neolithic age. But in order to sustain this supposition, it is
necessary to premise another assumption that the predominant stock was
comparatively late in coming over to Japan, and that it had already
attained the civilisation of the iron age before its immigration into
Japan while the other inferior tribes remained at a standstill in their
civilisation after settling in our country. Such an assertion, however,
cannot be deemed probable without admitting that there was a
considerable interruption of communication between Japan and the Asiatic
continent before the immigration of the predominant stock. Otherwise it
would be very difficult to entertain the idea that the civilisation of
northeastern Asia could remain alien to the inhabitants of Japan for so
long a time as to cause a wide difference in language, manners and
customs, and so on, between the peoples on the two opposite shores of
the Sea of Japan.

Besides, to suppose that the forefathers of the greater portion of the
Japanese people were immigrants from northeastern Asia, is, by itself,
nothing but a hypothesis, supported by a few remains only, which can be
interpreted in more than one way. To go one step farther, and assume
that the ruling class of the Japanese too came over from the continental
shore of the Sea of Japan is another matter, too uncertain to be readily
accepted. Whatever degree of probability there may be in these
assertions, there are certain items in our history to the natural
interpretation of which any solution of all the ethnological problems
must conform; and among those items the following are the most

The first to be considered is the style of the Japanese building,
especially the style of the Shinto shrines and of the dancing halls
frequently attached to them. The architectural style of the ordinary
Japanese house has undergone many successive changes during the long
course of its history, so that its primitive form is now, to a great
extent, lost. For instance, the _tatami_, a thick mat, which covers the
floor of a Japanese room and is now one of the most remarkable
characteristics of Japanese household fittings, is a comparatively
modern invention, only planks having been originally used as the
material for flooring. Buddhistic influences too can be traced
distinctly in a certain turn of construction copied from China, first in
building Buddhistic temples and then widely adopted in building ordinary
dwelling-houses. In some essential points, however, there are several
traits which cannot be ascribed either to an imitation of any
continental style or to the result of a gradual adaptation to the
climate. Any one can easily see that the ordinary Japanese house may be
good for summer and for southern Japan, but not for winter, especially
for the rigid winter of northern Japan. How did such a style come into
being? If it had been brought from the northeast of the Asiatic
continent by the ancient immigrants from those quarters, it should have
been a style more adapted to the rigid climate of northern Japan, than
we find it is. On the other hand, if it were an outcome of a natural
development on the Japanese soil, it should have been one more adapted
to the climate, as suitable for the winter as for the summer. Does it
not amount almost to an absurdity, that the Japanese should still be
following this ancient style of architecture in building their houses in
Manchuria and Saghalen? Why do they cling to it so tenaciously? One
would say, perhaps, that the architectural form of the ordinary Japanese
house has undergone changes from various causes, so that one cannot
fairly draw absolutely correct conclusions about the primitive dwellings
of the ancient Japanese from its present condition. If that be so, let
us take the style of the Shinto buildings into consideration. If it can
be thought, with reason, that the Shinto building still best retains
some of the characteristics of the primitive Japanese house, then the
thatched roof of a peculiar construction with projecting beams at both
ends of the ridge-pole, together with a highly elevated floor, the space
between which and the ground serves sometimes as a cellar, cannot but
suggest the existence of a certain relation between the primitive houses
of Japan and those of the tropical regions lying to the south of Asia,
such as the Dutch East Indian Archipelago and the Philippine Islands, or
the southeastern coast of the Asiatic continent.

The next point not to be neglected is rice as the staple food of the
Japanese. Everybody knows that rice is a daily food stuff not only of
the Japanese, but of the Chinese and many other Asiatic peoples. In the
case of the inhabitants of northern China, however, other kinds of
cereals are eaten as well as rice, as a natural consequence of the
scanty production of the latter in those regions. And it is worthy of
notice that even in southern China this cereal is eaten not as is
customary in our country. There they eat rice as well as meat, or rather
more meat than rice, while here in Japan meat and fish are mere
ancillary foods, rice being the chief article of diet. What is the cause
of this difference in the use of rice? Is Japan specially adapted for
the production of this grain? Southern Japan of course is not unfit for
the cultivation of the plant, viewed from the point of soil and warm
climate only. But even there the rice crop is very uncertain on account
of the September typhoons, which annually bring new wrinkles of anxious
care on the weatherbeaten faces of our farmers. So _a fortiori_ rice
does not conform to the climate of northern Japan, where the frost
arrives often very early and the whole crop is thereby damaged, except a
few precocious varieties. This explains the reason, why there have been
repeated famines in that region, occurring so frequently that it can be
said to be an almost chronic phenomenon. By the choice of this uncertain
kind of crop as the principal food stuff, the Japanese have been obliged
to acquiesce in a comparatively enhanced cost of living, which is a
great drawback to the unfettered activity of any individual or nation.
This is especially true of recent times, since the growth of the
population has been constantly forging ahead in comparison with the
increase of the annual production of rice. The tardiness of the progress
of civilisation in Japanese history may, perhaps, be partly attributed
to this fact. Then why did our forefathers prefer rice to other kinds of
cereals, in spite of the uncertainty of its harvests? Was it really a
choice made in Japan? If the choice was first made in this country, then
the unwisdom of the choice and of the choosers is now very patent. On
the other hand, to suppose that this choice was made by our ancestors in
northeastern Asia during their sojourn in those regions is hardly
possible. Moreover, the general use of rice in Japan has been constantly
increasing. In old times the use of it was not so common among all
classes of the people, though now it can be found everywhere in Japan.
This fact also leads us to doubt the assumption that the cultivation of
rice was initiated in Japan, or that it was brought by our ancestors
from their supposed continental home in northeastern Asia.

What thirdly claims our attention is the _magatama_, a kind of green
bead, varying in size. It is one of the few ornaments peculiar to the
ancient Japanese, though it does not seem probable that its material was
naturally produced in our country. Without doubt our ancestors were
very fond of this kind of bijouterie. It has been excavated in great
numbers from old tombs, throughout the whole of historic Japan, and the
sepulchral existence of the _magatama_ is now generally admitted by most
Japanologists as an unmistakable token of a former settlement of the
Japanese. It must, however, be remarked that, on the Asiatic continent,
_magatama_ are found in southern Korea only, the region which once
formed a part of the Japanese Empire. Surely it should have been
discovered in northern Korea and on the Siberian coast of the Sea of
Japan also, if our forefathers, inclusive of the ruling class, came over
from northeastern Asia. It is very curious that nothing of the kind has
been discovered as yet in those supposed original homes of the Japanese.

The last item we must mention here is the _misogi_. The _misogi_ is an
old religious custom of lustration by bathing in cold water. In a legend
of our mythical age, there is an account of this antique ritual
performed by two ancestral deities in a river in Kyushu, and this ritual
has come down to our day, of course with some modifications. The custom
of actually bathing in the water was afterward superseded by the
throwing of effigies into a river, in the annual ceremony of praying
publicly to deities. In medieval Japan this usage continued to be
practised at a riverside in the summer; but it is almost extinct
nowadays. On the other hand, not as a public ceremony, but as a method
of individual self-purification, this custom of lustration is still
practised by many pious persons. Almost entirely naked, even in the
winter of northern Japan, they pour on themselves several bucketfuls of
cold water, and thus purify themselves from head to foot, in order to
attest a very special devotion to the deities to whom they pray. This
custom of bathing with its religious signification is something that
cannot find its likeness anywhere else, either in northeastern Asia, or
in China, or in Korea. Whence, then, did the ancient Japanese get this
unique custom? Would it not be natural to suppose the custom of bathing,
including its religious use, to have originated in some quarter of the
torrid regions of the earth than to speak of it as initiated in the
frigid zone?

All the four items mentioned above ought by all means to be interpreted
adequately and naturally, whatever standpoint one may take in solving
ethnological questions concerning the Japanese. The hypothesis that the
bulk of our forefathers might have been immigrants from northeastern
Asia, is, as already said before, by itself nothing but an assertion,
supported mainly by the form of certain prehistoric pottery, which may
possibly be interpreted otherwise, perhaps disadvantageously, too, for
the assertion. We may accept the hypothesis as probable, taking into
consideration the proximity of the supposed home of our ancestors to
Japan. But it avails us not at all in interpreting the points which I
have enumerated above. On the contrary, if we concur with the
supposition that the ruling class, also, of the Japanese has its
original home in the northeastern part of the Asiatic continent like the
bulk of the race, then the interpretation of the aforesaid items would
become more difficult. It is true that those who would like to derive
the origin of the Japanese from northeastern Asia, do not absolutely
deny the existence of a certain tropical element in the final formation
of the Japanese race, but generally they think that the element must
have been very insignificant. They would never go so far as to look to
the element for the bulk of our forefathers or for the ancestors of the
ruling class. If the tropical element be as insignificant as they
suppose, then we should be naturally induced to imagine that those
customs alien in their essential nature to the soil and climate of Japan
were imported by those immigrants from the tropical South who,
insignificant, not only in number, but also in influence, have,
notwithstanding, taken a firm root in the historical and social life of
the Japanese, struggling against the opposition of overwhelming odds,
far more numerous, civilised, and powerful, an utterly impossible
hypothesis. How then, did such an incongruous idea with its fatal
conclusions come to be entertained by scholars? Because they have too
great a faith in the power of civilisation, so-called, to decide the
rise and fall of races in the primitive age.

Those who would uphold the assumption of the northern origin of the
Japanese, or at least of its ruling class, tacitly presuppose that the
northeastern Asiatics of the prehistoric age were several steps ahead of
the contemporary tropical peoples in the progress of civilisation, or at
least that one of the many tribes of northeastern Asia was far superior
to its neighbours as regards civilisation. Otherwise they think that a
certain stock of people, which afterwards became the ruling class in
Japan, had attained already the civilisation of the iron age while they
were still on the continent, so that when they came over to Japan they
would have been far more advanced than the people who had settled in
Japan before them. Though it is but a conjecture, it is good so far as
it goes. To deduce the domination over alien races simply from the
superiority of the civilisation must be another thing. Even in modern
times, sheer valour often tells more than superiority of arms in
deciding the fate of battles. This must have been even more true in
early ages. The empire of Rome was broken asunder by the semi-civilised
Germans. In the East, China was repeatedly overrun by nomadic tribes far
inferior to the Chinese in civilisation. What is true in this respect in
historic times, must be particularly true in prehistoric ages. It is too
superficial to think that a tribe in the stage of the iron age must
necessarily conquer in fighting against other tribes knowing and using
stone weapons only. In those ages it is strength, ferocity, courage,
which tell decidedly more in fighting than any weapon. We need not
therefore take much account of the state of civilisation among different
primitive tribes in determining the origin of the Japanese race.

On the other hand, we are in no wise bound to minimise the significance
of the tropical element, in number as well as in influence, as regards
the formation of the Japanese people. The remarkable differences in
distance make it very natural to suppose that the immigrants from the
tropical regions might have been less numerous than those from the
north. Still it is not utterly improbable that a pretty substantial
number of the Southerners might have come over into Japan, drifted over
not only by the current but by the wind also, sometimes in groups,
sometimes sporadically, and that they could subdue the inhabitants by
force of martial courage yet unenervated and not by that of a superior
civilisation only. The main difficulty in establishing this assertion
lies in the fact that it is not quite certain whether they were really
brave and heroic enough to achieve such a conquest. As to the linguistic
consideration which is the favourite resort of many ethnologists it can
be said that it is not more harmful to the one hypothesis than it is
advantageous to the other. It is quite needless to argue that there is
little sign of the existence of any linguistic affinity between the
language of Japan and those of the tropical lands, except in a few
words. This lack of linguistic affinity, however, can be explained away,
while maintaining the importance of the ancient immigrants from the
South, by considering that the ancestors of the ruling class, having
been inferior as regards civilisation to the other stock or stocks of
people whom they found already settled prior to them in Japan, and
having been perhaps inferior in number also, gradually lost not only
their language but many of their racial characteristics as well. Similar
examples may be found in abundance in the history of Europe, the Normans
in Sicily, and the Goths in Italy being among the most conspicuous. It
is not impossible to suppose the like process to have taken place in
Japan also.

Summing up what is stated above, I cannot but think that the prehistoric
immigrants into our country from the South were by no means a negligible
factor in constituting the island nation, though the majority of
immigrants might have come from the nearest continental shores, and in
this majority it is not necessary to exclude the Chinese element
altogether. It seems to me probable that southern Japan, especially the
island of Kyushu, was inhabited in the prehistoric age by the Ainu, and
by immigrants from the North as well as from the South side by side.
But what was the relative distribution of these agglomerate races at a
certain precise date is now a question very hard to settle definitely.

                              CHAPTER III

                      AND CHINESE CIVILISATION

Before entering into a description of the early history of Japan, it may
be of some service to the foreign reader to learn when the authentic
history of Japan begins. Generally it is not an easy matter to draw a
distinct line of demarcation between the historic and the prehistoric
age in the history of any country, and in order to get rid of this
difficulty, an intermediate age called the proto-historic was invented
by modern scholars, and has been in vogue up to now. It is true that, by
making use of this term, one aim was surely attained, but two
difficulties were thereby created in lieu of one dismissed. We were
freed, indeed from the hard task of making a delicate discrimination
between the historic and the prehistoric age, but at the same time we
took up the burden of distinguishing the proto-historic age from both
the historic and the prehistoric! And these new difficulties cannot be
said to be easier to meet than the old, so that it may be doubted
whether it was wise to intercalate the proto-historic age between the
two, if the promotion of scientific exactitude was the main purpose of
such an intercalation. A polygon, however the number of its sides be
augmented, can never make a circle in the exact sense. I shall not,
therefore, try to adhere scrupulously to the above-mentioned threefold
division in discharging the task which I have undertaken.

Let me turn then to the line of demarcation between the historic and the
prehistoric age without troubling myself about the proto-historic. This
line must be drawn by first making clear the signification of the
historic age, and not by defining the term "prehistoric." What, then is
the historic age? It may be defined as an age, the authentic history of
which can, in a large measure, be ascertained, or as an age which has an
historical record, contemporary and fairly reliable. It is to be
regretted that we cannot dispense with such precautionary expressions as
'to a large measure' and 'fairly', but we cannot avoid retaining them,
and therein lies the true difficulty of making an exact demarcation.
Moreover, an age, the history of which was regarded at one time as
impossible of being ascertained, often may become ascertainable as the
result of ever-increasing discoveries of new materials as well as of the
new methods of their deciphering. In other words, the demarcation,
however conscientiously made at one time, is liable to be shifting, and
the reason for the demarcation gradually changes _pari passu_. As the
word prehistoric has now begun to be used independently of 'historic',
the historic age may be better defined as an age which has a
civilisation advanced enough to have a record of its own. So far a
country may be said to be in an historic age, even at an epoch the
historical sources of which are considered not to be extant anywhere,
only if the standard of civilisation be high enough for that. Unless we
adopt this definition, the line of demarcation may shift more and more
into antiquity, as the result of ever-increasing discoveries of new
materials as well as of the methods of their interpretation, and the
demarcation itself will become of very little value. So far a country
may be said to be in an historic age, even at an epoch the historical
sources of which are considered not to be extant anywhere. But how can
we know whether a country has reached a stage of civilisation advanced
enough to have its own record? It is almost impossible to discover this
point without resorting to authentic historical sources. And in order
that we may so resort, those sources must be extant. In this way if we
want to make the demarcation full of significance, we have to beg the
question _ad infinitum_.

In the history of Japan, too, what is said above holds true, and the
demarcation, however dexterously made, will not assist much in the study
of it. Among foreigners, however, the question how far can we go back
with certainty in the history of Japan, is a very popular topic, and has
been discussed with very keen interest. For the sake of elucidation,
therefore, I will give a short account of the early chronicles
concerning the history of our country.

Among the old chronicles of Japan there are two which are especially
conspicuous. The one is the _Kojiki_, the other the _Nihongi_. It is
generally admitted that these two chronicles are the oldest extant and
the most substantial of all the historical sources of ancient Japan. The
compilation of the former was concluded in 712 A.D. by a savant called
Oh-no-Yasumaro, while that of the latter was undertaken by several royal
historiographers, and finished in 720 A.D. under the auspices of Prince
Toneri. That the compilation of the two great chronicles took place
successively in the beginning of the eighth century is one of the
symptoms showing the dawning of the national consciousness of the
Japanese, to which I shall refer in the following chapters. In their
characteristics, these two chronicles differ somewhat from each other.
The materials of the _Kojiki_ were first made legible and compiled by
Hieta-no-Are, an intelligent courtier in the reign of the Emperor Temmu,
and afterwards revised by the aforesaid Oh-no-Yasumaro. Considering that
there was only a very short time left at the disposal of Yasumaro to
spend in revising the work before dedicating it to the Empress Gemmyo,
it can be safely concluded that Yasumaro did not try to make any great
alteration, and the _Kojiki_ remained for the most part as it had been
compiled by Hieta-no-Are. The other chronicle, the _Nihongi_, was
finished eight years after the _Kojiki_, and submitted to the Empress by
Prince Toneri, the president of the historiographical commission. If we
suppose this commission to be a continuation of what was inaugurated by
the royal order of the Emperor Temmu in the tenth year of his reign,
then the commission may be said to have taken about forty years in
compiling the chronicle. In some respects the _Kojiki_ may be regarded
as one of the byproducts of the compilation, Hieta-no-Are being probably
one of the assistants of the commission. The essential difference
between the two chronicles is that the _Kojiki_ was exclusively compiled
from Japanese sources, written by Japanese as well as by naturalized
Koreans, and retained much of the colloquial form of ancient Japanese
narrated stories, while in the case of the _Nihongi_ many Chinese
historical works were consulted, and historical events were so arranged
as to conform to what was stated in those Chinese records. Many _bon
mots_, it is true, were often borrowed from ancient Chinese classics,
and this ornamented and exaggerated style was often pursued at the
expense of historical truth, and on that account most of the later
historians of our country give less credit to the _Nihongi_ than to the
_Kojiki_, though this scepticism about the former is somewhat

It is beyond question that the two chronicles mentioned above are the
oldest historical works written in Japan, now extant. They are not,
however, the earliest attempts at historical compilation in our country.
Just a hundred years before the compilation of the _Nihongi_ was
finished, the Empress Suiko, in the twenty-eighth year of her reign,
that is, in 620 A.D. ordered the Crown Prince, known as Shôtoku, and
Soga-no-Umako, the most influential minister in her court, to compile
the chronicles of the imperial house, of various noted families and
groups of people, and a history of the country with its provinces. If
these chronicles had been completed and preserved to this day, they
would have been the oldest we have. Unfortunately, however, by the
premature death of the Crown Prince, the compilation was abruptly
terminated, and what was partly accomplished seems to have been kept at
the house of Soga-no-Umako, until it was burnt down by his son Yemishi,
when he was about to be executed by imperial order in 645 A.D. Fragments
of the archives, it is said, were picked up out of the blazing fire, but
nothing more was ever heard of them. There is a version now called the
_Kujiki_, and this has been misrepresented to be that very chronicle,
which, it was feigned, was not really lost, but offered in an unfinished
state to the Empress the next year after the death of prince Shôtoku. If
this be true, the record which was burnt must have been one of several
copies of the incomplete chronicle, which, as Euclid would say, is
absurd! It is now generally agreed that the chronicle is spurious,
though it may contain some citations from sources originally authentic.

Whatever be the criticism on the chronicle _Kujiki_, there is no
doubting the fact that the work of compiling a history was initiated in
the reign of the Empress Suiko, and partly put into execution. Not only
that. There might have been many other chronicles and historical
manuscripts in existence anterior to the compilation of the _Nihongi_,
and afterwards lost. In the _Nihongi_ are mentioned the names of the
books which were consulted in the course of compilation. Among them may
be found the names of several sets of the annals of a peninsular state
called Kutara, various Chinese historical works, and a history of Japan
written by a Korean priest. Some of the books are not named explicitly,
and passages from them are cited as "from a book" merely, but we can
easily perceive that they were mostly from Japanese records.

So far I have spoken about chronicles which were compiled of set purpose
as a record of the times and worthy to be called historical works. As to
other kinds of manuscripts, for instance, various family records and
fragmentary documents of various sorts, there might have been a
considerable number of these, and it is probable that they were utilized
by the compilers of the _Kojiki_ and of the _Nihongi_, though the latter
mentions very few of such materials, and the former is entirely silent
concerning its sources. The question then arises how this presumably
large number of manuscripts came to be formed. We have no written
character which may be called truly our own. All forms of the ideographs
in use in our country were borrowed from China, intact or modified. And
in ancient Japan an utter lack of knowledge of the Chinese characters
prevailed for a long time throughout most classes of the people. If this
were so, by whom were those documents transcribed? In the reign of the
Emperor Richû, _circa_ 430 A.D., scribes were posted in each province to
prepare archives, a fact which implies that the emperor and magistrates
had their own scribes already. Who then were appointed as the scribes?
To explain this I must turn for a while to the history of the Korean
peninsula and its relations with China.

Wu-ti, the most enterprising emperor of the Han dynasty, was the first
to push his military exploration into the Korean peninsula, and from 107
B.C. onward the northern parts of the peninsula were successively turned
into Chinese provinces. This was the beginning of the infiltration of
Chinese civilisation into those regions. Afterwards on account of the
internal disturbances of the Chinese empire, her grip on the conquered
provinces became a little loosened, but at the beginning of the third
century A.D. a strong independent Chinese state constituted itself on
the east of the river Lyao, and Chinese influence thereby once more
extended itself vigorously over the northern half of the peninsula: a
new province was added to the south. In the districts which had thus
become Chinese provinces, not only were governors sent from China, but a
number of colonists must also have settled there, so that through them
Chinese civilisation continued to infiltrate more and more, though very
slowly, into the peninsula. This infiltration lasted till the middle of
the fourth century, when the Chinese provinces in the peninsula were
overrun and occupied by the Kokuri or the Koreans properly so called,
who came from the northeast, and by this invasion of the barbarians the
progress of civilisation in the peninsula was for a time obstructed.
Still there might have remained a certain number of the descendants of
the older Chinese colonists, and it is possible that they still retained
some vestige of the civilisation introduced by their ancestors. The
history of the peninsula at this period may be well pictured by
comparing it to the history of Britain with its lingering Roman
civilisation at the time of the Saxon conquest. It is just at the end of
this period that Japan came into close contact with the peninsular

It is almost impossible to ascertain from reliable sources how far back
we can trace our connection with the peninsula. According to a chronicle
of Shiragi, a state which once existed in the southeast of the
peninsula, one of the Japanese invasions of that state is dated as early
as 49 B.C. Since the value of the chronicle as historical material is
very dubious, it is dangerous to put much faith in this statement at
present. We may, however, venture to assume that in the first half of
the third century A.D. the intercourse between Japan and Korea became
suddenly very intimate. Japan invaded the peninsula more frequently than
before, and our emissaries were despatched to the Chinese province
established to the north of it. Nay, not only that, some of them
penetrated into the interior of China proper, as far as the capital of
Wei, and on the way back seem to have been escorted by a Chinese
official stationed in the peninsular province. Memoirs by those Chinese
who had thus opportunities of peeping into a corner of our country, were
incorporated by Chen-Shou, a Chinese historian at the end of the third
century, in his general description of Japan, a chapter in the
_San-kuo-chih_, which has remained to this day one of the most valuable
sources concerning the early history of our country. This intercourse
between the peninsula and Japan, sometimes friendly and sometimes
hostile, happened to be accentuated by the expedition of the Empress
Jingu to Shiragi in the middle of the fourth century. Soon after this
expedition, Chinese civilisation, which had achieved a considerable
progress during the long Han dynasty, began to flow into Japan, and
effected a remarkable change in both the social and the political life
of our country. For just at this time the two northern states of the
peninsula, Korea or Kokhuri and Kutara, advanced rapidly in their
civilisation, so that a school to teach Chinese literature was founded
in the former, while in the latter a post was instituted in the royal
service for a man of letters. And Shiragi, another state in the
south-eastern part of the peninsula, ceased to be a barrier to
communication between those two peninsular states and Japan, as it had
been before the expedition of the Empress.

Among the boons conferred by the introduction of Chinese civilisation
through the intermediation of the peninsular states, that which had had
the most beneficial and enduring effect was the use of the written
character. It cannot be said with certainty that the Chinese characters
were totally unknown to the Japanese before the aforesaid expedition of
the Empress. On the contrary, there are several indications from which
we can surmise that they had chances to catch glimpses of the Chinese
ideographs. It is beyond the scope of probability, however, to suppose
that these ideographic characters were used by the Japanese themselves
at so early a period, in order to commit to writing whatever might have
pleased them to do so. At the utmost we cannot go further than to assume
that certain immigrants from the peninsula, some of whom probably came
over to this country before the expedition, as well as their
descendants, might have used the Chinese ideographs. Among the
immigrants some may have been of Chinese origin while others were of
peninsular origin, but imbued with Chinese culture. But even in these
cases the use of the characters must have been limited to recording
their own family chronicles or simple business transactions. It can be
believed, too, that the number of those who were acquainted with the
written characters at that time was very small even among the immigrants
themselves. It is needless to say that public affairs were not yet
committed to writing. That up to the time of the expedition the standard
of civilisation in the peninsular states stood not much higher than that
of Japan may also account for the illiteracy which had continued so

Shortly after the Empress Jingu's incursion into Korea the literary
culture of the peninsular states rose suddenly to a higher standard than
that of our country, and enabled them to send into Japan men versed in
writing and reading Chinese characters. At the same time their
immigration was encouraged by the Japanese emperors, and some of the
literati were enlisted into the imperial service. As Japan had at that
time a quasi-caste system, everybody pursuing the profession which he
had inherited from his forefathers, and people belonging to the same
profession forming a group by themselves, several groups were thus
formed, which made reading and writing their exclusive profession.
Almost all the scribes appointed in the reign of the Emperor Richû must
have belonged to one of the families in those groups. As a matter of
course members of the imperial family and those belonging to the
aristocracy began in process of time to be initiated in the elements of
Chinese literature; but still, writing, as a business, continued to be
entrusted to the members of the groups of the penman's craft, and they,
too, rejoiced in monopolising posts and professions which could not
dispense with writing, as secretaries, councillors, notaries, and
ambassadors to foreign countries, and the like. Naturally chroniclers
and historians were to be found solely among them, and there remains
little doubt that far the greater part of the historical manuscripts
consulted by the compilers of the _Nihongi_ were written by those
professional scribes.

It is not much to be wondered at that the art of writing was entrusted
to certain groups of people, while the dominant class in general
remained illiterate. What is most strange is that such a condition could
continue for a very long time in our country, the learned groups, who
had, in their hands, the key of public and private business, being
subjected to the rule of the illiterate. Could it not be explained by
supposing that the ruling class of ancient Japan, though destitute of
book education, yet was endowed with natural abilities, which were more
than enough to cope with the literary culture of that time? If
otherwise, then their prestige should have been easily shaken by the
class of literati within a short interval. It is to be regretted that we
have very few sources to prove positively the ability and attainments
peculiar to the Japanese of that time, but this long continuance of the
illiteracy of the ruling class may serve as a negative proof, that at
least the ruling class was a gifted people, more gifted than was to be
surmised from their illiteracy.

Here the reader would perhaps ask, must the condition of ancient Japan
remain shrouded in mystery forever? Will it be utterly impossible to
know something positive about it? On the contrary, however vague,
uncertain, and incredible legends and sources concerning them may be,
still we may extract some positive knowledge from our scanty and often
questionable materials, so as to obviate the necessity of groping
hopelessly in the dark. That the ancient Japanese were averse from any
kind of pollution, physical as well as mental, can be unmistakably
perceived, evidence being too prevalent in numerous legends, and it can
also be attested by many manners and customs preserved until the later
ages. This is the real essence of future Shintoism. About the rite of
the _misogi_, or bathing, I have already spoken in the foregoing
chapter. Wanting literary education, they did not know what hypocrisy
was, and were quite ignorant of the art of sophistication. Being utterly
naïve, it was not uncommon that they erred in judgment. But once aware
of their fault, they could not help going to lustrate themselves and
make atonement, in order to get rid of sin. Warlike and superbly
valiant, they were very far from being vindictive. Traits of cruelty are
hardly to be found in the mythological and legendary narratives. The
ancient Japanese were, we have good reason to believe, more humorous
than the modern Japanese.

The description of Japan in the _San-kuo-chih_ furnishes many
interesting data besides what I have stated above. We learn from it that
our ancestors were not in the least litigious, and thieves were rare.
Transgressors of the law were punished with confiscation of wives and
children. In case of the more serious crimes, not only the criminal but
his dependents also were subjected to severe penalties. Women were noted
for their chastity. Elders were respected, and instances of longevity
sometimes reckoning a hundred years of age were not rare. Augury was
implicitly believed in, and when people were at a loss how to decide in
public affairs as well as in private, they used to set fire to the
shoulder bone of a deer, and by the cleavage thereby produced, divined
the will of the deities. When they had to set out for a long voyage,
they accompanied a man, who took upon himself the whole responsibility
for the safety of the voyage and the health of all on board, by
subjecting himself to a hard discipline, and leading a very ascetic
life. If any of the crew fell ill, or the tranquillity of the voyage
was disturbed, he was called on to put his life at stake. Periodical
markets used to be opened in several provinces, where commodities were
exchanged. Tribute was paid by the people in kind. Cattle and horses
were rarely to be seen. Though iron was known in making weapons, yet
arms made of other materials such as bone, bamboo, flint, and so forth
were still to be found in use here and there.

Such was the state of our country as witnessed by Chinese visitors in
the first half of the third century A.D. Their observations might not
have been very accurate, but they strangely coincide in general with
conclusions which could be drawn from Japanese sources. The author of
the _San-kuo-chih_, moreover, says that there was a great resemblance in
manners and customs between Japan and the island of Hai-nan on the
southern coast of China. This assertion may be highly suggestive as to
the ethnological study of Japan. An ancient custom of Japan called
_kugatachi_, a kind of ordeal to prove one's innocence by dipping a hand
into boiling water and taking out some article therefrom unhurt, is said
to have been practised by the people of Hai-nan too. To believe hastily,
however, in a racial connection between the Japanese and the inhabitants
of Hai-nan is a very dangerous matter. Another fact that cannot be
overlooked in the Chinese narratives is a passage concerning the
continual warfare in Japan, though only a short description of it is
given in them.

In the preceding chapter I have spoken about the heterogeneity of the
Japanese as a race. Among the various racial factors, however, none was
able to keep for a long time its racial independence and separateness
from the bulk of the Japanese except the Ainu. Other minor factors were
lost in the chaotic concourse of races or swallowed up in the midst of
the most powerful element. Even the Kumaso, who were once the strongest
element in the island of Kyushu, succumbed to the arms of the Japanese
not long after the peninsular expedition of the Empress Jingu. The Ainu,
too, intermingled with the dominant race wherever circumstances were
favourable to such a union. Having been the predecessors of the
Japanese, however, in the order of settling in this country, and having
moreover been the next most powerful race to it, the Ainu only have been
able to retain their racial entity, though continuously decreasing in
numbers, up to the present time.

In the long history of the antagonism between the Japanese and the Ainu,
which covers more than a thousand years, the Ainu were on the whole the
losing party, retreating before the Japanese. Surely, however, they must
have made a stubborn resistance now and then. That they formerly
occupied the island of Kyushu, we know from the archæological remains.
But, from reliable historical records, we cannot know anything certain
about the race, until the time when they are to be found fighting
against the Japanese in the northern part of Hon-to. Still it is beyond
doubt, that there must have been not a few intervening phases, and one
of the phases, which is important, coincides with the period when the
visit of the Chinese officials took place.

Most of the countries of the world may be divided into two or more
parts, the people of each of which differ from those of the others in
mental and physical traits. Boundary lines in this case generally
conform to the geographical features of the land, but not necessarily so
always. If we have to draw lines dividing the island of Hon-to in
accordance with linguistic considerations, it is more natural to divide
it first into two rather than into three or more parts, and the dividing
line here is not the most conspicuous geographical boundary. The line
begins on the north at a spot near Nutari, on the Sea of Japan, a little
eastward of the city of Niigata in the province of Yechigo, and after
running vertically southward, on the whole keeping to the meridian of
139° 1/3 E. till it reaches the southern boundary of the province, it
turns abruptly to the west along the boundary between Yechigo and
Shinano, which lies nearly on the latitude 36° 5/6 N.; and then it runs
again toward the south along the western boundary of the provinces
Shinano and Tôtômi, which is almost identical with the meridian 137°
1/2 E. This is of course an average line drawn from several linguistic
considerations, such as accentuation, dialectic peculiarities and the
like, but at the same time, besides the linguistic differences there are
other kinds noticeable on both sides of the line. It would not therefore
be very wide of the mark, if we adopt this line as a boundary dividing
Hon-to with regard to the difference in the standard of the civilisation
in general. No other line drawn on the map of Japan can divide it in
such a way as to make one part so distinctly different from the other.
If the reader will glance at the map, he can easily see that the line
does not well agree with the geographical features, especially in those
parts running vertically southward. No insurmountable natural barrier
can be found, particularly on the Pacific coast. Consequently the best
interpretation of the boundary line must come not from geography, but
from history.

Not only in the case of Japan, but in Western countries too, broad
rivers or big mountain chains do not necessarily form the lines of
internal and external division. The great Balkan range could not hinder
the Bulgarians of East Roumelia from uniting with their brethren to the
north of the mountain. The Rhine, the most historic river in the world,
has never in reality been made a boundary between France and Germany
which could last for long, and the antagonism of the two countries,
which has continued for many centuries, is the result of the earnest
but hardly realisable desire on both sides to make the river a perpetual
boundary. More than that, even inside Germany the Rhine joins rather
than divides the regions on both sides of it.

Take again for example the boundary between England and Scotland. If we
follow merely the geographical conditions, we may shift the boundary
line a little northward, or perhaps southward too, with better or at
least equal reason. In order to account for the present boundary, we
cannot but look back into the history of the district, from the age of
the Picts and Britons downward. If it had been a dividing line of
shorter duration dating only from the Middle Ages, it would not have
been able to maintain itself so long, and the differences of not only
dialects but of temperament and various mental characteristics would not
have been so decisive.

We have no Picts-wall, no limes in our country, but the boundary line
delineated above divides Japan into two parts, the one different from
the other in various ways, more remarkably than could be effected by
drawing any other boundary line elsewhere. Then where lies the reason
which makes the Ainu line so significant? It must be attributed to the
fact that the line stood for many centuries as a frontier of the
Japanese against the Ainu. In other words, the Ainu must have made the
most stubborn resistance on this line against the advancing Japanese.
Japan had to become organised and consolidated in a great measure, so
as to be called a well-defined entity, before the Japanese could
penetrate beyond the line to the east and north. The exploration of
Northern Japan is the result of this penetration and of the infiltration
of the civilisation which had come into being in the already compact
south. Thus the difference between the two parts grew to be a clearly
perceptible one. In some respects it can be well compared to the
difference between Cape Colony and the two states, the Transvaal and the
Orange Free State, which were formed by the emigrants from the former.

The fortress of Nutari had been for a long time the outpost of the
Japanese against the Ainu on the side of the Sea of Japan. With this
fortress as a pivot the boundary line gradually turned toward the north,
pushed forward by the arms of the Japanese. The movement must have been
made at a very unequal pace in different ages, and where the progress
was very slow or stopped short and could not go on for a long time,
there we may draw another boundary line, thus marking several successive
stages. Politically to efface the significance of these lines was
thought to be necessary for the unification of the Empire by the
Emperors and their ministers in successive ages, and in that respect
more than enough has been achieved by them. Apart from political
considerations, however, those lines, which mark the boundaries in
successive phases, are almost perceptible to this day. And none of
those lines is so full of meaning as the one which I have emphasised
above. At first sight it would seem strange that while the fortress of
Nutari remained stationary as an outpost for a very long time, there
cannot be found any corresponding spot on the Pacific side east of the
line. But the difficulty may be cleared away easily, if one thinks of
the fact that the line was moved on more swiftly to the right than to
the left where the fort Nutari was situated.

In the first half of the third century after Christ the Japanese were
still fighting on the line against the Ainu. And the time when the
Chinese officials came over to this country falls in the same period. In
the description given in the _San-kuo-chih_ the names of about thirty
provinces under the suzerainty of the court of Yamato are mentioned, to
identify all of which with modern names is a very difficult and
practically a hopeless task. But this much is certain, that none of them
could have denoted a province east of the line. Moreover, we can tell
from a passage in the same work that the war with the Ainu at that time
had been a very serious one for our ancestors, for it is stated that the
course of the war was reported to the Chinese official stationed in the
peninsular province by the Japanese ambassador despatched there.

Turning to the southwestern part of Japan, it cannot be said that the
whole island of Kyushu was already at the disposal of the Emperor of
that time. In the region which roughly corresponds with the province of
Higo, a tribe called the Kumaso defied the imperial power, and continued
to do so to an age later than the period of which I have just spoken. It
was perhaps not earlier than the middle of the fourth century that their
resistance was finally broken. South of the Kumaso, there lived another
tribe called the Haito in the district afterwards known as the province
of Satsuma. Some of the tribesmen were wont to serve as warriors in the
army of the Emperor from very early times, especially in the imperial
bodyguard. Still the imperial sway could not easily be extended to their
home. The last insurrection of the Haito tribe is recorded to have
happened at the end of the seventh century. That these southern tribes
were subdued more easily than the Ainu on the north, may be attributed
to the fact that their numbers were comparatively small, and that they
might have been more akin in blood to the important element of the
Japanese race than the Ainu were.

                               CHAPTER IV

                      GROWTH OF THE IMPERIAL POWER.
                         GRADUAL CENTRALISATION

It is a privilege of historians to look back. By looking back I do not
mean judging the past from the standpoint of the present. Though it is
quite obvious that past things should be valued first by the standards
of the age contemporaneous with the things to be valued, it would be a
great mistake, if we supposed that the duty of historians was fulfilled
when they could depict the past as it was seen by its contemporaries.
Historians are by no means bound to adhere to the opinions of the
ancients in judging of what happened in the past. How a past thing was
viewed and valued by its contemporary is in itself an important
historical fact, which must be subjected to the criticism of historians.
Not only to have a clear idea of the views held by the people of a
certain period as regards contemporaneous events, a task which is not
hopelessly difficult though not very easy, but also to know why such and
such views happened to be held by those people at that time, is a duty
far more important and difficult to discharge. Historians ought,
besides, to make clear the absolute value of such views and the effects
of them on the age in question as well as on the period that followed.
However necessary it may be to be acquainted with the thoughts and
beliefs of former generations, it is not indeed incumbent upon us to
believe blindly what was believed in the past and to think on the same
lines as was thought by the ancients. Who would not laugh at our folly,
for example, if we should consider the whale of old times to have been a
kind of fish, simply because the ancients did not know it to be a
species of mammalia, though by such a supposition we might perhaps be
very loyal to the old beliefs? As the result of investigations over long
years, many things that have been held to be totally different by
ancient peoples have been found to be similar to one another, nay,
sometimes just the same. On the other hand, there have not been wanting
examples in which essential differences, though considerable in reality,
have been overlooked or thought to be negligible, and first discerned
only after the researches of hundreds of years. In uncivilised times,
generally speaking, men were rather quick to observe outward and
superficial distinctions, while very slow to discover internal and
essential variations. There was a time in the far-off days of yore, both
in the East and in the West, when some people held themselves to be
unique and chosen, and regarded others, who were apparently not as they
were and spoke languages different from their own, to be decidedly
inferior in civilisation to themselves, or to be more akin to beasts
than to human beings. Were the Japanese then at the beginning of their
history different from other peoples at a similar stage of development,
or were they unique from the first? To give too definite an answer to
such a question is always a mistake. Our forefathers were certainly
different from other peoples in certain respects, but they had much in
common with others too. To be unique is very interesting to look at, but
it does not follow necessarily that what is unique is always worthy of
admiration. Uniqueness is an honour to the possessor of that quality
only when he is inimitably excellent on that account. On the other hand,
to possess much of what is common to many is far from being a disgrace.
Among things which are not unique at all may be found those which have
universal validity, and are by no means to be despised as commonplace.
Our forefathers had not a few precious things which were singular to
themselves, but at the same time they had much in common with outsiders
too, and by that possession of common valuables, the history of Japan
may rank among those of civilised nations, being not only interesting
but also instructive.

By the Japanese of later ages it was supposed that all people outside
historic Japan were radically different from themselves, thus forgetting
that their own ancestors had been of mixed blood. This proves, by the
way, how easily the process of amalgamation and assimilation of
different races was accomplished in ancient Japan. There was hardly a
tinge of racial antipathy among our forefathers of old. Parallel with
the sense of discrimination against other people, which must have been
founded on the perception of superficial differences and on that account
not deep-rooted, there prevailed among them an ardent love for all sorts
of things foreign, and they extended a hearty welcome to all the
successive immigrants into Japan, from whatever quarter of the world
they might come. Far from being maltreated, these immigrants were not
only allowed to pursue their favourite occupations of livelihood, but
were even entrusted with several important posts in the government and
in the Imperial Household. Our forefathers did not hesitate, too, to
import sundry foreign, especially Chinese, customs and institutions,
with or without alteration. Such spontaneous importation readily
accomplished, evidently implies that Japan was considered by the ancient
Japanese to have had much in common with China, so that the same ways of
living might be followed, and similar legislation might be put into
practice here as well as there. More than that. Our ancestors naïvely
believed themselves able to see the same effects produced by the same
legislation here as in China, like ignorant farmers, who sometimes
foolishly expect to be able to reap the same harvests by sowing the same
kinds of seed, forgetting the differences in the nature of the soil. So
eager were they to transplant everything foreign into Japan. At the
present time, there are similarly many who think that things foreign can
be planted in this country so as to bear the same fruit as in their
original homes, and who therefore would try to import as many as
possible. The only difference between them and the ancient Japanese lies
in the fact that their preferences are for things European instead of
things Chinese. Now-a-days the Japanese are frequently described as a
people who entertain an inveterate antagonism to foreigners. Can such an
opinion hold ground in the face of the indisputable evidence of Japan's
importation of so many foreign things, material as well as spiritual?

Returning to the point, did Japan become a country resembling China, as
was wished by the Sinophil Japanese of old times? On the contrary, the
uniqueness, which lay at the foundation of the political and social life
of our country, was not thereby much impaired. Even now it is clear to
everybody that Japan is not behind any other country in possessing what
is unique. It must be borne in mind, however, that what the ancient
Japanese thought to be sufficient to distinguish themselves from other
people was not the same as that which makes the modern Japanese think
their country to be unique. At the same time it can be said that ancient
Japan, while unique in some respects, was in a similar condition, social
and political, as other countries were at a similar stage of their
civilisation. What, then, was the state of Japan in the beginning of her
history? It is this which I am going to describe.

In a foregoing chapter I stated that the Japanese, whatever ethnological
interpretation be given to them, can hardly be considered as
autochthons. Most probably the greater part of them was descended from
immigrants; in other words, their forefathers were the conquerors of the
land. What then was the chief occupation of these conquerors? To this
question various answers have been already given by different
historians. Some hold that agriculture was the main occupation to which
our ancestors looked for a living, while others maintain that they
chiefly depended for subsistence on more unsettled sorts of occupation,
that is, on hunting or fishing. All that can be ascertained is that the
forefathers of the Japanese did not lead, at least in this country, a
nomadic life, so that both cattle and horses were rare or almost unheard
of in very ancient times. It is very probable, too, that in whatever
occupation the original Japanese might have been chiefly engaged, they
must have been also acquainted with the elements of agriculture at the
same time. No reliable evidence, however, can be found to answer this
question. In this respect the certitude of the early history of Japan
falls far short of that of the German tribes, which, though not
civilised enough to have left records of their own, were yet fortunate
enough to be described by writers of more civilised races, especially
by the Romans. Early Japan seems not to have had as intimate an
intercourse with China as the early Germans had with Rome, so that we
have great difficulty in ascertaining any details about social and
political conditions as well as the modes of life of the ancient
Japanese, in the same way as that in which we are acquainted with the
early land-system of the Germans, their methods of fighting, and so
forth. As to the land-system of early Japan, almost nothing is known
about it until the introduction of the Chinese land-distribution
procedure in the first half of the seventh century. We cannot ascertain
whether there was anything which might be compared with the early
land-system of the Teutons. The introduction of the elaborate
organisation of the T'ang dynasty into our country may be interpreted in
two ways. It may be assumed that a land-distribution similar to that of
the Chinese had already existed in Japan, and that this facilitated the
introduction of the foreign methods, which were of the same type but
more highly developed, or we may deny the previous existence of any such
arrangement in our country, reasoning from the fact that the newly
introduced foreign system could not take deep root in our country on
account of its incompatibility with native traditions. What, however, we
can state with some degree of certainty concerning the early history of
Japan, prior to the introduction of Chinese institutions, is that the
people, or rather groups of people, figured in the social system as
objects of possession quite as much as did landed property.

The land of Japan, so far as it had been conquered and explored by our
forefathers up to the Revolution of the Taikwa era in the first half of
the seventh century, consisted of the imperial domains and the private
properties held by subjects by the same right as that by which the
emperor held his domains. In other words, the relation of the emperor
with his subjects was not through lands granted to the latter by the
former, but was a personal relation. The idea of vassalage due to the
holding of crown lands seems not to have been entertained by the early
Japanese. From the point of view of the free rights of the landholders,
ancient Japan resembles early German society. Only the way which the
tenant took possession of his land can not be ascertained so definitely
as in the case of allod-holding in Europe. There is no doubt, however,
that not only land but persons also formed the most important private
properties. Needless to say, people who dwelt on private land were _ipso
facto_ the property of the landowner. Without any regard to land a
seigneur of early Japan could own a certain number of persons, and in
that case the land inhabited by them naturally became the property of
their master.

The Emperor, who was the greatest seigneur as the owner of vast domains
and of a large number of persons, ruled at the same time over many
other seigneurs, the big freeholders of land and serf. It may be
supposed also that there might have been many minor freemen besides, who
were not rich enough to possess sufficient serfs to cultivate their
grounds for them and, therefore, were obliged to support themselves by
their own toil. Nothing positive is known, however, about them, if they
ever really existed. The right of a seigneur over his clients was almost
absolute, even the lives and chattels of his clients being at his
disposal, though the seigneur himself lay under the jurisdiction of the
Emperor. Some of the seigneurs were men of the same race as the imperial
family, their ancestors having helped in the conquest of the country.
Others were scions of the imperial family itself. It is very probable,
nevertheless, that no insignificant portion of this seigneur class was
of a blood different from that of the imperial family, having sprung
from the aboriginal race, or from immigrants other than the stock to
which the imperial family belonged.

The extent of the land over which a seigneur held sway, was in general
not very great, so that it cannot be fairly compared with any modern
Japanese province or _kuni_. Side by side with these seigneurs who were
lords of their lands, there was another class of seigneurs, who were
conspicuous, not, strictly speaking, on account of the land which they
_de facto_ possessed, but on account of their being chieftains of
certain groups of people. Some of these groups were formed by men
pursuing the same occupation. Groups thus formed were those of
fletchers, shield-makers, jewellers, mirror-makers, potters, and so
forth. Performers of religious rites, fighting-men, and scribes, too,
were grouped in this class. It must be especially noticed that groups of
men-at-arms and of scribes contained a good many foreign elements, far
more distinctly than other groups. Scribes, though their profession as a
craft was of a higher and more important nature than others, were, as
was explained in the last chapter, exclusively of foreign blood. On
account of this there was more than one set of such immigrants, and we
had in Japan several groups of scribes. As to soldiers or men-at-arms,
those who served in the first stage of the conquest of this country must
have been of the same stock as the conquering race. Later on, however,
quite a number of men who were not properly to be called Japanese, as,
for example, the Ainu and the Haito, began to be enlisted into the
service of the Emperor, and notwithstanding their difference in blood
from that of the predominant stock, their fidelity to the Emperor was
almost incomparable, and furnished many subjects for our old martial

All these were groups organised on the basis of the special professions
pursued by the members of each respective group, although many of the
groups might consist eventually of persons of homogeneous blood.
Besides these groups there was another kind based solely on identity of
blood, that is to say, on the principle of racial affinity. When we
examine the circumstances of the formation of such groups, we generally
find that a body of immigrants at a certain period was constituted as a
group by itself by way of facilitating the administration. Sometimes
several bodies of immigrants, differing as to the period of immigration,
were formed into one large corps. In the corps thus formed, there would
have naturally been people of various occupations, connected only by
blood relationship.

The third kind of group was quite unique in the motive of its formation.
It was customary in ancient times in Japan to organise a special group
of people in memory of a certain emperor or of some noted member of the
imperial family. This happened generally in the case of those personages
who died early and were much lamented by their nearest relations.
Sometimes, however, a similar group was formed in honour of a living
emperor. As it was natural that groups thus formed paid little attention
to the consanguinity of their members, it is presumable that they might
have consisted of persons of promiscuous racial origin. On the other
hand, it is also clear that there could be no necessity for
conglomerating intentionally men of heterogeneous racial origin in order
to effect a mixture of blood between them. Such a motive is hardly to be
considered as compatible with the spirit of the age in which the
scrutinising of genealogies was an important business. Added to this,
the organisation of a group out of people of different stocks would have
incurred the danger of making its administration exceedingly difficult.
As to the profession pursued by persons belonging to such a group, any
generalisation is difficult. Some groups might have been organised
mainly from the need of creating efficient agricultural labour, in order
to provide for the increasing necessity of food stuffs; in other words,
from the need for the exploration of new lands. Other memorial groups
might have been formed for the sake of providing for the need of various
kinds of manual labour, and must have contained men of divers
handicrafts and professions, so as to be able to provide for all the
daily necessities of some illustrious personage, to whom the group was
subject. When men of promiscuous professions formed a group and produced
sundry kinds of commodities, the custom of bartering must have naturally
arisen within it, but the stage of bartering in a market, periodically
opened at a certain spot, such as is described in the _San-kuo-chih_,
must have been the result of a gradual development. Moreover, it would
be a too hasty conclusion to say that such a group was a self-providing
economic community. On the other hand, to suppose that such a group was
a corporation something like the guilds of medieval Europe would be
absurd. Though the members of a guild suffered greatly under the
oppression of its master, still no relation of vassalage is recognisable
in the system. In old Japan, however, men grouped in the manner
described above belonged to the chieftain of that group, that is to say,
they were not only his subjects but his property, to be disposed of at
his free will. As to the groups which pursued a special craft, I do not
deny the existence of the practice of bartering between them. In a
society in the stage of civilisation of old Japan, no one could exist
without some sort of bartering, and the ruling hand was not so strong
and rigorous as to be able to prohibit an individual of the group from
exchanging the work of his hands with those of men of neighbouring
groups, even when the lord of the group wished contrariwise. And it must
be kept in mind that though a member of the group of a special
profession pursued that profession as his daily business, yet he must
have been engaged in agricultural work also, tilling the ground,
presumably in the midst of which his house stood. Agricultural products
thus raised could perhaps not cover all the demands of his family for
subsistence. But, on the other hand, that all the victuals they required
were supplied by barter or by distribution on the part of the chieftain
of the respective group is hardly to be imagined.

A group pursuing the same occupation was of course not the only one
allowed to pursue it, nor was their habitation limited to one special
locality. In other words, there were many groups which were engaged in
the same occupation, and those groups had their residence in different
provinces. It is not clear whether all the groups pursuing the same
craft were under the jurisdiction of a common chieftain. The fact is
certain, however, that many groups engaged in the same craft often had a
common chieftain, notwithstanding their occupying different localities.
The chieftain of a group was sometimes of the same blood as the members
of the group, as in the case where the group consisted of homogeneous
immigrants. The chieftains of immigrant craft-groups, the number of
which was very much limited in this country, belonged to this category.
Sometimes, however, the chieftain of such a craft-group was not of the
same stock as the members of the group under him, though the latter
might be of homogeneous blood. This was especially the case when a group
was that of arms-bearers composed of Ainu or Haito. These valiant people
were enlisted into a homogeneous company, but they were put under the
direction of some trustworthy leader, who was of the same racial origin
as the imperial family or who belonged to a race subjected to the
imperial rule long before. Lastly, in the case where a group was a
memorial institution, it is probable that the chieftain was nominated by
the emperor without regard to his blood relationship to the members of
the group under him.

Summing up what is stated above at length, there were two kinds of
seigneurs who were immediately under the sovereignty of the Emperor; the
one was the landlord, and the other was the group-chieftain. It is a
matter of course that the former was at the same time the chieftain of
the serfs who peopled the land of which he was the lord, while the
latter was the lord _de facto_ of the land inhabited by himself and his
clients, so that there was virtually very little difference between
them. As regards their rights over the land and the people under their
power it was equally absolute in both cases. The principal difference
was that the right of the former rested essentially on his being the
lord of the land, and that of the latter on his being the chieftain of
the people. How did such a difference come into existence?

The fact that there were many landlords who were not of the same stock
as the imperial family, might be regarded as a proof that they were
descendants of the chiefs who held their lands prior to the coming over
of the Japanese, or, more strictly, before the immigration of the
predominant stock. They acquiesced afterwards in, or were subjected to,
the rule of the Japanese, but the relation between the Emperor and these
landlords was of a personal nature, and the right of the latter over
their own land remained unchanged. Later on many members of the imperial
family were sent out to explore new lands at the expense of the Ainu,
and they generally installed themselves as masters of the land which
they had conquered. These new landlords assumed, as was natural, the
same power as that which was possessed by the older landlords mentioned
above. The power of the imperial family was thus extended into a wider
sphere by the increase in the number of the landlords of the blood
royal, but at the same time the power of the Emperor himself was in
danger of being weakened by the overgrowth of the branches of the
Imperial family.

As to the chieftains of groups, they must have been of later origin than
the landlords, for to be a virtual possessor of land only as the
consequence of being chieftain of the people who happened to occupy the
land shows that the relation between the people and the land inhabited
by them was the result of some historical development. Moreover, the
grouping of people according to their handicrafts must be a step far
advanced beyond the pristine crowding together of people of promiscuous
callings. It is also an important fact which should be taken into
consideration here again that the greater part of the craft-groups
consisted of immigrants. From all these data we may safely enough assume
that the chieftains who were at first placed at the head of a certain
group of people perhaps came over to this country simultaneously with
the predominant stock, or came from the same home at a time not very far
distant from that of the migration of the predominant stock itself, and
that they distinguished themselves by their fidelity to the emperor; in
short, these chieftains might have been mostly of the same racial origin
as the imperial family, except in the case of groups formed by
peninsular immigrants of later date. The increasing organisation of such
groups, therefore, must have led to the aggrandizement of the power of
the imperial family; but there was, of course, the same fear of a
relaxation of the blood-ties between the emperor and the chieftains akin
in blood to him.

Such are the general facts relating to the social and political life of
Japan before the seventh century. If its development had continued on
the lines described above, the ultimate result would have been the
division of the country among a large number of petty chieftains,
heterogeneous in blood and in the nature of the power which they
wielded, and with very relaxed ties between themselves and the emperor.
We can observe a similar state of things even today among several
uncivilised tribes, for example, among the natives of Formosa and in
many South Sea Islands. Japan, however, was not destined to the same
fate. How then did it come to be consolidated?

Centralisation presupposes a centre into which the surroundings may be
centralised. This centre or nucleus for centralisation may be an
individual or a corporate organism. As regards the latter, however, in
order to become a nucleus of centralisation, it must be solidly
organised, which is only possible in an advanced stage of civilisation.
For Japan in the period of which I am speaking, such a centre could
create only a very loose centralisation, which could be broken asunder
very easily. To have Japan strongly centralised, it was necessary for
her to have an individual, that is to say the Emperor, as a nucleus of

We have seen the process by which the predominant stock of the Japanese
grew in power and influence, as well by exploring new lands and
installing there men of their own stock as lords, as by organising more
and more new groups out of the immigrants who came over to this country,
and, perhaps, also out of a certain number of autochthons. Within the
predominant stock itself the imperial family was no doubt the most
influential. Most of the new landlords were recruited from the members
of that family, and many memorial groups were instituted in their honour
and for their sakes. Stretches of land which were exploited by these
clients and on that account stood under the rule of the family increased
gradually. Such an estate was called _miyake_, which meant a royal
granary, a royal domain. The number of these domains constantly grew as
time went on. Not only in the neighbourhood of the province of Yamato,
in which the emperors of old time used to have their residence, but also
in several distant provinces new _miyake_ were organised. It is no
wonder that they were more generally instituted in the western
provinces, especially in the coastal provinces of the Inland Sea and in
the island of Kyushu rather than in other directions, because it was
natural that the imperial house, which is said to have had its first
foothold in the west, should have had a stronger influence in those
parts than in provinces close to lands still retained by the Ainu and
not yet occupied by the Japanese. Still it is a credit to the power of
the imperial house that in the first half of the seventh century, we can
already find such royal domains in the far eastern provinces of Suruga
and Kôtsuke.

The method of increasing the _miyake_ was not limited to the
exploitation only of new ground previously uncultivated. Some of the
chieftains were loyal enough to present to the emperor a part of their
own dominions or a portion of their clients, with or without the lands
inhabited by them. Confiscation, too, was a method often resorted to,
when the crimes of some of the landlords, such as complicity in
rebellion, insult to high personages of the imperial family, and so
forth, merited forfeiture. Sometimes there were penitents who made
presents of their lands or people, in order either not to lose or to
regain the royal favour. In these sundry ways the imperial family was
enabled to increase its domains to a very large extent, domains which,
it should be noted, were cultivated mostly by groups of immigrant
people, generally superintended by capable men of the same groups who
knew how to read, write and make up the accounts of the revenue.

This increase in number of _miyake_ was in itself the increase of the
wealth of the imperial family, and the increase of its power at the same
time. It is a matter of course that such growth of the imperial family
contributed largely to the increase of the imperial power itself, and
was therefore a step toward centralisation. With a family as centre,
however, a strong centralisation was impossible at a time when there was
no definite regulation concerning the succession. The law of
primogeniture had not yet been enacted. Princesses were not excluded
from the order of succession. In such an age too strong a centralisation
with the family as its nucleus, if it had been possible, could only have
been a cause of constant internal feuds. The interests of certain
members of the imperial family might have come into collision with those
of the reigning Emperor, and indeed such clashes were not rare.

Besides this weakness which was like a running sore in the process of
centralisation, there was another great drawback to the growth of the
imperial power. This was the increase in power and influence of certain
chieftains. At first there were many chieftains of nearly equal power,
and as none among them was influential enough to lord it over all the
others, it was not very difficult for the imperial family to avail
itself of the rivalry that prevailed among them and to control them
accordingly. Some families among the chieftains, however, began to grow
rich and powerful like the imperial family itself, while the greater
part of them remained more or less stationary, so that a wide gap
between the selected few and the rest as regards their influence became
perceptible. Thus five conspicuous families, those of Ohtomo, Mononobe,
Nakatomi, Abe, and Wani, first emerged from the numerous members of the
chieftain class. The family of the Soga, which was descended from
Takeshiuchi, the minister of the Empress Jingu, became afterwards very
prominent, so that only two of the former five, namely, the Ohtomo and
the Mononobe, could cope with it. Among the three which became prominent
in place of the former five, the older two continued to be engaged
exclusively in warlike business, while the third provided both ministers
and generals. The magnitude of their influence in the latter half of the
fifth century can be well imagined from the fact that the Emperor
Yûryaku complained on his death bed that his vassals' private domains
had become too extensive.

Such was the result which, it was natural to anticipate, was likely to
accompany the growth of Japan under the rule of a predominant stock. It
could not be said, however, to be very beneficial to the real
consolidation of a coherent Empire. For a sovereign, even if he had had
strength enough to exercise absolute rule, it must have been far more
difficult to govern a few powerful chieftains than to rule over many of
lesser influence. It is needless to say that such must have been the
case in an age when the relations of the reigning emperor and of the
imperial family were not well organised in favour of the former. Many
like examples may be cited from the early history of the Germans,
especially from that of the Merovingian and the Carlovingian dynasties.
Among the few prominent chieftains, a certain one family, _primus inter
pares_, might become exceedingly powerful and then overshadow the rest.
In Japan, too, there was not lacking a majordomo who was growing great
at the cost of the imperial prerogative.

This tendency was too apparent not to be perceived by the sagacious
emperors of succeeding ages. Increasing their material resources,
therefore, was thought by them the best means of strengthening
themselves and of guarding against the usurpation of their power by
ambitious vassals. Long before the Korean expedition of the Empress
Jingu, accordingly, the increase of the royal domains was assiduously
aimed at. The Korean expedition itself may be considered as one of the
evidences of the endeavour to develop the imperial power. For to lead an
expedition oversea necessarily connotes a consolidated empire. War,
however uncivilised the age in which it is carried on, must be, more
than any other undertaking, a one man business. So we can not err much
in supposing that, at the time of the expedition, the centralisation of
the country with the emperor as its nucleus was already in course of
progress. Without being socially organised and consolidated, it would
have been very hard to muster a people not yet sufficiently organised in
a political sense. It was enacted just about this time, that all the
royal granaries or domains which were situated in the province of
Yamato, where successive royal residences had been established, should
be the inalienable property of the reigning emperor himself, and that
even the heir to the throne should not be allowed to own any of them.
This enactment may be said to have been the beginning of the separation
of the interests of the reigning emperor himself from those of the
imperial family, and it has a great historical importance in the sense
that the process of centralisation with an individual, and not a family,
as its centre, was already in course of development.

To recapitulate my previous argument, in order to have a strongly
organised Empire, first of all it was necessary at that time to put an
end to the still growing power of the prominent chieftains, for the
decrease in the number of chieftains only helped to make the remaining
few stronger and more threatening. Secondly, not the imperial family but
the reigning emperor himself must be made the nucleus of centralisation.
This then was the necessity of our country and the goal of the
endeavours of succeeding emperors. What most accelerated this process of
centralisation, however, was the introduction of Buddhism and the
systematic adoption of Chinese civilisation, imported, not through the
intermediation of the peninsular states, but directly from China
herself. The former contributed by changing the spirit of the age, so
that innovation could be undertaken without risking the total
dissolution of the not yet sufficiently consolidated Empire, while the
latter facilitated the organisation of the material resources already
acquired, and paved the way for their further increase.

It is commonly stated that in 552 A.D., the thirteenth year of the reign
of the Emperor Kimmei, Buddhism was first introduced into Japan, for
that is the date of the first record of Buddhism in the imperial court.
Owing to the researches of modern historians, however, that date is no
longer accepted as the beginning of Buddhism in Japan. Buddhism, which
is said to have been first introduced into China in the middle of the
first century after Christ, began to flow into the Korean peninsula some
three hundred years later. Among the three peninsular states, the first
which received the new religion was Korea or Kokuri, which was the
nearest to China. The Korean chronicle says that in 364 A.D. Fu-Chien, a
powerful potentate of the Chin dynasty, which existed in northern China
at that time, sent an ambassador to Korea, accompanied by a Buddhist
priest. Twelve years later than Korea, Kutara received Buddhism from
southern China. Shiragi was the latest of the three to accept the new
religion, for it was not until 527 A.D. that Buddhism was recognized in
that state. Perhaps, however, the people of Shiragi had been acquainted
with it at an earlier epoch, though it would not be surprising if this
had not been the case. The geographical position of Shiragi obliged it
for long to be the last state in the peninsula to receive Chinese
civilisation. It is not the Buddhism of Shiragi, therefore, but that of
Korea and Kutara which had to do with the history of our country.

At that time, in the southern part of the peninsula, there were many
minor semi-independent communities under the tutelage of Japan. A
resident-general was sent from Japan to whom the affairs of the
protectorate were entrusted. Though the existence in the peninsula of a
region subject directly to the Emperor of Japan, that is to say, the
extension oversea of the Japanese dominion, is not certified to by any
written evidence, the history of the early relations between Japan and
the peninsula cannot be adequately explained, unless we assume that this
imperial domain on the continent was the stronghold of Japanese
influence over the peninsula, around which the minor states clustered as
their centre. Kutara, which divided the sphere of Japanese influence
from Korea, had been suffering much from the encroachment of the
Koreans on the north. To counteract Korea, which allied herself with the
successive dynasties in northern China, Kutara tried to court the favour
of the states which came successively into existence in southern China.
That Buddhism in Kutara was propagated by priests from China meridional
may account for the intercourse which grew up between the peninsular
state and the south of China. Still, however much Kutara might have
desired assistance from that quarter, the distance was too great for it
to have obtained any efficient relief, even if the southern Chinese had
wished to afford it, so that Kutara was at last compelled to apply for
help to Japan, which was the real master of the land bordering it on the
south. This is the reason why soon after the expedition of the Empress
Jingu, Kutara initiated a very intimate intercourse with our country.
From that state princes of the blood were sent as hostages to Japan one
after another, an unruly minister of that state was summoned to justify
himself before an Emperor of Japan, a topographical survey of Kutara was
undertaken by Japanese officials, and reinforcements were despatched
thither several times from our country. After all, Japan was not the
losing party in her peninsular relations. The knowledge of the Chinese
classics was the most important boon the intercourse conferred on our
country. Not less important was the introduction of Buddhism.

The doubt, however, remains whether Buddhism, which began to flow into
Kutara in 376 A.D., could have remained so long confined in that state
as not to have been introduced into Japan till 552 A.D., notwithstanding
the intimate relations between the two countries. The worship of Buddha
must have been practised at an earlier period, most probably in private,
by immigrants from the peninsular state, who had already imbibed the
rudiments of the new religion in their original home. Moreover, in
speaking of the propagation of Buddhism in Japan, we must look back into
the history of our intercourse with southern China.

In the preceding chapter I mentioned the description of our country
given in the _San-kuo-chih_. There we are told that intercourse was
carried on between Japan and northern China through the Chinese
provinces in the peninsula. It was the two peninsular states arising out
of the ruin of these Chinese provinces which paved the way for the
intercourse of Japan with southern China. Not only did we obtain through
Kutara knowledge about southern China under the dynasty of the East
Chin, but the first Japanese ambassadors sent thither at the beginning
of the fifth century could reach their destination only through the
intermediation of Korea or Kokuri, which furnished our ambassadors with
guides. After that there were frequent goings to and fro of the people
of China and Japan, notwithstanding the rapidly succeeding changes of
dynasty in southern China. It was through the intercourse thus
initiated that several kinds of industry, more especially weaving, were
introduced into Japan from southern China, and had a very deep and
enduring effect on the history of our country. There were immigrants,
too, from southern China into Japan, and among them, some were so pious
as to build temples in the districts in which they settled, and to
practise the cult of Buddha, which they had brought with them from their
homes. Ssuma-Tateng of the Liang dynasty, who came over to Japan in 522
A.D., is one of the outstanding examples. Such was the history of
Buddhism in Japan before the memorable thirteenth year of the Emperor
Kimmei. The event which happened in that year, therefore, has an
importance only on account of the pompous presentation by Kutara of
Buddhist images and sutras to our imperial court.

Who, then, first countenanced, patronised, and was converted to the
newly imported religion? Naturally the progressives of that age, among
whom the Soga were the foremost. Unlike the two other conspicuous
families of Ohtomo and Mononobe, who served exclusively as military
lords, the family of Soga supplied not only the military, but the civil
and diplomatic services also. This naturally gave them very frequent
access to the imported civilisation in contrast to the simple soldiers,
who are generally prone to be more conservative than civil officials. As
the chief administrator and chief treasurer, the Soga family could not
dispense with the employment of secretaries, whose posts were
monopolised at that time by groups of immigrant scribes. In this way the
immigrants from the peninsula, afterwards reinforced by those coming
direct from southern China, flocked to the palace of the Soga family,
and they worked naturally for the increase of the power of their patron.
In short, a large number of men, furnished with more literary education
than the ordinary Japanese of the time, became the clients of the

Of the two rivals of the Soga family, that which was the first to
decline in power was the Ohtomo. The next to decay was the family of the
Mononobe. The fall of the rivals of the Soga must be attributed to the
growth of the latter family, which owed much to the help given by the
immigrants mentioned above. And as the introducers of Buddhism were to
be found among these immigrants, it was very natural that the family of
Soga should be among the first to be converted to the new religion. Thus
the aggrandisement of the Soga family, the propagation of Buddhism which
it patronised, and the progress of civilisation in general went on hand
in hand. In the middle of the sixth century, that is to say, in the
reign of the Emperor Kimmei, Iname was the head of the Soga family. In
his time the Mononobe family could still hold its own against him,
though at some disadvantage. When, however, Umako, the son of Iname,
succeeded his father, he was at last able to overthrow the power of his
antagonist Moriya of the Mononobe, after defeating and killing him in
battle, with the aid of the prince Shôtoku, who was also a devotee of
the new religion.

Thus in the course of several hundred years the gradual process of
centralisation had been slowly drawing to its goal. In the beginning of
the seventh century at last, the noted families of old were all eclipsed
by the single family of the Soga, which towered alone in wealth and
power above the others. At the same time instead of having the imperial
house as the nucleus of centralisation, the Emperor began to tower high
above the other members of his family. He was the owner of a very vast
domain and of a multitude of people of various classes. He was the head
of the ancestral cult. The sacred emblem of his divine origin, which had
formerly been kept in the imperial camp, was now removed from the palace
for fear of profanation, and taken to its present resting-place in the
province of Ise. Yet the removal did more to increase than to lessen the
sanctity of his person. On the other hand, his authority was in danger
of being usurped by the all-powerful mayor of the palace, the family of
Soga, which had become too strong for the emperor easily to manage. The
times became very critical. In order to push still further the process
of centralisation which had been going on, and to make the empire
better consolidated, some decisive stroke was necessary. And the
revolutionary change was at last accelerated by the overgrown power of
the Soga family, the opening of regular intercourse with China, and
above all the strong necessity within and without to consolidate the
empire more and more.

                               CHAPTER V

                        REMODELING OF THE STATE

Japan stood on the verge of a crisis, and it was saved from catastrophe
by two causes. First, by the ceaseless importation of high Chinese
civilisation, which steadily encouraged the political concentration;
secondly, by the necessity of centralisation so as to push on vigorously
the attack on the still powerful Ainu.

As I have mentioned several times before, the Ainu had been a losing
party in the racial struggle with the Japanese, yet their resistance had
been a very stubborn one, so that at the end of the sixth century they
could still hold their ground against the Japanese on the southern
boundary of the present provinces of Iwaki and Iwashiro, which roughly
corresponds to latitude 37° N. The northern part of Japan, therefore,
was still in constant danger of incursions by the hairy race. For a
country in the infant stage of consolidation, as Japan was at that time,
it was by no means an easy task to ward off the frequent inroads of that
race, and at the same time to continue the process of the inner
organisation of the state. One would perhaps wonder at my conclusion,
starting from the consideration that the Ainu scare was not such a
fearful thing as to influence the natural growth of a state formed by
the stronger race. This misconception arises from the ignorance of the
fact that the famous dictum "delenda est Carthago" was only pronounced
after the first Punic war. Necessity by itself does not create the
desire to secure what is necessary. The desire to attain any aim first
comes into consciousness when one begins to feel strong enough to
venture to attain it. When the Ainu was very powerful, the Japanese had
to contend with them mainly in order to secure a foothold against them.
It was none the less necessary for the Japanese to continue to struggle
with the Ainu, when the former became strong enough to face the
antagonist evenhanded. Lastly, the time arrived now when it became an
urgent necessity for the Japanese to crush the Ainu, in order to achieve
undisturbed a full political organisation in the domain within the four
seas. In short, when the Japanese became so convinced of their might
that they could not tolerate any rival within the principal islands,
they found it even more indispensable to organise themselves as
compactly as possible under one strong supreme head than ever before.

What most facilitated the centralisation under the imperial rule was of
course the imported Chinese civilisation. To say sooth, several
centuries of the slow infiltration of that high civilisation had already
attained a great deal of influence, but it was rather a smuggled, and
not a really legalised importation. Moreover, China herself, the source
from which the civilisation had to be imported, had been dismembered for
a long time, so that until 581 A.D. the country could hardly be called a
unified state at all. How could we expect to find in a country where no
order ruled a model suitable to be employed as exemplar to effect a
durable political reform. It is not strange, therefore, that,
notwithstanding the long years of intercourse between the two countries,
only a very slight change had been thereby occasioned in our country as
regards our political organisation. Any change which was wrought in our
political sphere by Chinese influence was effected in a very indirect
way, having worked its way through multifarious social changes caused by
the contact with the high alien civilisation. No direct political clue
could be followed up from China to this country. To achieve the purpose
of borrowing from China the necessary materials for the reconstruction
of political Japan, we had to wait longer, that is to say, till the
inauguration of regular intercourse between this country and China also
politically unified and concentrated.

That memorable year came at last. In 607 A.D. Ono-no-Imoko was
despatched as official envoy to China, which at that time was under the
second emperor of the dynasty of Sui. Even before this date, however,
since the accession of the Empress Suiko, as the result of the busy
intercourse between us and the peninsular states, various arts and
useful sciences of Chinese origin had been introduced into this country,
among which astronomy, the oldest perhaps of all sciences everywhere in
the world, was the most noteworthy. Connected with this science, the art
of calendar-making was introduced for the first time into Japan. It
would be a gross mistake, if we thereby conclude that we had no means of
defining the dates of events prior to this introduction. Although we
could not by ourselves make an independent calendarial system, yet the
Japanese, at least the naturalised scribes, had already been acquainted
with two chronological methods. The one was to define a date by counting
from the year of the accession of a reigning emperor. The other method
was that which had prevailed long since in China, that is to say, to
define a date by counting according to the cyclical order of the twelve
zodiacal signs, interlaced with the cyclical order of ten attributes, so
that to complete one cycle sixty years were necessary. Some groups of
scribes, perhaps, pursued the former method, while others favoured the
latter. Contradictory statements and evident repetitions abundantly
found in the _Nihongi_ were thus occasioned by the existence of
historical materials, dated according to two different chronological
systems. For the compilers of the famous chronicle sometimes mistook one
and the same event found in different sources and given in two different
chronological systems, for two independent events resembling each other
only in certain superficial respects. Otherwise they misunderstood two
entirely distinct events having the same cyclical designation in date as
a single occurrence, narrated in two different ways, ignoring the fact
that there might have been two like events which happened at a
chronological distance of sixty years or some multiple of that cycle of
time. Confusion of this kind was unavoidable in ages where there was no
established method of defining a historical date. It was a great gain,
therefore, that astronomy and the art of calendar-making chanced to be
introduced in 602 A.D., the tenth year of the reign of the Empress.

Another not less important boon which we received from China through the
peninsular states was the gradation of official ranks. Anterior to this
period we had something like a hierarchical system with the emperor as
the political and social supreme, but the system, if it could be called
such, was nothing but a chain of vassalship fastened very loosely. It
was far from a well-ordered gradation, which is in reality the beginning
of equalisation and could only be effected by a very strong hand. The
dignity of the emperor could be excellently upheld by having under him
gradated subjects, but the gradation itself did not hinder those
subjects from thinking that they were equals before the emperor as his
subjects. This gradation came into practice in the year 604 A.D.

In the same year the famous "Seventeen Articles" was also promulgated.
This was a collection of moral maxims imparted to all subjects,
especially to administrative officials, as instructions. The principle
pervading the articles unmistakably betrays that much of it was borrowed
from Chinese moral and political precepts. The only exception is the
second article, which encouraged the worship of Buddha. It was natural
that such articles should be decreed by Prince Shôtoku, who was under
the tutorship of a Korean priest and a naturalised peninsular savant.

Having so far adopted the elements of Chinese civilisation secondhand
through the peninsular states, we could savour the taste of refinement
enjoyed by the then highly advanced nation on the continent, embellish
thereby life in the court and in high circles, and promote not a little
our political centralisation. We were thus put in the state of one whose
thirst becomes much aggravated after taking a sip of water. At the helm
of the state was a very intelligent personage, Prince Shôtoku, nephew
and son-in-law of the Empress and heir-presumptive to the throne. It was
natural for him and the progressive minister, Umako of the Soga, to
crave for more of the Chinese knowledge and enlightenment. The
peninsular states, which were never very far advanced in civilisation,
had transmitted to us all that they could teach. There was little left
in which those states were in advance of us. Then where should we turn
to obtain more learning and more culture except to China herself?

Diplomatic considerations were also an inducement for us to be drawn
towards China more closely than before. Just at this time we were
gradually losing our ground in the peninsula as the result of the
constant incursions of ascendant Shiragi into the Japanese protectorate,
and of the perfidious policy of Kutara, which feigned to be our ally
only for the sake of playing a dubious game against her neighbours, and
paid more respect to China than she did toward Japan. Kokuri in the
north, the strongest of the three peninsular states and the danger to
waning Kutara, was just, at a critical time, menaced by China under the
quite recently established dynasty of Sui. No wonder that Japan wished
to know more about China, the country with which we had been already
communicating directly as well as indirectly, though very sporadically.
An envoy to China was the natural consequence.

Yang-ti, the second Emperor of the Sui dynasty was very ambitious and
enterprising. His invasion of Kokuri, though it collapsed in utter
failure, was conducted on such a grand scale that it reminds us of the
Persian invasion of Greece under Xerxes, described by Herodotus. This
Yang-ti was much flattered at receiving an envoy from the island far
beyond the sea. Perhaps he rejoiced the more at finding an ally in the
rear of Kokuri, which he was then intending to invade. So he received
the Japanese envoy quite cordially, and on the latter's homeward
journey the Emperor ordered a courtier to escort the envoy to Japan.
This escort was on his return to China accompanied by the same envoy
whom he had escorted hither. Ono-no-Imoko, who was thus twice sent to
China as envoy, must have seen much of that country, and probably
fetched many articles to delight the eyes of the Japanese of the higher
classes, who were enraptured with everything foreign. What was the most
important event connected with the second despatch of the envoy,
however, was the sending abroad with him of students to study Buddhist
tenets and also to receive secular education in China. They stayed in
that country for a very long while, far longer than those who have been
sent abroad by the Japanese government in recent years have been
accustomed to stay in Europe and America, so that they lived in China as
if they were real Chinese themselves, and were deeply imbued with
Chinese thoughts and ideas. Two of the eight students who accompanied
Ono-no-Imoko to China, returned to this country after a sojourn of more
than thirty years, during which they witnessed a change of dynasty, and
the rise of the T'ang, the dynasty in which Chinese civilisation reached
its apogee. One of the two students who returned quite a Chinese to
Japan, happened to become a tutor of a prince who afterwards ascended
the throne as the Emperor Tenchi, the great reformer. By the way, it
should be noticed that all of the eight students despatched were men of
Chinese origin without exception, being naturalised scribes or their

The peninsular states became rather jealous of our direct intercourse
with China, for they could not at least help fearing that thenceforth
they would not be able to play off China and Japan against each other as
they had done up to that time. They, therefore, tried to flatter us by
sending to this country envoys more frequently than before. It was at
one of these ceremonial court receptions of an envoy from Kokuri, that
Soga-no-Iruka, the son of Yemishi of the Soga and the grandson of Umako,
was killed by the Prince Naka-no-Ôye, afterwards the Emperor Tenchi, and
by Nakatomi-no-Kamako, afterwards Kamatari. The father of Iruka soon
followed his son's fate, and with him the main branch of the quondam
all-powerful family of the Soga came to an end.

The fall of the house of the Soga may be ascribed to several causes. In
the first place, it became an absolute necessity for the growth of the
imperial power to get rid of the too arrogant Soga ministers, because to
bear with them any longer would have endangered the imperial prestige
itself. Secondly, as soon as the family of the Soga had ceased to fear
its rivals, it began to be divided within itself by internal strife.
Lastly, a quarrel about the imperial succession brought about the
interweaving of the above two causes. The Prince Naka-no-Ôye, being the
eldest son of the Emperor Jomei, was naturally one of the candidates to
the throne. As his mother, however, was the Empress Kôkyoku, and
therefore not of the Soga blood, the Prince was in fear lest he should
be put aside from the order of the succession. Besides, he was very much
enraged at the overbearing attitude of Yemishi and his son. The Nakatomi
family to which Kamatari belonged was one of the five old illustrious
names, and had been chiefly engaged in religious affairs. Kamatari
deeply deplored the fact that his family had long been overshadowed by
that of the Soga. Being qualified as a capable statesman, he foresaw the
political danger to which Japan was exposed at that time. The lateral
branches of the Soga family, actuated perhaps by jealousy against the
main branch, joined the Prince and Kamatari in annihilating the far too
overgrown power which threatened the imperial prerogative. Japan thus
safely passed this political crisis. The next task was the thorough
reconstruction of the social and political organisations, and the
establishment of a uniform system throughout the whole Empire.

A series of grand reforms was inaugurated in the year 645 A.D. in the
name of the reigning Emperor Kôtoku, who was one of the uncles of the
Prince on his mother's side, and ascended the throne as the result of
wise self-denial on the part of the Prince. The first reform was the
initiation of the period name, a custom which, in China, had been in
vogue since the Han dynasty. The period name which was adopted at first
in Japan in the reign of the Emperor was Tai-Kwa. This Chinese usage,
after it was once introduced into our country, has been continued until
today, though with a few short interruptions.

The next step in the reform was the nomination of governors for the
eastern provinces. Before this time we had already provincial governors
installed in regions under the direct imperial sway, that is to say, in
provinces where imperial domains abounded and imperial residences were
located. These provincial governors depended wholly on the imperial
power, and could at any time be recalled at the Emperor's pleasure. That
such governors were now installed in the far eastern provinces bordering
on the Ainu territory shows that, as these provinces were newly
established ones, it was easier to enforce the reform there than in
older provinces, in which time-honoured customs had taken deep root and
chieftains ruled almost absolutely, so that even those radical reformers
hesitated for a moment to try their hand on them.

The change, in the same year, of the imperial residence to the province
of Settsu, near the site where the great commercial city of Ôsaka now
stands, was also one of the very remarkable events. Imperial residences
of the older times had been shifted here and there according to the
change of the reigning emperor. No one of them, however, as far back as
the time of Jimmu, the first Emperor, seems to have been located out of
the provinces of Yamato, except the dwelling-place of the Emperor
Nintoku. The removal of the imperial residence in 645 A.D. to the
province of Settsu, where facilities for foreign intercourse could be
secured, signifies that the imperial house was turning its gaze toward
the west, with eyes more widely open than before.

The second year of the reform began with far more radical innovations
than the first, that is to say, the abolishment of the group-system and
of the holding of lands by landlords. All the lands privately held by
local lords and all the people subjected to group-chieftains were
decreed to be henceforth public and free and subject only to the
Emperor. The designation of local lords and group-chieftains were
allowed to be kept by those who had formerly possessed them, but only as
mere titles. In order to allow this reform to run smoothly, the Prince
Naka-no-Ôye himself set the example by renouncing, in behalf of the
reigning Emperor, his right over his clients numbering five hundred
twenty four and his private domain consisting of one hundred eighty-one

In lands thus made public, provinces were established, and governors
were appointed. Under those governors served the former local lords and
group-chieftains as secretaries of various official grades or as
district governors, all salaried, paid in natural products, of course,
since no currency existed at that time. In every province, a census was
ordered to be taken, and arable lands were distributed according to the
number of persons in a family, with variations with respect to their
ages and sexes. The distribution had to be renewed after the lapse of a
certain number of years, paralleled to the renewal of the census. The
tax in rice was to be levied commensurate with the area of the lot of
land distributed. Additional taxes in silk, flax, or cotton were to be
paid both per family and according to the area of the distributed lot.
Corvée was also imposed, and any one who did not serve in person was
obliged to pay, in rice and textiles for a substitute. Besides these
imposts, there were many circumstantial regulations concerning the
tribute in horses, equipment of soldiers, use of post-horses, interment
of the dead of various ranks, and so forth. These laws and regulations
taken together are called the Ohmi laws, from the name of the province
into which the Emperor Tenchi had removed his residence.

For three-score years after the promulgation of the reform of Taikwa,
there were many fluctuations, sometimes reactionary and sometimes
progressive, and many additions and amendments were made to the first
enactments published. In general, however, they remained unchanged, and
were at last systematized and codified in the second year of the era of
Taïhô, that is to say, in 702 A.D. This is what the Japanese historians
designate by the name of the Tai-hô Code.

After an impartial comparison of this code with the elaborate
legislation of the T'ang dynasty, one cannot deny that the former was
mainly a minute imitation of the latter. Preambles and epilogues issued
at the time of the first proclamation were taken from passages of the
Chinese classics, and there are many phrases in the text itself which
plainly betray their Chinese origin. Many regulations were inserted, not
on account of their necessity in this country, but only because they
were found in the legislation of the T'ang dynasty.

There are of course not a few modifications, which can be discerned when
carefully scrutinised, and these modifications are generally to be found
in those Chinese laws which were impossible of introduction into our
country without change. Some of them, having been planned originally in
the largest Empire of the world and in an age as highly civilised as
that of the T'ang, were too grand in scale, so that they had to be
minimised in order to suit the condition of the island realm. Others had
too much of the racial traits of the Chinese to be put at once in
operation in a country such as Japan, which on its part had also sundry
peculiarities not to be easily displaced by legislation originated in an
alien soil. This was especially the case with respect to religious
matters. Though it is a question whether Shintoism may be called a
religion in the modern scientific sense, it cannot be disputed that it
has a strong religious element in it. On that account, it had proved a
great obstacle to the propagation of Buddhism, which was the religion
embraced at first not by the common people but by men belonging to the
upper classes, so that the latter, while earnestly encouraging the
inculcation of Buddhism, were obliged to show themselves not altogether
indifferent to the old deities. In behalf of the Shinto cult, special
dignitaries were appointed, the chief of whom played the same part as
the Pontifex Maximus of ancient Rome. Such an institution is purely
Japanese and was not to be found in the Chinese model. Apart from these
exceptions, however, the reform of the Tai-kwa era was essentially a
Japanese imitation of a Chinese original.

What was the result, then, of the reform undertaken partly from national
necessity, but partly also from love of imitation? Let me begin with the
bright side first.

Whatever be the intrinsic merit of the reform itself, there is no doubt
that the reform came from necessity. It was absolutely necessary that
Japan, in order to make solid progress, should be centralised
politically. The model which the reformers selected was the legislation
of a strongly centralised monarchy. In this respect at least it
admirably fitted the necessity of Japan at that time. In the year 659,
fifteen years after the promulgation of the reform, an organised
expedition consisting of a large number of squadrons, was despatched
along the coast of the Sea of Japan as far north as the island now
called by the name of Hokkaido. In the next year another expedition was
sent across the sea to the continental coast, perhaps to the region at
the mouth of the Amur. Though the frontier line on the main island was
not pushed forward against the Ainu so rapidly as the progress along the
western coast, owing to the obstinate resistance of the tribe on the
eastern coast, yet the victory was wholly on the side of the Japanese.
The removal of the imperial residence by the Emperor Tenchi in the year
667 to the side of lake Biwa, in the province of Ohmi, marks an epoch in
the progress of the exploration north-easternward. For the new site, a
little distant from the modern town of Ohtsu, is more conveniently
situated than the former residences, not only in guarding and pushing
the north-eastern frontier, but in keeping connection with the
navigation on the Sea of Japan. The inland lake of Biwa, though not
large in area, is one which must be counted as something in a country as
small as Japan. Until quite recent times, communication between Kyoto,
the former capital, and Hokkaido and the northern provinces of Hon-to
was maintained, not along the eastern or Pacific shore, but via the Lake
and the Sea of Japan. Even the eastern coast of the province of Mutsu
seems to have had no direct communication by sea with the centre of the
Empire. In order to reach there from the capital, men in old times were
obliged to take generally a long roundabout way along the western coast,
pass the Strait of Tsugaru, and then turn southward along the Pacific
coast. This important highway of the sea route of old Japan was
connected with Kyoto by the navigation across lake Biwa. The change of
the imperial residence to the neighborhood of Ohtsu, which is the key of
the lake navigation routes, had no doubt a great historic significance.

Another remarkable event which contributed much to the remodelling of
the state was the total overthrow of the Japanese influence in the
Korean peninsula. About the middle of the sixth century Mimana was taken
by Shiragi, and with it our prestige in the peninsula suffered a severe
loss. Still for some time there remained to Japan a shadow of influence
in the existence of the state of Kutara, though the latter was very
unreliable as an ally. That state then began to be hard pressed by
Shiragi and asked for our help. More than once we sent reinforcements,
sometimes numbering more than twenty thousand soldiers. Arms and
provisions were also freely given. Owing to the incompetence of the
Japanese generals despatched, however, and the perfidious policy of
Kutara, our assistance proved ineffective. As a counter to our
assistance to Kutara, Shiragi invoked the aid of the T'ang dynasty,
which was eager to establish its rule over the peninsula. In the year
650 Kutara was at last destroyed by the co-operation of the army of
Shiragi and the navy of the T'ang. Next it was the turn of Kokuri to be
invaded by the T'ang army. A Japanese army consisting of more than ten
thousand men was sent in order to restore Kutara and to succour Kokuri.
In 663 a great naval battle was fought between the Chinese squadrons and
ours, ending in the defeat of the latter, for the former, consisting of
170 ships, far outnumbered the Japanese. With this defeat our hope of
the restoration of Kutara was finally lost. The remnants of the royal
family of Kutara and of the people of that state numbering more than
three thousand immigrated into Japan. Kokuri, too, surrendered soon
afterwards to the T'ang in 668, and long before this Shiragi had become
a tributary state of China. The influence of the T'ang dynasty prevailed
over the whole peninsula.

Since this time we were reduced to defending our interest, not on the
Korean peninsula, but by fortifying the islands of Tsushima and Iki and
the northern coast of Kyushu. There was no breach of the peace, however,
between Japan and China after the naval battle of the year 663, for
after the downfall of Kutara we had no imperative necessity to despatch
our army abroad, and therefore no occasion to come into collision with
the Chinese army in the peninsula. China, on her part, did not wish to
make us her enemy. The rough sea dividing the two countries made it a
very hazardous task to try to invade us, even for the emperors of the
Great T'ang. A Chinese general who had the duty of governing the former
dominion of Kutara sent embassies several times to Japan. At one time an
embassy was accompanied by two thousand soldiers as retinue, but the
purpose was plainly demonstrative. We also continued to send embassies
to China. Peace was thus restored on our western frontier, though under
conditions somewhat detrimental to our national honour.

The evacuation of the peninsula was a great respite to our national
energy, howsoever it be regretted. First of all, Japan was not yet a
match for China of the T'ang. Moreover, to keep up our prestige on the
peninsula was too costly a matter for us, even if we had been able to
sustain it, and by this evacuation we were saved from squandering the
national resources which were not yet at their full. After all, for
Japan at that time the urgent necessity lay not in geographical
expansion abroad, and affairs on the peninsula were of far less
importance when compared with driving the Ainu out of Hon-to. Against an
enemy coming from the west, we could defend ourselves without much
difficulty, the rough sea being a strong bulwark. It is quite another
kind of matter to divide the Hon-to with the Ainu for long. Japan wanted
a geographical expansion not without, but within.

The development of political consolidation received also much benefit
from our renunciation on the west. Our national progress, and therefore
our political concentration, got a great stimulus in the intercourse
with the peninsula. If we had, however, meddled with peninsular affairs
too long, we would not have been able to turn our attention exclusively
to inner affairs. The reform laws had just been published, and they
required time to be thoroughly assimilated. Unless amended and
supplemented according to practical needs, those laws would be mere
black on white, or sources of social confusion. Absolutely and without
question we were in need of peace, and that peace was obtained by the
evacuation. By this peace the reform legislation could work at its best
possible. If it had not enhanced the merit of the new legislation, at
least it developed the benefit of the reform to the full, and prevented
much evil which might have arisen if it had been otherwise.

On the other hand, the dark side of the reform legislation must not be
overlooked. In reality the Chinese civilisation of the T'ang dynasty was
one too highly advanced to be successfully copied by Japan, a country
which was just in its teens, so to speak, so far as development was
concerned. As a rule, the codification of laws in any country denotes a
stage in the progress of the civilisation of that country, where it
became necessary to turn back and to systematise what had already been
attained. In other words, codification is everywhere a retrospective
action, and before it be taken up, the civilisation of that particular
country should have reached a stage considered the highest possible by
the people of that period. Otherwise it can do only harm. When the
codification is far ahead of the civilisation the country possesses,
then that nation will be obliged to take very hurried steps in order to
overtake the stage where the codification stands. It is during these
headlong marches that the dislocation of the social and political
structure of a state generally takes place. In short, it may be called a
national precocity, highly dangerous to a healthy development. The
legislation of the T'ang dynasty, in truth, was even for China of that
age too much enlightened, idealistic, and circumstantial to be worked
with real profit to the state. It was, however, her own creation, while
ours was an imitation. It would have been a miracle if Japan could have
reaped the full harvest expected by a legislation nearly as advanced and
as elaborate as that of the T'ang.

The above remark is especially true as regards the military system. The
dynasty of the T'ang was in its beginning a strong military power. Its
military system was not bad, so long as it was worked by very strong
hands. On the whole, however, the political régime of the dynasty was
not such a one as to favour the keeping up of a martial spirit. After
the subjugation of the uncivilised tribes surrounding the empire, the
martial spirit of the Chinese nation soon relaxed, and the country fell
a prey to the invading barbarians whom the Chinese were accustomed to
despise. We find in it the exact counterpart of the Roman Empire
destroyed by the Germans. For the T'ang dynasty, it had been better to
conserve the military spirit a little longer in order to protect the
civilisation which it had brought to its zenith. With stronger reasons,
the need of a martial spirit ought to have been emphasised for Japan at
that time. The Japanese military ordinance of the reform was modelled
after the Chinese system, but of course on a smaller scale. The chief
fault, however, was its over-circumstantiality, being even more
circumstantial for Japan of that time than the original system was for
China herself. Before the reform we had several bands of professional
soldiers, which could be easily mobilised. That old system had gone. We
had still to fight constantly against the Ainu. Nay, the warfare on that
quarter was taken up with renewed activity, and we had to educate, to
train the people who were not at all accustomed to military discipline.
Having adopted a system resembling conscription, we were always in need
of an accurate census. To have an accurate census taken is a very
difficult matter even for a highly civilised nation. It must have been
especially so for Japan. In the reformed legislation the census was the
basis both for the military service and the land-distribution, taxation
connected with it. The land distribution system, though there might have
been some like element in the original custom of Japan, was yet on the
whole another Chinese institution imitated, very circumstantially again.
Moreover, though this reform seems to have been enforced throughout all
the provinces at once, except the southernmost two, Ohsumi and Satsuma,
in most of the provinces the part of the arable land brought under the
new system must have been very limited. Perhaps only such land in the
neighborhood of each provincial capital might have been distributed
regularly. Added to that, the growth of the population and the increase
of arable land necessitated a change in the distribution, and in the
said legislation a redistribution every six years was provided for that
change. In order to carry out this redistribution regularly and
adequately a very strong government and wise management were needed.
Otherwise either the system would be frustrated, or there would be no
improvement of land.

Considered from the side of the people, the new legislation was not
welcomed in all ways. New taxes are generally wont to be felt heavier
than the accustomed ones. Besides these fresh imposts, military service
was demanded, which was quite a novel thing to most of them. In fact,
their burden must have been pretty heavy, for they could not enjoy a
durable peace at all, on account of the interminable warfare against
the Ainu. Many began to lead a roaming life, others avoided legal
registration in order to escape from taxation and military service.
Before long the fundamental principle of the grand reform collapsed, and
a very expensive governmental system remained, which, too, gradually
became difficult to be kept up. A change of régime seemed unavoidable.

                               CHAPTER VI

                     CULMINATION OF THE NEW RÉGIME;

Whatever be the merit or the demerit of the reform of the Taikwa, it was
after all an honour to the Japanese nation that our ancestors ever
undertook this reform. Not only because they were able to provide
thereby for the needs of the state of that time, but because they were
bold enough, temerarious almost, to aspire to imitate the elaborate
system of the highly civilised T'ang. When an uncivilised people comes
into contact with one highly civilised, it is needless to say that the
former is generally induced to imitate the latter. This imitation is
sometimes of a low order, that is to say, it often verges on mimicry,
and not infrequently results in the dwindling of racial energy on the
part of the imitator. Very seldom does the imitation go so far as to
adopt the political institutions of the superior. If they, however, had
ventured impetuously to do so, the result would have been still worse,
while in the case of Japan as the imitator of China, it was quite
otherwise. At first sight, as China of the T'ang was so incomparably far
ahead of Japan of that time, it might seem rather foolish of our
forefathers to try straightway to imitate her. Moreover, on the whole,
the imitation ended in a failure indeed, as should have been expected.
But the original institutions of the T'ang itself proved a failure in
their own home; hence, had the imitation of those institutions resulted
in a success with us, it would have aroused a great astonishment. The
very fact that our forefathers dared to imitate China, and did not
thereby end in losing spirit and energy, is in itself a great credit to
the reputation of the Japanese as a nation, for it testifies that they
have been from the first a very aspiring nation, unwitting how to shirk
a difficulty. If it be an honour to the Germans not to have withered
before the high civilisation of the Romans, the same glory may be
accorded to the Japanese also.

This aspiring spirit of the nation not only made itself felt in the
importation of Chinese legislation, but also in adopting her arts and
literature. As to arts, it is difficult to ascertain to what degree of
accomplishment our forefathers had already attained before they came
under continental influence. Most probably it was limited to some simple
designs drawn on household utensils, _haniwa_ or terracotta-making, and
to an orchestra of rudimentary instruments. In what may be regarded as
literature, there were ballads, some of which are cited in the
_Nihongi_. Tales of heroic deeds, however, used to be transmitted from
generation to generation, not in the form of poetry, that is, not in
epic, but in oral prose narrations. In this respect the ancient Japanese
fell far short of the Ainu, who had developed a highly epic talent very
early. To summarise, the ancient Japanese apparently showed very few
indications of excelling other peoples in the same stage of civilisation
as regards arts and literature.

In the history of Japanese art, the introduction of Buddhism is a
noteworthy event. For, along with it, works of Chinese painting and
sculpture, both pertaining mainly to Buddhist worship, were sent as
presents to our imperial court by rulers of the peninsular states. Not
only articles of virtu, but also artists themselves, were sent over to
this country from the continent, who displayed their skill in building
temples, making images, decorating shrines with fresco paintings, and so
forth. Instructed by them, some gifted Japanese, too, became enabled to
develop themselves in several branches of art and artistic industry.
Among the plastic arts, painting was very slow in making progress,
though a few examples of that age which have remained to this day are
very similar in style to those pictures and frescoes recently excavated
out of the desert in northwestern China, and have a high historical
value, giving us a glimpse of the T'ang painting. Architecture was
perhaps the art most patronised by the court. We can see it in the
construction of numerous palaces. It is a well known fact that before
the Empress Gemmyo, who was one of the daughters of the Emperor Tenchi
and ascended the throne next after the Emperor Mommu, each successive
emperor established his court at the place he liked, and the residence
of the previous emperor was generally abandoned by the next-comer. From
this fact we can imagine that all imperial palaces of those times, if
they could be named palaces at all, must have been very simply built and
not very imposing. The locality, too, where the residence was
established, was hardly apt to be called a metropolitan city, although
it might have served sufficiently as a political centre of the time. It
was in the third year of the said empress, 710 A.D., that Nara was first
selected as the new capital which was to be established in permanence,
contrary to the hitherto accepted usage, and in fact it remained the
country's chief city for more than eighty years. For the first time a
plan of the city was drawn, a plan very much like a checkerboard, having
been modelled after the contemporary Chinese metropolis. The
architectural style of the new palaces was also an imitation of that
which then prevailed in China. The only difference was that wood was
widely used here instead of brick, which was already the chief building
material in China. Nobles were encouraged by the court to build tiled
houses in place of thatched. Tiles began to come into use about that
time, and not for roofing only, but for flooring also, though the
checkerboard plan of the metropolitan city of Nara might never have
been realised in full detail, and though among those palaces once built
very few could escape the frequent fires and gradual decay, yet judging
from those very few which have fortunately survived to this day, we may
fairly imagine that they must have been grandiose in proportion to the
general condition of the age. What gives the best clue to the social
life of the higher classes of that time is the famous imperial treasury,
Shô-sô-in, at Nara, now opened to a few specially honoured persons every
autumn, when the air is very agreeably dry in Japan. The treasury
contains various articles of daily and ceremonial use bequeathed by the
Emperor Shômu, who was the eldest son of the Emperor Mommu and died in
749 A.D. after a reign of twenty-five years. Being so multifarious in
their kinds, and having been wonderfully well preserved in a wooden
storehouse, these imperial treasures, if taken together with numerous
contemporary documents extant today, enable us to give a clear and
accurate picture of the social life of that time.

As _tatami_ matting was not yet known, and the houses occupied by men of
high circles had their floors generally tiled, it may be naturally
supposed that the indoor life of that time might have been nearer to
that of the Chinese or the European than to that of the modern Japanese.
Accordingly their outdoor life, too, must have been far different from
that of the present day. For example, modern Japanese are fond of
trimming or arranging flowers, putting two or three twigs into a small
vase or a short bamboo tube, by methods which, however dainty, are very
conventional after all. What they rejoice in thus is to produce a
distorted semblance in miniature as tiny as possible of a certain aspect
of nature. In the age of the Nara emperors, on the contrary, large
bunches of flowers must have been used profusely in decorating rooms and
tables, and perhaps to strew on the ground. A great many flower baskets,
which are kept in the said treasury, and are of a kind to the use of
which the modern Japanese are not accustomed, prove the above assertion.
Again, while modern Japanese ladies play exclusively on the _koto_, a
stringed musical instrument laid flat on the _tatami_ when played, Nara
musicians seem to have played on harps, too, one of which also is extant
in the treasury. Carpets seem to have been used not only in covering the
floor, but were put down on the ground on occasions of some ceremonial
processions. Hunting, rowing, and horsemanship were then the most
favourite pastimes of the nobles. Unlike modern Japanese ladies, women
of that time were not behind men in riding. This one fact will perhaps
suffice to attest the jovial and sprightly character of the social life
of the Nara age.

If we turn to the literature of the time, the progress was remarkable,
more easily perceivable than in any other department. We had now not
only ballads as before, but short epics also. Such a change must of
course be attributed to the influence of the Chinese literature
assiduously cultivated. In the year 751 a collection of 120 select poems
in Chinese, composed by the 64 Nara courtiers since the reign of the
Emperor Tenchi, was compiled and named the _Kwai-fû-sô_. These poems are
quite Chinese in their diction, rhetoric, and strain, resembling in
every way those by first rate Chinese poets, and may fairly take rank
among them without betraying any sign of imitation or pasticcio. If we
consider that no kind of Japanese literature in its own mother tongue
could be committed to writing, save only in Chinese ideographs, the
influence of the Chinese literature, which flourished so rampantly at
that time in Japan, cannot be estimated too highly. No wonder that,
parallel to the compilation of the Chinese poems, a collection of
Japanese poems, beginning with that of the Emperor Yûryaku in the latter
half of the fifth century, was also undertaken. This collection is the
celebrated _Man-yô-shû_. The long and short poems selected, however,
were not restricted, as in the case of the _Kwai-fû-sô_, to those by
courtiers only. On the contrary, it contained many poems sung by the
common people, into which no whit of Chinese civilisation could have
penetrated. The _Man-yô-shû_, therefore, is held by Japanese historians
to be a very useful source-book as regards the social history of the

It is hardly to be denied that some of the Japanese poems of that age
were evidently composed and committed to writing with the object of
being read and not sung, as almost all modern Japanese poems are
accustomed to be. There were still many others at the same time which
must have been composed from the first in order only to be sung. Men of
the age, of high as well as of low rank, were singularly fond of
singing, generally accompanied by dancing. Many pathetic love stories
are told about those gatherings of singers and dancers, the _utagaki_,
which literally means the singing hedge or ring. This kind of gleeful
gathering used to take place on a street, in an open field, or on a
hill-top. In one of the _utagaki_ held in the city of Nara, it is said
that members of the imperial family took part too, shoulder to shoulder
with citizens and denizens of very modest standing. As to dances of the
time there might have been some styles original to the Japanese
themselves. At the same time there were to be found many dances of
foreign origin, imported, together with their musical accompaniments,
from China and the peninsular states. These dances have long ago been
entirely lost in their original homes, so that they can be witnessed
only in our country now. A strange survival of ancient culture indeed!
Of course even in our country those exotic and antiquated dances do not
conform to the modern taste, and on that account are not frequently
performed. They have been handed down through many generations,
however, by the band of court musicians, and at present these dances,
dating back to the T'ang dynasty, are performed only at certain archaic
court ceremonies.

From what has been stated above, one can well imagine that, in certain
respects, Japan of the Nara age had much in common with Greece just
about the time of the Persian invasion. In both it was an age in which a
vigorous race reached the first flourishing stage of civilisation, when
the national energy began to be devoted to æsthetic pursuits, but was
nevertheless not yet enervated by over-enlightenment. Whatever those
Japanese set their minds on doing, they set about it very briskly and
cheerfully, nor was their enthusiasm dampened by any fear of probable
mishap. Being naïve, and therefore ignorant of obstacles inevitable to
the progress of a nation, they always soared higher and higher, full of
resplendent hope. How eager they were to essay at great things may be
conjectured from the size of the Daibutsu, the colossal statue of
Buddha, in the temple of the Tôdaiji at Nara. The statue, more than
fifty-three feet in height, was finished in 749 A.D. after several
successive failures encountered and overcome during four years, and is
the largest that was ever made in Japan. That such a great statue was
not only designed, but was executed by Japanese sculptors, whether their
origin be of immigrant stock or not, should be considered a great
credit to the enterprising spirit and the artistic acquirements of the
Japanese of that epoch.

Such a stride in the national progress, however, was only attained at
the expense of other quarters not at all insignificant. On the one hand,
it is true that Japan benefited immensely by having had as her neighbor
such a highly civilised country as China of the T'ang. On the other
hand, it should not be overlooked that it was a great misfortune to us
that we had such an over-shadowingly influential neighbour. China of
that time was a nation too far in advance of us to encourage us to
venture to compete with her. She left us no choice but to imitate her.
Who can blame the Japanese of the Nara age if they thought it the most
urgent business to run after China, and try to overtake her in the same
track down which they knew the Chinese had progressed a long way
already? The glory and splendour of the Chinese civilisation of the
T'ang was too enticing for them to turn their eyes aside and seek a yet
untrodden route. That they strove simply to imitate and rejoiced in
behaving as though they were real Chinese should not be a matter for
astonishment in the least. Perhaps it may be said to their credit that
the imitation was exquisite and the resemblance accurate. One of the
brilliant students then sent abroad remained there for eighteen years,
and after his return to this country he eventually became a prominent
minister of the Japanese government, notwithstanding his humble origin,
a promotion very rare in those days. Certain branches of Chinese
literature, many refined ceremonies, various kinds of Chinese pastimes,
many things Chinese, useful and beneficial to our people, to be found in
Japan even to this day have been attributed to his importation. Another
scholar who was obliged to stay in China for more than fifty years,
distinguished himself in the literary circles of the Chinese metropolis,
was taken into the service of a T'ang emperor as a very high official
under a Chinese name, and at last died there with a life-long yearning
for his native country.

Such an imitation, however useful it might have proved in behalf of our
country at large, could not fail to exact from the nation still young,
as Japan was at that time, a tremendous overexertion of their mental
faculties. Having been strained to the last extremity of tension, the
Japanese became naturally exceedingly nervous. From a lack of patience
to observe quietly the maturing of the effect of a stack of laws and
regulations already enacted, they hastily repudiated some of them as if
they were of no use, and replaced them by new laws quite as confounding
as the previous ones, and thus legislations contradictory in principle
rapidly succeeded one another, none of them having had time enough to be
experimented with exhaustively. Although along with this rage for
imitation there was a strong countercurrent, very conservative, which
struggled incessantly to preserve what was original and at the same
time precious, yet to determine which was worthy of preservation was a
matter of bewilderment to the contemporaries, for they were averse from
coming into any collision with things Chinese to which they were not at
all loth. Excitement and irritation, the natural result of this
topsyturvy state of things, can best be estimated by the belief in
ridiculous auspices. The discovery of a certain plant or animal, of rare
colour or of unusual shape, generally caused by deformities, was
enthusiastically welcomed as an augury of a long and peaceful reign, and
was wont to call forth some lengthy imperial proclamation in praise of
the government. Bounties were munificently distributed to commemorate
the happy occasion, discoverers of these rarities were amply rewarded,
criminals were released or had the hardships of their servitude
ameliorated. Naturally, many of these auguries proved vain, and only
served as a prop to sustain the self-conceit of responsible ministers,
or as a means of soothing general discontent, if such discontent could
ever be manifested in those "good old times." The greatest evil of this
fatuous hankering for sources of self-satisfaction was the throng of
rogues and sycophants thereby produced who vied with one another in
contriving false or specious rarities and begging imperial favour for
them. Superstitions of this kind would have suited well enough a people
quite uncivilised, or too civilised to care for rational things. As for
the Japanese, a people already on the way of youthful progress, radiant
with hope, belief in auspices was but an intolerable fetter. If viewed
from this single point, therefore, the régime ought to have been
reformed by any means.

Another and still greater evil of the age was the clashing of interests
between the different classes of people. Chinese civilisation could
permeate only the powerful, the higher classes. Though the chieftains
and lords, who had been mighty in the former régime, were bereft of
their power by the appropriation of their lands and people, a new class
of nobles soon arose in place of them, and among the latter the
descendants of Nakatomi-no-Kamatari were the most prominent. This
sagacious minister, of whom I have already spoken in the foregoing
chapters, was rewarded, in consideration of his meritorious services in
the destruction of the Soga, as well as in the execution of the most
radical reform Japan has ever known, with the office of the most
intimate advisory minister of the Emperor, and was granted the
honourable family appellation of Fujiwara. His descendants, who have
ramified into innumerable branches and include more than half of the
court-nobles of the present day, enjoyed ever-increasing imperial favour
generation after generation. What marked especially the sudden growth of
the family position was the elevation of one of the grand-daughters of
the minister to be the imperial consort of the Emperor Shômu. For
several centuries prior to this, it had been the custom to choose the
empress from the daughters of the families of the blood imperial. An
offspring of a subject, however high her father's rank might be, was not
recognised as qualified to that distinction. The privilege, which the
Fujiwara family was now exceptionally honoured with, meant that only
this family should have hereafter its place next to the imperial, so
that none other would be allowed to vie with it any more. The Fujiwara
became thus associated with the imperial family more and more closely,
and affairs of state gradually came to be transacted as if they were the
family business of the Fujiwara. The worst evil of this aggrandisement
was only prevented by the incessant and inveterate internecine feuds
within the clan itself, which eventually served to put a bridle on the
audacity and ambition of any one of the members.

This influential family of the Fujiwara, together with a few other
nobles of different lineage, including scions of the imperial family,
monopolised almost all the wealth and power in the country. They kept a
great number of slaves in their households, and held vast tracts of
private estates, too. As to the land, they developed and cultivated the
fields by the hands of their slaves or leased them for rent. Besides,
they turned into private properties those lands of which they were
legally allowed only the usufruct. By the reform legislation, the
usufruct of a public land was granted to one who did much service to
the state, but the duration of the right was limited to his life or at
most to that of his grand-children. None was permitted to hold the
public land as a hereditary possession without time limit. It was by the
infringement of these regulations that arbitrary occupation was

Another means of the aggrandisement of the estates of the nobles was a
fraudulent practice on the part of the common people. Those who were
independent landowners or legal leaseholders of public lands were liable
to taxation, as may be supposed, and as the taxes and imposts of that
time were pretty heavy, those landholders thought it wiser to alienate
the land formally by presenting it to some influential nobles or some
Buddhist temples, which came to be privileged, or asserted the right to
be exempted from the burden of taxation. In reality, of course, those
people continued to hold the land as before, and were very glad to see
their burden much alleviated, for the tribute which they were obliged to
pay to the nominal landlord by the transaction must have been less than
the regular taxes which they owed to the government. Moreover, by this
presentation they could enter under the protection of those nobles or
temples, which was useful for them in defying the law, should need
arise. The number of independent landholders thus gradually diminished
by the renunciation of the legal right and duty on the part of the
holders, and consequently the amount of the levied tax grew less and
less. The state, however, could not curtail the necessary amount of the
expenditure on that account. The dignity of the court had to be upheld
higher and higher, state ceremonies performed regularly, and the
national defence was not to be neglected for a moment. All these were
causes which necessitated a continual increase of revenue. In order to
fill up the deficit, the burden was transferred, doubled or trebled, to
those who remained longer honest, so that it soon became quite
unbearable for them also. The hardships borne by the law-abiding people
of that time could be compared to those of the Huguenots who, faithful
to their confession, were impoverished by the dragonnade. In this way,
more and more people were induced to give up their independent stand and
take shelter under the shield of mighty protectors. Military service,
too, was another grievance for the common people. They had to serve in
the western islands against continental invaders, or on the northern
frontier against the Ainu. Not only did they thereby risk their lives,
but sometimes they were obliged to procure their provisions at their own
cost, for the government could not afford it. If those people would once
renounce their right of independence and turn voluntary vagabonds, then
they could at once elude the military duty and the tax. No wonder this
was possible since it was an age in which the national consciousness was
not yet developed enough to teach them implicitly that it was their
duty to be ready to expose themselves to any peril for the sake of the
state. This underhand transaction is one exceedingly analogous to the
process in which Frankish allod-holders gradually turned their lands
into fiefs, in order to escape taxation and at the same time obtain
protection from influential persons. If one should think that the
census, which was ordained in the reform law to take place periodically,
would prove efficient to check the increase of these outcasts, it would
be a great mistake in forming a just conception of these ages. Soon
after the enactment of the census law, it ceased to be regularly
executed, and even while the law was observed with punctuality, the
extent to which it was applied must have been very limited. It was at
such a time that the great statue of Buddha was completed in the city of
Nara, and ten thousand priests were invited to take part in a grand
ceremony of rejoicing.

The palaces and temples in Nara, as well as the imperial mansions and
the abodes of nobles scattered about the country, seem in a great
measure to have been solidly and magnificently built, with their roofs
covered with tiles as beforementioned. The nobles who had no permanent
residence in the city, had as their bounden duty to pay certain duty
visits, as it were, to the imperial court, and learn there how to refine
their country life by adopting the metropolitan ways of living. Some of
the household furniture used by the nobles and members of the imperial
family was bought in China. The education of the higher classes enabled
them not only to read and write the literary Chinese with ease and
fluency, but to behave correctly according to Chinese etiquette, as if
they were themselves genuine Chinese. These are the bright aspects of
the history of the Nara age. Around the metropolitan city, however, and
those aristocratic abodes in the country, swarmed the impoverished
people, utterly uneducated, receiving no benefit whatever from the
imported Chinese civilisation. Here one might perhaps ask, could not
Buddhism give them any solace at all? Not in the least. The shrewd
Buddhists, having seen that Shintoism had been strangely tenacious in
resisting the propagation of their creed notwithstanding its lack of
system and dogma, wisely invented a clever method to keep a firm hold
even on the conservative mind by identifying the patron deities of
Buddhism with the national gods of our country. It resembles in some
ways the device of the early Christian missionaries in northern Europe,
who tried to blend Teutonic mythology with Christian legend. The only
difference between them is that those missionaries did not go so far as
our Buddhist priests did. This device of the Buddhists was crowned with
complete success. By this identification Buddhism became a religion
which could be embraced without any palpable contradiction to Shintoism,
in other words, with no risk of injuring the national traditions. Nay,
it came to be considered that Shintoism was not only compatible with
Buddhism, but also subservient to its real interests. Thus we find
almost everywhere a Shinto shrine standing within the same precincts as
a Buddhist temple, the Shinto deity being regarded as the patron of the
Buddhist creed and its place of worship. This strange combination
continued to be looked upon as a matter of course until the Restoration
of Meidji, when the revival of the imperial prerogative was accompanied
by a reaction against Buddhism, and the purification of Shintoism from
its Buddhistic admixture was enthusiastically undertaken. On account of
the dubiosity of their religious character, many finely built temples
and images of exquisite art were ruthlessly demolished, much to the
regret of art connoisseurs.

In the year 794, the Emperor Kwammu transferred his capital to the
province of Yamashiro, and gave it the felicitous appellation of Hei-an,
which means peace and tranquility. The place, however, has been commonly
designated by the name of Kyoto, which means literally the capital, and
continued henceforth to be the centre of Japan for more than one
thousand years. There might have been several motives which caused the
capital to be removed from Nara. The valley, in which the old capital
was situated, might have been too narrow to allow free expansion, or it
might have been found inconveniently situated as regards communications.
Party strife among the nobles might have been another reason. At any
rate the choice of the new site cannot be regarded as a mistake. Kyoto
is better connected with Naniwa, Ôsaka of the present day, than Nara was
at that time. From Kyoto one was able to reach the port within a few
hours, by going down the river Yodo by boat. There is no natural
hindrance on the way like the mountain chain which divides the two
provinces of Yamato and Settsu. At the same time, Kyoto is quite near to
Ohtsu, the gate toward the eastern provinces, and those selfsame
provinces were the regions which had for long been engrossing the
attention of far-sighted contemporary statesmen.

The energetic Emperor Kwammu undertook the conquest of the Ainu with a
renewed vigour. That part of the Ainu country which faced the Sea of
Japan was already made a province before the accession of that
sovereign. In the Emperor's reign the success of the Japanese arms was
carried far into the Ainu land by the victorious general
Sakanouye-no-Tamuramaro. The boundary of the province of Mutsu, the
region facing the Pacific, was pushed northward into the middle of the
present province of Rikuchû. Enterprising Japanese settled in those
lands or travelled to and fro in quest of trade. The Ainu, however, was
not completely subjugated, nor was he easily driven away out of the main
island. Beyond Shirakawa, the place which had for a long time been
considered the northernmost limit of civilised Japan, numerous hordes
of half-domesticated Ainu continued to reside as before. As the result
of the constant contact with the Japanese, they were slowly influenced
by the civilisation which the latter had already acquired. They could
consolidate their forces under the leadership of some valiant chiefs,
and frequently dared to rise against oppressive governors sent from
Kyoto. In short, they proved to be intractable as ever, so that more
than three centuries were still necessary to put their land in the same
status as the ordinary Japanese province. The interminable wars and
skirmishes waged thenceforth between the two races were one of the
principal causes of the financial embarrassment of the government at
Kyoto, and finally undermined its power.

The imperial family and the nobles lived their lives at Kyoto, largely
as they were wont to do at the old capital of Nara. The family of the
Fujiwara was ever as ascendant as before. Abundant court intrigues were
now not the outcome of the antagonism between the different great
families, but of the internal quarrels within the single family of the
Fujiwara, not infrequently intermingled with disputes concerning the
imperial succession. All the high and lucrative offices were monopolised
by the members of that able and ambitious family. Most of the empresses
of the successive sovereigns were their daughters. The regency became
the hereditary function of the family, and they filled the office one
after another without any regard to the age or health conditions of the
reigning emperor. It was very rare indeed for members of families other
than the Fujiwara to be promoted to one of the three great
ministerships. Even scions of the imperial family had to yield to them
in power and position.

Their literary attainments were generally high, being but little
inferior to those of the professional literati, who formed a class of
secondary courtiers, and proceeded generally from the families of the
Sugawara, Kiyowara, and so forth. Ships with ambassadors, students, and
priests were sent by them to China of the T'ang as before. For they
still burned with an ardent desire to get more and more knowledge about
things Chinese. Their Sinicomania was carried indeed to such an excess
that the physiognomical type of the Chinese came to be regarded as the
finest ideal of mankind, and any Japanese who was of that type was
adored as having the ideal features.

The despatch of the official ships continued as in the days of Nara, not
at regular intervals, but generally once during the reign of every
Japanese emperor. The impetuous imitation of Chinese legislation
slackened in fact, for in that respect we had already borrowed enough.
The connection of our country with China began to take the form of
ordinary international intercourse, with due reciprocation of
courtesies. There remained, however, some need of keeping pace with the
political changes in China, and we could not make up our minds to
refrain altogether from peeping into the land which we held to be far
above our country in civilisation. The last of such an embassy was that
sent in the year 843. Half a century afterwards another squadron was
ordered to be despatched, and Sugawara-no-Michizane was appointed
ambassador. But the squadron was never really sent. For at that time the
long dynasty of the T'ang was just drawing near to its end, and the
civil war of a century's duration was beginning. There was no more any
stable government in China with which we could communicate. Moreover,
there was danger to be feared that we might be somehow embroiled in the
anarchical disturbances in the Middle Kingdom. The ambassador, Michizane
himself, was also of the opinion that little was to be gained by the
despatch of the intended squadron, and dissuaded the government from
sending it.

Japan now entered into the stage of the assimilation of the alien
culture already imported in full. Hitherto we had been too busy to make
discrimination among those things Chinese which we had engulfed at
random. Now we had to make clear which of them was suited, and how
others were to be modified in order to make them useful to our country.
In short, we had to digest; or to speak by the book, we had to ruminate
on what we had already taken. After all it must have been a wise policy
to put a stop to the state of national nervousness caused by the
incessant introduction of foreign laws, manners, customs, things. The
infiltration, however superficial it might have been, left an
ineradicable influence owing to the continual process of several
centuries. The spirit of the culture of the dominant class became
essentially Chinese. Though the saying, "Japanese spirit and Chinese
erudition" was henceforth fondly spoken of, the Japanese spirit itself
was not yet clearly defined, and did not enter into the full
consciousness of the nation. What the ruling nobles, who had imbibed the
Chinese spirit already too deeply, could do was only to discard things
which became superannuated and untenable.

The characteristics of the age of rumination may be discerned in the
history of our literature from the latter half of the ninth century to
the beginning of the eleventh. At first, while literary works were still
being written almost exclusively in Chinese, we begin to find in their
style traces of Japanisation, becoming more and more marked as time goes
on. Along with works in Chinese, those in our own language began to
appear, though very sparsely at first. Then gradually these attempts in
the vernacular increased, so that eventually the end of the tenth
century became the culminating period of the classical Japanese
literature. Religious and scholastic works were written in Chinese as
before. August and ceremonial documents continued to be composed in the
same language. Chinese poetry was as much in vogue among the courtiers
as ever. At the same time, however, numerous works in Japanese now
appeared in the form of chronicles, diaries, short stories, novels,
satirical sketches, and poems. What was most remarkable, however, is
that the greater part of those works was written not by men, but by
court ladies. Among the ladies, who by their wit and literary genius
brightened the court of the Emperor Ichijô, stood at the forefront
Murasaki-shikibu, the author of the _Genji-monogatari_, and
Sei-Shônagon, the author of _Makura-no-sôshi_.

That these intelligent and talented court ladies were versed in Chinese
literature can be perceived in what they wrote in Japanese. In other
words, the culture, essentially Chinese, of the high circles of society
was not monopolised by the men only, but shared by the women. And these
court ladies were fairly emancipated, and far from being subject to the
caprices of men. It is often argued that the progress of a country can
be measured rightly by the social status of the women in it. If that be
true, Japan at the beginning of the eleventh century must have been very
highly civilised. And it was really so in a certain sense. This
civilised Japan, however, was confined to the very narrow circle in
Kyoto, and for that very circle the Chinese enlightenment penetrated too
deep. The great nobles of the Fujiwara family were too refined, too
effeminate for holders of the helm of the state, the young state in
which there was still much to be done vigorously.

The Ainu on the north were menacing as ever. For though they had lost in
extent of territory, they had gained in civilisation. The demand of the
state was for energetic ministers as well as for valiant warriors. The
high-class nobles became unfitted for both, and especially for the rough
life of the latter. As generals, therefore, not to speak of officers,
were employed men of comparatively low rank among the courtiers. In this
way military affairs became the hereditary profession of certain
families which happened to be engaged in them most frequently, and were
at last monopolised by them. As the government, however, could not and
did not care to provide these generals with a sufficiency of soldiers,
provisions, and armaments, they were obliged to help themselves to those
necessaries, just like the leaders of the landsknechts in Europe. The
intimate relation of vassalage, not legally recognised of course, thus
arose between those generals and their private soldiers, and as this
condition lasted for a considerable time, the relationship became
hereditary. Needless to say that such a condition of affairs was
naturally set up in the provinces, where the Ainu was still powerful
enough to raise frequent disturbances. On account of the fact that these
generals and their relatives were often appointed to the governorship of
distant provinces, where the influence of the Kyoto government was too
weak to check their arbitrary conduct, the same connection of vassalage
was formed there also between them and the provincials who were in need
of their protection. Not only did they thus become masters of bands of
strong and warlike people, but they also appropriated to themselves by
sundry means vast tracts of land, and fattened their purses thereby.
That they did not venture at once to overthrow the political régime
upheld by the nobles of the Fujiwara family may be accounted for by the
time-honoured prestige of the latter. For a long while those warriors
went even so far as to do homage to this or that noble of the Fujiwara
as his vassals, and served as tools to this or that party in court
intrigues. The courtiers, who employed them as their instruments, had no
apprehension that those military men, subservient for the moment to
their needs, would one day turn into rivals, powerful enough in the long
run to overturn them, and flattered themselves that they would remain as
their cat's-paws forever. An exact analogy of this in the history of
Rome may be found in the shortsightedness of the senate, which
complacently believed that the Scipios and the Caesars would for ever
remain obedient to their order. It would be a fatal mistake to think
that a cat's-paw would always remain docile and faithful to its
employer. Especially when it is frequently used and abused it becomes
conscious of its own usefulness and real strength; and self-assertion
is born. The next step for it must be the sounding of the strength of
its master, then the desire awakens to take the place of the master,
when it is found that he is not so strong as he looks to be.

Moreover in any country, in whatever condition, war cannot be carried on
without a great number of participants, while it must be directed by a
single head. War, therefore, tends on the one hand to create a dictator,
and on the other hand to precipitate the democratisation of a country.
None would be so ignorant for long as to discharge gladly an imposed
duty without enjoying their right to compensation for service rendered.
The time must come when these military leaders should supersede the
ultracivilised Kyoto nobles, and hold the reins of government
themselves. The transference of political power from the higher to the
lower stratum was unavoidable. These generals, howsoever inferior they
might be in rank compared with the court nobles of the Fujiwara, were
still to be classed among the nobles, and it was yet a very far cry to
the time when the common people could have some share in the politics of
their own country.

                               CHAPTER VII


For some time the military class had been rocking the prestige of the
court nobles, and at last superseded them by overturning their rotten
edifice. It was first by the wars of the so-called "Nine Years" and
"Three Years," both waged in northern Japan in the latter half of the
eleventh century by Yoriyoshi and Yoshiiye, the famous generals of the
Minamoto family, that the military class began to grow markedly powerful
and independent. Nearly a century passed, and then Yoritomo, one of the
great-great-grandsons of Yoshiiye, was able to set up his military
government, the Shogunate, at Kamakura in the province of Sagami.
Previous to the Kamakura Shogunate, there was an interim between it and
the old régime, the semi-military government of the Taira family. The
family of the Taira sprang, like that of the Minamoto, from a scion of
the imperial family, and, like the latter, had been engaged from the
first in the craft of war. Of the two, the Taira first succeeded in
courting the favour of the Fujiwara nobles, and the members of the
former family were appointed to less dangerous and more lucrative posts
than the Minamoto. As Japan at that time kept on gravitating toward the
west of Kyoto, it was natural that the influence of the Taira should
have been extended in the western provinces. Some of the noted warriors
belonging to this clan were now and then charged with the governorship
of the eastern provinces, and therefore their descendants were widely
scattered in those quarters also. In the east, however, the influence of
the Minamoto family was paramount, for noted warriors of this family
were more frequently employed than the Taira in the region against the
Ainu. In both of these families, the moral link between several branches
within the family was very loose, perhaps much weaker than in the
Highland clans in Scotland. Such dissension should be attributed to the
fact that those who passed under the same family name of the Minamoto or
the Taira became soon too numerous to present a united front always,
whenever a conflict with the rival family arose. At any rate the feud
between the respective main branches of the two families was very bitter
and inveterate, covering many generations. Of the two, the Minamoto,
hardened by constant warfare with the still savage tribes in the north,
and trained by the privations unavoidable in wars, surpassed the Taira
in robustness and bravery. The Taira became, on the contrary, as the
result of close contact with the courtiers at Kyoto, more refined than
the Minamoto. Though alternately employed as generals in war as well as
instruments in intrigues, the Taira were thought by the Fujiwara to be
more docile, and therefore were more trusted than the Minamoto. This is
why the former were able to seize possession of the government earlier
than the latter. Kiyomori, the first and the last of the Taira, who was
made the highest minister of the crown, as if he were himself one of the
Fujiwara nobles, was able to reach that goal of the ambition of
courtiers, by intruding himself among them, intermingling his sons and
grandsons with the flower of the Fujiwara, and at last he made one of
his daughters the consort of the Emperor Takakura. His only distinction
as compared with the old nobles was that his personal character was too
rough and soldier-like, and the means he resorted to were too drastic
and forcible, for the over-refined members of the Fujiwara. Kiyomori had
in his quality too much of the real statesman to be an idle player in
the pageants and ceremonies of the court, and it is said that he often
committed blunders through his unseemly deportment as courtier, and
became, on that account, the laughing-stock of the Fujiwara.
Nevertheless he, like the most of the Fujiwara, could not rid himself of
the mistaken idea, that the statesman and the courtier were the same
thing, so that none could be the one without being the other. The
younger members of the family were reared up rather as courtiers than as
soldiers, trained more in playing on musical instruments, in dancing,
and in witty versification of short poems than in the use of weapons.

The most memorable deed achieved by Kiyomori was the change of the
capital from Kyoto to Fukuwara, a part of the present city of Kobe. Till
then Kyoto had been continuously the capital of the empire for three and
a half centuries. To remove the centre of the government from that
sacrosanctity must have been a great surprise to the metropolitans. As
to the interpretation of the motives for this change, historians differ.
It is ascribed by some to Kiyomori's abhorrence of the conventionalism
which obtained in the old capital, and which was so deeply rooted as not
to be eradicated very easily so long as he stayed there, or else to his
anxious desire to get rid of the pernicious meddling of the audacious
priests of the temple Yenryakuji, on mount Hiyei, the source of great
annoyance to the government of Kyoto. By other historians the change is
said to have originated in Kiyomori's farsightedness in having set his
mind on the profit of the trade with China, the trade from which his
family had already reaped a huge profit, and which could be carried on
more actively by shifting the capital from Kyoto to the important port
of the Inland Sea. That he earnestly desired the facilitation of
navigation in the Inland Sea need not be doubted, for the cutting of the
strait of Ondo, the improvement of the harbour of Hyogo, as the port of
Kobe was called at that time, and many other works pertaining to the
navigation of the sea were undertaken at his orders. It is not certain,
however, whether any of the above mentioned motives sufficed alone to
induce him to forsake the historical metropolis. Whatever the reason the
change was a failure. It was very unpopular in the circle of the
Fujiwara nobles, who longed ardently to return to their old nests, and
baffled by the passive resistance of these nobles in whatever he tried
to do, Kiyomori could not achieve anything worthy of mention during the
remainder of his life.

The brief period of the Taira ascendancy thus passed away very swiftly.
It was since 1156 A.D., the year in which the war of the Hogen took
place, that the military-men had begun to discern that they they were
strong enough to displace the Fujiwara nobles. Only three years after
that, the destiny of the two rival families was for a time decided. The
Taira remained on the field, and the vanquished, that is to say, the
members of the chief branch of the Minamoto, were either killed or
deported, the rest having been scattered and rendered powerless to
resist. Yoritomo, one of these exiles, was taken into the custody of an
overseer of the province of Idzu, in the vicinity of which were settled
the descendants of the faithful followers of his forefathers. When an
opportunity came, therefore, he was able to muster without difficulty
those hereditary vassals, and overran, first the eastern provinces, and
then, with the assistance of one of his younger brothers, Yoshitsune,
who had taken refuge with Hidehira, the hybrid generalissimo of the half
independent province of Mutsu, he drove the Taira party out of Kyoto,
whither the capital had been transferred again a short time before, soon
after the death of Kiyomori. What remained to be done was consummated by
the tact and bravery of Yoshitsune. The partisans of the Taira family
fought very valiantly on the coast of the Inland Sea, but always
succumbed in the end to adverse destiny. In the last battle which was
fought on the sea near the strait of Shimonoseki, some of the Taira were
taken prisoners, and then decapitated. Many, however, died in the
battle, or drowned themselves, for to be killed in cold blood by an
enemy has ever been thought the most ignominious fate for a warrior of
Japan. In thus presenting a united front to the last in adversity, the
kernel of the Taira family, though much enervated by their court life,
proved themselves true sons of the chivalrous warriors of old Japan.
This catastrophe took place in the year 1185.

The flourishing period of the Taira family was of the short duration of
thirty years only. As the rise of the family was very sudden, its
downfall was equally abrupt. It was like a meteor traversing a corner of
the long history of Japan, leaving, however, an indelible memory to
posterity. The peculiar charm of the culture of the age represented by
the elite of the family during its ascendency, and its chivalrous end,
embellish the history of our country with a number of pathetic episodes
which provided abundant themes for poems, tales, and dramas of the
after-age. The most famous among this literature is a narration called
the _Heike-monogatari_, Heike in Chinese characters meaning "the family
of Taira." Whether the _monogatari_ or tale was first composed for the
purpose of being read or recited is a question. It is certain, however,
that when the story became widely known, called by the more simplified
name of "the _Heike_," it was generally recited as a chant, resembling
the melody of Buddhist hymns, accompanied by the playing the _biwa_, a
stringed instrument the shape of which has given its name to the largest
lake in Japan. This recitation is the precursor of the _utai_, which was
a kind of recitation fashionable in the next age. The origin of the more
modern _jôruri_ recitation accompanied by the _shamisen_ may be traced
to the _Heike_ also. What pleased the audiences most in the _Heike_ were
the sad vicissitudes of the family and the gallant chivalry manifested
in its downfall. The former, preaching the uncertainty of human life,
was sufficient to touch the courtiers with keen pathos, courtiers who
had lived out their time, and having been taught by Buddhism to look on
every thing pessimistically, were glad to sympathise with whatever was
on the wane. Differently from them, warriors were also fond of hearing
the rehearsal of the _Heike_ with thrills piercing the heart, by putting
themselves in the place of some gallant Taira cavalier, who had fought
to the last with undaunted courage and met his death with calmness more
than mortal.

It is not only because the Taira family was in general more refined than
the Minamoto, and gave an impulse to the literature of Japan by its
enlightened chivalry, that the period forms an important turning-point
in the history of the civilisation of our country. Almost all the
essential traits of our civilisation during the whole military régime
can be said to have been initiated in this brief Taira epoch. As an
inheritor of the borrowed civilisation, the Taira warriors were not so
much saturated with the alien refinement as the Fujiwara nobles were,
and therefore, when they came nearer the throne, the aspect of the court
was not a little vulgarised, but instead there was a freshness in those
warriors which was found wanting among the Fujiwara, already overwrought
and exhausted by too much Chinese civilisation. This freshness may be
considered an index of the revival of the conservative spirit, which had
been long lurking in the lower strata of the nation. Conservatism in
such a phase of history is generally on the side of strength and energy.
It is true that Kiyomori, his sons, and grandsons endeavoured rather to
go up the ladder of the courtiers higher and higher, in order to soar
'above the cloud.' In other words, it was not their first ambition to
lead the people in the lower strata against the higher; they were not
revolutionists at all. But whatever might have been their real
intention, they could not ward off those followers who had a common
interest with them. There was no doubt that the lower class of people
sympathised with the military-men, whether they were of the Taira or of
the Minamoto family, far more deeply than with the Fujiwara nobles. The
ascendency, therefore, of the Taira stirred the long latent spirit of
the majority of the nation, and this re-awakening of the Japanese, if we
may call it so, gave life to every fibre of the social structure, urging
the nation to energetic movement.

The most tangible evidence of this resuscitation of Japan can be
obtained in the sculpture of the age. The first flourishing period of
Japanese sculpture anterior to this is the era of the Tempyô, that is to
say, during the reign of the Emperor Shômu. After that the art fell
gradually into decadence, and no period could compete with the Tempyô
era except the Taira age. The works of Unkei and Tankei, representative
masters who made their names at this time, though lagging far behind
those of Tempyô sculptors in exquisite softness and serenity, yet
surpassed the latter in vigour and strength. What they liked to
represent most were statues of deities rather than Buddha himself, and
of the deities they preferred those of martial character. Comparing
them with the Tempyô sculptures, in which the subject is not so narrowly
circumscribed, we can observe the change of the national spirit very

In painting also, the most important progress of the age is the change
in subjects of this art, or rather the increase in varieties of subjects
to be painted. Before this time what the artists generally liked to
paint were the images of Buddha, Buddhist deities, scenes in Buddhist
history, and portraits of celebrated priests. Landscapes were put on
canvas, too, though not so frequently as those subjects pertaining to
Buddhism. Since then portraits, not only of priests, but also of laymen,
such as courtiers and generals, have been treated by our painters. Some
masterpieces of the new portraiture, by the brush of Takanobu, are
extant to this day. This development of portrait-painting may be
interpreted as a symptom of the newly-budding individualism on the
nation. As to scroll paintings, formerly we had pictures of consecutive
scenes in Buddhist history painted in that manner, but scenes from
secular history or genre pictures were rare. From this time onward we
have scrolls of a character not purely religious, though Buddhist
stories are still used as subjects for painting as before. Moreover, in
earlier scrolls the best attention was paid to painting Buddha or
deities, and not to delineating the auxiliaries, such as landscapes,
buildings, worshipping multitudes of various professions, and so forth,
while in the new kinds of scrolls more stress was laid on depicting
those auxiliaries rather than the pious personages themselves. Battle
scenes in the provinces of Mutsu and Dewa, or those between the Taira
and the Minamoto in the streets of Kyoto, were also painted on scrolls.
Another and quite novel kind extant of the scroll pictures of this age
is the satirical delineation of the manners and customs of the time by
the brush of the painter-priest Toba-sôjô. In the famous scroll certain
animals familiar to the daily life, such as foxes, rabbits, frogs, and
so forth are depicted allegorically, each suggesting certain notorious
personages of various callings in the contemporary society.

As to literature, a difference similar in nature to those
characteristics of the literature of the preceding age can be observed
very distinctly. In the former period, though the essence of the
literature in Japanese was profoundly influenced by the Chinese spirit,
Chinese vocabularies and phrases rarely entered into sentences without
being translated into Japanese. That is to say, the Japanese literature
remained pure as to language, and went on side by side with the
literature in Chinese. Now the combination of the two kinds began to
take form. Chinese words, phrases, and several rhetorical figures began
to be poured into the midst of sentences, the structure remaining
Japanese as before, so that those sentences may be considered as
forming a kind of hybrid Chinese, with words juxtaposed in a Japanese
style, and connected by Japanese participles. This change resulted in
making a great many Japanese words obsolete, and it has since become
necessary for the Japanese constantly to resort to the Chinese
vocabulary in writing as well as in speaking. The growth of Japanese as
an independent language was thus regrettably retarded. At the same time
Japanese literature reaped an immense benefit from this adoption of the
Chinese vocabulary, for by it we became enabled to express our thoughts
concisely, forcibly, and when necessary in a very highflown style,
things not utterly impossible but exceedingly difficult for Japanese
pure in form. The use of Chinese ideographs thus increased from
generation to generation, until now it has become too late to try to
eradicate them. All that which the Japanese nation has achieved in the
past, its history, nay, its whole civilisation, has been handed to us,
recorded in the language, which is woven of Chinese vocabularies and
Japanese syntax, and denoted by symbols which are nothing but Chinese
ideographs and their abbreviations, the Kana. A movement to supersede
the Chinese ideographs by the exclusive use of the _kana_, which are
very simple abbreviations of those ideographs, was initiated at the
beginning of the Meidji era, but was dropped soon afterwards. Another
radical movement to substitute the Roman alphabet for the Chinese
ideographs and the _kana_ in writing Japanese, was started nearly at
the same time, and still continues to have a certain number of zealous
advocates. The success of such a movement, however, depends on the value
of the civilisation already acquired by the Japanese. If that amounts to
nothing, and can be cast aside without any regret, in other words, if
the history of Japan counts for nothing for the present and the future
of the country, then the movement would have some chance of success;
otherwise the attainment of the object is a dream of the millenium.

The manifestation of the new spirit of the new age in the sphere of
religion is not less remarkable than in that of art or of literature.
Since its introduction into our country, Buddhism had been very singular
in its position as regards the social life of the nation. Though the
imperial family and the higher nobles earnestly embraced the new creed,
and worshipped the "gods of the barbarians," this acceptance of Buddhism
cannot be called a conversion, because their religious thoughts were
never engrossed by it. They continued to pay a very sincere respect to
the old deities of Japan as before, while they were adoring Buddha
enthusiastically. Shintoism was, if not a religion, something very much
like a religion, more than anything else. So long as Shintoism remained
as influential as of yore, the Japanese could not be said to have been
converted to Buddhism. The Buddhist priests, having perceived this,
tried not to supersede but to incorporate Shintoism into their own
creed, as I have explained before, and succeeded in it, but could not
erase the independence of Shintoism entirely out of the spiritual life
of the Japanese. It cannot be doubted that Buddhism was made secure as
regards its position in Japan by this incorporation, but in general it
gained not much. Assimilation, generally speaking, has as its object, to
destroy the independent existence of the things to be assimilated, and
at the same time the assimilator must run the risk of causing a
condition of heterogeneity on account of the addition of the new
element. Buddhism could not destroy the independent existence of
Shintoism, and the former became heterogeneous by the assimilation of
the latter, so that the _raison d'être_ of Buddhism in Japan was very
much weakened by the assimilation. The lower strata of the nation were
very slow in being penetrated by Buddhism, notwithstanding the
munificent encouragement afforded to it by the government, for example,
by appointing preachers not only in the neighbourhood of the capital,
but in distant provinces also, or by ordering the erection of one temple
in each province at the expense of the government. The common people
were in need of salvation indeed, but from the Buddhism which was
nationalised, they could not expect to obtain what they were unable to
find in Shintoism.

In short, Buddhism, by its transformation and nationalisation, lost
universality, its strongest point, and was rendered quite powerless,
that is to say, blunted in the edge. Buddhism as a religious philosophy
remained of course intact, but the cunning device of priests to make it
conformable to our country went too far, and resulted only in weakening
its efficiency as a practical religion. There were still to be found
some numbers of priests who pursued their study in the intricate
philosophy of Buddhism, in cloisters, in the depths of some forest or
mountain recesses, but they were almost powerless to act upon society in
general. The mass of the people looked on Buddhism only as the worship
of an aggregation of deities, not much different from common objects of
superstition, or simply as a kind of show very pleasant to see and to
enjoy. They were too busy to care for meditation, and too ignorant to
venture on philosophising.

Religion as a show! Seemingly what an astounding blasphemy even to
entertain such an idea! No foreign reader, however, would be shocked at
it, who knows that religious plays made the beginning of the modern
stage of Europe, and that in villages in the Alpine valleys there may be
found some survivals of them even now. Not only that, the services of
the Roman Catholic and of the Greek Orthodox Church contain even to this
day not a few theatrical elements. An appeal of this nature to the
audience has always the effect of making the religion poetical, and
therefore was the method chiefly resorted to by the Church in the Middle
Ages throughout all Christendom. The method employed by the Buddhists in
our country was just the same. They instituted various ceremonies and
processions, each apportioned to a certain definite day of a certain
season, and these religious shows served to captivate the minds of the

Here, however, the difference should be noticed between Christianity and
Buddhism. The former as a rule is the religion which finds its foothold
first among the lower classes of the people, while the latter, in Japan
at least, began its propaganda with the upper circles of the nation, and
then proceeded downwards. Though the courtiers could frequently enjoy
the gorgeous spectacles carried out by priests clad in rich robes of
variegated colours amid heavenly music, such scenes could be witnessed
only in and about the metropolis, and were moreover too costly and
aristocratic to be enjoyed by the common people. The masses were not
only debarred from the salvation of their souls, but from the sight of
the pageants, the best pastime which an age devoid of a theatre could
afford. Yet those masses were a necessary ingredient of society in
Japan, by no means to be neglected. Though very slowly, their eyes were
opening, and they were beginning to claim their due. How could this
demand, not sufficiently conscious to the claimants themselves, be
provided for? Solely by Buddhism, which should have been by whatever
means reformed.

Shintoism, though it has had a very tenacious grip on the national
spirit of the Japanese, is deficient in certain particulars, and cannot
be called a religion in the strict sense, so that it was difficult for
it to march with the ever-advancing civilisation of our country. If
there was a need, therefore, for something which could not be obtained
outside of religion, it was to be sought elsewhere than in Shintoism,
that is to say, in Buddhism, which was then the only cult in Japan
worthy to be called a religion. To seek from it anything new, which it
could not give in the state it had been, means that it ought to have
been reformed. It is true that there had been repeated attempts, since
the beginning of the tenth century, to make Buddhism accessible and
intelligible to all classes of the people, and this kind of movement had
become especially active at the end of the eleventh century. What was
common to all of these movements was the endeavor to teach the merit of
the _nem-butsu_, that is to say, the belief that anybody who would
invoke the help of Buddha by calling repeatedly the name of Amita, one
of the manifestations of Buddha, would be assured of the blissful
after-life, and that the oftener the invocation was made the surer was
the response. Most elaborate among them was an organisation of a
religious community resembling in its character a joint-stock company. A
member of this community was required to contribute to the accumulation
of the blessing by repeating its invocation a certain number of times,
like a shareholder of a company paying for his share. This community is
in a great measure analogous to those societies of Europe in the later
Middle Ages, which tried to accumulate the virtues of the Ave Maria sung
by their members. The most striking characteristic of this community was
that it extolled its own unique merit which lay in having as its members
all the Buddhist deities, whose celestial _nem-butsu_ would be sure to
augment the dividends of the earthly shareholders!

To organise such a community was not to undermine the traditional
edifice of Buddhism in Japan, but to support it, just as those mendicant
orders, Benedictine, Augustine, Franciscan, Dominican, and so forth,
were formed but in behalf of the Church of Rome. The intention of those
who emphasised the _nem-butsu_ was very far from that of becoming the
harbingers of the reform movement of the following generations, though
the latter aimed at nearly the same thing as the early promoters of the
_nem-butsu_ did. Yeshin, a priest in the temple of Yenryakuji, became
the precursor of Hônen, who was born more than one hundred years after
the death of his forerunner. The former would not and could not become a
reformer, though he was highly adored by the latter for his saintliness,
who styled himself the only expounder of the former. The latter, too,
was very modest and never ventured to proclaim himself a reformer.
Hônen was one of the meekest Buddhists in Japan. Yet he was forced
against his will to become the founder of the Jôdo sect, which has
continued influential to this day. All the religious reformers of the
Kamakura period ran in his wake.

Religion, art, and literature were all thus transforming themselves
almost at the same time, and that very time coincided exactly with the
moment in which the most important change in the political sphere was
taking place. Such a coincidence in the development of the various
factors of civilisation cannot be lightly overlooked as a mere chance
happening. Surely it must have been actuated by a common impulse, which
was nothing but the urgent demand of the _Zeitgeist_. The régime matured
by the Fujiwara nobles at Kyoto had already come to a standstill. Japan
had to be pushed on by any means whatever. It is this necessity which
allowed the Taira to get the upper hand of the Fujiwara. The rise of
this soldier-family cannot be attributed merely to the merit of its
representative members. But its fall owed much to their incompetency in
not having become conscious of their position in the history of Japan.
No sooner had they grasped the reins of the government, than they began
to tread the path which their predecessors had trod, the path leading
only to the stumbling-block. Too quickly they were transforming
themselves into pseudo-courtiers. "The mummy-seekers were about to be
turned into mummies," as a Japanese proverb has it. It was just at this
juncture, the last phase of the transformation of the Taira warriors,
that they were overturned by the Minamoto. In short, the course on which
the Taira steered was against the current of the age. If the family had
remained in power longer than it actually did, then the just budded
spirit of the new age would have dwindled away, and to Japan might have
fallen the same lot as befell to other oriental monarchies. For our
country it was fortunate that the Taira were no longer able to stay at
the helm of the state.

Minamoto-no-Yoritomo preferred, at the establishment of his Shogunate, a
course quite different from that of the Taira. Having been brought up
during his boyhood at Kyoto, and being therefore acquainted with the
realities of the metropolitan modes of life, he might have been,
perhaps, averse to the Sybaritism of the court. If, on the other hand,
he had been inclined to follow in the footsteps of the Taira, he was not
in a position to behave as he would have liked, for it was not by any
exertion of his own that he was exalted to the virtual dictatorship of
the military government. The Minamoto and the Taira who had settled in
the eastern provinces, in spite of the difference of their families, had
been accustomed to the same condition of living, and they fought often
under the same banner against the Ainu. Though quarrels were not lacking
among them, they could not help feeling the warmth of the fraternity of
arms toward one another. These "rough riders" had gradually become
refined by the education imparted by country priests; _terakoya_, the
"hut in a temple," was the sole substitute for the elementary school at
that time. They had, too, occasion to come into contact with the
civilised life of the metropolis, for it was their duty to stay there by
turns, sometimes for years, as guards of the capital and of the imperial
residence. Intelligent warriors among them took to the city life and
mastered some of the accomplishments highly prized by courtiers. Most of
them, however, looked with scornful smile upon the degenerate courtiers,
like the Germans in the Eternal City looking with disgust on the
decadent state of Imperial Rome. When Yoritomo entered into their
company as an exile from Kyoto, these warriors were very glad to receive
him, for he was descended from the family of the generals whom their
forefathers had served hereditarily, and whose names they still revered.
With this exile as their leader, they rose united against the Taira, the
traditional enemy of the family to which he belonged. After the success
of their arms they had no desire to have their chief turned into a
pseudo-courtier after the example of the Taira soldiers. Kamakura was
therefore chosen as the seat of the military government. This was in the
year 1183.

In truth, Kamakura cannot be said to be a place strategically
impregnable even in those early times. It is too narrow to become the
capital of Japan, being closely hemmed in by a chain of hills. Though
situated on the sea, its bay is too shallow, not fit for mooring even a
small wooden bark. The reason why the place happened to be chosen must
be sought, therefore, not in its geographical position, but in that the
town was planted nearly in the centre of the region inhabited by the
supporters of Yoritomo. That it was also the location of the Shinto
shrine, Hachiman of Tsurugaoka, might have had not a little weight in
influencing the choice, because it was in this shrine that Yoshiiye, the
forefather of Yoritomo and the adored demigod of the warriors of Japan,
performed the ceremony of the attainment of his full manhood.

The military government, the Shogunate, set up at Kamakura, was in its
nature of quite a different type from that of the Taira at Kyoto. Before
entering into details, it is necessary, however, to say something about
the change in the signification of government. When the Fujiwara became
the real masters of Japan, they tried at first to govern wisely and
sincerely. But as time passed their energy and determination gradually
relaxed. Their growing wealth obtained by encroachment on public lands
tended to mould them as a profligate and indolent folk, so that they
became at last wholly unfitted for any serious state affairs. Moreover,
from the lack of any event which would have necessitated united action
of all the family, a condition which might have been exceedingly
difficult to attain even if they had wished it, on account of the
multiplication of branches, never-ceasing internal feuds which helped
only to weaken the prestige of the family as a whole were perpetually
arising. It was at this juncture that the Emperor Go-Sanjô tried to
recover the reins once lost to the hands of his ancestors. The task
which he left unfinished was achieved by his son and successor, the
Emperor Shirakawa. When the power was restored to the emperor, however,
it was not in the same condition as when lost. The state business
decreased in scope and significance, all that was left being merely the
disposal of not very numerous manor lands, which had been left untouched
by the greedy Fujiwara, and the policing of the capital. The Emperor
Shirakawa did not deem it necessary as reigning Emperor to pay regular
attention to them. He abdicated, therefore, in favour of his son, and
from his retired position he managed the so-called state affairs. As the
result of such an assumption of power, the position of the reigning
emperor became very problematic, and irresponsibility prevailed
everywhere. The imperial family thus regained some of its historical
prestige, and succeeded in curbing the arrogance of the Fujiwara. The
latter, however, continued very rich and powerful, though not so
politically mighty as before. For a short while the Taira achieved its
object in partially supplanting the influence of the Fujiwara, but it
could not perceptibly weaken the latter. The downfall of the Taira
showed clearly that in such a state of the country mere names and titles
meant practically nothing, and that the military power supported by
material resources was the thing most worth coveting. The Taira started
on this line, but soon collapsed by abandoning it. How could a shrewd
politician like Yoritomo be expected to imitate the blunder of his

The Shogunate set up by Yoritomo at Kamakura was not of the sort which
could appropriately be called a regularly organised government. It was
modelled after the organisation of a family-business office, which was
common to all the noble families of high rank. There were several
functionaries in the Shogunate, but they had the character rather of
private servants than of state officials. The Shogun's secretaries,
body-guards, butlers and so forth served under him not on account of any
official regulation connecting them publicly with him, but only as his
retainers, and were designated by the name of the _go-kenin_, which
means "the men of the august household." To sum up, the Shogunate was
established not for the state but for the family business. Yoritomo had
never pretended to take possession of the government of Japan. The fact
that at the beginning of the Shogunate its jurisdiction did not extend
over the whole of the empire testifies to the same.

In the foregoing chapters I have spoken about the encroachment on public
lands by the Fujiwara nobles. The private farms which were called the
_shô-yen_ and resembled in their character the manors or great landed
estates in England, increased year by year, so that they extended at
last to all the distant provinces of the country. Some emperors were
resolute enough to try to put a stop to the growth of this onerous
infringement of the public property, but the orders issued by them had
very little effect. As to the management of these farms, they were not
administered directly by those nobles who owned them, and it was not
uncommon for many manors lying far apart from one another to belong to
the same owner. The proprietors, therefore, generally stationed some of
their domestic servants in those manors to act as caretakers, or
confided the management to men who were the original reclaimers of those
manors or their descendants, from whom the nobles had received the lands
as a donation. By this assumption of the duty of management, these
servants of these nobles arrogated to themselves the right to govern and
command the people living upon the estates, without any appointment from
the government itself. It cannot be disputed that it was a kind of
usurpation not allowable in the regular state of any organised country.
The provincial governors of that time, however, were impotent to put a
bridle on those impudent managers, for most of the governors appointed
stayed in Kyoto to enjoy the pleasure of city life, and left the
business of the province to be administered by their lieutenants.
Moreover, some of the manors were evidently exempted from the
intervention of the provincial officials by a special order. In other
words, most of the manors were communities which were to a great degree
autonomous, each under the jurisdiction of a half independent manager,
and that manager again standing in a subordinate position to his patron,
who resided generally at Kyoto. So far I have spoken only of the manors
belonging to the nobles of the higher class, including members of the
imperial family. Other manors possessed by Shinto shrines and Buddhist
temples were also under a régime not much different from those of the
nobles. The Taira, too, at the zenith of their family power, had a great
number of such estates and the sons of Kiyomori fought against the
Minamoto with forces recruited from the tenants of those manors.

When Yoritomo overcame the Taira, he confiscated all the manors which
had formerly been possessed by that family, and appointed one of his
retainers to each of these appropriated manors as _djito_, which
literally means a chief of the land. The duty of these _djito_ was to
collect for their lord Shogun a certain amount of rice, proportional to
the area of the rice fields belonging to the estate. This reserved rice
was destined to be used as provision for soldiers, and was in reality
the income of the _djito_, for he was himself the very soldier who would
use that rice as provision. Besides the collection of rice, he had to
keep in order the manor to which he had been appointed as chief, that is
to say, the police of the manor was in his hands. Once appointed, a
_djito_ could make his office hereditary, though for this the sanction
of the Shogunate was necessary. Yoritomo appointed also a military
governor to each of the provinces. The authority of this governor,
called the _shugo_, extended over all the retainers of the Shogun in
that province, including the _djito_. It should be noticed, however,
that the _shugo_ was as a rule a warrior, who held the office of _djito_
at the same time, in or out of that province.

As to the manors which were owned by Kyoto nobles, shrines, and temples,
and therefore not at the disposal of the Shogun, no _djito_ was
appointed to them. Though the disputes about the boundaries, right of
inheritance, and various other questions concerning the estates were
decided by the legal councillors of the Shogunate, jurisdiction was
restricted to those cases in which some retainer of the Shogun was a
party. Otherwise, the right of decision was denied by the Shogun. The
Shogun never claimed any right over the land which did not stand
expressly under his jurisdiction. From this it can be inferred that he
did not pretend to take over the civil government of the whole of
Japan. By the foundation of the Shogunate, however, Yoritomo became a
very powerful military chief, sanctioned by the Emperor with the
conferment of the title of "generalissimo to chastise the Ainu", and at
need he was able to mobilise a large number of soldiers, by giving
orders to _djito_ through the _shugo_ of the provinces. None was able to
compete with him in military strength, and the business of the civil
government had necessarily to fall into the hands of him who was the
strongest in material force.

If such an anomalous state, as we see in the beginning of the Shogunate,
had continued very long, the Shogunate would never have become the
regular government of the country, and the dismemberment of Japan might
have been the ultimate result. But fortunately for the future of our
country, it did not remain as it was first established. Those managers
of manors not belonging to the Shogun, seeing that they could be better
protected from above by turning themselves into retainers of the Shogun,
volunteered for his service. Nobles, shrines, and temples possessing
these manors complained of course about the enlistment of the
manor-managers into the Shogunate service. For by the transformation of
the managers, those manors _ipso facto_ came under the military
jurisdiction of Kamakura. As those owners, however, could not prevent
the transformation, and as the income from those estates did not
decrease in any great measure by the extension of the jurisdiction of
the Shogun over them, they had nothing to do, but tacitly to acquiesce
in the new conditions. The number of retainers thus increased rapidly,
and with it the Shogunate's sphere of jurisdiction grew wider and wider,
till at last it covered the greater part of the Empire. The Shogunate
was then no more a mere business office of a family, but the government
_de facto_ recognised by the whole nation. This process was consummated
in the middle of the first half of the thirteenth century.

It would be a mistake to suppose that such a momentous change was
effected without any disturbance. The Kyoto nobles, who were unable at
first to see the political importance of the establishment of the
Shogunate in an insignificant provincial village, were gradually
awakened to the real loss which they would surely suffer by it, and
longed to recover the reins, which they had once forgotten to keep and
guard. Besides, there were many malcontent warriors both within and
without the Shogunate. For after the death of Yoritomo, though the title
of Shogun was inherited by his two sons, one after the other, the real
power of the Shogunate fell into the hands of his wife's relations, the
family of Hôjô. Warriors of other families were excluded from a share in
the military government, and they, dissatisfied on that account, wished
for some change in order to overthrow the Hôjô. Needless to say that
outside of the Shogunate ambitious men were not lacking, who desired to
set up another Shogunate in place of that at Kamakura, if they could.
All these discontented soldiery allied themselves with the Kyoto nobles,
and caused the civil war of Jôkyu to ensue between them and the
Shogunate represented by the Hôjô family. The war ended in the defeat of
the former, and the Shogunate emerged out of the war far stronger than

Thirteen years after the war, the first compilation of laws of the
Shogunate was undertaken by Yasutoki Hôjô. It is called "the compiled
laws of the Jôyei," Jôyei being the name of the era in which the
compilation was issued. This compilation was not so much a work of
elaborate systematisation, nor an imitation of foreign laws, as was the
reform legislation of the Taïhô. Rather it should be called a collection
of abstracts of particular law cases decided by the judicial staff of
the Shogunate. It is therefore an outcome of necessitated experiences
like English "case-law", and had not the character of statute laws or
provisions deduced from a certain fundamental legal principle in
anticipation of all probable occurrences. The object of the compilation
is clearly stated in the epilogue written by Yasutoki himself. According
to this, it was far from the motive of the compilers to displace the old
system of legislation by the promulgation of the new one. Old laws
became a dead letter, without being formally abrogated, while the new
code was issued only for the practical benefit of the people in charge
of various businesses.

Whatever might have been the real motive of Yasutoki and his legal
councillors, the very act of the compilation cannot in itself fail to
betray the consciousness on the part of the Shogunate that it had
already a sufficiency of test cases decided to supply models for the
decision of most of the disputes that might be brought before them in
the future. Or we might say that the Hôjô became confirmed in their
belief that the Shogunate was now so firmly established as not to be
easily shaken at its foundation, and that they could henceforth command
in the name of a regular government without any fear of serious
disturbances. Certainly their victory in the civil war must have rid
them of any apprehension of danger from the side of Kyoto.

This compilation was issued in the year 1232, that is to say, about
fifty years after the founding of the Kamakura Shogunate. Thus we can
see that this half-century had wrought an important change in the
history of Japan. During this time the military régime was enabled to
strike a firm root deep into the national life of the Japanese. The
family of the Minamoto soon became extinct by the death of the second
son of Yoritomo, and scions of a Fujiwara noble and then some of the
imperial princes were brought from Kyoto one after another as the
successors to the Shogunate. Yet they were all but tools in the capable
hands of the Hôjô family, which remained the real master of the
military government of Kamakura. In course of time, the Hôjô also fell,
but other military families successively arose to power, and the
military régime was kept up by them in Japan until the middle of the
nineteenth century. It is true that those changes in the headship and in
the location of the Shogunate caused as a matter of fact corresponding
changes in the nature of the respective military régime. The Shogunate
of the Ashikaga family was of a different sort from that of Kamakura,
while that of the Tokugawa at Yedo was again of another type than the
Ashikaga's at Kyoto. Throughout all these different Shogunates, however,
certain common characteristics prevailed, so that a wide gap may be
discerned between them as a whole and the government of the Fujiwara
courtiers. And those characters indeed have their origin all in this
first half century of the Kamakura Shogunate.

What most distinguished the military régime from the preceding
government was its being pragmatic and unconventional. It was not on
account of noble lineage alone, that Yoritomo was able to establish his
Shogunate. He owed a great deal to the willing assistance of the
warriors scattered in the eastern provinces, who claimed descent from
some illustrious personages in our history, but in fact had forefathers
of modest living for many generations, and had maintained very intimate
relations with the common people. The Shogunate was bound by this
reason not to neglect the interests of those who had thus contributed to
its establishment. Moreover, in order to be able to raise a strong army
at any time when necessary, the Shogunate was obliged to take minute
care of the welfare of the retainers and of the people at large, for the
faithfulness of the former and popularity among the latter counted more
than other things as props of the régime. The contrast is remarkable
when we compare it to the government by the Fujiwara nobles, who made an
elaborate legislation, professing to govern uprightly and leniently, and
to be beneficial even to the lowest stratum of the people, yet in
reality caring very little for the felicity of the governed, looking on
them always with contempt, though this lack of sympathy might be
attributed more to some old racial relation than to the morality of
those nobles. After all, the government of the Shogun, being regulated
by a few decrees and guided by practical common sense, operated far
better than the Fujiwara's. Where formalism had reigned, reality began
now to prevail. The spirit of the age was about to be emancipated from
convention. Japan was regenerated.

It was this regeneration of Japan, which kept up and nourished what was
initiated in the Taira period. But for the Kamakura Shogunate, however,
those germs of the new era might have been blasted forever. One thread
of the continuous development from the Taira to the Minamoto period may
be clearly discerned in the sphere of religion. In 1212 died Hônen, the
reformer of Buddhism, of whom I have already spoken in the preceding
chapter, but before his death his teachings had gathered a great many
adherents around him, and the sect of the Jôdo became independent of
that of the Tendai. It was from this Jôdo sect that the Shinshû or the
"orthodox" Jôdo, now one of the most influential Buddhist sects in
Japan, sprang up, and became independent also. Shinran, the founder of
the latter sect, is said to have been one of the disciples of Hônen, and
the tenets of his sect, initiated by Shinran himself and supplemented by
his successors, bear striking resemblance to the reform tenets of Luther
in laying stress on faith and in denouncing reliance on the merit of
good works in order to arrive at salvation. That the priests belonging
to this sect have avowedly led a matrimonial life, a custom which was
unique to this sect among Japanese Buddhists, is another point of
resemblance to Lutheranism. In other respects, for example, in preaching
the doctrine of predestination, it can be considered as analogous to
Calvinism also.

Another important sect, which branched off from the Tendai, is that of
the followers of Nichiren. His sect is called the Hokke, or Nichiren,
after the name of the founder himself, and the sect still contains a
vast number of devotees. It is the most militant sect of Buddhism in
Japan, and that militancy might be traced to the personality of
Nichiren, the founder, who was the most energetic and aggressive priest
Japanese Buddhism has ever produced. He, too, never claimed to have
founded a new sect, and insisted that his doctrine was simply a
resuscitated Tendai tenet. We can easily see, however, that in its
pervading tendency it approached other reformed sects of the same age
rather than the old or orthodox Tendai. Nichiren died in the year 1282,
so that his most flourishing period falls in the middle of the
thirteenth century.

One more sect I cannot pass without commenting on is the Zen sect. Its
founder in Japan is Yôsai, whose time coincided with that of Hônen.
Twice he went over to China, which had been for more than two hundred
years under the sovereignty of the Sung dynasty, and studied there the
doctrine of the Zen sect, which was then prevailing in that country.
After his return from abroad, he began to preach first at Hakata, which
had long continued the most thriving port for the trade with China.
Afterwards he removed to Kyoto and thence to Kamakura, making
enthusiasts everywhere, especially among the warriors. Like all other
new sects, the teaching of Yôsai was not entirely a novelty, being a
development of one of the many elements which constituted old Buddhism.
The specialty of the sect was, instead of arriving at salvation by
belief in some supernatural being outside and above one's self, to
encourage meditation and introspection and its general character tended
to be mystic, intuitive, and individualistic. Strong self-reliance and
resolute determination, qualities indispensable to warriors, were the
natural and necessary outcome of this teaching. It was largely
patronised by the Shogunate and the Hôjô on that account. Though Yôsai
became the founder of the sect, neither he himself nor his teaching
could hardly be called sectarian. To establish an hierarchical community
or to organise a systematised doctrine was beyond his purpose, but the
result of his preaching was precisely to bring both into being.

Not only the characteristics of these new sects, but the manner of their
propagation deserves close attention. Some of them were started in the
eastern provinces, and gradually extended their missionary activity
toward the west, that is to say, in the direction which is contrary to
that of the extension of civilisation in former times. Others, though
started in the west or at Kyoto, concentrated their efforts in the
eastern provinces with Kamakura as centre of propagation. In short, all
the reformed sects turned their attention rather to the eastern than to
the western provinces. This preference of the east to the west
originated in the circumstance that the less civilised east gave to
those missioners a greater prospect of enlisting new adherents, than
western Japan, which would of a surety be slow to follow their new
teachings, having been already won over by the older cults. It might,
however, be added that the preachers of the new doctrines saw, or
rather overvalued, the importance of the new political centre as the
nucleus of a fresh civilisation which might rapidly develop.

To say sooth, the field of activity of those untiring priests was not
restricted to those eastern provinces, which are denoted by the general
appellation of "Kwanto", but was extended into the far northern
provinces of Mutsu and Dewa. This region at the extremity of Honto was
long ago created as provinces, but had lagged far behind the rest of
Japan in respect of civilisation. A considerable number of the Ainu were
still lingering in the northern part of the two provinces.
Fujiwara-no-Hidehira, the generalissimo of the region, who harboured
Yoshitsune, the younger brother and victim of Yoritomo, is said to have
been of Ainu blood. His sphere of influence reached Shirakawa on the
south, which was considered at that time the boundary between civilised
and barbarous Japan. The time had arrived, however, when this barrier
was at last to be done away with. When a quarrel arose between the two
brothers, Yoritomo and Yoshitsune, after the annihilation of the Taira,
and the latter sought refuge with Hidehira, Yoritomo thought of marching
into Mutsu. This expedition was undertaken in the year 1189, after the
death of Hidehira. His sons were easily defeated. The land taken from
them was distributed by Yoritomo among his soldiers, who followed him
from the Kwanto and fought under his banner. The vast region, by coming
thus under the military authority of the Kamakura Shogunate, was for the
first time, taken into Japan proper. It was on account of this extension
of political Japan over the whole of Honto, that the new sects had a
chance to penetrate into those provinces.

We have seen that religion was the first and the most forcible exponent
of the new age. If the Shogunate of Kamakura had remained in power
longer than it did, other factors of the new civilisation might have
developed quite afresh around the Shogunate. Art and literature of
another type than that which flourished at Kyoto might have blossomed
forth. The time was, however, not yet ripe for the total regeneration of
Japan. The conventionalism of the Kyoto civilisation more and more
influenced the Shogunate, which was still too young and had nothing
solid of its own civilisation capable of resisting the infiltration of
the old. Besides, several difficulties which lay in the way of the
Shogunate coöperated in bringing about its fall in the year of 1332.
Japan had to go on in a half regenerated state for some time.

                              CHAPTER VIII

                       THE WELDING OF THE NATION

A war with a foreign power or powers is generally a very efficient
factor in history, conducing to the unification of a nation, especially
when that nation is composed of more than one race. The German Empire,
which was consolidated mainly by virtue of the wars of 1864, 1866, and
1870-1871, is one of the most exemplary instances. Japan, being
surrounded by sea on all sides, has had more advantages than any
continental country in moulding into one all the racial elements which
happened to find their way into the insular pale. These are the very
same advantages which Great Britain has enjoyed in Europe. We should
have been able, perhaps, without any coercion from without, to become a
solid nation by the sole operation of geographical causes. If we had
been left, however, to the mercy of influences of those kinds only, then
we might have been obliged to wait for long years in order to see the
nation welded, for in respect of the complexity of racial composition,
Japan cannot be said to be inferior to any national state in either
hemisphere. To facilitate the national consolidation, therefore, the
force acting from without was most welcome for us.

Of wars serviceable to such an end, however, there had been very scanty
chances offered to us. Though the wars against the Ainu had continued
much longer than is apt to be imagined by modern Japanese, and had made
their influence felt in bringing about the consolidation of the Japanese
as a nation, the spasmodic insurrections of the aborigines were but
flickerings of cinders about to die out. For several centuries the Ainu
had been a race destined only to wane irrevocably more and more, so that
no serious danger was to be feared from that quarter. Outside of the
Ainu, no other foreign people dared for a long time to invade us on so
large a scale as to cause any serious damage.

As regards China, the dynasty of the Sung, which began to reign over the
empire in the year 960, had been constantly harassed by the incursions
of various northern tribes. After an existence of a century and a half,
the greater portion of northern China was bereft of the dynasty by the
Chin, a state founded by a Tartar tribe called the Churche. The Chin,
however, was in turn overthrown in the year 1234 by the Mongols, another
nomadic tribe, which rose in the rear of the latter state. Within a half
century from that, the Chinese dynasty of the Sung, which had been long
gasping in the south, drew its last breath under pressure of the same
Mongols that founded the Empire of the Yuan.

From China, therefore, in the state it had been, we had nothing to fear.
As to the Korean peninsula, which had come under the influence of China
at the time of the T'ang dynasty, the state founded there by the
inhabitants was enabled now to breathe freely on account of the
anarchical condition of the suzerain state. Though Kokuri and Kutara
had, in spite of our assistance, been both destroyed by the army of the
T'ang, Shiragi, which had been left unmolested by the T'ang as a half
independent ally, conquered the greater part of the peninsula, and the
people of that state frequently pillaged our western coasts. This
Shiragi surrendered at the beginning of the tenth century to Korea, a
new state which arose in the north of the peninsula. The relations of
the new Korea with our country were on the whole very peaceful, except
for some interruptions caused by the incursions of the pirates from that
country on our coast at the end of the same century.

Besides the Koreans, there were many tribes inhabiting the north and the
east of Korea and along the coast of the Sea of Japan, which made
themselves independent of China one after the other, though all the
states founded by them had but an ephemeral existence. Some of those
minor states kept up a very cordial intercourse with our country, while
others acted in a contrary way. Among the latter may be counted the
pirates from Toi, that is to say, from the region of a Churche tribe,
though the real home of this throng of sea-thieves has not yet been
identified with any exactness, pirates who devastated the island of Iki
and the northern coast of Kyushu with a fleet consisting of more than
fifty ships. This took place in the year 1019, and the repulse of this
piratical attack was the last military exploit of the Fujiwara nobles.

After that complete tranquillity reigned in our western quarter for more
than two centuries and a half until the first Mongolian invasion of
1274. Hitherto, to repel the inroads of pirates, the forces which could
be set in motion in the western provinces only, had proved to be more
than sufficient for the purpose. Against the first Mongolian invasion
also, the retainers of the Shogun in the western provinces only were
mobilised as usual by command from Kamakura. The battle scenes of the
war were described by one of the warriors who took part in it, and
painted by a contemporary master on a scroll, which has come down in
good preservation to our day, and now forms one of the imperial
treasures to be handed on to prosperity. The expeditionary fleet of the
Yuan consisted of more than nine hundred ships, with 15,000 Mongols and
Chinese and 8,000 Koreans on board, besides 6,700 of the crews, so that
it was too overwhelming in numbers even for our valiant soldiers to
fight against with some hope of victory. It was not by the valour of
our soldiers alone, therefore, that the invasion was frustrated. The
elements, the turbulent wind and wave, did virtually more than mere
human efforts could have achieved in destroying the formidable enemy's

Irritated at this failure of the first expedition, Khubilai, the Emperor
of Yuan, immediately ordered the preparation of another expedition on a
far larger scale. The second invasion of Japan was undertaken at last in
the 1281, after an interval of seven years. This time the invading
forces far outnumbered those of the first expedition, totalling more
than one hundred thousand in all. On the other hand, the forces which
the Shogunate could raise in the western provinces only proved this time
plainly inadequate. Seeing this, Tokimune Hôjô, who was the virtual
master of the Shogunate, mobilised the retainers in the eastern
provinces too, and sent them to the battlefield in Kyushu. A fierce
battle was fought on the shore near Hakata. Our soldiers made a
desperate effort to prevent the landing of the enemy's troops,
contending inch by inch against fearful odds, so that the Mongols could
not complete their disembarkment, before a hurricane suddenly arose that
swept away at least two-thirds of their men and ships. A lasting check
was thus put upon the expansion of the triumphant Mongols on the east,
just forty years after the battle of Liegnitz in Silesia had been fought
successfully by the Teutonic nobles on the west against the same foe.

Though the frustration of the two Mongolian attempts upon our country
should rather be attributed to the intervention of elemental forces
which worked at very propitious opportunities, than to the bravery of
our warriors, it cannot be disputed that they fought to their utmost, so
that it would be derogatory to the military honour of our forefathers,
if we supposed that nothing worth mentioning was achieved by them at
all. In any case, the annihilation of the Mongolian fleet by us is an
historical feat which might be considered together with the defeat of
the Invincible Armada by the English three centuries later. In both
countries the memorable victory was due to the dauntless courage of the
warriors engaged in the battle, and the firm attitude of the person who
stood then at the helm of the state. In Japan, Tokimune did not lend his
ears to the milder counsels of the shrewder diplomatists at the court of

What is more noteworthy, however, than anything else in this war was not
the bravery of our forefathers, but the fact that men recruited from the
eastern as well as from the western provinces of the empire fought for
the first time side by side against the foreign invaders. Such a
coöperation of the people from all quarters of Japan in defence of the
country was not a sight which could have been witnessed before the
establishment of the military régime, for until that time the
unification of the Empire had not extended to the northern extremity of
Honto, and for ninety years after the inauguration of the Shogunate at
Kamakura, there had been no occasion for our warriors to try their
fortune in arms against any foreign enemy. Now the Japanese were induced
for the first time to feel the necessity for national solidarity, only
because enterprising Khubilai dared to attack the island empire, which
would have done no harm to him if he had left it unmolested, and would
have added very little to his already overgrown empire, if he had
succeeded in his adventurous expedition. It may be perhaps exaggerating
a little to call this war a national undertaking on our part when we
consider the small number of men engaged in it. The retainers of the
Shogunate, however, who were the representatives of the Japanese of that
time, all hurried to the northern coast of Kyushu, even from the
remotest part of the empire, in order to defend their country against
their common foe. The peculiar custom of intimidating children to stop
their crying, by reminding them of the Mongolian invasion, an
obsolescent custom which has existed even in the northernmost region of
Honto, shows how thoroughly and deeply the Mongol scare shook the whole
empire, and left its indelible impress on the nation as a whole. The
first beat of the pulse of a national enthusiasm has thus become

If this feeling of national solidarity had gone deep into the
consciousness of the people, and had continued steadily increasing
without relaxation, then it might have done considerable good in
facilitating the wholesome organisation of our national state. Viewed
from this point, it must be considered rather a misfortune to our
country that the terrible enemy was too easily put to rout. The pressure
once removed, men no more troubled themselves about the need for
solidarity. Nay, the war itself sowed the seeds of discontent among the
warriors engaged, on account of the incapacity of the Shogunate to
recompense them amply for their services. Already after the civil war of
the Jôkyu era, the military government of Kamakura had been reduced to a
straitened condition, for what it could get by the confiscation of the
properties of the vanquished proved insufficient to provide the rewards
for the faithful followers of the Shogunate. In the war with the
Mongols, there was no enemy within the country from whom land could be
confiscated. Nevertheless those warriors had to be rewarded with grants
of land only, which the Shogunate could find nowhere. If the private
moral bond, which had linked the retainers with the Shogun at the time
of Yoritomo, could long continue in the state it had been, the Shogunate
could have sometimes expected from them service without recompense. The
military government, with the Hôjô family as its real master, however,
could not likewise exact gratuitous service from them. The relation
between the Shogunate and its retainers became too public and formal for

Those who were appointed as _djito_ by Yoritomo at the beginning of the
Shogunate had all been retainers of the Minamoto family from the first.
Though they discharged the duties of military police within their
respective manors as if they were public officials, yet their private
character far outweighed their public semblance. As the Shogunate
gradually took the form of a regular government, this private and
personal bond between the Shogun and his retainers grew weaker, and the
public character of the _djito_ began to predominate. This was
especially the case after the virtual management of the Shogunate fell
into the hands of the Hôjô family. It is true that those retainers still
called themselves the _go-kenin_, or the domestics of the Shogun of
Kamakura. The later Shogun, however, sprung from the Fujiwara family or
of blood imperial, and could not demand the same obedience which
Yoritomo had found easy to obtain from his hereditary vassals. In
effect, the Shogunate reserved to the end the right of giving sanction
as regards the inheritance of the office of _djito_, but the exercise of
the reserved right was generally nominal. A _djito_ could appoint as his
successor either his wife or any of his children, or could divide his
official tenure among many inheritors. No Salic law and no law of
primogeniture yet existed in Japan of the Kamakura period, so that,
besides many _djito_ who were incapable of discharging the military
duties in person on account of sex or age, there were to be found
eventually a great number of _djito_, whose official tenure covered a
very small patch of ricefield, so small that it was too narrow to
exercise any jurisdiction within it! Moreover, men of utterly unwarlike
professions like priests, and corporations such as Shinto shrines and
Buddhist temples, were also entitled to succeed to the inheritance of
the office of _djito_, if only it were bequeathed to them by a lawful
will. In these cases, where the rightful _djito_ could not officiate in
person, a lieutenant, private in character, used to be appointed. Those
lieutenants, however, not being publicly responsible to the Shogun,
behaved very arbitrarily. That was a breach severely felt in the
military system of the Shogunate.

The worst evil of all was that the Shogunate, which should have been an
office for household affairs and the camp of the Shogun, was gradually
turned into a princely court. Those warriors who did valiant service
under Yoritomo in establishing the Shogunate had been in a great measure
illiterate, so that only with great difficulty could the Shogun find a
secretary among his retainers. As the organisation of the military
government approached completion, the need of a literary education on
the part of the warriors increased accordingly. Such an education, the
source of which, however, was not to be sought at that time out of
Kyoto, could hardly be introduced into Kamakura without being
accompanied by other elements of the metropolitan civilisation
represented by the Fujiwara nobles. The installation of a scion of the
Fujiwara and of princes of the blood imperial into the Shogunate
facilitated the permeation of the Kyoto culture, which by its nature was
too refined to suit congenially men of military profession. The
bodyguard of the Shogun began to be chosen from warriors whose demeanor
was the most courtier-like, and one of the accomplishments necessary was
the ability to compose short poems. Such a condition of the Shogunate
could not fail to estrange those retainers who did not live habitually
in Kamakura, and were, therefore, not yet tainted with the effeminacy of
a courtier's life. The main support, on whom the Shogun should have been
able to depend in time of stress, became thus unreliable. At this
juncture an Ainu insurrection, which was the last recorded in our
history, broke out in the year 1322, and continued till the downfall of
the Kamakura Shogunate. It was by this insurrection that the tottering
edifice of the military government was finally shaken, instantly leading
to its catastrophe.

The force which gave the finishing stroke to the Shogun's power and
prestige came, as had long been expected, from Kyoto. Inversely as the
warriors of Kamakura had been turned to pseudo-courtiers, the
court-nobles of Kyoto had become tainted by the militaristic
temperament of the Kamakura warriors. The training in archery, the
dog-shooting in an enclosure, which was considered a specially good
training for a real battle, and many other martial pastimes became the
fashion among the Kyoto nobles, as it had been among warriors. After
their defeat in the civil war of the Jôkyu, they felt more keenly than
before the magnitude of their power lost to Kamakura, and became the
more discontented. Moreover, from the four corners of the empire the
malcontents against the Hôjô family flocked to Kyoto, and persuaded the
already disaffected courtiers, to attempt the restoration of the real
command of the government to themselves. The Shogunate, having been
apprised of the plot, tried to suppress it in time by force, but was
unable to strike at the root of the evil, for the recalcitrants rose
against the Hôjô one after another. On the other hand, those retainers
who would have willingly died for a Shogun of the Minamoto family did
not like to stake their lives on behalf of the Hôjô. Kamakura was at
last taken by a handful of warriors from the neighbouring provinces led
by a chieftain of one of the branch families of the Minamoto. The last
of the Hôjô committed suicide, and with the downfall of the family, the
Shogunate of Kamakura broke down. This happened in the year 1334. The
real power of the state was restored to Kyoto in the name of the Emperor

The courtiers of Kyoto rejoiced in the thought that they could now
conduct themselves as the true masters of Japan, but they were instantly
disillusioned. Those warriors who had assisted them in the restoration
of their former power, would not allow the courtiers to have the lion's
share of the booty. Supported by a multitude of such dissatisfied
soldiery, Takauji Ashikaga, another scion of the Minamoto, made himself
the real master of the situation, and was appointed Shogun. Though once
defeated by the army of his opponents at Kyoto, he was soon enabled to
raise a large host in the western provinces, where, since the Mongolian
invasion, the majority of the warriors thirsted for the change more than
in other provinces, and he captured the metropolis. His opponents,
however, continued their resistance in various parts of the empire. The
courtiers, too, were divided into two parties, and the majority sided
with the stronger, that is to say, with the Ashikaga family. At the same
time the imperial family was divided into two. Thus the civil war, which
strongly resembled the War of the Roses, ensued and raged all over the
provinces for about fifty-six years, until the two parties were
reconciled at last in the year 1392. In this way the whole of the empire
came again under one military régime, and for about two centuries, the
family of the Ashikaga continued at the head of the new Shogunate.

The new Shogunate was established at Kyoto, instead of Kamakura, which
became now the seat of a lieutenancy, administered by a branch of the
Ashikaga, and therefore reduced in political importance. This change of
the seat of the military government is a matter of great moment in the
history of our country. One of the several reasons which may be assigned
for the change, was that the supporters of the Ashikaga were not limited
to the warriors of the eastern provinces, as they had been with the
Kamakura Shogunate. Takauji owed his ultimate success rather to the
soldiers from the western provinces, so that Kyoto suited far better as
the centre of his new military régime than Kamakura.

Another reason which the Ashikaga Shogunate had in view in changing its
seat, was that a great apprehension which had been entertained by the
former Shogunate, would thereby cease. One of the anxieties which had
harassed the government of Kamakura constantly had been the fear that it
might one day be overthrown by attack from Kyoto. To provide against the
danger a resident lieutenant,--afterwards increased to two,--a member of
the family of Hôjô, was stationed at Kyoto. The function of these
lieutenants was to look out for the interests of the Shogunate at Kyoto,
and at the same time to superintend the retainers in the western
provinces. Besides, being two in number, these lieutenants watched each
other closely, so that it was impossible for either of them to try to
make himself independent of Kamakura. This system worked excellently
for a time, but was ultimately unable to save the declining Shogunate.
By shifting the seat of the military government to Kyoto itself, this
anxiety might now be removed.

The greatest profit, however, which accrued to the Shogunate by the
change of its government seat, was that one could facilitate the
achievement of the political concentration of the empire, by making it
coincide with the centre of civilisation. If the Shogunate of Kamakura
could keep, with its political power, its original fresh spirit, which
had remained latent during the long régime of the courtiers and begun
suddenly to develop itself along with the establishment of the military
government, the result would have been not only the prolonging of the
duration of the Shogunate, but the full blossoming of a healthy and
unenervated culture, and Kamakura might have become the political as
well as the cultural centre of the empire. The history of our country,
however, was not destined to run in that way. The time-honoured
civilisation, which had been nurtured at Kyoto since many centuries,
was, though of exotic origin, in itself a highly finished one.
Notwithstanding its effeminacy, it had its own peculiar charm, which
ranked in perfection far above the naïve culture of Kamakura, the latter
being too rough and new, however refreshing. Those Buddhist priests who
had once hoped to make Kamakura the centre of their new religious
movement, found at last that unless they secured a firm foothold in the
old metropolis, nothing permanent could be attained. The missionary
campaign of the various reformed sects had been undertaken with renewed
vigour at Kyoto since the end of the thirteenth century. In other words,
the enervation of the Kamakura Shogunate disappointed those
torch-bearers of the new civilisation, who might perhaps have expected
too much from the political power of the military government established
there. Thus the Shogunate of Kamakura had lost its _raison d'être_,
before other factors of civilisation, such as art and literature, had
time to develop themselves there independent of those of Kyoto, so as to
suit the new spirit of the new age, that is to say, before the Shogunate
could accomplish its cultural mission in the history of Japan. The
culture of Kyoto proved itself to be omnipotent as ever.

Regarded in this manner, the return of the governmental seat to Kyoto
had a great advantage. The new Shogunate, having located its centre in
the same historical place where the classical civilisation of Japan had
had its cradle also, its military and political organisation could work
hand in hand with the social and cultural movement. The prestige of the
Shogun was bedecked with a brighter halo than when Kamakura had been the
seat of his government. The change, however, was accompanied with
invidious results, ruinous not only to the Shogunate, but to the
political integrity of the country at large.

After having experienced the vicissitudes of a long civil war, the
courtiers became convinced that they could not overthrow by any means
the military régime, which had already taken deep root in the social
structure of our country. So they began to think that it was wiser for
them to make use of that military power than to try any abortive
attempts against it. They heaped, therefore, on the successive Shoguns
of the Ashikaga family titles of high-sounding honour, much higher than
those with which the Shoguns of Kamakura had been invested. In the
imperial palace, too, special deference was paid to the Shogun. Such a
rise in the court-rank of the Shogun induced his retainers to vie with
one another in obtaining some official rank of distinction in the
courtiers' hierarchical scale. Those who belonged to the higher classes
among them, though they were mostly the _shugo_ or military governors of
one or more provinces, used to spend a greater part of their time at
Kyoto, on account of holding some civil office in the government of the
Shogun, and lived in a very aristocratic way, which was easy and
indolent, that is to say, not much different from that of the courtiers.
There were many social meetings, in which both courtiers and warriors
participated together, and the object of these meetings mostly consisted
in enjoying various kinds of literary pastimes, among which the
commonest was a trick in versification called _renga_, that is to say,
the composing by turns of a line of an unfinished poem, which should
form a sequence to the preceding and at the same time become the
prologue to the next. Through manifold channels of this and the like
kinds of amusements, a very intimate relation between the two classes
was cemented. The refinement of the courtiers' circle, though somewhat
vulgarised compared with that of the previous period, freely penetrated
into the families of the rough soldiery. Marriages between members of
the two classes also took place frequently, by which the courtiers
gained materially, while the soldiers could thereby assuage the
uneasiness of their parvenu-consciousness. A new social life thus sprang

Among the two parties, which were reconciled in this way, that which
profited the more by it, was of course the courtiers. Although the
income from their manors, to which they were entitled as proprietors _de
jure_, might have become less in comparison with that of the age
anterior to the establishment of the Kamakura Shogunate, yet they were
now relieved of all the troubles which might have beset them had they
remained holding the real power of the state. Having relinquished their
political ambitions and shifted all the cares of the state and military
affairs upon the shoulders of the Shogunate, they became utterly
irresponsible, could breathe freely and enjoy their idle hours not in
the least disturbed. On the other hand, the militarists, having found
that it was no longer necessary to circumscribe the privileges of the
courtiers still more narrowly than before, forgot that ultimately their
interests must necessarily collide in principle with those of the
latter. What were contradictory at bottom seemed to them practically
reconcilable. The Shogunate thought that it was its duty to uphold the
interests of the courtiers by its military power, a task which was soon
found to be impossible. On account of the weakness of the central
government, disorder ruled in Kyoto and in the provinces as well, and
paved the way for the political disintegration of the whole empire. To
explain the political phenomena I must turn for a while to the relations
between the _shugo_, the military governors of provinces, and the
_djito_ under their protection.

In the time of the Kamakura Shogunate, as aforesaid, each province had a
military governor, called the _shugo_, appointed by the Shogun. The
_shugo_, himself a _djito_, and a very influential one of that class,
served as an intermediate commander in transmitting to the _djito_ under
him the military instructions which he had received from Kamakura. He
was, therefore, nothing else but a marshal of all the _djito_ within
that province. There existed no relation of vassalage between him and
the _djito_ under his military jurisdiction. The latter remained to the
end the direct vassals of the Shogunate at Kamakura, and only as regards
the military organisation were subordinated to the _shugo_. The office
of the _shugo_ was not the hereditary possession of any family, so that
the Shogun could nominate any _djito_ to be _shugo_ of any province at
his pleasure, without fear of disturbing thereby the personal relation
between him and his retainers in that province. In some respects this
relation resembled that of the English king and the barons, who swore,
besides their oath of fealty to a higher noble as their liege lord,
direct allegiance to their king. As long as the line of Yoritomo,
therefore, continued as hereditary Shogun, the Shogunate could depend on
the fidelity of those _djito_, who were but the household vassals of the
Minamoto family, and by this personal tie keep the political unity of
the country infrangible.

After the extinction of the Minamoto family, the Shogun who succeeded
one after another had no hereditary nor personal relations with those
_djito_, and could claim no more than the official prestige of the
Shogun allowed them to do. As to the Hôjô family, though the real power
of the Shogunate was in its hands, originally it was no higher in rank
than the _djito_, and could not, in its own name, command obedience from
any of the Shogun's retainers. There is some similarity between the
organisation of the time of the Kamakura Shogunate in this second phase
and the "Kreis" institution of the German empire in the fifteenth
century, which was initiated with the object of political concentration
by Maximilian I., whose real power lay in his being a duke of Austria,
and not Emperor of Germany. However admirable as an organisation, such
a political status was undoubtedly untenable. No wonder that the
military régime of Kamakura gradually collapsed.

The relation of _shugo_ and _djito_ in the time of the Ashikaga was
quite of a different sort from that in the former Shogunate. The office
of _shugo_ became now the hereditary possession of certain privileged
families, which constituted a body of higher warriors, towering above
the common _djito_. The _shugo_ stood in the position of protector to
all the _djito_ of the province he governed, and those _djito_ who stood
under a _shugo_ were designated his "hikwan" or protégés. The relation
of vassalage arose thus between the _shugo_ and the _djito_ in the same
province, a legal status which had not existed in the Kamakura period.
The direct relation between the common _djito_ and the Shogun, which was
the main spring of the political régime of the Kamakura era, was now cut
off. No doubt the _shugo_ in the Ashikaga period had in their provinces,
besides their suzerainty over the _djito_, the tenure of certain tracts
of land, as in the days of Kamakura. The great difference between them,
however, was that in the Kamakura era a retainer of the Shogun was first
installed as a _djito_ of a manor, and then appointed _shugo_, while in
the Ashikaga age the land which the _shugo_ held directly was his
demesne as _shugo_ and not the land held as a retainer of the Shogun at
Kyoto, independent of his office of _shugo_. To sum up, the _shugo_ of
the Ashikaga period was not a mere office, as in the days of Kamakura,
but a legal status of the warriors ranking next to the Shogun. As the
result of such an organisation each province or group of provinces under
a _shugo_ became a political entity, while it had been but a military
entity in the Kamakura era. If the Shogun at Kyoto, therefore, had been
strong enough to enforce his will over all the _shugo_ of the provinces,
then the political unity of the country at large could safely continue
in the hands of the Ashikaga.

The Shogunate of the Ashikaga, however, had not been originally so
formulated as to enable it to impose implicit obedience on all the
higher military officials of the _shugo_ class. For this family, though
a branch of the Minamoto, had nothing in its history that could attract,
as Yoritomo did, a vast number of willing warriors to serve under its
banner. That Takauji was promoted to the headship of the second military
government was largely due to the assistance of the warriors from
various parts of the empire who were not personally related to his
family, but were disaffected at seeing the power of the courtiers
restored, neither was it by any means to be attributed to his personal
capacity, which was rather mediocre both as general and as statesman.
This origin of the Ashikaga family, therefore, made it difficult from
the first for the Shogun of the line to curb the arrogance of his
influential generals. Insurrection against the Shogunate followed one
after another, so that no year passed without some small disturbance

This state culminated in the civil war begun in the Ohnin era, that is
to say, in 1467. The war had its origin in the quarrel about the
succession to the Shogunate between the son and the adopted son, in
reality the younger brother, of the Shogun Yoshimasa. This family
question of the Ashikaga became mixed up with other quarrels about the
succession in two of the influential military families, Shiba and
Hatakeyama. Other _shugo_ of various provinces sided with this or that
party, brought their liege-men to Kyoto, and turned the streets of the
metropolis into a battle-field. Thus the most desultory civil war in our
history was waged under the eyes of the Emperor and of the Shogun,
neither of whom had any power to stop it. After the burning, plundering,
and killing, carried on most ruthlessly for nine years, the
street-fighting in Kyoto ceased, leaving almost no trace of the
historical city of yore. The scenes of anarchy were then transferred to
the provinces, and it took many years before the whole country became
pacified. Nay, complete peace was not restored till the fall of the
Ashikaga Shogunate itself. Such was one phase of the political
disintegration of the age, and its result was that Japan was torn
asunder into a number of semi-independent bodies, each with a _shugo_ at
its head.

If the process of the political decomposition of the state had been
limited to what is described above, then peace might have reigned at
least within each of those bodies. Unfortunately, however, for the
welfare of the people, none of these _shugo_ was strong enough to keep
order even within his own sphere of military jurisdiction. Most of them
had lost their military character, having become accustomed to life in
the capital, as stated above, and they left the care of their respective
provinces in the hands of their protégés, men who soon made themselves
independent of their patrons, so that there arose a number of minor
political bodies in the jurisdiction of each _shugo_. Again these
protégés, that is to say, the heads of the minor political bodies, were
put down in turn by their vassals, and so forth. Moreover, some of these
minor bodies were further divided into still smaller bodies, while
others became aggrandised by annexation by the stronger of neighboring
weaker ones. In this way Japan fell into a state of chaos, being an
agglomeration of political bodies of various sizes, with masters ever
changing, and with frontiers constantly shifting without any reference
to the former administrative boundaries. This second phase completed the
total disintegration of the empire.

The last of the Shoguns who tried to stem this irresistible tendency to
disintegration was Yoshihisa, the son of Yoshimasa. His succession to
his father, as has already been described, was the cause of the civil
war of the Ohnin era, for which, however, he was not responsible in the
least, being only eight years old when he was invested with the
Shogunate in the year 1473. He grew up, however, to be the most typical
Shogun of all the Ashikaga. Though born in the highest of the military
families, he had as his mother a daughter of a court-noble, and was
educated in his boyhood by Kanera Ichijô, one of the most learned
courtiers of the time. When Yoshihisa reached manhood, therefore, he was
a courtier clad in military garments. He thought and acted as if he were
a high Fujiwara noble, and even had his household managed by a courtier.
Through this confidant, the proprietors _de jure_ of manors, that is to
say, courtiers, shrines, and temples, clung to the young Shogun, and
pressed him to coerce, on their behalf, those arbitrary _shugo_ and
minor captains who dared impudently to appropriate the whole of the
revenue from those manors to themselves, so that the share due to these
proprietors _de jure_ had been kept in arrears for many years. The
Shogun was easily persuaded, and Takayori Sasaki, the _shugo_ of the
province of Ohmi, was first chosen as the object of chastisement, for
his province was the nearest to Kyoto and abounded in those manors
belonging to the courtiers and the like. It was in the year 1487 that
Yoshihisa in person led a punitive expedition into Ohmi, crossed lake
Biwa, and pitched his camp on its eastern shore. Contemporary chronicles
unanimously describe in vivid colours how the gallant and refined young
prince, clad in bright military costume, marched out of Kyoto surrounded
by a bizarre host of warriors and courtiers. The latter group, however,
did not count for aught in warfare, while the former followed the Shogun
only halfheartedly. It was especially so with those _shugo_ who were of
the same caste and of the same status as the attacked, and therefore did
not like to see him crushed in the interest of the _de jure_ but
fainéant proprietors. The victory of the army of the Shogun was hopeless
from the first. After staying two years in camp Yoshihisa died without
being able to see his enemy vanquished. One of his cousins, who
succeeded to the Shogunate, renewed the expedition, and at last ousted
the disobedient _shugo_ from his province, but the proprietors _de jure_
of the manors could not regain their lost rights, what was due to them
having been usurped by other new pretenders, not less arbitrary than
their predecessors.

The expedition of Yoshihisa was an epoch-making event in the history of
our country. To support by military power the courtiers, whose cup had
already begun to run over and whose interests could not be always
consistent with the welfare of the Shogunate, was evidently a quixotic
attempt. Still it cannot be disputed that Yoshihisa fought at least for
an ideal, however unrealisable it might have been. He reminds us of the
scions of the Hohenstaufen who fought in Italy for the imperial ideal
traditional in their family. The failure of the expedition into Ohmi
meant the utter impossibility of the restoration of the courtiers'
prestige and the approach of the total disappearance of the manorial
system from the islands of Japan. This is a mighty economical change for
the empire, the importance of which could not be overvalued. The old
régime initiated by the reform of the Taikwa was going down to its
grave, and new Japan was beginning to dawn side by side with the
momentous political disintegration of the country. We see, indeed,
simultaneous with this political and economical change, the
transformation of various factors of civilisation, preparing themselves
for the coming age. The first turning of the wheel of history, however,
depended on the political regeneration of the country by a master-hand.

                               CHAPTER IX

                         END OF MEDIAEVAL JAPAN

In order to see a nation consolidated, it is necessary not only to have
a nucleus serving as a centre, towards which the whole nation might
converge, but to have at the same time the centralising power of that
nucleus strengthened sufficiently to hold the nation solid and compact.
Moreover, the constituent parts of that nation ought to have the
capacity to respond to the action emanating from that common centre or
nucleus towards those parts, and facilitate the reciprocal relation
between the centralising and the centralised. More than that. There must
be formed strong links between those component parts themselves towards
one another. For if each part be linked only to a common centre and
estranged from other parts, then there is a great danger of the breaking
asunder of the whole, however strong the centralising force of that
nucleus might be, and in case of the debilitation of that sole centre,
there might remain no other force alive to keep the constituent parts
compactly together. To impart, however, the consolidating force to those
component parts, they should be instituted each as a separate organism.
In other words, unless those parts constitute themselves each in an
organic social and political body, provided with the power of acting
within and without, they cannot form any close connection among
themselves and with the central nucleus; and to be provided with such a
power, or to become an organism, each part, too, must have in its turn
its own nucleus, around which the rest of that part might converge. To
speak summarily, for a strong centralisation there must be, besides one
nucleus, or nucleus of the first order, a certain number of nuclei of
the second or minor order, and sometimes there must be nuclei of the
third and lower orders.

It might be deduced from what is said above that without a sufficient
number of local centres, that is to say, without the existence of
well-developed minor political organisms, the political centre, however
powerful it might be, would not be able to hold a country together,
lacking cohesion between those constituent parts. Japan had long been in
such a disorderly state which continued until the middle of the Ashikaga
period, that is to say, the middle of the fifteenth century. The
political influence of Kamakura, though independent of Kyoto, was of
very short duration, and Kyoto had continued on the whole as the sole
political and social centre. If there had been in the provinces a place
worthy to be called a city, besides Kamakura, it could only be sought
in Hakata on the northern coast of Kyushu. Other places were hardly to
be termed cities, being but little more than sites of periodical fairs
at the utmost. The growth of the cities of Sakai and Yamaguchi is of
rather later origin, dating from the middle of the Ashikaga age. The
Emperor, the Shogun, and one metropolitan city had dominated the whole
of the country for a long time, so that, superficially observed, Japan
could be said to have been superbly centralised, and therefore
excellently unified. In reality, however, the prestige of the Emperor
declined, as well as the military power of the Shogunate, and Kyoto, the
site of the imperial court and of the military government, lost the
political influence it once had possessed. After all, nothing was found
influential enough in the earlier Ashikaga age to serve by itself as a
means of solidifying the nation, while there had not yet been formed
those minor provincial centres around which communities of lesser
magnitude might crystallise. Manors, which were the remnants of the
former ages, were of course a kind of agricultural communities, and
could be considered as social and economical units, but they were
politically dependent on their proprietors living in Kyoto or somewhere
else outside of those manors, and in cultural respects most of the
manors counted almost for nothing. All Japan was thus thrown into a
state of chaos, when the military power of the Ashikaga Shogunate was
reduced to impotence.

This chaotic period of Japanese history has been generally considered as
the retrogressive age of our civilisation, quite in the same sense in
which the medieval age in European history has come to be designated as
the Dark Ages. It is a great mistake, however, to stigmatise the
Ashikaga period as having witnessed no progress in any cultural factor,
just as it has been a fatal misconception of early European historians
to think that medieval Europe was indeed dark in every cultural respect.
Though the classicism of the former ages might seem a civilisation of a
far higher stage when compared with the vulgarised culture of the later,
or so-called Dark Age, yet the vulgarisation should not be necessarily
branded as a backward movement of civilisation. The vulgarisation at
least accompanies a wider propagation, a deeper permeation, and the
better adaptation to the real social condition of the time, and should
not be looked down upon as an absolutely decadent process. In the
seemingly anarchical period of the early Ashikaga, Japan had been
undergoing, in sooth, an important change in social and cultural
respects. Nay, even politically a change of mighty consequence was in
course of evolution. Having reached an extreme state of disorder, a germ
of fresh order was gradually forming itself out of necessity. That the
_shugo_ of this period held sway over a district far more extensive than
the land held by any of the _shugo_ of the Kamakura period, is in a
sense a remarkable political progress. Yamana, one of the most powerful
of the Ashikaga _shugo_, is said to have possessed about one-sixth of the
whole of Japan, and on that account was called Lord One-sixth. Such
great feudatories were never possible in the Kamakura period. Most of
these grand lords, though living mainly in Kyoto, as was stated in the
previous chapter, had their provincial residences, which, too, were not
so unpretentious as those of the _djito_ of the Kamakura. Each lord
maintained princely state, and around his court, a thriving social life
must have grown up, making the beginning of the modern Japanese
provincial towns. The governmental sites of the _daimyo_ or feudatories
of the Tokugawa period generally find the origin of their urban
development in these residences of the _shugo_ of the Ashikaga period.

The trade with China was another cause of the growth of modern Japanese
cities, especially of those which are situated by the sea, such as
Sakai, Osaka, Nagasaki, and this development of the maritime commercial
cities led naturally to the general advancement of the humanistic
culture of our country. Our intercourse with China, the fountain-head of
the culture of the East, though it had been suspended between the
governments since the end of the ninth century, had never been abandoned
entirely, and merchant ships had continued to ply between the two
countries almost without interruption. During the Kamakura Shogunate
too, we have reason to suppose that this steady intercourse livened
into considerable activity and bustling profitable to both sides, China,
at that epoch of our history, being governed by the Sung and the Yuan
dynasties successively. Sanetomo, the second son of Yoritomo and the
third Shogun in Kamakura, was said to have built a ship in order to
cross over to that country. The port then trading with China was Hakata,
and the privileged ships, which were limited in number, must have been
under the care and protection of the Shogunate. Those ships carried on
board not only commodities of exchange, but passengers also, who were
mostly priests. Some of the ships even appear to have been sent solely
for trade in behalf of certain Buddhist temples. In this we see again
the singular coincidence between the histories of Europe and of Japan.
The Levantine trade of the Italian cities in the age of the Crusades
counted among its participators many churches and priests also. It is
needless to say that those Japanese priests, who went abroad
accompanying adventurous merchants and came back loaded with profound
religious knowledge, did at the same time conspicuous service in
promoting the general culture of our country. What was most remarkable,
however, was that there were not a few Chinese Buddhists, who came over
to this country and settled here. Their main purpose was of course to
propagate the doctrine of the Zen sect, which had got the upper hand in
China at that time. They were cordially welcomed by the Shogunate, and
later by the Imperial Court too, and were installed in the noted temples
of Kamakura and Kyoto as chief priests, and besides their religious
activities, these learned men contributed much toward the introduction
of contemporary Chinese civilisation in general, in no less degree than
did the Japanese priests. Among the various departments of knowledge
which these priests imparted to the warriors and courtiers, one of the
most important was instruction in the pure Chinese classics and in
secular literature. There are still extant in our country not a small
number of rare books printed in the Sung and the Yuan dynasty and
imported hither at that time, and these manifest how rich in variety
were the books then introduced to Japan. The founding of the famous
library at Kanazawa near Kamakura, by a learned member of the Hôjô
family in a time not far distant from that of the Mongolian invasion,
may perhaps be attributed to the influence of some of these priests.

Without doubt the invasion of the Mongolian host put a momentary stop to
this mutual intercourse. It seems, however, that the trade with China
was revived soon after the war, and continued down to the time of the
Ashikaga, without being interrupted materially even by the long civil
war. Far from cessation or interruption, the official intercourse
between the two states which had been broken off for some years was
during this civil war restored to its former amicable condition. It was
while the internecine strife was raging over the whole of the island
Empire, that a change of dynasty took place in China. The Mongols were
driven away to their original abode in the desert, and in their place
reigned in China the new dynasty of the Ming, founded by a general of
Chinese blood. This founder of the Ming sent an embassy to Japan to
announce the inauguration of his line and to secure the coast of his
empire from inroads and pillage by Japanese pirates, who, since several
centuries, had been ravaging the Korean and then the Chinese coast, and
became especially rampant during the civil war, being let loose by the
unexampled lawless state of our country. The ambassador of the Chinese
emperor, however, could not at once reach Kyoto, which was his
destination. For at that time in Kyushu ruled an imperial prince who was
a scion of the branch antagonistic to that which reigned in the
metropolis supported by the Ashikaga, and the prince-governor, as he was
then the master of the historic trading port of Hakata, intercepted the
Chinese ambassador on his way, received him, and sent him back. This
happened in the year 1369. Seven years afterwards this very prince sent
an envoy to the Chinese government, perhaps with the object of obtaining
some material assistance from beyond the sea, in order to make himself
strong enough to overpower his enemy in Japan, the Ashikaga party. As
the sender was a prince of the blood imperial, the envoy sent by him
seems to have been regarded as if he were the representative of the real
government of Japan, and the intercourse between the two countries thus
began to take official form again. When the civil war ended in the
ultimate victory of the Ashikaga party and the annihilation of all its
opponents, this international relation initiated by the prince of Kyushu
was taken up by Yoshimitsu, the third Shogun of the Ashikaga, who sent
an embassy to the Chinese government of the Ming in the year 1401. After
this we see successive exchanges of embassies between the Chinese
government and our Ashikaga Shogunate, the latter vouchsafing the
orderliness of our trading people on the Chinese coast and promising to
bridle the piratical activities of our adventurers, and the former
giving in return munificent presents to the Shogunate. At that time what
our forefathers suffered most from was the scarcity of coins, for
although the beginning of the coinage in our country is so old that it
has been lost in the remotest past, yet for a long period not enough
care was exercised to provide the country with sufficient money in coins
of different denominations to cover the necessities of the growing
industries. No wonder that the presents of copper coins by the emperors
of the Ming were gladly received by the Shogunate, and this Chinese
money, together with that obtained by sale of our commodities, was in
wide circulation throughout Japan, many of them having remained to this
day, and served as auxiliary coins. Among other things of Chinese
provenance earnestly coveted by us, perhaps the most desired were books.
Besides these two articles, copper coins and books, many rarities and
useful commodities must have been imported by these ships, which carried
the envoys on board, and rendered a not insignificant service in
altering for the better the general ways of living of the people of our

The chief emporium of the trade with China in the early Ashikaga period
was of course Hakata in Kyushu as before. As the family of the Ôuchi,
however, held the strait of Shimonoseki, the gateway of the Inland Sea,
and as Hakata itself came afterwards under the rule of the same family,
the Chinese trade had been for a long time controlled or rather
monopolised by this lord of the province of Nagato. The prosperity of
the inland city of Yamaguchi, the residential seat of the Ôuchi family,
is to be ascribed also to the same circumstance. Moreover, the growth of
the port of Sakai in the easternmost recess of the Inland Sea owes its
origin to the fact that the city was once under the lordship of the same
Ôuchi, and a close historical connection was thereby created between it
and the port of Shimonoseki. It was by the co-operation of many other
political causes, however, that the centre of the foreign trade was
shifted from Hakata to Sakai, and when intercourse with western nations
was opened, it was the latter and not the former, which became the
staple market of import and export.

The growth of the Japanese cities, actuated by the political and
commercial conditions of the country as stated above, is a phenomenon
which had much to do with the progress of our civilization in general.
Notwithstanding the manifold drawbacks necessarily accompanying urban
life, cities have been, since very ancient times, one of the most potent
agents in the history of the East as well as of the West, in raising the
general standard of culture to a high level. Rural life, whatever
sonorous praise be chanted for it, would not have been able by itself to
elevate the standard of manners and behaviour much above a blunt rustic
naïveté. In this respect we can observe a remarkable difference between
the Ashikaga and the preceding ages, a difference quite similar in
nature to that which existed between the eleventh and the twelfth
centuries in the history of Europe. The sudden increase, in Japan, of
printed books in number and variety shows it more than clearly.

The history of printing in Japan goes back to the middle of the eighth
century, but at the beginning the matter printed was limited to detached
leaflets. What was printed the earliest in the form of a book and is
still extant, bears the date of 1088. After that, however, very few
books had been printed for a long time. Moreover, those few were
exclusively religious. It was in the year 1247 that one of the
commentaries on the _Lun-yü_, the famous work of the teachings of
Confucius, was put into a reprint, after the model of a contemporary
Chinese edition, that is to say, of the Sung age. That this
non-religious or non-Buddhist work was first edited in Japan in the
middle of the Kamakura period, proves the enlargement of the circle of
readers in Chinese classics by the participation of the warrior-class.
Such editing of secular Chinese works, however, was discontinued for
three-quarters of a century, and was not resumed until 1322, only ten
years before the outbreak of the long civil war. The book printed at the
latter date was after one of the Chinese editions of the _Shu-king_,
another piece of Confucian literature. This was followed by the
reprinting of many other non-religious Chinese works. The civil war too
astonishes us not only in that it did not hinder the continuance of the
reprints of useful Chinese originals, but also in that the number of
books reprinted has suddenly increased in general since this period.
Among the books issued during the war, a commentary on the _Lun-yü_, of
a text different from that above mentioned, and said to have been made
at Sakai, was the most remarkable. The edition was dated 1364, and
reprinted again and again in several places. In this case the place
where the printing was first undertaken demands also our attention.
Hitherto almost all the books had been published in Kyoto, except some
tomes of Buddhist literature, which occasionally had been edited in the
convents at Nara or Kôya. But now printing began to be undertaken not
only in these historical and sacred places, but in purely commercial
cities of quite recent growth, as Sakai. It is said that about this time
several kinds of books of Chinese literature were edited in the city of
Hakata, and that it was a naturalised Chinese who had started the
undertaking there. Another tradition tells us that two Chinese
block-engravers came and settled at Hakata, and engaged in their
professional business, which contributed much to the increase of
reprinted books. Shortly after the civil war, in the beginning of the
fifteenth century, books were printed in other places more remotely
situated in the provinces, such as Yamaguchi and Ashikaga. The
last-named was the cradle of the Shogunate House of the Ashikaga, and
there just at this time a college was founded, or according to some,
restored, by Norizane Uyesugi, one of the most influential retainers of
the Shogunate in eastern Japan. Thus, in the latter half of the
fifteenth century, the reprinting of Chinese classics became a fashion
throughout the empire. In addition to the ever-increasing number of
books reprinted at Kyoto and Sakai, we find now those printed at places
as far remote as Kagoshima in the west. In the east there seems to have
lived in the neighborhood of Odawara, a new political centre, at least
one engraver, engaged in block-cutting for books. Summing up what has
been stated above, the increase of the number of book-editing localities
meant the increase of minor cultural centres in the provinces, that is
to say, the wider diffusion of civilisation in the empire.

Another important fact to be specially noticed is that the varieties of
books reprinted became gradually multifarious. Though those books
printed in the Ashikaga age were mostly reproductions of Chinese works,
and very few purely Japanese books were edited until the end of the age,
yet those Chinese works themselves, which were reprinted, became more
and more diversified in kind. Not only Buddhist and Confucian classics,
and works of purely literary character, especially poetical works and
books on versification, but several medical works also were reprinted
and issued in the later Ashikaga age. The study of medicine had been
revived since the civil war by the intercourse with China, and soon
after the war, some Japanese students went abroad to learn the science
there. The reprinting of medical books, therefore, was to be considered
as a token of the growing necessity for medical students ever increasing
in our country, and the beginning of the revival of scientific

As to the works of Japanese authors which were put into print, the first
publication seems to have been that of religious treatise in Chinese by
the priest Hônen, printed at the beginning of the Kamakura period, and
the work was many times reprinted afterwards. Another work by the same
priest, which was written in Japanese, was issued at the end of the same
period. During the civil war numerous works, mostly in Chinese, by the
Japanese Zen priests were published, among which the history of Buddhism
in Japan, entitled the _Genkô-shakusho_, was the most noteworthy, and
was therefore reprinted over and over again. A chronological table of
the history of Japan, and two editions of the Jôyei Laws were
subsequently printed. A text-book for children, to train them in the use
of Chinese ideographs, was first printed at the close of the Ashikaga
period, and the demand for the appearance of such a book proves that the
education of children began to arouse the general attention.

From what is said above, we can safely conclude that during the course
of the Ashikaga period, the level of civilisation of our country had
been raised in a marked degree, and that at the same time there arose
one after another numerous cultural centres in the provinces, which were
in their main features nothing but Kyoto on a small scale, but
nevertheless contributed not the least to the betterment of national
civilisation in general owing to their common rivalry. One would perhaps
entertain some doubt as to the veracity of the assertion, that in an age
such as of the Ashikaga, when political anarchy was in full play, so
remarkable an advancement had been steadily achieved by our forefathers.
If he would, however, look at the history of the Italian renaissance,
then he would not be at a loss to see that political disorder does not
necessarily thwart the progress of civilisation, but on the contrary
often stimulates it.

The territories owned by great feudatories or _daimyo_ in the Ashikaga
age were by no means compact entities definitely bounded. Their
frontiers constantly shifted to and fro according to frequently
recurring waxings and wanings in strength of this or that _daimyo_, and
these fluctuations depended, in their turn, on the results sometimes of
petty skirmishes and sometimes of political intrigues, so that an
unwavering steadiness was the least thing to be expected at that time.
This politically unsettled condition of Japan, however, was in a certain
sense a boon to our country, for it took away all the hindrances which
lay in the way of internal communication, and paved the path to the
ultimate political unity of the empire. I do not say of course that
travelling at that time was quite safe from any kind of molestation, but
the main obstacles to communication were rather of a social than of a
political nature. In other words, they were of kinds which could not be
got rid of in a like stage of civilisation, even if Japan had been
politically not dismembered, and adventurous merchants did not shrink
from facing such difficulties. No need to speak of those piratical
traders, who went out from the western islands and the coastal regions
of the Inland Sea on their devastating errands to the Korean and the
Chinese coasts. The less warlike merchants ventured to trade with the
Ainu, who had retired into the island of Hokkaidô, and had not been
heard of since the beginning of the Ashikaga period.

Among the itinerants travelling a long distance may be counted the
professional literati also, the experts in the art of composing the
_renga_, the short Japanese poems. They went about throughout the
provinces, visiting feudal lords in their castles, teaching them the
literary pastimes, thus imparting their first lesson in æsthetic
education to those who had never tasted it. Courtiers, too, weakminded
as they were, travelled great distances, to call on some rich bourgeois
or powerful _daimyo_, who were thinking of becoming their munificent
patrons, and taught them, besides the afore-said art of composing
Japanese poems, the sport of kicking leather balls and other leisurely
pastimes which had been the favourites among the courtiers in Kyoto, and
received in return a generous hospitality and fees for the lessons which
they gave. Buddhist priests were the third set of busy travellers of the
time. Missionary activities had not much relaxed since the Kamakura
period, though no influential sect had been started in this age. Every
nook and corner of the island empire had received the footprints of
these religious itinerants, and some of the more enterprising priests
even crossed the sea to the island of what is now Hokkaidô in order to
preach to the Ainu dwelling there. Pilgrims to the shrines of Ise, where
the ancestress of the Imperial line was enshrined, may also be counted
among the busy interprovincial travellers.

All these wanderers served not only to transmit to distant provincial
towns the culture engendered and nourished in the metropolis, but also
to make the intercourse between the minor cultural centres more intimate
than before, so as to spread a civilisation of a uniform standard and
nature throughout the whole of the empire. Japan was thus for the first
time unified in her civilisation in order to prepare herself for a solid
political unification.

Let me repeat that Japan of the Ashikaga age had within herself no
constant political boundaries nor any other artificial barriers to
impede the people of one province nor of the territory of one _daimyo_
from going to another province or the territory of another _daimyo_, and
this, in a great measure, facilitated communications between the
inhabitants of different provinces. The fact that the college at
Ashikaga in eastern Japan was, notwithstanding its insufficient
accommodation, thronged with pupils from various parts of the country,
even from a province so far off from Kyoto as Satsuma, proves that bad
roads and poor means of conveyance did not obstruct the Japanese of that
time from traversing great distances in order to get a liberal
education, and such activity and lively traffic would naturally tend to
the formation of big emporiums here and there within the empire.
Unfortunately the geographical features of our country did not allow it
to see a great number of such large commercial cities formed within it,
as the Hanseatic towns had been formed in medieval Germany, although we
find very close resemblances between Germany of the twelfth and of the
thirteenth century and Japan under the Ashikaga régime as regards their
political conditions. The only one of the Japanese cities which had ever
attained such a height of prosperity as to be fairly matched with the
free cities of the Hansa was Sakai in the province of Idzumi.

The city of Sakai, as its name, which means in the Japanese tongue "the
Boundary," denotes, was situated just on the boundary line of the two
adjoining provinces Settsu and Idzumi, and at the quondam estuary of the
river Yamato. The frontier-line, however, and the course of the river,
were afterwards changed, so that the city is now entirely included
within the province of Idzumi, and there is no river running near the
city. The fact that it was once a border town shows that it could never
have been the seat of the provincial government. Neither had it ever
been the residence of any powerful feudal lord during the whole military
régime. Moreover, nature has bestowed no special favour on the city. The
bay of Sakai is very widely open, affording no protection against the
west wind. In addition to that, it has been very shallow since old
times. Even in an undeveloped stage of ship-building, the port was unfit
for the mooring of vessels of a size as large as the junks trading with
China were at that time, so that they had to be equipped somewhere else
in a neighbouring harbour, and then brought and anchored far off from
the shore in the bay of Sakai. The only geographical advantage of the
port lay in the fact that the shortest sea-route to the island of
Shikoku started thence. The first impulse to the development of the city
seems to have been given during the civil war, for it was the nearest
access to the sea for one of the parties which had its stronghold in the
mountainous region of the province of Yamato, adjacent to Idzumi. At the
end of the war, the port came, as before stated, under the rule of the
family of Ôuchi, and from Ôuchi it passed into the hands of the family
of Hosokawa, also one of the chief vassals of the Ashikaga Shogunate,
holding the north-eastern part of the island of Shikoku, and Sakai
serving the family always as the landing-place of its followers, when
they were on their way to Kyoto, to pay their respects to the Shogun or
to fight there for their own interests. On account of this usefulness
the harbour-city of Sakai had been granted privileges by the hereditary
chief of the Hosokawa, as a recompense for the assistance given by the
merchants of the city, and those same privileges, in extent, amounted
to almost as much as the municipal freedom enjoyed by the free cities of
Europe. The administration of the city was in the hands of a few wealthy
merchants, and was rarely interfered with by its feudal lord. Among the
merchants there were ten, at first, who monopolised the municipal
government, each of them being very rich as the proprietors of certain
storehouses on the beach, the rents of which paid them a good income. In
the later Ashikaga age, however, we hear the names of the thirty-six
municipal councillors of Sakai. This increase in the number might
perhaps have been the result of the growth in opulence of the citizens.
In short, though the city had been under the oligarchical rule of the
wealthy merchants of the city, like Venice and Florence in medieval
Italy, yet it was none the less autonomous, which is quite an
exceptional case in the whole course of the history of our country.

The golden age of the city of Sakai dates from the year 1476 or
thereabouts, when a squadron trading with China first sailed out from
the harbour. Until that time all the vessels plying between this country
and China used to set out from Hakata or from Hyogo, which is nearly the
same thing as Kobe. Although the adventurous merchants of Sakai carried
their trade before this time as far as the islands of Loo-choo, and
often participated in the Chinese trade also, yet no vessel had ever
started from there for China till then. That Sakai became at this date
a chief trading port dealing with China might presumably have been owing
to the intercession of its hereditary lord Hosokawa, but the determining
cause of this assumption of such an honourable position among the
commercial cities of Japan must have been the indisputable superiority
of the material strength of the city. Many of the higher vassals of the
Shogunate borrowed money from the merchants of Sakai in order to equip
their soldiers. Nay, even the Shogunate itself had often to mortgage its
landed estates to the merchants of the city in order to save its
treasury from running short. The wealth of the citizens enabled them to
fortify their city very strongly, by surrounding it with a deep moat,
and to enlist into their service a great number of knights-errant, who
abounded in Japan at that time. These, together with the consciousness
of indispensable assistance rendered to the Shogunate, to various great
feudatories and condottieri, emboldened the citizens to defy the
otherwise formidable military powers, and those warriors, on the other
hand, who owed much to the pecuniary aid of the Sakai merchants, could
but treat the latter with great consideration, which was unwonted at
that time. Although the citizens of Sakai were not entirely free from
the sufferings of the war, for they had often to quarter soldiers in
their houses, yet no battle was allowed to be fought within the city,
notwithstanding that a most sanguinary war was raging all around in the

It was natural, therefore, that, after the civil war of the Ohnin era,
Sakai should be considered safer to live in than Kyoto. Sakai became the
asylum for the civilisation of Japan, to save it from utter destruction.
Poets, painters, musicians, and singers, who had found living in the
turbulent metropolis intolerably hard, sought shelter in Sakai, and
there occupied themselves quietly with their own professions. Various
handicrafts, such as lacquering, porcelain-making, and weaving were all
started there with enormous success. Especially as to the weaving, it is
said that this industry, which had once flourished and been afterwards
abandoned in Kyoto on account of the political disturbances there, was
not only continued at Sakai, but also improved by the Chinese weavers,
who repaired to the city and taught the natives the art of making
various costly textiles of Chinese invention. In some respects the
textiles of the Nishijin, now one of the specialties of Kyoto, may be
said to be the continuation of the Sakai looms.

Another kind of industry, which developed in the city in the later
Ashikaga period, was the manufacture of fire-arms. Immediately after the
introduction of fire-arms by a Portuguese in the year 1541, a merchant
of Sakai happened to learn the art of making guns somewhere or other in
Kyushu, and after his return to the city he began to practise there the
business he had learnt. Sakai thus became the origin of the propagation,
in central and eastern Japan, of the use of the new arm.

From what has been described above, the reader would easily understand
that the intellectual level of the citizens of Sakai stood much higher
than that of the average Japanese of that time. Wit and pleasantry were
the accomplishments highly prized there, so that the city produced out
of its inhabitants a large number of versatile diplomatists,
story-tellers, and buffoons. As their economic conditions were very
easy, the social life of the city was polished, enlightened, and even
luxurious. The manufacture of saké, the Japanese favourite drink made
from rice, was highly developed in the city, and the fame of the
Sakai-tub was renowned the country round. To protect the brewers, the
Shogunate issued an order forbidding the importation of saké into the
city. The tea-ceremony and the flower-trimming, two fashionable pastimes
already in vogue at that time, were eagerly practised here by wealthy
merchants. Many famous experts in this sort of amusement were found
among the inhabitants of the city, and they were generally connoisseurs
highly skilled in the fine arts, as Sen-no-Rikyû, for example. Various
curios, native and foreign, were bought and sold there at exorbitant
high prices.

The prosperous condition of the city induced many Buddhists, especially
the priests of the Jôdo-shinshû, the most active sect of Japanese
Buddhism at that time, to try their propaganda in the city. They had
numerous temples built, and by lending to the merchants their influence
at the Shogun's court obtained from it the privilege of trading with
China, thus making common cause with the citizens of that port. The
earlier Christian missionaries, too, endeavoured to make this city the
centre of their movement. It was indeed at the end of the year 1550,
that Francis Xavier, who was not only the greatest missionary whom Japan
has ever received from the West, but also one of the greatest men in the
world too, arrived at the city from Yamaguchi on his way to Kyoto.
Though he could achieve nothing noteworthy during his short stay here,
on account of illness, yet by him the first seed of Christianity was
sown in the central regions of the empire, and ten years later the first
Christian hymn was sung in the church founded in the city.

The civilisation of the city of Sakai represented that of the whole
empire in the later Ashikaga age, manifested in its most glaring
colours. The essential character of the civilisation was not
aristocratic, but bourgeois. The lower strata of the people still had
nothing to do with it. It is true that we can recognise already at this
period the beginning of the proletariat movement. The frequent
disturbances raised by apaches in the streets of Kyoto and the
insurrections of agricultural workers in the provinces, remind us of
the Peasants' War in the time of the Reformation in Europe. Their
demands as well as their connection with the religious agitation of the
time closely resembled those of the followers of Goetz von Berlichingen.
They could not, however, secure any permanent result by their
insurrections, so that the character of the civilisation remained
essentially bourgeois, not having suffered any marked change from those

The civilisation of the bourgeois cannot but be individualistic, and its
main difference from that of the aristocracy lies also herein. It has
been so in Europe, and it could not have been otherwise in our country.
The fact that individualism got the upper hand in the Ashikaga age may
be proved by a phenomenon in the history of Japanese art.
Portrait-painting had made some progress already in the Kamakura period,
as was stated in the foregoing chapter. The artistic development in this
branch of painting made it independent of religious pictures. The
portrait-paintings of the age, however, even those executed by such
eminent masters as Takanobu and Nobuzane, are only images of the typical
courtier or warrior, not to mention the stiffness of the style. Very
little of the individuality of the persons represented was manifested in
them. The scroll-paintings, to which the attention of most of the
artists of the age was directed, contained pictures of many persons, but
to depict scenes was the chief aim of scroll-paintings, so that no
serious pains were taken in the delineation of individuals. That
portrait-painting remained thus long in an undeveloped stage cannot be
explained away simply by the tardiness of the progress of arts in
general. The chief cause must be attributed to the fact that the
contemporary civilisation was lacking in individualistic elements.
Unless there is a rise of the individualistic spirit in a certain
measure, no real progress in portraiture can be expected.

In the Ashikaga period, a large number of scroll-paintings had been
produced as before, but they were mostly inferior in quality to those of
the preceding age. On the other hand, we notice a vast improvement in
the portrait-painting of this period. It may be due to some extent to
the influence of the Zen sect, the sect which prevailed among the upper
class of that time, for its creed is said to be strongly
individualistic. Mainly, however, it must have come from the general
spirit of the age, which, though it could not be said to have been free
from the influence of the same sect, was induced to become
individualistic more by social and economical reasons than by religious
ones. By painters of the schools of Tosa and Kano were painted numerous
portraits of eminent personages, such as the Shogun, courtiers, great
feudatories, priests, especially of the Zen sect, literati, artists,
experts in tea-ceremony, and so forth. Their pictures were generally
made after death by order of the near relatives, friends, vassals or
disciples of the deceased, to be a memorial of the person whom they
adored or revered. Not a small number of those paintings are extant to
this day, showing vividly the characteristics of those illustrious
figures in Japanese history.

The political anarchy combined with the individualistic tendency of the
age could not fail to lead to the moral dissolution of the people. To
the same effect, too, the literature of the time, which was a revival of
that of the Fujiwara period, contributed. The classical authors of
Japanese literature at the height of the Fujiwara period were now
perused, commented upon, and elucidated with devouring eagerness, the
most adored among them being Murasaki-Shikibu, whose famous novel,
_Genji-monogatari_, was regarded mystically and held to be almost
divine. The nature of this literature was for the most part realistic,
or rather sentimental, verging sometimes on sensuality. It was, however,
clad in the exquisitely refined costume of beautiful diction and choice
turns of phrase, borrowed or metamorphosed from the inexhaustible stores
of Chinese literature. As to the revived form of literature in the
Ashikaga period, the difference between it and that of the old time was
so remarkable, that it could not be overlooked. Vulgarisation usurping
the place of refinement, and coarse sensuality reigning rampant was the
outcome of the cultivation of the classical literature. The moral tone
of the stories and novels produced in this decadent age unmistakably
reflects how low was the ebb of the sense of decency of that period,
fostered by the naturalistic tendency manifested in the Fujiwara

These depict the dark side of the age, but in order not to be one-sided
in my judgment, let me tell also about its bright side. The culture of
the Ashikaga had from the beginning a trend to grow more and more
humanistic as it approached the end of the period. One more aspect in
the history of Japanese painting proves it to the full. Landscapes and
still-life pictures, which had been formerly painted only as the
accessories of religious images or as the background in the scroll
paintings, before which the main subjects, that is to say, the
personages in stories were made to play, began now to form by themselves
each a special independent group of subjects for painting. This shows
that the people of the time had already entered a cultural stage able to
enjoy the arts for art's sake. Many pictures of such a kind by the brush
of noted Chinese masters were imported into our country, and several
clever Japanese artists also painted after them. Some of our artists,
like Sesshû, went over to China to study the art of painting there. The
differentiation of the school of Kano from the older Tosa was another
result of this development. Most of these pictures were executed in the
form of _kakemono_, or hanging pictures, so called from their being
hung in a special niche of a drawing room or a study. Screens, or
_byobu_, mounted with pictures, became also a fashion. In general, the
furnishing of a house was now a matter of a certain educated taste, and
various systems were devised and formulated by accomplished experts.

The delicacy of the æsthetic sense in indoor-life was moreover enhanced
by the laborious etiquette of fashionable tea-parties held by
aristocrats and bourgeois alike. The tea-plant itself is said to have
been introduced from China into our country in the reign of the Emperor
Saga, that is to say, at the beginning of the ninth century. Its use,
however, as the daily beverage was of a far later date. Yôsai, the
founder of the Zen sect in Japan, wrote in the early Kamakura period a
commendation on tea as the healthiest drink of all. Still, for a long
while after him, tea seems to have been used exclusively by Buddhists as
a tonic. It was in the Ashikaga age that tea came first into general use
among the well-to-do classes of the people. As the production of it was,
however, not so abundant as now, it was not used daily as at present,
but occasionally, with an etiquette conducted with exquisitely refined
taste, both hosts and guests rivalling one another in displaying their
artistic acquirements by delivering extempore speeches in criticism of
the various articles of art exhibited, or in amusing themselves with
mystic dialogues of the Zen creed, or the lively exchange of witty

After all, the tendency of the culture of the later Ashikaga period was
in the main humanistic. There was no political authority so firmly
constituted, nor were conventional morals of the time so rigorous, as to
be able to put an effective check on any liberal thinker, nor to
intervene in the daily life of the people. Thought and action in Japan
has never been more free than in that age. That Christianity could find
innumerable converts from one end of the empire to the other within half
a century after its introduction, may be accounted for by supposing that
the ground for it had been prepared long before by this exceedingly
humanistic culture. In this respect we see the dawn of modern Japan
already in the later Ashikaga age. What a striking similarity to the
Italian renaissance! Japan was now in the throes of travail--the time
for a new birth was fast approaching. Conditions on the whole were
favourable. All that was wanted for this were the moral regeneration of
the people and the political reconstruction of the Empire.

                               CHAPTER X


Anarchy engendered peace at least. At the end of the Ashikaga Shogunate
the minor territorial lords, who had sprung up out of the impotency of
the Shogun, were swallowed up one after another by the more powerful
ones. The rights of manorial holders, that is to say, of court-nobles,
shrines, and temples, over estates legally their own, though long since
fallen into a condition of semi-desuetude, were active, sensitive, yet
powerful enough in the middle of the period to withstand the attempted
encroachments of those territorial lords, who were _de jure_ only
managers of the estates entrusted to their care; but those rights began
in course of time to lose their enforcing power, and were finally set at
naught by the all-powerful military magnates. The link between the
estates and their proprietors was thus virtually cut off, and each
territory, which was in truth an agglomeration of several estates, came
to stand as one body under the rule of a military lord, without any
reservation to his right. In other words, each territory became a domain
of a lord pure and simple, and it may be best explained by imagining a
quasi-sovereign state in Europe formed by joining together a certain
number of ecclesiastical domains, the lands of which were contiguous. It
is true that the size of such territories varied, ranging from one so
big as to contain several provinces down to petty ones comprising only a
few villages; their boundaries, too, shifted from time to time.
Notwithstanding this diversity in size and the inconstancy of the
frontier-lines, these territories were similar to one another in their
main nature, no more complicated by intricate manorial systems. If,
therefore, there appeared at once some irresistible necessity for
national unification or some great historical figure, whose ability was
equal to the task of achieving the work, Japan could now be made a solid
national state far more easily than at any earlier period.

Besides this facilitation of the political unity, what most contributed
to the settling of the general order was the resuscitation of the moral
sense of the nation. The highly advanced Chinese civilisation introduced
into our country at a time when it was comparatively naïve, had an
effect which could not be termed exactly in all respects wholesome. The
morals of the people, whose mode of life was simplicity itself, not
having yet tasted the sumptuousness of civilised life, excelled those of
higher civilised nations in veracity, soberness, and courage. Lacking,
however, in the firm consciousness which must accompany any virtue of a
standard worthy of sincere admiration, these attributes of the ancient
Japanese, though laudable in themselves, could have no high intrinsic
value, and were inadequate to stem the enervating influence of the
elegantly developed alien civilisation introduced later on into the
country. The ethical ties, which are indispensable at any time for
maintaining the social order in a healthy condition, were gradually
reduced to a state of utter dissolution in the later or over-refined
stage of the Fujiwara period, especially among the upper classes. With
the attainment of political power by the warrior class in the formation
of the Kamakura Shogunate, there shimmered once some hope of the
reawakening of the moral spirit, for fidelity and gratitude, which were
the cardinal virtues of the Kamakura warriors, were efficient factors in
refreshing and invigorating a society which had once fallen into a
despicable languor and demoralisation. The ascendency of these bracing
forces, however, was but transitory. This disappointment came not only
from the shortness of the duration of the genuine military régime at
Kamakura, but also from another reason not less probable. The admirable
virtues of the warriors were the natural outcome of the peculiar private
circumstances created in the fighting bodies of the time, and were on
that account essentially domestic in their nature. As long as these
warriors remained, therefore, mere professional fighters and tools in
the hands of court nobles, the moral ties binding leaders and followers
as well as the _esprit de corps_ among these followers themselves had
very slight chance of coming into contact with politics. In short, the
majority of these warriors were not acquainted with public life at all,
so that they were at a loss how to behave themselves as public men when,
as the real masters of the country, they found themselves obliged to
deal with political affairs. Public affairs are generally prone to
induce men even of high probity to put undue importance upon the
attainment of end, rather than to make them scrupulous about the means
of arriving at that end; and if the moral sense of the people is not
developed enough to guard against this injurious infection of private
life from the meddling with public affairs, then their inborn and yet
untried virtues may often fail to assert themselves against the
influence of the depravity which can find its way more easily into
public than into private life. Such was the case with the warriors of
the Kamakura age. Through their ascendency the martial spirit of the
nation, which had languished somewhat under the rule of the Fujiwara
nobles, was once more revived, but their descendants at the end of that
Shogunate could not be so brave and simple-hearted as their forefathers
were. The extinction of the Minamoto family, too, relieved these
warriors of their duty as hereditary liegemen of the Shogun, for
henceforth both the Shogun, who was now of a different family from that
of the Minamoto, and the Hôjô, the real master of the Shogunate, were to
them superiors only in official relations. This disappearance of the
object on which the fidelity of the warriors used to concentrate, made
fidelity itself an empty virtue. At least among the circle of warriors
in the age in which fidelity was everything and all other virtues were
but ancillary to it, this loss must have been a great drawback to the
improvement of the morality of the nation. The demoralisation of the
influential class had thus set in since the latter part of the Kamakura
age. No wonder that during the civil war which ensued many of the
prominent warriors changed sides very frequently, almost without any
hesitation, obeying only the dictates and suggestions of their private
interests. That this civil war, which ended without any decisive battle
being fought, could drag on for nearly a century, may be best understood
by taking this recklessness of the participants into consideration. The
inconsistency in their attitude or the want of fidelity towards those to
whom they ought to be faithful was not restricted to their transactions
in public affairs only, but extended also to the recesses of their
family life. Parents could no more confide in their own children, nor
husband in his wife, and masters had always to be on guard against
betrayal by their servants. After the civil war there were many periods
of intermittent peace in the first half of the Ashikaga régime, but
that was not a result of the firm and strong government of the Shogun.
They were rather lulls after storms, brought about by the weariness felt
after a long anarchy.

The culmination of this deplorable condition of national demoralisation
falls to the epoch of the next civil war, that is to say, of the Ohnin
era. It is in this period that we witness a great development of the spy
system and of the usage of taking hostages as a security against breach
of faith. Even such means, however, proved often inefficient to guard
against the unexpected treachery of supposed intimate friends, or a
sudden attack from the rear by trusted neighbours. Desertion, though not
recommended as a laudable action, was nevertheless not considered a
detestable infamy, especially when it was carried out anterior to the
pitching of the camps against the enemy, and deserters or betrayers were
generally welcomed and loaded with munificent rewards by their new
masters. Was it possible that such a ruthless state could continue for
long without any counteraction? If any one had once betrayed his first
master for the sake of selfish interests, could he claim after that to
be a sort of person able to enjoy the implicit confidence of his second
master? Examples of repeated breaches of faith abound in the history of
the time. It was from the general unreliableness caused by such habitual
acts of treachery, that the practice of giving quarter to deserters and
facile surrenderers began gradually to diminish. And the result was
that the danger of being killed after having surrendered or capitulated
became a cause to induce those warriors, who would otherwise have easily
given up their master's cause, to remain true to him to the end. This is
one of the reasons why, after so long a domination of this miserable
demoralisation, we begin frequently to come upon those beautiful
episodes which showed the solidarity of clans admirably maintained and
the utter loyalty of vassals to their lord, fighting to the death under
his banner. The process, however, of ameliorating the morals of the
nation should not begin from the relation of master and servant, but
slowly start from within families. One could not refrain from feeling
the imperative necessity of trustworthy mutual dependence among members
connected by ties of blood, amidst the dreary environs in which no
hearty confidence could be put in any one with safety. That the
_Hsiao-king_, a Chinese moral book treating of the merits of filial
piety, was widely read in educated circles of the time, and that several
editions of the same book have been published since the middle of the
Ashikaga period, show how great a stress was put on the encouragement of
domestic duties. With the family, made a compact body, as the starting
point, the reorganisation of social and national morals was thus set on
foot. The growth of the tendency of liegemen to share the same fate as
their lord is to be looked upon as a kind of extension of this family
solidarity, as it came not from the consideration of the mere relation
between a master and his servants, but rather from that of the
hereditary transmittal of such a relation on both sides, just as it was
at the beginning of the Kamakura Shogunate. There was no doubt therefore
that the smaller the size of the territory of a lord, the easier the
consummation of the process of its compact consolidation, which was
necessarily cemented by a close mutual attachment between the lord of
that territory and his dependents within and without his family. Not
only that. If that territory was small and weak, and in constant danger
of being destroyed or annexed by powerful neighbours, then the same
process of consolidation was effected very swiftly. The territory in the
province of Mikawa, which was owned by the family of the Tokugawa, was
one of many such instances. This territory was so small in size, that it
did not cover more than a half of the province, and moreover it was
surrounded by the domains belonging to the two powerful families of Oda
and Imagawa on the west and east, so that the small estate of the
Tokugawa family was constantly harassed by them, and maintained as a
protectorate now by the one and then by the other of the two. On that
account nowhere else was there a stronger demand for a close affinity
between a territorial lord and his men, than in this domain of the
Tokugawa's. Consequently we see there not only an early progress in
territorial consolidation, but along with it the resuscitation of an
acute moral sense, especially in the direction necessary and compatible
to the maintenance and development of a military state.

The reawakening of the high moral sense in the nation and the formation
of compact self-constituted territories, virtually independent but amply
liable to the influence of unifying forces, were the phenomena in the
latter half of the Ashikaga period. That the country was slow in
becoming nationalised and unified must be attributed to the
insufficiency of that reawakening and the insolidity of those
quasi-independent territories. The general culture of the time, which
was humanistic in nature, was powerless for the moment to facilitate
this movement which was national and moral at the same time. Humanistic
as it was, it was able to pervade the provinces, and gave to Japan a
uniform colour of culture. That was already, indeed, a stride forward on
the way to national unification. Nay, it may be said that the impulse to
that very unification was given by that very culture. Generally,
however, the humanistic culture of any form has no particular state of
things as its practical goal, and therefore cannot necessarily lead to
an improvement in the morals of any particular nation, nor does it
always stimulate the desire for the national unification of a certain
country. On the contrary, it often counteracts these movements, and
seemingly contributes toward accelerating the demoralisation and
dismemberment of a nation, for individualism and selfishness get often
the upper hand when such a culture becomes ascendant. The fruit which
the Renaissance of the Quattrocento bore to Italians was just of this
sort, and the direct influence which the humanistic culture of the later
Ashikaga produced on Japan was not very much different from that. The
culture, which had spread widely all over Japan, rather tended to loosen
moral ties, and at least diminished the social stability. Persons, of a
character morally most depraved, such as traitors, murderers, and so
forth, were not infrequently men of high culture. Most of the rebellious
servants of the Ashikaga Shogun were said to have been
highly-accomplished literati. Some of them were addicted to the perusal
of the sensational novels produced in the golden age of classical
literature in Japan, such as the _Ise-_ and the _Genji-monogatari_, and
others were composers of short poems fashionable in those days,
rejoicing at their own display of flighty wit, while not a few of them
were liberal patronisers of the contemporary art, especially of
painting. What a striking parallelism to those Popes and their nephews,
in the time of the Renaissance, whose patronising of arts is as renowned
as their atrocious vices!

If the culture inborn or borrowed from China was unable to save the
country from a moral and political crisis, what was the fruit borne by
the seeds of the new exotic culture, that is to say, of Christianity,
sown just at this juncture? I will not dilate here on the relation
between religion and morality in general. Suffice it to say that
religious people are not always virtuous. Bigots are generally men of
perverse character, and mostly vicious. This is a truism. It has been so
with Buddhism and many other religions. Why should it be otherwise only
in the case of Christianity? As regards the general culture of our
country, the introduction of Christianity is a very important historical
fact, the influence of which can by no means be overlooked. Though the
secular culture which was introduced into Japan as the accessory of the
Christian propaganda was of a very limited nature, and though the free
acceptance of it was cut short soon after its circulation, yet this new
element of civilisation brought over by the missionaries was much more
than a drop in the ocean. However difficult it be to perceive the traces
of the Western culture in the spirit of the age which was to follow, it
cannot be denied that it left, after all, some indelible mark on our
national history. That it had spread within a few decades all over the
contemporary Japan, from the extreme south to the furthest north, should
also not be left out of sight. Thenceforth the Fables of Æsop have not
ceased to be told in the lamplit hours in the nurseries of Japan. We see
Japan, after the first introduction of Christianity, painted in a
somewhat different colour, though the difference of tincture may be
said to be extremely slight. The knowledge at least that there were
outside of China, many people in the far West, civilised enough to teach
us in several branches of science and art, opened the eyes of the island
nation to a wider field of vision, and began to alter the views which we
had entertained about things Chinese. Previously, for anything to become
authoritative, it had been enough if the Chinese origin of that thing
could be assured. The overshadowing influence which China had wielded
over Japan at the time of the Fujiwara régime was revived in different
form in the middle Ashikaga period, the former being China of the T'ang,
while the latter that of the Sung, Yuan, and Ming. In short, China had
long continued as a too brilliant guiding star to the Japanese mind,
Korea, by the way, having been regarded only as one of the
intermediaries between the "flowery" Empire and our country. It would
be, of course, a hasty judgment to conclude that the introduction of
Christianity instantly let the scales fall from the eyes of the Japanese
as regards China, and aroused thereby a fervent national enthusiasm of
the people, but at least it was a strong impetus to the awakening of the
national consciousness, and led indirectly to the political unification
of the country. In this respect the introduction of the new religion had
a salutary effect on our history.

As to the betterment of the individual morals of the contemporary
Japanese, however, the influence of Christianity cannot be said to have
been wholesome in all ways. It probably did as much mischief as good
during its brief prosperity. Any cult, which may be styled a universal
religion, contains a strong tincture of individualism in its doctrines,
and any creed of which individualism is a main factor often easily tends
to encourage, against its original purpose, the pursuit of selfish
objects. In this respect even Christianity can offer no exception. What,
then, could it preach, at the end of the Ashikaga régime, to the
Japanese who were already individualistic enough without the new
teaching of the western religion, besides the intensifying of that
individualism to make it still more strong and prevalent? Moreover, the
very moral doctrine of the Christianity introduced by Francis Xavier and
his successors was nothing but the moral of the Jesuits of the sixteenth
century, who maintained the unscrupulous teaching that the end justified
the means, the moral principle which has been universally adjudged in
Europe to be a very dangerous and obnoxious doctrine. Could it have been
otherwise only in our country as an exceptional case? But if these
missionaries had all been men of truly noble and upright character, they
should have been able perhaps to raise the standard of our national
morals by personal contact with the Japanese, notwithstanding the moral
tenets of their religion. Unfortunately, however, most of them were of
debased character, with the exception of St. Francis Xavier and a few
others. We need not doubt the ardent desire of these missionaries to
save the "souls" of the Japanese, and thus to recover in the East what
they had lost in the West. But by whatever motive their pious
undertakings may have been prompted, their religious enthusiasm and
their dauntless courage do not confute the charge of dishonesty. That
the majority of them were grossest liars is evident from their reports
addressed to their superiors in Europe, in which the numbers of converts
and martyrs in this country were misrepresented and ridiculously
exaggerated, in order bombastically to manifest their undue merits,
exaggeration which could not be attributed to a lack of precise
knowledge about those matters. What could we expect from men of such
knavish characters as regards the moral regeneration of the contemporary

As these missionaries, however, were at least cunning, if not
intelligent in a good sense, it would not have been impossible for them
to achieve something in the domain of the moral education of the nation,
if they could only have understood the real state of Japan of that time.
On the contrary, their comprehension of our country and of our
forefathers was far wide of the mark. Most of them had expected to find
in Japan an El Dorado inhabited by primitive folks of a very low grade
of intelligence, where they could play their parts gloriously as
missionaries by preaching the Gospel in the wilderness. They had not
dreamt that the culture possessed by the Japanese of that time, though
for the most part borrowed from China, was superior to that of some
still uncivilised parts of Europe, for the difference in the form of
civilisation deceived them in their judgment of the value of Eastern
culture. When they set their feet on Japanese soil, therefore, they soon
discovered that they had been grossly mistaken, and then running to the
opposite extreme they fell into the error of overestimation. Yet they
did not stop at this. This first misconception on the part of the
missionaries about Japan left in them an ineradicable prejudice. They
became very niggards in seeing things Japanese in an impartial light,
and constituted themselves consciously or unconsciously fault-finders of
the people, and unfortunately the Japan of that time furnished them with
much material to corroborate their low opinion. The result was that
while on the one hand the Japanese were praised far above their real
value, they were stigmatised equally far below their real merits.
Regrettable as it was for Japan to have received such reprehensible
people as pioneers of Western civilisation, it was also pitiable that
Christianity, which had been fervently embraced by a large number of
Japanese, was once rooted out chiefly on account of the incredible folly
of these missionaries, who fermented trouble and embroiled themselves in
numberless intrigues, which were quite useless and unnecessary as
regards the cause of Christianity. It would, in good sooth, have been
absurd to hope to have the morality of the people improved by the
personal influence of such reckless adventurers.

Japan was ready to be transformed into a solid national state, and at
the same time to emerge from a chaotic medieval condition to enter the
modern status. The cultural milieu, however, though it might have been
ripe for change, must have found it difficult to get transformed by
itself, and wanted an infusion of some new element to create an
opportunity for the change. A new element did come in, but it proved to
be unable to effect any wholesome alteration, so that in order to create
that opportunity the only possible and promising way was to resort first
to the political unification of the country, and thus to start from the
political and so to reach social and individual regeneration. And for
that political unification the right man was not long wanting. We find
him first in Nobunaga Oda, then in Hideyoshi Toyotomi, and lastly in
Iyeyasu Tokugawa.

The first task was naturally to break down the authority of numerous
traditions and conventions which had kept the nation in fetters for a
long time. This task was an appropriate one for such a hero as Nobunaga,
who was imperious and intrepid enough to brave every difficulty coming
in his way. He was born in a family which had been of the following of
the house of Shiba, one of the branches of the Ashikaga, and had
continued as the hereditary administrator of Owari, a province which
formed part of the domain of its suzerain lord. When the power of the
house of Shiba decayed, the Oda family asserted its virtual independence
in the very province in which it had been the vicegerent of its lord,
and it was after this assertion of independence that our hero was born.
Strictly speaking, therefore, his right as a territorial lord was
founded on an act of usurpation, that is to say, Nobunaga's claim as the
owner of the province had no footing in the old system of the Ashikaga,
so that he was destined by his birth to become a creator of the new age,
and not the upholder of the ancient régime. The province over which he
held sway has been called one of the richest provinces in Japan, and was
not far from Kyoto, which was, as often stated before, still by far the
most influential among the political and cultural centres of the empire.
He and his vassals, therefore, had more opportunities than most of the
territorial lords and their vassals living in remote provinces, of
getting sundry knowledge useful to make his territory greater and
stronger. In the year 1560 he defeated and killed his powerful enemy on
the east, Yoshimoto Imagawa, the lord of the two provinces, Tôtômi and
Suruga. This was his first acquisition of new territory. Four years
after, the province of Mino, lying to the north of Owari, came into his
possession. In 1568 he marched his army into Kyoto to avenge the death
of the Shogun Yoshiteru, and installed his brother, who was the last of
the Ashikaga line, as the new Shogun. Then one territory after another
was added to his dominion, so that the Shogun was at last eclipsed in
power and influence by Oda, without ever having renounced his hereditary
rights. Nobunaga's dominion reached from the Sea of Japan to the Pacific
shore, when he met at the height of his career of conquest a premature
death by the hand of a traitor.

It is not, however, on account of the magnitude of the territories which
he annexed, that Nobunaga figures in the history of Japan, for the land
conquered by dint of his arms did not cover more than one-third of the
island of Honto. His real historical importance lies not there, but in
that he destroyed the old Japan and made himself the harbinger of the
new age, though the honour of being creator of modern Japan must be
assigned rather to Hideyoshi, his successor. Since the beginning of our
history, the Japanese have always been very reluctant, in the cultural
respect, to give up what they have possessed from the first, while they
have been very eager and keen to take in the new exotic elements which
seemed agreeable or useful to them. In other words, the Japanese have
been simultaneously conservative and progressive, and immoderately so in
both ways. The result of such a conservation and assimilation operating
at the same time was that the country has gradually become a depository
of a huge mass of things Japanese and Chinese, no matter whether they
were desirable or not. If any exotic matter or custom once found its way
into this country, it was preserved with tender care and never-relaxing
tenacity, as if it were some treasure found or made at home and would
prove a credit to our country. In this way we could save from
destruction and demolition a great many historical remains, material as
well as spiritual, not only of Japanese but also of Chinese origins.
There may still be found in our country many things, the histories of
which show that they had once their beginnings in China indeed, but the
traces of their origins have long been entirely lost there. Needless to
say that the religious rites and other traditions of our forefathers in
remotest antiquity have been carefully handed down to us. This assiduity
for preserving on the part of the Japanese can best be realised by the
existence to this day of very old wooden buildings, some of which, in
their dates of erection, go back to more than twelve hundred years ago.
Besides this conservative propensity of the nation, the history of our
country has also been very favourable to the effort of preserving. We
have had no chronic change of dynasties as in China, nor have we
experienced any violent revolution, shaking the whole structure of the
country, as the French people had. Though our history has not lacked in
civil wars and political convulsions, their destructive force has been
comparatively feeble, and one Imperial house has continued to reign here
from the mythic Age of the Gods! With this permanent sovereign family as
the _point d'appui_, it has been easier in Japan than in any other
country to preserve things historic. Things thus preserved, however,
have not all been worthy of such care. As we have been obliged to march
constantly with hurried steps in our course of civilisation, little time
has been left to us to pause and discriminate what was good for
preservation from what was not. We have betaken ourselves occasionally
to the process of rumination, but it did not render us much assistance.
Not only rubbish has not been rejected, as it should have been, but the
things which proved of good service at one time and subsequently wore
out, have been hoarded over-numerously. Think of this immense quantity
of the slag, the detritus, of the civilisations of various countries in
various ages all dumped into the limited area of our small empire! No
people, however vigorous and progressive they may have been, would have
been able to go on briskly with such a heavy burden on their backs. The
worst evils were to be recognised in the sphere of religious belief and
in the transactions of daily official business. Red tape, home-made and
that of China of all dynasties, taken in haphazard and fastened
together, formed the guiding-lines of the so-called "administrative
business" in the time of the court-nobles' régime. The prestige of these
conventionalities was so powerful that even after the installation of
the Shogunate, that is to say, after the establishment of the government
which really meant to govern, the administration, promising to be far
more effective than that of the Fujiwara's, had to be varnished with
this conventionalism. Kiyomori, the first of the warriors to become the
political head of the country, failed, because he was ignorant of this
red-tapism. The Shogunate initiated by Yoritomo tried at first to keep
itself aloof from this influence, but could succeed only for a short
duration. The second Shogunate, the Ashikaga, had been overrun almost
from its inception by the red tape of the courtiers' régime, as well as
by the routine newly started in Kamakura. The humanistic culture, which
glimmered during the latter part of this Shogunate, was by its nature
able to find its place only where conventionalism did not reign, but it
soon began to give way and be conventionalised also. Until this
red-tapism was destroyed, there could have been no possibility of the
modernisation of Japan.

Superstitions of all sorts, when fixed in their forms and launched on
the stream of time to float down to posterity with authority
undiminished by age, make the worst kind of convention. We had a great
mass of conventions of this type in our country. Various superstitions,
from the primitive forms of worship, such as fetichism, totemism, and
so forth, to the highest forms of idolatry, survived notwithstanding the
introduction of Buddhism. Buddhism, too, has produced various sects
which were rather to be called coarse superstitions. Taoism was also
introduced together with the general Chinese culture. Not to mention
that Shintoism, which was by its original nature hardly to be called a
religion, but only a system or body of rites inseparable from the
history of our country, became blended with the Buddhist elements and
was preached as a religion of a hybrid character. Thus a concourse of
different superstitions of all ages had their common field of action in
the spirit of the people, so that it has became exceedingly difficult to
tell exactly to what kind of faith this or that Japanese belonged; in
other words, one was divided against one's self. To put it in the best
light, religiously the Japanese were divided into a large number of
different religious groups. Religion is generally spoken of in Europe as
one of the characteristics of a nation. If it is insufficient to serve
as an associating link of a nation, at least the difference in religious
belief can draw a line of marked distinction between different nations,
and thus the embracing of the same religion becomes indirectly a strong
uniting force in a nation. Such a co-existence of heterogeneous forms of
religious beliefs painted the confessional map of Japan in too many
variegated colours, a condition which was directly opposed to the
process of national unification, of which our country had been placed
in urgent need for a very long time. In short, it was hard for us to
expect from the religious side anything helpful in our national affairs.

Moreover, the religious spirit of the nation reached its climax in this
later Ashikaga period. Except in the age of the introduction of Buddhism
and the beginning of the Kamakura era, enthusiasm for salvation has
never, in all the course of Japanese history, been stronger than in this
period. We witness now several religious corporations, the most
remarkable of which were those formed by two violent and influential
sects of Japanese Buddhism, Jôdo-shinshû or Ikkô-shû and Nichiren-shû or
Hokke-shû. The followers of the latter, though said to be the most
aggressive sectarians in our country, were not so numerous as the
former, and were put under control by Nobunaga with no great difficulty.
The former, however, was by far the mightier, constituting an exclusive
society by itself, and its adherents spread especially over the
provinces of central Japan, that is to say, wherever the arms of
Nobunaga were triumphant. It presented therefore a great hindrance to
the uniform administration of his domains.

Other Buddhist bodies, which had been not less formidable, not because
their creed had numerous fervent adherents, but because they had an
invisible historical prestige originating in very old times, were the
monks of the temples and monasteries on Mount Hiyei, belonging to the
Tendai sect, and of those clustered on Mount Kôya, of the Shingon sect.
These two sects had long ceased active propaganda, but the temples had
been revered by the Imperial house, and none had ever dared to put a
check upon the arrogance of the priests and monks residing in them. As
they had received rich donations in land from the court and from
devotees, they had been able to live a luxurious life, and very few of
them gave themselves up to religious works. Most of them behaved as if
they were soldiers by profession, and were always ready to fight, not
only in defence of the interests of the corporations to which they
belonged, but also as auxiliaries of neighbouring territorial lords,
when their aid was called for. Such had been the practice since the end
of Fujiwara régime. The more their soldierly character predominated, the
more their religious colouring decreased, and in the period of which I
am speaking now, they were rather territorial powers than religious
bodies. If we seek for their counterpart in the history of Europe, the
republic founded by order of the Teutonic Knights in Prussia would
fairly correspond to them, rather than ordinary bishoprics or
archbishoprics. For the unification, therefore, they were also obstacles
which could not be suffered to remain as they had been.

In order to achieve the national unification and to effect the
modernisation of the country, it was necessary to dispense with all the
red tape, the time-honoured superstitions and all other encumbrances
lying in the way. It was not, however, an easy task to do away with all
these things, for they had been held sacrosanct, so that to set them at
defiance was but to brave the public opinion of the time. And none had
been courageous enough to raise his hand against them, until Nobunaga
decided to rid himself of all these feeble but tenacious shackles.

In the year 1571 Nobunaga attacked Mount Hiyei, for the turbulent
shavelings of the mountain had sided with his enemies in the war of the
preceding year, and burned down the Temple Yenryakuji to the ground. The
emblem of the glory of Buddhism in Japan, which had stood for more than
seven centuries, was thus turned to ashes. The next blow was struck at
the recalcitrant priests of the temple of Negoro, belonging to the same
sect as Kôya and situated near it. As for the Ikkô-sectarians with the
Hongwanji as centre, the arms of Nobunaga were not so successful against
them as against the other two temples, so that in the end he was
compelled to conclude an armistice with them, but he was able in great
measure to curtail their overbearing power. Of all these feats of arms,
the burning of the temples on Mount Hiyei most dumbfounded Nobunaga's
contemporaries, for the hallowed institution, held in the highest esteem
rivalling even the prestige of the Imperial family, was thus prostrated
in the dust, unable to rise up again to its former grandeur. It is much
lamented by later historians that in the conflagration of the temple an
immense number of invaluable documents, chronicles and other kinds of
historical records was swept away forever, and they calumniated our hero
on this account rather severely. It is true that if those materials had
existed to this day, the history of our country would have been much
more lucid and easy to comprehend than it is now, and if Nobunaga could
have saved those papers first, and then burnt the temple, he would have
acted far more wisely than he did, and have earned less censure from
posterity. But history is not made for the sake of historians, and we
need not much lament about losses which there was little possibility of
avoiding. A nation ought to feel more grateful to a great man for giving
her a promising future, than for preserving merely some souvenirs of the
past. The bell announcing the dawn of modern Japan was rung by nobody
but Nobunaga himself by this demolition of a decrepit institution.

It was not only those proud priests that defied Nobunaga and thereby
suffered a heavy calamity, but the flourishing city of Sakai met the
same fate. As the city had been accustomed to despise the military force
of the condottieri, who abounded in the provinces neighbouring Kyoto and
were easily to be bribed by money to change sides, it misunderstood the
new rising power of Nobunaga, and dared to defy him. The insolence of
the citizens of this wealthy town irritated Nobunaga and was punished by
him severely. The defence works of the city were razed to the ground,
and the city was placed under the control of a mayor appointed by him.
The only city in Japan which promised to grow an autonomous political
body thus succumbed to the new unifying force.

Nobunaga was born, however, not to be a mere insensate destroyer of
ancient Japan. He seems also to have been gifted with the ability of
reconstruction, an ability which was not meagre in him at all. That his
special attention was directed to the improvement of the means of
communication shows that he considered the work of organisation and
consolidation to be as important as gaining a victory. The countenance
which he gave to the Christian missionaries might have been the result
of his repugnance at the degradation or intractability of the Buddhists
in Japan. Could it not be imagined, however, that he was prone, in
religious affairs as well as in other things, to seek the yet untried
means thoroughly to renovate Japan? It is much to be regretted that he
did not live long enough to see his aims attained. When he died, his
destructive task had not reached its end, and his constructive work had
barely begun. It was he, however, who indicated that Japan was a country
which could be truly unified, and that what had come to be preserved and
revered blindly should not all necessarily be so; and the grand task of
building up the new Japan, initiated by him, was transferred to his
successor, Hideyoshi.

It was in 1582 that Nobunaga died in Kyoto, and in the quarrel which
ensued after his death among his Diadochi, Hideyoshi remained as the
final successor. The year after, Ôsaka was chosen as the place of his
residence. He was of very low origin, so that he had even less footing
in the conventional old régime than his master Nobunaga, and therefore
was more fitted to become the creator of the new Japan. He continued the
course of conquest begun by Nobunaga, and annexed the whole of historic
Japan within eight years from his accession to the political power. The
most noteworthy item in his internal administration was the land survey
which he ordered to be undertaken parallel to the progress of his arms.
The great estates of Japan were one after another subjected to a uniform
measurement, and thus was fashioned the standard of new taxation. This
land-survey began in 1590 and continued till the death of Hideyoshi. The
proportion of the tax levied to the area of the taxable land must still
have varied in different localities, but the mode of taxation was now
simplified thereby to a great extent, for the old systems, each of which
was peculiar to an individual estate, were henceforth mostly abrogated.
The manorial system of old Japan was entirely swept away.

The unity of the nation under Hideyoshi, that is to say, Japan at the
disposal of a single person, an illuminated despot, might have been
really the result of the long process of unification gradually
accentuated, but it may also be considered as one of the causes which
brought about a still stronger national consciousness. The expulsion of
the foreign missionaries and the prohibition of the Christian propaganda
did not constitute a religious persecution in its strict sense. That
Hideyoshi was no enthusiastic Buddhist should be accepted as a negative
proof of it. Most probably he had no religious aversion against
Christianity, but the intermeddling of those missionaries in the
politics of our country infuriated him, for the demand for the solid
unification of the nation, embodied in him, was against such an
encroachment. The persecution, which crowned many adventurers with the
honour of martyrdom, is to be imputed to the lack of prudence on the
part of those missionaries.

As to the motive of the Korean invasion undertaken by Hideyoshi, various
interpretations have been put forth by various historians. Some explain
it as mere love of adventure and fame. Others attribute it to the
necessity of keeping malcontent warriors engaged abroad, in order to
keep the country pacific. As Hideyoshi himself died while the expedition
was still in progress, giving neither explanation nor hint of his real
motive, it is very difficult for us to fathom his innermost thought. It
would not be altogether a mistaken idea, however, if we consider it as
an outcome of his unifying aspiration carried a few steps farther
outside the empire.

When we consider his brilliant career from its beginning, the amount of
work which he accomplished greatly exceeded what we could expect from a
single ordinary mortal. He performed his share of the construction of
new Japan admirably. As to the organisation of what Hideyoshi had
roughly put together, it was reserved for the prudent intelligence of
Iyeyasu to accomplish.

                               CHAPTER XI


The spirit of the coming age was loudly heralded by Nobunaga. Most of
the hindrances which had persistently obstructed the national progress
for a long while were cleared away at his peremptory call. Then out of
the quarry opened by him the stones for the new pieces of sculpture were
hewn out by his successor Hideyoshi. The blocks, however, which were
only rough-cut by the latter, were left unfinished, awaiting the final
touch of wise and prudent Iyeyasu. The Shogunate which he set up at
Yedo, now Tokyo, in the province of Musashi, continued for more than two
centuries and a half. Not only was it the longest in duration among our
Shogunates, but it exceeded most of the European dynasties in the number
of years which it covered, being a little longer than the reign of the
Bourbons in France, including that of the branch of Orleans and of the
Restoration. During this long régime of the single house of the
Tokugawa, Japan had been able to prepare herself slowly to attain the
stage on which all the world witnesses her now standing.

The history of Japan under this Shogunate shows that throughout the
whole epoch our country had not yet been entirely stripped of her
medieval garments, but it is absurd at the same time to designate the
period as essentially not modern. For long years we have been on our
forward march, always dragging along with us the ever-accumulating
residue of the civilisation of the past. If any one, however, should
venture to judge us by the enormous heaps of these souvenirs of a
by-gone civilisation overburdening us, and should say that the Japanese
had been standing still these two centuries and a half, then he would be
entirely mistaken. The overestimation of Japan of the Meidji era by a
great many foreigners is, though seconded by not a few Japanese, a fault
which had its origin in this misapprehension about our country under the
Tokugawa régime. The attention of these observers was engrossed, when
they took their first views of the land and people, by those things
which seemed to them strange and curious, being quite different from
what they themselves possessed at home, or which were thought by them
anachronistic, on account of having been abandoned by them long ago,
though once they had them also in their own countries. As regards what
they had been accustomed to at home, they took very little notice of it
in Japan, and considered the existence of such things in our country as
a matter of course, if they happened to come across them. Most of them
came over to Japan, prepossessed already by their expectations of
finding here a unique country, and were thus unconsciously led, after
their view of the country itself, to depict it in a very quaint light,
as something entirely different from anything they had ever experienced
anywhere; an error which even the most studious and acute observer, such
as Engelhardt Kaempfer, was not able to escape. No need to mention the
rest, especially those missionaries who wished to extol their own merits
at the expense of the Japanese. We are still suffering from
misconceptions about our country on the part of
Europeans,--misconceptions which are the legacy of the misrepresentation
of Japan by those early observers. By no means, however, do I presume to
try to exhibit Japan only in her brightest colours. Far from it, and
what I ask foreign readers not to forget is that the history of Japan
under the Tokugawa Shogunate, the period which was essentially modern,
should not be superficially judged by its abundance of feudal trammels
fondly described by contemporary Europeans. In this chapter, I shall
first make manifest which were the things medieval retained in the time
of the Tokugawa, and then treat about the essential character of the age
which should be called all but modern.

In the foregoing chapter I spoke about some resemblances between our
later Ashikaga period and the Italian renaissance of the Quattrocento.
In the successive phases which followed in the East and in the West,
there might be found some other similarities. History, however, has not
been ordained to run in streams exactly parallel to one another in all
countries, and to be a counterpart of the age of the Reformation, the
epochs of the Oda and the Toyotomi are not more appropriate than the age
of the Kamakura Shogunate. A style in Japanese art, prevalent during and
after the régime of Hideyoshi and called "the Momoyama" by recent
connoisseurs had a striking resemblance to the Empire style, which
followed the Rococo in Europe, and in some respects indeed the later
Ashikaga period of our history might be likened to Europe of the
eighteenth century, without gross inappropriateness, while at other
points it might be compared to the Renaissance with equal fairness. It
would be very stupid, however, to surmise that Japan in the Tokugawa
period attained to a culture which in its general aspect belonged almost
to the same stage as that prevailing in Europe in the early nineteenth
century. Art, though an important cultural factor, cannot be made the
sole criterion of the civilisation of any nation or people. It is quite
indisputable that Japan under the Tokugawa Shogunate had many things
about which we could not boast.

So long as war is a calamity unavoidable in this world, it is folly to
expect in any country that the cruelty of men to men will entirely
cease. But if the intensity of cruelty in warfare be taken as being in
inverse ratio to the progress of civilisation, as it generally used to
be, then the Tokugawa period evidently should not be lauded as an age of
great enlightenment. Until the end of the Shogunate of this house it had
been the custom for a warrior on the battlefield to cut off the head of
the antagonist whom he had slain. Though we have had no such
demoralising sort of warfare in our history as that carried on by
mercenary troops in medieval Europe, where defeated warriors were taken
prisoners in order to obtain from them as rich ransoms as they could
afford to pay, in other words, though the nature of warfare in Japan was
far more serious in general than in the West, it was on that account far
more dangerous for the combatants engaged. It was the custom in any
battle to reward that warrior who first decapitated an enemy's head as
generously as one who was the first over the wall in an attack on a
fortress. Moreover, during the ceremony in celebration of a victory on a
battlefield, all those enemy heads were collected and brought for the
inspection of the commanding general of the victorious army. Such a
custom in warfare, however efficient it might have been in stimulating
the martial courage of warriors, cannot be regarded as praiseworthy in
any civilised country, even where war is considered as the highest
occupation of the people.

The Japanese manner of suicide called _hara-kiri_ or _seppuku_, a custom
of world-wide celebrity, is another thing which is well to be commented
on here. If any foreigner should suppose that _seppuku_ has been very
frequently committed in the same manner as we see it practised on the
stage, he would be greatly misled in appreciating the true national
character of the Japanese. On the contrary, _seppuku_ has not been a
matter of everyday occurrence, having taken place far less frequently
than one hears now-a-days about railway accidents. Moreover, when it was
performed, it was carried out in decent ways, if we may use the word
decent here, and not in the grotesque mode displayed on the Japanese
stage, accompanied by sardonic laughter, with bowels exposed after
cutting the belly crosswise. The reason why the Japanese warrior
resorted to _seppuku_ in committing suicide was not to kill himself in a
methodically cruel manner, but to die an honourable and manly death by
his own hand. For such methods of committing suicide, as taking poison,
drowning, strangling oneself, and the like, were considered very
ignoble, and especially unworthy of warriors. Even to die by merely
cutting one's throat was held to be rather effeminate. The fear of the
protraction of the death agony was looked on as a token of cowardice,
and therefore to be able to kill one's self in the most sober and
circumstantial manner, and at the same time to do it with every
consideration of others, was thought to be one of the requisite
qualifications of a brave warrior in an emergency. In short, for a
suicide to be honourable, it had to be proved that it was not the result
of insanity. Thus we can see that not the spirit of cruelty but martial
honour was the motive of committing _seppuku_, and it would be unfair to
stigmatise the Japanese as a cruel people because of the practice. Still
I am far from wishing to vindicate this custom in all its aspects. The
fact that this method of killing one's self continued during the whole
of the Tokugawa régime as a penalty, without loss of honour, for capital
crimes of the _samurai_ show that the humane culture of the age left
much to be wished for.

Class distinction was another dark spot on the culture of the age. All
sorts of people outside the fighting class were roughly classified into
three bodies, that is to say, peasants, artisans, and merchants, and
were held in utter subjection, as classes made simply to be governed.
But the often-quoted tradition that warriors of that time had as their
privilege the right to kill any of the commonalty at their sweet will
and pleasure, without the risk of incurring the slightest punishment
thereby, is erroneous, having no foundation in real historical fact.
Those warriors who had committed a homicide were without prejudice
called upon to justify their act before the proper authority. If they
failed to prove that they were the provoked and injured party, they were
sure to have severe penalties inflicted on them. On the whole, however,
the common people in the Tokugawa age were looked down upon by warriors
as inferiors in reasoning and understanding, and therefore as
disqualified to participate in public affairs, social as well as
political. That their intellectual defects must have been due to their
neglected education was a matter clean put out of mind. As regards the
respective professions of the above-mentioned three classes of
plebeians, agriculture was thought to be the most honourable, on account
of producing the staple food-material, so that warriors, especially of
the lower classes, did not disdain to engage in tilling the lands
allotted to them or in exploring new arable lands. The peasants
themselves, however, were not so greatly esteemed on account of their
engaging in a profession which was held honourable. Handicrafts in
general and artisans employed in them had not been held particularly
respectable by themselves, but as the profession was productive, it was
recognised as indispensable, despised by no means. Moreover, many
artistic geniuses, who had come out of the innumerable multitudes of
artisans of various trades, have been held in very high regard in our
country, where the people have the reputation of being one of the most
artistic in the world; and those articles of rare talent unwittingly
raised the esteem of the crafts in which they were engaged. That which
was most despised as a profession was the business of merchants in all
lines, for to gain by buying and selling was thought from times past to
be a transaction approaching almost to chicanery, and therefore by no
means to be encouraged from the standpoint of national and martial
morals. Pedlars and small shop-keepers were therefore simply held in
contempt. Great merchants, however, though not much esteemed on account
of their profession, were generally treated with due consideration in
virtue of their amassed wealth. Only too frequently had the Shogunate,
as well as various _daimyo_, been obliged to stoop to court the goodwill
of rich merchants in order to get money from them.

The methods of taxation were very arbitrary, and the person and the
rights of property of individuals were not very highly respected at that
time, the common people under the Shogunate being often subjected to
hard and brutal treatment, their persons maltreated and injured and
their properties confiscated on various trifling pretences. Though the
way to petition was not absolutely debarred to them, it was made very
irksome and perilous for plebeians to sue and obtain a hearing for their
manifold complaints. On the other hand, as they were not recognised as a
part of the nation to be necessarily consulted, and as the _vox populi_
was not heeded in the management of public affairs, their education was
not regarded as an indispensable duty of the government. No serious
endeavour had ever been made to improve the common people
intellectually, nor to raise their standard of living. If a number of
them showed themselves able to behave like gentle folk, as if they had
been warriors by birth and, therefore, well-educated, they were rewarded
as men of extraordinary merits such as could not be reasonably expected
of them.

The status of the political organisation of the country during the
Tokugawa régime was also what ought to be called medieval, if we draw
our conclusions from the materials ranged on the darker side only. The
country had been divided into parcels, large and small, numbering in all
a little less than three hundred, each with a territorial lord or a
_daimyo_ as its quasi-independent autocratic ruler. The frontier line
dividing adjacent territories belonging to different _daimyo_ used to be
guarded very vigilantly on both sides, and passage, both in and out, was
minutely scrutinised. For that purpose numerous barrier-gates were set
up along and within the boundary. Any land bounded by such frontiers,
and conferred on a _daimyo_ by the Shogunate as his hereditary
possession, was by its nature a self-constituted state, the political
system prevailing within which having been modelled after that of the
Shogunate itself. At the same time the territory of a _daimyo_ was
economically a self-providing, self-sufficient body. To become in such
wise independent at least was the ideal of the _daimyo_ possessing the
territory or of the territorial statesmen under him. In other words, the
territory of a _daimyo_ was an entity, political and economical. In each
territory certain kinds of produce from those confines had been
strictly prohibited by regulation to be exported beyond the frontier,
for fear that there might sometimes occur a scarcity of those
commodities for the use of the inhabitants of the territory, or lest
other territories should imitate the cultivation of like kinds of
produce, so that the value of their own commodities might decrease
thereby. In case of a famine, that is to say, of the failure of rice
crops in a territory, a phenomenon which has by no means been of rare
occurrence in our country, the export of cereals used to be forbidden in
most of the neighboring territories, even when they had a "bumper crop."
Such an internal embargo testifies that not only had Japan been closed
against foreigners, but within herself each territory cared only for its
own welfare, adhering to a mercantilist principle, as if it stood quite
secluded from the rest of the country. Very little of the cohesion
necessary to an integral state could be perceived in Japan of that time.

Such was the condition of Japan under the Tokugawa Shogunate presented
to the eyes of, and easily noticed by, the foreign observers, who
visited our country at the beginning and the middle of the period. Nay,
many of the foreigners who wrote about our land and people seem to have
shared nearly the same views as above. In truth, however, many important
factors of the Japanese history of this epoch have been omitted by
them, and the idea they could form of Japan from the one-sided and
scanty material at their disposal was only a very incomplete image of
modern Japanese civilisation. I shall, therefore, try to give a general
survey of the political and social condition of our country from the
beginning of the seventeenth century down to the Revolution of the
Meidji, and then shall treat in brief about the civilisation of the age.

The Shogunate of the house of the Tokugawa was not an entirely new
invention. It was a partial recognition of the old régime which Iyeyasu
had inherited from Hideyoshi, as far as the territorial lords were
concerned, who were installed or recognised anterior to the advent of
Iyeyasu to power. Though a great many of the former feudatories,
especially those who had been faithful to the House of the Toyotomi to
the last, had been killed or deprived of their possessions after the
decisive battle of Sekigahara, not a few of them survived, counting
among them the most powerful of the _daimyo_, the House of Mayeta, who
was the master of Kaga and two other provinces on the Sea of Japan. The
lords of this kind had formerly been the equals of the Tokugawa, when
the latter was standing under the protection of Hideyoshi, and it was
difficult for the new Shogunate, in a country where the Emperor has ever
been the paramount sovereign, to make those lords formally swear the
oath of fealty to itself. The nature of the sovereignty, therefore, of
the Tokugawa over the feudatories aforesaid was only that of _primus
inter pares_. The _daimyo_ who stood in this relation to the Shogunate
were called _tozama_.

The rest of the _daimyo_, together with the bodyguard of the Shogun, the
so-called "eighty thousand" with their habitual residence at Yedo, made
up the hereditary retainers or _fudai_. The non-domestic _daimyo_ had
nothing to do with the Shogun's central government, all the posts of
which, from such high functionaries as the _rôchû_ or elders, who were
none other than the cabinet ministers of the Shogunate, down to such
petty officials as scribes and watchmen, had been all filled with
domestics of various grades. As far as these domestics or direct
retainers of the Shogunate were concerned, the military régime of the
Tokugawa can be held to have been a revived form of that of Kamakura. In
the former, however, the disparity in power and wealth between the upper
and the lower domestics of the Shogun was far more remarkable than it
had been among the retainers of the latter, that is to say, the _djito_.
The term "go-kenin," held to be honourable in the time of Kamakura,
became, in the Tokugawa period, a designation of the lowest order of the
direct vassals of the Shogun. A certain number belonging to the upper
class of the _fudai_ or domestics of the Tokugawa Shogunate were made
_daimyo_, and placed on the same footing as feudatories of historical
lineage, the former equals of the Tokugawa, and formed with them
henceforth the highest military nobility of the country. The remainder
of the domestics, who were not raised to the rank of _daimyo_, were
comprised under the name of _hatamoto_, which means "under the
standard," that is to say, the Body-guard of the Shogun. Among the
members of this body there were indeed numerous scales of gradation. The
lowest of them had to lead a very miserable and straitened life in some
obscure corners of the city of Yedo, while the best of them stood as
regards income very near to minor _daimyo_, and were often more
influential. Their political status, however, notwithstanding manifold
differences in rank among them, was all the same, all being equally,
direct vassals of the Shogunate, and having no regular warriors or
_samurai_ as their own vassals. They, therefore, belonged to the lowest
grade of the privileged classes in the military hierarchy, and in this
respect there was no cardinal difference between them and the common
_samurai_ who were vassals of ordinary _daimyo_. That they were,
however, the immediate subjects of the Shogun, and that they did not owe
fealty to any _daimyo_, who was in reality subordinate at least to the
Shogun, if not his vassal in name, placed them in a status like that of
the knights immediate of the Holy Roman Empire or of the mediatised
princes of recent Germany; in short, above the status of ordinary
_samurai_ attached to an ordinary _daimyo_. Strictly speaking, between
these two there interposed another group of _samurai_. They were the
vassals of the three _daimyo_ of extraordinary distinction, of Nagoya in
the province of Owari, of Wakayama in the province of Kii, and of Mito
in the province of Hitachi. All these three being of the lateral
branches of the Tokugawa, were held in specially high regard, and put at
the topmost of all the other _daimyo_, so that their vassals considered
themselves to be quasi-_hatamoto_ and therefore above the "common" or
"garden" _samurai_.

The _daimyo_ acted as virtual potentates in territories granted to them,
and held a court and a government there, both modelled largely after the
household and the government of the Shogun at Yedo. The better part of
the _daimyo_ resided in castles built imposingly after the architectural
style of the fortresses in Europe at that time, the technic having
perhaps been introduced along with Christianity, and they led a life far
more easy and elegant, though more regular, than the _shugo_ of the
Ashikaga age. It has been ascribed, by the way, to the rare sagacity of
Iyeyasu as a politician, that the territories of the two kinds of
_daimyo_, _tozama_ and _fudai_, were so adroitly juxtaposed, that the
latter were able to keep watch over the former's attitude toward the

The _daimyo_ were ranked according to the officially estimated amount of
rice to be produced in the territory of each. In the time of Kamakura,
the renumeration of the _djito_ was counted by the area of ricefields in
the manor entrusted to his care. By and by, the land which was the
source of the renumeration for a _djito_ came to be partitioned among
his numerous descendants, and some of the portions allotted became so
small, that it was but ridiculous to think of exercising the
jurisdiction of military police over them. Area of land began to cease
thus to be the standard of valuation of the income of a _djito_, when
the office of _djito_ meant only the emolument accompanying it, and no
longer carried with it the responsibility incumbent on it at its first
establishment. The ultimate result of such a change was that the
quantity or the price of rice produced began to be adopted gradually as
the standard of valuation of the income of territorial lords, and for a
while the two standards were in use together till the end of the
Ashikaga age. Moreover, infrequently part of the income of a _shugo_ was
reckoned by the quantity of rice, while another part of the income of
the same _shugo_ was assessed by the sale-price of the rice cultivated.
This promiscuous way of valuation, however, caused great irregularity
and confusion. For, added to the disagreement about the real quantity of
rice produced and the amount registered to be produced, the price of the
cereal itself had been so ceaselessly fluctuating according to the
inconstant condition of crops, that there was no such thing as a regular
standard price of rice invariably applicable to any year and to any
locality. Nevertheless, in an age when no uniform system of currency was
established and to accept any coin at its face value was an impossible
matter, in other words, when it was difficult to represent the price of
rice in any sort of coin then in use, to make a standard of value, not
of the actual amount of rice but of its unceasingly vacillating price,
could not but cause a great deal of inconvenience and confusion. We can
easily see from the above that the quantity of rice was by far the surer
means of bargaining than the money, which was not only indeterminate in
value but insufficient to boot. Hideyoshi, therefore, put a stop to the
use of the method of indicating the income of a territorial lord by its
valuation in money, and decreed that henceforth only the yearly
estimated yield of rice, counted by the _koku_ as a unit, should be
adopted as the means of denoting the revenue of a territory, a _koku_
roughly corresponding to five bushels in English measure. The
land-survey, which he undertook on a grand scale throughout the whole
empire, had as its main purpose to measure the area of land classed as
rice-fields in the territories of the _daimyo_, according to the units
newly decreed, and to make the estimate of the amount of rice said to be
produced commensurate as nearly as possible with the average crop
realisable. Withal, the inequality of the standard of estimate in
different localities was rectified by this assessment of Hideyoshi's.

This method of estimating the income of a _daimyo_ had come into general
use since the beginning of the Tokugawa Shogunate. As there was then no
system in our country of gradating the _daimyo_ by titles, such as
dukes, counts, and so forth, the estimated annual yield of rice in
_koku_ was used as the sole means of determining the rank of the lords
of the various territories in the long queue of the Tokugawa _daimyo_,
with the exception of a very few who had been placed in a comparatively
high rank on account of their specially noble lineage or the unique
position of their families in the national history, though most of the
nobles belonging to the latter class were classed as an intervening
group. The minimum number of _koku_ assigned to a _daimyo_ was ten
thousand. As regards the maximum number of _koku_, there was no legal
limit. One who stood, however, highest in order was the above-mentioned
House of Mayeta, the lord of Kaga etc., whose domain was assessed at
more than a million _koku_. About three hundred _daimyo_, who were
ranged between the two extremes, were divided into three orders. All
those worth more than two hundred thousand _koku_ formed a class of the
_daimyo_ major, and those worth less than one hundred thousand were
comprised in a group of the _daimyo_ minor, while the rest, that is to
say, those between one and two hundred thousand formed the middle corps.

In the Shogun's court, a seat was assigned to each _daimyo_ in a
specified room, according to the class to which he belonged. One could,
therefore, easily tell the rank of a _daimyo_ by the name of the room in
which he had to wait when he attended on the Shogun. All _daimyo_,
almost without exception, had to move in and out at fixed intervals
between his territory, where his castle or camp stood, and Yedo, where
he kept, or, to say more correctly, was granted by the Shogun,
residences, generally more than two in number. The interval allowed to a
_daimyo_ for remaining in his territory varied according to the distance
of that territory from Yedo, being the shorter and oftener for the
nearer. He was obliged to leave his wife and children constantly in one
of his residences at Yedo, as hostages for his fidelity to the Shogun.
As to the vassals or _samurai_ of a _daimyo_, there were also two sorts.
By far the greater part of the _samurai_ belonging to a _daimyo_ had
their dwellings in their master's territory, generally in the vicinity
of his castle. These _samurai_ were the main support of their lord, and
had to accompany him by turns in his official tour to Yedo and back. The
rest of the _samurai_ under the same lord, a band which formed the small
minority, lived constantly in Yedo, each family in a compartment of the
accessory buildings surrounding the lord's residence like a colony.
These were as a rule men who were enlisted into the service of a
_daimyo_ more for the sake of making a gallant show at his official and
social functions at Yedo, than for the sake of strengthening his
fighting forces. It was natural that men accustomed to the polished life
of the military capital were thought better qualified to fulfil such
functions than the rustic _samurai_ fresh from his territories who were
good only for fighting and other serious kinds of business. While a
_daimyo_ was absent in his territory, a _samurai_ of his, belonging to
this metropolitan group, was entrusted with the care of his residences
and their occupants in Yedo, and also with the duty of receiving orders
from the Shogunate or of transacting inter-territorial business with
representatives of other _daimyo_ at Yedo. The meetings held by these
representatives of the _daimyo_ were said to be one of the most
fashionable gatherings in Yedo. That the doyen of such functionaries had
a certain prestige over others, was very similar to the usage among the
diplomatic corps in Europe.

The _samurai_ who had their abode in their lord's territory, however,
represented the real strength of a _daimyo_, and were the soul and body
of the whole military régime. The number of _samurai_ in a territory
differed according to the rank and the resources of a _daimyo_. Some of
the powerful nobles counted more than ten thousand regular _samurai_
under them, while minor ones could maintain only a few hundred as
necessary retainers. In the latter case almost all of the _samurai_ had
their dwellings clustering around the castle or camp of their lord. If
there were any _samurai_ who lived outside of the residential town,
they led an agricultural rather than a soldierly life. The relation of
vassalage in such a territory was simple, for under the _samurai_
consisting of a single order there was no swords-wearer serving them. In
the territory of the powerful _daimyo_, however, especially in those of
the big _daimyo_ in Kyushu and the northern part of Honto, comprising an
area of two or more average provinces in Middle Japan, the relation of
vassalage was very complicated, sometimes forming a feudalism of the
second order. That is to say, the most influential _samurai_ under those
_daimyo_ had also their own small territory granted by their lord, just
as the latter had his granted or recognised by the Shogunate, and held
several hundred swords-wearers, non-commissioned _samurai_, in their
service. It was not rare that some of these magnates surpassed in income
many minor independent _daimyo_, and had in their hands the destiny of a
greater number of people, for their emolument rose often to twenty or
thirty thousand _koku_. Their rank in the military régime, however, was
indisputably lower than that of the smallest of _daimyo_, on account of
their being only indirectly subordinate to the Shogun.

In all territories throughout the whole country, the emolument of the
_samurai_ was granted in the form of land, or of rice from the granaries
of the _daimyo_, or paid in cash. Sometimes we see a combination of two
or three of these forms given to one _samurai_. Besides this pay a
patch of ground was allotted to each _samurai_ as his homestead, and a
part of that ground used to be cultivated to produce vegetables for
family consumption. In whatever form a _samurai_ might receive his
stipend, it was officially denoted by the number of _koku_, registered
as his nominal income, and that very number determined his position in
the list of vassals of a _daimyo_, unless he came from an
extraordinarily distinguished lineage. As regards the maximum and the
minimum number of _koku_ given to _samurai_, there was no uniform
standard applicable to all of the territories. Such powerful _daimyo_ as
Mayeta in Kaga, Shimatsu in Satsuma, and Date in Mutsu owned many
vassal-_samurai_ who were so puissant as to be fairly comparable to
small _daimyo_, while in the territories of the latter, a _samurai_ of
pretty high position in his small territorial circle received an
allowance of _koku_ so scant that one of the lowest rank, if he were a
regular _samurai_, would disdain to receive in big territories.
Generally speaking, however, one hundred _koku_ was considered to be an
average standard, applicable to _samurai_ under any _daimyo_, to
distinguish those of the respectable or official class from those of the
non-commissioned or subaltern class. Only the _samurai_ above this
standard could keep servants bearing two swords, long and short, as a
_samurai_ himself did. Not only all officers in time of war, but all
high civil functionaries in the territorial government of a _daimyo_
were taken from this body of orthodox _samurai_. The _samurai_ below
this level could keep a servant wearing only one sword, the shorter, and
they had to serve their lord as officials of the inferior class, such as
scribes, cashiers, butlers, etc.

The lowest in the scale of the military régime was the group of
_ashigaru_, that is to say, of the light infantry. Those who belonged to
this group, though wearers of two swords, were not counted as of the
corps of _samurai_. Being legally vassals of a _daimyo_, they had yet
very rare chances of serving him directly, and often they enlisted into
the household service of a higher _samurai_. Between the _ashigaru_ and
the regular _samurai_, there was another intermediate group of
two-sworded men, called _kachi_, which means warriors-on-foot. In feudal
times all warriors, if of _samurai_ rank, were presumed to be cavaliers,
though in reality most of them had not even a stable, and skill in
horsemanship was not rigorously required from the _samurai_ of the lower
class. The name _kachi_, given to those who in rank came next to the
_samurai_, implied that this intermediate group of quasi-_samurai_ was
not allowed to ride on horse-back. This group was, however, much nearer
to the _samurai_ than to the _ashigaru_ group.

So far I have given a rough sketch of the gradations in the military
régime in the territory of a _daimyo_. It should be here noticed that,
besides the classes above stated, there were many other minor groups
below the regular _samurai_, and that there were also diverse
heterogeneities of system in the territories of different _daimyo_.
Needless to say that the gradations and kinds of _hatamoto_, who were
_samurai_ serving directly under the Shogun, were far more multifarious
and complex than those of the _samurai_ under a _daimyo_. There is no
doubt, however, that the apex of the whole military régime was the
Shogun himself, while at its foundation were the sundry _samurai_ who
numbered perhaps nearly half a million families in all.

All the lands of Japan were not allotted exhaustively to the _daimyo_ by
the Shogunate. On the contrary, immense territories in various parts of
the empire, amounting to four millions of _koku_, were reserved to the
Shogun himself. Important sea-ports, such as Nagasaki, Sakai, and
Niigata, rich mines like those in the province of Iwami and in the
island of Sado, the vast forest of Kiso in the province of Shinano, and
so forth, were kept in the hands of the Shogunate, out of economical as
well as political reasons. With the income from all these agricultural
and industrial resources, the Shogunate defrayed all the governmental
charges and the expenses of national defence, as well as the enormous
civil list of the Shogun himself, who maintained a very luxurious court.
The stipend for the lower class of _hatamoto_, who had no land allotted
to them, was paid also with the rice raised in the Shogun's domain or
bought with his money and stored in Yedo. As to the fiscal system and
the direct domain of a _daimyo_ in his territory, it is needless to say
that everywhere the imitation of that of the Shogun prevailed, conducted
only on a smaller scale.

The relation of the Shogunate to the Emperor at Kyoto was on the whole
but a continuation of the same status as in the time of Hideyoshi. Since
the Fujiwara period state affairs had ceased to be conducted personally
by the Emperor himself. The regent, who was at first, and ought to have
been ever after, appointed during the minority or the illness of an
Emperor, became identical with the highest ministerial post, and lost
its extra-ordinary character. It is true that some of the able emperors,
dissatisfied with such a state of things, tried to take the reins of
government into their own hands again, and some succeeded for a while in
the recovery of their political power, so far as their relations with
the Fujiwara family were concerned. What they could recover, however,
was not all of the prestige which had slipped out of the hands of their
predecessors. For on account of the lassitude of the Fujiwara
court-nobles, the power which they had once arrogated to themselves
passed into the possession of the newly arisen warrior class, and what
those emperors could recover was only a part of what still remained in
the hands of the Fujiwara. The Emperor Go-Daigo was the last who tried
desperately to resume the imperial prerogative once wrested from the
Kamakura Shogunate, and he succeeded in his endeavour. He could not,
however, prevent the advent to power of the new Shogunate of the
Ashikaga. After that, through the most turbulent age in the history of
Japan, which continued to the time of Hideyoshi, the imperial household
could sustain itself only meagrely on the scanty income from a few
estates. But however lacking in power and material resource the Emperor
might have been, he still continued to be the source and fountain of
honour as ever, and everybody clearly knew that he was, being held
divine, indisputably higher than the Shogun, who was obliged to obey if
the Emperor chose to command. What was to be regretted was that no
Emperor had been strong enough to command. The saying "le roi régne,
mais il ne gouverne pas" has never been accepted in our country as the
constitutional principle. That the imperial prestige was never totally
lost even in the depths of the turmoil of war may be proved by the fact
that the Emperor often interceded in struggles between various _daimyo_,
who waged weary and acrimonious wars against one another. The political
situation of the Emperor, however, had been unsettled for a long while,
only because the situation had remained for long not urgent enough to
require to be made instantly clear. If it had had to be solved at once,
without doubt it must have been solved in favour of the Emperor.
Especially after the civil war of the Ohnin era, to restore the nominal
power, of which the Shogun of the Ashikaga family was in possession,
would have added nothing substantial to the real power of the then
Emperor, for the Shogunate of that time was but a scapegoat in the hands
of impudent and adventurous warriors. Even the prestige of the Emperor
and the Shogun combined would not have sufficed to achieve anything
momentous at that period, when the country had been so torn asunder as
not to be easily united and pacified. What was most needed in Japan of
that time was a fresh, strong, energetic military dictator.

Nobunaga, who came soon after the Ashikaga, was endued, at the height of
his power, with a civil title belonging to the régime of court-nobles,
and had not, until his untimely death, been invested by the Emperor with
the Shogunate. Having sprung from a warrior family which had been
originally subservient to one of the retainers of the Shogunate, he
would perhaps have been loth himself to be looked on as an usurper even
after he had ceased to assist the Shogun, who survived him. Moreover,
during his whole life, it was impossible for him to become the virtual
master of the whole of Japan. It was Hideyoshi, his vassal and
successor, who succeeded at last in the unification of long-disturbed
Japan by dint of arms. He, however, was also not invested with the
Shogunate. It is said that he would have liked, indeed, to become one,
but was dissuaded from it, having been reminded that he did not belong
to either the Minamoto or the Taira, the two renowned warrior-families
which were historically thought to be the only ones qualified to provide
the generalissimo, the Shogun. After his death and the subsequent defeat
of the partisans of his family in the decisive battle of Sekigahara in
1600, Iyeyasu Tokugawa, who gave himself out as the descendant of
Minamoto-no-Yoshiiye, succeeded to the power as Shogun in 1603. With
this political change the Emperor had really very little to do, except
to give recognition to the _fait accompli_. The selection of Yedo by
Iyeyasu as the site of the new Shogunate created a political situation
like that of Kamakura by Yoritomo. It is even said that Iyeyasu himself
in organising the new military régime made the system of the Kamakura
Shogunate his model.

By the establishment of the Tokugawa Shogunate, no marked change
occurred in the Emperor's position as supreme sovereign of the country
as ever, but the Shogunate conducted the state business as the regent
entrusted with the whole care of the island Empire, so that the
government at Yedo had no occasion to refer to the court at Kyoto to
obtain the imperial sanction. In this respect the Shogunate of Yedo was
decidedly more independent of the Imperial Court than had been the
Kamakura Shogunate. Kyoto, however, continued as before to be the
fountainhead of all honour. All the honours and titles of the _daimyo_
were conferred in the name of the reigning Emperor, though through the
intermediary of the Shogunate. The appellations of these distinctions
were also the same as those given to court-nobles, only being
comparatively low in the case of the former, if we take the real
influence of the _daimyo_ into consideration. For the emoluments of
court-nobles in the time of the Tokugawa were generally very small, and
the highest of them could only match materially with the middle class of
the _hatamoto_ or the high class vassals of some powerful _daimyo_. All
the manorial estates which the court-nobles had retained until the
middle of the Ashikaga period had since been occupied by warriors
paramount in the respective regions, and they changed their master
several times during the anarchical disorders at the end of the period,
so that restitution became utterly impossible. The total amount which
the Shogunate at Yedo had to pay to the court-nobles as annual honoraria
was about eighty thousand _koku_.

The Imperial Household had a civil list amounting at first to one
hundred thousand _koku_, which was more than three times what it had
been at the time of the Ashikaga. A little later it was increased to
three hundred thousand _koku_, and the sum remained stationary at that
figure for more than half a century. Then an annual subsidy in cash
between thirty and forty thousand _ryô_ was added. The Empress had to be
provided for separately. When there was an ex-Emperor or Crown Prince,
then he also was entitled to a separate allowance from Yedo. If we
include, therefore, the emolument paid to the court-nobles, and estimate
them all together by the number of _koku_, the Shogunate had to pay to
Kyoto an annual sum of between four and five hundred thousand.
Extraordinary expenditures, such as the rebuilding of the imperial
palace, were also part of the burden of the Shogunate. On the whole, the
financial condition of the court at Kyoto was somewhat more straitened
than that of the most powerful _daimyo_.

With his income as stated the Emperor maintained his court, and
performed historical ceremonies, each prescribed for a certain day of a
certain season. He did not need to trouble himself about state affairs,
for all such matters had been delegated _de facto_ to the Shogunate, or
rather the Shogun behaved himself as if he were the sole agent of the
Emperor. To have direct communication with the Emperor had been
forbidden to all _daimyo_. The Shogun, on his part, entrusted everything
concerning local affairs to the _daimyo_. As to the judicial procedure,
that of the Shogunate was taken as the model by all _daimyo_. There
still prevailed a great many peculiarities in each particular territory
in the ways of legislation and its enforcement, so that Japan of that
time presented a most motley aspect as regards legal matters, like
France under the ancient régime. The power of the _daimyo_ to impose
taxes and raise contributions was restricted by no explicit law, and
therefore had been exercised rather arbitrarily. When in financial
stress, he could freely make applications, approaching to commands, to
some of his well-to-do subjects, whatever the cause of his pecuniary
embarrassment might be. Besides he could coin money, if its use were
limited to his own territory. No need to say that notes were also
abundantly issued by his treasurer for circulation within his territory
as substitutes for the legal tender. In time of peace the _samurai_
under a _daimyo_ served their lord in his territorial government as
civil officials. They, however, being warriors by nature, had to be
constantly trained in military arts, with various weapons, among which
swords and spears were preferred as the most practical. Archery had not
been abandoned entirely, and the bow and arrow was still held to be the
emblem of the noble calling of warriors, but this sort of weapon had
never been used on battle-fields since the beginning of the Tokugawa
period, so that the art had become on the whole ceremonial. The use of
fire-arms introduced at the end of the Ashikaga epoch became rapidly
general all over the country. Gunners were employed, as archers formerly
had been, in opening a battle, and then made way for the attack of the
infantry. Shooting was considered in the Tokugawa period to be more
practical than archery, but as there was little space for showing
personal bravery in the practice of this art, It was not highly
encouraged among the _samurai_. Though fighting on horseback had not
been prevalent on the battle-field since the middle Ashikaga, commanders
at least continued to ride, so that horsemanship was a requisite art of
the _samurai_ in the Tokugawa age, especially among its higher grades.
It should be here well noticed the _jûjutsu_, which is now very
celebrated all over the world as a military art originated and
cultivated by the Japanese, did not much attract the attention of the
orthodox Tokugawa warriors, for it was thought to be an art useful in
arresting culprits, and therefore good only for lower _samurai_ or those
below them in rank, who were generally in charge of the police business
in all territories.

With such military accomplishments, the _samurai_ of the period were to
serve their territorial master in time of war as leaders and fighters,
for it was still the age in which all warriors were expected to display
a personal bravery, parallel to their ability to lead and command
troops, as in medieval Europe. As there had been neither external nor
civil war, however, for more than two centuries since the semi-religious
insurrection at Shimabara in Kyushu was subdued in the year 1638, war
was prepared for only as an imaginary possibility, and not as a probable
emergency. The _samurai_ of all territories, therefore, though said to
be on a constant war footing, were not trained as they should have
been. We see indeed the division of them into fighting groups and the
appointment of a leader for each group in times of peace. But there was
no manoeuvring nor any training of a like kind in tactical movements.
The only military exercise approaching it was the hunting of wild game
or the sham hunting which ended in cruelly sacrificing dogs, and even
these sports were not practised frequently. That those pieces of
Japanese armour, which foreigners can now see in many museums in Europe
and America, had been long found to be a sort of thing rather
inconvenient to wear in this country, yet had nevertheless continued to
be a furniture indispensable to every household of _samurai_ and to be
embellished with an exquisite workmanship, proves how academically war
had been regarded in those far-off days. It can be easily gathered from
the above statement that the _samurai_ of the time were more civil
functionaries than fighting men. Their real status, however, being
warriors and not civilians, they were constantly subjected to martial
law. They had to serve their master always with all their might, holding
themselves responsible with their lives, as if they were on the
battlefield facing the enemy. Many examples may be cited from the
history of the age of _samurai_ suicides, committed on account of some
misdemeanour or the mismanagement of the civil administration confided
to him. In effect, an armed peace reigned throughout the Empire.

                              CHAPTER XII


In the previous chapter I have dwelt on the military and political
organisation of the time of the Tokugawa Shogunate somewhat more fully
than was appropriate for a book of such small compass as this. What was
then the civilisation, which had been supported and sheltered by this
organisation and régime? That must be told subsequently.

As the well-planned military régime of the Shogunate can be said to have
been based on the assumption that war was a far-distant possibility, an
imaginary danger, and as at the same time the Shogunate had watched
jealously not to stir up _daimyo_ and _samurai_ to so warlike a pitch of
self-confidence that they would believe themselves able to cope with the
Shogun, there had lain the chief difficulty of sustaining the martial
spirit of the nation in full strength, that is to say, of continuing the
military régime as it had been at first. There were of course several
gradations in the intensity of the fighting spirit of the people in
different localities of the country. In both extremities of the Empire,
in the south of Kyushu and in the north of Honto, where civilisation
was rather at a low ebb, the martial spirit had continued not much
abated since the time of the Ashikaga. On both sides of the boundary of
two such adjoining territories, a difference of dialect was clearly
perceivable, and an acute hostile feeling against each other prevailed.
People were not allowed to marry their neighbors beyond the frontier,
and this rule was strictly applied to all members of the warrior-class.
In brief, they were always staring each other in the face, as if ready
to fight at any time. As to the greater part of the Empire, however,
including the territories situated between the two extremities, that is
to say, in those regions of the country where the people were more
enlightened, no such animosity between the peoples of neighboring
_daimyo_ was to be noticed. There marriages had been contracted freely
between the subjects of different lords, a relationship which could only
arise from the assumption that most probably there would occur no war
between the two _daimyo_, and there would be no fear of such marriages
becoming an awkward connection. Adjoining territories maintaining such
intimate relations, being connected by the personalities of the
inhabitants, should be considered not as quasi-independent states ranged
side by side and in dangerous rivalry, verging almost on belligerency,
but as neighboring governmental departments in the same well-centralised
state. It may be gathered from these data that the more enlightened and
by far the greater part of the Japanese nation were so peace-loving,
that they organised all their ways of living on the assumption of a
permanent peace. And that absolute peace had verily continued for more
than two centuries in a country said to have been dominated by an
absolute military régime, more than testifies how averse is the Japanese
nation from wanton warfare. Foreigners should ponder this irrefutable
fact in the history of Japan, a fact which can not elsewhere be found in
abundance even in the history of European and American states, before
they calumniate our nation as the most bellicose and dangerous in the

Without doubt Japan under the Tokugawa Shogunate was a country governed
by a military régime, feudalistic in form, but in truth peace brooded
over the land, the utmost peace which could be expected from any
military régime. As tranquillity had continued so long, our civilisation
had been able meanwhile to make a wonderful progress. If war can be
eulogised with some justice to be a stimulating and compulsive factor of
civilisation, with no less certainty peace may be complimented as a
factor, the most efficient, in fostering the same. In the preceding
chapters I have spoken of the propagation of culture throughout the
country, notwithstanding its anarchical condition, and of that very
culture, which was in the main humanistic. This humanistic culture had
now its successor in a civilisation higher in form and in quality. That
the progress was apparently retarded for a while on account of wars,
which rapidly succeeded one after another at the end of the Ashikaga,
was a phenomenon that was only temporary. How could a few patches of
straw floating on the surface stop the forward movement of a strong
undercurrent, however slowly the stream might run? Mingled with the
clash and clang of arms, an exquisite music embodying the ever advancing
civilisation of our country had been heard; though at first very faintly
audible, it grew louder and louder till it became sonorous enough to
make the whole nation vibrate when the clamorous battle-cry of the
warriors had subsided. In short, Japan had been steadily advancing, and
it was indeed those warriors themselves who carried the torch of
civilisation farther and farther onward. Many historians ascribed it
solely to the individual exertion of Iyeyasu, that learning had been
revived since the beginning of the seventeenth century. Seeing, however,
that those _samurai_ who fought with and under him had rarely been noted
for the excellence of their literary acquirements, it can hardly be
supposed that he had been deeply interested in promoting learning and
culture among his entourage. Neither did he himself leave any trace of
his having received a higher degree of liberal education than the
average generals of his times. It is too notorious a fact to doubt that
he earnestly encouraged learning and ordered many books to be
reprinted. Yet it is also clear that his encouragement was very
efficient, mainly because his position as the sole military and
political master of Japan enabled him to figure as a patron of the arts.
The fact that before his authority as a military dictator became
incontestably established, the reprint of various books had been going
on almost without intermission, and that the two Emperors Go-Yôzei and
Go-Midzunowo and also Kanetsugu Naoye, a warrior who had grown up in the
remote province of Yechigo, were among the most ardent patrons of
learning by the encouragement they gave to the reprinting of standard
works, testifies that Iyeyasu did not stand alone in encouraging liberal
education. After all, it should be fairly said that the first Shogun of
the Tokugawa did only what ought to have been done by him, or what the
nation had a right to expect from a person in a position such as his. In
1593, that is to say, five years before the death of Hideyoshi, the
Emperor Go-Yôzei ordered the so-called old text of the _Hsiao-king_ to
be reprinted in wooden type. This was the first book in our country
printed with movable type, so far as can be said with certainty. As to
the types themselves which the Emperor resorted to in his scholastic
undertaking, we have reason to suppose that they had been seized in
Korea as a prize of war and brought to this country by the expeditionary
troops which Hideyoshi had sent thither in the previous year. Korea had
been looked upon through the Ashikaga period by the Japanese as a
country more advanced in culture than Japan in those days. We read in
our history about the repeated applications addressed by the Ashikaga
Shogunate to the Korean government, not only for the donation of a
complete set of the Buddhist Tripitaka reprinted in that country, but
also the blocks themselves used in that reprinting. To the latter of
these two requests, the peninsular government flatly declined to accede.
To the former, however, they acquiesced as many times as they could
manage, so that we see now here and there volumes of the sutras which
had been sent as presents by the Korean government before the
seventeenth century. The method of printing with movable types had been
introduced into Korea of course from China, and types made of wood as
well as of clay had long been in use there. It seems to have been those
wooden types which our warriors fetched home, and the fact that such
vehicles of learning had been taken as a war-prize by these soldiers
indicates that they were not totally indifferent to the cultivation of

In 1597, four years after the reprinting of the afore-said _Hsiao-king_,
the same Emperor ordered again many other books to be reprinted. Among
those then thus reproduced were not only several books of Confucian
classical literature and other Chinese works, literary as well as
medical, but some Japanese books, such as the first volume of the
_Nihongi_ and a work on Japanese political institutions written by
Chikafusa Kitabatake, a court-noble in the time of the Emperor Go-Daigo,
who was noted for his unwavering fidelity to the Emperor and for his
education, being the author of the celebrated history called
_Jingô-shôtôki_. Many of these books seem to have been re-issued within
the same year, which was one year previous to the death of Hideyoshi,
and the types used this time were made in our country after the Korean
models. Most probably the types captured in Korea as prizes did not long
suffice to satiate the increasing desire of the Emperor, aroused by his
deep interest in books.

The next step in the improvement of Japanese printing followed the same
course as it had in Europe, that is to say, the use of metallic types.
The first attempt in this improved method was made by the aforesaid
Kanetsugu Naoye, head of the vassals of the house of Uyesugi, who was at
that time lord of Yonezawa. The book which Naoye ordered to be reprinted
was the celebrated Chinese literary glossary called the _Wen-hsüan_,
which literally means selected literary pieces, in verse as well as in
prose. This reprint was put into execution at Fushimi in the year 1606,
which was the fourth year of the Shogunate of Iyeyasu, and the metallic
material then used in casting the types was copper. With him as the
precursor, several patrons of learning followed in his wake. Among the
most noted of them were Iyeyasu himself and the Emperor Go-Midsunowo.
This Emperor, who was the son and successor of the Emperor Go-Yôzei,
imitated his father in encouraging the reproduction of books with type,
not of wood but of copper as Naoye had done. The book printed under the
imperial auspices in 1621 was the fifteen volumes of a Chinese lexicon
after the block print issued in China of the Sung dynasty. Prior,
however, to the undertaking of the Emperor, Iyeyasu, as ex-Shogun,
ordered reprints to be made with copper types at his residential town of
Sumpu, now called Shidzuoka, in the province of Suruga. The books
reprinted there in 1615 and 1616 were the index of the complete series
of the Buddhist Tripitaka and the Extracts from Various Chinese
Classics. Besides these, it should be mentioned in his honour as a
patron of learning, that he ordered more than one hundred thousand
pieces of wooden types to be manufactured for the reprinting of various
useful books. From 1599, the year before the decisive battle of
Sekigahara, until the end of his Shogunate, Iyeyasu's agent at Fushimi
carried on the printing of books with movable wooden types without any
cessation. Among the books reprinted there were the _Adzuma-kagami_, the
record of the earlier Kamakura Shogunate, a Chinese political miscellany
written at the beginning of the T'ang dynasty, and some old Chinese
strategical works.

Not only such illustrious personages as the above-mentioned Emperors,
Shogun, and eminent warriors, but men of mediocre means or of
unpretentious rank, such as _samurai_, priests, literati and merchants,
also vied with one another in publishing new and old books of Japan as
well as of China, by the method of woodblocks or of movable types. Among
wealthy merchants the most renowned at that time as the Mecaenas of arts
and learning was Yoichi Suminokura. He was born of a rich family living
in a suburb of Kyoto, and was himself an enterprising merchant.
Moreover, his accomplishments in the Chinese classics and in Japanese
versification were far ahead of the average literati of the time, and
his skill in calligraphy has been said to be almost incomparable. Out of
the immense fortune which he had amassed by trading with continental
countries as far as Tonkin and Cochin-China, he spent great sums freely
in publishing books, the greater part of which were works famous in
Japanese literature. It is said that more than twenty sorts of books
were issued by him alone, counting in all several hundred volumes.

What most attracts our attention in his undertakings, however, is the
fact that all of these books were printed, not in the movable type then
in vogue, but in the wood-block style of old. The new method of printing
with type, though introduced several years back and assiduously
encouraged by many influential persons, had not been able to demonstrate
its advantages to the full. In each edition, whoever might have been the
publisher, the number of copies issued had generally not exceeded two
hundred, and that the number was so small shows at the same time the
narrowness of the reading circle of that age. It proves also that Japan
was not yet in any urgent need of seeing books suddenly multiplied by
the busy use of movable types. Moreover, many inconveniences, not known
in the typography of the West, manifested themselves in the adoption of
the new method in a country like the Japan of that time, where Chinese
ideographs had been used almost exclusively as the necessary vehicle for
expressing thought. We had to provide a great variety of fonts of types,
each type-face representing a special ideograph, so that a far larger
and more varied assortment of fonts was required than in the case where
an alphabet is in use, not to mention that the total number of types had
to be enormously augmented out of the necessity of having numerous
multiples of the same type. To print sundry accessories alongside
Chinese texts, in order to make them easily legible for Japanese
students, was another difficulty which was found almost insuperable in
the adoption of movable types. The desire of some editors to insert
illustrations could not also be fulfilled easily, if the text was to be
printed in type, for setting the blocks together with type was
considered a very irksome business at a time when printing in type was
still in its infancy. They would rather have preferred the single use of
wood-blocks to using them together with types. Lastly, as regards those
literary works by Japanese authors which Suminokura had fondly put into
print, that is to say, in cases where the editor's chief care was the
reproduction in facsimile of the manuscript originally executed in fine
calligraphic style, movable types entirely failed to serve the purpose.
All these disadvantages conspired indeed to frustrate the development of
the printing in type, so that the new method was set aside soon after
its introduction until the end of the Shogunate. It is certain, however,
that the introduction of the use of types in printing, though to a very
limited extent, contributed none the less to the general progress of
civilisation in Japan, in multiplying books and in stimulating the
thirst for knowledge on the part of the general public.

There is no doubt whatever that, in the number of books published in
Japan, the beginning of the seventeenth century far surpassed the end of
the sixteenth. Bookstores, where books were sold, bought, edited, and
published, were now to be found in Kyoto and Yedo, and their business
became lucrative enough to be continued as an independent calling. Here
the question must naturally arise, how were those multiplied books
distributed? There were, besides the priests, especially those belonging
to the Zen sect, not a few professional literati, who pursued learning
as their chief business. Secretaries in the chancellories of the Shogun
and of various _daimyo_ had been generally recruited from that class.
Their number, however, had remained comparatively insignificant for a
long time during the earlier part of the Shogunate, and they had been
classified rather into an exclusive society, which included physicians
and Buddhist priests. They had been treated as servants engaged in
reading and writing, and not respected as advisers nor revered as
leaders of the spirit of the age. However noble might be the profession
in which they were engaged, still they were mere professional men,
considered good to serve and not apt to lead. The increase in number of
such men of letters, it is true, was the cause and the effect of the
rise of the cultural level of the country, for it clearly denoted that
Japan had begun to appreciate learning more highly than before and hence
to demand more of these learned men. But that increase must have
naturally stopped short, unless the learning which they taught was
imbibed by the people at large and made itself a necessary ingredient of
the national life, that is to say, unless the general public had gained
thereby more of enlightenment.

For such a continual progress Japan was quite ready. Within half a
century, our country had been transformed from an anarchical country of
interminable wars to a peaceful land, a land which was non-militaristic
to the utmost, though under one of the most elaborate military régimes.
That it had been "shut up" against foreign intercourse was, in its main
motive, not to ward off the infiltration of Western civilisation in
general, but only to achieve a peaceful national progress undisturbed by
any intervention of scheming foreign missionaries. The Shogun, who ought
to have continued as a military dictator, had been turned into a
potentate who cared the least for military matters, though here lurked
the danger of losing his _raison d'être_ against the Emperor at Kyoto.
The "wisest fool" in Japan was Tsunayoshi, the fifth Shogun of the
Tokugawa, who not only founded a college and a shrine for the spirit of
Confucius at Yushima in Yedo, the site where now the Educational Museum
stands, but was very fond of playing the savant, and himself delivered
lectures commenting on Confucian texts before the assembled _daimyo_ in
duty bound to listen to him. With a Shogun like him at the head of the
government, it should by no means be wondered at that the cultivation of
Chinese literature, which formed the greater part of the learning of the
time, came into vogue among all of those belonging to the military
régime, the _daimyo_ and the _samurai_ of various sorts and grades.
Moreover, the _samurai_ of the age themselves, though they professed to
be warriors as ever in their essential character, and their training in
military exercises had never really significantly relaxed, had ceased to
be fighting men by profession as of yore, on account of the
long-continued tranquillity. Notwithstanding the fact that the reason
they had been honoured and respected by the common people was mainly
because they were serving the country through their master, the
_daimyo_, at the possible hazard of their lives, they had been obliged
gradually not to rely on their martial valour only, but to mould their
character and improve their ability, so as to befit themselves to become
capable officials, administrators, nay, even statesmen in their own
territory and well-bred gentlemen in private life, so as to furnish
models to the common people by their personal examples. As they had read
Chinese works mainly for this purpose, the kinds of books read were
naturally limited, the most preferred being those pertaining to morals
and politics, that is to say, Confucian literature and the histories of
various Chinese dynasties, all of which were pragmatic enough. Their
literary culture, therefore, tended to become rigid, narrow, and
utilitarian, though very serious in intention. At first sight it must
seem a very paradoxical matter that the learning which had been
essentially humanistic in the Ashikaga period should have taken so
utilitarian a tendency in the age directly following it. If we, however,
once think of the Italian Renaissance metamorphosed into the German
Reformation, when it got northward over the Alps, we need not be much
embarrassed to understand the seemingly abrupt transition in our

It should also be noted that utilitarian studies had not formed the
whole of the literary culture of the Tokugawa age. Since the very
beginning of the Shogunate down to its fall the humanistic studies
handed down by the preceding age had never been entirely swept away from
the land. The utilitarian studies above cited had been almost
exclusively pursued by those _samurai_ standing directly under the
Shogun or under the powerful _daimyo_ whose territories were big enough
to be administered as quasi-independent states, and whose governments
were on such a scale as to need high statesmanship in order to be well
managed. In other words, those who had devoted themselves to the study
of the serious sorts of literature had been generally men to whom some
opportunities might have been given for allowing them to put into
practice what they had learned from books. If these larger territories
were to be compared with Prussia and other kingdoms and middle states in
the German Confederation, the small states in the same political body
would make good counterparts of the petty territories of minor _daimyo_
in Japan. As to those _samurai_ serving the minor _daimyo_, it had been
difficult to make them interested in the perusal of Chinese political
works, for their sphere of action was not wide enough to require the
territorial affairs being conducted according to high and delicate
policies emanating from a profound political principle. In this respect
they had much in common with their colleagues residing in the domains
directly belonging to the Shogunate. As the governor-in-chief and his
principal assistants in each domain had not been taken from the
residents of each district, but despatched thither from Yedo, the
_samurai_ attached to the locality were merely employed to serve the
government of their own district as low-class officials, so that they
had little or no hand even in local politics. Some of these _samurai_
were landed proprietors, who, being rich and having little serious
business to demand their attention, had ample means and time to dip into
books, which could hardly have been of the kind causing self-constraint,
for their first motive in reading was only for the sake of distraction.
The landed gentry, under the _samurai_ in rank, though wealthier, and
generally in charge of village affairs and in control of lesser farmers
and peasants, were also found numerously in the domains. They too were
the sort of people to be classified in the same category as the
_samurai_ of the domains. The _samurai_ and gentry gathered in and
around second-rate towns in large territories belonging to powerful
_daimyo_ may be included also in the same group. It may be, however,
premature to suppose that only books belonging to light literature were
welcomed by those who resided in districts where the military régime had
the least hold. Serious works, such as ethical treatises, for instance,
which abound in Chinese literature, were also read there, but rather for
the purpose of occupying themselves with metaphysical speculations about
moral questions, than in order to regulate their own conduct, private
or public, according to the principles taught in them. In short, their
thirst for knowledge was purely for the sake of enjoying an intellectual
pleasure thereby, and therefore had been quite humanistic. It was here
that the true inheritors of the culture of the later Ashikaga were to be
sought, and not in places where the influence of the regular _samurai_
was paramount. Needless to say, the centre of this humanistic culture
was Kyoto, whose significance as the political capital had already been
lost, while Yedo represented at its best the culture of the _samurai_.
The Chinese books preferred by these humanistic dilettanti were those
pertaining to rhetoric and poetry. They were greatly addicted to
practising these branches of literature. Art for art's sake also found a
better patron among such people than in the courts of the Shogun and of
influential _daimyo_, where art had rather an applied meaning,
represented in ornamental things such as screen and wall paintings down
to the miniature-art of the _tsuba_ and the _netsuke_. Wandering poets,
rhetoricians, calligraphers, and artists of various crafts were wont to
be far better harboured in districts where the humanistic culture
prevailed, than in Yedo or in the residential towns of powerful
_daimyo_, where politics and discipline were all-important. The most
significant difference between the two sorts of culture was manifested
in a special branch of art, that of painting. In the military circles,
the painting of the Kano school was preferred, which was rather rigid
in style and had some tincture of the taste highly prized by the
Zen-sect priests. On the other hand, what was in vogue among the
non-military circles was the so-called "Bunjin-gwa," or paintings of the
school of "literati-painters," which were introduced at the beginning of
the Tokugawa period from China, and were characterised by the mellowness
of tone prevailing in them and also by a lack of the professional

Besides these two distinct cultural circles, there arose a third group
of people, who entered the cultured arena in the latter half of the
seventeenth century. I mean the bourgeois class in several large cities.
After the decline of the trade of the historic city of Sakai, brought
about by the hard blow struck at the root of the political power of her
haughty merchants by Nobunaga, and caused also by the growth of a rival
in the great commercial city of Ôsaka founded by Hideyoshi quite near
it, the refined humanistic culture cherished by the citizens of Sakai
vanished with its prosperity. After that, it took a considerable while
to witness the revival of the cultural influence of the bourgeois class
in Japan. The tranquillity, however, which the Tokugawa Shogunate had
brought on our country, did not fail to cause such a revival, though not
again in Sakai, yet at least in the two greatest commercial centres of
the empire. The one was Yedo on the east, and the other Ôsaka on the
west. Of these two cities, in affluence Ôsaka, on account of its
geographical advantages, was several steps ahead of Yedo. Not only was
it near Kyoto, the centre of the humanistic culture as ever, but its
remoteness from Yedo had induced its merchants to become more
independent than those in the Shogun's own city of the influence of the
strong military régime. The culture fostered in the city, therefore, was
nearer to that of the non-military circles than that of Yedo. Nay, Ôsaka
went still further, even by a great many steps, than Yedo. It was here
that Monzayemon Chikamatsu, the first and the greatest dramatist Japan
has ever produced, demonstrated his peerless talent at the end of the
seventeenth century, and here was also one of the cradles of the modern
Japanese theatre. Yedo, however, could not remain long alien to this
fresh cultural current initiated in Kyoto and Ôsaka. On account of its
growing prosperity brought on by the constant comings in and out of
hundreds of _daimyo_ and their numerous retinues, the newly started
political capital was soon enabled to rival the senior city of Ôsaka in
the liveliness of its urban social life, and in some respects surpassed
that of Kyoto. The plutocrats of Ôsaka had also a very close relation
with the military régime. This relation, however, consisted in lending
large sums of money to various _daimyo_, many of whom had their
warehouses there to deposit therein the produce of their territory, used
as pledges for getting advances of money from those merchants, and on
that account their pay-masters with their staffs were stationed there to
enable them to transact the customary financial business. On the other
hand, the merchants of Yedo generally profited by providing, as
purveyors and contractors, necessary commodities to the Shogunate and to
the _daimyo_, and therefore depended more closely on the military
régime, though some of them also advanced money as did the merchants of
Ôsaka. It is said that the richest bourgeois of Yedo, who had amassed
immense sums of money at the beginning of the nineteenth century were
those who had advanced their moneys at a very high rate of interest to a
great many needy _hatamoto_, who were obliged to garnishee to those
merchants their allowances in rice from the Shogunate at fixed
intervals, in order to steer securely through stretches of low water or
through the straits of Hard-Times in their household economy. On the
whole, however, we see a great difference in that the merchants of Yedo
were the patronised party in their relations with the warrior-class,
while those of Ôsaka were mostly creditors and the military men their
debtors. But whatever might have been their difference in general
character from the merchants of Ôsaka, the commercial aristocrats of
Yedo, induced by their opulence to live a leisurely and very luxurious
life, could not fail to become gradually patrons of the bourgeois arts
and literature, merely tinged by a little more of the martial element
than those of Ôsaka.

Three cultural currents thus ran parallel to one another in the history
of the modern civilisation of our country, that of the orthodox
_samurai_ with its centre in Yedo, that of court-nobles and
county-gentry flowing from Kyoto as its source, and lastly that of the
commercial class with its stronghold in Ôsaka. If these three currents
had remained irrelative to one another to the last; if, in other words,
they had continued for long to belong specially to one of the three
distinct and exclusive groups of the nation, then the historic
revolution of the Meidji era would not have been effected, and Japan
might be in a state but half medieval and half modern. Fortunately,
class distinction in our country was not, at that time, so rigid as to
hamper absolutely the amalgamation of different classes, and a certain
type of culture, which had for a time been but a speciality of one
particular class, soon ceased to be so, and was extended to the other
classes, and the process necessarily led to the fusion of all the
cultures of different types. As one of the causes which hastened such an
amalgamation must be mentioned the intermarriage of people of different

At the time when Chinese legislation was first implanted in Japanese
soil, there were still minute restrictions concerning
interclass-marriages in the Statutes of the Taïhô. Though mésalliances
were not forbidden by any explicit law, the offspring of such marriages
between freemen and slaves were to follow in class the parent of
inferior rank. It is evident, therefore, that such an alliance was
stigmatised and severely checked. As to the intermarriages between
different classes of freemen, there had been no such restraint, even
with respect to the status of their children. That the custom, however,
of choosing the empress from members of the Imperial family only, to the
exclusion of all vassal families, became gradually confirmed, and that
the same custom continued intact until the beginning of the eighth
century, shows how such mésalliances had been discouraged in the ancient
days of our history. The crowning of a daughter of the Fujiwara as the
consort of the Emperor Shômu was the first violation of the long-kept
traditional usage regarding the Imperial marriage; and since that time
marriages had become very irregular, not only among the members of the
Imperial family, but also among the courtiers. The social status of a
father was considered sufficient by itself to determine that of his
children. No legal scrutiny was thought necessary as to what kind of a
woman their mother was, though it was self-evident that the higher the
social position of the family from which she sprang, the more the
children she gave birth to would be honoured. The establishment of the
military régime could effect but very slight change in this domain of
social usage, until the beginning of the Tokugawa Shogunate. It must be
attributed to this neglect of the maternal lineage in the consideration
of pedigrees, that in the most genealogical records of Japan the names
of wives, mothers, and daughters are generally omitted, notwithstanding
that we are able to trace the names of the male ancestors, sometimes for
more than ten centuries backward with tolerable certainty and

The establishment of the Shogunate by the Tokugawa could not affect to
any great extent the social position of women in general, for in that
domain radical alterations were not to be expected from the age in which
militarism was all-powerful. There was one thing, however, which was
worthy of special notice, concerning the new usage of marriage among the
_daimyo_. As to the right of inheriting their territories, the
preference, it is true, had been on the side of the offspring of a legal
marriage, for it could not have been otherwise in a society in which the
right of primogeniture had been just established for the sake of
maintaining the order intact. Yet there existed no rigorous rule through
the whole history of the Shogunate, which might be said to have aimed at
discouraging mésalliances, and the natural sons of the _daimyo_ were by
no means deprived of their right of inheritance on account of the mean
origin of their mother. The Shogunate, however, interfered in the
marriages of the _daimyo_, and all of them were obliged to take unto
themselves consorts from families of equal rank, that is to say, the
legal wife of a _daimyo_ had to be a daughter or sister of another
_daimyo_, one of his equals. Some of the higher _daimyo_, especially
those of the blood of Tokugawa, often married daughters of court-nobles,
for the purpose of keeping the latter in close relation with the
Shogunate. In the military peerage list of the time the wife of every
ruling _daimyo_ had her place together with the heir, alongside of her
husband, though even in this case her name used to be omitted, while
that of the heir was given. In spite of the fact, therefore, that the
intermarriage of the people of different territories had often been
prohibited by territorial laws, those _daimyo_ themselves who were
desirous of enforcing those laws were obliged to find their legal wives
outside of their territory, in other words, to contract an
interterritorial marriage. Such a marriage within the circle of the
_daimyo_ had of course very little to do with the territorial politics
of the _daimyo_ concerned, for most of the ladies chosen as brides were
those who had been brought up in their father's residence at Yedo, and
after their marriage they had to remain in the same city as hostages to
the Shogunate, and not allowed to leave it for their territory.
Moreover, as the marriage of the _daimyo_ received the close supervision
of the Shogunate, they could have borne very little, if any, political
meaning of a sort which might be attached to the intermarriages of
different royal families in Europe. Culturally speaking, however, such a
marriage had the effect of levelling the ways of living of various
_daimyo_, and making them similar to one another. The bride was usually
accompanied into her husband's family by maids, the daughters of her
father's vassals, and she was often escorted by a few _samurai_. These
_samurai_ as well as the maids often took service under the _daimyo_,
the husband of the bride, and remained in the train of their lord, after
the death of the lady whom they had to serve personally. The number of
the _samurai_ who changed masters in this manner, was not naturally
large, but they contributed none the less toward the diminishing of the
differences in the social life of the various territories.

Generally, however, it was found very difficult for any _samurai_ to
leave his master for the purpose of enlisting in the service of some
other _daimyo_. As the _samurai_ had been bound to their lord the
_daimyo_, not only publicly as his officials and warriors, but privately
as his domestics, they were not allowed to emigrate freely from their
lord's territory. Nevertheless, the legal status of the _samurai_ versus
the _daimyo_ had never been the relation of slave and master. No
_daimyo_ had absolute control over the person of his _samurai_, in other
words, his sway was far from what might have been called full
proprietorship. Against injustice on the part of a _daimyo_, his
_samurai_ had the actual right of appealing to the Shogunate at the risk
of suffering a heavy penalty for his affronting his lord by so doing. It
was also possible to alienate himself from the service of his master by
giving sufficient reasons for it. If he had no reason to do so, then he
could abscond, and the extradition of such a deserter was hardly ever
rigorously pressed. And if such a vagrant _samurai_ or _rônin_ was found
to be a capable warrior or a man of talent in some other line, he could
find a position very easily under the _daimyo_ of his adopted territory.
In such and like ways the _samurai_ of the Tokugawa period made
interterritorial migration more freely than we imagine.

If, concluding from the limited sphere of freedom of the _samurai_ in
regard to change of domicile, one should suppose that farmers,
merchants, and craftsmen were much more restricted in their moving about
inter-territorially, he would be grossly deceived. The _samurai_ was _de
facto_ linked almost inseparably to their lord the _daimyo_, for the
link had been firmly cemented, though not by any formal oath of fealty
uttered by the _samurai_, as was the custom in European countries, but
by the hereditary relation between his family and that of his master. It
became especially so when profound peace settled on Japan during the
middle of the Tokugawa period, and if any _daimyo_ had given his
_samurai_ the freest choice to leave his territory, very few of them
would have availed themselves of their freedom, for by doing so they
would have had to part with a great many things which they had long
cherished in their hearts. On the whole, the _samurai_ were attached to
their _daimyo_ and not to the soil on which they had settled, so that
when their master was removed to some new territory by the order of the
Shogunate, most of the _samurai_ used to follow their lord and serve him
in the new locality. The dialectic peculiarities, which have been
vanishing in Japan very rapidly these years, show still a trace of these
_samurai_ migrations. If any foreigner should remark a considerable
difference in dialect between some provincial town and its suburbs, it
shows that the family of the _daimyo_ who was the last to lord it over
the territory, was one transplanted there together with the attendant
train of _samurai_ by order of the Shogunate in a time not so very

Quite contrary to _samurai_ usage, those people below them in rank held
with the _daimyo_ of the territory in which they lived a relationship
which was purely public in character. Socially they were treated as men
beneath the _samurai_, and they themselves were content to be treated as
such. As a class, however, they had no personal relations with the
_daimyo_, unless through the _samurai_, to whom the usufruct of the land
which they cultivated had been allotted by the _daimyo_. In other words,
their duty to their territorial lord was nothing but that which they
owed as a people governed to a governor who chanced to rule hereditarily
over the territory, but might at any time be displaced by somebody else
at the pleasure of the Shogunate. Fidelity on their part to the
_daimyo_, therefore, was no personal obligation, nor the result of a
reciprocal contract, but only a product of a long history, if any
example of such virtue were exhibited. They had no need to follow their
_daimyo_ as his _samurai_ used to do, whithersoever he might be
transferred. On the contrary, all of them remained as a rule in the old
territory, in which they continued for long years to pursue their
business, and welcomed the newly-appointed _daimyo_. In this respect
they might be said to have been much more fixed to the territory than
the _samurai_. At the same time, as their relations with the _daimyo_
were not very close, their movements were not so vigilantly watched as
those of the _samurai_, and during the Tokugawa period, there went on
incessant goings and comings of the lower order in and out of various
territories, though very insignificant in character and therefore
apparently unnoticed. Summarily speaking, the boundary of the
territories of the _daimyo_ was of no practical value in restricting the
population within its geographical pale, in spite of the fact that all
_daimyo_, without exception, exercised their right of scrutinising the
ingress and egress of travellers at certain fixed barriers on the
boundary line. Viewed from the standpoint of the internal migration of
people of all classes, Japan was far from being an agglomeration of
isolated territories. No wonder that the contemporary culture, springing
up from whichever of the three possible sources, could not remain
secluded within the confines of particular localities, but gradually
permeated the country in every direction, and became one.

Not only inter-territorially, but also in each of the territories
themselves, no sort of culture could hold itself for long as the
exclusive property of a certain class. In our history, it is true, we
had retained a class-system for a very long time, even after the
revolution of the Meidji era, and all men had not been equal before the
law until very recent times. Nay, to this day we see still some harmless
relics of that system in certain regulations preferential to the
aristocracy. Regarded as a whole, however, the class-system in Japan has
never approached the caste-system of some other countries. If there had
been anything like that in our country, it was the distinction of the
ordinary people, or we might say, people of the Japanese _pur sang_,
from those whose blood was thought to be polluted. Marriage with the
latter set of people had been scrupulously avoided on the part of the
former. This antipathy entertained by the majority of the nation against
the minority was nearly of the same nature as the anti-Semitic feeling
in Europe. The coincidence between the two went so far that in Japan
tanners, executioners, and so forth were considered as men of
occupations exclusive to the people of polluted blood, just as similar
trades in Europe had been relegated to the Jews of the Middle Ages. From
the fact that in the newly explored part of the empire, such as the
northern part of Honto, the settlements of the so-called people of
polluted blood are very few, and therefore the feeling against them
there is not so acute as it is in the central or most historic part of
the empire, we may safely conclude that such a feeling had its origin in
some racial difference and dates from the immemorial past. It is very
strange that in Japan, where the population is unquestionably of mixed
blood, such an antipathy against a certain set of people should have
continued stubbornly even to the present day. On the other hand, we have
sufficient grounds for believing that, in the course of our history, not
a few people of the pure blood have been classed with the impure on
account of some criminal action, or they mingled with the latter from
some predilection, out of their own free will.

As to the people who were not stigmatised as impure of blood, it is very
difficult to draw a boundary line distinct enough to divide them clearly
according to their blood relationship. During the anarchical period of
our history from the later Ashikaga to the beginning of the Tokugawa
Shogunate, there took place a violent convulsion of the social strata,
as the result of the disorder which reigned everywhere. Many talented
plebeians had lucky chances to enlist as _samurai_ in the service of
some _daimyo_, while many of the scions of noted warrior families
transformed themselves into plebeians, from disgust at their calling of
men-slaughterers or from disappointment in their ambitions as warriors.
In the time which followed, that is to say, when social order was
reëstablished, such a transmutation became exceedingly difficult, as
might be supposed. Yet even since then it is not altogether a matter of
sheer impossibility. Plebeians of rare merit, especially those who were
skilled in certain branches of art and learning, were able to find their
way upward without much difficulty. The word "_samurai_" which had meant
a "warrior attending" came to denote a social rank above the plebeians,
so that it could include those who pursued a profession which was far
from being militaristic, such as men of letters, physicians, painters,
_nô_-dancers and the like in the retinue of the _daimyo_. Many
territorial bourgeois, too, transformed themselves into _samurai_ by
contributing large sums of money to the treasury of their lord, or by
purchasing the rank from some poor inheritors of _samurai_ blood who
were reduced to extreme penury, so as to be no more able to serve their
_daimyo_ as honourable warriors.

Examples of _samurai_ promoted to the _daimiate_ are not numerous since
the re-establishment of peace and the social order under the
dictatorship of the Tokugawa, for it had become for everybody very
difficult to distinguish himself highly by merits other than military,
so as to justify sufficiently such a sudden promotion. Still at the
beginning of the Tokugawa Shogunate there were many vacant territories,
caused by the confiscation of the territories of recalcitrant _daimyo_.
Many families also lost their hereditary lands on account of the
extinction of the male line, for the Shogunate did not at first
recognise inheritance through an adopted son, a restriction which was
later abrogated. Besides, the _daimyo_ in general became wiser and more
docile in order not to lose their estates on account of any misdemeanour
toward the Shogun. As the result of such changes the later Shogun rarely
had vacancies at his disposal by which he could create the new _daimyo_.
If the Shogun had wished to promote somebody in spite of the lack of a
vacant lordship, he had to part with a portion of his own domain, but
this alienation of land from the Shogun could not be repeated too often
without damage to the material resources of the Shogunate. Nevertheless,
examples have not been wanting now and then, examples in which not only
_samurai_ but even plebeians also were promoted to the rank of _daimyo_,
some of them owing to their due merits, or to the blood-relationship
with the wives or the natural mother of some Shogun, others by courting
the favour of their master. In short, the intruding upwards into the
_daimyo_ class was not a matter absolutely impossible for the people in
the lower strata.

Inversely the descent to the lower social status was much easier than
the ascent to the higher rank in any scale. Nay, for various reasons
many persons had been obliged to climb down from their original high
position in society to a lower status. As the law of primogeniture grew
rigorous in its enforcements on the _daimyo_ and the _samurai_, the
greater part of the scions belonging to these classes could only fully
enjoy the privilege of the society in which they were born during
childhood, unless extinction of the main line took place. Descendants of
_daimyo_ generally gravitated to _samurai_ rank, and those of _samurai_
had to turn themselves into plebeians, in so far as they did not merit
to be called to service as independent _samurai_. Thus the sliding down
of classes was necessitated by the law of succession. Could any line of
social demarcation be drawn according to the difference of classes in
the face of such shiftings upwards and downwards? If it was a difficult
matter, then we cannot expect to find any sort of culture monopolised by
a certain class to the last. In whichever stratum of society it might
have originated, it was sure to penetrate sooner or later into the other
classes, and at last the whole people of a territory absorbed a similar
and uniform culture. No sort of territorial barriers or social cleavage
proved efficient enough to impede the inter-penetration of any cultural

This amalgamation of cultures different in their origins had been
accelerated by the introduction of European civilisation. Though the
free intercourse of the Japanese with Europeans had been cut short in
the third decade of the seventeenth century by the ordinances of the
Shogunate, the country had never been absolutely closed against
foreigners. No Japanese had been allowed to go abroad for any purpose
whatever, but we continued to trade in the specially prescribed port of
Nagasaki, not only with Chinese but also with Dutch merchants, though in
very restricted forms. Thus while the Japanese had been struggling to
mould the new national culture out of promiscuous elements which had
existed from aforetime, they had been receiving the Western
civilisation, not _en masse_ but drop by drop, so that we had no need
this time of the process of rumination in digesting the introduced
exotic culture, as we had done as regards Chinese civilisation. The
rigorous exclusion, carried to the utmost, of all Christian literature,
whatever its relation to our religious tenets might have been, naturally
induced men in authority to resort to the safest methods, that is to
say, to restrict the kinds of books to be imported to the narrowest
scope, and to limit their number to the smallest possible minimum.
Accordingly, in the first half of the Tokugawa Shogunate, very few
useful books were imported into our country, and the nation had,
therefore, a very scanty opportunity of getting knowledge through books
about things European. Yet the commodities which these Dutchmen brought
to Deshima to be exchanged there or to be presented to the Shogun at
Yedo, gave the Japanese who came in contact with them some idea about
the modes of life in Europe. Moreover, after the encouragement
assiduously given to the study of things European by the Shogun
Yoshimune, whose rule covered the greater part of the first half of the
eighteenth century, the process of infiltration of Western culture
through the narrow door of Nagasaki had become suddenly accelerated. As
the encouragement had been induced by the material necessities of the
nation, the study of that time about things European was naturally
limited to those sciences which were indispensable to the daily life of
the people and at the same time far from being spiritual, like
astronomy, medicine, botany, and so forth. Would it be possible,
however, to ward off successfully the spiritual side of a culture, while
taking in the material side of the same with avidity, as if the two
parts had not been interwoven inseparably as a single entity? Those
branches of Western knowledge, which we did not welcome in the least,
but which were none the less useful, as history, and political as well
as military sciences became gradually known to the Japanese, though very
fragmentarily and slowly. That the diplomatists of the Shogunate had
been able to conclude with the foreign powers, which forced our doors to
be opened to them against our will, treaties which, though evidently
detrimental to our national honour, were the largest concessions we
could obtain from them at that time, shows that they had not been
entirely ignorant of the condition of the parties with which they had
to treat.

Probably there are foreign readers who may entertain some doubt about
the lack of the religious element in the Western civilisation which thus
flowed into our country from the first half of the eighteenth century.
They may well consider, however, the change of religious temperament
both in Japan and in European countries, besides the strictest
prohibition rigorously exercised by the Japanese authorities. The Thirty
Years War, the beginning of which falls in the fourteenth year of the
Shogunate of Hidetada, the son and successor of Iyeyasu, is said
generally to be the last religious war in Europe fought seriously. But
it cannot be denied that in the latter part of the long war, more
political than religious elements predominated, and the age which
followed the most desolatory war was characterised by its religious
toleration. Could the Dutchmen, who were the only people privileged to
trade with us, have been expected to set as their first aim the
propagation of the Christianity of their Reformed Church rather than
material gain by their commerce, as the Portuguese, Spaniards, and
Italians are said to have done as regards their Catholicism at the end
of the Ashikaga period?

Japan had also changed religiously in the same direction. The end of the
Ashikaga period had witnessed many wars which may be called religious,
very rare examples since the time of the first introduction of
Buddhism. Sectarians of Shinshû or Ikkôshû and of Nichirenshû often
fought against one another. Some of them dared also to fight against
powerful feudatories, and harassed them. Thus Japan was about to
experience a struggle between the spiritual and the temporal powers, as
Europe did in the Middle Ages. Nobunaga, therefore, gave countenance to
Christian missionaries with a view to curbing the arrogance of Buddhist
sectaries by the inroad of the new exotic religion. When the latter,
however, proved not less dangerous to the political authority, it was
interdicted by Hideyoshi. After all, the persecution of the Christians
in Japan was not of religious nature, as in Europe, but essentially
political. This explains why persecution could extirpate the seeds of
Christianity sown so full of hope in Japan, in spite of its general
failure in European countries.

The failure of the Christian propaganda, however, was at the same time
the signal of the downfall of the influence of Buddhist sectaries in
Japan. Iyeyasu, who had the most bitter experience of the resistance of
Ikkô-votaries in his own province, had but to pursue the same religious
policy as his predecessor, against Buddhism as well as Christianity. He
ordered the personal morals of Buddhist priests to be rigorously
supervised, and inflicted the severest punishment on those who violated
the law of celibacy. It was natural, therefore, that secular preachers
of the Ikkôshû or Shinshû, who made it their rule to lead a matrimonial
life, should not have been held in so high a regard as the regular
priests of other Buddhist sects, and on that account they had to recruit
their believers chiefly among people in the lower strata of society. As
to other sects besides the Shinshû, he showed no preference for any one
of them, and he often called himself a believer in Buddhism of the Syaka
Sect, which meant that he was no sectarian, for there actually existed
no such sect in Japan. Such a broad tolerance, however, in religious
matters is next door to indifferentism, and paved the way for the
dwindling of the religious spirit in the ages to follow, at least in the
prominent part of the nation.

Another factor which strengthened the spirit of toleration, or let me
say, undermined the religious spirit of the people, was the Confucian
philosophy expounded by Chutse, a celebrated savant of the Sung dynasty.
This doctrine, which had been accepted by the court-philosophers of the
Shogunate as the only orthodox one, was rationalistic to the extreme, so
that it struck a heavy blow to many cherished superstitions and
destroyed in a remarkable manner the influence which Buddhism had
exercised over the mind of the people since many centuries, just like
the rationalism of the eighteenth century in Europe, which ruined the
authority of the Church and superstition. Yet among the educated society
of the age, that is to say, the _samurai_ class, the worship of
Buddhist deities continued as before, superficially without any marked
change, only because parents had worshipped them and taught their
children to do likewise. That they had not been men strictly to be
called Buddhist is evident from the fact that most of them had
worshipped in Shinto shrines with almost the same devotion as they did
in Buddhist temples. It cannot be denied that in their view of human
life there was a preponderating Buddhist element, but as it had been
since very long ago that our civilisation had become imbued with
Buddhism, the Japanese of the Tokugawa period were not conscious of what
part of the national culture they specially owed to the Indian religion.
In short, religion in the Tokugawa age did not teach what to worship,
but what to revere, and toward the latter part of the period we had less
necessity to have more of a different religion. How could Christianity
force her way into our country in the state such as it was, unless by
the endeavour of fanatics? And the Dutch merchants of the eighteenth
century were not religious fanatics at all. Through such agents, drops
of the secular element in European civilisation were thrown on the
cultural soil of Japan, which had been already secularised much earlier
than most of the countries in the West. No spiritual consternation had
been aroused, therefore, in the cultural world of our country by the
intrusion of exotic factors, which only tended to augment the longing
for the higher material improvement of the people, by never satiating
the desire for it. It is by this stimulus indeed that civilisation,
which is prone to become stationary in an isolated country like Japan,
escaped the danger of stagnation, and the process of moulding and
remoulding the ever new national culture out of the element which she
had possessed and that which she had added to her stock since time
immemorial, went on silently under cover of the long armed peace, and at
last brought forth the Revolution of the Meidji.

                              CHAPTER XIII

                     THE RESTORATION OF THE MEIDJI

The great political change which took place in the year 1867-1868 is
generally called the Restoration, in the sense that the imperial power
was restored by this event. In truth, however, the prerogative of the
Emperor has never been formally usurped, and none has dared impudently
to declare that he had assumed the power in His Majesty's stead. All the
virtual potentates, court-nobles as well as Shogun, who, each in his
day, held unlimited sway over the whole country, had been accustomed to
style themselves modestly vicegerents of the Emperor. On the other hand,
the change was more than a mere restoration, for never in the course of
our national history had the resplendent grandeur of the Imperiality
reached the height in which it now actually stands. In this respect the
Restoration of the Meidji can by no means be taken in the same sense as
the two Restorations famous in European history, that of the Stuarts in
1660 and of the Bourbons in 1814. Renovation, perhaps, would be a more
adequate term to be used here than Restoration, to designate this
epoch-making event in our history. We have reconstructed new Japan from
the old materials, the origins of some of which are lost in remotest

If, however, we should consider the range and intensity of the momentous
change which was caused by the overthrow of the Tokugawa Shogunate, it
is rather a revolution than a renovation. Just the same kind of
disjunction which can be perceived in the transition of France from its
ancient régime to the Revolution may also be noticed in the Japanese
history of the transition period, which divides the pre-Meidji régime
from the present status. The difference is that we accomplished in five
years a counterpart, though on a much smaller scale, of what they took
in France nearly a generation to conclude; a difference which may be
accounted for by the absence in our country of many circumstances which
helped to make the French Revolution really a great historical event.
That those circumstances were lacking in our history, however, is by no
means the fault of our nation. No impartial foreign historian would
grudge a few words of praise to the Japanese who achieved the historic
thorough transformation of national life with little or no bloodshed,
when they think of the tremendous difficulties which Bismarck had to
encounter in his grand task of forming the new German empire, and which
even he himself could not overcome entirely.

Then how did this momentous change happen to be achieved by the
Japanese? It appeared a wonder even to the eyes of many contemporary
Japanese. It surprises us, therefore, to say the least, that many
foreigners not well-versed in Japanese history, however intelligent and
otherwise qualified, should have believed almost without exception that
the island nation had something miraculous in its immanent capacity,
which had remained latent so long only from lack of opportunity to
manifest itself. But to the contemplative mind, equipped at the same
time with sufficient knowledge of the historical development of our
country, there was nothing magical in the national achievement of the
Japanese in the latter half of the nineteenth century, though it cannot
be denied that the close contact with the modern civilisation of Europe
at this juncture gave the most suitable opportunity to the people to try
their ability nurtured by the long centuries of their history, and
served efficiently to quicken the steps of national progress to a pace
far more speedy than any we had ever marched before.

In other words, our national progress of these fifty years, whether it
might be apt to be termed hurried steps or strides, was a thing
organized by slow degrees during the long tranquil rule of the Tokugawa.
As to the advancement of the general culture anterior to the Revolution
of the Meidji, I have already touched on that in the previous chapter.
Here I will limit myself to recapitulating the growth of the
nationalistic spirit among the people, which bore as its fruit that
memorable change in the political and cultural sphere of our country.

The tranquillity restored to the country by the powerful dictatorship of
Hideyoshi and Iyeyasu, and the multiplication of books, Japanese as well
as Chinese, reprinted in blocks or in type, remarkably enlarged the
reading circle among the people. The liberal education of warriors had
been earnestly encouraged by the Shogunate, mainly for the purpose of
creating intelligent and law-abiding gentlemen out of rough and
adventurous fighters. A great many of the _daimyo_ followed the example
of the Shogunate by founding one or more schools in their own
territories for the education of their own _samurai_, and in these
schools moral and political lessons were given, besides training in
military arts. The _samurai_ were taught to read and understand Chinese
classics, with the purely pragmatic purpose of enabling them to follow
the inexhaustible precepts preached by the Chinese philosophers of
various ages, and at the same time to qualify them to govern the people
according to the political theories of Confucius, when they were put in
some responsible positions in the territorial government of their lord.
The text-books used in this curriculum of education had been, of course,
Chinese literature of the sort which might be called political
miscellanies, that is to say, those works pertaining to morals,
politics, and history. This trio was to Chinese philosophers only the
three different forms of the manifestation of one and the same
principle, for to them politics was an enlarged application of that very
principle, which when applied to personal matters made private morals,
and history was only another name for the politics of the past, as many
European historians still also believe. Their Japanese pupils, however,
took up any one of the trio they fancied, and interlaced it with the
national tradition, each according to his own taste. The metaphysical
element of the Chinese moral philosophy of the Sung dynasty, the time in
which Chinese philosophy reached its high flourishing scholastic stage,
was thus mingled with Shintoism.

Up to that time we had Shintoism imbued with Buddhism. Now having
repudiated the Indian elements out of it, we introduced in their stead
the Confucian philosophy. As the philosophy introduced was that
expounded by Chutse, who was an intense rigorist, the Shintoism
resulting from this mixture was rather narrow and chauvinistic, though
fervent enough to inspire people of education. One of the most
conspicuous founders of this kind of new national cult was Ansai
Yamazaki, who was born in 1619. On account of his hair-splitting
doctrines, tolerating none which deviated the least from his, his
disciples were always in very bitter controversy with one another, each
asserting himself as the only true successor of his master, and
dissension followed after dissension. Many of them were so pigheaded as
to make it a rule not to serve publicly in any official capacity under
the Shogun nor the _daimyo_, and exerted themselves strenuously to
spread their propaganda among the intelligent classes of the people.

Fuel was added to the flame of the national spirit already in a blaze by
the assiduous study of the ancient literature of our country. The old
Japanese literature studied and imitated during the Ashikaga period had
not gone back farther than the Tempyô era. If we except some novels
produced in the prime of the courtiers' régime, such as the
_Genji-monogatari_, the literary works of old Japan highly prized by the
courtiers and enlightened warriors of the Ashikaga were limited to the
anthologies of short Japanese poems by various poets, the oldest of
which was called the _Kokin-shû_, said to have been compiled in 905 A.D.
under Imperial auspices. The _Mannyô-shû_, which is another collection
of Japanese poems, older than those gathered into the _Kokin-shû_, and
to which I referred in my former chapter as the oldest collection of all
of that kind in Japan, though not entirely abandoned, could not cope
with the latter in popularity, being considered as too much out of date.
A few of the commentaries or interpretations of trivial topics sung or
celebrated in the poems in the _Kokin-shû_ had become matters of great
importance in the art of Japanese versification, and had been handed
from one master to a favourite disciple as an esoteric literary secret
not to be lightly divulged to the _hoi polloi_. The resuscitated
national spirit of the early Tokugawa period, however, induced men of
the literary circles of the time no longer to be contented with such
trivialities, and stimulated them to push their researches backward into
the literature still more ancient, that is to say, to launch themselves
upon the difficult task of interpreting those more archaic poems
contained in the _Mannyô-shû_. The foremost of these philologists was a
priest by the name of Keichû, born in 1640 in the vicinity of Ôsaka. His
celebrated work, the Commentaries on the Poems of the _Mannyô-shû_, is
said to be the first standard hoisted in the philological study of old
Japan by Japanese, a study the inauguration of which almost corresponded
in time with the establishment of durable peace by the Tokugawa
Shogunate. A succession of savants followed in his wake, and the most
noted among them were Mabuchi Kamo and his disciple Norinaga Motoöri. It
was the latter of the two who brought the study of Japanese antiquities
to its highest point in the Tokugawa age.

The time of Motoöri covers the whole of the latter half of the
eighteenth century, for he was born in 1730 and died in 1801 in the
province of Ise. Before him the scope of researches into old Japan had
been limited to the literary products of our ancient poets and
novelists. Though the _Nihongi_ had been talked of by the scholars of
the Ashikaga period and an edition reprinted before the advent of the
house of Tokugawa, that part of the work which had been most widely read
and commented on was its first volume, treating about the age of the
gods and the mythical beginning of the Empire. In other words, the book
had been prized not as an important historical work, but as a sacred
book of Shintoism. It was Motoöri himself who first studied ancient
Japan, not only from the Shintoistic point of view, but also
philologically and historically. Classical literature, which became the
object of his indefatigable research, was not restricted to books of
mythology, but included also the ritual book of "norito," several
collections of poems, and historical works. First of all, however, he
concentrated his efforts upon the study of the old chronicle, _Kojiki_.
He was of the opinion that the _Kojiki_ was more reliable as a
historical source than the _Nihongi_, as it might, according to him, be
easily judged from its archaic phraseology and syntax, in contrast to
the latter, the historical veracity of which must have been surely
impaired by its adoption of the Chinese rhetoric. He made the most
minute, critical study of the text of the _Kojiki_, phrase by phrase,
and word by word. The famous _Kojiki-den_, or "The Commentaries on the
_Kojiki_," is the choicest fruit of his life-long study. In it the
history, religion, manners, customs, in short, all the items concerning
the civilisation of ancient Japan are expounded from the text of the
chronicle itself, frequently corroborated by what is stated in other
authentic sources. He had always in view, and laid great stress on the
fact, that Japan had possessed from her beginning what was to be called
her own, purely and entirely Japanese, quite apart from the culture
which she introduced afterwards from abroad. It was to this unique and
naïve state of things in primeval Japan taken as a whole that he applied
the term Shintoism. According to him, therefore, naturalness, purity and
veracity were the cardinal virtues to be taught in Shintoism, from which
he thought not only Indian, but Chinese elements also should be
eradicated. Thus Shintoism was stripped of its religious apparel, with
which it had been invested during the long course of our history, and by
his endeavours it approached again its original status as a simple moral
cult with primitive rituals; but at the same time it gained immensely in
strength, for it now found its main support in the nationality deeply
rooted in the daily life of the ancient Japanese. By him the Japanese
were reminded of their national beginning.

This philological study of ancient Japan owed much, in its early stage,
to the stimulus given by the growth of historiography in the seventeenth
century. This study of and the endeavour to write down the national
history came of course from the political necessity of the time. As
early as the fourth decade of the seventeenth century, the Shogunate is
said to have ordered its court literati to compile the history of our
country from the earliest times, but it was suspended afterwards for a
while. A little posterior to this, a memorable historiographical
institute was initiated by Mitsukuni Tokugawa, one of the grandsons of
Iyeyasu and lord of Mito. For the first time in our country, the
collection of historical materials was undertaken on a grand scale.
Collectors were despatched to many provinces where a rich harvest was
expected. Kyoto and its vicinity were ransacked with special attention.
The material thus rummaged and collected, varying from those of
authentic kinds such as memoirs of ancient courtiers and court-ladies,
chronicles kept in shrines and temples, and documents concerning the
transactions of numberless manorial estates, down to less reliable sorts
of materials such as stories, legends, tales, novels, and various other
writings current in successive ages, had been criticised in their texts
with tolerable scientific conscientiousness. The _Dai-Nihon-shi_, or
"The History of Great Japan," which is the result of the coöperation of
the historians of the Mito school engaged in researches under the
auspices of Mitsukuni and his successors, consists of two hundred and
thirty one volumes, and has taken two centuries and a half for its
completion, the last volume having been published in 1906. In its form
the grand history is an imitation of the _Shih-chi_ by Ssuma-chien of
the Han dynasty, the whole system being divided into the three sections
of the annals of the emperors, biographers of noted personages, and
miscellanies, with various tables. It is by no means a complete history
of Japan, for it comes down only to 1392, the year in which the two
rival houses of the Imperial family were united and put an end to the
long civil war. Moreover, it was only in the middle of the nineteenth
century, that the first two sections were put into print, though as
manuscripts those parts had been finished much earlier. It is not,
therefore, on account of the publication of the history, but of the
researches themselves and their by-products, that the historiography of
the Mito school greatly influenced the rise of the nationalistic spirit
of the Japanese. The long arduous labours of these historians were
consummated in expounding the doctrine that the Japanese nation had
something unique in its civilisation which was worthy to be guarded
carefully and fostered, and that the only bond which could unite the
nation spiritually was fidelity towards its common centre, the Emperor,
whose family had continued to reign over the country since time
immemorial. The history is often criticised as being too pragmatic,
narrow, and subjective, therefore not scientific. If we consider,
however, that even in those countries in the West where the study of
history is boasted of as having reached a high stage of scientific
investigation, most of the historians, if not the histories they have
written, have been also decidedly pragmatic, so that few of them can be
called perfectly objective, then we should not much blame the historians
and the history of the Mito school. That the school was entirely free
from any sort of superstition must also be mentioned as one of its chief
merits. This may be attributed to the rationalistic influence of the
doctrine of Chutse, and the fact that the history was written in
orthodox Chinese shows how these historiographers were imbued with
Chinese ideas. It might be said, however, to their credit that the task
was first undertaken in an age in which the literary language of our
country had not yet become entirely independent of Chinese, and that,
notwithstanding the adoption of that language, in committing the result
of their researches to writing they had never fallen into the
self-deception which might come from sinicomania. Since the inception of
this ever-memorable historiographical undertaking, the town of Mito had
continued to be the hearth of nationalism and patriotism, and thinkers
devoted to these ideas had been very glad to make their pilgrimage from
all parts of Japan to the centre of the pure Japanese culture, and to
converse with these historians of the noted institution. It was indeed
the early groups of these historians who first stirred up the
nationalistic spirit in the later seventeenth century, and their
successors it was who accelerated and most strongly reinforced the
national movement just before the Revolution. No school of learning in
Japan had even been so powerful and effective as that of Mito in
influencing and leading the spirit of the nation.

The torch, however, which had succeeded in giving blissful light to
illumine the whole nation, burned at last the torch-bearer himself with
its blazing flame. Not to mention that the finances of the territorial
lord had been miserably drained by this undertaking, which is said to
have swallowed up about one-third of the whole revenue of the territory,
and therefore proved too heavy a burden for the small income of the
lord. Narrow-mindedness, which is the necessary consequence of rigorism,
tended to nurture an implacable party spirit among the _samurai_ of the
territory educated in this principle. Internal strife thus ensued which
implicated not only the whole _samurai_ but people of all classes. In
short, the territory was divided against itself. Both parties appealed
to arms at last, and fought against each other, until both had to lie
down quite exhausted. So the culture which the historians and the
_samurai_ of Mito raised to a high pitch proved to be disastrous to
their own welfare, yet the good which it did to the country at large
should remain as a glory to those who sacrificed themselves for what
they regarded as their ideal.

We see now that several forces had coöperated in accomplishing the final
unity and consolidation of the nation. In giving the finishing touch,
however, to the task of many centuries, the enigmatic relations between
the Emperor and the Shogun had necessarily to be cleared. Though the
Shogunate had continued to transact the state affairs as if he had been
the sole regent of the Emperor, the legal status of the former had never
been created by any ordinance issued by the latter. No emperor had ever
formally confided his political prerogative to the Shogun. The basis on
which the jurisdictional power of the Shogun had rested was nothing but
the _fait accompli_ connived at and acquiesced in by the Emperor. If the
prestige of the Emperor, therefore, which had once fallen into
decadence, should be revived, the position of the Shogun was sure to
become untenable. The historians of the Mito school tried their best to
make the Emperor the nucleus of the national consolidation. Their
political theory had been strongly influenced by the legitimism
entertained by the historians of the Sung dynasty, and this principle of
legitimacy, when applied to the history of Japan, must have led only to
the conclusion that the only legitimate and therefore actual sovereign
of the country could be none other than the Emperor himself. Needless to
say, such an argument was injurious to the political interests of the
Shogunate, so that it seems very strange that the theory had been upheld
and loudly heralded by these historians who were under the protection of
the lord of Mito, the descendant of a scion of Iyeyasu. It was not, of
course, the intention of the hereditary lords of Mito and their
historians to undermine the structure of the Shogunate from its
foundation. Having been, however, too sharp and fervent in their
argument, they had been unable to rein themselves in, before the
interests of the Shogunate were thereby jeopardised, and as a logical
consequence they brought unconsciously to a terrible catastrophe the
whole edifice of the military régime, in which alone they could find a
reason for their existence.

The spirit of the nation had thus been under the increasing notion that
the coexistence of the sovereign Emperor with the omnipotent Shogunate
would be ultimately impossible, and such a trend of thought had been
highly welcomed in those parts of Japan where militarism had the least
hold. So far, however, it had been the more logical pursuance of a
political ideal, and if no opportunity had presented itself to these
idealists to put their theory into execution, it would have remained for
long the idle vapouring of romantic and irresponsible politicians. That
Japan was saved from this inaction, and that the virile movement in
favour of the revival of the imperial prestige was at last undertaken,
must be attributed to the shock and stimulus which came from without,
that is to say, to the coercion on the part of the Western nations to
open to them our country, which had been so long secluded from the rest
of the world.

Since the so-called "closing of the country" the Japanese had enjoyed a
peaceful national life, undisturbed for more than one century and a
half, and during this period of long tranquillity Japan had been able to
prepare herself for the hardships which she was about to encounter, by
replenishing her national culture and transforming it so as to be able
to take in as much of the Western civilisation as she was in need of,
without fear of thereby endangering her own national existence. But at
the end of the eighteenth century the insistent knocking of foreigners
at the door began to be heard, first at the back-door of the Island
Empire. It was only the Russians who, having already annexed the vast
tract of Siberia, were now ready to make a jump forward, and loitered on
the northern coast of our Hokkaidô, called the island of Yezo at that
time. This was the beginning of new national troubles. It was not,
however, the same kind of foreign troubles as those which we had tried
and succeeded in getting rid of in the early days of the Shogunate.
There was no fear now of suffering from the religious intrigues of
foreign missionaries. The danger, if there were any, was purely of a
political nature.

Needless to say, the nation had had no voice in determining the
Shogunate's policy of "shutting up the country", and had not understood
well the merit or demerit of the policy itself, but having been
accustomed for a long time to the isolated national existence, and
puffed up not a little into self-conceit by the growth of the
nationalistic spirit, they were unconsciously induced to believe that
the status they were in must be the only normal condition of the
country. The people at large, though relieved of the overdue influence
of China, yet had a very scanty knowledge of the condition in which
Europe and America were at that time, and did not wish, in the least, to
be deranged by the intrusion, however well-meant, of any foreigner into
their quiet abode, in spite of the utter impossibility of continuing
such a national life _ad infinitum_ in the face of the changed
circumstances of the world, caused by the eastward expansion of various
European nations, and by the rise of a new power on the American
continent, the power which had just acquired access to the shore of the
Pacific. Those who were then at the helm of state, that is to say, the
statesmen of the Shogunate, shared nearly the same opinion with the
nation at large. Not only for the national welfare, but in the interests
of the Shogunate itself, they thought it best to keep up the _status
quo_ as long as possible. Unfortunately, the foreigners who now knocked
at our doors were not unarmed like those who had come two centuries
before, neither were they so humble and docile as the Dutchmen at
Deshima were accustomed to be. In order to keep them off in spite of
their importunate wish to the contrary, we had to provide for
emergencies. So the Shogunate tried to make military preparations, to
defend the country in case of necessity and drive away the intruders by
force of arms. The more, however, the Shogunate tried to arm the nation
against the foreigners, the more difficult it found the task it had in
view. As the result of the long enjoyment of peace, the people had
become inured to ease and luxury, and had lost much of their martial
spirit, of which they had been exceedingly proud as their characteristic
attribute. Moreover, the country having been parcelled out into nearly
three hundred territories, it was very hard for the Shogunate to
mobilise the warriors of the whole empire at its sole command. On the
other hand, the material progress of the Western nations, achieved
during the time of our seclusion, had been really astonishing. The
difficulty of coping with them now became far greater for us than it had
been at the end of the sixteenth century. Notwithstanding these
overwhelming difficulties, the Shogunate persisted in its endeavour to
strengthen the national defences. The martial spirit of the nation was
gradually reawakened, but new internal difficulties were created by thus
mobilising the nation, divided as it was into motley groups. The martial
spirit which the Shogunate aroused was turned against itself, and the
Shogunate proved unable to steer through the crisis at last.

At first the opinion of the educated class of the nation was
conflicting, but a few were eager to see the necessary overthrow of the
régime of the Shogun. The great part gradually concurred in denouncing
the incapacity of the Shogunate to fulfil by itself the task which it
was called upon to accomplish. Still many were in favour of supporting
the Shogunate in order to enable it to carry through its traditional
policy of seclusion. Some advocated even the closer union of the
Shogunate with the Imperial court, which was now beginning to become
again the influential political centre of the nation in opposition to
the power at Yedo, so that there might have been a fear of the two
powers coming into collision. The conclusion, however, of the treaty
with the United States in 1858, and subsequently with other powers,
bitterly disappointed these sincere friends of the Shogunate and
emboldened its adversaries. Hitherto those who had diametrically opposed
the Shogunate were men who had never been in any position politically
responsible. In other words, they were doctrinaires, and not men of
action, so that there could be no serious danger to the Shogunate so
long as they contented themselves only with arguing about national
affairs in highflown language. But the disappointment which the
Shogunate gave to its friends, turned them into sympathisers with the
radical opponents. The danger was thus shifted from foreign relations to
the serious internal question, whether the Shogunate should be allowed
to exist any longer or not. Those who wished for the revival of the
imperial prestige or the overthrow of the existing régime, whatever form
the revolution might take, wielded as their forcible weapon to attack
the Shogunate the denunciation that the sacred Land of the Gods had
been opened to the sacrilegious tread of hairy barbarians, and their
slogan was so persuasive that it led the imperial court at Kyoto to
issue an order urging the Shogunate to repudiate the already concluded
treaties and to return to the time-honoured seclusion policy, a task of
utter impossibility. To this august command from Kyoto, the Shogunate
could but respond very obsequiously, being intimidated somewhat by the
loud clamour of these conservative patriots. Or it may be said that the
military government succumbed to the combined force of the court-nobles
and the territorial politicians. The marriage of the fourteenth Shogun
to one of the sisters of the Emperor Kômei, in the year 1861, though
concluded for the sake of the rapprochement of the Imperial court and
the Shogunate, did not prove so serviceable in saving the tottering
edifice of the Tokugawa régime as had been expected. Finding that the
power and the resources of the Shogunate were inadequate to perform the
duty which it had pledged itself to accomplish, Yoshihisa Tokugawa, the
fifteenth and last of the Shogun, resigned all the power he had,
political as well as military, into the hands of the Emperor Meidji, who
had just succeeded his father the Emperor Kômei. This happened in
November of the year 1867. A little previous to this the proposition of
the Shogunate to open the port of Hyogo, now Kobe, to foreign trade was
agreed to by the Emperor, a fact which proves how difficult it was to
maintain the out-of-date seclusion-policy. From this it can be seen that
the Shogunate of the Tokugawa fell, after the lapse of two hundred sixty
four years from its beginning, not from lack of foresight on the part of
their statesmen, but solely from loss of prestige.

The prestige of the Shogunate was lost, simply because the system, such
as it was, had become anachronistic in the face of the altered
conditions of the country, which had been steadily progressing during
these centuries. In other words, the Tokugawa Shogunate had been
undermining itself for a long time by having courageously undertaken the
honourable task which it was destined to perform in our national
history, and it collapsed just in time when it had accomplished its
mission. The fall of the Shogunate, therefore, must be said to have
taken place very opportunely. The overthrow of the Shogunate, however,
did not mean the mere downfall of the House of the Tokugawa; but it was
the final collapse of the military régime, which had actually ruled
Japan for nearly seven centuries, and the demolition of such a grand and
elaborate historical edifice as the Shogunate could not be expected to
be carried out without a catastrophe. That catastrophe came in the form
of a civil war, which raged over the country for more than a year.

After the resignation of the last of the Shogun, the new government was
instantly set up at Kyoto, at the head of which an imperial prince was
placed, who had to control all the state business in the name of the
Emperor. The councillors under him were chosen not only from
court-nobles, but also from the able _samurai_ who belonged to the party
antagonistic to the Shogunate. This exasperated the partisans of the
last Shogunate. Though the ex-Shogun had renounced his hereditary rights
as the actual ruler of Japan, he still remained a _daimyo_ even after
his resignation, and as a _daimyo_ he was the most powerful of all, for
he had a far greater number of the _samurai_ under him in his _hatamoto_
than any other of his colleagues. Besides, he had many sympathisers
among the _daimyo_. These vassals and friends of the ex-Shogun were
discontented at the turn which the course of events had taken, and
wished at least to rescue him from a further decrease of his influence.
Induced at last by these followers to try his fortune, the ex-Shogun
asked for an imperial audience, which was refused. Then he attempted to
force his entrance into the city of Kyoto, escorted by his own guards
and the forces of the friendly _daimyo_, and was met by the Imperialist
army, composed of the forces of the lords of Satsuma, Nagato, Tosa,
Hizen, and other _daimyo_, the greater part of whom had their
territories in the western provinces of Japan. At the end of January,
1868, the two opposing armies came into collision at Fushimi and Toba,
villages in the southern suburb of the old metropolis, and the forces
of the ex-Shogun gave way. Yoshihisa hurriedly retreated to Ôsaka with
his staff, and thence by sea to Yedo, whither the imperial army pursued
him by the land-route.

At Yedo some of the vassals of the Tokugawa could not make up their
minds to submit complacently to the unavoidable lot of their suzerain
and of themselves, and insisted on making their last stand against the
approaching Imperialists by defending the city. But the wiser counsel
prevailed, and the castle was surrendered to the Imperialists without
bloodshed at the end of April. A handful of desperate _samurai_, who
fortified themselves in the precincts of the Temple of Uyeno, the site
of the present metropolitan park, was easily subdued by the
Imperialists. The ex-Shogun, who had been interned at Mito on account of
his having fought against the Imperialists, was released soon
afterwards. By an Imperial grace, a member of a lateral branch of the
Tokugawa was ordered to succeed the ex-Shogun as _daimyo_, and made the
hereditary lord of Suruga. The first phase of the Revolution thus came
to an end.

The country, however, which had once been set astir could not be
pacified so easily. The next to be chastised was the lord of Aidzu, a
_daimyo_ who, remaining faithful to the Shogunate to the last, fought
desperately in the battle of Fushimi and Toba, and retired to his
territory in northern Japan after his defeat. Though he found supporters
among the _daimyo_ of the neighboring territories, the forces of the
Imperialists were in the meanwhile immensely reinforced, for the
_daimyo_ of middle Japan, who had hitherto been neutral, now joined
their colleagues of the south. The war began anew in the middle of June
in the northern part of Honto. The combined forces of the northern
_daimyo_ had to fight against fearful odds, and were successively
defeated. The castle of Aidzu was closely invested, and capitulated at
the beginning of November. The supporters of the lord of Aidzu also
surrendered one after another to the Imperialists. It was soon after
this that the adoption of the name of Meidji, as the designation of the
opening era, was promulgated at Kyoto.

The last chivalrous feat in behalf of the Shogun was performed by the
fleet which belonged to the former Shogunate. Before the Revolution the
Shogunate had kept a fleet consisting of eight ships, commanded by
Admiral Yenomoto, who had received his naval education in Holland. This
was the only navy worthy of its name in Japan at that time. After the
capitulation of Yedo the Imperial Government ordered half of the
men-of-war belonging to the fleet to be given up to itself, allowing the
rest to be kept in the hands of the Tokugawa. The admiral was, however,
too sorrowful to part with his ships, so that a little before the
capitulation of Aidzu, he sailed out with all his fleet from the harbour
of Yedo, and occupied Hakodate, a port at the southern end of the
island of Yezo. But the forces he was able to land were no match for the
victorious Imperialists, who became now quite free in all other
quarters. The harbour of Hakodate was soon blockaded, and the Pentagon
Fortress was besieged and taken. In June of the following year the whole
island of Yezo was subdued, and the new name of Hokkaidô was given to

With the surrender of Hakodate the military history of the Revolution of
the Meidji came to its close, but the political transformation was not
yet consummated. What was already accomplished concerned only the
elimination of the Shogun from the political system of the country and
the establishment of the direct rule of the Emperor over the _daimyo_.
The latter, not reduced in number and undiminished in extent of
territories, except a few who had forfeited the whole or a part of their
territories by their resistance to the imperial order, still continued
to hold their hereditary rights over their land and people as in the
time of the Tokugawa. In short, the national question had only been
partially solved, and there remained much to be done before the
attainment of the final goal, the complete reconstruction of the whole
empire. Various important changes necessary for it were put into
practice during the next four years.

In the year 1868, the city of Yedo changed its name to Tokyo, which
means the eastern capital, and was made henceforth the constant
residence of the Emperor instead of Kyoto. This was the beginning of
the new era. In July 1869, the feudal rights of the _daimyo_ over their
territories and people were abolished, after the voluntary renunciation
of their privileges on the part of the latter, who now became hereditary
governors salaried according to the income of each respective territory.
If the Revolution had stopped short at this, then the prestige of the
territorial lords might have still remained almost intact, for they
still resided in the same territories which they had owned as _daimyo_,
and they had still under them standing forces, consisting of their
former _samurai_. The juridical transformation of what they owned as
their private property into objects of their public jurisdiction was a
change of too delicate a nature to manifest to the multitude of the
people a political aspect totally different from that of the time of the
Shogunate. It needed three years more to sweep away all these feudal
shackles. In August of the year 1871 the division of the empire into
territories was replaced by the division into prefectures, which were
far less in number than the territories of the _daimyo_, the
jurisdiction of the hereditary governors was suspended, and to each of
the prefectures a new governor was appointed. The allowances of the
_samurai_, which had still been hereditary, were also suspended, and
their compensation was rendered in form of a bond, with gradations
according to their former income. The new decimal monetary system was
adopted. The Gregorian calendar was adopted. The military service which
had been the exclusive calling of the _samurai_ class was now extended
to people of all classes. The conscription system was introduced after
the examples of the Western countries, and this reform naturally led to
the loss of the privileges of the _samurai_. All people were now made
equal before the law. Japan was at last clothed in quite modern attire.

                              CHAPTER XIV


Japan of the past fifty years since the Revolution of the Meidji may be
said to have been in a transition period, although we do not know when
nor how she will settle down after all. As a transition period in the
history of any country is generally its most eventful epoch, so our last
half century has been the busiest time the nation has ever experienced.
Not only that. We were ushered into the wide world, just at the time
when the world itself began to have its busiest time also. The opening
of the country at such a juncture may be compared to a man in deep
slumber, who is aroused suddenly in the dazzling daylight of noon.
Moreover, Japan has had another and not less important business to
attend to, that is to say, she had to trim herself, and complete her
internal reconstruction, a task which may not perhaps come to its
completion for a long time to come. Excitation must be the natural
outcome to anybody placed in such a position. Japan has over-worked
indeed, and is yet working very hard. She has achieved not a little
already, and is still struggling to achieve more. If we would try to
describe the history of Japan during these fifty years, we should have
more to tell than the history of the preceding twenty centuries. That is
not, however, possible in the scope of this small volume. Another reason
why we need not expatiate on this period of our national history is
because it is comparatively better known to foreigners than the history
of old Japan, though we are not sure that it is not really
misunderstood. The root, however, of the misapprehension of Japan of the
Meidji era lies deep in the misapprehension of the history of her past,
for one who can understand rightly Japan of the past, may not err much
in comprehending Japan of the present. I will not, therefore, describe
in detail the contemporary history of Japan, but will content myself by
giving merely a cursory view of it.

It was none but the _samurai_, the mainstay of feudal Japan, who brought
about the momentous change of the Meidji, and it was the _samurai_ of
the lower class, who acted the chief part in the Revolution. The
savants, however they might have proved useful in fanning the
nationalistic spirit among the people, were after all not men of action.
Only the _samurai_, when permeated with this spirit, could effect such a
grand political change. There may be no doubt that the _samurai_
undertook the task for the sake of the national welfare, and most of all
not to restore the already rotten régime which had once existed before
the advent of the Kamakura Shogunate. But this evident truth was known
neither to the court-nobles, who dreamt only of seeing their past glory
recovered, nor to those idealists of ultra-conservative trend, who
sincerely believed that the history of nearly twelve centuries might be
simply ignored and the golden days of the Nara period be called back
into life once more. The latter strongly urged the personal government
of the Emperor and the restoration of the worship of the national gods
to its ancient glory, while the former strove to recover the reins of
government into their own hands. It was the result of their compromise,
that the political organisation of the Taïhô era was formally revived,
though with not a few indispensable modifications. Think of the statute
of eleven hundred seventy years before recalled to reality again, and of
a country, governed by a such a petrified statute, entering the
concourse of the nations of the world in the nineteenth century. How
comical it would have been if such a retrogression had been allowed to
proceed even for a generation? The first to be disappointed were the
court-nobles. The expectation of the ultra-conservatives was also far
from being fulfilled. The country was in urgent need of a new
legislation conformable to the new state of things, and the restored
statute was soon found to be utterly inadequate to serve the purpose.
The quixotic movement of the bigoted Shintoists to persecute Buddhism,
which led to the lamentable demolition of many Buddhist sculptures and
buildings of high artistic merit, was to subside as soon as it was
started, for it was now the age of complete religious toleration, which
was extended even to Christianity soon afterwards.

The most extravagant expectation of the ultra-conservatives was thus
frustrated, but the conservative spirit in the nation, which was by no
means to be swept away at all found its devotees among the class of the
_samurai_. Though they were the real makers of the Revolution, yet the
loss of their privileges and material interests which it entailed,
touched them sorely. A very small fraction of them served the new
government as officials and soldiers of high and low rank, and could
enjoy life much more comfortably than they did in the pre-Meidji days.
The greater part of the _samurai_, however, were obliged to betake
themselves to some of the callings which they were accustomed to look
down upon with disdain, for if they did not work, the compensation which
they received from the government did not suffice to sustain them for
long. Some of them preferred to become farmers, and those who persisted
in that line generally fared well. Many others turned themselves into
merchants, and mostly failed; being accustomed to the simplicities of
the life and the code of soldiers, and utterly unversed in the
complexities of the code commercial, and the trickeries of the life
merchants; and the small capital obtained by selling their
compensation-bonds was soon squandered. What wonder if they began to
regret and whine for better days of the past? Discontentment became
rampant among them; but the inducement to its disruption was provided by
the diplomatic tension with Korea.

I have no space here to dwell upon the intricate history of the
differences between Korea and our country in the later seventies of the
nineteenth century. Suffice it to say that the militaristic party in and
out of the government favoured the war with Korea, while the opposing
party was against it, considering it injurious to sound national
progress, especially at a time when it was an immediate necessity for
the welfare of the country to devote all its resources to internal
reconstruction. The war party with Takamori Saigô at its head seceded
from the government. Saigô had been a great figure since the Revolution,
as the representative _samurai_ of the Satsuma, and had a great many
worshippers, so that even after his retirement his influence over the
territory of Satsuma was immense. At last he was forced by his adorers,
whose ill-feeling against the government now knew no bounds, to take up
arms in order to purge the government, which seemed to them too
effeminate and too radical. Not only the warlike and conservative
_samurai_ of Satsuma, but all the _samurai_ in the other provinces of
Kyushû, who sympathised with them, rose up and joined them. Siege was
laid by them to the castle of Kumamoto, the site of régimental

So far they had been successful, but owing to insufficiency of
ammunition and provisions, they could not force their way much farther.
Moreover, the Imperial Army recently organised, recruited mostly from
the common people by the conscription system, proved very efficient,
owing to the use of Snider rifles, although at first the new soldiers
had been despised by the insurgents on account of their low origin. The
siege of Kumamoto was at last raised; the remnant of the defeated forces
of Saigô retired to a valley near the town of Kagoshima; Saigô committed
suicide; and the civil war ended in the victory of the government in
September 1877, seven months after its outburst.

This civil war is an epoch-making event in the history of the Meidji
era, in the sense that it was a death blow to the last and powerful
remnant force of feudalism, the influence of the _samurai_. Though the
_samurai_-soldiers who fought on the side of Saigô were very few in
number compared with the host of the _samurai_ within the whole empire,
and though not a few _samurai_-soldiers fought also on the opposite
side, still it was clear that the insurgents represented the interests
of the _samurai_ as a class better than the governmental army, and the
defeat of the former had, on the prestige of the class, an effect quite
similar to that which was produced in Europe of the later Middle Ages
by the use of firearms and the organisation of the standing army, and
significantly reduced the traditional influence of knights on horseback.
It is for this reason that the democratisation of the nation markedly
set in after the civil war, and with it the territorial particularism,
which had been weakened by the Revolution, has been rapidly dying away.
Political parties of various shades began to be formed. The works of
Montesquieu and Rousseau were translated into Japanese, and widely read
with avidity. The cry for a representative government became a national
demand. Against the hesitating government riots were raised here and
there. To sum up the history of the second decade of the Meidji era, we
see that it strikingly resembles French history in the first half of the
nineteenth century. The rise of the influence of the new-born bourgeois
class in modern Japan may be said to have dated from this epoch.
Europeanisation in manners and customs became more and more striking
year by year.

What is unique in our modern history is that, parallel with the growth
of the democratic tendency in the nation, the imperial prestige effected
a remarkable increase. This seemingly contradictory phenomenon may be
explained easily by considering how our present notion of fidelity to
the Emperor has evolved. The divine authority of the Emperor did not
suffer any remarkable change after his personal régime ceased, though
his political prestige had been eclipsed by the assumption of power by
the Fujiwara nobles. Even after the establishment of the Shogunate,
nobody in Japan had ever thought it possible that the Emperor could be
placed in rank equal to or under a Shogun or any other sort of dictator,
however virtually powerful he might have been. Through all political
vicissitudes the Emperor has remained always the noblest personage in
Japan, and in this sense he has been the focus toward which the heart of
the whole nation turned.

The relation of the Emperor to the people at large, during these periods
of eclipse, was indirect. Between them intervened the Shogun and the
_daimyo_ as actual immediate rulers, so that fidelity to the Emperor had
been spoken of only academically, and their fidelity, in a concrete
sense, had been solely centered in their immediate master, who
reciprocated it by the protection he extended directly over them. Thus
fidelity on the one hand and protection on the other hand had been
conditioned by each other, and because the bond was naturally an
essential link of the military régime, it was strengthened by its being
handed down from generation to generation. In short, the fidelity of the
Japanese may be said to be a product of the military régime, and owes
its growth to the hereditary relation of vassalage. As all the ideals
and virtues cherished among the _samurai_ class used to be considered by
plebeians as worthy of imitation, if practicable in their own circles,
fidelity was also understood by them in the same sense as among the
military circles, that is to say, as a soldierly virtue in a subordinate
toward his superior. So it grew to be more disciplinary,
self-sacrificing and devotional, than in the times before the military
régime. This condition of the national morals had continued to the end
of the Tokugawa Shogunate, with occasional relaxations, of course. But
now that the Shogunate and the _daimyo_ were eliminated from the
political system, the foci toward which the fidelity of the people had
been turned ceased to exist, and the fidelity remained, as it were, to
be a cherished virtue of the nation though without a goal. It sought for
a new focus, looked up one stage higher than the Shogun, and was glad to
make the Emperor the object of its fervent devotion. Soon it developed
almost into a passion, because the nation became more and more conscious
of the necessity of a well-centred national consolidation, and it could
find nowhere else a centre more fit for it than the Emperor. His
prestige could increase in this way _pari passu_ with the growth of the
democratic spirit in the nation. It is not, therefore, a mere
traditional preponderance, but an authority having its foundation in
modern civilisation.

It cannot be denied, however, that history clothes our imperial house
with special grandeur, which might not be sought in the case of any
royal family newly come to power, and if conservatism would have a firm
stand in Japan, it must be the conservatism which sprang from this
historical relation of the people to the Emperor. This explains the
sudden rise of the conservative spirit, which at once changed the aspect
of the country at the end of the second decade of the Meidji era. It
happened just at the time when the current of Europeanisation was at its
height and the realisation of the hope of the progressives, the
promulgation of the Constitution and the inauguration of representative
government, drew very near.

In February 1889 the Constitution long craved for was at last granted,
and by virtue of it the first Imperial Diet was opened the next year.
This adoption of the representative system of government by Japan used
to be often cited as a rare example of the wonderful progress of a
nation not European, and all our subsequent national achievements have
been ascribed by foreigners to this radical change of constitution.
Every good and every evil, however, which the system is said to possess,
has been fully manifested in this country. We have since been
continually endeavouring to train and accustom ourselves to the new
régime, but our experience in modern party government is still very
meagre, and it will take a long time to see all classes of the people
appropriately interested in national politics, which is a requisite
condition to reaping the benefit of constitutional government to the
utmost. At present we have no reason to regret, on the contrary much
reason to rejoice at, the introduction of the system.

After the constitution came many organic laws, the civil and penal code,
and so forth, in order of proclamation. This completion of the apparatus
necessary to the existence of the modern state improved in no small
measure the position of our country in the eyes of attentive foreigners.
What, however, contributed most of all to the abrogation of the rights
of extraterritoriality enjoyed by foreigners on Japanese soil, the
object of bitter complaint and pining on the part of patriots, was the
victory won by our army in the war against China.

Before the outbreak of the Sinico-Japanese war, China had long been
regarded not only by Western nations, but by the Japanese themselves, as
far above our country in national strength, not to speak of the
superiority of wealth as well as of civilisation in general. Though the
victory of the expeditionary troops sent by Hideyoshi over the Chinese
reinforcements despatched by the Emperor of the Ming to succour the
invaded Koreans was sufficient to wipe off the military humiliation
which our army had suffered on the peninsula nine hundred years before,
and had much to do in enhancing the national self-confidence against the
Chinese, the renewed imitation of her civilisation during the Tokugawa
Shogunate turned the scale again in favour of China even to the eyes of
the Japanese intelligents, and we had been constantly overawed by the
influence of the big continental neighbour. So that the formal
annexation of the Loochoo Islands in the first decade of the Meidji era
against the opposing Chinese claim was considered to be a great
diplomatic victory of the new government. The failure of the French
expedition added also to the credit of the unfathomable force of the
Celestial Empire. The grand Chinese fleet which visited our ports in the
year previous to the war was thought to be more than our match, and made
us feel a little disquieted. Contrary to our anticipation, however,
battle after battle ended in our victory in the war of 1894-1895, and
Korea was freed from Chinese hegemony by the treaty of Shimonoseki.

Though some of the important articles of the same treaty were made
useless by the intervention of the three Western powers, the war proved
on the whole very beneficial to our country. The growth of the
consciousness of the national strength emboldened the people to develop
their activity in all directions. Several new industries began to
flourish. The national wealth increased remarkably so as to enable the
government to adopt a monometallic currency in gold. Education, high as
well as low, was encouraged by the increase of various new schools and
by the strengthening of their staffs. We laboured very hard for the ten
following years, and then the Russo-Japanese war took place.

It was indeed fortunate that we could win after all in the war in which
we put our national destiny at stake. Not only in this war with Russia,
but in that with China a decade before, we had been by no means sure of
victory, when we decided to enter into them. It is such a war generally
that proves salutary to the victorious party, when, after having been
fought with difficulty, it ends in a way better than had been
anticipated. It was so in the war of 1894-1895, and was not otherwise in
that waged ten years later. These military successes, needless to say,
increased still more the splendour of the imperial prerogative already
magnificently revived. At the same time they countenanced the growth of
conservatism. The impetus, however, which these wars gave to the general
activity of the nation necessitated the people betaking themselves to
the study and imitation of Western civilisation. And this
Europeanisation, direct or through America, tended to make the nation
more and more progressive. Thus conservatism in recent Japan has been
marching hand in hand with liberalism, nay, even with radicalism, each
alternately outweighing the other. This is why present Japan has
appeared to be lacking in stability, especially in the eyes of foreign

The years immediately succeeding the Russo-Japanese war formed the
culminating period of the glorious era of Meidji, and also a
turning-point of the national history. Up to that time foreign nations
had been lavishing their kindness in the education of the novice nation,
who seemed to them to be yet in her teens on account of having just
entered into the concert of the world as a passive hearer. They did not
know what would become of Japan, brought up and instructed in this way.
In military affairs the English were our first masters, then came the
French and the German. In the navy, the Dutch followed by the English
were our instructors. In the sphere of legislation, the first advisers
were the French, to whom the Germans succeeded. The latter also taught
us their science of medicine, which to study in Japan the German
language has become the first requisite. Besides what has been
enumerated above, knowledge of all branches of industries, arts, and
sciences has been introduced into our country in the highly advanced
stage of the brilliant century. Who would have dreamt, however, of the
victory of the Japanese over the Russians in January of 1904? In the
war, it is true, a great many foreigners sympathised with the cause of
the Japanese, simply because all bystanders are unconsciously wont to
take the side of the weaker. The fall of Port Arthur and the
annihilation of the Russian navy on the Sea of Japan were beyond all
expectation. They now began to think that they might be also taken
unawares by us, as they thought the Russians were, forgetting that they
had ignored to study the Japanese. They rather repented that they had
underestimated the real Japanese unduly, and thereby they have fallen
into the error of overestimation. We do not think that a sheer victory
on a battlefield can in any case be taken as a measure of the progress
of civilisation in the victor. Moreover, in what field could we have
been able to beat any European nation except in battle, if we could beat
her at all? Almost all of our cultural factors we have borrowed from
foreign countries, and therefore they are of later introduction, so that
they could not be easily brought by our imitation, however adroit it
might be, to a stage nearly so high as they had reached in their
original homes. But as to the art of fighting only, we have come to
practise it since the old times, and during the successive Shogunates it
had been the calling most honoured and followed by us at the expense of
other acquirements. In short, it was the speciality of old Japan, so
that our success in arms could not testify to the sudden jump in other
branches of our civilisation. Those foreigners, however, who had been
accustomed to judge us from afar, looked only at the scientific and
mechanical side of modern war, of which we had availed ourselves, and
surmised that if we could stand excellently the test in this department,
we must certainly have surpassed what they had expected of us in all
respects. This surmise, which they felt not very agreeably, they flatly
imputed to our dissimulation and feigning, and branded them as our
national vices, instead of attributing the miscalculation to their
self-deception and ignorance as regards things Japanese. On the
contrary, we have had never the least intention to deceive any
foreigner in the estimation of the merit of what we have achieved. Would
it not be ridiculously absurd to assume the existence of such a tendency
in any living nation in the world?

We have been thus overestimated and at the same time begun to be
somewhat disliked by those short-sighted observers in foreign countries
after our successful war with Russia. The pet nation of the whole world
of yesterday was turned suddenly into the most suspected and dangerous
nation of to-day! There have been many missionaries who had personal
experience of our country, owing to their residence here for years,
professing that they have tried their utmost to plead our cause.
Unfortunately, their defence of us has not availed much, for a great
part of them are used to depict us as a nation still evolving. Evolving
they say, for our recent national progress is too evident a fact to be
refuted, and they wish to ascribe it to their fruitful endeavours.
Evolving, they say repeatedly, for they are fain to show that there is
still remaining in Japan a wide field reserved for them to work, lest
their _raison d'être_ in this country should otherwise be lost forever.
In fact, we are now far enough advanced as a nation as not to require
the tutelage of the missionaries of recent times.

I regret that we have among us a certain number of typical braggarts,
who unfortunately abound in every country, and their shameless bluffing
has often caused astonishment to unprejudiced observers in foreign
countries. Nevertheless, we as a nation are neither far better nor far
worse than any other in the world. To remain as a petrified state, with
plenty of well-preserved relics of all ages, is what we cannot bear for
our country. We know well that a nation which produces sight-seers must
be incomparably happier and more praiseworthy than that which furnishes
quaint objects for show to please those sight-seers. If there be any
other nation that wishes to make its home a peepshow for others, let it
do so. That is not our business. What we aspire to earnestly as our
national ideal is to make our country able to stand shoulder to shoulder
with the senior Western nations in contributing to the advance and
welfare of world civilisation. We shall proceed toward this goal,
however fluctuating foreign opinion about us may be for years or ages to



    Abe, family, 93

    Aborigines, 28

    Adoption, 346

    Adzumakagami, 322

    Agriculture, 78

    Aidzu, 377ff.

    Ainu, 30ff., 66f., 70ff., 82ff., 86ff., 91, 104ff., 114, 119, 122ff.,
    125, 130, 143, 147, 153, 157, 175, 183, 192ff., 204, 237ff.

    Alienation of land, 346

    Allod-holders, Frankish, 144

    Alphabet, 167, 324

    Amalgamation of cultures, 335, 347. _See_ Assimilation of cultures

    America, 371 ff., 394

    Amita, 172

    Amusements, 211

    Ancient régime, 356

    Annals, 364

    Ansai, Yamazaki, 359

    Anti-Semitism, 344

    Apaches, 254

    Archæology, 29

    Archery, 205, 312

    Architecture, 130ff., 296

    Aristocracy, 62, 246, 250, 343

    Armour, 314ff.

    Art, 129ff., 261, 331, 345

    Artisans, 288ff.

    Æsop, Fables of, 262

    Ashigaru, 304

    Ashikaga, age of, 214, 222ff., 227, 231, 234ff., 238, 241, 243, 245ff.,
    248, 251, 258ff., 263, 274, 284ff., 296ff., 310, 312, 316, 318, 320,
    328, 331, 344, 350, 360ff.

    Ashikaga, family, 206ff., 210, 215ff., 233, 268ff., 307

    Ashikaga Shogunate, 187, 207, 210ff., 215ff., 223, 227ff., 242, 252,
    257, 261, 264, 268, 307, 320

    Ashikaga, town, 227

    Assessment, 298

    Assimilation of cultures, 150. _See_ Amalgamation of cultures

    Astronomy, 107ff., 349

    Augury, 64, 139

    Auspices, 139

    Austria, 213

    Ave Maria, 173


    Balkan, 68

    Ballad, 129, 134

    Ball, kicking of, 237

    Barons, English, 213

    Barriers, 291, 342

    Bartering, 84ff.

    Biographies, 365

    Bismarck, 356

    Biwa, instrument, 162

    Biwa, Lake, 119ff.

    Block-engraver, 233ff.

    Blood-ties, 89

    Body-guard, of Shogun, 294ff. _See_ Hatamoto

    Books, 231ff., 348, 358

    Bookstores, 325

    Botany, 349

    Bourbons, 282

    Bourgeois, 237, 245, 250, 332, 345, 388

    Brewers, 244

    Bricks, 131

    Britons, 69

    Buddhism, 8, 96, 98ff., 109, 118, 130, 145ff., 162, 168ff., 233, 235,
    237, 250, 262, 273ff., 351ff, 359, 384

    Buffoons, 244

    Buffoons, 262, 273ff., 351ff., 359, 384

    Bulgarians, 68

    Bunjingwa, 332

    Byôbu, 250


    Cæsars, 154

    Calendar, 107ff.

    Calligraphy, 323, 325, 331

    Calvinism, 189

    Cape Colony, 70

    Carlovingians, 94

    Carpets, 133

    Caste-system, 61, 343

    Castles, feudal, 237

    Catholic, 170, 350

    Cattle, 78

    Cavalry, 304

    Celibacy, 351

    Census, 116ff., 125, 144

    Centralisation, 15ff., 89, 92, 95ff., 221ff.

    Chaotic period of Japanese history, 224

    Chen-Shou, Chinese historian, 59

    Chikafusa, Kitabatake, 321

    China, 7, 99, 106, 159, 195, 225ff., 228ff., 234, 237, 241ff., 245,

    Chinese, people, 233, 348

    Chinese art, 129, 249

    Chinese Buddhists, 226

    Chinese civilisation 6ff., 57, 60, 96, 105ff., 227, 253, 261, 348,

    Chinese colonists, 58

    Chinese language, 60ff., 166ff., 235, 324, 362, 366

    Chinese literature, 129, 134, 152, 227, 230, 232ff., 248, 321ff.,
    327, 358

    Chinese philosophy, 358

    Chivalry, 162

    Christianity, 245, 251ff., 262ff., 278, 280, 296, 348, 351, 353,

    Chronicles, 53ff., 61, 277, 364

    Chronology, 107, 235ff.

    Church, 352

    Churche, 195ff.

    Chu-tse, 352, 359, 366

    Cities, growth of, 223, 230, 241

    Civil Code, 392

    Civil war, between two branches of Imperial family, 240, 255ff., 355

    Class-system, 140, 288ff., 343, 347

    Classicism, 224

    Clay, types made of, 320

    Clients, 81, 87, 90ff., 115

    Climate, 21ff.

    Cochin China, 323

    Codification, 123

    Coins, 231ff., 298, 312

    Common people, 141, 145, 289, 328, 389. _See_ Plebeians

    Communication, 236, 238, 280

    Community, religious, 172

    Community, self-providing, 84

    Compensation-bonds, 385

    Condottieri, 242, 277

    Confiscation, 345

    Confucius, 8, 232, 234, 320, 328ff., 352, 358ff.

    Connoisseurs, 244, 285

    Conscription, 125, 381, 387

    Conservatism, 163, 269, 390, 394

    Constitution, 391ff.

    Convent, 233

    Conventionalism, 193, 272

    Corporations, 84

    Corvée, 116

    Court-ladies, 152

    Court-musicians, 135

    Court-nobles, Courtiers, 131, 140, 152ff., 156, 204ff., 210ff., 215,
    218ff., 227, 237, 252, 255, 272, 306, 308ff., 335, 338, 360, 374f.,

    Court-philosophers, 352

    Craft-groups. _See_ Groups

    Crafts-men, 340

    Crown prince, 95, 311

    Crusades, 226

    Culture, 238, 335, 347

    Curios, 244

    Currency, system of, 298. _See_ Monetary system and Coins

    Cycle, chronological, 107ff.


    Daibutsu, 136, 144

    Daimyo, 225, 236ff., 290ff., 293ff., 299ff., 307, 310ff., 315ff.,
    325ff., 331ff., 337ff., 358ff., 380, 389ff.

    Dai-Nihon-shi, 364

    Dancing, 135

    Dark Ages, 224

    Date, family, 303

    Deities, 168, 170

    Democratisation, 388ff., 390

    Deshima, 348, 371

    Diadochi, 279

    Dialect, 315, 341

    Diplomatists, 244, 301, 349

    Disintegration of the Empire, 216

    Dismemberment, 10f

    Dissimulation, 396

    District-governors, 116

    Djitô, 181 ff., 202ff., 212ff., 225, 294, 297

    Doctrinaires, 373

    Documents, 364

    Dog-shooting, 205, 294ff., 314

    Domains, 80ff., 90ff., 94, 97, 306, 330

    Domicile, 340

    Dramatist, 333

    Dutchmen, 348f., 350, 353, 371, 394


    Earthenware, 29

    East Chin dynasty of China, 99

    East Roumelia, 68

    Education, 235, 238, 289ff., 358, 394ff.

    Educational Museum, 327

    Eighty Thousand, 294. _See_ Hatamoto

    Elders, 294

    El Dorado, 265

    Embargo, 291

    Emperor, 80ff., 95, 101, 108, 223, 306ff., 327, 365, 367ff., 384,

    Empire style, 285

    Empress, 141, 310, 336

    England, 69

    Englishmen, 199, 395

    Epic, 130, 134

    Etiquette, 145, 250ff.

    Europe, 224, 371ff.

    European civilisation, 262, 347, 348, 353

    European history, 12

    Europeanisation, 388, 391, 394

    Europeans, 347

    Excavation in northern China, 130

    Executioners, 343

    Ex-Emperor, 311

    Extradition, 340

    Extra-territoriality, 392ff.


    Facsimile, 325

    Family life, 256ff.

    Farmers, 340. _See_ Peasants

    Fetichism, 272

    Feudalism, 12ff., 302, 379, 387

    Feudal Japan, 383

    Feudatories, 225, 237, 242, 247, 293ff., 351

    Fighting, 396ff.

    Fire-arms, 243, 312, 388

    Fiscal-system, 306

    Florence, 241

    Flower-trimming, 132ff., 244

    Foreign relations, Foreigners, 326, 373

    Forest, 305

    Formosa, 23, 27

    Fortress, 296

    France, 69, 282

    Freeholders of land, 81

    Freemen, 81

    French, 295

    French Revolution, 356

    Fu-Chien, Chinese potentate, 96

    Fudai, 294ff., 296

    Fujiwara, age of, 156ff., 163ff., 174, 177ff., 186ff., 248, 254ff.,
    263, 272, 275, 306, 389

    Fujiwara, family, 140ff., 149, 152ff., 202, 204, 218, 306, 336

    Fukuwara, Settsu, 159. _See_ Kobe

    Fushimi, 321ff., 376ff.


    Gemmyô, Empress, 53, 130ff.

    Genealogical records, 337

    Generalissimo, to chastise the Ainu, 183

    Genji-monogatari, 152, 248, 261, 360

    Genkô-shakusho, 235

    Gentlemen, 328

    Gentry, 330, 335

    German Confederation, 329

    German Empire, 194, 356

    German Language, 395

    Germans, 79, 94, 129, 395

    Germany, 68, 213, 239

    Go-Daigo, Emperor, 205, 306, 321

    Goetz von Berlichingen, 246

    Go-Kenin, 179, 202, 294

    Go-Midzunowo, Emperor, 319, 321

    Go-Sanjô, Emperor, 178

    Government, signification of, 177

    Go-Yôzei, Emperor, 319ff.

    Great Britain, 194

    Great Japan, History of, 365

    Greece, 10f., 136

    Gregorian Calendar, 381

    Groups, system of, 62, 80, 82ff., 88, 92, 115

    Guild, of Medieval Europe, 84

    Guns, 243, 312


    Hachiman, of Tsurugaoka, 177

    Hai-nan, island, 65

    Haito, 72, 83, 86

    Hakata, 190, 223, 226, 228ff., 233, 241

    Hakodate, 378

    Haniwa, 129

    Hanseatic towns, 239

    Harakiri, 287ff.

    Harps, 133

    Hatamoto, 295, 305ff., 310, 376

    Hei-an, 146. _See_ Kyoto

    Heike, 162. _See_ Taira

    Heike-monogatari, 162

    Hidehira, Fujiwara, 192

    Hidetada, Tokugawa, 350

    Hideyoshi, Toyotomi, 267, 269, 279ff., 285, 293ff., 298ff., 306ff.,
    319ff., 351, 358, 392

    Hieta-no-Are, 53f.

    Highlanders, 157

    Higo, province, 72

    Hikwan, 214, 217. _See_ Protégés

    Historiography, 363, 365f.

    History, as science, 4ff., 73

    History, study of, 269, 349, 358, 364ff.

    Hitachi, province, 296

    Hiyei, Mount, Monasteries, 275. _See_ Yenryakuji

    Hizen, province, 376

    Hogen, era, 160

    Hohenstaufen, 219

    Hôjô, family, 184ff., 188, 201ff., 205, 207, 212, 227, 256

    Hokke, Buddhist sect, 189, 274. _See_ Nichiren-shû

    Hokkaidô, Island, 23, 27, 32ff., 119, 237ff., 370, 378

    Holland, 378. _See_ Dutchmen

    Holy Roman Empire, 295

    Homestead, 303

    Homicide, 288

    Hôhen, 173ff., 189, 234

    Hongwanji, Temple, 276

    Hontô, Main Island, 31, 67ff., 119, 122ff., 192, 302, 316, 344, 378

    Horsemanship, 133, 304, 313

    Horses, 78, 116

    Hosokawa, family, 240ff.

    Hostages, 257, 300, 338

    Hsiao-king, 258, 319ff.

    Humanism, 226, 249ff., 260, 272, 317, 328ff., 331, 333

    Hunting, 133

    Hyogo, 241, 374. _See_ Kobe


    Ideographs, 57

    Idolatry, 273

    Idzu, province, 160

    Idzumi, province, 239ff.

    Iki, island and province, 121, 197

    Ikkô-shû, 274, 351. _See_ Jôdo-shinshû

    Illiteracy, 28, 61ff.

    Illustrations, 325

    Imagawa, family, 259

    Imitation, 129ff.

    Immigrants, 28, 34, 76, 78, 81, 89, 91, 99ff.

    Immunity, 142

    Imperial court, 199, 227

    Imperial Diet, 391

    Imperial family, 62, 87ff., 90ff., 276, 336

    Imperial household, 307, 311ff.

    Imperial power, 92, 355

    Imperial residences, 114

    Imperialists, 376ff.

    Impurity of blood, 344. _See_ Pollution

    Iname, Soga, 101

    Indifferentism, 352

    Individualism, 165, 246ff, 261, 264

    Indoor-life, 132, 249

    Infantry, 304, 312

    Inland Sea, 25ff., 159, 161, 230ff.

    Invincible Armada, 199

    Iron age, 46ff.

    Iruka, Soga, 112

    Ise, province and Shrines, 102, 238ff.

    Ise-monogatari, 261

    Italian cities, 226

    Italians, 261, 350

    Italy, 285

    Iwaki, province, 104

    Iwami, province, 305

    Iwashiro, province, 104

    Iyeyasu, Tokugawa, 267, 281ff., 293, 296, 309, 318ff., 321ff., 350ff.,
    358, 364, 368


    Japan, climate of, 21ff.

    Japan, historic, 24, 51ff., 75

    Japan, Northern, 26ff., 70

    Japan, Sea of, 24, 119

    Japan, Southern, 26ff.

    Japanese, people, 9, 33ff., 37, 45, 61, 65, 75, 122ff., 164

    Japanese architecture, 39ff.

    Japanese art, 130

    Japanese authors, 234

    Japanese history, 1ff., 10, 18f., 50, 75, 78

    Japanese language, 35, 167

    Japanese literature, 129ff., 133ff., 151, 166ff., 249, 261, 323, 360ff.

    Jesuits, 264ff.

    Jews, 343

    Jimmu, Emperor, 115

    Jingô-shôtôki, 321

    Jingu-kôgô, Empress, 59ff., 93ff., 98

    Jôdo-shinshû, Buddhist sect, 245, 274. _See_ Ikkô-shû

    Jôdo-shû, Buddhist sect, 174, 189, 190

    Jôkyu, era, 185, 205

    Jomei, Emperor, 102

    Jôruri, 162

    Jôyei, era and Laws, 185, 235

    Jûjutsu, 313ff.


    Kachi, 304

    Kaempfer, Engelhardt, 284

    Kaga, province, 293, 299, 303

    Kagoshima, 233, 387

    Kakemono, 249

    Kamako, Nakatomi. _See_ Kamatari

    Kamakura, 156, 176, 191, 204ff., 207, 222ff., 225ff., 272

    Kamakura, period, 174, 202, 214ff., 224, 232, 234, 237, 250, 254ff.,
    274, 294, 296, 383

    Kamakura Shogunate, 156, 175, 177, 179ff., 182ff., 186ff., 193,
    197ff., 212, 214, 254ff., 259, 285, 294, 307, 309, 322, 383

    Kamatari, Nakatomi, 112ff., 140. _See_ Fujiwara

    Kana, 167

    Kanazawa, Musashi, 227

    Kanera, Ichijô, 218

    Kanetsugu, Naoye, 319, 321

    Kano school of painters, 247, 249, 331

    Keichû, priest, 361

    Khubilai, Mongol Khan, 198, 200

    Kimmei, Emperor, 96, 100, 101

    Kiso, forest of, 305

    Kiyomori, Taira, 158ff., 163, 181, 272

    Kiyowara, family, 149

    Knights, 388

    Knights-errant, 242

    Knights-immediate, 295

    Kobe, 159, 241, 374

    Kojiki, 53f., 362

    Kojiki-den, 362

    Kokinshû, 360

    Koku, 299ff., 302ff.

    Kokuri, 60, 96, 99, 110, 121, 196. _See_ Korea

    Kôkyoku, Empress, 113

    Kômei, Emperor, 374

    Korea, 23, 27, 34, 57ff., 96, 196, 228, 237, 263, 280, 319ff., 386ff.

    Koreans, 197

    Koropokkuru, 30

    Koto, 133

    Kôtoku, Emperor, 113

    Kôtsuke, province, 91

    Kôya, Mount and Monasteries, 233, 275ff.

    Kreis-institution, 213

    Kugatachi, 65

    Kujiki, 55ff.

    Kumamoto, 387ff.

    Kumaso, 66, 72

    Kuni, 81

    Kutara, 56, 97ff., 110, 120ff. _See_ Korea

    Kwai-fu-sô, 134

    Kwammu, Emperor, 146ff.

    Kwantô, 192

    Kyoto, 119ff., 146ff., 152, 157, 159, 161, 166, 174ff., 181, 186, 190,
    191, 199, 204ff., 212, 216, 218ff., 222ff., 225, 227ff., 232ff., 235,
    238, 240,
    245, 268, 277ff., 306, 309ff., 323, 327, 331, 333, 335, 364, 374,
    376ff., 378, 380

    Kyushu, 23, 33, 49, 66ff., 72, 91, 121, 197, 223, 228, 230, 243, 302,
    315, 386


    Labour, agricultural, 84

    Labour, manual, 84

    Lacquering, 243

    Land-appropriation, by warriors, 154

    Land-distribution, 115ff., 125

    Landholders, 80, 87ff., 141ff.

    Landlords, 87ff., 90, 115

    Lands, confiscation of, 91

    Lands, Crown, 80

    Lands, granted by Emperors, 80

    Lands, new exploration of, 84, 87, 90ff.

    Lands, private, 80

    Landscapes, 166, 249

    Land-survey, 279, 298

    Land-tenure, 214

    Learning, 326ff., 345

    Leaseholders, 141

    Legislation, 393

    Legisimism, 367

    Levantine trade, 226

    Library, 227. _See_ Kanazawa

    Liegnitz, battle of, 198

    Lieutenant, of Shogun at Kyoto, 207

    Lieutenant, of djitô, 203

    Limes, 69

    Lineage, 299, 303, 337

    Literati, 61, 149, 237, 247, 261, 325, 328, 332, 345

    Longevity, 64

    Loo-choo, islands, 23, 27ff., 241, 393

    Lung-yü, 232ff.

    Lutheranism, 189

    Lyang, dynasty in China, 100

    Lyao, river, 57


    Mabuchi, Kamo, 361

    Magatama, 42f.

    Majordomo, 94

    Makura-no-sôshi, 152

    Mannyô-shû, 134, 360f.

    Manors, 182ff., 211, 214, 218ff., 223, 252ff., 279, 297, 310

    Manuscripts, historical, 325

    Market, 65, 66

    Marriage, 211, 316, 335ff., 343

    Maximilian I., Emperor of Germany, 213

    Mayeta, family, 293, 299, 303

    Mediatised princes of Germany, 295

    Medicine, 234, 348, 394

    Meidji, Emperor, 374

    Meidji, era, 167, 283, 293, 335, 343, 354f., 357, 378ff., 387

    Meidji, Restoration of, 146, 367, 379ff., 382ff., 385ff., 391, 393, 394

    Mercantilism, 292

    Mercenary, 286

    Merchants, 8, 241ff., 240, 289ff., 333ff., 340

    Merovingians, 94

    Mésalliance, 335ff.

    Metallic types, 321. _See_ Types

    Middle Ages, 343, 351, 388

    Migration, 28, 339ff.

    Mikawa, province, 259

    Militarism, 337

    Military affairs, 395

    Military class, 156. _See_ Warrior

    Military régime, 315, 317, 326ff., 330, 333ff., 389

    Military sciences, 349

    Military service, 143, 381

    Military system, 124ff., 203

    Mimana, a Korean state, 120

    Minamoto, family, 156, 163ff., 166, 175, 186, 188, 202, 205, 213, 215,
    255, 309

    Mines, 305

    Ming, dynasty in China, 228, 229, 263, 288

    Mino, province, 268

    Misapprehension, 383

    Misogi, 43f., 63

    Missionaries, 145, 245, 262, 264ff., 278ff., 284, 327, 351, 370, 397ff.

    Mito, 296, 364ff., 377

    Mitsukuni, Tokugawa, 364

    Miyake, 90ff.

    Modernisation, 270ff.

    Mommu, Emperor, 131ff.

    Momoyama, style of art, 285

    Monetary system, 381, 393. _See_ Currency

    Mongols, 8, 195, 197ff., 206, 227ff., 381

    Monometallic system, 393

    Mononobe, family, 93, 101ff.

    Monzayemon, Chikamatsu, 333

    Morals, 253ff., 359, 390

    Moriya, Mononobe, 102

    Movable types, 319ff., 323ff. _See_ Types

    Municipal councillors of Sakai, 241

    Municipal freedom, 241

    Murasaki-shikibu, 152, 248

    Mushashi, province, 282

    Musicians, 243

    Mutsu, province, 119, 147, 161, 192, 303

    Myths, 362


    Nagasaki, 225, 305, 348f.

    Nagato, province, 230, 376

    Nagoya, 296

    Naïveté, 363

    Naka-no-Oye, Prince. _See_ Tenchi, Emperor

    Nakatomi, family, 93, 113. _See_ Fujiwara

    Naniwa, 147. _See_ Osaka

    Nara, age of, 132ff., 135ff., 144, 146, 384

    Nara, town, 233

    National consciousness, 143

    National gods, 384. _See_ Deities

    Naturalism, 249

    Navigation, 120

    Navy, 395

    Negoro, Temple of, 276

    Nembutsu, 172ff.

    Netsuke, 331

    Nichiren, priest, 189

    Nichiren-shû, Buddhist sect, 189, 274, 351. _See_ Hokke

    Nihongi, 53ff., 62, 107, 129, 320, 361f.

    Niigata, 67, 305

    Nine Years, War of, 156

    Nintoku, Emperor, 115

    Nishijin, 243

    Nobility, military, 294

    Nobles, 131, 140, 142, 144ff., 148, 151ff., 183ff.

    Nobunaga, Oda, 267ff., 274ff., 282, 308, 332, 351

    Nobuzane, 246

    Nô-dancers, 345

    Norinaga, Motoöri, 361f.

    Norito, 362

    Norizane, Uyesugi, 233

    Normans, in Sicily, 48

    Notes, 312

    Novelists, 361

    Novels, 249, 261, 360

    Nutari, 67, 71


    Occupations of ancient Japanese, 78

    Oda, family, 259, 267ff., 285

    Odawara, 233

    Officers, 153, 303

    Officials, 108ff., 304, 312ff., 328, 339

    Ohmi, province, 116, 119, 218, 120

    Ohmi Laws, 116

    Ohnin, era and civil war of, 216ff., 232, 243, 257, 307

    Oh-no-Yasumaro, 53

    Ohsumi, province, 33, 126

    Ohtomo, family, 93, 101

    Ohtsu, 119ff., 147

    Ondo, strait of, 159

    One-six, Lord, 225

    On-no-Imoko, 106, 111ff.

    Orders, mendicant, 173

    Organic laws, 391

    Orleans, family, 282

    Ornaments, 29

    Orthodox, Greek Church, 170

    Osaka, 114, 147, 225, 279, 332ff., 361, 376

    Ôuchi, family, 230ff., 240

    Outdoor-life in Nara age, 132

    Overestimation, 395

    Owari, province, 268, 296


    Pacific, Ocean, 24, 119ff.

    Painters, 243, 345

    Painting, 130, 249, 331

    Pastimes, literary, 210, 237

    Peasants, 288ff. _See_ Farmers

    Peasants' War, 246

    Pedigrees, 337

    Pedlers, 290

    Peerage list, 338

    Penal code, 392

    Peninsular states, 112

    Period-name, 114

    Philologists, 361f.

    Physicians, 326, 345.

    Picts, 69

    Picts' Wall, 69

    Pilgrims to Ise Shrines, 238ff.

    Pirates, 197ff., 228, 236

    Plays, religious, 170

    Plebeians, 289ff., 344ff., 347, 387

    Plutocrats, 333

    Poems, 134ff.

    Poetry, 331

    Poets, 243, 361

    Political development, 16

    Political parties, 389

    Politics, 358f.

    Pollution, 63f., 343

    Population, 126

    Porcelain-making, 243

    Port Arthur, 395

    Portrait-painting, 247ff.

    Portuguese, 243, 350

    Pottery, 44

    Preachers, Buddhist, 168

    Predominant stock of Japanese, 87ff., 93

    Prefectures, 380

    Prehistoric, 50ff.

    Pre-Meidji régime, 356

    Prerogative, imperial, 307

    Preservation, 270

    Priests, Buddhist, 208, 326

    Primogeniture, 92, 202, 337, 347

    Printing, 231ff.

    Privilege, 343

    Proletariat, 245

    Protégés, 214, 217

    Proto-historic, 50

    Provinces, 81, 90, 115

    Provincial governors, 114, 115, 180

    Prussia, 275, 329

    Publication, 323

    Public land, 141ff.

    Publishers, 325

    Purchase-system, 345


    Quattrocento, 261, 285


    Race, 1, 21, 27, 75ff., 81

    Rainy season, 24

    Ransoms, 286

    Rationalism, 352, 366

    Reading circle, 324

    Realistic, 248

    Recitation, 162

    Red tape, 272

    Reformation, 246, 285, 328

    Reformed Church, 350

    Reforms, 138

    Regency, 148, 306, 309

    Religion, 117, 168ff.

    Religious community, 172

    Religious movements, 18

    Religious pictures, 246

    Renaissance, 236, 251, 261, 285ff., 328

    Renga, 210, 237

    Representative government, 391

    Reprinting of books, 319ff.

    Restoration of Bourbons, 355

    Restoration of Meidji, 283, 355

    Restoration of Stuarts, 355

    Retainers, 183, 188, 197, 199ff., 202, 205, 213ff., 233, 294ff., 301

    Revenue, 143

    Rhetoric, 331

    Rhine, 68

    Rice, 41ff., 116, 297ff.

    Richû, Emperor, 57

    Rigorism, 366f.

    Rikuchû province, 147

    Rôchû, 294

    Rococo, 285

    Roman Empire, 125

    Roses, War of, 206

    Rousseau, 388

    Rowing, 133

    Rumination, 9

    Russians, 370

    Russo-Japanese War, 393ff.


    Sado, island and province, 305

    Saga, Emperor, 250

    Saghalien, 23, 27

    Sakai, city, 223, 225, 230, 233ff., 243, 277, 305, 332ff.

    Sakanouye-no-Tamuramaro, 147

    Sake, 244

    Salic law, 202

    Samurai, 288, 295, 301ff., 312ff., 318, 327ff., 335, 339ff., 380, 383,
    385, 387, 389

    Sanetomo, Minamoto, 226

    San-kuo-chi, 59ff., 71, 84, 99

    Satsuma, province, 23, 33, 72, 126, 238, 303, 376, 386

    Schools, 358

    Scipios, 154

    Scotland, 69

    Screens, 250. _See_ Byôbu

    Scribes, 57, 61f., 82

    Scroll-paintings, 165, 246, 249

    Sculptures, 130, 136, 164ff., 384

    Seasonal changes, 24ff.

    Secretaries, 62

    Seigneur, 81ff., 87

    Sei-shônagon, 152

    Sekigahara, 293, 309, 322

    Semi-independent lords, 11

    Sen-no-Rikqû, 244

    Sentimentalism, 248

    Seppuku, 287ff.

    Sesshû, 249

    Settsu, province, 114, 147

    Seventeen Articles, 109

    Shamisen, 162

    Shiba, family, 268

    Shi-chi, 364

    Shikoku, island, 33, 240

    Shimabara, 313

    Shimatsu, family, 303

    Shimonoseki, 161, 230ff., 393

    Shinano, province, 67, 305

    Shingon, Buddhist sect, 275

    Shinran, priest, 189

    Shin-shû, 189, 351f. _See_ Ikkôshu and Jôdo-shinshû

    Shintoism, 39ff., 63, 117ff., 145ff., 168ff., 172, 181, 203, 273, 359,
    262f., 363, 384

    Ship-building, 240

    Shiragi, 59f., 97, 110, 120ff., 196

    Shirakawa, Emperor, 178

    Shirakawa, town in Mutsu, 147, 192

    Shogun, 181ff., 197, 201ff., 209ff., 213, 215ff., 247, 255, 294ff.,
    300, 305, 307ff., 311, 325ff., 329, 331, 333, 346, 348, 355, 360,
    368ff., 372f., 378, 389

    Shogunate, 11, 156, 272, 302, 389, 390, 396

    Shômu, Emperor, 132, 140, 164, 336

    Shooting, 312

    Shop-keepers, 290

    Shôsôin, 132

    Shôtoku, Crown Prince, 55, 102, 109

    Shôyen, 180. _See_ Manors

    Shrines, 252. _See_ Shintoism

    Shugo, 182, 210, 212ff., 216ff., 224, 296ff.

    Shu-king, 232

    Siberia, 370

    Silesia, 198

    Singers, 243

    Singing, 135

    Sinico-Japanese War, 392ff.

    Sinico-mania, 149, 366

    Slavery, 80

    Snider, rifle, 387

    Social progress, 16

    Soga, family, 93, 100ff., 112, 140

    Soga-no-Umako, 55

    Soga-no-Yemishi, 55

    Solidarity, national, 200ff.

    Southern China, 99ff.

    Southern Korea, 97

    Spaniards, 350

    Spy-system, 257

    Ssuma-Chien, 364

    Ssuma-Tateng, 100

    Still-life, 249

    Stories, 248

    Storms, cyclonic, 24

    Story-tellers, 244

    Stuarts, 355

    Students sent to China, 111ff., 138ff.

    Succession, law of, 92, 346ff.

    Sugawara, family, 149

    Sugawara-no-Michizane, 150

    Sui, dynasty in China, 106, 110

    Suicide, 287ff., 314

    Suiko, Empress, 55f., 106, 108

    Sumpu, Shidzuoka, 322

    Sung, dynasty in China, 8ff., 190, 195, 226ff., 232, 263, 322, 368

    Superstitions, 139, 272, 276, 352, 366

    Suruga, province, 91, 268, 322, 377


    Taïhô, era and Statutes of, 117, 185, 335, 384

    Taïkwa, era and reforms of, 80, 114, 116, 118, 123ff., 128, 220

    Taira, family, 156ff., 163ff., 174ff., 181ff., 188, 192, 309

    Takakura, Emperor, 158

    Takamori, Saigô, 386ff.

    Takanobu, painter, 165, 246

    Takauji, Ashikaga, 206ff., 215

    Takayori, Sasaki, 218

    Takeshi-uchi, 93

    Tang, dynasty in China, 7ff., 79, 117, 120ff., 128ff., 136, 137,
    149ff., 196, 263, 322

    Tankei sculptor, 164

    Tanners, 343

    Taoism, 273

    Tatami, 39, 132ff.

    Taxes, 116, 125ff., 142, 279

    Tea-ceremony, 244, 250

    Temmu, Emperor, 53f.

    Temples, Buddhist, 39, 142, 181, 203, 252, 353

    Tempyô, era, 164ff., 360

    Tenchi, Emperor, 111ff., 115ff., 119, 131, 133

    Tendai, Buddhist sect, 189

    Terakoya, elementary school, 176

    Territories, 252ff., 259ff., 291, 295ff., 300ff., 305ff., 312, 316,
    337ff., 341ff., 345, 347, 358, 372

    Teutonic nobles, 198

    Teutonic Order of Knights, 275

    Teutons, land-system of, 79

    Text-book, 235

    Textiles, 116

    Theatre, 333

    Thirty Years' War, 350

    Three Years, War of, 156

    Tiles, 131

    Toba, village, 376f.

    Toba-sôjô, painter-priest, 166

    Tôdaiji, Temple, 136

    Toi, 197

    Tokimune, Hôjô, 198ff.

    Tokugawa, family, 259ff., 267, 282, 294, 296, 309, 337, 357, 361,
    375f., 377

    Tokugawa, age of, 225, 285, 288ff., 294, 310, 312, 328, 332, 340,
    342, 353f., 361ff., 379

    Tokugawa Shogunate, 17, 187, 282, 284ff., 290ff., 296, 301, 305ff.,
    309ff., 315, 317, 325ff., 329, 332, 336ff., 34i, 344ff., 352, 356,
    358, 361, 363, 370ff., 380, 390, 392

    Tokyo, 282, 379

    Toleration, religious, 352f., 385

    Tombs, 28

    Toneri, prince, 53f.

    Tonkin, 323

    Tosa, school of painters, 247, 249

    Totemism, 272

    Tôtômi, province, 67, 268

    Towns, provincial, 225

    Toyotomi, family, 267, 285, 293

    Tozama, 294, 296

    Travelling, 236, 342

    Tripitaka, Buddhist, 320, 322

    Tsuba, 331

    Tsugaru, strait of, 120

    Tsunayoshi, Tokugawa, 327

    Tsushima, island and province, 121

    Types, in printing, 319ff., 322ff. _See_ Clay-types, Metallic
    types, and Movable types

    Typhoon, 41


    Ultra-conservatism, 384ff.

    Umako, 102, 109. _See_ Soga-no-Umako

    Unification, 14ff., 238, 260, 267, 273ff., 280, 308, 367

    Uniqueness of the Japanese, 75

    United States, 373

    Unkei, sculptor, 164

    Usufruct of land, 141, 341

    Utagaki, 135

    Utai, 162

    Utilitarianism, 328ff.

    Uyeno, in Toyko, 377

    Uyesugi, family, 321


    Vassalage, 80, 153, 212, 214, 240, 294ff., 302, 304, 389

    Versification, 234, 323, 360

    Village, 330

    Vulgarisation, 224, 248


    Wakayama, 296

    Wani, family, 93

    War, 194

    Warehouse, 333

    Warfare, 286ff.

    Warriors, 154, 203ff., 206, 215, 227, 232, 254ff., 289ff., 306, 308ff.,
    312ff., 316, 319, 327, 334, 339, 345, 358, 372

    Weapons, 65

    Weavers, Chinese, 100

    Weaving, 100, 243

    Wei, dynasty in China, 59

    Wen-hsüan, 321

    West, civilisation of the, 9, 369

    Women, 337

    Wood-block printing, 322ff.

    Wood-types, 320, 323

    Written characters, 28

    Wu-ti, Emperor of China, 57


    Xavier, Francis, 245, 264


    Yamaguchi, 223, 230, 233, 245

    Yamana, family, 225

    Yamashiro, province, 146

    Yamato, province, 90, 95, 115, 147, 240

    Yamato, river, 239

    Yang-ti, Emperor of China, 110

    Yasumaro. _See_ Oh-no-Yasumaro

    Yasutoki, Hôjô, 185ff.

    Yechigo, province, 67, 319

    Yedo, 187, 282, 294ff., 300ff., 306, 309ff., 327, 330ff., 338, 348,
    373, 377, 378f. _See_ Tokyo

    Yemishi, 112ff. _See_ Soga-no-Yemishi

    Yenomoto, Admiral, 378

    Yenryakuji, Temple on Mount Hiyei, 159, 173, 276

    Yeshin, priest, 173ff.

    Yezo, island of, 370, 379. _See_ Hokkaido

    Yodo, river, 147

    Yoichi, Suminokura, 323, 325

    Yonezawa, 321

    Yoritomo, Minamoto, 156, 160, 175ff., 179ff., 181ff., 184, 186ff.,
    192, 201ff., 213, 215, 226, 272, 309

    Yoriyoshi, Minamoto, 156

    Yôsai, priest, 190, 250

    Yoshihisa, Ashikaga, 217ff.

    Yoshihisa, Tokugawa, 374ff.

    Yoshiiye, Minamoto, 156, 177, 309

    Yoshimasa, Ashikaga, 216ff.

    Yoshimitsu, Ashikaga, 229

    Yoshimoto, Imagawa, 268

    Yoshimune, Tokugawa, 349

    Yoshiteru, Ashikaga, 269

    Yoshitsune, Minamoto, 161, 192

    Yuan, Mongol dynasty in China, 8, 196, 197ff., 226ff., 263

    Yûryaku, Emperor, 93, 134

    Yushima, in Tokyo, 327


    Zen, Buddhist sect, 190, 226, 325, 332

    Zen priests, 226, 235, 247, 251

    Zodiacal signs, 107

                          Transcriber's Notes:

Throughout the document, the romanization of Japanese words was in a
form dissimilar to that used today. For instance, the era immediately
prior to the Showa era was called the Meidji era rather than the
Meiji era. No attempt was made to modernize the romanization used.

Also, throughout the document there was inconsistent hyphenation of
Japanese words. No attempt was made to make the hyphenation consistent,
inasmuch as the notion of hyphenation is absent in the Japanese

Passages in italics were indicated by _underscores_.

Small caps were replaced with ALL CAPS.

Throughout the document, the [oe] ligature was replaced with "oe".

Errors in punctuations, spelling, and inconsistent hyphenation were not
corrected unless otherwise noted below:

On page vii, "foreging" was replaced with "foregoing".

On page xvii, a period was added after "GROWTH OF THE IMPERIAL POWER".

On page 16, "political devolopment" was replaced with "political

On page 24, "necesasry" was replaced with "necessary".

On page 25, "later" was replaced with "latter".

On page 29, "archaeological" was replaced with "archæological".

On page 70, "necesary" was replaced with "necessary".

On page 81, "his his" was replaced with "his".

On page 92, "inucleus" was replaced with "nucleus".

On page 94, "dimplomatic" was replaced with "diplomatic".

On page 102, "succeded" was replaced with "succeeded".

On page 103, "conslidated" was replaced with "consolidated".

On page 131, "hough" was replaced with "though".

On page 134, "peneterated" was replaced with "penetrated".

On page 139, "selfsatisfaction" was replaced with "self-satisfaction".

On page 159, "verisification" was replaced with "versification".

On page 159, "sarcosanctity" was replaced with "sacrosanctity".

On page 168, "succees" was replaced with "success".

On page 169, "neghbourhood" was replaced with "neighbourhood".

On page 170, "comformable" was replaced with "conformable".

On page 179, a period was placed after "government".

On page 182, "maner" was replaced with "manor".

On page 183, "jurisriction" was replaced with "jurisdiction".

On page 190, "conincided" was replaced with "coincided".

On page 192, "annihiliation" was replaced with "annihilation".

On page 194, "the war of" was replaced with "the wars of".

On page 195, "aboriginies" was replaced with "aborigines".

On page 201, "warrors" was replaced with "warriors".

On page 222, "an an" was replaced with "in an".

On page 225, "Ashikaga shugo" was replaced with "Ashikaga _shugo_".

On page 227, "contemparary" was replaced with "contemporary".

On page 228, "ambasdor" was replaced with "ambassador".

On page 231, "civilisaion" was replaced with "civilization".

On page 238, "Hokkaido" was replaced with "Hokkaidô".

On page 244, "eagerely" was replaced with "eagerly".

On page 253, "irresistable" was replaced with "irresistible".

On page 270, "extotic" was replaced with "exotic".

On page 272, "iniated" was replaced with "initiated".

On page 272, "undiminised" was replaced with "undiminished".

On page 280, "unfication" was replaced with "unification".

On page 282, "roughcut" was replaced with "rough-cut".

On page 286, "combattants" was replaced with "combatants".

On page 289, "alotted" was replaced with "allotted".

On page 300, "terrtory" was replaced with "territory".

On page 305, "was reserved" was replaced with "were reserved".

On page 330, "catagory" was replaced with "category".

On page 331, "dillettanti" was replaced with "dilettanti."

On page 331, "signifiance" was replaced with "significance".

On page 337, "diamyo" was replaced with "daimyo".

On page 339, "diamyo" was replaced with "daimyo".

On page 341, "unsufruct" was replaced with "usufruct".

On page 342, "whithersover" was replaced with "whithersoever".

On page 345, "reëtablished" was replaced with "reëstablished".

On page 346, "demain" was replaced with "domain".

On page 352, "Shinsû" was replaced with "Shinshû".

On page 360, "diamyo" was replaced with "daimyo".

On page 371, "quite" was replaced with "quiet".

On page 378, "diamyo" was replaced with "daimyo".

On page 379, "pracice" was replaced with "practice".

On page 389, "though" was replaced with "thought".

On page 389, "miliary" was replaced with "military".

On page 393, "Meirji" was replaced with "Meidji".

On page 400, "60f." was replaced with "60ff.".

On page 403, "67f." was replaced with "67ff.".

On page 403, "46f." was replaced with "46ff.".

On page 403, in the entry for Hsiao-king, the final comma was removed.

On page 405, "289ff,." was replaced with "289ff.,".

On page 411, "See" was replaced with "_See_".

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