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It will be observed from the above table
that he essayed to hold the balance equally between the families of
his two sons, the occupant of the throne being chosen from each
alternately. But everything goes to show that he favoured the
Kameyama branch. Like Go-Toba, he cherished the hope of seeing the
Imperial Court released from the Bakufu shackles, and to that end the
alert, enterprising Kameyama seemed better suited than the dull,
resourceless Takakura, just as in Go-Toba's eyes Juntoku had appeared
preferable to Tsuchimikado.

Dying in 1272, Go-Saga left a will with injunctions that it should be
opened in fifty days. It contained provisions destined to have
disastrous consequences. One clause entrusted to the Bakufu the duty
of deciding whether the administrative power should be placed in the
hands of the cloistered Emperor, Go-Fukakusa, or in those of the
reigning sovereign, Kameyama. Another provided that a very large
property, known as the Chokodo estates, should be inherited by the
monarch thus deposed from authority; while a comparatively small
bequest went to the depository of power. In framing this curious
instrument, Go-Saga doubtless designed to gild the pill of permanent
exclusion from the seats of power, believing confidently that the
Imperial succession would be secured to Kameyama and his direct
descendants. This anticipation proved correct. The Bakufu had
recourse to a Court lady to determine the trend of the deceased
sovereign's wishes, and the result was that Kameyama triumphed.

In the normal order of things the cloistered Emperor Go-Fukakusa
would have succeeded to the administrative place occupied by Go-Saga,
and a large body of courtiers, whose chances of promotion and
emolument depended upon that arrangement, bitterly resented the
innovation. The palace became divided into two parties, the Naiho
(interior section) and the Inho (camera section), a division which
grew more accentuated when Kameyama's son ascended the throne as
Go-Uda, in 1274. Go-Fukakusa declared that he would leave his palace
and enter a monastery were such a wrong done to his children.
Thereupon Kameyama--now cloistered Emperor--submitted the matter to
the Bakufu, who, after grave deliberation, decided that Go-Fukakusa's
son should be named Crown Prince and should reign in succession to
Go-Uda. This ruler is known in history as Fushimi.

Shortly after his accession a sensational event occurred. A bandit
made his way during the night into the palace and seizing one of the
court ladies, ordered her to disclose the Emperor's whereabouts. The
sagacious woman misdirected him, and then hastened to inform the
sovereign, who disguised himself as a female and escaped. Arrested by
the guards, the bandit committed suicide with a sword which proved to
be a precious heirloom of the Sanjo family. Sanjo Sanemori, a former
councillor of State, was arrested on suspicion, but his examination
disclosed nothing. Then a grand councillor (dainagori) charged the
cloistered Emperor, Kameyama, with being privy to the attempt, and
Fushimi showed a disposition to credit the charge. Kameyama, however,
conveyed to the Bakufu a solemn oath of innocence, with which Fushimi
was fain to be ostensibly content. But his Majesty remained
unconvinced at heart. He sent to Kamakura a secret envoy with
instructions to attribute to Kameyama an abiding desire to avenge the
wrongs of Go-Toba and wipe out the Shokyu humiliation. This vengeful
mood might find practical expression at anytime, and Fushimi, warned
the Bakufu to be on their guard. "As for me," he concluded, "I leave
my descendants entirely in the hands of the Hojo. With Kamakura we
stand or fall."

How much of this was sincere, how much diplomatic, it is not possible
to determine. In Kamakura, however, it found credence. Sadatoki, then
regent (shikken), took prompt measures to have Fushimi's son
proclaimed Prince Imperial, and, in 1298, he was enthroned as
Go-Fushimi. This evoked an indignant protest from the then cloistered
Emperor, Go-Uda, and after some consideration the Kamakura regent,
Sadatoki, suggested--"directed" would perhaps be a more correct form
of speech--that thenceforth the succession to the throne should
alternate between the two families descended from Go-Fukakusa and
Kameyama, the length of a reign being limited to ten years.
Nominally, this arrangement was a mark of deference to the testament
of Go-Saga, but in reality it was an astute device to weaken the
authority of the Court by dividing it into rival factions. Kamakura's
fiat received peaceful acquiescence at first. Go-Uda's eldest son
took the sceptre in 1301, under the name of Go-Nijo, and, after seven
years, he was succeeded by Fushimi's son, Hanazono, who, in twelve
years, made way for Go-Uda's second son, Go-Daigo.

The descendants of Kameyama were called the "Daigaku-ji family," and
the descendants of Go-Fukakusa received the name of the "Jimyo-in
family." When a member of the latter occupied the throne, the Court
enjoyed opulence, owing to its possession of the extensive Chokodo
estates; but when the sovereign was of the Daigaku-ji line
comparative penury was experienced. There can be little doubt that,
throughout the complications antecedent to this dual system, the
Fushimi princes acted practically as spies for the Bakufu. After all,
the two Imperial families were descended from a common ancestor and
should have shrunk from the disgrace of publishing their rivalries.
It is true, as we shall presently see, that the resulting
complications involved the destruction of the Hojo; but it is also
true that they plunged the nation into a fifty years' war.

THE FIVE REGENT FAMILIES

It has already been related how, by Yoritomo's contrivance, the post
of family--descended from Fujiwara Kanezane--and scions of the Konoe
family--descended from Fujiwara Motomichi. This system was
subsequently extended at the instance of the Hojo. The second and
third sons of Michiiye, grandson of Kanezane, founded the houses of
Nijo and Ichijo, respectively; while Kanehira, the second of two
grandsons of Motomichi, established the house of Takatsukasa. These
five families--Konoe, Kujo, Nijo, Ichijo, and Takatsukasa--were
collectively called Go-sekke (the Five Regent Houses) in recognition
of the fact that the regent in Kyoto was supposed to be taken from
them in succession. The arrangement led to frequent strife with
resulting weakness, thus excellently achieving the purpose of its
contrivers, the Hojo.

THE FIRST MONGOL INVASION

The rule of the Hojo synchronized with two events of prime importance
the invasion of Japan by a Mongolian army, first in 1274, and
subsequently in 1281. Early in the twelfth century, the Emperor of
China, which was then under the sway of the Sung dynasty, invited the
Golden Tatars to deal with the Khitan Tatars, who held Manchuria, and
who, in spite of heavy tribute paid annually by the Sung Court,
continually raided northeastern China. The Golden Tatars responded to
the invitation by not only expelling the Khitans but also taking
their place in Manchuria and subsequently overrunning China, where
they established a dynasty of their own from 1115 to 1234.

These struggles and dynastic changes did not sensibly affect Japan.
Her intercourse with the Asiatic continent in those ages was confined
mainly to an interchange of visits by Buddhist priests, to industrial
enterprise, and to a fitful exchange of commodities. It does not
appear that any branch of the Tatars concerned themselves practically
about Japan or the Japanese. Ultimately, however, in the first part
of the thirteenth century, the Mongols began to sweep down on the
Middle Kingdom under the leadership of Jenghiz Khan. They crushed the
Golden Tatars, transferred (1264) the Mongol capital from central
Asia to Peking (Cambaluc), and, in 1279, under Kublai, completely
conquered China. Nearly thirty years before the transfer of the
capital to Peking, the Mongols invaded the Korean peninsula, and
brought it completely under their sway in 1263, receiving the final
submission of the kingdom of Koma, which alone had offered any
stubborn resistance.

It is probable that Kublai's ambition, whetted by extensive
conquests, would have turned in the direction of Japan sooner or
later, but tradition indicates that the idea of obtaining the homage
of the Island Empire was suggested to the great Khan by a Korean
traveller in 1265. Kublai immediately acted on the suggestion. He
sent an embassy by way of Korea, ordering the Koma sovereign to make
arrangements for the transport of the envoys and to re-enforce them
with a Korean colleague. A tempest interrupted this essay, and it was
not repeated until 1268, when the Khan's messengers, accompanied by a
Korean suite, crossed safely to Chikuzen and delivered to the
Dazai-fu a letter from Kublai with a covering despatch from the
Korean King. The Korean sovereign's despatch was plainly inspired by
a desire to avert responsibility from himself. He explained that in
transporting the embassy he acted unavoidably, but that, in sending
it, the Khan was not actuated by any hostile feeling, his sole
purpose being to include Japan in the circle of his friendly
tributaries.

In short, the Koma prince--he no longer could properly be called a
monarch--would have been only too pleased to see Japan pass under the
Mongol yoke as his own kingdom had already done. Kublai's letter,
however, though not deliberately arrogant, could not be construed in
any sense except as a summons to send tribute-bearing envoys to
Peking. He called himself "Emperor" and addressed the Japanese ruler
as "King;" instanced, for fitting example, the relation between China
and Korea, which he described at once as that of lord and vassal and
that of parent and child, and predicated that refusal of intercourse
would "lead to war."

The Japanese interpreted this to be an offer of suzerainty or
subjugation. Two courses were advocated; one by Kyoto, the other by
Kamakura. The former favoured a policy of conciliation and delay; the
latter, an attitude of contemptuous silence.



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