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The officer was put to death, and
Yoshisada with his brother, Yoshisuke, set their forces in motion for
Kamakura. Menaced thus closely, the Hojo made a supreme effort. They
put into the field an army said to have numbered one hundred thousand
of all arms. But their ranks were perpetually reduced by defections,
whereas those of the Imperialists received constant accessions. The
campaign lasted only a fortnight. For the final attack Yoshisada
divided his army into three corps and advanced against Kamakura from
the north, the east, and the west. The eastern column was repulsed
and its general slain, but the western onset, commanded by Yoshisada
himself, succeeded. Taking advantage of a low tide, he led his men
over the sands and round the base of a steep cliff,* and carried the
city by storm, setting fire to the buildings everywhere. The Hojo
troops were shattered and slaughtered relentlessly. Takatoki
retreated to his ancestral cemetery at the temple Tosho-ji, and there
committed suicide with all the members of his family and some eight
hundred officers and men of his army. Thus, Kamakura fell on the 5th
of July, 1333, a century and a half after the establishment of the
Bakufu by Yoritomo. Many heroic incidents marked the catastrophe and
showed the spirit animating the bushi of that epoch. A few of them
will find a fitting place here.

*This cliff--Inamura-ga-saki--may be seen at Kamakura to-day.
Tradition says that Yoshisada threw his sword into the waves,
supplicating the god of the Sea to roll back the water and open a
path for the loyal army. At dawn on the following day the tide was
found to have receded sufficiently.

HEROIC DEATHS

It has been related above that, when Ashikaga Takauji marched
westward from Kamakura, he left his family and his brother-in-law as
hostages in the hands of the Bakufu. Subsequently, on the occasion of
the assault by Nitta Yoshisada, this brother-in-law (Akabashi
Moritoki) resisted stoutly but was defeated at the pass of Kobukoro.
He committed suicide, remarking calmly, "It is better to die trusted
than to live doubted."

Osaragi Sadanao, one of the Hojo generals, was in danger of defeat by
Odate Muneuji at the defence of Kamakura, when Homma Saemon, a
retainer of the former, who was under arrest for an offence, broke
his arrest and galloping into the field, restored the situation by
killing the enemy's general, Odate Muneuji. Carrying the head of
Muneuji, Saemon presented it to his chief and then disembowelled
himself in expiation of his disobedience. Sadanao, crying that his
faithful follower should not go unaccompanied to the grave, dashed
into the enemy's ranks and fell, covered with wounds.

Ando Shoshu, returning from the successful defence of the eastern
approaches to Kamakura on the 5th of July, 1333, found the Government
buildings a mass of charred ruins, and being ignorant of the
multitude of suicides that had taken place in the cemetery at
Tosho-ji, cried out: "The end of a hundred years! How is it that none
was found to die the death of fidelity?" Dismounting he prepared to
take his own life when a messenger arrived carrying a letter from his
niece, the wife of Nitta Yoshisada. This letter counselled surrender.
Shoshu exclaimed furiously: "My niece is a samurai's daughter. How
could she venture to insult me with words so shameless? And how was
it that Yoshisada allowed her to do such a thing?" Then, wrapping the
letter round the hilt of his sword, he disembowelled himself.

THE LAST SCENE

The last act of the Hojo tragedy, which took place in the cemetery of
the temple Tosho-ji, showed the fidelity of the samurai character at
its best. Among the Kamakura warriors was one Takashige, son of that
Nagasaki Takasuke who had made himself notorious by corrupt
administration of justice. Takashige, a skilled soldier of enormous
physical power, returned from the battle when all hope of beating
back Nitta Yoshisada's army had disappeared, and having warned the
regent, Takatoki, that the bushi's last resource alone remained,
asked for a few moments' respite to strike a final stroke. Followed
by a hundred desperate men, he plunged into the thick of the fight
and had almost come within reach of Yoshisada when he was forced
back. Galloping to Tosho-ji, he found Takatoki and his comrades
drinking their farewell cup of sake. Takatoki handed the cup to
Takashige, and he, after draining it thrice, as was the samurai's
wont, passed it to Settsu Dojun, disembowelled himself, and tore out
his intestines. "That gives a fine relish to the wine," cried Dojun,
following Takashige's example. Takatoki, being of highest rank, was
the last to kill himself.

Eight hundred suicides bore witness to the strength of the creed held
by the Kamakura bushi. An eminent Japanese author* writes: "Yoritomo,
convinced by observation and experience that the beautiful and the
splendid appeal most to human nature, made it his aim to inculcate
frugality, to promote military exercises, to encourage loyalty, and
to dignify simplicity. Moral education he set before physical. The
precepts of bushido he engraved on the heart of the nation and gave
to them the honour of a precious heirloom. The Hojo, by exalting
bushido, followed the invaluable teaching of the Genji, and
supplemented it with the doctrines of Shinto, Confucianism, and
Buddhism. Thus every bushi came to believe that the country's fate
depended on the spirit of the samurai." Another and more renowned
annalist** wrote: "The Hojo, rising from a subordinate position,
flourished for nine generations. Their success was due to observing
frugality, treating the people with kindness, meting out strict
justice, and faithfully obeying the ancestral behest to abstain from
seeking high titles." They took the substance and discarded the
shadow. The bushido that they developed became a model in later ages,
especially in the sixteenth century.

*Yamada Tesshu (modern).

**Rai Sanyo (1780-1832).

LAST HOJO ARMY

When Kamakura fell the only Hojo force remaining in the field was
that which had been engaged for months in the siege of Chihaya, where
Kusunoki Masashige held his own stoutly. This army had retired to
Nara on receipt of the news of Rokuhara's capture, and when Kamakura
met with the same fate, the leaders of the last Hojo force
surrendered at the summons of Ashikaga Takauji's emissaries.
Subsequently, fifteen of these leaders were led out at midnight and
beheaded.

THE RESTORATION OF THE KEMMU ERA

The conditions that now resulted are spoken of in Japanese history as
"the Restoration of the Kemmu era" (1334-1336). It will be presently
seen that the term is partly misleading. After his escape from Oki,
Go-Daigo remained for some time in the fortress of Funanoe, in Hoki.
Kamakura fell on the 5th of July, and his Majesty entered Kyoto on
the 17th of that month. While in Hoki he issued various rescripts
having special significance. They may be summarized as follows:

From bushi down to priests, any man who performs meritorious deeds in
battle will be duly recompensed, in addition to being confirmed in
the possession of his previously held domain, and that possession
will be continued in perpetuity to his descendants. In the case of
persons killed in fight, suitable successors to their domains will be
selected from their kith and kin.

With regard to Court officials and bushi down to temple priests and
functionaries of Shinto shrines, any that come immediately to join
the Imperial forces will be rewarded, in addition to being confirmed
in the tenure of their original estates.

Similar consideration will be shown to all who, though unable to come
in person, supply provisions or military necessaries, submit
suggestions with loyal intent, or otherwise work in the interests of
the Imperial army. Men surrendering in battle will be pardoned for
their previous offences, and will be rewarded for services
subsequently rendered.

The fate of the eastern outlaws (i.e. the Hojo) being sealed, their
destruction is imminent. They have slain many innocent people;
plundered the property of all classes, despoiled temples, burned
houses, and conducted themselves with extreme wickedness. Unless they
be punished, public peace cannot be restored. Our army has to remove
those evils, and therefore all in its ranks, while uniting to attack
the rebels, will be careful not to inflict any suffering on the
people or to plunder them and will treat them with all benevolence.
If prisoners be common soldiers, they shall be released at once, and
if officers, they shall be held in custody pending Imperial
instructions. They shall not be punished without judgment. No
buildings except the enemy's fortresses and castles shall be burned,
unless the conditions of a battle dictate such a course, and it is
strictly forbidden to set fire to shrines and temples. When the
Imperial forces enter a city and have to be quartered in private
houses, the owners of the latter shall be duly recompensed. If these
injunctions be obeyed, the deities of heaven and earth and the
ancestral Kami will protect the virtuous army in its assault upon the
wicked traitors.

These edicts make it clear that in one most important respect,
namely, the terms of land tenure, there was no idea of reverting to
the old-time system which recognized the right of property to be
vested in the Throne and limited the period of occupation to the
sovereign's will.

THE NEW GOVERNMENT

When Go-Daigo entered Kyoto on the 17th of July, 1333, it was
suggested by some of his advisers that a ceremony of coronation
should be again held. But the sa-daijin, Nijo Michihira, opposed that
course. He argued that although his Majesty had not resided in the
capital for some time, the sacred insignia had been always in his
possession, and that his re-entering the capital should be treated as
returning from a journey. This counsel was adopted. It involved the
exclusion of Kogon from the roll of sovereigns, though the title of
"retired Emperor" was accorded to him.

There were thus three ex-Emperors at the same time. Go-Daigo assigned
the Chokodo estates for their support, retaining for himself only the
provincial taxes of Harima.



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