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I have no longer
anything to hope in the world. If I may be pardoned, stripped of my
rank, and permitted to enter religion, there will be no cause for
regret. In my deep sorrow I cannot say more.


Had this piteous appeal reached Go-Daigo, he might have relented. But
just as the memorial addressed by Yoshitsune to his brother,
Yoritomo, was suppressed by Hiromoto, so the chamberlain to whom
Prince Morinaga entrusted his protest feared to carry it to the
sovereign. Before the close of the year, the prince was exiled to
Kamakura, and there placed in charge of Takauji's brother, Tadayoshi,
who confined him in a cave dug for the purpose. He never emerged
alive. Seven months later, Tadayoshi, on the eve of evacuating
Kamakura before the attack of Hojo Tokiyuki, sent an emissary to
assassinate Morinaga in the cave. The unfortunate prince was in his
twenty-eighth year. His name must be added to the long list of noble
men who fell victims to slander in Japan. A Japanese annalist*
contends that Morinaga owed his fate as much to his own tactlessness
as to the wiles of his enemies, and claims that in accusing Takauji
to the throne, the prince forgot the Emperor's helplessness against
such a military magnate as the Ashikaga chief. However that may have
been, subsequent events clearly justified the prince's suspicions of
Takauji's disloyalty. It must also be concluded that Go-Daigo
deliberately contemplated his son's death when he placed him in
charge of Takauji's brother.

*Raj Sanyo.

ASHIKAGA TAKAUJI OCCUPIES KAMAKURA

The course of events has been somewhat anticipated above in order to
relate the end of Prince Morinaga's career. It is necessary, now, to
revert to the incident which precipitated his fate, namely, the
capture of Kamakura by Hojo Tokiyuki. This Tokiyuki was a son of
Takatoki. He escaped to Shinano province at the time of the Hojo
downfall, and being joined there by many of his family's vassals, he
found himself strong enough to take the field openly in July, 1335,
and sweeping away all opposition, he entered Kamakura in August.
Ashikaga Takauji's brother was then in command at Kamakura. It
seemed, indeed, as though the Emperor deliberately contemplated the
restoration of the old administrative machinery in the Kwanto,
changing only the personnel; for his Majesty appointed his tenth son,
Prince Narinaga, a boy of ten, to be shogun at Kamakura, and placed
Ashikaga Tadayoshi in a position amounting, in fact though not in
name, to that of regent (shikken). Probably these measures were
merely intended to placate the Kwanto. Before there had been time to
test their efficacy, the Hojo swept down on Kamakura, and Tadayoshi
and the young shogun found themselves fugitives. Meanwhile, Ashikaga
Takauji in Kyoto had been secretly fanning the discontent of the
unrecompensed bushi, and had assured himself that a reversion to the
military system would be widely welcomed. He now applied for a
commission to quell the Hojo insurrection, and on the eve of setting
out for that purpose, he asked to be nominated shogun, which request
being rejected, he left the capital without paying final respects to
the Throne, an omission astutely calculated to attract partisans.

The Hojo's resistance was feeble, and in a few weeks the Ashikaga
banners were waving again over Kamakura. The question of returning to
Kyoto had now to be considered. Takauji's brother, Tadayoshi,
strongly opposed such a step. He compared it to putting one's head
into a tiger's mouth, and in fact information had already reached
Kamakura in the sense that the enemies of the Ashikaga were busily
slandering the victorious general. It may fairly be assumed, however,
that Takauji had never intended to return to Kyoto except as
dictator. He assumed the title of shogun; established his mansion on
the site of Yoritomo's old yashiki; undertook control of the whole
Kwanto; confiscated manors of his enemies; recompensed meritorious
deeds liberally, and granted pardons readily. In fact, he presented
to public gaze precisely the figure he desired to present, the strong
ruler who would unravel the perplexities of a distraught age. From
all quarters the malcontent bushi flocked to his flag.

TAKAUJI AND YOSHISADA

A serious obstacle to the achievement of the Ashikaga chief's purpose
was Nitta Yoshisada. Both men were of the Minamoto family, but
Yoshisada's kinship was the closer and his connexion with the Hojo
had always been less intimate. Further, he had never borne arms
against Go-Daigo's cause, as Takauji had done, and his unswerving
loyalty made him an inconvenient rival. Therefore, the Ashikaga
leader took an extreme step. He seized the domains of the Nitta
family in the Kwanto and distributed them among his own followers; he
caused his brother, Tadayoshi, to send letters inviting the adherence
of many bushi; he addressed to the Throne a memorial impeaching
Yoshisada on the ground that, whereas the latter's military successes
had been the outcome entirely of opportunities furnished by the
prowess of the Ashikaga, he did not hesitate to slander Takauji to
the sovereign, and he asked for an Imperial commission to destroy the
Nitta leader, whom he dubbed a "national thief."

Yoshisada, when he learned of the presentation of this memorial,
seized the Ashikaga manors within his jurisdiction and addressed to
the Throne a countermemorial in which he conclusively proved the
falsehood of Takauji's assertion with reference to military affairs;
charged him with usurping the titles of governor-general of the
Kwanto, and shogun; declared that Prince Morinaga, the mainstay of
the restoration, had become the victim of Takauji's slanders, and
asked for an Imperial mandate to punish Takauji and his brother,
Tadayoshi. It is significant that the leal and gallant Yoshisada did
not hesitate thus openly to assert the innocence and merits of Prince
Morinaga, though only a few months had elapsed since the Emperor
himself had credited his most unhappy son's guilt. While Go-Daigo
hesitated, news from various provinces disclosed the fact that
Takauji had been tampering with the bushi in his own interests. This
settled the question. Takauji and Tadayoshi were proclaimed rebels,
and to Nitta Yoshisada was entrusted the task of chastising them
under the nominal leadership of Prince Takanaga, the Emperor's second
son, to whom the title of shogun was granted.

TAKAUJI ENTERS KYOTO

In the beginning of November, 1335, the Imperial force moved
eastward. It was divided into two armies. One, under Yoshisada's
direct orders, marched by the Tokaido, or eastern littoral road; the
other, under Yoshisada's brother, Wakiya Yoshisuke, with Prince
Takanaga for titular general, advanced along the Nakasen-do, or
inland mountain-road. The littoral army, carrying everything before
it, pushed on to the capital of Izu, and had it forced its attack
home at once, might have captured Kamakura. But the Nitta chief
decided to await the arrival of the Nakasen-do army, and the respite
thus afforded enabled the Ashikaga forces to rally. Tadayoshi reached
the Hakone Pass and posted his troops on its western slopes in a
position of immense natural vantage, while Takauji himself occupied
the routes on the north, his van being at Takenoshita.

The Imperialists attacked both positions simultaneously. Takauji not
only held his ground, but also, being joined by a large contingent of
the Kyoto men who, under the leadership of Enya Takasada, had
deserted in the thick of the fight, he shattered his opponents, and
when this news reached Hakone on the following morning, a panic
seized Yoshisada's troops so that they either fled or surrendered.
The Nitta chieftain himself retired rapidly to Kyoto with a mere
remnant of his army, and effected a union with the forces of the
ever-loyal Kusunoki Masashige and Nawa Nagatoshi, who had given
asylum to Go-Daigo at the time of the escape from Oki. The cenobites
of Hiei-zan also took the field in the Imperial cause. Meanwhile,
Takauji and Tadayoshi, utilizing their victories, pushed rapidly
towards Kyoto. The heart of the samurai was with them, and they
constantly received large accessions of strength. Fierce fighting now
took place on the south and east of the capital. It lasted for
several days and, though the advantage was with the Ashikaga, their
victory was not decisive.

An unlooked-for event turned the scale. It has been related above
that, in the struggle which ended in the restoration of Go-Daigo,
Akamatsu Norimura was chiefly instrumental in driving the Hojo from
Rokuhara; and it has also been related that, in the subsequent
distribution of rewards, his name was omitted for the slight reason
that he had, at one period, entered religion. He now moved up from
Harima at the head of a strong force and, attacking from the south,
effected an entry into Kyoto, just as he had done three years
previously. Go-Daigo fled to Hiei, carrying the sacred insignia with
him, and on the 24th of February, 1336, the Ashikaga armies marched
into the Imperial capital.

TAKAUJI RETIRES TO KYUSHU

At this stage succour arrived for the Imperialists from the extreme
north. In the arrangement of the local administration after Go-Daigo
re-occupied the throne, the two northern provinces of Mutsu and Dewa
had been separated from the Kwanto and placed under the control of
Prince Yoshinaga, with Kitabatake Akiiye for lieutenant. The latter,
a son of the renowned Chikafusa, was in his nineteenth year when the
Ashikaga revolted. He quickly organized a powerful army with the
intention of joining Yoshisada's attack upon Kamakura, but not being
in time to carry out that programme, he changed the direction of his
march and hastened towards Kyoto. He arrived there when the Ashikaga
troops were laying siege to Hiei-zan, and effecting a union with the
Imperialists, he succeeded in raising the siege and recovering the
city.

It is unnecessary to follow in detail the vicissitudes that ensued.
Stratagems were frequent. At one time we find a number of Yoshisada's
men, officers and privates alike, disguising themselves, mingling
with the Ashikaga army, and turning their arms against the latter at
a critical moment.



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