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He endeavoured also to
enforce strict obedience to the economical precepts of the Kemmu
code, and altogether the ethics he favoured were out of harmony with
the social conditions of Kyoto at the time and with the natural
proclivities of the young shogun himself. In fine, he had to leave
the capital, too full of his enemies, and to retire to his native
province, Awa.

During ten years he remained in seclusion. But, in 1389, a journey
made by the shogun to Miya-jima revealed so many evidences of
Yoriyuki's loyalty that he was invited to return to Kyoto, and with
his assistance the organization of the Ashikaga forces at Muromachi
was brought to a high state of efficiency, partly because the astute
Yoriyuki foresaw trouble with the Yamana family, which was then
supreme in no less than ten provinces, or nearly one-sixth of all
Japan. In 1391 Yamana Ujikiyo and his kinsman Mitsuyuki took the
field against Kyoto under the standard of the Southern Court. He
commanded a great army, and there resulted a desperate struggle known
in history as the Meitoku War, after the name of the year-period when
it occurred. The Yamana leader was killed and his army completely
routed. In the following year, the great Hosokawa Yoriyuki died. He
had lived to see the ten provinces recovered from Yamana rule and
partitioned among the Muromachi generals.

But he expired just before the final triumph to which his genius had
so materially contributed. For within a few months of his demise the
War of the Dynasties came at last to a close. The proximate cause was
the fall of the Kusunoki stronghold, which had been built by
Masashige, and during sixty years had remained unconquered. With its
reduction, preceded as it had been by the annihilation of the Yamana,
the fortunes of the Southern Court had become hopeless, and overtures
carried from Kyoto by one of the most distinguished of the Muromachi
generals, Ouchi Yoshihiro, were accepted. Go-Komatsu then occupied
the Northern throne. He had succeeded Go-Enyu, in 1382, and the
latter, had succeeded Go-Kogon, in 1371. Go-Komatsu, having been only
six years of age at the time of his accession, was in his sixteenth
year when the two Courts came to an agreement.

For a time the terms proved very difficult of adjustment, but
ultimately it was decided that the Southern sovereign, Go-Kameyama,
should abdicate in favour of the Northern, the former being
thenceforth treated as the latter's father. This compact having been
concluded, the sacred insignia were transported from Yoshino to Kyoto
with all solemnity. Six Court nobles accompanied them from the South;
twenty went out from the North to receive them, and a numerous body
of troops formed the escort. The retiring Emperor spent ten days at
the palace in Kyoto, throughout which time a magnificent banquet was
held to celebrate the conclusion of the fifty-five years' war.
Yoshino and other districts were assigned for the support of the
ex-Emperor, and pensions or domains were conferred on the Court
nobles of the South, some of whom, however, declining to compromise
their sense of honour by accepting favours from the North, withdrew
to the provinces; and their exile was shared by several of the
military leaders who had remained true to the South throughout. There
can be little doubt that among these apparent implacables were some
of a selfishly calculating disposition, who, anticipating a reversion
to the system of alternate succession, as instituted by the Hojo
interpreters of Go-Saga's testament, looked for greater personal
advantage when the Crown should come to the Southern branch than
anything that could be hoped for by submitting to the Northern. They
were mistaken. That testament, which had done so much mischief in its
time, was ignored from the close of the War of the Dynasties. It did
not fall into total abeyance, however, without some further
bloodshed, and the facts may be interpolated here so as to dispose
finally of the subject.

In 1412, the abdication of Go-Komatsu should have been followed by
the accession of a Southern prince had the principle of alternation
been pursued. It was not so followed. On the contrary, the sceptre
fell to Shoko--101st sovereign--son of Go-Komatsu. Hence, in 1413,
Date Yasumune, in Mutsu, and, in 1414, Kitabatake Mitsumasa, in Ise,
made armed protests, gallant but ineffective. Again, in 1428, on the
childless death of Shoko, the claims of the Southern line were
tacitly ignored in favour of Go-Hanazono, grandson of the third
Northern Emperor, Suko. The same Mitsumasa now took the field, aided
this time by Masahide, head of the ever loyal house of Kusunoki, but
signal failure ensued. The last struggle in behalf of the Southern
line took place in 1443, when "a band of determined men under
Kusunoki Jiro and the Court noble, Hino Arimitsu, suddenly assailed
the palace from two directions; all but succeeded in killing or
capturing the Emperor, and actually got possession of the regalia.
They were soon driven out, however, and in their flight to Hiei-zan,
where one body of them entrenched themselves, the mirror and the
sword were dropped and recovered by the pursuers. The other body made
good their escape to the wilds of Odai-ga-hara, carrying with them
the seal; and it was not till a year later that it found its way back
to Kyoto, when the rebels had been destroyed."*

*Murdoch's History of Japan.

ENGRAVING: KOZUKA AND MENUKI (SWORD FURNITURE)



CHAPTER XXXI

THE FALL OF THE ASHIKAGA

TWO BRANCHES OF THE ASHIKAGA

THE Ashikaga family was divided into two main branches, both
descended from Takauji. The representatives of one, the senior,
branch had their headquarters at Muromachi in Kyoto and held the
office of shogun as a hereditary right. There were fifteen
generations:

Name Born Succeeded Abdicated Died

(1) Takauji 1305 1338 .... 1358

(2) Yoshiakira 1330 1358 1367 1368

(3) Yoshimitsu 1358 1367 1395 1408

(4) Yoshimochi 1386 1395 1423 1428

(5) Yoshikazu 1407 1423 .... 1425

(6) Yoshinori 1394 1428 .... 1441

(7) Yoshikatsu 1433 1441 .... 1443

(8) Yoshimasa 1435 1443 1474 1490

(9) Yoshihisa 1465 1474 .... 1489

(10) Yoshitane (#1) 1465 1490 1493 ....

(11) Yoshizumi 1478 1493 1508 1511

Yoshitane (#2) .... 1508 1521 1522

(12) Yoshiharu 1510 1521 1545 1550

(13) Yoshiteru 1535 1545 .... 1565

(14) Yoshihide 1565 1565 .... 1568

(15) Yoshiaki 1537 1568 1573 1597

The apparent clashing of dates in the case of the fourth and fifth
shoguns, Yoshimochi and Yoshikazu, is due to the fact that on the
death of the latter, in 1425, the former resumed the office and held
it until his own death, in 1428.

THE KAMAKURA KWANRYO AND KUBO

Born Died

(1) Motouji 1340 1367

(2) Ujimitsu 1357 1398

(3) Mitsukane 1376 1409

(4) Mochiuji 1398 1439

(5) Shigeuji 1434 1497

(6) Masatomo .... 1491

(7) Takamoto .... ....

(8) Haruuji .... 1560

(9) Yoshiuji .... ....

The title "kwanryo," as already stated, signifies "governor-general,"
and the region governed was the eight provinces of the Kwanto,
together with Izu and Kai. The first of the Ashikaga kwanryo,
Motouji, was Takauji's youngest son, and the following eight names on
the above list were direct descendants. But not all had the title of
kwanryo or wielded the extensive power attached to that office. Only
the first four were thus fortunate. From the days of the fifth,
Shigeuji, evil times overtook the family. Driven out of Kamakura by
the Uesugi, who had hitherto served as manager (shitsuji), they were
obliged to change their domicile to Koga in Shimosa; their sphere of
jurisdiction was reduced to four provinces, namely, Shimosa,
Shimotsuke, Kazusa, and Awa; their official title was altered to
gosho or kubo, and their former title of kwanryo passed to the Uesugi
family who also replaced them at Kamakura. These things fell out in
1439, when Mochiuji died. To avoid confusion it is necessary to note
that the chief official in the shogun's court at Muromachi in Kyoto
was also called kwanryo. He had originally been termed "manager"
(shitsuji), but, in 1367, this was changed to "governor-general," and
the corresponding functions were practically those discharged by the
regent (shikken) in the polity of the old Bakufu. The first Muromachi
kwanryo was Shiba Yoshimasa, and it became the ultimate custom to
give the post to a member of one of three families, the Shiba, the
Hosokawa, and the Hatakeyama.

STATE OF THE PROVINCES

When swords were sheathed after the long and wasting War of the
Dynasties, the Ashikaga found themselves in a strong position. Having
full control of the Court, they could treat as a rebel anyone
opposing them by force of arms, and their partisans were so numerous
in Kyoto and its vicinity that they could impose their will upon all.
In the east, the Kwanto was effectually ruled by a branch of their
own family, and in the north as well as in the south they were
represented by tandai, who governed stoutly and loyally. But trouble
began very soon. In Kyushu the office of tandai was held by Imagawa
Ryoshun, a man ever memorable in Japanese history as the author of
the precept that military prowess without education is worse than
useless. Ryoshun had been selected for service in Kyushu by the great
shitsuji of Muromachi, Hosokawa Yoriyuki, who saw that only by the
strongest hands could the turbulent families of the southern island
be reduced to order--the Shimazu, the Otomo, the Shoni, and the
Kikuchi. Everything went to show that Imagawa would have succeeded
had not that familiar weapon, slander, been utilized for his
overthrow. The Otomo chief persuaded Ouchi Yoshihiro to traduce
Ryoshun, and since the Ouchi sept exercised great influence in the
central provinces and had taken a prominent part in composing the War
of the Dynasties, the shogun, Yoshimitsu, could not choose but listen
to charges coming from such a source.



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