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Yoshimitsu himself frequently repaired to the Kinri and the
Sendo, and frequently accompanied the Empresses and their ladies on
social visits or pleasure excursions. He is said to have gone in and
out at the Imperial palaces without the slightest reserve, and on
more than one occasion history accuses him of flagrantly
transgressing the limits of decency in his intercourse with
Suken-mon-in, mother of the Emperor Go-Enyu. As a subverter of public
morals, however, the palm belongs, not to Yoshimitsu, but to his
immediate successor, Yoshimochi. He is said to have visited the Kinri
and the Sendo six or seven times every month, and to have there
indulged in all kinds of licence. History says, indeed, that he was
often unable to appear at Court owing to illness resulting from
intoxication.

PRINCES AND PRIESTS

As to the fact that, from the close of the Heian epoch, the cloister
often proved a prison for Imperial princes whose ambition might have
been troublesome had they remained at large, the following figures
are eloquent:

Number
entering
religion

Of 8 sons born to Emperor Fushimi (1287-1298) 7

9 " " " Emperor Go-Fushimi (1298-1301) 9

4 " " " Emperor Hanazono (1307-1318) 4

2 " " " Emperor Suko (1348-1352) 2

9 " " " Prince Sadatsune, 8
grandson of the Emperor Suko

14 " " " Emperor Go-Kogon (1352-1371) 14

Absolute accuracy is not claimed for these figures, but they are
certainly close approximations. In fact, under the Muromachi Bakufu,
every son of a sovereign, except the Prince Imperial, was expected to
become a monk. The Ashikaga adopted a similar system and applied it
ruthlessly in their own families. In truth, the Ashikaga epoch was
notorious for neglect of the obligations of consanguinity. Father is
found pitted against son, uncle against nephew, and brother against
brother.

ENGRAVING: TILES OF THE DAIBUTSUDEN OF TODAI-JI

ENGRAVING: DECORATION OF TOKONOMA (AN ALCOVE IN A JAPANESE
PARLOUR)--Muromachi Period



CHAPTER XXXII

FOREIGN INTERCOURSE, LITERATURE, ART, RELIGION, MANNERS, AND CUSTOMS
IN THE MUROMACHI EPOCH

FOREIGN INTERCOURSE

AFTER the Mongol invasion of Kyushu, Japan held no intercourse with
the outer world for several decades, nor does her friendship seem to
have been sought by any oversea nation. In the closing year of the
thirteenth century, merchantmen flying the Yuan flag are reported to
have arrived, but the record is nebulous, and the same may be said of
a passing reference that, in 1341, Japanese vessels were sent to
China to procure articles manufactured there. We reach more solid
ground a year later (1342), when the Ashikaga chief, Takauji, being
engaged in building the temple Tenryu-ji, opened trade with China for
the purpose of obtaining apparatus, vestments, and works of art. The
number of vessels was limited to two annually, and the trade must not
exceed five hundred kwan-mon (750, or $3700). Some of the objects
then carried to Japan survive to this day in the form of celadon
vases known in Japan as Tenryuji-seiji.* Meanwhile, not a few
Buddhist priests crossed the sea from China to preach their faith,
and it is certain that during the War of the Dynasties in Japan, when
the south of the country was in a state of anarchy, privateering in
Korean waters was freely resorted to by Japanese adventurers. A
Korean envoy arrived at Fukuhara, in Settsu, in 1367, bearer of a
strong protest against this marauding, and declaring that for a
decade past assassination and plunder had been freely practised by
Japanese subjects on the inhabitants of the Korean littoral. China
and Korea were then in a troubled condition.

*The merchantmen received the name of Tenryuji-bune (bune signifies
"ship")

In the year (1368) after the arrival of this envoy, the Yuan dynasty
went down in China before the Ming, and in Korea the kingdom of Koma
was overthrown, the Yi dynasty rising on its ruins and calling the
peninsula Chosen. The Ming sovereign immediately attempted to
establish tradal intercourse with Japan, but the negotiations failed,
and not until 1392 is there any record of oversea relations. Then, at
length, Korea's protest elicited a reply from Japan. The shogun,
Yoshimitsu, sent to Chosen a despatch, signifying that piracy had
been interdicted, that all captives would be returned, and that he
desired to establish friendly relations. It appears that at that time
China also suffered from the depredations of Japanese corsairs, for
the annals say that she repeatedly remonstrated, and that, in 1401,
Yoshimitsu despatched to China an envoy carrying presents and
escorting some Chinese subjects who had been cast away on the
Japanese coast or carried captive thither. Another record suggests
that the Chinese Emperor was perplexed between the two warring Courts
in Japan. At the time of his accession, a body of Mongol fugitives
established themselves in Shantung, where they received assistance
from some Japanese adventurers. The Ming sovereign opened
communications on the subject with Prince Kanenaga, who held Kyushu
in the interests of the Southern Court, but the tone of the Chinese
monarch was so arrogant that Prince Kanenaga made no reply. Then
Taitsu employed a Buddhist priest, but the character of this bonze
having been detected, he was thrown into prison.

These things happened in 1380. In the following year Taitsu
despatched a duly credited envoy who used menacing language and was
sent back with a defiance from Prince Kanenaga. The priest, however,
was set free in 1382, and having learned while in Japan that two
Courts were disputing the title to the Crown, he informed the Chinese
sovereign in that sense, and the latter subsequently addressed
himself to Kyoto, with the result noted above, namely, that
Yoshimitsu opened friendly relations (1401). It was to the Ouchi
family of Suwo that the management of intercourse with Chosen was
entrusted, the latter sending its envoys to Yamaguchi. Subsequently,
after Ouchi Yoshihiro's disaffection and disaster, a Buddhist priest
and well-known artist, Soami, acted as Muromachi's envoy to the Ming
Court, being accompanied by a merchant, Koetomi, who is described as
thoroughly conversant with Chinese conditions. By these two the first
commercial treaty was negotiated. It provided that an envoy should be
sent by each of the contracting parties in every period of ten years,
the suite of this envoy to be limited to two hundred, and any ship
carrying arms to be regarded as a pirate.

The first envoy from the Ming Court under this treaty was met by
Yoshimitsu himself at Hyogo, and being escorted to Kyoto, was
hospitably lodged in a hotel there. Instructions were also issued
from Muromachi to the officials in Kyushu, peremptorily interdicting
piracy and ordering the arrest of any that contravened the veto.
Further, the high constables in several provinces were enjoined to
encourage trade with China by sending the best products of their
localities. In fact, Yoshimitsu showed himself thoroughly earnest in
promoting oversea commerce, and a considerable measure of success
attended his efforts. Unfortunately, an interruption was caused in
1419, when some seventeen thousand Koreans, Mongolians, and "southern
barbarians"--a name given promiscuously to aliens--in 227 ships, bore
down on Tsushima one midsummer day and were not driven off until the
great families of Kyushu--the Otomo, the Shoni, the Kikuchi, and the
Shiba--had joined forces to attack the invaders. The origin of this
incident is wrapped in mystery, but probably the prohibition of
Japanese pirates was not enforced for the protection of Chosen, and
the assault on Tsushima was a desperate attempt at retaliation.

Yoshimochi, however, who was then shogun, seems to have associated
China with the invasion, for a Ming envoy, arriving just at the time
of the contest, was indignantly refused audience. Thereafter, the
tandai appointed from Muroinachi to administer the affairs of Kyushu
was driven out by the Shoni family, and the shogun's policy of
checking piracy ceased to be enforced, so that the coasts of China
and Chosen were much harried, all legitimate commerce being
suspended. When Yoshinori became shogun, however, this was one of the
directions in which he turned his reforming hand. A Buddhist priest,
Doen, proceeded to the Ming Court as Muromachi's delegate, and the
Chinese sovereign agreed to restore the old relations, transmitting
for that purpose a hundred tallies to be carried by the merchantmen.
These tallies were distributed to several high constables, to five
great temples, and to merchants in Hyogo and Sakai, the corresponding
tallies* being entrusted to the Ouchi family, which, having now
recovered its power, was charged with the duty of superintending the
trade with China. Meanwhile, So Sadamori of Tsushima had established
commercial relations with Chosen, and received from thence a yearly
consignment of two hundred koku of soy beans, the vessel that carried
the staple being guarded by boats known as Tsushima-bune.

*The tallies were cards on which a line of ideographs were inscribed.
The card was then cut along the line, and a moiety was given to the
trader, the corresponding moiety being kept by the superintendent.

Thus, it fell out that the right of supervising the trade with China
and Korea came into the exclusive possession of the Ouchi and the So,
respectively, and being liberally encouraged, brought great wealth to
them as well as to other territorial magnates of the central and
southern provinces. The records show that large profits were
realized. Four or five hundred per cent, is spoken of, and, further,
the Ming sovereign, in Yoshimasa's time, responded generously, as has
been already shown, to the shogun's appeal for supplies of copper
cash.



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