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1339-1368

98th Chokei 1368-1372

99th Go-Kameyama 1372-1392

100th Go-Komatsu 1392-1412

101st Shoko 1412-1428

102d Go-Hanazono 1428-1465

103d Go-Tsuchimikado 1465-1500

104th Go-Kashiwabara 1500-1526

105th Go-Nara 1526-1557

106th Okimachi 1557-1586

107th Go-Yozei 1586-1611

THE sovereigns of the Northern Court, not being recognized as
legitimate by Japanese annalists, are excluded from the above list.
Go-Komatsu, however, is made an exception. He reigned from 1382 to
1392 as representing the Northern Court, and thereafter, the two
Courts having ceased their rivalry, he reigned undisputed until 1412.
It has further to be noted that many histories make the number of
sovereigns greater by two than the figures recorded in the lists of
this volume. That is because the histories in question count as two
the Empresses Kogyoku (642-645) and Saimei (655-661), although they
represent the same sovereign under different names, and because they
adopt a similar method of reckoning in the case of the Empresses
Koken (749-758) and Shotoku (765-770), whereas in this volume the
actual number of sovereigns is alone recorded.

THE COURT

The interval between the close of the fifteenth century and the end
of the sixteenth is set apart by Japanese annalists as the most
disturbed period of the country's history and is distinguished by the
term Sengoku Jidai, or the Epoch of Wars. It would be more accurate
to date the beginning of that evil time from the Onin year-period
(1467-1469); for in the Onin era practical recognition was extended
to the principle that the right of succession to a family estate
justifies appeal to arms, and that such combats are beyond the
purview of the central authority. There ensued disturbances
constantly increasing in area and intensity, and not only involving
finally the ruin of the Ashikaga shogunate but also subverting all
law, order, and morality. Sons turned their hand against fathers,
brothers against brothers, and vassals against chiefs. Nevertheless,
amid this subversion of ethics and supremacy of the sword, there
remained always some who reverenced the Throne and supported the
institutions of the State; a noteworthy feature in the context of the
fact that, except during brief intervals, the wielder of the sceptre
in Japan never possessed competence to enforce his mandates but was
always dependent in that respect on the voluntary co-operation of
influential subjects.

In the Sengoku period the fortunes of the Imperial Court fell to
their lowest ebb. The Crown lands lay in the provinces of Noto, Kaga,
Echizen, Tamba, Mino, and so forth, and when the wave of warfare
spread over the country, these estates passed into the hands of
military magnates who absorbed the taxes into their own treasuries,
and the collectors sent by the Court could not obtain more than a
small percentage of the proper amount. The exchequer of the Muromachi
Bakufu suffered from a similar cause, and was further depleted by
extravagance, so that no aid could be obtained from that source. Even
worse was the case with the provincial manors of the Court nobles,
who were ultimately driven to leave the capital and establish direct
connexion with their properties. Thus, the Ichijo family went to
Tosa; the Ane-no-koji to Hida, and when Ouchi Yoshioki retired to
Suwo on resigning his office (kwanryo), many Court magnates who had
benefitted by his generosity in Kyoto followed him southward.

So impoverished was the Imperial exchequer that, in the year 1500,
when the Emperor Go-Tsuchimikado died, the corpse lay for forty days
in a darkened room of the palace, funds to conduct the funeral rites
not being available. Money was finally provided by Sasaki Takayori,
and in recognition of his munificence he was authorized to use the
Imperial crest (chrysanthemum and Paulownia); was granted the right
of entree to the palace, and received an autographic volume from the
pen of the Emperor Go-Kogon. If there was no money to bury
Go-Tsuchimikado, neither were any funds available to perform the
coronation of his successor, Go-Kashiwabara. Muromachi made a futile
attempt to levy contributions from the daimyo, and the kwanryo,
Hosokawa Masamoto, is recorded to have brusquely said, in effect,
that the country could be administered without crowning any
sovereign. Twenty years passed before the ceremony could be
performed, and means were ultimately (1520) furnished by the Buddhist
priest Koken--son of the celebrated Rennyo Shonin, prelate of the
Shin sect--who, out of the abundant gifts of his disciples, placed at
the disposal of the Court a sum of ten thousand gold ryo,* being
moved to that munificence by the urging of Fujiwara Sanetaka, a
former nai-daijin. In recognition of this service, Koken was raised
to high ecclesiastical rank.

*30,000--$145,000.

It will be remembered that, early in this sixteenth century,
Yoshioki, deputy kwanryo and head of the great Ouchi house, had
contributed large sums to the Muromachi treasury; had contrived the
restoration of several of the Court nobles' domains to their
impoverished owners, and had assisted with open hand to relieve the
penury of the throne. The task exhausted his resources, and when
recalled to his province by local troubles in 1518, the temporary
alleviation his generosity had brought was succeeded by hopeless
penury. From time immemorial it had been the universal rule to
rebuild the two great shrines at Ise every twentieth year, but
nothing of the kind had been possible in the case of the Naigu (inner
shrine) since 1462, and in the case of the Gegu (outer shrine) since
1434. Such neglect insulted the sanctity of the Throne; yet appeals
to the Bakufu produced no result. In 1526, the Emperor Go-Kashiwabara
died. It is on record that his ashes were carried from the
crematorium in a box slung from the neck of a general officer, and
that the funeral train consisted of only twenty-six officials. For
the purposes of the coronation ceremony of this sovereign's
successor, subscriptions had to be solicited from the provincial
magnates, and it was not until 1536 that the repairs of the palace
could be undertaken, so that the Emperor Go-Nara was able to write in
his diary, "All that I desired to have done has been accomplished,
and I am much gratified." On this occasion the Ouchi family again
showed its generosity and its loyalty to the Throne.

The extremity of distress was reached during the Kyoroku era
(1528-1531), when the struggle between the two branches of the
Hosokawa family converted Kyoto once more into a battle-field and
reduced a large part of the city to ashes. The Court nobles, with
their wives and children, had to seek shelter and refuge within the
Imperial palace, the fences of which were broken down and the
buildings sadly dilapidated.

A contemporary record tells with much detail the story of the decay
of the capital and the pitiful plight of the Throne. The Emperor
Go-Nara (1527-1557) was reduced to earning his own living. This he
did by his skill as a calligrapher--at least one instance of
something useful resulting from the penchant of the Court for the
niceties of Chinese art and letters. Any one might leave at the
palace a few coins for payment and order a fair copy of this or that
excerpt from a famous classic. The palace was overrun, the chronicler
says. Its garden became a resort for tea-drinking among the lower
classes and children made it a play-ground. It was no longer walled
in, but merely fenced with bamboo. The whole city was in a similar
desolation, things having become worse and worse beginning with the
Onin disturbance of 1467 and the general exodus of the samurai from
the capital at that time. At this time the military nobles came to
the city only to fight, and the city's population melted away. All
was disorder. The city was flooded and the dike which was built to
check the flooded rivers came to be thought a fine residence place in
comparison with lower parts of the town.

It was at this time that men might be observed begging for rice in
the streets of the capital. They carried bags to receive
contributions which were designated kwampaku-ryo (regent's money).
Some of the bags thus used are preserved by the noble family of Nijo
to this day. Another record says that the stewardess of the Imperial
household service during this reign (Go-Nara), on being asked how
summer garments were to be supplied for the ladies-in-waiting,
replied that winter robes with their wadded linings removed should be
used. The annals go so far as to allege that deaths from cold and
starvation occurred among the courtiers. An important fact is that
one of the provincial magnates who contributed to the succour of the
Court at this period was Oda Nobuhide of Owari, father of the
celebrated Oda Nobunaga.

ENGRAVING: SHINRAN SHONIN

BUDDHIST VIOLENCE

The decline of the Muromachi Bakufu's authority encouraged the monks
as well as the samurai to become a law to themselves. Incidental
references have already been made to this subject, but the religious
commotions of the Sengoku period invite special attention. The
Buddhists of the Shin sect, founded by Shinran Shonin (1184-1268),
which had for headquarters the great temple Hongwan-ji in Kyoto, were
from the outset hostile to the monks of Enryaku-ji. Religious
doctrine was not so much concerned in this feud as rivalry. Shinran
had been educated in the Tendai tenets at Enryaku-ji. Therefore, from
the latter's point of view he was a renegade, and while vehemently
attacking the creed of his youth, he had acquired power and influence
that placed the Hongwan-ji almost on a level with the great Hiei-zan.
In the days of Kenju, popularly called Rennyo Shonin (1415-1479),
seventh in descent from the founder, Shinran, the Ikko--by which name
the Shin sect was known--developed conspicuous strength.



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