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It is related
that timbers of sufficient scantling could not be found anywhere
except in the forests at the base of Fuji-yama, and Ieyasu employed
fifty thousand labourers at a cost of a one thousand ryo in gold, for
the purpose of felling the trees and transporting them to Kyoto. The
operations furnished evidence of the curiously arbitrary methods
practised officially in that age. Thus, when the building was
interrupted owing to a lack of large stones for constructing the
pedestal, messengers were sent to appropriate rocks standing in
private gardens, without consulting the convenience of the owners,
and many beautiful parks were thus deprived of their most picturesque
elements. Moreover, on the plea of obtaining iron to make nails,
clamps, and so forth, a proclamation was issued calling upon the
civilian section of the population at large to throw their swords,
their spears, their muskets, and their armour into the melting-pot.
This proclamation, though couched in terms of simulated benevolence,
amounted in reality to a peremptory order. The people were told that
they only wasted their substance and were impeded in the payment of
their taxes by spending money upon weapons of war, whereas by giving
these for a religious purpose, they would invoke the blessings of
heaven and promote their own prosperity. But, at the foot of these
specious arguments, there was placed a brief command that the weapons
must be surrendered and that those concerned should take due note of
their duty in the matter. The import of such an injunction was not
lost on the people, and general disarming of the agricultural and the
artisan classes marked the success of Hideyoshi's policy. It is on
record that he himself actually joined in the manual labour of
dragging stones and timbers into position, and that, clad in hempen
garments, he led the labourers' chorus of "Kiyari."

THE JURAKU-TEI

In the year 1586, the Emperor Okimachi resigned the throne to his
grandson, Go-Yozei. Like Nobunaga, Hideyoshi was essentially loyal to
the Imperial Court. He not only provided for the renovation of the
shrines of Ise, but also built a palace for the retiring Emperor's
use. On the 11th of the seventh month of 1585, he was appointed
regant (kwampaku), and on the 13th of the same month he proceeded to
the Court to render thanks. He himself, however, was without a
residence in the capital, and to remedy that deficiency he built a
palace called Juraku-tei (Mansion of Pleasure) which, according to
the accounts transmitted by historians, was an edifice of exceptional
magnificence. Thus, the Taikoki (Annals of the Taiko) speak of "gates
guarded by iron pillars and copper doors; of high towers which shone
like stars in the sky; of roof-tiles which roared in the wind, and of
golden dragons which sang songs among the clouds." Nothing now
remains of all this grandeur except some of the gates and other
decorative parts of the structure, which were given to the builders
of the temples of Hongwan-ji after the destruction of the Juraku-tei
when Hidetsugu and his whole family died under the sword as traitors.
There can be no doubt, however, that the edifice represented every
possible feature of magnificence and refinement characteristic of the
era.

Hideyoshi took up his abode there in 1587, and at the ensuing New
Year's festival he prayed to be honoured by a visit from the Emperor.
This request was complied with during the month of May in the same
year. All the details of the ceremony were ordered in conformity with
precedents set in the times of the Ashikaga shoguns, Yoshimitsu and
Yoshimasa, but the greatly superior resources of Hideyoshi were
enlisted to give eclat to the fete. The ceremonies were spread over
five days. They included singing, dancing, couplet composing, and
present giving. The last was on a scale of unprecedented dimensions.
The presents to the Imperial household and to the Court Nobles Varied
from three hundred koku of rice to 5530 ryo of silver, and in the
case of the Court ladies, the lowest was fifty koku and the highest
three hundred.

The occasion was utilized by Hideyoshi for an important ceremony,
which amounted to a public recognition of his own supremacy. A
written oath was signed and sealed by six great barons, of whom the
first four represented the Toyotomi (Hideyoshi's) family and the last
two were Ieyasu and Nobukatsu. The signatories of this oath solemnly
bound themselves to respect eternally the estates and possessions of
the members of the Imperial house, of the Court nobles, and of the
Imperial princes, and further to obey faithfully all commands issued
by the regent. This obligation was guaranteed by invoking the curse
of all the guardian deities of the empire on the head of anyone
violating the engagement. A similar solemn pledge in writing was
signed by twenty-two of the great military barons.

THE KITANO FETE

The esoterics of the tea ceremonial and the vogue it obtained in the
days of the shogun Yoshimasa, have already been described. But note
must be taken here of the extraordinary zeal displayed by Hideyoshi
in this matter. Some claim that his motive was mainly political;
others that he was influenced by purely esthetic sentiments, and
others, again, that both feelings were responsible in an equal
degree. There is no material for an exact analysis. He doubtless
appreciated the point of view of the historian who wrote that
"between flogging a war-steed along the way to death and discussing
esthetic canons over a cup of tea in a little chamber nine feet
square, there was a radical difference." But it must also have
appealed keenly to his fancy that he, a veritable upstart, by birth a
plebeian and by habit a soldier, should ultimately set the lead in
artistic fashions to the greatest aristocrats in the empire in a cult
essentially pacific.

However these things may have been, the fact remains that on the 1st
of November, 1587, there was organized by his orders on the Pine
Plain (Matsubara) of Kitano a cha-no-yu fete of unprecedented
magnitude. The date of the fete was placarded in Kyoto, Nara, Osaka,
Sakai, and other towns of importance more than a month in advance;
all lovers of the tea cult were invited, whether plebeian or
patrician, whether rich or poor; frugality was enjoined, and the
proclamations promised that the choicest among the objects of art
collected by Hideyoshi during many decades should be exhibited. It is
recorded that over 360 persons attended the fete. Some erected simple
edifices under the pine trees; some set up a monster umbrella for a
roof, and some brought portable pavilions. These various edifices are
said to have occupied a space of six square miles. Three pavilions
were devoted to Hideyoshi's art-objects, and he himself served tea
and exhibited his esthetic treasures to Ieyasu, Nobukatsu, Toshiiye,
and other distinguished personages.

HIDEYOSHI'S LARGESSE

Hideyoshi's love of ostentation when political ends could be served
thereby was strikingly illustrated by a colossal distribution of gold
and silver. One morning in June, 1589, the space within the main gate
of the Juraku palace was seen to be occupied throughout a length of
nearly three hundred yards with gold and silver coins heaped up on
trays each containing one hundred and fifty pieces. Immediately
within the gate sat Hideyoshi, and beside him was the Emperor's
younger brother, Prince Roku. The mass of glittering treasure was
guarded by officials under the superintendence of Maeda Gen-i, and
presently the names of the personages who were to be recipients of
Hideyoshi's largesse were read aloud, whereupon each of those
indicated advanced and received a varying number of the precious
trays. The members of Hideyoshi's family were specially favoured in
this distribution. His mother received 3000 ryo of gold and 10,000
ryo of silver; his brother, Hidenaga, 3000 ryo of gold and 20,000 of
silver; and his nephew, Hidetsugu, 3000 of gold and 10,000 of silver.
To Nobukatsu, to Ieyasu, to Mori Terumoto, to Uesugi Kagekatsu, and
to Maeda Toshiiye, great sums were given, varying from 3000 ryo of
gold and 10,000 of silver to 1000 of gold and 10,000 of silver. It is
said that the total of the coins thus bestowed amounted to 365,000
ryo, a vast sum in that era. A history of the time observes that the
chief recipients of Hideyoshi's generosity were the members of his
own family, and that he would have shown better taste had he made
these donations privately. Perhaps the deepest impression produced by
this grand display was a sense of the vast treasure amassed by
Hideyoshi; and possibly he contemplated something of the kind.

ENGRAVING: SNOW IMAGE OF DHARMA

ENGRAVING: A FENCING OUTFIT



CHAPTER XXXV

THE INVASION OF KOREA

CAUSES

HAVING brought the whole of Japan under his control, Hideyoshi
conceived the project of conquering China. That appears to be the
simplest explanation of his action. His motive, however, has been
variously interpreted. Some historians maintain that his prime
purpose was to find occupation for the vast host of soldiers who had
been called into existence in Japan by four centuries of almost
continuous warfare. Others do not hesitate to allege that this
oversea campaign was designed for the purpose of assisting to
exterminate the Christian converts. Others, again, attempt to prove
that personal ambition was Hideyoshi's sole incentive. It does not
seem necessary to estimate the relative truth of these analyses,
especially as the evidence adduced by their several supporters is
more or less conjectural. As to the idea that Hideyoshi was
influenced by anti-Christian sentiment, it is sufficient to observe
that out of nearly a quarter of a million of Japanese soldiers who
landed in Korea during the course of the campaign, not so much as ten
per cent, were Christians, and with regard to the question of
personal ambition, it may be conceded at once that if Hideyoshi's
character lays him open to such a charge, his well-proven statecraft
exonerates him from any suspicion of having acted without thought for
his country's good.

One fact which does not seem to have been sufficiently considered by
annalists is that during the sixteenth century the taste for foreign
adventure had grown largely in Japan.



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