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That without permission from Hideyori no
administrator should dispose of any of his (the administrator's)
territory to another person.

(6) That all accounts were to be kept in a manner above suspicion;
that there were to be no irregularities and no pursuing of personal
interests; that no questions concerning landed estates should be
dealt with during the minority of Hideyori; that no petitions should
be presented to him, and that Ieyasu himself would neither ask for
changes to be made in the matter of land-ownership nor accept any
gift of land from Hideyori during the latter's minority.

(7) That whatever Hideyori desired to have kept secret, whether
connected with his private life or with the Government, must on no
account be allowed to leak out.

(8) That if any of the administrators or their subordinates found
that they had unwittingly acted contrary to orders, they should at
once report the fact to their superiors, who would then deal
leniently with them.

The above document was solemnly endorsed, the gods being called upon
to punish any one violating its provisions. It was further ordered
that Hidetada, son of Ieyasu, should give his daughter in marriage to
Hideyori; that Ieyasu, residing in the Fushimi palace, should act as
regent until Hideyori reached the age of fifteen, and that Maeda
Toshiiye, governing the castle of Osaka, should act as guardian of
Hideyori. It is recorded by some historians that the taiko conferred
on Ieyasu discretionary power in the matter of Hideyori's succession,
authorizing the Tokugawa baron to be guided by his own estimate of
Hideyori's character as to whether the latter might be safely trusted
to discharge the high duties that would devolve on him when he
reached his majority. But the truth of this allegation is open to
doubt. It may well have been invented, subsequently, by apologists
for the line adopted by Ieyasu. Hideyoshi died on September 18, 1598.
His last thoughts were directed to the troops in Korea. He is said to
have addressed to Asano Nagamasa and Ishida Katsushige orders to go
in person to the peninsula, and to provide that "the spirits of one
hundred thousand Japanese soldiers serving there should not become
disembodied in a foreign land." For a time the death of the great
statesman was kept secret, but within three months the newly created
boards found themselves strong enough to cope with the situation, and
the remains of Hideyoshi were publicly interred at the shrine of
Amida-ga-mine, near Kyoto.

HIDEYOSHI'S CHARACTER

In modern times many distinguished Japanese historians have
undertaken to analyze Hideyoshi's character and attainments. They are
divided in their estimate of his literary capacity. Some point to his
letters, which, while they display a not inconsiderable familiarity
with Chinese ideographs, show also some flagrant neglect of the uses
of that script. Others refer to his alleged fondness for composing
Japanese poems and adduce a verselet said to have been written by him
on his death-bed:

Ah! as the dew I fall,
As the dew I vanish.
Even Osaka fortress
Is a dream within a dream.

It is not certain, however, that Hideyoshi composed this couplet, and
probably the truth is that his labours as a soldier and a statesman
prevented him from paying more than transitory attention to
literature. But there can be no question that he possessed an almost
marvellous power of reading character, and that in devising the best
exit from serious dilemmas and the wisest means of utilizing great
occasions, he has had few equals in the history of the world. He knew
well, also, how to employ pomp and circumstance and when to dispense
with all formalities. Above all, in his choice of agents he never
allowed himself to be trammelled by questions of birth or lineage,
but chose his officers solely for the sake of their ability and
attainments, and neither tradition nor convention had any influence
on the appointments he made. He was passionate but not resentful, and
he possessed the noble quality of not shrinking from confession of
error. As for his military genius and his statecraft, it is only
necessary to consider his achievements. They entitle him to stand in
the very front of the world's greatest men. Turning to his
legislation, we find much that illustrates the ethics of the time. It
was in 1585 that he organized the board of five administrators, and
the gist of the regulations issued in the following year for their
guidance was as follows:

(1) No subordinate shall leave his liege lord without the latter's
permission, nor shall anyone give employment to a violator of this
rule.

(2) Farmers must remain on the land assigned to them and must never
leave it untilled. On the other hand, landowners should visit their
tenants and should investigate in company with the latter the actual
amount of the harvest reaped. One-third of this should be left to the
farmer and two-thirds should go to the owner of the land.

(3) If owing to natural calamity the harvest be less than two bushels
per acre, the whole of the yield shall go to the farmer. But if the
harvest exceed that figure, it shall be divided in the proportions
indicated in (2).

(4) No farmer shall move away from his holding to avoid the land-tax
or to escape forced labour. Anyone harbouring a violator of this rule
shall expose to punishment not only himself but also the inhabitants
of the entire village where he resides.

(5) The lord of a fief must issue such instructions as shall
guarantee his agricultural vassals against trouble or annoyance, and
shall himself investigate local affairs instead of entrusting that
duty to a substitute. Landowners who issue unreasonable orders to
farmers shall be punished.

(6) In calculating cubic contents, the regulated unit of measure
shall be used, and two per cent, shall be the maximum allowance for
shortage.

(7) Embankments injured by floods and other mischief wrought by
natural calamities must be repaired during the first month of the
year when agriculturists are at leisure. In the case, however, of
damage which exceeds the farmers' capacity to repair, the facts
should be reported to the taiko who will grant necessary assistance.

There follow various sumptuary regulations. We have next a series of
interesting instructions known as "wall-writings" of the castle of
Osaka:

(1) Intermarriages between daimyo's families require the previous
consent of the Taiko.

(2) Neither daimyo nor shomyo is permitted to enter into secret
engagements or to exchange written oaths, or to give or take
hostages.

(3) In a quarrel the one who forebears shall be recognized as having
reason.

(4) No man, whatever his income, should keep a large number of
concubines.

(5) The amount of sake imbibed should be limited to one's capacity.

(6) The use of sedan-chairs shall be confined to Ieyasu, Toshiie,
Kagekatsu, Terumoto, Takakage, the court nobles, and high priests.
Even a daimyo, when young, should ride on horseback. Those over fifty
years of age may use a sedan-chair when they have to travel a
distance of over one ri (two and a half miles). Priests are exempted
from this veto.

Very interesting, too, is the Taiko Shikimoku, consisting of
seventy-three articles, of which thirteen are translated as follows:

(1) Free yourself from the thraldom of passion.

(2) Avoid heavy drinking.

(3) Be on your guard against women.

(4) Be not contentious or disputatious.

(5) Rise early.

(6) Beware of practical jokes.

(7) Think of your own future.

(8) Do not tire of things.

(9) Beware of thoughtless people.

(10) Beware of fire.

(11) Stand in awe of the law.

(12) Set up fences in your hearts against wandering or extravagant
thoughts.

(13) Hold nobody in contempt.

The sumptuary rules referred to above were that, so far as a man's
means permitted, all garments except those worn in winter should be
lined with silk, and that this exception did not apply to the members
of the Toyotomi family a strange provision showing that Hideyoshi did
not expect his own kith and kin to set an example of economy, however
desirable that virtue might be in the case of society at large.
Further, it was provided that no wadded garment should be worn after
the 1st of April--corresponding to about the 1st of May in the
Gregorian calendar; that pantaloons and socks must not be lined; that
men of inferior position must not wear leather socks, and that
samurai must use only half-foot sandals, a specially inexpensive kind
of footgear. Finally, no one was permitted to employ a crest composed
with the chrysanthemum and the Paulownia imperialis unless specially
permitted by the Taiko, who used this design himself, though
originally it was limited to the members of the Imperial family. So
strict was this injunction that even in the case of renovating a
garment which carried the kiku-kiri crest by permission, the badge
might not be repeated on the restored garment. Supplementary
regulations enjoined members of the priesthood, whether Buddhist or
Shinto, to devote themselves to the study of literature and science,
and to practise what they preached. Moreover, men of small means were
urged not to keep more than one concubine, and to assign for even
this one a separate house. It was strictly forbidden that anyone
should go about with face concealed, a custom which had prevailed
largely in previous eras.

MOTIVES OF LEGISLATION

The 7th of August, 1595, was the day of the Hidetsugu tragedy, and
the above regulations and instructions were promulgated for the most
part early in September of the same year. It is not difficult to
trace a connexion. The provision against secret alliances and
unsanctioned marriages between great families; the veto against
passing from the service of one feudal chief to that of another
without special permission, and the injunction against keeping many
concubines were obviously inspired with the purpose of averting a
repetition of the Hidetsugu catastrophe. Indirectly, the spirit of
such legislation suggests that the signatories of these
laws--Takakage, Terumoto, Toshiiye, Hideiye, and Ieyasu--attached
some measure of credence to the indictment of treason preferred
against Hidetsugu.

AGRARIAN LAWS

The agrarian legislation of Hideyoshi is worthy of special attention.
It shows a marked departure from the days when the unit of rice
measurement was a "handful" and when thirty-six handfuls made a
"sheaf," the latter being the tenth part of the produce of a tan.



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