Best books online Library

Your last book:

You dont read books at this site.

Total books on site: 11 280

You can read and download its for free!

Browse books by author: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 

Text on one page: Few Medium Many
His high qualities are
recorded above, but everything goes to show that he had more than the
ordinary reformer's stubbornness, and that tolerance of a
subordinate's errors was wholly foreign to his disposition. Even to
the shogun himself he never yielded in the smallest degree, and by
the majority of those under him he was cordially detested. The
records say that on one occasion, when remonstrated with by his
friend, the daimyo of Hirado, who warned him that his hardness and
severity might involve him in trouble, Masatoshi replied, "I thank
you for your advice, but so long as I am endeavouring to reform the
country, I have no time to think of myself."

It is easy to understand that a man of such methods had enemies
sufficiently numerous and sufficiently resolute to compass his death.
On the other hand, Masayasu, his assassin, was related to him by
marriage, and possessed an estate of 25,000 koku, as well as holding
the position of junior minister of State. It is extremely unlikely
that a man in such a position would have resorted to such a desperate
act without great provocation or ample sanction. The question is, was
the shogun himself privy to the deed? It is recorded that there was
found on Masayasu's person a document expressing deep gratitude for
the favours he had received at the hands of the shogun, and declaring
that only by taking the life of Masatoshi could any adequate return
be made. It is further recorded that the steward of the Bakufu,
addressing the corpse of Masayasu, declared that the deceased had
shown unparallelled loyalty. Again, history says that Mitsukuni,
daimyo of Mito, repaired to the Inaba mansion after the incident, and
expressed to Masayasu's mother his condolences and his applause.
Finally, after Masatoshi's death, his son was degraded in rank and
removed to a greatly reduced estate. All these things are difficult
to explain except on the supposition that the shogun himself was
privy to the assassination.

ENCOURAGEMENT OF CONFUCIANISM

The third shogun, Iemitsu, addressing the mother of his son,
Tsimayoshi, is said to have expressed profound regret that his own
education had been confined to military science. "That is to me," he
is reported to have said, "a source of perpetual sorrow, and care
should be taken that Tsunayoshi, who seems to be a clever lad, should
receive full instruction in literature." In compliance with this
advice, steps were taken to interest Tsunayoshi in letters, and he
became so attached to this class of study that even when sick he
found solace in his books. The doctrines of Confucius attracted him
above all other systems of ethics. He fell into the habit of
delivering lectures on the classics, and to show his reverence for
the Chinese sages, he made it a rule to wear full dress on these
occasions, and to worship after the manner of all Confucianists. It
has already been related that a shrine of Confucius was built in Ueno
Park by the Tokugawa daimyo of Owari, and that the third shogun,
Iemitsu, visited this shrine in 1633 to offer prayer. Fifty years
later, the fifth shogun, Tsunayoshi, followed that example, and also
listened to lectures on the classics by Hayashi Nobuatsu.
Subsequently (1691), a new shrine was erected at Yushima in the Kongo
district of Yedo, and was endowed with an estate of one thousand koku
to meet the expenses of the spring and autumn festivals. Further, the
daimyo were required to contribute for the erection of a school in
the vicinity of the shrine. At this school youths of ability,
selected from among the sons of the Bakufu officials and of the
daimyo, were educated, the doctrines of Confucius being thus rendered
more and more popular.

Under Tsunayoshi's auspices, also, many books were published which
remain to this day standard works of their kind. Another step taken
by the shogun was to obtain from the Court in Kyoto the rank of
junior fifth class for Hayashi Nobuatsu, the great Confucian scholar,
who was also nominated minister of Education and chief instructor at
Kongo College. Up to that time it had been the habit of Confucianists
and of medical men to shave their heads and use titles corresponding
to those of Buddhist priests. In these circumstances neither
Confucianists nor physicians could be treated as samurai, and they
were thus excluded from all State honours. The distinction conferred
upon Hayashi Nobuatsu by the Imperial Court effectually changed these
conditions. The Confucianists ceased to shave their heads and became
eligible for official posts. Thereafter, ten of Hayashi's disciples
were nominated among the shogun's retainers, and were required to
deliver lectures periodically at the court of the Bakufu. In short,
in whatever related to learning, Tsunayoshi stands easily at the head
of all the Tokugawa shoguns.

CHANGE OF CALENDAR

A noteworthy incident of Tsunayoshi's administration was a change of
calendar, effected in the year 1683. The credit of this achievement
belongs to a mathematician called Shibukawa Shunkai. A profound
student, his researches had convinced him that the Hsuan-ming
calendar, borrowed originally from China and used in Japan ever since
the year A.D. 861, was defective. He pointed out some of its errors
in a memorial addressed to the Bakufu under the sway of the fourth
shogun, but the then prime minister, Sakai Tadakiyo, paid no
attention to the document. Shunkai, however, did not desist. In 1683,
an eclipse of the moon took place, and he demonstrated that it was
erroneously calculated in the Chinese calendar. The fifth shogun,
Tsunayoshi, was then in power, and the era of his reforming spirit
had not yet passed away. He adopted Shunkai's suggestion and obtained
the Imperial sanction for a change of calendar so that the Husan-ming
system went out of force after 822 years of use in Japan.

JAPANESE LITERATURE

Tsunayoshi did not confine his patronage to Chinese literature; he
devoted much energy to the encouragement of Japanese classical
studies, also. Thus, in 1689, he invited to Yedo Kitamura Kigin and
his son Shuncho and bestowed upon the former the title of Hoin
together with a revenue of five hundred koku. This marked the
commencement of a vigorous revival of Japanese literature in the
Bakufu capital. Moreover, in Osaka a scholar named Keichu Ajari
published striking annotations of the celebrated anthologies, the
Manyo-shu and the Kokin-shu, which attracted the admiration of
Tokugawa Mitsukuni, baron of Mito. He invited Keichu to his castle
and treated him with marked consideration. These littérateurs were
the predecessors of the celebrated Kamo and Motoori, of whom there
will be occasion to speak by and by.

FINE ARTS

Tsunayoshi's patronage extended also to the field of the fine arts.
The Tokugawa Bakufu had hitherto encouraged the Kano School only
whereas the Tosa Academy was patronized by the Court at Kyoto. This
partiality was corrected by Tsunayoshi., He invited Sumiyoshi
Gukei--also called Hirozumi--the most distinguished pupil of Tosa
Mitsuoki, bestowed on him a revenue of two hundred koku, and gave him
the official position of chief artist of the Tosa-ryu, placing him on
an equal footing with the chief of the Kano-ryu. It was at this time
also that the ukiyoe (genre picture) may be said to have won popular
favour. Contemporaneously there appeared some dramatic authors of
high ability, and as the ukiyoe and the drama appealed mainly to the
middle and lower classes, the domain of literature and the fine arts
received wide extension. Thus, Chikamatsu Monzaemon, of Osaka, the
greatest dramatist that his country ever possessed, composed plays
which have earned for him the title of the "Shakespeare of Japan;"
and as for the light literature of the era, though it was disfigured
by erotic features, it faithfully reflected in other respects the
social conditions and sentiments of the time.

THE MERCANTILE CLASS

From the commencement of Japanese history down to the second half of
the seventeenth century, the canons and customs were dictated solely
by the upper class, and neither merchants nor artisans were
recognized as possessing any social or literary influence whatever.
But in the middle period of the Tokugawa Bakufu--the Genroku period,
as it is commonly called--the tradesman became a comparatively
conspicuous figure. For example, in the realm of poetry, hitherto
strictly reserved for the upper classes, the classic verse called
renga (linked song) was considered to be sullied by the introduction
of any common or every-day word, and therefore could be composed only
by highly educated persons. This now found a substitute in the
haikai, which admitted language taken from purely Japanese sources
and could thus be produced without any exercise of special
scholarship. Afterwards, by the addition of the hokku, an
abbreviation of the already brief renga and haikai, which adapted
itself to the capacities of anyone possessing a nimble wit or a
sparkling thought, without any preparation of literary study, the
range of poetry was still further extended. Matsuo Basho Was the
father of the haikai and the hokku, and his mantle descended upon
Kikaku, Ransetsu, Kyoriku, and other celebrities. They travelled
round the country popularizing their art and immensely expanding the
field of literature. The craft of penmanship flourished equally, and
was graced by such masters as Hosoi Kotaku and Kitamura Sessan. Yedo,
the metropolis of wealth and fashion, became also the capital of
literature and the fine arts, and a characteristic of the era was the
disappearance of charlatans, whether laymen or bonzes, who professed
to teach the arcana of special accomplishments. In short, every
branch of study passed out of the exclusive control of one or two
masters and became common property, to the great advantage of
original developments.

REMOVAL OF THE ROJU

What has thus far been written depicts the bright side of
Tsunayoshi's administration. It is necessary now to look at the
reverse of the picture. There we are first confronted by an important
change of procedure. It had been the custom ever since the days of
Ieyasu to conduct the debates of the council of ministers (Roju) in a
chamber adjoining the shogun's sitting-room, so that he could hear
every word of the discussion, and thus keep himself au courant of
political issues.



Pages: | Prev | | 1 | | 2 | | 3 | | 4 | | 5 | | 6 | | 7 | | 8 | | 9 | | 10 | | 11 | | 12 | | 13 | | 14 | | 15 | | 16 | | 17 | | 18 | | 19 | | 20 | | 21 | | 22 | | 23 | | 24 | | 25 | | 26 | | 27 | | 28 | | 29 | | 30 | | 31 | | 32 | | 33 | | 34 | | 35 | | 36 | | 37 | | 38 | | 39 | | 40 | | 41 | | 42 | | 43 | | 44 | | 45 | | 46 | | 47 | | 48 | | 49 | | 50 | | 51 | | 52 | | 53 | | 54 | | 55 | | 56 | | 57 | | 58 | | 59 | | 60 | | 61 | | 62 | | 63 | | 64 | | 65 | | 66 | | 67 | | 68 | | 69 | | 70 | | 71 | | 72 | | 73 | | 74 | | 75 | | 76 | | 77 | | 78 | | 79 | | 80 | | 81 | | 82 | | 83 | | 84 | | 85 | | 86 | | 87 | | 88 | | 89 | | 90 | | 91 | | 92 | | 93 | | 94 | | 95 | | 96 | | 97 | | 98 | | 99 | | 100 | | 101 | | 102 | | 103 | | 104 | | 105 | | 106 | | 107 | | 108 | | 109 | | 110 | | 111 | | 112 | | 113 | | 114 | | 115 | | 116 | | 117 | | 118 | | 119 | | 120 | | 121 | | 122 | | 123 | | 124 | | 125 | | 126 | | 127 | | 128 | | 129 | | 130 | | 131 | | 132 | | 133 | | 134 | | 135 | | 136 | | 137 | | 138 | | 139 | | 140 | | 141 | | 142 | | 143 | | 144 | | 145 | | 146 | | 147 | | 148 | | 149 | | 150 | | 151 | | 152 | | 153 | | 154 | | 155 | | 156 | | 157 | | 158 | | 159 | | 160 | | 161 | | 162 | | 163 | | 164 | | 165 | | 166 | | 167 | | 168 | | 169 | | 170 | | 171 | | 172 | | 173 | | 174 | | 175 | | 176 | | 177 | | 178 | | 179 | | 180 | | 181 | | 182 | | 183 | | 184 | | 185 | | 186 | | 187 | | 188 | | 189 | | 190 | | 191 | | 192 | | 193 | | 194 | | 195 | | 196 | | 197 | | 198 | | 199 | | 200 | | 201 | | 202 | | 203 | | 204 | | 205 | | 206 | | 207 | | 208 | | 209 | | 210 | | 211 | | 212 | | 213 | | 214 | | 215 | | 216 | | 217 | | 218 | | 219 | | 220 | | 221 | | 222 | | 223 | | 224 | | 225 | | 226 | | 227 | | 228 | | 229 | | 230 | | 231 | | 232 | | 233 | | 234 | | 235 | | 236 | | 237 | | 238 | | 239 | | 240 | | 241 | | 242 | | 243 | | 244 | | 245 | | 246 | | 247 | | 248 | | 249 | | 250 | | 251 | | 252 | | 253 | | 254 | | 255 | | 256 | | 257 | | 258 | | 259 | | 260 | | 261 | | 262 | | 263 | | 264 | | Next |