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THE 113TH SOVEREIGN, THE EMPEROR HIGASHIYAMA
(A.D. 1687-1710)

In 1687, the Emperor Reigen abdicated in favour of Higashiyama, then
a boy of thirteen, Reigen continuing to administer affairs from
behind the curtain as was usual. Tsunayoshi was then the shogun in
Yedo. He showed great consideration for the interests of the Imperial
Court. Thus, he increased his Majesty's allowance by ten thousand
koku of rice annually, and he granted an income of three thousand
koku to the ex-Emperor. Moreover, all the Court ceremonies, which had
been interrupted for want of funds, were resumed, and steps were
taken to repair or rebuild the sepulchres of the sovereigns
throughout the empire.

RELATIONS BETWEEN THE FEUDATORIES AND THE COURT NOBLES

According to a rule made in the beginning of the Tokugawa dynasty, a
lady of Tokugawa lineage was forbidden to marry a Court noble, but
the shogun himself was expected to take a consort from one of the
noble houses in the Imperial capital. From the days of Iemitsu this
latter custom was steadily maintained, and gradually the feudatories
came to follow the shogun's example, so that marriages between
military magnates and noble ladies of Kyoto Were frequent. To these
unions the Court nobles were impelled by financial reasons and the
military men by ambition. The result was the gradual formation of an
Imperial party and of a Bakufu party in Kyoto, and at times there
ensued sharp rivalry between the two cliques. In the days of the
seventh shogun, Ietsugu, the Emperor Reigen would have given his
daughter Yaso to be the shogun's consort for the purpose of restoring
real friendship between the two Courts, but the death of the shogun
in his boyhood interrupted the project.

THE 114TH SOVEREIGN, THE EMPEROR NAKANOMIKADO (A.D. 1710-1735)

Higashiyama abdicated (1710) in favour of Nakanomikado, who reigned
for twenty-five years. This reign is remarkable for a change in the
system hitherto uniformly pursued, namely, that all Imperial princes
with the exception of the direct heir should become Buddhist priests
(ho-shinnd), and all princesses except those chosen as consorts of
the shoguns, should become Buddhist nuns (bikuni-gosho). It has
already been shown that this custom found many followers in the days
of Ashikaga administration, and it was observed with almost equal
strictness under the Tokugawa, who certainly aimed at the gradual
weakening of the Imperial household's influence. Arai Hakuseki
remonstrated with the shogun, Ienobu, on the subject. He contended
that however humble a man's lot may be, his natural desire is to see
his children prosper, whereas in the case of Imperial princes, they
were condemned to the ascetic career of Buddhist priests. He
denounced such a system as opposed to the instincts of humanity, and
he advised not only that certain princes should be allowed to form
families of their own, but also that Imperial princesses should marry
into branches of the Tokugawa. Ienobu is said to have acknowledged
the wisdom of this advice, and its immediate result was the
establishment of the princely house of Kanin, which, with the houses
of Fushimi, Kyogoku (afterwards Katsura), and Arisugawa, became the
four Shinnoke. Among other privileges these were designated to
furnish an heir to the throne in the event of the failure of direct
issue. When Yoshimune succeeded to the headship of the Bakufu, and
after Arai Hakuseki was no longer in office, this far-seeing policy
was gradually abandoned, and all the relations between the Imperial
Court and the Bakufu became somewhat strained.

THE 115TH SOVEREIGN, THE EMPEROR SAKURAMACHI (A. D, 1732-1735), AND
THE 116TH SOVEREIGN, THE EMPEROR MOMOZONO (A.D. 1735-1762)

After the death of the ex-Emperor Reigen (1732), the Emperor
Nakanomikado administered affairs himself during three years, and
then abdicated in 1735 in favour of Sakuramachi, who was sixteen
years of age, and who reigned until 1747, when he abdicated in favour
of Momozono, then seven years of age. It was in this reign that there
appeared an eminent scholar, Yamazaki Ansai, who, with his scarcely
less famous pupil, Takenouchi Shikibu, expounded the Chinese classics
according to the interpretation of Chutsz. They sought to combine the
cults of Confucianism and Shinto, and to demonstrate that the Mikados
were descendants of gods; that everything possessed by a subject
belonged primarily to the sovereign, and that anyone opposing his
Majesty's will must be killed, though his brothers or his parents
were his slayers. The obvious effect of such doctrines was to
discredit the Bakufu shoguns, and information having ultimately been
lodged in Yedo through an enemy of Takenouchi, seventeen Court nobles
together with others were arrested and punished, some capitally and
some by exile. Among those executed the most remarkable was Yamagata
Daini, a master of military science, who, having endured the torture
without confession, was finally put to death on the ground that in
teaching the method of attacking a fortress he used drawings of Yedo
Castle. This incident is remarkable as indicating the first potent
appearance of a doctrine to the prevalence of which the fall of the
Tokugawa Bakufu was ultimately referable.

THE 117TH SOVEREIGN, THE EMPRESS GO-SAKURAMACHI (A.D. 1762-1770), AND
THE 118TH SOVEREIGN, THE EMPEROR GO-MOMOZONO (A.D. 1770-1780)

The Emperor Momozono died in 1762 after having administered the
Government for sixteen years. His eldest son, Prince Hidehito, being
a mere baby, it was decided that Princess Tomo, Momozono's elder
sister, should occupy the throne, Prince Hidehito becoming the Crown
Prince. Her Majesty is known in history as Go-Sakuramachi. Her reign
lasted only eight years, and in 1770 she abdicated in favour of her
nephew, Hidehito, who ascended the throne as the Emperor Go-Momozono
and died after a reign of nine years. This exhausted the lineal
descendants of the Emperor Nakanomikado.

THE 119TH SOVEREIGN, THE EMPEROR KOKAKU (A.D. 1780-1816)

In default of a direct heir it became necessary to have recourse to
one of the "Four Princely Families," and the choice fell upon Prince
Tomohito, representing the Kanin house. He succeeded as Kokaku, and a
Japanese historian remarks with regard to the event and to the growth
of the spirit fostered by Yamazaki Ansai, Takenouchi Shikibu, and
Yamagata Daini, that "the first string of the Meiji Restoration lyre
vibrated at this time in Japan." Kokaku's reign will be referred to
again later on.

ENGRAVING: (Keyari) SPEAR CARRIER (One of a Daimyo's Procession)

ENGRAVING: PICKING TEA LEAVES IN UJI, A CELEBRATED TEA DISTRICT



CHAPTER XLI

THE LATE PERIOD OF THE TOKUGAWA BAKUFU.

THE ELEVENTH SHOGUN, IENARI. (1786-1838)

NATURAL CALAMITIES

THE misgovernment of Tanuma and his son was not the only calamity
that befell the country during the closing years of the tenth shogun,
Ieharu's, administration. The land was also visited by famine and
pestilence of unparallelled dimensions. The evil period began in 1783
and lasted almost without intermission for four years. It is recorded
that when the famine was at its height, rice could not be obtained in
some parts of the country for less than forty ryo a koku. Sanguinary
riots took place in Yedo, Kyoto, Osaka, and elsewhere. The stores of
rice-merchants and the residences of wealthy folks were plundered
and, in many cases, destroyed. To such extremities were people driven
that cakes made from pine-tree bark served as almost the sole means
of subsistence in some districts, and the Government is found gravely
proclaiming that cakes made of straw were more nutritious. There are
records of men deserting their families, wandering into other
provinces in search of food and dying by thousands on the way. An
official who had been sent to Matsumae, in the province of Mutsu, to
observe the state of affairs, reported that the villages to the east
of Nambu had been practically depopulated and the once fertile fields
converted into barren plains. "Although farmhouses stood in the
hamlets, not a solitary person was to be seen on the road; not a
human voice was to be heard. Looking through a window, one saw dead
bodies lying without anyone to bury them, and sometimes skeletons
covered with quilts reposed on the mats, while among the weeds
countless corpses were scattered."

THE ELEVENTH SHOGUN, IENARI

Among these terrible conditions the tenth shogun, Ieharu died, in
1786, and was succeeded by Ienari, a son of Hitotsubashi Harunari and
a great-grandson of Yoshimune. Ienari was in his fifteenth year, and,
of course, at such a tender age he could not possibly deal with the
financial, economic, and administrative problems that presented
themselves at this, the darkest period of Tokugawa sway. Fortunately
a man of genius was found to grapple with the situation. Matsudaira
Sadanobu, son of Tayasu Munetake and grandson of Yoshimune, proved
himself one of the most capable administrators Japan had hitherto
produced. In 1788, he was appointed prime minister, assisted by a
council of State comprising the heads of the three Tokugawa families
of Mito, Kii, and Owari. Sadanobu was in his thirtieth year, a man of
boundless energy, great insight, and unflinching courage. His first
step was to exorcise the spectre of famine by which the nation was
obsessed. For that purpose he issued rules with regard to the storing
of grain, and as fairly good harvests were reaped during the next few
years, confidence was in a measure restored. The men who served the
Bakufu during its middle period in the capacity of ministers had been
taken almost entirely from the families of Ii, Sakai, and Hotta, but
none of them had shown any marked ability; they had allowed their
functions to be usurped by the personal attendants of the shogun.
This abuse was remedied by the appointment of the heads of the three
Tokugawa families to the post of ministers, and for a time Sadanobu
received loyal and efficient support from his colleagues.

CONFLAGRATION IN KYOTO

The series of calamities which commenced with the tempests, floods,
and famines of 1788 culminated in a fire such as never previously had
swept Kyoto.



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