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Disappointed in this
aspiration, Harunari, after some hesitation, invited the attention of
the shogun to the fact that filial piety is the basis of all moral
virtues, and that, whereas the shogun's duty required him to set a
good example to the people, he subjected his own father to unbecoming
humiliation, Ienari referred the matter to the State council, but the
councillors hesitated to establish the precedent of conferring the
rank of o-gosho on the head of one of the Sankyo families--Tayasu,
Shimizu, and Hitotsubashi--who had never discharged the duties of
shogun.

The prime minister, Sadanobu, however, had not a moment's hesitation
in opposing Harunari's project. He did, indeed, order a well-known
Confucian scholar to search the annals in order to find whether any
precedent existed for the proposed procedure, either in Japan or in
China, but he himself declared that if such an example were set in
the shogun's family, it might be the cause of grave inconvenience
among the people. In other words, a man whose son had been adopted
into another family might claim to be regarded as the head of that
family in the event of the death of the foster-father. It is certain,
however, that other and stronger reasons influenced the Bakufu prime
minister. Hitotsubashi Harunari was generally known as Wagamama
Irikyo (the Wayward Recluse*). His most intimate friends were the
shogun's father-in-law, Shimazu Ei-O, and Ikeda Isshinsai. The latter
two were also inkyo and shared the tastes and foibles of Harunari.
One of their greatest pleasures was to startle society. Thus, when
Sadanobu was legislating with infinite care against prodigality of
any kind, the above three old gentlemen loved to organize parties on
an ostentatiously extravagant scale, and Sadanobu naturally shrank
from seeing the title of o-gosho conferred on such a character, thus
investing him with competence to interfere arbitrarily in the conduct
of State affairs.

*It has always been a common custom in Japan for the head of a family
to retire nominally from active life after he attains his fiftieth
year. He is thenceforth known as inkyo (or recluse). The same is true
of women.

Just at this time, the Court in Kyoto preferred its application, and
Sadanobu at once appreciated that if the rank of dajo tenno were
conferred on Prince Tsunehito, it would be impossible to withhold
that of o-gosho from Harunari. Consequently the Bakufu prime minister
wrote privately to the Kyoto prime minister, Takatsukasa Sukehira,
pointing out the inadvisability of the proposed step. This letter,
though not actually an official communication, had the effect of
shelving the matter for a time, but, in 1791, the Emperor re-opened
the question, and summoned a council in the palace to discuss it. The
result was that sixty-five officials, headed by the prime minister
and the minister of the Right, supported the sovereign's views, but
the ex-premier, Takatsukasa Sukehira, and his son, the minister of
the Left, with a few others, opposed them.

The proceedings of this council with an autograph covering-letter
from the sovereign were sent to the Bakufu, in 1792, but for a long
time no answer was given. Meanwhile Prince Tsunehito, already an old
man, showed signs of declining health, and the Imperial Court pressed
Yedo to reply. Ultimately the Bakufu officially disapproved the
project. No statement of reasons accompanied the refusal, but it was
softened by a suggestion that an increase of revenue might be
conferred on the sovereign's father. This already sufficiently
contumelious act was supplemented by a request from the Bakufu that
the Imperial Court should send to Yedo the high secretary and the
chief of the Household. Unwillingly the Court complied, and after
hearing the arguments advanced by these two officials, Sadanobu
sentenced them to be placed in confinement for a hundred days, and
fifty days, respectively, which sentence was carried out at the
temple Seisho-ji in Yedo, and the two high officials were thereafter
sent back to Kyoto under police escort. Ultimately they were both
dismissed from office, and all the Court dignitaries who had
supported the sovereign's wishes were cautioned not to associate
themselves again with such "rash and unbecoming acts." It can
scarcely be denied that Sadanobu exercised his power in an extreme
and unwise manner on this occasion. A little recourse to tact might
have settled the matter with equal facility and without open
disrespect to the Throne. But the Bakufu prime minister behaved after
the manner of the deer-stalker of the Japanese proverb who does not
see the mountain, and he thus placed in the hands of the Imperialist
party a weapon which contributed materially to the overthrow of the
Bakufu seventy years later.

ENGRAVING: YO-MEI-MON GATE, AT NIKKO



CHAPTER XLII

ORGANIZATION, CENTRAL AND LOCAL; CURRENCY AND THE LAWS OF THE
TOKUGAWA BAKAFU

THE ORGANIZATION OF THE TOKUGAWA BAKUFU

THE organization of the Tokugawa Bakufu cannot be referred to any
earlier period than that of the third shogun, Iemitsu. The
foundations indeed were laid after the battle of Sekigahara, when the
administrative functions came into the hands of Ieyasu. By him a
shoshidai (governor) was established in Kyoto together with municipal
administrators (machi bugyo). But it was reserved for Iemitsu to
develop these initial creations into a competent and consistent
whole. There was, first, what may be regarded as a cabinet, though
the name of its members (roju, or seniors) does not suggest the
functions generally discharged by ministers of State. One of the roju
was appointed to the post of dairo (great senior). He corresponded to
the prime minister in a Western Cabinet, and the other roju may be
counted as ministers. Then there were junior ministers, and after
them came administrators of accounts, inspectors, administrators of
shrines and temples, and municipal administrators. The place where
State business was discharged went by the name of Go-Yo-beya. There,
the senior and junior ministers assembled to transact affairs, and
the chamber being situated in the immediate vicinity of the shogun's
sitting-room, he was able to keep himself au courant of important
administrative affairs. During the time of the fifth shogun, however,
as already related, this useful arrangement underwent radical
alteration. As for judicial business, there did not originally exist
any special place for its transaction. A chamber in the official
residence was temporarily assigned for the purpose, but at a later
date a court of justice (Hyojo-sho) was established at Tatsunokuchi
in Yedo. This organization, though carried within sight of completion
in the days of the third shogun, required to be supplemented by the
eighth, and was not actually perfected until the time of the
eleventh.

THE DAIRO

The duties of the dairo--sometimes called karo or o-doshiyori--were
to preside over the roju and to handle important administrative
affairs. In many respects his functions resembled those discharged by
the regent (shikken) of the Kamakura Bakufu. To the office of dairo a
specially distinguished member of the roju was appointed, and if no
one possessing the necessary qualifications was available, that post
had to be left vacant. Generally the Ii, the Hotta, or the Sakai
family supplied candidates for the office.

THE ROJU

The roju or senior ministers--called also toshiyori--discharged the
administration. They resembled the kwanryo of the Muromachi
Government. There were five of these ministers and they exercised
control over all matters relating to the Imperial palace, the palace
of the ex-Emperor (Sendo), the Imperial princes, the princely abbots
(monzeki) and all the daimyo. It was customary to choose the roju
from among officials who had previously served as governors of Osaka
or Kyoto or as soshaban, who will be presently spoken of at greater
length.

THE WAKA-DOSHIYORI

There were five junior ministers (waka-doshiyori) whose principal
functions were to exercise jurisdiction over the hatamoto and the
kenin. These latter names have already been alluded to, but for the
sake of clearness it may be well to explain that whereas the fudai
daimyo consisted of the one hundred and seventy-six barons who joined
the standard of Ieyasu before the battle of Sekigahara, the hatamoto
(bannerets), while equally direct vassals of the shogun, were lower
than the daimyo though higher than the go-kenin, who comprised the
bulk of the Tokugawa samurai. Members of the waka-doshiyori might at
any time be promoted to the post of roju. Their functions were wide
as well as numerous, and resembled those performed by the Hyojo-shu
and the hikitsuke-shu of the Kamakura and Muromachi Governments. A
junior minister must previously have occupied the post of
administrator of temples and shrines (jisha-bugyo) or that of
chamberlain (o-soba-shu) or that of chief guard (o-ban). The offices
of minister and junior minister were necessarily filled by daimyo who
were hereditary vassals of the shogun.

SECRETARIES

There were two secretariats, the oku-yuhitsu (domestic secretariat)
and the omote-yuhitsu (external secretariat). They discharged, on
account of the senior ministers, the duties of scribes, and were
presided over by a todori, who, in later days, wielded large
influence.

THE JISHA-BUGYO

The jisha-bugyo, as their name suggests, supervised all affairs
relating to shrines, temples, Shinto officials, bonzes, and nuns as
well as persons residing within the domains of shrines and temples.
They also discharged judicial functions in the case of these various
classes. The number of these administrators of shrines and temples
was originally three, but afterwards it was increased to four, who
transacted business for a month at a time in succession. The
soshaban, who were entitled to make direct reports to the shogun, had
to fill the office of jisha-bugyo in addition to their other
functions, which were connected with the management of matters
relating to ceremony and etiquette.

At first there were only two of these soshaban, but subsequently
their number was increased to twenty-four, and it became customary
for one of them to keep watch in the castle at night.



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