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All the
chieftains who led the expedition from Kyushu were subsequently
designated Tenshin--a term which may be conveniently rendered "Kami
of the descent"--and all those who, like Nigihayahi, had previously
been in occupation of the country, were styled kum-tsu-Kami,
or "territorial Kami." Another method of distinguishing was
to include the former in the Kwobetsu and the latter in the
Shimbetsu--distinctions which will be more fully explained
hereafter--and after apotheosis the members of these two classes
became respectively "deities of heaven" and "deities of earth," a
distinction possessing historical rather than qualificatory force.

As for subdivisions, the head of a Kwobetsu family had the title of
omi (grandee) and the head of a Shimbetsu family that of muraji
(chief). Thus, the organization of the State depended primarily on
the principle of ancestor worship. The sceptre descended by divine
right without any regard to its holder's competence, while the
administrative posts were filled by men of the same race with a
similar hereditary title. Aliens like the Yezo, the Tsuchi-gumo, and
the Kumaso were either exterminated or made slaves (nuhi).

THE TERM "YAMATO"

As to the term "Yamato," it appears that, in the earliest times, the
whole country now called Japan was known as Yamato, and that
subsequently the designation became restricted to the province which
became the seat of government. The Chinese, when they first took
cognizance of the islands lying on their east, seem to have applied
the name Wado--pronounced "Yamato" by the Japanese--to the tribes
inhabiting the western shores of Japan, namely, the Kumaso or the
Tsuchi-gumo, and in writing the word they used ideographs conveying a
sense of contempt. The Japanese, not unnaturally, changed these
ideographs to others having the same sounds but signifying "great
peace." At a later time the Chinese or the Koreans began to designate
these eastern islands, Jih-pen, or "Sunrise Island," a term which, in
the fifteenth century, was perverted by the Dutch into Japan.

THE FIRST NINE EMPERORS

In attempting to construct coherent annals out of the somewhat
fragmentary Japanese histories of remote ages, the student is
immediately confronted by chronological difficulties. Apart from the
broad fact that the average age of the first seventeen Emperors from
Jimmu downwards is 109 years, while the average age of the next
seventeen is only sixty-one and a half years, there are
irreconcilable discrepancies in some of the dates themselves. Thus,
according to the Records, the eighth Emperor, Kogen, died at
fifty-seven, but according to the Chronicles he ascended the throne
at fifty-nine and reigned fifty-six years. Again, whereas the ninth
sovereign, Kaikwa, is by the Records given a life of only sixty-three
years, the Chronicles make him assume the sceptre at fifty-one and
wield it for fifty-nine years. Such conflicts of evidence are fatal
to confidence. Nor do they disappear wholly until the beginning of
the fifth century, at which time, moreover, the incidents of Japanese
history receive their first confirmation from the history of China
and Korea.

It is therefore not extravagant to conclude that the first ten and a
half centuries covered by Japanese annals must be regarded as
prehistoric. On the other hand, the incidents attributed to this long
interval are not by any means of such a nature as to suggest
deliberate fabrication. An annalist who was also a courtier, applying
himself to construct the story of his sovereign's ancestors, would
naturally be disposed to embellish his pages with narratives of great
exploits and brilliant achievements. Neither the Records nor the
Chronicles can be said to display such a propensity in any marked
degree. The Chronicles do, indeed, draw upon the resources of Chinese
history to construct ethical codes and scholarly diction for their
Imperial figures, but the Records show no traces of adventitious
colour nor make an attempt to minimize the evil and magnify the good.

Thus, while it is evident that to consolidate Jimmu's conquest and to
establish order among the heterogeneous elements of his empire he
must have been followed by rulers of character and prowess, the
annals show nothing of the kind. On the contrary, the reigns of his
eight immediate successors are barren of all striking incident. The
closing chapter of Jimmu himself is devoted chiefly to his amours,
and the opening page in the life of his immediate successor, Suisei,
shows that the latter reached the throne by assassinating his elder
brother. For the rest, the annals of the eight sovereigns who reigned
during the interval between 561 and 98 B.C. recount mainly the
polygamous habits of these rulers and give long genealogies of the
noble families founded by their offspring--a dearth of romance which
bears strong witness to the self-restraint of the compilers. We learn
incidentally that on his accession each sovereign changed the site of
his palace, seldom passing, however, beyond the limits of the
province of Yamato, and we learn, also, that the principle of
primogeniture, though generally observed, was often violated.

HSU FUH

A Japanese tradition assigns to the seventy-second year of the reign
of Korei the advent of a Chinese Taoist, by name Hsu Fuh. Korei,
seventh in descent from Jimmu, held the sceptre from 290 to 215 B.C.,
and the seventy-second year of his reign fell, therefore, in 219 B.C.
Now, to the east of the town of Shingu in Kii province, at a place on
the seashore in the vicinity of the site of an ancient castle, there
stands a tomb bearing the inscription "Grave of Hsu Fuh from China,"
and near it are seven tumuli said to be the burial-places of Hsu's
companions. Chinese history states that Hsu Fuh was a learned man who
served the first Emperor of the Chin dynasty (255-206 B.C.), and that
he obtained his sovereign's permission to sail to the islands of the
east in search of the elixir of life. Setting out from Yentai (the
present Chefoo) in his native province of Shantung, Hsu landed at
Kumano in the Kii promontory, and failing to find the elixir,
preferred to pass his life in Japan rather than to return
unsuccessful to the Court of the tyranical Chin sovereign, burner of
the books and builder of the Great Wall. A poem composed in the Sung
dynasty (A.D. 960-1280) says that when Hsu Fuh set out, the books had
not been burned, and that a hundred volumes thus survived in his
keeping. Of course, the date assigned by Japanese tradition to the
coming of Hsu may have been adapted to Chinese history, and it
therefore furnishes no evidence as to the accuracy of the Chronicles'
chronology. But the existence of the tomb may be regarded as proving
that some communication took place between China and Japan at that
remote epoch.*

*The route taken by Hsu Fuh namely, from Chefoo down the China Sea
and round the south of Japan is difficult to understand.

THE TENTH EMPEROR, SUJIN

The reign of this sovereign (97-30 B.C.) is the first eventful period
since the death of Jimmu. It is memorable for the reorganization of
religious rites; for the extension of the effective sway of the
Throne, and for the encouragement of agriculture. When the first
Emperor installed the sacred insignia in the palace where he himself
dwelt, the instinct of filial piety and the principle of ancestor
worship were scarcely distinguishable. But as time passed and as the
age of the Kami became more remote, a feeling of awe began to pervade
the rites more strongly than a sense of family affection, and the
idea of residing and worshipping in the same place assumed a
character of sacrilege. This may have been directly suggested by a
pestilence which, decimating the nation, was interpreted as implying
the need of greater purity. A replica of the sacred mirror was
manufactured, and the grandson of the great worker in metal
Mahitotsu, the "One-eyed" was ordered to forge an imitation of the
sacred sword. These imitations, together with the sacred jewel, were
kept in the palace, but the originals were transferred to Kasanui in
Yamato, where a shrine for the worship of the Sun goddess had been
built. But though the pestilence was stayed, it brought an aftermath
of lawlessness and produced much unrest in the regions remote from
Yamato. Sujin therefore organized a great military movement, the
campaign of the Shido shogun, or "Generalissimo of the four
Circuits."*

*The term "do" indicates a group of provinces.

The leaders chosen for this task were all members of the Imperial
family--a great-uncle, an uncle, a younger brother, and a first
cousin of the Emperor--and the fields of operation assigned to them
were: first, to the west along the northern shore of the Inland Sea;
secondly, to the northwest into Tamba, Tango, and Tajima; thirdly, to
the north along the sea of Japan, and finally to the east along the
route now known as the Tokaido. No attempt is made by the writers of
either the Records or the Chronicles to describe the preparations for
this extensive campaign. Tradition seems to have preserved the bare
fact only.

One interesting interlude is described, however. Before the first
body of troops had passed beyond range of easy communication with
Mizugaki in Yamato, where the Court resided, the prince in command
heard a girl singing by the wayside, and the burden of her song
seemed to imply that, while foes at home menaced the capital, foes
abroad should not be attacked. The prince, halting his forces,
returned to Mizugaki to take counsel, and the Emperor's aunt
interpreted the song to signify that his Majesty's half-brother,
Haniyasu, who governed the adjacent province of Yamato, was plotting
treason. Then all the troops having been recalled, preparations to
guard the capital were made, and soon afterwards, news came that
Haniyasu, at the head of an army, was advancing from the direction of
Yamashiro, while his wife, Ata, was leading another force from Osaka,
the plan being to unite the two armies for the attack on Yamato. The
Emperor's generals at once assumed the offensive.



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