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The craft was
then brought round by sea to Naniwa, "where it was enrolled among the
Imperial vessels." Evidently from the days of Ojin and the Karano a
fleet formed part of the Imperial possessions. This two-forked boat
figures in the reign of Nintoku's successor, Richu, when the latter
and his concubine went on board and feasted separately, each in one
fork.

*This term, "provincial governor," appears now for the first time
written with the ideographs "kokushi." Hitherto it has been written
"kuni-no-miyatsuko." Much is heard of the koushi in later times. They
are the embryo of the daimyo, the central figures of military
feudalism.

THE FAMILY OF TAKENOUCHI-NO-SUKUNE

For the better understanding of Japanese history at this stage, a
word must be said about a family of nobles (sukune) who, from the
days of Nintoku, exercised potent sway in the councils of State.
It will have been observed that, in the annals of the Emperor
Keiko's reign, prominence is given to an official designated
Takenouchi-no-Sukune, who thereafter seems to have served sovereign
after sovereign until his death in the year 368, when he must have
been from two hundred to three hundred years old. This chronological
difficulty has provoked much scepticism. Dr. Kume, an eminent
Japanese historian, explains, however, that Takenouchi was the name
not of a person but of a family, and that it was borne by different
scions in succeeding reigns. The first was a grandson of the Emperor
Kogen (B.C. 214-158), and the representatives of the family in
Nintoku's era had seven sons, all possessing the title sukune. They
were Hata no Yashiro, Koze no Ogara, Soga no Ishikawa, Heguri no
Tsuku, Ki no Tsunu, Katsuragi no Sotsu, and Wakugo.

From these were descended the five uji of Koze, Soga, Heguri, Ki, and
Katsuragi. Although its founder was an Emperor's grandson and
therefore entitled to be called "Imperial Prince" (O), the family
connexion with the Throne naturally became more remote as time
passed, and from the reign of Ojin we find its members classed among
subjects. Nevertheless, the Empress Iwa, whose jealousy harrassed
Nintoku so greatly, was a daughter of Katsuragi no Sotsu, and, as
with the sole exception of the Emperor Shomu, every occupant of the
throne had taken for his Empress a lady of Imperial blood, it may be
assumed that the relationship between the Imperial and the Takenouchi
families was recognized at that time. The roles which the five uji
mentioned above acted in subsequent history deserve to be studied,
and will therefore be briefly set down here.

THE KOZE-UJI

This uji had for founder Koze no Ogara. The representative of the
fourth generation, Koze no Ohito, held the post of o-omi during the
reign of the Emperor Keitai (A.D. 507-531), and his great-grandson
was minister of the Left under Kotoku (A.D. 545-654). Thereafter, the
heads of the uji occupied prominent positions under successive
sovereigns.

THE SOGA-UJI

Soga no Ishikawa founded this uji. His son, Machi, shared the
administrative power with Heguri no Tsuku in the reign of Richu (A.D.
400-405), and Machi's great-grandson, Iname, immortalized himself by
promoting the introduction of Buddhism in the reign of Kimmei (A.D.
540-571). Iname's son, Umako, and the latter's son, Yemishi, will be
much heard of hereafter. No family, indeed, affected the course of
Japanese history in early days more than did the Soga-uji.

THE HEGURI-UJI

During the reign of the Emperor Richu (A.D. 400-405), Heguri no
Tsuku, founder of this uji, shared in the administration with Soga no
Machi. His son, Heguri no Matori, was minister under Yuryaku (A.D.
457-459), and the fate which he and his son, Shibi, brought upon
their family is one of the salient incidents of Japanese history.

THE KI-UJI

The representatives of this uji, from the days of its founder, Ki
no Tsunu, took a prominent share in the empire's foreign affairs,
but served also in the capacity of provincial governor and
commander-in-chief.

THE KATSURAGI-UJI

Nintoku's Empress, Iwa, was a daughter of the ancestor of this uji,
Katsuragi no Sotsu, and the latter's great-granddaughter, Hae, was
the mother of two sovereigns, Kenso (A.D. 485-487) and Ninken (A.D.
488-498).

ENGRAVING: TOBACCO PIPE AND POUCH

ENGRAVING: HINOMI YAGURA (FIRE WATCH TOWER)



CHAPTER XII

THE PROTOHISTORIC SOVEREIGNS

The 17th Sovereign, Richu A.D. 400-405

" 18th " Hansho " 406-411

" 19th " Inkyo " 412-453

" 20th " Anko " 454-456

" 21st " Yuryaku " 457-479

RICHU'S REIGN

THE prehistoric era may be said to terminate with the accession of
Richu. Thenceforth the lives and reigns of successive sovereigns
cease to extend to incredible lengths, and though the chronology
adopted by the writers of the Nihongi may not yet be implicitly
accepted, its general accuracy is not open to dispute. The era of the
five sovereigns standing at the head of this chapter--an era of
fifty-nine years--inherited as legacies from the immediate past: a
well-furnished treasury, a nation in the enjoyment of peace, a firmly
established throne, and a satisfactory state of foreign relations.
These comfortable conditions seem to have exercised demoralizing
influence. The bonds of discipline grew slack; fierce quarrels on
account of women involved fratricide among the princes of the blood,
and finally the life of an Emperor was sacrificed--the only instance
of such a catastrophe in Japanese history.

Immediately after Nintoku's death this evil state of affairs was
inaugurated by Prince Nakatsu, younger brother of the heir to the
throne, who had not yet assumed the sceptre. Sent by the Crown Prince
(Richu) to make arrangements for the latter's nuptials with the lady
Kuro, a daughter of the Takenouchi family, Nakatsu personified Richu,
debauched the girl, and to avoid the consequences of the act, sought
to take the life of the man he had betrayed. It does not redound to
the credit of the era that the debaucher found support and was
enabled to hold his own for a time, though his treachery ultimately
met with its merited fate. At this crisis of his life, Richu received
loyal assistance from a younger brother, and his gratitude induced
him to confer on the latter the title of Crown Prince. In thus
acting, Richu may have been influenced by the fact that the
alternative was to bequeath the throne to a baby, but none the less
he stands responsible for an innovation which greatly impaired the
stability of the succession. It should be noted, as illustrating the
influence of the Takenouchi family that, in spite of the shame she
had suffered, the lady Kuro became the Emperor's concubine. In fact,
among the four nobles who administered the affairs of the empire
during Richu's reign, not the least powerful were Heguri no Tsuku and
Soga no Machi. Moreover, Richu, as has been stated already, was a son
of Iwa, a lady of the same great family, and his two successors,
Hansho and Inkyo, were his brothers by the same mother.

MANNERS AND CUSTOMS

The annals of Richu's reign confirm a principle which received its
first illustration when the Emperor Keiko put to death for parricide
the daughter of a Kumaso chief, though she had betrayed her father in
the interest of Keiko himself. Similar deference to the spirit of
loyalty led to the execution of Sashihire in the time of Richu. A
retainer of the rebellious Prince Nakatsu, Sashihire, assassinated
that prince at the instance of Prince Mizuha, who promised large
reward. But after the deed had been accomplished, Heguri no Tsuku
advised his nephew, Mizuha, saying, "Sashihire has killed his own
lord for the sake of another, and although for us he has done a great
service, yet towards his own lord his conduct has been heartless in
the extreme." Sashihire was therefore put to death. That this
principle was always observed in Japan cannot be asserted, but that
it was always respected is certain.

In Richu's reign there is found the first clear proof that tattooing
was not practised in Japan for ornamental purposes. Tattooing is
first mentioned as a custom of the Yemishi when their country was
inspected by Takenouchi at Keiko's orders. But in Richu's time it was
employed to punish the muraji of Atsumi, who had joined the rebellion
of Prince Nakatsu. He was "inked" on the face. It appears also that
the same practice had hitherto been employed to distinguish
horse-keepers, but the custom was finally abandoned in deference to
an alleged revelation from Izanagi, the deity of Awaji, on the
occasion of a visit by Richu to that island. In the context of this
revelation it is noticeable that belief in the malign influence of
offended deities was gaining ground. Thus, on the occasion of the
sudden death of Princess Kuro, the voice of the wind was heard to
utter mysterious words in the "great void" immediately before the
coming of a messenger to announce the event, and the Emperor
attributed the calamity to the misconduct of an official who had
removed certain persons from serving at a shrine.

The annals of this reign are noteworthy as containing the earliest
reference to the compilation of books. It is stated that in the year
A.D. 403 "local recorders were appointed for the first time in the
various provinces, who noted down statements and communicated the
writings of the four quarters." An eminent critic--Mr. W. G.
Aston--regards this as an anachronism, since the coming of the Korean
scholar, Wani (vide sup.), did not take place until the year 405,
which date probably preceded by many years the appointment of
recorders. But it has been shown above that the innovation due to
Wani was, not the art of writing, but, in all probability, a
knowledge of the Chinese classics.

Another institution established during this era was a treasury (A.D.
405), and the two learned Koreans who had come from Paikche (Kudara)
were appointed to keep the accounts. A work of later date than the
Chronicles or Records--the Shokuin-rei--says that in this treasury
were stored "gold and silver, jewels, precious utensils, brocade and
satin, saicenet, rugs and mattresses, and the rare objects sent as
tribute by the various barbarians."

HANSHO

The Emperor Hansho's short reign of five years is not remarkable for
anything except an indirect evidence that Chinese customs were
beginning to be adopted at the Japanese Court.



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