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There are evidences that the compilers of the Chronicles drew
largely on the pages of Korean writers, and it is not difficult to
imagine accidental intermixing such as that suggested by the critics
in this case.

KEITAI

The death of the Emperor Muretsu left the throne without any
successor in the direct line of descent, and for the first time since
the foundation of the Empire, it became necessary for the great
officials to make a selection among the scions of the remote Imperial
families. Their choice fell primarily on the representative of the
fifth generation of the Emperor Chuai's descendants. But as their
method of announcing their decision was to despatch a strong force of
armed troops to the provincial residence of the chosen man, he
naturally misinterpreted the demonstration and sought safety in
flight. Then the o-omi and the o-muraji turned to Prince Odo, fifth
in descent from the Emperor Ojin on his father's side and eighth in
descent from the Emperor Suinin on his mother's. Arako, head of the
horse-keepers, had secretly informed the prince of the ministers'
intentions, and thus the sudden apparition of a military force
inspired no alarm in Odo's bosom. He did, indeed, show seemly
hesitation, but finally he accepted the insignia and ascended the
throne, confirming all the high dignitaries of State in their
previous offices. From the point of view of domestic affairs his
reign was uneventful, but the empire's relations with Korea continued
to be much disturbed, as will be presently explained.

ANKAN

The Emperor Keitai had a large family, but only one son was by the
Empress, and as he was too young to ascend the throne immediately
after his father's death, he was preceded by his two brothers, Ankan
and Senkwa, sons of the senior concubine. This complication seems to
have caused some difficulty, for whereas Keitai died in 531, Ankan's
reign did not commence until 534. The most noteworthy feature of his
era was the establishment of State granaries in great numbers, a
proof that the Imperial power found large extension throughout the
provinces. In connexion with this, the o-muraji, Kanamura, is quoted
as having laid down, by command of the Emperor, the following
important doctrine, "Of the entire surface of the soil, there is no
part which is not a royal grant in fee; under the wide heavens there
is no place which is not royal territory." The annals show, also,
that the custom of accepting tracts of land or other property in
expiation of offences was obtaining increased vogue.

SENKWA

Senkwa was the younger brother of Ankan. He reigned only three years
and the period of his sway was uneventful, if we except the growth of
complications with Korea, and the storing of large quantities of
grain in Tsukushi, as a "provision against extraordinary occasions,"
and "for the cordial entertainment of our good guests" from "the
countries beyond the sea."

RELATIONS WITH KOREA

With whatever scepticism the details of the Empress Jingo's
expedition be regarded, it appears to be certain that at a very early
date, Japan effected lodgement on the south coast of Korea at Mimana,
and established there a permanent station (chinju-fu) which was
governed by one of her own officials. It is also apparent that,
during several centuries, the eminent military strength of Yamato
received practical recognition from the principalities into which the
peninsula was divided; that they sent to the Court of Japan annual
presents which partook of the nature of tribute, and that they
treated her suggestions, for the most part, with deferential
attention. This state of affairs received a rude shock in the days of
Yuryaku, when that sovereign, in order to possess himself of the wife
of a high official named Tasa, sent the latter to distant Mimana as
governor, and seized the lady in his absence. Tasa revolted, and from
that time Japan's position in the peninsula was compromised. The
Koreans perceived that her strength might be paralyzed by the sins of
her sovereigns and the disaffection of her soldiers. Shiragi (Sinra),
whose frontier was conterminous with that of the Japanese settlement
on the north, had always been restive in the proximity of a foreign
aggressor. From the time of Yuryaku's accession she ceased to convey
the usual tokens of respect to the Yamato Court, and, on the other
hand, she cultivated the friendship of Koma as an ally in the day of
retribution.

It may be broadly stated that Korea was then divided into three
principalities: Shiragi in the south and east; Kudara in the centre
and west, with its capital at the modern Seoul, and Koma in the
north, having Pyong-yang for chief city. This last had recently
pushed its frontier into Manchuria as far as the Liao River, and was
already beginning to project its shadow over the southern regions of
the peninsula, destined ultimately to fall altogether under its sway.
In response to Shiragi's overtures, the King of Koma sent a body of
troops to assist in protecting that principality against any
retaliatory essay on the part of the Japanese in Mimana. But the men
of Shiragi, betrayed into imagining that these soldiers were destined
to be the van of an invading army, massacred them, and besought
Japanese succour against Koma's vengeance. The Japanese acceded, and
Shiragi was saved for a time, but at the cost of incurring, for
herself and for Japan alike, the lasting enmity of Koma. Shiragi
appears to have concluded, however, that she had more to fear from
Koma than from Japan, for she still withheld her tribute to the
latter, and invaded the territory of Kudara, which had always
maintained most friendly relations with Yamato. The Emperor Yuryaku
sent two expeditions to punish this contumacy, but the result being
inconclusive, he resolved to take the exceptional step of personally
leading an army to the peninsula.

This design, which, had it matured, might have radically changed the
history of the Far East, was checked by an oracle, and Yuryaku
appointed three of his powerful nobles to go in his stead. The
Shiragi men fought with desperate tenacity. One wing of their army
was broken, but the other held its ground, and two of the Japanese
generals fell in essaying to dislodge it. Neither side could claim a
decisive victory, but both were too much exhausted to renew the
combat. This was not the limit of Japan's misfortunes. A feud broke
out among the leaders of the expedition, and one of them, Oiwa, shot
his comrade as they were en route for the Court of the Kudara
monarch, who had invited them in the hope of composing their
dissensions, since the existence of his own kingdom depended on
Japan's intervention between Koma and Shiragi.

Owing to this feud among her generals, Japan's hold on Mimana became
more precarious than ever while her prestige in the peninsula
declined perceptibly. Nevertheless her great military name still
retained much of its potency. Thus, ten years later (A.D. 477), when
the King of Koma invaded Kudara and held the land at his mercy, he
declined to follow his generals' counsels of extermination in
deference to Kudara's long friendship with Yamato. It is related
that, after this disaster, the Japanese Emperor gave the town of
Ung-chhon (Japanese, Kumanari) to the remnant of the Kudara people,
and the latter's capital was then transferred from its old site in
the centre of the peninsula--a place no longer tenable--to the
neighbourhood of Mimana. Thenceforth Yuryaku aided Kudara zealously.
He not only despatched a force of five hundred men to guard the
palace of the King, but also sent (480) a flotilla of war-vessels to
attack Koma from the west coast. The issue of this attempt is not
recorded, and the silence of the annals may be construed as
indicating failure. Koma maintained at that epoch relations of
intimate friendship with the powerful Chinese dynasty of the Eastern
Wei, and Yuryaku's essays against such a combination were futile,
though he prosecuted them with considerable vigour.

After his death the efficiency of Japan's operations in Korea was
greatly impaired by factors hitherto happily unknown in her foreign
affairs--treason and corruption. Lord Oiwa, whose shooting of his
fellow general, Karako, has already been noted, retained his post as
governor of Mimana for twenty-one years, and then (487), ambitious of
wider sway, opened relations with Koma for the joint invasion of
Kudara, in order that he himself might ascend the throne of the
latter. A desperate struggle ensued. Several battles were fought, in
all of which the victory is historically assigned to Oiwa, but if he
really did achieve any success, it was purely ephemeral, for he
ultimately abandoned the campaign and returned to Japan, giving
another shock to his country's waning reputation in the peninsula. If
the Yamato Court took any steps to punish this act of lawless
ambition, there is no record in that sense. The event occurred in the
last year of Kenso's reign, and neither that monarch nor his
successor, Ninken, seems to have devoted any special attention to
Korean affairs.

Nothing notable took place until 509, when Keitai was on the throne.
In that year, a section of the Kudara people, who, in 477, had been
driven from their country by the Koma invaders and had taken refuge
within the Japanese dominion of Mimana, were restored to their homes
with Japanese co-operation and with renewal of the friendly relations
which had long existed between the Courts of Yamato and Kudara. Three
years later (512), Kudara preferred a singular request. She asked
that four regions, forming an integral part of the Yamato domain of
Mimana, should be handed over to her, apparently as an act of pure
benevolence. Japan consented. There is no explanation of her
complaisance except that she deemed it wise policy to strengthen
Kudara against the growing might of Shiragi, Yamato's perennial foe.
The two officials by whose advice the throne made this sacrifice were
the o-muraji, Kanamura, and the governor of Mimana, an omi called
Oshiyama. They went down in the pages of history as corrupt statesmen
who, in consideration of bribes from the Kudara Court, surrendered
territory which Japan had won by force of arms and held for five
centuries.

In the following year (513) the Kudara Court again utilized the
services of Oshiyama to procure possession of another district, Imun
(Japanese, Komom), which lay on the northeast frontier of Mimana.
Kudara falsely represented that this region had been wrested from her
by Habe, one of the petty principalities in the peninsula, and the
Yamato Court, acting at the counsels of the same o-muraji (Kanamura)
who had previously espoused Kudara's cause, credited Kudara's story.
This proved an ill-judged policy.



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