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During a short period (645-670) the
authority of the Throne was reasserted, owing to the adoption of the
Tang systems of China; but thereafter the great Fujiwara-uji became
paramount and practically administered the empire.

For the sake, therefore, of an intelligent sequence of conception,
there is evidently much importance in determining whether, in remote
antiquity, the prevailing system was feudal, or prefectural, or a
mixture of both. Unfortunately the materials for accurate
differentiation are wanting. Much depends on a knowledge of the
functions discharged by the kuni-no-miyatsuko, who were hereditary
officials, and the kuni-no-tsukasa (or kokushi) who were appointed by
the Throne. The closest research fails to elucidate these things with
absolute clearness. It is not known even at what date the office of
kokushi was established. The first mention of these officials is made
in the year A.D. 374, during the reign of Nintoku, but there can be
little doubt that they had existed from an earlier date. They were,
however, few in number, whereas the miyatsuko were numerous, and this
comparison probably furnishes a tolerably just basis for estimating
the respective prevalence of the prefectural and the feudal systems.
In short, the method of government inaugurated at the foundation of
the empire appears to have been essentially feudal in practice,
though theoretically no such term was recognized; and at a later
period--apparently about the time of Nintoku--when the power of the
hereditary miyatsuko threatened to grow inconveniently formidable,
the device of reasserting the Throne's authority by appointing
temporary provincial governors was resorted to, so that the
prefectural organization came into existence side by side with the
feudal, and the administration preserved this dual form until the
middle of the seventh century. There will be occasion to refer to the
matter again at a later date.

ANNALS OF THE UJI

It is essential to an intelligent appreciation of Japanese history
that some knowledge should be acquired of the annals of the great
uji.

From the time of Nintoku (A.D. 313-399) until the introduction of
Buddhism (A.D. 552), there were four uji whose chiefs participated
conspicuously in the government of the country. The first was that of
Heguri. It belonged to the Imperial class (Kwobetsu) and was
descended from the celebrated Takenouchi-no-Sukune. In the days of
the Emperor Muretsu (499-506), the chief of this uji attempted to
usurp the throne and was crushed. The second was the Otomo. This uji
belonged to the Kami class (Shimbetsu) and had for ancestor Michi no
Omi, the most distinguished general in the service of the first
Emperor Jimmu. The chiefs of the Otomo-uji filled the post of general
from age to age, and its members guarded the palace gates. During the
reign of Yuryaku the office of o-muraji was bestowed upon Moroya,
then chief of this uji, and the influence he wielded may be inferred
from the language of an Imperial rescript where it is said that "the
tami-be of the o-muraji fill the country." His son, Kanamura,
succeeded him. By his sword the rebellion of Heguri no Matori was
quelled, and by his advice Keitai was called to the Throne. He served
also under Ankan, Senkwa, and Kimmei, but the miscarriage of Japan's
relations with Korea was attributed to him, and the title of o-muraji
was not conferred on any of his descendants.

The uji of Mononobe next calls for notice. "Monono-be" literally
signifies, when expanded, a group (be) of soldiers (tsuwamono). In
later times a warrior in Japan was called mono-no-fu (or bushi),
which is written with the ideographs mono-be. This uji also belonged
to the Kami class, and its progenitor was Umashimade, who surrendered
Yamato to Jimmu on the ground of consanguinity. Thenceforth the
members of the uji formed the Imperial guards (uchi-tsu-mononobe) and
its chiefs commanded them. Among all the uji of the Kami class the
Mononobe and the Otomo ranked first, and after the latter's failure
in connexion with Korea, the Mononobe stood alone. During the reign
of Yuryaku, the uji's chief became o-muraji, as did his grandson,
Okoshi, and the latter's son, Moriya, was destroyed by the o-omi,
Soga no Umako, in the tumult on the accession of Sushun (A.D. 588).

The fourth of the great uji was the Soga, descended from
Takenouchi-no-Sukune. After the ruin of the Heguri, this uji stood at
the head of all the Imperial class. In the reign of Senkwa (536-539),
Iname, chief of the Soga, was appointed o-omi, and his son, Umako,
who held the same rank, occupies an important place in connexion with
the introduction of Buddhism. It will be observed that among these
four uji, Heguri and Soga served as civil officials and Otomo and
Mononobe as military.

There are also three other uji which figure prominently on the stage
of Japanese history. They are the Nakotomi, the Imibe, and the Kume.
The Nakatomi discharged the functions of religious supplication and
divination, standing, for those purposes, between (Naka) the Throne
and the deities. The Imibe had charge of everything relating to
religious festivals; an office which required that they should
abstain (imi suru) from all things unclean. The Kume were descended
from Amatsu Kume no Mikoto, and their duties were to act as
chamberlains and as guards of the Court.

Finally, there was the Oga-uji, descended from Okuninushi, which
makes the eighth of the great uji. From the time of the Emperor Jimmu
to that of the Empress Suiko (A.D. 593-628), the nobles who served in
ministerial capacities numbered forty and of that total the Mononobe
furnished sixteen; the Otomo, six; the o-omi houses (i.e. the
Kwobetsu), nine; the Imibe, one; the Nakatomi, six; and the Oga, two.
Thus, the military uji of Mononobe and Otomo gave to the State
twenty-two ministers out of forty during a space of some twelve
centuries.

ENGRAVING: PROFESSIONAL STORY-TELLER

ENGRAVING: SHIGURETEI AND KASA-NO-CHAYA IN THE KODAIJI (Examples of
Ancient Tea Houses)



CHAPTER XIV

FROM THE 29TH TO THE 35TH SOVEREIGN

The 29th Sovereign, Kimmei A.D. 540-571

" 30th " Bidatsu " 572-585

" 31st " Yomei " 586-587

" 32nd " Sushun " 588-592

" 33rd " Suiko " 593-628

" 34th " Jomei " 629-641

" 35th " Kogyoku " 642-645

THE seven reigns five Emperors and two Empresses commencing with the
Emperor Kimmei and ending with the Empress Kogyoku, covered a period
of 105 years, from 540 to 645, and are memorable on three accounts:
the introduction of Buddhism; the usurpation of the great uji, and
the loss of Japan's possessions in Korea.

THE INTRODUCTION OF BUDDHISM

During the reign of the Emperor Ming of the Hou-Han dynasty, in the
year AD. 65, a mission was sent from China to procure the Buddhist
Sutras as well as some teachers of the Indian faith. More than three
centuries elapsed before, in the year 372, the creed obtained a
footing in Korea; and not for another century and a half did it find
its way (522) to Japan. It encountered no obstacles in Korea. The
animistic belief of the early Koreans has never been clearly studied,
but whatever its exact nature may have been, it certainly evinced no
bigotry in the presence of the foreign faith, for within three years
of the arrival of the first image of Sakiya Muni in Koma, two large
monasteries had been built, and the King and his Court were all
converts.

No such reception awaited Buddhism in Japan when, in 522, a Chinese
bonze, Shiba Tachito, arrived, erected a temple on the Sakata plain
in Yamato, enshrined an image, of Buddha there, and endeavoured to
propagate the faith. At that time, Wu, the first Emperor of the Liang
dynasty in China, was employing all his influence to popularize the
Indian creed. Tradition says that Shiba Tachito came from Liang, and
in all probability he took the overland route via the Korean
peninsula, but the facts are obscure. No sensible impression seems to
have been produced in Japan by this essay. Buddhism was made known to
a few, but the Japanese showed no disposition to worship a foreign
god. Twenty-three years later (545), the subject attracted attention
again. Song Wang Myong, King of Kudara, menaced by a crushing attack
on the part of Koma and Shiragi in co-operation, made an image of the
Buddha, sixteen feet high, and petitioned the Court of Yamato in the
sense that as all good things were promised in the sequel of such an
effort, protection should be extended to him by Japan. Tradition says
that although Buddhism had not yet secured a footing in Yamato, this
image must be regarded as the pioneer of many similar objects
subsequently set up in Japanese temples.

Nevertheless, A.D. 552 is usually spoken of as the date of Buddhism's
introduction into Japan. In that year the same King of Kudara
presented direct to the Yamato Court a copper image of Buddha plated
with gold; several canopies (tengai), and some volumes of the sacred
books, by the hands of Tori Shichi (Korean pronunciation, Nori
Sachhi) and others. The envoys carried also a memorial which said:
"This doctrine is, among all, most excellent. But it is difficult to
explain and difficult to understand. Even the Duke Chou and Confucius
did not attain to comprehension. It can produce fortune and
retribution, immeasurable, illimitable. It can transform a man into a
Bodhi. Imagine a treasure capable of satisfying all desires in
proportion as it is used. Such a treasure is this wonderful doctrine.
Every earnest supplication is fulfilled and nothing is wanting.
Moreover, from farthest India to the three Han, all have embraced the
doctrine, and there is none that does not receive it with reverence
wherever it is preached. Therefore thy servant, Myong, in all
sincerity, sends his retainer, Nori Sachhi, to transmit it to the
Imperial country, that it may be diffused abroad throughout the home
provinces,* so as to fulfil the recorded saying of the Buddha, 'My
law shall spread to the East.'"** It is highly probable that in the
effort to win the Yamato Court to Buddhism, King Myong was influenced
as much by political as by moral motives.



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