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585) no nomination of a Prince
Imperial had taken place, and the feud known to exist between the
o-omi and the o-muraji increased the danger of the situation. The
following genealogical table will serve to elucidate the relation in
which the Soga-uji stood to the Imperial Family, as well as the
relation between the members of the latter:

\
| Prince Shotoku******
/ Emperor Yomei** > (married to a daughter
/ \ | (originally Prince Oe)| of Soga no Umako)
|Princess Kitashi| | /
|(consort of >< Empress Suiko*****
|Emperor Kimmei* | | (originally consort
| / | of Emperor Bidatsu***
Soga | \
no <
Iname | \ /
|Oane-kimi | | Prince Anahobe*******
|(consort of ><
|Emperor Kimmei) | | Emperor Sushun****
| / \
|
|Omako-Emishi-Iruka
\

*The Emperor Kimmei was the elder brother-in-law of Soga no Umako.
**The Emperor Yomei was the nephew of Soga no Umako.
***The Emperor Bidatsu was a nephew of Umako.
****The Emperor Sushun was a nephew of Umako.
*****The Empress Suiko was a niece of Umako.
******Prince Shotoku was son-in-law of Umako.
*******Prince Anahobe was a nephew of Umako.

It is thus seen that the great uji of Soga was closely related to all
the Imperial personages who figured prominently on the stage at this
period of Japanese history.

THE EMPEROR YOMEI

The Emperor Yomei was the fourth son of the Emperor Kimmei and a
nephew of the o-omi, Umako. The Chronicles say that he "believed in
the law of Buddha and reverenced Shinto" which term now makes its
first appearance on the page of Japanese history, the Kami alone
having been spoken of hitherto. Yomei's accession was opposed by his
younger brother, Prince Anahobe (vide above genealogical table), who
had the support of the o-muraji, Moriya; but the Soga influence was
exerted in Yomei's behalf. Anahobe did not suffer his discomfiture
patiently. He attempted to procure admission to the mourning chamber
of the deceased Emperor for some unexplained purpose, and being
resisted by Miwa Sako, who commanded the palace guards, he laid a
formal complaint before the o-omi and the o-muraji. In the sequel
Sako was killed by the troops of the o-muraji, though he merited
rather the latter's protection as a brave soldier who had merely done
his duty, who opposed Buddhism, and who enjoyed the confidence of the
Empress Dowager. To Umako, predicting that this deed of undeserved
violence would prove the beginning of serious trouble, Moriya
insultingly retorted that small-minded men did not understand such
matters. Moriya's mind was of the rough military type. He did not
fathom the subtle unscrupulous intellect of an adversary like Umako,
and was destined to learn the truth by a bitter process.

SHOTOKU TAISHI

Umayado, eldest son of the Emperor Yomei, is one of the most
distinguished figures in the annals of Japan. He has been well called
"the Constantine of Buddhism." In proof of his extraordinary
sagacity, the Chronicles relate that in a lawsuit he could hear the
evidence of ten men without confusing them. From his earliest youth
he evinced a remarkable disposition for study. A learned man was
invited from China to teach him the classics, and priests were
brought from Koma to expound the doctrine of Buddhism, in which faith
he ultimately became a profound believer. In fact, to his influence,
more than to any other single factor, may be ascribed the final
adoption of the Indian creed by Japan. He never actually ascended the
throne, but as regent under the Empress Suiko he wielded Imperial
authority. In history he is known as Shotoku Taishi (Prince Shotoku).

FINAL STRUGGLE BETWEEN THE MONONOBE AND THE SOGA

In the second year of his reign, the Emperor Yomei was seized with
the malady which had killed his father. In his extremity he desired
to be received into the Buddhist faith to which he had always
inclined, and he ordered the leading officials to consider the
matter. A council was held. Moriya, o-muraji of the Mononobe, and
Katsumi, muraji of the Nakatomi, objected resolutely. They asked why
the Kami of the country should be abandoned in a moment of crisis.
But Umako, o-omi of the Soga, said: "It is our duty to obey the
Imperial commands and to give relief to his Majesty. Who will dare to
suggest contumely?" Buddhist priests were then summoned to the
palace. It was a moment of extreme tension. Prince Umayado (Shotoku)
grasped the hands of the o-omi and exclaimed, "If the minister had
not believed in Buddhism, who would have ventured to give such
counsel?" Umako's answer is said to have been: "Your Imperial
Highness will work for the propagation of the faith. I, a humble
subject, will maintain it to the death." Moriya, the o-muraji, made
no attempt to hide his resentment, but recognizing that his adherents
in the palace were comparatively few, he withdrew to a safe place and
there concentrated his forces, endeavouring, at the same time, to
enlist by magic rites the assistance of the Kami against the
disciples of the foreign faith. Meanwhile the Emperor's malady ended
fatally. His reign had lasted only one year. At the point of death he
was comforted by an assurance that the son of Shiba Tachito would
renounce the world to revere his Majesty's memory and would make an
image of the Buddha sixteen feet high.

Buddhism had now gained a firm footing at the Yamato Court, but its
opponents were still active. Their leader, the o-muraji, thought that
his best chance of success was to contrive the accession of Prince
Anahobe, whose attempt to take precedence of his elder brother, the
Emperor Yomei, has been already noted. The conspiracy was discovered,
and the Soga forces, acting under the nominal authority of the
deceased Emperor's consort, Umako's niece, moved against Anahobe and
Moriya, who had not been able to combine their strength. The
destruction of Prince Anahobe was easily effected, but the work of
dealing with the o-muraji taxed the resources of the Soga to the
utmost. Moriya himself ascended a tree and by skill of archery held
his assailants long at bay. Archery had been practised assiduously by
the Yamato warrior from time immemorial, and arrows possessing
remarkable power of penetration had been devised. During the reign of
Nintoku, when envoys from Koma presented to the Court iron shields
and iron targets, a Japanese archer, Tatebito, was able to pierce
them; and in the time of Yuryaku, a rebel named Iratsuko shot a shaft
which, passing through his adversary's shield and twofold armour,
entered the flesh of his body to the depth of an inch. There was an
archery hall within the enclosure of the palace; whenever envoys or
functionaries from foreign countries visited Yamato they were invited
to shoot there; frequent trials of skill took place, and when oversea
sovereigns applied for military aid, it was not unusual to send some
bundles of arrows in lieu of soldiers.

Thus, the general of the Mononobe, perched among the branches of a
tree, with an unlimited supply of shafts and with highly trained
skill as a bowman, was a formidable adversary. Moriya and his large
following of born soldiers drove back the Soga forces three times.
Success seemed to be in sight for the champion of the Kami. At this
desperate stage Prince Shotoku--then a lad of sixteen--fastened to
his helmet images of the "Four Guardian Kings of Heaven"* and vowed
to build a temple in their honour if victory was vouchsafed to his
arms. At the same time, the o-omi, Umako, took oath to dedicate
temples and propagate Buddhism. The combat had now assumed a
distinctly religious character. Shotoku and Umako advanced again to
the attack; Moriya was shot down; his family and followers fled, were
put to the sword or sent into slavery, and all his property was
confiscated.

*The "Four Guardian Kings" (Shi-Tenno) are the warriors who guard the
world against the attacks of demons.

An incident of this campaign illustrates the character of the
Japanese soldier as revealed in the pages of subsequent history: a
character whose prominent traits were dauntless courage and romantic
sympathy. Yorozu, a dependent of the o-muraji, was reduced to the
last straits after a desperate fight. The Chronicles say: "Then he
took the sword which he wore, cut his bow into three pieces, and
bending his sword, flung it into the river. With a dagger which he
had besides, he stabbed himself in the throat and died. The governor
of Kawachi having reported the circumstances of Yorozu's death to the
Court, the latter gave an order by a stamp* that his body should be
cut into eight pieces and distributed among the eight provinces."**
In accordance with this order the governor was about to dismember the
corpse when thunder pealed and a great rain fell. "Now there was a
white dog which had been kept by Yorozu. Looking up and looking down,
it went round, howling beside the body, and at last, taking up the
head in its mouth, it placed it on an ancient mound, lay down close
by, and starved to death. When this was reported to the Court, the
latter, moved by profound pity, issued an order that the dog's
conduct should be handed down to after ages, and that the kindred of
Yorozu should be allowed to construct a tomb and bury his remains."

*A stamp in red or black on the palm of the hand.

**This custom of dismembering and distributing the remains was
practised in Korea until the time, at the close of the nineteenth
century, when the peninsula came under Japanese protection. It was
never customary in Japan.

BUILDING OF TEMPLES

After order had been restored, Prince Shotoku fulfilled his vow by
building in the province of Settsu a temple dedicated to the Four
Guardian Kings of Heaven (Shitenno-ji), and by way of endowment there
were handed over to it one-half of the servants of the o-muraji,
together with his house and a quantity of other property.



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