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646), the abolition of private property
in persons and lands was destined to become the policy of the State,
but its foundations seem to have been laid in Shotoku's time. It
would be an error to suppose that the neglect of Shinto suggested by
the above code was by any means a distinct feature of the era, or
even a practice of the prince himself. Thus, an Imperial edict,
published in the year 607, enjoined that there must be no remissness
in the worship of the Kami, and that they should be sincerely
reverenced by all officials, In the sequel of this edict Prince
Shotoku himself, the o-omi, and a number of functionaries worshipped
the Kami of heaven and of earth. In fact, Shotoku, for all his
enthusiasm in the cause of Buddhism, seems to have shrunk from
anything like bigoted exclusiveness. He is quoted* as saying: "The
management of State affairs cannot be achieved unless it is based on
knowledge, and the sources of knowledge are Confucianism, Buddhism,
and Shinto."** He who inclines to one of these three, must study the
other two also; for what one knows seems reasonable, but that of
which one is ignorant appears unreasonable. Therefore an
administrator of public affairs should make himself acquainted with
all three and should not affect one only, for such partiality
signifies maladministration.

*In the Sankyo-ron.

**The order of this enumeration is significant.

DEATH OF SHOTOKU TAISHI

Prince Shotoku died in the year 621. The Records do not relate
anything of his illness: they say merely that he foresaw the day and
hour of his own death, and they say also that when the Buddhist
priest, Hyecha of Koma, who had instructed the prince in the "inner
doctrine," learned of his decease, he also announced his
determination to die on the same day of the same month in the
following year so as "to meet the prince in the Pure Land and,
together with him, pass through the metempsychosis of all living
creatures."

The last months of Shotoku's life were devoted to compiling, in
concert with the o-omi Umako, "a history of the Emperors; a history
of the country, and the original record of the omi, the muraji, the
tomo no miyatsuko, the kuni no miyatsuko, the 180 be, and the free
subjects." This, the first Japanese historical work, was completed in
the year 620. It was known afterwards as the Kujihongi, and
twenty-five years later (645) when--as will presently be seen--the
execution of the Soga chief took place, the book was partially
consumed by fire. Yet that it had not suffered beyond the possibility
of reconstruction, and that it survived in the Ko-jiki was never
doubted until the days (1730-1801) of "the prince of Japanese
literati," Motoori Norinaga. The question of authenticity is still
unsettled.

Shotoku's name is further connected with calendar making, though no
particulars of his work in that line are on record. Japanese
historians speak of him as the father of his country's civilization.
They say that he breathed life into the nation; that he raised the
status of the Empire; that he laid the foundations of Japanese
learning; that he fixed the laws of decorum; that he imparted a new
character to foreign relations, and that he was an incarnation of the
Buddha, specially sent to convert Japan. The Chronicles say that at
his death nobles and commoners alike, "the old, as if they had lost a
dear child, the young, as if they had lost a beloved parent, filled
the ways with the sound of their lamenting."

THE SPREAD OF BUDDHISM AND THE CONTROL OF ITS PRIESTS

The roots of Japanese Buddhism were watered with blood, as have been
the roots of so many religions in so many countries. From the day of
the destruction of the military party under the o-muraji Moriya, the
foreign faith flourished. Then--as has been shown--were built the
first two great temples, and then, for the first time, a Buddhist
place of worship was endowed* with rich estates and an ample number
of serfs to till them. Thenceforth the annals abound with references
to the advent of Buddhist priests from Korea, bearing relics or
images. The omi and the muraji vied with each other in erecting
shrines, and in 605, we find the Empress Suiko commanding all high
dignitaries of State to make 16-foot images of copper** and of
embroidery. Buddhist festivals were instituted in 606, and their
magnificence, as compared with the extreme simplicity of the Shinto
rites, must have deeply impressed the people. In a few decades
Buddhism became a great social power, and since its priests and nuns
were outside the sphere of ordinary administration, the question of
their control soon presented itself. It became pressing in 623 when a
priest killed his grandfather with an axe. The Empress Suiko, who was
then on the throne, would have subjected the whole body of priests
and nuns to judicial examination, a terrible ordeal in those days of
torture; but at the instance of a Korean priest, officials
corresponding to bishops (sojo), high priests (sozu) and abbots
(hotto) were appointed from the ranks of Buddhism, and the duty of
prescribing law and order was entrusted to them. This involved
registration of all the priesthood, and it was thus found (623) that
the temples numbered 46; the priests 816, and the nuns 569.

*The endowment of religious edifices was not new in Japan. A
conspicuous instance was in A.D. 487, when rice-fields were dedicated
to the Moon god and to the ancestor of the Sun goddess.

**The metal employed was of gold and copper; in the proportion of one
part of the former to 430 of the latter. It is related that when
these images were completed, the temple door proved too low to admit
them, and the artisan--Tori the Saddle-maker--whose ingenuity
overcame the difficulty without pulling down the door, received large
honour and reward.

INTERCOURSE WITH CHINA

That not a few Chinese migrated to Japan in remote times is clear.
The Records show that in the year A.D. 540, during the reign of
Kimmei, immigrants from Tsin and Han were assembled and registered,
when their number was found to be 7053 households. The terms "Tsin"
and "Han" refer to Chinese dynasties of those names, whose sway
covered the period between 255 B.C. and A.D. 419. Hence the
expression is too vague to suggest any definite idea of the advent of
those settlers; but the story of some, who came through Korea, has
already been traced. It was in A.D. 552, during the reign of this
same Kimmei, that Buddhism may be said to have found a home in Japan.
China was then under the sceptre of the Liang dynasty, whose first
sovereign, Wu, had been such an enthusiastic Buddhist that he
abandoned the throne for a monastery.. Yet China took no direct part
in introducing the Indian faith to Japan, nor does it appear that
from the fourth century A.D. down to the days of Shotoku Taishi,
Japan thought seriously of having recourse to China as the
fountain-head of the arts, the crafts, the literature, and the moral
codes which she borrowed during the period from Korea.

Something of this want of enterprise may have been attributable to
the unsettled state of China's domestic politics; something to the
well-nigh perpetual troubles between Japan and Korea--troubles which
not only taxed Japan's resources but also blocked the sole route by
which China was then accessible, namely, the route through Korea. But
when the Sui dynasty (A.D. 589-619) came to the Chinese throne, its
founder, the Emperor Wen, on the one hand, devoted himself to
encouraging literature and commerce; and on the other, threw Korea
and Japan into a ferment by invading the former country at the head
of a huge army.* This happened when Shotoku Taishi was in his
sixteenth year, and though the great expedition proved abortive for
aggressive purposes, it brought China into vivid prominence, and when
news reached Japan of extensions of the Middle Kingdom's territories
under Wen's successor, the Japanese Crown Prince determined to open
direct intercourse with the Sui Court; not only for literary and
religious purposes, but also to study the form of civilization which
the whole Orient then revered. This resolve found practical
expression in the year 607, when the omi Imoko was sent as envoy to
the Sui Court, a Chinese of the Saddlers' Corporation, by name
Fukuri, being attached to him in the capacity of interpreter. China
received these men hospitably and sent an envoy of her own, with a
suite of twelve persons, to the Yamato sovereign in the following
year.

*Reputed to have mustered 300,000 strong.

The annals contain an instructive description of the ceremony
connected with the reception of this envoy in Japan. He was met in
Tsukushi (Kyushu) by commissioners of welcome, and was conducted
thence by sea to Naniwa (now Osaka), where, at the mouth of the
river, thirty "gaily-decked" boats awaited him, and he and his suite
were conducted to a residence newly built for the occasion. Six weeks
later they entered the capital, after a message of welcome had been
delivered to them by a muraji. Seventy-five fully caparisoned horses
were placed at their disposal, and after a further rest of nine days,
the envoy's official audience took place. He did not see the Empress'
face. Her Majesty was secluded in the hall of audience to which only
the principal ministers were admitted. Hence the ceremony may be said
to have taken place in the court-yard. There the gifts brought by the
envoy were ranged, and the envoy himself, introduced by two high
officials, advanced to the front of the court, made obeisance twice,
and, kneeling, declared the purport of his mission. The despatch
carried by him ran as follows:

The Emperor greets the sovereign of Wa.* Your envoy and his suite
have arrived and have given us full information. We, by the grace of
heaven, rule over the universe. It is Our desire to diffuse abroad
our civilizing influence so as to cover all living things, and Our
sentiment of loving nurture knows no distinction of distance. Now We
learn that Your Majesty, dwelling separately beyond the sea, bestows
the blessings of peace on Your subjects; that there is tranquillity
within Your borders, and that the customs and manners are mild.



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