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prince thus reduced received the sixth official rank (roku-i), and
was appointed to a corresponding office in the capital or a province,
promotion following according to his ability and on successfully
passing the examination prescribed for Court officials. Nevertheless,
to be divested of the title of "Prince" did not mean less of princely
prestige. Such nobles were always primi inter pares. The principal
uji thus created were Nagaoka, Yoshimine, Ariwara, Taira, and
Minamoto.

THE TAIRA FAMILY

Prince Katsurabara was the fifth son of the Emperor Kwammu.
Intelligent, reserved, and a keen student, he is said to have
understood the warnings of history as clearly as its incentives. He
petitioned the Throne that the title of should be exchanged in his
children's case for that of Taira no Asomi (Marquis of Taira). This
request, though several times repeated, was not granted until the
time (889) of his grandson, Takamochi, who became the first Taira no
Asomi and governor of Kazusa province. He was the grandfather of
Masakado and great-grandfather of Tadamori, names celebrated in
Japanese history. For generations the Taira asomi were appointed
generals of the Imperial guards conjointly with the Minamoto, to be
presently spoken of. The name of Taira was conferred also on three
other sons of Kwammu, the Princes Mamta, Kaya, and Nakano, so that
there were four Tairahouses just as there were four Fujiwara.

THE MINAMOTO FAMILY

The Emperor Saga (810) had fifty children. From the sixth son
downwards they were grouped under the uji of Minamoto. All received
appointments to important offices. This precedent was even more
drastically followed in the days of the Emperor Seiwa (859-876). To
all his Majesty's sons, except the Crown Prince, the uji of Minamoto
was given. The best known among these early Minamoto was Tsunemoto,
commonly called Prince Rokuson. He was a grandson of the Emperor
Seiwa, celebrated for two very dissimilar attainments, which,
nevertheless, were often combined in Japan--the art of composing
couplets and the science of commanding troops. Appointed in the
Shohyo era (931-937) to be governor of Musashi, the metropolitan
province of modern Japan, his descendants constituted the principal
among fourteen Minamoto houses. They were called the Seiwa Genji, and
next in importance came the Saga Genji and the Murakami Genji.*

*That is to say, descended from the Emperor Murakami (947-967). Gen
is the Chinese sound of Minamoto and ji (jshi) represents uji. The
Minamoto are alluded to in history as either the Genji or the
Minamoto. Similarly, hei being the Chinese pronunciation of Taira,
the latter are indiscriminately spoken of Taira or Heike (ke =
house). Both names are often combined into Gen-pei.

UJI NO CHOJA AND GAKU-IN NO BETTO

The imperially descended uji spoken of above, each consisting of
several houses, were grouped according to their names, and each group
was under the supervision of a chief, called uji no choja or uji no
cho. Usually, as has been already stated, the corresponding position
in an ordinary uji was called uji no Kami and belonged to the
first-born of the principal house, irrespective of his official rank.
But in the case of the imperially descended uji, the chief was
selected and nominated by the sovereign with regard to his
administrative post. With the appointment was generally combined that
of Gaku-in no betto, or commissioner of the academies established for
the youths of the uji. The principal of these academies was the
Kwangaku-in of the Fujiwara. Founded by Fujiwara Fuyutsugu,
minister of the Left, in the year 821, and endowed with a substantial
part of his estate in order to afford educational advantages for the
poorer members of the great family, this institution rivalled even
the Imperial University, to be presently spoken of. It was under the
superintendence of a special commissioner (benkwari).

Next in importance was the Shogaku-in of the Minamoto, established by
Ariwara Yukihira in the year 881. Ariwara being a grandson of the
Emperor Saga, a member of the Saga Genji received the nomination of
chief commissioner; but in the year 1140, the minister of the Right,
Masasada, a member of the Murakami Genji, was appointed to the
office, and thenceforth it remained in the hands of that house. Two
other educational institutions were the Junna-in of the O-uji and the
Gakukwan-in of the Tachibana-iyt, the former dating from the year 834
and the latter from 820. It is not on record that there existed any
special school under Taira auspices.

AGRICULTURE

One of the principal duties of local governors from the time of the
Daika reforms was to encourage agriculture. A rescript issued by the
Empress Gensho in the year 715 declared that to enrich the people was
to make the country prosperous, and went on to condemn the practice
of devoting attention to rice culture only and neglecting upland
crops, so that, in the event of a failure of the former, the latter
did not constitute a substitute. It was therefore ordered that barley
and millet should be assiduously grown, and each farmer was required
to lay down two tan (2/3 acre) annually of these upland cereals.
Repeated proclamations during the eighth century bear witness to
official solicitude in this matter, and in 723 there is recorded a
distribution of two koku (nearly ten bushels) of seeds, ten feet of
cotton cloth, and a hoe (kuwa) to each agriculturist throughout the
empire. Such largesse suggests a colossal operation, but, in fact, it
meant little more than the remission of about a year's taxes.
Necessarily, as the population increased, corresponding extension of
the cultivated area became desirable, and already, in the year 722, a
work of reclamation on a grand scale was officially undertaken by
organizing a body of peasants and sending them to bring under culture
a million cho (two and a half million acres) of new land. This
interesting measure is recorded without any details whatever.

Private initiative was also liberally encouraged. An Imperial
rescript promised that any farmer harvesting three thousand koku
(fifteen thousand bushels) of cereals from land reclaimed by himself
should receive the sixth class order of merit (kun roku-to), while a
crop of over a thousand koku and less than three thousand would carry
lifelong exemption from forced labour. The Daika principle that the
land was wholly the property of the Crown had thus to yield partially
to the urgency of the situation, and during the third decade of the
eighth century it was enacted that, if a man reclaimed land by
utilizing aqueducts and reservoirs already in existence, the land
should belong to him for his lifetime, while if the reservoirs and
aqueducts were of his own construction, the right of property should
be valid for three generations.* From the operation of this law the
provincial governors were excepted; the usufruct of lands reclaimed
by them was limited to the term of their tenure of office, though, as
related already, legislation in their case varied greatly from time
to time.

*This system was called Sansei-isshin no ho. It is, perhaps,
advisable to note that the Daika system of dividing the land for
sustenance purposes applied only to land already under cultivation.

For a certain period the system of "three generations, or one life"
worked smoothly enough; but subsequently it was found that as the
limit of time approached, farmers neglected to till the land and
suffered it to lie waste. Therefore, in the year 743, the Government
enacted that all reclaimed land should be counted the perpetual
property of the reclaimer, with one proviso, namely, that three years
of neglect to cultivate should involve confiscation. The recognition
of private ownership was not unlimited. An area of five hundred cho
(1250 acres) was fixed as the superior limit, applicable only to the
case of a "First Class" prince, the quantities being thereafter on a
sliding scale down to ten cho (twenty-five acres). Any excess
resulting from previous accretions was to revert to the State.
Evidently the effective operation of such a system predicated
accurate surveys and strict supervision. Neither of these conditions
existed in Japan at that remote period. The prime purpose of the
legislators was achieved, since the people devoted themselves
assiduously to land reclamation; but by free recourse to their power
of commanding labour, the great families acquired estates largely in
excess of the legal limit. A feature of the Nara epoch was the
endowment of the Buddhist temples with land by men of all classes,
and the sho-en, or temple domain, thus came into existence.

STOCK FARMING

Information on the subject of stock farming is scanty and indirect,
but in the year 713 we find a rescript ordering the provincials of
Yamashiro to provide and maintain fifty milch-cows, and in 734,
permission was given that all the districts in the Tokai-do, the
Tosan-do, and the Sanin-do might trade freely in cattle and horses.
Seven years later (741), when Shomu occupied the throne, and when
Buddhism spread its protecting mantle over all forms of life, an
edict appeared condemning anyone who killed a horse or an ox to be
flogged with a hundred strokes and to be fined heavily. Only one
other reference to stock farming appears in the annals of the Nara
epoch: the abolition of the two pastures at Osumi and Himeshima in
the province of Settsu was decreed in 771, but no reason is recorded.

SERICULTURE

From the remotest times sericulture was assiduously practised in
Japan, the ladies of the Imperial Court, from the Empress downwards,
taking an active part in the pursuit. The wave of Buddhist zeal which
swept over Japan in the eighth century gave a marked impulse to this
branch of industry, for the rich robes of the priests constituted a
special market.

ORANGES

It is recorded in the Chronicles that Tajimamori, a Korean emigrant
of royal descent, was sent to the "Eternal Land" by the Emperor
Suinin, in the year A.D. 61, to obtain "the fragrant fruit that grows
out of season;" that, after a year's absence, he returned, and
finding the Emperor dead, committed suicide at his tomb.



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