Best books online Library

Your last book:

You dont read books at this site.

Total books on site: 11 280

You can read and download its for free!

Browse books by author: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 

Text on one page: Few Medium Many
Raigo
informed the Emperor that, if this favour were promised, the prayer
for a prince would certainly be heard. Shirakawa made the promise,
and Kenko gave birth to Prince Atsubumi. But when the Emperor would
have fulfilled his pledge, the priests of Enryaku-ji (Hiei-zan),
jealous that a privilege which they alone possessed should be granted
to priests of another monastery, repaired to the Court en masse to
protest. Shirakuwu yielded to this representation and despatched Oye
no Masafusa to placate Raigo. But the abbot refused to listen. He
starved himself to death, passing day and night in devotion, and
shortly after his demise the little prince, born in answer to his
prayers, died of small-pox.

In an age when superstition prevailed widely the death of the child
was, of course, attributed to the incantations of the abbot. From
that time a fierce feud raged between Onjo-ji and Enryaku-ji. In the
year 1081, the priest-soldiers of the latter set the torch to the
former, and, flocking to Kyoto in thousands, threw the capital into
disorder. Order was with difficulty restored through the exertions of
the kebiishi and the two Minamoto magnates, Yoshiiye and Yoshitsuna,
but it was deemed expedient to guard the palace and the person of
the Emperor with bushi. Twelve years later (1093), thousands of
cenobites, carrying the sacred tree of the Kasuga shrine, marched
from Nara to Kyoto, clamouring for vengeance on the governor of
Omi, whom they charged with arresting and killing the officials
of the shrine. This became a precedent. Thereafter, whenever the
priests had a grievance, they flocked to the palace carrying the
sacred tree of some temple or shrine. The soldier cenobites of
Enryaku-ji--yama-hoshi, as they were called--showed themselves
notably turbulent. They inaugurated the device of replacing the
sacred tree with the "divine car," against which none dare raise a
hand or shoot an arrow. If their petition were rejected, they would
abandon the car in the streets of the capital, thus placing the city
under a curse.

A notable instance occurred, in 1095, when these yama-hoshi of
Hiyoshi preferred a charge of blood-guiltiness against Minamoto
Yoshitsuna, governor of Mino. They flocked to the palace in a
truculent mob, but the bushi on duty, being under the command of a
Minamoto, did not hesitate to use their bows. Thereupon the
yama-hoshi discarded the divine car, hastened back to the temple, and
assembling all the priests, held a solemn service invoking the wrath
of heaven on the State. In an age of profound superstition such
action threw the Court into consternation, and infinite pains were
taken to persuade Shinto officials of an independent shrine to carry
the divine car back to Hiei-zan.

Instances of such turbulence were not infrequent, and they account in
part for the reckless prodigality shown by Shirakawa in building and
furnishing temples. The cenobites did not confine themselves to
demonstrations at the palace; they had their own quarrels also.
Kofuku-ji's hand was against Kimbusen and Todai-ji, and not a few
priests doffed the stole and cassock to engage in temporary
brigandage. The great Taira leader, Tadamori, and his son,
Kiyomori--one of the most prominent figures on the stage of medieval
Japan--dealt strongly with the Shinto communities at Hiyoshi and
Gion, and drove the Kofuku-ji priests out of the streets of Kyoto,
the result being that this great military family became an object of
execration at Kofuku-ji and Enryaku-ji alike. With difficulty the
Court kept peace between them. It is related of Shirakawa Ho-o that
the three things which he declared to defy his control were the
waters of the Kamo River, the fall of the dice, and the yama-hoshi.

ENGRAVING: PLAYING BATTLEDORE AND SHUTTLECOCK (From a painting)



CHAPTER XXIII

MANNERS AND CUSTOMS OF THE HEIAN EPOCH

GENERAL SUMMARY

THE period we are considering is a long one which owes its unity to
the sole fact that the capitol was at Kyoto. It is, therefore, unsafe
to generalize on its manners and customs. But we may say with a
degree of accuracy that the epoch was marked by an increasing luxury
and artificiality, due largely to the adoption of Chinese customs.
The capital city was built on a Chinese pattern and the salient
characteristics of the Court during the period named from the new
capital are on the Chinese pattern too. The Chinese idea of a civil
service in which worth was tested by examinations was carried to a
pedantic extreme both in administration and in society. In these
examinations the important paper was in Chinese prose composition,
which was much as if Latin prose were the main subject to prove the
fitness of a candidate for an English or American administrative
post! And the tests of social standing and the means of gaining fame
at Court were skill in verse-writing, in music and dancing, in
calligraphy and other forms of drawing, and in taste in landscape
gardening.

Ichijo was famed as a musician and a prose writer, and Saga as a
calligraphist. The Ako incident (see p. 240) illustrates the lengths
to which pedantry was carried in matters of administration. And the
story of the ill-success at the capital of the young soldier Taira
Masakado, contrasted with the popularity of his showily vicious
kinsman Sadabumi (see p. 253), illustrate what Murdoch means when he
says that the early emperors of the Heian epoch had an "unbalanced
craze for Chinese fashions, for Chinese manners, and above all for
Chinese literature." Remarkable though the power of the Japanese
people always seems to have been to assimilate foreign culture in
large doses and speedily, it is hardly to be expected that at this
period, any more than at a later one when there came in a sudden
flood of European civilization, the nation should not have suffered
somewhat--that it should not have had the defects of its qualities.

LUXURY OF THE COURT

Of Nimmyo's luxury and architectural extravagance we have already
spoken, and of the arraignment of prodigality in dress, banquets, and
funerals in the famous report of Miyoshi Kiyotsura (see p. 246).
Indeed, we might almost cite the madness of the Emperor Yozei as
being a typical, though extreme, case of the hysteria of the young
and affected court nobles. Two of the Fujiwara have been pilloried in
native records for ostentation: one for carrying inside his clothes
hot rice-dumplings to keep himself warm, and, more important, to
fling them away one after another as they got cold; and the other for
carrying a fan decorated with a painting of a cuckoo and for
imitating the cuckoo's cry whenever he opened the fan.

CONVENTION AND MORALITY

If the men of the period were effeminate and emotional, the women
seem to have sunk to a lower stage of morals than in any other era,
and sexual morality and wifely fidelity to have been abnormally bad
and lightly esteemed. The story of Ariwara Narihira, prince, poet,
painter and Don Juan, and of Taka and her rise to power (see p. 238)
has already been told; and it is to be noted that the Fujiwara
working for the control of the Throne through Imperial consorts
induced, even forced, the Emperors to set a bad example in such
matters. But over all this vice there was a veneer of elaborate
etiquette. Even in the field a breach of etiquette was a deadly
insult: as we have seen (p. 254) Taira Masakado lost the aid of a
great lieutenant in his revolt because he forgot to bind up his hair
properly before he received a visitor. At Court, etiquette and
ceremony became the only functions of the nominal monarch after the
camera government of the cloistered ex-Emperors had begun. And
aristocratic women, though they might be notoriously unfaithful, kept
up a show of modesty, covering their faces in public, refusing to
speak to a stranger, going abroad in closed carriages or heavily
veiled with hoods, and talking to men with their faces hid by a fan,
a screen, or a sliding door, these degrees of intimacy being nicely
adjusted to the rank and station of the person addressed. Love-making
and wooing were governed by strict and conventional etiquette, and an
interchange of letters of a very literary and artificial type and of
poems usually took the place of personal meetings. Indeed, literary
skill and appreciation of Chinese poetry and art were the main things
sought for in a wife.

ENGRAVING: ARIWARA NARIHARA (Poet and Painter)

AMUSEMENTS

The pastimes of Court society in these years differed not so much in
kind as in degree from those of the Nara epoch. In amusement, as in
all else, there was extravagance and elaboration. What has already
been said of the passion for literature would lead us to expect to
find in the period an extreme development of the couplet-tournament
(uta awase) which had had a certain vogue in the Nara epoch and was
now a furore at Court. The Emperor Koko and other Emperors in the
first half of the Heian epoch gave splendid verse-making parties,
when the palace was richly decorated, often with beautiful flowers.
In this earlier part of the period the gentlemen and ladies of the
Court were separated, sitting on opposite sides of the room in which
the party was held. Later in the Heian epoch the composition of love
letters was a favorite competitive amusement, and although canons of
elegant phraseology were implicitly followed, the actual contents of
these fictitious letters were frankly indecent.

Other literary pastimes were: "incense-comparing," a combination of
poetical dilletantism and skill in recognizing the fragrance of
different kinds of incense burned separately or in different
combinations; supplying famous stanzas of which only a word or so was
given; making riddles in verse; writing verse or drawing pictures on
fans,--testing literary and artistic skill; and making up lists of
related ideographs. The love of flowers was carried to extravagant
lengths. The camera Court in particular organized magnificent picnics
to see the cherry-trees of Hosho-ji and the snowy forest at Koya.
There were spring festivals of sunrise at Sagano and autumn moonlight
excursions to the Oi River.



Pages: | Prev | | 1 | | 2 | | 3 | | 4 | | 5 | | 6 | | 7 | | 8 | | 9 | | 10 | | 11 | | 12 | | 13 | | 14 | | 15 | | 16 | | 17 | | 18 | | 19 | | 20 | | 21 | | 22 | | 23 | | 24 | | 25 | | 26 | | 27 | | 28 | | 29 | | 30 | | 31 | | 32 | | 33 | | 34 | | 35 | | 36 | | 37 | | 38 | | 39 | | 40 | | 41 | | 42 | | 43 | | 44 | | 45 | | 46 | | 47 | | 48 | | 49 | | 50 | | 51 | | 52 | | 53 | | 54 | | 55 | | 56 | | 57 | | 58 | | 59 | | 60 | | 61 | | 62 | | 63 | | 64 | | 65 | | 66 | | 67 | | 68 | | 69 | | 70 | | 71 | | 72 | | 73 | | 74 | | 75 | | 76 | | 77 | | 78 | | 79 | | 80 | | 81 | | 82 | | 83 | | 84 | | 85 | | 86 | | 87 | | 88 | | 89 | | 90 | | 91 | | 92 | | 93 | | 94 | | 95 | | 96 | | 97 | | 98 | | 99 | | 100 | | 101 | | 102 | | 103 | | 104 | | 105 | | 106 | | 107 | | 108 | | 109 | | 110 | | 111 | | 112 | | 113 | | 114 | | 115 | | 116 | | 117 | | 118 | | 119 | | 120 | | 121 | | 122 | | 123 | | 124 | | 125 | | 126 | | 127 | | 128 | | 129 | | 130 | | 131 | | 132 | | 133 | | 134 | | 135 | | 136 | | 137 | | 138 | | 139 | | 140 | | 141 | | 142 | | 143 | | 144 | | 145 | | 146 | | 147 | | 148 | | 149 | | 150 | | 151 | | 152 | | 153 | | 154 | | 155 | | 156 | | 157 | | 158 | | 159 | | 160 | | 161 | | 162 | | 163 | | 164 | | 165 | | 166 | | 167 | | 168 | | 169 | | 170 | | 171 | | 172 | | 173 | | 174 | | 175 | | 176 | | 177 | | 178 | | 179 | | 180 | | 181 | | 182 | | 183 | | 184 | | 185 | | 186 | | 187 | | 188 | | 189 | | 190 | | 191 | | 192 | | 193 | | 194 | | 195 | | 196 | | 197 | | 198 | | 199 | | 200 | | 201 | | 202 | | 203 | | 204 | | 205 | | 206 | | 207 | | 208 | | 209 | | 210 | | 211 | | 212 | | 213 | | 214 | | 215 | | 216 | | 217 | | 218 | | 219 | | 220 | | 221 | | 222 | | 223 | | 224 | | 225 | | 226 | | 227 | | 228 | | 229 | | 230 | | 231 | | 232 | | 233 | | 234 | | 235 | | 236 | | 237 | | 238 | | 239 | | 240 | | 241 | | 242 | | 243 | | 244 | | 245 | | 246 | | 247 | | 248 | | 249 | | 250 | | 251 | | 252 | | 253 | | 254 | | 255 | | 256 | | 257 | | 258 | | 259 | | 260 | | 261 | | 262 | | 263 | | 264 | | Next |