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His
appearance on the historical stage was not very glorious, for, as
already shown, when marching to join his father's army before the
battle of Sekigahara, he allowed himself to be detained so long at
the siege of Ueda Castle that he failed to be present at the great
combat, and Ieyasu, as a mark of displeasure, refused to meet him
until Honda Masazumi pleaded Hidetada's cause. During the first
eleven years of his shogunate he exercised little real authority, the
administration being conducted by Ieyasu himself from his nominal
place of retirement in Sumpu. Thus, the period of Hidetada's
independent sway extended over six years only. But during the ten
subsequent years he continued to exercise much camera influence over
the Government, though his power was inferior to that which had been
wielded by Ieyasu in nominal retirement. Honda Masazumi, who had
befriended him at the critical time mentioned above, occupied the
highest post in the administration, the second place being assigned
to Sakai Tadayo, while in Kyoto the Tokugawa interests were guarded
by Itakura Katsushige and Matsudaira Masatsuna.

The era of Hidetada was essentially one of organization, and by the
exercise of sincerity and justice he contributed much to the
stability of the Tokugawa rule. Not the least memorable step taken by
him related to the fortress of Yedo. In the year following his
succession, he ordered the feudatories of the east to construct the
castle which remains to this day one of the marvels of the world.
"Around it stretched a triple line of moats, the outermost measuring
nine and a half miles in length, the innermost one and a half, their
scarps constructed with blocks of granite nearly as colossal as those
of the Osaka stronghold, though in the case of the Yedo fortification
every stone had to be carried hundreds of miles over the sea. The
gates were proportionately as huge as those at Osaka, well-nigh the
most stupendous works ever undertaken, not excepting even the
Pyramids of Egypt. There is not to be found elsewhere a more striking
monument of military power, nor can anyone considering such a work,
as well as its immediate predecessor, the Taiko's stronghold at
Osaka, and its numerous contemporaries of lesser but still striking
proportions in the principal fiefs, refuse to credit the Japanese
with capacity for large conceptions and competence to carry them into
practice."

CONJUGAL RELATIONS BETWEEN THE IMPERIAL FAMILY AND THE TOKUGAWA

It had been one of the most cherished wishes of Ieyasu to follow the
Fujiwara precedent by establishing conjugal relations between the
Imperial family and the Tokugawa. But the ex-Emperor, Go-Yozei,
turned a deaf ear to this proposal on the ground that a lady born in
a military house had never been chosen consort of a sovereign.
Ieyasu, however, did not abandon his purpose. He entrusted its
prosecution to Todo Takatora, and in 1616, the year of Ieyasu's
death, Todo induced Konoe Nobuhiro, minister of the Right, to promote
this undertaking. Nobuhiro, being the Emperor's younger brother, was
able to exert much influence, and finally the ex-Emperor gave his
consent. In June, 1620, Kazuko, daughter of Hidetada, became first
lady-in-waiting, and ultimately Empress under the name of
Tofuku-mon-in. It is recorded that 1180 chests were required to carry
her trousseau from Yedo, and that the costs of her outfit and of her
journey to Kyoto aggregated more than a million sterling. She gave
birth to two princes and five princesses, and the house of Konoe,
which had been instrumental in procuring her summons to the Court,
became the leader of the Go-sekke.

DEATH OF HIDETADA AND HIS CHARACTER

After resigning the shogunate in 1622, Hidetada retired to the inner
castle (Nishi Maru) in Yedo and there continued to direct affairs. He
died ten years later, at the age of fifty-eight, and was interred at
the temple Zojo-ji, in the Shiba district of the eastern capital.
Japanese historians agree that Hidetada's character was adapted for
the work of consolidation that fell to his lot. He resembled his
father, Ieyasu, in decision and perseverance; he never dealt lightly
with any affair, and while outwardly gentle and considerate, he was
at heart subtle and uncompromising. An interesting illustration of
the administrative canons of the time is afforded in the advice said
to have been given by Hosokawa Tadaoki when consulted by Hidetada.
"There is an old proverb," Tadaoki replied, "that if a round lid be
put on a square vessel, those within will have ease; but if a square
lid be used to cover a square vessel, there will result a feeling of
distress." Asked for a standard by which to judge qualifications for
success, the same nobleman answered that an oyster shell found on the
Akashi shore is the best type of a man qualified to succeed, for the
shell has been deprived of all its angles by the beating of the
waves. Of Hidetada himself there is told an anecdote which shows him
to have been remarkably free from superstition. A comet made its
appearance and was regarded with anxiety by the astrologists of
Kyoto, who associated its advent with certain misfortune. Hidetada
ridiculed these fears. "What can we tell," he said, "about the
situation of a solitary star in the wide universe, and how can we
know that it has anything to do with this little world?"

THE THIRD SHOGUN, IEMITSU

Iemitsu, son of Hidetada, was born in 1603; succeeded to the
shogunate in 1622, and held that post until his death, in 1651. His
principal ministers were Ii Naotaka (who had occupied the post of
premier since the days of Ieyasu), Matsudaira Nobutsuna, and Abe
Tadaaki, one of the ablest officers that served the Tokugawa. He
devoted himself to consolidating the system founded by his
grandfather, Ieyasu, and he achieved remarkable success by the
exercise of exceptional sagacity and determination. In 1626, he
proceeded to Kyoto at the head of a large army, simply for the
purpose of conveying to the feudal nobles a significant intimation
that he intended to enforce his authority without hesitation. Up to
that, time the feudal chiefs were not officially required to reside
in Yedo for any fixed time or at any fixed interval. But now it was
clearly enacted that the feudatories of the east and those of the
west should repair to the Bakufu capital, at different seasons in the
year; should remain there a twelvemonth,--in the case of feudal lords
from the Kwanto only six months--and should leave their wives and
families as hostages during the alternate period of their own absence
from the shogun's city, which they spent in the provinces.

This system was technically called sankin kotai, that is "alternate
residence in capital." From the point of view of the Tokugawa the
plan was eminently wise, for it bound the feudal chiefs closer to the
shogun, keeping them under his eye half the time and giving hostages
for their good behaviour the other half; and it helped the growth of
Yedo both in financial and political power, by bringing money into it
and by making it more than before an administrative headquarters. On
the other hand there was a corresponding drain on the provinces, all
the greater since the standard of living at Yedo was higher than in
rural districts and country nobles thus learned extravagance. To
prevent other families from growing too rich and powerful seems to
have been a part of Ieyasu's definite plan for holding in check
possible rivals of the Tokugawa, so that it is not impossible that he
foresaw this very result. At any rate it is known that in the
instructions for government which he handed down to his successors he
urged them to keep strict surveillance over their feudal lords and if
any one of them seemed to be growing rich to impose upon him such a
burden of public works as would cripple him.

In 1632, Iemitsu made another military demonstration at Kyoto, and on
this occasion the Emperor would have conferred on him the post of
prime minister (dajo daijiri). But he refused to accept it. This
refusal was subsequently explained as a hint to the feudal chiefs
that inordinate ambition should be banished from their bosoms; but in
reality Iemitsu was influenced by the traditional principle that the
Throne had no higher gift to bestow on a subject than the shogunate.

PROMINENT FEATURES OF THE ADMINISTRATION OF IEMITSU

The prominent feature of this able ruler's administration was that he
thoroughly consolidated the systems introduced by his grandfather and
confirmed by his father. From the time of Iemitsu downwards, cardinal
forms were never changed, alterations being confined to
non-essentials. On his death-bed he desired that his prime minister,
Hotta Masamori, and several other notables should accompany him to
the tomb, and on the night of the 10th of June, 1651, Hotta Masamori
(aged forty-six), Abe Shigetsugu (aged fifty-two), Uchida Masanobu
(aged thirty-three), Masamori's mother (aged sixty-three), Saegusa
Moriyoshi, and Okuyama Yasushige all committed suicide. Their tombs
stand to this day in Nikko.

THE NIKKO SHRINE AND THE KWANEI TEMPLE

It has been related how largely Ieysau was aided against the Osaka
party by Tengai, abbot of Enryaku-ji. This priest it was that devised
the singular accusation connected with the inscription on a bell at
Hoko-ji. He received from Ieyasu the diocese of Nikko in Shimotsuke
province, where he built a temple which ultimately served as the
shrine of Ieyasu. But the first Tokugawa shogun, faithful to his
frugal habits, willed that the shrine should be simple and
inexpensive, and when Hidetada died, his mausoleum (mitamaya) at the
temple Zojo-ji in Yedo presented by its magnificence such a contrast
to the unpretending tomb at Nikko, that Iemitsu ordered Akimoto
Yasutomo to rebuild the latter, and issued instructions to various
feudal chiefs to furnish labour and materials. The assistance of even
Korea, Ryukyu, and Holland was requisitioned, and the Bakufu treasury
presented 700,000 ryo of gold. The shrine was finished in 1636 on a
scale of grandeur and artistic beauty almost unsurpassed in any other
country.



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