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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

And when Kenso ascended the throne he went to the park


THE

VENDETTA

In connexion with this, the introduction of the principle of the vendetta has to be noted. Its first practical application is generally referred to the act of the boy-prince, Mayuwa, who stabbed his father's slayer, the Emperor Anko (A.D. 456). But the details of Anko's fate are involved in some mystery, and it is not until the time (A.D. 486) of Kenso that we find a definite enunciation of the Confucian doctrine, afterwards rigidly obeyed in Japan, "A man should not live under the same heaven with his father's enemy." History alleges that, by his brother's counsels, the Emperor Kenso was induced to abandon his intention of desecrating Yuryaku's tomb, but the condition of the tomb to-day suggests that these counsels were not entirely effective.

BANQUETS

The annals of this epoch refer more than once to banquets at the palace. Towards the close of Seinei's reign we read of "a national drinking-festival which lasted five days," and when Kenso ascended the throne he "went to the park, where he held revel by the winding streams," the high officials in great numbers being his guests. On this latter occasion the ministers are said to have "uttered reiterated cries of 'banzai'"*, which has come into vogue once more in modern times as the equivalent of "hurrah."

*Banzai means literally "ten thousand years," and thus corresponds to viva.

style="text-align: justify;">THE EMPEROR NINKEN

The twenty-fourth sovereign, Ninken, was the elder of the two brothers, Oke and Woke, whose escape from the murderous ambition of the Emperor Yuryaku and their ultimate restoration to princely rank have been already described. He succeeded to the throne after the death of his younger brother, and occupied it for ten years of a most uneventful reign. Apart from the fact that tanners were invited from Korea to improve the process followed in Japan, the records contain nothing worthy of attention. One incident, however, deserves to be noted as showing the paramount importance attached in those early days to all the formalities of etiquette. The Empress dowager committed suicide, dreading lest she should be put to death for a breach of politeness committed towards Ninken during the life of his predecessor, Kenso. At a banquet in the palace she had twice neglected to kneel when presenting, first, a knife and, secondly, a cup of wine to Ninken, then Prince Imperial. It has already been related that the Empress Onakatsu, consort of Inkyo, was disposed to inflict the death penalty on a high official who had slighted her unwittingly prior to her husband's accession. There can be no doubt that differences of rank received most rigid recognition in early Japan.

THE EMPEROR MURETSU

This sovereign was the eldest son of his


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