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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

Thenceforth Yuryaku aided Kudara zealously


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design, which, had it matured, might have radically changed the history of the Far East, was checked by an oracle, and Yuryaku appointed three of his powerful nobles to go in his stead. The Shiragi men fought with desperate tenacity. One wing of their army was broken, but the other held its ground, and two of the Japanese generals fell in essaying to dislodge it. Neither side could claim a decisive victory, but both were too much exhausted to renew the combat. This was not the limit of Japan's misfortunes. A feud broke out among the leaders of the expedition, and one of them, Oiwa, shot his comrade as they were en route for the Court of the Kudara monarch, who had invited them in the hope of composing their dissensions, since the existence of his own kingdom depended on Japan's intervention between Koma and Shiragi.

Owing to this feud among her generals, Japan's hold on Mimana became more precarious than ever while her prestige in the peninsula declined perceptibly. Nevertheless her great military name still retained much of its potency. Thus, ten years later (A.D. 477), when the King of Koma invaded Kudara and held the land at his mercy, he declined to follow his generals' counsels of extermination in deference to Kudara's long friendship with Yamato. It is related that, after this disaster, the Japanese Emperor gave the town of Ung-chhon (Japanese, Kumanari) to the remnant of the Kudara people, and the latter's capital was then transferred

from its old site in the centre of the peninsula--a place no longer tenable--to the neighbourhood of Mimana. Thenceforth Yuryaku aided Kudara zealously. He not only despatched a force of five hundred men to guard the palace of the King, but also sent (480) a flotilla of war-vessels to attack Koma from the west coast. The issue of this attempt is not recorded, and the silence of the annals may be construed as indicating failure. Koma maintained at that epoch relations of intimate friendship with the powerful Chinese dynasty of the Eastern Wei, and Yuryaku's essays against such a combination were futile, though he prosecuted them with considerable vigour.

After his death the efficiency of Japan's operations in Korea was greatly impaired by factors hitherto happily unknown in her foreign affairs--treason and corruption. Lord Oiwa, whose shooting of his fellow general, Karako, has already been noted, retained his post as governor of Mimana for twenty-one years, and then (487), ambitious of wider sway, opened relations with Koma for the joint invasion of Kudara, in order that he himself might ascend the throne of the latter. A desperate struggle ensued. Several battles were fought, in all of which the victory is historically assigned to Oiwa, but if he really did achieve any success, it was purely ephemeral, for he ultimately abandoned the campaign and returned to Japan, giving another shock to his country's waning reputation in the peninsula. If the Yamato Court took any steps to punish this act of lawless ambition, there is no record in that sense. The event occurred in the last year of Kenso's reign, and neither that monarch nor his successor, Ninken, seems to have devoted any special attention to Korean affairs.


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