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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

Kudara preferred a singular request


notable took place until 509, when Keitai was on the throne. In that year, a section of the Kudara people, who, in 477, had been driven from their country by the Koma invaders and had taken refuge within the Japanese dominion of Mimana, were restored to their homes with Japanese co-operation and with renewal of the friendly relations which had long existed between the Courts of Yamato and Kudara. Three years later (512), Kudara preferred a singular request. She asked that four regions, forming an integral part of the Yamato domain of Mimana, should be handed over to her, apparently as an act of pure benevolence. Japan consented. There is no explanation of her complaisance except that she deemed it wise policy to strengthen Kudara against the growing might of Shiragi, Yamato's perennial foe. The two officials by whose advice the throne made this sacrifice were the o-muraji, Kanamura, and the governor of Mimana, an omi called Oshiyama. They went down in the pages of history as corrupt statesmen who, in consideration of bribes from the Kudara Court, surrendered territory which Japan had won by force of arms and held for five centuries.

In the following year (513) the Kudara Court again utilized the services of Oshiyama to procure possession of another district, Imun (Japanese, Komom), which lay on the northeast frontier of Mimana. Kudara falsely represented that this region had been wrested from her by Habe, one of the petty principalities in the

peninsula, and the Yamato Court, acting at the counsels of the same o-muraji (Kanamura) who had previously espoused Kudara's cause, credited Kudara's story. This proved an ill-judged policy. It is true that Japan's prestige in the peninsula received signal recognition on the occasion of promulgating the Imperial decree which sanctioned the transfer of the disputed territory. All the parties to the dispute, Kudara, Shiragi, and Habe, were required to send envoys to the Yamato Court for the purpose of hearing the rescript read, and thus Japan's pre-eminence was constructively acknowledged. But her order provoked keen resentment in Shiragi and Habe. The general whom she sent with five hundred warships to escort the Kudara envoys was ignominiously defeated by the men of Habe, while Shiragi seized the opportunity to invade Mimana and to occupy a large area of its territory.

For several years the Yamato Court made no attempt to re-assert itself, but in 527 an expedition of unprecedented magnitude was organized. It consisted of sixty thousand soldiers under the command of Keno no Omi, and its object was to chastise Shiragi and to re-establish Mimana in its original integrity. But here an unforeseeable obstacle presented itself. For all communication with the Korean peninsula, Tsukushi (Kyushu) was an indispensable basis, and it happened that, just at this time, Kyushu had for ruler (miyatsuko) a nobleman called Iwai, who is said to have long entertained treasonable designs. A knowledge of his mood was conveyed to Shiragi, and tempting proposals were made to him from that place conditionally on his frustrating the expedition under Keno no Omi. Iwai thereupon occupied the four provinces of Higo, Hizen, Bungo, and Buzen, thus effectually placing his hand on the neck of the communications with Korea and preventing the embarkation of Keno no Omi's army. He established a pseudo-Court in Tsukushi and there gave audience to tribute-bearing envoys from Koma, Kudara and Shiragi.

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