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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

A younger sister of the o muraji

*The "Four Guardian Kings" (Shi-Tenno) are the warriors who guard the world against the attacks of demons.

An incident of this campaign illustrates the character of the Japanese soldier as revealed in the pages of subsequent history: a character whose prominent traits were dauntless courage and romantic sympathy. Yorozu, a dependent of the o-muraji, was reduced to the last straits after a desperate fight. The Chronicles say: "Then he took the sword which he wore, cut his bow into three pieces, and bending his sword, flung it into the river. With a dagger which he had besides, he stabbed himself in the throat and died. The governor of Kawachi having reported the circumstances of Yorozu's death to the Court, the latter gave an order by a stamp* that his body should be cut into eight pieces and distributed among the eight provinces."** In accordance with this order the governor was about to dismember the corpse when thunder pealed and a great rain fell. "Now there was a white dog which had been kept by Yorozu. Looking up and looking down, it went round, howling beside the body, and at last, taking up the head in its mouth, it placed it on an ancient mound, lay down close by, and starved to death. When this was reported to the Court, the latter, moved by profound pity, issued an order that the dog's conduct should be handed down to after ages, and that the kindred of Yorozu should be allowed to construct a tomb and bury his remains."

*A stamp in red or black on the palm of the hand.

**This custom of dismembering and distributing the remains was practised in Korea until the time, at the close of the nineteenth century, when the peninsula came under Japanese protection. It was never customary in Japan.


After order had been restored, Prince Shotoku fulfilled his vow by building in the province of Settsu a temple dedicated to the Four Guardian Kings of Heaven (Shitenno-ji), and by way of endowment there were handed over to it one-half of the servants of the o-muraji, together with his house and a quantity of other property. The o-omi, Umako, also erected a temple called Hoko-ji in Asuka near Kara. It has been shown above that Soga no Iname converted one of his houses into a temple to receive the Buddhist image sent by Myong in 552, and that his son, Umako, erected a temple on the east of his residence to enshrine a stone image of Miroku, in 584. But these two edifices partook largely of the nature of private worship. The first public temples for the service of Buddhism were Shotoku's Shitenno-ji and Umako's Hoko-ji erected in 587.


In the Annals of Prince Shotoku (Taishi-deri) it is recorded that the parts of the o-muraji's estate with which the temple of the Four Kings was endowed were 273 members of his family and household; his three houses and movable property, together with his domain measuring 186,890 shiro, and consisting of two areas of 128,640 shiro and 58,250 shiro in Kawachi and Settsu, respectively. The shiro is variously reckoned at from 5% to 7.12 tsubo (1 tsubo = 36 square feet). Taking the shiro as 6 tsubo, the above three areas total 1000 acres approximately. That this represented a part only of the o-muraji's property is held by historians, who point to the fact that the o-omi's wife, a younger sister of the o-muraji, incited her husband to destroy Moriya for the sake of getting possession of his wealth.

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