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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

And just as the plenipotentiaries


Yamato Court had evidently now abandoned all idea of punishing Shiragi or restoring the station at Mimana; while Shiragi, on her side, was inclined to maintain friendly relations though she did not seek frequent intercourse. After an interval of five years' aloofness, she presented (621) a memorial on an unrecorded subject, and in the following year, she presented, once more, a gold image of Buddha, a gold pagoda, and a number of baptismal flags.* But Shiragi was nothing if not treacherous, and, even while making these valuable presents to the Yamato Court, and while despatching envoys in company with those from Mimana, she was planning another invasion of the latter. It took place that very year (622). When the news reached Japan, the Empress Suiko would have sent an envoy against Shiragi, but it was deemed wiser to employ diplomacy in the first place, for the principalities of Korea were now in close relations with the great Tang dynasty of China and might even count on the latter's protection in case of emergency.

*"The Buddhist baptism consists in washing the top of the head with perfumed water. The baptismal flags were so called because they had the same efficiency, raising those who passed under them, first, to the rank of Tchakra Radja, and, ultimately, to that of a Buddha." (Aston.)

Two plenipotentiaries were therefore sent from Japan. Their mission proved very simple. Shiragi acquiesced in all their

proposals and pledged herself once for all to recognize Mimana as a dependency of Japan. But after the despatch of these plenipotentiaries, the war-party in Japan had gained the ascendancy, and just as the plenipotentiaries, accompanied by tribute-bearing envoys from Shiragi and Mimana, were about to embark for Japan, they were astounded by the apparition of a great flotilla carrying thousands of armed men. The exact dimensions of this force are not on record: it is merely described as having consisted of "several tens of thousands of men," but as it was commanded by two generals of the first rank and seven of the second, it must have been a very formidable army, and nothing is more remarkable about it than that it was assembled and embarked in the space of a few weeks. Shiragi did not attempt to resist. The King tendered his submission and it was accepted without a blow having been struck. But there were no tangible results. Japan did not attempt to re-establish her miyake in Mimana, and Shiragi refrained from sending envoys to Yamato except on special occasions. Friendly, though not intimate, relations were still maintained with the three kingdoms of Korea, mainly because the peninsula long continued to be the avenue by which the literature, arts, and crafts of China under, the Tang dynasty found their way to Japan. Since, however, the office in Mimana no longer existed to transact business connected with this intercourse, and since Yamato was too distant from the port of departure and arrival--Anato, now Nagato--a new office was established in Tsukushi (Kyushu) under the name of the Dazai-fu.


The record of Japan's relations with Korea, so far as it has been carried above--namely, to the close of the Empress Kogyoku's reign (A.D. 645)--discloses in the Korean people a race prone to self-seeking feuds, never reluctant to import foreign aid into domestic quarrels, and careless of the obligations of good faith. In the Japanese we see a nation magnanimous and trustful but of aggressive tendencies.

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