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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

And for each kwa there were six pack horses



In the capital there were three bodies of guards; namely, the emon-fu (gate guards); the sa-eji-fu and the u-eji-fu (Left and Right watches). There was also the sa-ma-ryo and the u-ma-ryo (cavalry of the Left and of the Right), and the sa-hyogo-ryo and the u-hyogo-ryo (Left and Right Departments of Supply). These divisions into "left" and "right," and the precedence given to the left, were derived from China, but it has to be observed in Japan's case that the metropolis itself was similarly divided into left and right quarters. Outside the capital each province had an army corps (gundan), and one-third of all the able-bodied men (seitei), from the age of twenty to that of sixty, were required to serve with the colours of an army corps for a fixed period each year. From these provincial troops drafts were taken every year for a twelve-month's duty as palace guards (eji) in the metropolis, and others were detached for three-years' service as frontier guards (saki-mori) in the provinces lying along the western sea board.

The army corps differed numerically according to the extent of the province where they had their headquarters, but for each thousand men there were one colonel (taiki) and two lieutenant-colonels (shoki); for every five hundred men, one major (gunki); for every two hundred, one captain (koi); for every one hundred, a lieutenant (ryosui), and for every fifty, a sergeant-major (taisei).

As for the privates, they were organized in groups of five (go); ten (kwa), and fifty (tai). Those who could draw a bow and manage a horse were enrolled in the cavalry, the rest being infantry. From each tai two specially robust men were selected as archers, and for each kwa there were six pack-horses. The equipment of a soldier on campaign included a large sword (tachi) and a small sword (katana or sashi-zoe) together with a quiver (yanagui or ebira); but in time of peace these were kept in store, the daily exercises being confined to the use of the spear, the catapult (ishi-yumi) and the bow, and to the practice of horsemanship. When several army corps were massed to the number of ten thousand or more, their staff consisted of a general (shogun), two lieutenant-generals (fuku-shogun), two army-inspectors (gunkan), four secretaries (rokuji), and four sergeants (gunso). If more than one such force took the field, the whole was commanded by a general-in-chief.


The law provided that appointment to office and promotion should depend, not upon rank, but upon knowledge and capacity. Youths who had graduated at the university were divided into three categories: namely, those of eminent talent (shusai); those having extensive knowledge of the Chinese classics (meikei), and those advanced in knowledge (shinshi). Official vacancies were filled from these three classes in the order here set down, and promotion subsequently depended on proficiency. But though thus apparently independent of inherited rank, the law was not so liberal in reality. For admission to the portals of the university was barred to all except nobles or the sons and grandsons of literati. Scions of noble families down to the fifth rank had the right of entry, and scions of nobles of the sixth, seventh, and eighth ranks were admitted by nomination.

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