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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

Umakai's was spoken of as Shiki ke

Kiyono no Hitotari 500 mon 605 mon, on the 6th of the 11th month; namely, original debt, 500 mon, and interest for 1 month and 12 days, 105 mon

The above to be paid back when the debtors receive their salaries. Dated the 22nd of the 9th month of the 4th year of the Hoki era. (October 13, 773.)

Another note shows a loan of 1000 mon carrying interest at the rate of 130 mon monthly. The price of accommodation being so onerous, it is not difficult to infer the costliness of the necessaries of life. When the Daika reforms were undertaken, the metropolitan magnates looked down upon their provincial brethren as an inferior order of beings, but in the closing days of the Nara epoch the situations were reversed, and the ultimate transfer of administrative power from the Court to the provincials began to be foreshadowed.


The religious fanaticism of the Emperor Shomu and his consort, Komyo, brought disorder into the affairs of the Imperial Court, and gave rise to an abuse not previously recorded, namely, favouritism with its natural outcome, treasonable ambition. It began to be doubtful whether the personal administration of the sovereign might not be productive of danger to the State. Thus, patriotic politicians conceived a desire not to transfer the sceptre to outside hands but to find among the scions of the Imperial family some one competent to save the situation, even though the selection involved violation of the principle of primogeniture. The death of the Empress Shotoku without issue and the consequent extinction of the Emperor Temmu's line furnished an opportunity to these loyal statesmen, and they availed themselves of it to set Konin upon the throne, as will be presently described.

In this crisis of the empire's fortunes, the Fujiwara family acted a leading part. Fuhito, son of the illustrious Kamatari, having assisted in the compilation of the Daika code and laws, and having served throughout four reigns--Jito, Mommu, Gemmyo, and Gensho--died at sixty-two in the post of minister of the Right, and left four sons, Muchimaro, Fusazaki, Umakai, and Maro. These, establishing themselves independently, founded the "four houses" of the Fujiwara. Muchimaro's home, being in the south (nan) of the capital, was called Nan-ke; Fusazaki's, being in the north (hoku), was termed Hoku-ke; Umakai's was spoken of as Shiki-ke, since he presided over the Department of Ceremonies (Shiki), and Maro's went by the name of Kyo-ke, this term also having reference to his office. The descendants of the four houses are shown in the following table:

/ / | Toyonari--Tsugunawa | Muchimaro < Nakamaro (Emi no Oshikatsu) | (Nan-ke) | Otomaro--Korekimi | | | / / | | Nagate | Nagayoshi (Mototsune) | Fusazaki < Matate--Uchimaro--Fuyutsugu < adopted | (Hoku-ke) | Kiyokawa | Yoshifusa--Mototsune-+ |

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