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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

Called uji no choja or uji no cho


is to say, descended from the Emperor Murakami (947-967). Gen is the Chinese sound of Minamoto and ji (jshi) represents uji. The Minamoto are alluded to in history as either the Genji or the Minamoto. Similarly, hei being the Chinese pronunciation of Taira, the latter are indiscriminately spoken of Taira or Heike (ke = house). Both names are often combined into Gen-pei.


The imperially descended uji spoken of above, each consisting of several houses, were grouped according to their names, and each group was under the supervision of a chief, called uji no choja or uji no cho. Usually, as has been already stated, the corresponding position in an ordinary uji was called uji no Kami and belonged to the first-born of the principal house, irrespective of his official rank. But in the case of the imperially descended uji, the chief was selected and nominated by the sovereign with regard to his administrative post. With the appointment was generally combined that of Gaku-in no betto, or commissioner of the academies established for the youths of the uji. The principal of these academies was the Kwangaku-in of the Fujiwara. Founded by Fujiwara Fuyutsugu, minister of the Left, in the year 821, and endowed with a substantial part of his estate in order to afford educational advantages for the poorer members of the great family, this institution rivalled even the Imperial University, to

be presently spoken of. It was under the superintendence of a special commissioner (benkwari).

Next in importance was the Shogaku-in of the Minamoto, established by Ariwara Yukihira in the year 881. Ariwara being a grandson of the Emperor Saga, a member of the Saga Genji received the nomination of chief commissioner; but in the year 1140, the minister of the Right, Masasada, a member of the Murakami Genji, was appointed to the office, and thenceforth it remained in the hands of that house. Two other educational institutions were the Junna-in of the O-uji and the Gakukwan-in of the Tachibana-iyt, the former dating from the year 834 and the latter from 820. It is not on record that there existed any special school under Taira auspices.


One of the principal duties of local governors from the time of the Daika reforms was to encourage agriculture. A rescript issued by the Empress Gensho in the year 715 declared that to enrich the people was to make the country prosperous, and went on to condemn the practice of devoting attention to rice culture only and neglecting upland crops, so that, in the event of a failure of the former, the latter did not constitute a substitute. It was therefore ordered that barley and millet should be assiduously grown, and each farmer was required to lay down two tan (2/3 acre) annually of these upland cereals. Repeated proclamations during the eighth century bear witness to official solicitude in this matter, and in 723 there is recorded a distribution of two koku (nearly ten bushels) of seeds, ten feet of cotton cloth, and a hoe (kuwa) to each agriculturist throughout the empire. Such largesse suggests a colossal operation, but, in fact, it meant little more than the remission of about a year's taxes. Necessarily, as the population increased, corresponding extension of the cultivated area became desirable, and already, in the year 722, a work of reclamation on a grand scale was officially undertaken by organizing a body of peasants and sending them to bring under culture a million cho (two and a half million acres) of new land. This interesting measure is recorded without any details whatever.

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