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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

To the former category belonged Taira Tadatsune


High

winds and rough seas now held the invaders at bay, and in that interval the coast defences were repaired and garrisoned, and a fleet of thirty-eight boats having been assembled, the Japanese assumed the offensive, ultimately driving the Toi to put to sea. A final attempt was made to effect a landing at Matsuura in the neighbouring province of Hizen, but, after fierce fighting, the invaders had to withdraw altogether. The whole affair had lasted sixteen days, and the Japanese losses were 382 killed and 1280 taken prisoners. Two hundred and eighty of the latter--60 men and 220 women--were subsequently returned. They were brought over from Koma six months later by a Koma envoy, Chong Cha-ryang, to whom the Court presented three hundred pieces of gold.

Kyoto's attitude towards this incident was most instructive. When the first tidings of the invasion reached the capital, the protection of heaven was at once invoked by services at Ise and ten other shrines. But when, on receipt of news that the danger had been averted, the question of rewarding the victors came up for discussion, a majority of the leading statesmen contended that, as the affair had been settled before the arrival of an Imperial mandate at the Dazai-fu, no official cognizance could be taken of it. This view was ultimately overruled since the peril had been national, but the rewards subsequently given were insignificant, and the event clearly illustrates the policy of the Central Government--a

policy already noted in connexion with the revolt of Masakado--namely, that any emergency dealt with prior to the receipt of an Imperial rescript must be regarded as private, whatever its nature, and therefore beyond the purview of the law.

A more effective method of decentralization could not have been devised. It was inevitable that, under such a system, the provincial magnates should settle matters to their own liking without reference to Kyoto, and that, the better to enforce their will, they should equip themselves with armed retinues. In truth, it is not too much to say that, from the tenth century, Japan outside the capital became an arena of excursions and alarms, the preservation of peace being wholly dependent on the ambitions of local magnates.

A history of all these happenings would be intolerably long and tedious. Therefore only those that have a national bearing will be here set down. Prominent among such is the struggle between the Taira and the Minamoto in the Kwanto. The origin of these two families has already been recounted. Some historians have sought to differentiate the metropolitan section of the Minamoto from the provincial section--that is to say, the men of luxury and literature who frequented the capital, from the men of sword and bow who ruled in the provinces. Such differentiation is of little practical value. Similar lines of demarcation might be drawn in the case of the Taira and Fujiwara themselves. If there were great captains in each of these famous families, there were also great courtiers. To the former category belonged Taira Tadatsune. For generations his family had ruled in the province of Shimosa and had commanded the allegiance of all the bushi of the region. Tadatsune held at one time the post of vice-governor of the neighbouring province of Kazusa, where he acquired large manors (shoen). In the year 1028, he seized the chief town of the latter province, and pushing on into Awa, killed the governor and obtained complete control of the province.* The Court, on receiving news of these events, ordered Minamoto Yorinobu, governor of Kai, and several other provincial governors to attack the Taira chief.


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