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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

As Antoku had left the capital


things could not fail to engender some discontent, and presently a much graver cause for dissatisfaction presented itself. Fujiwara Kanezane, minister of the Right, memorialized the Court in the sense that, as Antoku had left the capital, another occupant to the throne should be appointed, in spite of the absence of the regalia. He pointed out that a precedent for dispensing with these tokens of Imperialism had been furnished in the case of the Emperor Keitai (507-531). No valid reason existed for such a precipitate step. Antoku had not abdicated. His will had not been consulted at all by the Taira when they carried him off; nor would the will of a child of six have possessed any validity in such a matter. It is plain that the proposal made by the minister of the Right had for motive the convenience of the Minamoto, whose cause lacked legitimacy so long as the sovereign and the regalia were in the camp of the Taira.

But the minister's advice had a disastrous sequel. Yoshinaka was resolutely bent on securing the succession for the son of Prince Mochihito, who had been killed in the Yorimasa emeute. It was practically to Mochihito that the Court owed its rescue from the Taira tyranny, and his son--now a youth of seventeen, known as Prince Hokuriku, because he had founded an asylum at a monastery in Hokuriku-do after his father's death--had been conducted to Kyoto by Yoshinaka, under a promise to secure the succession for him. But Go-Shirakawa would

not pay any attention to these representations. He held that Prince Hokuriku was ineligible, since his father had been born out of wedlock, and since the prince himself had taken the tonsure; the truth being that the ex-Emperor had determined to obtain the crown for one of his own grandsons, younger brothers of Antoku. It is said that his Majesty's manner of choosing between the two lads was most capricious. He had them brought into his presence, whereupon the elder began to cry, the younger to laugh, and Go-Shirakawa at once selected the latter, who thenceforth became the Emperor Go-Toba.


Yoshinaka's fortunes began to ebb from the time of his failure to obtain the nomination of Prince Hokuriku. A force despatched to Bitchu with the object of arresting the abduction of Antoku and recovering possession of the regalia, had the misfortune to be confronted by Taira no Noritsune, one of the stoutest warriors on the side of the Heike. Ashikaga Yoshikiyo, who commanded the pursuers, was killed, and his men were driven back pele-mele. This event impaired the prestige of Yoshinaka's troops, while he himself and his officers found that their rustic ways and illiterate education exposed them constantly to the thinly veiled sneers of the dilettanti and pundits who gave the tone to metropolitan society. The soldiers resented these insults with increasing roughness and recourse to violence, so that the coming of Yoritomo began to be much desired. Go-Shirakawa sent two messages at a brief interval to invite the Kamakura chief's presence in the capital. Yoritomo replied with a memorial which won for him golden opinions, but he showed no sign of visiting Kyoto. His absorbing purpose was to consolidate his base in the east, and he had already begun to appreciate that the military and the Imperial capitals should be distinct.

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