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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

Others who had special grievances against the Bakufu

*Shin-in signifies the "original recluse;" Chu-in, the "middle recluse;" and Shin-in "the new recluse."

Briefly summarized, the conditions which contributed mainly to the Shokyu struggle had their origin in the system of land supervision instituted by Yoritomo at the instance of Oye no Hiromoto. The constables and the stewards despatched by the Bakufu to the provinces interfered irksomely with private rights of property, and thus there was gradually engendered a sentiment of discontent, especially among those who owed their estates to Imperial benevolence. A well-known record (Tai-hei-ki) says: "In early morn the stars that linger in the firmament gradually lose their brilliancy, even though the sun has not yet appeared above the horizon. The military families did not wantonly show contempt towards the Court. But in some districts the stewards were more powerful than the owners of the estates, and the constables were more respected than the provincial governors. Thus insensibly the influence of the Court waned day by day and that of the military waxed."

There were other causes also at work. They are thus summarized by the Kamakura Jidaishi: "The conditions of the time called two parties into existence: the Kyoto party and the military party. To the former belonged not only many officials of Shinto shrines, priests of Buddhist temples, and managers of private manors, but also a few nominal retainers of the Bakufu. These last included men who, having occupied posts in the Imperial capital for a long time, had learned to regard the Court with gratitude; others who had special grievances against the Bakufu, and yet others who, having lost their estates, were ready to adopt any means of recovering them. The family system of the time paid no heed to primogeniture. Parents fixed the succession by favouritism, and made such divisions as seemed expedient in their eyes. During a parent's lifetime there could be no appeal nor any remonstrance. But no sooner was a father's tombstone about to be erected, than his children engaged in disputes or appealed to the courts. Therefore the Bakufu, seeking to correct this evil state of affairs, issued an order that the members of a family should be subservient to the directions of the eldest son; which order was followed, in 1202, by a law providing that disputes between brothers must be compromised, and by another, in 1214, ruling that applications for official posts must have the approval of the members of the applicants' family in conclave instead of being submitted direct, as theretofore. Under such a system of family autocracy it frequently happened that men were ousted from all share in their paternal estates, and these men, carrying their genealogical tables constantly in their pockets, were ready to join in any enterprise that might better their circumstances. Hence the Shokyu struggle may be said to have been, politically, a collision between the Imperial Court and the Bakufu, and, socially, a protest against family autocracy."

The murder of Sanetomo inspired the Court with strong hope that a suicidal feud had commenced at Kamakura, and when the Fujiwara baby, Yoritsune, was sent thither, peace-loving politicians entertained an idea that the civil and the military administration would soon be found co-operating. But neither event made any change in the situation. The lady Masa and her brother remained as powerful as ever and as careless of the Court's dignity.

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