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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

But Hiromoto remained inflexible


Two

events now occurred which materially hastened a rupture. One was connected with an estate, in the province of Settsu, conferred by Go-Toba on a favourite--a shirabyoshi, "white measure-marker," as a danseuse of those days was called. The land-steward of this estate treated its new owner, Kamegiku, with contumely, and Go-Toba was sufficiently infatuated to lodge a protest, which elicited from Kamakura an unceremonious negative. One of the flagrant abuses of the time was the sale of offices to Court ladies, and the Bakufu's attitude in the affair of the Settsu estates amounted to an indirect condemnation of such evil practices. But Go-Toba, profoundly incensed, applied himself from that day to mustering soldiers and practising military tactics. The second incident which precipitated an appeal to arms was the confiscation of a manor owned by a bushi named Nishina Morito, who, though a retainer (keriin) of the Bakufu, had taken service at the Imperial Court. Go-Toba asked that the estate should be restored, but Yoshitoki flatly refused. It was then (1221) that Go-Toba contrived the abdication of his son, Juntoku, a young man of twenty-four, possessing, apparently, all the qualities that make for success in war, and thereafter an Imperial decree deprived Yoshitoki of his offices and declared him a rebel. The die was now cast. Troops were summoned from all parts of the Empire to attack Kamakura, and a motley crowd mustered in Kyoto.

STEPS TAKEN BY

THE BAKUFU

It was on June 6, 1221, that the Imperial decree outlawing Hojo Yoshitoki appeared, and three days later Kamakura was informed of the event. The lady Masa at once summoned the leading generals of the Bakufu to her presence and addressed them thus: "To-day the time of parting has come. You know well what kind of work the late shogun, my husband, accomplished. But slanderers have misled the sovereign and are seeking to destroy the Kwanto institutions. If you have not forgotten the favours of the deceased shogun, you will join hearts and hands to punish the traducers and to preserve the old order. But if any of you wish to proceed to the west, you are free to do so."

This astute appeal is said to have moved the generals greatly. There was not one instance of disaffection; a sufficiently notable fact when we remember that the choice lay between the Throne and the Bakufu. A military council was at once convened by Yoshitoki to discuss a plan of campaign, and the view held by the great majority was that a defensive attitude should be adopted by guarding the Ashigara and Hakone passes.

Alone, Oye no Hiromoto opposed that programme. Regarding the situation from a political, not a strategical, standpoint, he saw that every day they remained unmolested must bring an access of strength to the Imperial forces, and he strenuously urged that a dash should be made for Kyoto at once. Even the lady Masa did not rise to Hiromoto's height of discernment; she advocated a delay until the arrival of the Musashi contingent. Another council was convened, but Hiromoto remained inflexible. He went so far as to urge that the Musashi chief--Yoshitoki's eldest son, Yasutoki--ought to advance alone, trusting his troops to follow. Then the lady Masa summoned Miyoshi Yasunobu and asked his opinion. He said: "The fate of the Kwanto is at stake. Strike at once." Thereupon Hojo Yoshitoki ordered Yasutoki, his son, to set out forthwith from Kamakura, though his following consisted of only eighteen troopers.


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