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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

Did not avail much as against Bakufu arbitrariness


lineage, however, did not avail much as against Bakufu arbitrariness. The Hojo adopted towards the shoguns the same policy as that previously pursued by the Fujiwara towards the sovereigns--appointment during the years of childhood and removal on reaching full manhood.* But the shoguns were not unavenged.

*It is related that when the regent, Sadatoki, in 1289, removed Prince Koreyasu from the office of shogun, he ordered that the bamboo palanquin in which the prince journeyed to Kyoto should be carried with the back in front. The people said that the prince was banished to Kyoto.

It was owing to the social influence exercised by their entourage that the frugal and industrious habits of the bushi at Kamakura were gradually replaced by the effeminate pastimes and enervating accomplishments of the Imperial capital. For the personnel and equipage of a shogun's palace at Kamakura differed essentially from those of Hojo regents (shikken) like Yasutoki and his three immediate successors. In the former were seen a multitude of highly paid officials whose duties did not extend to anything more serious than the conservation of forms of etiquette; the custody of gates, doors, and shutters; the care of pavilions and villas; the practice and teaching of polite accomplishments, such as music and versification; dancing, handball, and football; the cultivation of refined archery and equestrianism, and the guarding of the shogun's


*The officials of the shogun's court were collectively called banshu.

At the regency, on the other hand, functions of the most arduous character were continuously discharged by a small staff of earnest, unpretentious men, strangers to luxury or leisure and solicitous, primarily, to promote the cause of justice and to satisfy the canons of efficiency. The contrast could not but be demoralizing. Not rapidly or without a struggle, but slowly and inevitably, the poison of bad example permeated Kamakura society, and the sinecures in the shogun's household came to be coveted by the veterans of the Bakufu, who, throughout the peaceful times secured by Hojo rule, found no means of gaining honours or riches in the field, and who saw themselves obliged to mortgage their estates in order to meet the cost of living, augmented by extravagant banquets, fine buildings, and rich garments. Eight times between 1252 and 1330, edicts were issued by the Bakufu fixing the prices of commodities, vetoing costly residences, prohibiting expensive garments, censuring neglect of military arts, and ordering resumption of the old-time sports and exercises. These attempts to check the evil had only very partial success. The vices spread, and "in the complex of factors that led to the downfall of the Bakufu, the ultimate ascendancy of Kyoto's social standards in Kamakura must probably be regarded as the most important."*

*Murdoch's History of Japan.


It is necessary now to turn for a moment to the story of the Imperial city, which, since the appearance of the Bakufu upon the scene, has occupied a very subordinate place in these pages, as it did in fact. Not that there was any outward or visible sign of diminishing importance. All the old administrative machinery remained operative, the old codes of etiquette continued to claim strict observance, and the old functions of government were discharged. But only the shadow of authority existed at Kyoto; the substance had passed effectually to Kamakura. As for the throne, its chiefly remarkable feature was the brevity of its occupation by successive sovereigns:

Order of Succession Name Date

77th Sovereign Go-Shirakawa 1156-1158

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