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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

Founded the houses of Nijo and Ichijo


descendants of Kameyama were called the "Daigaku-ji family," and the descendants of Go-Fukakusa received the name of the "Jimyo-in family." When a member of the latter occupied the throne, the Court enjoyed opulence, owing to its possession of the extensive Chokodo estates; but when the sovereign was of the Daigaku-ji line comparative penury was experienced. There can be little doubt that, throughout the complications antecedent to this dual system, the Fushimi princes acted practically as spies for the Bakufu. After all, the two Imperial families were descended from a common ancestor and should have shrunk from the disgrace of publishing their rivalries. It is true, as we shall presently see, that the resulting complications involved the destruction of the Hojo; but it is also true that they plunged the nation into a fifty years' war.


It has already been related how, by Yoritomo's contrivance, the post of family--descended from Fujiwara Kanezane--and scions of the Konoe family--descended from Fujiwara Motomichi. This system was subsequently extended at the instance of the Hojo. The second and third sons of Michiiye, grandson of Kanezane, founded the houses of Nijo and Ichijo, respectively; while Kanehira, the second of two grandsons of Motomichi, established the house of Takatsukasa. These five families--Konoe, Kujo, Nijo, Ichijo, and Takatsukasa--were collectively called Go-sekke (the

Five Regent Houses) in recognition of the fact that the regent in Kyoto was supposed to be taken from them in succession. The arrangement led to frequent strife with resulting weakness, thus excellently achieving the purpose of its contrivers, the Hojo.


The rule of the Hojo synchronized with two events of prime importance the invasion of Japan by a Mongolian army, first in 1274, and subsequently in 1281. Early in the twelfth century, the Emperor of China, which was then under the sway of the Sung dynasty, invited the Golden Tatars to deal with the Khitan Tatars, who held Manchuria, and who, in spite of heavy tribute paid annually by the Sung Court, continually raided northeastern China. The Golden Tatars responded to the invitation by not only expelling the Khitans but also taking their place in Manchuria and subsequently overrunning China, where they established a dynasty of their own from 1115 to 1234.

These struggles and dynastic changes did not sensibly affect Japan. Her intercourse with the Asiatic continent in those ages was confined mainly to an interchange of visits by Buddhist priests, to industrial enterprise, and to a fitful exchange of commodities. It does not appear that any branch of the Tatars concerned themselves practically about Japan or the Japanese. Ultimately, however, in the first part of the thirteenth century, the Mongols began to sweep down on the Middle Kingdom under the leadership of Jenghiz Khan. They crushed the Golden Tatars, transferred (1264) the Mongol capital from central Asia to Peking (Cambaluc), and, in 1279, under Kublai, completely conquered China. Nearly thirty years before the transfer of the capital to Peking, the Mongols invaded the Korean peninsula, and brought it completely under their sway in 1263, receiving the final submission of the kingdom of Koma, which alone had offered any stubborn resistance.

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