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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

But the Bakufu did not relax their precautions


No

account has been preserved, either traditionally or historically, of the incidents or phases of the long fight. We know that the invaders occupied the island of Hirado and landed in Hizen a strong force intended to turn the flank of the Hakozaki Bay parapet. We know, inferentially, that they never succeeded in turning it. We know that, after nearly two months of incessant combat, the Yuan armies had made no sensible impression on the Japanese resistance or established any footing upon Japanese soil. We know that, on August the 14th and 15th, there burst on the shores of Kyushu a tempest which shattered nearly the whole of the Chinese flotilla. And we know that the brunt of the loss fell on the Chinese contingent, some twelve thousand of whom were made slaves. But no such momentous chapter of history has ever been traced in rougher outlines. The annalist is compelled to confine himself to marshalling general results. It was certainly a stupendous disaster for the Yuan arms. Yet Kublai was not content; he would have essayed the task again had not trouble nearer home diverted his attention from Japan. The Island Empire had thus the honour of being practically the only state in the Orient that did not present tribute to the all-conquering Mongols.

But, by a strangely wayward fate, these victories over a foreign invader brought embarrassment to the Hojo rulers rather than renown. In the first place, there could not be any relaxation of the extraordinary

preparations which such incidents dictated. Kublai's successor, Timur, lost no time in countermanding all measures for a renewed attack on Japan, and even adopted the plan of commissioning Buddhist priests to persuade the Bakufu of China's pacific intentions. One of these emissaries, Nei-issan (Chinese pronunciation, Ning I-shan), settled permanently in Japan, and his holy ministrations as a Zen-shu propagandist won universal respect. But the Bakufu did not relax their precautions, and for more than a score of years a heavy burden of expense had to be borne on this account.

Further, when the wave of invasion broke on the shores of Kyushu, the Court in Kyoto set the example of appealing to the assistance of heaven. Prayers were offered, liturgies were chanted, and incense was burned at many temples and shrines throughout the empire. Several of the priests did not hesitate to assert that their supplications had elicited signs and portents indicating supernatural aid. Rich rewards were bestowed in recognition of these services, whereas, on the contrary, the recompense given to the soldiers who had fought so gallantly and doggedly to beat off a foreign foe was comparatively petty. Means of recompensing them were scant. When Yoritomo overthrew the Taira, the estates of the latter were divided among his followers and co-operators. After the Shokyu disturbance, the property of the Court nobles served a similar purpose. But the repulse of the Mongols brought no access of wealth to the victors, and for the first time military merit had to go unrequited while substantial grants were made to the servants of religion. The Bakufu, fully conscious of this dangerous discrepancy, saw no resource except to order that strict surveys should be made of many of the great estates, with a view to their delimitation and reduction, if possible. This, however, was a slow progress, and the umbrage that it caused was more than commensurate with the results that accrued. Thus, to the Bakufu the consequences of a war which should have strengthened allegiance and gratitude were, on the contrary, injurious and weakening.


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