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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

Among these provincial vassals


*Out

of some 72,000 temples in Japan to-day, 20,000, approximately, belong to the Shin sect; an equal number to the Zen; 13.000 to the Shingon; 8000 to the Jodo; and smaller numbers to the rest.

THE PEOPLE

With the decentralization of the administrative power there was a corresponding growth of the vassal class. Of course the Court nobles had vassals in their households, but the power exercised over these vassals had legal limits, whereas the vassals of the provincial chiefs were liable to imprisonment or even death by order of their chiefs. One result was that the provinces came gradually into possession of a large body of men skilled in arms and in administration. Moreover, among these provincial vassals, men originally of humble origin, found themselves raised to the level of honoured subjects, and a man's status came to be determined by his occupation rather than by his lineage. The lines of this new discrimination were fourfold, namely, shi, no, ko, sho--that is to say, military, agricultural, industrial, and commercial. The tradesman stood at the bottom of the scale, and the farmer, as the principal taxpayer, ranked next to the military man. It will be observed that this classification does not include any persons whose occupation involved pollution. This was a result of religious prejudice. Degradation attended every profession that required contact with the sick, the dead, or offal of any kind. Persons practising

such callings were designated eta (men of many impurities). All belonging to the class inferior to tradesmen were originally regarded as outlaws, but subsequently, when society was reorganized on a military basis, an official was specially entrusted with absolute control over persons excluded from the quadruple classification of soldier, farmer, mechanic, and merchant. Beggars constituted an important section of the outcasts (hiniri). Next to them were professional caterers for amusement, from dog-trainers, snake-charmers, riddle-readers, acrobats, and trainers of animals, to brothel-keepers and executioners.

DWELLING-HOUSES

During the two centuries from the middle of the twelfth, aristocratic dwellings in the capital underwent little change. Military residences, however, developed some special features, though, in general, their architecture was of the simplest character. They had two enclosures, each surrounded by a boarded fence, and the whole was encircled by a fosse crossed by outer and inner gates. There were ranges for archery and there were watch-towers, but the dwelling itself was small and plain. It consisted mainly of a hall, having a dais with a lacquered chair for important visitors; an apartment for women; a servants' room, and a kitchen, heat being obtained from a hearth sunk in the floor. Austere simplicity was everywhere aimed at, and it is related that great provincial chiefs did not think the veranda too lowly for a sleeping-place. The use of the tatami was greatly extended after the twelfth century. No longer laid on the dais only, these mats were used to cover the whole of the floors, and presently they were supplemented by cushions made of silk crepe stuffed with cotton-wool. In the great majority of cases, roofs were covered with boards. Only in the houses of magnates was recourse had to tiles imported from China or slates of copper-bronze. In the better class of house, the roof-boards were held in place by girders, but humble folks used logs of timber, or stones, to prevent wind-stripping, and these weights imparted an untidy, rude appearance to the structure.


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