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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

Happened to be on the throne when Takatoki


The

Dengaku mime was then in vogue among all classes in Kyoto. Takatoki, hearing of this, summoned two rival troupes of Dengaku players to Kamakura and witnessed their performances without regard to the passage of time. He distributed the members of the troupes among the noble families related to the Hojo, and made these nobles compete to furnish the performers with magnificent costumes. At a banquet when a Dengaku mime was acted, the regent and his guests vied with one another in pulling off their robes and throwing them into a heap, to be redeemed afterwards for heavy sums which were given to the actors. The custom thus inaugurated became perpetual. One day, a number of dogs gathered in the garden of Takatoki's mansion and had a fight. This so amused the regent that orders were despatched to collect dogs by way of taxes, the result being that many people in the provinces took steps to breed dogs and presented them by tens or scores to Kamakura, where they were fed on fish and fowl, kept in kennels having gold and silver ornaments, and carried in palanquins to take the air. When these distinguished animals were borne along the public thoroughfares, people hastening hither and thither on business had to dismount and kneel in obeisance, and farmers, instead of cultivating the fields, had to act as bearers of the dogs' sedan-chairs. Thus, the city of Kamakura presented the curious spectacle of a town filled with well-fed dogs, clothed in tinsel and brocades, and totalling from four
to five thousand. Twelve days in every month used to be devoted to dog-fights, and on these occasions, the regent, the nobles, and the people inside and outside the mansion used to assemble as spectators, sitting on the verandas or the ground.

THE COURT IN KYOTO

All these things were watched with keen interest in Kyoto. It has been shown in Chapter XXVI that the Imperial family had been divided into two branches ever since the days of Go-Saga (1242-1246), one descended from his elder son, Go-Fukakusa, the other from his younger, Kameyama. These two branches may be conveniently distinguished as the senior and the junior, respectively. It has also been shown that the princes of the senior branch uniformly relied on Kamakura and kept the Bakufu informed of all intrigues devised in Kyoto, whereas those of the junior branch constantly cherished the hope of reasserting the independence of the throne. A representative of the junior branch, Go-Daigo (1318-1339), happened to be on the throne when Takatoki, holding the regency at Kamakura, scandalized the nation by his excesses and discredited the Hojo by his incompetence.

Go-Daigo was an able sovereign. He dispensed justice scrupulously and made the good of the country his prime aim. It appeared to him that the time had come for Kyoto to shake off the fetters of Kamakura. With that object he took into his confidence two Fujiwara nobles, Suketomo, a councillor of State, and Toshimoto, minister of Finance. These he despatched on a secret tour of inspection through the provinces, instructing them at the same time to canvass for adherents among the local samurai. They met with considerable success. Among the provincial families there were some of Taira origin who cherished traditional hatred towards the Minamoto; there were some of Minamoto blood who chafed at the supremacy of the Hojo, and there were some who, independently of lineage, longed for a struggle and its contingent possibilities. Leading representatives of these classes began to hold conclaves in Kyoto. The meetings were marked by complete absence of ceremony, their object being to promote free interchange of ideas. Presently, suspicions were suggested to Kamakura. The regent, Takatoki, who, though a careless libertine in his habits, living in the society of his thirty concubines, his troops of dancing mimes, and his packs of fighting dogs, was capable of stern resolution on occasions, threatened to dethrone the Emperor.


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