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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

And placed Ashikaga Tadayoshi in a position amounting

Had this piteous appeal reached Go-Daigo, he might have relented. But just as the memorial addressed by Yoshitsune to his brother, Yoritomo, was suppressed by Hiromoto, so the chamberlain to whom Prince Morinaga entrusted his protest feared to carry it to the sovereign. Before the close of the year, the prince was exiled to Kamakura, and there placed in charge of Takauji's brother, Tadayoshi, who confined him in a cave dug for the purpose. He never emerged alive. Seven months later, Tadayoshi, on the eve of evacuating Kamakura before the attack of Hojo Tokiyuki, sent an emissary to assassinate Morinaga in the cave. The unfortunate prince was in his twenty-eighth year. His name must be added to the long list of noble men who fell victims to slander in Japan. A Japanese annalist* contends that Morinaga owed his fate as much to his own tactlessness as to the wiles of his enemies, and claims that in accusing Takauji to the throne, the prince forgot the Emperor's helplessness against such a military magnate as the Ashikaga chief. However that may have been, subsequent events clearly justified the prince's suspicions of Takauji's disloyalty. It must also be concluded that Go-Daigo deliberately contemplated his son's death when he placed him in charge of Takauji's brother.

*Raj Sanyo.


The course of events has been somewhat anticipated above in order

to relate the end of Prince Morinaga's career. It is necessary, now, to revert to the incident which precipitated his fate, namely, the capture of Kamakura by Hojo Tokiyuki. This Tokiyuki was a son of Takatoki. He escaped to Shinano province at the time of the Hojo downfall, and being joined there by many of his family's vassals, he found himself strong enough to take the field openly in July, 1335, and sweeping away all opposition, he entered Kamakura in August. Ashikaga Takauji's brother was then in command at Kamakura. It seemed, indeed, as though the Emperor deliberately contemplated the restoration of the old administrative machinery in the Kwanto, changing only the personnel; for his Majesty appointed his tenth son, Prince Narinaga, a boy of ten, to be shogun at Kamakura, and placed Ashikaga Tadayoshi in a position amounting, in fact though not in name, to that of regent (shikken). Probably these measures were merely intended to placate the Kwanto. Before there had been time to test their efficacy, the Hojo swept down on Kamakura, and Tadayoshi and the young shogun found themselves fugitives. Meanwhile, Ashikaga Takauji in Kyoto had been secretly fanning the discontent of the unrecompensed bushi, and had assured himself that a reversion to the military system would be widely welcomed. He now applied for a commission to quell the Hojo insurrection, and on the eve of setting out for that purpose, he asked to be nominated shogun, which request being rejected, he left the capital without paying final respects to the Throne, an omission astutely calculated to attract partisans.

The Hojo's resistance was feeble, and in a few weeks the Ashikaga banners were waving again over Kamakura. The question of returning to Kyoto had now to be considered. Takauji's brother, Tadayoshi, strongly opposed such a step. He compared it to putting one's head into a tiger's mouth, and in fact information had already reached Kamakura in the sense that the enemies of the Ashikaga were busily slandering the victorious general. It may fairly be assumed, however, that Takauji had never intended to return to Kyoto except as dictator. He assumed the title of shogun; established his mansion on the site of Yoritomo's old yashiki; undertook control of the whole Kwanto; confiscated manors of his enemies; recompensed meritorious deeds liberally, and granted pardons readily. In fact, he presented to public gaze precisely the figure he desired to present, the strong ruler who would unravel the perplexities of a distraught age. From all quarters the malcontent bushi flocked to his flag.

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