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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

And several Kamakura literati descendants of Oye



Ashikaga Takauji's original idea was to follow the system of Yoritomo in everything. Kamakura was to be his capital and he assumed the title of shogun. This was in 1335. Three years later he received the shogunate in due form from the Northern sovereign, Komyo. But he now discovered that Kyoto must be his headquarters so long as the War of the Dynasties lasted, and he therefore established the Bakufu at Muromachi in that city, modelling it on the lines of Yoritomo's institution, but dispensing with a regent (shikkeri) and substituting for him a second shitsuji. The first two shitsuji at Muromachi were Ko Moronao, the great general, and Uesugi Tomosada, a connexion of Takauji. Kamakura was not neglected, however. It became a secondary basis, Takauji's eight-year-old son, Yoshiakira, being installed there as governor-general (kwanryo) of the Kwanto under the guardianship of Uesugi Noriaki as shitsuji, and the old administrative machinery of the Hojo was revived in the main. Takauji's brother, Tadayoshi, became chief of the general staff in Kyoto, and "several Kamakura literati--descendants of Oye, Nakahara, Miyoshi, and others--were brought up to fill positions on the various boards, the services of some of the ablest priests of the time being enlisted in the work of drafting laws and regulations."*

*Murdoch's History of Japan.

To these priests and literati was

entrusted the task of compiling a code based on the Joei Shikimoku of the Hojo regents, and there resulted the Kemmu Shikimoku, promulgated in 1337.* This was not a law, properly so called, but rather a body of precepts contained in seventeen articles. They have much interest as embodying the ethics of the time in political circles. "Economy must be universally practised. Drinking parties and wanton frolics must be suppressed. Crimes of violence and outrage must be quelled. The practice of entering the private dwellings of the people and making inquisitions into their affairs must be given up." Then follow two articles dealing with the ownership of vacant plots and rebuilding of houses and fireproof godowns in the devastated sections of the capital. The subsequent paragraphs provide that men of special ability for government work should be chosen for the office of shugo; that a stop must be put to the practice of influential nobles and women of all sorts and Buddhist ecclesiastics making interested recommendations (to the sovereign); that persons holding public posts must be liable to reprimand for negligence and idleness; that bribery must be firmly put down; that presents made from all quarters to those attached to the palace, whether of the inside or outside service, must be sent back; that those who are to be in personal attendance on the rulers must be selected for that duty; that ceremonial etiquette should be the predominant principle; that men noted for probity and adherence to high principle should be rewarded by more than ordinary distinction; that the petitions and complaints of the poor and lowly should be heard and redress granted; that the petitions of temples and shrines should be dealt with on their merits, and that certain fixed days should be appointed for the rendering of decisions and the issue of government orders.**

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