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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

On the childless death of Shoko


Go-Kameyama, should abdicate

in favour of the Northern, the former being thenceforth treated as the latter's father. This compact having been concluded, the sacred insignia were transported from Yoshino to Kyoto with all solemnity. Six Court nobles accompanied them from the South; twenty went out from the North to receive them, and a numerous body of troops formed the escort. The retiring Emperor spent ten days at the palace in Kyoto, throughout which time a magnificent banquet was held to celebrate the conclusion of the fifty-five years' war. Yoshino and other districts were assigned for the support of the ex-Emperor, and pensions or domains were conferred on the Court nobles of the South, some of whom, however, declining to compromise their sense of honour by accepting favours from the North, withdrew to the provinces; and their exile was shared by several of the military leaders who had remained true to the South throughout. There can be little doubt that among these apparent implacables were some of a selfishly calculating disposition, who, anticipating a reversion to the system of alternate succession, as instituted by the Hojo interpreters of Go-Saga's testament, looked for greater personal advantage when the Crown should come to the Southern branch than anything that could be hoped for by submitting to the Northern. They were mistaken. That testament, which had done so much mischief in its time, was ignored from the close of the War of the Dynasties. It did not fall into total abeyance, however, without
some further bloodshed, and the facts may be interpolated here so as to dispose finally of the subject.

In 1412, the abdication of Go-Komatsu should have been followed by the accession of a Southern prince had the principle of alternation been pursued. It was not so followed. On the contrary, the sceptre fell to Shoko--101st sovereign--son of Go-Komatsu. Hence, in 1413, Date Yasumune, in Mutsu, and, in 1414, Kitabatake Mitsumasa, in Ise, made armed protests, gallant but ineffective. Again, in 1428, on the childless death of Shoko, the claims of the Southern line were tacitly ignored in favour of Go-Hanazono, grandson of the third Northern Emperor, Suko. The same Mitsumasa now took the field, aided this time by Masahide, head of the ever loyal house of Kusunoki, but signal failure ensued. The last struggle in behalf of the Southern line took place in 1443, when "a band of determined men under Kusunoki Jiro and the Court noble, Hino Arimitsu, suddenly assailed the palace from two directions; all but succeeded in killing or capturing the Emperor, and actually got possession of the regalia. They were soon driven out, however, and in their flight to Hiei-zan, where one body of them entrenched themselves, the mirror and the sword were dropped and recovered by the pursuers. The other body made good their escape to the wilds of Odai-ga-hara, carrying with them the seal; and it was not till a year later that it found its way back to Kyoto, when the rebels had been destroyed."*

*Murdoch's History of Japan.

ENGRAVING: KOZUKA AND MENUKI (SWORD FURNITURE)

CHAPTER XXXI

THE FALL OF THE ASHIKAGA

TWO BRANCHES OF THE ASHIKAGA

THE Ashikaga family was divided into two main branches, both descended from Takauji. The representatives of one, the senior, branch had their headquarters at Muromachi in Kyoto and held the office of shogun as a hereditary right. There were fifteen generations:


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