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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

Who held Kyushu in the interests of the Southern Court


Number entering religion

Of 8 sons born to Emperor Fushimi (1287-1298) 7

9 " " " Emperor Go-Fushimi (1298-1301) 9

4 " " " Emperor Hanazono (1307-1318) 4

2 " " " Emperor Suko (1348-1352) 2

9 " " " Prince Sadatsune, 8 grandson of the Emperor Suko

14 " " " Emperor Go-Kogon (1352-1371) 14

Absolute accuracy is not claimed for these figures, but they are certainly close approximations. In fact, under the Muromachi Bakufu, every son of a sovereign, except the Prince Imperial, was expected to become a monk. The Ashikaga adopted a similar system and applied it ruthlessly in their own families. In truth, the Ashikaga epoch was notorious for neglect of the obligations of consanguinity. Father is found pitted against son, uncle against nephew, and brother against brother.

ENGRAVING: TILES OF THE DAIBUTSUDEN OF TODAI-JI

ENGRAVING: DECORATION OF TOKONOMA (AN ALCOVE IN

A JAPANESE PARLOUR)--Muromachi Period

CHAPTER XXXII

FOREIGN INTERCOURSE, LITERATURE, ART, RELIGION, MANNERS, AND CUSTOMS IN THE MUROMACHI EPOCH

FOREIGN INTERCOURSE

AFTER the Mongol invasion of Kyushu, Japan held no intercourse with the outer world for several decades, nor does her friendship seem to have been sought by any oversea nation. In the closing year of the thirteenth century, merchantmen flying the Yuan flag are reported to have arrived, but the record is nebulous, and the same may be said of a passing reference that, in 1341, Japanese vessels were sent to China to procure articles manufactured there. We reach more solid ground a year later (1342), when the Ashikaga chief, Takauji, being engaged in building the temple Tenryu-ji, opened trade with China for the purpose of obtaining apparatus, vestments, and works of art. The number of vessels was limited to two annually, and the trade must not exceed five hundred kwan-mon (L750, or $3700). Some of the objects then carried to Japan survive to this day in the form of celadon vases known in Japan as Tenryuji-seiji.* Meanwhile, not a few Buddhist priests crossed the sea from China to preach their faith, and it is certain that during the War of the Dynasties in Japan, when the south of the country was in a state of anarchy, privateering in Korean waters was freely resorted to by Japanese adventurers. A Korean envoy arrived at Fukuhara, in Settsu, in 1367, bearer of a strong protest against this marauding, and declaring that for a decade past assassination and plunder had been freely practised by Japanese subjects on the inhabitants of the Korean littoral. China and Korea were then in a troubled condition.

*The merchantmen received the name of Tenryuji-bune (bune signifies "ship")

In the year (1368) after the arrival of this envoy, the Yuan dynasty went down in China before the Ming, and in Korea the kingdom of Koma was overthrown, the Yi dynasty rising on its ruins and calling the peninsula Chosen. The Ming sovereign immediately attempted to establish tradal intercourse with Japan, but the negotiations failed, and not until 1392 is there any record of oversea relations. Then, at length, Korea's protest elicited a reply from Japan. The shogun, Yoshimitsu, sent to Chosen a despatch, signifying that piracy had been interdicted, that all captives would be returned, and that he desired to establish friendly relations. It appears that at that time China also suffered from the depredations of Japanese corsairs, for the annals say that she repeatedly remonstrated, and that, in 1401, Yoshimitsu despatched to China an envoy carrying presents and escorting some Chinese subjects who had been cast away on the Japanese coast or carried captive thither. Another record suggests that the Chinese Emperor was perplexed between the two warring Courts in Japan. At the time of his accession, a body of Mongol fugitives established themselves in Shantung, where they received assistance from some Japanese adventurers. The Ming sovereign opened communications on the subject with Prince Kanenaga, who held Kyushu in the interests of the Southern Court, but the tone of the Chinese monarch was so arrogant that Prince Kanenaga made no reply. Then Taitsu employed a Buddhist priest, but the character of this bonze having been detected, he was thrown into prison.


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