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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

Until the assassination of Dokwan


the propagandism of that form of Buddhism altogether. The most presumptuous insurrection of all stands to the credit of the Osaka priests. A great temple had been erected there to replace the Hongwan-ji of Kyoto, and in, 1529, its lord-abbot, Kokyo, entered Kaga, calling himself the "son of heaven" (Emperor) and assigning to his steward, Shimoma Yorihide, the title of shogun. This was called the "great revolt" (dai-ikki), and the movement of opposition provoked by it was termed the "small revolt" (sho-ikki). Again recourse was had to the most cruel methods. Men's houses were robbed and burned simply because their inmates stood aloof from the insurrection. Just at that time the septs of Hosokawa and Miyoshi were engaged in a fierce struggle for supremacy. Kokyo threw in his lot with Hosokawa Harumoto, and, at the head of fifty thousand troops, attacked and killed Miyoshi Motonaga. Very soon, however, the Hosokawa chief fell out with his cassocked allies. But he did not venture to take the field against them single handed. The priests of the twenty-one Nichiren temples in Kyoto, old enemies of the Ikko, were incited to attack the Hongwan-ji in Osaka. This is known in history as the Hokke-ikki, Hokke-shu being the name of the Nichiren sect. Hiei-zan was involved in the attack, but the warlike monks of Enryaku-ji replied by pouring down into the capital, burning the twenty-one temples of the Nichiren and butchering three thousand of their priests. Such were the ways of the Buddhists in the Sengoku period.

THE KWANTO

During the Sengoku period (1490-1600) the Japanese empire may be compared to a seething cauldron, the bubbles that unceasingly rose to the surface disappearing almost as soon as they emerged, or uniting into groups with more or less semblance of permanence. To follow in detail these superficial changes would be a task equally interminable and fruitless. They will therefore be traced here in the merest outline, except in cases where large results or national effects are concerned. The group of eight provinces called collectively Kwanto first claims attention as the region where all the great captains and statesmen of the age had their origin and found their chief sphere of action. It has been seen that the fifth Ashikaga kwanryo, Shigeuji, driven out of Kamakura, took refuge at Koga in Shimotsuke; that he was thenceforth known as Koga Kubo; that the Muromachi shogun, Yoshimasa, then sent his younger brother, Masatomo, to rule in the Kwanto; that he established his headquarters at Horigoe in Izu, and that he was officially termed Horigoe Gosho. His chief retainers were the two Uesugi families--distinguished as Ogigayatsu Uesugi and Yamanouchi Uesugi, after the names of the palaces where their mansions were situated--both of whom held the office of kwanryo hereditarily.

These Uesugi families soon engaged in hostile rivalry, and the Ogigayatsu branch, being allied with Ota Dokwan, the founder of Yedo Castle, gained the upper hand, until the assassination of Dokwan, when the Yamanouchi became powerful. It was at this time--close of the fifteenth century--that there occurred in the Horigoe house one of those succession quarrels so common since the Onin era. Ashikaga Masatomo, seeking to disinherit his eldest son, Chachamaru, in favour of his second son, Yoshimichi, was killed by the former, the latter taking refuge with the Imagawa family in Suruga, by whom he was escorted to the capital, where he became the Muromachi shogun under the name of Yoshizumi. Parricides and fratricides were too common in that disturbed age for Chachamaru's crime to cause any moral commotion. But it chanced that among the rear vassals of the Imagawa there was one, Nagauji, who, during many years, had harboured designs of large ambition. Seizing the occasion offered by Chachamaru's crime, he constituted himself Masatomo's avenger, and marching into Izu, destroyed the Horigoe mansion, and killed Chachamaru. Then (1491) Nagauji quietly took possession of the province of Izu, building for himself a castle at Hojo. He had no legal authority of any kind for the act, neither command from the Throne nor commission from the shogun.


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