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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

Varying from 3000 ryo of gold and 10


HIDEYOSHI'S

LARGESSE

Hideyoshi's love of ostentation when political ends could be served thereby was strikingly illustrated by a colossal distribution of gold and silver. One morning in June, 1589, the space within the main gate of the Juraku palace was seen to be occupied throughout a length of nearly three hundred yards with gold and silver coins heaped up on trays each containing one hundred and fifty pieces. Immediately within the gate sat Hideyoshi, and beside him was the Emperor's younger brother, Prince Roku. The mass of glittering treasure was guarded by officials under the superintendence of Maeda Gen-i, and presently the names of the personages who were to be recipients of Hideyoshi's largesse were read aloud, whereupon each of those indicated advanced and received a varying number of the precious trays. The members of Hideyoshi's family were specially favoured in this distribution. His mother received 3000 ryo of gold and 10,000 ryo of silver; his brother, Hidenaga, 3000 ryo of gold and 20,000 of silver; and his nephew, Hidetsugu, 3000 of gold and 10,000 of silver. To Nobukatsu, to Ieyasu, to Mori Terumoto, to Uesugi Kagekatsu, and to Maeda Toshiiye, great sums were given, varying from 3000 ryo of gold and 10,000 of silver to 1000 of gold and 10,000 of silver. It is said that the total of the coins thus bestowed amounted to 365,000 ryo, a vast sum in that era. A history of the time observes that the chief recipients of Hideyoshi's generosity were

the members of his own family, and that he would have shown better taste had he made these donations privately. Perhaps the deepest impression produced by this grand display was a sense of the vast treasure amassed by Hideyoshi; and possibly he contemplated something of the kind.

ENGRAVING: SNOW IMAGE OF DHARMA

ENGRAVING: A FENCING OUTFIT

CHAPTER XXXV

THE INVASION OF KOREA

CAUSES

HAVING brought the whole of Japan under his control, Hideyoshi conceived the project of conquering China. That appears to be the simplest explanation of his action. His motive, however, has been variously interpreted. Some historians maintain that his prime purpose was to find occupation for the vast host of soldiers who had been called into existence in Japan by four centuries of almost continuous warfare. Others do not hesitate to allege that this oversea campaign was designed for the purpose of assisting to exterminate the Christian converts. Others, again, attempt to prove that personal ambition was Hideyoshi's sole incentive. It does not seem necessary to estimate the relative truth of these analyses, especially as the evidence adduced by their several supporters is more or less conjectural. As to the idea that Hideyoshi was influenced by anti-Christian sentiment, it is sufficient to observe that out of nearly a quarter of a million of Japanese soldiers who landed in Korea during the course of the campaign, not so much as ten per cent, were Christians, and with regard to the question of personal ambition, it may be conceded at once that if Hideyoshi's character lays him open to such a charge, his well-proven statecraft exonerates him from any suspicion of having acted without thought for his country's good.


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