free ebooks

A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

The year name was then changed to Genna


To

this chapter of history belongs the attitude of Ieyasu towards the memory of his old friend and benefactor, Hideyoshi. He caused to be levelled with the ground the temple of Toyokuni Daimyo-jin, where the spirit of Hideyoshi was worshipped, and he ordered the removal of the tomb of the Taiko from Amidagamine to a remote corner of the Daibutsu enclosure. Finally, he sought and obtained the Emperor's sanction to revoke the sacred title conferred posthumously on Hideyoshi. One looks in vain for any fragment of magnanimity among such acts. Ieyasu is reported to have avowedly adopted for guidance the precept, "Before taking any step propound to your heart the query, how about justice?" He certainly did not put any such query to his own conscience in connexion with the castle of Osaka or its inmates.

THE GENNA YEAR-PERIOD (1615-1623)

The battle of Sekigahara is often spoken of as the last great internecine campaign in Japanese history, but this is hardly borne out by the facts. Indeed, from what has been said above, it will be seen that Sekigahara was merely a prelude to Osaka, and that the former stood to the latter almost in the relation of a preliminary skirmish. It is from August, 1615, that we must date the commencement of the long period of peace with which Japan was blessed under Tokugawa rule. The year-name was then changed to Genna.

DEATH OF IEYASU

justify;">In February, 1616, Ieyasu fell sick, and in April the Emperor sent an envoy to confer on him the title of dajo daijin. He expired a few days afterwards at the age of seventy-five and was apotheosized as Tosho Dai-Gongen (Light of the East and Great Incarnation). He was buried on the summit of Mount Kuno in Suruga, and ultimately his ashes were carried to Nikko for interment. It is recorded, though not on independent authority, that when his end was drawing near he spoke to those at his side in the folio whig terms: "My death is now in sight, but happily the country is at peace, and Hidetada has already discharged the duties of shogun for several years. I have, therefore, no cause for anxiety. If, after I am gone, Hidetada should make any failure in his administration of public affairs, or if he should lose control of the people, any one of you to whom the Imperial order may be addressed, should assume the functions of shogun, for, as you well know, that post is not the property of this or that person in particular, nor will my rest in the grave be disturbed though such an event occurs."

Another record, however, represents Ieyasu as following the example of the Taiko and conjuring his most trusted retainers to devote their strength to the support of the Tokugawa family. To Hidetada he is said to have suggested the advisability of compelling the daimyo to remain in Yedo for three full years after his (Ieyasu's) demise, in order to test thoroughly their attitude. Hidetada replied that while most unwilling to reject his father's advice, his intention was to allow the feudatories to leave Yedo at once, and if any one of them evinced hostile feeling by shutting himself up in his castle, he, Hidetada, would follow him thither and level his parapets with the ground. Such an object lesson was, in his opinion, the best stepping-stone to supremacy. Ieyasu is reported to have received this answer with profound satisfaction, and to have declared that he was now assured of the permanence of peace. He then had all his sons called to his side and enjoined upon them the duty of serving the shogun faithfully. To his grandson, Iemitsu, he specially addressed himself, saying: "It will fall to your lot, some day, to govern the country. On that day remember that benevolence should be the first principle of a ruler."


eBook Search
Social Sharing
Share Button
About us

freefictionbooks.org is a collection of free ebooks that can be read online. Ebooks are split into pages for easier reading and better bookmarking.

We have more than 35,000 free books in our collection and are adding new books daily.

We invite you to link to us, so as many people as possible can enjoy this wonderful free website.

© 2010-2013 freefictionbooks.org - All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us