free ebooks

A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

Shiro kosode white wadded silk coats


Marriages must not be contracted at private convenience.

"Now, the marriage union is a result of the harmonious blending of the In and Yo (i.e. the Yin and Yang of Chinese metaphysics, the female and male principles of nature). It is therefore not a matter to be lightly undertaken. It is said in the 'Scowling' passage of the (Chow) Book of Changes, 'Not being enemies they unite in marriage.' Whilst (the elders are) thinking of making advances to the opponent (family), the proper time (for the marriage of the young couple) is allowed to slip by. In the 'Peach Young' poem of the Book of Odes it is said, 'If the man and woman, duly observing what is correct, marry at the proper time of life, there will be no widows in the land.' To form cliques (political parties) by means of matrimonial connexions is a source of pernicious stratagems."

This provision was, in fact, a codification of the veto pronounced by Hideyoshi on his death-bed against marriages between the families of different daimyo. Ieyasu himself had been the first to violate the veto, and he was the first to place it subsequently on the statute book. The third Tokugawa shogun, Iemitsu, extended the restriction by ordering that even families having estates of only three thousand koku should not intermarry without Yedo's previous consent.

"(9) As to the rule that the daimyo shall come (to the shogun's court at Yedo) to

do service:--

"In the Shoku Nihongi (The Continuation of the Chronicles of Japan) it is recorded amongst the enactments,

"'Except when entrusted with some official duty to assemble, no one (dignitary) is allowed at his own pleasure to assemble his tribe within the limits of the capital, no one is to go about attended by more than twenty horsemen, etc.'

"Hence it is not permissible to lead about a large force of soldiers. For daimyo whose revenues range from 1,000,000 koko down to 200,000 koku, the number of twenty horsemen is not to be exceeded. For those whose revenues are 100,000 koku and under, the number is to be in the same proportion.

"On occasions of official service, however (i.e. in time of warfare), the number of followers is to be in proportion to the social standing of each daimyo."

The above rule of repairing to the capital to pay respects (go-sankin) was an old fashion, and barons were accustomed to go with large retinues. Thus, it often happened that collisions occurred between the corteges of hostile feudatories, and it was to prevent these sanguinary encounters that the Tokugawa set strict limits to the number of samurai accompanying a military chief.

"(10) There must be no confusion in respect of dress uniforms, as regards the materials thereof.

"The distinction between lord and vassal, between superior and inferior, must be clearly marked by the apparel. Retainers may not, except in rare cases by special favour of their lords, indiscriminately wear silk stuffs, such as shiro-aya (undyed silk with woven patterns), shiro-kosode (white wadded silk coats), murasaki-awase (purple silk coats, lined), murasaki-ura (silk coats lined with purple); nori (white gloss silk), mumon (silk coat without the wearer's badge dyed on it), kosode (a coloured silk-wadded coat). In recent times, retainers and henchmen (soldiers) have taken to wearing rich damasks and silk brocade. This elaborate display was not allowed by the ancient laws and it must be severely kept within bounds."

eBook Search
Social Sharing
Share Button
About us 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 - All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us