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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

While as for the administrators bugyo



In the same month of the same year there was promulgated a body of laws called the "Rules of the Imperial Court, and the Court Nobles" (Kinchu narabi ni Kugeshu Sho-hatto). This enactment bore the signatures of the kwampaku and the shogun and had the Imperial sanction. It consisted of seventeen articles, but only five of them had any special importance:

"(1) Learning is the most essential of all accomplishments. Not to study is to be ignorant of the doctrines of the ancient sages, and an ignorant ruler has never governed a nation peacefully."

This specious precept was not intended to be literally obeyed. The shoguns had no desire for an erudite Emperor. Their conception of learning on the part of the sovereign was limited to the composition of Japanese verselets. A close study of the doctrines of the ancient Chinese sages might have exposed the illegitimacy of the Bakufu administration. Therefore, Yedo would have been content that the Mikado should think only of spring flowers and autumn moonlight, and should not torment his mind by too close attention to the classics.

"(2) A man lacking in ability must not be appointed to the post of regent or minister of State even though he belong to the Go-sekke (Five Designated Families), and it is needless to say that none but a member of those families may serve

in such a position."

"(3) A man of ability, even though he be old, shall not be allowed to resign the post of regent or minister of State in favour of another. If he attempts to resign, his resignation should be refused again and again."

The above two provisions practically conferred on the Bakufu the power of not only appointing the regent and ministers of State but also of keeping them in office. For, as the law had been framed in Yedo, in Yedo also was vested competence to judge the ability or disability of a candidate. Hence, when the Emperor proposed to appoint a regent or a minister, the Bakufu had merely to intimate want of confidence in the nominee's ability; and similarly, if the sovereign desired to dismiss one of those high officials, the shogun could interfere effectually by reference to the letter of the law. Thus, the power of appointing and dismissing the great officials in Kyoto, which is one of the important prerogatives of the crown, was practically usurped by the shogun.

"(4) An adopted son shall always be chosen from the family of his adopter; and a female shall never be adopted to be the head of a family, no such custom having existed in Japan at any time."

This provision had two main objects. The first was to avert adoptions having the effect of combinations; the second, to prevent adoption of Imperial princes into other families. The Bakufu sought, as far as possible, to bring about the taking of the tonsure by all princes of the Blood who were not in the direct line of the succession, and to keep these princes from attaining to the posts of regents or ministers of State.

"(5) All reports shall be submitted to the Emperor by the regent, the denso, or an administrator (bugyo). Any other person who, in disregard of this rule, attempts to address the Throne direct, shall be sent into exile, whatever his rank."

The denso mentioned in this provision was an official appointed by the Bakufu for that special purpose. The whole arrangement as to communication with the Throne constituted a powerful buttress of Bakufu influence. Generally, the latter could contrive, as has been shown above, to control the appointment and continuance in office of a regent or a minister, while as for the administrators (bugyo), they were nominees of Yedo. It thus resulted that the Throne was approachable through the channel of the Bakufu only.

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