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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

Was originally called the Honcho Hennen roku


During

the lifetime of Ieyasu, one of the most noted scholars was Fujiwara Seigwa. By the invitation of the Tokugawa chief he lectured on the classics in Kyoto, and it is recorded that Ieyasu, who had just (1600) arrived in that city, attended one of these lectures, wearing his ordinary garments. Seigwa is related to have fixed his eyes on Ieyasu and addressed him as follows: "The greatest work of Confucius teaches that to order oneself is the most essential of achievements. How shall a man who does not order himself be able to order his country? I am lecturing on ethics to one who behaves in a disorderly and discourteous manner. I believe that I preach in vain." Ieyasu immediately changed his costume, and the event contributed materially to the reputation alike of the intrepid teacher and of the magnanimous student, as well as to the popularity of Seigwa's doctrines.

Hayashi Kazan was a disciple of Seigwa whose reputation as a scholar he rivalled. Ieyasu employed him extensively in drafting laws; and many of his disciples subsequently served as teachers of the Chinese classics. The scripture of Hayashi's school of ethics was Chu Hi's commentary on the "Great Learning" of Confucius. In this system, ethics become a branch of natural philosophy. "Corresponding to the regular change of the seasons in nature is right action in man (who is the crown of nature), in the relation of sovereign and subject, parent and child, elder brother and younger brother,

husband and wife, friend and friend. To his sovereign, or lord, he is bound to be faithful; to his parents, dutiful, and to his elder brother, respectful. Affection should characterize the relations of husband and wife and trust those of friend with friend."

A moment's consideration of this ethical system shows that it cannot be reconciled with such a form of administration as that existing under the Bakufu. Genuine loyalty to the sovereign found no place in the practical code of Tokugawa. Whether Ieyasu appreciated that fact or whether he ignored it in consideration of the civilizing and tranquillizing influences of Confucianism, there is nothing to show. Ultimately, however, it was to the ethics of the Chinese sage that the Tokugawa downfall became indirectly attributable.

Ieyasu showed much earnestness in searching for and collecting ancient books. Before and after the war of Osaka, he ordered priests to copy old books and records preserved in Buddhist temples and noblemen's houses. Subsequently, during the Kwanei era--1621-1643--there was built within the castle of Yedo a library called Momijiyama Bunko where the books were stored. He was also instrumental in causing the compilation and publication of many volumes whose contents contribute materially to our historical knowledge. The writing of history in the Imperial Court had been abandoned for many years, and the scholars employed by Ieyasu had recourse to private diaries for materials. Hayashi Kazan (Doshuri) was entrusted with the duty of distinguishing between the true and the false in using these records, and there resulted two memorable works. The second of these consisted in the main of genealogical tables. It extended to 372 volumes and subsequently became the Kwanei Shoke Keizu-den. The first, a national history, was originally called the Honcho Hennen-roku. Before its compilation Kazan (Doshun) died, and the book was concluded by his son, Harukatsu, in the year 1635. It consisted of three hundred volumes in all, and covered the period from the age of the Gods to the year 1610. It is now known as the Honcho Tsugan. The two works having been published to the order and under the patronage of the Bakufu, their contents were by no means free from the stain of favour and affection, but they nevertheless possess inestimable historical value.


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