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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

Both of whom were Bakufu nominees


sole functions left to the Imperial Court were those of appointing the shogun--which of course was only formal--conferring ranks, fixing the name of year-periods, ordering the calendar, taking part in ceremonials, nominating priests and officials, and sanctioning the building of temples. Thus, the regent (kwampaku) was the sovereign's appointee. He had to be chosen in succession from one of the five families--Konoe, Takatsukasa, Kujo, Nijo, and Ichijo, to which the general name Go-sekke (the Five Regent Families) was given. But the regent was practically without power of any kind. Very different was the case of the denso, who had direct access to the Throne. Appointed by the shogun from one of seventeen families closely related to the Tokugawa, a denso, before entering upon the duties of his office, was obliged to swear that he would minutely and unreservedly report to the Bakufu everything coming to his knowledge. His principal duty was to communicate direct with the Throne. There was also another Bakufu nominee called the giso, who administered the affairs of the Imperial Court, and who held, in addition, the post of dai-nagon, chu-nagon, or sho-nagon, which offices were reserved for members of the Tokugawa family. Yet another official representing the Bakufu was the shoshidai, who managed all matters connected with the guarding of the Imperial Court and the Court nobles, at the same time transacting financial business. In the event of any disturbance occurring in Court circles
in Kyoto, it was reported, first, to the shoshidai and, then, by him, to the senior officials in Yedo, while any disturbance occurring in Yedo was equally reported, first to the shoshidai and afterwards by the latter to the sovereign. The shoshidai was in fact a governor-general, with powers far superior to those of any Court noble, and his sway extended to the eight provinces in the neighbourhood of Kyoto. By means of the shoshidai all circumstances of the Imperial Court were fully conveyed to the Bakufu in Yedo and complete control was exercised over the Imperial capital and its environs. The Bakufu were careful to choose for this post a man whose loyalty and ability stood beyond question. Finally, reference may be made to the administrator of the reigning sovereign's Court (Kinri-zuki bugyo) and the administrator of the ex-Emperor's court (Sendo-zuki bugyo), both of whom were Bakufu nominees.


This Emperor held the sceptre throughout the memorable epoch from the death of Nobunaga till that of Ieyasu, and he continued to exercise power during six years after his abdication. It was he that conferred the post of shogun on Ieyasu and gave him his posthumous title of Tosho Gongen. His Majesty was the eldest son of the Emperor Okimachi. He surrendered the throne to his third son in 1611, dying at the age of forty-seven in 1617.


This sovereign had for consort a daughter of the shogun Hidetada, as already described. The wedding took place in the year 1620, and its magnificence offered a theme for enthusiastic comment by contemporary historians. The shogun was careful to surround the Imperial bride with officials of his own choosing, and these, joining hands with the shoshidai and the denso, constituted an entourage which ordered everything at Kyoto in strict accordance with the interests of the Tokugawa. The new Empress was dowered with an estate much larger than that of the Emperor himself, although the latter's allowance was increased by ten thousand koku. It is related that his Majesty's impecuniosity compelled the curtailment of various ceremonies and prevented the giving of presents in the ordinary routine of social conventions, so that it became necessary to replenish the Imperial purse by lending rice and money to the citizens at high rates of interest.

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