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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

The Bakufu summoned these prelates to Yedo


A

serious collision occurred during Go-Mizu-no-o's reign between the Courts of Kyoto and Yedo. The Emperor, who inclined to literature and religion, conceived a profound reverence for two Buddhist prelates of great learning and conspicuously holy lives. To these priests, Takuan and Gyokushitsu, his Majesty presented purple robes, a mark of the highest distinction, in apparently unwitting violation of the ecclesiastical laws promulgated by Ieyasu, which forbade the giving of such robes to any bonzes except those of Kennin-ji. On learning of the incident, the Bakufu summoned these prelates to Yedo, deprived them of the robes, and sent them into banishment. The Emperor, naturally much offended, declared that he would no longer occupy the throne, and in 1629, the year of the two priests' transportation, he carried out his threat, abdicating in favour of the Imperial princess, Oki, his eldest daughter by the Tokugawa Empress.

THE 109TH SOVEREIGN, THE EMPRESS MYOSHO (A.D. 1629-1643)

The Princess Oki, eldest daughter of Tokufu-mon-in and the Emperor Go-Mizu-no-o, was only seven years of age when thus called on to occupy the throne. During eight hundred years no female had wielded the sceptre of Japan, and the princess was not without a brother older than herself, though born of a different mother. Thus, the announcement of the Emperor's intention created profound astonishment in the Imperial Court. The partisans of the

Bakufu supported the project, but the friends of the Imperial family denounced it strenuously. Nothing moved the Emperor, however. His Majesty appears to have thought that to bestow the princess' hand on a subject and to elevate her elder brother to the throne would surely be productive of serious mischief, since the husband of the princess, supported by the Bakufu, would prove an invincible power in the State.

As for the Tokugawa statesmen, some accounts allege that they objected to the Emperor's project, but others say that when the matter was reported in Yedo, the shogun signified that his Majesty might consult his own judgment. What is certain is that the Bakufu sent to Kyoto the prime minister, Sakai Tadakiyo, with three other representatives, and that shortly after their arrival in the Imperial capital, arrangements were completed for the proposed change. The Imperial consort, Tofuku-mon-in, was declared ex-Empress with a revenue of 10,000 koku, and the little princess, who is known in history as Myosho, received an income of 20,000 koku; while to the ex-Emperor, Go-Mizu-no-o, only 3000 koku were allotted. Not until 1634, on the occasion of a visit made by Iemitsu, was this glaring contrast corrected: the shogun then increased the ex-Emperor's allowance to 7000 koku, and his Majesty continued to administer public affairs from his place of retirement until 1680, when he died hi his eighty-fifth year.

THE 110TH SOVEREIGN, THE EMPEROR GO-KOMYO (A.D. 1643-1654)

This sovereign was a brother of the Empress Myosho but of a different mother. He was brought up by Tofuku-mon-in as though he were her real child, until he succeeded to the throne at the age of eleven, occupying it for eleven years. Form his earliest youth he showed sagacity, magnanimity, and benevolence. His love of literature was absorbing, and he studied earnestly, taking the priests of the Five Temples as his teachers. He is said to have arrived at the conclusion that a sovereign should never study any useless branch of learning, and as he failed to see the utility of Buddhism, he turned to Confucianism in preference. Moreover, dissatisfied with the old commentaries of the Han and Tang dynasties, he chose in their stead the new classics composed by Chengtsz and Chutsz; and as for Japanese literature, he condemned as grossly misleading works like the Genji Monogatari and the Ise Monogatari.


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