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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

And Yoshimune created the Sankyo


present Princes Tokugawa are the representatives of the main line of the shogun; the Marquises Tokugawa, representatives of the Sanke, and the Counts Tokugawa, of the Sankyo.

Of course, the addition of the Shimizu family had the approval of Yoshimune. In fact, the whole arrangement as to the Sankyo was an illustration of his faithful imitation of the institutions of Ieyasu. The latter had created the Sanke, and Yoshimune created the Sankyo; Ieyasu had resigned in favour of his son and had continued to administer affairs from Sumpu, calling himself 0-gosho; Yoshimune followed his great ancestor's example in all these respects except that he substituted the western part of Yedo Castle for Sumpu. Ieshige's most salient characteristic was a passionate disposition. Men called him the "short-tempered shogun" (kanshaku kubo). He gave himself up to debauchery, and being of delicate physique, his self-indulgence quickly undermined his constitution. So long as Yoshimune lived, his strong hand held things straight, but after his death, in 1751, the incompetence of his son became very marked. He allowed himself to fall completely under the sway of his immediate attendants, and, among these, Tanuma Okitsugu succeeded in monopolizing the evil opportunity thus offered. During nearly ten years the reforms effected by Yoshimune steadily ceased to be operative, and when Ieshige resigned in 1760, the country had fallen into many of the bad customs of the Genroku



After his abdication in 1760, Ieshige survived only fourteen months, dying, in 1761, at the age of fifty-one. He was succeeded, in 1760, by his son, Ieharu, who, having been born in 1737, was twenty-three years old when he began to administer the country's affairs. One of his first acts was to appoint Tanuma Okitsugu to be prime minister, bestowing on him a fief of fifty-seven thousand koku in the province of Totomi, and ordering him to construct a fortress there. At the same time Okitsugu's son, Okitomo, received the rank of Yamato no Kami and the office of junior minister. These two men became thenceforth the central figures in an era of maladministration and corruption. So powerful and all-reaching was their influence that people were wont to say, "Even a bird on the wing could not escape the Tanuma." The shogun was not morally incapable, but his intelligence was completely overshadowed by the devices of Okitsugu, who took care that Ieharu should remain entirely ignorant of popular sentiment. Anyone attempting to let light into this state of darkness was immediately dismissed. It is related of a vassal of Okitsugu that he was found one day with three high officials of the shogun's court busily engaged in applying a moxa to his foot. The three officials knew that their places depended on currying favour with this vassal; how much more, then, with his master, Okitsugu! Everything went by bribery. Justice and injustice were openly bought and sold. Tanuma Okitsugu was wont to say that human life was not so precious as gold and silver; that by the liberality of a man's gifts his sincerity might truly be gauged, and that the best solace for the trouble of conducting State affairs was for their administrator to find his house always full of presents.

Ieharu, however, knew nothing of all this, or anything of the natural calamities that befell the country under his sway--the eruption of the

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