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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

Ultimately the Bakufu officially disapproved the project


The

proceedings of this council with an autograph covering-letter from the sovereign were sent to the Bakufu, in 1792, but for a long time no answer was given. Meanwhile Prince Tsunehito, already an old man, showed signs of declining health, and the Imperial Court pressed Yedo to reply. Ultimately the Bakufu officially disapproved the project. No statement of reasons accompanied the refusal, but it was softened by a suggestion that an increase of revenue might be conferred on the sovereign's father. This already sufficiently contumelious act was supplemented by a request from the Bakufu that the Imperial Court should send to Yedo the high secretary and the chief of the Household. Unwillingly the Court complied, and after hearing the arguments advanced by these two officials, Sadanobu sentenced them to be placed in confinement for a hundred days, and fifty days, respectively, which sentence was carried out at the temple Seisho-ji in Yedo, and the two high officials were thereafter sent back to Kyoto under police escort. Ultimately they were both dismissed from office, and all the Court dignitaries who had supported the sovereign's wishes were cautioned not to associate themselves again with such "rash and unbecoming acts." It can scarcely be denied that Sadanobu exercised his power in an extreme and unwise manner on this occasion. A little recourse to tact might have settled the matter with equal facility and without open disrespect to the Throne. But the Bakufu prime minister behaved
after the manner of the deer-stalker of the Japanese proverb who does not see the mountain, and he thus placed in the hands of the Imperialist party a weapon which contributed materially to the overthrow of the Bakufu seventy years later.

ENGRAVING: YO-MEI-MON GATE, AT NIKKO

CHAPTER XLII

ORGANIZATION, CENTRAL AND LOCAL; CURRENCY AND THE LAWS OF THE TOKUGAWA BAKAFU

THE ORGANIZATION OF THE TOKUGAWA BAKUFU

THE organization of the Tokugawa Bakufu cannot be referred to any earlier period than that of the third shogun, Iemitsu. The foundations indeed were laid after the battle of Sekigahara, when the administrative functions came into the hands of Ieyasu. By him a shoshidai (governor) was established in Kyoto together with municipal administrators (machi bugyo). But it was reserved for Iemitsu to develop these initial creations into a competent and consistent whole. There was, first, what may be regarded as a cabinet, though the name of its members (roju, or seniors) does not suggest the functions generally discharged by ministers of State. One of the roju was appointed to the post of dairo (great senior). He corresponded to the prime minister in a Western Cabinet, and the other roju may be counted as ministers. Then there were junior ministers, and after them came administrators of accounts, inspectors, administrators of shrines and temples, and municipal administrators. The place where State business was discharged went by the name of Go-Yo-beya. There, the senior and junior ministers assembled to transact affairs, and the chamber being situated in the immediate vicinity of the shogun's sitting-room, he was able to keep himself au courant of important administrative affairs. During the time of the fifth shogun, however, as already related, this useful arrangement underwent radical alteration. As for judicial business, there did not originally exist any special place for its transaction. A chamber in the official residence was temporarily assigned for the purpose, but at a later date a court of justice (Hyojo-sho) was established at Tatsunokuchi in Yedo. This organization, though carried within sight of completion in the days of the third shogun, required to be supplemented by the eighth, and was not actually perfected until the time of the eleventh.


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