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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

Amounted to one third of the Mito revenues


kosatsu (placard) set up in 1682, has the following inscription: "Strive to be always loyal and filial. Preserve affection between husbands and wives, brothers, and all relatives; extend sympathy and compassion to servants." Further, in a street notice posted in Yedo during the year 1656, we find it ordained that should any disobey a parent's directions, or reject advice given by a municipal elder or by the head of a five-households guild, such a person must be brought before the administrator, who, in the first place, will imprison him; whereafter, should the malefactor not amend his conduct, he shall be banished forever; while for anyone showing malice against his father, arrest and capital punishment should follow immediately.

In these various regulations very little allusion is made to the subject of female rights. But there is one significant provision, namely, that a divorced woman is entitled to have immediately restored to her all her gold and silver ornaments as well as her dresses; and at the same time husbands are warned that they must not fail to make due provision for a former wife. The impression conveyed by careful perusal of all Tokugawa edicts is that their compilers obeyed, from first to last, a high code of ethical principles.



style="text-align: justify;">CHAPTER XLIII



THE reader is aware that early in the ninth century the celebrated Buddhist priest, Kukai (Kobo Daishi), compounded out of Buddhism and Shinto a system of doctrine called Ryobu Shinto. The salient feature of this mixed creed was the theory that the Shinto deities were transmigrations of Buddhist divinities. Thereafter, Buddhism became the national religion, which position it held until the days of the Tokugawa shoguns, when it was supplanted among educated Japanese by the moral philosophy of Confucius, as interpreted by Chutsz, Wang Yang-ming, and others.


The enthusiasm and the intolerance showed by the disciples of Chinese philosophy produced a reaction in Japan, and this culminated in the revival of Shinto, during which process the anomalous position occupied by the shogun towards the sovereign was clearly demonstrated, and the fact contributed materially to the downfall of the Tokugawa. It was by Ieyasu himself that national thought was turned into the new channel, though it need scarcely be said that the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate had no premonition of any results injurious to the sway of his own house.

After the battle of Sekigahara had established his administrative supremacy, and after he had retired from the shogunate in favour of Hidetada, Ieyasu applied himself during his residence at Sumpu to collecting old manuscripts, and shortly before his death he directed that the Japanese section of the library thus formed should be handed over to his eighth son, the baron of Owari, and the Chinese portion to his ninth son, the baron of Kii. Another great library was subsequently brought together by a grandson of Ieyasu, the celebrated Mitsukuni (1628-1700), baron of Mito, who, from his youthful days, devoted attention to Japanese learning, and, assembling a number of eminent scholars, composed the Dai Nihon-shi (History of Great Japan), which consisted of 240 volumes and became thenceforth the standard history of the country. It is stated that the expenditures involved in producing this history, together with a five-hundred-volume work on the ceremonies of the Imperial Court, amounted to one-third of the Mito revenues, a sum of about 700,000 ryo. There can be little doubt that Mitsukuni's proximate purpose in undertaking the colossal work was to controvert a theory advanced by Hayashi Razan that the Emperor of Japan was descended from the Chinese prince, Tai Peh, of Wu, of the Yin dynasty.

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