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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

Prince Nagasune to be put to death

As to amusements in prehistoric times little information is furnished. Hunting the boar and the stag was the principal pastime, and hawking is described as having been practised in the fourth century of the Christian era. Music and dancing seem to have been in vogue from time immemorial, but there is nothing to tell what kind of musical instruments were in the hands of the early Yamato. The koto, a kind of horizontal lute, and the flute are spoken of in the Chronicles, but the date of their introduction is not indicated. Wrestling, cockfighting (with metal spurs), picnics, a kind of drafts, gambling with dice, and football are all referred to, and were probably indulged in from a very early date.


The institution of slavery existed among the Yamato. It will be presently spoken of.


There is evidence to show that in the prehistoric age a high position was accorded to women and that their rights received large recognition. The facts that the first place in the Japanese pantheon was assigned to a goddess; that the throne was frequently occupied by Empresses; that females were chiefs of tribes and led armies on campaign; that jealous wives turned their backs upon faithless husbands; that mothers chose names for their children and often had complete charge of their upbringing--all these things go to show that the self-effacing rank taken by Japanese women in later ages was a radical departure from the original canon of society. It is not to be inferred, however, that fidelity to the nuptial tie imposed any check on extra-marital relations in the case of men: it had no such effect.






IT is held by eminent Japanese historians that the Emperor Jimmu, when he set out for Yamato, did not contemplate an armed campaign but merely intended to change his capital from the extreme south to the centre of the country. This theory is based on the words of the address he made to his elder brothers and his sons when inviting them to accompany him on the expedition "Why should we not proceed to Yamato and make it the capital?"--and on the fact that, on arriving in the Kibi district, namely, the region now divided into the three provinces of Bizen, Bitchu, and Bingo, he made a stay of three years for the purpose of amassing an army and provisioning it, the perception that he would have to fight having been realized for the first time. Subsequently he encountered strongest resistance at the hands of Prince Nagasune, whose title of Hiko (Child of the Sun) showed that he belonged to the Yamato race, and who exercised military control under the authority of Nigihayahi, elder brother of Jimmu's father. This Nigihayahi had been despatched from the continental realm of the Yamato--wherever that may have been--at a date prior to the despatch of his younger brother, Ninigi, for the purpose of subjugating the "land of fair rice-ears and fertile reed plains," but of the incidents of his expedition history takes no notice: it merely shows him as ruling in Yamato at the time of Jimmu's arrival there, and describes how Nigihayahi, having been convinced by a comparison of weapons of war that Jimmu was of his own lineage, surrendered the authority to him and caused, Prince Nagasune to be put to death.

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