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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

Kudara constituted the modern Seoul and its vicinity


the tasks assigned to them and

returned to the capital within six months. But such chronology cannot be reconciled with facts. For it is related that the generals sent northward by the western seaboard and the eastern seaboard, respectively, came together at Aizu,* one reaching that place via Hitachi, the other via Echigo. Thus, it would result that Yamato armies at that remote epoch marched hundreds of miles through country in the face of an enemy within a few months. Further, to bring the aboriginal tribes into subjugation, an isolated campaign would have been quite inadequate. Some kind of permanent control was essential, and there is collateral evidence that the descendants of the four princely generals, during many generations, occupied the position of provincial magnates and exercised virtually despotic sway within the localities under their jurisdiction. Thus in the provinces of Omi, of Suruga, of Mutsu, of Iwashiro, of Iwaki, of Echigo, of Etchu, of Echizen, of Bizen, of Bitchu, of Bingo, of Harima, of Tamba, and elsewhere, there are found in later ages noble families all tracing their descent to one or another of the Shido shoguns despatched on the task of pacifying the country in the days of the Emperor Sujin. The genealogies which fill pages of the Records from the days of Jimmu downwards point clearly to the growth of a powerful feudal aristocracy, for the younger sons born to successive sovereigns bear, for the most part, names indicative of territorial lordship; but it seems justifiable to conclude
that the first great impetus to that kind of decentralization was given by Sujin's despatch of the Shido shoguns.

*Hence the term "Aizu," form, signifies "to meet."

AGRICULTURE AND TAXATION

The digging of reservoirs and tunnels for irrigating rice-fields received unprecedented attention in the reign of this Emperor, and mention is for the first time made of taxes--tributes of "bow-notches and of finger-tips," in other words, the produce of the chase and the products of the loom. A census was taken for taxation purposes, but unhappily the results are nowhere recorded. The Court gave itself some concern about maritime transport also. A rescript ordered that ships should be built by every province, but nothing is stated as to their dimensions or nature. In this rescript it is mentioned that "the people of the coast not having ships, suffer grievously by land transport." What they suffered may be inferred from a description in the Chronicles where we read that at the building of the tomb of a princess, "the people, standing close to each other, passed the stones from hand to hand, and thus transported them from Osaka to Yamato."

FOREIGN INTERCOURSE

Korea, when Japanese history is first explicitly concerned with it, was peopled by a number of semi-independent tribes, and the part of the peninsula lying southward of the Han River--that is to say, southward of the present Seoul--comprised three kingdoms. Of these Ma-Han occupied the whole of the western half of the peninsula along the coast of the Yellow Sea; while Sin-Han and Pyong-Han formed the eastern half, lying along the shore of the Sea of Japan. The three were collectively spoken of as Sam-Han (the three Han). But Japan's relations with the peninsula did not always involve these major divisions. Her annals speak of Shiragi (or Sinra), Kara, Kudara, and Koma. Shiragi and Kara were principalities carved respectively out of the southeast and south of Pyong-Han. Thus, they lay nearest to Japan, the Korea Strait alone intervening, and the Korea Strait was almost bridged by islands. Kudara constituted the modern Seoul and its vicinity; Koma, (called also Korai and in Korea, Kokuli), the modern Pyong-yang and its district. These two places were rendered specially accessible by the rivers Han and Tadong which flowed through them to the Yellow Sea; but of course in this respect they could not compare with Shiragi (Sinra) and Kara, of which latter place the Japanese usually spoke as Mimana.


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