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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

Took vengeance upon the Kumaso


the most ancient times all subjects were yakko, but subsequently those holding office at Court were distinguished as omi (grandee). Persons eligible for the post of provincial governor seem to have been chosen from among men of merit, or Imperial princes, or chiefs of aboriginal tribes. There was little exclusiveness in this respect. The rate of expansion of the area under Imperial sway may be inferred from the fact that whereas there were nine provinces (kuni) in Jimmu's time, one was added by Kaikwa, eleven by Sujin, seven by Keiko, and sixty-three by Seimu, making a total of ninety-one. Yet, though by the time of the last named sovereign almost the whole of the southern and central regions were included in the administrative circle, the northern provinces, some of the western, and certain regions in the south (Kyushu) were not yet fully wrested from the Yemishi and the Kumaso. In subsequent reigns the rate of growth was as follows: Chuai (A.D. 192-200), two provinces; Ojin (270-310), twenty-one; Nintoku (313-399), seven; Hansho (406-411) and Inkyo (412-453), one each; Yuryaku (457-459), three; Keitai (507-531), one; and eight others at untraceable periods, the total being one hundred thirty-five.

The agata was a division smaller than a province (kuni). It corresponded to the modern kori or gun, and its nearest English equivalent is "district." A distinction must be made, however, between agata and mi-agata. The latter were Imperial domains

whence the Court derived its resources, and their dimensions varied greatly. A smaller administrative district than the agata was the inagi.* This we learn from a Chinese book--the Japanese annals being silent on the subject--consisted of eighty houses, and ten inagi constituted a kuni. The terra inagi was also applied to the chief local official of the region, who may be designated "Mayor."

*Supposed to be derived from ine (rice) and oki (store).


Were the Records our sole guide, the early incidents of Chuai's reign would be wrapped in obscurity. For when we first meet him in the pages of the Kojiki, he is in a palace on the northern shores of the Shimonoseki Strait, whence he soon crosses to the Kashii palace in Kyushu. His predecessors, while invariably changing their residences on mounting the throne, had always chosen a site for the new palace in Yamato or a neighbouring province, but the Records, without any explanation, carry Chuai to the far south after his accession. The Chronicles are more explicit. From them we gather that Chuai--who was the second son of Yamato-dake and is described as having been ten feet high with "a countenance of perfect beauty"--was a remarkably active sovereign. He commenced his reign by a progress to Tsuruga (then called Tsunuga) on the west coast of the mainland, and, a month later, he made an expedition to Kii on the opposite shore. While in the latter province he received news of a revolt of the Kumaso, and at once taking ship, he went by sea to Shimonoseki, whither he summoned the Empress from Tsuruga. An expedition against the Kumaso was then organized and partially carried out, but the Emperor's force was beaten and he himself received a fatal arrow-wound. Both the Records and the Chronicles relate that, on the eve of this disastrous move against the Kumaso, the Empress had a revelation urging the Emperor to turn his arms against Korea as the Kumaso were not worthy of his steel. But Chuai rejected the advice with scorn, and the Kojiki alleges that the outraged deities punished him with death, though doubtless a Kumaso arrow was the instrument. His demise was carefully concealed, and the Empress, mustering the troops, took vengeance upon the Kumaso.

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