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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

Ojin invited him to a banquet in the palace


THE

GRACE OF LIFE

Side by side with these primitive conditions stands a romantic story of Ojin's self-denial in ceding to his son, Osazaki, a beautiful girl whom the sovereign has destined to be his own consort. Discovering that the prince loved her, Ojin invited him to a banquet in the palace, and, summoning the girl, made known by the aid of poetry his intention of surrendering her to his son, who, in turn, expressed his gratitude in verse. It is true that the character of this act of renunciation is marred when we observe that Ojin was eighty years old at the time; nevertheless the graces of life were evidently not wanting in old-time Japan, nor did her historians deem them unworthy of prominent place in their pages. If at one moment they tell us of slanders and cruelty, at another they describe how a favourite consort of Ojin, gazing with him at a fair landscape from a high tower, was moved to tears by the memory of her parents whom she had not seen for years, and how the Emperor, sympathizing with her filial affection, made provision for her return home and took leave of her in verse:

"Thou Island of Awaji "With thy double ranges; "Thou Island of Azuki "With thy double ranges "Ye good islands, "Ye have seen face to face "My spouse of Kibi."

FOREIGN INTERCOURSE

The most important feature of the Ojin era was the intercourse

then inaugurated with China. It may be that after the establishment of the Yamato race in Japan, emigrants from the neighbouring continent settled, from early times, in islands so favoured by nature. If so, they probably belonged to the lowest orders, for it was not until the third and fourth centuries that men of erudition and skilled artisans began to arrive. Modern Japanese historians seem disposed to attribute this movement to the benign administration of the Emperor Ojin and to the repute thus earned by Japan abroad. Without altogether questioning that theory, it may be pointed out that much probably depended on the conditions existing in China herself. Liu Fang, founder of the Han dynasty (202 B.C.), inaugurated the system of competitive examinations for civil appointments, and his successors, Wen-Ti, Wu-Ti, and Kwang-wu, "developed literature, commerce, arts, and good government to a degree unknown before anywhere in Asia." It was Wu-Ti (140-86 B.C.) who conquered Korea, and unquestionably the Koreans then received many object lessons in civilization. The Han dynasty fell in A.D. 190, and there ensued one of the most troubled periods of Chinese history. Many fugitives from the evils of that epoch probably made their way to Korea and even to Japan. Then followed the after-Han dynasty (A.D. 211-265) when China was divided into three principalities; one of which, since it ruled the littoral regions directly opposite to Japan, represented China in Japanese eyes, and its name, Wu, came to be synonymous with China in Japanese years.

It was, however, in the days of the Tsin dynasty (A.D. 265-317) and in those of the Eastern Tsin (A.D. 317-420) that under the pressure of the Hun inroads and of domestic


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