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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

All possessing the title sukune


*This

term, "provincial governor," appears now for the first time written with the ideographs "kokushi." Hitherto it has been written "kuni-no-miyatsuko." Much is heard of the koushi in later times. They are the embryo of the daimyo, the central figures of military feudalism.

THE FAMILY OF TAKENOUCHI-NO-SUKUNE

For the better understanding of Japanese history at this stage, a word must be said about a family of nobles (sukune) who, from the days of Nintoku, exercised potent sway in the councils of State. It will have been observed that, in the annals of the Emperor Keiko's reign, prominence is given to an official designated Takenouchi-no-Sukune, who thereafter seems to have served sovereign after sovereign until his death in the year 368, when he must have been from two hundred to three hundred years old. This chronological difficulty has provoked much scepticism. Dr. Kume, an eminent Japanese historian, explains, however, that Takenouchi was the name not of a person but of a family, and that it was borne by different scions in succeeding reigns. The first was a grandson of the Emperor Kogen (B.C. 214-158), and the representatives of the family in Nintoku's era had seven sons, all possessing the title sukune. They were Hata no Yashiro, Koze no Ogara, Soga no Ishikawa, Heguri no Tsuku, Ki no Tsunu, Katsuragi no Sotsu, and Wakugo.

From these were descended the five uji of Koze, Soga,

Heguri, Ki, and Katsuragi. Although its founder was an Emperor's grandson and therefore entitled to be called "Imperial Prince" (O), the family connexion with the Throne naturally became more remote as time passed, and from the reign of Ojin we find its members classed among subjects. Nevertheless, the Empress Iwa, whose jealousy harrassed Nintoku so greatly, was a daughter of Katsuragi no Sotsu, and, as with the sole exception of the Emperor Shomu, every occupant of the throne had taken for his Empress a lady of Imperial blood, it may be assumed that the relationship between the Imperial and the Takenouchi families was recognized at that time. The roles which the five uji mentioned above acted in subsequent history deserve to be studied, and will therefore be briefly set down here.

THE KOZE-UJI

This uji had for founder Koze no Ogara. The representative of the fourth generation, Koze no Ohito, held the post of o-omi during the reign of the Emperor Keitai (A.D. 507-531), and his great-grandson was minister of the Left under Kotoku (A.D. 545-654). Thereafter, the heads of the uji occupied prominent positions under successive sovereigns.

THE SOGA-UJI

Soga no Ishikawa founded this uji. His son, Machi, shared the administrative power with Heguri no Tsuku in the reign of Richu (A.D. 400-405), and Machi's great-grandson, Iname, immortalized himself by promoting the introduction of Buddhism in the reign of Kimmei (A.D. 540-571). Iname's son, Umako, and the latter's son, Yemishi, will be much heard of hereafter. No family, indeed, affected the course of Japanese history in early days more than did the Soga-uji.


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