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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

Richu received loyal assistance from a younger brother



During the reign of the Emperor Richu (A.D. 400-405), Heguri no Tsuku, founder of this uji, shared in the administration with Soga no Machi. His son, Heguri no Matori, was minister under Yuryaku (A.D. 457-459), and the fate which he and his son, Shibi, brought upon their family is one of the salient incidents of Japanese history.


The representatives of this uji, from the days of its founder, Ki no Tsunu, took a prominent share in the empire's foreign affairs, but served also in the capacity of provincial governor and commander-in-chief.


Nintoku's Empress, Iwa, was a daughter of the ancestor of this uji, Katsuragi no Sotsu, and the latter's great-granddaughter, Hae, was the mother of two sovereigns, Kenso (A.D. 485-487) and Ninken (A.D. 488-498).





The 17th Sovereign, Richu A.D. 400-405

" 18th " Hansho " 406-411

" 19th " Inkyo " 412-453

style="text-align: justify;">" 20th " Anko " 454-456

" 21st " Yuryaku " 457-479


THE prehistoric era may be said to terminate with the accession of Richu. Thenceforth the lives and reigns of successive sovereigns cease to extend to incredible lengths, and though the chronology adopted by the writers of the Nihongi may not yet be implicitly accepted, its general accuracy is not open to dispute. The era of the five sovereigns standing at the head of this chapter--an era of fifty-nine years--inherited as legacies from the immediate past: a well-furnished treasury, a nation in the enjoyment of peace, a firmly established throne, and a satisfactory state of foreign relations. These comfortable conditions seem to have exercised demoralizing influence. The bonds of discipline grew slack; fierce quarrels on account of women involved fratricide among the princes of the blood, and finally the life of an Emperor was sacrificed--the only instance of such a catastrophe in Japanese history.

Immediately after Nintoku's death this evil state of affairs was inaugurated by Prince Nakatsu, younger brother of the heir to the throne, who had not yet assumed the sceptre. Sent by the Crown Prince (Richu) to make arrangements for the latter's nuptials with the lady Kuro, a daughter of the Takenouchi family, Nakatsu personified Richu, debauched the girl, and to avoid the consequences of the act, sought to take the life of the man he had betrayed. It does not redound to the credit of the era that the debaucher found support and was enabled to hold his own for a time, though his treachery ultimately met with its merited fate. At this crisis of his life, Richu received loyal assistance from a younger brother, and his gratitude induced him to confer on the latter the title of Crown Prince. In thus acting, Richu may have been influenced by the fact that the alternative was to bequeath the throne to a baby, but none the less he stands responsible for an innovation which greatly impaired the stability of the succession. It should be noted, as illustrating the influence of the Takenouchi family that, in spite of the shame she had suffered, the lady Kuro became the Emperor's concubine. In fact, among the four nobles who administered the affairs of the empire during Richu's reign, not the least powerful were Heguri no Tsuku and Soga no Machi. Moreover, Richu, as has been stated already, was a son of Iwa, a lady of the same great family, and his two successors, Hansho and Inkyo, were his brothers by the same mother.

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