Japan: From The Japanese Government History (English)

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Title: Japan

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Editor: K. Asakawa

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The History of Nations




Opposed to General Bilderding at the       Commander-in-Chief of the First
Battle of Mukden Japanese Army
Commander-in-Chief of the Russian
Army in the Far East
Successor to General Kuropatkin Japanese Commander before Port
Opposed to General Kaulbars at the Commander of the Japanese Field
Battle of Mukden Forces. Victor at Liao-yang,
  Sha-ho and Mukden
From drawings made by H. W. Koekkoek from photographs



From the Japanese Government History
Edited With Supplementary Chapters


Instructor in Japanese Civilization
Yale University

Volume VII



Copyright, 1907, by
John D. Morris & Company

Copyright, 1910, by
The H. W. Snow & Son Company

Copyright, 1913, by
P. F. Collier & Son

Designed, Printed, and Bound at
The Collier Press, New York




Associate Editors and Authors

Professor of Assyriology, Oxford University

Associate Professor of Oriental History and Archaeology, Johns Hopkins University

Professor of History, Oxford University

Late Professor of Ancient History, University of Berlin

Department of History, University of Pennsylvania

Late Dean of Ely, formerly Lecturer in History, Cambridge University

Department of History, Wellesley College

Late Director-General of Statistics in India

Professor of History, Wesleyan University

Professor of Chinese, King's College, London

Professor of Political Economy and Politics, Cornell University

Instructor in the History of Japanese Civilization, Yale University

Professor of European History, Brown University

Historian and Editor

Professor of European History, University of Nebraska

Late Member of the French Academy

Department of History, University of Chicago

Professor of Modern History, King's College, London

Commissioner for the Publication of the Ancient Laws of Ireland

[vii] Author and Historian

Instructor in History, Trinity College, Hartford

Department of History, Harvard University

President of Zurich University

Department of History, Western Reserve University

Late Professor of History, University College, London

Assistant Professor of History, Harvard University

Professor of Russian and other Slavonic Languages, Oxford University

Department of History, McGill University

Specialist on Scandinavian History

Instructor in History, Princeton University

Professor of Slav Languages, Collège de France

Assistant Professor of European History, University of Pennsylvania

Former United States Minister to Germany

Professor of History, Dartmouth College

President Royal Geographical Society

Assistant Professor of the Science of Society, Yale University

Fellow of University College, Oxford

Lecturer in History and Librarian of the Law School, Yale University

Historian, Author and Traveler

Professor of Political Science, University of Illinois

Professor of History, University of Pennsylvania


The editors and publishers desire to express their appreciation for valuable advice and suggestions received from the following: Hon. Andrew D. White, LL.D., Alfred Thayer Mahan, D.C.L., LL.D., Hon. Charles Emory Smith, LL.D., Professor Edward Gaylord Bourne, Ph.D., Charles F. Thwing, LL.D., Dr. Emil Reich, William Elliot Griffis, LL.D., Professor John Martin Vincent, Ph.D., LL.D., Melvil Dewey, LL.D., Alston Ellis, LL.D., Professor Charles H. McCarthy, Ph.D., Professor Herman V. Ames, Ph.D., Professor Walter L. Fleming, Ph.D., Professor David Y. Thomas, Ph.D., Mr. Otto Reich and Mr. Francis J. Reynolds.



The editors of "The History of Nations" concluded their work with the chronicling of events to October, 1905, and all additions thereafter, bringing the histories to date, have been supplied by the publishers.



The present revised edition of the "History of the Empire of Japan" (compiled, in 1893, for the Imperial Japanese Commission of the World's Columbian Exposition at Chicago, by Messrs. K. Takatsu, S. Mikami, M. Isoda, and others, and published in Tōkyō by order of the Department of Education) is not intended to supersede the original edition, the high qualities of which are, on the contrary, recommended to all students of Japanese history. That work admirably represents what might be termed the orthodox view of the national history, and is free alike from the unscientific method of the more conservative historian, and from the superficial speculations of the more radical, but not more scientific, student. Were the present editor to write an original work on Japanese history, however, he would, it is unnecessary to say, change the entire manner of presentation in order to make it accord with his own conception of the subject-matter. In this revision, he has not changed the general order of the original work, but has merely corrected a few data which are obviously out of date, omitted those minor facts which may well be dispensed with, and made the general narrative somewhat smoother than it was.

The fourth part is, however, the editor's own work. The primary aim in this division of the volume has been to supply a popular and accurate account of certain phases of the national progress that has taken place since the "History of the Empire" was prepared a dozen years ago. The substance of chapter XVIII has appeared among the new chapters supplied by the editor to the new edition of Brinkley's (edit.) "Japan," (J. B. Millet Co., Boston, 1905), and has been inserted here with the permission of those publishers.

K. Asakawa

Yale University [x]



The Empire of Japan consists to-day of a group of islands marshaled in the northwest corner of the Pacific Ocean, off the eastern coast of the Asiatic continent. These islands—including Formosa and the Pescadores ceded by China in 1895, and the southern half of Sakhalin, acquired from Russia in 1905—lie between the parallels of 50° 56' and 21° 48' north latitude, and the longitude of their extreme eastern and western points are 156° 32' and 119° 20', respectively, east of Greenwich. The empire thus covers 29° 8' of latitude and 37° 12' of longitude. On the east it faces the Pacific; on the southwest it looks across the waters of the China Sea to the mainland of China; on the northwest the Sea of Japan and Gulf of Tartary separate it from Korea and Siberia. The fiftieth parallel divides the Japanese half of Sakhalin from the northern or Russian half, and the Kurile Strait intercepts the Chishima or Kurile group of islands on the north from the Russian peninsula of Kamchatka.

The whole group includes five and one-half large islands and nearly six hundred islets. The large island lying in the center constitutes the mainland; the island directly to the north is Hokkaidō (Yezo or Ezo), and that to the south, Kiushū; on the southwest of the mainland and east of Kiushū is Shikoku; and stretching in a northwesterly direction from Hokkaidō are the Chishima or Kuriles, while the chain of the Riukiū (Loochoo) Archipelago leads to Formosa. Floating, as it were, in the Sea of Japan are the islets of Sado, Oki, and Tsushima, the last lying only about fifty miles from the southern coast of Korea. Scattered in the Pacific Ocean, at a distance of nearly 500 miles from the southwest coast of the mainland, lies the Ogasawara group (Bonins). To these must now be added the recently ceded southern half of the Island of Sakhalin.

Owing to the insular nature of the country, the area of the empire, exclusive of the half of Sakhalin, which is perhaps as much as 12,000 square miles, little exceeds 161,000 square miles, or[xii] slightly larger than the area of the British Isles. More than half of this superficies is comprised in the main island. The coastline of the fourteen larger islands and archipelagoes, again excepting Sakhalin, stretches to a length of 13,500 miles. Little indented, the coast along the Sea of Japan offers few bays or promontories; but the Pacific and the China Sea coasts are broken into innumerable capes and inlets, and abound in good harbors.

The country is mountainous, and has little flat land. Two systems of mountain chains extend north to south and east to west, each having numerous branches. The highlands of the empire are the two provinces of Shinano and Kai, situated in the center of the main island. At the boundary of Kai and Suruga stands Fujisan, or Mount Fuji, capped with perpetual snows, its summit rising to 12,300 feet above the sea level. Its position as the loftiest peak in the country has been lost by the acquisition of Formosa, which contains Mount Morrison, now called Mount Niitaka, the altitude of which is not less than 14,200 feet. The mountains of the main island are for the most part volcanic, the active volcanoes numbering 170, and the ranges that comprise them stretch across the extent of the country. Mines and mineral springs consequently abound. Frequency of earthquakes also results from the abundance of volcanoes. Minor shocks average from thirty or forty to several hundreds annually, and of severe shocks history shows that there have been some two or three in each century, entailing sometimes a frightful destruction of life and property.

From the general configuration of the country it follows that great rivers with long courses are few, but numerous streams of lesser magnitude traverse all parts of the empire, affording excellent facilities for drainage and irrigation. Many of the larger of these are even navigable. The Ishikari River in Hokkaidō, with a length of 407 miles, is the longest in the empire, followed by the Shinano, in the main island, about 240 miles long. Nor is the land richer in extensive plains than in great streams. Valleys lying deep in the bosoms of the hills, plateaus along the margins of the great rivers, gentle slopes at the foot of mountain ranges, or stretches by the seashore, are the only comparatively level places to be seen. The Ishikari Moor, bordering the Ishikari River in Hokkaidō, is perhaps the most extensive. Its soil is rich, and it abounds in timber and verdure. Other well-known plains in the north lie along the course of the Tokachi River and by the seashore at Kushiro and[xiii] Nemuro. Passing to the main island, we find, in the northeasterly section, the Ōshū plateau, traversed by the Kitakami and Abukuma Rivers, and extending over the provinces of Rikuchū, Rikuzen, Iwashiro, and Iwaki. There, too, the soil is rich, and fruitful lands cover a wide area. In the central section the valley of the Tone River forms the Hasshū plain of the Kwantō, spreading into the four provinces of Musashi, Kōzuke, Hitachi, and Shimōsa. Thickly populated and highly fertile, this plain is the most extensive in the main island. Next in order of magnitude comes the valley of the Kiso River, forming a part of the provinces of Mino and Owari, and making one great cultivated field. The Echigo plain, along the lower waters of the Shinano River, is the most extensive of all the littoral plains of Japan. For the rest, very wide plains exist in Kinai, along the banks of the Yodo and Yamato Rivers; while in Shikoku, the most extensive flat-lands are found along the course of the Yoshino River, and in Kiushū the lands by the banks of the Chikugo down to the Ariyake seabeach give to the provinces of Chikugo and Hizen a broad area of irrigated fields.

The main island of Japan, being situated in the temperate zone, enjoys, for the most part, a medium degree of temperature. But the climate of the empire is much varied, owing to the elongated shape of the country, which extends over nearly thirty degrees of latitude, to the great differences of altitude that characterize the surface of the land, and also to the action of a warm and a cold current that flow past its shores. Thus, in the northern part of Hokkaidō and in the Chishima Islands the snow never disappears, the sea freezes in winter, and sleet and fogs prevail. On the other hand, in the southern district, as well as in the Riukiū and Ogaswara groups, the heat is very great, and neither snow nor ice is seen in winter. In the central parts, again, the temperature varies according to the elevation of the land, and the configuration of the mountains and seas. As for Formosa, it is partly situated within the tropical zone, and the two extremes of the entire island are recorded to be 96° and 41° Fahrenheit.

The warm ocean current, known as the Kuro-shiwo or Black Stream, from the deep somber color it displays in cloudy weather, rises from the distant Equator, and possesses an average temperature of 81° Fahrenheit in summer. Immediately after leaving the Equator it travels along the eastern coast of China, and thence passing northward, approaches the coast of Kiushū, where it bifurcates.[xiv] The branch stream enters the Sea of Japan, and flows to the north; the principal stream passes by the southern coast of Shikoku and the main island, until it reaches the north of Cape Inubō in Shimōsa, where it again bifurcates, a branch turning northward, and the current itself traveling in a northeastern direction until it leaves the main island. In consequence, perhaps, of the heat received from this warm current, all the provinces of Kiushū, Shikoku, Sanyō-dō and Tōkai-dō seldom see snow. There is also a cold stream called the Oya-jiwo, of which the average summer temperature is as low as 37°. Its source is in the Sea of Okhotsk, whence it passes through the Kurile Islands, and flowing by Hokkaidō and the east coast of the northern section of the main island, reaches the neighborhood of Cape Inubō, where it disappears. Situated in a high degree of latitude, Hokkaidō and the northern part of the main island, being further exposed to the influence of this cold stream, have a severe climate. The snow lies there in masses for many days and the winter is long.

The rainfall is heavy in summer and light in winter. It is greatest along the coasts washed by the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan, and least in the central portions of the country along the two coasts of the Inland Sea, as well as in the northern end of the main island. Hokkaidō has an average fall.

Rich soil, a genial climate, and a sufficient rainfall produce luxuriant vegetation. Cultivated fields and gardens succeed each other for wide areas. The extraordinary position of the islands stretching from north to south also adds greatly to the variety of vegetation. Thus in Kiushū and Shikoku are to be seen thick, verdant forests abounding in giant trees. Sugar-canes, tobacco, and cotton, find a soil congenial to their growth. The cocoa, the banyan tree, the banana and their congeners flourish in the Riukiū and Ogasawara Islands. In short, the general aspect is tropical. Passing thence to the central districts, great varieties of plant life are found. The pine (pinus densiflora and pinus massoniana), oak (quercus dentata), hi-no-ki (thuya obtusca), sugi (cryptomeria japonica), camphor and bamboo grow in the woods; while the mulberry, tea plant, lacquer tree, millet, the five cereals, vegetables, and various kinds of fruits are seen in the fields and gardens. Finally, even in the cold and little cultivated Hokkaidō, its fruitful soil and luxuriant vegetation invite agriculture.

The forms of animal life are also much varied. Among[xv] domestic animals are the ox, the horse, the pig, the dog, and the cat; while the more important wild animals are the hog, the deer, the hare, the fox, the badger, and the monkey. Ferocious beasts and noxious reptiles are limited to the bear of the northern districts and the habu (a kind of snake) of Riukiū. In the waters that lave the Hokkaidō coasts sea-otters and fur-seals abound; whales frequent the seas in the north and those adjacent to Shikoku and Kiushū; and along all the coasts fish and crustaceans are found in such abundance that they more than suffice for the ordinary food of the inhabitants. Of birds there is great abundance, some possessing beautiful plumage, others melodious notes, and others being suitable for food. To the last mentioned class belong barn-door fowls and ducks. Among insects, the silk-worm is largely reared throughout the main island, the climate and soil being peculiarly suited for the purpose.

Although the country has no mountains of exceptional altitude or rivers of extraordinary length, the conditions of climate and soil are such that not one of the mountains is without woods nor one of the rivers without limpid water. So well distributed, too, are the highlands and streams, that places of beauty are everywhere to be found in the interior, and owing to the configuration of the coasts as well as to the number of islets, gems of scenic loveliness abound by the seaside in all the provinces. Moreover, in addition to wealth of natural charms, numerous shrines and temples of note exist in the choice districts of the main island, so that architectural, glyptic, pictorial, and horticultural beauties supplement the attractions of the scenery. The main island is richest in places of note, and Kinai and its neighborhood are the most favored parts of the main island in this respect. From 794 A. D., when the Emperor Kwammu made Kyōto his capital, until the Emperor Mutsuhito moved to Tōkyō, a period of over eleven centuries, Kyōto remained the imperial seat of government. Hence it offers numbers of historical relics, and is further happy in the possession of scenic beauties attractive at all seasons of the year. Separated from Kyōto by a range of hills is the largest lake in the empire, Lake Biwa, noted for the Ōmi-hakkei which have ever been the theme of poets and the inspiration of painters. At a distance of nearly twenty-five miles from Kyōto is Nara, the imperial residence during a large part of the eighth century. Nara abounds in things historical, the most noteworthy being the shrine of Kasuga and the Temple of[xvi] Hōriuji, places nobly planned and naturally lovely. Tōdaiji, a large temple erected by the Emperor Shōmu, is more than a thousand years old, and contains the celebrated Great Image of Buddha. The cherries of Mount Yoshino and the plums of Tsukigase, displays of bloom that have no peers elsewhere in the country, are in the same province as Nara. Farther west the face of the Inland Sea between Shikoku and Sanyō-dō is strewn with hundreds of little islands whose shining white sands and green pine-trees combine to make a beautiful picture. Among spots renowned for exquisite seascapes may be mentioned Waka-no-ura in Kii, the Sumiyoshi beach in Settsu, Suma-no-ura, the Maiko beach, and Akashi-no-ura in Harima, and Itsukushima in Aki. The last-named place is a small island close to the seashore, composed almost entirely of fantastically shaped cliffs and strange rocks. On it stands a gracefully modeled shrine said to have been built by Taira-no-Ki-yomori of the twelfth century, the hall and veranda of which seem to float on the surface of the water. The singular combination of water effect and architecture and the loveliness of the whole view suggests an enchanted abode of fairies.

In Kiushū, Yabakei is renowned for its landscape, and the Usajingū shrine for its architecture. Still more celebrated is Ama-no-Hashidate in San-indō. Here a sandy promontory completely covered with pine-trees stretches far into the sea, offering a scene of beauty and making with Matsushima and Itsukushima the three most celebrated views in Japan.

Among places of note in the neighborhood of Tōkyō is Kamakura on the southeast coast, which was the seat of the feudal government of Japan for more than a century and a half till 1333, and still offers many spots of historical interest. To the north of the capital the most celebrated places are Nikkō and Matsushima. At Nikkō is the mausoleum of Tokugawa Ieyasu. The beauties of its architectural decoration, the fineness of its carvings, and the loveliness of its scenery have inspired a popular saying that without seeing Nikkō a man is not qualified to speak of the beautiful (Nikkō wo minai uchi wa kekkō wo iuna). Matsushima, one of the three landscapes of Japan, is on the seashore of Rikuzen. Here scattered over the face of the bay are hundreds of tiny islets, every one of which is clothed in a luxury of pine-trees. Viewed from the top of the hills, the scene is like a creation of fancy rendered on the canvas of a skillful painter.[xvii]

Japan proper is divided into nine principal regions according to its configuration: they are Kinai, Tōkai-dō, Tōsan-dō, Hokuriku-dō, Nankai-dō, Sanin-dō, Sanyō-dō, and Hokkai-dō. These, again, are subdivided into eighty-five provinces (koku or kumi). The province, however, has little importance in the administrative divisions of the country. The unit of the latter is either the urban (chō) or rural (son) district, which, together with the larger divisions, city (shi) and county (gun), constitutes a self-governing entity. Over and above these divisions are one board of Hokkaidō (dō-chō), three of Tōkyō, Kyōto, and Ōsaka, and forty-three prefectures or ken. At present, there are, outside of Formosa, 638 gun, 58 shi, 1054 chō and 13,468 son.

The city of Tōkyō was formerly, under the name Edo, the seat of the feudal government for nearly two and three-quarters centuries. To-day it is the capital of the empire. It occupies a central position and is the largest city in the country. Its fifteen wards have a total population of nearly a million and a half. Kyōto, the old capital, is divided into two wards and has a population of over 353,000. Ōsaka, the third of the cities, was the seat of the Taikō's administration. Possessing exceptional facilities for communication by sea and by river, it has been a trading center from olden times. It is divided into four wards, and has a population of 825,000. These three cities constitute the three fu. Next in order of importance come Nagoya, between Tōkyō and Kyōto, with a population of 245,000; Kanazawa, in the north of the main island, with a population of 85,000; Sendai, in the northeast, with a population of 84,000; Hiroshima, in the southwest, with a population of 123,000; Kumamoto, in Kiushū, with a population of 62,000. Among the open ports, Yokohama, with a population of 195,000, and Kōbe, with a population of 216,000, are the two most important, Nagasaki, Hakodate, and Niigata following at a considerable interval.

The total population of Japan proper is nearly forty-seven millions, and that of Formosa about three millions. The distribution per square mile, exclusive of Formosa, varied in 1898 from 495 in the western part of the main island to 23.7 in Hokkaidō, with the average at about 300. To-day it is approximately 324. The recent national activity of these people will be briefly described in the last division of this volume, and the career of their ancestors in the earlier parts.[xviii]

Before we proceed, however, a few words may be said regarding the general nature of the historical account of Japan. In ancient times Japan possessed neither literary script nor a regular system of calendar and chronology. All events had to be transmitted from generation to generation by oral tradition. The use of writing was imported from China, probably one or two hundred years before Christ, but the general use of letters for the purpose of recording events dates from the fifth century A. D., while the compilation of the national annals began two centuries later still. But such historical records as were then compiled suffered almost total destruction a short time afterward by fire, and the oral records of remote antiquity must have already been greatly disfigured by omissions, errors, and confusion of facts. Regretting this, and perceiving that unless steps were then taken to correct the annals, subsequent generations would be without any trustworthy record of remote events, the Emperor Temmu ordered an eminent scholar, Hieda-no-Are, to prepare a brief chronicle of sovereigns and important events. Unfortunately the death of the emperor, which occurred in 689, interrupted this work. Some twenty years later the Empress Gemmyō instructed Ō-no-Yasumaro to continue the compilation of Hieda-no-Are's annals. The work thus completed in 712 is the "Kojiki" as we now possess it. It must be regarded as the most trustworthy record extant of the events of ancient times. Eight years after the appearance of the "Kojiki," or in 720, the "Nihongi" was compiled. We find, on comparing these works, that although, on the whole, they agree, certain discrepancies exist between them. In these two works, however, is found the chief material for the reconstruction of the history of ancient Japan. If curious supernatural incidents figure in their pages, it should be remembered that literature being then in its infancy and a long interval having elapsed since the time of many of the events recorded, the annalists were untrained in the selection of matters worthy of a place in authentic history, while, at the same time, in the oral traditions on which they relied, errors had doubtless been included, and, ordinary events drifting out of sight, extraordinary incidents and supernatural stories had alone survived.

As regards the ancient chronology of Japan it is recorded that almanacs first came into use in Japan in 604 A. D., although it appears that the Chinese calendar had been imported about the middle of the preceding century. The compilation of annals, as[xix] already stated, had preceded the latter event by a considerable interval. We may therefore conjecture that some method of reckoning months and years had been practiced from an early era, but no certain knowledge of this matter is available.

In Japan from ancient time chronology was not based on an era. Originally the method pursued was to reckon years after the accession of each emperor to the throne. In 645 A. D., however, was introduced the Chinese fashion of using year periods designated usually in two felicitous Chinese characters and changed as frequently as was desired. The change of the name of a year period thus occurred at the beginning of each new reign, and also on the recurrence of a cyclical year of ill-omened designation, as well as on occasions of exceptional good or bad fortune, so that there are extreme instances of five or six changes of designation within the reign of one single emperor. It results, of course, that a troublesome effort is required to commit to memory the sequence and dates of the various year periods. The Chinese, in the reign of the Ming sovereign Taitsu, decided that there should be no change in the designation of a year period throughout the reign of a sovereign. A similar ruling was made in 1868 on the accession of the present Emperor of Japan, from which time also the era of Jimmu began to be used as a chronological basis. This latter era is officially fixed at 660 B. C.[1]

As to the later sources of Japanese history, following the already mentioned "Kojiki" and "Nihongi," they are abundant, increasing as we move further from earlier ages. Much of this vast historical literature has been published and edited (though thus far little translated into European languages), but more has neither been extensively circulated nor even seen light. The Japanese Government, which has been searching for hidden material all over the land, is now publishing, through the Imperial University of Tokyo, historical documents, mostly unpublished hitherto, in two large series[2] of two and three hundred volumes, respectively, to be completed in about fifteen years.

The history of Japan does not lend itself to the customary division of the ancient, mediæval, and modern ages. On the basis [xx]of the important changes that have taken place in the administration and politics of Japan, her history will, in the following pages, be divided into three parts of unequal lengths. Part one covers the long space of time between the founding of the empire and the beginning of the feudal régime toward the end of the twelfth century. During this period, the power of the government rested, theoretically, in spite of great fluctuations which took place, in the hands of the sovereign. This was followed by nearly seven centuries of military autocracy, which constitutes the second part. The third part begins in 1868, since which year administrative power has reverted to the emperor, a constitutional régime with representative institutions has been established, and the general aspects of the life of the nation have undergone a profound change.


[1] It should always be remembered that the historic account of Japan before the fifth century A. D., must be allowed a large latitude in regard to its events and their dates.

[2] Called the "Dai-Nihon Komon-sho" and the "Dai-Nihon Shi-ryō."



OF FEUDAL RÉGIME. 660 B. C.-1186 A. D.
I. The Mythical Age 3
II. The Beginning of the Empire. 660 B. C.-192 A. D. 6
III. Relations with Korea and China. 192-645 A. D. 12
IV. The Taikwa Reform. 645-708 A. D. 22
V. The Nara Epoch. 710-794 A. D. 31
VI. The Hei-an Epoch. 794-1186 A. D. 38
THE FEUDAL AGES. 1186-1868
VII. The Kamakura Government. 1186-1339 65
VIII. The Temporary Restoration of Imperial Power. 1339-1393     83
IX. The Muromachi Period. 1393-1573 92
X. Internal Peace and External War. 1573-1603 109
XI. The Foundation of the Edo Government. 1603-1651 122
XII. The Decline of the Edo Government. 1651-1837 140
XIII. The Fall of the Edo Government. 1837-1868 155
THE NEW JAPAN. 1868-1893
XIV. Internal Affairs. 1868-1893 173
XV. Foreign Relations. 1868-1893 188
PART IV[xxii]
XVI. The Constitution in Theory and in Practice. 1893-1906 199
XVII. Parties and Politics. 1893-1906 213
XVIII. Economic Progress. 1893-1906 242
XIX. The Chino-Japanese War. 1894-1895 252
XX. Japan and Russia in Korea and Manchuria. 1893-1904 275
XXI. The Russo-Japanese War and its Aftermath. 1904-. 303
Bibliography   331
Index   337



Generals of the Late Russo-Japanese War (Photogravure)
Ainos Worshiping 28
Abduction of Goshirakawa (in color) 60
The Invasion by the Mongol Tartars 76
The Procession of Feudal Lords 124
A Picnic on the Asuka Hill in the Flowery Season 156
Japan before the Fifth Century 10
Japan 61
Northern Japan 85
Southern Japan 99
Korea 117
Central Japan 124
Japanese Ports Opened To Foreign Trade. 1858 159
Downfall of the Edo Government. 1867-1868 168
The Insurrection in the Island of Kiushū. 1877 181
Island Possessions of Japan 193
First Engagements of Chino-Japanese War. 1894 261
Campaigns in Korea and Manchuria 268
Wei-hai-Wei, Formosa, and Pescadores 270
Foreign Spheres of Influence in China and Manchuria 278
Japanese Advance to Liao-yang 309
Battle of the Sea of Japan, Russo-Japanese War 315



RÉGIME. 660 B. C.-1186 A. D.




Chapter I


The period prior to the reign of the Emperor Jimmu is known as the Age of the Deities. From this era strange and incredible legends have been transmitted, some of which follow.

Tradition says that in remote times the deities Izanagi and Izanami were commanded by the God of Heaven to form a country out of the islets floating in space. They forthwith descended to the island Onokoro, and there, becoming husband and wife, created the Eight Great Islands of Japan. Thereafter were created deities to rule the sea, the mountains, the winds, fire, herbs, and trees. Subsequently the divine pair gave birth to the goddess Amaterasu-Ōmikami and the gods Tsukiyomi and Susanoö. These newly-born divine beings proving themselves greatly superior to other deities, found high favor with Izanagi. He commissioned Amaterasu to govern Takama-no-hara, or the Heavenly Region; Tsukiyomi to govern Yo-no-osukuni, or the Land of Night; and Susanoö to govern Unabara, or the Seas. But this last deity proving unfaithful to his father's commands, Izanagi, in anger, expelled him from his kingdom, whereupon he ascended to the Heavenly Region to convey to his sister the news of his misfortune. The fierce and enraged demeanor of the dethroned deity led his sister to imagine that he had come with aggressive intentions, and she hesitated to receive him. But Susanoö vehemently declared the integrity of his purpose and succeeded in partially reassuring the goddess. Nevertheless, his behavior was so disorderly that Amaterasu, becoming fearful, secluded herself in a cave, with the result that total darkness overshadowed her realm and troubles of various sorts ensued. The other deities thereupon met in conclave and took measures to pacify the goddess, so that she finally emerged from her retreat and light once more shone upon the Heavenly Region and Nakatsu-kuni (Midland). The deities then inflicted upon Susanoö[4] the punishment of exile. Driven from heaven, he proceeded to Izumo, and there destroyed an eight-headed dragon, obtaining from its body a precious sword, which he later presented to his sister Amaterasu. Subsequently, he married the daughter of an earthly deity and settled at Suga in Izumo. At a later date, leaving one of his sons, Ōkuni-nushi, to govern the land, he himself proceeded to Korea. Ōkuni-nushi had many brothers, who were all engaged in a struggle for the sovereign power. The victory remained with Ōkuni-nushi, but his realm continuing to be more or less disturbed, Sukunahikona, a son of the Deity of Heaven, came over the sea to Izumo and aided in restoring peace. Thenceforth Ōkuni-nushi and his sons administered the realm in tranquillity.

Meanwhile, in the Heavenly Region, Amaterasu, concluding that Midzuho-no-kuni in Toyo-ashihara, which is perhaps Japan proper now, ought to be governed by her son, Amano-oshihohomimi, commanded him to descend and assume authority in the land. Inasmuch, however, as he represented his proposed realm to be in a very disordered state, Amaterasu, by order of the Deity of Heaven, held a council of deities, by whom a mandate to restore peace was given to Amano-hohi. He failed to accomplish his purpose, and another deity was afterward sent on the same errand. The latter was, however, likewise conquered by Ōkuni-nushi and did not return to heaven. Once more a council of deities was convened in the Heavenly Region, and Nanakime was dispatched to reconnoiter the land. He, however, was killed by Ama-no-wakahiko. Finally, Takemikazuchi, being intrusted with the duty, proceeded to Izumo and informed Ōkuni-nushi of the command given by the Deity of Heaven that the son of Amaterasu should assume sovereignty over the country then ruled by Ōkuni-nushi. The command was at last obeyed. Ōkuni-nushi ceded his kingdom to the son of the goddess, and, with his sons, left the region. Takemikazuchi having carried this intelligence to Amaterasu, she, conforming always with the commands of the Deity of Heaven, summoned her son, Amano-oshihomimi, and informed him that, peace having been restored in the land below, he must proceed to govern it. He, however, prayed that his son, Ninigi, might be sent in his stead, and the goddess consenting, gave to Ninigi a mandate to rule over Japan and to maintain its prosperity so long as heaven and earth should endure. She further gave him the Yasaka Jewel, the Yasaka Mirror, and the Kusanagi Sword, saying: "This mirror is my spirit; regard it[5] as myself." Thenceforth the Jewel, Mirror, and Sword, venerated as the three precious relics of the goddess, were transmitted as insignia from emperor to emperor through all generations.

The terrestrial deity, Sarudahiko, receiving news of the approach of Ninigi and his divine retinue, came out to greet him. Under his guidance Ninigi passed to Takachiho Mountain in Hyūga, Kiushū, and took up his abode at Kasasa Promontory in Ada (now Kaseda port in Satsuma). Ninigi took to wife the daughter of a terrestrial deity, and by her had two sons, Hosuseri and Hikohohodemi. These deities fell out and fought, with the result that the younger subdued the elder by the aid of the deity of the sea, whose daughter he had married. The victor's son, Ugayafukiaezu, also married a daughter of the marine deity and had four sons, Itsuse, Inahi, Mikenu, and Iwarehiko, of whom the fourth and youngest afterward became the Emperor Jimmu. Inahi went to the dominion of his mother over the waves, and Mikenu to the far-distant Tokoyo, or the Region of Eternal Night.[1]


[1] Abridged genealogy of the "Deities."

Izanagi (male)                                        Izanami (female)
       |                                                      |
                |               |                    |
    +-----------+               |                    +-------------
    |                           |                             |
Amaterasu                   Tsukiyomi                      Susanoö
    |                                                         |
  +-----------------------------+                             |
  |                             |                             |
Amano-oshihomimi           Amano-hohi                  Ōkuni-nushi
  |                         |
Hikohohodemi             Hosuseri
  |        |          |            |
Itsuse    Inahi     Mikenu    The Emperor JIMMU.


Chapter II


660 B. C.-192 A. D.

According to tradition, Itsuse and Iwarehiko took counsel together one day in their residence in Hyūga, as to the place most suitable for the seat of administration, and resolved to proceed eastward. At the straits between Kiushū and Shikoku they were received by a terrestrial deity, and under his guidance reached Usa in the present Buzen, where the inhabitants built a palace for them and treated them hospitably. Passing next to Chikuzen, they subsequently crossed the sea to Aki on the main island, and thence journeyed to Kibi, ten years being devoted to these travels. From Kibi they passed over by Naniwa to Tadetsu in the present Izumi province. The objective point of the expedition was Yamato, where then ruled a powerful chieftain named Nagasunehiko who, under the authority of Nigihayahi, a scion of a god of Heaven, whom he had received, had extended his sway over the surrounding region. This chieftain, learning of the approach of the deities and their following, marshaled his forces to oppose them. In the battle that ensued Itsuse was wounded by an arrow.

The invading army therefore turned their course over the sea to Kii, where Itsuse died of his wound. His brother, Iwarehiko, then advanced to the east coast of Kii, and, having there killed a local chieftain, pushed on to Yoshino under the guidance of Prince Michiomi (ancestor of the Ōtomo family) and Prince Ōkume (ancestor of the Kume family). The inhabitants, cave-dwellers, learning that a scion of the god of Heaven had arrived, went out to meet him and made submission. Prosecuting his campaign, Iwarehiko struck down several rebel chiefs, and once more planned an expedition against Nagasunehiko. The latter, however, sent him a message, saying: "Prince Nigihayahi, son of the Deity of Heaven, came hither in a strong boat, and married my sister, Kashiya, by whom he has a son, Prince Umashimate. I have made[7] obeisance to Prince Nigihayahi as sovereign of the land. There cannot possibly be two legitimate representatives of the Heavenly Deity. You must have come to deprive us wrongfully of the realm under pretext of celestial origin." To this Iwarehiko replied: "There is more than one son of the Deity of Heaven. If your sovereign be in truth the offspring of the Celestial Deity, he must possess some proofs. Let me see them." Nagasunehiko thereupon produced arrows and an arrow-case which Prince Nigihayahi had brought with him. Iwarehiko, having examined them, declared them to be genuine, and showed his own arrows and arrow-case to Nagasunehiko. But the latter, though fully sensible that Iwarehiko was of celestial origin, maintained an obstinate mien and would not change his view. Prince Nigihayahi, now clearly perceiving his unreasonable disposition, put him to death, and passed over with all his men to serve in the invading army. Well pleased by this act, Iwarehiko treated the prince kindly and rewarded his loyal conduct. Orders were then issued to the captains to exterminate all the insurgents in the land, and the Yamato district having been brought into complete subjection, the conqueror established his capital at Kashiwabara in Yamato, and ordained the deities of the various officials of his court, the imperial power being thus extended and the administration placed on a fixed basis. This was the opening year of Japanese history. Later annalists fixed the year at 660 B. C., and styled the victorious prince the Emperor Jimmu, the first sovereign of the Empire of Japan.

After his death his younger son, Prince Takishimimi, sought to usurp the sovereignty. The eldest son, Prince Kamyaimimi, suspecting the plot, revealed it to his younger brother, Kannuna-gawamimi, who shot the usurper. Thereupon the elder prince waived the throne in favor of his valiant brother, who thus became the second emperor, Suisei. After him followed the Emperors Annei, Itoku, Kōshō, Kōan, Kōrei, Kōgen, and Kaikwa, whose reigns are said to have lasted 450 years and are singularly bare of recorded events.

In these primitive ages the life of the people was naturally simple. The population must have been small, and the communication between different parts of the small empire extremely difficult. Boats were propelled by oars, for sails were unknown. The invaders must have attained to a higher stage of culture than the vanquished natives. The dwellings of the aristocracy, for example,[8] were rudely constructed wooden houses, the simple model of which still survives in the Shintō shrines of the present day, while the autochthons mostly dwelt in pits dug underground. On the whole, however, both classes had partially advanced to an agricultural mode of life, and depended for subsistence largely on fishing and hunting. Bows and arrows or snares were the chief implements used in hunting, and hooks, cormorants, and weirs served for purposes of fishing. Methods of preparing food had already been elaborated, and the art of brewing saké was known. Marked progress had also taken place in matters of dress. From skins of animals or textile fabrics woven from hemp and dyed red and green with juices of herbs, were made hats, robes, and pantaloons. Ornaments for the neck, arms, and legs consisted of beads of crystal, agate, glass, serpentine and polished gems, shaped into cylinders or crescents and strung together. The arts of mining and smelting ores, as well as of casting metal, were known, for, besides arrow-heads and other weapons of stone, spears and swords of copper or iron, together with plows and hatchets of hard metals, were in evidence.

Painting by A Richter
Painting by A Richter

It is interesting to know that at marriage the bridegroom, contrary to the modern custom, went to the house of the bride. A man also was permitted to have several wives, but a woman was never allowed to have more than one husband. Divination was always employed to solve doubtful questions. Music and dancing were already known, the koto and the flute being employed as musical instruments. Emotions of grief or joy, love or disappointment, were expressed in song, the most ancient song now extant being attributed to the deity Susanoö. The Emperor Jimmu also frequently commemorated brave deeds of war in song, thus encouraging and reviving the spirit of his warriors.

A profound awe and respect toward the national deities, as well as a superstitious fear of innumerable spirits, seems to have prevailed everywhere in all classes of society. If the people submitted readily to the sway of the Emperor Jimmu, it was largely because they regarded him as a scion of the gods. The emperor, on his side, firmly convinced that good and evil were controlled by divine will, never neglected to perform sacrificial rites. Out of the custom of extreme reverence toward the deities grew abhorrence for impurity in any form, so that separate huts came to be built for the bodies of the dead or for women at times of parturition, and[9] if any man came in contact with an unclean object, he bathed in a river to purify himself.

Naturally, little distinction existed between religion and government, between shrine and palace. At the completion of his work of conquest, Jimmu erected a building at Kashiwabara, in which he deposited the three insignia, and in which he himself resided and personally governed the empire. Each one of his eight successors followed his example. The tenth emperor, Sujin, however, fearing that the insignia might be polluted, made duplicates of the Mirror and the Sword, and reverently deposited the originals in a shrine at Kasanui in Yamato, where one of the imperial princesses was intrusted with the duty of guarding them and performing due religious rites. Thus, shrine and palace were at last separated. Subsequently, these sacred objects were removed to Ise, and placed in the shrine now existing there. The Sword, however, was afterward carried to Atsuta in Owari, where it now lies in the Atsuta Shrine.

During the reigns of Sujin and his successor, Suinin, the agriculture and communication of the country are recorded to have been greatly encouraged, troubles near the court exterminated, and also the area of the empire largely extended. The extension of the imperial domain, however, brought it in sharp conflict with the still unsubdued tribes of the north and the south. From the reign of Keikō, Suinin's successor, we hear of the story of the conflict. The Kumaso of Tsukushi, Kiushū, rose in arms. How seriously this was regarded is seen from the fact that the emperor in person conducted a campaign for several years in Kiushū. No sooner was peace restored than the southern tribes again rebelled. This time the brave Prince Yamato-dake, who was sent to Tsukushi to subdue the insurgents, had to resort to strategy instead of war. Having disguised himself as a girl, he obtained entry into the house of the Kumaso chief, where he killed the chief and his warriors while they were lying drunk. He also overthrew many other rebellious princes and returned to Yamato in triumph.

In the meantime the emperor, after his return from Kiushū, had heard from a special commissioner whom he had sent that in the northeast of the empire there was a strange region named Hidakami, where the people of both sexes wore their hair tied up, tattooed their bodies, and performed deeds of valor. They were known as the Emishi, and their land, being extensive and fertile,[10] the commissioner represented, ought to be added to the imperial domain. These Emishi rose in rebellion shortly after the return of Prince Yamato-dake from the conquest of the Kumaso. Thereupon the prince boldly offered to undertake the conquest of the new insurgents. After subduing local uprisings on his way, he proceeded by sea to the region of the northern rebellion. As his boats drew near the shore he displayed a large mirror at the prow of his vessel, and when the rebel chieftains and their followers sighted the ships, they were terrified by such evidences of pomp and power, and throwing away their bows and arrows, made submission. The prince accepted their homage, and enlisting their aid, conquered other rebels who still resisted the progress of the imperial forces. It seems probable that on that occasion Prince Yamato-dake advanced as far as the present province of Iwaki. On his return journey, which was again beset with local difficulties, he was seized with a severe illness, which soon proved fatal. The emperor bitterly lamented the death of his beloved son, and the story of the gallant prince is still dear to the heart of every child of Japan.


The local administration of the empire so materially extended during three successive reigns was now reorganized by the Emperor Shōmu, son of Keikō. The nature of Shōmu's reform is, however,[11] little known. When the Emperor Jimmu established the office of local governor, there were only nine provinces, but the number was increased by more than ten during the reigns of Kaika, Sujin, and Keikō, and became sixty-three in the time of the Emperor Shōmu. The imperial sway then extended northward as far as Shinobu (the present Mutsu), Sado and Noto; eastward to Tsukuba (now Hidachi); westward to Amakusa, and southward to Kii. Throughout the whole of this district, governors were appointed to administer local affairs. Subsequently the process of division continued until, in the reign of the Emperor Suikō, the total number of provinces reached 144, at which figure it remained until 645 A. D., the date of the so-called Taikwa Reformation. These local divisions, though here spoken of as provinces, had in fact different appellations—as kuni, a province, or agata, a district—and were not of uniform area. The term kuni was employed to designate an area bounded by mountains or rivers, whereas the agata had no such geographical limits. In general the former was the more extensive, but in consequence of the natural features of the country the agata was sometimes the larger. The entire subject of the local government of ancient Japan is, however, one of the most obscure subjects in history.

The reigns of the first thirteen emperors, from Jimmu to Shōmu, may be considered the era of the founding of the Japanese Empire. The main work of the sovereigns of this period consisted in the organization, extension, and consolidation of their domain. Foreign relations had hardly begun, and external influence was as yet slightly felt. The following table gives the names of the thirteen emperors, with the officially fixed dates of their reigns:

1.  Emperor Jimmu.
    660-585 B. C.
2.  Emperor Suisei.
    581-549 B. C.
3.  Emperor Annei.
    548-510 B. C.
4.  Emperor Itoku.
    510-475 B. C.
5.  Emperor Kōshō.
    475-392 B. C.
6.  Emperor Kōan.
    392-290 B. C.
7.  Emperor Kōrei.
    290-214 B. C.
8.  Emperor Kōgen.
    214-157 B. C.
9.  Emperor Kaikwa.
    157-97 B. C.
10. Emperor Sujin.
    97-29 B. C.
11. Emperor Suinin.
    29 B. C.-71 A. D.
12. Emperor Keikō.
    71-131 A. D.
13. Emperor Shōmu.
    131-192 A. D.


Chapter III


192-645 A. D.

Japan's foreign relations naturally began with the neighboring peninsula of Korea, which then contained several petty kingdoms at variance with one another. Political relations of Japan with some of these small states must have begun very early, but the traditional accounts concerning them are meager and untrustworthy. It is probable that some of the Korean chiefs were at different times tributary to Japan. The relations with Korea, however, appear to have become serious only when it was suspected that the restless tribes of Kiushū had been encouraged by Shiragi, the most warlike kingdom in the peninsula, in their repeated acts of rebellion against the emperor of Japan. In this light may be read the following famous legend of the Japanese expedition to Korea, which is said to have taken place about 200 A. D., under the leadership of the valiant Empress Jingō and her minister, Takenouchi.

Tradition says that, as the Kumaso of Tsukushi, Kiushū, again rose in arms, the Emperor Chūai proceeded thither in person, and, through his minister, prayed for the guidance of the gods. Thereupon the latter inspired the empress, who had joined the imperial expedition, to declare that if Shiragi was first conquered, the Kumaso would submit without further resistance. The emperor, however, hesitated to take this divine counsel, and the deities punished his disobedience by death. Awed by this startling event, the empress gave directions that her consort's death should be kept secret, and having intrusted to his generals the duty of guarding the temporary palace at Tsukushi, she sent Takenouchi to convey the emperor's remains to Nagato by sea, while she herself remained to mourn the death of her husband in his prime. Sacrifices were again offered to heaven, and prayers again addressed to the deities, to which the reply was the same as before. After subduing several rebel tribes, the empress came to a river, where she sought by fishing[13] to obtain an omen as to whether the conquest of Korea should be attempted. The indications being in the affirmative, she finally resolved to lead an expedition in person across the sea. Sacrificial rites were again performed to all the deities, and the empress, returning to Kashihi Bay, ordered the people to build ships, and sent sailors westward to reconnoiter the land which she contemplated invading. By and by, a lucky day having been chosen, the Japanese fleet set out from Wanizu in Tsushima, and, aided by a favorable wind, soon reached the coast of Shiragi. Hasankin, the king of Shiragi, was so much alarmed by the appearance of the invading force that, without offering any resistance, he came to sue for peace, and made a solemn pledge that he would henceforth serve the ruler of Japan as a groom and send her annual tributes. Shiragi, he declared, would abide by his oath, "till the river Yalu flowed backward and sands rose to sky and became stars." The kingdoms of Koma and Kudara followed the example of Shiragi, so that the three principal divisions of southern Korea became tributary to Japan.

It should be noted, however, that from this time on neither was Korea always obedient nor did the Kumaso cease to be rebellious. In the meantime, however, an important event in an entirely different direction resulted from Japan's intimate relations with Korea. It was the introduction through Korea of the Chinese art of writing. Many Koreans accompanied the commissioners who brought the annual tribute to Japan, and the literature and art of the west were gradually introduced. Annals attribute the beginning of Chinese learning in Japan to the reign of the Emperor Ojin, son of the Empress Jingō, when in 218 A. D. a celebrated Korean scholar, Achiki, visited Japan and was appointed by the emperor tutor to his son, Wakairatsuko. At the suggestion of Achiki, another learned man named Wani was sent for, who is said to have brought with him blacksmiths, weavers, and brewers, as well as ten copies of the "Lun-yu" (the Confucian Analects) and a copy of the "Chien-tze-wen" (the book of one thousand characters). Achiki and Wani were naturalized in Japan and received official positions, and their descendants continued to hold professorships at court. About 110 years after the introduction of Chinese literature, the Emperor Richū appointed historiographers in all the local districts to chronicle the chief events of the locality. This was, so far as we know, the first organized attempt to compile regular[14] records. Subsequently, as the administrative machinery grew more complex, the necessity of writing became more imperative, and to a service of this kind none were more fitted than the descendants of the naturalized Korean scholars, who kept up their intellectual heritage and occupied important posts at the court. Fresh scholars also arrived from Korea in increasing numbers. Thus, in the reign of the Emperor Keitai, there came from Kudara two doctors in the Five Classics, and a little later doctors in medicine and astronomy and other savants settled in the country and opened classes to instruct the Japanese in their special branches of study. The introduction of Buddhism from Korea, which soon occurred, and the circumstances of which will presently be narrated, gave an added impetus to the learning. Some of the gifted men of the court, particularly the wise Prince Shōtoku, began to distinguish themselves as accomplished scholars in Chinese classics and Buddhist canons. As yet, however, the native language and the Chinese grammar, which are so radically different from each other, did not begin their long history of struggle to reconcile themselves to one another. The vernacular could hardly lend itself to expression in Chinese characters, and histories and inscriptions were written only in the pure Chinese style.

The coming of Buddhism was an incident which accelerated the progress of a profound change in the history and civilization of Japan, already started by her close relations with the continent of Asia. Buddhism was first introduced early in the sixth century by a Chinese scholar, Sumatah, who, however, made little progress in propagating the alien faith among the people of Yamato. Afterward, during the reign of the Emperor Kimmei, in the year 552 A. D., the king of Kudara, in Korea, sent the emperor of Japan an envoy bearing an image of Buddha and a copy of the Sutras, together with a message that the creed of Buddha excelled all religious beliefs, and that boundless happiness in this world, as well as in the next, was insured to its disciples, among whom were already all the nations from India to Korea. The emperor was greatly impressed and summoned his ministers to a deliberation over the proper attitude to be assumed by Japan regarding this new problem of the western civilization. Soga-no-Iname, minister president, counseled the acceptance of the foreign faith, saying that Japan should not alone stand aloof when all nations in the west had embraced Buddha's doctrine. Against this view[15] Mononobe-no-Okoshi and Nakatomi Kamako, ministers of state, argued that from the most ancient times the Japanese had worshiped the celestial and terrestrial gods, and that if reverence were paid now to any alien deity, the wrath of the tutelary gods of the land might be provoked. The emperor approved the latter view, but gave the image of Buddha to Iname with permission to worship it by way of trial. Iname was greatly pleased with the behest, and lost no time in converting his residence into a temple, where he placed the image. Soon afterward a pestilence visited the country, sweeping away numbers of people. The opponents of Buddhism thereupon having represented to the sovereign that this was obviously a punishment inflicted by Heaven, the temple was burned down and the image thrown into the canal in Naniwa. The emperor, however, did not altogether abandon his predilection for the worship of Buddha, and Iname sent secretly to Korea for another image. Thus, in the reign of the Emperor Bidatsu, images of Buddha, copies of the Sutras, priests, and manufacturers of Buddhist paraphernalia came from the kingdoms of Kudara and Bidatsu. Subsequently (584 A. D.), Soga-no-Umako, who had succeeded his father, Iname, as minister president, built temples and pagodas dedicated to Buddha. Another pestilence came to revive the anti-Buddhist movement, under the influence of which an imperial edict was issued prohibiting the worship of Buddha; all the temples and pagodas were demolished or burned, and the images of Buddha were thrown into the canal. The people's sufferings were, however, not relieved. A plague of boils ensued, and inasmuch as the pain caused by the sores resembled that of burning or beating, old and young alike concluded that they were the victims of a punishment of burning inflicted by Buddha. From this it may be inferred that Buddhism had already established a hold upon the popular imagination. Shortly afterward Soga-no-Umako, having applied for permission, was allowed to worship Buddha with his own family.

When the Emperor Yōmei ascended the throne in 586, he suffered so much from bodily infirmity that he felt tempted to worship Buddha. By this time the influence of Buddhists had grown so strong that they, on the pretext that their opponents were disloyal to the wishes of the throne, took this occasion to destroy the two most powerful anti-Buddhists. Then, by the combined energy of Prince Shōtoku and the minister president, Soga-no-Umako, the [16]propagation of Buddhism made great strides, until the Empress Suiko openly encouraged its acceptance among the people of all classes. In 607, in order to obtain copies of the Sutras, there was sent for the first time in history an imperial envoy directly to China, where the Sui dynasty had just unified the long disrupted empire. This was the commencement of intercourse with China. The preamble of the dispatch sent on that occasion from the empress of Japan to the sovereign of China was couched in the following words: "The Sovereign of the Empire of the Rising Sun to the Sovereign of the Empire of the Setting Sun sends greetings." Doubtless the name "Nippon" (Land of the Rising Sun) had its origin in this incident. By and by, as the number of priests and nuns increased, disorders occurred among them, and for purposes of superintendence the offices of Sōjō (archbishop) and Sōzu (bishop) were established. From the introduction of Buddhism in the reign of the Emperor Kimmei to the time of which we are now speaking, seventy-five years elapsed. During the first thirty-two years of that period, Buddhism failed to obtain a footing in Japan, but from 584 it gradually extended throughout the empire, until in 627 there were in Japan 46 temples, 816 priests, and 569 nuns.

Let us now observe some features of the life of the nation and the profound influence wrought upon it by the introduction of the continental civilization and of Buddhism. It is not too much to say that, at least around the seat of the central government, the arts and sciences of China and the creed of Buddha greatly changed the simplicity of Japanese life and imparted to it a character of refinement and pomp hitherto unknown. Chinese literature not only taught Japan the art of writing and composition, but also brought with it an advanced ethical sense of fidelity, piety, benevolence, and justice. The Emperor Ōjin's son, who was the first Japanese student of Chinese literature, had acquired such an accurate knowledge of the rules of composition and calligraphy that when a memorial was presented to the throne by Korean ambassadors, he detected the presence of disrespectful ideograms and rebuked the envoys. His attainments won for him the favor of his father, who nominated him heir in preference to his elder brother; nevertheless, on the death of the emperor, this prince resigned his claim in behalf of his brother. For such self-denial his scholarship had prepared him. So, too, the erudite Emperor Nintoku dwelt for the[17] space of three years in a dilapidated palace, in order that his people might have relief from taxation during a famine, and know the sense of love and duty his learning had taught him. The prosperity of the nation, he said, was his own prosperity, their poverty his poverty.

The doctrine of Confucius inculcated reverence toward Heaven, respect for ancestors, loyalty to the sovereign, love of the people, and discharge of the duties of filial piety. On the other hand, Buddhism proved an ennobling influence upon the mind of the nation. Hitherto the people naïvely attributed every happy or unhappy event, every fortunate or unfortunate incident, to the will of the gods, whom they appeased by offerings and sacrifices that evil might be averted. The gods looked and acted like men. Highest among them stood the celestial and terrestrial gods; lowest were certain wild animals and venomous snakes, which also were propitiated by worship. Gods were near men, and some of the latter were conceived as scions of the former. This primitive notion of a deity was not materially affected by the introduction of the Confucian philosophy, the tenets of which offered no contradiction to the ancient idea. Buddhism, on the contrary, told of a past and of a future; announced the doctrine that virtue would be rewarded and vice punished in a future state; and taught that the Buddha was the supreme being and that whosoever had faith in him should receive unlimited blessings at his hands. No longer were the deities the only objects of fear and reverence, for now a being of supreme wisdom and power loomed upon the mental horizon of the people. Even the sovereign himself was seen worshiping Buddha, whose servant he was pleased to regard himself. Prejudices at court against the Hindu doctrine were dispelled by the growing light shed by the deeper knowledge of Buddhism, while the golden images of Buddha and the imposing structures enshrining them, as well as the gorgeous paraphernalia of the temples and the solemnity of the rites performed therein, allured the common folk into the faith. At the same time, the people's reverence for the ancient gods of the nation remained unshaken, so that Shintōism, Confucianism, and Buddhism existed side by side, supplying the defects of one another and answering different moral needs of the race.

Along with learning and religion, various arts of civilized life were profusely supplied from Korea to vivify the general progress[18] of the nation. Among the most important was the production and manufacture of silk, which was largely studied by the people and encouraged by the Emperor Yūryaku. Many Chinese artisans of the fallen dynasties migrated through Korea to Japan, where they were naturalized and transmitted their knowledge of the western arts and sciences. In architecture, also, with the coming of Buddhism a need arose for lofty and large edifices, the erection of which must have greatly changed the appearance of the capital. The art of pottery made a great advance, as did the blacksmith's craft of forging swords and other articles of iron. Nor were medicine and the calendar neglected, while the new art of carving and decorating as well as drawing the image of Buddha, gave a powerful impetus to painting and sculpture. The collective influence of all these and other new changes upon the life of the people, nearer the center of the government at least, must have been very great. With the development of the art of weaving, apparel was improved by the addition of silk garments; as agriculture progressed, rice and other cereals furnished agreeable aliment; the influence of Buddhism gradually produced a distaste for animal food. The introduction of the science of architecture soon effected a marked change in the dimensions and decoration of dwelling-houses. Transmission of intelligence was facilitated by the imported art of writing, the moral, intellectual, and political thinking of the ruling classes began to take a more or less definite shape from the coming of the Chinese classics, while Buddhism spread over the nation a charm which was at once captivating and ennobling. A new era of history had begun.

We shall now turn our attention to the remarkable political evolution which followed and was in fact to a large extent occasioned by the introduction of Buddhism. In the earliest days of the empire, administrative posts were transmitted by heredity from generation to generation. It thus resulted that family names were derived from official titles, as, for example, the official title for persons performing religious rites was Nakatomi or Imbe, which titles became family names of holders of that office. Similarly Ōtomo and Mononobe were family names of officials having control of troops or direction of military affairs. Among commoners, also, there were many who performed certain kinds of work for the government, the art of which they bequeathed to their children by heredity. Each occupation of this description was organized into[19] a guild, and each guild was under the control of a headman who belonged to some influential family. Not only were public offices and private guilds similarly organized by the principle of heredity, but also there was no rigid line drawn between the public property and the personal possession of a nobleman. The higher one's position among the aristocracy, the more exalted was his office and the more plenteous his treasury. Under these circumstances, it is not strange that the administration of the state gradually fell under the control of the heads of a few powerful clans. Originally, during the reign of the first emperor, the Nakatomi and Imbe families discharged religious functions, and the Ōtomo, Kume, and Mononobe families performed military duties. The influence of these families was then about equal. But subsequent events resulted in the decline of the Kume, while the Ōtomo were in the main intrusted with the control of Korean affairs. Domestic administration remained chiefly in the hands of the Mononobe and the new family of Soga, descendants of Takenouchi, the tactful minister of the Empress Jingō. The Mononobe stood at the head of all the noble families bearing the honorary title of Muraji, and the Soga, of those likewise designated as Omi. It was inevitable that the mutual jealousy of the two leading houses should bring them to a clash of interests, while the introduction of Buddhism had the effect of greatly accentuating their hostility. It will be remembered that the Mononobe family adhered steadily to conservative principles and opposed the spread of Buddhism, which the Soga, on the contrary, zealously upheld. So long, however, as both families bowed implicitly to the imperial commands, their dispute did not attain serious proportions. But when, in the reign of Yōmei, not only was the empress dowager a daughter of the Soga family, but also the emperor himself inclined to the worship of Buddha, the final struggle between the two families could no longer be deferred.

On the death of the emperor, Mononobe Moriya sought to secure the succession for a brother of the deceased sovereign, as against another prince, son of the empress dowager. His plot was discovered, and he was defeated and killed. The Mononobe being thus overthrown, the supremacy rested with Umako, the head of the Soga, and the throne was occupied by his own prince. But the prince could not long bear the arbitrary conduct of Umako, who then caused him to be assassinated. The empress dowager, a daughter of the Soga, despite the presence of direct successors in[20] the male line, ascended the throne under the title of the Empress Suiko. This was the first instance of the scepter being held by a female. On the death of Umako, his son, Emishi, succeeded him, and wielded even larger influence than his father. Emishi crushed an opposition offered by his own uncle, and placed in succession to the empress a prince of his choice, and under the latter's rule as Emperor Shōmei, Emishi behaved as he pleased. After Shōmei's death, his consort ascended the throne under the name of Kōkyoku. Emishi's son, Iruka, who now discharged the administrative functions, exercised even greater power than his father. He also designed to obtain the throne for Prince Furuhito, a relative of his family. But an obstacle existed in the person of Prince Yamashiro, whose goodness and discretion had won popular respect. Steps were taken to have this prince assassinated, and otherwise Iruka showed himself so arbitrary and unscrupulous that there appeared to be danger of his compassing the destruction of the lineal successors to the throne and usurping the sovereignty himself. Thereupon Nakatomi Kamatari, a loyal subject, conferred with Prince Nakano-ōye, son of the Emperor Shōmei, as to the expediency of making away with Iruka. This plot culminated in the killing of Iruka in the throne room on a day when Korean ambassadors were received at the court. Iruka's father, Emishi, was also killed, and with them the glory of the Soga vanished.

Thus ended the interesting period of history in which active relations, first with Korea, and then with China, began to produce in Japan a direct, profound effect upon her society and politics. Agents of the advanced civilization were liberally introduced, and, in the midst of this process, a grave crisis which was about to overcome the central institutions of the state system was averted only by an anomalous act of a few patriots. It was these latter who inaugurated in the next period the grand work of reconstructing the entire system of government and administration after the pattern of Chinese institutions. The continental civilization in all its refinement was then even more eagerly studied around the capital than before, while the country at large, under the unforeseen effects of these artificial reforms, passed gradually into a still later period of her history. Before taking up the story of the reform period, we as usual subjoin a table of the sovereigns of the period which has been under review in this chapter.

14. Emperor Chūai, 192-270 A. D. (including the 69 years of the
                                  regency of Empress Jingō-kōgō).
15. Emperor Ojin, 270-313.
16. Emperor Nintoku, 313-400.
17. Emperor Richû,--18. Emperor Hanshō,--19. Emperor Inkyō,
        400-405.              405-411.              411-453.
           |                                           |
           |                          +----------------+
           |                          |
    Prince Ichinobe Oshiiwa. 20. Emperor Ankō,--21. Emperor Yūryaku,
             |                    453-456.                 456-480.
             |                                                 |
             |                                         22. Emperor Seinei.
23. Emperor Kensō,--24. Emperor Ninken, 488-499.            480-485.
        485-488.              |
                        25. Emperor Buretsu, 499-507.
(Emperor Ojin.)
(Emperor Nintoku.)--Prince Wakamikenofutamata.
                    Prince Ōhito.
                    Prince Hikouishi.
                26. Emperor Keitai, 507-534.
27. Emperor Ankan,--28. Emperor Senkwa,--29. Emperor Kimmei, 540-572.
      534-536.             536-540.                 |
30. Emperor Bidatsu,--31. Emperor Yōmei,--32. Emperor Susun,--33. Empress
       572-586.              586-588.             588-591.         Suiko,
           |                                                     591-629.
         Prince Oshisakahiko-nushibito.
34. Emperor Shōmei, 629-642.--Prince Chinu.
             35. Empress Kōkyoku, 642-645.


Chapter IV


It was in the year 645 A. D. that a small league of supporters of the imperial institutions, under the leadership of two true statesmen, Prince Naka-no-ōye and Nakatomi-no-Kamatari, overthrew the disloyal family of Soga. For the first time in Japanese history, the Chinese system of year-periods was adopted, and the name Taikwa ("Great Change") was applied to the period which began with this year. No more appropriate name could be invented, for the reforms henceforth introduced, known in history as the Taikwa reformation, were of such a sweeping character as to transform within a few years all the fundamental institutions of the central and local administration. The model of the changes was found in the system of politics and society of China, which had lately come under the sway of the dynasty of T'ang, the centralized government and refined civilization of which had excited emulation in the minds of the Japanese reformers. The memorable year 645 A. D. thus marks the beginning of the exhaustive reformation which was completed only after fifty-six years, extending over the reigns of six sovereigns, for it was not till 701 that the celebrated Taihō code of laws brought the work of state reorganization to a close.

It would hardly be necessary for us to study the reforms in detail, which brought profound changes upon nearly all the features of national life. The central institution of the new state may be said to be the land system. Formerly, noble families abused the influence of their position and extended their territorial estates so greatly that the commoner was in a state of perpetual eviction. Between the rich and the poor had grown a widening gap. Now the reformers, after their Chinese model, boldly confiscated to the state all the landed estates of private individuals, which they then allotted equally among all the people above the age of six at the rate of two tan for a male and one and one-third tan for a female[23] (a chō, or 10 tan, at the time being approximately equal to two acres), subject to a redistribution at every sixth year. Naturally neither the periodical redistribution nor the system of equal allotment itself could be long maintained, but the notion that the ownership of land was ultimately vested in the state was not abandoned until the present reign, when the people of all classes were at last allowed to own land.

The economic and financial unit of the nation being thus defined, it was also provided that a national census should be returned at a fixed period. New taxes were of three kinds, the principal one, called so, being levied upon land. The method of its assessment was to fix the annual produce of two tan of rice land at 100 sheaves, 8 of which—4 large and 4 small—were taken as tax, or, roughly, five per cent. of the gross produce. Of the other two kinds of taxes one was called and the other chō. The former may be regarded as a species of corvée. After a man attained the age of twenty-one he was required to perform ten days' public work annually, which service, however, he was at liberty to commute for one piece of cloth (nuno). The chō was levied on silk, fish, cloth, and generally speaking on objects produced or obtained in considerable quantities. The proceeds of the rice-tax were applied to defray the expenses of local administration, while the outlay of the central government was met by the proceeds of the two other taxes, and chō.

As regards local administration, the old names of local divisions, kuni (provinces) and kōri (districts), were retained, while towns, sato, were organized generally by grouping together fifty houses under a town-head. Along the principal roads relays of post horses were maintained for public service, and every person traveling in the interior was required by law to carry a hand-bell and a document similar to a passport. At important places guard-houses were established, with duly appointed lookouts and garrisons for preserving order. Government business was transacted in the provinces under the control of officials collectively called kokushi, and in the districts under that of gunshi. The former set of officers were appointed by the central government from among the nobler families, while the latter seem to have been largely supplied by the descendants of old local magnates. In those days the empire comprised 58 kuni, over 500 kōri, and about 13,000 sato, but subsequent changes resulted in 66 kuni and more than[24] 700 kōri, which numbers continued till the beginning of the present reign.

Finally, as to the central government, its ultimate control was vested in the hands of three principal officials, namely, the ministers of the left, of the right, and of the interior; but this organization subsequently underwent considerable modification. The eight departments of administration were Department of Records (Nakatsukasa), Department of Ceremonies (Shikibu), Department of Administration (Jibu), Department of Home Affairs (Mimbu), Department of Military Affairs (Hyōbu), Department of Justice (Kyōbu), Department of Finance (Ōkura), and Department of the Imperial Household (Kunai). Each was comprised of three bureaus, between which the functions of the department were distributed. Over and above the eight departments stood the two highest offices, grand council (Daijō-kwan) and religious rites (Jingi-kwan).

The administrative organization having been thus determined, steps were taken to make suitable selection of personnel for the various official posts, and in connection with this a body of rules was compiled, fixing the ranks of officials of all kinds. The system of selection by merit was in this manner substituted for that of hereditary succession. But the change did not find complete expression in practice, for noble families, though nominally deprived of exclusive official privileges, still benefited by the conservatism of custom. Various ranks of officials were minutely graded, and rigidly marked by means of the colors of garments and head-gear or by patents, but these insignia underwent subsequent changes in minor details.

Such, in brief, were the principal features of the Taikwa reforms. The government, however, did not confine itself to the realm of enactment, for instructions of an admonitory character were issued with a view to improving the manners and customs of the agricultural classes. Diligence in the pursuit of their occupations, economy, integrity, exclusion of mercenary motives from contracts of marriage, simplicity of funeral rites, persistence in habits of industry even during periods of mourning—such were the virtues recommended to farmers by official proclamation. At the same time, in order to establish contact between the ruling classes and the ruled, boxes were set up at various places wherein[25] the people were invited to deposit any statement of grievances from which they suffered, and it was provided that a man who desired to bring a complaint speedily to the notice of the authorities should ring a bell hung in a public building.

On the decease of the Emperor Kōtoku, after a reign of ten years, the previous empress, Kōkyoku, reassumed the scepter under the name of Saimei. This was the first instance of a sovereign occupying the throne twice. Prince Naka-no-ōye, who throughout both reigns had remained heir-apparent, succeeded the Empress Saimei under the name of Tenchi. This sovereign, who before ascending the throne had greatly distinguished himself, is not noted for any conspicuous deeds while in possession of the scepter. Throughout his reign the country enjoyed profound internal tranquillity. Its foreign affairs, however, assumed a complexion worthy of special notice.

Since the conquest of southern Korea, which tradition attributes to the Empress Jingō, its kingdoms not only rendered tributes of valuable articles, but also conferred no small benefit on their suzerain by contributing to the latter's material and moral civilization. Nevertheless, the interval that separated the two countries made communication difficult, and although Japan established a branch government in Korea at a place called Mimana, the Koreans, relying upon the distance of the latter from headquarters, frequently acted in a rebellious manner. During an interval of 460 years after the legendary invasion of the Empress Jingō, no less than thirty instances are recorded when the Koreans either failed to send tribute, insulted Japanese envoys, or broke into open revolt. On every occasion Japan sent embassies to demand explanation and redress, or reasserted her supremacy by force of arms. Shiragi, which in those days stood at the head of the districts into which Korea was divided, rose in 562 against Mimana and succeeded in expelling the Japanese officials and obtaining possession of the place. This disaster weighed greatly on the mind of the Emperor Kimmei, whose last behest uttered on his deathbed was that Mimana should be recovered. A great army was accordingly sent against Shiragi, but success did not attend the Japanese arms. Not only was it found impossible to reduce Shiragi, but even the maintenance of the local government at Mimana proved a task beyond the military strength of the time. Thenceforth the recovery[26] of Mimana became an object upon which Japan's attention was ever concentrated. When in 618 China fell under the powerful sway of the T'ang dynasty, the people of Shiragi, relying on Chinese assistance, conceived the project of bringing under their rule the neighboring district of Kudara. Reduced to extremities, Kudara in 660 sent envoys to seek succor from Japan. After considerable discussion, the Japanese Government resolved to undertake an expedition against Shiragi on a large scale. Great preparations were set on foot. The sovereign himself proceeded to Tsukushi and oversaw the dispatch thence of a fleet of a hundred war vessels under the command of Azumi-no-Hirafu, whose instructions were to attack Shiragi and rescue Kudara. But the latter was found to be in a helpless condition. Invaded simultaneously by the forces of China and Shiragi, it was also torn by internal dissensions, and could not coöperate in any effective manner with the Japanese navy, which consequently withdrew, leaving Kudara to its inevitable fate. The final fall of Kudara occurred in 670, and a few years later the third Korean district of Koma was also defeated by China. Shiragi subsequently sent occasional tribute to Japan, but was never afterward included in the Japanese dominions. The Emperor Tenchi, reviewing the history of his country's relations with Korea, seems to have arrived at the definite conclusion that the wisest policy was on the side of abandoning all idea of recovering Kudara, and devoting Japan's energies solely to organizing measures of defense against foreign attack. He accordingly adopted every possible means of promoting military efficiency. It should be remembered that Japan had not only lavished money and blood for Korea, but also had outlived the days when the civilizing influence of the continent had to come by way of the peninsula and had already been in communication with the source of enlightenment, China. It was during the reign of the same Emperor Tenchi that China sent an envoy to the court of Japan, and the latter country dispatched an embassy in return, so that the two empires were brought into more friendly relations than before.

If, however, the extent of the Japanese dominions suffered reduction in the west, it in the meantime received an increment in the north by the subjection of some recalcitrant tribes. It will be recalled that the uprising of these people, called Emishi, or Ebisu, had been suppressed by Prince Yamato-dake, but further north in[27] the island of Ezo, the present Hokkaidō;, the imperial sway received only partial acknowledgment. There the Emishi not only were restless, but also generally had the sympathy and support of their kinsmen across the waters, just as in earlier times, the Kumaso, the autochthons of Kiushū, habitually espoused the cause of Korea in any conflict between the latter and Japan. The government always found itself compelled to undertake a dual campaign in times of trouble with the island on the north or with the peninsula on the west. Because of these difficulties forts were built, about 650, at Nutari and Iwafune in Echigo, and garrisoned by the people of that province and of Shinano, for the purpose of holding the aborigines of Ezo in control. The unsettled condition of these outlying districts may be further inferred from an enactment contemporaneous with the great Taikwa reforms. For whereas a general interdict was then issued against unauthorized possession of arms and armor by private persons, dwellers in the remote parts of the east were exempted from this prohibition on the ground of their liability to attack.

During the years 658-660, in the Empress Saimei's reign, Abe-no-Hirafu, a distinguished governor of the Koshi provinces (Echigo and Uzen), conducted successful campaigns against the autochthons of Ezo, breaking their power and destroying their vessels of war, and finally invaded Manchuria at the head of a force composed of subjugated Emishi, and cut off the source from which insurgents had usually derived succor. The result of this campaign was that the Emishi were, for the most part, brought into subjection, and functionaries called Gunryō; were posted at Shiribeshi in the northern island. Frequent insurrections, however, followed, and finally it was found necessary to build the castles of Taga and Akita, where strong forces of soldiers were maintained to preserve order.

A few expeditions on a large scale were also organized against them under the command of generalissimos (shōgun) upon whom the duty of guarding the northern and eastern marches devolved, but it was not until 796, during the reign of the Emperor Kwammu, that these autochthons were effectually brought into subjection. The campaign against them at that time was directed by a renowned captain, Sakanoue-no-Tamuramaro, who, at the head of a great army, penetrated to the limits of the rebellious districts, slaughtering all who refused to surrender. This general's[28] exploits were second only to those of his predecessor Abe-no-Hirafu. Not only was the sway of the imperial court thus extended to the east and north, but in the south also various islands—Tokuara, Tane, Yaku, Amami, Toku, and others—lying off the coasts of Satsuma and Ōsumi, were added to the Japanese dominions.

The curious "Hairy Ainos" of northern Japan hold the bear in extreme sanctity. They catch the bear when young and bring him up on human milk, a nurse being deputed to him. Then he is transferred to a cage and, when he is old enough to be slain, on the day of sacrifice the whole village turns out armed with bows and arrows, the cage is opened and each one strives to send home the fatal shaft. The chief prays the bear to pardon the violence done him, requests benefits from the now deified carcass, and presents offerings. They then behead and skin the bear, and begin an orgie which lasts several days.

Let us now see what important incidents took place during this time around the person of the sovereign. In the third year of the Emperor Tenchi's reign, 670, the celebrated statesman of the Taikwa reformation, Nakatomi-no-Kamatari died. He had been raised to the position of lord keeper of the privy seal, and had received the family name of Fujiwara, in recognition of his meritorious services. Kamatari was a man of thorough loyalty and integrity. His zeal in the emperor's service was unflagging, and he showed great ability in framing useful laws and regulations, so that, after his decease, people spoke of him as a model of fidelity. Two years later the emperor himself, formally the leader of the reforms since 645, died, leaving behind him a reputation for good government which was held in so grateful a remembrance that when more than a century later the Emperor Kwammu promulgated a law dispensing with the observance of religious ceremonies on the anniversaries of the deaths of sovereigns deceased at remote periods, public sentiment caused the Emperor Tenchi to be excepted from the general rule. Yet he had scarcely been laid to rest when a serious disturbance took place with reference to his successor. In accordance with the rule of primogeniture followed in Japan, the scepter was bequeathed to the eldest prince of the blood with almost unvarying regularity during the thirteen generations from Jimmu to Seimu; and throughout the thirty-two generations from Jimmu to Sujun no woman held the scepter, for although Jingō held regency for sixty-nine years, she was never invested with the dignity of the title of sovereign.

The accession of the Empress Suiko was due to exceptional circumstances, and did not mark a recognized departure from the old rule. Subsequently, however, not a few instances occurred of the scepter falling into the hands of an uncle or niece of a deceased emperor, and on these occasions more or less disquiet accompanied the event. But no disturbance connected with such a cause attained anything like the dimensions of the trouble that followed[29] Tenchi's death.[1] On the occasion of the emperor's visit to Tsukushi to make arrangements for the invasion of Korea, he entrusted the administration of affairs during his absence to his younger brother, Prince Ōama, and caused the heir apparent, Prince Ōtomo, to accompany him to Tsukushi. Ōtomo, though young in years, had already given evidence of great capacity and was exceptionally learned. The sovereign entertained a strong affection for him, and after returning from Tsukushi raised him to the position of prime minister. On the other hand, the relations between the emperor and his brother, Prince Ōama, were for some unknown reason inharmonious. When the emperor, perceiving the dangerous character of his malady, would fain have entrusted the administration of affairs after his death to Ōama, the latter pretending ill health declined the responsibility. The prince imperial was consequently proclaimed successor to the throne, and Ōama took the priestly order and retired to Mount Yoshino, partly for the purpose of praying for the soul of the deceased emperor, but partly also to dispel the suspicion with which the public regarded his acts. None the less, it was the common talk of the time that Ōama's retirement to Yoshino was as "the letting loose of a tiger on a moor." Twice did the ministers of state take the oath of allegiance to Prince Ōtomo, but rivalry and evil feeling continued to grow between the partisans of the new sovereign and those of [30]Prince Ōama. In the end a state of open hostilities resulted. Prince Ōama, rapidly withdrawing to the eastern provinces, obtained possession of all the strategical positions, and was followed by large numbers of adherents. The emperor dispatched an army against the insurgents, and engagements took place in Mino, Ōmi, and Yamato, but on every occasion the imperial forces were routed, and the eastern army gradually pushed on to Ōtsu in Shiga. A final and desperate stand was made by the emperor's troops in the Seta district, but the battle ended in their total defeat, and the sovereign himself, escaping from the field, perished by his own hand at the age of twenty-five, after a reign of only eight months. This emperor is known in history as Kōbun. Prince Ōama succeeded to the throne under the name of Temmu. He had obtained the scepter under questionable circumstances, but as a ruler he showed high qualities, carrying on the administration with zeal and ability. He dispatched inspectors to all districts throughout the realm in order to acquire full knowledge of local affairs, and raised the military establishment to a state of high efficiency. On his death a princess, daughter of Tenchi and sister of Kōbun, succeeded to the throne as the Empress Jitō. In the third year of her reign the heir apparent, Prince Kusakabe, died. The empress convoked a council of all the high dignitaries of state to determine a successor to the prince, but they could not come to any agreement until Prince Kadono advanced the principle that when neither son nor grandson was available to succeed to the throne, the scepter should pass to the brothers and sisters of the sovereign in due order, since by no other means could disputes be avoided. The outcome was that Karu, son of the late Prince Kusakabe, was proclaimed heir apparent. He subsequently ascended the throne as the Emperor Mommu, well known in history for his ability and the codification under his direction of the laws of the Taihō period.[2]


[1] The following is a brief genealogical table of the sovereigns of this period of disputed successions:

30. Emperor Bitatsu.--(Prince Oshisakahikohito).
|--34. Emperor Jōmyō.--38. Emperor Tenchi.--(41. Empress Jitō, consort of
|           |                                   the 40th emperor, Temmu).
|           |                                                 |
|           |              +----------------------------------+
|           |              |
|           |              +--(43. Empress Gemmyō, mother of the 42d
|           |              |                         emperor Mommu).
|           |              +--39. Emperor Kōbun.
|           |              +--(Prince Shiki).--49. Emperor Kōnin.
|           |
|     40. Emperor Temmu.--(Prince Kusakabe).
|                                     |
|                             (Prince Toneri).--47. Emperor Junnin.
+--(Prince Chinu.)--35. Empress Kōkyoku.--37. Empress Saimei.
                          36. Emperor Kōtoku.

[2] Chronological table of sovereigns.

36. Emperor Kōtoku, 645-655.
37. Empress Saimei, 655-668.
38. Emperor Tenchi, 668-672.
39. Emperor Kōbun, 672-673.
40. Emperor Temmu, 673-690.
41. Empress Jitō, 690-697.
42. Emperor Mommu, 697-708.


Chapter V

THE NARA EPOCH. 710-794 A. D.

In 708 A. D. the Empress Gemmyō ascended the throne and two years later the seat of government, which had hitherto moved from place to place, was fixed at Nara in the province of Yamato. The imperial palace, as well as the left and right halves of the city, were built with much state, the place being thenceforth known in Chinese style as Heijō ("castle of tranquillity"). The interval of seventy-five years from that date, comprising the reigns of seven successive sovereigns, is called in history the "Nara epoch," an epoch worthy of special reference for its great prosperity and refinement. Under the sway of the emperors Tenchi and Temmu the power of the throne had already increased considerably, and it was further enhanced by the ability of Mommu and his immediate successors, no little assistance being derived from the royal princes who occupied the highest posts in the administration with conspicuous talent. Side by side with the growth of the power of the crown, the influence of the Fujiwara family, descendants of Kamatair, also steadily advanced, until, as will be seen later, they came to overshadow the real authority of the sovereign. This, however, had not yet become noticeable during the earlier years of the Nara epoch, when the emperor was in theory and in practice at the apex of the grand centralized system of government inaugurated by the Taikwa reformation.

Among the events of this period, none is more worthy of note than the marked spread of Buddhism. This result may be attributed, first, to the loyal faith of the imperial court, and, secondly, to the exertions of priests of high talent who labored in the cause of their creed with remarkable zeal and tact. Ever since the days of the Emperor Kimmei, when Buddhism was brought to Japan, its progress had been sure and strong, despite all opposition, until there came a time when the Emperor Temmu went so far as to order that every private house should have an altar for the worship of the Buddha. Subsequent sovereigns caused the canons to be copied and images to be made for all the provinces of the realm;[32] and the Emperor Shōmu supplemented those measures by an edict requiring that provincial temples (kokubunji) should everywhere be built for priests and nuns. The ruling classes contributed liberally to the support of these places of worship, it being generally believed that by such means individual prosperity and national tranquillity could be secured. A huge image of Buddha, fifty-three feet high, was cast of copper and gold, which survives to this day in the temple where it was originally placed, the Tōtai-ji, at Nara.

It is on record that Shōmu himself adopted the tonsure and took a Buddhist appellation. The mother of that sovereign, Miyako, and his consort, Kōmyō,—both daughters of Fujiwara Fubito—were most zealous devotees of Buddhism, and with their coöperation the sovereign established in the capital an asylum for the support of the destitute and a charity hospital, where the poor received medical treatment and drugs gratis. Measures were also taken to rescue foundlings, and in general to relieve poverty and distress. Tradition tells us that the empress cared for the sick to the number of nine hundred and ninety-nine. The thousandth patient was a miserable old man who asked her to suck pus from the ulcerated sores of his skin. As she cheerfully acceded to his wish, he was transfigured into a Buddha, and ascended into the air, blessing the imperial devotee whose faith he had come to test. Among the great subjects we also find instances such as those of Kamartari and Fuhito, of whom the former, though a minister of the court, built a temple and made his eldest son take orders, and the latter erected the temple of Kōfuku-ji and endowed it as the place of worship of the Fujiwara family. Among the priests of high rank, one whose name has been transmitted to posterity was Gyōgi.

He became famous in the reign of the Empress Genshō,[1] and having won the confidence and respect of the next sovereign, Shōmu, he attained the rank of Daisōjō (archbishop) and was subsequently worshiped as a saint under the title of "Bosatsu." It was by this prelate that the doctrine of successive incarnations of the Buddha was first enunciated, a doctrine whose skillful application greatly served the cause of Buddhism. For though the creed obtained [33]such influence and success in the times now under consideration, its universal acceptance by the people encountered a strong obstacle in their traditional belief that the Shintō deities, not Buddha, had founded the state, bequeathed its scepter to their posterity, and prescribed a creed with which the very existence of the nation was bound up. This difficulty, however, the Buddhist priests adroitly met by the aid of the doctrine that Gyōgi taught. The goddess Amaterasu had been only an incarnation of Birushanabutsu, and all the deities of the land were but the Buddha himself in various human forms. By this skillful reasoning they dispelled the inherited prejudices of the people and gave a great impulse to the spread of their creed. Gyōgi, Dōshō, Ryōben, and others acquired notable influence with the masses, and, aided by their pupils, preached in such manner as to popularize Buddhism throughout the land. About this era, also, many priests came to Japan from China. It would appear, nevertheless, that side by side with the spread of Buddhist conviction the doctrine of fate and fortune was taught and the necessity of vows and penances inculcated, to the delusion and demoralization of ignorant folks. In every direction priestly sway made itself felt, even the imperial court being largely under the influence of Gembō, Dōkyō, and their following.

A notable factor in the development of material prosperity at that epoch was the extraordinary ability of the priests. Many of them made voyages to China to study the arts and sciences of that empire, and on their return traveled up and down the land, opening regions hitherto left barren, building temples, repairing and extending roads, bridging rivers, establishing ferries, digging ponds, canals, and wells, and encouraging navigation, thus contributing as much to the material civilization of the country as to the moral improvement of the people. It may be truly said that the spread of Buddhism was synchronous with the rise of art and science. Carpenters, from the practice acquired in building temples, learned how to construct large edifices; sculptors and metallurgists became skillful by casting and graving idols of gold and bronze; painting, decorative weaving, the ornamentation of utensils, and the illumination of missals, owe their expert pursuit to the patronage of Buddhism; the first real impetus given to the potter's art is associated with the name of a priest; in short, almost every branch of industrial and artistic development owes something to the influence of the creed. In a storehouse forming part[34] of the Tōtai-ji, and in the temple of Hōriū, both at Nara, there are preserved a number of household utensils, objects of apparel, musical instruments, and so forth, handed down from the Nara epoch, every one of which bears witness to a refined and artistic civilization, not surpassed by succeeding generations. Among glyptic artists there have been handed down from these days the names of men famous for their skill in sculpturing images, two of whom were called "Kasuga" after the place where they lived, and were held in the highest honor. It is true that architecture, sculpture, dyeing, and weaving, introduced originally from China and Korea, had long been practiced with considerable success, but during the Nara epoch these arts were in the hands of men celebrated then and subsequently for their proficiency. The same may be said also of the arts of the lacquerer and the sword-smith, which at that time were carried far beyond ancient standards of achievement. It is further worthy of note that the methods of manufacturing glass and soap were known in the eighth century. Nara and its temples, remaining outside the range of battles and the reach of conflagrations, have escaped the destructions that periodically overtook other imperial capitals, so that those who visit the place to-day can see objects of fine and useful arts more than a thousand years old.

Simultaneously with the progress thus made in art and industry, learning received a great impetus. The Emperor Tenchi was the first to appoint officials charged with educational functions. A university was established in Kyōto, as well as public schools in the various localities throughout the provinces. The subjects chiefly taught in the university were history, the Chinese Classics, law, and mathematics. These were called the shidō, or four paths of learning. In the succeeding reign, education continued to receive powerful encouragement, but the principal object in view being the training of government officials, instruction for the masses still remained in an unsatisfactory state. Learning in that age virtually signified a knowledge of the Chinese Classics. Hence, in the Nara epoch, scholars versed in that kind of erudition were very numerous, conspicuous among them being Awada-no-Mahito, Ō-no-Yasumaro, Kibi-no-Makibi and others. Intercourse with China being then tolerably close, there were frequent instances of priests and students proceeding thither by order of the government, the former to investigate religious subjects, and[35] the latter to study Chinese literature. Even in China some of these men obtained a high reputation for learning. The names of Kibi-no-Makibi and Abe-no-Nakamaro are best remembered. The former, on his return to Japan, was appointed a minister of state, but the latter never saw his native country again. Encountering a violent gale on his homeward voyage, he was driven back to China, where he received an important official position and remained until his death, constantly hoping to return to Japan but always unable to realize his hope.

Japan in those days possessed many scholars who could write Chinese fluently. The composition of Chinese poetry was commenced in the reign of Kōbun, the first book of verses ever published in Japan—the "Kwaifūso"—making its appearance at that time. It is on record that, at an earlier epoch—during the reign of the Empress Suiko—Prince Shōtoku, Soga-no-Umako, and others, jointly compiled some historical works, which were, however, almost totally destroyed at the time of the overthrow of the Soga family. Subsequently, the Emperor Temmu instructed Prince Kawashima and others to write a history, and further directed Hieda-no-Are to dictate for transcription the annals of the successive reigns. Again, in 712 A. D., Ō-no-Yasumaro, by command of the Empress Gemmyō, compiled a history of the empire from the earliest days to the reign of Suiko. This work was called the "Kojiki." A year later the various provinces received imperial instructions to prepare geographical accounts, each of itself, and these were collated into the "Fūdoki" a few of which still remain. During the next reign, the Empress Genshō continued this literary effort by causing Prince Toneri and others to compile the "Nihongi," comprising a historical narrative from the beginning of the empire to the reign of Jitō. In these works, the "Kojiki" and the "Nihongi," the most ancient traditions of the country are to be found. Shortly afterward five other chronicles, known with the "Nihongi" as the "Six National Histories," were successively undertaken, the compilation of which continued down to the reign of the Emperor Daigo.

To the Japanese poetry of the Nara epoch, however, must be assigned the first place among the literary efforts of the time. While Kōgen was on the throne, Tachibana Moroye collected all the poems then extant, and these, being afterward supplemented by Ōtomo-no-Yakamochi, constitute the "Manyōshu," a work contain[36]ing stanzas full of verve and imagination, simple yet by no means deficient in taste. The longer compositions are especially admirable, and have ever since served as models for writers of Japanese verse. Later generations considered the work as a means of studying the ancient language of the country prior to the Nara epoch, and from it they also derived a knowledge of the customs and sentiments of early times. Consequently the "Manyōshu," together with the "Kojiki" and the "Nihongi," came to be regarded as most precious sources of historical information.

The lavish patronage bestowed upon Buddhism and the artificial wealth and refinement of the capital were not without an enervating effect upon the court. From the latter part of the eighth century favoritism and partisanship began to cause serious troubles around the person of the sovereign, whose conduct was in a measure responsible for them. The story of the rise and fall of various favorites and their cliques is too tedious to be retold, but the case of the priest Dōkyō deserves a brief notice. Holding the post of palace prelate and enjoying undue favor from the empress dowager, Dōkyō's power assumed such proportions that the prime minister, Emi Oshikazu, took up arms against him. The latter's forces were, however, completely routed, his adherents exterminated, and he himself killed. With his fall, the emperor, who had ascended the throne by the influence of Oshikazu, was exiled by the dowager, who resumed the scepter in 764. This was the first instance of an emperor being exiled. Many princes of the blood were also either banished with him or killed, with the result that the princely adherents of the imperial house were materially reduced in number. Thereafter Dōkyō received the posts of prime minister and second prelate of the realm (Zenshi), ultimately attaining the position of first prelate (Hō-ō). His food, raiment, and bodyguards were similar to those of the emperor, and so great was his influence that the entire administration rested in his hands. His partisans went so far as to say openly that were the prime minister made emperor, the realm would enjoy peace. Profound, however, as was the nation's belief in Buddhism at that epoch, there were just men who could not tamely endure such evil doings. Conspicuous among them was the brave Wake-no-Kiyomaro, who brought back from the shrine of the Shintō deity, Usa-Hachiman, an oracle, saying: "The distinction of sovereign and subject is fundamental. Never may a subject become emperor. The emperor[37] must always be of the imperial line. Let the unrighteous subject who would cut off the imperial succession be at once removed." Dōkyō was much incensed by this procedure and caused Kiyomaro to be banished. But the oracle produced its effect on the empress, who at last repented of the things that had been done, and all idea of raising Dōkyō to the throne was abandoned. The next year she died and was succeeded by a grandson of Tenchi, the Emperor Kōnin. At this point the descendants of the Emperor Temmu ceased to hold the succession, and those of the Emperor Tenchi assumed it. Dōkyō was banished, and Kiyomaro was recalled to court. Posterity regards his memory with almost religious respect.


[1] Chronological table of the sovereigns of the Nara Epoch.

43. Empress Gemmyō, 708-715.
44. Empress Genshō, 715-724.
45. Emperor Shōmu, 724-749.
46. Empress Kōken, 749-759.
47. Emperor Junnin, 759-765.
48. Emperor Shōtoku, 765-770.
49. Emperor Kōnin, 770-782.


Chapter VI

THE HEI-AN EPOCH. 794-1186 A. D.

The Nara epoch had come to an end when in 794 the Emperor Kwammu transferred the capital to Kyōto. The new seat of government being then known as Hei-an Kyō, or Citadel of Tranquillity, the interval that separated its choice as capital from the establishment of feudal administration at Kamakura in 1186—an interval of nearly four centuries—is known in history as the Hei-an epoch. A few words may be said about the significance of the change of the seat of government from Nara to Kyōto. From ancient times it had been the custom for the emperor and the heir apparent to live apart, from which fact it resulted that when a sovereign died and his son succeeded to the throne, the latter usually transferred the capital to the site of his own palace. It sometimes happened also that the residence of the imperial court was altered as often as two or three times during the same reign. Rarely, however, did the court move out of the contiguous provinces known as the Go-kinai, the great majority of the seats of government being in the province of Yamato. So long as the government was comparatively simple, the transfer of its seat from place to place involved no serious effort. As, however, the business of administration became more complicated, and intercourse with China grew more intimate, the character of the palace assumed magnificence proportionate to the imperial ceremonies and national receptions that had to be held there. Hence the capital established at Nara by the Empress Gemmyō was on a scale of unprecedented magnitude and splendor. There seven sovereigns reigned in succession without any thought of moving elsewhere. But when the Emperor Kwammu assumed the reins of government, he found that Nara was not a convenient place for administrative purposes. He at first moved to Nagaoka in Yamashiro, but a brief residence there convinced him that his choice had not been well guided.

At last,[39] in 794, a new capital was built, after the model of Nara, with some modifications introduced from the metropolis of the T'ang dynasty in China, at Uda in the same province. This was called Kyōto, which means capital. It measured from north to south 17,530 feet and from east to west 15,080 feet, the whole being surrounded by moats and palisades, and the imperial palace being situated in the center of the northern portion. From the southern palace gate (Shujaku-mon) to the southernmost city gate (Rajo-mon) a long street, 280 feet wide (called Shujaku-ōji, or the main Shujaku thoroughfare), extended in one straight line, separating the city into two parts, of which the eastern was designated Sakyō, or the left capital, and the western, Ukyō, or the right capital. The whole city, from east to west, was divided into nine districts (jo), and between the first and second districts lay the imperial palace.

An elaborate system of subdivision was adopted. The unit, or ko (house), was a space measuring 100 feet by 50. Eight of these units made a row (gyō); four rows, a street (chō); four streets, a ho; four ho, a , and four , a jo. The entire capital contained 1216 cho and 38,912 houses. The streets lay parallel and at right angles like the lines on a checkerboard. The imperial citadel measured 3840 feet from east to west, and 4600 feet from north to south. On each side were three gates, and in the middle stood the emperor's palace, surrounded by the buildings of the various administrative departments. This citadel was environed by double walls, and contained altogether seventeen large and five small edifices, every one of them picturesque and handsome.

Great and fine as was this metropolis, it suffered such ravages during the disturbances of succeeding centuries that the Kyōto of to-day, the "Sakyō," or Western Capital, is but a shadow of the left section of ancient times. Not even the imperial palace escaped these ravages. Again and again impaired or destroyed by conflagrations, it gradually assumed smaller and smaller dimensions until only a trace remained of the splendid edifice that had once stood in the center of the citadel. But the regularity of the streets could not be obliterated. That at least survives to tell the story of the plan on which the city was constructed. Indeed, Kyōto continued to be the seat of sovereigns for a long period, covering 1074 years, and until the capital was removed in 1869 to Tōkyō.

In the Hei-an[40] epoch[1] were accentuated the virtues and vices of the Nara epoch. Buddhism now advanced to an even greater extent than it did then, the luxury and pomp of the court were never excelled before or since, and the control of the administrative machinery by the Fujiwara family became completed. The [41]growth of the Buddhist church was in no small measure due to two remarkable priests, Saichō and Kūkai, both of whom studied in China the profoundest doctrines of Buddhism and gained for themselves a great reputation. Saichō founded the sect called Tendai, and built the celebrated temple Enryaku-ji, at Hiyei-zan, to guarantee the imperial palace against maleficent influences from the northeast. Kūkai founded the Shingon sect, and built the not less famous temple of Kongobu-ji, at Kōya-san. Other new sects were also founded by other priests. The earlier teaching of the identity of Buddha and the Shintō deities was further extended by Saichō and Kūkai, who taught that the Buddha was the one and only divine being, and that all the gods were manifestations of him. On that basis they established a new doctrine the tenets of which mingled Shintōism and Buddhism inextricably. It was owing to the spread of this doctrine that it became a not uncommon occurrence to find Buddhist relics in a Shintō shrine, or a Shintō image in a Buddhist temple, and the names of Shintō deities were confused with Buddhist titles. Buddhist priests wandered everywhere throughout the land preaching their doctrine and founding temples on choice sites, on high mountains or in deep dells.

To this propagandism music lent its aid, for the melody of the Buddhist chants touched the heart of the people. Devotees constantly grew in number. Many of the highest personages in the land spent great sums upon the building of temples; the consort of the Emperor Saga, for example, constructed Danrin-ji, and the Prime Minister Michinaga erected Hōjō-ji. Even in case of sickness, litanies and religious rites took the place of medicine before the science of the latter had been developed, and against all calamities of nature prayer was regarded as a talisman. It is easy to conceive that, under such circumstances, Buddhism came to exercise greater sway than even the ordinances of the sovereign himself. It should not be imagined, however, that Shintō was completely forgotten. Overshadowed by Buddhism as it was, it did not yet lose its sway. Thus we find the Emperor Saga dedicating a fane at the Kamo shrine, and the Emperor Seiwa establishing a place for the worship of Iwashimizu Hachiman at Otoko-yama. Imperial visits to these two shrines were not infrequent. Above all at the celebrated Shingu shrine in Ise, the Shintō rites were kept free from all admixture of extraneous creeds.

From the days of Kwammu downward, the sovereigns in succession[42] encouraged learning. The university in Kyōto and the public schools in the provinces were in a flourishing condition, and many private schools sprang into existence. The patronage of great nobles was munificently exercised in the cause of education. Further, great numbers of students were engaged in compiling not only the history of the empire, but also many other works of a general character, so that learning occupied a high place in popular esteem. But unfortunately the scholarship of the age drifted into superficialities of style to the neglect of practical uses. Writers of verses applied themselves to imitating Chinese poets, and writers of prose thought only of constructing their phrases in such a manner that combinations of four ideograms should in regular alternation be followed by combinations of six—a form of composition known as the Shirokuheirei (four-and-six order). But despite this slavish adherence to valueless forms, a notable literary achievement has to be placed to the credit of the era; namely, the elaboration of the syllabaries, the hira-kana and the kata-kana. The first syllabary ever used in Japan had been the manyō-gana, in which the Chinese ideograms were used phonetically with little attention to their original meaning. But to write a Chinese ideogram for each syllable of a Japanese word involved much labor, since in many cases a single ideogram was composed of numerous strokes and dots. The difficulty was gradually lessened during the Nara epoch by the simplification of Chinese characters to such an extent that only a rudimentary skeleton of each ideogram was symbolically used to represent its sound. The syllables thus obtained were arranged in a table of fifty sounds, constituting the kata-kana. Thenceforth, instead of the pain of committing to memory thousands of ideograms, and employing them with no little toil, it became possible to record the most complex thoughts by the aid of fifty simple symbols. Nevertheless, since the nation had come to regard Chinese literature as the classics of learning, scholars were still compelled to use Chinese ideograms and to follow Chinese rules of composition, so that the cursive forms of the Chinese characters became the recognized script of educated men. These cursive characters possessed one advantage: they were capable of considerable abbreviation within certain limits. Naturally, the facility they offered in that respect was more and more utilized, until at length their forms were modified to comparative simplicity. When the great prelate Kūkai composed, for mnemonic purposes,[43] the rhyming syllabary which comprised all the necessary sounds without repetition, the forms of the simplified characters may be considered to have finally crystallized into the syllabary known as the hira-kana.

The invention of these two systems of kana syllabaries gave a powerful impetus to the growth of prose writing. Many varieties of composition, fictions, diaries, travels, and fugitive sketches, were added to the literature of the time. But as men who aspired to the title of scholar continued to write in Chinese ideograms, the domain of Japanese prose was occupied, almost exclusively, by women. It is recorded of the Emperor Ichijō (987-1012 A. D.) that he boasted that, although his own abilities did not entitle him to wear the crown, his reign was not less rich in talented subjects than had been the reigns of even Daigo and Murakami, historically regarded as the best sovereigns of the whole imperial line. The boast was not unwarranted, for in that era flourished great writers of both sexes, the charm and grace of whose diction have been vainly imitated by later generations. Of these, Mura-saki-shikibu especially attracts attention, on account of her celebrated work, the "Genji-monogatari," a romance in fifty-four volumes. Sei-Shōnagon's name is remembered for her "Makura-no-sōshi," as peerless a production in literary sketches as was the "Genji-monogatari" in fiction.

Even more energy was expended on the production of verses than on prose writing. In the last part of the ninth century after almost a century of the sway of Chinese poetry, the tide flowed once more in the direction of Japanese verses, and they soon engrossed the minds of the noble classes. Beginning with the "Kokinshū," poems compiled by imperial order by Ki-no-Tsurayuki, himself a celebrated poet, no less than seven poetical compilations were made by order of the sovereigns during the rest of the Hei-an epoch, to which were still later added others to the number of twenty-one. The art of versification made a wonderful progress, but the rustic vigor and grandeur of the poems of the "Manyō-shū" gave place to tricks of phraseology and flowers of speech in the later poetry. Nor were poems with many stanzas approved any longer, for it became the pride of the later poets to embody clever wit and hidden charm in the space of thirty-one syllables. Thus poetry was stunted, and literary terms and the speech of everyday life unnecessarily separated each from the other.

As[44] was so clearly reflected in poetry, the rude and unpolished but frugal and industrious habits of the Nara age disappeared as the Hei-an epoch grew older. Instead of vigor and simple strength, luxury and effeminate gaud became the fashion. Society grew more and more enervated and self-indulgent. The metropolis was the center of magnificence and the focus of pleasure. Reference has already been made to the spaciousness and grandeur of the imperial palace. The princes and great nobles were scarcely less superbly housed, every aristocratic dwelling consisting of a number of artistically arranged buildings. There had also grown up among nobles and men of affluence the habit of choosing in the suburbs some spot noted for scenic charms, and there building for themselves retreats on which all the artistic and decorative resources of the time were lavished. As for the imperial palace, however, from the time when it was destroyed by a conflagration (960 A. D.), it suffered a steady diminution in size and splendor, whereas the mansions of the ministers of the crown grew constantly larger and more magnificent, their inmates wearing gorgeous garments of rich brocades and elaborately embroidered silks. Officials, courtiers, and their families emulated one another in the richness of their apparel. When they went abroad, they rode in carriages resplendent with gold and silver. By and by, the active discharge of official and administrative functions began to be despised by the higher classes, military training and the rude exercises of arms falling into especial disfavor. Thus it fell out that the nobles of the court, having abundant leisure, were enabled to devote their time to literary culture, the elaboration of etiquette, and the pursuit of luxurious pleasures. In the imperial court, at pleasant times in the fair seasons, on fine spring mornings or under the soft moonlight of autumn, gatherings were held at which the guests vied with one another in making music and composing poetry. There were also specially appointed festive occasions: as, for example, entertainments in April (third month of the old calendar) when wine-cups were floated down stream; or in February (first month of the old calendar) when young pines growing on the hills or in the fields were pulled up by the roots; or in the fall, to view the changing tints of the maples; the most aristocratic of all these festivities being one in which three picturesquely-decorated boats were launched upon some river or lake and filled exclusively with persons who excelled in some one of the "three accomplishments," namely,[45] Chinese poetry, Japanese poetry, or music. In the reign of the Emperor Uda five fête days were established: New Year's Day, the third of the third month, the fifth of the fifth month, the seventh of the seventh month, and the ninth of the ninth month; to which were also added the festival of the "late moonlight" (13th of the ninth month), and the festival of "the last chysanthemums."

Of games played in-doors checkers (go) and a kind of dice (sugo-roku) were much in vogue; while the favorite outdoor sports were foot-ball, polo, and hawking, together with horse-racing and equestrian archery. At wine-feasts, various kinds of songs, some classical, some popular, were chanted with dancing, and Chinese and Japanese stanzas were composed and sung. From the end of the eleventh century personal adornment was carried so far that even men began to imitate women in the matter of painting their eye-brows and blackening their teeth, much as though they sought to disguise themselves in the likeness of the puppets set up at the festival of the third month. Not inaptly did the wits of the time dub these mummers "lunar courtiers," or "elegants from cloud-land." On such occasions of festival and sport, men and women of noble rank mixed freely, and laxity of morals ensued. The ceremony of marriage had been duly established, but wives still continued to live in their own houses, where they received the visits of their husbands. In short, the gratification of the senses was the first object of the time, and if men thought of anything more serious, it was only the building and endowment of a temple where prayers might be said and litanies sung for the prosperity of themselves and their children in this world and their happiness in a future state.

All these circumstances should be viewed only in conjunction with the progress of the political power of the Fujiwara family. The great deeds of Kamatari and the scarcely less distinguished services of his son Fuhito established the renown of the family, and in the marriage of the Emperor Shōmu with a daughter of Fuhito we have the first instance of a procedure which afterward became common, namely the elevation of a subject to the position of imperial consort. A daughter of another Fujiwara, Fuyutsugu, became the consort of the Emperor Nimmyō, and bore him a son who afterward ascended the throne as Montoku. Thus Fuyutsugu became the reigning sovereign's grandfather on the mother's side, and the Fujiwara family occupied a position of transcendent power. This[46] emperor married the daughter of Yoshifusa, his mother's elder brother, and had by her a son, who when only eight months old, was declared heir apparent, and ascended the throne in his ninth year under the name of Seiwa, so that in two succeeding generations one of the sovereign's grandfathers was a Fujiwara. Nor had there been another instance of the scepter coming into the hands of such a young ruler. From Yoshifusa, also, began the custom of appointing a Fujiwara to the post of dajō daijin (chief minister of state), a post which not only was the highest and most respected under the sovereign, but also as a rule had been reserved for an imperial prince of unusual virtue and ability. Failing such a candidate, it had even been left vacant. Furthermore, owing to the extreme youth of the Emperor Seiwa, his grandfather Yoshifusa was appointed regent. The title of regent (sesshō) dates from that time. The imperial authority now passed virtually into the hands of the Fujiwara family. Seiwa abdicated after a reign of twenty-one years, and was succeeded by Yōzei, then in his tenth year only, Mototsune, adopted son of Yoshifusa, holding the offices of chief minister of state and regent. As the emperor grew older, he became addicted to pleasure and gave evidence of vicious tendencies.

Mototsune, having taken counsel of all the ministers, deposed the sovereign and placed Kōkō on the throne in his stead. This was the first instance of an emperor being dethroned by a subject, but evil as such an act was in itself, its motive in the case of Mototsune being untainted by selfish ambition, he has not incurred censure either from the men of his time or from historians. The Emperor Kōkō, being fifty-six years of age when he ascended the throne, Mototsune resigned the regency, but the sovereign was pleased to make a special rule that all affairs of state should be conveyed to himself through the ex-regent. The latter's office was consequently called kwampaku (signifying one who receives reports prior to their transmission to the sovereign), and it became thenceforth customary to confer this post on a statesman who had resigned the regency. In effect, the sesshō, or regent, was supposed to manage the administration during the minority of an emperor, while the kwampaku discharged the same functions after the sovereign had attained his majority. The difference became nominal when the descendants of Yoshifusa and Mototsune made these two posts permanent and hereditary in their line. It seemed, indeed,[47] as though all the highest offices of state had become the exclusive perquisite of that omnipotent family, no others being eligible except princes of the blood. No less marked were the marital relations between the imperial house and the Fujiwara, for only a daughter of the latter could become the sovereign's consort, so that every sovereign had a Fujiwara for his mother.

The power of the puissant family met a temporary check under the Emperor Uda (893-898), who selected Sugawara-no-Michizane as minister. Michizane was a descendant of Nomi-no-Sukune, and did not belong to the Fujiwara family. Reputed for high literary, calligraphic, and artistic skill, he also possessed a profound knowledge of politics. It was his fortune to manage all administrative affairs jointly with the young and keen Tokihira, son of Fujiwara Mototsune. The Emperor Uda, who took the tonsure soon afterward, left instructions to his successor Daigo, then a boy of thirteen, to consult Michizane in all important affairs of the state. Tokihira filled the office of minister of the left (the highest administrative post after that of chief minister of state then vacant), and Michizane was minister of the right. With the exception of Michizane and Kibi-no-Makibi, no man of the middle class had ever held such an important office. The ex-emperor would have had Michizane raised still higher, and urged the reigning sovereign in that sense. But this design precipitated Tokihira's resolve to contrive the downfall of a man whose great reputation with the nation and marked favor at court dimmed the prestige of the Fujiwara family. Michizane was also an object of keen jealousy to Minamoto-no-Hikaru, a son of the Emperor Nimmyō, who held the office of dainagon (vice-minister), as well as to Fujiwara-no-Sadakuni, who like Hikaru, was incomparably superior to Michizane in lineage, but inferior to him in official position. These men conspired against Michizane, and conveyed to the sovereign a false charge that the minister of the right was plotting to depose him and place his younger brother, Michizane's son-in-law, Prince Tokiyo, on the throne. Daigo believed the accusation, and reduced Michizane to the head of the Kiushū local government, a position which it had become customary to fill with disgraced officials of the imperial court. The order amounted in effect to a sentence of exile. The ex-emperor did everything in his power to save Michizane, but in vain. Hikaru succeeded to the office of minister of the right. In all this affair the members of the Fujiwara[48] family left nothing undone to sweep away every obstacle to their own supremacy. Treating as opponents all that did not take active part with them, they contrived to have them involved in the disgrace of Michizane. The exiled minister died after two years of banishment. His popularity had been so great that the nation was filled with grief for his unmerited sufferings, and when, after his decease, the partisans of Tokihira died one after another, and a series of calamities occurred in the capital, people did not hesitate to regard these evils as retribution inflicted by Heaven for the injustice that had been wrought. Subsequently Michizane received the posthumous honor of the first class of the first rank and the post of chief minister of state, and posterity built a shrine in Kitano to his memory, where he is worshiped to this day as the tutelary saint of learning, under the canonized name of Kitano-no-Tenjin.

After the exile of Michizane, the power of the Fujiwara family grew steadily. During a period of about a century and a half after that event, the administration was virtually in their hands. Fujiwara-no-Tadahira occupied the post of chief minister of state, while his sons, Saneyori and Morosuke, held the offices of minister of the left and minister of the right respectively, the three highest posts in the administration being thus filled simultaneously by a father and his two sons. Among the descendants of these three nobles, those of the last-named, Morosuke, attained the greatest prosperity. It has been already noted that the Fujiwara ministers always contrived to have the sovereign choose his consort from among their daughters. Nay more, when a son was born of such a union, they had him brought up in their own house, and when he ascended the throne, the Fujiwara minister who was his grandfather became either regent or kwampaku, was recognized as the head of the Fujiwara family, and received a large grant of state land. Under these circumstances the choice of an imperial consort or the nomination of an heir apparent being synonymous with the acquisition of complete control over administrative and financial affairs, the branches of the Fujiwara family often intrigued and fought among themselves to secure the great prize. Michinaga, youngest son of Kaneiye, was a man of remarkable strength of purpose and tact. He held the office of kwampaku during the reigns of three emperors, Ichijō, Sanjō, and Goichijō; his three daughters became the consorts of three successive sovereigns; he was grand[49]father of a reigning emperor and an heir apparent at the same time, and his power and affluence far surpassed those of the imperial house itself. To this great noble every official paid court, except Fujiwara-no-Sanesuke, who maintained his independence and was consequently relied on by the emperor. It is on record that Michinaga once composed a stanza the purport of which was that all the world seemed to have been created for his uses, and that every desire he felt was satisfied as completely as the full moon is perfectly rounded. In truth the power of the Fujiwara family culminated in his days. A contemporary writer described the conditions of the time in a work for which he found no title more appropriate than "the Story of Grandeur" ("Eigwa Monogatari"). With Michinaga the power of the Fujiwara may be said to have reached its zenith, for although his sons Yorimichi and Norimichi became kwampaku in succession and retained immense influence, the gradual decline of the family really began from that time.

Why the overwhelming power of the Fujiwara should have waned may only be understood as we observe the conditions of local administration. Within Kyōto reigned luxury and pomp, but without it, unrest and discontentment. The principal cause of this sharp contrast between the capital and country was the inevitable and utter failure of the system of equal land allotment upon which the great Taikwa reformation had been constructed. Uncultivated lands, however, were suffered to remain in the possession of local officials and farmers who reclaimed them. Originally the term of service for the governor of a province (kuni) was fixed at four years, but in the reign of the Empress Kōken it was extended to six. Reappointment was generally an object of keen desire to these officials. They employed every possible means to compass it, since to remain in administrative control of a province for a long period signified opportunities of appropriating extensive lands and ultimately acquiring large territorial possessions. In the case of the headman of a district (kōri), the office was originally held for life, but even that limit soon fell into neglect, and the post was handed down from father to son through many generations. To check the abuses arising out of such a state of affairs, itinerant inspectors were appointed in the reign of the Empress Gensho, who were chosen from among the ablest of the provincial governors. In a report addressed by one of them to the throne in 762, it is declared that "No such thing as justice is now executed by any provincial[50] governor in the realm." From this time on, provincial governors not only continued to tread the old wonted paths, but their selfish arbitrariness became more unbridled in proportion as the prestige of the administration in the capital grew feebler and the official organization more lax.

Nor was the illegal practice of land-appropriation confined to rural districts, for even in the metropolis men began to obtain territorial possessions. As the living in Kyōto grew more and more luxurious, and it became difficult for the princes and higher officials to maintain their dignity by means of their regular salaries and allowances, which were paid in kind but seldom in land, they set themselves to reclaim extensive tracts of waste lands. Such lands were called shōyen, a term originally limited to lands granted to princes and ministers of state for the purpose of defraying expenditures incurred in connection with their positions, but now extended so as to apply also to land reclaimed and appropriated by these nobles. Even as early as the reigns of Kwammu and Saga the area of such estates was very great. The system of periodical redistribution had in the meantime fallen into desuetude. People were often forced to sell their lands or were evicted for their debts. It was in vain to prohibit by edict after edict the monopolization of land by the wealthy classes. Cunning people even evaded the public obligations devolving on landowners by nominally transferring their lands to powerful nobles or to temples, and themselves taking the position of stewards or superintendents. In that capacity they were called either "intendants" or "retainers," the ostensible holders of the land being known as "landlords." By degrees all the fertile districts and all the newly reclaimed lands were in that manner absorbed into the estates of the great nobles or of the temples, and since they were thus exempted from the control of the provincial governors as well as from the necessity of paying taxes, not only the power of the local authorities, but also the revenues of the central government gradually suffered diminution.

During the reign of the Emperor Kwammu the plan was inaugurated of reducing to the rank of subjects and giving family names to such of the imperial princes as were of inferior descent on the mother's side. Kwammu's son, Saga, who had so many children that the revenue of the imperial household did not suffice to maintain them, followed the precedent established by his father,[51] giving the name Minamoto to several of his sons. Thenceforth the device passed into a custom, and imperial princes were frequently appointed to official positions in the central or local government under the family names of Minamoto or Taira. Those who obtained the posts of provincial governors acquired large influence in the districts administered by them, their descendants becoming military chiefs with great followings of relatives and retainers. The Minamoto clan comprised no less than fourteen families, among them the descendants of the Emperor Seiwa being the most numerous and important. It was from this clan that the great Yoritomo, the first feudal ruler of Japan, subsequently sprang. The Taira, on the other hand, consisted of four families, principally descendants of the Emperor Kwammu. To them belonged the notorious tyrant Kiyomori, of whose career we shall soon be told.

The significance of the rise of the two clans, Minamoto and Taira, lies in the fact that they succeeded in gradually controlling the military forces of the nation, on the one hand, and, on the other, holding a great share of the landed estates of the country. The process of land-appropriation was similar to the one already described. The manner in which the force of arms passed from the state into the hands of the private clans must now be explained. Under the elaborate system of the Taikō laws, garrisons of fixed strength were stationed in all the provinces, and in the metropolis were guards of five kinds. Men for service in the garrisons and guards were levied by conscription from among the people, those upon whom the lot fell being required to join the nearest garrison, while a part were sent to Kiushū to defend the western coast, and another part, to the guardposts in Kyōto. Equestrian archery, the use of the sword, and the manipulation of long spears, were the arts taught to the soldiers, and for the defense of the coasts catapults also were used. The entire military organization was imposing and complete, but its real value was questionable, from the beginning. The metropolitan troops grew more and more effeminate as years of peace succeeded each other. Nor were the provincial forces of more service. As time went by, bandits and marauders pillaged the provinces in the interior, while the coasts of Nankaidō and Chūgoku were infested by pirates. It was under these circumstances that, early in the ninth century, a new bureau called the kebūshi-chō with extensive police and administrative powers, was created in Kyōto, which soon began to dominate over[52] other offices and whose branches were later established in every province for local purposes. A century later it was found necessary to appoint inspector-generals, ōryōshi, for the eastern provinces, which were particularly restless. In the hands of these new officials, then,—the central and local kebüshi and the eastern ōryōshi,—rested the real powers which neither rank nor title could resist. The new, vigorous clans of Minamoto and Taira eagerly sought after these offices, and succeeded more and more completely, as time went on, not only in controlling them, but also in acquiring a military influence far larger than they at first represented.


The illustrations or rather pictures made for the book "Heiji Monogatari," i. e., "Stories from the Year Heiji," are partially lost. The picture shown here is an illustration belonging to the chapter Sandjoden-Yakiuti (the destruction of the castle of Sandjoden by fire.) [At midnight of the ninth day of the twelfth month of the year Heiji (1159 A. D.) Fujiwara-no-Nobuyori surprised and attacked the castle Sandjoden (where the former Emperor Goshirakawa resided) with 500 cavalrymen under the General Minamoto-no-Yoshitomo. The Emperor in his fright attempted to escape, but Nobuyori, Yoshitomo, Mitsuyasu, Mitsumoto, and Suesane forced him to return in his carriage to the imperial palace.] Concerning the Monk Keion, who painted this picture, we possess very meager information, but it is hardly likely that he was born later than twenty years after the "Heiji rebellion." Copied from the 14th number of the monthly "Kokkura" (Flora of the Land), published by order of the Society Kokkura-sha in Tokyo by Yamamoto and translated by Dr. Kitasato. As Dr. Kitasato adds, the disturbances of the year Heiji developed from the following causes: The Emperor Goshirakawa, who had reigned since 1156, abdicated the throne in favor of his little son Nijo (1159-1166), but as regent retained the government in his own hands, living until the year 1192. At this time two families of the highest nobility, Shinsei and Nobuyori, were in political opposition. Nobuyori, jealous because Goshirakawa showed preferences to Shinsei, attacked the ex-emperor in his castle of Sandjoden, brought him as prisoner into the imperial palace, and murdered his opponent Shinsei. This rising is known as the "Heiji rebellion." The author of the "Heiji Monogatari" is supposed to be Hamura-Tokinaga, who lived in the thirteenth century A. D.

As local unrest grew, people who had armed themselves either for defense or for aggrandisement now came with their arms and land under the wings of the powerful clans, and became their "men." The leaders of the latter received them, fed them, and made with them a personal contract of mutual loyalty and protection. Either with the chivalrous relations between master and follower or with the compact and efficient organization of their society, the outside world had nothing else to compare. The feudal formation thus created was bound to transfigure the organization of the nation. The leaders who possessed large numbers of men and wide tracts of land were called daimyō ("great name"), and their followers, iyenoko ("servitors") or rōdō ("retainers"). The general name for the man of the sword was samurai, or "one who serves." As the military class increased in numbers, it became expedient to distinguish one house from another, and many appellations were consequently formed by suffixing to the name of a clan the name of the place where the person resided or of the hereditary office which he held. In this way originated many of the house names now used in Japan. At the same time, almost all the provinces were parceled out among the military class, especially the eastern provinces, which were the headquarters of the Minamoto. It is true that appointment of provincial governors continued to be made, but their functions were purely nominal, the so-called "governors" often idly remaining in the capital. The control of local administration now rested with the real holders of the land.

A few events illustrative of the conditions we have described may here be cited. In 939 a family of the Taira clan raised arms in the eastern provinces against the imperial authority. Taira-no-Takamochi, a great-grandson of the Emperor Kwammu, had been[53] appointed vice-governor of the province of Kazusa. There his family gradually grew in numbers and influence, some of them becoming provincial governors. Among Takamochi's grandsons was a daring but fierce soldier, Masakado. Though of imperial descent, he obeyed the custom of the time, namely, that every samurai must obtain a livelihood by entering the service of the Fujiwara. Masakado became a vassal of Fujiwara-no-Tadahira, through whose influence he hoped to obtain the office of kebüshi. But his aspiration was not satisfied, and being incensed by failure, he returned to the province of Shimōsa, gathered a number of disaffected warriors to his standard, and made organized attacks upon the governors of the neighboring provinces. He established his headquarters at Ishii, in the district of Sashima, nominated certain of his followers to be officers of his court, after the model of the governmental system of Kyōto, and on the strength of being descended from a sovereign, proclaimed himself emperor. In the whole course of Japanese history this is the only instance of a rebellion directed against the throne. Simultaneously with this disturbance in the eastern provinces, Fujiwara-no-Sumitomo, who held the third post in the government of Iyo province in the island of Shikoku, also rebelled. These two rebellions shook the whole empire. Yet the imperial court remained for a long time ignorant of the dangers that were impending. When finally the news reached Kyōto, it caused much consternation. A general was quickly dispatched against the rebels in the east, but before his arrival Masakado's cousin, Taira-no-Sadamori, and Fujiwara-no-Hidesato, the ōryōshi of Shimotsuke, defeated and killed Masakado. In the west, Sumitomo was able for a brief period to retain the ascendency, but he too was ultimately defeated and taken prisoner by Ono-no-Yoshifuru and Minamoto-no-Tsunemoto, who had been sent against him. Tsunemoto was a grandson of the Emperor Seiwa and founder of the renowned clan of Minamoto. The precedent thus established, namely, that of one military clan applying itself to quell the rebellion of another, was followed in after years, with the inevitable result that the military clans became the chief factors in the state.

Ninety years later, Taira-no-Tadatsune, vice-governor of the province of Kazusa, forcibly took possession of the provinces of Kazusa and Shimōsa, but was defeated by Minamoto-no-Yorinobu, a grandson of Tsunemoto. Soon afterward local chiefs raised an[54] insurrection in the remote northern province of Mutsu, and maintained their authority for nine years. This was followed soon after by a three-year revolt of the Kiyowara family, which threw the provinces of Mutsu and Dewa into a state of tumult. These troubles were quelled, respectively, by Yoriyoshi, the son, and Yoshiiye, the grandson, of Yorinobu. Thus the influence of the Minamoto clan became paramount among the military men of the eastern provinces.

All this while, courtiers and officials of Kyōto despised administrative duties, whether civil or military, so that in the event of a disturbance or of a feud among themselves, they were driven to rely upon the military classes, thus involuntarily but surely strengthening the influence of the men whom they professed to contemn. Although the Fujiwara remained in Kyōto and filled all the important posts in the general government, their sway was only apparent. The reins of state affairs were in reality held by the military classes dispersed throughout the provinces. There were also certain singular circumstances at court which not only hastened this revolution, but also brought the military forces from the provinces into a clash in the streets of Kyōto. These circumstances, which we shall briefly describe below, were in the main owing to two causes, namely, the undue wealth and power of the Buddhist priests, and the struggle for power among different political factions in the palace. The former was largely due to the devotion of the imperial house, particularly the Emperor Shirakawa (1073-1087), who greatly depleted the treasury by erecting thousands of temples and images, and ordering the performance of rites and the giving of alms with unprecedented profusion. The priests, who had already grown rich and powerful, began to be engaged in quarrels among themselves and with the outside world, for which purpose the greater monasteries maintained considerable military forces.

These sacerdotal soldiers were called sōhei. The principle of maintaining them was adopted at many temples, but nowhere did they exhibit such truculence as in the case of Enryaku-ji near Kyōto. When the lord high abbot of a temple was appointed, it was the custom that the priests of the temple, if they objected to the appointment, or if, subsequently, they had cause of complaint against his ministration, should appeal to the imperial court for his removal. On such occasions, it became customary for the complainants[55] to wear armor and carry bow and spear when they submitted their grievance. They did not shrink even from attacking the residence of the prime minister. During the reign of Shirakawa, the military priests developed such lawless independence that on more than one occasion they entered Kyōto in turbulent force, dragging with them sacred cars, the sight of which restrained the hand of the martial defenders of the court. Not only against the government, but also among themselves, the temples openly used arms and caused bloodshed. It was said that there were found among these fighting priests men originally belonging to the military class, who, failing to obtain promotion in the regular routine of feudal administration, adopted the cowl as a means of working out their ambitious designs. This state of things aggrieved the Emperor Shirakawa, but he appears to have been unable to check it. On one occasion, lamenting the arbitrary conduct of the Buddhists, he said: "There are but three things in my dominions that do not obey me: the waters of the Kamo River, the dice of the 'sugoroku' game, and the priests of Buddha." Finally, the sovereign was driven to invite the Minamoto clan to defend him against the rebellious proceedings of the priests, and from that time dates an era of feuds between the followers of religion and those of the sword.

It was the same Emperor Shirakawa who instituted the peculiar system of the Camera administration (Insei), which powerfully tended to break down the last remains of the Taikwa reformation. After a reign of fourteen years he resigned in 1087, only to retain the administrative power in his hands, with his special court and special ministers. The reigning emperor and his government had few functions to discharge, as the entire control of the state affairs rested in the Camera of the ex-emperor. Shirakawa sat in the Camera till 1130, and was succeeded for twenty-eight years by the ex-Emperor Toba. All this while Buddhist soldiers behaved with the greatest lawlessness, constantly disturbing the peace of the capital, and the military class simultaneously became turbulent and vicious.

Among these scenes of tumult and violence, the court itself was torn by disputes and its corruption became a subject of public scandal. Toba had many female favorites, of whom Bifukumonin enjoyed the largest share of his affections. Being on bad terms with his eldest son, the reigning sovereign, Toba took advantage[56] of the birth of a son by Bifukumonin to bring about the abdication of the emperor and cause his favorite's child to succeed to the throne at the age of two years. This was the Emperor Konoye. His uncle, Fujiwara-no-Tadamichi, was appointed regent. The ex-Emperor Sutoku, being still young, was much incensed at having been obliged to abdicate, and when Konoye died after a reign of fourteen years, Sutoku desired ardently that his son, Prince Shigehito, should succeed to the throne. The Regent Tadamichi had a brother named Yorinaga, and their father's partial treatment of him had produced a feud between the brothers.

Yorinaga, active, learned, and able, then held the post of second minister of state, and strongly supported the design of the ex-Emperor Sutoku. Bifukumonin and Tadamichi, on their side, acting in concert with Toba, opposed the accession of Prince Shigehito, and alleged in objection that the untimely death of the late Emperor Konoye had resulted from sorcery practiced by Sutoku. The candidate to whom they gave their support was Goshirakawa, brother of Konoye, who was counted a youth of inferior capacity. Sutoku's anger against these proceedings was intense. Being informed just then of the death of Toba, he proceeded to the latter's palace, but the guards refused to admit him, pretending that the deceased had desired his exclusion. This insult incensed Sutoku beyond endurance. Repairing to the residence of Yorinaga, he took council with him, and finally, retiring to the Shirakawa palace, declared open war against his opponents, being bravely succored by Minamoto-no-Tameyoshi, Taira-no-Tadamasa, and their followers. Bifukumonin and Tadamichi placed the young Emperor Goshirakawa in the Higashi Sanjō palace. They counted among their chief allies Yoshitomo, the eldest son of Tameyoshi, Minamoto-no-Yorimasa, and Kiyomori, the nephew of Tadamasa. One sanguinary engagement sufficed to break the power of Sutoku. He became a priest, and was ultimately exiled to the island of Sanuki. Yorinaga died of an accidentally inflicted arrow-wound, and Tameyoshi and Tadamasa, together with many other men of note, were slain. The name of the era being thereafter changed to Hōgen, this affair was spoken of by posterity as the Hōgen Insurrection. The battle that ended the long struggle lasted for only one day, but its character and circumstances can never be forgotten. It was veritably an internecine fight; Sutoku against his brother Goshirakawa; Tadamichi against his brother[57] Yorinaga; Tameyoshi against his son Yoshitomo; Tadamasa against his nephew Kiyomori. Men spoke in after years of this unnatural contest as the battle that destroyed human relations and ignored all the principles of morality.

The Hōgen disturbance had not long been settled when fresh troubles arose. Among the councilors of state at that era, Fujiwara-no-Michinori, who had stood high in the estimation of the Emperor Goshirakawa, was a conspicuously able politician. Even after the accession of the Emperor Nijō, Michinori continued to enjoy the imperial confidence. But he had many enemies. In connection with some private affair he had given deep umbrage to Fujiwara-no-Nobuyori, an official holding the office of chūnagon kebüshi (councilor of state and chief police official), who had been a favorite of the Emperor Goshirakawa after the latter's abdication. Minamoto-no-Yoshitomo also was disaffected. Believing that his services in the Hōgen disturbance had been more meritorious than those of Taira-no-Kiyomori, he nevertheless saw the latter rewarded with much greater liberality; and having offered his own daughter in marriage to a son of Michinori, the proposal had been abruptly declined, Michinori choosing Kiyomori's daughter in preference. Nobuyori and Yoshitomo ultimately raised the standard of revolt, in the first year of the Heiji era (1159 A. D.), and having secured the coöperation of the ex-Emperor Goshirakawa by intimidation, forced their way into the palace and obtained possession of the person of the reigning sovereign. Nobuyori then procured for himself the posts of chief minister of state and generalissimo, promoted Yoshitomo, and caused Michinori to be put to death. The revolution was short-lived. Nobuyori had not administered the affairs of state for ten days before the emperor made his escape to the mansion of Taira-no-Kiyomori and the ex-emperor fled to the temple Ninnaji. Thereupon Kiyomori with his son Shigemori attacked the insurgents and utterly routed them. Nobuyori was captured and slain. Yoshitomo succeeded in effecting his escape to Owari, but was finally put to death by the Taira adherents. All the other leaders of the rebellion and those who had prominently participated in it, were exiled. This affair is known as the Heiji Insurrection. The power of the Minamoto clan had been greatly broken in the Hōgen disturbance, when Tameyoshi and his followers fell, and the loss of Yoshitomo and his adherents in the Heiji trouble brought the great clan almost to[58] complete ruin. Among the few of its scions who survived was Yoritomo, son of Yoshimoto. He was exiled to the eastern provinces, thence to emerge at a later date and win one of the greatest names in Japanese history.

After the quelling of the Heiji disturbance, the Taira family attained preëminent prosperity and power. The fortunes of this great house had been materially advanced by Tadanori, a brave and able captain, who enjoyed the favor of the ex-Emperor Toba. His son Kiyomori, also a man of daring and decision, raised the family's prestige still higher by his services at the Hōgen crisis, and carried it to its zenith by the conspicuous ability of his action in the Heiji disturbance. On the other hand, the rival family of Minamoto having been reduced to insignificance by the death of its chief, Yoshitomo, and by the events that immediately ensued, the whole military power of the empire came into the hands of the Taira. Kiyomori was promoted to the position of gondainagon (vice-councilor of state), an event that attracted much attention. The Taira family, though of imperial lineage, had been looked down upon by the high court nobles on account of its military career, and it was considered a notable occurrence that Kiyomori should have been nominated to a post of such consequence. This was, in truth, the first instance of a military noble's participation in the administration of state affairs, and it may be regarded as the dawn of an era when they were to fall entirely under military control.

A sister of Kiyomori's wife bore a son to the ex-Emperor Goshirakawa. Kiyomori's favor at court was so great that he succeeded in getting this child named heir apparent, and he ultimately ascended the throne in 1169 as the Emperor Takakura. Throughout his reign the ex-Emperor Goshirakawa was the actual ruler. Meanwhile, Kiyomori had steadily risen in imperial favor, until in 1167 he became chief minister of state. Shortly afterward, however, he resigned that post, and taking the tonsure, became a priest under the name of Jōkai. None the less he remained at his previous place of residence, Rokuhara, in Kyōto attending to the management of state affairs as before. From that time dates the custom subsequently followed by the military class of making Rokuhara the seat of administration.

When the influence of Kiyomori reached its zenith, he conceived the design of securing permanent official supremacy for[59] himself and his heirs by contriving that the consort of the sovereign should be taken from his family, as had been the habit in the case of the Fujiwara. In pursuance of that project, he induced the emperor to marry his daughter. Shigemori, his son, held the important offices of lord keeper of the privy seal and generalissimo of the left, while almost the whole of his kinsmen and followers occupied prominent positions in the central and local government. The number of provinces over which the sway of the clan extended was more than thirty, and it came to be a saying of the time that a person not belonging to the Taira family was no one. The members of the Fujiwara clan could not compete with those of the Taira. Even the regent, Motofusa, and the chief minister of state, Motomichi, saw themselves reduced to comparative insignificance. Naturally such conspicuous ascendency caused offense in many quarters, and the Court Councilor Fujiwara-no-Narichika, a favorite official of the ex-Emperor Goshirakawa, in combination with several others, elaborated a plot to overthrow the Taira sway. But the scheme was detected, and its authors and promoters were all put to death by order of Kiyomori. Having been informed that the ex-emperor had countenanced the plot, Kiyomori conceived for him a strong hatred, which was greatly accentuated when, on the death of the Taira chief's son Shigemori, the ex-emperor, after consultation with Motofusa, caused the estates of the deceased nobleman to be confiscated. Too haughty to brook such a slight Kiyomori set out from his mansion at Fukuhara, and entering Kyōto, caused the ex-emperor to be seized and confined in the Toba palace, and thirty-nine of his majesty's high officials to be dismissed at the same time.

Toward the reigning sovereign the demeanor of the Taira was so arrogant and his methods so arbitrary, that the emperor finally abdicated in favor of the crown prince, who reigned under the name of Antoku. This sovereign was the son of the retiring emperor and his mother was Kiyomori's daughter, so that the Taira then stood toward the imperial house in the same relation as that formerly occupied by the Fujiwara, with the tremendous difference, however, that the former also possessed the whole military power of the time, which gave them unprecedented influence and supremacy. Nevertheless, even among the members of a family so puissant, there were to be found some feeble nobles who had no skill in military exercises nor could boast any accomplish[60]ment except the art of composing stanzas, playing on musical instruments, or practicing some effeminate pastime.

Among the members of the Minamoto family at the time of which we write was one Yorimasa, who, incensed by the arbitrary proceedings of the Taira officials, persuaded Prince Mochihito, son of the ex-Emperor Goshirakawa and brother-in-law of the Emperor Takakura, to form an alliance with the priests of Onjō-ji and Kōfuku-ji, their object being to expel Kiyomori from court and to rescue the ex-emperor from his confinement in the Toba palace. In 1180, the prince dispatched Yukiiye, younger brother of the late Yoshitomo, to the remnants of the Minamoto in the eastern provinces, carrying an edict which summoned them to rise and overthrow the Taira family. Fortunately for the latter, the plot was discovered and at once suppressed. But the seed sown by this abortive rebellion proved beyond Kiyomori's control, for, in the same year, 1180, the exile, Minamoto-no-Yoritomo, who was destined to become the founder of the feudal government of Japan, raised a force of troops in the small island of Izu in obedience to the mandate of Prince Mochihito. Many partisans flocked to his standard from Kwantō, the former seat of Minamoto influence. Almost simultaneously, another Minamoto chief, Yoshinaka, also took the field in the prince's cause, his headquarters being at Kiso, in Shinano, where he collected a large body of soldiers. Kiyomori lost no time in dispatching a powerful army against the rebels, but his forces suffered defeat and were driven back. Henceforth, many puissant warriors of the Hokuriku region threw in their lot with the Minamoto, and the force at the latter's disposal assumed formidable dimensions. Even the great temples in the vicinity of the capital opened communications with the insurgents, which so exasperated Kiyomori that he reduced the temples to ashes and confiscated all their lands. These extreme measures served to check temporarily the active exercise of priestly power, but did not affect the prestige of the Minamoto, whose strength continued to grow rapidly. Kiyomori finally saw himself compelled to relax the ex-emperor's confinement, and even to allow him to resume an active part in the administration of state affairs. But in the year 1182 the great Taira chief was stricken by a fatal malady, and expired after a brief illness. He was succeeded by his son Munemori, who did not spare to direct all the strength of the clan against the Minamoto. But fortune shone on the latter's arms in several[61] encounters, until, in 1183, Minamoto-no-Yoshinaka inflicted a signal defeat on the Taira forces in a pitched battle, and dividing his own army into two bodies, pushed, via the Tosan and Hokuriku routes, as far as the temple Enryaku-ji in the immediate vicinity of Kyōto, where he was secretly visited at night by the ex-Emperor Goshirakawa. The Emperor Antoku now fled westward, carrying with him the three insignia, and escorted by Munemori and the Taira forces. The imperial train reached Dazaifu, in Kiushū, where the Taira wielded great influence. Munemori was joined by all the principal warriors of the locality, and being further reinforced by many others from the island of Shikoku, found himself once more at the head of a powerful army. In Kyōto, however, another emperor was enthroned, whose coronation was conducted, for the first time in Japanese history, without the transfer of the insignia. There were thus two sovereigns simultaneously ruling, one at Kyōto and the other in Kiushū.


The forces of the Taira and the Minamoto fought many battles in the Kiushū and Chūgoku districts, the gains and losses being tolerably even on both sides. But by degrees the military magnates along the Sanyō, Nankai, and Saikai lines joined the Taira army, and its strength became so irresistible that it marched[62] back toward Kyōto, escorting Antoku. Thus the Taira saw themselves once more established at Fukuhara, to which Kiyomori had for a brief period removed the capital from Kyōto. They organized their lines of defense, making Fukuhara their base, and Ikuta and Ichinotani their eastern and western outposts, respectively.

Meanwhile Yoshinaka, the Minamoto leader, had become so insolent as to be imprecated and dreaded by friend and vassal alike. He also quarreled with Yoritomo, who had hitherto confined his military operations to the eastern provinces, but who now sent his two brothers, Noriyori and Yoshitsune, to attack Yoshinaka. The latter was defeated at Seta in Ise, and killed in the midst of a rice-field by a stray arrow. The victors then marched on in triumph to Ichinotani to attack the Taira. The first conflict was successful for the Minamoto. The Taira lost many a stout soldier. Munemori and the remnant of his troops retreated to Yashima, in Sanuki, continuing as before to carry with them the child emperor, Antoku. Yoshitsune's forces pursued the retreating army to Sanuki, where a fierce fight ended in the second defeat of the Taira. The latter receded still further to the bay of Dannoura in Nagato. There the decisive battle was fought, and for the third time the Taira were utterly routed. Nearly all their warriors were killed.

When the issue of the battle had ceased to be doubtful, the empress-dowager plunged into the sea with the infant emperor in her arms and bearing the sword and seal. Antoku was drowned but the Minamoto soldiers rescued his mother. The seal was afterward recovered from the sea, but the sword, which was itself a copy, was irrevocably lost. Thenceforth the sword called Hirugoza-no-tsurugi was employed for ceremonial and official purposes. The Taira chief Munemori and his son were captured and subsequently executed. Thus, after some twenty years of power and prosperity, the great Taira clan was broken and destroyed. Often in subsequent centuries men talked of the meteor-like rise of the Taira, of the extraordinary heights of autocracy and affluence to which the illustrious family attained, and of the terrible and tragic scenes that marked its rapid and final fall. "The vain house of the Taira did not endure" (ogoru Heike wa hisashikarazu), is a familiar Japanese adage suggestive at once of the moral import of the tragedy and of the swift and extreme vicissitudes of fortune which characterized those lawless ages.


[1] Table showing lineage and chronology of sovereigns.

                  (49. Emperor Kōnin, 770-782.)
                   50. Emperor Kwammu, 782-806.
           |                    |                         |
 51. Emperor Heizei,     52. Emperor Saga,      53. Emperor Junna,
        806-810.             810-824.                  824-834.
                   54. Emperor Nimmyō, 834-851.
                   |                             |
     55. Emperor Montoku, 851-856.  58. Emperor Kōkō, 885-893.
                   |                             |
      56. Emperor Seiwa, 856-877.    59. Emperor Uda, 893-898.
                   |                             |
      57. Emperor Yōzei, 877-885.   60. Emperor Daigo, 898-931.
                |                                   |
   6l. Emperor Suzaku, 931-947.      62. Emperor Murakami, 947-968.
                |                                   |
   63. Emperor Reizei, 968-970.       64. Emperor Enyū, 970-985.
                |                                   |
             +--+----------------+                  |
             |                   |                  |
  65. Emperor Kwazan,  67. Emperor Sanjō,   66. Emperor Ichijo,
          985-987.           1012-1017.          987-1012.
               |                                    |
 68. Emperor Goichijo, 1017-1037.    69. Emperor Gosuzaku, 1037-1046.
               |                                    |
 70. Emperor Goreizei, 1046-1069.    71. Emperor Gosanjo, 1069-1073.
                    72. Emperor Shirakawa, 1073-1087.
                     73. Emperor Horikawa, 1087-1109.
                       74. Emperor Toba, 1109-1124.
          |                        |                       |
 75. Emperor Sutoku,  77. Emperor Goshirakawa,  76. Emperor Konoye,
      1124-1142.               1156-1159.              1142-1156.
                  |                                 |
    78. Emperor Nijō, 1159-1166.    80. Emperor Takakura, 1169-1180.
            |                                       |
            |                      +----------------+------+
            |                      |                       |
  79. Emperor Rokujō,    81. Emperor Antoku,   [82. Emperor Gotoba,
        1166-1169.             1180-1186.              1186-1199.]



THE FEUDAL AGES. 1186-1868


Chapter VII


The Taira had fallen, and Minamoto-no-Yoritomo, one of the greatest statesmen Japan has produced, had established his headquarters at Kamakura, near the present Tōkyō. The influence of his clan had for generations been implanted in the eastern provinces, where the robust militarism stood in great contrast with the effeminate atmosphere of Kyōto.

The rule of Kamakura, so far as the feudal forces of the east were concerned, was now almost complete, but Yoritomo aspired to the supreme military power of the whole empire. Here in this connection must be related the tragic story of his half-brother Yoshitsune, perhaps the most gallant and most beloved hero in the memory of the children of Japan. He was a mere babe when after the Heiji insurrection, he was captured with his mother by the Taira soldiers. He would have been killed by order of Kiyomori, had it not been for the intercession of the latter's mother and for the beauty of the young mother of Yoshitsune. For the sake of the lives of her sons, the latter became the concubine of Kiyomori, whom she did not love. The pathetic story still excites feeling in the heart of Japanese womanhood. Yoshitsune was assigned to a priestly career, but he proved unruly and fond of the arts of the samurai. Tradition ascribes to the child many a superhuman act of valor and military skill. At length he ran away to the northern province of Mutsu, where he was kindly received by the great local chieftain Fujiwara-no-Hidehira. Yoshitsune grew to be a man of commanding genius, and his personal charm attracted to him many loyal samurai, the romantic careers of several of whom are still remembered. When Yoritomo rose in 1180 at the mandate of the late Prince Mochihito, Yoshitsune's opportunity came. After the former had routed the first large detachment of the Taira forces, a young man with a large head but of small stature was announced to him, and Yoritomo at once[66] recognized his long forgotten brother Yoshitsune, whose coming, he said, was to him more reassuring than the addition of a million warriors.

Henceforth Yoritomo's brilliant victories were largely owing to the generalship of his brother. But no sooner had the latter destroyed the remnants of the Minamoto's enemy than his own safety was endangered by his very success, for Yoritomo grew jealous of his great renown and popularity. As Yoshitsune escorted the captive chief of the Taira clan, Munemori, to Kamakura, he not only received no recognition for his achievements, but also was refused admission to the presence of his brother. There were not lacking men around the latter to contrive the downfall of the great general. Shortly afterward Yoritomo sent to Kyōto a man of proved valor and strength, Tosabō Shōshun, with orders to destroy Yoshitsune, but Tosabō himself fell under Yoshitsune's sword in the attempt. Thereafter Yukiiye, Yoshitsune's uncle, induced the ex-emperor to authorize them to put down Yoritomo. But Yoritomo addressed himself to the ex-emperor with such persuasion that an imperial mandate was issued to all the provincial authorities ordering them to arrest Yoshitsune and Yukiiye. Yoritomo thereupon dispatched Hōjō Tokimasa to Kyōto to quell the partisans and restore order in the capital. Yukiiye was subsequently killed in the province of Izumi, but Yoshitsune escaped to his friend Fujiwara-no-Hidehira in Mutsu. The latter, however, died soon afterward, and was succeeded by his son Yasuhira, who received from Yoritomo orders to kill the fugitive. So great and far-reaching was the authority of the Minamoto chief at that time that Yasuhira had no choice but to comply with the mandate. He caused Yoshitsune to be put to death, and sent his head to Kamakura. Tradition has, however, been reluctant to admit so ignominious an end to the hero, who, it says, effected his escape to the island of Ezo (Hokkaido) and thence to the continent, where he became a great prince over nomadic tribes. Nor did Yasuhira's treachery bring fortune upon himself, for Yoritomo, already desirous to bring Mutsu under his direct rule, pretended to believe that Yasuhira had been unduly slow in destroying his rebellious brother, and, in 1189, led in person a large army, which succeeded in a brief time in killing Yasuhira and subduing the great provinces of Mutsu and Dewa.

In the next year, Yoritomo repaired to Kyōto and had his first[67] audience of the emperor and the ex-emperor.[1] The latter treated him with great consideration, and after the lapse of a year conferred upon him the title of sei-i-tai-shōgun, or generalissimo, which has since been the customary title of the feudal overlord of Japan.

Let us here describe the feudal government organized by Yoritomo at Kamakura—the first attempt of like kind in the history of Japan—and observe how different it was from the elaborate system of the centralized government which was first organized in 645 and later transferred to Kyōto. One of the first steps taken by the Minamoto chief to consolidate his power was to establish the relation of lord and vassal between himself and the great local magnates of the eastern provinces who had espoused his cause, and to secure their allegiance by confirming them in the possession of their estates. For the better organization of his military forces he created an office called samurai-dokoro, a species of headquarter staff department, which was presided over by Wada Yoshimori in the capacity of bettō. Thus all the military men throughout the east were brought completely under his sway. Later he created a department of public archives (kumonjo), [68]and made Ōye Hiromoto its minister, and Nakahara Chikayoshi its vice-minister, both of whom were originally civilians at Kyōto. It was owing to Yoritomo's sagacity that they had been induced to enter the service of the military government at Kamakura. By this department the administration of civil affairs was chiefly conducted, as was the administration of military affairs by the staff department (samurai-dokoro). A department of justice (monchū-jo) was also organized with Miyoshi Yasunobu, another civilian, at its head, its functions being the hearing of all civil suits, and the management of matters relating to civil law.

Thenceforward down to the days of the Ashikaga, the descendants of the three statesmen from Kyōto continued to direct the administration of affairs at Kamakura. By 1184, the organization of Yoritomo's central government (bakufu) was complete, but the local administration had still to be elaborated. Advantage was taken of the general disorder that still existed throughout the land, owing to the disturbance caused by the remnants of the Taira party and by the followers of Yukiiye and Yoshitsune. On the advice of Ōye Hiromoto, Yoritomo made such strong representations to the ex-emperor that the latter sanctioned the appointment of high constables (shugo) in the various provinces and superintendents (jitō) of the great estates, the whole being under the control of the shōgun himself. By the energy of these officials numbers of the insurgents were arrested in different localities, and order was everywhere restored. Furthermore, an edict was issued requiring that all cultivators of land throughout the empire should without distinction contribute to the military exchequer a tax at the rate of five shō (.256 bushels) of grain per tan (one-fourth of an acre). Thenceforth the power of the former provincial governors and headmen gradually declined, and the authority of the newly appointed high constables and superintendents increased proportionally. The shōgun, of course, took care that the occupants of the new offices should be chosen from among his own relatives and partisans, so that his sway was eventually consolidated everywhere, and the control of the empire virtually passed into his hands.

Yoritomo died in 1200 at the age of fifty-three, his eldest son, Yoriiye, succeeding to the title of generalissimo. But Yoriiye being only eighteen years of age, and having given no evidence of ability, his mother, Masako, commissioned her own father Hōjō Tokimasa, together with twelve councilors, to assume[69] the direction of the government at Kamakura. From this time began the dark age of Kamakura, in which unbridled ambition ignored all restraints of propriety. When the young Yoriiye fell ill in 1203, his mother, acting in concert with Tokimasa, planned to relieve him of his office of generalissimo, and to appoint his son Ichihata to be lord and governor general of the twenty-eight eastern provinces forming Kwantō, and his young brother Chihata—afterward called Sanetomo—to be lord of the thirty-eight western provinces forming Kwansei. This plot so incensed Yoriiye that the latter, with his wife's father, Hiki Yoshikazu, planned means to exterminate the Hōjō family. Tokimasa frustrated the design by having Yoshikazu assassinated, and then attacking and slaying all his blood relations together with Ichihata. Yoriiye he afterward shut up in a temple, and ultimately caused him to be put to death. Sanetomo, Yoriiye's younger brother, succeeded him, but exercised no administrative authority, the Hōjō holding everything in their own grasp. The shōgun consequently devoted himself to literature rather than to military exercises. Moreover, foreseeing that fortune would not long continue to smile upon the Minamoto family, he thought to obtain a high position in the central government, and add luster to the family's renown while there was yet time. Hence he was promoted to the post of chief councilor of state (dainagon), in conjunction with that of commander in chief of the guards of the left, his official rank being raised to the first of the second class. Shortly afterward he became lord keeper of the privy seal and then minister of the right. But in 1219, on the occasion of worshiping at a shrine in Kamakura, he was stabbed to death by Kugyō, a son of Yoriiye. This event terminated the descendants of the Minamoto family in the direct line. A brief interval of thirty-five years, or three generations,[2] from the time when Yoritomo had risen to the head of the government, sufficed to complete the supremacy of the great clan, the first shōgun of which had so systematically pruned off the useful members of its own branch.

The Minamoto were followed by the Hōjō as feudal rulers. The Hōjō family was of Taira origin, its founder being Taira-no-Sadamori. The name Hōjō was derived from the fact that the family's headquarters were at Hōjō in Izu. During the period of Yoritomo's exile in Izu, he experienced generous and hospitable [70]treatment at the hands of Hōjō Tokimasa, whose daughter he married. All during Yoritomo's campaigns and subsequent administration at Kamakura, Tokimasa, though of the Taira family, proved a loyal and indispensable counselor. Under Yoriije, being the grandfather on the mother's side, he naturally enjoyed the widest popularity and wielded the greatest power of all the military nobles of the time. As has been seen, the Hōjō did not even hesitate to assassinate the shōgun in order to further their personal interests. Tokimasa allowed himself to be controlled by the counsels of his wife. At her slanderous instance he brought about the overthrow of a great territorial noble, Hatakeyama, and by her advice he conceived the project of elevating to the shōgunate his younger daughter's husband, Hiraga Tomomasa. The third shōgun, Sanetomo, then a mere youth, was an inmate of Tokimasa's house at the time of this plot. His mother, Masako, learning what was on foot, caused him to be removed to the house of her brother Yoshitoki, with the assistance of the military vassals of the Minamoto, and succeeded not only in having Tokimasa and his intriguing wife sent back to Hōjō, but also in compassing the death of Tomomasa in Kyōto. These events transferred the territorial and military ascendancy among the Kamakura nobility to the Wada family, whom therefore Yoshitoki, the Hōjō chief in Kamakura, formed the design of destroying. In pursuance of that scheme, he prompted Kugyō to assassinate Sanetomo, the last of the Minamoto family. Then Fujiwara-no-Yoritsune, a relative of Yoritomo, was summoned from Kyōto to assume the nominal office of shōgun, Masako, the widow of Yoritomo, exercising the controlling power and Yoshitoki holding the office of regent (shikken, an office virtually corresponding with the sesshō of the central government); in which capacity he administered all the affairs of the bakufu in the name of the young shōgun. Yoshitoki was thus a shōgun with the name of a shikken.

It was about this time that the civil government of Kyōto rose under the leadership of the ex-Emperor Gotoba in an attempt to overthrow the feudal administration. Ever since the time of Yoritomo, Gotoba had cherished the hope of recovering the control of administrative affairs, and with that object had stationed military men of his own choosing in the west, in addition to those already stationed in the north, conferring on their leaders swords forged by his own hands, and otherwise sparing no pains to organize a strong military following. So long, however, as Yoritomo lived,[71] Gotoba's designs could not be realized. But when Sanetomo, the third shōgun of Yoritomo's line, fell under the sword of Kugyō, the ex-emperor thought that he descried an opportunity to attain his purpose. But Hōjō Yoshitoki set up a Fujiwara as a nominal shōgun, and himself exercised the administrative authority in a markedly arrogant and arbitrary manner. Gotoba then selected a vassal of Kamakura, without consulting the Hōjō, as warden of the western marches, and allowed him to reside in Kyōto. Yoshitoki forthwith confiscated all the lands belonging to the warden. Thereupon an imperial mandate was issued, directing that the estates should be restored, to which Yoshitoki paid no attention. A further instance of contumacy occurred in connection with an estate which the ex-emperor had conferred on one of his favorite mistresses.

Stung by these insults, Gotoba finally resolved to overthrow the Kamakura government. In this design he was strongly supported by another ex-emperor, Juntoku, who had just abdicated in favor of his son, Chūkyō. The third of the three ex-emperors of the time, Tsuchimikado, opposed the project of the other two, urging that its execution was still premature. Gotoba could count upon the support of seventeen hundred warriors, so in 1221 an imperial mandate circulated through all the provinces of the empire ordering the destruction of the Hōjō family. It was specially addressed to the powerful lord, Miura Yoshimura. But, instead of obeying, he conveyed secret information of the fact to Yoshitoki, who in turn informed Masako, the widow of Yoritomo. She thereupon summoned all the military leaders of the surrounding provinces, and having reminded them of the possessions and ranks bestowed by the Minamoto chief on the samurai of Kwantō, said that an occasion had now arisen to repay her deceased husband's favors. The result was that none of these captains espoused the sovereign's cause in the struggle that ensued. Meanwhile, Yoshitoki took counsel of his generals as to a plan of campaign, and finally adopted the proposal of Ōye Hiromoto that the bulk of the forces at the disposal of the Hōjō should march against Kyōto, under the command of Hōjō Yasutoki and Hōjō Tokifusa, by the three trunk routes, the Tōkaidō, the Tōsandō, and the Hokurikudō. On receipt of this intelligence in Kyōto, the imperial troops were divided into two bodies under Hideyasu and Taneyoshi, and moved northward to meet the invaders in the Owari and Mino provinces.

But the defending forces suffered defeat, and were driven[72] back, so that Yasutoki and Tokifusa were able to enter Kyōto at the head of a large army. They forced the reigning sovereign to abdicate in favor of Gohorikawa, and they banished the three ex-emperors, Gotoba to the province of Oki, Juntoku to Sado Island, and Tsuchimikado to Tosa. Gotoba's son was also sent into exile. A number of court nobles who had assisted and promoted the attack upon the Kamakura government were put to death. Three thousand estates belonging to these nobles and to the samurai who had espoused the imperial cause were confiscated and divided among the Hōjō followers. Yoshitoki then stationed Yasutoki and Tokifusa at Rokuhara to preserve peace in Kyōto. Even in the days of Yoritomo, affairs of state had been administered in consultation with the court nobles and the Fujiwara ministers, but the Hōjō recognized no such obligation. So the imperial uprising not only proved a failure, but also served to increase immensely the power of the feudal government.

The Hōjō were aware that, great as was their influence, it had been acquired by questionable means, and that their position could be maintained only by their good government. For this reason, the Hōjō administration before the days of its decline has come down to posterity as a model of feudal rule. Yasutoki, who succeeded Yoshitoki as regent, devoted himself zealously to political affairs, treated the agricultural classes with much consideration, and sought earnestly to win the love of the people. He treated his relatives with uniform kindness, and those under his sway with condescension, never abandoning himself to passionate impulses nor ever employing his power wantonly. He framed a law of fifty-one articles setting forth the principles of administration and supplying regulations to guide the discharge of official functions. Ruling wisely and living uprightly, he died lamented by people of all classes. He was succeeded by his grandson, Tsunetoki, and the latter by his younger brother, Tokiyori. This last, like his grandfather, practiced economy in his administration and showed much consideration for the farming classes.

No one of the Hōjō family,[3] however, did more service to [73]the nation than the son of Tokiyori, Tokimune, who saved the country from the Mongol conquest. This deserves our special note.

In Mongolia, on the northeast of China, there appeared a conqueror of world-wide fame, Temujin, the great Genghis Khan. Against his armies the Tatar kings were unable to hold their ground, and ultimately the wave of Mongol conquest flowed into the dominions of the Sung sovereign in the south of China. Temujin's grandson, Kublai, possessed himself of a great part of Korea, and having concerted measures for overthrowing the Sung dynasty and bringing all China under Mongol rule, he conceived the project of subjugating Japan also. His first step toward consummating that design was to send envoys via Korea, who were instructed to remonstrate with the Japanese sovereign for his indifferent attitude toward the Mongol autocrat. But the Koreans dissuaded these envoys from prosecuting their voyage. Two years later, in 1268, Kublai dispatched another embassy to Dazaifu in Kiushū, with letters to the governor of Dazaifu as well as to the Emperor of Japan, the ostensible object of the communications being to establish amicable relations between the two countries. From Dazaifu intelligence of the coming of the embassy and the nature of its documents was forwarded to Kamakura, thence to be sent in turn to the court in Kyōto. Considerable anxiety was caused by the news, both in official and in civilian circles. The emperor laid before the shrine of Daijingū an autographic supplication for the heavenly protection of the empire, and caused prayers of a similar purport to be said at all the shrines and temples throughout the realm. Careful measures were also taken to guard the coasts, more particularly the points of strategical importance in Hizen and Chikuzen.

A draft reply to Kublai's dispatch was prepared at the court in Kyōto, and shown to Hōjō Tokimune, who, however, gave it as his opinion that inasmuch as the communication from China lacked the forms of prescribed courtesy, Japan's dignity precluded the sending of any answer. Orders were therefore conveyed to Dazaifu for the immediate expulsion of the Chinese envoys. In March of the following year Korean officials again arrived in the island of Tsushima escorting Mongolian envoys, who asked for a reply to the dispatch sent by their sovereign the preceding year. These envoys became involved in quarrels with the people of Tsushima,[74] and finally took their departure, carrying away two of the latter as prisoners. Five months later, Kublai caused these two men to be restored to Japan, and made the act an occasion for addressing another dispatch to the Japanese emperor. Again Japan refrained from making reply. After an interval of two years, the khan sent in 1271 another ambassador, with a train of a hundred followers, who landed at Imatsu in Chikuzen. The ambassador's instructions were to present the dispatch of which he was bearer either to the imperial court or to the shōgun in Kamakura. He did not, however, intrust the original document to the Dazaifu officials, but gave them a copy only. This was at once forwarded to Kamakura, being from thence communicated to the court in Kyōto. On receiving it, the kwanryo took counsel of the other ministers of the crown and came to the decision that no reply should be given.

By this time the people of Japan had acquired full knowledge of the immense power wielded by Kublai Khan and of the vast conquests achieved by him in succession to his grandfather Genghis. Hence there was no little anxiety as to the outcome of these futile embassies. The emperor ordered prayers to be offered up as before at the shrines and temples throughout the empire. Kublai had now brought almost the whole of China into subjection and established his dynasty of Yuan. He continued to send embassy after embassy to Japan, and Japan on her side continued, with equal persistence, to make no reply to messages which she construed as national insults. Enraged by this indifference, the khan finally sent against Japan a fleet of a hundred and fifty war vessels under the command of Liu Fok-hêng, at the same time ordering Korea to reinforce this expedition. The invaders arrived at Tsushima toward the end of 1274, where they killed the governor. Thence they passed to the island of Iki and killed its acting high constable, and thereafter directed their forces against Imatsu in Chikuzen. The military nobles of Kiushū—Shōni, Ōtomo, Matsuura, Kikuchi and others—collected troops and made a stand at Hakozaki. The Yuan invaders, armed with guns, caused great havoc among the Japanese army, but the Chinese leader, Liu, received a wound that compelled him to retire, and a heavy gale arising destroyed numbers of the foreign war-vessels. The Korean general's ship was wrecked and he himself drowned. Finally, the remnant of the invading force escaped under cover of darkness. Once again after a[75] few months the Yuan sovereign sent another envoy, but he was sent up to Kamakura and there put to death by Hōjō Tokimune.

Hōjō Sanemasa was now appointed to command at Dazaifu, and instructions were issued for the vigilant guarding of all the coast line in the south. Further, the imperial guards were temporarily withdrawn from Kyōto, and drafted into a large army recruited from the east of the empire and stationed at Dazaifu as well as at other important positions along the coast. Sanemasa was given the command of this army, and other members of the Hōjō family were dispatched to direct the military preparations in Harima and Nagato. Further, the territorial nobles of Kiushū received orders to construct fortifications along the coast, and this work, being vigorously carried on, was completed in 1279. That year the Chinese emperor again sent envoys, seeking to establish friendship and intercourse. They landed at Hakata, but were put to death by order of the shōgun's government. The Regent Tokimune, foreseeing the consequences of these complications, dispatched large bodies of troops from Kamakura to Kiushū, to repel the renewed attack inevitably pending from the west. By this time the feudal society of Japan seems to have been roused to its height of patriotism. It not only was determined to resist the invasion of the world-conqueror, but even plans were made to invade the continent and fight with the Khan on his own ground. The latter, on his part, had now completed his conquest of China, and, having attained the zenith of his power, resolved to gratify his long-cherished desire, supplemented as it was by indignation at the repeated slaughter of his ambassadors in Japan.

Accordingly in the middle of 1281, he assembled a force of 100,000 soldiers, whom, together with a contingent of 10,000 Koreans, he sent against Japan under the command of Hwan Bunko. The invading army touched at the island of Iki, and after a cruel massacre of its inhabitants, resumed their voyage toward Dazaifu. Thither the Japanese troops flocked from Kiushū, Chūgoku, and Shikoku to defend their country. Aided by the fortresses that had been erected along the coast, they fought stoutly. The Chinese, however, enjoyed the great advantage of possessing heavy ordnance, with which they bombarded the forts and slaughtered such multitudes of the Japanese soldiers that the latter were unable to meet them in open contest. Organized tactics as much characterized the invaders as personal valor and individual combat[76] did the defending warriors. Nevertheless, the latter continued to resist so obstinately, that, although the contest waged for sixty days, the enemy could not effect a landing. Meanwhile, a rumor reached Kyōto that the Yuan invaders, having borne down all resistance in Kiushū, had pushed on to Nagato, and were on the point of advancing against Kyōto itself, thence to carry their arms into the Tōkai and Hokuriku districts.

The Emperor Gouda, deeply disquieted by these tidings, proceeded in person to the shrine of Iwashimizu Hachimangū, god of war, to pray for the safety of the country, and moreover dispatched an autographic supplication to the shrine of Daijingū in Ise, vowing that he would offer himself as a sacrifice to preserve the honor of his empire. But in Kiushū the contest continued fiercely when, on the last day of the seventh lunar month, a northwesterly storm swept down on the Chinese fleet and wrecked a number of the ships with immense loss of life. Those that survived the tempest, several thousands in number, took refuge in the island of Takashima off the coast of Hizen, and there, under the command of Chang Pak—Hwan having fled away in a vessel of exceptional strength—set themselves to cut timber and build new ships to carry them back to China. But Shōni Kagesuke, at the head of a body of the Kiushū troops, followed and attacked the fugitives, killing several hundreds and taking over a thousand prisoners, so that, in the end, only three out of the hundred thousand Yuan invaders succeeded in escaping alive to China. After this success the Kamakura government redoubled its efforts to place the defenses of the country on a strong footing. It was not till 1299 that the Chinese sovereign sent two Buddhist priests to Japan with a peaceful message. The country had been in a state of continuous defense, since the arrival of the first Mongol embassy thirty-one years previously. Never before had the Japanese nation encountered a more colossal struggle with a great conquering foe, nor had she since, till the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War in 1904. It is noteworthy that in the former crisis it was the feudal forces which saved the land from foreign conquest.

If by this great service the Hōjō placed all Japan under obligation to them, it was also after this crisis that their power began to decline. Great sums of money had been devoted during the thirty years to maintaining constant religious services at the shrines and temples throughout the empire. The expense incurred on that[77] account is said to have been greater even than the outlay in connection with military affairs, which in itself must have been immense. Moreover, after the invaders had been defeated and the danger averted, the rewards granted to Buddhist priests and Shintō officials far exceeded in monetary value the recompense given to the troops and their leaders. On the other hand, the wardens and territorial nobles, on whom the duty of defending the country had fallen, found the drain on their resources so heavy that they began to murmur. Thus the popularity of the shōgunate at Kamakura commenced to wane.


Tokimune was succeeded by his son Sadatoki, and then followed Morotoki and Takatoki. During their regency the authority of the Hōjō rapidly declined. Takatoki, being a man of indolent disposition, entrusted the control of affairs wholly to one Nagasaki Takasuke, who was betrayed by avarice into such abuses of power that men's hearts were altogether estranged from the government. The fall of the Hōjō finally ensued in 1326, a century and a quarter after the first of those powerful rulers had risen from the position of a rear-vassal to the most puissant office in the land.

The circumstances of the downfall of the Kamakura government will be related in the next chapter. In the meantime, we shall observe the condition of society during the hundred and forty years of the rule of the Minamoto and the Hōjō. In regard to the customs of the upper classes, it is interesting to note that the elegance of the Kyōto nobles and the severe simplicity of the Kamakura soldiers, now the one, then the other, according to the varying circumstances, set the fashion of the day. When the warrior element was in the ascendant, its manners and customs were more or less taken as a model in Kyōto, while, on the other hand, Kyōto sometimes impressed its own fashions upon the military. An instance of the latter case is furnished by the story of the Taira family, whose fighting men gradually fell under the charm of the court life, and succumbed with comparative ease to the misfortunes that afterward overtook them. Minamoto-no-Yoritomo, however, fixed his headquarters at Kamakura and did not visit Kyōto except for very brief intervals. His habits of life were frugal and simple; he encouraged the samurai to adopt a severe military regimen, and he set his face resolutely against costly ostentation and enervating excesses.

But by the time of Sanetomo prolonged peace had produced[78] its usual effects: the austerity of military customs underwent relaxation even at Kamakura, and refinement and luxury began to come into vogue. So, too, in Kyōto, when the city passed under military rule after the Shōkiu troubles and when the power of the civil nobles declined correspondingly, the customs of the soldier class prevailed over those of the courtiers. Speaking generally, however, it may be said that Kamakura was the nursery of military customs and Kyōto the center of courtly effeminacy. The warriors' ethics at Kamakura prescribed frugality and simplicity, inculcated love of soldierly pursuits and encouraged feelings of gratitude and loyalty in the relations between lord and vassal. To such a pitch were these latter sentiments carried that a vassal would choose rather to be estranged from his parents or find himself opposed to his own brothers and sisters, than to show want of fealty to his lord. Everything must be sacrificed in the cause of one's lord, death and life alike being shared with him. The rules of etiquette were strictly obeyed, and the provisions of the code of honor carefully observed. Even when a samurai went into battle, he did not set himself to slaughter indiscriminately, but having first recounted the achievements of his ancestors, crossed swords with his foe in a leisurely and dignified manner. Were he guilty of any fault, it was expected of him to die by his own hand before the disgrace of lawful punishment could overtake him. The obligations of honor were absolutely binding on him in all conjunctures.

After the Hōgen and Heiji insurrections, even Kyōto itself, the seat of refinement and splendor, became like a deserted battlefield, and when Minamoto-no-Yoritomo made Kamakura the headquarters of his military government, the science of war absorbed men's attention so completely that little or no heed was paid to literary pursuits. The Kyōto University and the provincial schools decayed, and the knowledge of Chinese classics became the monopoly of Buddhist priests, some of whom, particularly of the Zen sect, had spent years of diligent study in China. Anyone desirous of obtaining education had no recourse but to place himself under the tuition of these priests. It was in this way that the term tera-koya (temple annex) came to be generally employed all through the feudal ages to designate a private school. But despite the people's neglect of Chinese studies, Chinese words and expressions were largely in vogue among the higher classes, and Buddhist[79] terms also passed appreciably into the language of the time owing to the prosperous and influential position occupied by that religion.

The written language being thus enriched by a multitude of phrases and expressions which had received the indorsement of scholars, the vocabulary and literature of the era exhibit marked evidences of change. Not only the manner of expression, but also the taste of the people, had undergone a decisive change since the close of the Hei-an epoch, and this difference naturally manifested itself in the kind of literature affected. Men no longer took pleasure in books treating of the lives and adventures of beautiful women or the mental feats of renowned scholars. Such studies seemed incongruous amid the clash of arms and under the shadow of the sword and spear. Striking vicissitudes in martial careers, the intrepid deaths or life-long separations of warriors, the rise and fall of principalities—these were the themes of which the Kamakura samurai loved to read. Of the prose compositions expressive of this sentiment, the most noted were the "Hōgen" and the "Heiji Monogatari," stories, respectively of the insurrections of those eras; and the "Heike Monogatari," the pathetic epic of the fate of the great Taira clan, and the "Gempei Seisuiki," the stirring tale of the rise and fall of the families of Taira and Minamoto. Other famous productions of the period were the "Hōjō-ki," and the "Shiki Monogatari." In these works one finds a skillful blending of graceful Japanese phrases, strong Chinese expressions, and lofty Buddhist terms. At times the style has all the ring of martial onset; at times, it is plaintive and moving; now it abounds in graces of diction, and then its transitions from passion to deliberation, from swift terseness to smooth tranquillity, are full of force and sentiment. Between the emotional effect of such writings and the gently flowing phraseology and uneventful paragraphs of works like the "Genji Monogatari" of the preceding period, there is a wide interval. Running through the pages of the "Hōjō-ki" the reader also detects a current of discontent and disgust for the transient world and its vanity that reflects the growing tendency of educated minds at that epoch. So deeply had the Buddhistic pessimism entered the heart of the people.

On the other hand, poetry in the Japanese style flourished uniformly in Kyōto, unaffected by the vicissitudes of the times or the decline of the imperial power. Collections of verses were made[80] from time to time and published by imperial direction, among which the "Shin-Kokinshū" contains stanzas constructed with so great skill that it remained a model for the poets of all subsequent generations. In Kamakura, also, the Shōgun Sanetomo was an accomplished writer of Japanese poetry. The grace and polish of his songs in the old-time style, as well as the verve and spirit of their sentiments, reflecting truly the mood of his era, find no parallel in the poetry subsequent to the Nara epoch. Indeed, owing to the great popularity of Japanese poetry in those days, people began for the first time to study it under teachers. Thus there came into vogue men who made a business of giving instruction in the art of poetry, the profession being transmitted from generation to generation in the same family. The result was that canons of style and tricks of composition peculiar to special schools of teachers became more or less binding upon students of those schools, inevitable injury being done to originality and vigor. To these circumstances may be attributed a gradual decline of real poetic ability.

Hardly less instructive is the change that overtook the nation's greatest religion, Buddhism. It will be remembered that during the Hei-an epoch, two Buddhist sects, the Tendai, founded by Saichō, and the Shingon, by Kūkai, were incomparably the most influential, all others being more or less in a state of decline. But toward the close of the epoch, some priests, as already related, began to take more interest in military affairs than in religious functions. Yoritomo, when he came into power, interdicted the use of arms by priests, and encouraged them to devote their attention entirely to literature. The prestige of the Tendai and the Shingon suffered from these events, and as their doctrines, being far too recondite and lofty to be comprehended by the uninitiated, had never satisfied the bulk of the people, there began to appear, during the Kamakura epoch, priests who taught a form of the faith radically different from the others but eminently suited to the spiritual tone of the new age. This was the Zen sect, introduced in its various branches from China. It at once attracted men of simple and robust habits by its remarkably vigorous and effective method of enlightenment and the great practical value of the latter for the men of the world in those days of continual fluctuations of fortune. Hōjō Tokiyori and Tokimune, as well as many a great warrior, besides some emperors, became ardent patrons of the sect, which consequently attained prominent popularity among the military[81] men at Kamakura, and developed widespread influence. Its temples, Kenchō-ji and Engaku-ji, at Kamakura, stood on an equal footing with the Kennin-ji and Tōfuku-ji of Kyōto.

While the Zen tenet so powerfully appealed to the military class, there was another set of new sects, entirely original to Japan, which by their brief formulæ and impressive ceremonies attracted large numbers of the common people. Of these sects, three, namely, the Jōdo, founded by Genkū (or Hōnen); Ikkō or Shin, founded by Shinran (or Hanyen), and Ji, founded by Ippen, all used the same litany, while the fourth sect, Hokke, or Nichiren, founded by Nichiren, used another. The founders all met opposition from the exponents of the older sects, but spread their teachings in the face of serious difficulties, until they won the hearts of simple-minded folks whose minds had been in a state of constant uncertainty under the violent changes of the time, and who were now delighted to find, at last, doctrines which taught that an unmixed faith in the saving power of a Buddha or a canon symbolized in a single word of formula would bring them to a blissful calm in this present world. Not less attractive were the beautiful harmony of the litanies and the impressiveness of the paraphernalia of the temple of every new sect. It appeared as if the spiritual needs of the age were at last answered, and the new tenets spread themselves among the people like a fire in a parched meadow.

In the domain of arts, the most remarkable industrial achievement of the era was the progress made in tempering sword-blades. Gotoba, after he had abdicated the scepter and become ex-emperor, freely indulged his keen love for sword-blades. He engaged sword-smiths, whom he kept perpetually tempering steel, and did not hesitate even to forge blades with his own hands. Naturally this and the extensive demand for swords at the time gave a great impulse to the industry. Much progress was also made in the art of forging armor, helmets, bridle-bits, and the like. Other arts were not, however, greatly encouraged by the military administrators of Kamakura, who set their faces against luxury and inculcated frugal fashions. Yet not a little progress was made in ceramics, lacquer, and the carving of Buddhist images and other temple furniture.

It is interesting to note that under the simple rule of the Kamakura government the commerce and trade of this period made a tolerable progress, in spite of frequent interruptions of the peace. At Kamakura, where merchants from various parts of the[82] empire assembled and made it the commercial center of the country, there existed seven kinds of markets in which articles were sold at small stores specially designed and constructed. The custom of peddling merchandise also existed. For business transacted at a distance, bills of exchange had already come into vogue. While Sanetomo administered the shōgunate, an official limit was fixed for the number of merchants conducting business in Kamakura. This was the origin of hereditary privileges of trade. The prices for the various staples of commerce were determined, according to the custom of previous times. Thus in 1193 an imperial notification ordered that rice should be sold at one thousand cash (one kwammon), or the tenth of a ryō, that is to say nominally ten sen according to present denominations, but of course representing a much larger sum at that time. Again, in 1253, firewood, charcoal, and other necessaries having risen in price, Hōjō Tokiyori proclaimed the rate at which each must be sold. Gold was at that time constantly mined in Mutsu, but did not serve for coinage purposes, the common media of exchange being Chinese copper and the iron cash of the Sung dynasty and similar Japanese coins of earlier days. Grass-cloth was also sometimes used as a medium of exchange, and prices were quoted in terms of it. Trade with China, under the Sung dynasty, and with Korea—or Koma, as it was then called—was carried on largely at Hakata in Chikuzen and Bonotsu in Satsuma, both in Kiushū. Import duties upon foreign goods were levied at the various ports of entry. The principal imports from China were raw silk, indigo, Chinese ink, porcelain vessels, mats, and so forth, while the staple exports from Japan were rice, other cereals, and timber. In 1254 Hōjō Tokiyori limited the number of ships engaged in the China trade to five, and ordered all except the licensed vessels to be destroyed. But the trade continued as brisk as ever. Subsequently, however, during the interval that separated the decline of the Sung dynasty from the establishment of the Yuan, intercourse between Japan and the neighboring empire underwent some diminution, and was suspended altogether for a time after the Mongol invasion of Japan.


[1] Table showing lineage and chronology of sovereigns.

               [80. Emperor Takakura, 1169-1180.]
            |                   |                    |
  [81. Emperor Antoku,      Gotakakura.     82. Emperor Gotoba,
        1180-1186.]             |                1186-1199.
                                |                    |
            +-------------------+      +-------------------+
            |                          |                   |
86. Emperor Gohorikawa,      84. Emperor Juntoku,     83. Emperor
        1222-1233.                 1211-1222.         Tsuchimikado,
            |                          |               1199-1211.
            |                          |                   |
 87. Emperor Shijō,   85. Emperor Chūkyō, 88. Emperor Gosaga,
        1233-1243.                   1222.              1243-1247.
                |                                      |
      90. Emperor Kameyama,              89. Emperor Gofukakusa,
            1266-1276.                             1247-1266.
                |                                      |
   91. Emperor Gouda, 1276-1288.                       |
                |                                      |
          +-----+-----------------+                    |
          |                       |                    |
96. Emperor Godaigo,   94. Emperor Gonijō,  92. Emperor Fushimi,
      1319-1339.              1301-1308.           1288-1299.
               |                                       |
 95. Emperor Hanazono, 1308-1319.   93. Emperor Gofushimi, 1299-1301.

[2] Minamoto Yoritomo, 1184-1199; Minamoto Yoriiye, 1199-1203; Minamoto Sanetomo, 1203-1219.

[3] The following is the list of the Hōjō regents (shikken). Hōjō Tokimasa, father-in-law of Yoritomo, who died in 1215, did not assume the title of regent.

Hōjō Yoshitoki, 1205-1224.
Hōjō Yasutoki, 1225-1242.
Hōjō Tsunetoki, 1243-1246.
Hōjō Tokiyori, 1246-1256.
Hōjō Tokimune, 1256-1284.
Hōjō Sadatoki, 1284-1300.
Hōjō Morotoki, 1300-1311.
Hōjō Takatoki, 1312-1326.


Chapter VIII


The fall of the Hōjō resulted in a rehabilitation of the imperial power, which, however, as quickly relapsed under a new feudal rule. The story of this momentary success of the sovereign house must be prefaced by an account of its domestic affairs, which had caused its renewed uprising against the usurping regent at Kamakura. It will be remembered that, in 1221, the Hōjō exiled three ex-emperors and their partisans, who had raised their arms against the all-powerful feudal government. The influence of the Hōjō became so strong in Kyōto after this event that, when the Emperor Shijō died without heir, in 1242, the Regent Yasutoki succeeded, in spite of opposition, in raising his nominee on the throne as the Emperor Gosaga. This naturally further enhanced the power of the Hōjō. Gosaga abdicated in 1246, and was succeeded by his two sons, one after the other. Of these, the younger and abler, Emperor Kameyama, was the favorite of his retired father, and would have bequeathed the throne exclusively to his own descendants, had it not been for the intervention of the ex-emperor, who advocated the cause of the elder prince, the Emperor Gofukakusa. It was finally decided, during the regency of Hōjō Sadatoki, that the descendants of the two emperors—called, from the names of their respective residences, the Daikaku-ji and the Jimyō-in lines—should reign alternately, each for ten years. The Daikaku-ji line came first to the throne in the person of Gonijō (1301-1308), followed by Hanazono of the other line. The latter had to abdicate, in 1319, in favor of Godaigo of the first line. It was this last emperor who successfully, though for a brief period, restored the power of the imperial house, for, being like all other princes of his line, penurious and discontented, he was particularly offended at the conduct of the Kamakura regency, which not only kept him in straitened circumstances, but also alternated his house with the other and richer house favorable[84] to the Hōjō. Godaigo perceived that, if he would insure his sovereignty, he must do away at the same time with the Hōjō rule and the system of alternate succession.

Such an attempt promised greater success in 1325 than in 1221, as the power of the Hōjō had now greatly declined, particularly under the regency of the dissolute Takatoki. Bribery was rife, partiality presided at the tribunals of justice, and dissatisfaction with the Hōjō rule prevailed among the samurai. A premature plot of Godaigo[1] to overthrow Kamakura was, however, discovered, and he barely saved his throne by falsely professing innocence and goodwill. The time soon came when a prince of the Jimyō-in line should replace Godaigo, who on the contrary sought to name his own son heir apparent. This project was peremptorily opposed by Takatoki, who also provoked the emperor in other matters, until the latter again sought to find means to undo the Hōjō. The immense military following of Kamakura, however, rendered hopeless all schemes of open defiance. Under the circumstances the emperor conceived the idea of having recourse to priestly aid. He placed his son, Prince Morinaga, in the post of lord abbot of Enryaku-ji, and himself proceeded to Hieizan and Nara, where he succeeded in winning the priests and elaborating with them a scheme for the overthrow of the Hōjō. But this plan also was divulged. In August, 1331, the regent sent three thousand men to Kyōto with orders to arrest the emperor. Godaigo had escaped during the night, and taken refuge on Mount Kasagi, where he mustered his partisans from the neighboring provinces and posted them for the protection of his temporary residence. The siege did not last long, for Takatoki raised a Jimyō-in prince to the throne, captured Godaigo, and exiled the latter and his two sons to distant islands.


The[85] imperial cause seemed completely lost, but about this time a warrior destined to become a celebrated hero with the loyal sons of Japan, Kusunoki Masashige, raised the standard of revolt in Kawachi and declared in favor of the exiled emperor. He constructed a castle at Akasaka, and when it was destroyed, retired to Mount Kongō and there held his ground, subsequently developing sufficient strength to restore the fortifications at Akasaka. Meanwhile Prince Morinaga raised troops and fought against the Hōjō at Yoshino in Yamato, and afterward at Kōya in Kii. The time had now come for the Hōjō to put forth their strength. In February, 1333, a large army was sent from Kamakura against Kyōto, but great numbers of fighting men flocked to the imperial standard in Sanyō and Nankai, and in the following month the exiled emperor escaped from the Island of Oki and proceeded to Hōki, being supported by Nawa Nagatoshi, who raised troops in[86] the San-in districts. The provinces of Hizen and Higo were also on the emperor's side, as was the powerful Yūki family of Mutsu. The Hōjō's army which had been dispatched against Kyōto suffered defeat in several engagements. Takatoki now sent Ashikaga Takauji to assume charge of the campaign in Kyōto and its neighborhood. This was a fatal choice. For not only was Takauji closely related to the Minamoto clan whom the Hōjō had overthrown, but he also viewed with strong disfavor the oppressive arbitrariness of the latter. No sooner had he reached Kyōto than he declared for the imperial cause, and, in concert with other loyalists, attacked and destroyed Rokuhara, the headquarters of the Hōjō administration in Kyōto. This event occurred in May, 1333. The imperial forces then reoccupied Kyōto. About this time Nitta Yoshisada, a renowned member of the Minamoto, laid siege to the fortress which Kusunoki Masashige had constructed on Mount Kongō, combining the forces of the Hōjō for the purpose. But Prince Morinaga opened relations with him, and in obedience to the prince's secret instructions he pretended illness, retired to his own province of Kōzuke, and after consultation with his relatives and partisans, raised the standard of revolt against Kamakura. Events now marched rapidly. All the blood relatives of the Minamoto family in Echigo and Shinano came together, and marching against Kamakura in great numbers, demolished or burned all the offices and public buildings there. The Regent Takatoki, together with all the members of his family, committed suicide, and the rule of the Hōjō came to an end.

A month later the exiled emperor reëntered Kyōto in state and resumed the reins of government. The eastern provinces, some of which were still loyal to the memory of the Hōjō, were also greatly reduced. No sooner was, however, the imperial prestige assured, than difficulties arose which might long have been expected. The restoration had been effected by warriors of feudal tenure, whose merits had to be rewarded, and whose ambitions were hardly compatible with a centralized civil administration such as would naturally follow the return of the imperial government. At this juncture the emperor's conduct was not calculated to perpetuate his success. The estates of the late Hōjō which he had confiscated were rather indiscriminately parceled among his personal favorites, so that when the case of the warriors who had rendered real service to his cause had to be considered, there was[87] little left with which to reward their merits. Also, private soldiers and landlords of the provinces flocked to Kyōto to obtain confirmed possession of their holdings or additional grants for the service they claimed to have done to the sovereign. Under these circumstances it was inevitable that discontent and disappointment should be keenly felt in many quarters, and men's minds should once more turn from an artificial reign of peace to a period of unrest and plunder. Nor was a leader of exceptional ability lacking to take advantage of this state of affairs.

Of the two great soldiers of noble descent, Nitta Yoshisada was comparatively little known, owing to the fact that his ancestor, being on bad terms with Yoritomo, had lived in retirement at Nitta in Kōzuke. The other, Ashikaga Takauji, who was, like Yoshisada, of the historic clan of Minamoto, was well known otherwise for the marriage relations of his ancestors with the Hōjō. By nature winning and brilliant, he enjoyed both influence and popularity. The emperor himself was highly pleased by Takauji's achievements, for which he conferred on him rewards such as no one else received, and authorized him, among other things, to use for the first part of his name one of the ideograms in the name of the sovereign himself, which was likewise pronounced "Taka." Nothing, however, arouses the indignation of the nation of the present day more than the story of the way in which Takauji attracted the emperor and warriors to his side for selfish interests, and wrought the ruin of one after another of all the truly upright and loyal persons of the day. The first victim of Takauji's growing ambition was Prince Morinaga, who had already doubted the sincerity of his motives. Takauji so prevailed upon the emperor as to cause the prince to be arrested and confined in Kamakura, where he was later assassinated. When the remaining partisans of the Hōjō assembled in Shinano and marched against Kamakura, and Tadayoshi, Takauji's brother, finding himself unable to defend it, retreated to Mikawa, Takauji at once affected a union with Tadayoshi, destroyed the Hōjō partisans, reoccupied Kamakura, and bestowed rewards lavishly on the captains and warriors who had aided him. Now he threw away the mask. Established on the vantage ground of Kamakura, he called himself shōgun, and under pretense of subduing Nitta Yoshisada, sent orders throughout the provinces directing that troops should be raised. The emperor, whose eyes were at last opened, appointed Prince Takanaga to the[88] chief command of a large army against Takauji, with Nitta Yoshisada as chief of staff, and at the same time instructed Kitabatake of Mutsu to attack Takauji's rear. So began the dramatic campaign, the incidents of which still appeal to the hearts of the Japanese people.

In November, 1335, Yoshisada encountered the forces of Takauji in Suruga and Mikawa, and defeated them in successive engagements; but Takauji, and Tadayoshi subsequently, established themselves at strong positions in the Hakone district, and Yoshisada's army attempting to dislodge them, suffered a signal defeat and was driven westward. This event determined the various provincial magnates whose position had been undefined to declare for Takauji, and the Ashikaga chief found himself strong enough, in the following year, to pursue Yoshisada and push on to Kyōto itself, where in the face of a stout resistance he gained the victory. The emperor retreated to the temple Enryaku-ji. Meanwhile, Kitabatake Akiiye, with an army under the command of Prince Yoshinaga, followed Takauji to Kyōto, and having effected a junction with the forces of Nitta Yoshisada and Kusunoki Masashige, succeeded in defeating the Ashikaga chief. Shortly afterward Takauji sustained another severe defeat in Hyōgo, and was compelled to retreat precipitately westward, the imperialists once more occupying Kyōto.

Under these reverses, Takauji revealed the remarkable resourcefulness of his nature. The restoration of imperial authority by Godaigo had resulted in completely thrusting the princes of the Jimyō-in line into the background. Takauji descried an opportunity in this circumstance. Addressing himself to the dethroned Emperor Kōgon, he obtained a mandate to raise an army. With remarkable energy he got together troops from all parts of the empire and once more renewed the contest, defeating Kikuchi, Aso, Akitsuki, and other supporters of the Daikaku-ji princes at Tadaranohama. Stationing a trusted general in Kiushū, with instructions to bring the provinces in that quarter under control, he himself advanced eastward by land and by sea at the head of large forces raised in the west. Yoshisada and Masahige made a desperate stand in Hyōgo against the Ashikaga army, but were defeated. It was then that the pathetic end of Masashige occurred at Minatogawa. He had always been a steadfast and unassuming servant of the emperor, ever since he rose from his retired residence[89] at Kawachi to champion the imperial cause against the Hōjō. How with a handful of soldiers he had defended his castle upon Mount Kongō, and how his example had inspired other warriors in the land to take a stand with the emperor, is a story that the Japanese school children love to tell. To him more than to any other one person had been due the restoration of imperial rule. But his wise counsels were no longer followed when selfish ambition began to divide the sovereign's supporters. Yet Masashige did not complain. Seeing in the last campaign that his end had come, he dissuaded his son Masatsura from following him in the battle and exhorted him to grow up to gather the remnants of his followers and to die for the emperor's cause. He himself gallantly fell in battle. After his death the imperial cause, which had already begun to wane, could never again master the situation.

Takauji, who had occupied Kyōto, enthroned there a Jimyō-in prince as the Emperor Kōmyō, and established his shōgunate at Muromachi in the capital. The Emperor Godaigo shortly after repaired to Yoshino, about fifty miles south of Kyōto. For fifty-seven years subsequent to this event (1336-1393) two emperors reigned simultaneously, one at Kyōto and the other at Yoshino. The former was of the Jimyō-in line and the latter of the Daikaku-in line, now known respectively as the Northern and Southern dynasties (hoku-chō and nan-chō).[2] It was a period [90]of perpetual conflict between the supporters of the two imperial houses. Among the partisans of the Southern dynasty the most puissant and popular were Nitta Yoshisada and Kitabatake Akiiye, of whom the former had his headquarters in Echizen, where he guarded the heir-apparent of the South, while the latter, under the auspices of Prince Yoshinaga, held Mutsu under control. Soon, however, the armies of Ashikaga overran Echizen, and Yoshisada fell in battle. This was followed by the death of the Southern emperor, Godaigo (1339), who on his deathbed summoned all the imperial princes to his side, and laid upon them his earnest injunctions never to rest until the imperial power had been restored. He was succeeded by Prince Yoshinaga, who ascended the throne as Gomurakami.

A series of reverses now overtook the imperialists. One after another their armies were defeated in the provinces, until Kitabatake Chikafusa alone remained unconquered in Hitachi. But he, too, was soon overpowered by the shōgun's forces. He effected his escape to Yoshino, and the emperor issued a summons to the warriors of Chiugoku and Nankai to reinforce the imperial army in Kiushū. The southern island was thus once more brought under the imperial sway, and this success encouraged Chikafusa at Yoshino, who now made one supreme effort. Assembling a force in Kyōto and its neighborhood, he attempted to reoccupy the city, and the suddenness of his effort seemed to him a temporary advantage. But Takauji dispatched large forces to attack the temporary palace at Yoshino, the defenders of which saw themselves utterly outnumbered. Kusunoki Masatsura, son of the great Masashige, had hitherto guarded the palace with stubborn bravery. But now he and his captains bade a final farewell to the sovereign, and, marching out to encounter the foe, fought their last battle at Shijōnawate, and fell fighting. After this victory, the shōgun's army burned the temporary palace at Yoshino, and the emperor escaped to Anau in Yamato.

Despite all these successes, the shōgun's forces were unable to crush the defense of the dynasty of the South, as his own armies were often rent by the disloyalty and mutual jealousy of his immediate followers. Even his brother Tadayoshi, to whose stout support Takauji's success was largely due, and his son Yoshiakira, were alienated from him. His generals and warriors had been attracted to him only from ambition and selfishness, and now[91] they readily threw off their fealty. Many a soldier vacillated between the two sovereigns, serving the one who suited his own interested motives the better.

Takauji died in Kyōto in 1357, and was succeeded by his son, Yoshiakira. The latter was followed in 1368 by Yoshimitsu. In the meantime, the prestige of the Southern dynasty had further been impaired, until finally, in 1393, the Southern sovereign Gokameyama, handed over the insignia to his Northern rival, Gokomatsu, and the two dynasties being thus united, Gokomatsu ascended the throne as the hundredth emperor of Japan.


[1] Reference to the following table will make the genealogical issues clear:

                     88. Emperor Gosaga, 1243-1247.
                 JIMYŌ-IN LINE.   |      DAIKAKU-JI LINE.
                          |                     |
89. Emperor Gofukakusa, 1247-1266.  90. Emperor Kameyama, 1266-1276.
                |                               |
92. Emperor Fushimi, 1288-1299.     91. Emperor Gouda, 1276-1288.
                |                               |
     +-----------------+                 +--------------------+
     |                 |                 |                    |
93. Emperor    95. Emperor          94. Emperor         96. Emperor
  Gofushimi,      Hanazono,             Gonijō,        Godaigo,
  1299-1301.     1308-1319.             1301-1308.          1319-1339.

[2] Table showing genealogy and chronology of the Northern and Southern dynasties.

                          DYNASTY OF THE SOUTH.

96. Emperor Godaigo, [1319-] 1336-1339.
97. Emperor Gomurakami, 1339-1368.
            |                                  |
98. Emperor Chōkei, 1368-1370.    99. Emperor Gokameyama, 1370-1393.

                          DYNASTY OF THE NORTH.

(I. Kōgon, 1332-1336.)    II. Kōmyō, 1336-1349.
        |                            |
III. Sūkō, 1349-1352.        IV. Gokōgon, 1352-1372.
                              V. Goenyū, 1372-1383.
                             VI. Gokomatsu, 1383-1393 [-1413].

In the year 1393 A. D. the two dynasties became united in the person of a single sovereign, Gokomatsu.


Chapter IX


The reason that the Ashikaga shōguns established themselves at Muromachi in Kyōto, the civil capital, was that the seat of the Southern dynasty being near and the tide of battle sweeping again and again as far as Kyōto, the exigencies of the struggle made it necessary that the imperial city should also be the headquarters of the feudal government. Takauji had to intrust the administration of the eastern provinces to his son Motouji, as the regent (kwanryō) at Kamakura, and also to another general the control of the southern island of Kiushū. At first the supporters of the Southern sovereign kept busy the regent of Kamakura and the warden of Kiushū, who remained loyal to the Muromachi shōgun so long as this trouble lasted. It might have been foreseen, however, that in time of peace the vantage ground occupied by these magnates would be turned against the interests of the overlord. Nor did the central government at Muromachi promise a greater security to the will of the Ashikaga, for its functions were performed by men who, unlike several of Yoritomo's counselors, were at the same time the greatest landlords of the country. They might readily defy an effete shōgun and lapse into a bitter quarrel among themselves. Special circumstances were not wanting to hasten the coming of the logical consequences of the careless organization of the Ashikaga feudalism.

It so happened that the third shōgun, Yoshimitsu, under whom the rule of the Ashikaga seemed to have risen to its height, was also arbitrary and vainglorious. He ceded the shōgunate, in 1393, to his son Yoshimochi, and received for himself the appointment of chief minister of state (daijō daijin), an unprecedented procedure for a feudal overlord since Yoritomo. After a brief interval, however, he resigned that post also, and having adopted the tonsure, nominally retired from official life. Always prone to luxury, he now more freely than ever gave the reins to his fancy for pomp and splendor. Whenever he moved abroad, he was accompanied[93] by an escort large enough for an ex-emperor, and such was the magnificence of his mansion at Muromachi and so great the profusion of blossoming trees among which it stood, that men gave to it the name of the Palace of Flowers. After his retirement from official life he established his residence at Kitayama, where he erected a three-storied house with timbers and stones of the finest quality, contributed by the territorial magnates of the land. Its columns, doors, alcoves, ceilings, and floors were decorated with gold dust. Nothing could exceed the elegance and splendor of this edifice. The people called it "Kinkaku-ji," or the golden temple, and it stands to this day one of the most interesting relics of ancient Kyōto. On the completion of this gorgeous mansion, Yoshimitsu—or Tenzan Dogi as he was then called—took up his residence there, and thither all the magnates of state had to repair in order to obtain his sanction for administrative measures. Banquets were often given there on a sumptuous scale, the illustrious host amusing himself and his guests with displays of music and dancing—Budō, Sarugaku, and Shirabyōshi. The example thus set by the ex-shōgun was readily imitated by the military men of the time, and to support all this luxury, it became necessary to increase the burden of taxation. Yoshimitsu had strong faith in Buddhist doctrines, and devoted large sums to the building of temples. The doctrines of the Zen sect found special favor with him, and its priests were the recipients of much munificence at his hands. He levied contributions on all the provinces for the purpose of erecting for the sect in Kyōto a temple of unparalleled magnificence called Shōkoku-ji.

Amid the exercise of all this pomp and while the power of the shōgunate was thus supreme from end to end of the country, the seeds of future misfortune were sown. Not long after the death of Yoshimitsu the country began to fall into disorder. The generals and military partisans of the Southern dynasty supposed that a return to the system of alternate succession between the two lines of Jimyō-in and Daikaku-ji had formed part of the arrangement under which peace was restored, in 1393, and Gokomatsu raised to the throne. Hence, after the demise of that sovereign, they looked to see a prince of the Southern line assume the scepter. But the shōgun's government crowned Shōkō, of the Northern line. Discontented with this act, Kitabatake Mitsumasa of Ise declared war against the shōgun, and a number of military men in or about[94] Kyōto and in Mutsu raised the standard of revolt. Serious disturbance was averted on that occasion by the shōgun's promising that a prince of the Southern line should be the next sovereign. The partisans of the latter dynasty imagined, therefore, that at the death of Shōkō, Prince Ogura, a son of Gokameyama, would come to the throne, whereas the Ashikaga family, disregarding the engagement entered into by its chief, again secured the succession to a prince of the Northern dynasty.[1] This breach of faith led to a renewed demonstration by Kitabatake, who, in collusion with the military men at Kamakura, unsheathed the sword in behalf of the son of Prince Ogura. There rose also another revolt in Yamato. The supporters of the Southern line, however, never effected any material success. But before their energy withered away, combats and tumults of the most inveterate character devastated the land. The Ashikaga shōguns found themselves perpetually confronted by disturbance and disaffection. One, probably the principal, cause of the frequent insurrections, was that the Ashikaga made immense grants of land to their supporters without, at the same time, elaborating some efficient system for the control of the territorial magnates thus created. Many nobles developed such puissance under these circumstances, and acquired command of such vast local resources, that they gave themselves no concern whatsoever about any government, whether that of Kyōto or that of Muromachi, and sided with whatever party they found most convenient. Personal ambition and individual aggrandizement were too often the ruling motives of the time. No bonds proved strong enough to secure men's union amid these scenes of tumult. Even brothers, as in the time of Takauji and Yoshinori, did not hesitate to belong to opposite camps, nor were other family ties considered more sacred. In the days of Yoshimitsu, a great territorial magnate, Yamana Ujikiyo, whose estates extended over ten provinces so that men spoke of him as Rokubuichi-shi (lord of a sixth of Japan), took up arms against the Ashikaga. So, too, Ōuchi Yoshihiro rebelled because his success in subjugating Kiushū [95]had given him confidence in his own powers. The regent at Kamakura, also, to whom was entrusted the government of the eastern provinces, became so puissant that his influence almost equaled that of the shōgun, who regarded the growth of his relative's power with no little uneasiness. So independent was the attitude of this Kamakura official and so openly did he affect autonomic state, that we find him adopting the precedent of the Muromachi ruler and nominating two of the Uyesugi family—Yamanouchi and Inugake—to the office of kwanryō or regents. Immense estates were also held by the branch house of Ogigayatsu Mitsukane, grandson of the first Kamakura kwanryō. Motouji (son of Ashikaga Takauji), carried away apparently by his wealth and strength, supported the insurrection of Ōuchi Yoshihiro, mentioned above, but had no difficulty in making peace with the Muromachi shōgun on the defeat and downfall of Yoshihiro. Thus feud succeeded feud, and campaign, campaign, arising out of the universal creed that a prize scarcely inferior to the scepter itself lay within reach of any noble whose territorial influence and military puissance enabled him to grasp it.

On the death of the fourth Ashikaga shōgun, Yoshimochi, in 1428, there was no heir in the direct line to succeed him, his son Yoshikazu having died in childhood. His younger brother, Prince Giyen, but later named Yoshinori, was supported to the shōgunate by the kwanryō. This chagrined the Kamakura administrator, Ashikaga Mochiuji, who had aspired to the office, and who now entered into an open warfare with the Kwanryō Uyesugi Norizane and the new shōgun. Mochiuji was defeated, and the Uyesugi family intrusted with the sole administrative control in the eastern provinces.

Yoshinori, although a man of rare administrative ability and military achievement, was vain and profligate, and treated his generals and samurai with contempt. An object of his constant dislike was Akamatsu Mitsusuke, whom he ridiculed because of his short stature and upon whom he put many slights. This Mitsusuke was the grandson of Akamatsu Norimura, who, in consideration of conspicuous services rendered to the Ashikaga in the days of Takauji, had received, and bequeathed to his children, broad estates. The shōgun's dislike for Mitsusuke was exceeded only by his affection for a relative of the latter, Sadamura. He would fain have deprived Mitsusuke of his domains in order to bestow them on[96] Sadamura. Mitsusuke was indignant at the notion of such confiscation in the absence of any misdeed to justify it. In June, 1441, he invited the shōgun to his mansion, where a splendid banquet was spread and a new kind of dancing was displayed. While the entertainment was in progress, Mitsusuke killed and decapitated Yoshinori, set fire to the house, and carrying with him the head of the shōgun, fled to Harima. Thereafter Yoshikazu, eldest son of Yoshinori, was proclaimed shōgun by the kwanryō. Hosokawa Mochiyuki and Yamana Mochitoyo, having received the emperor's mandate, marched against Mitsusuke, destroyed his castle of Shirahata and killed him. Yoshikazu commissioned Mochitoyo to govern the three provinces over which Mitsusuke had ruled, and the Akamatsu family was exterminated.

Yoshikazu died in childhood and was succeeded in the shōgunate in 1449 by his younger brother Yoshimasa, who thus became the eighth Ashikaga shōgun, the Kwanryō Hatakeyama Mochikuni being intrusted with the administration of affairs and showing great zeal in the service of the shōgunate. As Yoshimasa grew older he gave himself up to sensual excesses, and paid no attention to business of state, leaving everything in the hands of favorite officers. Thus by degrees disaffection began to appear among the generals and samurai. Moreover, the two kwanryō Hatakeyama and Shiba, ceased to work harmoniously and engaged in competition for the possession of power. Taking advantage of this state of affairs, the partisans of the Southern dynasty once more raised their heads and Kyōto again witnessed scenes of disorder, while Mochiuji's party renewed their opposition in the Kwantō and the rebellion of the Shōni family still continued in the west. Yoshimasa, nevertheless, continued his life of extravagance, devoting great sums to the gratification of his pleasures and to the building of a magnificent mansion. Careless of the dilapidated condition of the capital, Kyōto, he caused the celebrated pavilion Ginkaku-ji to be constructed at Higashiyama, covering the doors, walls, and ceilings with dust of silver in order to rival the golden pavilion (Kinkaku-ji) built by Yoshimitsu at Kitayama. In this new building he brought together rare paintings and costly objects of virtu, Chinese and Japanese, and there also, in chambers specially planned for the purpose, he inaugurated the tea ceremonial (cha-no-yu), afterward so fashionable in Japan, devoting his days to the practice of effeminate dilettanteism.[97]

Official duties received no attention, and by degrees his financial circumstances became so straitened that, finding it impossible to procure money for the indulgence of his whims, he began to lay heavy imposts on the people of the provinces and on the merchants of Kyōto especially, who were taxed five or six times in the course of the year. Under these circumstances, great discontent prevailed and riots occurred, the poor breaking into the houses of the wealthy, and destroying all certificates of debt that were found there, by which means the shōgun himself was simultaneously relieved of his monetary obligations. To this device, endorsed in effect, as it was, by the authorities, the people mockingly gave the name of tokusei, or the government of virtue, and Yoshimasa found it altogether to his taste, since it extricated him from many of his financial embarrassments. The shōgun did not even shrink from sending envoys to China with instructions to prefer requests for money to the Chinese government, and the latter were not unwilling thus to purchase immunity from the raids to which their ports were exposed at the hands of Kiushū pirates. Under Yoshimasa's administration the power and prestige of the shōgunate declined sensibly; the affairs of state fell into confusion; the most cruel mandates were frequently issued; customs opposed to the dictates of humanity and the principles of morality prevailed; the kwanryō, following the shōgun's example, subserved the duties of their office to selfish ends, and finally this hopeless misgovernment culminated in the celebrated war of the Onin era, marking the darkest age of Japan's history.

The proximate causes of the Onin conflict are to be sought in personal ambition. Yoshimasa, weary of official duties, determined to intrust to his younger brother, Gijin, the task of administering affairs. Gijin had entered the priesthood. He was not averse, however, to falling in with Yoshimasa's plan on condition that in the event of a child being born to the latter, it should be devoted to a life of religion. This compact having been made, Gijin abandoned the priesthood, and taking the name of Yoshimi, assumed the direction of the affairs of the shōgunate, Hosokawa Kazumoto acting as controller of his household. By and by, however, Yoshimasa's wife bore a son, Yoshihisa, and being ambitious that her child should succeed to the shōgunate, instead of retiring to the cloister, she took into her confidence Yamana Sōzen, a nobleman possessing domains as ample and power as extensive as[98] Hosokawa Kazumoto himself, the idea of the confederates being to contrive the abdication of Yoshimi. A parallel conjuncture occurred in the family of Hatakeyama Mochikuni, the kwanryō. Having no son, he nominated his nephew Masanaga to succeed him, but on the subsequent birth of his son Yoshinari, he resolved to deprive Masanaga of the distinction. Further, the vassals of the other kwanryō, Shiba, became split up into two parties, one espousing the cause of Yoshikado, the other that of Yoshitoki. Yoshikado and Yoshinari allied themselves with Yamana Sōzen, and Masanaga and Yoshitoshi were supported by Hosokawa Kazumoto.

The enmity between these rival factions gradually deepened, until in the first year of the Onin era, 1467, Sōzen attempted to remove Hatakeyama Masanaga from the office of kwanryō, and to replace him by Yoshinari, at the same time expelling the partisans of Kazumoto from the Hatakeyama house. A collision ensued in Kyōto between the parties of Masanaga and Yoshinari, and the shōgun gave orders that they should settle their dispute by a combat, the guards attached to them alone taking part in the duel. Sōzen, however, contrived secretly to render aid to Yoshinari, so that Masanaga suffered defeat. This result caused much chagrin to Hosokawa Kazumoto, who considered that his honor was tarnished by his failure to assist Masanaga. He, therefore, privately assembled all his troops and partisans, to the number of about a hundred thousand, and posting them to the east of Muromachi, guarded the residence of Yoshimasa. Sōzen, on his side, mustered a force of some ninety thousand, and encamped on the west of Muromachi. Then commenced a long series of fights in which victory nearly always rested with Kazumoto's side. Kazumoto had the countenance of the retired shōgun, Yoshimasa, and also procured the recognition of the emperor and ex-emperor, while Sōzen, taking advantage of the strained relations between Yoshimasa and his successor Yoshimi, invited the latter to join him, and also obtained the support of the former partisans of the Southern dynasty by declaring in favor of the grandson of Prince Ogura.

Combats occurred almost daily, and were accompanied by numerous conflagrations. The citizens of Kyōto fled from the city, and the streets were left desolate. In 1470 Sōzen and Kazumoto both died, but their parties continued to fight as fiercely as ever.[99] Not until 1477, when Yoshimi had escaped to Mino, did the generals abandon the campaign and retire to their castles.


Kyōto had then been a battlefield for over eleven years, and during the course of the fierce fighting, the imperial palace, the mansions of the nobles, the residences and warehouses of the people, and many of the largest temples, had been burned to the ground, books and documents transmitted from ancient times and invaluable heirlooms and works of art being destroyed at the same time. In truth, the once splendid city was reduced, after this war, to a state of desolation and ruin. The military and civilian classes alike were plunged in poverty. The laws were discarded; the administration of justice was in disorder. The territorial magnates in the provinces discontinued the payment of taxes, closed their districts against communication from without, and governed according to their own will. The mandates of the sovereign commanded[100] no respect. After the palace was leveled with the ground its inner buildings were later reconstructed, but, inasmuch as the territorial magnates ceased to pay taxes to the central government, the court nobles found themselves without revenues and the administrative officials were without salaries, so that some of them had no resource but to wander about the country and depend on the farmers for means of sustenance. Under such circumstances the usual court ceremonials were, of course, dispensed with. Such was the impecuniosity in Kyōto that the Emperor Gotsuchimikado was unable to hold the wonted ceremony on the occasion of his accession, and at the time of his death, his funeral rites could not be performed owing to lack of funds for the funeral. It was not until the utmost exertions had been employed that the sum of a thousand hiki (2500 yen) was collected and the burial rites were performed. On the succession of Gokashiwabara, also, the coronation ceremony had to be abandoned for similar reasons, nor could it be performed until twenty-two years had elapsed, when the lord abbot of Hongwan-ji contributed a sum of ten thousand pieces of gold for the purpose. While Gonara was on the throne, even the daily necessaries of life could not be procured in the imperial court without difficulty, neither could the palace buildings be repaired, though they had fallen into a state of much dilapidation. The court, at that era, experienced the extremity of poverty. It is on record that Sanjōnishi Sanetaka, one of the courtiers, persuaded Ōuchi Yoshitaka to provide funds for carrying out the coronation ceremony, which must otherwise have been left in abeyance; and that the Emperor Ōgimachi, under similar circumstances, had recourse to the pecuniary assistance of Mōri Motonari.[2]

Not less did the shōgun himself suffer in this period of great decentralization and lawlessness. He was a tool in the hands of the kwanryō, and the house of the latter was divided against itself. The stories of usurpations and murders, which continually disfigured the annals of this period, are too tedious to be related. Finally, in 1565, the Shōgun Yoshiteru was assassinated by a rear vassal, and his brother, Yoshiaki, fled for life. It was in this [101]connection that the great warrior-statesman, Oda Nobunaga, came to the front, for through his aid Yoshiaki regained his ground and rose to the shōgunate. Unfortunately the young shōgun was unable to brook the overshadowing power of Nobunaga, and took means to compass his ruin. The contest which followed proved too unequal. In 1573, Yoshiaki forsook his office and fled to Kawachi, thus ending the two hundred and fifty-eight years of the Ashikaga rule,[3] as well as a century and a half of lawlessness.

Having briefly sketched the political history of the Muromachi period, we shall now turn our attention to the remarkable history of the foreign relations of this era. After the repulse of Kublai Khan's invasion in the thirteenth century, the sovereign and people of China conceived sufficient respect for the prowess of the Japanese to refrain from any renewed onset. But the priests of the two empires continued to communicate with one another. When the long and bitter struggle between the rival dynasties greatly impoverished the country, some of the larger provincial nobles sought to replenish their exchequers by engaging in trade with China and Korea. The custom of officially recognized trading with China also came into vogue from that time, restrictions being imposed on the number of ships engaged and the amount of capital involved. Perhaps more noteworthy than the trade are the exploits of the Japanese pirates, for about this time the Japanese living on the southwestern coasts began to make raids upon the seaside towns of China and Korea, taking advantage of the internal dissensions then prevailing in those countries. These raiders were aided by Chinese insurgents, and entered the districts of Shantung, Fuhkien, and Sikkong, burning towns and putting the inhabitants to the sword. They were in China called wakō, whose very name struck terror among the inhabitants of the coast. From 1369 the dynasty of Ming, which had just overthrown Yuan, sent envoys [102]to Japan urging that steps be taken to prevent the raids of Japanese pirates into Chinese territory, but no satisfactory steps were taken. A more serious complication was barely averted when, in 1384, an envoy sent to China by the Southern dynasty of Japan entered into a plot in collusion with one of the Chinese ministers, Hu Weiyung, to assassinate the father of the Chinese emperor. The plot was discovered, and the incensed sovereign would have sent an expedition against Japan had he not recalled the ill success attending the Chinese arms in previous conflicts with the Japanese. He contented himself with the issue of an edict forbidding all further intercourse with the Japanese. Stringent measures were at the same time taken for the defense of the coast.

Korea also had suffered severely from the attacks of Japanese pirates, who engaged in open conflict with the Korean troops, killing their generals, destroying their barracks, and plundering houses, ships, and grain-stores. In these encounters the army of Korea showed lack of courage, frequently retreating before the Japanese raiders without striking a blow. The earnest requests of the Korean king, in 1367 and 1375, that measures should be taken to repress the pirates, were only met by the increased audacity of the Japanese raiders. In 1392 Li Sei-kei, a Korean general who had been commissioned to beat back the Japanese, raised the standard of revolt and usurped the sovereignty, changing the name of the country from Kōrai to Chōsen. He dispatched an envoy to Japan, seeking to establish amicable relations, and the Shōgun Yoshimitsu ordered Ōuchi, governor of Kiushū, to treat the delegate with all courtesy. Thereafter Japan often asked for books of various kinds and Buddhist manuscripts, and the Koreans showed the utmost goodwill in acceding to these requisitions. Nevertheless the littoral population of Japan did not desist from raiding the Korean coasts.

After the union of the Northern and Southern dynasties, the ex-Shōgun Yoshimitsu frequently sent envoys to China, and on several occasions caused the pirates to be arrested and handed over to the Chinese. Much pleased at this action, the Chinese emperor sent to Japan, in 1404, a hundred tickets (kango) of the nature of passports, and from that time, once in every ten years, gifts were forwarded from China to a fixed number of ships with a fixed personnel, the articles sent consisting of head-gear, garments, brocade, gold, antiquities, and old pictures. Even an imperial[103] commission of investiture was also sent, for China habitually regarded other nations as tributary to herself. Yoshimitsu seems to have condoned the nominal humiliation so long as he was certain of the gifts of the sovereign of the Middle State, but when at his death the Ming sovereign dispatched an envoy to confer on the deceased shōgun the posthumous title of Kyōken-ō (the King Kyōken) and to offer various gifts, the new Shōgun Yoshimochi politely, but emphatically, declined to receive these marks of favor. This incident terminated the official intercourse between Japan and China. Trade relations, however, still continued.

A striking incident occurred in 1419, when a flotilla of thirteen hundred ships of war from Mongolia, Korea, and Namban (the countries south of China) appeared off Tsushima. The Kiushū barons, headed by the Sō and the Shibukawa families, who held the office of governors of Kiushū, beat off the invaders and slaughtered an immense number of them. Thenceforth Korea held Japan in awe and made no attempts against her. In 1440 the Korean government established amicable relations with the Sō family, sent presents of valuable books and opened commercial intercourse. The same year another Chinese envoy arrived with dispatches demanding in a peremptory tone the establishment of amity between the two empires, but the Shōgun Yoshimochi declined to entertain the proposal. In the time of the Shōgun Yoshinori, however, official intercourse with China was reopened, the emperor sending to Japan two hundred tickets in the nature of passports which were placed by the shōgunate in the charge of the Ōuchi family. The Sō family was then appointed to control the trade with Korea, that with China being intrusted to Ōuchi. Under the Shōgun Yoshimasa intercourse with China received considerable development, and parcels of books as well as quantities of copper coin were frequently forwarded to Japan at her request. The Ming sovereigns always complied with Japan's wishes in these matters, but considerable irregularities occurred in the trade between the two nations, owing to selfish disregard of the regulations issued for its control. Moreover, Japanese from Kiushū and other places crossed over to China, carrying with them not only legitimate articles of trade, but also implements of war. They pretended that the latter were gifts from the Japanese government to China, but they did not hesitate to use them for purposes of intimidation when they found an opportunity to plunder the Chinese.[104]

Still later, in the closing years of the Ashikaga shōgunate, outlaws from Kiushū entered China and Korea in constantly increasing numbers for purposes of plunder, the provinces on the Chinese littoral sustaining great injury at the hands of these marauders. On the flags of the Japanese piratical ships were inscribed the ideograms Hachiman-gu (Hachiman, the God of War). The Chinese consequently termed these vessels Papan-sen, "Papan" being the Chinese pronunciation of "Hachiman," and regarded them with the greatest apprehension. With them, too, Chinese pirates were associated, and the people of China suffered so much from their raids that the emperor deputed two of his principal generals to attack and destroy the raiders, but the task could not be successfully accomplished. From Korea, too, came a request to the Sō family that they would restrain the Japanese from further incursions into the peninsula, but the head of the family paid no heed, and the result was that the Koreans treated with great cruelty a number of the inhabitants of Tsushima who happened to be sojourning in the peninsula. This procedure so enraged the people of Tsushima that, in 1510, they attacked Fusan in force, and having destroyed its fortifications, returned unmolested to Tsushima. After this, the pillage of the Korean coast towns by Japanese pirates continued without intermission. It will be seen in the next chapter that this long history of piracy in Korea culminated in an organized invasion into the peninsula of large Japanese forces under the leadership of their best generals.

The closing days of the Ashikaga shōgunate are also noted for the opening of Japan's relations with the Europeans. Merchantmen of Portugal arrived for the first time, in 1542, at the Island of Tanegashima, off the coast of Ōsumi. They subsequently visited Kagoshima, and thence proceeded to Bungo, where their captains concluded with the nobleman Ōtomo Sōrin a convention opening commercial intercourse. Thenceforth Portuguese vessels frequently visited Kiushū for purposes of trade, the people competing with each other to purchase the rare and valuable articles offered by the strangers. It was then that firearms were for the first time introduced into Japan, and the military class, fully appreciating the advantages of such a weapon, set themselves eagerly to learn the method of handling and manufacturing it. With trade and weapons came also religious teaching. In 1548 Francis Xavier, a Jesuit missionary, with two disciples, arrived at Nagasaki, and by[105] permission of the Shimazu family, began to preach Christianity throughout the provinces of Kiushū. This was the first time since the introduction of Buddhism that the tenets of a foreign religion were laid before the Japanese people. The alien creed soon began to spread in the island, as also in the neighborhood of Kyōto, and afterward in Kwantō, Mutsu, and Dewa. The largest number of converts were found in Kiushū, where the people built chapels for the purpose of Christian worship. The great noble Ōtomo Sōrin was an earnest believer, while Ōuchi Yoshitaka, as well as the Shōgun Yoshiteru, were also converted. So successful was Christian propagandism in those early days, that in 1581 the Ōmura and Arima families of Hizen sent envoys to Rome with letters and articles of Japanese production for presentation to the Pope. Thus in religion, as in piracy and trade, this period was characterized by a certain unconscious freedom, which stands in great contrast with the policy of restriction and exclusion which was adopted by the Japanese rulers of later ages.

In the domain of learning and literature, the Muromachi period has left little to posterity. The continual and widespread warfare and devastation naturally turned men's attention away from intellectual refinement. Sporadic efforts were made by some lords to encourage learning, but the latter had almost completely passed into the monopoly of the Buddhist priests, some of whom continued in active communication with the source of enlightenment, China. In short, literature must be said to have suffered great neglect as compared with the attention bestowed on it in earlier ages. But the contrary is true of the fine arts. During the period of the Southern and Northern dynasties many Japanese priests traveled to China for the purpose of studying the books and paintings of the Sung and Yuan dynasties. Moreover, from the time of Yoshimitsu, and especially in the days of Yoshimasa, a general tendency prevailed to refined pleasure and artistic display of all kinds, so that objects of virtu and paintings by the old masters were enthusiastically admired and sought after. Under such circumstances art industry naturally made great progress in Kyōto. Imperial patronage was extended to painters, an office being established at court, under the name of edokoro, where affairs relating to pictorial art were controlled. During the reign of Gotsuchimikado the great painter Tosa Mitsunobu, founder of the Tosa school, flourished. His style was elaborate, his use of colors[106] skillful and striking, and his brushwork showed great delicacy and boldness combined. Previous to his time, Chinese paintings of the Sung masters, distinguished for refined simplicity of conception and execution, had stood very high in Japanese estimation, their vogue being increased by the widespread popularity of the Zen sect of Buddhism, which had been brought from China to Japan during the era of the Sung sovereigns. People's taste had been educated to prefer simple water-color sketches to the more showy and labored productions of the Yamato school. During the Oyei era (1394-1427 A. D.), three celebrated painters, Mincho, Josetsu, and Shubun, flourished. Mincho's second art name was Chodensu. His skill in painting figure subjects, Buddhas, Rishi, Arhats, and so forth, was most remarkable. His pictures were generally of large size and the few that remain are immensely prized. Josetsu took for his models the masters of the Sung and Yuan dynasties, and developed great skill in depicting figure subjects, landscapes, birds, and flowers. Shubun was a pupil of Josetsu. His favorite subjects were those of his master, and he excelled in lightly tinted water-colors. Among his pupils were the renowned artists Oguri Sotan, Soga Dasoku, Sesshū, the priest Shokei, and others. Sotan painted landscapes of the most charming and faithful character, and was also great in figure subjects, birds, and flowers. Dasoku was conspicuous for the boldness and strength of his touch. Shokei, who is often called Keishoki, was famous for his pictures of sacred figures and landscapes, and Sesshū excelled even his master in the directness of his methods, the sentiment of his pictures, and the delicacy of his execution. During the Kansei era (1460-1465), he crossed to China in order to study the landscapes and foliage of that country. The journey added to his fame, for in the neighboring empire he found no peer, and the emperor of China as well as the people paid him great honor. Sesshū has had few equals in the art of depicting landscapes, figures, floral subjects, dragons, and tigers. Students of his style were Sesson, Soyen, and Tokan (called also Shugetsu), all artists of note. A contemporary of Sesshū, Kano Oyenosuke, was taken under the special patronage of the Shōgun Yoshinori, and his son, Kano Masanobu, who had studied under Oguri Sotan, was employed in the decoration of the Golden Pavilion, where, by order of the ex-Shōgun Yoshimasa, he painted the eight Siao-siong views. His eldest son, Kohōgen Motonobu, was the initiator of a new style based on the Yamato[107] school of Nobuzane and the methods of the Sung and Yuan dynasties. His colors were applied with the greatest feeling and delicacy, and the facility and force of his brush were evidenced by noble paintings of landscapes, figure subjects, and foliage. He was the ancestor of the Kano family, and his son, Shoyei, and grandson, Eitoku, worked on his lines with conspicuous success.

Sculpture and the ceramic industry made progress not less remarkable than that of painting during the Muromachi epoch. Muneyasu of the Myochin family stood at the head of workers in metal. He made for the Shōgun Yoshimitsu a helmet of extraordinary beauty. Another helmet equally remarkable for the grace and fineness of its workmanship was forged for Takeda Shingen by Nobuiye, also a Myochin. The era was also rich in swordsmiths of note. Of these Gotō Sukenori was the most famous. A short sword made by him for Yoshimasa was considered a marvel of skilled forging. Glyptic work in various metals found masters of the highest craft in the representatives of the Gotō family. They took their decorative designs from pictures painted by the artists of the Kano school, and reproduced these charming conceptions on sword fittings with extraordinary fidelity, using the chisel as though it were a painter's brush. Aoki Kanaiye and Myochin Nobuiye were specially celebrated as makers of sword-guards, a part of the warrior's equipment on which much manufacturing care was lavished.

The vogue attained by the cha-no-yu (tea ceremonial) cult under the Ashikaga shōguns and owing to the efforts of Sen-no-Rikiu, a celebrated dilettante of Hideyoshi's time, had a marked influence in encouraging the development of ceramics, and several experts of the craft made their appearance. During the reign of Gokashiwabara, a potter named Shozui traveled to China to study the processes of his art, and on his return established a kiln in Hizen, where the first Japanese translucent porcelain was produced. Shozui adapted his methods to the canons of the cha-no-yu cult, making simplicity and purity of style his chief objects.

The lacquerer's art also made great progress in this era. Its experts found munificent patronage owing to the luxurious and costly tastes which prevailed at the time in obedience to the example set by the Ashikaga rulers. Objects of extraordinary richness and delicacy were produced, especially in the line of gold lacquer, where the Japanese workers developed unique skill. Their chefs-d'œuvre[108] were not more valued in Japan than in China, where they were known as "Yatpun T'sat-ki." Two other famous varieties of lacquer work had their origin in this era, namely, tsuishu, or red lacquer, chiseled in high relief, and tsuikoku, or lacquer laid on in alternate layers of red and black and carved deeply, the edges of the design being sloped so as to show the gradation of layers. Despite the continued warfare and unceasing disturbance of the Muromachi epoch, the shōguns and the great nobles and generals affected a most luxurious and refined manner of life, and it consequently resulted that the blackest era of Japanese history, so far as concerned the preservation of public peace and order and the security of life and property, was nevertheless a time of marked artistic development.



100. Emperor Gokomatsu, 1383-1413.
101. Emperor Shōkō, 1413-1429.
102. Emperor Gohanazono, 1429-1465.
103. Emperor Gotsuchimikado, 1465-1501.

[2] The following is the list of the emperors of this period:

103. Emperor Gotsuchimikado, 1465-1501.
104. Emperor Gokashiwabara, 1501-1527.
105. Emperor Gonara, 1527-1558.
106. Emperor Ogimachi, 1558-1587.
107. Emperor Goyōzei, 1587-1612.

[3] The shōguns of the Ashikaga family and the years of their rule were as follows:

1. Ashikaga Takauji, 1335-1358. 8. Ashikaga Yoshimasa, 1449-1473.
2. Ashikaga Yoshiakira, 1358-1367. 9. Ashikaga Yoshihisa, 1473-1489.
3. Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, 1367-1394. 10. Ashikaga Yoshimura, 1489-1493 and 1508-1521.
4. Ashikaga Yoshimochi, 1394-1423 and 1425-1428.    11. Ashikaga Yoshizumi, 1493-1508.
5. Ashikaga Yoshikazu, 1423-1425. 12. Ashikaga Yoshiharu, 1521-1545.
6. Ashikaga Yoshinori, 1428-1441. 13. Ashikaga Yoshiteru, 1545-1565.
7. Ashikaga Yoshikatsu, 1441-1449. 14. Ashikaga Yoshinaga, 1565-1568.
15. Ashikaga Yoshiaki, 1568-1573.


Chapter X


At the end of the last chapter we left feudal Japan wasted by internal anarchy. It is one of the most remarkable phenomena in history that within two decades after the fall of the Ashikaga the national life not only was restored to its normal peace, but also attained to such fullness of vigor as to embark in a warfare of unprecedented magnitude for foreign conquest. The period of thirty years between the fall of the last shōgun of Muromachi and the foundation of the Edo rule, 1573-1603, stands unparalleled in the annals of the Japanese nation for its wealth of stories of valor and heroism. The spirit of the time was such as brought to the surface only men of uncommon ability. The era was of itself rich in inspiring events, but the latter were in no small measure due to the brilliant achievements of three heroes—Oda Nobunaga (1573-1582), Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1583-1598), and Tokugawa Iyeyasu (1600-1616)—who rose one after another to rule over feudal Japan. Deferring the story of the work of the last statesman, we shall now turn to the career of Oda and Toyotomi, who respectively unified the long dismembered nation, and organized the great Korean expedition.

The tendency of the Ashikaga times was to encourage individual ambition. Military chieftains devoted themselves to organizing armies and equipping soldiers in the most efficient manner, in order to overcome rivals and establish their own independence. But none of them ever succeeded in introducing order into the provinces they overran or organizing their administration on a permanent basis. Probably the origin of this defect is to be sought, not in the administrative incompetence of these chieftains, but rather in the absence of any supreme head to issue general orders. The power of the imperial court, indeed, had greatly declined, but the nation nevertheless regarded the sovereign with the utmost respect, and whatever the prowess of military nobles or however[110] great the number of their following, it was impossible for them to undertake any decisive campaign against Kyōto, because, in traversing the interval that separated their bases of operations from the capital, they would have found themselves environed by enemies ready to protect the court against violence, as well as by rivals whom the prospect of any one noble's supremacy would have moved to union against him. Nothing remained, therefore, but to establish local autonomy. Beyond that none of the great nobles succeeded in attaining until the Oda family appeared in Owari, and owing to their sagacity and valor, as well as to the strategical advantages of their position, accomplished more than any of their predecessors.

This remarkable family was descended from the family of Taira. Nobunaga's father, Nobuhide, from his early youth, was an ardent imperialist. He made large pecuniary sacrifices to effect the repairs of the emperor's palace and the reconstruction of one of the principal shrines in Ise. His son Nobunaga, a man of daring, harbored ambitious designs, and following his father's example, treated the sovereign with the utmost deference, and constantly revolved plans for the general pacification of the country and the restoration of order. In his youth he showed a disposition to profligacy, but when his chief vassal committed suicide to emphasize a protest against these dissolute courses, Nobunaga completely reformed his conduct. An opportunity soon occurred to test his military genius. Among the rival lords of that time, Imagawa Yoshimoto, chief of the provinces of Suruga, Tōtōmi, and Mikawa, showed a conspicuous disposition to attack and raid the neighboring territories. In 1560 he invaded Owari at the head of a great army, overbearing all resistance and destroying several strongholds. Pushing on to Okehazama, he rested there, and organized an immense banquet to celebrate his successes. During the progress of these festivities, Oda Nobunaga, in command of a comparatively small force, surprised the Imagawa camp, inflicted a crushing defeat on the invaders, and killed Yoshimoto, a disaster from which the Imagawa family never recovered. Soon afterward Nobunaga annexed the province of Mino, the lord of which had alienated his followers by his unworthy manner of life. Nobunaga further strengthened his position toward the east by entering into marital relations with the families of Takeda and Matsudaira. He now watched closely for a favorable opportunity to direct his[111] arms against the military magnates in Kyōto. It will be remembered how one Matsunaga assassinated the Shōgun Yoshiteru, and how the latter's brother, Yoshiaki, in 1568, succeeded to the shōgunate with the loyal support of Nobunaga. Nobunaga had in the meantime annexed Ōmi and all the Kinai provinces. Nominally a vassal, his influence was greater than that of the shōgun. Nobunaga built a castle at Nijō, summoning the people of the Kinai and other districts to contribute to its completion either in money or labor. This place he assigned as residence to the shōgun, intrusting the duty of guarding him to Kinoshita Hideyoshi, afterward Toyotomi. Nobunaga also repaired the imperial palace, and restored it to its ancient and long-forgotten splendor. One of the methods employed by Nobunaga to obtain funds for the preservation of the imperial buildings was to lend rice to the people, the interest accruing on the loans being devoted to the maintenance of the palace. Nobunaga reversed the policy of the Ashikaga, not only in thus manifesting his loyalty to the imperial house, but also in dealing harshly with the Buddhist priests of Mount Hiye, whose great influence had been feared by temporal rulers ever since the ninth century. In his war with the lord of Echizen, he found these sacerdotal warriors on the side of his enemy. As soon as Echizen was reduced, Nobunaga, disregarding the remonstrance of his vassals, destroyed several of the temples, putting the priests to death as well as the women and children who lived with them, confiscating their lands, and bestowing them on his vassal Akechi Mitsuhide. Thus fell the contumacious and powerful priests who, relying on the authority of their religion, had treated even imperial mandates with contempt. Nothing remained of them but a few of their temples and the doctrines they had taught. Kosa, however, the lord abbot of Hongwan-ji, fled from one place to another and gathered a body of strong supporters wherever he went, and it was not till eleven years later that the priestly opposition was completely reduced. Meanwhile, the Shōgun Yoshiaki grew jealous of the immense power which Nobunaga was acquiring, and in spite of the latter's repeated effort to convince him of his loyalty, at length in 1573 raised an army to destroy Nobunaga. The campaign, however, ended in the defeat of the shōgun. He escaped to the province of Kawachi, and the supremacy of the Ashikaga family came to an end. In 1576 Nobunaga built a castle of unprecedented strength at Adsuchi in Ōmi. The keep was a hundred[112] feet in height. It stood within seven stone walls of circumvallation, with moats constructed of large masses of granite.

Having thus fixed his headquarters in Adsuchi, Oda Nobunaga set about subduing those eastern provinces which still remained independent, and also all of the western provinces, where his influence was almost unknown. No sooner, however, had the former been reduced under his sway and the plans of campaign against the latter matured, than Nobunaga met an untimely death in 1582 at the hand of his vassal, Akechi Mitsuhide. With great strategic skill, Nobunaga had combined the faculty of discovering able men and winning their loyalty. Seldom had so large a number of great men been found under the control of a single ruler as under Nobunaga. Death prevented him from carrying out his design of subjugating Kiushū, as he had conquered the other districts of the empire. Toward the imperial court he had shown unvarying reverence. He had devoted considerable sums to renovating the shrines. He also had adopted effective measures for the repair of roads and bridges, and facilitated travel by abolishing military barriers. But his character was austere, and his administrative measures were strict and uncompromising. It was by the exercise of these traits that he provoked the anger of Mitsuhide, and thus unfortunately met an untimely end without achieving the great ambition of his life.

Akechi Mitsuhide, the assassin, proceeded to Adsuchi, and having there possessed himself of a large supply of money and other valuables, returned to Kyōto. Hashiba Hideyoshi, who led the western campaign against the great Mōri family, quickly accepted the surrender of the latter, who were ignorant of Nobunaga's death, and hastened back to turn his arms against the rebel general. Mitsuhide sustained a crushing defeat at Yamazaki in Settsu. Fleeing toward Ōmi, he was assassinated en route by a farmer, only thirteen days after he had raised the standard of revolt. The celerity with which Hideyoshi avenged the death of Nobunaga had a decisive effect upon the course of events that followed. Other great vassals of the late Nobunaga also hurried from their provinces to accomplish the same end, only to find that Hideyoshi had forestalled them all. A consultation was now held between Hideyoshi and these generals regarding Nobunaga's successor, his two sons, Nobukatsu and Nobutaka, being keen rivals for the honor. Hideyoshi, apprehending that their mutual enmity[113] might prove disastrous if either were nominated, would not listen to the advice of his colleagues, but insisted that Sambōshi, son of Nobutada, the heir of Nobunaga, who perished with his father, should be appointed. Sambōshi was then a child only three years of age, so the power of the Oda family devolved upon Hideyoshi. The other generals, however, refused to endorse this arrangement. Nobutaka especially was hostile to the influence of Hideyoshi. Acting in collusion with Shibata Katsuiye and Takikawa Kazumasu, he attempted to destroy Hideyoshi. But again Hideyoshi's victory was quick and decisive, for not only did the conspirators fall one after another in battle, but their fiefs were annexed by Hideyoshi, whose prestige was thus greatly increased. The emperor now conferred on him the title of sangi (councilor of state). He established his headquarters in Ōsaka, judging the place convenient for purposes of transportation and administration alike. Instructions were issued to the various territorial nobles to furnish timber and stones, with which Hideyoshi caused to be constructed in Ōsaka a magnificent castle. Meanwhile, Nobukatsu, the remaining son of Nobunaga, had conceived hostility toward Hideyoshi, and in conjunction with Tokugawa Iyeyasu, raised an army and occupied a strong position at Komaki in Owari. Hideyoshi, finding himself unable to overcome these adversaries, concluded peace with them. He also subdued the independent provinces of the north and Shikoku. In Kiushū, where the powerful family of Shimadsu had held sway over the whole island, Hideyoshi reduced their fief to three provinces of Hiuga, Satsuma, and Ōsumi, and confiscated the other six. The Hōjō family of Odawara and Date Masamune of the extreme north held out the longest against Hideyoshi, but they also finally yielded to the overwhelming military genius. Further, he recognized as lord of the Island of Ezo, Matsumaye Nobuhiro, whose grandfather had crossed thither and subdued the aborigines. For the first time the wars and tumults that had convulsed Japan since the Ojin era were at last brought to an end, and the whole country came under the administrative sway of one strong ruler.

The story of the rise of Hideyoshi from the humblest to the most elevated position in the feudal world of Japan is highly characteristic of the man and his times. The son of a foot-soldier in Owari, Hideyoshi's original name was Tōkichi. From early childhood he acquired among his playmates a reputation for cleverness.[114] Subsequently, attracted by the great renown of Nobunaga, he took service under him, who, pleased with the sagacity displayed by the youth, raised him after a time to the command of a division of soldiers. Tōkichi grew in favor with the Oda chief, who conferred on him the name of Hashiba, deriving it from the names of his two ablest generals, Niwa and Shibata. When Nobunaga was assassinated, Hideyoshi showed remarkable promptness and ability in destroying the traitorous vassal, a deed that won for him high popularity among the partisans of the deceased chief. Thenceforth his career was a series of brilliantly conceived and boldly executed conquests. Professing always to protect the Oda family, he took advantage of the discussions between Nobutaka and Nobukatsu to overthrow Katsuiye and Kazumasu, and showed at once his magnanimity and his prowess in the easy terms of peace which he granted to the Shimadsu family while pushing his operations against the Hōjō to their complete overthrow. Thus, despite his humble origin, he succeeded ultimately in grasping the administrative reins of the whole empire. His ambition prompted him to desire the post of sei-i-tai-shōgun, but custom had required from time immemorial that the occupant of that high office should be a member of the Minamoto clan. This difficulty Hideyoshi sought to overcome by getting himself adopted as the son of the Shōgun Yoshiaki, but the latter could not be persuaded to consent. Ultimately, he induced the emperor to appoint him kwanpaku or regent, a position really ranking higher than that of shōgun. On that occasion the sovereign conferred on him the family name of Toyotomi. Hideyoshi also spared no pains to restore the prestige of the throne, supplying all the expenses required for the imperial household and exacting from the nobles an oath that they would reverence the sovereign and make no encroachment on the imperial domains.

Hideyoshi's administrative organization was remarkable. He created five bugyō; namely, a mayor of the city of Kyōto, a manager of taxation, a judicial administrator, a supervisor of the public works, and a supreme judge of civil suits. He also selected Tokugawa Iyeyasu, Uyesugi Kagekatsu, Mōri Terumoto, Ukita Hideiye, and Mayeda Toshiiye to form a council of state, called the gotairō, five elders, for the purpose of deliberating upon all weighty national affairs. The question of the land also received careful attention at his hands. Perceiving that, owing to faulty administration of the regulations, many irregularities had arisen, and[115] estates were in many cases wrongly registered, he dispatched inspectors to all the provinces and caused accurate surveys and returns to be made, severe punishment being meted out to any officials convicted of receiving bribes in the execution of this office. The result was that large tracts of land hitherto improperly exempted from taxation were brought within the fiscal system. A radical change was also introduced in the manner of registering lands: hitherto they had been classed according to the monetary income obtained from them; thenceforth they were estimated according to their produce in kind, and the taxes were calculated on the basis of this new valuation. Speaking roughly, about two-thirds of the produce went to the state, the remainder to the cultivators of the land. Further, in view of the defective condition of the currency, Hideyoshi caused gold coins of two dimensions—ōban and koban—to be struck, as well as ingots of silver, and coins of silver and copper known as the tenshō tsūhō-sen.

In Hideyoshi's time Christianity had already obtained considerable vogue throughout the country. Oda Nobunaga had sanctioned the preaching of the foreign creed, and had built for it a place of worship, called Namban-ji, in Kyōto. But when Hideyoshi, in the course of his campaign against Shimadsu, reached Hakata, the Christian priests showed such an arrogant demeanor that Hideyoshi, enraged by their conduct, ordered that they should leave Japan by a certain day, and prohibited the people from embracing Christianity. He even went to the length of causing Namban-ji to be destroyed. Some of the converts, however, managed to conceal themselves and carry on their worship in secret. When the Tokugawa shōguns came into possession of the administrative power, the edicts against the foreign faith were strictly enforced, and steps were taken to restore to Buddhism those who had embraced Christianity. These measures were unsuccessful, however, and culminated in the Shimabara disturbances in 1637, which will be subsequently described.

We shall now relate the story of Hideyoshi's Korean expedition. It will be remembered how, during the period of the lax administration of the Ashikaga, the laws were ill respected, disorders were constant, and the littoral population took advantage of the situation to engage in piratical raids against China. These proceedings led to a cessation of intercourse between Japan and China, and Korea also, having been conquered by China, ceased to maintain friendly relations with Japan. At the same time, on Japan's part,[116] much cause of complaint existed against Korea. The Koreans had always assisted the Yuan dynasty of Mongols in their attacks upon Japan, and had shown themselves her bitter enemies. But owing to the unceasing prevalence of internal disturbances in Japan, it was not possible to avenge the hostile acts of China and Korea. So soon, however, as domestic broils were brought to an end and the control of the administration rendered effective throughout the empire, Hideyoshi formed the project of leading an expedition against the Ming sovereigns. He had entertained this idea for some time, and had made it known to Oda Nobunaga when preparations were in progress for the campaign against the Mōri family. In 1587, after his successful expedition against the Shimadsu in Kiushū, Hideyoshi sent a dispatch to Sō Yoshitomo, warden of Tsushima Island, directing him to take steps for inviting the king of Korea to come to Japan in order to have audience of the Japanese emperor. This invitation was to be accompanied by an intimation that unless the king obeyed the summons, the Japanese forces would at once be directed against Korea. Following up this measure, he determined—in 1590, by which time the country's domestic troubles had been entirely settled—to insist on presents being sent to Japan by both China and Korea, on pain of being invaded unless they consented to take that step. He dispatched an envoy to Korea with instructions to make known his purpose, and to require that the Koreans should act as intermediaries to procure China's consent. In the event of the Koreans' refusing, they were threatened with the punishment of being compelled to march in the van of the Japanese army to the invasion of China. The Koreans, however, declined to accept such a proposition. Hideyoshi thereupon gave up the office of kwanpaku to his adopted son, Hidetsugu, and assuming the title of taikō, he decided to lead an expedition against Korea. The emperor having given his approval of the step, orders were issued to all the provinces to furnish troops and military supplies, as well as to build a great fleet of war-vessels. In 1592 Hideyoshi appointed Ukita Hideiye commander-in-chief of the army, with Masuda Nagamori, Ishida Mitsunari, and Otani Yoshitaka for his staff. The whole force, numbering, it is said, 130,000 men, was divided into eight corps, and with the van were Konishi Yukinaga and Katō Kiyomasa. The sailors of the fleet aggregated 9000, and were under the command of Kuki Yoshitaka.[117]

Korea Korea

In March, Hideyoshi left Kyōto, and proceeding westward worshiped at the sepulchers of the Emperor Chūai and the Empress Jingō, passing thence to Nagoya in Hizen, where the forces from all the provinces were being mustered. In April the expedition sailed from the coast of Japan. The number of ships was so great that they seemed to cover the sea and struck the Koreans with consternation. Konishi Yukinaga and his division were the first to reach Korea. They effected a landing at Fusan, and took prisoner the Korean general who attempted to defend the port.

From this point Yukinaga marched confidently on Tokunegi, overbearing all resistance and putting the enemy's officers to the sword. Shortly afterward Kiyomasa and his corps also reached Fusan, and heading for Kegushagushu, attacked and took it. Korea's opposition was soon crushed, and the whole country submitted to the vast force of invaders. Meanwhile, the king, Lien, who had not failed to convey to China intimation of the pending danger, sent to the court of the Ming sovereigns earnest appeals for succor; and his troops having been everywhere defeated by the Japanese, he finally fled from the capital with his[118] son, and took refuge in Hegushagu, having left one of his generals to defend Kanko. The Japanese troops, everywhere victorious, pushed on to the capital, which was taken by Konishi Yukinaga, the other generals subsequently assembling there. Yukinaga now made preparations to invade Hei-ando, and Kiyomasa took Hamukyando as the scene of his next campaign. Meanwhile, Hideyoshi, forseeing that a Chinese army would be sent to aid the Koreans, dispatched reinforcements to the invading troops, and conveyed to the commanders messages of encouragement and exhortation. He was persuaded that the Japanese army would defeat the Chinese, and he believed that in the space of two years the conquest of China might be effected, in which event he purposed transferring the capital of Japan to China. He even went so far as to determine the routine to be followed in the removal of the Japanese court to China. Kiyomasa now marched northward to Hamukyando, where he took a town called Eikyo. Learning there that two Korean princes were at Kaineifu, he attacked it and took them both prisoners. Continuing his advance, he crossed the northern frontier and entered Orankai, where he destroyed the castle, taking and putting to death a number of Koreans. The impetuosity of his movements and the unvarying success of his arms filled the Koreans with dismay. They gave him the name of "Kishokwan" (i. e., the demon general), and fled at the mere news of his approach.

Yukinaga, in the meanwhile, having conquered Hei-an, the king of Korea retired from Hegushagu and would have entered Hamukyan, but finding that Kiyomasa had already overrun that district, he turned westward to Gishu (Wiju). Yukinaga marched against Kuimeigen and took Hegushagu, the Japanese troops being everywhere victorious. Things did not fare equally well with the navy, however. The ships sustained several defeats, and their intention of proceeding from Terura-do to Kanai-do to effect a junction with the army was frustrated by the Korean commander Li Shunshin, who fought with the utmost tenacity and stoutness.

The emperor of China, having received intelligence of what was going forward in the peninsula, had dispatched from Ap-lok-kong a general named Tso Shingfon at the head of a considerable force, to succor the Koreans. Yukinaga encountered this army and completely routed it, the Chinese general barely escaping with his life, the news of which event inspired much alarm in China. Kiyomasa, whose operations had also been attended with uniform success,[119] now directed his forces southward, and Lien, the king of Korea, in his extremity, once more applied to China for aid. The Chinese sovereign thereupon commissioned a minister, Chom Wei-king, to consult with his colleagues as to the advisability of concluding peace with Japan. But among the Chinese captains there was one Li Chiu, who, having much confidence in his own prowess, insisted that no terms should be offered, and that the war should be prosecuted to the end. Another army was accordingly dispatched to Korea under his command, and marching with rapidity, he soon reached Hegushagu at the head of a great force. There he encountered the Japanese under Yukinaga and defeated them. Yukinaga retired to the Korean capital, whither also the other Japanese generals concentrated their troops, the corps under the command of Kobayagawa Takakage alone remaining to guard Kaijo, despite the urgent advice of the other three generals that he too should concentrate his forces at the capital. Li, following up his victory, pushed on toward the capital at the head of a large army. Takakage and others encountered the Chinese army at Hekitei-kan, and the divisions of Tachibana Muneshige and Mōri Hidekane fought with such bravery that Li's force was almost exterminated, Li himself barely escaping. Takakage hotly pursued the retreating Chinese, great numbers of whom either fell under the swords of the Japanese or were drowned in attempting to cross rivers. This blow threw the Chinese into a state of disorganization. Li retired into Hegushagu, and remained inactive.

Meanwhile, the victorious career of the Japanese had been checked in Chiushu, in attacking which place they were repulsed. Moreover, plague broke out in the camp and provisions were exhausted. Under these circumstances the Japanese were not unwilling to listen to proposals of peace made by a Chinese envoy, Chom Wei-king. Hideyoshi dictated seven articles as the basis of a treaty; first, that in order to secure amity between the two empires, a Chinese imperial princess should become the consort of a Japanese imperial prince: second, that permits for commercial intercourse should be sent to Japan; third, that the ministers of the two countries should exchange a friendly convention; fourth, that Korea should be divided into halves, one to belong to Japan, and the other, including the four provinces and the capital, then in Japanese hands, to be restored to Korea; fifth, that Korea should place in Japan's hands, as pledges of good faith, her prince royal and certain[120] ministers of the crown; sixth, that Japan should restore to Korea the two Korean princes whom she had taken prisoners; and seventh, that influential Korean subjects should give written promises of submission to Japan. The Chinese envoy objected to the two conditions relating to the marriage of a Chinese princess with a Japanese prince, and to the partition of Korea. Hideyoshi, however, urged him to return to China and report the situation to his sovereign. Meanwhile, he ordered the Japanese generals to send back the two Korean prisoners, and to renew the attack on Chiushu, pending the conclusion of peace. But, after some further parleying, the Chinese envoy finally refused to comply with Hideyoshi's suggestion, and no answer to Japan's conditions was received from the Chinese emperor. Hideyoshi, now concluding that peace was impossible, began to make preparations for himself leading an army to attack China. At this juncture the envoy who had been sent to Japan, as well as other Chinese statesmen, suggested to their emperor that what Hideyoshi really wanted was an imperial commission appointing him king of Japan. The Chinese emperor accordingly dispatched another envoy to Japan carrying a gold seal and a headpiece specially manufactured for the purpose. In 1596, Hideyoshi gave audience to this envoy in the castle at Fushimi, and ordered him to read the documents with which he had come entrusted. The envoy complied, but when he came to the clause where it was stated that the Chinese government appointed Hideyoshi to be king of Japan, the taikō became greatly enraged. Seizing the document he threw it and the headpiece on the floor, and declared that his intention was to become king of China, and that the Chinese government should learn how little it had to do with the sovereignty of Japan. He dismissed the Chinese and Korean envoys, and issued orders for a campaign against China. In February of the following year, the Japanese generals assembled at Nagoya in Hizen, Kiyomasa and Yukinaga being the first to set out for Korea. The Chinese government, learning that the negotiations had been unsuccessful, sent another army to the peninsula under the command of Ying Kai and Tik Ho.

Meanwhile, the Korean general Li Shunshin had gained several victories over the Japanese forces, and joined by this new army, his strength became very great. Thereupon Kiyomasa fortified his position at Urosan, and there sustained a stubborn siege, the Chinese General Tik Ho's repeated efforts to reduce the place proving abortive.[121] By degrees the provisions within Kiyomasa's lines became exhausted. His men were obliged to eat horse-flesh, and being exposed to the bitter cold of mid-winter many lost their hands from frost-bite. Hearing of the evil plight of their comrades, Toyotomi Hideaki and Mōri Hidemoto marched to the relief of Kiyomasa, and the besieging army retired without resistance. Kuroda Nagamasa fell on them as they retreated, and being joined by Kiyomasa, the two generals attacked the Chinese with great vehemence and completely routed them. Shimadsu Yoshihiro also defeated a Chinese army at Shinsai and Shisen. At this juncture, however, the taikō died. On the point of death he issued instructions for the recall of the Japanese army from Korea. This event occurred in 1598, and the news caused great rejoicing in China. The Chinese forces in Korea hung upon the flanks of the Japanese troops as they withdrew, but were so disheartened by the crushing reverses they had just experienced that they did not dare to make any serious attack. The Japanese ships also defeated the Chinese squadron, and were thus enabled to return to Japan unmolested. In the following year, the services of Tokugawa Iyeyasu and other Japanese generals were duly considered by the imperial court in Kyōto, and received adequate recognition. A few years later, in 1607, Korea sent an envoy to Japan carrying gifts and suing for peace. The Shōgun Tokugawa Hidetada received these overtures favorably and amicable relations were established between the two countries.

During the closing years of Hideyoshi's life, his adopted son Hidetsugu, in whose favor he had resigned the office of kwanpaku so greatly abused his power that Hideyoshi became indignant and ordered him into retirement in the monastery of Kōya-san, where, shortly afterward, he received instructions to commit suicide. Hideyoshi bequeathed his rank and titles to his son Hideyori, who was a mere child at the time of his illustrious father's decease. A few hours before his death the great captain and administrator summoned all his generals to his side, and made them swear to protect his youthful successor, appointing Mayeda Toshiiye to the post of guardian. The generals, however, entertained toward each other sentiments of such jealousy and hostility that the old disorders would have been renewed but for the transcendent ability and prowess of Tokugawa Iyeyasu.


Chapter XI


We have now to speak of the fifth line of shōguns, the Tokugawa at Edo, who held administrative sway for 255 years from 1603 to the time of the imperial restoration in 1868, a period which is not far removed from the present; and during which the feudal organization of Japan attained its most perfect development.

The original name of the Tokugawa family was Matsudaira. They were of the same blood as Nitta and Ashikaga and of the clan of Minamoto. From the time of the Southern and Northern dynasties their forefathers, generation after generation, espoused the cause opposed to the Ashikaga, and consequently during the Muromachi shōgunate they were relegated to a position of insignificance. Subsequently, they acquired large territorial possessions and had their seat in Mikawa during eight generations. But being surrounded by powerful enemies, they experienced no little difficulty in maintaining themselves. When Iyeyasu was a mere child, he was confined in various places as a surety for his family's conduct. These experiences probably helped to sharpen his naturally great abilities. At the age of seventeen he succeeded to the headship of the family, and as he grew to manhood he gave proofs of magnanimity and coolness, no less than of strategical skill. Gradually and astutely he encroached upon the neighboring provinces, taking clever advantage of the disordered state of the country, until finally he obtained possession of all the provinces that had belonged to the Takeda and the Imagawa and found himself the strongest chieftain in Tōkai-dō, lord of the five provinces of Mikawa, Tōtōmi, Suruga, Kai, and Shinano. In 1590, when Hideyoshi had overthrown the Hōjō at Odawara, all the eight provinces of Kwantō—Sagami, Musashi, Izu, Kazusa, Shimōsa, Kōzuke, Shimotsuke, and Hitachi—hitherto held by the Hōjō, were given to Iyeyasu, the taikō receiving in their stead the five provinces previously possessed by[123] Iyeyasu in Tōkai-dō; an exchange doubtless suggested to the taikō by the comparative propinquity of the latter five provinces to Kyōto, and the advisability of relegating to a distant part of the empire a chieftain of such commanding gifts as Iyeyasu exhibited. Having come into possession of the eight provinces, Iyeyasu made his headquarters at Edo (now Tōkyō). A castle had been built here more than a century before by Ota Dōkan, a vassal of the Uyesugi, but it was of insignificant dimensions, and the town which it overlooked was touched on three sides by the Musashino plain, its southeastern front being washed by the sea. The streets, where one and a half million citizens now congregate, were then overgrown with reeds. So soon, however, as Iyeyasu moved thither, he inaugurated extensive improvements, leveling hills, filling marshes, digging great moats, and building colossal parapets, until a site was fully prepared for a great capital.

Iyeyasu, though of indomitable courage in war, was a man of gentle methods. His keen perception showed him every aspect of an affair, and his patience in unraveling difficulties never failed. So long as the reins of administration remained in his hands, quiet obedience was everywhere accorded to his sway. No one opposed him. As for Hideyoshi, he soon appreciated the Tokugawa chief and treated him with all the consideration due to his great gifts. Iyeyasu had large ambition. Coming into possession of the Kwantō provinces, he sat down quietly to foster his strength and bide his time, Hideyoshi, meanwhile, wasting his resources in fruitless attacks upon Korea and thus impairing the prosperity which his transcendent abilities had obtained for him. Finally, before his foreign wars had reached any issue, he died, bequeathing his power to his son, Hideyori, then a lad of only seven years. The usual results of a minor's administration ensued. The government fell into disorder. Once more the old rivalry sprang up among the feudal chiefs, each struggling for supremacy. Above them all towered Tokugawa Iyeyasu, for his influence was superior even to that of the Toyotomi family.


Gradually the various dissentient elements disposed themselves into two great parties. The one, including Katō Kiyomasa, Fukushima Masanori, Kuroda Nagamasa, Asano Yukinaga, and other notables, was under the leadership of Iyeyasu, and the other, to which belonged Mōri Terumoto, Uyesugi Kagekatsu, Ukita Hideiye, and forty-three other feudal chiefs, hostile to the[124] Tokugawa, was under the real leadership of Ishida Mitsunari, a favorite of the late Hideyoshi, and under the nominal leadership of the taikō's son, Hideyori. The latter party had their headquarters in the Ōsaka castle, and the struggle for mastery was finally concluded in a great battle, fought on September 15, 1600. Iyeyasu was the assailant. Marching westward at the head of an army of 80,000, he encountered Mitsunari's forces, numbering 130,000, on the Sekigahara plain in Mino, the Ōsaka confederates having moved thus far to the combat. Swords were crossed at eight in the morning, and the battle waged with the utmost fierceness for six hours, the Ōsaka army being ultimately defeated with a loss of 30,000. Mitsunari and Yukinaga were among the slain, and tradition says that the whole plain was red with gore. So decisive was this victory that other nobles who had espoused the cause of Hideyori and were fighting for it in their own districts now laid down their arms and[125] hastened to come to terms with the victor. Iyeyasu now set himself to consolidate his power. Confiscating, wholly or in part, the estates of the chiefs who had opposed him, he made ample grants to his own supporters. The administrative power of the empire came wholly into his hands, and every part of the country accepted his control. Three years later he was nominated sei-i-tai-shōgun, and thenceforth, through many generations, his family ruled in Edo.


But although the administrative supremacy had been acquired by the Tokugawa, the taikō's son and successor, Toyotomi Hideyori, still resided at Ōsaka. Possessing a princely income of 650,000 koku of rice, ruler of three provinces, Settsu, Kawachi, and Izumi, old enough now to direct his own affairs, and enjoying the prestige of his renowned father, he wielded a degree of influence which even Iyeyasu could not afford to despise. Among Hideyori's adherents there were some who hoped to see him restored to the position his father had occupied, and these, plotting secretly to effect their purpose, found supporters among the feudal chieftains, who, though they had made act of submission to the Tokugawa, still remembered the benefits they had received from the late Hideyoshi and were fain to succor his son. Thus Ōsaka remained a constant menace to the Tokugawa, who, on their side, watched keenly for some act on the part of the Toyotomi that might furnish a pretext for their overthrow, whereas the adherents of the Toyotomi, bitterly jealous of the Tokugawa supremacy and resenting every evidence of it, naturally committed acts of tactlessness and contumacy.

Just at this time the Toyotomi family caused to be rebuilt a great image of Buddha which stood in the temple of Hōkōji, in Kyōto. The work was completed in 1614. A bell was cast to commemorate the event, and in its superscription there appeared a phrase praying for the tranquillity of the state. Two of the four characters forming this phrase happened to be the ideograms spelling the name of Iyeyasu. The latter pretended to be much offended at this. He declared that the obvious intention of the affair was to invoke the curse of heaven on his head, and being strongly supported in this view by the nobles who espoused his cause, he directed that an inquiry of the strictest nature should be at once instituted in Ōsaka. The Toyotomi family refusing to submit tamely to this indignity, determined to appeal to the sword, and there flocked to Ōsaka from the provinces some 60,000 rōnin (unenrolled military[126] men), who formed themselves into a garrison for the defense of the castle. But the power of Iyeyasu was too great for such a movement to develop large proportions. Intelligence of the designs of the Toyotomi, so far from enlisting the sympathy of the feudal chieftains, led them rather to renew their professions of loyalty to Iyeyasu, and the latter, who had anticipated this, ordered them to march to the conquest of Ōsaka. After the castle had undergone a long siege, peace was temporarily restored, only to be broken again in the following year, when rivalry led the Ōsaka folks to once more declare war. On this occasion the number of Toyotomi partisans who assembled at Ōsaka was twice as great as it had been in the preceding year. They were all brave men, resolved to fight to the death. But among such a variously composed host it was difficult to secure unanimity of opinion or concert in action. Moreover, the moats of the castle having been filled on the conclusion of peace the year before, it had lost its old impregnability and become useless as a defensive stronghold. Hence, the vast army marshaled under the Tokugawa banners had little difficulty in taking it by assault.[1] Hideyori and his mother, Yodogimi, threw themselves into the flames of [127]the burning castle, and Ōno Harunaga, together with the principal of those who had counseled war, killed themselves out of respect to their lord. The Toyotomi family was thus finally overthrown, and the power of the Tokugawa completely established. Thenceforth the country entered upon a long era of peace.

In the following year, 1616, Iyeyasu fell ill and died at the age of seventy-five. He was interred at Kunōzan in Suruga, but his remains were subsequently transferred to Nikkō in Shimotsuke, where, amid natural scenery of the greatest beauty, a mausoleum of unexampled magnificence was erected in his honor.

Hidetada, the second Tokugawa shōgun, devoted his energies to enforcing and observing the laws and precepts of his father. Under him the influence and prestige of the Tokugawa family increased greatly. Further, the third shōgun, Iyemitsu, was a man of high courage and magnanimous generosity. In his hands the organization of the government was brought to a state of perfection. This system we shall now describe, as it shows the feudalism of Japan at the height of its development.

During many centuries it had been customary for the military classes to own estates and to govern the people residing on them according to feudal methods. In the closing days of the Ashikaga many military families of old standing were ruined, and, on the other hand, not a few soldiers who followed the fortunes of Oda and Toyotomi became the founders of new and opulent families. When the Tokugawa came into power they divided the nobles into two classes. The fudai class comprised the barons who had espoused the Tokugawa cause from the time of the latter's residence in Mikawa and Tōtōmi. The second were called tozama, that is to say, those who did not give in their adherence until after the decisive battle of Sekigahara of 1600. This distinction was intended to define the intimacy existing between the Tokugawa and the other military chiefs. For the rest, the estates of the nobles were fixed according to their exploits at the battle of Sekigahara. In consideration of the vital importance of preserving uninterrupted communication with the capital, the estates of the barons were so distributed that none of the tozama class held sway along the line of communications. Further, although the fudai barons were chiefly of the smaller order, they occupied the most important provinces, and were so distributed that they could easily combine if necessary; whereas the tozama magnates, though ruling great territories, were[128] separated from each other by the fudai barons, and were moreover remotely situated from important centers of action. For example, Mayeda, the most puissant among the tozama nobles, had his territories extended over the three provinces of Kaga, Noto, and Echizen, and his annual revenues aggregated over a million koku of rice, while his prestige and popularity were very high. Hence, a number of fudai barons were located in Echigo, to act for the Tokugawa in case of emergency, and in Echizen also one of the nobles most closely related to the Tokugawa was placed to block the route of the Mayeda to Kyōto. A similar policy was adopted throughout the empire, so that everywhere, at a given instant, the Tokugawa partisans would find themselves in a majority. Places of vantage were also occupied by the shōgun's adherents. Such was the case with Nagasaki, the most important port of foreign trade; the Island of Sado, where valuable gold and silver mines were worked; the shrine of Daijin-gū at Yamada in Ise, the headquarters of Shintō worship, and so forth. At other places the management of local affairs was entrusted to nominees of the shōgunate, gundai and daikwan, all of which arrangements operated to prevent any effective union among the tozama nobles.

In the opening years of the Tokugawa administration an uncompromising policy was pursued. Even such a puissant tozama noble as Fukushima Masanori, and such a loyal feudatory as Honda Masazumi, who had assisted in the first organization of the shōgunate, had their estates confiscated by way of punishment for violations of the law, while several other important nobles were deprived of their territories on the ground of incompetence to govern them. The principle of succession was enforced with especial strictness among the samurai. If a man died without direct male issue his family was declared extinct, and were he a noble, his estate reverted to the shōgunate. Subsequently the severity of this system was modified and adoption began to be permitted, to the great satisfaction of the feudal chiefs and the military class in general. But in the early days the reins of administration were held so unflinchingly that even consanguinity with the shōgun did not save from condign punishment a nobleman who failed in respect for the law. Degradations and removals from one province to another were frequent forms of punishment for slight breaches of law.

The autonomy of each individual fief was complete within itself. The feudal barons, whether large or small and whether[129] their relations with the shōgunate were close or remote enjoyed the privilege of governing the districts under their control in whatever manner they pleased, entirely independent of the administration in Edo. This applied to financial, military, judicial, educational, industrial, and all other matters, the central government reserving to itself only the right of declaring war or concluding peace, of coining money and of repairing or constructing roads. But while, on the one hand, this principle of non-interference was strictly observed, any dangerous independence that it might have developed was effectually obviated by another device, namely, that of requiring the sojourn in Edo of every feudal baron at fixed intervals and for a fixed period. This was one of the most remarkable measures conceived by the Tokugawa. The policy itself had been formulated in the time of Iyeyasu, but it did not come into operation until 1635, under the third shōgun, Iyemitsu. Each feudal chief was compelled to spend a part of every second year in Edo, the dates of setting out from his province and of leaving Edo on his return journey being fixed by the shōgunate. Nothing could have been simpler than this device; nothing more efficacious in establishing and preserving the Tokugawa sway. Probably no factor in the Tokugawa system contributed more materially to the unprecedented duration of domestic peace throughout two centuries and a half. It was not until 1862, a few years before the fall of Edo, that this astute policy was allowed to fall into abeyance. Further, during the first part of the Tokugawa shōgunate the feudal barons were obliged to leave their sons in Edo as pledges of their own good behavior. This custom was discontinued, however, in the days of the fourth shōgun, though the rule that the barons with their wives and children must reside for a given time in the capital every second year was enforced up to within five years of the restoration. One consequence of the rule was that the feudal lords built mansions for themselves in Edo, some owning three, some as many as six, of such city residences, their inmates varying from hundreds to thousands. The effect thus produced upon the prosperity of the capital may easily be conceived. It was also the custom under the Tokugawa régime to prevent undue accumulation of wealth in the hands of individuals by ordering conspicuously rich folks to carry out some great public work at their own expense. In fact, no means were neglected to prevent the feudal barons from developing inconvenient strength.[130]

In addition to these rules, exact and rigidly enforced laws—called buke hatto, or military statutes—were enacted for observance by feudal chiefs and samurai in general. The first body of such laws, comprising thirteen articles, was promulgated in 1615. Subsequently, the laws were repromulgated on the accession of each shōgun, sometimes with modifications or additions. The principal provisions of these statutes were: that attendance in Edo must be as punctual as possible; that no new castles must be built; that repairs of old ones must not be undertaken without special permission; that leagues must not be formed; that marriages must not be contracted without due permission; that garments must be worn and methods of conveyance employed such as suited the rank of the wearer or traveler, and so forth; these vetoes being supplemented by provisions for encouraging the pursuit of military and literary professions, the practice of frugality and other virtues.

The position of the feudal lords was further lowered and that of the shōgun made more secure when, with a consummate tact, Iyemitsu, the third Tokugawa, annulled the formal distinction between the tozama and fudai barons, and reduced the former to the level of the latter. On his accession he summoned to the palace in Edo all the tozama barons, and addressed them as follows: "Our ancestor, having been originally of the same rank with yourselves and enabled to pacify the country through your assistance, was prompted by a sentiment of deference to refrain from classing you with the fudai barons. But I differ from my ancestor in that I was born to the position which he acquired, and am under no obligation to preserve any distinction. It is therefore my intention to place you on the same footing as the fudai. Should this be displeasing to any of you, an interval of three years will now be given you, during which time you should consider the matter maturely in your own dominions and come to a final decision." Then, adding that the creed of the samurai was to guard with weapons of war the things acquired by such means, he presented to each of the barons a sword. This injunction, at once so frank and so irresistible, evoked no dissent. The barons acquiesced respectfully, but the greater tozama never forgot the position they once held, and their loyalty was often more formal than sincere, until after 1860, when some of them turned open enemies of the Tokugawa.

The Tokugawa's policy toward the imperial house and the[131] civil nobility at Kyōto was not less clever and effective than the control of the daimio. Theoretically, the shōgun derived his powers primarily from the emperor, and ruled his vassals under the authority delegated to him by the sovereign. The Tokugawa showed deference to this theory by making every effort to enhance the social position and enrich the temporal domains of the emperor. But it was at the same time important for the shōgun that the exercise of his executive power should not be inconveniently hampered by interference on the part of the court. Hence, in the same year that saw the promulgation of the military statutes, 1615, Iyeyasu compiled a law of seventeen articles destined chiefly for observance by the court nobles, and entitled "Kinchū Jomoku," or palace regulations. In this law we find provisions recapitulating orders issued by the emperor in the Kwampei era, to the effect that men should study the ancient poetry of Japan, that the prime minister, the minister of the left, and the minister of the right should rank above the princes of the blood; that the ranks held by samurai should be considered entirely distinct from those held by court nobles, and so forth. Men said that this law was designed to augment the prestige of the imperial house, but in reality it set limits to the exercise of the sovereign's authority. The principal official of the shōgun's government, the shoshidai, was stationed in Kyōto and intrusted with the duty of supervising the imperial guards. Moreover, strict regulations were enacted to control the journeys of the feudal nobles to and from Kyōto. In a word, the policy of the shōgunate was to preserve the fullest semblance of reverence for the sovereign, simultaneously with the fullest administrative independence. The imperial court was organized in Kyōto with all pomp and circumstance; it had its ministers, vice ministers, and subordinate officials; it had its five principal, as well as more than a hundred ordinary, court nobles; but as for the sovereign's actual power, it did not extend beyond the direction of matters relating to rank and etiquette, the classification of shrine-keepers, priests, and priestesses, and professionals of various kinds—functions of no material importance whatever. Alone the kwanryō, the densō, and the gisō exercised a certain measure of authority in the shōgun's government. The control of affairs relating to lands, to the army, to finance, and to everything included in the domain of practical politics rested absolutely in the hands of the shōgun.[132]

This state of affairs greatly mortified the Emperor Gominoö,[2] a sovereign of much talent, who reigned during 1612-1630. He would fain have effected some change in the system, but found himself helpless to accomplish anything against the all-powerful Tokugawa. An additional check to such designs was given by the marriage of Kazuko, daughter of the second shōgun, Hidetada, to the emperor, the offspring of the union, a daughter, subsequently coming to the throne as the Empress Myōshō. This close relationship with the imperial family naturally increased the prestige of the Tokugawa. Subsequently Gokōmyō, Gosai-in, and Reigen, sons of the Emperor Gominoö, successively ascended the throne and Gokōmyō cherished the design of achieving his father's ambition. But he died without accomplishing anything and the times remained unfavorable to the imperial aspirations until 1868.

With regard to the organization of the shōgun's government in Edo, the cabinet, called yōbeya, held its sessions in the castle, and was composed of the tairō, rōjiu, and wakadoshiyori. The tairō corresponded with the prime minister (daijō daijin) of Kyōto; it was an office sometimes actually filled, sometimes left without occupant. The rōjiu were five; their functions were the general direction of administrative affairs, of the feudal barons [133]and of the city of Kyōto. The wakadoshiyori, also five in number, assisted in the administration and supervised the samurai directly connected with the shōgunate. The posts in the cabinet were given invariably to fudai nobles, the tozama barons being entirely excluded. Next in importance were the offices of the three governors (bugyō), the senior and junior supervisors (metsuke) and so forth. One of the three governors was called the jisha bugyō, and was charged with the management of temples, shrines, and Shintō and Buddhist priests. Another, the machi bugyō, had control of municipal and mercantile matters in Edo; and the third, the kanjō bugyō, had to do with all the lands in the direct possession of the shōgunate. These three governors had judicial functions also, being required to hear and determine all suits connected with matters falling within their respective provinces. In addition to duties of general supervision, the metsuke were charged with the superintendence of special classes, the ōmetsuke being intrusted with the function of keeping watch on the feudal barons and on officials below the rank of rōjiu, in conjunction with the rōjiu; while the shōmetsuke, similarly coöperating with the wakadoshiyori, had to superintend the samurai who were direct vassals of the shōgun, as well as the samurai in general. Attached to the above-mentioned principal officials there was a duly-ordered staff of subordinates, the whole constituting the organization of the general government. Posts inferior to those of the three governors were generally filled by hatamoto (bannerets). Turning to local officers, we find the shoshidai, or governor, in Kyōto, entrusted with the supervision of the imperial guards, and the Ōsaka-jōdai, or lord warden of Ōsaka castle. These two officials had general charge of affairs in the western provinces, in addition to the duties of their special offices. They also were selected from among the fudai barons, and their post was usually a stepping stone to the important position of rōjiu. Further, in Nijō of Kyōto there was a zaiban shihai, or controller of the guards; in Ōsaka, a jōban shihai, or controller of the castle guards, and in Shimpu, Kofu, and so forth, there were jōban shihai, or kinban shihai, performing functions similar to those of the Kyōto and Ōsaka shihai. Governors, who were regarded as officials of great importance, gundai (headmen) of lands under the direct control of the shōgun, daikwan and other principal officers, were selected by the shōgun from among the fudai barons and bannerets. In the city of Edo there were machidoshiyori,[134] or wardmasters, nanushi, or mayors, and so forth, while in provincial towns there were five nanushi who managed municipal affairs.

Turning to the foreign relations of Japan during this period, we find that, after the invasion of Hideyoshi's army, which, like the Hundred Years' War in France, devastated Korea from one end to the other, the people of the peninsula regarded the Japanese with such aversion that the relations between the two countries were virtually severed. It was with great difficulty that Iyeyasu at last succeeded in convincing the Koreans that the Japan of the Tokugawa differed essentially from the Japan under Hideyoshi, and that the former's intentions were entirely pacific. Finally the Koreans, having obtained tacit consent of China, sent to Japan a letter from their king together with some presents, and thenceforth, on each occasion of a change of shōgun, Korean envoys came to offer their country's congratulations, the Tokugawa, on their side, treating these delegates with all courtesy and consideration. In the days of the Ashikaga family, it had been customary for the shōgun to assume the title of king of Japan in his communications with other sovereigns. The Tokugawa discontinued this, on the ground that it was an infraction of the imperial dignity, and adopted instead the title taikun, or great prince. The Sō family of Tsushima acted from generation to generation as intermediaries between Japan and Korea. They had a monopoly of the trade with the latter country, whither they dispatched twenty vessels annually, the total value of the trade being limited, however, to 18,000 ryō. But though Korea thus accepted Japan's amicable overtures, China would not do so. Nevertheless, the inhabitants of her southeastern parts came to Nagasaki in great numbers for purposes of commerce, and many Japanese ships crossed to the neighboring empire with the same object. These ships, called shuin-bune, because of the vermilion-seal permits of the shōgun, were owned by wealthy merchants residing in or near Kyōto, Sakai, and Nagasaki.

The Portuguese, who were the first Europeans to establish commercial intercourse with Japan, held a monopoly of the trade for some time, so that the Dutch settlers in the Indies were excluded from competing with them. Finally, however, in 1608, the Dutch managed to make their way to Hirado in the province of Hizen, in order to arrange the preliminaries of a commerce destined to continue for a long time. Among the persons who arrived in the[135] Dutch ships were a Dutchman named Jan Joost and an Englishman, William Adams, the latter coming in the capacity of pilot. These two foreigners had an interview with Iyeyasu, who, much pleased with them, conceived the idea of trading with Western countries. Houses and lands were given to the two strangers, and they resided in Edo, the streets now known as Yayosugashi and Anjinchō being the places where they are said to have lived. The Dutch, eager to monopolize the trade with Japan, made another visit to Japan in a vessel of war, with a view to expelling the Portuguese merchants. They brought with them an autograph letter and presents from the King of Holland for the shōgun, and solicited permission to carry on commerce, to which Iyeyasu readily acceded. In 1612 the first Dutch merchantman arrived in Japanese waters and was soon afterward followed by a British ship, the coming of the latter being due to information furnished by William Adams to his country with reference to the state of affairs in Japan. Iyeyasu placed no obstacles in the way of British trade, but the relations between the Dutch and the English at Hirado were so inharmonious that at one time they were on the point of resorting to open hostilities. The Dutch finally prevailed upon the shōgun to impose as many restrictions as possible on the trade of the English, and the result was that although the friction between the British and the Dutch was ostensibly removed, the former, finding themselves unable to carry on business profitably, finally took their departure. About this time great numbers of merchants came to Japan from Annam, Siam, Luzon, and other places of the south, as well as from the southern districts of China and from India, while on the Japanese side wealthy traders of Kiushū traveled abroad to a great extent for business purposes, and Iyeyasu himself went so far as to dispatch people across the Pacific to New Spain in America in order to open commercial relations. The Japanese at that era possessed very strongly constructed vessels, measuring as much as 120 feet by 54, fully rigged with three masts, having dark-red lacquered hulls and capable of carrying a great number of passengers. In these ships were exported copper, bronze utensils, lacquered articles, umbrellas, fans, screens, sulphur, camphor, dyed textile fabrics, wheat flour, and so forth, and on their return voyage they brought to Japan silk cocoons, silk fabrics, woolen stuffs, sugar, drugs, incense, vermilion, quicksilver, glass, coral, whalebone and so forth. This list of exports and imports[136] furnishes some clue to the industries and customs of the Japanese of that era. Foreign trade flourished greatly, and a spirit of enterprise prevailed throughout the country. Date Masamune, feudal chief of Sendai, sent an envoy to Rome who came back eventually to Japan, having devoted seven years to studying the state of affairs in Rome, where he was received in audience by the Pope. Early in the seventeenth century one Yamada Nagamasa (or Nizayemon), a native of Suruga, crossed to Siam, and organizing a force with the Japanese settlers in that country—who had already become sufficiently numerous to people a village, hence called Nippon-machi—rendered material assistance to the king of the country, twice quelling a rebellion that prevailed at the time. This same Yamada, fighting always for Siam, led his troops against an invading army of Spaniards and defeated them, an exploit regarded with the greatest admiration at that era when the prestige of the Spanish arms was at its height. The king rewarded Yamada by adopting him into the royal family and giving him his own daughter in marriage, so that the Japanese adventurer's name became widely renowned. Another example of the adventurous spirit of the age was afforded by Hamada Yahei, who led a considerable force to Formosa, to avenge the plunder of a Japanese ship by the natives, and having overrun the island, brought back the son of the chief as a hostage to Nagasaki.

Unfortunately, however, unexpected religious squabbles fatally interrupted the course of the country's foreign trade. The Dutch settlers made a discovery, real or pretended, that the Portuguese and Spanish missionaries, leaguing themselves with the native Christians, were plotting to overthrow the Japanese government. Many proofs of the truth of this accusation were submitted to the shōgun by the Dutch, and color was lent to the charge by evidence that the missionaries themselves or their converts behaved with much intolerance and arrogance. The Edo government was moved by these accusations and by the doings of the missionaries to take active steps against them. Several of the principal were put to death and the rest were expelled. Shortly afterward an order was issued against the voyages of the shuin-bune and it was further declared unlawful to construct ships of more than a certain size, while, at the same time, the method of construction was so modified that distant voyages became impossible. Travel to foreign countries was also strictly interdicted, and as a necessary consequence[137] the arts of ship-building and navigation sensibly declined. It was at this epoch, too, that the Christian rebellion of Shimabara occurred, culminating in the battle of Amakusa in 1637-1638, which had a decisive influence upon the foreign policy of the Tokugawa.

At the time of the first introduction of Christianity into Japan, it spread very rapidly throughout the empire, receiving no check until the arrogance and intolerance of the missionaries provoked the anger of Hideyoshi and induced him to issue an edict forbidding the propagandism of the foreign faith. This law, however, was not rigorously enforced, and moreover official attention was shortly afterward diverted to the war with Korea. When Iyeyasu came to power, as has been shown, he expelled the foreign missionaries from Japan and deputed Buddhist priests to reconvert the Japanese who had embraced the Christian creed, the efforts of these priests being reinforced by an edict that all who refused to abjure Christianity should be either exiled or put to death. But it appeared that many of the Japanese Christians had adopted the new faith with sincerity and devotion which neither teaching nor threats could alter. In the provinces of Bungo and Hizen, in Kiushū, where even the feudal barons themselves had become converts to the Western creed, a great majority of the population was Christian, and from them issued the forces of propagandism which made themselves felt elsewhere. Shimabara, in Hizen, was especially regarded as the headquarters of the foreign faith, and the shōgun accordingly nominated as feudal chief of that place Matsukura Shigemasa, a bitter foe to Christianity. The latter issued proclamations against the profession of the faith, and inflicted most cruel punishments on its votaries. The people suffered in silence, for Shigemasa's military following was so great that resistance was hopeless.

On Shigemasa's death, his incapable and tyrannous son Shigetsugu succeeded him, and popular discontent began to take a concrete form. Gradually the plan of a combination for open resistance found advocates. Among the generals on the defeated side in the battle of Sekigahara of 1600 had been one Konishi Yukinaga, an ardent believer in Christianity. After the battle his principal retainers retired to the Island of Amakusa off the coast of Hizen, among whom the most influential constantly sought means to be revenged on the Tokugawa and to promote the spread of Christianity. They found a youth named Masuda Shirō who to remarkable graces of person added a mind of great craftiness, and they[138] presented him to the people in 1637, alleging that he was the heavenly messenger of whom Francis Xavier had spoken twenty-five years previously when leaving Japan, and who was destined to establish the supremacy of the Christian faith. They also spread rumors that the shōgun had died in Edo, and the people, much encouraged by these things, assembled in great numbers and openly offered thanksgivings to heaven. The officials in Shimabara endeavored to disperse this meeting and to arrest the leaders, but in a contest which ensued the Christians were victorious. Now the insurrection spread far and wide throughout Shimabara, Amakusa, and the neighboring districts, until the insurgents under the command of Masuda Shirō numbered over thirty thousand. At first the Edo government regarded the rebels as a mere mob of peasants, and dispatched a petty baron, Itakura Shigemasa, to restore order. But the latter's inability to cope with the trouble having afforded a gauge of its true dimensions, the commission was given to Matsudaira Nobutsuna, a powerful chief. The insurgents fought with desperate resolution and inflicted numerous defeats on the government's troops, Shigemasa himself falling in battle. But the end came at last. In 1638, the stronghold of the rebels was taken, and its defenders were either burned in the flames kindled by their own hand or put to the sword.

This experience taught the government that the spread of Christianity was attended by the gravest dangers to public tranquillity. Strict laws were therefore enacted for its suppression. Foreigners who came to Japan for the purpose of propagating the faith were refused admission, and those who declined to depart despite the edicts were put to death. Thenceforth Buddhism was adopted as the national religion, receiving the allegiance of all classes, high and low. It is interesting to note that the revival of Buddhist influence was not only simultaneous with the downfall of Catholicism, but also due largely to an institution which was now for the first time placed on a religious basis. The system of taking a census at regular intervals, which was introduced by the Taikwa reformers, had never been successfully practiced for a long period of time, until the Tokugawa government made the extermination of Catholicism an occasion for the restoration of the system. It was ordered in 1716 that the census should be taken in each fief and the results duly reported every six years. Births, deaths, and marriages were registered in books kept by Buddhist priests,[139] so that no Christian should remain in society under the protection of law. The operation was called, from its religious character, shūmon-aratame, or examination of faith. This of course contributed materially to the influence of the Buddhist church, for which the Tokugawa period was an era of marked prosperity, the number of temples throughout the empire aggregating four hundred thousand. Nevertheless, the government was careful to avoid a return to the excesses of former days. The building of new temples was forbidden, the lands assigned for the support of those already in existence were rigidly defined, and the people were encouraged to study Chinese literature, so that the corruption which disfigured the Buddhist priesthood in earlier ages was, in great part, corrected.

Even more important than the revival of Buddhist influence was the bearing of the Catholic extermination upon the almost total exclusion of foreign trade from the shores of Japan. The entry of all foreign ships, except those of China and Holland, into Japanese ports was peremptorily forbidden. Neither the Chinese nor the Dutch entertained any idea of religious propagandism, their sole purpose being commercial. The Dutch, indeed, having shown a disposition to assist Japan in every way, enjoyed great credit with the Edo government, as will be more fully set forth in the next chapter. At first no restrictions were imposed on the commercial transactions of the Chinese and the Dutch, but subsequently a limit was set to the amount of trade and to the number of ships engaged, and the prices at which imported articles must be offered for sale were also determined officially. These restrictions were suggested by the fact that the trade involved a heavy drain of the precious metals. Indeed, the quantity of gold and silver exported from Japan during the interval between the inauguration of foreign commerce and the imposition of the above restriction was so large that Japan's resources were seriously impaired. It was found necessary to strictly interdict the shipping away of the precious metals, but there is strong reason to doubt whether the interdict effected much, for foreigners, disregarding the laws of Japan, contrived to carry on clandestine commerce in waters beyond the purview of the government's officials.


[1] Chronological and genealogical table of the Tokugawa shōguns.

                            1.  Iyeyasu, 1603.
        |                           |                      |
2. Hidetada, 1605.         Yorinobu (founder of    Yorifusa (founder of
        |                  the Kishū house).         the Mito house).
        +-----------+               |                      |
                    |               |                      |
         3. Iyemitsu, 1624.      Mitsusada.    Nariakira (eighth in
                    |                 |        descent from Yorifusa).
       +------------+--------------+  +-------------+          |
       |            |              |                |          |
4. Iyetsuna,  Tsunashige.  5. Tsunayoshi,  8. Yoshimune,  15. Yoshinobu,
     1651.      |              1680.          1716.           1866.
                |                               |
                |                   +-----------+--------------+
                |                   |                          |
       6. Iyenobu, 1709.   9. Iyeshige, 1745.        Munetada (founder of
                |                   |                  the Hitotsubashi
                |                   |                       family).
       7. Iyesugu, 1713.  10. Iyeharu, 1761.                   |
                              11. Iyenari, 1787.
                  |                                       |
         12. Iyeyoshi, 1837.                      Nariyoshi (head of the
                  |                                  Kisuhū house).
                  |                                       |
         13. Iyesada, 1854.                        14. Iyemochi, 1857.

[2] Table showing chronology and lineage of emperors.

                 107. Emperor Goyōzei, 1587-1612.
                 108. Emperor Gominoö, 1612-1630.
      |                  |                 |             |
109. Empress      110. Emperor       111. Emperor   112. Emperor
     Myōshō,           Gokōmyō,           Gosai-in,      Reigen,
     1630-1644.        1644-1655.         1655-1663.     1663-1687.
               |                                |
113. Emperor Higashiyama, 1687-1710.     Tadahito (ancestor of Prince
               |                             Kan-in).
               |                                |
114. Emperor Nakamikado, 1710-1736.          Massahito.
               |                                |
115. Emperor Sakuramachi, 1736-1747.   119. Emperor Kōkaku, 1780-1817.
               |                                |
       +-------+---------+             120. Emperor Ninkō, 1817-1847.
       |                 |                      |
116. Emperor      117. Emperor         121. Emperor Kōmei, 1847-1867.
  Momozono,       Gosakuramachi,                |
  1747-1763.        1763-1771.         122. The present Emperor
                         |                   (Mutsuhito).
118. Emperor Gomomozono, 1771-1780.


Chapter XII


The period of the third shōgun, Iyemitsu (1624-1651), perhaps marks the height of the vigor and efficiency of the Tokugawa feudalism. He was assisted by able councilors, and his strong administration was emulated by many great local barons in their respective fiefs, so that a profound peace reigned over the country broken only by the Christian insurrection at Shimabara. From the latter half of the seventeenth century, however, signs of the decline of the Edo power began to manifest themselves. At the accession of the fourth shōgun, Iyetsuna (1651-1680), Yuino Shōsetsu and Marubashi Chūya, two military captains not attached to any feudal baron, collected a great number of rōnin ("wave men," samurai attached to no lord) in Suruga and in Edo, their project being to raise the standard of revolt simultaneously in the west and in the east. Their attempt was unsuccessful, but its failure did not deter two other rōnin from plotting a similar insurrection in Edo the following year. They, too, were discovered and punished before their plans matured. Thereafter, for a time, owing doubtless to the fact that the feudal barons were too frequently deprived of their estates, their vassals found themselves homeless and resourceless, and the peace of the country was broken here and there by bands of rōnin. These troubles, however, were speedily dealt with. Nor was the Edo castle itself free from trouble, for toward the close of Iyetsuna's shōgunate, the tairō, Sakai Tadakiyo, acquired so much influence that the authority of the shōgun himself was somewhat impaired.

The next shōgun, Tsunayoshi (1680-1709), however, returned to the vigorous policy of the first three of his predecessors. He dismissed Tadakiyo, and appointed Hotta Masatoshi, a statesman of great acumen, in his stead as tairō. The shōgun and his ministers alike devoted themselves unwearyingly to promoting the welfare of the country. This era is worthy of close attention. We find, among other things, that Tsunayoshi greatly encouraged the[141] study of literature. Tokugawa Iyeyasu, though essentially a soldier and statesman, fully appreciated the importance of literature, which he conceived as an indispensable factor in encouraging the pursuit of virtue and promoting the peace of society. Even while his hands were busy with campaigns and battles, he invited great savants and listened to their lectures on the Chinese classics. He also caused his officers to collect and reprint valuable books that would otherwise have been lost to the nation. His three successors followed his example in this respect, but it was the fifth shōgun, Tsunayoshi, who above all contributed to the spread of literary pursuits. Devoted from his youth to the study of the Chinese classics, he made a habit, after his succession, of delivering lectures to the feudal barons and vassals, and Shintō and Buddhist priests, and it may well be supposed that this action gave a great impetus to literary pursuits.

Prior to this time, it had been customary for the military men to neglect the study of reading and writing. Such occupations were abandoned to the priests, and it resulted that, even after the conclusion of the wars, men having a predilection for literature generally drifted into the ranks of the priests. Such persons, however, were not required to adopt the tonsure or to give up their position as samurai. The learned family of Hayashi were a case in point. The succeeding shōguns paid them high respect, and a school founded by them, at first in the character of a private establishment, but afterward taken under government protection, grew into an institution of much importance under the name of the Shōhei-kō. The example of Edo was widely followed in various provinces of Japan, and numerous institutions of learning sprang up in all the fiefs, from which the most distinguished pupils were selected and sent to the central school, Shōhei-kō, for purposes of further study. So far was the study of Chinese literature carried by the Japanese of the time that some of their publications in that line elicited admiration of the Chinese themselves. The Edo epoch may thus be described as the golden era of Chinese literature in Japan, although unfortunately this record is somewhat marred by the acrimonious disputes that sprang up among the different schools of philosophy, each considering itself orthodox and denouncing the teachings of others as spurious. The study of the Chinese classics also called forth the revival of Japanese history and belles lettres. Fiction, dramatic pieces called kikyoku, and the popular, pithy[142] verses known as haikai, flourished greatly, particularly during the Genroku era (1688-1703). Education among the masses also at last made its appearance, for in almost every temple there existed a private school, called tera-koya, in which the children of farmers, merchants, and artisans were taught rudimentary lessons in reading, writing, and arithmetic.

A few words may be said regarding the literary productions of this period. Mitsukuni, lord of Mito and grandson of Iyeyasu, himself a distinguished scholar and munificent patron of literature, established in his Edo mansion a historiographical bureau, where, under his direction, a number of savants undertook the compilation of the history of Japan from the days of the Emperor Jimmu. This work, "Dai Nihon shi" (History of Great Japan), in 243 books, written in the Chinese style of composition stands at the head of Japanese histories of this era, the second in order being the "Honchōtsugan" (Mirror of Our Dynasty), in 300 books, compiled under the direction of Hayashi by order of the shōgun's government. In the same category may be placed the "Fusōshuyōshu," 30 volumes of Mitsukuni, and the "Reigiruiten," 510 volumes, of the same author. Of other greater works, the "Kansei Choshu Shokafu," in 1053 books, the "Chōya Kyubuniko," in 1083 books, and the "Tokugawa Jikki," in 516 books, may be mentioned. There was also a large work on botany called "Shobutsuruisan," in 1054 volumes. Hanawa Hokiichi, a renowned scholar, though blind, made a business of collecting old rare works, as the "Gunsho Ruijū" (1821 volumes). Arai Hakuseki was the author of over three hundred books on classics, history, and law. The novels of Kyokutei Bakin aggregated more than two hundred. And in addition there were numerous works by less prolific students. On the whole, in the variety and height of literary development the Tokugawa period is unrivaled in the history of Japan. The monopoly of learning of the Buddhist priest was completely broken, and the intellectual power of the nation, long held in abeyance under the stress of continual warfare, now asserted itself with tremendous vigor.

At the same time proofs became more abundant that the prime of the real greatness of the Tokugawa had been passed. The same fifth shōgun who so vigorously encouraged learning, and under whom the glorious era of Genroku occurred, unduly promoted Yanagizawa Yoshiyasu, a man of humble origin, and treated him with unbecoming favor. Peace had then lasted for eighty years,[143] and both the government and the people had begun to fall into luxurious and extravagant ways, so that, for the first time in the history of the Tokugawa, the government found itself straitened for funds. The total revenue of the empire derived from land then amounted to 30,000,000 koku, of which 23,000,000 koku belonged to the feudal barons, and 3,000,000 koku to the bannerets, shrines, and temples, the remaining 4,000,000 representing the income of the government. Of this last named sum, 1,400,000 koku were absorbed by the shōgun's household, a paltry sum of 150,000 being considered sufficient for the maintenance of the sovereign, the payment of the civil nobles' allowances, and the other expenses of the court in Kyōto. The method of taxation varied according to provinces, but the general rule was that the government, or the feudal lord, took forty per cent., and the cultivator sixty per cent., of the gross produce. In the early years of the shōgunate large reserves of money were accumulated by Iyeyasu, Hidetada, and Iyemitsu, but Tsunayoshi expended the whole, and found himself reduced to considerable straits. Yoshiyasu prevailed upon him to adopt a scheme proposed by one Hagiwara Shigehide, namely, the issue of a debased currency. The coins issued in the early years of the Tokugawa, namely, the Keichō-kingin (gold and silver of the Keichō era), were very pure, but in the recoinage of Tsunayoshi, gold was alloyed with silver and copper, and copper with lead and tin, so that the cost of the coins was below their face value. Many hundreds of thousands of ryō were obtained by this device, and thereby the embarrassed finances of the shōgun seemed to have resumed their normal state. But the evils incidental to currency debasement did not fail to ensue. Prices appreciated suddenly and counterfeiting took place on a large scale. Subsequently, however, the government corrected these abuses by restoring the currency to its pristine purity, and substituting administrative economy for false finance. The bad example once set by the shōgun, however, was followed by the feudal barons long after he had mended his ways, for they, also, finding themselves in an impecunious state, began to issue fiat paper money, hansatsu, for circulation within their own fiefs. It is a point well worthy of the attention of students of history, that from the time of their accession to power until the day of their downfall, the Tokugawa shōguns never resorted to the device of issuing fiduciary notes.

Neither the sixth nor the seventh shōgun held his office long[144] enough to accomplish much. In 1716 the shōgunate passed to Yoshimune of the Kii branch of the Tokugawa family. He was gifted with rare administrative talent, and during the thirty years of his rule sought to reform the government so as to place it again on a sound and strong basis. At this period the impecuniosity of Edo, which had been going from bad to worse under succeeding shōguns, and which resulted chiefly from extravagant and useless expenditure in the Tokugawa household, began to be a subject of serious embarrassment. Yoshimune had no sooner assumed administrative control than he set himself to restore financial order by closing or destroying several of the splendid mansions kept for the shōgun's amusement, and dismissing their female and male inmates, while he himself sought to set an example to his people by wearing rough garments and faring in the simplest manner. Finally, he issued an edict urging the necessity of economy in all affairs both public and private, and as the nation had practical evidence of this spirit in the conduct of its rulers, not alone the ministers of state, but also the feudal barons adopting and following the admonition of the shōgun by the exercise of strict frugality, economy became one of the most marked features of the era. Yoshimune not only sought to foster this spirit of frugality, but also endeavored to promote industrial and agricultural enterprise. He encouraged the cultivation of Korean ginseng as well as Batavian and sweet potatoes; he inaugurated the planting of Japanese sugar cane, and at the same time dispatched officials to various parts of the empire to promote the growth of other products. Naturally there appeared many persons in the different clans who devoted themselves to industry and agriculture. Enumerating the principal developments of the time, we find that sericulture was greatly extended and its methods were improved throughout the eastern provinces; that indigo was cultivated in Awa, and oranges were grown in Kiushū; that the raising of tobacco and the operation of drying bonito were considerably encouraged in Satsuma; that salt was manufactured in Shikoku and Chiukoku, and the hardware, lacquer, goldsmith's and furrier's trades were greatly developed. Regulations were enacted for the protection and encouragement of farmers, providing, among others, that, in the event of a farmer being prevented from carrying on the necessary operations of agriculture, his nearest neighbors must assist him. Indiscriminate transactions in real estate were prohibited. The sale and purchase of land were forbidden;[145] measures were framed to prevent the undue growth of large estates, as well as to protect the humble classes and obviate their dispersal through poverty. Further, the shōgun encouraged the development of water-ways for the transport of goods and for the irrigation of lands. The result of all this beneficent administration was such a marked increase of the production of rice that the people called Yoshimune the kome (rice) shōgun. His policy, so far as concerned the promotion of industry and agriculture, was adopted and pursued by several of his successors.

From the middle ages of Japanese history taxes on land constituted the chief item of state revenue. It will be remembered that during the Tokugawa period four-tenths of the produce of the land went to the government and six-tenths to the farmer. There were two methods of collecting the tax. One was called kemmi-dori. According to this system, the quality of the rice raised from each particular place had to be determined annually and the rate of tax fixed accordingly. As the procedure was tedious, Yoshimune gave preference to the other method, jōmen-dori, the principle of which was to fix the rate of tax according to the average rice-harvest of the preceding five or ten years, and thenceforth, during the interval of years to which this rate applied, the farmers were required to pay the tax thus determined whatever might be the nature of the crops, exceptions being made, however, in the event of drought, tempest, or floods.

The industrious hand of Yoshimune extended also to the domain of law. Throughout the government of Iyeyasu and his first successors no code of criminal law was specially enacted, the administrative maxim of the time being that moral doctrines should guide all officials, and that the judges should consult the dictates of their own conscience in dealing with criminals. But as popular knowledge increased, it became obviously necessary that uniformity of punishments should be secured by fixed and universally applicable laws. Yoshimune caused the various old laws to be collated and embodied into a fifteen-volume code, called "Hatto-sho." Another volume of law, the "Kujikata-sho," popularly called "Gojō-sho hyak-ka-jō," was prepared after consultation with various jurists and officials. These enactments constituted the complete criminal code of the Tokugawa. From its provisions were expunged all punishments such as had been practiced in times of war; examination by torture was restricted to cases the circumstances of which obviously[146] dictated its application, and on the whole the object aimed at was to lighten the scale of punishment as far as possible. These criminal laws were not, however, made public. The people to whom they applied knew little of their precise provisions, only the officers charged with the duty of administering them having cognizance of their purport. The object of this system was to inculcate respect for the laws themselves rather than fear of the consequences of violating them.

Among the judicial officers of the time was one Ōoka Tadasuke, whose acumen in judging offenses was so remarkable that the people credited him with almost supernatural ability. Many of his judgments were such as to be thought worthy of perpetual record. As to the punishments commonly inflicted, we find manacling, scourging, and exile, the most severe being transportation to a distant island and death. The degree of punishment in the same class varied with the nature of the crime. There were also other punishments, as branding, public exposure, confiscation of property, and the like. In the case of samurai, it was assumed that, being sufficiently conversant with the code of etiquette and the principles of morality, minor penalties were not required for their control. Hence the methods resorted to with them were confinement to their own residences, shutting them off from general intercourse, dismissal from office, or compulsory suicide. Samurai who had been guilty of an offense were first degraded from their class and then suitably punished. With regard to priests, also, special penalties were applied; as, for example, exposure to public view, expulsion from the temple at which they officiated, or absolute suspension from religious duties. In all the fiefs care was taken to preserve a close relation between local penalties and those inflicted by the central government, but differences in the degree of severity exercised made themselves apparent in the sentences of different judges, and further, since the judiciary was not independent of the executive, miscarriages of justice were not infrequent.

Another feature of the feudal society of the time which Yoshimune deeply regretted was the general neglect by the samurai of their military practices under a long reign of peace. For this grave fault the shōgun strongly rebuked his vassals, encouraging them to practice equestrian archery, fencing, spear-exercise, swimming, gymnastics (jiūjitsu), and other martial arts, and reviving the long-discarded pastime of pursuing game with hawks on the[147] Kogane plain. Originally fond of such pursuits, he applied himself to them with added ardor in order to popularize them among the samurai. Fencing with the sword was the most practiced and most esteemed of all military exercises. Every member of the feudal class, from the shōgun downward, received regular instruction in this art, and regarded his two swords with the utmost love and veneration, the skill and spirit shown by him in their use being justly a source of pride to Japan. Spears and firearms were also widely employed, and the practice of jiūjitsu—a species of gymnastics based on the laws of balance and reaction and directed to purposes of self-defense—received general attention. Men conspicuous for skill in fencing and other martial exercises built schools and became teachers of their respective specialties. Thus theoretically the military training was very perfect, but as there had been no occasion for the practical exercise of the art of war during many years, the samurai became gradually unfit for service in the field, and would doubtless have lapsed into an even worse condition but for the strenuous efforts made by Yoshimune on his accession to power. Subsequently, toward the end of the eighteenth century, Matsudaira Sadanobu, a minister of state, spared no pains to encourage the pursuit of martial exercises, but the continued absence of any practical need of such attainments told steadily upon the samurai, and toward the close of the shōgunate not only had the nation become comparatively enervated, but also its military systems were old-fashioned and inefficient from foreign points of view. The government then found it necessary to remodel the organization, creating such offices as rikugun bugyō (minister of war) and kaigun bugyō (minister of the navy), adopting the European system, adding cavalry, artillery, and engineers, to the army, and establishing iron foundries and docks for the use of the navy. At the same time, the restrictions imposed upon shipbuilding were removed, and official encouragement was given to the construction of sea-going vessels and to the art of navigation. Thus the foundations of the present army and navy were laid.

In this connection, a brief description may be made of the regular military service of the lord and vassal under the Tokugawa. In the Edo castle, all the officials from the rōjiu downward served in time of peace in civil capacities, but, in war, held military command, the shōgun himself sometimes taking the field. As to the feudal barons in the country, those whose income did not exceed[148] ten thousand koku of rice were required to furnish ten horsemen and two hundred and thirty-five foot-soldiers, with full equipment of bows, guns, spears, banners, and so forth; while those who enjoyed a larger revenue were under obligation to furnish more ample contingents in proportion to their income. The shōgun himself had a large bodyguard, consisting of 30,000 men or upward, as well as a powerful standing force, called ōbangumi, which was prepared to take the field first in the event of an emergency. The samurai of these troops discharged civil duties in times of peace. Throughout the various clans a military system closely resembling that of the shōgunate prevailed.

To Yoshimune's initiative belongs, also, the establishment of a fire-brigade in Edo. In earlier times, during the period of the fourth shōgun, Iyetsuna, in January, 1657, a conflagration broke out in Edo, reducing nearly one-half of the city to ashes, and entailing the loss of many lives. After this catastrophe, Matsudaira Nobutsuna, who then held the office of rōjiu, effected great improvements in the division of the city, repaired and widened the streets, removed the great Buddhist temples to the suburbs, created large spaces to which the citizens could fly for refuge in the event of fire, and built embankments to prevent the overflow of the rivers, thus greatly augmenting the prosperity of the capital. Prior to this three aqueducts had been constructed in the Kanda, Tamagawa, and Senkawa districts, by which means immense facilities were conferred in the matter of water supply. After the fire of 1657, however, the crime of incendiarism became common, and owing to the high winds so often prevailing in Edo, fires thus kindled proved very destructive, as many as ten thousand houses being sometimes ruined at one time. Perpetual exposure to such a destructive agency naturally exercised an injurious effect upon the methods of house construction. The citizens contented themselves with flimsy dwellings, in many cases thatched, not tiled, and the decoration of the nobles' mansions began to be materially reduced. On the other hand, the prosperity of the city increased so greatly that its area extended over twenty-five square miles and its population aggregated two millions. Conflagrations, however, continued as frequent as ever. Yoshimune, therefore, encouraged the people to build houses of stone or other fireproof materials, and in streets of prime importance, like those in the Kanda and Nihonbashi districts, the shōgun did not hesitate to have the houses[149] pulled down in order to widen the thoroughfares. At the same time, Ōoka Tadasuke, municipal governor, established the fire-brigade system. All these improvements had some effect in reducing the number of fires, but to the end of the Tokugawa dynasty their ravages continued to be the curse of the capital.

Yoshimune, who in addition to military, financial, and administrative aptitudes had a strong scientific bias, devoted much of his spare time to astronomy, and caused instruments to be constructed for the purpose of taking observations. He also ordered surveys to be undertaken for the purpose of making a map. The encouragement of medicine and the building of hospitals were also within the range of his reforms, and even the promulgation of a law of copyright was not neglected, while we find him turning to such a matter as the planting of cherry, willow, and peach trees at Asukayama, along the banks of the Sumida River, in Kanda, in Koganei, in Nakano, and other parts of the capital, with the result that the citizens are to-day in possession of beautiful pleasure resorts both in the suburbs and in the business districts of Tōkyō.

Under the influence of these wise and comprehensive reforms, it is not strange that throughout the period of the rule of Yoshimune (1716-1745) and his son Iyeshige (1745-1761) the country enjoyed comparative peace and order. But the gradual decline of the Tokugawa power which had previously set in could not be checked even by Yoshimune. Under the tenth shōgun, Iyeharu (1761-1787), the influence of his unworthy favorites, the Tanuma family, introduced evils of bribery and sycophancy, while the country at large was visited by droughts and inundations, such discontent being engendered among the poorer classes that mobs assembled and attacked the residences of wealthy merchants.

Fortunately the next shōgun, Iyenari (1787-1837), and his great councilor, Matsudaira Sadanobu, reverted to the strict policy of Yoshimune and the illustrious founders of the Tokugawa shōgunate. Many an able official was appointed for service in the Edo castle, and several barons in the country vied with the central administration in wisdom and efficiency of government. Iyenari's shōgunate also coincided with the reign of the noble Emperor Kōkaku (1780-1817). Iyenari was promoted to the second grade of the first rank and to the post of chief minister of state, thus enjoying the distinction of reaching the highest position ever attained by a shōgun of the Tokugawa line while in office. His long rule [150]of fifty years may be said to have effectually stemmed the tide of the decline of the Edo government which otherwise would have swept over everything long before it did in the next period.

We shall conclude this chapter by describing various phases of the society and the life of the people of this period, beginning with the upper classes. Nothing was deemed of greater importance, politically and socially, than to preserve distinctions of birth. Throughout the Edo period the lines of demarcation were clearly and sharply maintained between the samurai, farmers, artisans, and merchants, the four classes ranking in the order here given. Kyōto was the place of residence of the imperial princes, among whom Fushimi, Arisugawa, Katsura, and Kan-in were most closely connected with the imperial house. The civil nobles aggregated over 130 families, including the five called Sekka from which the prime ministers were appointed and empresses chosen, and the seven Seika from which the ministers of the right and left were selected. The real administration of all the civil and military affairs of the state rested, however, under the authority of the sovereign, on the shōgun, who controlled the feudal barons numbering over 360. At the outset large tracts of territory were given to the direct descendants of Iyeyasu, on whose support the shōgun chiefly relied, but subsequently special treatment was extended to the feudal barons of Owari, Kii, and Mito, who under the name Sanke—Three Families—were authorized to act in the capacity of advisers to the shōgun with reference to the principal political affairs of the realm, and they were invested with the right to succeed to the shōgunate in the event of a failure in the direct line of male descent. Besides these, the two shōguns Yoshimune and Iyeshige founded three new families at the head of which they placed their own sons, namely, the houses of Tayasu, Hitotsubashi, and Shimizu, collectively known as the Sankyō—Three Barons—enjoying the same special privileges and distinctions as the Sanke. Many other feudal chiefs were also the recipients of exceptional, though smaller, favor at the hands of the shōgun.

As to the various barons in the land, their classification into the tozama and fudai classes has already been explained. If classified according to the extent of their holdings, they fall into the three divisions of kokushi, jōshi, and ryōshi. Lands of varying extent were granted in perpetuity, such estates being classed into four kinds, namely, those yielding 10,000 koku annually and up[151]ward; those of 50,000 koku and upward; those of 100,000 koku and upward, and those of 300,000 koku and upward. According to these property qualifications the relative ranks of the feudal nobles were determined, as well as their ceremonial robes, their treatment at the Edo castle, and the places assigned to them there. It was prescribed that, whenever the feudal barons repaired to Edo or visited the shōgun's palace, they had to be attended by a fixed retinue of retainers, the number varying with their rank. On these occasions bows, muskets, spears, and halberds were borne by the retinue, several of whom were mounted on horseback. The baggage was carried in handsome cases, called hasami-bako, and the utensils used en route were also enclosed in ornamented coverings, so that the whole procession formed an imposing and picturesque spectacle, which was frequently met with on the main roads converging in Edo. As for the samurai at large, they derived their means of support from lands granted them for life or in perpetuity by the shōgun's government or the feudal nobles. Their duties were to master all branches of military exercises and to devote themselves faithfully to the service of their lords, and literature was also studied with assiduity. Speaking broadly, they were divided into two classes. Those belonging to the higher class, called bajō-kaku, or knightly rank, took the field on horseback and held comparatively high social positions. The second class, keihai, or light men, went on foot, and were subdivided into various grades, as kachi, kobito, ashigaru. The samurai who directly served the shōgun's government were called jikisan, and occupied the most respected position among their class, the highest among them being hatamoto (bannerets) and the lowest kenin.

In order to maintain the demarcation between classes and to preserve social order, strict attention was paid by the government to etiquette and conventional observances, and the study of literature by men of position was encouraged. Nevertheless, instances of rude and disorderly conduct on the part of the people were not infrequent. During the early years of the Tokugawa period, the memory of the nation being still freshly imbued with incidents of battle and bloodshed, both the government and the people regarded the military spirit with the utmost reverence and considered its development essential to the well-being of the state. Samurai of the lowest rank wore two swords whenever they walked abroad, and, one and all, these men of war were disciples[152] of a cult which placed honor and justice at the head of a soldier's characteristics and relegated selfishness to the lowest place. It was a common practice with the samurai of the time to take their own lives for the purpose of expiating some event which they considered injurious to the prestige of their feudal lord.

A remarkable example of the vendetta occurred in 1702, when forty-seven rōnin killed the enemy of their late lord. The affair had its origin in an act of violence perpetrated by Asano Naganori, feudal chief of Akō, who, being insulted by a rear-vassal Yoshinaka, drew his sword within the precincts of the palace and wounded the offender, for which breach of etiquette he was condemned to take his own life, and his family estate was confiscated, an exceptionally severe sentence, due to the fact that the government of the shōgun was just then exercising every effort to check the rough-and-ready habits of time. Asano's vassals, forty-seven in number, under the leadership of Ōishi Kuranosuke, after a long period of patient watching and much hardship, succeeded in forcing their way into Yoshinaka's residence in Edo and decapitating him. Then they surrendered themselves to the authorities and were sentenced to die by suicide. But their achievement excited the nation's strong admiration, who bestowed upon them the name of gishi, loyal retainers. Their act was later dramatized into one of the greatest of Japanese plays called "Chūshigura," and through all succeeding generations theatrical representations of their loyal conduct never failed to attract deeply sympathetic audiences. Similar deeds were already on record. Early in the Kamakura period, the Soga brothers, Sukenari and Tokimune, killed their father's foe, Kudo Suketsune; and under the Tokugawa rule, Araki Matayemon, the renowned swordsman, together with Watanabe Kazuma, put to death Kawai, the hereditary enemy of his family, at Ueno in Iga. These and other achievements, some filial, some loyal, fired the imagination of the nation. It became a popular creed that orphans, faithful vassals, and even widows should devote their lives to vindicating the memory or avenging the death of parents, chiefs, or husbands, and this conviction was constantly translated into action during the early years of the Tokugawa rule. It was undoubtedly a custom in some respects worthy only of a military feudalism, but its effect in fostering a spirit of chivalry was beyond question.[153]

Even the inferior classes and the merchants of that day, living in or near Kyōto, attached more importance to the dictates of integrity and honor than to questions of pecuniary interest. An evidence of the spirit that governed monetary transactions is furnished in the form of promissory notes in vogue at the time, which contained such clauses as: "In the event of my failure to repay the money, I shall have no objection to being publicly ridiculed," or, "Should I fail to discharge my obligation at the fixed time, I should be considered as no man." In fact, displays of courage and resolution and heroic contempt of difficulties were so highly prized that, from the latter part of the seventeenth century such a habit of thought naturally degenerated in the case of the unrefined or illiterate into mere truculence and roughness. A peculiar class of men called odokodate, civilians attired half like the samurai and exercising deeds of chivalry, no less of mere roughness, was a product of this period. They roamed about the streets in bands, between whom bitter quarrels frequently occurred. The proceedings of these affiliations exercised so injurious an effect on the customs and morals of the people that they were strictly interdicted by the fifth shōgun, and their leaders were put to death. The same ruler forbade the wearing of swords by merchants and farmers, and by these means succeeded in correcting the rough habits of the lower orders, but it is questionable whether the evils removed were not replaced by others still greater.

As years went by and the empire continued to enjoy profound tranquillity, ostentation, luxury, and effeminate habits began to prevail. Against these evil practices not a few of the statesmen and nobles of the time earnestly counseled the people. Dissipation and vain display reached their height in the time of Iyenari. With this irresistible growth of superficial and licentious habits and the corruption and the demoralization of the feudal classes, which arose from the reign of an unbroken peace and prosperity, and which culminated in the days of Iyenari, the definite decline of the Tokugawa shōgunate may be said to have begun.

Turning to the common people, we find that the great majority of them consisted of farmers, artisans, and merchants. Agriculture being regarded as the staple national industry, farmers ranked above both artisans and merchants, the low place assigned to the mercantile class being due to the consideration that they worked in their own interests only. Neither farmers, artisans, nor merchants were permitted[154] to use family names, so they called themselves simply "farmer this," or "tradesman that," but it was possible to acquire the privilege of using a family name on account of some meritorious public service, and many farmers were so privileged. Lower still than any of the classes hitherto mentioned were the eta and hinin, who were not deemed worthy to be included in any of the above categories.


Chapter XIII


In 1837 the first armed rebellion against the Tokugawa government since the battle of Amakusa, which took place just two hundred years before, occurred in Ōsaka under the leadership of Ōshio Heihachirō. Erudite and energetic, he had found himself unable to use his ability owing to his mean birth, and took advantage of the popular discontent caused by a famine to raise the standard of revolt. He with his followers attacked the castle of Ōsaka, but failed, and in consequence died by his own hand. The government was yet far too powerful to be shaken by such a small uprising, but the revolt of Ōshio has gained its place in history as a sign of the growing decay and unpopularity of the Edo administration. A far more decisive event, however, was soon to follow.

On July 8, 1853, Commodore Matthew C. Perry, envoy of the United States of America, entered the Bay of Uraga with a squadron consisting of two frigates, the Susquehanna and the Mississippi, and two sloops-of-war, the Plymouth and the Saratoga, and sought to open commercial relations with Japan. His visit exercised a powerful influence, entirely unknown to himself, on the domestic affairs of the country. Ever since the early part of the seventeenth century anti-foreign feeling had been so intense that only the Chinese and the Dutch had been allowed to carry on trade at Nagasaki, and other European nations, owing to various circumstances, gave themselves little, if any, concern about Japan. But from the beginning of the eighteenth century the spirit of aggrandizement made itself felt in the Occident, and Western states began to vie with one another in attempts to extend their territories and commerce. Eastward of Japan across the Pacific lay the United States of America, which had shaken off the yoke of Great Britain, and the latter, deprived of this flourishing colony, sought compensation in India and farther eastward, while France also, as well as Russia, turned covetous eyes to the Orient. Nine years before the[156] arrival of the American squadron in Uraga Bay, or in 1844, the Dutch addressed a letter to the Tokugawa government advising that Japan be opened to all foreign nations, and subsequently they often repeated this counsel, at the same time explaining the conditions of the various states of Europe. Among the Japanese, many who had studied the Dutch language and acquired some knowledge of Western affairs were in favor of a liberal foreign policy, but among the bulk of the nation the prejudices engendered by the violent and lawless conduct of the early Christian propagandists remained as strong as ever. Moreover, fresh reasons for resentment had been furnished by various encroachments of the Russians between the Kwansei (1789-1800) and Bunka (1804-1817) eras, and by disorderly conduct of English sailors in Nagasaki. Indeed, the Tokugawa government had once gone so far as to order that any foreign ship approaching the coast of Japan should be fired on, and any Japanese whose studies of Dutch led them to advocate the opening of the country were deprived of their official positions or otherwise punished.

In the last years of the eighteenth century the councilors of Edo strongly advocated complete national seclusion, and at the time when the American squadron visited Japan, Tokugawa Nariakira, commonly called Rekkō, the feudal chief of Mito, a noble of statesman-like qualities, ardently urged the policy of holding aloof from all foreign intercourse. In 1846 two American men-of-war had come to Uraga and sought to open trade relations, but their proposals were not entertained, and they had to leave the country without accomplishing anything. Commodore Perry's visit occurred seven years later; he came with credentials from President Fillmore, as well as specimens of the products of the United States, and made formal application that commerce be opened between his country and Japan. The government replied that the matter being of the gravest importance, no immediate reply could be given, but that an answer would be ready the following year, whereupon Perry sailed away, declaring that he would return the next year without fail. Thereafter the Tokugawa government invited a council of the feudal barons, including the lord of Mito, the matter being at the same time reported to the emperor. During the general confusion incidental to this event, the Shōgun Iyeyoshi died suddenly, his demise taking place in the very month of Perry's coming. He was succeeded by his son Iyesada. The year passed[157] without any definite step being taken, and in February, 1854, Perry once more made his appearance at Uraga and urgently asked for a reply to the proposals he had submitted the preceding year. All the feudal barons, including the Mito chief, united in advocating a policy of seclusion, but the rōjiu, Abe Masahiro, and other chief officials of the Edo castle were astute enough to see that such a policy would be impracticable. They therefore insisted on concluding a treaty of amity and commerce, without paying due attention to its terms. Repeated conferences were held with the American envoy, and finally a treaty was signed on March 31, providing that all American citizens driven to Japan by stress of weather should be kindly treated; that American ships of war should be supplied in Japanese ports with fuel, coal, provisions, and other necessaries; and that the two ports of Shimoda and Hakodate should be opened to American vessels. Subsequently ambassadors came from Russia, France, and England, and conventions were concluded with them in terms virtually the same as those of the American treaty. The government pretended that they had concluded the treaties merely in order to gain time for warlike preparations, but in truth they had been taken by surprise. Moreover, natural calamities of a most disastrous character visited the nation, to increase the financial embarrassment of Edo. In the year of Commodore Perry's second coming violent earthquakes took place in western Japan, only to be followed in the next year by a severer shock, which overthrew immense numbers of the dwellings of the upper and lower classes as well as of the feudal barons, and caused in Edo a terrific fire in which 100,000 persons are said to have lost their lives.


In 1856, Townsend Harris, consul-general, came duly accredited by the government of the United States, and proposed that relations of friendship should be established between the two countries, at the same time asking on his own part for an audience with the shōgun. The Rōjiu Hotta Masaatsu (Bitchu-no-kami), who had taken charge of foreign affairs in place of Abe Masahiro, allowed Harris, after considerable hesitation, to repair to the Edo castle. It was, however, decided not to give a favorable answer to the American proposal without the sanction of the emperor. Hitherto, despite the great importance of foreign affairs, the Tokugawa administration had been allowed to take any steps it pleased with reference to them without consulting the sovereign. But despite the large measure of power enjoyed by the Edo gov[158]ernment, it was no longer able to effectually control the feudal barons. Hence it resolved to consult the imperial wishes, and also to secure the advice of the feudal chiefs. Such a vacillating and dependent method of procedure was entirely opposed to the policy pursued by the Tokugawa ever since the days of Iyeyasu. Now they exposed themselves to the criticism and interference of both the court and the people, so that in this question of foreign intercourse is to be sought the proximate cause of the downfall of the Tokugawa.

At that time the throne was occupied by Kōmei, father of the present emperor, who was in favor of keeping the country closed against the ingress of foreigners. He therefore withheld his sanction when the shōgun's representative came to Kyōto to seek it. At the same time, the American envoy continually pressed the government to sign a treaty, and, to make the matter worse, another trouble simultaneously presented itself, namely, that, the shōgun having no son, friction arose about the succession. Several of the most influential feudal barons desired that Yoshinobu, son of Nariakira of Mito, who represented the Hitotsubashi branch of the Tokugawa, should become heir in consideration of his high abilities; but many of the principal officers and the court ladies were opposed to the policy of Nariakira. The shōgun himself was not desirous of making Yoshinobu his successor, but the steadily increasing influence of the anti-foreign party in Kyōto, the recognized head of which was Nariakira, gave new force to the claims of the latter. Meanwhile, as the need of coming to some terms with the United States became more urgent, the shōgun appointed to the post of tairō the courageous Ii Naosuke (Kamon-no-Kami). Ii was not a man to be guided by others whose opinions he did not share. Under his counsel, it was now agreed that the five ports of Nagasaki, Hakodate, Hyōgo, Kanagawa, and Niigata should be opened to foreign trade, a convention in that sense being concluded without reference to the emperor. This took place in June of 1858, and a little later treaties of similar import were signed with Russia, England, the Netherlands, and France, a report being sent to Kyōto, after the event, to the effect that these measures had been unavoidable. In the matter of the succession, Ii overrode the advice of the feudal barons, and Iyemochi, then little more than a child, son of the lord of Kii, became the fourteenth shōgun. The Tokugawa government thus disposed finally of the question of[159] foreign intercourse, but the domestic affairs of the country grew more complicated than ever.


The officials of Edo who were opposed to foreign intercourse claimed that the country had been subjected to the shame of concluding a commercial treaty under duress. The spread of this idea aroused indignation against the Tokugawa government, and many of the barons, especially Nariakira of Mito, addressed memorials to Kyōto, complaining that the opening of the country to foreign trade and intercourse was contrary to the best interests of the nation. Under these circumstances, the relations between the courts in Kyōto and Edo were of the least intimate character. Presently it began to be alleged against the shōgun's councilors, even by men of Owari, Mito, and Echizen, who stood in a position of close relationship and intimacy with the Tokugawa, that by concluding treaties with five foreign countries without reference to the emperor, the sovereign[160] had been directly insulted. Loyalty to the throne and the expulsion of aliens became rallying cries of the exclusive party, and conflicts occurred in various places between the people who would close the country and those who advocated its opening. Loyalty to the throne was no new thought to the nation, but it now acquired a new significance under new circumstances. The Tokugawa shōguns had, like all other great military families that acquired administrative control in Japan, asserted their authority largely at the expense of that of the emperor, and the fact had begun to cause keen regret to many among the samurai. Already, when Iyeshige was shōgun a rōnin named Takeuchi Shikibu, lamenting the decline of the imperial power, urged the officials of Kyōto to devote themselves to military and literary pursuits, so as to be able some day to overthrow the shōgunate. He was exiled by the Tokugawa, who also arrested and put to death several others of the same party.

With the growth of a taste for pure Japanese literature reverence for the sovereign was intensified and propagated. Its influence was most potent in Mito, the lord of which edited the "Dai Nihon Shi" (History of Great Japan), which as scripture of loyalty was widely read. Another work which exercised a similar influence was the "Nihon-gaishi" by Rai Sanyō. Various motives so largely contributed to the growth of loyal sentiment that ultimately a secret imperial rescript was issued to the Mito vassals, instructing them to unite with the tozama barons and assist the shōgun to expel foreigners from the country. The Tairō Ii, vehemently attacked for exceeding the powers that properly belonged to him, now took another resolute and decisive step. He dismissed all the senior officials who opposed his policy, and retained in office only those in harmony with him. He further announced that any person placing obstacles in the way of measures adopted by the government should be severely dealt with, and in pursuance of this declaration he placed in confinement or dismissed from office civil nobles of highest distinction, and inflicted penalties on six feudal barons of the greatest magnitude. An equally drastic course was adopted in the case of the leading Edo officials, and more than fifty prominent retainers of noblemen, as well as rōnin, scholars, priests, and even women, were seized and sent into exile. These decisive proceedings procured for the period the name of the "Ansei Jail," but the tairō had at least the satisfaction of knowing that he had shown his courage and competence to deal summarily with his opponents.[161] Great excitement prevailed, however, among all classes of the people, above all, the Mito samurai. On the snowy morning of the 3d of the third month, 1860, as the Tairō Ii was en route for the palace of the shōgun, he was attacked and killed by eighteen Mito rōnin under the leadership of Sano Takenosuke, and a year later the Rōjiu Andō Nobumasa, was attacked near the Sakashita gate of the castle. In order to restore harmony between the courts of Kyōto and Edo, the latter now arranged a marriage between the Shōgun Iyemochi and the emperor's sister, but though the sovereign sanctioned this union, it brought no peace for the country. Not only did the anti-Tokugawa agitation continue in noble and official circles, but also rōnin, partly in obedience to the exclusion policy, but chiefly seeking to increase the embarrassments of Edo, attacked foreigners and burned their houses, the shōgun's administration showing itself powerless to check these outrages. By degrees the samurai, who had separated themselves from their fiefs in order to carry on the agitation, assembled in Kyōto, where were already gathered great numbers of influential persons interested in the burning question of the day, and where the emperor himself lent the sanction of his indorsement to the doings of the malcontents. To the two most powerful among all the barons, Shimazu Narishige, lord of Satsuma, and Mōri Yoshichika, lord of Chōshū, secret commissions were specially given by the emperor. Before anything decisive could be accomplished, however, Narishige died and was succeeded by his younger brother, Hisamitsu, who, together with the Chōshū chief, remained in Kyōto at the head of a large force of samurai, with the avowed intention of restoring tranquillity to the country. There they were joined by Yamanouchi Toyonobu, lord of Tosa, and this triumvirate of puissant barons, Satsuma, Chōshū, and Tosa, began to be spoken of throughout the length and breadth of the land as the certain saviors of the situation.

The imperial court, in accordance with the advice of these three powerful councilors, now dispatched an envoy to Edo conveying a command that the shōgun should repair to Kyōto, that order should be established in the affairs of the administration, and that foreigners should be expelled from Japan. Prior to the receipt of this rescript the Tokugawa government had released the persons then in confinement, had dismissed all officials of proved incompetence, and had effected various reforms in the state organization. After the arrival of the imperial[162] rescript these measures were supplemented by other changes, and punishments were meted out to Andō and other officials who had been removed from office. At the same period a most significant step was taken by the shōgun's government: the system that required the presence of the feudal barons in Edo was abolished—a step indicative of the marked decadence of the Tokugawa power. For the first time in two centuries and a half the power of the imperial court overshadowed that of the castle in Edo. An event now occurred that tended to precipitate the impending crisis. As the Satsuma chief, Shimazu Hisamitsu, was escorting the imperial envoy on his return journey from Edo to Kyōto, a party of four English equestrians met the procession near the village of Namamugi in Musashi, and attempted to break through its ranks. This violation of Japanese official etiquette, an act unpardonable in the eyes of the samurai, was violently resented. Two of the foreigners were severely wounded, one of them shortly afterward falling from his horse and dying by the roadside. Incensed by this affair, the British government demanded that the men who had perpetrated the deed and the personage under whose direction it had been carried out should be arrested, and that an indemnity of a hundred thousand dollars should be paid as blood-money, a demand that greatly embarrassed the shōgun's ministers, who knew that, even if they had possessed the power to comply in full, the attempt must lead to the gravest domestic troubles.

In 1863 the Shōgun Iyemochi repaired to Kyōto. This was the first visit paid to the imperial capital by a Tokugawa shōgun since the days of Iyemitsu, two hundred years previously, and the event naturally produced a strong impression upon the nation. At that time the numerous and constantly increasing body of samurai whose motto was "sonnō jōi" (revere the sovereign and expel the foreigner) were exerting all their energies, going hither and thither to popularize their views, and not hesitating even to use the sword against those who opposed them. When the shōgun arrived in Kyōto they brought strong pressure to bear on him with the object of inducing him to adopt their policy, and after long discussion he finally agreed to do so. Notice of this important decision was given to the feudal barons on May 15 in the same year (1863). The shōgun then returned without loss of time to Edo, apprehending that his presence in Kyōto might lead to fresh complications and being further advised that affairs in Edo needed his presence.[163]

The Edo government now found itself in a dilemma. At once unwilling and unable to give effect to its anti-foreign policy, it had nevertheless received and accepted the imperial order to that effect. The ministers, therefore, adopted the only course opened to them, namely, conveyed to the foreign representatives an intimation that it would be necessary to close the ports and put an end to foreign commerce, and, at the same time, dispatched ambassadors directly to the Occident to explain the state of affairs in Japan. These measures, however, proved of course abortive. The anti-foreign sentiment was still further inflamed a few months later by openly hostile acts committed by the feudal baron of Chōshū, who fired upon foreign vessels attempting to pass the Strait of Shimonoseki. Nevertheless, even in Kyōto there were some influential men who boldly espoused the Tokugawa cause and placed themselves in opposition to the party working for the overthrow of the Edo government. A serious obstacle to the success of that party still existed in the fact that no effective union had yet been brought about between the powerful fiefs of Satsuma and Chōshū. The former advocated reconciliation between the courts of Kyōto and Edo, and urged that both should coöperate for the expulsion of foreigners; whereas the Chōshū folks were in favor of more precipitate measures, involving the downfall of the Tokugawa. In Kyōto the partisans of the extreme view urged the emperor to honor the Chōshū chief by visiting him in his own fief, subsequently worshiping at the sepulcher of Jimmu Tennō, and then, after a visit to the shrine of Ise, to openly declare war against the shōgun. But the programme encountered strong opposition in Kyōto at the hands of a few other barons who regarded with deep regret and apprehension the strong course to which the imperial court seemed in danger of being committed. These nobles, forming a union with certain princes, zealously opposed the court view; and finally succeeded so far as to procure the expulsion from Kyōto of the Chōshū lord, who, on his return to his fief, was accompanied by Sanjō Sanetomi, afterward destined to play a prominent part in the events of the restoration, and six other court nobles. The policy of the court was now directed to the reëstablishment of friendly relations with Edo, and the dissatisfaction engendered by this attitude led to émeutes by rōnin at Yamato, Tajima, and other places, but they were speedily reduced to order. In the following year, 1864, the Shōgun Iyemochi again proceeded to Kyōto,[164] where his reception by the emperor was much more gracious than it had been on the previous occasion, various commissions being given to him, with the result that harmony was for the time restored between the two courts. Prior to this a British squadron had proceeded to Kagoshima to exact an indemnity on account of the Namamugi affair, and a sharp engagement had taken place between the ships and the Satsuma forts. The Edo government, however, paid the indemnity demanded by the foreign representatives. The affair was thus brought to an amicable issue, and foreign intercourse continued as before, though the policy of the shōgun's government toward it remained apparently as undecided as ever.

In Mito "Rekkō" Nariakira had died, and the samurai of the fief were divided into two parties, one following the late lord's policy and the other dissenting from it, which carried their enmity to such an extent that great numbers of persons fell victims to the sword. Finally in April, 1864, some of the ultra-conservative men of Mito renounced their service to their lord, and assembled in arms at Mount Tsukuba, where they were joined by a number of other malcontents, and became the center of a widespread disorder. It was quickly subdued by the Tokugawa forces, but while the Tsukuba insurgents were still in the field the Edo government found itself involved in an open quarrel with a vastly more formidable rival, the fief of Chōshū. The lord of Chōshū had been forbidden to enter Kyōto in consequence of his obdurate hostility to the policy of the Tokugawa, and the issue of such a mandate naturally caused great umbrage to his lieges. In June, 1864, they presented a memorial to the throne, setting forth their loyalty and praying that the ban of exclusion from the capital might be removed from their feudal chief and his son, as well as from Sanjō and the six other court nobles who had fled with him to Chōshū for refuge. By degrees rōnin from Chōshū assembled in the environs of the imperial city, and after some collisions they entered Kyōto. But they were totally defeated by the troops of Aidzu and Satsuma, who guarded the city. This act of contumacy provoked an imperial edict depriving the elder and younger lords of Chōshū of their rank and commissioning the Shōgun Iyemochi to chastise Chōshū. An expedition was organized in obedience to this edict, a very powerful army being raised in western Japan. Just at this time a squadron composed of British, American, French, and Dutch vessels of war entered the Straits[165] of Shimonoseki to exact reparation from the men of Chōshū who had, as has already been related, fired upon foreign vessels passing through the strait. Attempts to avert hostilities by negotiation having proved abortive, the Chōshū forts were bombarded and dismantled by the foreign vessels, and a peace was afterward concluded, the Chōshū folks pledging themselves to give free passage to foreign ships, and to pay an indemnity of three million dollars. This large sum, though subsequently paid by the Tokugawa government, was denounced as excessive by foreign jurists as well as Japanese statesmen, and the portion that fell to the share of the United States of America was returned to Japan more than twenty years afterward.

Pending the settlement of this Shimonoseki affair the Tokugawa military operations against Chōshū were delayed, and as the latter put to death three of the leaders of the disturbance in Kyōto, and made ample apologies for their offense, the force destined for the invasion of their fief was disbanded. There were, however, two parties in Chōshū; the one in favor of submitting to the shōgun so as to avert misfortunes otherwise apparently threatening the fief, and the other advocating determined resistance to the Tokugawa. At the head of the latter party was Takasugi Shinsaku, and he, having established relations with Sanjō and the other court nobles then refugees in Chōshū, succeeded in completely overcoming the pacific faction and obtaining ascendency in the fief. The Edo government now found itself openly defied by Chōshū, and a strong agitation arose in favor of inflicting summary punishment by sending another large expedition. Against this counsel dissenting voices were not unheard, but finally an expeditionary force was organized and moved southward, the shōgun himself accompanying it. A marked incident of this occasion was the refusal of the great Satsuma baron to send a quota of troops for service with the shōgun. His fief and Chōshū, whose mutual rivalry had at times amounted to bitter enmity, had concluded at last that in their union lay the only hope of accomplishing the purpose of unifying and consolidating the empire. Foremost among the far-seeing statesmen was Saigō Takamori of Satsuma, who never wavered in his conviction that no lasting amity could be established between the courts of Kyōto and Edo, and that the only solution of the national difficulties lay in the overthrow of the Tokugawa. To this view his fellow-clansmen subscribed, and relations were opened with Chōshū which[166] finally led to the hearty coöperation of the two fiefs. En route for Chōshū the shōgun stopped at Ōsaka, where he was approached by the representatives of Great Britain, the Netherlands, and the United States, who insisted that Hyōgo should be opened for trade according to the provisions of the Edo treaties, and that the treaties should be ratified by the emperor. The shōgun, after reference to the sovereign, declined to entertain this demand, and the foreign representatives thereupon threatened to prefer it in person to the throne. The emperor, much incensed at the course events were taking, severely punished the chief officials of the shōgun who were directly responsible for the treaties, and this having been done without reference to the shōgun himself, placed the latter in such an embarrassing position that he laid his resignation at the foot of the throne and asked that Hitotsubashi Yoshinobu, of Mito, be appointed in his stead. He accompanied this document with a memorial praying for the imperial sanction to the treaties with foreign powers. The emperor declined to accept the shōgun's resignation, but gave his sanction to the treaties, the immediate opening of Hyōgo to foreign trade being, however, refused. Subsequent to these events the expedition against Chōshū was again put in motion, but the Chōshū men inflicted a crushing defeat upon it, inasmuch as this was the first occasion of a shōgun's taking the field in person since two hundred and fifty years before, the consequences were disastrous to the prestige of the Tokugawa, many of the feudal barons openly renouncing allegiance to them. While the campaign was still in progress the Shōgun Iyemochi died in the castle of Ōsaka, August, 1866, and was succeeded by Yoshinobu in December of the same year. The Emperor Kōmei also died shortly after. Owing to this sad event the expedition against Chōshū was finally abandoned. Thereafter the shōgun found himself confronted by such difficulties both at home and abroad that further tenure of office became impossible, and finally, acting on the advice of the lord of Tosa, resigned the office as the feudal overlord of Japan, and restored the administrative power into the hands of the sovereign. This memorable event occurred on October 14, 1867.

Feudalism, which had for nearly seven centuries controlled the administration of the empire, seemed now to have come to an end, but institutions so deeply rooted in the life of the nation and so long upheld by persons whose vital interests were interwoven[167] therewith were not to die away without a struggle. It was mortifying to the supporters of the shōgun, who had so recently renounced his office from disinterested motives, to see his policy reversed, his old enemies raised to the highest posts of the new government, and he and his late councilors completely excluded from official life. The Chōshū baron and his son received the imperial pardon and reëntered Kyōto, while they as well as Sanjō Sanetomi were restored to their former ranks; the soldiers of Satsuma, Chōshū, Aki, Owari, and Echizen displaced the men of Aidzu and Kuwana as guards of Kyōto; and radical changes were made in official posts and emoluments, the offices of sōsai, gijō, and sanyo being newly established under the presidency of Prince Arisugawa. The first gijō were Princes Yoshiaki and Akira, together with Sanjō Sanetomi, Iwakura Tomomi, and the barons of Satsuma, Echizen, and Tosa. The sanyo were Ōhara Shigenori, Saigō Takamori, and Ōkubo Toshimichi. More than twenty court nobles were removed from office and the administrative power was assumed in effect by a government under the direct control of the sovereign.


On December 10 it was announced to the late shōgun, by order of the emperor through the medium of the barons of Owari and Echizen, that his administrative functions had been transferred to the emperor, and he was at the same time privately instructed to resign his post of lord keeper of the privy seal and to surrender the provinces hitherto forming his fief. The news of these instructions produced great excitement among the fudai barons, and the shōgun, apprehending that they might resort to violence on his behalf, petitioned the sovereign to allow him temporarily to retain the post of lord keeper of the seal as well as to hold the provinces of his fief, though he repeated his expression of resolve to divest himself of all administrative authority. This course did not, however, entirely allay the umbrage of the fudai barons, especially the lords of Aidzu and Kuwana. The shōgun himself, suspecting that the order stripping him of his dignities and possessions had been issued at the instigation of the chiefs of Satsuma and Chōshū, withdrew from the Nijō palace and shut himself up in the castle of Ōsaka. There, however, he was urgently counseled by the barons of Owari and Echizen to abandon all resistance to the throne and to present himself peacefully at the imperial court, and in obedience to this advice he was about to enter Kyōto guarded by a powerful escort, when intelligence[168] reached him from Edo to the effect that a number of Satsuma rōnin, having assembled at the Satsuma mansion in the city, had fired on a barrack occupied by Tokugawa troops, and that the latter had consequently attacked the mansion and driven out its occupants, who had taken refuge in a warship anchored in Shinagawa Bay. Incensed by this news, the shōgun, on January 3 in the first year of the Meiji era, 1868, issued orders to the various clans to combine for the purpose of chastising Satsuma. He commenced the campaign by mustering the troops of Aidzu and Kuwana in Kyōto and marching to attack the forces of Satsuma and Chōshū. But in the engagements that ensued at Fushimi and Toba the shōgun's army was completely defeated, and Prince Yoshiaki was formally ordered by the imperial court to lead a punitory expedition against Tokugawa, now an open rebel. The latter retired to Edo by sea, accompanied by the forces of Aidzu and Kuwana, when they and[169] twenty-seven other feudal chiefs were deprived by the emperor of all their ranks and offices, the duty of breaking their power by force of arms being intrusted to the barons of Aki, Chōshū, and Tosa. Also, special officers were dispatched to the various provinces to restore peace, and their presence impressed the feudal barons so strongly that no resistance was offered, and the provinces to the west of Kyōto and Ōsaka surrendered without hesitation to the imperial government. On February 9 Prince Arisugawa received the commission of commander in chief, with instructions to bring the east under control, and under his orders the imperial forces moved upon Tōkai, Tōsan, and Hokuriku. The prince entered Sumpu on March 5 and made preparations for the assault of Edo. Before the attack took place, however, the shōgun retired to a temple in Edo, and dispatched Ōkubo Tadahiro, Katsu Awa Yoshikuni, and others to open negotiations with Saigō Takamori, general of the imperial forces then about to move on the eastern capital. Both armies, the imperial and the feudal, were animated with an uncontrollable desire to fight to the last, and the imminent clash was barely averted by the word of honor exchanged between two individuals, General Saigō of the emperor's army and Katsu, a vassal of the shōgun. They had met each other only once, years before, but, although circumstances had placed them in hostile camps, had entertained so unbounded an admiration and confidence in each other's noble character that now only a few words sufficed for them to pledge, on their honor as samurai, to effect the surrender of the Tokugawa with their dignity unimpaired, and to save Edo from an unnecessary destruction of the lives and properties of its two million inhabitants. On March 4 the van of the imperial army entered Edo and occupied the castle, the Shōgun Yoshinobu being granted his life and confined in Mito. On the 15th the prince entered Edo, and in May a grant of lands yielding annually 700,000 koku of rice in Suruga, Tōtōmi, and Mutsu was made to the Tokugawa family for its maintenance.

When the imperial forces took possession of Edo castle, Enomoto Takeaki, a naval officer of the Tokugawa government, fled to the northern Island of Ezo, taking with him eight war vessels, and Ōtori Keisuke retired to Kazusa and Shimōsa. Further, a number of the Tokugawa vassals, calling themselves the shōgitai (loyal band), took refuge in Uyeno, northeast of Edo, and placing Prince Kozenbō, the lord abbot of Kwanyei-ji, at[170] their head, refused to surrender to the imperial government. They were attacked by his majesty's forces and defeated after a sharp engagement, while Ōtori and his comrades, routed at Utsunomiya and Nikkō, fled to Aidzu, the feudal lord of which place had already returned thither, and in conjunction with the barons of Mutsu and Dewa had made preparations to uphold the Tokugawa cause by force of arms. But the imperial troops, advancing from Tōsan, Tōkai, and Hokuriku, brought into subjection the two clans of Sendai and Yonezawa, and entering Aidzu, took the Wakamatsu castle on September 22, thus completely breaking the resistance of the rebels and restoring tranquillity throughout the northern regions. In December Matsudaira Katamori, the Aidzu lord, was sentenced to perpetual confinement, and the fiefs of Sendai, Shōnai, and Morioka, which had made act of submission after the fall of Wakamatsu, were confiscated, and their lords confined. As for the Yonezawa fief, its territory was reduced and its lord ordered to surrender the management of affairs to his heir, while the fiefs of Mutsu and Dewa were divided into five and two provinces, respectively. Meanwhile, Enomoto and his followers, alleging the intention of reclaiming lands in Ezo, had occupied the fortress at Hakodate and obtained possession of a great part of the island. But they also finally in May, 1868, surrendered to the imperial forces. In August the name Ezo was changed to Hokkaidō, and it was divided into eleven provinces. The entire land of Japan thus passed under the sway of the imperial government. Although some of the feudal institutions still persisted, the Edo rule had in 1868 at last come to an end—682 years since Minamoto Yoritomo organized the feudal government of the empire.



THE NEW JAPAN. 1868-1893


Chapter XIV


The organization of the new government had been started and pushed with vigor even before the final deposition of the Tokugawa power took place. In January, 1868, the daijōkwan, council of the state, was created, which was soon divided into seven sections, namely, religion, home affairs, foreign affairs, army and navy, treasury, justice, and law. The ablest men of the various fiefs were selected to fill the posts of councilors and legislative officials, and by degrees the government was so organized as to put an end to the old system of hereditary office, samurai of comparatively low rank being nominated for high positions according to their merits. On March 4 of that year the emperor proceeded to the Shishinden palace, where, in the presence of the court nobles and feudal barons, he solemnly pronounced the famous oath in five articles, which has become the foundation of the constitutional government of new Japan, that henceforth administrative affairs should be decided by general deliberation; that both the government and the people should labor for the good of the nation; that encouragement should be given to industrial pursuits; that the evil customs hitherto prevailing should be corrected; and that the country should be strengthened by adopting the systems of defense employed in foreign lands. Shortly afterward the administrative organization was recast, with the rule that no official should be appointed at the same time to legislative, executive, and judicial posts. The term of office was also fixed at four years, and the system of appointment by merit received further development. Officials, however, who showed themselves able and obtained popularity were allowed to remain in office after the expiration of their first term of service. On August 27 the coronation rites were duly performed at the Shishinden palace. In accordance with the custom of changing the year-name on the accession of an emperor, the era was called[174] Meiji (enlightened government). The emperor removed the capital to Tōkyō, formerly Edo, and took up his residence in the castle there.

As regards local administration, the first division of the country after the abolition of the shōgunate was into 28 fu, 273 han, and 21 ken, the fu and ken being governed by officials appointed by the sovereign. The han, however, being still under the government of their former feudal chiefs, no uniformity of administration was possible. Moreover, of the total revenue of the state, namely, eleven million koku of rice, only 1-4/5 millions belonged to the fu and ken, which were under the direct control of the central government, the remainder constituting the income of the han. The resources of the imperial treasury proved quite inadequate to meet the heavy calls made upon them, in spite of the fact that some of the barons contributed liberally. Kido Takakoto, a distinguished samurai of Chōshū, then holding the post of councilor of state, appreciating the fundamental necessity of the time, made such powerful representations to his liege lord that the latter agreed to surrender his feudal domains and their revenues to the sovereign. Kido subsequently took council on the same subject with Ōkubo Toshimichi, a not less distinguished retainer of Satsuma, and by the latter's advice the Satsuma lord was induced to follow the course taken by Mōri of Chōshū. The barons of Hizen and Tosa followed the example, and on January 20, 1868, these four great nobles addressed to the throne a memorial over their joint signatures, declaring their desire to restore their territories to the sovereign, and their conviction that all the lands in the empire should come under the direct control of the central government. Thereafter the various other barons signified their wish to follow the same course, and in the sequel of a consultation held with all the feudal chiefs, whom the emperor summoned to Tōkyō for the purpose, an imperial edict was issued, directing that all the fiefs should be restored to the sovereign, appointing the feudal lords to the post of governor, and remodeling the administrative organization of the han so as to bring it into conformity with that of the fu and ken. One-tenth of the revenue accruing from the fief lands was apportioned as the salary of the governors. The distinctive terms of "court noble" (kuge) and "feudal lord" (shōkō) were abolished, and all the nobles were included in the general appellation of kwazoku. Relatives of the kwazoku and[175] samurai were all classed as shizoku, their pensions being at the same time duly fixed.

Although the organization of the local government had been placed on a fairly complete footing and uniformity of method had begun to be discernible, both the military classes and the commoners in the various fiefs were still disposed to pay more respect to their former lords than to the new officials appointed by the central authorities. Under these circumstances it was suggested by a governor, who had himself been a great feudal baron, that the military monopoly of the samurai should be abolished and their pensions commuted, and that the army should be recruited alike from the shizoku and commoners. The versatile Kido again recommended that the han (fiefs) should be replaced by ken (prefectures), so as to thoroughly centralize the administrative power. It is remarkable that the view was at once seconded by many barons, who memorialized the throne begging the latter to reorganize all their fiefs into prefectures. The policy was finally adopted in 1871, when the 263 han were completely abolished and replaced by 372 new ken, and ample rewards at the same time given to the few baron-governors who had taken the lead in urging this change. Thus the central government came into full control of the lands and people that had been under the sway of feudal chiefs ever since the Kamakura epoch. Subsequently, various changes of boundaries were made, until in 1890 there were 43 prefectures (ken) and 3 cities (fu), besides one board of administration (cho) of Hokkaidō.

The abolition of the han had its grave financial problem, for it now became necessary for the central government to assume the responsibility of the fiduciary notes previously issued by the various feudal lords. To meet this liability the government issued, in lieu of the fiduciary notes, bonds redeemable within fifty years, and for the purpose of satisfying the claims of the shizoku an envoy was sent to England to raise a sum of ten million yen. This, Japan's first foreign debt, was contracted in 1872. In the following year the system of commuting annuities was fixed, those whose incomes ranged from 100 koku downward being allowed, on application, to commute at six years' purchase, half of the commutation money being paid in cash and the remainder in public bonds. The system was subsequently extended to larger incomes, and in August, 1876, the method of commutation was made compulsory,[176] applicable to the income of all the shizoku, bonds being handed to them in the following year. These bonds, carrying interest at different rates, were to be liquidated annually by lot, their total redemption to be effected in thirty years. At the same time, the shizoku, who from ancient times had devoted themselves to military and literary pursuits, despising industry and trade, now found themselves detached from their feudal lords on whom they had relied, and deprived of their lands and pensions. Receiving sums of money in commutation of their hereditary incomes, many of them, without training or experience, turned at once to commerce and agriculture, and in numerous instances those who had become merchants fell victims to their own want of knowledge and to the craft of others, losing everything they possessed and incurring the contempt of the mercantile classes whom they had so long counted their inferiors.

The overthrow of the feudal tenure naturally affected the military organization of the nation. Hitherto soldiers to form the imperial guard had been raised in Satsuma, Chōshū, and Tosa, and the remaining force had consisted of five garrison corps (chindai), quartered at different places and recruited from cities and prefectures in the proportion of five men per 10,000 koku of rice crop.

In 1872 the military department (hyōbushō) was replaced by two separate departments of war and the navy, and an imperial ordinance provided that soldiers should be recruited from all parts of the empire and all classes of the people, the monopoly of military service held by the samurai being thus abolished and the method existing a thousand years previously restored. At the same time it was clearly indicated that the command in chief of all the forces devolved on the sovereign. All persons of twenty years or upward were liable for conscription, and the army was divided into troops with the colors (jōbi-hei), the reserve (kōbi-hei), and the militia (kokumin-gun). Subsequently all of the castles in the fiefs were dismantled with the exception of fifty-five, which were handed over to the war department, and the number of the garrison corps was increased to six, their headquarters being Tōkyō, Sendai, Nagoya, Ōsaka, Hiroshima, and Kumamoto. Various new regulations relating to military matters were afterward issued from time to time, or revisions of the old effected, a colonial militia for Hokkaidō being among the new measures. Meanwhile,[177] the naval department established naval stations, built dockyards and ships of war, and opened colleges, so that the organizations of the two branches of the military service were placed on a satisfactory footing.

All these changes were radical in nature, and it was inevitable that the conservative instincts educated among the people through centuries of feudal training should often burst forth in opposition to the drastic social revolution. Men conspicuous as advocates of innovation were sometimes attacked and assassinated, and armed resistance was occasionally planned. Sakuma Shōzan, Councilor Yokoi Heishirō, and Senior Vice Minister of the Army Ōmura Masujiro all fell under the swords of assassins in consequence of their ardent liberalism; while, on the other hand, Kumoi Tatsuo of Yonezawa plotted with the old samurai of Aidzu and Shizuoka to restore the feudal system by force. But this as well as some minor attempts of a similar character in other parts of the empire were quickly dealt with, the nation as a whole being emphatically favorable to the new order of things. It was not so easy, however, to pacify some of the larger insurrections which occurred in the southern part of Japan. In January, 1874, Etō Shimpei, a member of the cabinet, being opposed by the majority of his colleagues with respect to the policy to be pursued toward Korea, retired from the government and gathered about him in Saga, in Hizen, a number of discontented people who were desirous of restoring feudalism and attacking Korea. They plundered a sum of 200,000 yen from the Ono Company, and made a successful raid upon the prefectural offices of Kumamoto. The garrison corps of the latter place received orders to subdue the rebels—Ōkubo Toshimichi, minister of home affairs, being dispatched by the sovereign to direct the operations. The insurgents suffered several defeats, and were finally imprisoned in Saga castle, but they managed to effect their escape thence under cover of darkness, and to cross the sea to Kagoshima, where they landed, with the intention of striking a second blow by the aid of Saigō Takamori, whose rebellion will presently receive our attention. Failing in their purpose, however, they were unable to offer any further resistance. Etō and the other ringleaders were executed in April, and when Prince Yoshiaki arrived, who had been dispatched from Tōkyō at the head of a considerable naval and military force to crush the rebellion, he found that order had been restored. Two years later there were[178] simultaneous uprisings in Kumamoto and in Hagi of Nagato, which were quickly subdued by the imperial forces.

No rebellion, however, proved more serious and more difficult to repress than the revolt of Saigō in Satsuma. The genesis of this insurrection must be traced to complex circumstances under which the leading statesmen of the new government had been split into two factions, one of which had its central figure in Saigō. The occasion for the rupture was the dispute which arose among the ministers of the crown in regard to the policy to be pursued by Japan toward Korea. Throughout the Tokugawa period it had been customary for Korea, on each occasion of a coronation in that country, to send an ambassador to confirm the friendly relations between the two states. When the restoration took place in Japan her government dispatched an envoy to Korea to convey intelligence of the fact and to renew expressions of amity, but the Koreans refused to recognize the envoy or accept his message, owing ostensibly to the fact that the new term "Great Empire of Japan" was employed in the imperial letter. At a later date the Japanese sent home certain Koreans who had been shipwrecked on the coast of Japan, and took the opportunity of renewing expressions of friendship by the mouths of the officials who escorted the castaways. Korea received the shipwrecked sailors, but declined to receive the officials accompanying them. The youthful government contained men, particularly the Councilors Saigō Takamori, Soyeshima Taneomi, Itagaki Taisuke, Gotō Shōjirō, and Etō Shimpei, who deeply resented the conduct of Korea, and counseled the opening of the peninsular kingdom by force of arms. Other chief officials of the government, headed by Ōkubo Toshimichi, opposed this view, and being supported by the minister of the left, Iwakura, who had just returned from his travels through Europe and America, the peace party carried the day. The advocates of recourse to arms resigned, and a new cabinet was organized, under Iwakura and Ōkubo, which was the first cabinet change in Japan since the restoration. The immediate effects of this change were important. The revolt of Etō has already been related, and the case of Itagaki and Gotō will soon be heard of. The name of Saigō has been mentioned as one of the two heroes whose mutual trust had resulted in averting the great battle imminent in Edo. A man of overmastering sincerity, his position in the Tōkyō government, in which he was commander in chief of the army, had been unique. When[179] he resigned and retired to Kagoshima in Satsuma, and established a private military school, nearly all the ambitious young men of the province flocked to the school. Many came from other prefectures also, for Saigō's reputation as the chief agent in bringing about the restoration was immense, and his simple, great personality commanded universal love and respect. These students, little intent on studies, where animated by a desire to raise Saigō to the leadership of a colossal opposition to the new cabinet, whose policy and conduct they honestly abhorred. When the Hagi and Kumamoto insurrections broke out in 1876 these truculent students maintained correspondence with the rebels, but refrained from openly imitating their example. By and by, some officials of the imperial government who visited the province were seized by the students and tortured into a false confession that they had come with a secret commission to assassinate Saigō. The war department, apprehending dangerous contingencies, now ordered that the powder stored in Kagoshima should be transferred to Ōsaka, but the powder was seized en route by the students, who also managed to possess themselves of the arsenal and implements of war belonging to the naval department in Kagoshima. Saigō earnestly endeavored at first to restore order and discipline among these turbulent disciples, but he finally yielded to the persuasion of his chief followers, who represented that on him devolved the patriotic duty of clearing away disloyal and crafty subjects from the foot of the throne, and who showed him, at the same time, the false confession extorted by torture from government officials. Saigō thereupon circulated a letter throughout the adjacent provinces explaining the necessity of resorting to arms. News of these events reached the emperor in Kyōto, whither he had temporarily gone. He made that city his headquarters, and gave to Prince Arisugawa a commission to quell the rebellion, Yamagata Aritomo, minister of war, and Kawamura Sumiyoshi, vice minister of the navy, being appointed chiefs of staff. The brigades dispatched to the scene of disturbance were commanded by Major Generals Nozu, Miyoshi, and Miura, and Saigō and his fellow-conspirators were stripped of all their ranks and honors.

The insurgents assembled in Kagoshima now numbered some 15,000 picked samurai of desperate courage and great skill in the use of their weapons. At the head of this force Saigō set out for Kumamoto on February 15, 1876, and on the 22d of that month[180] he sat down with his whole army before Kumamoto castle, an error of strategy which ultimately enabled the government to confine the insurrection to the Island of Kiushū. Major General Tani Tateki, who held command of the garrison, made a stubborn resistance, though many of the samurai among his troops went over to the rebels. The imperial army arriving in the province of Higo, endeavored to reach Kumamoto from the northwest via Takase. Severe fighting look place, but the forces of the government pushed steadily on. At point after point the rebels made obstinate stands, especially in the strong position of Tawara-saka, where a great number of lives were lost by both sides, and the whole district was devastated. The government troops, though victorious, found themselves seriously weakened, and the insurgents fought with undiminished desperation. Shortly before this, Yanagiwara Sakimitsu, a senator, was sent by the emperor to Kagoshima to warn Shimazu Hisamitsu, the former feudal chief of Satsuma, and his son, Tadayoshi, against connecting themselves with the insurgents. He was accompanied on this mission by Lieutenant General Kuroda Kiyotaka, an influential member of the Satsuma fief, and the two labored so successfully that the dockyard and arsenal, which had been dismantled by the rebels, were restored to a defensible condition. It now became possible to advance upon the rear of the rebels, and General Kuroda, being appointed chief of the staff, landed a body of troops at Yatsushiro in order to attack Saigō from the south. The insurgents were now assaulted from two directions, but they fought so well that the imperial army could not yet effect the relief of Kumamoto castle, which, having been besieged for over fifty days, was being reduced to straits for want of provisions. The commander of the garrison now managed to send an officer through the besieging army with intelligence of his perilous condition, and on receipt of the message General Kuroda set all his troops in rapid motion, and forced his way to Kumamoto on April 14, the insurgents breaking up into two bodies, one of which retreated into the province of Bungo and the other into the Hitoyoshi valley in Higo, where the country offered excellent facilities for resistance. Upon the retreat of the rebels from Kumamoto, Vice Minister Kawamura Sumiyoshi was sent to Kagoshima, at the head of 8000 men, to attack the rebellion at its root, whereupon Saigō, who was with the Hitoyoshi branch of the rebels, learning that Kagoshima had fallen into the hands of the government's troops, issued orders for a retreat[181] in the directions of Satsuma and Osumi. The Hitoyoshi insurgents then effected their escape with much adroitness into Hiuga province, following three different routes, and the imperial army occupied the Hitoyoshi position on June 1. The Bungo body of insurgents, meanwhile, being hard pressed by the government forces, retired to a strong position at Nobeoka, in Hiuga, and opened communications with the other body, which had fortified itself at Miyazaki in the same province. Several battles and skirmishes ensued, and it was not till the end of July that Miyazaki was reduced, Nobeoka falling on August 14. The rebels now retreated northward to Enotake, where they were closely besieged by the imperial army, but on the 18th of the same month they succeeded, with[182] extraordinary celerity and address, in effecting a retreat right through the besieging lines, and pushing rapidly on to Kagoshima, which place they suddenly attacked and took. The imperial forces were now concentrated about Kagoshima, and after a sanguinary engagement, lasting ten days, the rebels were driven to Shiroyama, where their last fight was fought on September 24. Saigō Takamori committed suicide, and Toshiaki and the other rebel chiefs fell on the field of battle, the rebellion being thus finally crushed. A provisional court was organized in Kiushū under the presidency of Kōno Tokama, a secretary of the senate, for the trial of those taken in the fighting, seventeen of whom were sentenced to death. In this sanguinary struggle the whole of the army and navy had been engaged, the old imperial bodyguard reorganized, a band of swordsmen volunteers enrolled, and a company of policemen, also for sword service, sent to the scene of the fighting. The Japanese sword was used by both armies with great skill and deadly effect. The total number of men engaged on the government side was 60,000, and the entire outlay involved was 416 million yen. At one time, indeed, the affair had threatened to assume almost uncontrollable dimensions, for in the early days of the rebels' valiant fighting ominous signs of disaffection made themselves apparent in the prefectures of Yamaguchi, Kōchi, Fukuoka, and elsewhere. Much as the trouble cost, however, in blood and treasure, its national uses were very great. By it the army and navy gained invaluable experience, and all the institutions of the central government were subjected to the test of severe practice, while the people learned, once for all, that armed efforts to disturb the new order of things were utterly hopeless, and that adverse opinion must be limited to the channels of speech and pen. The treasury, however, found itself seriously embarrassed. It had been obliged to borrow fifteen million yen from the Fifteenth National Bank, and also, most reluctantly, to issue fiduciary notes aggregating 270,000,000 yen in addition to those already issued for the purpose of redeeming the fiat paper of the daijōkwan, the mimbushō, and the former feudal barons.


While the rupture of the cabinet had occasioned the immense rebellion of Kagoshima and the tragic end of the great Saigō, his former colleagues, Itagaki and Gotō, also did not accept the political defeat of their faction without a struggle. Their struggle, however, produced widely different results from those of Saigō's uprising.[183] Itagaki and Gotō addressed to the government a memorial urging the expediency of at once establishing a national assembly in Japan. But the government rejected the memorial on the ground that the time was not ripe for so radical a measure. Nevertheless, the embryo of a deliberative assembly was in truth formed about this time, for the local governors were all summoned to Tōkyō, and invited to discuss together questions relating to roads, rivers, bridges, the relief of the destitute, public meetings, and other matters connected with their jurisdictions. Moreover, in 1875 a senate (genrō-in) was organized for legislative purposes, its members being appointed from among men conspicuous for merit and capacity. In 1876 and 1877, owing to rebellious disturbances fomented by the seceding councilors of state, the local governors were not summoned to Tōkyō for consultation, but in 1878 they assembled in the capital and discussed questions relating to local reorganization, to city and prefectural assemblies—the bases of a future parliament—and to local taxes. Subsequent to this meeting rules relating to the organization of towns, villages, districts, and divisions were promulgated, as well as rules relating to the collection of taxes, while in 1879 the system of local assemblies was established in each city and prefecture. The members of these assemblies were elected by the people from among themselves, and were invested with extensive deliberative functions in relation to local administration. In the following years the governors were again summoned to Tōkyō for the purpose of deliberating about relief funds and revising the rules discussed at their previous meeting, these rules being supplemented by others relating to the organization of divisions, towns, and villages. Meanwhile, the advocates of popular rights increased in number and influence day by day. A newspaper press had arisen which made this subject a favorite topic of discussion, and political associations were formed agitating the establishment of a diet or petitioning the government in that sense. In view of this growing excitement and to avert contingencies incidental to it, regulations were issued for the better control of newspapers and political meetings. In 1880 a political party, the Jiyū-tō (Liberals), destined subsequently to play a prominent part in national affairs, was organized, under the leadership of Itagaki Taisuke, while within the government Ōkuma Shigenobu, a councilor of state, advocated the opening of a national assembly without delay. The ministers of the crown, however, adhered to their former[184] decision that the time was not ripe. Not discouraged by this refusal, the advocates of a parliamentary system continued their agitation, and spared no pains to injure the credit of the cabinet with the nation. The sovereign, therefore, judging it expedient to announce publicly the intentions entertained by him, issued with the advice of his ministers, in October, 1881, a rescript declaring that in the 23d year of Meiji (1890) a constitutional government should be established. Ōkuma Shigenobu, together with Kōno Hironaka and others, now resigned their official positions and organized a political party, the Kaishin-tō (Progressives), which, though occupying a common platform with the Jiyū-tō in respect of a national assembly, worked in general opposition to the latter. At a much later date a third party, hostile to both of the above, was formed, namely, the Kokumin Kyōkai, or National Unionists.

Immediately after the issue of the rescript fixing the date for opening the diet, the government set about drafting the constitution, the utmost care and research being brought to bear on this important work. In the spring of 1882 Itō Hirobumi was dispatched on a special mission to Europe for the purpose of investigating the constitutional law of the various states and its practical applications, and on his return a legislative bureau, charged with the functions of drafting the constitution, revising the laws, and remodeling the official organization, was established. In 1884 titles of nobility—prince, marquis, count, viscount, and baron—were created, patents being granted to over five hundred of the former territorial and court nobles, as well as to officials distinguished for services rendered to the state. In February of the following year great changes were effected in the administrative organization. The offices of daijō daijin, sadaijin, udaijin, sangi, and ministers of departments were abolished, and in their stead were created ministers of state for home affairs, foreign affairs, finance, war, the navy, education, justice, agriculture and commerce, and communications, these ministers constituting a cabinet under the leadership of the minister president and the presidency of the emperor himself. Outside the cabinet were the minister of the imperial household, the lord keeper of the privy seal, and a number of court councilors, while in each department there was a vice minister, as well as a director and vice directors of each of its bureaus, together with councilors and secretaries. These changes were much more radical than anything previously effected during the Meiji era, all other reforms having been mere modifications[185] of the old system prescribed in the Taihō Code of 701 A. D. At the same time regulations providing for the appointment of civil officials by competitive examination were promulgated, and various new laws and ordinances were issued. One of the most important effects of this great reform was that it put an end completely to the pernicious system of selecting officials from personal considerations without regard to competence. No changes of a radical character have since that time been effected in the administration. Count Itō Hirobumi, the chief author of these reforms, became the first minister president of state. In 1888 a privy council was established, its members being selected from among old and distinguished officials, and its function being to advise the sovereign with respect to any matter submitted by his majesty for its deliberation. Count Itō became its president, resigning his post of minister president of state to Count Kuroda Kiyotaka. In the same year a large body of laws for the reorganization of cities, towns, and villages was promulgated, to go into effect from the year 1891, and these laws were followed in 1890 by similar statutes for the organization of prefectures and districts, the general purport of all this legislation being local autonomy.

The 11th of February in the 22d year of Meiji (1889) saw the promulgation of the imperial Constitution. On this memorable occasion the emperor delivered from the throne the following speech: "Whereas We make it the joy and glory of Our heart to behold the prosperity of Our country, and the welfare of Our subjects, We do hereby, in virtue of the supreme power We inherit from Our Imperial Ancestors, promulgate the present immutable fundamental law, for the sake of Our present subjects and their descendants. The Imperial Founder of Our House and Our other Imperial Ancestors, by the help and support of the forefathers of Our subjects, laid the foundation of Our Empire upon a basis which is to last forever. That this brilliant achievement embellishes the annals of Our country, is due to the glorious virtues of Our Sacred Imperial Ancestors, and the loyalty and bravery of Our subjects, their love of their country, and their public spirit. Considering that Our subjects are the descendants of the loyal and good subjects of Our Imperial Ancestors, We doubt not but that Our subjects will be guided by Our views, and will sympathize with all Our endeavors, and that, harmoniously coöperating together, they will share with Us Our hope of making manifest the glory of Our country, both[186] at home and abroad, and of securing forever the stability of the work bequeathed to Us by Our Imperial Ancestors."

The promulgation of the Constitution took place in the throne room of the Tōkyō palace, the princes of the blood, ministers of state, peers, governors of cities and prefectures, presidents of city and prefecture assemblies, the foreign representatives, and all officials of and above chokunin rank being present. The Constitution consisted of seventy-six articles contained in seven chapters. It provided for the perpetuity of the imperial succession; defined the imperial prerogatives and the privileges granted to the people; declared the latter's obligation to pay taxes and serve as soldiers, but guaranteed them against being arrested, imprisoned, tried, or punished except by the process of law; decreed the inviolability of person and property; granted freedom of residence and conscience, and declared that no man's house could be officially entered without a legal warrant. The law of the houses, promulgated simultaneously, created a bicameral diet—a house of peers and a house of representatives—to be convened every year, and in this diet was vested legislative power without recourse to which no law could be enacted or altered, and financial authority without the exercise of which the annual budget could not become existent. The law of election, which also formed one of the appended statutes of the Constitution, provided for all affairs relating to the franchise and its exercise; the law of finance regulated fiscal matters; and the imperial house law determined affairs connected with the succession, the household, the princes of the blood, and the like. The day of the promulgation of the Constitution was observed as a grand national fête, amnesty was proclaimed in the case of all political offenders, and largess was freely distributed to the aged and indigent. It was certainly a subject for national rejoicing and congratulation that this advanced stage of governmental progress was reached in Japan without any of the scenes of bloodshed and violence which had disfigured such changes in many other countries.

The establishment of a constitutional form of government having long been an object of ardent desire of the people, all classes, official and private alike, had been preparing themselves for the welcome event. In addition to the Liberal and Progressive parties mentioned, Count Gōto Shōjirō had formed a third, the Daidō Danketsu (Great Affiliation), which, however, after a brief existence, split up into two or three insignificant bodies. When the[187] first general election for the new national diet took place in July, 1890, there were several rival parties and much political ardor, but everything passed off in an orderly and quiet manner. In view of the assembly of the diet the old senate (genrō-in) was abolished, most of its members being nominated members of the upper house. By imperial edict the two houses were convoked in Tōkyō on November 25 of the same year, and his majesty the emperor opened the diet in person on November 29. The house of representatives consisted of 300 members elected by the people in the various localities; the house of peers, of the princes of the blood, the princes and marquises, all of whom sat in their own right, a certain number of counts, viscounts, and barons elected by their respective orders, highest taxpayers elected by the prefectures, one for each, and a proportion of members nominated by the sovereign in consideration of meritorious services or proficiency in learning. So with 1890 began the new régime of Japan.


Chapter XV


Under the Tokugawa rule a treaty was concluded between Japan and Russia recognizing Karafuto (Sakhalin) as a joint possession of the two empires. Later the Edo government sent an envoy to St. Petersburg with a proposal that the 50th parallel of north latitude should be the boundary between the two countries. No final decision was arrived at, however, on that occasion, and it was resolved that each country should send an ambassador to Karafuto the following year to survey the island and determine the boundary. But domestic embarrassments so beset the shōgun's government that the promised envoy was not sent from Japan. In 1866 there was talk of dispatching an ambassador for the purpose, but nothing was done, while Russia was gradually pushing southward, until she finally encroached upon the region indisputably recognized as Japanese territory. The government of the shōgun was powerless at the time to offer any opposition, and shortly afterward it had to surrender the administration to the emperor. His majesty's ministers now proposed, through the intermediary of the United States, that the parallel of 50° north latitude should be taken as the boundary, but the Russian government rejected the proposal. Subsequently, Admiral Enomoto was sent as Japanese representative to St. Petersburg, and after much discussion it was decided, by a convention concluded in 1875, that the whole of Sakhalin should become Russian property, Japan receiving in exchange the Chishima Islands (the Kuriles).

When in 1858 the first treaties were concluded by the shōgun's government with five foreign powers, the Japanese plenipotentiaries, being entirely ignorant of foreign affairs, intrusted the drafting of the articles to the American minister, and merely indorsed the provisions proposed by him. A clause was added, however, providing for revision after the lapse of fourteen years, and when it was found that the treaties contained much which was injurious to Japan's[189] dignity and embarrassing to her independence, a strong desire to effect revision began to be generally felt. Moreover, as a result of the firing upon foreign ships by the forts at Shimonoseki, England and France, in addition to exacting an indemnity out of all proportion to the injury suffered by the ships, took advantage of Japan's internal dissensions to impose upon her greatly lowered tariff rates. At subsequent dates treaties were concluded, necessarily on the same lines, with Portugal, Prussia, Switzerland, Belgium, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Spain, Austria-Hungary, and Hawaii, and ministers plenipotentiary were accredited to most of these countries. The knowledge thus gradually acquired of Western states and of the international usages prevailing among them, served to increase Japan's impatience against the unequal conventional conditions to which she was herself compelled to submit. The government, not less swayed by this sentiment, did everything in its power to remove obstacles which foreigners alleged to be fatal to equal international treatment of Japan. The penal laws were radically altered, and codes consistent with the principles of Western jurisprudence were promulgated. Meanwhile, the term of fourteen years fixed by the treaties had elapsed, and the time for revision having arrived it was resolved to dispatch an embassy to Europe and America for the purpose of making known Japan's real condition and acquiring knowledge of foreign affairs. In October, 1871, Iwakura Tomomi, minister of the right, was sent upon this mission, together with a number of other prominent officials. In the United States of America he met with a cordial reception, the president promising to consider favorably the question of revision, and Congress showing a disposition to return America's share of the indemnity unjustly exacted from Japan in connection with the Shimonoseki affair. (The indemnity was actually returned twelve years later.) In European countries, also, the ambassador was courteously received, but failed to obtain any serious attention for the subject of treaty revision. The embassy returned to Japan in 1873. During the next years domestic affairs engrossed the attention of the government to the virtual exclusion of everything else, and it was not until after the termination of the Satsuma rebellion in 1877 that the government found itself in a position to approach foreign powers with the object of recovering tariff autonomy and reserving the coastwise trade. The effort again proved abortive. In 1879, however, an agreement was concluded[190] with the United States of America, the latter agreeing to a revised treaty by which Japan's tariff and judicial autonomy was to be restored and her coastwise trade reserved, with the proviso, however, that the revised treaty should not go into force until a similar instrument had been concluded with the other powers. In 1880 Inouye Kaoru, minister for foreign affairs, opened negotiations with the plenipotentiaries of the European powers in Tōkyō, but the proposed revision having been improperly disclosed to the public, the negotiations were suspended. Renewed shortly afterward, they were brought within apparent reach of conclusion in 1887, after long and weary discussions. But in the meanwhile public opinion in Japan had been growing more and more impatient of the treatment meted out to the empire by foreign states, and more and more sensible of the rights appertaining to an independent country. On the other hand, the rivalry of foreign powers, the diversity of their interests and the difficulty of dealing with them all together, had involved the introduction of many irksome and humiliating conditions into the draft of the revised treaty, and when it was published in 1887 it provoked opposition that caused its abandonment, Count Inouye retiring from office. He was succeeded by Count Ōkuma Shigenobu, who reopened the negotiations, but was enabled, owing to Japan's improved position vis à vis the outer world, to insist on conducting them independently with each power, thus avoiding the insuperable difficulty of simultaneously placating seventeen states all influenced by more or less divergent interests. A revised treaty, on lines more favorable to Japan than the former draft had been, was now concluded and signed by America and Germany. But no sooner were its provisions published than the nation again became excited, especially on account of an article providing that foreigners, as well as natives, should be appointed to the Japanese judiciary. The cabinet decided to again suspend the negotiations, and a fanatic threw a bomb at Count Ōkuma which wounded him severely, necessitating the amputation of his right leg. Some time afterward he retired from office, together with the minister president, Count Kuroda, and in 1889 Count Yamagata became minister president, Viscount Aoki taking the portfolio of foreign affairs. The latter, together with Count Gotō, minister of communications, and Count Saigō Tsugumichi, minister of home affairs, were appointed joint plenipotentiaries for the purposes of treaty revision. But in 1891 Count[191] Yamagata and Viscount Aoki retired, the latter being succeeded by Viscount Enomoto, who, in 1892, gave place to Mutsu Munemitsu. It was under the foreign ministry of the latter that, in 1894, Great Britain took the lead of all other powers to conclude a revised treaty with Japan, which went into effect on July 17, 1899, and which removed the consular jurisdiction from the open ports of Japan, in return for the throwing open of the whole empire to the travel and traffic of all foreigners. Coasting trade was also recognized as properly belonging to the domain where Japan had the sovereign right of making regulations. Tariff autonomy was largely recovered, and new import duties were drawn up, export duties being entirely abolished. Japan thus became, at length, not only a sovereign state free to look after its own internal and external affairs, but also a member of the family of nations whose legal status was considered on the basis of parity.

Meanwhile, the intercourse with foreign nations had grown more and more intimate. Many princes, nobles, and celebrities came from the West to visit Japan, and many Japanese statesmen and students traveled or sojourned in Europe and America. No vestige seemed to remain of the old sentiment of national seclusion. It may be interesting to say a word here about some of the distinguished foreigners who visited Japan during the Meiji era. Shortly after the restoration, the duke of Edinburgh, second son of the queen of England, came, and was followed, in 1872, by Prince Alexis of Russia, who was received by the emperor and was present at naval and military reviews. In February, 1879, the future William II. of Germany came to Tōkyō. In July of the same year General Grant, ex-president of the United States, arrived, and was hospitably entertained, the citizens of Tōkyō showing their appreciation of America's sympathetic attitude toward Japan by entertaining him at an evening party, as well as at a garden-party in Uyeno Park, at which the emperor was present and various kinds of Japanese sports were shown. At later dates Japan was visited by the nephew of King Humbert of Italy, the czarevitch, afterward Nicholas II. of Russia, King Kalakaua of Hawaii, a Grecian prince, and other distinguished personages.

Japan's relations with Asiatic countries were not always as cordial as those with European and American states. In the year 1866, owing to the misconduct of Chinese settlers, it became necessary to enact special regulations for their control and to restrict[192] the limits of their residence at the open ports. When the war between the emperor and the shōgun broke out all the foreign powers declared and maintained neutrality except the Chinese, who secretly sold arms to the Tokugawa. Hence their access to non-treaty ports was strictly prohibited. They also contrived to kidnap and sell the children of indigent Japanese, and instructions were consequently issued to local governments to guard strictly against this outrage. In July, 1871, however, a treaty of friendship and amity was concluded between the two empires.

In the winter of 1872 some inhabitants of the Loochoo Islands were cast away on the eastern coast of Formosa and murdered by the natives, and in the following year some shipwrecked sailors from the province of Bitchū experienced the same fate. Soyeshma Taneomi was sent by the government as plenipotentiary to Peking to complain of these outrages against Japanese subjects, but the Chinese government made no satisfactory reply and declined to acknowledge its responsibility for the acts of the natives of Formosa. The Japanese government was thus compelled to take into its own hands the task of exacting reparation. In April, 1874, Lieutenant General Saigō Tsugumichi was appointed to the command of a punitory expedition to Formosa. No serious opposition was encountered except at the hands of one tribe, which, however, was overcome after some fighting. On the eve of sending this expedition, Yanagiwara Sakimitsu was dispatched by the Japanese government as ambassador to China, but as he found the Chinese much incensed about Japan's action and very anxious that her troops should at once leave Formosa, Ōkubo Toshimichi, a leading member of the cabinet, was dispatched as plenipotentiary to Peking. Meeting only with procrastination and inconsistency on the part of the Chinese, he broke off the negotiations and announced his intention of returning to Japan. But at this stage the British minister in Peking mediated between the two empires, and the Chinese finally agreed to pay 100,000 taels to the families of the murdered Japanese subjects and 400,000 taels indemnity to Japan for the cost of the expedition, undertaking at the same time to prevent the recurrence of similar outrages in Formosa.


After the Formosan trouble another complication arose between Japan and China with regard to the Islands of Loochoo. These had long been a dependency of Japan. In the middle of the twelfth century the Minamoto leader, Tametomo, driven to the[193] province of Izu, made his way thence to Loochoo, and, having quelled a civil war raging in the islands, placed his son Shunten on the throne. Afterward, the Ashikaga shōgun, Yoshinori, gave the islands to the Shimazu family as an adjunct of the Satsuma fief, but from the time of Hideyoshi's Korean expedition, Loochoo having neglected to discharge its duties as a dependency, the Satsuma chief sent a force to the islands in 1609, took the king prisoner and conveyed him to Edo, whence he was soon after restored to his country. Shimazu then sent officials to superintend the affairs of Loochoo, and from that time forth the revenue of the islands was included in the yearly income of the Shimazu family. In 1873 Sho Tai, king of Loochoo, came to Japan and was formally invested with the title of feudal chief of Loochoo, a residence in Tōkyō being assigned to him at the same time. Shortly afterward the name of the year period and the Loochooan calendar were changed[194] for those in use in Japan, and the laws of the empire were declared operative in Loochoo. Finally, in April, 1879, the feudal title of the ex-king of Loochoo was abolished and the islands were turned into the prefecture of Okinawa. The Chinese government thereupon advanced a claim that Loochoo had once been a tributary of the Middle Kingdom, and that it therefore belonged not less to China than to Japan. The weight of evidence was on Japan's side, however, and by the arbitration of General Grant, ex-president of the United States of America, who happened to be on a visit to the East at the time, the question was settled in Japan's favor.

Turning now to Korean affairs, it has already been related that an envoy was sent from Japan at the time of the restoration, but that Korea refused to receive him. It was on this occasion that Saigō Bakamari proposed that he himself would proceed thither in the capacity of ambassador, and that if Korea persisted in her unfriendly attitude, an armed force should be sent against her. But, as has been related, this proposal did not meet with the approval of the cabinet. In 1875 Japan sent another envoy, but again Korea declined to open amicable relations. An event then occurred which nearly involved the two countries in war. A Japanese man-of-war, en route for China, whither she was carrying a Japanese plenipotentiary, called at Chemulpo, in August, 1875, to obtain fuel and water, but her boats were fired on by the Koreans and two of her men were wounded. Incensed at this outrage, the crew of the vessel attacked and burned the Korean fortress. When the matter was reported in Tōkyō, the government sent Lieutenant General Kuroda, a member of the cabinet, and Inouye Kaoru to Korea, in the capacity of ambassador and vice ambassador, respectively. This mission met with success, Korea sent a letter of apology to Japan and declared her desire to contract friendly relations. Lieutenant General Kuroda accordingly concluded a treaty of commerce and amity, in which Korea's independence was recognized by Japan, and in May, 1876, Korea sent an envoy to Japan, opened the ports of Gensan and Chemulpo, and agreed that each country should be represented at the court of the other. Thenceforth the Korean government began to adopt some of the appliances of Western civilization. She improved her administrative organization, established a military training school where Japanese instructors were employed, and sent youths to Japan to be educated. These innovations, however, proved very distasteful[195] to many conservatives in Korea, especially to Taiwon-kun, father of the king, who had always been on bad terms with the Bin family, to which the queen belonged, and which was at the time favorable to reform. Affairs were precipitated by discontent among the soldiery with reference to the removal of a minister, and being incited by the Taiwon-kun, the troops attacked the palace in July, 1882, and killed many of the Bin family, as well as several Japanese military officers. The same night the Japanese legation was attacked by a mob, and the minister, Hanabusa Yoshimoto, had to force his way through the city, escorting the women and children of the legation, and push on through the darkness to Chemulpo, where he escaped by boat, and being picked up by an English man-of-war, the Flying Fish, returned to Nagasaki on board her. He was speedily sent back by his government in a vessel-of-war, and entering Seul, demanded an explanation from Korea. China, meanwhile, had dispatched a squadron to the scene, seized the Taiwon-kun, and carried him prisoner to Tientsin. Hanabusa subsequently concluded with Korea a convention providing for the punishment of the malefactors, the payment of an indemnity of 50,000 yen to the sufferers and their families, and of 500,000 yen to the Japanese empire, the guarding of the Japanese legation by Korean troops, and the dispatch of an ambassador to apologize for the outrage. (Japan afterward returned to Korea 400,000 yen of this indemnity.) China and Japan both stationed bodies of men in the Korean capital, and Korea divided her forces into two bodies, one of which was trained according to Japanese tactics, the other according to Chinese. There were then two parties in the peninsular kingdom, the Independents and the Conservatives, between whom a state of strained relations constantly existed. In December, 1884, they resorted to open hostilities, and the king, finding himself in danger, sent an autograph letter to the Japanese legation, asking for help. The Japanese chargé d'affaires thereupon proceeded to the palace with a small body of men. There he was attacked by a combined force of Chinese and Koreans. During the fighting the king's mother was seized by the Chinese soldiers, and the king having declared his intention of placing himself in the hands of the Chinese in order to be with her, the Japanese retired to their legation, which was afterward assaulted by a Korean mob and set on fire. The chargé d'affaires made his way to Chemulpo and once more Japan was obliged to[196] demand reparation from Korea. This time the task of effecting an arrangement was intrusted to Count Inouye Kaoru, who, proceeding to Korea as ambassador, escorted by two men-of-war, concluded a treaty providing that Korea should send an envoy to Japan to tender apologies; that the Koreans who had injured Japanese persons and property should be duly punished; and that an indemnity of 110,000 yen, together with 20,000 yen for the rebuilding of the legation, should be paid. In March of the same year Count Itō Hirobumi, a member of the cabinet, accompanied by Lieutenant General Saigō, proceeded to China, and concluded Viceroy Li at Tientsin a convention providing that China and Japan should withdraw their troops from Korea; that neither power should thereafter send a force thither without giving previous notice to the other, and that the Chinese soldiers who had taken part in the attack on the Japanese in Seul should be punished. Thus friendly relations were reëstablished between Japan and China.






Chapter XVI


The "History of the Empire of Japan" was compiled in 1893, and it is needless to say that since that time the empire has experienced a remarkable development in all aspects of its national activity. The war with China occurred in 1894-1895, the North China campaign in 1900, and the great conflict with Russia in 1904-1905. Through these important events the Japanese nation has undergone an immense change in the last dozen years, in the position it occupies in the comity of nations, as well as in its attitude toward the rest of the world. The industrial and financial life of the people has also made a change hardly anticipated in 1893. Their normal national budget, aside from extraordinary war expenditures, has grown 260 per cent. as large as it then was, and their foreign trade in commodities alone has increased nearly fourfold. The state of internal politics also has taken an evolution correspondingly significant. With this last subject we shall begin our brief survey of Japan's national life during the thirteen years between 1893 and 1906.

Before entering into the narrative of the political life of recent Japan, it would be well to acquire a fuller view of the formal, or constitutional, side of that life. The reader will remember that the organization of the two political parties, the Jiyū-tō (1880) and the Kaishin-tō (1881), or, as generally translated, the Liberals and the Progressives, preceded the promulgation of the Constitution, which occurred in 1889. The latter was not granted by the government until the agitation of the parties for its speedy promulgation had run to a considerable height. From this fact, however, it does not follow, as has been asserted by some writers, that the Constitution was wrested by the enlightened nation from the hands of its reluctant ruler. Such a view is apt to be easily formed by the superficial observer, but hardly accords with the facts that stand recorded in history. The agitation[200] of the parties may, to some extent, have caused the Constitution to appear at the particular time it did, but it is evident that the enlightenment had dawned earlier among the authorities than among the parties, for it was in 1867 that the famous Five-Article Oath was pronounced by the emperor, the first two articles of which read as follows: "Assemblies and councils shall be widely established, and all national affairs shall be decided by public discussion; the government and the people shall be of one mind and vigorously prosecute the policy of the nation." If these words may be proven not to imply exactly the future establishment of a regular system of national representation, no student will deny that their author sincerely entertained the desire of consulting by some effective means the intelligent section of the nation at every important step to be taken in the government of the country. Only a detailed knowledge of the modern constitutional form of government seems to have been lacking for the above desire to take a definite shape. Such knowledge was, however, soon acquired, as we are told by Itō himself, when the Japanese embassy, of which he was a member, visited the principal constitutional countries of Europe and America, and saw with their observant eyes and were convinced that the comparative progress of these nations and the relative backwardness of their own were in a large measure due to the presence in the former and absence in the latter of a regular constitutional machinery of government. The imperial oath preceded by at least ten years, and the journey of the embassy by seven years, the inauguration of party life in Japan. Nor should it be forgotten that, during the long centuries of its existence, the imperial house of Japan had seldom proved to be despotic, and, when its real authority was restored in 1867 from the hands of the feudal overlord, the movement had been started, not by a powerful imperial army, which did not exist, but by the combined strength of men rising from all ranks of the nation at large. While it is true that without the awakening of the nation the Constitution would never have seen light, it was more truly granted by the emperor and his advisers than wrested from them.

This fact, that the Constitution was granted by the emperor, may be said to be the keynote of that remarkable document. It was hardly the result of a compromise between the emperor and the nation. Still less did it delegate to the former a part of the sovereignty of the latter. The emperor, in the Japanese Constitution,[201] assumes full sovereignty, and graciously associates with him representatives of the nation in the government of the country. The people are, therefore, not givers, but receivers, of certain rights, the concession of which, however, does not diminish the sovereignty vested in the emperor. This fundamental notion clearly characterizes from beginning to end this document of 1889, which, as we shall see later on, otherwise contains ambiguous and expansive passages at a few critical points. "The emperor is the head of the empire, combining in himself the rights of sovereignty, and exercises them according to the provisions of the present Constitution." (Article IV.) Whence does he derive his power? He is "sacred and inviolable" (Article III.), as he is—says Itō, the framer and commentator of the Constitution—Heaven-descended, divine, and sacred, and, though he indeed has to pay due respect to the law, the law has no power to hold him accountable to it. "The rights of sovereignty of the state," says the emperor himself in the Preamble of the Constitution, "We have inherited from Our Ancestors," who, according to tradition, charged their descendants to reign over and govern the country for eternity. Upon this peculiar Japanese theory of the divine right of the emperor is based the noted Article I. of the Constitution, which merely states in words the principle which has been upheld in history and is universally and enthusiastically supported by the people, that "the empire of Japan shall be reigned over and governed by a line of emperors unbroken for ages eternal." From his sovereign powers it follows that the emperor sanctions laws and orders them to be promulgated and executed (VI.), convokes, opens, closes, and prorogues the imperial diet, and dissolves the house of representatives (VII.), issues imperial ordinances in the place of laws, in case of emergency, even about financial matters, and also administrative ordinances, which shall not alter the existing laws (VIII., XXXI., and IX.), appoints and dismisses civil and military officers (X.), has the supreme command of the army and navy, and determines the organization of their peace standing (XI., XII.), declares war, makes peace, and concludes treaties (XIII.), confers titles of nobility, rank, orders, and other marks of honor (XV.), and orders amnesty, pardon, commutation of punishments and rehabilitation (XVI.), and no amendment of the provisions of the Constitution shall be attempted by the diet except by imperial order (LXXIII.).[202]

It should be remembered that the enumeration of these extensive prerogatives by no means indicates a limitation to the rights of the emperor. Whatever rights he does not name he as sovereign may, in theory, exercise. Yet he is assisted by other institutions, the privy council, the cabinet, and the diet, to which he has made important concessions. While the emperor controls the appointment, dismissal, and payment of officers (X.), determines the organization of the peace standing of the army and navy (XII.), and declares war and makes peace (XIII.), how could he exercise these powers if the consent of the diet, which is required for the expenditure and revenue of the state (LXIV.), were withheld? The diet controls not only the purse, but also legislation, for while it is stated that the emperor exercises the legislative power with the consent of the diet (V.), the residuum of that power vested in him independently of the diet is reduced almost to nil when it is said, in Article XXXI., that every law requires the consent of the imperial diet. He may, indeed, if the diet is not fitting, issue imperial ordinances for emergency, but they lose their legal force as soon as the diet disapproves them at its next session (VII.). As against the article that the emperor convokes, opens, closes, and prorogues the diet, and dissolves the lower house (VII.), stands the provision that the diet shall be convoked annually for three months (XLI. and XLII.). Nor is the emperor's executive power unlimited, for all laws, imperial ordinances and imperial rescripts, that relate to the affairs of the state, require the countersignature of a minister of state (LV.). The share of the emperor is least in the business of the judiciary, the entire judicature being exercised by the courts of law, the procedure and organization of which are determined by law (LVII.). To these and other principles of the Constitution the emperor pledges himself and his descendants, in the wielding of their sovereign rights, always to conform (Preamble). In law, the full sovereignty is vested in the emperor alone, and yet, also in law, the sovereignty is as divided as in the subtle doctrine of the Trinity by his voluntary association with the other great institutions of the state.

Behind these peculiar principles of the Japanese sovereignty should be discerned the intense loyalty of the nation to the reigning house, which during the last few decades has again and again startled the foreign observers who had not comprehended it. It is not possible for us here to discuss how this sentiment has developed,[203] and how the emperor has proved to be the strongest and the only permanent political institution in the past history of Japan. To-day the precise position which he occupies in the organism of the Japanese nation may perhaps be defined as that of the gracious central figure of the social life and the inspiring personification of the profound unity and absorbing ambition of the people. It is not difficult to fancy that, but for the presence in their midst of this commanding institution of the emperor, the national career of the people would end itself abruptly under the pressure of the excessive competitions abroad and untrained, blundering struggles at home.

The new constitutional régime, which began in 1890, has not been without a few interesting incidents illustrative of the political functions of the emperor as an actual organ of the state. One of these incidents follows: In March, 1901, the house of peers had unexpectedly and for the first time rejected a bill, already passed by the other house, for increasing the rates of certain taxes in order to meet necessary expenditures of the state. All efforts of persuasion and mediation miscarried, and the house of peers could not, in law, be dissolved. The deadlock was finally removed by the appearance of an imperial word intimating that the urgent circumstances of the nation made it desirable for the measures of the proposed bill to receive the concurrence of the peers, who now immediately and unanimously passed the bill. Thereupon the opposition in the lower house seized the opportunity to bring forward a resolution censuring the cabinet for having thus necessitated the pronouncement of the imperial word. The speeches of the supporters of the resolution seemed to imply that the cabinet should be held responsible for creating a situation in which the emperor was obliged to resort to a perhaps transconstitutional act on a matter so plainly political, and thus compromise even in the slightest degree his serene dignity, which should stand unsullied and express itself through the normal constitutional channels. The late astute Hoshi, then the house leader of the Liberals, who were supporting the cabinet, quickly seized upon the carefully guarded implications of the opposition, and triumphantly pointed out that the real issue contained in the resolution was the question whether the imperial word was proper or not. He proceeded to say that the Constitution was the manifestation of a part of the full imperial sovereignty, the exercise of which should therefore not be obstructed[204] by the Constitution, and that the imperial word had issued from the emperor through his special sovereign rights, and was proper and legal. No exposure of the opponents' logic could be more ruthless, nor a bolder enunciation of the emperor's "special sovereign rights" could be imagined, than the trenchant argument of Hoshi. It would seem that in this debate both parties conceded that the imperial act was transconstitutional. Seen in this light, the statement made in this connection by Premier Itō to the president of the upper house is highly significant. Although the recent imperial word, said he, should not be regarded as an imperial rescript, as it bore no countersignatures of the ministers of state, it had been issued after a personal conference between the emperor and the premier. The latter was, Marquis Itō went on to declare, responsible for the act of the emperor, for, constitutionally, the premier is held responsible for all the political conduct of the sovereign. Coming from the very framer and commentator of the Constitution, these words may be construed as establishing an important precedent. The emperor is happily relieved of the responsibility for his political conduct, but may he, under extraordinary necessity, resort to a transconstitutional measure at will, or, in other words, may the premier request the emperor to employ such a measure by the simple assumption by the former of the responsibility therefor? The marquis appears to answer the question in the affirmative. The future political development of this point will be a matter of great interest.

The fundamental conception of the Constitution being such as we have described, it would appear as if the political life of Japan must in a large measure depend upon the personal views and inclinations of the emperor, to say nothing of those of his ministers. Such a conception, however, ignores two considerations of utmost importance, namely, that under the new régime are being created regular channels through which the life of the state will more and more habitually run, and that the tradition, whose force has accumulated through the long history of Japan since her foundation as a state, is the spirit of conciliation on the part of the subject and the habit of assuming political impersonality on the part of the supreme ruler. Individual idiosyncrasies of the sovereign will probably prove to be the least important factor of the future political life of the Japanese nation.

Now, passing on to the imperial diet, it is observed that[205] the theoretical view of its legislative capacity is that with its consent the emperor exercises his legislative power (V.), or, in the words of the commentator, that the diet "takes part in legislation, but has no share in the sovereign power; it has power to deliberate upon laws, but none to determine them." This theoretical definition, however, should not be taken as a practical limitation imposed upon the legislative power of the diet, for, it will be remembered, every law of the state must have its consent (XXXIII.), and it may disapprove imperial ordinances issued while it was not in session (VIII.). Over and above its legislative faculty, also, the diet enjoys four important rights: the right to receive petitions directly from the people, the right to put questions to the government and demand explanations, the right to address the throne over the heads of the cabinet ministers, and, the most effective of all, the right to control the management of the finances. It is needless to say that the practical issue of conflict must always lie, not between the diet and the emperor, but between the diet and the government.

The diet consists of two houses, namely, of the peers and of the representatives. The importance of the bicameral system is strongly insisted upon by the commentator of the Constitution. The house of peers is composed of the members of the imperial family and princes and marquises, who sit of their own right; counts, viscounts, and barons, who have been elected by their respective peers; persons who have been specially nominated by the emperor on account of the meritorious services they have rendered to the state or on account of their erudition; and, finally, wealthy persons who have been elected, one member for each city or prefecture, by the people of their own class. All hold their seats for life, except the elected members, whose term is seven years.

It would seem that this upper house was created to serve as a powerful shield of the government. It contains men of wisdom and weight, and is comparatively free from party affiliations. While no financial bill can originate there, the house is above the fear of dissolution, and its actions may be characterized by a greater continuity of policy than those of the other house. "If the house of peers fulfills its functions," writes Marquis Itō in his "Commentaries," "it will serve in a remarkable degree to preserve an equilibrium between political powers, to restrain the undue influence of political parties, to check the evil tendencies of irresponsible[206] discussions, to secure the stability of the Constitution, to be an instrument for maintaining harmony between the governing and the governed, and to permanently sustain the prosperity of the country and the happiness of the people." It was an irony of fate that a dozen years after these words were written their author, at that time the premier, should find in this very organ the most stubborn opposition to his measures that any constitutional cabinet of Japan has ever experienced. The anomaly of the situation consisted in the fact that these measures had already been passed through the lower house, so that the traditionally pro-government peers were now found opposed to the combined front of the cabinet and the representatives. Nothing of the sort could have been imagined by the marquis when he first framed the great document which brought the house of peers into existence. How the deadlock thus caused was removed by a resort to another anomaly has already been described. As to the reasons for the unexpectedly determined opposition of the peers, they will be told in the next chapter.

The house of representatives is made up of persons elected for the term of four years from the electoral districts in accordance with the law of election, which was originally promulgated simultaneously with the Constitution in 1889 and was revised in 1900. The revised law provided that the electoral district should be coextensive with the administrative division, city, or prefecture, and defined the number of members to be elected from each district. Under the earlier arrangement the city or prefecture had been divided into smaller districts, each of which returned one, sometimes two, members. The new larger districts were calculated to do away with some of the evils of sectionalism which had previously been unavoidable. The revised law also separated a certain number of cities from rural districts, to which some of the former had hitherto been connected to form single districts, the change signifying the intention of the law to give the urban population a freer voice in the house than was possible under the old system. The aggregate number of the representatives was also materially increased from 300 to 369, the cities claiming 61 members, instead of less than twenty, as heretofore. Another important feature of the law was the voting by ballot and the provision that each elector should vote for only one candidate, irrespective of the number of members returnable from the same district. The obvious intention was to[207] protect the rights of the elector from the abuses of the political party, whose orderly and organized action was also indirectly encouraged by this measure, and to give a chance to the minorities to be represented. Again, while the property qualifications of the voter and the candidate had been measured by the payment of direct taxes of not less than ten yen by the former and fifteen yen by the latter, the amount was now reduced to ten yen for the elector and altogether removed from the eligible person. The numbers of the electors in the country accordingly rose from some 460,000 to about 800,000. It is curious to note that the original bill of the revised election law introduced by the government was considerably more liberal than the amended and finally passed articles of the lower house. Thus it would appear that the representatives of the people showed themselves reluctant to accept the premium offered by the government whose conservatism they had been wont to attack, but the real situation will be understood only when we come to study in the next section the political maneuvers of the period. We may simply note here in passing that 800,000 electors among the population of more than 46,000,000 cannot be considered adequate, even when allowance is made for the still comparatively untrained political condition of the people. Although an agitation for an enlarged electorate has not yet assumed a definite form, there can be little doubt that progress will be made in this respect in a not distant future.

The house elects its president and vice president, and submits to the imperial decision the names of the three candidates for each position who have received the highest votes for it, of whom the sovereign invariably selects the first. The members then divide themselves into committees, each with an elected chairman, which transact the more important part of the business of the house before it reaches the general session. The seats are decided by lot and without regard to the division of parties. Disorderly scenes on the floor are said to be as rare as specimens of grand oratory. Thrilling incidents are not, however, wanting, particularly when an important interpellation of the government or an address to the throne is under discussion, or on any occasion when the concerted move of a large party is directed by its leaders against the government, or against another party. The sentiment of the house rises to its height when, as in October, 1894, and on March 25, 1904, the partisan spirit is for the moment sunk, opposition to the government[208] is laid aside, and the members, unanimously and enthusiastically, voice the urgent wishes of the entire nation, the latter itself being eminently capable at critical times of standing like one man. The gallery is on such occasions thronged by interested spectators, and the debate and its report arrest the attention of the whole country.

Most of the officers of state, including cabinet members, are eligible for seats in the lower house, but the ministers seldom appear as candidates, and, in one solitary case, when one of them was elected representative, he nearly always absented himself from the house. The cabinet members may, however, voluntarily or on request make their appearance to present the views of the administration on questions under deliberation, and on such occasions they occupy seats assigned for government officials. The presence, in this manner, of the various ministers, as well as premier, is usually a sign of an important, or perhaps exciting, session.

It is unnecessary to say that the representatives are not in theory regarded as delegates from their constituencies, and the local interests have not been found particularly engrossing. As to the practical position which the house occupies in the national life of the people—that is, as to the questions: What are the preponderant interests represented therein, and in what way; what have been the watchwords of the opposition, and how are the party lines drawn; how much has the existence of the house helped or hindered the progress of the nation during the past decade; what have been the effects of the continual struggle between the house and the government on the tactics and discipline of each, and which has shown the higher ability and greater continuity of purpose; and what have been the mutual effects of the action of the house and the more important domestic and foreign problems of the empire—these queries may be only imperfectly answered after the actual political history since the promulgation of the Constitution is thoroughly mastered. The more direct and practical question concerns the relation between the house or the diet in general and the cabinet. Is the latter responsible to the former for its political conduct?

Perhaps nothing in the fundamental law of Japan can be of greater interest and importance than the question just stated, all the more so because the text of the Constitution and Marquis Itō's "Commentaries" on it, as well as his public utterances, seem, when closely examined, significantly to leave much room for future[209] development. Nor are the eight changes of the cabinet which have taken place since the birth of the diet all of a character to decide this momentous question. "The respective ministers of state," says Article LV. of the Constitution, "shall give their advice to the emperor, and be responsible for it." What the last clause signifies is by no means made perfectly clear by the commentator, who says: "He alone can dismiss a minister, who has appointed him.... The appointment and dismissal of them [i. e., the ministers] having been included by the Constitution in the sovereign power of the emperor, it is only a legitimate consequence that the power of deciding as to the responsibility of ministers is withheld from the diet. But the diet may put questions to the ministers and demand open answers from them before the public, and it may also present addresses to the sovereign setting forth its opinions. Moreover, although the emperor reserves to himself in the Constitution the right of appointing his ministers at his pleasure, in making an appointment, the susceptibilities of the public mind must also be taken into consideration. This may be regarded as an indirect method of controlling the responsibility of ministers. Thus, in the Constitution the following conclusions have been arrived at:

"First, that the ministers of state are charged with the duty of giving advice to the emperor, which is their proper function, and that they are not held responsible on his behalf; second, that ministers are directly responsible to the emperor and indirectly to the people; third, that it is the sovereign and not the people that can decide as to the responsibility of ministers, because the sovereign possesses the rights of sovereignty of the state; fourth, that the responsibility of ministers is a political one and has no relation to criminal or civil responsibility, nor can it conflict therewith, neither can the one affect the other. Save that all criminal or civil cases must be brought before the ordinary courts of law, and that suits arising out of administrative matters must be brought before a court of administrative litigation, the cases of political responsibility are left to be dealt with by the sovereign as disciplinary measures." The marquis further emphatically repudiates the theory of joint responsibility of the cabinet as a state of things that can never be approved of according to the Japanese Constitution. The argument here again is that the ministers are individually appointed by the sovereign, to whom they are individually responsible for the business of their respective departments, and[210] that for the same reason the minister president, or premier, cannot have control over the post of each minister, nor shall the latter be dependent upon the former. The reader will readily see that the whole line of Itō's argument is consistent with the fundamental theory of the Japanese body politic, that is, the full sovereignty of the emperor. No one can, however, fail to perceive between the lines here quoted a great latitude for the future growth of another theory whose gradual expansion might, imperceptibly, perhaps, but none the less steadily, reduce the political responsibility of the minister to the throne to the position of a mere legal fiction. As has already been intimated, the past changes of the cabinet have not always been directly occasioned by the opposition of the diet, nor has the majority of the opposition in the lower house newly elected after its dissolution always forced the ministers from their chairs. As will be seen in the next chapter, the second Yamagata cabinet (1898-1900) resigned despite its commanding a majority in the diet, and was succeeded by the fourth Itō cabinet (1900-1901), which also retired for reasons quite independent of the conditions of the legislative chambers, where it had the following of an absolute majority of the representatives. On the other hand, nearly all of the eight changes of the cabinet have been caused by difficulties more or less financial in nature, and these are, it will be remembered, under the effective control of the lower house, so that the "indirect" responsibility of the cabinet to the diet already bids fair to become more logical and perhaps less indirect. Moreover, the sovereign has never appointed individual ministers of state at his pleasure, but at the resignation of a cabinet he invariably summons the statesman whose succession to the premiership is the most logical, though not always desired by the latter himself, and leaves to him the task of forming a new cabinet. It would not be too much to suppose that if in the future a cabinet was compelled to resign under the powerful and reasonable opposition of a great popular party in the lower house, the leader of the party would receive the imperial mandate to form a new cabinet. We feel almost safe in predicting that with the growth of an adequate party system, which in Japan is still in its formative stage, the ministerial responsibility to the diet will have become an established usage.

It is interesting to note that Marquis Itō himself remarked, in his address, in February, 1899, to the delegates from the cities, that the English cabinet and party system must be more or less adopted[211] in Japan if a harmonious coöperation were to be secured between the cabinet and the diet, and that the practice of government by party would in no way impair the authority of the throne. The same statesman had an occasion two years later to declare in the lower house, when an already mentioned resolution censuring the cabinet for having caused an imperial word to be pronounced was under discussion, that the passage of a resolution would not shake his position as premier, which he owed to the confidence of his majesty. "If the aim of the resolution is my resignation," exclaimed he, "why do you not propose an address to the throne, instead of a resolution?" These statements made by the same framer of the Constitution at two different occasions may not be interpreted as necessarily contradictory to one another, for, if in 1901, an address had been made to the throne, and if the throne had seemed still to uphold the premier in spite of the diet, it is not impossible to imagine that Itō would have quietly resigned. Weighing his statements side by side, might it not be surmised that in the mind of the veteran statesman the responsibility of the cabinet to the people must be commensurate with the political training of the latter, especially in the form of a well-organized and trained party system? At any rate, it would seem inevitable that the actual state of things under the present régime should move in that direction. As to the state of party politics in Japan, to whose development the marquis himself has made a notable contribution, we shall discuss it at length in the following chapter.

Finally, a reference should be made to the privy council, whose members, twenty-five more or less in number, are appointed by the emperor, in order to deliberate upon important matters of state. The ministers are ex officio privy councilors, but the cabinet is an administrative body, while the privy council is a deliberative one. To the latter is assigned the "task of planning far-sighted schemes of statecraft and of effectuating new enactments, by leisurely meditation and calm reflection, by thorough investigation into ancient and modern history, and by consulting scientific principles" according to Itō's "Commentaries." The councilors, therefore, must be men above party and of wide experience and knowledge, and so conservative and impartial as to be "the palladium of the Constitution and the law." Its opinions are not given publicity, but when they are embodied in an imperial ordinance, the latter states the fact in its preamble. The emperor in theory may[212] accept or reject at will the recommendations of the council, but in practice has in no case overridden them, nor even shown his personal preferences.

Those who are at all familiar with the political conditions of Japan cannot fail to see through this institution of the privy council a group of men who have in a large measure molded the destiny of new Japan. They are collectively termed Genrō, or Elder Statesmen, and include those who were prominent about the time of the revolution of 1868, and also those who have since rendered eminent services to the state. At one time they numbered among them the great Katsu, the most heroic and dramatic figure of the revolution and the most sage-like statesman of modern Japan. Marquis Itō now stands head and shoulders above the rest of the veteran statesmen, and beside him are found Field Marshal Yamagata, Count Matsukata, and others of equal note. It is highly significant that the Constitution has created an institution by means of which those very men whose wisdom and energy have tended to make Japan what she is were attracted together around the person of the emperor. The ship of the state is piloted by their far-sighted loyalty and patriotism, and the influence these statesmen exercise over the fundamental policy of the empire cannot easily be overestimated. The latest example of this influence was the advice of the council to the throne to instruct the peace envoys at Portsmouth to make large concessions in order successfully to conclude a treaty with Russia. These concessions, which made the restoration of peace possible, were radically opposed to the wishes of the majority of the people, but were boldly counseled by the Elder Statesmen regardless of personal consequences upon themselves. Neither the diet nor the political parties could, however, effectively assail the position of the council as such, for it was no executive institution, but a purely deliberative organ closely in touch with the throne. When the treaty was signed by the envoys, the council approved it and the emperor ratified it, despite a great popular demonstration for its rejection.


Chapter XVII


Having examined the salient features of the machinery of the new régime, we are now prepared to follow the history of the men and parties that have operated the machinery, and of the issues which have in turn guided the action of these political agents. Law and constitution are products of history and legislation, but men and parties, as also issues at stake, are the handiwork of mightier powers which can hardly be reduced into syllogisms or molded by mere force of traditions and precedents. Of all the political factors of a nation, the progress of the party and the individuality of the man seem the least subject to human artifice and control, while the problems, which must largely decide the course of action of the different political forces at work, appear continually to baffle one's imagination and forecast. It must then be a matter of great interest to observe the conduct of the most prominent politicians in the field and their eventful relations to the changing parties, and the history of the issues, domestic and foreign, which have sometimes astounded the actors on the scene by their unexpected emergence and sometimes wearied them by their persistent and unwelcome reappearance. What follows is a mere sketch of a period of the most bewildering political vicissitudes that have ever visited a nation in a decade.

The period between 1890 and 1904 might be divided into three epochs. Down to 1894, when the war with China broke out, the relation between the government and the parties in the lower house was in the main one of simple difference of political theories. With the war the nation entered, externally, into the arena of world-politics, while, in the diet, there dawned an era of varied coalitions among the parties and also between them and the government. Desire for power seemed to begin to affect the minds of the politicians whose aspirations had heretofore been comparatively more idealistic.[214] A grand party was finally created by the combined influence of Marquis Itō, on the one hand, who apparently aimed at organizing a model constitutional party, and, on the other, of an enormous number of men the motives of some of whom were anything but a copy of those of their leader. When the whips of this new party, which controlled a majority in the diet, began to manifest unwillingness to accept the discipline and to override the wishes of its founder and leader, Marquis Itō, the politics of new Japan entered its third stage, in which the controlling factors are found to be even more personal and partisan and a matter of interests and feeling, than in the second period. As soon as the nation entered upon the war with Russia, however, the political atmosphere at once changed: the party lines and the traditional differences between the diet and the government were temporarily obliterated, and the nation—the cabinet, the two houses, and the people—seemed to think and feel as one mind. The conclusion of the treaty of peace with Russia, the terms of which displeased many Japanese, has suddenly terminated this union and alienated the cabinet and the privy council from some people, while the dividing lines between the various parties are being again drawn on changed issues. When this critical stage passes away, the political life of constitutional Japan must inevitably enter its fourth epoch, but what its nature will be remains to be seen. At this moment the future progress of the party life of the Japanese nation appears to be as difficult to forecast as it was in 1890, when the first diet was convened.

The first period, then, opens with the existence of two popular parties, the Liberals and Progressives, led, respectively, by Count Itagaki and Count Ōkuma. The members of the parties who sat in the first lower house represented an overwhelmingly preponderant interest of the landowning class of the country, so that a revision of land values and consequently a reduction of the land tax were among their rallying cries. At the same time they aimed at overthrowing the existing cabinet, which they considered under the exclusive control of men of certain provinces of the south, principally Satsuma and Nagato (Chōshū), which had once been instrumental in upsetting the feudal régime and restoring the imperial government. It is remarkable that the party men almost identified the future downfall of sectionalism, as they deemed the foundation of the administration to be, with the cause of the establishment of a responsible cabinet, or a cabinet responsible[215] to the throne as well as to the diet. Needless to say that, from the party standpoint, a responsible cabinet was ipso facto a party cabinet. It will be recalled that the Constitution, which had recently been promulgated and according to whose provisions the diet had been called into being, defined, so far as the explicit verbal meaning was concerned, that the government was answerable for its political conduct to the emperor. The theory of the full sovereignty of the throne was loyally and enthusiastically supported by the entire nation, but the parties did not fail to see the apparent possibility of reconciling it with a practical control of the cabinet by the diet. It is little wonder that they straightway crystallized their principle into the phrase, "a responsible cabinet," which they at once conceived as merely the positive side of another of their mottoes, "the downfall of sectionalism." The government and the Elder Statesmen, it is not improbable, possessed a clearer vision of the foibles of the young parties, and consequently a more conservative but truer foresight of the future progress of the political training of the nation. The question between the parties and the government appears, in the last analysis, to have been largely a question of time, the former harassing the latter for not giving them at once what they probably knew it would cheerfully surrender when the proper time came. Yet, by the law of reaction, the parties rashly attacked the government, and the latter not infrequently resorted to measures of self-defense which appeared to the partisan opponents unwarranted and even arbitrary. Bitter feelings were not seldom aroused, and the sentiment of the people at large was at times so highly wrought that it was by no means uncommon to see neighbors in a village range themselves according to their sympathy with either the government or the party side in their heated controversies by the fireside. Election scenes often presented exciting incidents. It should be noted that the majority of the rural population sided with the anti-government candidates, but that the two parties, the Liberals and Progressives, seldom failed to struggle against each other in the election. Things went on mainly in this condition until Count (now Marquis) Itō became premier of the famous Itō cabinet, which lasted for an unusual period of four years, during which, moreover, the victorious war with China took place.

At first the count found the opposition of the lower house to his so-called sectional government so powerful that he even contemplated the advisability of creating a new political party of his[216] own. Early in 1894 the diet was dissolved; the March election returned a majority of the opposition and was followed by a second dissolution. Under such circumstances it was no wonder that the late Chinese statesman, Li Hung Chang, is alleged to have fancied at the time that Japan's hands were too closely tied by the strife between the diet and the government to resort to a decisive measure against China over Korea, which was then the bone of contention between the two empires. But the war did come, for the successful conduct of which the nation sank their party considerations and supported with one mind the government and the army. An account of this important warfare will be found in its proper place, and it suffices here to point out its interesting effect on the parliamentary politics of Japan. The new position in the comity of nations which the world accorded her after the war naturally brought with it new problems of unexpected importance. One of them was an enormous increase of state expenditures caused by an increased armament and by the plans for the development of the resources of the country. Hereafter financial questions became the central issue to decide the fate of the succeeding houses and cabinets, and their practical and urgent character made it impossible for the cabinet to carry out its proposed measures without the coöperation of the one or the other of the parties in the house. Naturally an era of political coalitions dawned. It may also be surmised that the parties, at least some of their leaders, had been tired of a long fruitless struggle with the government. However that may be, no one will deny that henceforth the desire for power began to be manifested by the parties which, whatever their faults, had in the main fought for a few abstract principles which had originally brought them together. On the other hand, it is only just to point out the important fact that the so loudly denounced sectionalism had in reality become a phantom, particularly after the inception of the constitutional régime in 1890 and the Chinese war in 1894-1895, both of which had a tremendous influence in arousing the interest of the nation at large in its own affairs. The southern provinces could still furnish men of experience and wisdom, but it was less because the so-called sectionalism was still rampant than because these men, who possessed the prestige of service and age, could not well be replaced by the less experienced men of other localities. The Elder Statesmen could no longer control the political situation of the country, nor could they reasonably be charged with being animated[217] with any degree of provincialism. It would be no political apostasy for either party to support a non-partisan cabinet whose policy appealed to its cherished principles. Thus various circumstances seem to have conspired to produce an epoch of political coalitions.

The ninth diet opened early in December, 1895, to which the Itō cabinet proposed the first so-called post-bellum measures to be carried out within the ensuing ten years. Briefly stated, the additional requirements on account of "ordinary" expenditures of states were to be met by an increased taxation aggregating the sum of more than thirty-three and one-half million yen; the expansion of the armament and the establishment of an iron foundry were to be paid out of the Chinese indemnity and other "extraordinary" items of revenue, which altogether amounted to over 365 millions; and the improvement and extension of railroads, telephone, and the like were calculated to be covered by the issuance of public bonds. It is essential in our discussion to keep in our minds the three sources of increased revenue. As to the first, that is, the increased taxation, we must note as a matter of great importance that many of the most interesting features of the political history from this time on have been determined by whether it was the landowners or the urban population who were called upon to bear the bulk of the added imposition. In the present case the burden fell on the latter class of people, and this fact was fortunate for the reception of the bill in the house, which consisted almost wholly of representatives of the landowning interest. The passage of the measure was, however, entirely owing to the alliance between the government and the Liberal Party. Unfortunately, some of the financial schemes of the Itō cabinet were soon found to be falling short of the expectations of their authors, and a large deficit of the revenue for the next fiscal year, amounting to nearly ninety-three millions of yen, brought about the downfall of the cabinet, which had otherwise proved the most brilliant and powerful that had yet guided the affairs of the state under the new régime.

The succeeding cabinet was headed by the great financier, Count Matsukata, and was for a time supported by the Progressives, whose leader, Count Ōkuma, occupied the portfolio of foreign affairs. The tenth diet (1896-1897) ran its course smoothly, as there appeared no important financial measure to stir up the partisan blood in the lower house, but the next diet, which met in De[218]cember, 1897, witnessed an altogether different scene. In spite of the painful manipulations of the items of the budget, and of the fact that the issues of the recently raised taxes had reached the exchequer, a large deficit of over fourteen million yen stared the Matsukata cabinet in the face, and, moreover, promised to rise considerably higher the next year. Count Matsukata now resolved to increase the revenue by twenty-five millions by raising the rates of certain taxes, one of which, the land tax, was probably among the fairest sources of an increased income, but was destined to arouse a stormy opposition of the representatives. No sooner was the count's design known than the Progressives, with their versatile leader, deserted the cabinet. This was the first time that the lower house, one of whose old cries had been to revise land values and reduce the land tax, was called upon to discuss a financial measure to which the interest of the constituencies of their overwhelming majority was diametrically opposed. We might perhaps consider the eleventh diet, for this reason, as marking a new stage in which the question of class interests, so promising of ominous consequences, began to manifest itself. The determined opposition of the house against the cabinet was quickly followed by the dissolution of the former and the fall of the latter.

The year 1898 witnessed the most surprising political changes that have taken place in any single year since the beginning of the constitutional régime of Japan. In January Marquis Itō again held the reins of the cabinet. The Liberals would not support him, nor would Count Ōkuma leave his lieutenants behind in order to join the cabinet. The government thus declaring itself clear of entangling alliances, the parties hastened to their constituencies to prepare for the general election of March. The nation had never seen such peculiar political conditions as then prevailed all over the country. The new "transcendental" cabinet had committed itself to no definite policy. There were practically no issues on which the parties could address themselves to the people, who had not been without some misgivings as to the conduct of their former representatives in the lower house, and who could no longer be blinded by the specter of the so-called sectionalism. The election resulted in giving an absolute majority to neither the party members nor the supporters of the government. After the election, however, political issues quickly crystallized themselves as soon as it was known that the cabinet would propose an increase of taxes,[219] mainly the land tax, by more than thirty-five millions of yen. The Liberals and the Progressives, hitherto so jealous of each other, joined hands to reject the proposition, for which act the house earned another dissolution, on June 10. With an amazing celerity the two parties voluntarily amalgamated themselves into the colossal "Constitutional Party," with the realization of a party cabinet as its motto.

It will easily be seen that this precipitous move had been caused by the common landed interest which the two former parties represented in the house, and which had risen to its height of intensity at the repeated appearance of the land tax bill, and by the plain fact that power and spoil would fall into their hands the more readily by their combined warfare with the authorities. In order to meet this united front of the opposition, Marquis Itō again had a mind to organize a party of his own, but was strenuously opposed in this desire by the other Elder Statesmen, particularly Count Yamagata, who, together with the majority of the peers, were stanch supporters of the literal interpretation of the Constitution in respect to its theory of ministerial responsibility. Nothing could have been more significant and characteristic of Marquis Itō than his action at this critical juncture of the history of the Constitution and of his own career. The organization of the Constitutional Party had been publicly announced on June 22, and on the 24th the premier tendered his resignation, together with an earnest recommendation to the throne that the leaders of the new party be summoned to form a cabinet. This stroke was natural when we consider that the quick vision of the marquis must have seen the impossibility of building between the two fires of the party and the Elders. He, however, could not have foreseen all the momentous consequences of this adroit coup. The lightning speed of his act stunned friend and foe alike. The party found itself utterly unprepared to grasp the opportunity so suddenly thrust upon it. On the other hand, in the inverse proportion that his conduct gratified the party, it was galling to his numerous friends in the house of peers, in the privy council, and in the government and the court, many of whom owed their training and advancement to the veteran statesman, but who must now have felt as if they had been deserted by him at the critical moment. The deep-seated resentment against the marquis which was created among the peers, who had always regarded him as the[220] living exponent of the theory of the non-partisan cabinet hereafter must be particularly borne in mind. Would it not appear plain that they would oppose him if he should again become premier with the aid of a party, and would it not be equally clear that if another cabinet should be formed from among themselves, the party politicians would present an obstinate opposition to it? It will be seen later that all these things have since actually taken place. If we may regard the first introduction of the land tax question into the house in 1897 as the beginning of the controlling influence of a class-interest, the abrupt resignation of Marquis Itō in 1898 may be said to mark the dawn of an era in which human feelings not altogether expressible in words began to play an important rōle in parliamentary politics. When feelings and interests, independent of principles and issues, come to influence the course of events, the conflicts of their agents must inevitably become at times bitter. As to the marquis himself, however, June 24, 1898, was perhaps another of the turning points of his life, through which he successfully extricated himself from a groove and made a leap forward.

The most melodramatic spectacles of the year were yet to come. The new Janus-like Constitutional Party, whose political composition was as incongruous as its two masters, the idealistic Count Itagaki of the Liberals and the nimble-witted Count Ōkuma of the Progressives, suddenly found itself face to face with an opportunity which had for years been its cherished goal, but which it was at this moment hardly prepared to accept with alacrity. A mongrel cabinet was at last organized, with Ōkuma as premier and foreign minister, Itagaki as home minister, two more former Progressives and three Liberals receiving other portfolios, and, finally, Marquis Saigō and Viscount Katsura as ministers of army and navy. It should be noted that the marquis was one of the Elder Statesmen, under whose wings the viscount also had shaped his political career. The party thus failed to form a cabinet of purely its own complexion, which fact must have been especially disheartening in showing that the powerful military institutions of the empire could not be controlled by the inexperienced politicians emerging from the lower house of the diet. Such a matter, however, weighed little by the side of the grave internal difficulties that beset the new party from its start. The traditional sympathies of its two component parts proved too different from[221] one another, and the individual sense of honor and also interest too little subservient to the common cause, for the members of the new government to hold together for half a year. Moreover, the executive authorities of the party at large instituted a shameless movement of systematic office-hunting, in which the old Liberals and Progressives vied against each other and among themselves. The same disorganized condition characterized the general election of August when a concerted action of the party could hardly be found anywhere in the country. What finally precipitated the downfall of the cabinet was a speech of Ozaki, the Progressive minister of education, which roundly denounced the materialistic tendencies of the age, and declared that if Japan should become a republic her people probably would not hesitate to elect a Vanderbilt or an Astor for president. The former Liberals adroitly chimed in with those chauvinists who pretended to have discovered in the speech a sinister, disloyal motive, on the part of the speaker, against the reigning family. When Ozaki's resignation was thus forced, the premier, without listening to the overtures of the Liberals, appointed another Progressive to the vacant post. At the end of October the dissolution of the party began openly amid considerable bickerings, and the cabinet, which had already been deserted by the non-partisan ministers of army and of navy, and could no longer maintain itself, tendered its resignation. Thus the first attempt at a party cabinet in Japan came to an ignominious failure under extremely untoward circumstances. The old parties parted more widely than before, and the unfortunate ministry passed out of existence before it could face the unfriendly house of peers and tackle the enormous national deficit amounting to thirty-seven millions of yen.

Field Marshal Count Yamagata, who received an imperial summons, formed a cabinet, on the eve of a new diet, in November, 1898, which consisted entirely of Elder Statesmen and their sympathizers. The duty of carrying out the post-bellum measures had devolved upon the new cabinet. The support of the peers could be safely relied upon, but in the lower chamber nothing could be effected without the aid of some party. Perhaps nothing could show more clearly the possibility of the ultimate ministerial responsibility to the diet than the conduct of the field marshal at this juncture. He and some of his colleagues, as well as the majority of the peers, had been known as the most persistent believers in the non-partisan[222] government and in the responsibility of the cabinet to the crown, and yet they could see absolutely no hope of performing their official duties but by allying themselves with the party which once supported Marquis Itō's post-bellum measures. That party was the Liberal, which now monopolized the name Constitutionalist. It demanded certain portfolios, not from the spirit of office-hunting, but, as it was explained, for the sake of establishing the principle that no cabinet can be "transcendental," or absolutely non-partisan. According, however, to an agreement arrived at between the cabinet and the Constitutionalists, the latter satisfied themselves with a manifesto made by Count Yamagata at a social gathering, to the effect that he believed the coöperation of a party or parties commanding a majority in the diet was essential for the discharge of the business of the state. It was significant enough to hear these words from the mouth of the premier from whom they could otherwise have been least expected, and yet it is not too much to say that no cabinet, not excluding partisan cabinets, has succeeded in making a greater use of a party than his. The success was in no small measure due to Tōru Hoshi, formerly Japanese minister at Washington, and at the time under discussion the house leader of the Constitutionalists, who, with his wonderful talent for political tactics, acted for the government as the trustworthy foreman of his party. By his skillful maneuvers, an increase of the land tax, which had, as we saw, failed after causing within half a year the dissolution of two successive houses of representatives, was now, despite the preponderant sympathy in the house with the landowning class of the country, agreed to by a majority of 161 to 134. But for its passage, the deficit of the next fiscal year would have reached beyond forty-six millions of yen.

Let us pause a moment to examine the nature of the Japanese land tax, without an understanding of which neither the past nor the future of the parliamentary politics will be comprehended with sufficient clearness. The reader will recall how before the fall of feudalism most of the arable land in the country was held in fief, and how the tenants paid to their lords onerous rents, ranging between thirty and seventy per cent. of the product of the soil. When the imperial government assumed the control of the state in 1868, it found itself confronted with the colossal task of reorganizing the machinery of the state in nearly all of its parts, and introducing new, urgent measures, some of which were on a large[223] scale, and all of which demanded a considerable outlay of funds. To do this they were supplied with a miserably small income, which hardly covered one-tenth of the necessary expenditures. It was essential above all to institute a sound system of taxation, whose basis, in those days of an insignificant foreign trade, could not but consist in a reorganized land tax. Nothing could, however, be done in that direction, so long as the local daimios still held their fiefs, to which the authority of the new government could not penetrate. It was only when the fiefs were, in the manner already described in a previous chapter, surrendered to the state that anything toward the establishment of a secure system of taxation could be attempted. Pending the assessing of the values of the arable land, which naturally required time, the government resorted to the issuance of inconvertible notes and other measures of purely temporary and irregular nature. The land tax itself was, however, conceived and finally established in the most remarkable manner, its principle being, in the first place, a complete nationalization of land, and, then, the transferring of the ownership to the individual holders who were actually tilling it. The duty of the new owner to pay a tax to the state for his landed property was evidently conceived by the government as a natural consequence of the ownership so bountifully and so completely conferred upon him on their initiative. With the land tax securely installed, the main structure of the new system of national taxation had been finished, for the issue of this new tax at its first complete return amounted to more than two-thirds of the entire revenue of the state. It now remains to be told how the value of each piece of land was assessed and its tax determined. The assessment of value consisted, first, in taking the average of the harvest for five years, then converting it into money at the basis of the average price of rice ruling in the same period, and, finally, estimating the amount of the capital which would be necessary to yield an interest equal to the price just calculated. The estimated capitalization was considered the value of the land in question. The assessment of land throughout the country was completed in 1881. As to the tax itself, its rate was fixed at three per cent. of the official value, and later reduced to two and a half per cent. It would be difficult to overestimate the benefit that accrued to the farmer under the new law. He passed at once from the position of a tenant to that of an absolute owner, his former lord being at the same time recompensed by the state with public[224] bonds for the fiefs he had surrendered. Thus the emancipation of the cultivator from the feudal bondage of land, which still has a considerable hold upon some of the former feudal communities in Europe, was in Japan definite and final. Nor did the new owner find himself under such restrictions as had existed under the feudal régime, either in the alienation of his estate or in its utilization to the best advantage by raising upon it whatever crop he liked. In return, his due to the state was only a sum, no longer arbitrary or in kind, but fixed and in money, which, as has been pointed out by some writers, was no more than one and one-fourth per cent. of the market value of the land, or equal to a rent assessed on the basis of an eighty-year purchase, which is less than a quarter of the ordinary tenant's rent.[2] Add to this the important consideration that between the time when the land tax law went into effect and the year 1898 the price of rice rose nearly threefold, so that the real burden of the tax lessened correspondingly by two-thirds. The market value of land, also, had increased, even as early as 1888, on the average of five or sixfold. If it be said that the farmer's quota in the expenditures of the local government had in the meantime considerably increased, there still remains the fact that the increase was hardly commensurate with the growth of cultivated area and general land value and the rise in both quantity and price of the crops.

To say, however, that the land tax was lenient is not equivalent to saying that it was the most reasonable source for an increased imposition. That it was so, in the opinion of the fair-minded people, remains now to be shown. It should be remembered, in the first place, that although in 1881 the income of the land tax amounted to more than four-sevenths of the total revenue of the government, it had not since increased, but rather fallen from over forty-two millions of yen to less than forty, while, on the other hand, the expenditures of the state had risen from seventy-one and one-half millions in 1881 to eighty-five and three-tenths in 1895, and then, so rapidly after the advent of the post-bellum measures that in 1899 they stood at 254 millions, or more than three and one-half times as large as they were less than two decades before. Such items of taxes as had been created or increased to meet a part of these enormously swollen expenditures had nearly all fallen on the urban population. The public bonds which were issued from time to time and could not be much multiplied by fresh issues were also absorbed mainly by the merchants and manufacturers, and the burden of [225]the indirect taxes, which in 1899 brought in the considerable sum of sixteen millions, was borne by the consumers of foreign goods, who for the most part lived in the cities. This increased assessment of the urban population can be appreciated in contrast with the greatly lightened land tax of the landowners, who gained much and lost little by the rapid development of the economic resources of the country. Their interests were further strengthened by the new régime, under which the lower house of the imperial diet championed their cause with such a decisive majority of its members that no dissolution could change the situation. Some of the peers may have represented urban interests, but their voice in financial measures was as small as the control over them by the representatives was secure.

By the magnitude of these difficulties should be measured the signal success of the Yamagata cabinet in obtaining the passage in the lower house of the land tax bill, on December 20, 1898, by the majority of 161 to 134. It was, however, bought with a heavy cost both to the cabinet and to its allies, the Constitutionalists. The former had been compelled to relinquish its "transcendentalism," and the latter risked the displeasure of their constituencies. Nor was the bill passed without a hard struggle and serious amendments. The original proposition of the government contemplated a permanent increase of the tax rate to four per cent., but the bill as it was adopted fixed it at 3.3 per cent. (the rate of the house land in the cities being, however, 5 per cent.), and limited its validity to the short period of five years, so that the estimated increase in the income of the tax, after its going into plenary force, was only over eight million yen, or less than half the originally intended increase. Even this reduced measure was not agreed to until the government yielded to the demands to revise the land valuation in the country in such a way as to cut the total assessed value by 3,200,000 yen, and, what is more, to transfer the charge of the prison expenditures, amounting to four millions, from the local to the central exchequer. The net gain by the increased tax measure would hardly rise above four million yen annually, and this slight gain would be temporary, while the losses entailed on the government from the reassessment and prison expenditure would be permanent. After the expiration of the five years the government would be left worse off than at the beginning of the term.

In spite of these drawbacks, the credit of raising the income of[226] the land, income, and saké taxes by forty-six millions of yen, and thus enabling the post-bellum measures to be carried out to any real extent, belongs justly to the Yamagata cabinet. If we add to this remarkable success the establishment of the gold standard in 1898 and the passage of the new election law in 1900, and also remember that the cabinet possessed a strong unity, it becomes difficult to understand why it resigned in September, 1900, at the prime of its success. The reason was probably the characteristic modesty and prudence of the field marshal, who saw that he had attained to a success large enough to satisfy any premier, while the prolongation of his office might involve him in embarrassing relations with the new party just formed by Marquis Itō, with which the retiring premier had little sympathy.

The attitude of Marquis Itō toward the Yamagata cabinet during the latter's tenure of office was one of a cordial adviser to a modest inquirer. When the late Ōkuma cabinet fell, the marquis was summoned by the emperor to hasten back from China, where he had been traveling, but before he touched the shores of the main island of Japan the organization of the Yamagata cabinet had practically been completed. Itō may have been somewhat chagrined, but it goes to the credit of himself and of the field marshal that they maintained all through the twenty-two months of the latter's administration the utmost mutual respect and good-will that ever could exist between two men of temperaments so widely different from each other. But the time came when Itō at last found favorable opportunities to organize a large model party, which the former Liberals (lately styled Constitutionalists) joined in a body. He had seen too well in his tours round the country to what abuses the existing party system had everywhere led, and how far the nation stood, mainly owing to the flagrant defects of the present parties, from an ideal constitutional government, the legal foundation for which he had himself designed. Gradually and with increasing force he seems to have convinced himself that there should exist a party powerful enough to counteract the present evils, sufficiently organized and disciplined to possess a distinct unity of conduct, and actuated solely by the best and most logical motives of national progress. The patriotic intention of the marquis himself in these ideas cannot for a moment be doubted: it must have seemed plain to him that his assumption of leadership in a party must mean a radical severance of himself from his past career and friends, and[227] even the silent resentment of the latter, while his disciplinary measures would, even with his imposing prestige and influence, become less binding on the party as the latter grew in size. As soon, however, as his desires of organizing a new party were made known, on August 25, men of all classes and motives flocked under his standard in irresistible numbers. The public inauguration of the party, under the name Constitutional Political Association (Rikken Seiyū Kwai), took place on September 15, and eleven days later was followed by the sudden resignation of the Yamagata cabinet. Upon Itō now logically devolved the duty of taking the reins of the state in hand, but it was only after a considerable hesitation and some unexpected difficulties that the fourth Itō cabinet was finally organized on October 19. Who can deny that this was a genuine party cabinet, in an even fuller sense than the late Ōkuma cabinet, and that Marquis Itō was after all deeply convinced of the futility of a "transcendental" cabinet, which owes everything to the crown and nothing to the diet?

The new cabinet, with its illustrious leader, its absolute majority in the lower house, and its immense following in the country, seems to have been attended from its beginning by no inconsiderable difficulties, some of which, indeed, proved more serious than could have been expected. Foremost among them stood the financial ghost, which would never down, but which now, with the dispatch of troops to North China, made an unusually ominous appearance before the inchoate government. The increased tax measures, mainly in sugar and saké taxes and customs duties, intended to raise twenty-one million yen, readily passed through the house of representatives, where the landed interest still outweighed the urban, but met a different treatment from the peers. That these would be cool toward the cabinet may have been expected, but no man had imagined that they would present so stubborn an opposition and such adroit tactics as they did. Their stand was as determined, when it was taken, as it had previously been unsuspected. Between February 25 and March 12, 1901, were employed in vain the persuasion of the premier, reconciliation by four Elders, and two successive suspensions of the diet. Never before in the history of the Japanese Constitution had the house of peers so seriously opposed the government, nor had its action ever caused a suspension of the imperial diet. The anomaly of the situation becomes more evident when one recalls that the upper chamber was now wielding its weapons[228] against its creator, who had called it into being as a conservative force to check the radicalism of the other chamber. Above the fear of a dissolution, as they were, the peers caused a complete deadlock. How it was removed by an imperial word, and how unprecedented the procedure was, has been described in connection with our account of the Constitution. The survival of the Itō cabinet through this crisis, and the conduct of the premier in allowing his trouble to be remedied by an aid from the throne, were not unattended by the increased ill-will of the peers and even by some significant whispers among the rank and file of his own party.

The cabinet did not, however, live much longer, as it resigned on May 2 from an entirely unforeseen cause, the like of which it is highly improbable would recur. Within a week after the prorogation of the imperial diet, which had passed the increased tax measures, Viscount Watanabe, minister of finance, stunned the premier by declaring that the only possible way of forestalling the impending financial dangers of the government would be to postpone the public works contemplated for the fiscal year of 1901, mainly consisting of the creation or the extension of the iron foundry, railroads, telegraphs, and Formosan enterprises. His argument was not without a plausible ground, as it was plain that the issuing of the public bonds to the amount of more than sixty millions of yen, part of which had been planned to meet the expenditures of the public works, could not have been effected without drawing upon the too scarce productive capital of the nation. But the abrupt proposition of the viscount caused a veritable panic in the cabinet, and in the business world, and was agreed to by his colleagues after a considerable discussion. No sooner, however, did the finance minister carry his point than he gave everyone a fresh surprise by recommending an entire suspension of public works for the ensuing fiscal year of 1902. The breach thus created in the cabinet was complete, and the enigmatical Watanabe would not listen to the plaint of the premier. When all the other ministers tendered their resignation it was seen that the viscount alone was holding to his post, although he also soon joined the rest. It does not seem perfectly clear why the obstinacy of a minister was deemed a sufficient cause for the downfall of a cabinet which commanded an absolute majority in the lower house, and which had survived the deadlock and anomaly of two months before.

However that may be, the party cabinet, for such it was in[229] practice, did not recede from the government service without receiving deep scars on the prestige of the party itself. The internal inharmony of the cabinet so unfortunately caused by the inexplicable conduct of Viscount Watanabe seriously reflected upon the credit of the leaders then in office. For the cabinet and the party at large, however, perhaps no event was of a more serious import than the immense power, followed by the assassination, of Tōru Hoshi. A man of blameless character in his home life and an indefatigable student of the world's new thought, Hoshi, with undaunted courage and consummate talent for party leadership, not unattended by unscrupulous conduct in money matters, had become within a short time a peerless whip of the old Liberals. He was probably the greatest instrument in their secession from the hasty union with the Progressives. During the Yamagata administration the success of the cabinet was mainly due to his efficient maneuvers in the lower house, where he was at once the contractor and the foreman of his party. When the Liberals joined in a body Marquis Itō's new party, no man could have been at once more dangerous and more indispensable to its president than Hoshi. The latter's word was as reliable and his success as assured as his rule in the party was despotic and his means detested. In the proportion that the new association was proclaimed by its founder and expected by the nation to be a model party, the peers and other neutral people deprecated Hoshi for his corrupt deeds and the marquis for allowing them to pass under his eye. The politician, on his part, was too proud to condescend to explain that he retained not a farthing for himself, and that abuses were showered on him some of which should belong to others. The respectable society looked askance at him, but in the political world no one could resist the action of this intrepid and clever politician. During the first months of the Itō cabinet Hoshi was at once minister of state for transportation and a member of the municipal council of Tōkyō, but it was not long before he incurred the ire of the peers and others and resigned his former post. It was mainly as a councilor of Tōkyō, however, that his influence was feared to contaminate the municipal government in all its branches. Finally, on June 21, 1901, he fell victim at the age of forty-one to the dagger of an assassin. The latter, Sōtarō Iba by name, formerly a fencing master and now a man of respectable social standing, and of the same age as Hoshi, had been actuated by the simple fear of the[230] widespread corruption wrought by this engrossing enemy of the public, on whose removal he staked his life. He was later sentenced to life imprisonment. With the passing of Hoshi, the Constitutional Political Association and its president lost their most powerful and most detested figure. Marquis Itō was no longer subject to the calumny which had fallen upon him for his close association with the deceased politician, nor could he again count upon the coöperation of one whose talent and tactics had been the badge of his discipline as leader, and whose concentration of censure upon himself had relieved the marquis from the share which would otherwise have been apportioned him. The political atmosphere was as purified, as was the forecast of its immediate future rendered uncertain, by the resignation of the Itō cabinet and the assassination of Tōru Hoshi.

In the meantime the imperial mandate to organize a new cabinet lingered between Marquis Saionji, Count Inouye, and Viscount Katsura, until Katsura succeeded, a month after the fall of the last cabinet, in forming its successor. It consisted of younger men of that school of statesmen whose sympathy was with the Elders and peers, who, like their typical field marshal, Yamagata, were known to be skeptical of the wisdom of the party government. Hardly a more singular spectacle can be imagined than the one afforded by this new cabinet, which was at once as little respected from outside as internally it was united and tactful, and which was as securely supported by the peers as its relation to the representatives was precarious. The latter, particularly Marquis Itō's followers, could not have loved the successor who seemed to have stolen into the post vacated by their leader, whose untimely downfall from the cabinet had embittered them. Nor could the feeling be suppressed that, emerging from the house of peers, the new cabinet now had the use of the very twenty-one millions of increased taxes to which its members were so recently and so stubbornly opposed.

Again it was through the financial question that the struggle opened between the government and the diet. The accounts of the fiscal year 1901 showed a deficit of 44 millions, and the proposed war loan of 50 millions to be floated in the United States failing at the eleventh hour, the difficulty was tided over by ingenious manipulations. In the budget for the next year, however, it was proposed to transfer from the "extraordinary" to the "ordinary" class of accounts the works to be defrayed by public bonds, representing[231] 18 millions, as well as the net income to the government from the Chinese indemnity, amounting to 38 millions. The Associationists opposed this budget on rather unimportant grounds, but, at Itō's advice, consented to its passage with the pledge of the cabinet to reorganize the official system of the government with a view to eliminating spurious posts and retrenching administrative expenditures. The marquis had, however, started, on September 18, on his tour round the world, leaving an advice to his party that a friendly neutrality should characterize its attitude toward the cabinet. He attended the bicentennial celebration of Yale University, where he was honored with the degree of Doctor of Laws. Thence he sailed to Europe, receiving warm greetings from the governments of the countries through which he passed. Shortly before he returned home on February 25, 1902, however, an event took place which for the time being arrested the attention of the whole world—the Anglo-Japanese alliance, agreed on January 30 and published February 11.

The full contents and import of the agreement of this alliance will be discussed later in connection with the diplomatic history of Japan. In short, it declared unequivocally that the two governments were for peace and order and against territorial aggressions in China and Korea; and that, if one of them should be compelled to go to war with a third power in order to protect its now vested interests in those countries against the threatening conduct of the enemy, the other party would be neutral and make efforts to prevent other powers from joining in hostilities against its ally; but that if any other power or powers should join in war against the ally, then the other party should come to its assistance, and conduct the war in common. It may well be imagined with what enthusiasm the news was received by both friends and foes of the cabinet in the two houses of the diet, as it was there for the first time made known to the world on February 11, when even the peers broke their usual decorum and applauded. Nothing could have strengthened the position of the Katsura cabinet more than this successful culmination of a series of negotiations carried on in absolute secrecy with a great power whose policy of "splendid isolation" had seemed to be traditional. It would be only fair to say, however, that but for the international fame which Japan had won for herself in the Chinese war of 1894-1895 and latterly in the North China campaign of 1900, coupled with the tact and influence of Viscount[232] Aoki and Mr. Katō, former Japanese ministers at London, even the increased common interests of the two powers in the East and the combined effort of Baron Komura, the foreign minister, and Viscount Hayashi and Sir Claude MacDonald, the respective representatives of the two governments at London and Tōkyō, would not perhaps have been sufficient to bring about the consummation of the great diplomatic enterprise. It was even suspected in some quarters that Germany also may have been instrumental in promoting the new alliance, as her well-known policy of setting England and Russia against each other for her own benefit would be best served in the Far East by wedding England to the inveterate object of Russia's jealousy. A more interesting question for us here regards the position in this affair of Marquis Itō, who had recently held conferences with the Russian foreign minister, Count Lamsdorf, at St. Petersburg, and had just been honored by Edward VII. of England with a Grand Cross of Bath. Whether the former fact indicated his preference for a Russian entente, or whether the latter was a conclusive evidence of an eminent service he had rendered toward the successful conclusion of the British agreement, has been a matter of much speculation. There exists authoritative evidence to show as conclusively that his negotiations with Lamsdorf had been carried out with the full knowledge of the Katsura cabinet, as to prove that, on the other hand, the latter's pourparlers with the British government were also continually intimated to the marquis during his tour. Probably his negotiations at St. Petersburg were less successful, while the cabinet's agreement with Great Britain was more readily concluded than he had expected. Immediately after his return to Japan the tactful statesman somewhat checked political gossip by intimating his agreement with the cabinet in its British policy.

The formation of the alliance must have had some bearing on the success of the Japanese government in floating the fifty million yen ($25,000,000) public bonds at London in the autumn of 1902, which had been rejected a year before from the financial market of New York. The income of this foreign loan was not devoted to new public works, but employed to refill the deficiencies of the old accounts.

Aside from these successes, the path of the Katsura cabinet was thorny. It could count upon no partisan support in the lower house, nor could its personnel and prestige command high respect.[233] Its main strength lay in its remarkable unity, silence, tact, and apparent fairness. The last quality was manifested anew in its impartial attitude during the general election for the seventeenth diet. The previous diet was the first in its history that had served its full term of four years without dissolution, and the present election saw the first operation of the new election law. Of the 376 elected representatives, the Constitutional Political Association returned the absolute majority of 192, while the Progressives numbered about 80. The house contained entirely new members to the number of 227, but aside from this one fact, no particular faction had made any appreciable gain or loss, so that the status quo of all the parties was in fact maintained. Once convened, however, the conduct of the house demonstrated how precarious therein was the condition of the cabinet. The opposition of the house would probably not have been so precipitate had not the interest dear to eight-tenths of the representatives been directly assailed by the government's proposition to retain the increased rate of the land tax, which, as will be remembered, had been intended to return in 1904 from 3.3 to 2.5 per cent.

Inasmuch as this proposition had arisen from the second post-bellum measure of naval extension, it becomes necessary to say a few words concerning the status of the Japanese navy. The first programme as planned by the second Itō cabinet in 1895, and agreed to by the diet, contemplated an increase of Japan's naval force, in ten years, from 33 war vessels and 26 torpedo boats, aggregating the 63,000 tons' displacement of the fleet before the China war, to 67 vessels, besides 11 torpedo-boat destroyers and 115 torpedo boats, with a total displacement of 258,000 tons, at the end of 1905. Of this tonnage at the end of 1902 there was 252,180 tons, representing 72 vessels of all kinds. Formidable as these figures would seem, it had long been plain to the statesmen of the empire that deductions must be made for vessels built more than twenty years before and for others whose terms of usefulness must shortly expire one after another. Even if the present force were maintained, each of the six great naval powers of the world,—Great Britain, France, Russia, the United States, Germany, and Italy,—would have completely outrun Japan by the end of 1908; while the Japanese, after deducting vessels older than twenty years, would hardly possess more than 145,000 tons. Japan's naval ambition was animated, not so much by an inordinate elation as a civilized power as by the necessity of[234] maintaining her position in East Asia and guaranteeing her own independence. When these matters are considered, the new programme of naval expansion, as at last set forth by the Katsura cabinet, rather surprises one with its modesty. It, in short, contemplated the construction, in the course of eleven years, of three battleships each of 15,000 tons' displacement, three armored cruisers each of 10,000 tons, and two second-class cruisers each of 5000 tons, totaling 85,000 tons' displacement, besides fifteen torpedo-boat destroyers and fifty torpedo boats. No one could have seriously opposed this programme had it not been for its financial side. The source of the estimated annual outlay of 11.5 million yen which the proposed plan entailed upon the government could, according to its opinion, be found nowhere but in the retention of the increased rate of the land tax, augmented by other slight items of revenue. To the seventy or eighty per cent., however, of the members of the lower house, who had pledged their word to their constituencies to restore by all means the old rate of the tax, it was no argument to say that the landowners had been inequitably lightly taxed by the side of the urban population, nor to prove the impossibility of raising the necessary expenditure by any other safe means than the retention of the increased rate. Into their hands no sharper weapon against the government could have fallen than the one which the helpless cabinet gratuitously furnished them under the pressure of an apparent necessity. Upon this juncture, what was the attitude of Marquis Itō and his party, which controlled an absolute majority in the lower house?

To answer this question is again to describe another turning point in the remarkable career of this statesman. It was made known early in the season, and no partisan view could well refute, that the marquis was in sympathy with the cabinet so far as its naval programme was concerned, which he was reported to have deemed even too moderate. As regarded the land tax question, however, which he had once in the past years considered it wise to increase even to four per cent., he now, either from conviction or from policy, assumed an attitude of unusual deliberation. Nothing could have been more disastrous to the cabinet, and more decisive for the termination of his career as a party leader, than his studied reticence about this important problem. The "whips" of his party deliberately overrode him, and ordered its long expectant local branches, soon after the general election, to forward to the headquarters[235] resolutions against both the naval extension and the retention of the increased land tax. Resolutions accordingly poured in thick and fast. At the same time, the marquis was flooded with personal appeals to him to come out squarely against the unpopular government. It is plain that the action of his subordinates was calculated to intimidate him more than the cabinet. His authority as the president of the Constitutional Political Association had been ignored, and he yielded, perhaps in order to save others' and his own dignity. Shortly before the opening of the diet, on November 26, the marquis, after a deliberation lasting four weeks, conveyed to Premier Katsura his opinion, reiterating that the naval expansion was necessary, that the burden of the increased land tax was not particularly onerous, but that he did not think it politic at present to prolong the term of the increase, and, finally, that the naval expenditure might be met by postponing or suspending some of the less urgent public works. After further conferences, the premier, on December 3, personally assured the marquis of his sense of gratitude for his counsel, but firmly announced that, inasmuch as the budget had been sanctioned by his majesty, and as it would be unwise for the cabinet to resign on the eve of the meeting of the diet, it remained for him to make an effort to carry through his proposed plan. After this friendly ultimatum was pronounced the outcome of the measure could hardly be doubted, for the presence of the common enemy speedily brought about a temporary alliance of the Associationists and the Progressives. The irresistible coalition found its first opportunity to assail the cabinet when the latter made an imprudent but sincere move to connect three things—the budget, the navy bill, and the land tax measure—declaring the absolute necessity of upholding them together and the impossibility of an alternative course of action. The allied parties in the lower house found herein a justification for modifying Marquis Itō's suggestion to carefully study the budget with a view to discovering adequate means to balance the naval expenditure without resorting to the increased land tax. The committee on finance straightway negatived the land tax bill, and in the afternoon of the same day, December 16, when it came before the house, the chair read an imperial mandate suspending the diet for five days. This was followed by another suspension, and during this interval Prince Konoye, president of the peers, and Baron Kodama, military governor of Formosa, sought in vain to effect a compromise between the truculent[236] lower house and the cabinet. The latter, however, having expressed willingness to make reasonable concessions, two representatives of each of the opposition parties met the premier and the ministers of finance and navy, on December 25, to discuss the compromise measure proposed by the latter. This compromise reduced the tax rate to three per cent. and agreed to make up the balance by postponing some public works and retrenching general administrative expenses. When this new plan was submitted to the parties at large, the latter roundly rejected it, Count Ōkuma, the Progressive leader, going so far as to intimate that his party was fundamentally opposed to the cabinet, which it considered unconstitutional. Under these circumstances it was no longer possible for the government to coöperate with the house, which was accordingly dissolved on December 28.

When the year 1903 dawned upon Japan it found her political conditions extremely unstable. The alliance of the Associationists and Progressives seemed unnatural, and the discipline of Marquis Itō over the former appeared no longer tenable. The coalition had been based on no positive political principle, nor could the bulk of the Association be successfully controlled by one, however personally respected, whose double capacity as trusted Elder Statesman and an opposition leader was ever liable to lead him into positions highly repugnant to those who preferred an open and relentless warfare with the cabinet. The two parties had already parted hands when the eighteenth diet was convened for an extra session in May. As to the impossible situation of Marquis Itō, to which reference has just been made, it was not long before it was demonstrated anew and with a decisive effect. The occasion was again in connection with the naval extension measure, the urgent character of which was freshly brought home to the thoughtful people by the partial failure of Russia to effect the second evacuation of Manchuria and her simultaneous pressure upon the Peking court and the Korean frontier. The cabinet presented to the house some supplementary estimates to the budget for the fiscal year of 1903, together with eight bills, two of which related to the navy and the new three per cent. land tax. The manifest hostility of the house again called forth on May 21 a suspension of the diet. On the 23d, at a general meeting of the Association, Marquis Itō made an earnest appeal to his party to accept the compromise measure which he, as an Elder Statesman, and under the entreaties of his non-partisan friends, had agreed[237] with the cabinet to support. Under the terms of this agreement the government was understood to reintroduce the land tax bill for show, but to consent finally to raise the required annual naval expenditure of eleven and a half millions by a yearly flotation of public bonds for six millions, retrenchment in administrative expenses to the extent of one million, and deflection from the outlay for railroads and other works to the sum of four and a half millions. The appeal of the marquis was not accepted by his party without a powerful opposition and a great sacrifice, which we shall presently see. The painful compromise measure was further mangled when the house cut the supplementary budget estimates by five millions, covering the cost of a few important undertakings, and, in return for the passage of the naval programme, exacted from the government pledges to effect a drastic reorganization of finance and administration, and to place the railroad accounts under the "extraordinary" class of national expenditures. The climax was reached when the defeat of an address to the throne proposed by the Progressive members, censuring the cabinet, was quickly followed by the passage of a resolution of similar censure which was proposed by the Associationists themselves. It is unnecessary to say that the last act was no less a blow to Marquis Itō than to the Katsura cabinet. The latter had, moreover, to endure the displeasure of its best friends, the peers, who passed a petition to the government to desist from the highly unwise policy of resorting to a national loan, and a minority of whom even had contemplated proposing an address to the throne deprecating the same policy.

The eighteenth diet, which was prorogued on June 5, left the politics of Japan in an even more confused state than before its opening. The humiliation of the cabinet was only matched by the internal injuries which the parties had suffered for their conduct. The former, whose diplomatic duties in Korea and Manchuria were threatening to rise to a hitherto unknown degree of difficulty, had been forced by the merciless diet not only to retreat from the stand it originally took in regard to the most important problem of the nation, but also to bear the burden of the imposed responsibility of reorganizing the financial and administrative machinery on an almost impossible basis. The Progressives could scarcely conceal the inharmony of their leaders in regard to the immediate policy the party should pursue. Far more demoralized was the Association, which had been born under too favorable auspices, and possessed too[238] absorbing a desire for power, to maintain its mental poise when it found itself as an opposition party. It had then appeared to lack the tried perseverance of the Progressives, while its irritation had been greatly intensified by the double position of Marquis Itō, who would on the one hand come to an agreement with the cabinet in his independent capacity as an Elder Statesman, and on the other maintain his disciplinarian leadership of the opposition party. Nor can it be concealed that the marquis, dignified statesman and brilliant counselor as he is, hardly possesses attributes which appeal to the hearts of the people and inspire the enthusiastic loyalty of his followers. It seemed evident that the majority of the party from the beginning respected his prestige and influence, which was considered as a political asset, more than either his constitutional ideals or his personality. Since they saw that the shortest road to power would lie in the direction of unequivocally upholding the proprietary interest of the country, nothing could have seemed more galling to some of them than a compromise which would deprive their parliamentary warfare of these essential tactics. Around this sentiment as a center there seem to have clustered various other motives for disloyalty. Some Associationists resented the autocratic rule of the president, and advocated a more republican form of party organization, and others denounced the marquis for sacrificing the dignity of the party for his position as an Elder. Desertion of several members, including the late lamented president of the lower house, Kataoka, and the present mayor of Tōkyō, Ozaki, was followed by the dissolution of a few local branches. The culmination, however, was the resignation of the president himself, which occurred on July 13. The marquis had at length yielded to the arguments of his fellow-Elders, which had long been becoming more and more solicitous, that his proper mission was rather that of a trusted councilor to the throne than one of party leadership. The Manchurian question was assuming a more serious character than before, and the resumption by the marquis of the presidency of the privy council appeared to the Elders, and perhaps also to the emperor, as the most natural course of events. The appointment was finally made on July 13, after Itō had given the matter his characteristically careful consideration. His severance from the party naturally followed, as no privy councilor might entertain partisan connections. In the leadership of the Association he was succeeded, at his own suggestion, by Marquis Saionji, his friend[239] and also one of the most promising statesmen of the day. Thus after a wandering of nearly three years the prodigal son, with perhaps a valuable experience but scarcely an added prestige, returned to the fold of the council and the court. In accepting the post of the chief councilor, he said to the emperor that it was his desire of seeing the perfect operation of the Constitution, which he had had the honor of framing, that had induced him to descend to a political party and lead it; but that, as he was now, even before his work with the party had barely begun, graciously called by his majesty to resume the chair of the council, he convinced himself that it would be as much a contribution toward the realization of the constitutional régime to "stand near the throne and reverently answer imperial questions regarding important affairs of the state," as to "move among the people as a party leader." No student of the Japanese politics of to-day can fail to observe the large place Marquis Itō occupies therein as the pilot of the state, and also his full consciousness of the fact. His apparent failure as a partisan seems to have brought him back to his normal position. It will soon be seen that he returned thither in an opportune season. Her foreign affairs were just drifting Japan toward an ocean of unknown difficulties.

In the meanwhile, Premier Katsura had tendered his resignation on the just plea that an adequate conduct of the government was incompatible with the slender means in which the diet had left the exchequer. Neither this argument nor the somewhat reduced physical condition of the viscount would, however, induce the throne to relinquish its confidence in him. Thereupon the premier reminded the emperor, and it was agreed to by his majesty, that his retention of the portfolio could mean nothing else than a drastic retrenchment of the administrative and financial expenditures of the state. This colossal task the cabinet set about with characteristically quiet determination.

The arduous and cheerless life of the cabinet was somewhat brightened when it received into its community, in July, General Baron Kodama, military governor of Formosa, and latterly the able chief of Field Marshal Oyama's staff, and, in September, three other able young men. Nothing, however, could have been more gratifying to the cabinet than the fact that, while its hold upon the lower house of the diet was next to nothing, its apparent patriotism and sincerity, as well as its fair degree of ability, had begun to be appreciated by the throne, the Elders, and the peers, and perhaps[240] somewhat by the people at large. The confidence with which its general purpose was regarded by the nation was best demonstrated in 1903-1904, during its protracted and otherwise exasperating negotiations with Russia regarding Manchuria and Korea. It was remarkable that, in spite of the increasing irritation which one report after another of the Russian aggression in these territories caused in the national mind, the Katsura cabinet appeared so little inclined to stray from its policy of a firm but fair treatment of the question, as did the people to force its hands to a rash action. If this remarkable phenomenon was, in part, due to the deeper and more mature feeling which was now inspiring the nation than had been experienced before, it none the less redounded to the honest purpose of the cabinet. Nor were its care and precision in all lines of its policy less remarkable than its general sincerity.

The crisis in Korea and Manchuria was, in the meanwhile, advancing with tragic certainty, until the apparently insignificant cabinet was called upon to lead the nation through the greatest trial of its life. The war with Russia, as we shall see in a later chapter, broke out in February, 1904, followed by nineteen months of the vast campaign and the brilliant victories of the Japanese army and navy. The existence of the war, of course, again united the entire nation, and completely changed the conditions of Japan's domestic politics, which might otherwise have made a prolonged life unendurable to the cabinet. Its financial measures were supported by the diet, not without amendments, but on the whole with practical unanimity. The 156 million yen of the extraordinary war expenditures disbursed under an imperial ordinance of December 28, 1903, were willingly sanctioned by the twentieth session of the diet in March, 1904. It also passed the new tobacco manufacture monopoly law elaborately drafted by the government, and approved the extraordinary war expenditures for the fiscal year 1904-1905, amounting to 420 million yen. This last act not only involved the raising of the public and temporary loans and exchequer bonds to the amount of 131 millions, but also an increase in tax rates and the imposition of new consumption taxes on woolen textiles and kerosene oil. The next session of the diet also met the requisitions of the government by further increasing the tax rates and creating newer taxes, and approving 571 millions of new national loans and 63 millions to be transferred from funds under the so-called special accounts, making the total war expenditures of the second period[241] 780 million yen. The grand total of the war cost approved by the diet in the two sessions thus aggregated 1356 millions. This amount became inadequate, as the army in the field, especially after the battle of Mukden, in February-March, 1905, was increased to an unprecedented magnitude. A new foreign loan for 30 million pounds floated, in July, in London, New York, and Berlin, brought the figure up to 1656 million yen. Fortunately, the rice crop for 1904 was unusually good; an early control of the sea held open the highways of Japan's Eastern trade; the reduction of local impositions and expenditures counterbalanced the rise in national taxes; and the savings and general financial endurance of the people at large proved unexpectedly great. The unforeseen successes of Japan's arms also contributed to the temporary prestige of the cabinet.

The spell was broken the moment peace was restored. The broad concessions made through the peace envoys at Portsmouth for the conclusion of the Russo-Japanese treaty of September 5 brought upon the cabinet (and the privy council) the greatest popular resentment ever experienced by any constitutional government of Japan. Various motives and circumstances combined to make the sentiment for a time almost unanimous among the nation. The conclusion, on August 12, of the agreement of a renewed and much extended alliance with Great Britain, which was published on September 27, somewhat relieved the strained situation, and the Constitutional Political Association, under the leadership of Marquis Saionji, showed an inclination for a moderate policy toward the treaty and the government. The relative position of the different parties was again rendered uncertain, so that their conduct in the coming session of the diet could hardly be forecast. As to the cabinet, it must either succumb to an attack from the majority in the lower house, or survive it only to be confronted by colossal financial difficulties.


[1] The editor has been greatly helped in preparing this chapter by I. Tokutomi's admirable pamphlet on the recent political life of Japan.

[2] Brinkley's "Oriental Series," vol. V. p. 16-17.


Chapter XVIII


One of the most remarkable features of the economic evolution of Japan since 1868 has been the slow increase of her rural population as compared with the urban—a fact which at once indicates that the agriculture of Japan can offer little to compare with the phenomenal growth of her manufactures and commerce. Nor will a closer examination establish an optimistic view regarding the future status of the Japanese farmer. Although a sedimentary soil admirably suited for the culture of cereals abounds in the country, and often yields in warmer regions two, three, or even four different crops during the year, and although Japan is blessed with a copious rainfall, it must be remembered that the arable area is extremely limited, and can hardly be extended commensurately with the fast growth of the population. Of the 94.5 million acres of land of Japan exclusive of Formosa, only 12.4 million acres, or thirteen per cent., are under cultivation, while, as is well known, there exists little or no pasture land in Japan. Even if all sorts of land under fifteen degrees of the angle of inclination were arbitrarily considered as reclaimable, they could not add to the arable area more than 10.5 million acres. The actual reclamation outside of the colony of Hokkaidō amounts annually to only twenty thousand acres more or less. It seems evident that the future increase of the agricultural resources of the country may be effected less by extensive breaking of the soil than by intensive improvement. This is well illustrated by the rice culture, the area of which has scarcely been increased during the last twenty years but the actual product of which has in the meantime risen nearly eighty per cent. The production of other cereals, beans, and potatoes has grown even more appreciably, while the area of the cotton, indigo, and sugar culture has, for commercial reasons, remarkably declined. No illustration, however, of the limited agricultural resources of the country is more impressive than the ratio which[243] her arable area bears to her population. The per capita distribution would fall below half an acre. Under these circumstances it is natural that the cultivated lots are diminutive, more than half of the rice fields of the country being each less than one-eighth of an acre. The farmer is obliged to exercise the utmost care in utilizing every scrap of his land and every grain of its yield. A great majority of the tenants, moreover, lack a sufficient fund, after the high rents and interest are paid, even to buy manure, much less to make any improvement on the land. The implements are as meager and primitive—the outfit for the cultivation of an acre of field costing probably less than eight and a half dollars in gold—as their wages are low, seldom rising above thirty-five cents per day for the male and twenty cents for the female. The government is making efforts to develop the agriculture of the country by all possible means of education and encouragement, not the least important of which has been the creation of the central and local Hypothec Banks and the Credit Guilds. How much, however, these methods will really reach the needy villagers is yet to be seen. On the other hand, Japan cannot help realizing that her agriculture, while it still constitutes the staple industry of the nation, has already ceased either to supply her with all the necessary raw products for the manufactures or to support the new population, which is growing annually at the rate of more than half a million. Probably this serious problem lies behind many an event of recent years that characterizes the activities at home and abroad of the Japanese people.

The difference between the condition of agriculture and that of manufactures and trade not only is clear, but also becomes increasingly decisive as time advances. Until we realize this significant difference we fail to grasp the most fundamental cause, excepting perhaps her growing ambition as a nation, that impels Japan onward with an irresistible force into a controlling position in the Far East. In proceeding to explain the situation, manufactures and trade will be considered together, as their influence is in a large measure mutual.

It must be noted, in the first place, that when the country was thrown open to the world's trade, her industrial conditions were altogether inadequate to meet the marvelously rapid increase of the consumption of new goods. The original five per cent. import duty, which peculiar circumstances made almost equal to no duty, accelerated the impetuous advance of imports over exports. Thus the[244] first decade and more of the new régime found the nation in a state of almost complete economic dependence upon foreign countries. Old industries were largely paralyzed, while capital and labor were not forthcoming for the new. It was at this juncture that the government began to extend a helping hand, by subsidies and by example, to the more important economic enterprises, and not until then could the people begin to take an active interest in railroads, industries, and export trade. The fact that the low import tariff had been forced by the powers upon the Japanese government, whose right of tariff autonomy they had thus ignored, was galling to the nation in its ardent desire to regain its economic independence, and tended powerfully to confirm its determination to effect a revision of the treaties. These were revised in 1894, and the new treaties which emancipated Japan from the consular jurisdiction of the foreign residents and gave her a partial tariff autonomy came into force in 1899. It is unnecessary to examine the process of this revision, but it suffices here to repeat that while consumption had advanced marvelously under a virtual free trade, production began to grow only after the government was compelled to aid it. From this point on trade and industry have helped each other's progress by mutual reaction. The tremendous expansion of economic resources thus rapidly opened in the two great fields, manufactures and commerce, was clearly measured by the enormous increase of population, which numbered less than thirty millions in 1830, thirty-four millions in 1875, forty-two and a quarter in 1895, and more than forty-seven to-day. At the same time, foreign trade itself has grown from 40 million yen in 1871 to 690 million yen in 1904, the per capita share of the people in the growth rising more than twelvefold. During the first half of 1905 the total foreign trade in merchandise amounted to over 429 million yen, as compared with 320 millions during the corresponding period in 1904. In other words, Japan is changing from an agricultural to an increasingly industrial and commercial nation, and her commerce is expanding mainly abroad, as her domestic market has well-nigh reached its "saturation point." This fact is strikingly illustrated by the rapid growth of the exportation of manufactured goods, as well as the importation of raw material, as compared with the relatively slow increase in the importation of foreign manufactures. The exports of manufactured goods in 1890 amounted to 10 million yen of the total export trade of 55.7[245] millions, while ten years later the corresponding rate changed to 74.7 out of 193.8 millions. If raw silk, straw-plaits, and the like were classed under agricultural, instead of manufactured, goods, the rate of increase between 1890 and 1900 of different kinds of exports would run as follows:

  1890 1900
  Per Cent.     Per Cent.
Manufactured       18.0 38.0
Agricultural 51.6 37.8
Fishing 6.6 3.5
Mining 20.0 14.2
Miscellaneous 3.8 6.5

If the enumerated goods were transferred from the agricultural to the manufactured list, the rate would be thus:

  1898 1899 1900
       Per Cent.      Per Cent.      Per Cent.
Manufactured      70.9 69.4 66.0
Agricultural 11.9 11.9 10.5
Others 17.2 18.7 23.5

While the rate of the manufactured exports seems to have fallen between 1898 and 1900, their absolute figures show that some new items appeared in the list during the interval and that the total volume enormously advanced. On the other hand, the imports, which increased together with the purchasing power of the people, show more rapid growth in raw goods and machinery than in manufactured articles. These changes have been pointed out here in order to indicate the general nature of the economic transition of the Japanese people. They will be found to possess a far greater significance than we have seen when we come to examine further the character of the trade tendencies of Japan.

Let us for a moment consider the qualifications of the Japanese as a manufacturing nation, for upon them must ultimately depend their economic as well as general national success. It would be impossible to conceal from our view certain serious disadvantages which confront industrial Japan, particularly in her want of the new form of labor and experience and lack of certain raw materials and of capital. Regarding labor, the old manual dexterity and individual apprenticeship have hardly had time to be[246] sufficiently converted into an organized and specialized mechanical training, so that the foreign visitors report continually the apparent inefficiency and ill discipline of the Japanese mill-hand. On the other hand, Japan cannot forever count on the cheapness of her labor, whose cost is still low, the average daily wage of twenty-six principal classes of laborers being not more than one-quarter of an American dollar, but it has risen more than twice within the last fifteen years, and will continue to rise along with the cost of living. The shortage of capital is natural when it is remembered that Japan is just passing from an agricultural to a manufacturing stage, but none the less constitutes the most serious drawback to her industrial growth. Ingenuity and enterprise are not wanting, but owing to the scarcity of capital Japan's exploitation of resources, both at home and in Korea and China, is handicapped to an extent which is exasperating. Latterly, however, particularly after the war, foreign capitalists have been seeking investment in Japan, and they may be expected to aid Japanese enterprise on the mainland. The lack of proper business experience of the Japanese manufacturers is natural from their comparatively recent appearance. They have been accused of over-eagerness to rid themselves of foreign advisers and middlemen, who could have supplied them with a better understanding and control of the outside market than they themselves could command. The native maker, however, will learn deeper by blundering more. A graver charge has continually been made of the slack commercial veracity of the Japanese, which is admitted by themselves to be real, but which has for certain reasons been unduly magnified, while it is naturally being remedied by experience. Another grave disadvantage of the Japanese manufacturer consists in his want of such important raw materials as cotton, wool, and iron. The growth of cotton in Japan is insignificant, while its importation from India, China, and the United States amounts to more than seventy million yen annually. Wool has to be entirely supplied from abroad, as pastures for sheep do not exist in Japan, while the total annual output of iron is less than eighty thousand short tons.

Reflection will show, as experience has proven, that the enumerated disadvantages are neither permanent nor irremediable. Labor and practical wisdom will gain by time, and capital and raw material will come in with greater ease and in larger quantities. Over against these diminishing disadvantages Japan possesses an[247] unrivaled geographical position between the great Pacific on the one hand and the teeming millions of the East Asiatic population on the other, the commercial importance of both of which must grow wonderfully with the development of canals and railroads in various parts of the world and the opening of new markets in the yet slightly explored East. This superb Phœnicia-like situation of Japan toward the outside world is supported internally by a richly endowed soil and an eager and ambitious race. The soil possesses an abundant water supply and extensive coal beds, the latter already yielding well-nigh ten million tons, and produces tea and silk the peculiar quality of which is hardly matched by the product of another land. The ambition and docility of the people would seem to be well exemplified by the phenomenal growth of silk and cotton textile industries, which have risen twenty-fold in value during the last two decades, and by the creation of certain new, prosperous industries, particularly in matting, lucifer matches, straw braids, and cotton yarns. The exportation of the six principal branches of manufactures above enumerated amounted in 1888 to less than 31 million yen, and nearly 195 millions in 1904. It should be remembered that none of these articles have won their position without encountering embarrassing difficulties at home and a sharp competition abroad, and that with a relaxation of effort they would at once sink into insignificance.

Considering the foreign trade of Japan apart from her manufactures, it is seen that its growth during the last eleven years has been rapid and on the whole regular. During this space of time the exports in 1904 reached 319¼ million yen, which means a gain of 256 per cent. over 1893, and the imports 371¼ millions, or a gain of 320 per cent., while the total volume of trade amounted to 690-3/5 millions, that is, nearly three times as much as it was a decade ago. The figures for 1905 will possibly exceed the 850-million mark. This remarkable growth of trade has advanced hand in hand with an even more striking development of Japan's shipping industry. At the end of 1891 she owned 607 steam vessels with a total tonnage of 95,588, while in 1903 her vessels numbered 1088 and their capacity totaled 657,269 tons, so that Japan stood in 1902 in the ninth place in tonnage in the world's merchant marine, and the speed and general improvement of her ships were behind only those of the four greatest shipping nations on the globe. The gross income from freight and passengers in 1902 amounted to[248] 12-3/5 million yen. Japanese steamboats now ply regularly between her shores and the ports in Siberia, Australia, India, Europe, and on the Pacific coast of America, and, in Korea and China, they play an active part in the coasting and inland navigation.

We conclude this section by briefly pointing out what appear to be the most significant tendencies of Japan's trade and of her national growth in general. The growth of imports, which have risen from 23-1/5 million yen in 1874 to 37-3/5 millions in 1904, is mainly due to causes which may be classified as follows: First, the progress of industries, resulting in an increasing demand, on the one hand, for machinery, and, on the other, for raw materials, particularly cotton and iron; second, a great advance in the standard of living among the people at large, which caused a remarkable growth of the general consumption of imported articles, including textiles, woolens, petroleum, and numerous other items; third, the rapid increase of population, coupled with the transition of the new nation from an agricultural to a manufacturing state of industry, which, besides aiding the growth of general consumption, necessitated a marked development of the importation of foodstuffs, such as rice, beans, flour, and sugar. These three classes of causes have all stimulated import trade to grow with rapidity, and are apt to continue to do so in the future, but, as the figures plainly show, in varying degrees from one another. And it is in this difference that one of the striking indications of Japan's call in the East is to be discovered. The increase of the imports due to the growth of the general consumption of foreign goods has not been nearly so fast as other classes of imports, as Japan is able to supply her people more and more with the fruits of her own manufacture, which itself is progressing rapidly. While the future increase of this class of imports must be steady, it at the same time may not be rapid save in a few exceptional articles. Nor may the importation of machinery, excepting the most advanced, such as locomotives, be expected to grow more rapidly, the reason for this supposition being again the increasing activity of Japan's manufacturing life. The other two classes of imports, however, that is, raw material for manufacture and foodstuff for the growing population, have shown a wonderful advance, and may be said to command the most assured promise for the future. A glance at the following table will make an elaborate demonstration of our statement superfluous:[249]

(Unit of million yen)
  1882 1892 1902 1903 1904
Cotton 0.46 12.32 79.78 69.52 73.42
Pig iron 0.09 0.24 0.98 1.25 2.24
Wool .... 0.30 3.40 4.81 9.97
Sugar 3.84 9.53 14.36 20.96 23.04
Rice 0.21[1] 1.86[1] 13.56[1] 51.96 59.70
Flour .... 0.27 3.28 10.32 9.62
Beans .... .... 4.95 6.37 8.12
Oil cakes 0.03 0.82 10.12 10.73 4.66

This remarkable showing of figures becomes highly significant when we consider further that most of the articles the importation of which increases the fastest come mainly from the East Asiatic countries. India furnishes the bulk of cotton, China supplies some iron, sugar, and rice, as well as some cotton, while North China and Manchuria send their beans and oil cakes, and Korea is beginning to be a great supply region of several cereals. Most flour and some iron, however, come from the United States, which, as we shall see presently, occupies a unique relation to Japan's trade. We have thus arrived at an important conclusion that Japan is obliged to depend in an increasing degree for her most important articles of importation on East Asia, to which she is intimately connected both geographically and historically.

An analysis of the export figures of Japan leads us to a similar conclusion from another direction. It has already been shown that, as contrary to the tendency of her import trade, Japan's exportation consists yearly more of manufactured articles and less of raw goods than before. Here again a deeper significance is disclosed by an examination of the destination of the exports. The time, if ever, seems very remote when Japan will invade Europe and America with her manufactures and compete with the fruits of their superior machinery and mechanical experience. Her exportation to Western countries already has a clear indication of settling down to two main classes of articles; such unfinished goods as raw silk, copper, sulphur, and others, which might rather be finished abroad than in Japan; and certain goods peculiar to the soil of Japan, as, for instance, tea, habutai, and other light silk fabrics, porcelain, matting, camphor, and the like. The exportation of these articles must increase in varying degrees, according to the state of the several determining factors that rule the domestic and foreign markets, but its future [250]on the whole may be said to be much more limited and inelastic than that of Japan's exports to the East Asiatic countries. Her close economic relation to them has become all the more manifest since she began to be a manufacturing nation, while they remained agricultural; she buys from them raw products and foodstuff, and supplies them with her manufactured articles. The demand for these last-named articles, also, by a fortunate combination of circumstances, is at present what the still inferior skill of the Japanese manufacturer can supply. The taste of the Eastern buyer is still low and his wants still comparatively few, while their advance will largely coincide with Japan's improvement in industries. Her neighbors in Korea, Siberia, Manchuria, North and South China, India and Further India, and the Philippines absorb her coal, matches, marine products, cotton yarns and coarse cotton fabrics, and other similar goods, to the amount of 134.5 million yen (in 1901) while eleven years before they consumed 23 millions and in 1882 only 6 millions. From these data, the conclusion seems tenable that her geographical and economical conditions render it natural for Japan to interpret the new Occidental civilization for the old Orient, and create new wants in the latter for the fruits of the former, herself reaping an important share of the profits that accrue from the world-wide exchange. This share consists in an even closer economic connection of East Asia, particularly Korea and China, with Japan as her grand supply region of raw goods and market for made articles. In comparison with this, Japan's trade with countries of Western civilization may become more and more a mere complement to her Eastern trade.

The solitary and striking exception to this general statement is found in the Japanese trade with the United States, which is still to-day, as she was twenty years ago, the largest single buyer of Japanese goods, notably tea, raw silk, matting, porcelain, and camphor. In the import trade, while the United States is second to Great Britain, the former advanced in twenty years between 1882 to 1902 from 3 to 48.6 million yen, and the latter only from 14 to 50.3 millions. The peculiar features of Japan's trade with the American nation which are not found in her European commerce may be said to lie in the fact that the latter buys a considerable amount of the crude or unfinished Japanese manufacture, and sells increasing quantities of raw cotton and flour and other foodstuffs, thus participating in a large measure in the peculiarities of[251] the Japanese trade with the East. The United States also furnishes Japan more cheaply certain products of modern industries which the latter formerly bought from Europe.

We conclude our survey of Japan's foreign trade by appending a table showing its distribution by the continents, which will speak for itself without our comment:

(Unit of million yen.)
Europe, America, Asia, Australia,
and Others.
1881 Exports, 12.5 11.0 0.6 0.9
Imports, 21.0 1.8 7.6 0.5
1891 Exports, 23.9 31.1 20.9 1.8
Imports, 30.3 6.8 23.7 1.9
1901 Exports, 59.9 75.6 111.4 5.2
Imports, 96.7 42.9 109.0 7.0
1903 Exports, 70.3 85.7 126.7 6.7
Imports, 96.1 46.7 169.1 5.0
1904 Exports, 72.3   104.6   134.5 7.7
Imports,   120.5 58.9   182.5 9.3


[1] The average for the past ten years inclusive.


Chapter XIX


Seldom does history offer a more dramatic unfolding of international relations than the evolution of the East Asiatic question, of which the China-Japan War of 1894-1895, the Boxer campaign of 1900, and the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905 are but successive stages of a continuous and broadening process. The scene of this development now covers those countries which are among the most resourceful in the world and which comprise one-third of the human race. The future is unknown. The origin of the drama, however, may at least in part be traced to the adoption of a new career by Japan. Having been singularly well trained by her long history in the past, and impelled by the dictates of her vital interests, Japan had resolutely entered upon the new career, and had step by step committed herself to an open and progressive policy from which there could be no return, and which had to be carried forward against all obstacles, if she would exist and grow as a nation. This change of Japan's course of life was a cause of her wars with China and Russia; by it the history of the Far East radically changed its character and opened its new volume. At first, the determined attitude of new Japan immediately caused a breach which continued to widen until the war of 1894-1895 came as a logical result—for it at once appeared that Japan had torn herself away from the ancient East Asiatic civilization, of which China was the mentor and Korea the greatest pupil, but of which Japan had never been so slavish a disciple as not to develop her original traits. As soon as Japan proved receptive of Western arts and sciences, there was resentment on the part of China and Korea, which felt as if Japan had deserted the historic community of the East and turned a renegade and servile imitator of the inferior civilization of the barbarian. To an equal extent Japan desired, even unconsciously, to demonstrate that her new career not only was not misguided, but also was the only possible[253] way to preserve herself and save the East. Conflict with China became acute when Japan desired to open to the world the tightly sealed kingdom of Korea, over which China claimed suzerainty. Japan's attempt to open Korea, then, should be taken as the starting point of our account of the war of 1894-1895.

To complete our general survey, it may again be emphasized that the same problem which caused the breach of 1894 also produced the conflict of 1904. The interests at stake had, indeed, grown wider and deeper during the ten intervening years, and Russia was a far more powerful and aggressive power than China, but the fact still remained that, from Japan's standpoint, her vital interests were at issue in 1904 as they were in 1894, and, from that of the world, the conflict raged now as it did then between an open and an exclusive policy.

As has been said above, Japan's attempt to open Korea as an independent and sovereign nation was the occasion for the outbreak of the Chinese war of 1894. Why did Japan desire to open Korea? Was it because Japan would apply to Korea the treatment she herself had received from the United States and other powers? Or was it an expression of the vigor of a newly regenerated nation? Probably the motives were not so simple, for it should be remembered that from the prehistoric ages the career of Japan and of Korea had been so vitally entwined that their close relationship of one kind or another was as inevitable as their geographical proximity itself. Moreover, beyond the peninsula stood two other powers, China and Russia, whose friendship Japan could not always count upon. In providing against any possible danger from these powers, the entire question seemed to hinge upon Korea, for with the fall of the latter the very existence of Japan would be threatened. It seemed essential for Japan, in order to protect her own life, either to annex Korea before it fell prey to another power or to insure its effective independence by opening its resources and reforming its rotten administration. Japan chose the latter alternative. But this brought her to a conflict with the Koreans themselves, for they were too thoroughly imbued with Chinese civilization and too deeply corroded by official corruption not to resent Japan's eagerness to modernize and revivify Korea. Korea thus presented the singular spectacle of resisting the suggestion of a friendly nation to insure her independence and power. Japan was confronted with the colossal task of overcoming the[254] Korean misapprehension and breaking down the Chinese suzerainty over the peninsula.

This double conflict began almost as soon as the imperial authority was restored in Japan. In 1868 Japan sent a message to Korea with a view to opening friendly relations with her. Korea, however, being ill informed of the nature of the political change which had just taken place in Japan, and acting under the false representation by China of Japan's aggressive pretensions, resolutely declined to entertain these overtures. Other similar attempts also miscarried, and, in 1872, a Korean magistrate set a placard upon the gate of the residence of a Japanese officer at Fusan, in which Japan was stigmatized as the laughing stock of the world for her slavish imitation of barbarous customs. The taunt ended in saying that Japan had been so insolent as to impose the shameless policy upon Korea also, but the latter had too high a sense of propriety to be so deluded. It is noteworthy that the objections here raised were characteristically double, that Japan was under the shadow of other powers and was losing her nationality, and that she dared to force Korea to follow her unwise example. The former was sufficiently repugnant, the latter made it unendurable. When in 1873 Japan demanded China's explanation for the repeated insults made by Korea upon Japan in the latter's attempts to negotiate with her, the Chinese government declared that it was not answerable for Korea's conduct, for she was not its dependency. This aroused an outcry in Japan that she should independently force Korea open, but a greater insult from Korea was still to come. As a Japanese war vessel on its way to Niu-chwang stopped at the Kang-hwa Island, not far from Chemulpo, in August, 1875, it was fired upon by the inhabitants and two marines were killed. The Japanese-Korean treaty, which was concluded as a result of this incident, deserves a special note, not only because it was the first modern treaty made by Korea with a foreign power, but also because it for the first time showed clearly Japan's fundamental policy regarding Korea, upon which policy has depended and will for a long time depend many a serious event in the history of the Extreme Orient. By this treaty Korea was declared independent, the two parties binding themselves to treat each other on the basis of equality, and three Korean ports were shortly to be opened to foreign trade. This epoch-making treaty was concluded on February 26, 1876, at which date Korea[255] was at last conventionally independent and partially open to the outside world.

We need not tarry to repeat the story already told of the strong internal opposition that the moderate Korean policy of the government had aroused in Japan, and of its far-reaching consequences in her domestic politics. What mainly interests us here is the question as to what effect did the treaty produce upon Korea herself, whose sovereignty it recognized in unmistakable terms. This conventional independence of Korea had hardly altered the state of her political mind. Korea, it should always be remembered, had since prehistoric ages been trained in that school of experience in which she found herself eking out her bare existence between stronger surrounding nations, which she was wont either to propitiate or to set one against another for her precarious safety. The Koreans had thus by habit and by conviction grown up an opportunist nation. They gratified Japan by complying with her wish to declare them independent, while, at the same time, they courted China's favor by maintaining their vague dependency upon that empire. As indefinitely did China support her contention that Korea at once was and was not dependent upon her.

The time soon came, however, when China was obliged to define her position toward Korea, for the more apparent Japan's policy of upholding Korean independence became to China, the more urgent was it for the latter to reassert her suzerainty over the peninsula. The ambiguous phraseology with which China had masked herself was suddenly cast aside when an acute crisis came. In 1882 Tai-wen-kun, the father of the Korean king, assumed the administrative power at Seul, and set about executing with great rigor his anti-foreign policy. The old patriot believed, like many a Japanese before the restoration, that exclusion and independence were synonymous. On April 23 the Japanese legation was attacked by Korean troops, its twenty-seven members barely escaping to Japan by way of Chemulpo on an English vessel. With unusual rapidity the Peking government sent forces to Korea, who captured Tai-wen-kun and carried him off to China, demonstrating in this way the latter's assumed right of forcible intervention in Korea. China thus asserted by deed her suzerainty over Korea, and herein is already forecast an ultimate conflict between her and Japan, although neither power may have expected it as yet. Japan, on her part, contented herself by securing the punishment[256] of the guilty, payment of 50,000 yen for the killed and wounded, and also an indemnity amounting to half a million yen, four-fifths of which were remitted the next year. She was, besides, allowed to station troops at Seul for protecting her residents against future emergencies.

This Korean trouble of 1882 was followed two years later by a greater crisis, and again the occasion was a political disturbance at Seul. In 1884, when China was at war with France over Annam, the progressive party in Korea, which had been inspired by the example of Japan, took advantage of the situation and overthrew by violent force the pro-Chinese, conservative government. Suddenly the defeated party, together with 2000 Chinese troops, invaded the palace, murdered several members of the new cabinet, and attacked and burned the Japanese legation. The minister, Takezoye, fled for his life, while many of his compatriots residing at Seul were outraged or killed. The king, who had summoned Japanese soldiers to guard the court, now threw himself on the protection of the Chinese. In Japan the cause of the trouble was attributed to the mild Korean policy of the government. In 1885, accordingly, an agreement was made with Korea whereby the latter again promised to punish the guilty and indemnify the outrage. Korea was settled, and China had now to be dealt with. To allay the censure directed at himself by the nation, Itō proceeded in person to China, where he concluded with the Chinese commissioner, Li Hung Chang, the famous Tientsin Convention of April 18, 1885, which had so much to do with the later breach with China in 1894. It was agreed by this convention that Japan and China should withdraw troops from Korea, that they should not furnish Korea with military instructors, and that if it should become necessary at any future time for either party to send soldiers to Korea, it should notify the other of its intention. It was further stated, in a supplement, that there existed no definite evidence that Chinese troops had killed Japanese residents at Seul, and punishment would be inflicted on the guilty only when sufficient proof was forthcoming. As a matter of fact, no investigation followed and no punishment was meted out. On the contrary, the Chinese resident at Seul, Yuan Shih-kai—now the powerful pro-Japanese viceroy of Chihli, but then an astute promoter of China's ascendency over Korea—who was considered to have been largely responsible for the conduct of the Chinese forces, not only was not[257] recalled, but was reinstated as Chinese minister at Seul. The greatest displeasure of the Japanese nation, however, was felt over the clause in the convention abrogating Japan's right, gained in 1882, of stationing troops in Seul to protect her citizens and their interests. Itō was consequently denounced at home now more loudly than before. China, on her part, equally resented the conclusion of the convention, for she was thereby obliged to treat Japan on an equal footing with herself in Korea. Both countries suffered equally, for while Japan forfeited the rights she had previously acquired, China's claim of suzerainty was seriously impaired. Things remained in this strained condition until nine years later, in 1894, when an unforeseen event forced them to a breaking point. It was the Tonghak rebellion, which brought military forces of Japan and China face to face in Korea.

The Tonghak (or "Learning of the East") party was a secret organization, whose doctrines were embodied in a collection of tenets based upon Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism. Both the practical aims and the real strength of the party were then little known. Its conduct in 1894, however, led to an international crisis of which it could not have had the slightest expectation. In May the society rose in insurrection against the universal corruption and oppression of the Korean officials, who were then under the powerful control of the family of the queen, the Min. The Min, whose safety was thus threatened, despite an opposition in the court against the proceeding, appealed, on their initiative, to the assistance of China through the minister at Seul, who had really suggested the move. Here was a long-awaited opportunity for China to recover her lost ground in Korea and once more assert her suzerain rights over the peninsula. The Peking government at once dispatched forces toward Korea, at the same time notifying Japan, in accordance with the Tientsin Convention, that China had been requested by Korea to send troops to suppress the Tonghak rebellion, and that she had consented to "protect the tributary state." On the same day, June 7, Japan replied in two messages, one acknowledging the receipt of China's notice, but declining to admit that Korea was tributary to her, and the other announcing that Japan also would send soldiers to Korea. To this China retorted, saying that as Japan had not been requested by Korea to dispatch forces, the object of her expedition must be to protect Japanese subjects in the peninsula, which circumstances made it[258] unnecessary for Japan to send too large forces or to allow them to go too far into the interior. Japan's answer was that the sending of the troops was in accordance with the Korean-Japanese convention of 1882, and that she had the right to determine the number and disposition of her own forces. The first detachment of the Japanese soldiers escorting Minister Ōtori reached Seul on June 10, and the Chinese troops landed at Asan the next day. If the order had been reversed, China might have regained, temporarily at least, her control over the Korean kingdom, and Japan's ardent wish to reform and strengthen Korea as an independent state might have remained unfulfilled. From her vantage ground, however, Japan made a move which in fact created the critical point of the affair, for, on June 17, her foreign minister, Mutsu, proposed to China to suppress the Tonghak insurrection by joint forces, and then reform the Korean internal government also by joint action, so as to insure stability and peace in the kingdom. It now rested with China to avoid all danger by joining hands with Japan in eradicating evils in the Korean administration, but she would hardly impede a reform upon Korea which she would not tolerate at home. On the contrary, the more corrupt and feeble Korea was, the more dependent upon China she would be. It is little wonder, therefore, that the Peking government replied that a joint suppression of the insurrection was unnecessary, as the latter had already subsided, while a joint reform would be incompatible with the sovereign right of Korea over her own affairs, and that what remained for China and Japan to do was to withdraw their forces from the peninsula.

This reply by the Chinese government may be said to have decided the situation, for henceforth Japan felt obliged to take an independent course of action in Korea. Thus she wrote to China, on June 22, that Korea was constantly troubled by party strifes and disorders and was unable to fulfill obligations as an independent state; that this state of things seriously affected the interests of Japan, for she was near and had important economic relations with Korea; that to discard the matter would be not only against Japan's friendly attitude toward Korea, but also against her own self-preservation; and that, therefore, a reform could not be stopped, and evacuation would not be made "without some understanding which would guarantee the future peace, order, and good government of Korea."[259]

The coöperation with China having miscarried, Japan proceeded to act alone in Korea in the interest of the reform and good administration of the latter. The Japanese minister at Seul, Ōtori, opened the arduous execution of his policy by putting a direct question to the Korean government, on June 28, whether or not it considered the kingdom as independent. This pointed query seemed to have deeply disturbed the politicians at Seul, for they at once found themselves divided between three opinions: namely, first, that Korea was of course an independent nation, and Japan was the first power to declare the fact before the world; second, that she was an historic dependency of China; and, third, that the displeasure of both Japan and China might be averted by not giving a definite answer, but by merely referring them to the treaties. Nothing reveals more clearly the fundamental weakness of the political consciousness of the Korean people than their conduct at this critical stage of their existence. A message was sent to Li Hung Chang in China asking his instruction as to what answer should be given the Japanese minister. The telegraph line toward Wiju was interrupted, and Li's reply—recommending again the ambiguous definition that Korea was at once dependent and independent—had not been received before Korea had at length to reply after three days' deliberation that she was independent.

This first question had been asked by Japan in order to clear the ground for all subsequent steps in her diplomacy in the peninsula. Korea had technically renounced the suzerainty of China, and Ōtori now suggested, on July 3, a thorough reform in the official organization and the financial, judicial, and military institutions. The king and the government not only concurred with the Japanese minister, but also issued edicts calling for a reform. Suddenly a change came, on the 18th, when the Seul government declared that the presence of the Japanese troops would hinder the execution of the necessary reform. It was of course plain that, as soon as these troops left, all hopes of reform would be lost. The change had apparently been caused by the arrival of Li Hung Chang's telegram that an overwhelmingly large army was coming from China to crush the Japanese forces in Seul. Ōtori at once repaired to the Korean foreign office, where he expressed his surprise at the sudden breach of faith on the part of Korea, and urged her answers within three days to the following two demands: an order for the evacuation of the Chinese troops from Asan, whose[260] presence had become unnecessary since the Tonghak insurrection died away; and a declaration that the existing treaty between Korea and China which contained clauses intimating the former's dependence upon the latter was henceforth null and void. The three-day limit expired without eliciting any answer from the government. By this time—July 22—the city of Seul was in a state of intense excitement. Ōtori resolved to see the king in person, and, early in the morning of the 23d, started toward the palace in a palanquin under the escort of his guard. Korean soldiers fired at him, the Japanese troops responded, and within fifteen minutes the Korean guards were dispersed and the city gates were taken, followed in the afternoon by a complete control of the entire capital by Japanese forces. This was the first bloodshed, and unfortunately it was Korean blood that was shed. It is necessary, however, to note that the Korean resistance was a result of the extremely unstable politics at Seul which had enabled the pro-Chinese, corruptionist family of the Min temporarily to control the situation. With their fall Korea naturally turned about and allied herself with Japan against China. The old patriot Tai-wen-kun, father of the king, who again assumed the grand councilorship, with his unabated rigor ordered punishment of the Min, commenced a radical official reorganization, nullified the Chinese treaty, and, what was more, requested the Japanese troops to drive away Chinese soldiers from Asan. This last request at once placed the forces of the two empires in certain hostilities with one another. It was carried out on July 29, but before that, on the 25th, the first act of war took place unexpectedly on sea.

Before relating this sea fight it is important to observe that China evidently expected a war with Japan as early as July 16. It appears that she was determined, though at first reluctantly, to resist by force of arms Japan's efforts to realize the independence and reform of Korea, for in no other light can be interpreted her dispatch by land and by sea of large forces destined for Korea. China was resolved to make good her suzerainty over the Korean peninsula by staking a conflict with Japan, which she had hoped to overwhelm by superior numbers. It was generally believed in Japan at the time that the Chinese statesmen had been led to this miscalculation of Japan's capacity by the continuous feud which had seemed to characterize the relation between the government and the national diet. Li Hung Chang and others were thought to have[261] imagined that Japan's hands were too closely tied by this internal discord to embark upon an undertaking which would require an intense concentration of national resources. They could not have foreseen that all the superficial differences would be, as they were, sunk before the national cause, and that a profound patriotism would unconsciously and without premeditation compel the entire nation—the government, parties, and all—to stand like one man.


Between July 21 and 23 ten transports conveying Chinese troops left Taku for Korea. Three Japanese cruisers, the Yoshino, Naniwa, and Akitsushima, which had since the 23d been cruising in the Korean waters, met at 7 A. M., the 25th, near the Phung-do Island, not far from Asan, the Chinese cruiser Tsi-yuen and gunboat Kwang-yi. These vessels had steamed out of Asan in order to meet another Chinese gunboat, the Tsao-kiang, which was convoying a transport toward Asan. The two Chinese vessels did not return the salute of the Japanese ships, and when the latter turned to the southwest they were fired upon by the former. After a brisk exchange of fire for over an hour the Tsi-yuen effected an escape, and the Kwang-yi was stranded south of Caroline Bay, where its powder-magazine exploded. In the meantime the Tsao-kiang and a transport, the Kow-shing, flying a British flag and conveying[262] 1100 Chinese troops and stores, appeared on the scene. The Tsao-kiang was captured. The Kow-shing was ordered to follow the Japanese cruiser Naniwa to the main squadron, but the Chinese soldiers on board desired to return to Taku, and threatened to kill the English captain, Galsworthy, who advised them to surrender and himself wished to leave the vessel on a boat which the Japanese would send to him. After the attempt of the Naniwa to save the English mates had failed, it hoisted a red flag at 1 P. M., or nearly four hours after it had stopped the Kow-shing. Thereupon, the captain and the crew jumped overboard, and the Chinese soldiers fired at them, killing all but the captain and two others, who were rescued by the Naniwa's boats. The Kow-shing was then sunk. Only a few of those on board her, including a German, Major von Hanneken, escaped by swimming ashore.

On the very day when the naval victory near Phung-do was won mixed Japanese brigades numbering about 4000 men, under command of Major General Ōshima, started from Seul on their march toward Asan, in order to carry out the commission of the Korean government to drive away the Chinese forces stationed there. The large reinforcements which they had expected from China not having arrived, the Chinese troops, 3500 in number, met the enemy at the strategic point Song-hwan, east of Asan. During a sharp engagement lasting from 3 till 7.30 A. M., July 29, the Chinese gradually lost their ground, until they fled toward Ping-yang, leaving behind 500 killed and wounded. The Japanese losses amounted to 88 killed and wounded. Asan itself had been completely evacuated by the Chinese. The victorious army returned to Seul early in the morning of August 5, where a warm reception by the Korean authorities and Japanese residents awaited its triumphant arrival.

These hostile acts were followed by the formal declarations of war of the emperors of China and Japan. The Japanese proclamation may be translated as follows:

"We, by the grace of Heaven, Emperor of Japan, seated on a throne occupied by the same dynasty from time immemorial, do hereby make proclamation to all our loyal and brave subjects, as follows:

"We hereby declare war against China. We command each and all of our competent authorities, in obedience to our wish, to carry on hostilities by sea and land against China, and to make[263] effort to attain the national aim. We command them, each according to his power, to use all the means at their disposal, consistently with the Law of Nations.

"During the more than twenty years of our reign, our constant aim has been to seek the progress of civilization by a peaceful government; and being sensible of the evils of being involved in complications with foreign states, we have instructed our ministers always to labor for the promotion of friendly relations with the treaty powers. The relations with those powers have fortunately yearly increased in good-will and friendship. We never expected such a persistent want of amity and of good faith as has been manifested by China in her conduct toward us in connection with the Korean affair.

"Korea is an independent state which was first introduced into the family of nations by the advice of Japan. China has, however, habitually called Korea her dependency, and openly and secretly interfered with her domestic affairs. At the time of the recent insurrection in Korea, China dispatched troops thither, alleging that her purpose was to rescue the dependent state from its difficulties. We, in virtue of the treaty concluded with Korea in 1882, caused a military force to be sent to that country, in order to be able to meet possible emergencies. Wishing to free Korea for all time from disturbance and to insure her security for the future, and thereby to maintain the general peace of the East, Japan invited China's coöperation for the accomplishment of that object. China, however, advanced several pretexts and declined Japan's proposals. Thereupon, Japan advised Korea to reform her administration, so that order and tranquility might be firmly established at home and the rights and duties of an independent state might be maintained abroad. Korea has already consented thereto, but China has surreptitiously and persistently impeded the purpose. She has, moreover, put forward various pretenses and caused delays, while at the same time she was making warlike preparations on land and sea. When those preparations were completed, China sent large forces to Korea, with a view to the forcible attainment of her ambitions, and conducted herself so arbitrarily as to open fire upon our ships in Korean waters. It is beyond a doubt that China's plain object is to make it uncertain where the responsibility of preserving peace and order in Korea resides; to obscure the independent international position of Korea which Japan first recognized, as well as the[264] treaties declaring that position; and thereby to injure the rights and interests of our empire and to deprive the tranquillity of the East of its permanent guarantee. Carefully judging her designs from her action, it must be concluded that China has from the beginning been bent upon sacrificing peace to the attainment of her sinister object. In this situation, ardent as our wish is to promote at home and abroad the glory of our empire by strictly peaceful methods, we are obliged openly to declare war [against China]. We rely upon the loyalty and valor of our faithful subjects, and hope permanently to restore peace and to complete the glory of our empire."

The Chinese emperor's proclamation was an interesting document, giving an inaccurate statement of facts and revealing some of the main features of China's warlike plans in the coming campaign. A translation of this edict reads as follows:

"Korea has been under China's suzerainty for more than two hundred years, and has rendered us annual tributes, as is well known at home and abroad. For over a decade Korea has been troubled by repeated insurrections. We, in sympathy with our small tributary, have often sent troops to her aid, and suppressed the rebels, and also placed a resident at Seul to render protection as needed. In the fourth moon of this year [May, 1894] another rebellion took place in Korea, for the suppression of which her king made to us an urgent appeal to send troops. We then ordered Li Hung Chang to dispatch troops to Korea. As soon as they reached Asan the rebels scattered. But the Wojên [a familiar and contemptuous name for the Japanese], without cause, sent their soldiers suddenly into Seul, and reinforced them with more than ten thousand men. Japan then forced Korea to change her system of administration, and unreasonably made various demands. According to our method of ruling the tributary state [Korea], the latter's internal affairs are left to its self-government. Japan's treaty with Korea was as one country with another; there is no law for sending large armies to intimidate her and compel her to change her administrative system. The public opinion of the various powers considers the conduct of the Japanese as unjustifiable and unreasonable. We exhorted them to withdraw their troops, but they paid no heed and offered no explanation. On the contrary, Japan has continually dispatched more soldiers, until the Korean peasants and Chinese merchants were every day more[265] alarmed than before. We therefore sent more troops to protect them. Greatly to our surprise, a number of the Wojên ships suddenly appeared and taking advantage of our unpreparedness opened fire upon our transports off Asan, thus causing us to suffer from their treacherous conduct, which could not be foretold by us. Japan has observed neither treaties nor international law, but is running rampant with her false and treacherous actions, commencing hostilities herself, and laying herself open to condemnation by the various powers at large. We therefore make it known to the world that throughout the whole complications we have observed the utmost benevolence and righteousness, while the Wojên have broken pledges and opened hostilities, which passes our patience to bear with. Hence we command Li Hung Chang to give strict orders to our various armies to hasten with all speed to exterminate the foe; to send successive forces of valiant men in order to save the Koreans from the dust of bondage. We also command the Tartar-generals, viceroys, and governors of the maritime provinces, as well as the commanders in chief of the various armies, to prepare for war and to make every effort to fire on the Wojên ships if they come into our ports, and utterly destroy them. We exhort our generals to refrain from the least laxity in obeying our commands in order to avoid severe punishment at our hands. Let all know this edict as if addressed to them individually. Respect this!"

The second battle on land took place at Ping-yang, on September 15, or fifty days after the encounter at Song-hwan, between 13,000 to 15,000 Chinese and 16,000 Japanese. The former had arrived at Ping-yang on August 4, and had made extensive preparations to defend themselves at this almost impregnable stronghold. The offending force marched against the walled city from several directions, and, finally converging there on September 15, gallantly attacked it, practically under no cover, from the north and from the southeast. The defense was powerful, but was finally outmaneuvered by the unexpected attack of the Japanese from the rear. At 4.30 P. M. the Chinese hoisted the white flag, and, taking advantage of a heavy rain and a dark night, they left the city at 8 o'clock, moving toward the coast and Wiju. The Chinese losses were estimated at 2000 killed and about twice as many wounded, while the Japanese side numbered 102 killed, 433 wounded, and 33 missing. The whole Japanese army entered the city of Ping-yang early on the 16th.

On[266] the day of this decisive battle the military headquarters of Japan moved forward from Tōkyō to Hiroshima, the emperor himself transferring his seat thither, and, in his rude temporary quarters, attending to his duties as the commander in chief of the imperial forces. It is needless to say that the moral effect of this move upon the Japanese soldiers in the field of action was thrilling.

The battle of Ping-yang had cleared Chinese troops out of Korea. Two days after a naval engagement occurred near the mouth of the Yalu, which opened for the Japanese the sea-route along the northeastern coast of the Yellow Sea. Early in the morning of the 17th the Japanese squadron, consisting of the battleship Fusō (3709 tons' displacement), eight cruisers (between 4278 and 2439 tons), a coast defense gunboat, and the merchant-cruiser Saikyō, having on board Rear Admiral Kabayama, discovered columns of smoke from twelve Chinese war vessels emerging one after another upon the horizon. These vessels, which had landed troops and stores at Ta-tung-kau on the preceding day, consisted of the two armored battleships Ting-yuen and Chen-yuen (7430 tons each), the battleships Lai-yuen and King-yuen, the coast defender Ping-yuen, six cruisers, and a torpedo-boat destroyer. The Chinese fleet excelled in tonnage and the size of the guns, while the Japanese had the advantage of the comparatively greater speed of their vessels and a larger number of small rapid-firing guns. Fire was opened by the Chinese at 12.45 at a range of 6000 meters, the Japanese replying only at 3000 meters, and lasted till near sunset. The Chinese flagship Ting-yuen had her flag-pole shattered at an early stage of the battle, and consequently the fleet, stoutly as it fought, could no longer maintain a concerted movement. The cruiser Chao-yung caught fire and sunk, the cruisers Yang-wei and Chih-yuen and the battleship King-yuen were sunk, and the cruiser Kwang-chia was stranded near Ta-lien-wan; the battleship Lai-yuen also caught fire and barely escaped to Port Arthur, while one of the two greatest battleships, Ting-yuen, was severely damaged. Although the other vessels escaped with less serious injuries, the Chinese commanders reported to Li Hung Chang that not a single ship was left in a seaworthy condition. The Japanese fleet lost no vessel, although damages were suffered by several, all of which were, however, soon repaired.

Again to return to the operations on land. After the battle of Ping-yang the First Army Corps was definitely organized of the[267] Fifth Provincial Division from the district of Hiroshima, under Lieutenant General Viscount Nodzu, and of the Third Provincial Division from the district of Nagoya, under Lieutenant General Katsura (now Viscount Katsura, premier). The Fifth Division consisted of the Ninth and Tenth Brigades under, respectively, Major Generals Y. Ōshima, and Tatsumi; the Third Division was divided into the Fifth and Sixth Brigades, under Major Generals Ōseka and H. Ōshima. The command of the entire corps rested with Marshal Count Yamagata (later replaced, on account of his illness, by Viscount Nodzu, whose position as commander of the Fifth Division was filled by Lieutenant General Oku).

The First Army Corps advanced toward the northern frontier of Korea. The Chinese forces offered no determined resistance this side of the Yalu, for they had decided, as did the Russians ten years after, to abandon the indefensible Wiju but to defend Chiulien-cheng on the Chinese side of the river. For about ten miles to the right and left of this position, or from An-tung along the stream up to Hu-shan, over a hundred redoubts and trenches had been built, behind which forts had been constructed on eminences. General Sung-ching, commanding about 23,000 troops, stationed a powerful detachment upon Hu-shan, an important outpost across the Ai River, which flows into the Yalu. During the night of October 24, however, the Japanese army succeeded, undiscovered by the enemy, in throwing a pontoon bridge across the Yalu in front of Hu-shan. A severe storming of the outpost, replied to by an able firing, began at 5 P. M., on the 25th, continuing until it was deserted by the Chinese at 10.30. This strategic point having been captured, the main quarters at Chiulien-cheng were vacated without further resistance during the night. An-tung was also easily occupied by the Japanese, while Feng-hwang-cheng was set on fire and deserted by the retreating forces. Thus the Japanese crossed the Korean boundary and gained an entry into the Chinese territory with the comparatively small loss of 4 killed and 140 wounded. They organized a provisional civil administration at An-tung to govern the Chinese population in the seized territory. Mr. Komura (now Baron Komura, minister of foreign affairs) was appointed the temporary director of the administration, to be later succeeded by Lieutenant Colonel Fukushima.

After the capture of Chiulien-cheng, the First Army Corps divided itself into two bodies, one under the command of Lieutenant[268] General Katsura following the Chinese troops that had fled toward Ta-ku-shan on the coast, and the other pointing toward Mukden. Katsura's army took Ta-tung-kau and Ta-ku-shan in succession, the latter on November 5, and then turned northward and defeated the Chinese at Siu-yen on the 17th. Tomu-cheng was captured on December 12, and Hai-cheng on the next day, while Kang-wa-seh, where 10,000 Chinese had entrenched themselves, was carried on the 18th. Meanwhile, the second division of the First Army Corps had swept the enemy from Sai-ma-tsi and other points, and marched toward Mukden in the depth of a severe Manchurian winter.


By this time a part of the Second Army Corps, commanded by Marshal Count Ōyama and consisting of the First Provincial Division from the district of Tōkyō, under Lieutenant General Baron Yamaji, and of the Twelfth Brigade of the Sixth Provincial Brigade of the Kumamoto district, had already captured the great Port Arthur. Having landed at a point near Pi-tse-wo, about ninety miles northeast of Port Arthur, on October 24, the First Division had taken Kin-chow on November 6 and Ta-lien-wan on the following day. The entire section then, soon after midnight of October 21, as soon as the moon rose, opened an assault from the[269] rear upon Port Arthur, which was defended by a magnificent physical position and strengthened by the powerful forts and guns that had made the port celebrated as an impregnable stronghold. After severe onsets under terrific fires, all the important landward defenses, including the Itsu-shan (Chair Hill) forts, had been carried by the Japanese by noon. Among the shore forts, those on Hwang-chin-shan (Golden Hill) resisted most stoutly, and did not fall till 5 P. M. During the night the Chinese deserted all the other forts, leaving behind 57 large-caliber and 163 small-caliber guns. When the Japanese troops entered the city they were treacherously fired upon from the houses, where many Chinese soldiers had hidden themselves and put on civilian dress, so as to be able to shoot the enemy unawares. The Japanese, on their part, retorted by an indiscriminate search of the houses and killing of many adult males who offered resistance, so that the number of the Chinese slain amounted to almost 4000. The Japanese lost 29 killed and 233 wounded. At the same time, the harbor not being defended by Chinese war vessels, the Japanese men-of-war removed mines and entered Port Arthur on the night of October 24.

The Chinese made two successive attempts, on the 21st and 22d, to recover Kin-chow, but were repulsed. A part of the Second Army Corps then joined Lieutenant General Katsura's division of the First Army Corps at Kai-ping, on December 10, and carried that town by charging it over the slippery ice of the Kai-ping River.

The remainder of the Second Army Corps, consisting of the Second Provincial Division from the Sendai district under command of Lieutenant General Sakuma and of the Sixth Provincial Division from the district of Kumamoto (excepting the Twelfth Brigade, which had already gone to the Liao-tung peninsula) under Lieutenant General Kuroki, landed, without resistance, at Yung-cheng in the Shan-tung province, between January 20 and 24, 1895. The object of this expedition was to effect a concerted attack with the navy upon Wei-hai-Wei, where the Northern Fleet of the Chinese navy had been concentrated. Leaving Yung-cheng on the 26th, the Japanese army marched along two routes, expecting to converge at Wei-hai-Wei early in February. The two divisions met vigorous resistance from the Chinese on the way, particularly at Mo-tien-ling on the northern route, opposite the strongly fortified Liu-kung Island, where the enemy poured fire upon the assailants from the 68 guns planted on twelve land forts and from the[270] war vessels anchored only 2000 meters away from the forts. Major General Ödera fell in this battle, and the forts were carried only after nine hours of ceaseless fusillade. The town of Wei-hai-Wei was deserted by the Chinese, and was occupied by the invaders on February 2. This completed the work of the army, for the task of reducing the forts on Jih and Liu-kung Islands, as well as of dealing with the Chinese fleet, had been assigned to the navy.


The Chinese fleet at Wei-hai-Wei consisted of 15 war vessels including the iron-clad battleships Ting-yuen and Chen-yuen, besides 13 torpedo boats, as against 25 men-of-war and 16 torpedo-boats on the Japanese side. The Japanese forces not only possessing a numerical advantage on the sea, but also having captured the land forts from which the army could coöperate with the fleet, a Chinese defeat appeared a foregone conclusion. Under these circumstances, Admiral S. Itō, commanding the Japanese fleet, sent to Admiral Ting Ju-chang, his personal friend, who held supreme command of the enemy's squadron, a touching letter in which former expressed his regret that the old acquaintances had been obliged to meet each other in hostility, appealed to the latter's enlightened patriotism by pointing out the retrogressive policy which Ting had been called upon to defend and which could only[271] end in disaster, and then counseled him to prevent a certain defeat and unnecessary loss of life by capitulating. Itō further advised Ting to become Japan's honored guest till the end of the war, and then return to his native land in order to aid China in setting her policy on a sound basis. When Ting read this message he was visibly moved, and said to his attendants: "Kill me," meaning probably that he wished to die alone and let all others surrender. Then he again remarked: "I am thankful for the admiral's friendship, but I cannot forsake my duties to the state. The only thing now remaining for me to do is to die." The Japanese fleet, which made Yung-cheng Bay its headquarters, began to attack the forts of Jih and Liu-kung Islands on January 30, 1895, continuing with frequent interruptions till February 7, when a steady general attack began. During this time, the daring night attacks made by Japanese torpedo boats had succeeded in sinking the Ting-yuen and three other vessels, and the thirteen torpedo boats of the Chinese fleet which tried to escape toward Chifu had had six destroyed and all the others captured by the Japanese. The Ching-yuen was sunk on the 9th; soon afterward Jih Island fell and the eastern forts of Liu-kung Island were silenced. On the morning of the 12th Ching, commander of the Kwang-ping, approached the Japanese flagship Matsushima in a small gunboat flying a white flag, and delivered a letter from Admiral Ting, containing a formal surrender of all the war vessels in the harbor and the forts and stores of Liu-kung Island. Ting requested that the Chinese and foreign officers, troops, and civilians on land and sea around Wei-hai-Wei be allowed to depart unmolested, and proposed that the commander of the British China squadron should guarantee the faithful performance of the conditions of surrender on the part of the Chinese. On receipt of this letter Admiral Itō held a council of his officers, in which many of the latter advised, as was later seconded by the army officers, that the men should not be allowed to leave, but be taken prisoners. The admiral, however, had so high an estimate of Ting's personality and service to his country and so deep a sympathy with his difficult position that he insisted that Ting's request should be cheerfully granted. In his reply, therefore, Itō again advised Ting, for the sake of his own safety and of the future good of China, to become Japan's guest, agreed to release all the men on parole, and declined to accept the proposed guarantee by the British commander as unnecessary, for Itō rested confidence[272] in Ting's honor as a soldier. The admiral also sent a present to Ting and Commander Liu of the Ting-yuen. The next morning Ching again visited the Matsushima, this time with the Chinese flag at half-mast, and brought a reply from Ting, who, Ching sorrowfully announced, had declined to accept Itō's present, and, with Liu and Commander Chang of the Liu-kung Island, had committed suicide. All the arrangements regarding the capitulation were then made with the utmost honor to the deceased admiral, and his body was taken ashore in one of the captured Chinese cruisers. The soldiers in the army and navy who were released on parole aggregated 5124 men. The Japanese flag was hoisted on the surrendered battleship Chen-yuen, cruisers Ping-yuen, Tsi-yuen, and Kwang-ping, and six gunboats. With this pathetic fall of Wei-hai-Wei the Japanese navy completely annihilated the Northern Chinese Fleet, and gained an absolute control of the Gulf of Pechili. Admiral Itō returned to Hiroshima on March 3.

With the expulsion of the Chinese from Korea and the capture of Port Arthur and Wei-hai-Wei, Japan had accomplished the major part of the work which she had proposed to herself. The remainder of the story of the war may be briefly told. Hai-cheng was taken by the Third Division (of the First Army Corps) on December 13, and the Chinese made in January and February three unsuccessful attempts to retake this important walled city. The First Division (of the Second Army Corps) advanced from Kin-chow on February 10 toward Ying-kow, or the treaty port of "Niu-chwang," while the First Army Corps in two bodies pressed northward and then westward with the town of Niu-chwang as its objective point, whence it intended to join the First Division at Ying-kau. Niu-chwang was seized on March 4 after a sanguinary fight on the streets in which more than 1880 Chinese lost their lives. Two days later, the First Division captured Ying-kau without the coöperation of the First Army Corps and with no effective resistance from the enemy. The two armies then joined in the cannonading of Tien-chwang-tai on the other side of the Liao River, which was razed to the ground in order to prevent the Chinese from returning to it.

Toward the end of March a column of Japanese troops seized the Pescadore Islands near Formosa.

The Chinese government, which had already twice sent abortive peace envoys with insufficient powers, now ordered Viceroy[273] Li Hung Chang to sail to Japan and sue for peace. He arrived at Shimonoseki on March 19, where he was met by the Japanese peace commissioners, Premier Count (soon to be Marquis) Itō and Foreign Minister Viscount (soon to be Count) Mutsu. Li was later joined by his son-in-law, Li Ching Fang, as plenipotentiary. Li Hung Chang proposed an armistice, but the conditions demanded by Japan appeared to him too onerous to accept. On the 24th, as he was returning from a conference to his lodging, a fanatic, R. Koyama, who had led himself to believe that Li was the disturber of the peace of the East, shot at him with a revolver and wounded him on the left cheek—an incident which plunged the entire nation into profound regret. The emperor now almost unconditionally granted an armistice for three weeks. Li soon recovered from his wound, and resumed negotiations on April 10. The Japanese terms for peace had on his request been shown to him April 1, and these with various amendments became the basis of the Treaty of Shimonoseki, signed on April 17 and ratified on May 8. By this treaty the absolute independence of Korea was at last assured; China agreed to cede to Japan the Liao-tung peninsula, Formosa, and the Pescadores, and to pay 200 million taels as indemnity; and Kang-chow, Su-chow, Sha-shi, and Chung-king were opened to foreign trade, and the foreigners were granted the right of engaging in manufacturing enterprises in China. The war, which had lasted for more than seven months and cost Japan nearly 200 million yen and the loss of 1005 killed and 4922 wounded (besides 16,866 deaths from disease), now came to an end. Japan had placed on the field 120,000 men in two armies and five columns, and carried out the campaign in all its complexity with remarkable success.

A few words may be said regarding the effects of the war upon China and Japan. The former's reverses were in a large measure a blessing in disguise, for they revealed, as nothing else would, the radical faults of her policy and administrative system, and convinced many of her patriots of the need for a reform. It was largely due to this fact that the two nations emerged from the war with no ill-will against each other. On the contrary, the more thoughtful among the Chinese seemed to be attracted to Japan by her success in the same proportion that they became alive to the causes of the failure of their own government. In such a vast and conservative country as China a reform must come slowly, but it[274] is safe to say that some of its seeds were sown as a result of the war of 1894-1895. As for Japan herself, her position suddenly rose in the eyes of the nations of the world. Even those foreigners who had heard little of her great progress in arts and sciences and still greater hopes of further growth were now forced to admit the foresight, endurance, courage, and power of organization manifested by the Japanese during the campaign. The more one knew the practical side of so large an undertaking the more he realized the magnitude of Japan's success. This appreciation of the world naturally stimulated the Japanese to a larger ambition for future progress. The stimulus after the war, however, came as well from the victory, as from the bitter experience which closely followed it—the forcible intervention of three European powers against Japan, which at once changed the whole aspect of the Eastern question.


Chapter XX


When the peace negotiations between the Japanese and Chinese plenipotentiaries were in progress at Shimonoseki, Russia and France had been preparing themselves to intervene, and Germany had for diplomatic reasons consented to aid the Russian overtures, while Great Britain, which had once before made a fruitless effort to bring about a concerted mediation by the powers, declared that she had no objections to Japan's claims. The plan of intervention having been matured, the Russian, French, and German representatives at Tōkyō called at the foreign office on April 23, 1895, and on their separate cordial reception, presented notes from their governments in which the latter counseled Japan to return to China the Liao-tung peninsula of South Manchuria, for its retention by Japan would, in their opinion, not only endanger the position of the Chinese capital, but also render the independence of Korea illusory, and permanently threaten the general peace of the Far East. While the notes were couched in polite terms, the Eastern squadrons of the three powers manifested such an activity as to demonstrate the determination of the intervening states to enforce their demand, if necessary, by a concerted appeal to arms. At this grave crisis the Japanese authorities agreed among themselves that after the exhausting war of the last eight months it would be impossible for Japan to fight single-handed with the three European powers. May 10, 1895, found the Japanese nation eagerly perusing the imperial decree which reiterated the unalterable devotion of the emperor to the cause of peace, for the sake of which the three friendly powers had advised, and his own sense of magnanimity also counseled, the retrocession to China of the entire peninsula of Liao-tung. The feeling excited among all ranks of the people by this memorable incident was intense. It seemed plain to everyone that the conduct of the powers in thus depriving Japan of what appeared to be a just fruit of her costly war could not have been animated by a genuine respect for the integrity of the Chinese[276] empire. None wished the independence of Korea and the progress of China more deeply than did the Japanese, while, on the other hand, Russia, the central figure in the intervention, probably had a design upon Port Arthur and the whole of Manchuria. The fall of this vast territory into Russia's hands would eventually threaten the independence of Korea, and, consequently, the safety of Japan herself. The Japanese nation naturally awoke to the conviction that, in order to secure the peace of the East and the repose of Japan, the latter must strengthen and enrich herself, so that the humiliation of 1895 should never recur. The conviction was based, it should be clearly noted, not so much upon a desire for revenge as upon the determination to safeguard the common vital interests of Japan and the general Far East by means of progress and civilization. From 1895, therefore, began the most rapid advance in all directions of Japan's material power that has ever taken place in any period of the same length in her past history.

In China, however, the clever diplomacy of Russia entered a new epoch after the intervention of 1895. The first definitely known understanding between the two powers concerned a Chinese loan of four hundred million francs, $80,000,000, guaranteed by Russia and raised mainly at Paris in July, 1895, which was intended for the payment of one-half of the indemnity due to Japan. Then, the Russo-Chinese Bank was organized by a syndicate of capitalists of Paris and St. Petersburg, with its headquarters in the latter city, where the intimate friend of the tsar, Prince Ukhtomsky, was made its president. An important agreement was entered upon on September 8, 1896, between this bank and the Chinese minister at St. Petersburg, which has since proved to be the basis of many another striking document. By this agreement and also by the Russian statutes based upon it, it was provided that the Russo-Chinese Bank should undertake to organize the Eastern Chinese Railway Company, which should construct a branch line of the great Siberian Railway through the Hei-lung and Kirin provinces of Manchuria and connect it with the South Ussuri branch railway. Only Russian and Chinese subjects could be its shareholders. The Chinese government was to take over the road after eighty years without payment, or with a due payment after thirty-six years. It was also agreed that both imports and exports between China and Russia carried by the new railway should pay only two-thirds of the regular tariff rates of China.[277]

No sooner was the first sod of the railway cut on its eastern extremity than events occurred which led to a further extension by the Russians of the railroad toward the most strategic points in the Liao-tung peninsula which they leased—points which had so recently been retroceded by Japan, on Russia's advice, for the peace and independence of China and Korea. It belongs to the history of China to recount how, at the murder by a mob of two German Catholic missionaries in Shan-tung, the government of the kaiser succeeded in March, 1898, in wresting from China a ninety-nine-year lease of the Bay of Kiao-chow and its hinterland, together with railway and mining concessions between the shore and Tsi-nan-fu. This was a signal for the advent of a remarkable series of territorial demarcations to be made by the rival powers of Europe which had been no less eager than Germany to seize the first opportunity to carve out their respective "spheres" of influence or interest on the soil of the feeble Chinese empire. The act of Germany disturbed the balance of power in the Far East which could not be restored until the aggressive passions of all competing powers should have been satiated. Great Britain obtained in February a pledge never to alienate to any other power any portion of the extensive provinces adjoining the Yang-tse River. This was followed by the lease to Russia for twenty-five years, subject to renewal, of Port Arthur and Ta-lien-wan. The Russo-Chinese agreement signed on March 27 declared that the lease constituted no prejudice against the Chinese sovereignty over the territory, but was designed for the protection of the Russian navy in the waters of North China. It must be remembered that Russia with her immense dominion of Siberia had up to this time possessed no adequate naval station on its shores which was not bound by ice during the winter months. Now at length she secured the almost ice-free Port Arthur and Ta-lien-wan, of which the former and a portion of the latter were agreed to be used exclusively for naval purposes, while the remaining portion of Ta-lien-wan was to be opened to the merchant vessels of all nations. The agreement further provided that a branch line might be built by Russia from the Manchurian railway to Ta-lien-wan and, as was later stipulated, to Port Arthur, and, if necessary, also a line from the open port of Niu-chwang to the Yalu River on the Korean border. A special agreement was further concluded on May 7 to supplement the one of March 27, which has been described. The Russian lease on the[278] tip of the Liao-tung peninsula induced Great Britain, on July 1, to obtain under similar terms on the opposite promontory of Shan-tung the lease of the Bay of Wei-hai-wei. This port had still been under the occupation of Japanese troops, pending the final payment of the Chinese indemnity, but was now cheerfully evacuated by them to be replaced by the forces of the power with which the relations of Japan had already begun to be especially amicable. In South China the rivalry between France and Great Britain was manifested afresh by the proposed opening of the West River and concessions in Yunnan obtained by the latter, and the sphere created on the Kwang-chow Bay by the former. Japan also secured the pledge of non-alienation of the province of Fuh-kien, which lies opposite her new territory of Formosa.


It is necessary in order to comprehend the situation with any degree of clearness, sharply to distinguish the nature of the Russian concessions in Liao-tung from those of all the other "spheres" in North and South China. It was alone in the former instance that new naval posts of great moment were directly connected by a railroad with the military centers of an enormous and contiguous dominion which represented an expansion through centuries. The creation of naval posts on the strategic points of the peninsula[279] would be sufficient, as was avowed by Russia herself three years before, to threaten Peking, render the independence of Korea illusory, and continually imperil the peace of the Far East, and its dangers must further be measured by the immense pressure which might be exercised with the military resources of all the Russias that lay behind Liao-tung and were now connected thereto by rail.

The situation was made worse by an Anglo-Russian railway agreement of April 28, 1899. The origin of this document belongs to the history of China. It suffices here to point out that it provided that Great Britain should not seek any railway concession north of the Great Wall, and Russia should observe the same principle in the Yang-tse basin. The peculiarity of this agreement consists in the fact that one of its signatories was not, as usual, the Chinese government, but that two European powers thereby pledged themselves not to infringe upon each other's sphere of railroad concession in China. Diplomatic exigencies might (as they have since done beyond the wall) induce one of the parties to interpret the railroad sphere in the light of a political sphere.

The peculiarly favorable position of the United States rendered it both possible and desirable for her to maintain in China the principles of the territorial integrity of the empire and of the equal opportunity therein for the economic enterprise of all nations—the latter principle often called that of the "open door." Between the end of 1899 and the beginning of 1900 Secretary Hay induced the great powers, though with nominal success, to declare anew that they would observe the avowed policy of the "open door" in their respective spheres in China. He had, however, hardly received the replies of the powers when the reports of an anti-foreign campaign of an unusually serious character began to arrive from China. The story of the so-called Boxer uprising, with its thrilling episodes, will be told in the volume on China, and here it is enough for us to observe its two features, namely, Japan's share in the suppression of the trouble, and the bearing of the latter upon the Manchurian question.

By the middle of June, 1900, the representatives of twelve powers, as well as many other foreigners and native Christians, had already found themselves besieged in Peking and gallantly defending themselves against the frequent attacks of the Boxers and imperial troops; Admiral Seymour and his twelve hundred marines had already found it impossible to force their way to the[280] relief of the besieged foreigners. At this juncture the government of Great Britain perceived that no other power could with greater dispatch and success come to the rescue of the legations than Japan. The latter, however, had resolved to act only in concert with other powers, or, if alone, only at their united and explicit request. She therefore contented herself with transporting 3000 soldiers for Taku to move strictly in unison with the forces of the other allies. The negotiation carried on by Lord Salisbury with the continental governments in relation to the advisability of requesting Japan immediately to mobilize 25,000 or 30,000 troops from her shores had resulted, early in July, in evoking from Germany a dissent from the proposition so long as the allies could act in harmony, and from Russia a reply that she deemed it unwise to intrust a single power with the restoration of order in China, but that she would welcome 20,000 or 30,000 additional troops from any one of the powers which would move in perfect accord with the others. Impatient of the dilatory and indefinite replies, the British government went so far as to guarantee on its own responsibility the cost of mobilizing the desired number of troops from Japan. This was on July 6, and on the same day Japan at last resolved to dispatch, with no condition whatsoever from the other powers, troops aggregating 22,000. By this time the Japanese Chancellor Sugiyama and the German Minister von Ketteler had been murdered in Peking, the Taku forts had been taken by the allies, and the prospect had been that both the British and the German forces would soon aggregate 10,000 men. Tientsin fell before the allies on July 14, three days before the arrival of the fresh troops from Japan. After three weeks at Tientsin during which nothing could be done, 15,780 allied forces, of which 8000 were the Japanese, began to march toward Peking on August 4. All along the way there were sanguinary encounters with the Boxers and Chinese troops, so that the allies probably lost 800 men before they reached Peking on August 14. The Japanese soldiers, after a terrible battle lasting for nearly fifteen hours till 9.50 P. M., bombarded the eastern walls at two of the gates and rushed into the Forbidden City, while previously a column dispatched by them had led the rest of the allied forces toward the British legation through the gate which the Russians had exploded about 5 P. M. With what wild burst of joy and enthusiasm the foreigners, who had been defending themselves under unspeakable difficulties within[281] the walls of the British legation, received the triumphant entry of the allied soldiers may better be imagined than told. The siege had at length been raised, the imperial court had fled toward Si-ngan, and the capital of China fell into the hands of the powers.

It is unnecessary to remind the reader that all during this memorable campaign the Japanese soldiers won universal praise for their dash and discipline. With no less admiration were their commissariat system and method of transportation regarded by their comrades. Repeatedly was it seen by impartial observers that even in orderliness among themselves and just and moderate treatment of the non-combatants, the troops of the non-Christian Japan were behind those of no Christian country then represented in North China. They excelled also in the power of organization and control in their dealings with the people of Peking, who had come under the provisional government of the conquering powers. All these merits were externally visible, but only the Japanese soldier himself will know what burning love of his country's name, which he carried deep in his bosom, animated him with courage and patience and bridled his animal passion. He marched shoulder to shoulder with the troops of the powers, three of which had five years before treated his country with indignity and forced her to forsake the price of the blood of her sons only to appropriate it for themselves. He could now show them that he had not been forever reduced by them into an insignificant position, but, on the contrary, had advanced beyond his former degree of military efficiency, and could vie with any one of them either in the art of war or in the moral qualities that constitute the modern soldier. His experience was invaluable both in training his mind and body and in demonstrating anew that, after all, his racial identity was hardly a bar against his full participation in the arts of civilization. As precious for his country may be regarded the fact that her position in the East rose, through the North China campaign, considerably higher in the esteem of the powers than even after the Chinese war of 1894-1895. Otherwise the Anglo-Japanese alliance of 1902 probably would not have been so soon formed. Nor could Japan have since proceeded with her national activities with such a calm confidence.

How far Japan had outrun in the march of national progress her neighboring empire of China, whose disciple she once was, was strikingly illustrated by the telegraphic messages that the emperors[282] of the two nations exchanged both before and after the capture of Peking. Nor can a stronger refutation of the oft-repeated theory that one day Japan will revive the moribund China and form with her a pan-"yellow" alliance powerful enough to exclude the Caucasian influence from the Orient, be found than in the comparison of the Chinese epistles and the Japanese replies in which both emperors faithfully expressed the attitude of their respective nations. On July 3, or half a month after the fall of the Taku forts, his majesty the emperor of China telegraphed a personal message to the Japanese emperor in which he laid great stress upon the idea that in the present rivalry between the East and the West, the former was supported by only two nations, the Chinese and the Japanese. Could it be China alone that the Occidental powers covet with their tiger's eye? "If China should fall," said his majesty, "perhaps your country would be unable to stand alone." On the strength of this argument, the Son of Heaven made an earnest appeal to his fellow-sovereign to sink minor differences and rescue the Orient from the impending crisis. To this remarkable communication responded the emperor of Japan, saying that he considered it incumbent upon China immediately to suppress the internal disorder and save the foreign envoys, whose persons were inviolable, and that after the restoration of normal order by China's own efforts Japan would, during the negotiations of the powers, safeguard the interests of the great empire. The author of the original message may have thought Japan a renegade of the Orient, but the reply of the latter's sovereign implied her irrevocable policy of acting upon the dictates of the most advanced standards of mankind—a policy which is infinitely removed from the defensive position of one form of civilization or one section of the earth's surface as over against another. Nearly three months later, on September 24, the Chinese emperor again communicated from Ta-yuan to the Japanese sovereign his sense of gratitude for the work of the latter's soldiers, and solicited his persuasion of the other powers to expedite the conclusion of peace. In reply, Japan's ruler suggested that peace would follow if the court should at once return to Peking, calm the minds of the people, and manifest to the powers its sincere regrets for the recent outrages, and also if the reactionary ministers were removed from office and a new government was organized of men whose ability was universally recognized.[283]

It was after a number of conferences that, on November 9, the peace commissioners at Peking came to the final conclusion regarding the terms of peace, which were reduced into an identical note two months later. This protracted period of negotiation was mainly due to the difficulty of maintaining a strict harmony between the several powers on all points under discussion. We cannot tarry over the details of the discussion, for they properly belong to the history of China. Nor need we point out the exact contributions that Japan made toward the peace settlement, which were in the main of a moderating character. Of the indemnity, amounting to 450 million Hai-kuan taels ($333,900,000), Japan shared about 7.73 per cent. Previous to the conclusion of peace an incident occurred at Amoy which has caused misunderstanding in certain quarters. On August 24 a mob burned a Japanese Buddhist building in the city, upon which some Japanese bluejackets were landed to protect the consulate and the resident subjects of Japan. More marines were later landed, and still more were reported to be coming via Formosa. A widespread rumor ensued that Japan was bent on the occupation of Amoy, and the consternation among the citizens ran so high that the local taotai, together with a large number of literati and wealthy merchants, made a personal appeal to the Japanese consul to evacuate, themselves pleading to indemnify the burned building and the landing of the marines. In the meantime a British and a German war vessel had arrived, and the Japanese reinforcements bound for Amoy had been recalled from Formosa. The people who had unnecessarily dreaded the presence of the Japanese forces now began to manifest contempt of the Japanese residents in Amoy, whose position was imagined to have suddenly fallen at the coming of the foreign marines. A general evacuation soon followed the restoration of order, leaving the status of the Japanese in the city much the same as before the incident. Although it can hardly be concealed that some of the Japanese residing in Fuh-kien and Formosa were at the time animated by a certain degree of chauvinism, the intentions of the government at Tōkyō could not have been but entirely pacific.

Perhaps in no other instance have the powers more repeatedly and unequivocally given expression to their avowed devotion to the doctrine of the territorial integrity and the open door in China than during and after the Boxer insurrection. Not the least clear declarations came from Russia, whose conduct, however, could at[284] least as well be explained by another principle which she has persistently denied. Facts would lead one to suppose that she at first regarded the trouble in North China as slight enough to die of its own inanity or be readily suppressed by the assistance of herself alone. Count Muraviev, the Russian foreign minister, even prophesied that order would be restored within two weeks. The serious nature of the uprising, however, soon made it evident that it hardly was an occasion for any single power thus to ingratiate itself with the helpless Chinese government. Russia hence joined the concert of the powers in the march toward Peking, but at least some of her press and authors continued to regard her joint action with the allies as rather incidental, for, according to their opinion, the trouble had been caused by the offensive acts of the other powers in China in which Russia had had no share. Subsequent events show, however, that, if she attached a relatively small importance to the conditions in North China, Russia at the same time grasped the Manchurian situation with great celerity and vigor. It is impossible to judge from our present state of knowledge whether the aggressive attitude of Russia in Manchuria preceded or followed the appearance of threatening signs of danger against her interests in that territory. Most of the actual troubles, however, seem to have occurred after Russia had suddenly assumed, from June 26 on, a belligerent movement in Manchuria on a vast scale which was to cost her in the end no less than sixty-two million rubles.[1] In a few days adjoining regions in Siberia were declared as in a state of war, and troops from Vladivostok, Khabarovsk, Blagovestchensk, and the Trans-Baikalia, as well as from European Russia, began to press into Manchuria. It is as unnecessary as impossible to mark at each point of the widespread warfare that followed whether the initiative was taken by the Chinese or by the Russians. It is evident that some strategic points in Manchuria had already been infested by the Boxers and their sympathizers, who set about from what time is not known, obstructing and damaging railroad construction, attacking the churches, and persecuting the converts in the southern region, and, on July 16, bombarding the Russian city of Blagovestchensk across the Amur, the navigation of which was consequently stopped, and a week later murdering some eighty Russians in An-tung near the Korean border. Other outrages followed as the Russian aggression excited more resentment among the Chinese. The forces of the tsar occupied the open port of [285]Niu-chwang, where on August 5 they organized a provisional government. The Russian possession of Niu-chwang was followed, before the allies entered into Peking, by that of Hun-chun, Argun, Harbin, Aigun, San-sin, and other centers scattered over the surface of Manchuria, while in July the dismissal by the Chinese government of the Chinese manager of the Manchurian railroad which had hitherto been partly under the nominal control of China, left the Russians in full and sole possession.

Thus far Russia had no more subdued all Manchuria than the allies had restored order in North China, and the tsar's government surprised the other powers, on August 25, only ten days after the rescue of the legations in Peking, by declaring Russia's intention to withdraw her minister and troops from Peking. It was thought by observers, and freely admitted by some Russian writers, that this unexpected move by Russia was by no means out of the line of her traditional policy of conferring favor upon the neighbor whose house should as long as possible be left in a state of confusion and disorder. The proposition was deemed none the less as acceptable in principle as impracticable in detail at that early date. In regard to Manchuria, the same Russian circular of August 25 declared that evacuation would occur as soon as peace was permanently restored and measures were taken to protect the railways, and other powers threw no obstacle in the way. It was soon seen, however, that the armed pacification of Manchuria could not so abruptly stop. On the contrary, the occupation of many strategic points, including Ninguta, Tsitsihar, Mukden, Kin-chow, and An-tung, was yet to come, until early in December the entire three eastern provinces had completely fallen into the hands of the Russians.

It was doubtless with a grave apprehension of this Manchurian situation that Great Britain had induced Germany to sign, on October 16, 1900, the ill-fated Anglo-German agreement. It sought to effect a difficult combination of three principles not easily reconcilable with one another: the integrity of the remaining territory of China, an open door, and equal advantage to men of all nations in the trading ports and marts, and the protection of the interest already acquired in China by the signatories. The strength of the combination was further reduced by the manner in which the first and the third principles were upheld in the agreement, which declared that neither power would make use of the present complication to acquire any territorial advantages, but that if another[286] power should act contrary to this view, then the signatories might consult together as to the measures of protecting their own interests. At their invitation to accept the principles of the agreement, Russia, as well as France, cleverly replied that they saw therein nothing other than the same old principles which they had repeatedly advocated, while the United States expressed assent to the first two of the principles, but deemed the third as not concerning her. Japan entered the agreement as a signatory. Judged from the very purpose for which the document had been framed by Great Britain, the agreement may be said to have ended in a failure, for what was the use of reiterating the first principle if Manchuria was not considered a part of the Chinese territory, whose integrity was thereby respected? Yet Count von Bülow, imperial chancellor of Germany, said in the Reichstag on March 15, 1901, as he again did toward the end of 1903, that the Anglo-German agreement had no reference to Manchuria. "I can imagine nothing," he was reported to have said, "which we regard with more indifference" than Manchuria. "The Yang-tse agreement" was the name given to the document by the Germans, who were pleased to interpret it as applying with particular force, not to Manchuria, but to the British sphere in the basin of the great river which had always been an eyesore to Germany. With one of the contracting parties at variance with the very aim of the agreement, it was useless for the marquis of Lansdowne to declare, on August 6, 1901, that it "most unquestionably extended to Manchuria, which was part of the Chinese empire." It is to be doubted that the convention had exerted the slightest influence in staying the hand of Russia in the three eastern provinces.

Toward the close of 1900 appeared in the London Times a dispatch from its Peking correspondent, Dr. George E. Morrison, containing the contents of a secret treaty alleged to have been concluded in November between Tsang-chi, the Tartar-general at Mukden, and Admiral Alexiev, which stipulated that Tsang should pacify Manchuria and then report the detail of his administration of the territory to a Russian resident to be stationed at Mukden. This convention was not ratified either by the tsar or by the Son of Heaven. This was merely a prelude to a more serious development. Early in 1901, when the peace commissioners at Peking were discussing the matter of the punishment to be demanded of China for the local officials who had been privy to the Boxer outrages,[287] Russia showed signs of isolating herself from the concert of the powers and taking side with the Chinese sentiment. This characteristic action of the Russians was accompanied by the rumor of negotiations for a secret convention carried on at St. Petersburg between the government of the tsar and the Chinese minister. Of this supposed convention several versions were afloat, some of which would have one believe that in its scope were comprised, not only Manchuria, but also Ili, the New Territory, Mongolia, and the provinces of Kan-su, Shen-si, and Shan-si, as Russian spheres of one sort or another. Either in its truer form or after some concession on the Russian part, the secret treaty, as it was more definitely known, was said to have contained the following eight points, which are worthy of enumeration as showing at least some of the original intentions Russia had regarding Manchuria: 1, that Russia should continue the military occupation of Manchuria pending the restoration of order and the settlement of the question of war indemnity; 2, that China should consult Russia as to where and how many Chinese troops might be stationed in Manchuria; 3, that China should at any time dismiss at Russia's request those Manchurian generals and other officials whose conduct was deemed prejudicial to mutual amity; 4, that the number of the Chinese police should also be determined by consulting Russia, and the use of artillery should be forbidden; 5, that there should be organized a special official system for the neutral territory already marked; 6, that no railway or mining concession in Manchuria should be granted to citizens of any other nation without consulting Russia; 7, that the railroad indemnity should, through an agreement made with the railway company, be wholly or in part paid by the profit of the roads; and 8, that Russia should be allowed to construct a branch line from the Manchurian railway to the Great Wall. The result of these demands, were they real and had China granted them, would have been a complete Russian protectorate over Manchuria, for although it was made to imply that the military occupation of Manchuria should cease with the restoration of peace, such concessions were demanded as would tend to perpetuate the Russian control of the territory. Japan first saw the gravity of the situation, and communicated about the matter with the United States and Great Britain. The last power consulted other powers. The powers thus assumed a united front in warning China of the unwisdom of concluding with a single power before she had[288] reached a common agreement with all the allies. The protest, however, bore no appreciable effect upon Russia, which persisted in avowing that the intended agreement was unlike the one reported in the press, but was merely a provisional step toward the evacuation of Manchuria. Before the end of March, Japan and Great Britain directly communicated with Russia, which adroitly retorted to the latter that it was not customary with the tsar's government to show to a third power a treaty to be concluded with an independent nation. To Japan's request to submit the agreement to the discussion of the allied powers' commissioners at Peking, with whom all matters concerning the late complication should rest, Russia replied that the intended treaty contained injury to none and might well be made public after conclusion. This reply was dated March 26. On April 5 Japan forwarded to Russia her second message, supported by a firm determination. Russia now suddenly withdrew her demands, declaring at the same time that, owing to the obstruction placed in the way of effecting the first move preliminary to the eventual evacuation of Manchuria, she was obliged to maintain for the present the military occupation of its provinces.

It was again rumored in June that another secret Manchurian convention was afoot, which, if real, however, must have miscarried. No more successful was the patriotic effort of the Viceroy Chang Chih-tung and the late Viceroy Liu Kan-yi to create among the peace commissioners a sentiment for the opening to foreign trade of the whole of Manchuria. Toward the last of August Paul Lessar was appointed the Russian minister at Peking. The peace protocol agreed upon between China and the allied powers was finally signed on September 7, 1901, the imperial court was expected shortly to return to Peking, and the Chinese government began to look anxiously for the withdrawal of foreign troops from the realm. Seizing this opportunity, Russia proposed a new Manchurian treaty whose comparatively mild terms made it appear acceptable at this moment to the Chinese commissioners, especially to the pro-Russian, Li Hung Chang. According to the reported tenor of this treaty, the Manchurian evacuation was to be completed within two or three years, the Chinese troops at Mukden were to be trained by Russian officers, and their numbers to be determined by consulting Russia's wishes, and, as in the treaty withdrawn in April, Chinese artillery was forbidden. Considering the feeble attitude of the Chinese commissioners, it would have been extremely[289] difficult for Japan and Great Britain effectively to protest against the acceptance of the Russian demands had not the Viceroys Liu and Chang strongly reminded the emperor and the empress dowager of the direct peril to the dynasty which might result from virtually forsaking its ancestral home, Manchuria, to a foreign power whose ambition knew no bounds. In accordance with the wishes of the court, the dying Li Hung Chang, on his sick-bed, saw Lessar and appealed to the Russian friendship for China to modify the terms of the proposed agreement. Li soon passed away, on November 7, leaving the gravest problem of China in a state of extreme uncertainty. Prince Ching presented a counter-proposition, which among other things requested the evacuation of Manchuria within one year. Russia's reply to this note arrived in Peking the last of January, 1902, and was found to contain a demand for an exclusive mining concession to Russia of all Manchuria, which is noted for its untold stores of minerals. Against this the United States, Great Britain, and Japan entered a firm protest. Secretary Hay, in his note of February 3, reminded the Russian and Chinese governments of the repeated assurances made by the tsar's foreign minister of his devotion to the principle of the open door in all parts of China, and said: "An agreement whereby China gives any corporation or company the exclusive right or privilege of opening mines, establishing railroads, or in any other way industrially developing Manchuria, can but be viewed with the gravest concern by the government of the United States. It constitutes a monopoly, which is a distinct breach of the stipulations of the treaties concluded between China and foreign powers, and thereby seriously affects the rights of American citizens." As usual, Russia, in her reply, so strongly reinforced her former pledges of the principle of the open door that the government at Washington found it impossible to dispute them without questioning Russia's integrity, which Hay was not disposed to do. By this time, however, an important event had taken place in the diplomatic world which was popularly regarded as a virtual protest against what was considered the Eastern policy of Russia—namely, the conclusion of the agreement of the Anglo-Japanese alliance signed at London on January 30, 1902.

The fair and open principles of this agreement may best be seen from its text, which was as follows:


"The Governments of Great Britain and Japan, actuated solely by a desire to maintain the status quo and general peace in the extreme East, being moreover specially interested in maintaining the independence and territorial integrity of the Empire of China and the Empire of Korea, and in securing equal opportunities in those countries for the commerce and industry of all nations, hereby agree as follows:

Article I.

"The High Contracting Parties having mutually recognized the independence of China and Korea, declare themselves to be entirely uninfluenced by any aggressive tendencies in either country. Having in view, however, their special interests, of which those of Great Britain relate principally to China, while Japan, in addition to the interests which she possesses in China, is interested in a peculiar degree politically as well as commercially and industrially in Korea, the High Contracting Parties recognize that it will be admissible for either of them to take such measures as may be indispensable in order to safeguard those interests if threatened either by the aggressive action of any other power, or by disturbances arising in China or Korea, and necessitating the intervention of either of the High Contracting Parties for the protection of the lives and property of its subjects.

Article II.

"If either Great Britain or Japan, in the defense of their respective interests as above described, should become involved in war with another power, the other High Contracting Party will maintain a strict neutrality, and use its efforts to prevent other powers from joining in hostilities against its ally.

Article III.

"If, in the above event, any other power or powers should join in hostilities against that ally, the other High Contracting Party will come to its assistance, and will conduct the war in common, and will make peace in mutual agreement with it.

Article IV.

"The High Contracting Parties agree that neither of them will, without consulting the other, enter into separate arrangements with another power to the prejudice of the interests above described.

Article V.[291]

"Whenever, in the opinion of either Great Britain or Japan, the above-mentioned interests are in jeopardy, the two governments will communicate with one another fully and frankly.

Article VI.

"The present agreement shall come into effect immediately after the date of its signature, and remain in force for five years from that date.

"In case neither of the High Contracting Parties should have notified twelve months before the expiration of the said five years the intention of terminating it, it shall remain binding until the expiration of one year from the day on which either of the High Contracting Parties shall have denounced it. But if, when the date fixed for its expiration arrives, either ally is actually engaged in war, the alliance shall, ipso facto, continue until peace is concluded."

To the Anglo-Japanese agreement Russia and her ally France retorted in the following declaration of March 16:

"The allied Russo-French Governments are wholly pleased to discern that the Anglo-Japanese convention supports the essential principles which, according to the reiterated statement of France and Russia, constituted and still constitute the foundation of their policy. Both governments believe that the support of these principles is also a guarantee of the interests of the Far East. They are compelled, however, not to lose from view the possibly inimical action of other powers, or a repetition of disorders in China, possibly impairing China's integrity and free development, to the detriment of their reciprocal interests. They therefore reserve to themselves the right to take measures to defend these interests."

In this connection may be related the diplomatic comedy enacted at Shanghai in October, in which the newly formed Anglo-Japanese alliance played a part. According to the just wishes of the Chinese authorities, Great Britain proposed on July 31 to Japan, Germany, and France to withdraw the troops the four powers had been stationing at Shanghai, where peace had been restored. Japan and France cheerfully assented, on the condition, however, that all the parties should agree. Germany showed an inexplicable dilatoriness in giving a definite answer, proposing that[292] the four powers should first come to an agreement as to the date of a joint evacuation. Great Britain fixed November 1, to which France agreed. Japan, however, delayed, as she descried a secret movement being made by one of the parties. Finally, Japan heard on October 6, and Great Britain on the 8th, that Germany had secured from the Chinese government a pledge that it would give no additional rights to any power in the Yang-tse basin, the British influence over which had always embarrassed the German policy in China. The stroke dealt by Germany could have been aimed at no other power but Great Britain. The former notified the latter that her intention was to prevent any power from taking the present opportunity to come to a secret agreement of an exclusive nature with China—a possibility altogether incompatible with the terms of the alliance so recently framed. At the same time, the Chinese government pretended that it had made no special pledge to Germany. Great Britain, now fully advised by Japan of the nature of the case, declared that it would be unnecessary and undesirable to bind only a few powers to guarantee the integrity of a portion of the Chinese empire, and that to such an agreement, if any, she would not consider herself in any way bound. She also expressed to Prince Ching her resentment of his duplicity. In the meantime, the Viceroy Chang Chih-tung, from whom the German consul had sought a similar pledge to one that had been given by the prince, flatly refused the demand. Germany ended the affair with a clever but unconvincing explanation to Great Britain. Seeing that the sky was clear, Japan evacuated Shanghai, alone and boldly, on November 22. The other powers soon followed.

It will be recalled that the Anglo-Japanese agreement was announced in the midst of the negotiations between Lessar and the Chinese government concerning Manchuria. During the diplomatic flurry attending the momentous declarations made first by Japan and Great Britain and then by Russia and France, the Manchurian negotiation seemed to have been temporarily forgotten, until the world was taken by surprise to hear of the conclusion, on April 8, 1902, of a new Russo-Chinese convention regarding the three eastern provinces, which went into force simultaneously with the signing of the agreement at three o'clock in the afternoon of that memorable day. Not the least surprising feature of it was the remarkable mildness of its terms. Russia promised, upon the condition that China should protect the Russian railways, Russian subjects,[293] and their enterprises in Manchuria, to evacuate the territory and restore it to Chinese sovereignty. The evacuation was to take place at three different periods within the ensuing eighteen months, as follows: from regions west of the Liao River, by October 8, 1902; from the rest of the province of Sheng-king and the province of Kirin, by April 8, 1903; and, finally, from the Amur (Hei-lung) province, by October 8, 1903. Pending the evacuation, the number of Chinese troops and the sites of their stations in Manchuria should be determined by consultation between the Chinese and Russian officers, but after the evacuation those troops might be freely distributed at the direction of the Chinese officers. Then, however, the Russian Government should be notified of every change made in this respect. Suppressing other points in the convention which do not concern us directly, it is seen that it says nothing about Chinese territories outside of Manchuria, and, within the latter, contains no new mining or railway demands, while it appears to promise an eventually complete restoration of Manchuria to China. The moderate tone of the present instrument as compared with the former abortive conventions, and coming so soon after the renewed declaration of the Russo-French alliance of its devotion to the principle of the territorial integrity of China, seemed to confirm the sincerity of Russia's avowed intention in the East.

The first period of the Manchurian occupation, according to this convention, was to close on October 8, 1902. Before that date the Russian forces had completely withdrawn from that part of the Sheng-king province lying to the west of the Liao River. Russia had fulfilled her pledge. It was alleged, however, by several eyewitnesses that the so-called evacuation largely meant the withdrawal of Russian troops from Chinese quarters into the numerous and extensive Russian barracks and blockhouses along the Manchurian railway. The most important section of Manchuria, namely, the rest of the Sheng-king and the whole of the Kirin province, was, according to the convention, to be evacuated on April 8, 1903. That day came and passed, without seeing, except in a few places, even the nominal evacuation. In the midst of a suspense full of apprehension the Russians lodged at the Chinese foreign office, as a price for the yet unfulfilled evacuations, new demands in seven articles, which astounded the diplomatic world. The demands were in substance as follows: 1, the non-alienation of any part of Manchuria to any other power; 2, the right to construct a Russian[294] telegraph line between Niu-chwang and Peking; 3, the promise that under no pretext any other foreigner should be employed in North China; 4, the sole management of the customs tariff at Niu-chwang by the Russo-Chinese Bank, and the Russian supervision of the quarantine service at the same port; 5, the opening of no new port or mart in Manchuria to foreign trade; 6, the maintenance of the status quo in the Mongolian administration; and, 7, the pledge to be made by China that all the privileges that the Russians enjoyed before the late émeute should not hereby be affected. The Japanese minister, Uchida, entered on April 21 a vigorous protest at the foreign office at Peking, and was followed by the British and American ministers. The United States, which had already been negotiating with China for the opening of two new ports in Manchuria, where she possessed the greatest interest of any nation in the import trade, made a query on April 24 direct to St. Petersburg as to the authenticity of the reported demand. She was assured both by the Russian foreign minister and Minister Cassini, as was Great Britain by the Russian representative at London, that the published reports of the proposed convention were absolutely incorrect. It appeared as if the Russian disclaimer were final and a signal diplomatic success had been accomplished by Secretary Hay. But to say that the reported articles were incorrect was not the same as to say that they were entirely unfounded, or even that every one of them was incorrect. The government of the tsar seems to have left sufficient room in its statements for the inference not only that there was proceeding a pourparler with the Chinese foreign office, but also that some of the rumored articles were not to be denied. However that may be, it is noteworthy that the knowledge of the Russian demand aroused among the leading classes of the Chinese people a patriotic ebullition not known even during the Japanese war and the Boxer insurrection. Petitions from all of the eighteen provinces reminded the Peking government in the strongest terms that the loss of Manchuria would lead to a widespread uprising in the empire, a repetition of the anti-foreign crusade of 1900, a probable wholesale partition of the Middle Kingdom by the rebels and the powers, and an eventual downfall of the ruling dynasty. In this remarkable upheaval, merchants and students, including those staying in Japan, took no less active part than the officials and literates, who, as the ruling class, are usually the most alive to the interests of the government[295] and the civilization of China. Under these circumstances it is not strange that before May 10 the foreign office at Peking replied to the Russian government that the former could assuredly not concede to a demand that ignored previous agreements, the stipulations of which China had never violated.

This reply of China to Russia hardly had a greater effect to settle the dispute than did the pacific disclaimer given about ten days before by Russia to the United States, but on the contrary, was followed by a month the uncertain and trying nature of which to Prince Ching and his foreign office has seldom since been equaled during the whole period of the negotiations. While Pokotilov, the influential Peking agent of the Russo-Chinese Bank, was reported to be freely dispensing gifts and favors to win over certain members of the office and of the inner court, the Russian chargé, Plançon, demanded an immediate reply to three of the once proposed seven articles, which pertained to the non-alienation of the Manchurian territory, the opening of no new ports, and the maintenance of the status quo in Mongolia. Prince Ching, as well as the empress dowager, seemed to waver, or at least to bide time. The attempt of some patriots to install in the foreign office the most respected Viceroy Chang Chih-tung fell through, and the attitude of the Japanese government was deemed not sufficiently reassuring to encourage China once more to assume a decisive tone. In the meantime the Russian minister, Lessar, returned on May 29 to Peking after an absence, and severely reprimanded the foreign office for frequently allowing diplomatic secrecy to be violated. In his conference with Prince Ching, on June 10, he renewed the demand in each of the seven articles, every one of which the prince however, was obliged to refuse, as before. At Lessar's intimation that an indiscriminate refusal would result in serious disadvantages to China, and his suggestion that some substitute for the old demand might be devised for mutual benefit, the prince had only to request the minister of the tsar to present his own substitute, as the former naturally had none. A new demand was accordingly presented, which embodied the first, fourth, and sixth articles of the former convention, the fourth being now stated in two articles. Prince Ching begged for five days' delay, and temporarily secluded himself from the world, his negotiation with Lessar being in the meanwhile carried on by secret correspondence. The protests from the Japanese, American, and British ministers, as well as the renewed[296] demand of the two former to open new ports in Manchuria, did not avail.

Irritating to Japan as was the Manchurian situation, she was confronted in Korea by a still more serious state of things. The diplomatic history of the latter country since the conclusion of the war of 1894-1895 may now be briefly recounted. The years between 1895 and 1898 witnessed violent fluctuations of influence between the Russians and the Japanese in Korea. The Japanese had been too eager for reform, and, at least on the occasion of the murder of the queen on October 8, 1895, had allowed themselves to be too much influenced by their less responsible element to withstand the obstruction and diplomacy of the Russians. It was not until the departure of Waeber, the astute Russian minister, and until the activity of the Russians in China had become all-engrossing, that the latter's influence was again eclipsed by that of the Japanese. During this period of struggle Russia and Japan concluded three agreements defining their position in Korea, namely, the Komura-Waeber memorandum signed at Seul on May 4, 1896, the Yamagata-Lobanov protocol signed at St. Petersburg on June 9, 1896, and the Nishi-Rosen protocol concluded at Tokyo on April 25, 1898. Some of the more permanent of the terms of these agreements deserve notice, as they gave to Japan a conventional ground for her negotiations with Russia in 1903-1904, just prior to the war. The two governments "recognized definitively the sovereignty and the entire independence of Korea, and mutually engaged themselves to abstain from all direct interference in the internal affairs of that country." No military teacher or financial adviser should be furnished to Korea by either power without consulting the other. In view of the large development of the Japanese commercial and industrial enterprises in Korea, the Russian government agreed not to impede the development of the commercial and industrial relations between Japan and Korea. In case further definitions of principles should become necessary or other points for discussion should arise, the representatives of the two powers should be instructed to negotiate amicably. The arrangement made in these agreements was from its nature temporary, and would have created fresh complications even if its terms had been strictly observed.

As soon as her hands were freer in Manchuria, Russia, represented at Seul by the ambitious Pavlov, and also by the semiofficial diplomats, Baron Gunzburg and Miss Sonntag, employed[297] such means as befitted the peculiar situation of Korea in their persistent effort to overthrow Japanese and promote Russian influence in the peninsula. For this purpose they made to the Korean court propositions of almost every conceivable nature, including demands for concessions at Masampo, Chinhai Bay, and Kojedo Island, in the south, for the right to build telegraph and railway lines in the north, and for the employment of Russian financial advisers and military instructors. It was not till April, 1903, however, that, simultaneously with her pressure upon Peking, Russia began to work the timber concession which she was said to have secured in 1896, when the Korean king had taken refuge in the Russian legation at Seul. Early in May, ostensibly to defend the forest land, forty-seven Russian soldiers arrived at Yongam-po on the Yalu, where, despite protests from the Korean government, an extensive tract of land was seized and fortification was begun. Presently, one hundred, and then two hundred more Russian troops arrived, while on the Manchurian side of the frontier fresh troops entered An-tung and Feng-hwang-Cheng, so that the pressure of the Russian forces was heavily felt upon the Korean border.

At length the Japanese government came to the decision that it should deal directly with the government of the tsar in order to establish once and for all the integrity of China in Manchuria, as well as the independence and reform of Korea, to define the respective rights and interests in those countries of Japan and Russia, and radically and fundamentally to free the general peace of the Far East from the factors that had continually and profoundly threatened it. The decision in its main points had been reached by the press and the entire nation long before the cabinet ministers and privy councilors met before the throne, on June 23, and built thereon a definite policy to be pursued in the coming negotiations with Russia. These negotiations were attended by tortuous delays on the part of Russia, but the Japanese nation, realizing that never in their long history had they been confronted with a graver national problem, met it with a remarkable perseverance. The government, also, conducted itself with dignity and consideration, for none knew better than it that the immediate peace of the East was dependent upon the success of the pending negotiations. The different motives of Russia and Japan for these negotiations and the different spirit in which each carried them on may be well seen in the following official statements made by the[298] respective governments soon after the diplomatic relations between them had been severed. The Russian communication, issued on February 9, 1904, by the foreign office at St. Petersburg, said:

"Last year [1903] the Tōkyō cabinet, under the pretext of establishing the balance of power and a more settled order of things on the shores of the Pacific, submitted to the imperial government [of Russia] a proposal for a revision of the existing treaties with Korea. Russia consented, and Viceroy Alexiev was charged to draw up a project for a new understanding with Japan in coöperation with the Russian minister at Tōkyō, who was intrusted with the negotiations with the Japanese government. Although the exchange of views with the Tōkyō cabinet on this subject was of a friendly character, the Japanese social circles and the local and foreign press attempted in every way to produce a warlike ferment among the Japanese and to drive the government into an armed conflict with Russia. Under the influence thereof the Tōkyō cabinet began to formulate greater and greater demands in the negotiations, at the same time taking most extensive measures to make the country ready for war.

"All these circumstances could not, of course, disturb Russia's equanimity, but they induced her also to take military and naval measures. Nevertheless, to preserve peace in the Far East, Russia, so far as her incontestable rights and interests permitted, gave the necessary attention to the demands of the Tōkyō cabinet, and declared herself ready to recognize Japan's privileged commercial and economic position in the Korean peninsula, with the concession of the right to protect it by military force in the event of disturbances in that country. At the same time, while rigorously observing the fundamental principle of her policy regarding Korea, whose independence and integrity were guaranteed by previous understandings with Japan and by treaties with other powers, Russia insisted on three points:

"(1.) On a mutual and unconditional guarantee of this principle.

"(2.) On an undertaking to use no part of Korea for strategic purposes, as the authorization of such action on the part of any foreign power was directly opposed to the principle of the independence of Korea.

"(3.) On the preservation of the full freedom of navigation of the Straits of Korea.

"The[299] project elaborated in this sense did not satisfy the Japanese Government, which in its last proposals not only declined to accept the conditions which appeared as the guarantee of the independence of Korea, but also began at the same time to insist on provisions to be incorporated in a project regarding the question of Manchuria. Such demands on the part of Japan, naturally, were inadmissible, the question of Russia's position in Manchuria concerning in the first place China, but also all the powers having commercial interests in China. The imperial government, therefore, saw absolutely no reason to include in a special treaty with Japan regarding Korean affairs any provisions concerning territory occupied by Russian troops.

"The imperial government, however, did not refuse, so long as the occupation of Manchuria lasts, to recognize both the sovereignty of the Emperor of China in Manchuria and also the rights acquired there by other powers through treaties with China. A declaration to this effect had already been made to the foreign cabinets. In view of this the imperial government, after charging its representatives at Tōkyō to present its reply to the latest proposal of Japan, was justified in expecting the Tōkyō cabinet to take into account the considerations set forth above and that it would appreciate the wish manifested by Russia to come to a peaceful understanding with Japan. Instead of this the Japanese Government, not even awaiting this reply, decided to break off negotiations and to suspend diplomatic relations. The imperial government, while laying on Japan the full responsibility for any consequences of such a course of action, will await the development of events, and the moment it becomes necessary will take the most decisive measures for the protection of its rights and interests in the Far East."

The official statement given by the Japanese foreign office on the night of February 8 reads as follows:

"It being indispensable to the welfare and safety of Japan to maintain the independence and territorial integrity of Korea, and to safeguard her paramount interests therein, the Japanese Government finds it impossible to view with indifference any action endangering the position of Korea, whereas Russia, notwithstanding her solemn treaty with China and her repeated assurances to the powers, not only continues her occupation of Manchuria, but has taken aggressive measures in Korean territory. Should Manchuria be annexed to Russia, the independence of Korea would[300] naturally be impossible. The Japanese Government, therefore, being desirous of securing permanent peace for eastern Asia, by means of direct negotiations with Russia, with the view of arriving at a friendly adjustment of their mutual interests in both Manchuria and Korea, where their interests meet, communicated toward the end of July last such desire to the Russian Government, and invited its adherence. To this the Russian Government expressed a willing assent. Accordingly, on August 12, the Japanese Government proposed to Russia, through its representative at St. Petersburg, the basis of an agreement which was substantially as follows:

"(1.) A mutual agreement to respect the independence and territorial integrity of the Chinese and Korean empires.

"(2.) A mutual engagement to maintain the principles of an equal opportunity for the commerce and industry of all nations with the natives of those countries.

"(3.) A reciprocal recognition of Japan's preponderating interests in Korea, and that Russia has special interests in railway enterprises in Manchuria, and a mutual recognition of the respective rights of Japan and Russia to take measures necessary for the protection of the above-mentioned interests, so far as the principle of article 1 is not infringed.

"(4.) The recognition by Russia of the exclusive rights of Japan to give advice and assistance to Korea in the interests of reform and good government.

"(5.) The engagement on the part of Russia not to impede the eventual extension of the Korean railway into southern Manchuria, so as to connect with the Eastern Chinese [i. e., Manchurian] and the Shan-hai-kwan—Niu-chwang lines.

"It was the intention of the Japanese Government originally that a conference should take place between its representatives at St. Petersburg and the Russian authorities, so as to facilitate progress as much as possible in reaching a solution of the situation, but the Russian Government absolutely refused to do so, on the plea that the Tsar planned a trip abroad; and for other reasons it was unavoidably decided to conduct the negotiations at Tōkyō. It was not until October 3 that the Russian Government presented counter-proposals. She therein declined to engage in respect to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China, and stipulate the maintenance of the principle of equal opportunities for the commerce and industry of all nations in China, and requested that[301] Japan declare Manchuria and its littoral as being entirely outside of her sphere of interest. She further put several restrictions upon Japan's freedom of action in Korea; for instance, while recognizing Japan's right to dispatch troops, when necessary, for the protection of her interests in Korea, Russia refused to allow her to use any portion of Korean territory for strategical purposes; in fact, Russia went so far as to propose to establish a neutral zone in Korean territory north of the thirty-ninth parallel.

"The Japanese Government failed utterly to see why Russia, who professed no intention of absorbing Manchuria, should be disinclined to insert in the convention a clause in complete harmony with her own repeatedly declared principle respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China. Furthermore, this refusal on the part of the Russian Government impressed the Japanese Government all the more with the necessity for the insertion of that clause.

"Japan has important commercial interests in Manchuria, and entertains no small hopes of their future development; and politically she has even greater interests there by reason of Manchuria's relations to Korea, so she could not possibly recognize Manchuria as being entirely outside her sphere of interest. These reasons decided Japan absolutely to reject the Russian proposal.

"Accordingly, the Japanese Government explained the foregoing views to the Russian Government, and at the same time it introduced other necessary amendments in the Russian counter-proposals. They further proposed, with regard to the neutral zone, that if one was to be created it should be established on both sides of the boundary line between Manchuria and Korea, with an equal width, say, of fifty kilometers.

"After repeated discussions at Tōkyō, the Japanese Government finally presented to the Russian Government its definitive amendment on October 30. The Japanese Government then frequently urged the Russian Government to give it an early reply, but this was again delayed, and only delivered on December 11. In that reply Russia suppressed the clauses relating to Manchuria so as to make the proposed convention apply entirely to Korea, and maintained its original demand in regard to the non-employment of Korean territory for strategical purposes, as well as a neutral zone; but the exclusion of Manchuria from the proposed convention being contrary to the original object of the negotiations, which were to[302] remove causes of conflict between the two countries by a friendly arrangement of their interests, both in Manchuria and Korea, the Japanese Government asked the Russian Government to reconsider the question, and again proposed the removal of the restriction regarding the use of Korean territory, and the entire suppression of the neutral zone, on the ground that if Russia was opposed to the establishment of one in Manchuria it should not establish one in Korea.

"The last reply of Russia was received at Tōkyō on January 6. In this reply it is true Russia proposed to agree to insert the following clause in the proposed agreement:

"'The recognition by Japan of Manchuria and its littoral as outside her sphere of interest, while Russia, within the limits of that province, would not impede Japan or any other power in the employment of rights or privileges acquired by them under existing treaties with China exclusive of the establishment of a settlement.'

"But this was proposed to be agreed upon only upon conditions maintaining the clauses regarding a neutral zone in Korean territory and the non-employment of Korean territory for strategical purposes, the conditions whereof were impossible for Japan to accept, as had already been fully explained to Russia. It should further be observed that no mention was made at all of the territorial integrity of China in Manchuria, and it must be self-evident to everybody that the engagement now proposed by Russia would be of no practical value so long as it was unaccompanied by a definite stipulation regarding the territorial integrity of China in Manchuria, since treaty rights are only coexisting with sovereignty. Eventually, the absorption of Manchuria by Russia would annul at once those rights and privileges acquired by the powers in Manchuria by virtue of treaties with China."

Both the negotiations and the general diplomatic relations between Japan and Russia were severed by the former power on February 5. With this, diplomacy passed into war.


[1] A ruble is equivalent to 51.5 cents.


Chapter XXI


The first hostile acts of the Russo-Japanese War were, as in the Chinese war ten years before, committed before the war was formally declared by the ruler of either belligerent nation, and were of even more decisive nature in 1904 than in 1894. No sooner were the diplomatic relations severed than a Russian force crossed the Korean border and entered the peninsular empire. The Japanese were even more active. Knowing that the Russian fleet, though its main squadron of seven battleships and several cruisers was near Port Arthur, was divided also between Vladivostok, Chemulpo, and Shanghai, Admiral Tōgō led his entire fleet of six battleships and ten armored and protected cruisers from Sasebo directly toward Port Arthur early on February 7, or within thirty hours after the diplomatic rupture. Having captured a Russian merchantman off Fusan, the fleet rendezvoused at Mokpo. A squadron of cruisers under command of Rear Admiral Uryū was dispatched to Chemulpo to act as convoy of the transports carrying thousands of Japanese soldiers to be landed at the Korean port, while the remainder of the fleet proceeded toward Port Arthur. At Chemulpo there were a French, a British, an American, and an Italian war vessel, besides the Russian cruiser Korietz and gunboat Variag, as well as the Japanese cruiser Chiyoda. The last steamed out of the harbor unnoticed during the night of February 7, and joined Uryū's squadron, which came in sight of Chemulpo in the afternoon of the 8th. The Korietz, probably in an attempt to get to Port Arthur, ventured out, and, meeting Japanese torpedo boats, fired at them and then returned into the harbor. She was soon followed by three Japanese cruisers and several transports, which, within a striking distance of the Russian vessels, anchored in the harbor until the Japanese troops from the transports were all landed on the morning of the 9th. A message was then sent to the Korietz[304] by Uryū, saying that if the Russian ships did not clear the port before noon his squadron would be obliged to use forcible measures. The commanders of the neutral vessels in the harbor might have agreed to protest against the committing of a hostile act in a port which they regarded as neutral, had not the Russians, as they did, cheerfully accepted the Japanese challenge and steamed out. In the exchange of fire which ensued the Variag was seriously injured, and, protected by the gallant Korietz, returned into the harbor. There fire was set to the magazine of the Variag, causing a terrific explosion and immediate sinking of the vessel. The Korietz was also burned by the Russians and sank, while the transport Sungari was scuttled. The Japanese squadron sustained no loss and no injury. By this engagement the mastery of Korea by the military forces of Japan was practically assured.

The main section of the Japanese fleet continued its voyage toward Port Arthur, after Uryū's squadron was sent to Chemulpo. The morning of the 8th found the sea calm and the temperature unusually mild. Late in the afternoon the fleet headed for Chifu, while torpedo flotillas were sent to Port Arthur and Dalny. The Russian fleet, which was still outside the harbor of Port Arthur, was surprised, toward midnight, by a sudden torpedo attack of the Japanese, who had stolen to the distance of 600 meters. The fire returned by the Russians had little effect, while they sustained serious injuries on the battleships Retvizan and Cesarevich and the cruiser Pallada. The main squadron of the Japanese, which was not informed of the success of their torpedo craft until 10 A. M., and was not even positive that the Russian vessels had not left for Chemulpo, started early on the 9th toward Port Arthur for a general attack. At noon Vice Admiral Tōgō signaled to the fleet from the flagship Mikasa: "The decision of victory or defeat depends on this battle; everyone will do his utmost." The battle lasted nearly an hour in the middle of the day, in which the Russian fire again proved comparatively ineffective, while the Japanese shells hit the already damaged Retvizan and injured the battleship Poltava and the cruisers Diana, Askold, and Novik, all below the water-line. This was the beginning of the complete mastery of the Yellow Sea which Japan was soon to gain.

On the following day, the 10th, the emperors of both powers issued proclamations declaring the existence of warfare between them. The Russian manifesto read as follows: "We proclaim to[305] all our faithful subjects that, in our solicitude for the preservation of that peace so dear to our heart, we have put forth every effort to assure tranquillity in the Far East. To these pacific ends we declared our assent to the revision, proposed by the Japanese Government, of the agreements existing between the two empires concerning Korean affairs. The negotiations initiated on this subject were, however, not brought to a conclusion, and Japan, not even awaiting the arrival of our last reply and the proposals of our government, informed us of the rupture of the negotiations and of diplomatic relations with Russia.

"Without previously notifying us that the rupture of such relations implied the beginning of warlike action, the Japanese Government ordered its torpedo boats to make a sudden attack on our squadron in the outer roadstead of the fortress of Port Arthur. After receiving the report of our viceroy on the subject, we at once commanded Japan's challenge to be replied to by arms.

"While proclaiming this our resolve, we, in unshakable confidence in the help of the Almighty, and firmly trusting in the unanimous readiness of all our faithful subjects to defend the Fatherland together with ourselves, invoke God's blessing on our glorious forces of the army and navy."

The rescript of the Japanese emperor was a formal declaration of war, which may be read in connection with the similar document issued in 1894 at the beginning of the Chinese war. The rescript ran as follows: "We, by the grace of Heaven, the Emperor of Japan, seated on the throne occupied by the same dynasty from time immemorial, do hereby make proclamation to all our loyal and brave subjects:

"We hereby declare war against Russia. We command our army and navy to carry on hostilities against her with all their strength, and we also command all our officials to make effort, in pursuance of their duties and in accordance with their powers, to attain the national aim, with all the means within the limits of the law of nations.

"We deem it essential to international relations, and make it our constant aim, to promote the pacific progress of our empire in civilization, to strengthen our friendly ties with other states, and thereby to establish a state of things which would maintain enduring peace in the East, and assure the future security of our empire without injury to the rights and interests of other powers. Our[306] officials also perform their duties in obedience to our will, so that our relations with all powers grow steadily in cordiality.

"It is thus entirely against our wishes that we have unhappily come to open hostilities against Russia.

"The integrity of Korea has long been a matter of the gravest concern to our empire, not only because of the traditional relations between the two countries, but because the separate existence of Korea is essential to the safety of our empire. Nevertheless, Russia, despite her explicit treaty pledges to China and her repeated assurance to other powers, is still in occupation of Manchuria, and has consolidated and strengthened her hold upon it, and is bent upon its final absorption. Since the possession of Manchuria by Russia would render it impossible to maintain the integrity of Korea, and would, in addition, compel the abandonment of all hope for peace in the Far East, we expected, in these circumstances, to settle the question by negotiations and secure thereby a permanent peace. With this object in view, our officials by our order made proposals to Russia, and frequent conferences were held during the last half year. Russia, however, never met such proposals in a spirit of conciliation, but by her prolonged delays put off the settlement of the pending question, and, by ostensibly advocating peace on the one hand, and on the other secretly extending her naval and military preparations, sought to bring about our acquiescence. It is not possible in the least to admit that Russia had from the first a sincere desire for peace. She has rejected the proposals of our empire; the safety of Korea is in danger; the interests of our empire are menaced. At this crisis, the guarantees for the future which the empire has sought to secure by peaceful negotiations can now only be sought by an appeal to arms.

"It is our earnest wishes that, by the loyalty and valor of our faithful subjects, peace may soon be permanently restored and the glory of our empire preserved."

Night attacks by the Japanese destroyers were repeated several times during the first two months of the war, and succeeded in inflicting some damages on the Russian destroyers and gunboats. The Japanese also made three attempts, on the nights of February 23-24, March 21-22, and May 2-3, to force a few old stone-laden steamers up to the mouth of the harbor, in order to sink them there and thus block the entrance. The glare of the Russian searchlights and the fierce fire from the shore batteries and war vessels made it[307] impossible for these heroic attempts to be completely successful, and the channel remained partially open to large vessels at high tide.

The indirect attacks and the laying of machine mines by the Japanese were, however, much more successful. The former proved so damaging to the Russian warships in the harbor that the lately arrived Vice Admiral Makarov, whose spirited discipline had already begun to inspire the squadron with courage and confidence, often steamed out with a few vessels, and returned fire with fire. Mines were laid by the Japanese at points where the brave Makarov always moved about. On the morning of April 13 his squadron of seven vessels, including the flagship Peteropavlovsk, was tempted by Japanese blockaders to a distance of fifteen miles from the harbor, where it was suddenly encountered by another Japanese detachment. Turning about and pursued by the enemy, the Russian vessels retreated toward the harbor, when the Peteropavlovsk struck a mine, at 10.32 A. M., and, after a terrific explosion, turned turtle and immediately sank. Makarov and 600 men, with the artist Vereshchagin, went down with the vessel, but the Grand Duke Cyril was rescued. The Japanese fleet also lost, on May 15, the cruiser Yoshino by collision, and the battleship Hatsuse by twice striking Russian mines. Other Japanese vessels sunk during the entire period of the war by contact with the enemy's mines were: the battleship Yashima, the cruisers Takasago, Saiyen, and Miyako, and two destroyers and three gunboats.

After the disaster of April 13 the Russian vessels seldom ventured out of the harbor in a large force. Realizing, however, that the Baltic fleet might be unable to reach the eastern waters before the gradual fall of the land forts at Port Arthur would expose the vessels to the Japanese fire from the shore, the Russian squadron made two desperate attempts, on June 23 and August 10, to force its way through the blockading line and effect a junction with the Vladivostok squadron. On the former occasion the Vladivostok vessels had just started on one of their raiding expeditions, and torpedoed and sank three Japanese transports, carrying 1400 soldiers. The entire Port Arthur squadron, led by the gallant cruiser Novik, made a sortie in the morning at high tide, and, toward the evening, was met by the Japanese fleet. Returning toward the harbor, and finding that the tide was now too low at the entrance for their larger vessels, the Russians anchored them bow out and stern to the shore, and, under the protection of the shore[308] batteries, stood at bay over night. Admiral Tōgō gave an order for night attack to his torpedo boats and destroyers, which, he reported later to his government, "dashed ahead like a swift wind." Balancing themselves amid the columns of waterspouts raised by the falling shells from the enemy, the little boats made charge after charge against the narrow front of the Russian vessels. It was seen the next morning that the battleship Pereviet had disappeared and two other vessels were towed into the harbor.

The sortie of August 10 proved even more desperate and far more disastrous to the Russians. Rear Admiral Witthoeft led out six battleships and three protected cruisers southward in a hazy, but calm, sea, and at noon was nearly thirty miles off the harbor. A little after one o'clock began the first serious battle of the war, in which modern armored vessels met on nearly equal terms. The battle was renewed a few hours later, and on each occasion the Russians suffered from the heavy shells from the 8-inch guns of the Japanese, aided by the latter's superior gunnery and highly explosive powder. At 6.40 the flagship Cesarevich lost its steering gear, and the commanding Admiral Witthoeft was also killed. Then the Russian vessels began utterly to lose unity of command and action, and, under the withering fire of the Japanese from three different directions, were completely routed and scattered. The flagship and two cruisers reached Tsing-tau in battered condition. One of the latter, the Novik, was later found off Sakhalin and there sunk by Admiral Kamimura's squadron, and the other, the Askold, and a gunboat reached Shanghai. The Ryeshitelni arrived at Chifu. The rest of the squadron hastened back toward Port Arthur, where they were subjected to a night attack of the Japanese torpedo craft. Of the vessels which finally retired into the harbor, not one was uninjured, while the fire from the advancing land forces of the Japanese was soon to make the position of these ships insufferable. The Japanese fleet sustained no heavy injury on any of the vessels, and lost only 170 in killed and wounded. Of the Russian vessels which found shelter in neutral ports, the Cesarevich at Tsing-tau was promptly disarmed at the request of the German governor of Kiao-chow, but those at Shanghai neither were disarmed nor left the port for more than two weeks. The Diana reached Saigon, French Indo-China, and was there dismantled without much delay. The Ryeshitelni at Chifu, which was said to have sent telegraphic messages to Vladivostok[309] and St. Petersburg, and was imperfectly disarmed, was finally forcibly captured by two Japanese cruisers, which action caused wide criticism.

Four days after the battle of the Yellow Sea, the Vladivostok squadron, consisting of the splendid cruisers Rurik, Rossia, and Gromvoi—for the other cruiser, Bogatyr, had run on the rocks near the harbor—which had more than once eluded Admiral Kamimura, were finally discovered by him north of the Tsushima Island. After a lively engagement the Rurik was sunk, and the other two Russian cruisers narrowly escaped to Vladivostok.


During these six months between February and August, the Japanese army on land in three different corps had been steadily advancing toward Liao-yang. The first corps, under Lieutenant General Kuroki, which landed at Korean ports, had encountered no serious opposition on its march through the peninsula, until it reached the Yalu River on the frontier. There took place on the last days of April and May 1 the first important land battle between the contending armies. The Russian forces under Zassulitch were overpowered by the superior artillery of the enemy, and, after a desperate fight and disastrous retreat, fell back to Feng-hwang-cheng, which again was abandoned on May 6. Then,[310] taking Sai-ma-tsi on June 7 after several attempts, Kuroki came to the difficult pass of Mo-tien-ling, which he captured on July 4 after a hard fight, and which the Russians made a costly, but unsuccessful, effort to retake on July 17. Chiao-tow fell on July 19, and Yu-shu-lin-tsu and Yang-tsu-ling on August 1. From the end of August, Kuroki coöperated with the two other army corps which had simultaneously been closing upon Liao-yang. Of these, the second corps, under Lieutenant General Oku, landing on May 5 at Pi-tsu-wo on the northeastern coast of the Liao-tung peninsula, immediately took Pu-lan-tien, and, after a sixteen-hour battle of the most desperate character, had driven the enemy toward Port Arthur from Kin-chow and Nanshan Hills on May 26. These actions completely cut the forces at Port Arthur from the rest of the Russian army in Manchuria. General Kuropatkin, commanding the army, however, now possessed nearly 100,000 men south of Liao-yang, and, yielding to the impossible request from St. Petersburg that he should make a supreme effort to relieve Port Arthur, dispatched General Stakelberg with perhaps 44,000 men on this difficult mission. He was attacked on June 13 at Telissu by General Oku's army of a nearly equal size, and, after a savage battle of artillery fire and bayonet charges, was forced back with heavy losses. Stakelberg's retreating army offered gallant resistance to the Japanese at Hiung-yo-cheng on June 21, at Kai-ping from July 6 to 9, at Taping-ling and Tashi-chiao from July 24 to 29, and at Tomu-cheng between July 31 and August 1. At the later stage of these engagements Oku's forces coöperated with divisions of the third army corps, under General Nodzu, which had landed at Ta-ku-shan on May 19, and had captured Siu-yen on June 8 and Feng-shui (Wafangao) Pass on June 27. The fall of Anshan-chan on August 27 to the second corps practically opened the great battle of Liao-yang, the military center of southern Manchuria, to which General Kuropatkin had retired.

The battle of Liao-yang while not the greatest, was in some respects the most desperate, engagement of the war. The Japanese forces, under the supreme command of Field Marshal Ōyama (who had arrived at Dalny on July 20), probably numbered 240,000 men, with 800 guns, and the Russian, under General Kuropatkin, perhaps 200,000 men, with 572 guns. The defenses around and in the city were most elaborate and extensive. The Japanese attack was begun a little before its plans had completely matured, and, for[311] nearly a week, a complex series of fierce and determined fightings raged in front of the walled city. On August 31 a part of Kuroki's army crossed the Taitsu River and began its flanking movement, and, against the determined effort of Kuropatkin to annihilate this section of the Japanese, Kuroki succeeded after three days of action in sending his entire forces across the stream. On September 4 Kuropatkin set the city on fire, and, by a masterly retreat, extricated the remainder of his army from a threatened closure by Kuroki's divisions, the entire Russian forces reaching Mukden September 20. He had lost nearly 25,000 men, and Ōyama half of that number.

Heavy rains now intervened. Kuropatkin at Mukden proclaimed that his forces were now for the first time strong enough to begin a forward movement against the enemy. With nine army corps he advanced southward on October 5, easily taking the railway station by the Sha River and also the defenses of Bentsiaputse to the east. The cavalry outposts also scored a few minor victories. Ōyama also now decided to take the offensive, and marched forward with a wide front extending over fifty miles from east to northwest to the Hun River. Both sides tried flanking movements, none of which proved decisively successful. In the heavy fighting which lasted till the 17th, in which the Russian and Japanese losses probably amounted, respectively, to 69,000 and 13,300, Kuropatkin was definitely forced back, and his original purpose to turn the tide of the war failed. This is known as the battle of the Sha River.

In the meantime, ever since General Nogi landed early in June and at once began desperate attacks on the outer forts, Port Arthur had been a scene of prodigious acts of heroism by both the besiegers and the besieged. Points were taken and retaken, and hundreds lost their lives at each explosion of mines or terrific cannonading from the surrounding forts. In the midst of this series of engagements, however, officers and men of the hostile armies frequently met together to arrange for the recovery of the dead bodies, always fraternizing in kindly spirit. The besieging army steadily closed in, and, in the outer line of forts having been reduced, the 203-Meter Hill of the western inner forts was at length captured, on November 29-30. From this point Japanese shells could sweep over the harbor. This was followed by the fall of the eastern forts of Sung-shu and Ki-kwan, on December 19,[312] which were blown up by mines laid by the besiegers in tunnels dug directly under the feet of the enemy. When ten days later the Erlung fort was taken, the position of the gallant General Stoessel's defending army was no longer tenable. He capitulated on January 1, 1905, with his remaining army of nearly 25,000 men, and surrendered fifty forts and 546 guns to the Japanese army. The war vessels in the harbor had, however, been blown up and sunk by the Russians before the surrender of the forts. Officers, including Stoessel, who wished to return were allowed to depart on parole with their side-arms. In their informal meeting, on January 4, Generals Nogi and Stoessel lauded the high qualities of each other's army, the latter visibly moved by the news that Nogi had lost his two sons in the war. Stoessel, with his wife and a few officers, left Nagasaki on January 17 on their homeward voyage.

The Japanese veterans at Port Arthur, probably 50,000 or 60,000 in number, were now ready to march northward to join Ōyama's army. Before their arrival at the front, however, a severe battle took place in the heart of winter, from January 25 to 31, at Hokau-tai, on the Hun River, between General Grippenberg's second Russian army and Ōyama's forces. The result was not a decisive gain to either side, but the Russians lost twice as many men as the Japanese, nearly 15,000 of their numbers being killed and wounded. It was after this battle that Grippenberg openly declared his disagreement with his chief Kuropatkin, and resigned his command and was succeeded by General Kaulbars.

With the addition of Nogi's army to the left of Oku's, and of General Kawamura's to the right of Kuroki's, Ōyama now commanded five corps in sixteen divisions, numbering at least 400,000 men and occupying a front of nearly a hundred miles. This colossal army tried conclusions with the at least 350,000 men under Kuropatkin at Mukden in what was probably the greatest battle or series of battles in the history of the world. The engagements began on February 20 and continued till March 16, resulting in a decisive defeat of the Russians. Until March 7 Kuropatkin's left was harassed by Kuroki, and his right was defending itself desperately against the flanking movement of Nogi, while his center, under Linevitch and Kaulbars, together with Rennenkampf's Cossacks, took a determined stand against the onslaught of Nodzu and Oku. The retreat was ordered on the night of this day, for a[313] further delay would cause Kuropatkin's divisions to be surrounded and annihilated. The Japanese closely pursued the fleeing enemy, and gave him no time to rally before crossing the Hun River. The blinding dust storm and the biting cold of March 9 did not greatly detract from the rigor of the pursuit. Mukden was entered by Ōyama early on March 10, and the strong defense and the great colliery at Fushun to the east were taken the next day. The Russians now retired to Tie-ling, forty miles to the north, in a complete rout, Linevitch's army alone making an orderly retreat. Tie-ling was also taken on the 16th, the Russians receding further north. Their losses probably aggregated 150,000 men, or more than forty per cent. of the entire army, while the Japanese lost about one-third as many in killed and wounded. The tsar at once convoked a war council, and resolved to dispatch to the East another Russian army of 450,000 men. The day after the fall of Tie-ling, he telegraphed Kuropatkin and, without a word of praise, transferred the latter's command over the Manchurian army to Linevitch. Kuropatkin retired to Harbin, and then returned to serve under the new commander-in-chief.

The Baltic fleet of Russia, the departure of which for the East had been announced several times, at last started from Kronstadt in the middle of October, 1904, under Vice Admiral Rozhestvenski. Having been aroused to a state of nervous apprehension by the unfounded rumor that Japanese torpedo boats were in European waters, some officers of the Russian fleet fancied that they descried two of these small war vessels among the British fishing boats at Dogger Bank in the North Sea, on the night of October 21, and fired upon them, sinking a trawler, killing two fishermen, and injuring several others. The fleet then proceeded south at full speed. It had also attacked, at different times, a Swedish, a Norwegian, a Danish, and a German ship. When the news of the Dogger Bank incident reached Hull on the 24th, all England was aflame, and the more radical people counseled war with Russia. Owing to the calmness of the British government, however, and also to the assistance of France, the matter was referred to the investigation of an international court of naval experts. The latter published the opinion of its majority, on February 25, 1905, that the firing was unjustifiable and unduly prolonged, but that it did not impair the military valor and the humanitarian sentiment of the Russian admiral and his staff.

Soon[314] after the North Sea incident the Baltic fleet was divided into two sections, one under Admiral Voelkersam going by way of the Suez Canal and the other under Rozhestvenski himself rounding the Cape of Good Hope. The two squadrons reunited in January in the Indian Ocean, and drilled their raw crews near the French Island of Madagascar. A third section, under Admiral Nebokatov, left Libau on February 15, and joined the main squadron before it entered the Chinese waters. The stay of the fleet near Saigon and Kamranh Bay, French Indo-China, raised delicate questions as to the rights of the hostile vessel in a neutral harbor, but a friction was averted by the tardy, but definite, action taken by the tsar and the French government in ordering away the Russian fleet from the French territorial waters. Near the end of May the entire fleet was headed toward its final destination.

Admiral Tōgō had visited Tōkyō after the fall of Port Arthur, and by his natural modesty and force of character inspired the nation with an unbounded confidence in his success in the coming contest with the Baltic fleet. He avoided popular ovation, saying he had yet much to do, and came and went like a plain farmer. Leaving Tōkyō on February 6, 1905, the very day when, a year before, he led his fleet from Sasebo toward Port Arthur, he made every preparation to meet Rozhestvenski's ships. A few days before the latter's arrival Tōgō was convinced that in their attempt to reach Vladivostok they would make a dash through the Korean Straits, instead of going by way of the Tsugaru or La Perouse Straits, and kept his entire fleet at and near Masampo. At five o'clock in the morning of May 27 Tōgō's scouts reported by wireless telegraphy that Russian vessels were sighted near Quelpart Island. Thrilled by the news, all the divisions immediately turned to their assigned missions. The sea was overcast by a heavy fog and the waves were high from a sharp southwest wind. Two of the Japanese cruiser squadrons advanced toward the enemy, and, between 10 and 11 A. M., led him gradually toward the Japan side of the straits, and then at 1.30 P. M. joined the main squadron. The enemy's vessels were now visible in two main columns, the battleships to the starboard and the cruisers and coast-defenders to the port, and headed by the Jemchug and the Izumrud, and followed by a long line of smaller vessels, the entire formation extending over several miles. The vessels were painted black, with the funnels whitish yellow and the rims black, so that they were[315] conspicuous on the sea, while the Japanese ships were light green and gray, and not so easily discernible as the Russian. Just before two o'clock Tōgō signaled to the entire fleet: "The destiny of the empire depends on this one battle; let everyone do his utmost." The battleship squadron under Tōgō's direct command and the cruisers under Kamimura pressed the enemy eastward, and, from a distance of 6000 meters, concentrated their terrific fire upon the foremost Russian vessels, while other Japanese squadrons attacked the enemy from the rear. The main issue was decided within an hour. The Oslabia, the Alexander III., and the flagship Kniaz Suvarov, caught fire and went out of action, as well as several smaller vessels in the rear. The columns of smoke wafted by the wind over the sea concealed the hostile fleets from each other's view, and the firing was suspended by the main squadrons at 2.45. Admiral Voelkersam had been killed, and Rozhestvenski himself wounded and transferred to a destroyer in an unconscious state, the command being assumed by Nebogatov. From three o'clock the Russian vessels made a desperate effort to flee northward, but were so fiercely fired upon that they turned south. Now the battle raged in several sections till sunset. The Oslabia, the Alexander III.,[316] the Borodino, and the Kniaz Suvarov, all battleships, and two special service boats, were sunk. At sundown the Japanese torpedo craft, whose work had thus far been secondary, took the field, and succeeded in throwing the enemy into a hopeless confusion, sinking the battleship Navarin and incapacitating the battleship Sissoi Veliki and the armored cruisers Admiral Nakhimov and Monomakh. The last three vessels sank the next day.


The fog lifted on May 28, and the main squadrons under Tōgō and Kamimura were near Ulung Island about 5.30 A. M., when a Russian fleet, consisting of two battleships, two coast-defenders, and two cruisers, were discovered heading northeast. The different squadrons completely surrounded the enemy near Liancourt Islands about 10.30, and Admiral Nebogatov soon surrendered, although the cruiser Izumrud alone escaped. In the afternoon two Japanese destroyers found and pursued two Russian destroyers, one of which, Biedovy, carrying the wounded Rozhestvenski, surrendered, and the other escaped. The cruisers Svetlana and Dmitri Donskoi, the coast-defender Oushakov, and a destroyer, were either sunk or driven aground, making the total Russian loss during the two days six battleships, one coast-defender, five cruisers, five destroyers, one converted cruiser, and four special service vessels. Out of the 18,000 Russian sailors, nearly 12,000 must have gone down with the sinking vessels. The Japanese lost only three torpedo boats and 116 killed and 538 wounded, but captured two battleships, two coast-defenders, and a destroyer. Of the Russian vessels which escaped, the cruiser Almaz and two destroyers reached Vladivostok, but a destroyer and two special service boats which got to Shanghai, and the cruisers Aurora, Oleg, and Jemchug, that went to Manila, were dismantled. Admiral Tōgō reported, in his characteristic manner, that the "miracle" of his victory was "entirely owing to the illustrious virtues of the emperor, and was beyond all human possibility," and that he could not but believe that "the comparatively small losses were due to the protection of the spirits of the imperial forefathers."

As soon as the decisive battle of the Sea of Japan was fought, Theodore Roosevelt, President of the United States, who had once before failed, in February, to induce Russia to agree to come treat for peace with Japan, renewed his effort to bring the belligerent powers together to a discussion of peace terms exclusively between themselves. In this effort he was supported by the French government and the German emperor. After preliminary consultations[317] with Takahira and Count Cassini, the Japanese and Russian representatives at Washington, Roosevelt addressed the following note to the governments of St. Petersburg and Tōkyō: "The President feels that the time has come when in the interest of all mankind he must endeavor to see if it is not possible to bring to an end the terrible and lamentable conflict now being waged. With both Russia and Japan the United States has inherited ties of friendship and good-will. It hopes for the prosperity and welfare of each, and it feels that the progress of the world is set back by the war between those two great nations.

"The President accordingly urges the Russian and Japanese Governments, not only for their own sakes, but in the interest of the whole civilized world, to open direct negotiations for peace with each other. The President suggests that those peace negotiations be conducted directly and exclusively between the belligerents, in other words, that there may be a meeting of Russian and Japanese plenipotentiaries or delegates without any intermediary, in order to see if it is not possible for those representatives of the two powers to agree to terms of peace. The President earnestly asks that the Russian Government do now agree to such a meeting, and is asking the Japanese Government likewise to agree.

"While the President does not feel that any intermediary should be called in in respect to the peace negotiations themselves, he is entirely willing to do what he properly can, if the two powers concerned feel that his services will be of aid, in arranging the preliminaries as to the time and place of meeting. But if even these preliminaries can be arranged directly between the two powers, or in any other way, the President will be glad, as his sole purpose is to bring about a meeting which the whole civilized world will pray may result in peace."

The Japanese government responded, saying that Japan would open negotiations directly and exclusively with Russia regarding terms of peace. The Russian reply, at first given orally and then made with some reservation, was finally couched in substantially the same language as the Japanese. Japan appointed as her peace envoys Baron Komura, minister for foreign affairs, and Kogorō Takahira, minister at Washington. Russia's choice of her chief envoy first fell on Nelidov, ambassador at Paris, then on Muraviev, ambassador at Rome, but later was changed to Count Serge Witte, president of the committee of ministers. The new Russian[318] ambassador at Washington, Baron Rosen, was appointed the second envoy of Russia. As for the place of the conference, neither Paris, suggested by Russia, nor Chifu, suggested by Japan, being acceptable to the other party, respectively, the two governments finally agreed upon Washington. Because of the excessive summer heat of the American capital, however, it was decided that actual negotiations should be held at the navy yard near the quiet historic town of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The envoys were announced to arrive by August 1.

In the meantime, before the end of July, the Russian Island of Sakhalin, the southern half of which had till 1875 been claimed by Japan, was occupied by the Japanese forces, which also seized a few points on the coast of southeastern Siberia.

The envoys of the belligerent powers having arrived, they were introduced to one another by President Roosevelt on the Mayflower on August 5, and then proceeded to Portsmouth, arriving there on the 8th. They sojourned at the Hotel Wentworth on the small Island of New Castle near Portsmouth, whither flocked many curious summer visitors and more than a hundred newspaper correspondents from various parts of the world. The first informal meeting of the envoys was held at the naval stores building at the navy yard, but the actual business of the peace negotiations began on the following day. On that day Baron Komura presented, in writing, the entire list of twelve terms of peace, which are believed to have covered the following points: 1, Japan's preponderant interest in Korea, and the principle of the open door therein; 2, evacuation of Manchuria by the Japanese and Russian armies; 3, restoration of Chinese administration in Manchuria; 4, China's territorial integrity and the open door in Manchuria; 5, cession to Japan of the Island of Sakhalin; 6, surrender to Japan of the lease of the Kwan-tung district, containing Port Arthur, Dalny, and adjacent islands; 7, transfer to Japan of the railway between Port Arthur (and Dalny) and Harbin; 8, retention by Russia of the main Manchurian railway from Mandchourie to Grotekovo; 9, reimbursement by Russia of Japan's cost of war; 10, surrender by Russia of her war vessels interned in neutral ports; 11, limitation of Russia's naval power in the Pacific; and 12, the rights of the Japanese subjects to fish in the waters of the Siberian littoral. To these terms Witte gave a written reply on the 12th, stating his assent to some points, willingness to discuss some others, and absolute[319] dissent from the rest. Then the envoys discussed the terms one after another, and, within six days, found themselves in agreement, in substance or in principle, on the first, second, third, fourth, sixth, seventh, eighth, and twelfth terms. As regarded the other four points, particularly the cession of Sakhalin and the payment of the war expenditures, the Russian envoy considered them as incompatible with the honor and dignity of the tsar's empire.

The conference now seemed to be ending in failure, when on August 18 occurred the visit of Baron Kaneko to President Roosevelt at Oyster Bay, followed on the next day by the invitation extended to Baron Rosen to come on from New Castle. Kaneko again called on Roosevelt on the 21st, while Meyer, American ambassador at St. Petersburg, had a long interview with the tsar two days after. The president was urging the two governments, through these various channels, to arrive at some compromise of their differences for the sake of peace. When Meyer had an audience of the tsar, the Japanese government had already accepted Roosevelt's suggestion for compromise by intimating its willingness to drop the demands for the surrender of the interned vessels and for the limitation of Russia's naval power, and to allow Russia to repurchase the northern half of Sakhalin, which was in Japan's military occupation, for 1,200,000 yen. The tsar, however, unequivocally declined to agree to this compromise, for he considered the proposed repurchase as an indemnity in disguise, to which he was opposed in principle. Despite Ambassador Meyer's repeated appeal, Nicholas II. remained firm, although—whether by his instruction or on Witte's own initiative is not known—the southern half of Sakhalin was offered to Japan. In the meantime, President Roosevelt appealed to Japan, until the deliberations of the privy councilors at Tōkyō resulted in the emperor's instructions to his envoys at Portsmouth to waive their demand for money and to accept the southern half of Sakhalin. This final concession, which at length made peace possible, was announced by Baron Komura at the morning session of August 29, and came as a complete surprise to Witte and to the whole world. The articles of the treaty were then drafted, and signed by the envoys on September 5.

The concessions of the privy councilors greatly disappointed the Japanese people, who had been somewhat flushed by their unexpected victories over the mighty foe. The popular dissatisfaction, intensified by local conditions, broke out in an open riot on the[320] streets of Tōkyō on September 5-7. In Russia, also, the treaty was not received with unmixed joy even by the peace-loving peasants, for although peace was welcome, the war and consequently the results of its failure, which were embodied in the terms of the treaty, were considered by them as unnecessary and ignominious. The sovereigns of both powers, however, ratified the treaty on October 14. The following is the English version of this memorable document:

"The Emperor of Japan on one part and the Emperor of All the Russias on the other part, animated by a desire to restore the blessings of peace to their countries, have resolved to conclude a treaty of peace and have for this purpose named their plenipotentiaries, that is to say, for his Majesty the Emperor of Japan, Baron Komura Jutarō Jusami, Grand Cordon of the Imperial Order of the Rising Sun, his minister of foreign affairs, and his Excellency Takahira Kogorō, Imperial Order of the Sacred Treasure, his minister to the United States, and, for his Majesty the Emperor of All the Russias his Excellency Serge Witte, his secretary of state and president of the committee of ministers of the empire of Russia, and his excellency Baron Roman Rosen, master of the imperial court of Russia, his Majesty's ambassador to the United States, who, after having exchanged their full powers, which were found to be in good and due form, have concluded the following articles:

"Article One—There shall henceforth be peace and amity between their majesties the Emperor of Japan and the Emperor of All the Russias and between their respective States and subjects.

"Article Two—The Imperial Russian Government, acknowledging that Japan possesses in Korea paramount political, military and economical interests, engages neither to obstruct nor interfere with measures for guidance, protection, and control which the Imperial Government of Japan may find necessary to take in Korea. It is understood that Russian subjects in Korea shall be treated in exactly the same manner as the subjects and citizens of other foreign powers, that is to say, they shall be placed on the same footing as the subjects and citizens of the most favored nation. It is also agreed, in order to avoid causes of misunderstanding, that the two high contracting parties will abstain on the Russian-Korean frontier from taking any military measure which may menace the security of Russian or Korean territory.

"Article Three—Japan[321] and Russia mutually engage:

"First—To evacuate completely and simultaneously Manchuria, except the territory affected by the lease of the Liao-tung peninsula, and in conformity with the provisions of the additional Article One annexed to this treaty, and,

"Second—To restore entirely and completely to the exclusive administration of China all the portions of Manchuria now in occupation or under the control of the Japanese or Russian troops, with the exception of the territory above mentioned.

"The Imperial Government of Russia declare that they have not in Manchuria any territorial advantages or preferential, or exclusive concessions in the impairment of Chinese sovereignty, or inconsistent with the principle of equal opportunity.

"Article Four—Japan and Russia reciprocally engage not to obstruct any general measures common to all countries which China may take for the development of the commerce or industry of Manchuria.

"Article Five—The Imperial Russian Government transfers and assigns to the Imperial Government of Japan, with the consent of the Government of China, the lease of Port Arthur, Ta-lien, and the adjacent territory and territorial waters, and all rights, privileges, and concessions connected with or forming part of such lease, and they also transfer and assign to the Imperial Government of Japan all public works and properties in the territory affected by the afore mentioned lease. The two contracting parties mutually engage to obtain the consent of the Chinese Government mentioned in the foregoing stipulation. The Imperial Government of Japan on their part undertake that the proprietary rights of Russian subjects in the territory above referred to shall be perfectly respected.

"Article Six—The Imperial Russian Government engage to transfer and assign to the Imperial Government of Japan without compensation and with the consent of the Chinese Government the railway between Chang-chun-fu and Kuan-chang-tsu and Port Arthur and all the branches, together with all the rights, privileges, and properties appertaining thereto in that region, as well as all the coal mines in said region belonging to or worked for the benefit of the railway. The two high contracting parties mutually engage to obtain the consent of the Government of China mentioned in the foregoing stipulation.

"Article Seven—Japan and Russia engage to exploit their[322] respective railways in Manchuria exclusively for commercial and industrial purposes and in nowise for strategic purposes. It is understood that this restriction does not apply to the railway in the territory affected by the lease of the Liao-tung peninsula.

"Article Eight—The Imperial Governments of Japan and Russia, with the view to promote and facilitate intercourse and traffic, will, as soon as possible, conclude a separate convention for the regulation of their connecting railway services in Manchuria.

"Article Nine—The Imperial Russian Government cedes to the Imperial Government of Japan in perpetuity and full sovereignty the southern portion of the Island of Sakhalin, and all the islands adjacent thereto, and the public works and properties thereon. The fiftieth degree of north latitude is adopted as the northern boundary of the ceded territory. The exact alignment of such territory shall be determined in accordance with the provisions of the additional Article Eleven, annexed to this treaty. Japan and Russia mutually agree not to construct in their respective possessions on the Island of Sakhalin, or the adjacent islands, any fortifications or other similar military works. They also respectively engage not to take any military measures which may impede the free navigation of the Strait of La Perouse and the Strait of Tartary.

"Article Ten—It is reserved to Russian subjects, inhabitants of the territory ceded to Japan, to sell their real property, and retire to their country, but if they prefer to remain in the ceded territory they will be maintained and protected in the full exercise of their industries and rights of property, on condition of submitting to the Japanese laws and jurisdiction. Japan shall have full liberty to withdraw the right of residence in, or to deport from such territory any inhabitants who labor under political or administrative disability. She engages, however, that the proprietary rights of such inhabitants shall be fully respected.

"Article Eleven—Russia engages to arrange with Japan for granting to Japanese subjects rights of fishery along the coasts of the Russian possessions in the Japan, Okhotsk, and Bering Seas. It is agreed that the foregoing engagement shall not affect rights already belonging to Russian or foreign subjects in those regions.

"Article Twelve—The treaty of commerce and navigation between Japan and Russia having been annulled by the war, the Imperial Governments of Japan and Russia engage to adopt as a basis[323] for their commercial relations pending the conclusion of a new treaty of commerce and navigation, the basis of the treaty which was in force previous to the present war, the system of reciprocal treatment on the footing of the most favored nation, in which are included import and export duties, customs formalities, transit, and tonnage dues, and the admission and treatment of agents, subjects, and vessels of one country in the territories of the other.

"Article Thirteen—So soon as possible after the present treaty comes in force all prisoners of war shall be reciprocally restored. The Imperial Governments of Japan and Russia shall each appoint a special commissioner to take charge of the prisoners. All prisoners in the hands of one government shall be delivered to and received by the commissioner of the other government or by his duly authorized representative in such convenient numbers and such convenient ports of the delivering state as such delivering state shall notify in advance to the commissioner of the receiving state. The governments of Japan and Russia shall present each other so soon as possible after the delivery of the prisoners is completed with a statement of the direct expenditures respectively incurred by them for the care and maintenance of the prisoners from the date of capture or surrender and up to the time of death or delivery. Russia engages to repay to Japan so soon as possible after the exchange of statement as above provided the difference between the actual amount so expended by Japan and the actual amount similarly disbursed by Russia.

"Article Fourteen—The present treaty shall be ratified by their Majesties the Emperor of Japan and the Emperor of All the Russias. Such ratification shall be with as little delay as possible and in any case no later than fifty days from the date of the signature of the treaty, to be announced to the Imperial Governments of Japan and Russia respectively through the French minister at Tōkyō and the ambassador of the United States at St. Petersburg and from the date of the later of such announcements this treaty shall in all its parts come into full force. The formal exchange of ratifications shall take place at Washington so soon as possible.

"Article Fifteen—The present treaty shall be signed in duplicate in both the English and French languages. The texts are in absolute conformity, but in case of a discrepancy in the interpretation, the French text shall prevail.

"In conformity with the provisions of Articles Three and[324] Nine of the treaty of peace between Japan and Russia of this date the undersigned plenipotentiaries have concluded the following additional articles:

"Sub-Article to Article Three—The Imperial Governments of Japan and Russia mutually engage to commence the withdrawal of their military forces from the territory of Manchuria simultaneously and immediately after the treaty of peace comes into operation, and within a period of eighteen months after that date the armies of the two countries shall be completely withdrawn from Manchuria except from the leased territory of the Liao-tung peninsula. The forces of the two countries occupying the front positions shall first be withdrawn.

"The high contracting parties reserve to themselves the right to maintain guards to protect their respective railway lines in Manchuria. The number of such guards shall not exceed fifteen per kilometer, and within that maximum number the commanders of the Japanese and Russian armies shall by common accord fix the number of such guards to be employed as small as possible while having in view the actual requirements.

"The commanders of the Japanese and Russian forces in Manchuria shall agree upon the details of the evacuation in conformity with the above principles and shall take by common accord the measures necessary to carry out the evacuation so soon as possible and in any case no later than the period of eighteen months.

"Sub-Article to Article Nine—So soon as possible after the present treaty comes into force, a commission of delimitation composed of an equal number of members is to be appointed respectively by the two high contracting parties which shall on the spot mark in a permanent manner the exact boundary between the Japanese and Russian possessions on the Island of Sakhalin. The commission shall be bound so far as topographical considerations permit to follow the fiftieth parallel of north latitude as the boundary line, and, in case any deflections from that line at any points are found to be necessary, compensation will be made by correlative deflections at other points. It shall also be the duty of said commission to prepare a list and a description of the adjacent islands included in the cession, and finally the commission shall prepare and sign maps showing the boundaries of the ceded territory. The work of the commission shall be subject to the approval of the high contracting parties.[325]

"The foregoing additional articles are to be considered ratified with the ratification of the treaty of peace to which they are annexed.

"Portsmouth, the Fifth Day of the Ninth Month of the Thirty-eight year of Meiji, corresponding to the Twenty-third of August, 1905. (September 5, 1905.)

"In witness whereof the respective plenipotentiaries have signed and affixed seals to the present treaty of peace.

"Done at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, this Fifth day of the Ninth Month of the Thirty-eighth Year of the Meiji, corresponding to the Twenty-third day of August, One Thousand Nine Hundred and Five."

No less important than the Russo-Japanese treaty is the renewed agreement of the Anglo-Japanese alliance concluded between Lord Lansdowne, the British foreign minister, and Baron Hayashi, the Japanese minister at London, on August 12 at London, and published on September 27 simultaneously at London and Tōkyō. Its text reads as follows:

"The Governments of Great Britain and Japan, being desirous of replacing the agreement concluded between them January 30, 1902, by fresh stipulations, have agreed upon the following articles, which have for their object:

"A—The consolidation and the maintenance of general peace in the regions of Eastern Asia and India.

"B—The preservation of the common interests of all the powers in China by insuring the independence and integrity of the Chinese Empire and the principles of equal opportunities for the commerce and industry of all nations in China.

"C—The maintenance of the territorial rights of the high contracting parties in the regions of Eastern Asia and of India, and the defense of their special interests in the said regions.

"Article 1—It is agreed that whenever in the opinion either of Great Britain or Japan any of the rights and interests referred to in the preamble to this agreement are in jeopardy, the two governments will communicate with each other fully and frankly and will consider in common the measures which should be taken to safeguard these menaced rights or interests.

"Art. 2—Should either of the high contracting parties be involved in war in defense of its territorial rights or special interests, the other party will at once come to the assistance of its ally and[326] both parties will conduct a war in common and make peace in mutual agreement with any power or powers involved in such war.

"Art. 3—Japan possessing paramount political, military, and economic interests in Korea, Great Britain recognizes Japan's right to take such measures for the guidance, control, and protection of Korea as she may deem proper and necessary to safeguard and advance those interests, providing the measures so taken are not contrary to the principle of equal opportunities for the commerce and industry of all nations.

"Art. 4—Great Britain having a special interest in all that concerns the security of the Indian frontier, Japan recognizes her right to take such measures in the proximity of that frontier as she may find necessary for safeguarding her Indian possessions.

"Art. 5—The high contracting parties agree that neither will, without consulting the other, enter into a separate arrangement with another power to the prejudice of the objects described in the preamble.

"Art. 6—As regards the present war between Japan and Russia, Great Britain will continue to maintain strict neutrality, unless some other power or powers join in hostilities against Japan, in which case Great Britain will come to the assistance of Japan, will conduct war in common, and will make peace in mutual agreement with Japan.

"Art. 7—The conditions under which armed assistance shall be afforded by either power to the other in the circumstances mentioned in the present agreement and the means by which such assistance shall be made available will be arranged by the naval and military authorities of the contracting parties, who will from time to time consult one another fully and freely on all questions of mutual interest.

"Art. 8—The present agreement shall be subject to the provisions of Art. 6 and come into effect immediately after the date of signature and remain in force for ten years from that date in case neither of the parties shall have been notified twelve months before the expiration of said ten years of an intention of terminating it. It shall remain binding until the expiration of one year from the day on which either of the parties shall have denounced it, but if, when the date for the expiration arrives, either ally is actually engaged in war the alliance shall be ipso facto and continue until peace shall be concluded."

The[327] armistice was arranged between the Russian and Japanese armies on September 13. During the nineteen months of war between February, 1904, and September, 1905, Russia probably sent between eight and nine hundred thousand soldiers to the East, and Japan not less than six hundred thousand. Never before in the world's history had such large armies been sent to the seat of war in so brief a period. The Russian losses probably amounted to more than 350,000, including the killed, the wounded, the sick, and the captured, and Japan lost, in deaths alone, 72,490. Of the latter, 15,300 died of sickness, while the rest either fell in battle or subsequently died from wounds—an unusually low death-rate from the latter cause. Russia lost the major part of her Pacific and Baltic fleets, while the Japanese navy was increased in size by the surrender of the enemy's vessels and by the raising of several of the sunken ships. The war greatly intensified the otherwise strong national sentiment of the Japanese people and enhanced their position among the powers of the world, while the moderate terms of peace and the catholicity of national character have served as an efficient check against an undue expansion. On the other hand, the unexpected exposure of the weakness of Russia's bureaucracy has sensibly reduced the hitherto overestimated value of her political power. In Europe, as well as in Asia, her position in international affairs has already begun to show signs of this change. At the same time, the Russian people have renewed their conviction of the need of a true national administration, and the weakened autocracy is compelled to consider popular demands for reform. Not the least important result of the war is the fact that it has insured the humane principles of China's territorial integrity in Manchuria, and of equal opportunity for the trade and industry of all nations in that region and Korea. The Treaty of Portsmouth recognized these principles and the Anglo-Japanese agreement has insured them by a powerful coalition.

[1]On November 6, 1905, the Order of the Garter was conferred on the emperor by King Edward VII. of England, and the British legation in Japan was raised to an embassy. The emperor visited the shrine of Ise in November and there reported the successful conclusion of the war to the spirits of his ancestors. The end of the year was marked by a treaty with China which made Japan's position in Korea the same as Russia's had been before the war.

In October, 1906,[328] the school board of San Francisco in the United States issued an order excluding the Japanese children from the public schools of that city and requiring them to attend a separate school for Orientals. This action was taken as an affront by the Japanese government and a protest was sent by the latter to the United States government on October 15. President Roosevelt took prompt action on the matter, sending Victor H. Metcalf, the Secretary of the Interior, to investigate and report. President Roosevelt also announced that Japan's treaty rights would be enforced at every hazard. Conferences were held between the State officials of California and the President, resulting in the President issuing an order on March 14, 1907, that all Japanese and Koreans without passports would be excluded from the United States and the San Francisco Board of Education deciding to admit Japanese pupils up to the age of sixteen to the schools. Sensational newspapers both in Japan and in the United States at this period were filled with rumors of war between the two countries and at times during the year 1907 they would insist that war was imminent.

In the meantime the Japanese government under the leadership of Viscount Hayashi, Minister of Foreign Affairs, took measures to enforce certain laws on her own statute books concerning the use of foreign coolies in Japan and to limit Japanese emigration to the United States. The visit of William Howard Taft, the American Secretary of War, to Japan on his way to the Philippines and the friendliness of his reception by the Japanese and his own words of assurance did much toward allaying whatever feeling of actual hostility still remained among the Japanese people and the visit of the American fleet of sixteen battleships in the next year ended all talk of a war. In 1907 similar friction occurred between Great Britain and Japan because certain Japanese merchants and laborers in Vancouver, Canada, were attacked and driven from their houses. This matter was adjusted peacefully by Viscount Hayashi and Sir Claude MacDonald, the British Ambassador. As a proof that Japan intends to keep her promises to regulate immigration to the United States may be cited some immigration figures for 1908: during that year there were admitted to the entire United States only 185 more Japanese of all classes than departed from it, and a great many more Japanese laborers left the United States than entered it.

In the[328a] fall of 1909 a Commercial Commission, sent by the merchants of Japan, visited the United States, studying American business and industrial methods and purchasing a large variety of manufactured articles which had never found a market in the Orient and buying the newest machinery used in lumber, mining, and milling industries, and also devices for food preservation, and learned many of the labor-saving methods used in banking and commercial offices.

A Franco-Japanese Agreement was signed on June 10, 1907, providing that the most-favored-nation treatment should be accorded the officials and subjects of Japan in French Indo-China for everything concerning their persons and the protection of their property, and that the same treatment should be granted the subjects of French Indo-China in the Empire of Japan and that these provisions should hold until the expiration of the Treaty of Commerce and Navigation concluded between France and Japan, August 4, 1896. In regard to the continent of Asia, the two countries agreed to "respect the independence and integrity of China as well as the principles of equality of treatment in that country for the commerce and subjects of all nations, and having a special interest in seeing that order and a pacific state of affairs guaranteed, particularly in the regions of the Chinese Empire adjacent to the territories where they have rights of sovereignty, protection, and occupation, bind themselves mutually to support one another in order to assure the peace and security of those regions, with a view to the maintenance of the respective positions and territorial rights of the two contracting parties on the Asiatic continent."

During 1907 several Russo-Japanese conventions were signed. The first, concluded on July 28, was a treaty of commerce and navigation in accordance with article 12 of the Treaty of Portsmouth; in the second, concluded two days later, each agreed to respect the territorial integrity of the other, the agreements then in force between the contracting parties and China, and the independence and integrity of China, and to uphold the status quo with all the peaceable means at their disposal; a third convention related to the fisheries of the Sea of Japan, the Okhotsk Sea, and the Behring Sea; the fourth provided for the joining of the Russian railways in Manchuria at Kwang-cheng-tsze. In August the legations at Tokio and St. Petersburg were raised to the status of embassies by their respective governments.

On[328b] February 5, 1908, Chinese custom officers seized the Japanese steamer Tatsu Maru in Portuguese waters off Macao, where it had landed to discharge arms shipped from a Japanese port to a Chinese merchant at Macao. The Japanese resented the seizure and complained to the Chinese authorities demanding an apology and an indemnity. At first the latter defended their action, but on the receipt of an ultimatum from the Japanese on March 5, China apologized and gave assurance that the indemnity would be paid and the responsible persons punished. Japan in return agreed to prevent the trade in arms and ammunition between Japanese and Chinese citizens. Thus a friendly feeling was restored between the two countries but public opinion had been greatly inflamed in China and a boycott of Japanese goods had begun. During the year many Japanese vessels left Chinese ports without the goods for which they had come. It is estimated that the Japanese lost some $8,000,000 by this boycott.

China also felt embittered against Japan in this same year because of the latter's course in Manchuria, where she had retained the public buildings at Mukden and the Manchurian gold mines, taken possession of the Manchurian post-offices and telegraph lines, occupied a portion of the province of Kirin, claiming it as Korean territory, although it had long been held as part of China, and forbade the building of a railway to the west of the Liau River, from Hsenmintun to Fakumen, saying that it would compete with the Japanese system. These difficulties were adjusted soon. Japan agreed to the building of the railroad on condition that at no point should it come within a minimum distance from the Japanese line. On October 12 and November 7, agreements were signed at Tokio concerning the telegraph lines. China agreed to place special telegraph wires between the treaty ports, Kwant-cheng-tsze, Tie-ling, Mukden, Liau-yang, Niu-chwang, Antung, and the railroad territory at the exclusive disposal of Japan for a period of fifteen years, the service on the wires to be worked by Japanese clerks in the employ of the Japanese government from the Chinese telegraph buildings, but only to be used for the exchange of telegrams from or to places under the direct control of the Japanese telegraph system. Japan undertook to pass over to China all Japanese telegraph lines in Manchuria outside her railway territory, to construct no telegraph or telephone lines in Manchuria outside the same territory, and to construct no telegraph or telephone lines or erect wireless stations[328c] outside her leased territory. She also agreed to pay China a small annual royalty on all messages sent over the Japanese Manchurian telegraph lines. On September 4, 1909, an agreement was signed at Peking regarding the improvement of the Antung-Mukden Railroad and which gave to Japan the advantages in Manchurian trade.

General elections to the House of Representatives were held on May 15, 1908, resulting in a sweeping victory for the Seiyu-kai. For the first time since the formation of the diet, one party had elected a majority of all the members. On July 12, Marquis Katsura was given the imperial command to form a ministry. As this nobleman was connected with the weakest of the political parties, the Daids Club, his appointment as premier was a great disappointment to the Seiyu-kai, who had hoped to have one of their own leaders hold that office.

In July, 1909, twenty-three members of the Imperial Diet were convicted for complicity in a graft scandal. Five directors of the Great Japan Sugar Company were at the same time convicted of bribing the nation's representatives and all twenty-eight received very severe sentences.

In the meantime Japan's influence in Korea had increased to such an extent that by the end of 1907, Korea was for all practical purposes an integral part of the Japanese Empire. Soon after the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War, Japan and Korea signed an agreement, by which Japan undertook to insure the safety of the imperial household and guaranteed the independence and territorial integrity of the Korean Empire, in return for which Korea agreed to accept the advice of Japan as to improvements in administration. Six months later Korea, in another agreement with Japan, pledged herself to regulate her finances in accordance with the advice of the Japanese financial adviser and a foreign diplomatic adviser, named by Japan, and also to consult the government of Japan before making treaties or conventions with other powers or granting them concessions. Following the Treaty of Portsmouth, another agreement was entered into by Japan and Korea on November 17, 1905, which provided that Japan should control and direct the external relations in the affairs of Korea through the Department of Foreign Affairs at Tokio; and that Japan should be represented at the court of the Emperor of Korea by a Resident-General, residing at Seoul, and should have the right to station representatives at the several open ports and at such other places in[328d] Korea as it might deem necessary. In accordance with this agreement, Mr. Durham White Stevens, an American, experienced in diplomatic service, was chosen by Japan to be Diplomatic Adviser at Seoul to the Foreign Office. In spite of these agreements the Korean Emperor sent to The Hague Peace Conference in 1907, a delegation consisting of Prince Yi-Ui-Tjyong, Yi-Tjun, a Korean judge, and Yi-Sang-Sul, former vice-premier of Korea; these men claimed that Japan had committed acts contrary to the agreement of 1884, and had forced the Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs to sign the agreement giving Japan the control of Korea's foreign affairs. The conference could do nothing for the delegation as it was understood that the deliberations of the peace commissioners should not be concerned with relations between nations that had been settled by treaty. As a result of his sending this delegation the Emperor of Korea was forced to abdicate on July 19, 1907, in favor of his son, the Crown Prince. The ministry of Korea opposed this abdication and the Abolitionists broke out into riots; therefore Japan forced the signing of another treaty on July 25. This (1) placed the administration of all Korean affairs in the hands of the Japanese Resident-General; (2) provided that the enactment of all laws and ordinances and the transaction of important state affairs must receive the approval of the Resident-General; (3) decided that a definite line of demarcation is to be drawn between administrative and judicial affairs; (4) stated that Japanese subjects recommended by the Resident-General are eligible to office under the Korean government; (5) provided that foreigners may be employed only with the consent of the Resident-General; (6) agreed that the clause of the agreement of August 22, 1904, providing for the employment of a financial adviser be annulled.

Following this agreement and in order to enforce it, the Korean native army was disbanded on August 1, 1907. The new emperor, Yi-Chök, at the instance of Prince Ito, the Resident-General, ordered the punishment of The Hague envoys and of men of his father's court suspected of fostering resistance. Japanese forces in Korea were increased and the new crown-prince was sent to Japan to be educated. During 1908 the Japanese colonization of Korea continued; new regiments were sent to Korea, the number of Japanese officials were increased, radical reforms were under[328e]taken in the judiciary, and the imperial assets were transferred to the national treasury.

All this was not done without opposition on the part of the Koreans: parties of rebels gathered over the country and there was a continual guerilla warfare; plots were formed against Japanese officials, an attempt being made to derail Prince Ito's train in the latter part of April, 1908; and the native press became so virulent in its denunciation of the Japanese government that the latter promulgated and enforced a law forbidding the sale of any paper containing matter subversive of the public peace under penalty of fine or imprisonment.

On October 26, 1909, Prince Ito was shot and killed at Harbin, Manchuria, by a Korean, who confessed to the police that he had journeyed to Harbin for the express purpose of assassinating the Prince "to avenge my country," blaming Prince Ito for his countrymen's loss of political liberty.

The terrible storms which prevailed all over the world during the latter part of 1909 were especially severe off the coast of Japan, and two Japanese steamers foundered off Korea and Japan, on November 30, the loss of life being very heavy.

Manchuria is a center of disturbance in all eastern questions, and Japan registered her protest on January 8, 1910, against the plan proposed by the United States Secretary of State, Knox, for neutralizing the railroads of Manchuria, the Japanese statesmen being utterly opposed to such a measure.

The history of Japan within recent years has been a record of marvelous expansion in home industries and in foreign trade. Retrenchments in expenditures for army and navy, a general betterment of labor conditions and construction of inland waterways have also materially aided the progress of the nation.

A high protective tariff was enacted in 1910, but provision was made for the reduction of duties in specific cases with foreign countries which had made concessions to Japan. Thus Great Britain's cotton, linen, and steel imports were admitted at reduced rates in return for free entry of Japanese goods into Great Britain.

In August, 1910, Japan annexed Korea and made great progress in the pacification and settlement of the country.

An agreement was signed with Russia to maintain with her the status quo in Manchuria.[328f]

In July, 1911, the alliance between Japan and Great Britain was renewed for a period of ten years.

The great Emperor Mutsuhito died in July, 1912. His reign was the most glorious in the history of Japan: it saw the creation of modern Japan. General Nogi, the conqueror of Port Arthur and Mukden, committed suicide on the day of the Emperor's funeral.

The anti-Japanese feeling in the Pacific Coast States of the United States culminated in May, 1913, in the Legislature of California passing land laws that barred aliens who were not eligible for citizenship from acquiring real estate. Japan made decided protest, claiming that these measures were aimed directly at her, and that they were contrary to her treaty rights with the United States.


[1] The publishers have supplied the following paragraphs.






The following list of books does not represent the sources and literature used in revising the text and preparing the supplementary part of the present volume, but is intended solely for the convenience of the reader who would naturally confine his attention to works written in English.

There is hardly a work on general Japanese bibliography which can be compared with that great Chinese bibliography, the "Bibliotheca Sinica," by Henri Cordier. Fr. von Wenckstern's "Bibliography of the Japanese Empire," London, 1895, gives, with few comments, works written only in European languages, and covers the period between 1859 and 1893. It also contains a facsimile-reprint of Léon Pagès's "Bibliographie japonaise depuis le XV^e siècle jusqu'a 1859." As to articles written on Japan in the English and American periodicals, "Poole's Index" may be consulted with profit.

Of works of general information on Japan, the first eight volumes ("Japan: Its History, Art and Literature") of Captain Frank Brinkley's "Oriental Series," in twelve volumes, London and Boston, 1902-1903, perhaps deserve the first mention. The work is eminently free from both the superficiality of the tourist and the well-meaning but not harmless prejudices of many a missionary. The author's thorough acquaintance with men and things of Japan, where he has lived for more than thirty years and is editor of perhaps the best informed and most fair-minded English journal, the Japan Mail, has enabled him to give an intimate view of the history and the national life of the Japanese. The facile style of the author also adds greatly to the value of his work for popular reading. This work grew out of the author's edition of "Japan," containing essays on various topics originally written by great native authorities but much revised and rendered into English by Brinkley. A new edition of this latter work ("Japan," Boston, 1905), has been published by J. B. Millet & Co., bringing the account down to the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War. Captain Brinkley also has an admirable article on Japan in the twenty-ninth volume of the "Encyclopædia Britannica." For the student's ready reference, J. J. Rein's "Japan: Travels and Researches Undertaken at the Cost of the Prussian Government," English translation, New York, 1884, and his "Industries of Japan, Together with an Account of Its Agriculture, Forestry and Commerce," English translation, New York, 1889, are very useful. B. H. Chamberlain's "Things Japanese," originally published in Tokyo in 1890 but now in its fourth edition (New York, 1902), is a dictionary of all subjects of interest, and contains bibliographical references for many of the subjects treated. The work, however, is in need of further revision. The same author has compiled with W. B. Mason a "Hand-book for Travelers in Japan," which is now in its seventh edition (London, 1903). W. E. Griffis's "Mikado's Empire" at first appeared in New York in 1876, but, owing to the absence of better works of this nature, has been so popular that it is in its tenth edition (New York, 1903). It was once unrivaled in its comprehensiveness, but has never been considered a work upon which the student could rely for objective truths regarding Japan. E. W. Clement's little book, "A Hand-book of Modern Japan," Chicago, 1903, and[332] Henry Dyer's "Dai Nippon, A Study in National Evolution," London and New York, 1904, are both useful when used critically. Alfred Stead has edited "Japan by the Japanese: A Survey by the Highest Authorities," London and New York, 1904.

In the field of general history several older works have been superseded by newer ones, all of which, however, leave vastly much to be desired. David Murray's "Japan," New York, 1894 (in the "Story of the Nations" series), is more narrative than analytical or interpretative. Max von Brandt has a brief survey in the second volume of the "History of the World: A Survey of Man's Record," edited by H. F. Helmolt, English translation, London and New York, 1904. Among works on different periods of history, the present editor's "Early Institutional Life of Japan," Tokyo and New York, 1903, covers the period between 500 and 900 A. D., and James Murdoch and Isoh Yamagata's "History of Japan during the Century of Early Foreign Intercourse (1542-1651)," Tokyo, 1904, takes up the important period of Japan's earliest European relations under the feudal régime. For the beginning of the foreign relations in the nineteenth century, F. O. Adams's "History of Japan to 1871," in two volumes, London, 1874-1875, Richard Hildreth's "Japan as It Was and Is," Boston, 1855, and the lives of "M. C. Perry" and "Townsend Harris" by W. E. Griffis, Boston, 1897 and 1895, may be recommended. I. Nitobe's "Intercourse between the United States and Japan," extra volume 8 of the "Johns Hopkins University Studies in History and Political Science," Baltimore, 1891, is useful. Coming down to a later period of history, the accounts of the Chino-Japanese War of 1894-1895 by "Vladimir" (the "China-Japan War," New York, 1896) and F. W. Eastlake and Y. Yamada (the "Heroic Japan," Tokyo, 1896) may be mentioned. Brinkley's large work, of course, covers history, as well as arts, literature, customs and manners, and religion. For a still more recent period, one may consult the present editor's "Russo-Japanese Conflict: Its Causes and Issues," London and Boston, 1904. As to the progress of the Russo-Japanese War, we have yet to look for its authentic history.

Among authors on Old Japan, or, that side of the national life in which the old civilization has not been greatly affected by the inroad of European influences, no writer has shown a greater aptitude to grasp its spirit or has presented it in more charming English than the late prolific author, Lafcadio Hearn, in his "Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan," Boston, 1894, "Out of the East," Boston, 1895, "Kokoro: Hints and Echoes of Japanese Inner Life," Boston, 1896, "Gleanings in Buddha-fields," Boston, 1897, "Exotics and Retrospectives," Boston, 1898, "In Ghostly Japan," Boston, 1899, "Shadowings," Boston, 1900, "A Japanese Miscellany," Boston, 1901, "Kwaidan," Boston, 1904, "Romance of the Milky Way," Boston, 1905, "Japan: An Interpretation," New York, 1904, and others. Miss Alice M. Bacon's "A Japanese Interior," Boston and New York, 1893, "Japanese Girls and Women," new edition, Boston, 1902, and "In the Land of the Gods," Boston, 1905, as well as G. W. Knox's "Japanese Life in Town and Country" ("Our Asiatic Neighbor" series), New York, 1904, are recommended. For other sides than are so well described by these works, the reader must again turn to Captain Brinkley's great work, and also to articles in the Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan published at Tokyo since 1872.

There are a few works interpretative of the moral side of the evolution of the Japanese nation, among which again chapters in Brinkley, as well as I. Nitobe's "Bushido," Philadelphia, 1900, and New York, 1905, and K. Okakura's "Soul of the East," London and New York, 1904, may be mentioned. These able authors will admit, however, that the subject requires so extensive and rigorous a training and so naturally refined and delicate an intellect, and it is[333] so impossible to pass a final or even a definite judgment on the matter, that it seems hazardous to rely upon the opinion of any one writer. S. L. Gulick's "Evolution of the Japanese, Social and Psychic," New York, 1903, is a misnomer, as no work of such claim can afford to be more seriously defective in showing the development of a historic nation. The author's notion of social evolution, which forms the basis of this work, does not seem to have been tested by the modern student, and the entire work unfortunately breathes a certain type of mind and training to the exclusion of others. In studying such a subject as is aimed at in this work, no student can be too well trained and too thorough, and no statement can be too undogmatic.

Of books written on the politics of New Japan, Count (now Marquis) Hirobumi Ito's "Commentaries on the Constitution of the Empire of Japan," English translation, Tokyo, 1889, is the authoritative work and is indispensable. Chapters in Brinkley, Stead and Clement are interesting. The last writer has also an article on the local self-government in the Political Science Quarterly for June, 1892, and another on the constitutional government in the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science for March, 1903. T. Ienaga's "Constitutional Development of Japan" ("Johns Hopkins Studies," 9th Series, No. 9), Baltimore, 1891, takes up the earlier years of the new régime, while K. Kawakami's "Political Ideas of Modern Japan," University of Iowa, 1903, brings the account of the theoretical side of the development down to about 1902. An article by H. N. Lay on the political parties of Japan in the Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan, volume 30, No. 3, is valuable.

In regard to the economic and financial conditions of Japan, the United States Consular Reports and the British Diplomatic and Consular Reports are very useful. The Japanese Government publishes the Economic and Financial Annals of Japan. Among other official publications by the same government, the "Report on the Adoption of the Gold Standard," 1899, the "Post-Bellum Finance," 1900, and "Japan in the Beginning of the Twentieth Century," 1903, are important. Y. Kinos[h]ita's "Past and Present of Japanese Commerce" ("Columbia University Studies in History, Economics and Public Law"), New York, 1902, is an interpretative account of Japan's foreign trade. J. Morris has written a volume on "Japan and Its Trade" ("Harper's International Commerce Series"), London and New York, 1902.

Passing to the matter of literature, W. G. Aston has a "History of Japanese Literature," New York, 1901, while, for practical studies of the language, one may turn to W. Imbrie's "English-Japanese Etymology," Toyko, and B. H. Chamberlain's "Hand-book of Colloquial Japanese," Tokyo, 1888, "A Simplified Grammar of the Japanese Language," Toyko, 1886, and the "Moji-no-Shirube; a Practical Introduction to the Study of the Japanese Writing," London, New York, and Shanghai, 1899.

We conclude by again recommending Captain Brinkley's "Oriental Series" to general readers, who may also profitably consult some articles in the Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan and of the Japan Society at London.








Abe Masahiro: urges signing of treaty with America, 157

Abe-no-Hirafu: his campaigns in the north, 27

Abe-no-Nakamaro: scholarship of, 35

Achiki: introduces Chinese learning into Japan, 13

Adams, William: settles in Japan, 135

Aigun: occupied by Russia, 285

Akamatsu Mitsusuke: rebellion of, 95

Akechi Mitsuhide: rewarded with lands of Buddhist priests, 111;
kills Oda Nobunaga, 112

Akira, Prince: made gijo, 167

Akita: built, 27

Alexiev, Admiral: concludes treaty with Tsang-chi, 286

Alexis, Prince: visits Japan, 191

Amakusa: battle of (1638), 137

Amoy Affair, The, 283

Andō Nobumasa: assassination of, 161

Anglo-German Agreement: signed, 285

Anglo-Japanese Alliance (1902), 231, 289

Anglo-Russian Railway Agreement (1899), 279

Anshan-chan: captured by Japanese, 310

Antoku, emperor of Japan: reign of, 59;
death of, 62

An-tung: occupied by the Japanese, 267

Aoki Kanaiye: skill of, 107

Aoki, Viscount: becomes minister of foreign affairs, 190

Arai Hakuseki: sketch of, 142

Araki Matayemon: slays Kawai, 152

Argun: occupied by Russia, 285

Arisugawa, Prince: made commander-in-chief of army, 169;
commissioned to quell rebellion of Saigō, 179

Asana Naganori: story of, 152

Asano Yukinaga: at battle of Sekigahara, 123

Ashikaga Motouji: regent at Kamakura, 92;
joins rebellion of Ōuchi Yoshihiro, 95;
revolt of, 95

Ashikaga Takauji: his campaign in Kyōto, 86;
sketch of, 87;
death of, 91

Ashikaga Yoshiaki: shōgunate of, 101;
opposes growing influence of Oda Nobunaga, 111

Ashikaga Yoshiakira: shōgunate of, 91

Ashikaga Yoshihisa: birth of, 97

Ashikaga Yoshikazu: shōgunate of, 96

Ashikaga Yoshimasa: shōgunate of, 96

Ashikaga Yoshimi: assumes the duties of a regent, 97

Ashikaga Yoshimitsu: shōgunate of, 91, 92;
his relations with China, 102

Ashikaga Yoshimochi: shōgunate of, 92;
severs official intercourse between Japan and China, 103

Ashikaga Yoshinori: shōgunate of, 95;
reopens official intercourse with China, 103

Ashikaga Yoshiteru: assassinated, 100

Austria-Hungary: concludes treaty with Japan, 189

Awada-no-Mahito: scholarship of, 34

Azumi-no-Hirafu: his campaign in Korea, 26


Belgium: concludes treaty with Japan, 189

Bentsiaputse: captured by the Russians, 311

Bitchu-no-Kami: see Hotta Masaatsu

Blagovestchensk: bombarded, 284

Bosatsu: see Gyōgi

Boxer Uprising, The, 279

Buddha, The Great Image of: built, 32

Buddhism: introduced into Japan, 14


Chang Chih-tung: attempts to have Manchuria opened to foreign trade, 288

Chang Pak: in command of Chinese army, 76

Chemulpo: destroyed by Japanese, 194;
battle of, 303

Chiao-tow: captured by the Japanese, 310

China: early relations with Japan, 16;
conquests in Korea, 26;
concludes treaty with Japan (1871), 192;
relations with Russia, 276

Ching, Prince: his negotiations concerning Manchuria, 289, 295

Chino-Japanese War, 252

Chiulien-cheng: captured by the Japanese, 267

Chom Wei-king: attempts to negotiate peace with Japan, 119

Christianity: introduced into Japan, 105;
sketch of its progress in Japan, 137

Chūai, emperor of Japan: his campaign against the Kumaso, 12

Chūkyō, emperor of Japan: accession of, 71

Constitutional Party: organized, 219

Constitutional Political Association: organized, 227

Constitution, The: promulgated, 185;
in theory and practice, 199

Cyril, grand duke of Russia: at siege of Port Arthur, 307


Dannoura: battle of, 62

Danrin-ji: built, 41

Dazaifu: battle of (1281), 75

Denmark: concludes treaty with Japan, 189

Deities, Age of the, 3

Dogger Bank Incident, 313

Dōkyō: influence of, 36

Dutch: begin trade with Japan, 134


Edo: rise of, 123;
taken by imperial forces, 169;
see also Tōkyō

Eikyo: captured by the Japanese, 118

Emi Oshikazu: rebellion of, 36

Emishi: rebellion of, 10;
brought into subjection, 27

England: begins trade with Japan, 135;
concludes treaty with China, 277

Enomoto Takeaki: rebellion of, 169;
sent to St. Petersburg, 188

Enotake: siege of, 181

Enryaku-ji: built, 41

Etō Shimpei: rebellion of, 177


Feng-hwang-cheng: captured by Japanese, 309

Feng-shui (Wafangao) Pass: captured by the Japanese, 310

Formosa: invaded by Japanese, 192;
ceded to Japan, 273

Francis Xavier, St.: preaches in Japan, 104

Fujiwara-no-Fuhito: aids the spread of Buddhism, 32;
services of, to the empire, 45

Fujiwara-no-Hidehira: kindness of, to Minamoto-no-Yoshitsune, 65;
death of, 66

Fujiwara-no-Hidesato: defeats Tairo-no-Masakado, 53

Fujiwara-no-Kamatari: services of, 45

Fujiwara-no-Michinaga: influence of, 48

Fujiwara-no-Michinori: influence of, 57

Fujiwara-no-Morosuke: minister of the right, 48

Fujiwara-no-Mototsune: ministry of, 46

Fujiwara-no-Narichika: plots against the Taira sway, 59

Fujiwara-no-Nobuyori: rebellion of, 57

Fujiwara-no-Sadakuni: conspires against Sugawara-no-Michizane, 47

Fujiwara-no-Sanesuke: opposes influence of Fujiwara-no-Michinaga, 49

Fujiwara-no-Saneyori: minister of the left, 48

Fujiwara-no-Sumitomo: rebellion of, 53

Fujiwara-no-Tadahira: chief minister of state, 48

Fujiwara-no-Tadamichi: regent for Emperor Konoye, 56

Fujiwara-no-Tokihira: conspires against Sugawara-no-Michizane, 47

[339]Fujiwara-no-Yasuhira: kills Minamoto-Yoshitsune, 66

Fujiwara-no-Yoshifusa: influence of, 46

Fujiwara-no-Yoritsune: made shōgun, 70

Fukushima, Lieutenant Colonel: appointed director of Korean administration, 267

Fukushima Masanori: at battle of Sekigahara, 123;
his estates confiscated, 128

Fusan: attacked by Japanese (1510), 104;
captured by the Japanese (1592), 117

Fushimi: battle of, 168


Gemmyō, empress of Japan: reign of, 31

Genghis Khan (Temujin): plans subjugation of Japan, 73

Germany: treaty with China (1898), 277

Godaigo, emperor of Japan: reign of, 83

Gohorikawa, emperor of Japan: accession of, 72

Gokashiwabara, emperor of Japan: reign of, 100

Gokameyama, emperor of Japan: abdication of, 91

Gokomatsu, emperor of Japan: accession of, 91

Gokōmyō, emperor of Japan: reign of, 132

Gold Standard: established (1898), 226

Gominoö, emperor of Japan: grieves over power of the nobles, 132

Gomurakami, emperor of Japan: reign of, 90

Gonara, emperor of Japan: reign of, 100

Gonijō, emperor of Japan: accession of, 83

Gosaga, emperor of Japan: reign of, 83

Gosai-in, emperor of Japan: reign of, 132

Goshirakawa, emperor of Japan: accession of, 56

Gotoba, emperor of Japan: plots against feudal administration, 70

Gotō Shōjirō, Count: counsels war with Korea, 178;
reforms of, 182;
attempts to negotiate treaties with European powers, 190

Gotō Sukenori: sketch of, 107

Gotsuchimikado, emperor of Japan: reign of, 100

Gouda, emperor of Japan: at war with the Mongols, 76

Grant, Ulysses S.: visits Japan, 191

Grippenberg, General: at battle of Ho-kau-tai, 312

Gunzburg, Baron: represents Russia at Seul, 296

Gyōgi (Bosatsu): teachings of, 32


Hagiwara Shigehide: proposes the issue of a debased currency, 143

Hai-cheng: captured by the Japanese, 268, 272

Hakozaki: battle of, 74

Hanabusa Yoshimoto: minister to Korea, 195

Hamada Yahei: conquers Formosa, 136

Hanazono, emperor of Japan: accession of, 83

Harbin: occupied by Russia, 285

Harris, Townsend: sent as consul-general to Japan, 157

Hasankin, king of Shiragi: submits to the Japanese, 13

Hashiba Hideyoshi: see Toyotomi Hideyoshi

Hatakeyama Masanaga: plots against, 98

Hatakeyama Yoshinari: claims regency, 98

Hawaii: concludes treaty with Japan, 189

Hay, John: his negotiations with the Great Powers, 279;
his note to Russian and Chinese governments concerning Manchuria, 289

Hayashi, Viscount: negotiates treaty with England, 232

Hegushagu: battle of, 119

Hei-an Epoch: 38

Heiji Insurrection, 57

Hekitei-kan: battle of, 119

Hieda no-Are: compiles annals of the reigns of Japanese sovereigns, 35

Hiki Yoshikazu: plots against the Hōjō family, 69

Hiraga Tomomasa: plots to obtain the shōgunate, 70

Hōgen Insurrection, 56

[340]Hōjō Family: rise of, 69

Hōjō Morotoki: regency of, 77

Hōjō Sadatoki: regency of, 77

Hōjō Sanemasa: commands Japanese army, 75

Hōjō Takatoki: regency of, 77, 84

Hōjō Tokifusa: his campaign against the imperial forces, 71

Hōjō Tokimasa: restores order in Nyōto, 66;
assumes government of Kamakura, 68

Hōjō Tokimune: saves Japan from Mogul conquest, 73;
puts Chinese envoy to death, 75

Hōjō Tokiyori: rule of, 72

Hōjō Tsunetoki: rule of, 72

Hōjō Yasutoki: his campaign against the imperial forces, 71;
rule of, 72;
raises Gosaga to the throne, 83

Hōjo Yoshitoki: power of, 71

Hōjo-ji: built, 41

Hokau-tai: battle of, 312

Honda Masazumi: his estates confiscated, 128

Hosokawa Kazumoto: rebellion of, 98

Hosokawa Mochiyuki: crushes revolt of Akamatsu Mitsusuke, 96

Hotta Masaatsu (Bitchu-no-Kami): attempts to negotiate treaty with the United States, 157

Hotto Masatoshi: made tairō, 140

Hu Weiyung: plots assassination of Chinese emperor, 102

Huing-yo-cheng: battle of, 310

Hun-chun: occupied by Russia, 285

Hu-shan: captured by the Japanese, 267

Hwan Bunko: his campaign in Japan, 75

I, J

Ichijō, emperor of Japan: reign of, 43

Ichinotani: battle of, 62

Ii Naosuke (Kamon-no-Kami): made tairō, 158;
assassination of, 161

Imagawa Yoshimoto: invades Owari, 110

Inouye Kaoru, Count: attempts to negotiate treaties with European countries, 190;
vice ambassador to Korea, 194;
ambassador to Korea, 196

Ishida Mitsunari: his campaign against Korea, 116

Itagaki Taisuke: counsels war with Korea, 178;
reforms of, 182;
leads Liberal Party, 214;
made home minister, 220

Itakura Shigemasa: attempts to crush rebellion of Shimabara, 138

Italy: concludes treaty with Japan, 189

Itō Hirobumi, Marquis: examines constitutional laws of European countries, 184;
made minister of state, 185;
negotiates convention with China, 196;
forms a constitutional party, 214;
first premiership of, 215;
second premiership of, 218;
fourth premiership of, 227;
makes tour of the world, 231

Itō, Admiral: at battle of Wei-hai-Wei, 270

Iwafune: built, 27

Iwakura Tomomi: made gijō, 167;
visits United States and Europe, 189

Japan, History of: the mythical age, 3;
the beginning of the empire, 6;
relations with Korea and China, 12;
the Taikwa Reform, 22;
the Nara Epoch, 31;
the Hei-an Epoch, 38;
the Kamakura government, 65;
the temporary restoration of imperial power, 83;
the Muromachi period, 92;
internal peace and external war, 109;
the foundation of the Edo government, 122;
the decline of the Edo government, 140;
the fall of the Edo government, 155;
internal affairs, 173;
foreign relations, 188;
the Constitution in theory and practice, 199;
parties and politics, 213;
economic progress, 243;
the Chino-Japanese War, 252;
Japan and Russia in Korea and Manchuria, 275;
the Russo-Japanese War and its aftermath,  303

Japan, Sea of: battle of, 316

Jimmu, emperor of Japan: founds dynasty, 7

Jingō, empress of Japan: her expedition against Korea, 12

Jito, empress of Japan: reign of, 30

Joost, Jan: settles in Japan, 135

Josetsu: sketch of, 106

Juntoku, emperor of Japan: plots against the Hōjō family, 71


Kabayama, Rear Admiral: at battle of Yalu, 266

Kagoshima: battle of (1863), 164;
captured by Saigō's forces (1876), 182

Kaineifu: captured by the Japanese, 118

Kai-ping: battle of, 310

Kalakaua, king of Hawaii: visits Japan, 191

Kameyama, emperor of Japan: reign of, 83

Kamon-no-Kami: see Ii Naosuke

Kang-wa-seh: captured by the Japanese, 268

Kannuna-gawamimi: see Suisei

Kano Masanobu: sketch of, 106

Kano Oyenosuke: sketch of, 106

Kato Kiyomasa: his campaign against Korea, 116;
at battle of Sekigahara, 123

Katsura, Viscount: made minister of the navy, 220;
made premier, 230;
his campaigns in the Chino-Japanese War, 267

Kaulbars, Alexander, Baron: his services in the Russo-Japanese War, 312

Kawamura Sumiyoshi: attempts to crush rebellion of Saigō, 179, 180

Kegushagushu: captured by the Japanese, 117

Keikō, emperor of Japan: reign of, 9

Keishoki: see Shokei

Ketteler, Baron von: murder of, 280

Kibi-no-Makibi: scholarship of, 34

Kido Takakoto: persuades the lord of Chōshū to surrender his feudal domains to the crown, 174

Kin-chow: captured by the Japanese, 268

Kinoshita Hideyoshi: see Toyotomi Hideyoshi

Ki-no-Tsurayuki: compiles the "Kokin-shu," 43

Kitabatake Akiiye: his campaign against Ashikaga Takauji, 88

Kitabatake Chikafusa: his campaign against the Hōjō, 90

Kitabatake Mitsumasa: declares war against Ashikaga Yoshimochi, 93

Kitano-no-Tenjin: see Sugawara-no-Michizane

Kōbun, emperor of Japan: reign of, 29

Kodama, Baron: becomes member of cabinet, 239

Kohōgen Motonobu: sketch of, 106

Kōkaku, emperor of Japan: reign of, 149

Kōkō, emperor of Japan: reign of, 46

Kōkyoku (Saimei), empress of Japan: first reign of, 20;
second reign of, 25

Kōmei, emperor of Japan: reign of, 158;
death of, 166

Komura, Baron: appointed director of Korean administration, 267;
appointed peace commissioner, 317

Komura-Waeber Memorandum (1896), 296

Kōmyō, empress of Japan: her devotion to Buddhism, 32

Kōmyō, emperor of the North: accession of, 89

Kongobu-ji: built, 41

Kōnin, emperor of Japan: accession of, 37

Konishi Yukinaga: his campaign against Korea, 116

Kōno Hironaka: attempted reforms of, 184

Kōno Tokama: forms a provisional court in Kiushū, 182

Konoye, emperor of Japan: reign of, 56

Korea: early relations with Japan, 12;
conquests of China in, 26;
relations with Japan under the Edo government, 134;
refuses to acknowledge the new government in Japan, 178;
adopts some Western civilization, 194;
the Chino-Japanese War, 252;
Russia and Japan in, 275

Kōya: battle of, 85

Kozenbō, Prince: rebellion of, 169

Kublai Khan: his conquests in Korea, 73

Kudo Suketsune: death of, 152

Kūkai: teachings of, 41

Kuki Yoshitaka: commands fleet for invasion of Korea, 116

Kumaso: rebellions of (ca. 50 B. C.), 9;
   (ca. 200 A. D.), 12

Kumamota Castle: siege of, 180

Kumoi Tatsuo: plots against the new government, 177

[342]Kuroda Kiyotaka, Count: his campaign against Saigō, 180;
made minister of state, 185;
ambassador to Korea, 194

Kuroda Nagamasa: at battle of Sekigahara, 123

Kuroki, Itci: his campaigns in the Russo-Japanese War, 309

Kuropatkin, Alexei Nikolayevitch: his services in the Russo-Japanese War, 310

Kusunoki Masashige: revolt of, 85;
his campaigns against the Hōjō, 86

Kusunoki Masatsura: death of, 91

Kwammu, emperor of Japan: transfers the capital to Kyōto, 38

Kyokutei Bakim: sketch of, 142

Kyōto: made capital of Japan, 38;
ruined, 99


Land Tax Bill (1898), 225

Lessar, Paul: appointed minister to Peking, 288

Li Ching Fang: negotiates treaty of peace with Japan, 273

Li Chiu: his campaign against the Japanese, 119

Li Hung Chang: negotiates convention with Japan, 196;
negotiates treaty of peace with Japan, 273;
death of, 289

Li Sei-kei: revolt of, 102

Li Shunshin: his campaigns against the Japanese, 118, 120

Liao-yang: battle of, 310

Lien, king of Korea: at war with Japan, 117

Linevitch, General: his services in the Russo-Japanese War, 313

Liu Fok-hêng: commands fleet for invading Japan, 74

Liu Kan-yi: attempts to have Manchuria opened to foreign trade, 288

Loochoo, Islands of: sketch of the history of, 192


MacDonald, Sir Claude: negotiates treaty with Japan, 232

Makarov, Vice Admiral: his services in the Russo-Japanese War, 307

Manchuria: Russia and Japan in, 275

Marubashi Chūya: attempts to revolt, 140

Masuda Nagamori: his campaign against Korea, 116

Masuda Shirō: leads rebellion, 137

Matsudaira Katamori: rebellion of, 170

Matsudaira Nobutsuna: crushes rebellion of Shimabara, 138;
makes improvements in Edo, 148

Matsudaira Sadanobu: encourages martial exercises, 147;
policy of, 149

Matsukata, Count: made premier, 217

Matsukura Shigemasa: made feudal chief of Shimabara, 137

Matsumaye Nobuhiro: recognized as lord of Ezo, 113

Mayeda Toshiiye: member of council of state, 114;
appointed guardian for Toyotomi Hideyori, 121

Meiji Era, 174

Meyer, George von Lengerke: aids peace negotiations between Russia and Japan, 319

Mikawa: battle of (1335), 88

Minamoto, Clan of: rise of, 51

Minamoto-no-Hikaru: conspires against Sugawara-no-Michizane, 47

Minamoto-no-Kugyō: kills Minamoto-no-Sanetomo, 69

Minamoto-no-Noriyori: at battle of Seta, 62

Minamoto-no-Sanetomo: made shōgun, 69

Minamoto-no-Tameyoshi: supports plans of Emperor Sutoku, 56

Minamoto-no-Tsunemoto: defeats Minamoto-no-Sumitomo, 53

Minamoto-no-Yoriiye: made generalissimo, 68

Minamoto-no-Yorimasa: supports accession of Emperor Goshirakawa, 56;
plots against the Taira sway, 60

Minamoto-no-Yorinobu: crushes rebellion of Taira-no-Tadatsune, 53

Minamoto-no-Yoritomo: leads rebellion, 60;
quarrels with Minamoto-no-Yoshinaka, 62;
influence of, 65

Minamoto-no-Yoriyoshi: crushes insurrection in Mutsu, 54

[343]Minamoto-no-Yoshiiye: crushes revolt of the Kiyowara family, 54

Minamoto-no-Yoshinaka: leads rebellion, 60;
defeats Taira forces, 61;
defeated by revolted followers, 62

Minamoto-no-Yoshitomo: supports accession of Emperor Goshirakawa, 56;
rebellion of, 57

Minamoto-no-Yoshitsune: at battle of Seta, 62;
story of, 65

Minamoto-no-Yukiiye: attempts to overthrow the Taira family, 60

Mincho Chodensu: sketch of, 106

Miura, Major General: his campaign against , 179

Miura Yoshimura: duplicity of Saigō, 71

Miyako, empress-dowager of Japan: her devotion to Buddhism, 32

Miyoshi, Major General: his campaign against , 179

Miyoshi Yasunobu: made minister of justice, 68

Mommu, emperor of Japan: accession of, 30

Mononobe Moriya: feud with Soga-no-Umako, 19

Mononobe-no-Okoshi: opposes the acceptance of Buddhism, 15

Montoku, emperor of Japan: birth of, 45

Mōri Motonari: provides coronation expenses for Emperor Ōgimachi, 100

Mōri Terumoto: member of council of state, 144;
at battle of Sekigahara, 123

Mōri Yoshichika, lord of Chōshū: attempts to restore tranquillity to Japan, 161;
expelled from Kyōto, 163

Morinaga, Prince: made abbot of Enryaku-ji, 84;
his campaigns against the Hōjō, 85;
fate of, 87

Mo-tien-ling: battles of (1894), 269;
(1904), 310

Mount Kasagi: siege of (1331), 84

Mount Kongo: siege of (1333), 86

Mount Tsukuba Insurrection, 164

Mukden: battle of, 312

Mura-saki-shikibu: scholarship of, 43

Mutsu Munemitsu: negotiates treaty with Great Britain, 191

Myochin Muneyasu: sketch of, 107

Myochin Nobuiye: skill of, 107

Myōshō, empress of Japan: reign of, 132


Nagasaki Takasuke: power of, 77

Naka-no-ōye, Prince: see Tenchi, emperor of Japan

Nakahara Chikayoshi: made vice-minister of the public archives, 68

Nakatomi-no-Kamako: opposes the acceptance of Buddhism, 15

Nakatomi-no-Kamatari: plots against Soga-no-Iruka, 20;
death of, 28

Nara Epoch, The, 31

Navy Increase Question, 233

Nawa Nagatoshi: aids Emperor Godaigo, 85

Nebokatov, Admiral: his services in the Russo-Japanese War, 314

Nicholas II, emperor of Russia: visits Japan, 191

Nikkō: battle of, 170

Nimmyō, emperor of Japan: marriage of, 45

Nishi-Rosen Protocol (1898), 296

Nitta Yoshisada: besieges Mount Kongo (1333), 86;
sketch of, 87;
his campaign against Ashikaga Takauji, 88;
death of, 90

Niu-chwang: captured by the Japanese, 272;
occupied by Russia, 285

Nodzu Michitsura, Viscount: his campaigns in the Chino-Japanese War, 267

Nogi: his services in the Russo-Japanese War, 311

Nozu: his campaign against Saigō, 179

Nutari: built, 27


Ōama, Prince: see Temmu, emperor of Japan

Oda Nobunaga: aids Ashikaga Yoshiaki to regain the shōgunate, 101;
career of, 110

Oda Nobukatsu: rebels against Hashiba Hideyoshi, 113

Oda Nubutaka: plots against Hashiba Hideyoshi, 113

Oda Sambōshi: succeeds Oda Nobunaga, 113

Ōgimachi, emperor of Japan: coronation of, 100

Ōhara Shigenori: made sanyo, 167

[344]Ōishi Kuranosuke: revenges death of Asana Naganori, 152

Ōjin, emperor of Japan: promotes Chinese learning, 13

Ōjin War, 97

Okehazama: battle of, 110

Oku, Hokyo: his campaigns in the Chino-Japanese War, 267;
his services in the Russo-Japanese War, 310

Ōkubo Toshimichi: made sanyo, 167;
persuades the lord of Satsuma to surrender his feudal domains to the crown, 174;
crushes rebellion of Eto Shimpei, 177;
opposes war with Korea, 178;
sent as plenipotentiary to Peking, 192

Ōkuma Shigenobu, Count: reforms of, 183;
attempts to negotiate treaties with European powers, 190;
leads Progressive Party, 214;
made minister of foreign affairs, 217;
made premier, 220;
opposes navy expansion, 236

Ōmura Masujiro: assassination of, 177

Ō-no-Yasumaro: scholarship of, 34

Ono-no-Yoshifuru: defeats Minamoto-no-Sumitomo, 53

Ōoka Tadasuke: sketch of, 146;
establishes the fire-brigade system, 149

Ōsaka: siege of, 126

Ōseka: his campaigns in the Chino-Japanese War, 267

Ōshima: his campaigns against Chinese, 262, 267

Ōshio Heihachirō: leads rebellion, 155

Otani Yoshitaka: his campaign against Korea, 116

Ōtomo, Prince: see Kōbun, emperor of Japan

Ōtomo-no-Yakamochi: aids in the compilation of the "Manyoshu," 35

Ōtori, Japanese minister: his career in Korea, 259

Ōtori Keisuke: rebellion of, 169

Ōuchi Yoshihiro: rebellion of, 94

Ōuchi Yoshitaka: provides coronation expenses for Emperor Gonara, 100

Ōyama, Count: his campaign in Chino-Japanese War, 268;
his services in the Russo-Japanese War, 310

Ōye Hiromoto: made minister of the public archives, 68;
plans campaign against the imperial forces, 71

Ozaki: causes downfall of Ōkuma's cabinet, 221

P, Q

Pavlov, General: represents Russia at Seul, 296

Peking: siege of (1900), 280

Perry, Matthew Calbraith: visits Japan, 155;
concludes treaty with Japan, 157

Phung-do Island: battle of, 261

Ping-yang: battle of, 265

Plançon: minister to China, 295

Pokotilov: his attempts to win Chinese officials, 295

Port Arthur: siege of (1894), 268; leased to Russia, 277;
battle of (1904), 304;
siege of (1904), 306

Portsmouth Treaty, The (1905), 318

Portugal: concludes treaty with Japan, 189

Portuguese: visit Japan, 104

Prussia: concludes treaty with Japan, 189

Pu-lan-tien: captured by the Japanese, 310


Rai Sanyō: influence of his writings, 160

Reigen, emperor of Japan: reign of, 132

Religion and Mythology: the mythical age, 3;
introduction of Buddhism, 14;
Christianity introduced into Japan, 105

Richū, emperor of Japan: appoints historiographers throughout Japan, 13

Rikken Seiyū Kwai: see Constitutional Political Association

Rokuhara: destroyed (1333), 86

Roosevelt, Theodore: attempts to induce Russia to treat for peace with Japan, 316

Rosen, Baron: appointed peace commissioner, 318

Rozhestvenski, Vice Admiral: commands Baltic fleet, 313

Russia: in Korea and Manchuria, 275

Russo-Japanese War, 303

Russo-Chinese Bank: established, 276


Saichō: teachings of, 41

Saigō Takamori, lord of Satsuma: joins lord of Chōshū against the shōgun, 165;
made sanyo, 167;
negotiates treaty for surrender of Tokugawa Yoshinobu, 169;
rebellion of, 178

Saigō Tsugumichi, Marquis: attempts to negotiate treaties with European powers, 190;
his campaign in Formosa, 192;
accompanies Count Itō to China, 196;
made minister of the army, 220

Sai-ma-tsi: captured by the Japanese (1894), 268;
(1904), 310

Saimei: see Kōkyoku

Saionji, Marquis: made president of the Constitutional Political Association, 238

Sakai Tadakiyo: influence of, 140

Sakanoue-no-Tamuramaro: his campaign against the Emishi, 27

Sakhalin: occupied by Japan, 318;
treaty regulations concerning, 319

Sakuma Shōzan: assassination of, 177

Sanjō Sanetomi: accompanies Mōri Yoshichika to his fief, 163;
restored to his former rank, 167

Sano Takenosuke: leads plots for assassination of Ii Naosuke, 161

Sanuki: battle of, 62

San-sin: occupied by Russia, 285

Sea of Japan: battle of, 316

Sei-Shōnagon: scholarship of, 43

Sekigahara: battle of, 124

Sesshū: sketch of, 106

Seta: battle of, 62

Seul: uprising of 1884, 256;
captured by the Japanese, 260

Seiwa, emperor of Japan: reign of, 46

Seymour, Sir Edward Hobart: attempts to relieve foreigners in Peking, 279

Sha River: battle of, 311

Shanghai: evacuation of, by allied forces, 292

Shijōnawate: battle of, 91

Shimabara: rebellion of, 137

Shimazu Hisamitsu: attempts to restore tranquillity to Japan, 161;
causes a breach between Japan and England, 162

Shimazu Narishigi, lord of Satsuma: attempts to restore tranquillity to Japan, 161

Shimonoseki Affair, The, 163, 165

Shingon: founded, 41

Shinsai: battle of, 121

Shiragi: revolt of, 25

Shirakawa, emperor of Japan: gives influence to Buddhist priests, 54

Shiroyama: battle of, 182

Shisen: battle of, 121

Sho Tai, king of Loochoo: his relations with Japanese government, 193

Shōhei-kō: growth of, 141

Shokei (Keishoki): sketch of, 106

Shōkō, emperor of Japan: accession of, 93

Shōkoku-ji: built, 93

Shōmei, emperor of Japan: accession of, 20

Shōmu, emperor of Japan: reign of, 10;
aids the spread of Buddhism, 32;
marriage of, 45

Shōni Kagesuke: his campaign against the Chinese, 76

Shōtoku, Prince: distinguishes himself as a scholar, 14

Shozui: aids the development of ceramics, 107

Shuban: sketch of, 106

Silk: production and manufacture of, introduced into Japan, 18

Siu-yen: battle of (1894), 268;
captured by Japanese (1904), 310

Sō Yoshitomo: invites king of Korea to visit Japan, 116

Soga Dasoku: sketch of, 106

Soga Sukenari: kills father's foe, 152

Soga Tokimune: kills father's foe, 152

Soga-no-Emishi: influence of, 20

Soga-no-Iname: counsels the acceptance of Buddhism, 14

Soga-no-Iruka: influence of, 20

Soga-no-Mako: works for the acceptance of Buddhism in Japan, 15

Soga-no-Umako: builds temples and pagodas for Buddha, 16;
feud with Monobe Moriya, 19

Song-hwan: battle of, 262

Sonntag, Miss: represents Russia at Seul, 296

Sotan: sketch of, 106

Sōtarō Iba: assassinates Tōru Hoshi, 229

[346]Soyeshima Taneomi: counsels war with Korea, 178

Spain: concludes treaty with Japan, 189

Stakelberg, General: his services in the Russo-Japanese War, 310

Stoessel, General: surrenders Port Arthur, 312

Sugawara-no-Michizane: influence of, 47;
disgraced, 47;
honored, 48

Sugiyama, Chancellor: murder of, 280

Suiko, empress of Japan: accession of, 20

Suinin, emperor of Japan: condition of the empire under, 9

Suisei (Kannuna-gawamimi), emperor of Japan: accession of, 7

Sujin, emperor of Japan: separates shrine and palace, 9;
condition of the empire under, 9

Sumatah: introduces Buddhism into Japan, 14

Sung-ching: his campaigns against the Japanese, 267

Suruga: battle of (1335), 88

Sutoku, emperor of Japan: deposed, 56;
leads rebellion, 56

Sweden: concludes treaty with Japan, 189

Switzerland: concludes treaty with Japan, 189


Tachilana Moroye: collects Japanese poems, 35

Tadaranohama: battle of, 88

Taga: built, 27

Taikwa Reform, 22

Taira, Clan of: rise of, 51

Taira-no-Kiyomori: supports accession of Emperor Goshirakawa, 56;
crushes rebellion of Nobuyori and Yoshitomo, 57;
influence of, 58

Taira-no-Masakado: revolt of, 53

Taira-no-Munemori: influence of, 60;
death of, 62

Taira-no-Sadamori: defeats Taira-no-Masakado, 53

Taira-no-Shigemori: crushes rebellion of Nobuyori and Yoshitomo, 57

Taira-no-Tadamasa: supports plans of Emperor Sutoku, 56

Taira-no-Tadatsune: rebellion of, 53

Taira-no-Takamochi: vice-governor of Kazusa, 52

Taiwon-kun: anti-foreign policy of, 195, 255

Takahira, Kogorō: appointed peace commissioner, 317

Takakura, emperor of Japan: reign of, 58

Takanaga, Prince: his campaign against Ashikaga Takauji, 87

Takasugi Shinsaku: leader of anti-Tokugawa party, 165

Takeuchi Shikibu: plots against the Tokugawa, 160

Takezoye: minister to Korea, 256

Takishimimi, Prince: attempts to usurp the throne, 7

Ta-ku-shan: taken by the Japanese, 268

Ta-lien-wan: captured by the Japanese, 268;
leased to Russia, 277

Tani-Tateki: attempts to defend Kumamoto castle, 180

Taping-ling: battle of, 310

Tashi-chiao: battle of, 310

Tatsumi: his campaigns in the Chino-Japanese War, 267

Ta-tung-kau: taken by the Japanese, 268

Tawara-saka: battle of, 180

Telissu: battle of, 310

Tenchi, emperor of Japan: plots against Soga-no-Iruka, 20;
reign of, 25

Tendai: founded, 41

Temmu, emperor of Japan: rebellion of, 29;
reign of, 30;
aids the spread of Buddhism, 31

Tie-ling: captured by Japanese, 313

Tien-chwang-tai: destroyed by the Japanese, 272

Tientsin: captured by the allied forces, 280

Tientsin Convention (1885), 256

Tik Ho: his campaign against the Japanese, 120

Ting Ju-chang, Admiral: at battle of Wei-hai-Wei, 270

Toba, emperor of Japan: intrigues of, 55;
death of, 56

Toba: battle of, 168

Togo, Heihachiro: his services in the Russo-Japanese War, 303

Tokugawa Hidetada: concludes peace with Korea, 121;
shōgunate of, 127

[347]Tokugawa Iyeharu: shōgunate of, 149

Tokugawa Iyemitsu: character of, 127

Tokugawa Iyemochi: accession to the shōgunate, 158;
marriage of, 161;
visits Kyōto, 162

Tokugawa Iyenari: shōgunate of, 149

Tokugawa Iyesada: shōgunate of, 156

Tokugawa Iyeshige: shōgunate of, 149

Tokugawa Iyetsuna: shōgunate of, 140

Tokugawa Iyeyasu: rebels against Hashiba Hideyoshi, 113;
member of council of state, 114;
sketch of, 122;
death of, 127;
encourages literature, 141

Tokugawa Nariakira: urges policy of national seclusion, 156

Tokugawa Tsunayoshi: shōgunate of, 140

Tokugawa Yoshimune: shōgunate of, 144

Tokugawa Yoshinobu: his claims to the shōgunate, 158;
shōgunate of, 166

Tokunegi: captured by the Japanese, 117

Tōkyō, formerly Edo: made capital, 174

Tomu-cheng: captured by the Japanese (1894), 268;
battle of (1904), 310

Tonghak Rebellion, 257

Tōru Hoshi: influence of, 222;
sketch of his career, 229

Tosa Mitsunobu: sketch of, 105

Tosabō Shōshun: sent to destroy Minamoto-no-Yoshitsune, 66

Toyotomi Hidetsugu: regency of, 121

Toyotomi Hideyori: accession of, to his father's position, 121;
regency of, 123;
influence of, 125

Toyotomi Hideyoshi: guards the shōgun, 111;
crushes rebellion of Akechi Mitsuhide, 112;
sketch of, 113;
invades Korea, 116

Tsang-chi: concludes treaty with Admiral Alexiev, 286

Tso Shingfon: sent to aid the Koreans, 118

Tsushima: battle of (1419), 103

U, V

Uchida: protests against Russian demands (1903), 294

Uda, emperor of Japan: reign of, 47

Ukita Hideiye: member of council of state, 114;
his campaign against Korea, 116;
at battle of Sekigahara, 123

United States: concludes treaty with Japan (1879), 190

Urosan: siege of, 120

Uryū, Rear Admiral: his services in the Russo-Japanese War, 303

Utsunomiya: battle of, 170

Uyesugi Kagekatsu: member of council of state, 114;
at battle of Sekigahara, 123

Uyesugi Norizane: crushes revolt of Ashikaga Mochiuji, 95

Vereshchagin, Alexander V.: death of, 307

Voelkersam, Admiral: his services in the Russo-Japanese War, 314


Wafangao Pass: see Feng-shui Pass

Wake-no-Kiyomaro: opposes influence of Dōkyō, 36

Wani: introduces Chinese learning into Japan, 13

Watanabe, Viscount: causes downfall of fourth Itō cabinet, 228

Watanabe Kazuma: slays Kawai, 152

Wei-hai-Wei: captured by the Japanese, 270;
naval battle of, 270;
leased to Great Britain, 278

William II, emperor of Germany: visits Japan, 191

Witte, Count Serge: appointed peace commissioner, 317

Witthoeft, Rear Admiral: his services in the Russo-Japanese War, 308

X, Y, Z

Xavier, St. Francis: see Francis Xavier, St.

Yalu: battle of (1894), 266

Yalu River: battle of (1904), 309

Yamada Nagamasa: career of, 136

Yamagata Aritomo, Count: attempts to crush rebellion of Saigō, 179;
becomes minister president, 190;
[348]made premier, 221;
his campaigns in the Chino-Japanese War, 267

Yamagata-Lobanov Protocol (1896), 296

Yamaji, Baron: his campaign in Chino-Japanese War, 268

Yamana Mochitoyo: crushes revolt of Akamatsu Mitsusuke, 96

Yamana Sōzen: rebellion of, 97

Yamano Ujikiyo: rebellion of, 94

Yamanouchi Toyonobu, lord of Tosa: attempts to restore tranquillity to Japan, 161

Yamato-dake, Prince: his campaign against the Kumaso, 9;
his campaign against the Emishi, 10;
death of, 10

Yamazaki: battle of, 112

Yanagiwara Sakimitsu: warns the Shimazu against joining rebellions, 180

Yanagiwara Sakimitsu: sent as ambassador to China, 192

Yanagizawa Yoshiyasu: rise of, 142

Yang-tse Agreement, The: see Anglo-German Agreement

Yang-tsu-ling: captured by the Japanese, 310

Yellow Sea: battle of, 309

Ying Kai: commands army against Japan, 120

Ying-kau: captured by the Japanese, 272

Yokoi Heishirō: assassination of, 177

Yoshiaki, Prince: made gijō, 167;
sent to crush rebellion of Eto Shimpei, 177

Yoshino: battle of, 85

Yōzei, emperor of Japan: reign of, 46

Yuan Shih-kai: minister to Korea, 256

Yuino Shōsetsu: attempts to revolt, 140

Yu-shu-lin-tsu: captured by the Japanese, 310

Zassulitch: his services in the Russo-Japanese War, 309

Zen Sect: teachings of, 80

Transcriber's Notes:

The illustrations are low-resolution images. Click to see a