XXVII. THE PERFECTION OF DUARCHY AND FEUDALISM
WE have traced the rise and fall of no fewer than six families that held governing power in their persons or in reality. These were in succession the Sugawara, Fujiwara, Taira, Minamoto, Hōjō, and Ashikaga. The last half of the sixteenth century witnessed the rise, not of great families, but of individuals, the mark of whose genius and energy is stamped upon Japanese history. These three individuals were Nobunaga, Hidéyoshi, and Iyéyasŭ. Who and what were they?
Nobunaga was one of many clan-leaders who, by genius and daring, rose above the crowd, and planned to bring all the others in subjection to himself, that he might rule them in the mikado's name. From having been called Baka Dono (Lord Fool) by his enemies, he rose to be Nai Dai Jin, and swayed power equal to a shōgun, but he never received that name or honor; for not being a Minamoto, he was ineligible. But for this inviolable precedent, Nobunaga might have become Sei-i Tai Shōgun, and founded a family line as proud and powerful as that of the Tokugawas of later time.
Who was Hidéyoshi? This question was often asked, in his own time, by men who felt only too keenly what he was. This man, who manufactured his own ancestry on paper, was a parvenu from the peasant class, who, from grooming his master's horses in the stable, continued his master's work, as shōgun, in the field, and, trampling on all precedent, amazed the Fujiwara peers by getting the office of kuambakŭ.
Who was Iyéyasŭu? Neither of his two predecessors had Minamoto blood. Iyéyasŭ, though at first an obscure captain under Nobunaga, was of true Genji stock. The blood of mikados, and of the great cónquerors of Eastern Japan, was in his veins. He was destined to eclipse even the splendor of his forefathers. He was eligible, by right of descent, to become Sei-i Tai Shōgun, or chief of all the daimiōs.
The family of Tokugawa took its name from a place and river in Shimotsŭké, near Ashikaga and Nitta - which are geographical as well as personal names - claimed descent from the mikado Seiwa through the Minamoto Yoshiiyé, thence through that of Nitta Yoshisada. Tokugawa Shiro, the father of Iyéyasŭ, lived in the village of Matsudaira, in Mikawa. Iyéyasŭ always signed the documents sent to foreigners, Minamoto no Iyéyasŭ.
As it is the custom in Japan, as in Europe, to name families after places, the name of this obscure village, Matsudaira, was also taken as a family name by nearly all vassals, who held their lands by direct grant from Iyéyasŭ. In 1867, no fewer than fifty-four daimiōs were holding the name Matsudaira. The title of the daimiō in whose capital the writer lived in 1871, was Matsudaira Echizen no Kami.
The Tokugawa crest was a circle inclosing three leaves of the awoi (a species of mallow, found in Central Japan) joined at the tips, the stalks touching the circle. This gilded trefoil gleamed on the Government buildings and property of the shōgun, and on the official documents, boats, robes, flags, and tombs. On Kaempfer's and Hildreth's books there is printed under it the misleading legend, "Insignia Imperatoris Japonici." The trefoil flag fluttered in the breeze when Commodore Perry made his treaty under its shadow. To this day many foreigners suppose it to be the national flag of Japan. It was simply the family crest of the chief daimiō in Japan.
The imperial court, yearning for peace, and finding in Iyéyasŭ the person to keep the empire in order, command universal obedience, and satisfy the blood requirements of precedent to the office, created him Sei-i Tai Shōgun, and it was left to Minamoto Tokugawa Iyéyasŭ to achieve the perfection of duarchy and. Japanese feudalism.
Let us see how he arranged the chess-board of the empire. There were his twelve children, a number of powerful princes of large landed possessions whom he had not conquered, but conciliated; the lesser daimiés, who had joined him in his career; his own retainers of every grade; and a vast and miscellaneous array of petty feudal superiors, having grants of land and retinues of from three to one hundred followers. The long hereditary occupation of certain lands had given the holders a right which even Iyéyasŭ could not dispute. Out of such complexity and chaos, how was such a motley array of proud and turbulent men to be reduced to discipline and obedience? Upon such a palimpsest, how was an accurate map to be drawn, or a durable legible record to be written? Iyéyasŭ had force, resources, and patience. He was master of the arts of conciliation and of letting alone. He could wait for time to do its work. He would give men the opportunity of being conquered by their own good sense.
Of Iyéyasŭ's twelve children, three daughters married the daimiōs of Mimasaka, Sagami, and Hida. Of his nine sons, Nobuyasŭ died before his father became shōgun. Hidéyasŭ, his second son, had been adopted by the taikō, but a son was born to the latter. Iyéyasŭ then gave his son the province of Echizen. Hence the Echizen clansmen, as relatives of the shōgunal family, were ever their stanchest supporters, even until the cannon fired at Fushimi in 1868. Their crest was the same trefoil as that of their suzerain. When Hidéyasŭ was enfeoffed with Echizen, many prominent men and heads of old families, supposing that he would, of course, succeed his father in office, followed him to his domain, and lived there. Hence in Fukui, the capital of Echizen, in which I lived during the year 1871, I became acquainted with the descendants of many proud families, whose ancestors had nursed a profound disappointment for over two centuries; for Iyéyasŭ chose his third son, Hidétada, who had married a daughter of the taikō, to succeed him in the shōgunate.
Tadayashi, fifth son of Iyéyasŭ, whose title was Matsudaira Satsuma no Kami, died young. At his death five of his retainers disemboweled themselves, that they might follow their young master into the happy land. This is said to be the last instance of the ancient custom of jun-shi (dying with the master), such as we have noticed in a former chapter. During the early and mediæval centuries occur authentic in stances of such immolation, or the more horrible test of loyalty in the burial of living retainers to their necks in the earth, with only the head above ground, who were left to starve slowly to death. Burying a man alive under the foundations of a castle about to be built or in the pier of a new bridge, was a similar instance of lingering superstitions.
In the Bu Kan ("Mirror of the Military Families of Japan"), a complete list of the "Yedo nobility," or clans, no record is given of Iyéyasŭ's sixth and ninth male children. On his three last sons were bestowed the richest fiefs in the empire, excepting those of Satsuma, Kaga, Mutsu, Higo, and a few others - all-powerful daimiōs, whose lands Iyéyasŭ could not touch, and whose allegiance was only secured by a policy of conciliation. These three sons were invested with the principalities of Owari, Kii, and Mito. They founded three families, who were called Gosanké (the three illustrious families), and from these, in case of failure of heirs in the direct line, the shōgun was to be chosen. The assessed revenue of these families were 610,500, 555,000, and 350,000 koku of rice, respectively. They were held in great respect, and wielded immense influence. Their yashikis in Yedo were among the largest, and placed in the most conspicuous and commanding sites of the city. At the tombs of the shōguns at Shiba and Uyéno, the bronze memorial lanterns presented in honor of the deceased ruler are pre-eminent above all others for their size and beauty.
In the course of history down to 1868, it resulted that the first seven shōguns were descendants of Iyéyasŭ in the line of direct heirs. From the eighth, and thence downward to the sixteenth, or next to the last, the shōguns were all really of the blood of Kii. The Owari family was never represented on the seat of Iyéyasŭ. It was generally believed, and is popularly stated, that as the first Prince of Mito had married the daughter of an enemy of Iyéyasŭ, the Mito family could not furnish an heir to the shōgunate. In 1867, however, as we shall see, Keiki, a son of Mito, but adopted into the Hitotsŭbashi family, became the thirty-ninth and last Sei-i Tai Shōgun of Japan, the fifteenth and last of Tokugawa, and the fourth and last "Tycoon" of Japan.
Next to the Gosanké ranked the Kokushiu (koku, province; shiu, ruler) daimiōs, the powerful leaders whom Iyéyasŭ defeated, or won over to obedience, but never tamed or conquered. He treated them rather as equals less fortunate in the game of war than himself. Some of them were direct descendant of the Kokushiu appointed by Yoritomo, but most were merely successful military adventurers like Iyéyasŭ himself. Of these, Kaga was the wealthiest. He ruled over Kaga, Noto, and Etchiu, his chief city and castle being at Kanézawa. His income was 1,027,000 koku. The family name was Maëda. There were three cadet families ranking as Tozama, two with incomes of 100,000, the other of 10,000 koku. The Maëda crest consisted of five circles, around ten short rays representing sword-punctures. The Shimadzŭ family of Satsuma ruled over Satsuma, Ōzumi, Hiuga, and the Liu Kiu Islands - revenue, 710,000 koku; chief city, Kagoshima. There was one cadet of the house of Shimadzŭ, with a revenue of 27,000 koku. The crest was a white cross within a circle.
The Datté family ruled over the old northern division of Hondo, called Mutsu; capital, Sendai; revenue, 325,000 koku. There were three cadet families, two having 30,000 koku; and one, Uwajima, in Iyo, 100,000. Their crest was two sparrows within a circle of bamboo and leaves.
The Hosokawa family ruled Higo; income 540,000: the chief city is Kumamoto, in which is one of the finest castles in Japan, built by Kato Kiyomasa. Of three cadets whose united incomes were 81,300 koku, two had cities in Higo, and one in Hitachi; crest, eight disks around a central smaller disk.
The Kuroda family ruled Chikuzen; revenue, 520,000; chief city Fukuöka; crest, a black disk. One cadet in Kadzusa had, 30,000 koku; crest, a slice of cucumber. Another in Chikuzen; revenue, 50,000; crest, Wistaria flowers.
The Asano family ruled Aki; chief city, Hiroshima; revenue, 426,000; one cadet.
The Mōri family ruled Chōshiu; chief city, Hagi; revenue, 369,000. Of three cadet families, two were in Nagato, one was in Suwo. Their united incomes, 100,000 koku; crest, a kind of water-plant.
The above are a few specimens from the thirty-six families outside of the Tokugawa, and the subject (fudai) clans, who, though not of the shōgunal family, took the name of Matsudaira. There were, in 1862, two hundred and sixty-seven feudal families, and as many daimiōs of various rank, income, and landed possessions. Japan was thus divided into petty fragments, without real nationality, and utterly unprepared to bear the shock of contact with foreigners.
The Tozama [outside (of the shōgunal family) nobility] were cadet families of the Kokushiu, or the smaller landed lords, who held hereditary possessions, and who sided with Iyéyasŭ in his rise to power. There were, in 1862, ninety whose assessed revenue ranged from ten to one hundred thousand koku each.
The Fudai (literally, successive generations) were the generals, captains, and retainers, both civil and military, on whom Iyéyasŭ bestowed land as rewards. They were the direct vassals of the Tokugawa family. The shōgun could order any of them to exchange their fiefs, or could increase or curtail their revenues at will. They were to the shōgun as the old "Six Guards" of Kiōto, or household troops of the mediæval mikadoate. There were, in 1862, one hundred and fifteen of this class, with lands assessed at from ten to one hundred thousand koku. It was only the fudai, or lower-grade daimiōs, who could hold office under the Yedo bakufu, and one became regent, as we shall see.
When once firmly seated on the throne, Iyéyasŭ found himself master of almost all Japan. His greatest care was to make such a disposal of his lands as to strike a balance of power, and to insure harmony among the host of territorial nobility, who already held or were about to be given lands. It must not be forgotten that Iyéyasŭ and his successors were, both in theory and reality, vassals of the emperor, though they assumed the protection of the imperial person. Neither the shōgun nor the daimiōs were acknowledged at Kiōto as nobles of the empire. The lowest kugé was above the shōgun in rank. The shōgun could obtain his appointment only from the mikado. He was simply the most powerful among the daimiōs, who had won that pre-eminence by the sword, and who, by wealth and power, and a skillfully wrought plan of division of land among the other daimiōs, was able to rule for over two and a half centuries. Theoretically, he was primus inter pares; in actuality, he was supreme over inferiors. The mikado was left with merely nominal power, dependent upon the Yedo treasury for revenue and protection, but he was still the fountain of honor and preferment, and, with his court, formed what was the lawful, and, in the last analysis, the only true power. There was formed at Yedo the de facto, actual administrative government of the empire. With the imperial family, court, and nobles, Iyéyasŭ had nothing to do except as vassal and guardian. He simply undertook to settle the position and grade the power of the territorial nobles, and rule them by the strong hand of military force. Nevertheless, real titles were bestowed only by the emperor; and an honor granted, however empty of actual power, from the Son of Heaven in Kiōto was considered immeasurably superior to any gift which the awe-compelling chief daimiō in Yedo could bestow. The possession of rank and official title is the ruling passion of a Japanese. The richest daimiōs, not content with their power and revenue, spent vast sums of money, and used every influence at the Kiōto court, to win titles, once, indeed, the exponent of a reality that existed, but, since the creation of the duarchy and the decay of the mikado's actual power, as absurdly empty as those of the mediatized princes of Germany, and having no more connection with the duties implied than the title of Pontifex Maximus has with those of Chief Bridgebuilder in Rome.
The head of the proud Shimadzŭ family, with his vast provinces of Satsuma, Hiuga, Ōzumi, and the Lin Kiu Islands, cared as much for the pompous vacuity of Shuri no daibu ("Chief of the Office of Ecclesiastical Carpenters") as to be styled Lord of Satsuma.
It is in the geographical distribution of his feudal vassals that the genius of Iyéyasŭ is seen. Wherever two powerful clans that still bore a grudge against the Tokugawa name were neighbors, he put between them one of his own relatives or direct vassals, which served to prevent the two daimiōs from combining or intriguing. Besides disposing of his enemies so as to make them harmless, his object was to guard the capital, Kiōto, so that aspiring leaders could never again seize the person of the mikado, as had been repeatedly done in times past. He thus removed a chronic element of disorder.
Echizen commands Kiōto from the north; it was given to his eldest son, Ōmi guards it from the east; it was divided among his direct vassals, while Owari and Kii were assigned to his sons. His fudai vassals, or "household troops," were also ranged on the west, while to the south-west was Ōzaka, a city in the government domain, ruled by his own officials. Thus the capital was completely walled in by friends of Tokugawa, and isolated from their enemies.
Mōri, once the lord of ten provinces, and the enemy of Tokugawa, was put away into the extreme south-west of Hondo, all his territories except Nagato and Suwo being taken from him, and given to Tokugawa's direct vassals. Opposite to Nagato were Kokura and Chikuzen, enemies of Nagato. We shall see the significance of this when we treat of events leading to the Restoration (1853-1868). Shikokŭ was properly divided, so as to secure a preponderance of Tokugawa's most loyal vassals. Kiushiu was the weakest part of the system; yet even here Satsuma was last and farthest away, and Higo, his feudal rival and enemy, was put next, and the most skillful disposition possible made of the vassals and friends of Tokugawa.
In the daimiōates succession to their lands was hereditary, but not always to the oldest son, since the custom of adoption was very prevalent, and all the rights of a son were conferred on the adopted one. Often the adopted child was no relation of the ruler. Sickly infants were often made to adopt a son, to succeed to the inheritance and keep up the succession. One of the most curious sights on occasions of important gatherings of samurai, was to see babies and little boys dressed in men's clothes, as "heads of families," sustaining the dignity of representing the family in the clan. I saw such a sight in 1871.
One great difference between the Japanese system and that of entails in Europe lay in this, that the estate granted to each daimiō could not be added to, or diminished, either by marriage, or by purchase, or by might, except by express permission and grant from the shōgun, the superior of all.
Next to the daimiōs ranked the hatamoto, or flag-supporters (hata, flag; moto, root, under), who were vassals of the shōgun - his special dependence in war time - having less than ten thousand koku revenue. Each had from three to thirty retainers in his train. They were, in most cases, of good family, descendants of noted warriors. They numbered eighty thousand in various parts of the empire, but the majority lived in Yedo. They formed the great body of military and civil officials. The gokenin, many of the descendants of Iyéyasŭ's private soldiers, were inferior in wealth and rank to the hatamoto, but with them formed the hereditary personal following of the shō gun, and constituted the Tokugawa clan proper, whose united revenues amounted to nearly nine million koku. The shōgun, or chief daimniō of the empire, has thus unapproachable military resources, following, and revenue, and could overawe court and emperor above, princes and vassal beneath.
All included within the above classes and their military retainers were samurai, receiving hereditary incomes of rice from the Government. They were privileged to wear two swords, to be exempt from taxes. They may be styled the military-literati of the country. To the great bulk of these samurai were given simply their daily portion of rice; to others, rations of rice for from two to five persons. Some of them received small offices or positions, to which land or other sources of income were attached. The samurai's ideas of honor forbade him to do any work or engage in any business. His only duty was to keep perfunctory watch at the castle or his lord's house, walk in his lord's retinue, or on stated occasions appear in ceremonial dress. His life was one of idleness and ease; and, as may be imagined, the long centuries of peace served only to develop the dangerous character of this large class of armed idlers. Some, indeed, were studious, or engaged with zeal in martial exercises, or became teachers; but the majority spent their life in eating, smoking, and lounging in brothels and teahouses, or led a wild life of crime in one of the great cities. When too deeply in debt, or having committed a crime, they left their homes and the service of their masters, and roamed at large. Such men were called rōnins, or "wave- men." Usually they were villains, ready for any deed of blood, the reserve mercenaries from which every conspirator could recruit a squad. Occasionally, the rōnin was a virtuous citizen, who had left the service of his lord for an honorable purpose.
Ill fared it with the merchants. They were considered so low in the social scale that they had no right in any way to oppose or to remonstrate with the samurai. Among the latter were many noble examples of chivalry, men who were ever ready to assist the oppressed and redress their wrongs, often becoming knights-errant for the benefit of the wronged orphan and the widow, made so by a murderer's hand. But among the hatamoto and gokenin, especially among the victors of Sékigahara, cruelties and acts of violence were not only frequent and outrageous, but winked at by the Government officials. These blackmailers, in need of funds for a spree, would extort money their various pretexts, or none at all, from helpless tradesmen; or their servants would sally out to a tea-house, and, having eaten or drunk their fill, would leave without paying, swaggering, drunk, and singing between their tipsy hiccoughs. Remonstrances from the landlord would be met with threats of violence, and it was no rare thing for them, in their drunken fury, to slash off his head. Yet these same non-producers and genteel loafers were intensely sensitive on many points of honor, and would be ready at any moment to die for their master. The possession of swords, and the arrogance bred of their superiority as a privileged class, acted continually as a temptation to brawls and murder.
Edinburgh, in the old days of the clans, is perhaps the best illustration of Yedo during the Tokugawa times. Certain localities in Yedo at night would not suffer by a comparison with the mining regions of California during the first opening of the diggings, when to "eat" a man, or to kill an Indian before breakfast, was a feather in the cap of men who lived with revolvers constantly in their belts. As there were always men in the gulches of whom it was a standing prophecy that they would "die with their boots on," so there was many a man in every city of Japan of whom it would be a nine days' wonder should he die with his head on. Of such men it was said that their death would be inujini (in a dog's place).
Yet the merchant and farmer were not left utterly helpless. The Otokodaté were gallant and noble fellows, not of the samurai class. but their bitter enemies. The swash-bucklers often met their match in these men, who took upon themselves to redress the grievances of! the unarmed classes. The Otokodaté were bound together into a sort of guild to help each other in sickness, to succor each other in peril, to scrupulously tell the truth and keep their promises, and never to be guilty of meanness or cowardice. They lived in various parts of Japan, though the most famous dwelt in Yedo. They were the champions of the people, who loved and applauded them. Many a bitter conflict took place between them and the overbearing samurai, especially the "white-hilts." The story of their gallant deeds forms the staple of many a popular story, read with delight by the common people.
Below the samurai, or gentry, the three great classes were the farmers, artisans, and merchants. These were the common people. Beneath them were the etas, who were skinners, tanners, leather-dressers, grave-diggers, or those who in any way handled raw-hide or buried animals. They were the pariahs, or social outcasts, of Japan. They were not allowed to enter a house, or to eat or drink, sit or cook at the same fire with other persons. These people were said by some to he descendants of Corean prisoners; by others, to have been originally the people who killed animals for feeding the imperial falcons. As Buddhism prohibited the eating of animals as food, the eta were left out of the pale of society. The hinin (not human) were the lowest class of beggars, the squatters on waste lands, who built huts along the road, and existed by soliciting alms. They also attended to the execution of criminals and the disposal of their corpses. In general, they were filthy and disgusting, in their rags and dirt.
There were thus, according to one division, eight classes of society: 1st, the kugé, Kiōto or court nobility; 2d, the daimiōs, Yedo or territorial nobles; 3d, the buké, or hatamoto, or samurai of lower rank than that of dainiō and priest; 4th, landed proprietors without title, and farmers, called hiyakŭshō; 5th, artisans, carpenters, etc., called shokonin; 6th, merchants, shop-keepers, and traders, called akindo; 7th, actors, prostitutes, genteel beggars, etc.; 8th, tanners, skinners, hinin, and eta.
Another division is that into four classes: 1st, military and official - samurai; 2d, agricultural - farmer; 3d, laboring - artisan; 4th, trading - merchant. Below the level of humanity were the eta and hinin.
This was the constitution of society in Japan during the rule of the Tokugawa until 1868.
Iyéyasŭ, in 1600 and the years following, employed an army of 300,000 laborers in Yedo, in enlarging the castle, digging moats and canals, grading streets, filling marshes, and erecting buildings. His fleets of junks brought granite from Hiōgo for the citadel and gate buttresses, and the river-boats the dark stone for the walls of the enceinte. His faith in the future of the city was shown in his ordering an immense outer ditch to be dug, which far more than completely encircled both castle and city, and gates and towers to be built, when as yet there was no wall connecting, or dwelling-houses within them, and city people sauntered out into the country to see and laugh at them. According to tradition, the great founder declared that walls would be built, and the city extend far beyond them. The prediction was verified; for it is probable that within fifty years, as we know from old maps of Yedo, the land cast of the river was built upon, and the city had spread to within two-thirds of its present proportions, and before the year 1700 had a population of over 500,000 souls. Yedo never did have, as the Hollanders guessed, and as our old text books, in stereotyped phrase, told us, 2,500,000 souls. It is probable that, in 1857, when Mr. Townsend Harris, the American envoy, first entered it, it had as many as 1,000,000. In 1872, by official census, the population of Tōkiō, including that of the villages around it and under the municipal jurisdiction, was 925,000; of the city proper, 790,000 permanent residents, to which should be added nearly 100,000 floating population.
Outside of Yedo, the strength of the great unifier was spent on the public roads and highways, especially the Tōkaidō, or road skirting the Eastern Sea, which begins at Kiōto and ends at Tōkiō. He arranged fifty-three stations (shiku, relays, or post-stations), at which were hotels, pack-horses, baggage-coolies, and palanquin-bearers. A regular code of regulations to govern the movements of the daimiōs and nobles when traveling - the etiquette to be observed, the scale of prices to be charged - was duly arranged, and continued in force until 1868. The roads, especially the mountain-passes, bridges, and ferries, were improved, and one ri (measure of two and two-fifth miles) hillocks to mark the distances set up. The regulations required that the main roads should be thirty-six feet wide, and be planted with pinetrees along their length. Cross-roads should have a width of eighteen feet; foot-paths, six; and of by-paths through the fields, three feet. At the ferry-landing on either bank of a river there was to be an open space of about three hundred and sixty feet. Various other regulations, pertaining to minute details of life, sumptuary laws, and feudal regulations, were promulgated, and gradually came into force throughout the empire.
To defend the Kuantō, and strengthen his position as military ruler of the empire, he built or improved the nine castles of Mito, Utsunomiya, Takasaki, Odawara, and five others in the Kuantō. At Sumpu, Ōzaka, and Nijo, in Kiōto, were also fine castles, and to their command officers were assigned. All these, and many other enterprises, required a vast outlay of money. The revenue of the empire amounted to nearly 30,000,000 koku (165,000,000 bushels) of rice. Of this, nearly 9,000,000 koku were retained as the revenue of the Tokugawas. The mines were government property; and at this time the gold of Sado was discovered, which furnished Iyéyasŭ with the sinews of war and peace. This island may be said to be a mass of auriferous quartz, and has ever since been the natural treasure-house of Japan.
Iyéyasŭ had now the opportunity to prove himself a legislator, as well as a warrior. He began by granting amnesty to all who would accept it. He wished the past forgotten. He regretted that so much blood had been spilled. He entered upon a policy of conciliation that rapidly won to his side all the neutral and nearly all the hostile clans. There were some who were still too proud or sullen to submit or accept pardon. These were left quietly alone, the great unifier waiting for the healing hand of time. He felt sure of his present power, and set himself diligently to work during the remainder of his life to consolidate and strengthen that power so that it would last for centuries.
Iyéyasŭ was created Sei-i Tai Shōgun in 1603. Only twice during his life-time was peace interrupted. The persecution of the Christians was one instance, and the brief campaign against Hidéyori, the son of the taikō, was the second. Around this young man had gathered most of the malcontents of the empire. Iyéyasŭ found or sought a ground of quarrel against him, and on the 3d of June, 1615, attacked the Castle of Ozaka, which was set on fire. A bloody battle, the last fought on the soil for two hundred and fifty-three years, resulted in the triumph of Ivéyasŭ, and the disappearance of Hidéyori and his mother, who were probably consumed in the flames. His tomb, however, is said to be in Kagoshima. It is most probably a cenotaph.
The greatest of the Tokugawas spent the last years of his life at Sumpu (Shidzŭōka), engaged in erasing the scars of war, securing the triumphs of peace, perfecting his plans for fixing in stability his system of government, and in collecting books and manuscripts. He bequeathed his "Legacy," or code of laws (see Appendix), to his chief retainers, and advised his sons to govern in the spirit of kindness. He died on the 8th of March, 1616. His remains were deposited temporarily at Kuno Zan, a few miles from Sumpu, on the side of a lovely mountain overlooking the sea, where the solemnity of the forest monarchs and the grandeur of sea and sky are blended together. Acting upon the dying wish of his father, Hidétada had caused to be erected at Nikkō Zan, one hundred miles north of Yedo, a gorgeous shrine and mausolemn. The spot chosen was on the slope of a hill, on which, eight centuries before, the saintly bonze Shōdō, following Kōbō Daishi's theology, had declared the ancient Shintō deity of the mountain to be a manifestation of Buddha to Japan, and named him the Gongen of Nikkō. Here Nature has glorified herself in snowranges of mighty mountains, of which glorious Nantaizan reigns king, his feet laved by the blue splendors of the Lake Chiuzenji, on which his mighty form is mirrored. Nikkō means sunny splendor; and through Japanese poetry and impassioned rhetoric ever sparkle the glories of the morning's mirror in Chiuzenji, and the golden floods of light that bathe Nantaizan. The water-fall of Kiri Furi (falling mist); and of Kégon, the lake's outlet, over seven hundred feet high; the foaming river, grassy green in its velocity; the colossal forests and inspiring scenery, made it the fit resting-place of the greatest character in Japanese history.
In 1617, his remains were removed from Kuno, and in solemn pageantry moved to Nikkō, where the imperial envoy, vicar of he mikado, court nobles from Kiōto, many of his old lords and captains, daimiōs, and the shōgun Hidétada, awaited the arrival of the august ashes. The corpse was laid in its gorgeous tomb, before which the vicar of majesty presented the gohei, significant of the apotheosis of the mighty warrior, deified by the mikado as the divine vice-regent of the gods of heaven and earth, under the title Sho ichi i Tō Shō Dai Gongen, or Noble of the first Degree of the first Rank, Great Light of the East, Great Incarnation of Buddha." During three days, a choir of Buddhist priests, in their full canonical robes, intoned the Hokké sacred classic ten thousand times. It was ordained that ever afterward the chief priest of Nikkō should be a prince of the imperial blood, under the title of Rinnoji no miya.
Of Hidétada, the successor of Iyéyasŭ, there is little to record. The chief business of his life seems to have been to follow out the policy of his father, execute his plans, consolidate the central power, establish good government throughout the empire, and beautify, strengthen, and adorn Yedo.
Iyémitsŭ, the grandson of Iyéyasŭ, is acknowledged to have been the ablest ruler of all the Tokugawas after the founder, whose system he brought to perfection. In 1623, he went to Kiōto to do homage to the mikado, who invested him with the title of Sei-i Tai Shōgun. By this time many of the leaders and-captains who had fought under Iyéyasŭ, or those who most respected him for his prowess, were dead or superannuated, and had been succeeded by their sons, who, as though fated to follow historical precedent, failed to possess the vigor of their fathers, their associations being those of peace, luxury, and the effeminacy which follows war.
Iyémitsŭ was a martinet as well as a statesman. He proposed that all the daimiōs should visit and reside in Yedo during half the year. Being at first treated as guests, the shōgun coming out to meet them in the suburbs, they swore allegiance to his rules, sealing their signatures, according to custom, with blood drawn from the third finger of the right hand. Gradually, however, these rules became more and more restrictive, until the honorable position degenerated into a condition tantamount to mere vassalage. Their wives and children were kept as hostages in Yedo, and the rendition of certain tokens of respect, almost equivalent to homage to the shōgun, became imperative. During his rule the Christian insurrection and massacre at Shimabara took place. The Dutch were confined to Déshima. Yedo was vastly improved. Aqueducts, still in excellent use, were laid, to supply the city with water. To guard against the ever-threatening enemy, fire, watch-towers, or lookouts, such as are to be seen in every city, were erected in great numbers. Bells are hung at the top and a code of signals, and a prescribed number of taps give the locality and progress of the conflagration. Mints were established, coins struck, weights and measures fixed; the system of official espionage, checks, and counterchecks established; a general survey of the empire executed; maps of the various provinces and plans of the daimiōs' castles were made, and their pedigrees made out and published; the councils called Hiōjō-shō (Discussion and Decision), and Wakadoshiyori (Assembly of Elders), established, and Corean envoys received. The height of pride and ambition which Iyémitsŭ had already reached is seen in the fact that, in a letter of reply from the bakufu to Corea, the shōgun is referred to as Tai Kun ("Tycoon"), a title never conferred by the mikado on any one, nor had Iyémitsŭ any legal right to it. It was assumed in a sense honorary or meaningless to any Japanese, unless highly jealous of the mikado's sovereignty, and was intended to overawe the "barbarian" Coreans. It is best explainable' in the light of the Virgilian phrase, magna pars fui, or the less dignified "Big Indian I."
The building of the fine temples of Toyeizan, at Uyéno, in Yedo, and at Nikkō, were completed in Iyémitsŭ's time, he making five journeys thither. He died in 1649, after a prosperous rule of twenty-six years, and was buried with his grandfather at Nikkō.
The successors of Iyévasŭ, the shōguns of the Tokugawa dynasty, fourteen in all, were, with one exception, buried alternately in the cemeteries of Zōzōji and Tōyeizan, in the city districts of Shiba and Uyéno. These twin necropolises of the illustrious departed were the chief glories of Yedo, which was emphatically the city of the Tokugawas. The remains of six of them lie in Uyéno, and six in Shiba, while two are at Nikkō.
During the summer of 1872, in company with an. American friend and three of my brightest students, I made a journey to Nikkō, and for nearly a week reveled in its inspiring scenery and solemn associations. During my three years' residence in Tōkiō, I visited these twin sacred places many times, spending a half-day at a visit. No one has described these places better than Mr. Mitford, in his "Tales of Old Japan." He says: "It is very difficult to do justice to their beauty in words. I have the memory before me of a place green in winter, pleasant and cool in the hottest summer, of peaceful cloisters, of the fragrance of incense, of the subdued. chant of richly robed priests, and the music of bells of exquisite designs, harmonious coloring, and rich gilding. The hum of the vast city outside is unheard here. Iyéyasŭ himself, in the mountains of Nikkō, has no quieter resting-place than his descendants in the heart of the city over which he ruled."
Passing through an immense red portal on the north side of Shiba, we enter the precincts of the sacred place through a long, wide avenue, lined by overarching firs, and rendered solemnly beautiful by their shade. A runner is usually on hand to conduct visitors to the gate, inside of which a priest is waiting. We enter a pebbled courtyard, in which are ranged over two hundred large stone lanterns. These are the gifts of the fudai daimiōs. Each lantern is inscribed with the name of the donor, the posthumous title of the deceased shōgun, the name of the temple at Shiba, and the province in which it is situated, the date of the offering, and a legend, which states that it is reverently offered. On the following page is the reading on one, and will serve as a specimen:
TO THE ILLUSTRIOTTS TEMPLE, OF LEARNING
[Pothumous title of the sixth Shōgun Iyōnobu]
THIS STONE LANTERN, SET UP BEFORE THE TOMB AT THE TEMPLE OF ZŌZŌJI,
IN MUSASHI, IS REVERENTLY OFFERED BY THE RULING DAIMIŌ, NOBLE OF THE FIFTH RANK,
MASUYAMA FUJINWARA MASATO, LORD OF TSUSHIMA, IN THE SECOND YEAR OF THE PERIOD OF STRICT VIRTUE, IN THE CYCLE OF THE WATER DRAGON [ 1711].
Passing through a handsomely gilt and carved gate-way, we enter another court-yard, the sides of which are gorgeously adorned. Within the area are bronze lanterns, the gift of the Kokushin daimiōs. The six very large gilded lanterns standing by themselves are from the Go San Ké, the three princely families, in which the, succession to the office of shōgun was vested. To the, left is a monolith lavatory; and to the right is a splendid building, used as a depository of sacred utensils, such as bells, gongs, lantern, etc., used only on matsuri, or festival days. Passing through another handsome gate which eclipses the last in richness of design, we enter a roofed gallery somewhat like a series of cloisters. In front is the shrine, a magnificent specimen of native architecture.
Sitting down upon the lacquered steps, we remove our shoes, while tile shaven bonze swings open the gilt doors, and reveals a transept and nave, laid with finest white matting, and coiled in squares, wrought with elaborate art. The walls of the transept are arabesqued, and the panels carved with birds and flowers - the fauna of Japan, both real and mythical - and the various objects in Japanese sacred and legendary art. In each panel the subjects are different, and richly repay study. The glory of motion, the passionate life of the corolla, and the perfection of nature's colors have been here reproduced in inanimate wood by the artist. At the extremity of the nave is a short flight of steps. Two massive gilt doors swing asunder at the touch of priestly hands, and across the threshold we behold an apocalypse of splendor. Behind the sacred offertories, on carved and lacquered tables, are three reliquaries rising to the ceiling, and by their outer covering simulating masses of solid gold. Inside are treasured the tablets and posthumous titles of the august deceased. Descending from this sanctum into the transept again, we examine the canonical rolls, bell, book, and candles, drums and musical instruments, with which the Buddhist rites are celebrated and the liturgies read. Donning our shoes, we pass up a stone court fragrant with blossoming flowers, and shaded with rare and costly trees of every variety, form, and height, but overshadowed by the towering firs. We ascend a flight of steps, and are in another pebbled and stone-laid court, in which stands a smaller building, called a haiden, formerly used by the living shōgun as a place of meditation and prayer when making his annual visit to the tombs of his forefathers. Beyond it is still another flight of stone steps, and in the inclosure is a plain monumental urn, "This is the simple ending to so much magnificence" - the solemn application of the gorgeous sermon.
The visitor, on entering the cemetery by the small gate to the right of the temple, and a few feet distant from the great belfry, will see three tombs side by side. The first to the left is that of Iyénobu, the sixth of the line, who ruled in 1709-1713. The urn and gates of the tomb are of bronze. The tomb in the contre is that of Iyéyoshi, the twelfth, who ruled 1838-1854. The third, to the right, is that of Iyémochi, the fourteenth shōgun, who ruled 1858-1866, and was the last of his line who died in power.
From the tomb of Iyémochi, facing the east and looking to the left, we may see the tombs of Iyétsugu (1713-1716), the seventh, and of Iyéshigé (1745-1762), the ninth, shōgun. Descending the steps and reaching the next stone platform, we may, by looking down to the left, see the tombs of a shōgun's wife and two of his children. The court-yards and shrines leading to the tombs of Iyétsugu and Iyéshigé are fully as handsome as the others. Hidétada (1606- 1623), the second prince of the line, is buried a few hundred yards south of the other tombs. The place is easily found. Passing down the main avenue, and turning to the right, we have a walk of a fur long or two up a hill, on the top of which, surrounded by cameiliatrees, and within a heavy stone palisade, is a handsome octagon edifice of the same material. A mausoleum of gold lacquer rests upright on a pedestal. The tomb, a very costly one, is in a state of perfect preservation. On one side of the path is a curiously carved stone, representing Buddha on his death-bed. The great temple of Zōzōji belongred to the Jōdō sect, within whose pale the Tokugawas lived and died.