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THE EMPIRE, THE EMPIRE OF THE EMPIRE.
When spring was giving way to summer and the days grew long, the leaves of the trees forming bowers more beautiful even than the flowers of spring, the Old Man spread his books beneath the window, read history and reflected profoundly. His friends came to spend the day with him, reading and talking. In some connection, I have forgotten what, some one said, "We cannot forget the former kings."1 And the Old Man remarked:—
The empire is peace. Men of rank and virtue may treat their parents as is becoming parents and their virtue as becomes virtue; and the common folk too may find pleasure in their pleasure, profit in their profit, and leisure in their leisure. Thus our years pass away. It is all the blessing of peace. Since Ieyasu, his hair brushed by the wind, his body anointed with the rain, with lifelong labour caused confusion to cease and order to prevail, for more than an hundred years there has been no war. The waves of the four seas have been unruffled and no one has failed of the blessings of peace. We common folk must speak with reverence, yet is it the duty of scholars to celebrate the virtue of the Government. Not standing too much on ceremony, I have been thinking much of late of one detail in so great a mass of virtue and would proclaim it to all, as now to you.
It is written, "Let the lord of the empire forget not that the empire is the empire of the empire, and not of one man."2 Famous is that saying, and irrevocable for a thousand years! In China, excepting the Sage kings, most of the emperors who quieted confusion took the empire to be their own, and not the empire of the empire. When one of the emperors3 at the beginning of his reign heard that his most famous general was ill at the war, he recalled him in haste and vainly sought his cure by the aid of physicians. Then at last the emperor prayed to mountain, river, Heaven, "Spare his life a few years, and take mine with his!" He would not that be should survive his general, and so he swore by his own life. I am deeply moved as I read this incident. Of such a ruler it is said, "An emperor in truth."4 But those who long rule naturally come to think the empire given for one's own pleasure. They hold the empire fast lest some one take it from them, as a child holds fast its favourite toy. With such a heart, even though the empire is taken, it cannot long be held, as Nobunaga and Hideyoshi5 illustrate. They had no benevolence and the loss of the empire was of course. They were not fit to hold it. As men of old further said, "Treasure hides deep in the mountain: the man finds it who seeks it not."
In the year A.D. 1586, after the battle at Nagakute, Ieyasu made peace with Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Hideyoshi sent a messenger to Hamamatsu in Enshu and invited Ieyasu to Ōsaka. But he refused to go, though repeated messengers came with urgent invitations. At last Hideyoshi sent his mother as hostage and thus urged consent. Then Ieyasu agreed to go. But his followers feared treachery and sought to dissuade him;—"If you do not go it is true that Hideyoshi may renew the war, but your forces are the stronger and we are ready to throw away our lives. He cannot win though he bring an hundred times ten thousand men." But Ieyasu replied:—"It is as you say, and I do not accept his invitation because I fear him. But think how constant has been the war for generations without peace in capital or provinces until now. At last we have peace. Should I fight Hideyoshi, war begins again to the misery of the empire. If I meet evil, for the empire I shall die."6 With profound admiration all heard these words and could urge nothing more. He well knew his danger, and when he started for Ōsaka entrusted his affairs to his ministers Ii and Honda. Such words of truth affect both men and Heaven; and as Heaven's decree was in accord with the hearts of men he took possession of the empire. As the Chinese emperor prayed by his own life for the life of his general, so did Ieyasu pray by his life for the peace of the empire. There was the same broad spirit in them both, not attached to treasures but to righteousness; yet did Ieyasu exceed the other.
Once when in a friend's house our host related this story of Ieyasu, and guests and host were affected to tears. Strategists and schemers may think it a plan for attaching p. 95 men to self, and it may so seem to those who ever study from a false point of view. That cannot be helped. It is not told for the sake of such.
REMONSTRANCE MORE DIFFICULT THAN THE FOREMOST SPEAR.
But ever in China and Japan alike most men when in power have thought the empire the empire of one man. They have been extravagant and have laboured for fame. But Ieyasu served the empire, not thinking it his own nor desirous of luxury. He made his rule strong and bequeathed it to future generations; his glory remains and the empire rests in peace.
After his great victory at Seki-ga-hara7 some of his followers said to him,—"The empire is yours, gather treasures that your name may last. Hideyoshi built Dai Butsu."8 But Ieyasu replied,—"So, Hideyoshi will be remembered by his Dai Butsu, but I care nothing for the transmission of my single name. I shall study the interests of the empire and leave it to my heir, that is far beyond building many a Dai Butsu." Doubtless their proposal seemed foolish to him. To conquer Korea, erect Dai Butsu and spend vast treasures is to injure the empire, though it be wonderful in the eyes and ears of fools. Already thoughtful men condemn and the name remains to future time disgraced. But the Nikkō shrines are reverenced in all the provinces. Do you not understand? This is the true illustrious undecaying name ever to be admired.
Ieyasu excelled all, but was not vain of his wisdom. On the contrary he approved the honest remonstrance of his inferiors. And indeed remonstrance may be put as the foundation of the wisdom of the ruler. Only the Sage does not err. If a man listen to reproof, though he err he is like a sick man who takes medicine and regains his strength. But however wise a man may be, if he will not listen to remonstrance he is like one who will take no medicine because his illness is slight and so the danger remains. But most strong rulers hate reproof and insist upon their own way. In China is the office of censor, but it is of little use. It is only a name, for honest men are readily removed and flatterers given office. When there is error there is no reform, nor remonstrance when the Government is bad, a grief that lasts from ancient days until now. It is still worse in Japan with its feudal government; the rulers govern by force of arms and inferiors must obey. Remonstrance ceases and sympathy with the people ends. Daily the evil grows, but those who know its cause are few.
Ieyasu was born in the midst of war and turmoil. He was sympathetic to inferiors and ever opened the way of words. Most admirable of men! Once in his castle, Honda Sado no Kami was present with some others. At the end of their business all withdrew save Honda and one other. The latter presented a writing to Ieyasu, who took it, asking, "What is this?" "Matters I have thought of much," was the reply, "and venture respectfully to suggest, thinking possibly one in ten thousand may be of use." "Thanks," said Ieyasu; "read it. There is no reason why Honda should not hear." So he began, and Ieyasu assented to each of the many particulars and finally took the paper saying, "Always be free to say what you think necessary." Afterwards when Honda only remained he said, "It was rudely done, and not a suggestion of value in it all." But Ieyasu waved his hand dissentingly. "Though it is not of great value still he had thought it over carefully and wrote p. 97 it in secret for my eye. His spirit should be praised. If he suggests anything of value I'll adopt it; if not, I'll let it alone. We should not call such remonstrance rude. Men do not know their own faults, but common folks have friends who reprove and criticise. They have opportunity for reform. This is their advantage. But rulers have no friends, but constantly meet with their inferiors who assent respectfully to every word. So they cannot know and reform, to their great loss. They lose their power and destroy their house because no one will remonstrate, and all they do is approved as right. Most essential is it that they be told their faults."
Honda remembered this and told it to his son weeping, as he spoke of the Shōgun's deep heart and broad humanity. And when the young man asked the name of the man and the purport of his paper, thinking to ridicule him, Honda reproved him sharply: "What have you to do with the man and his suggestions? Think of your lord's fine spirit!"
Afterwards, said Ieyasu to his samurai:—"A ruler must have faithful ministers. He who sees the error of his lord and remonstrates, not fearing his wrath, is braver than he who bears the foremost spear in battle. In the fight body and life are risked, but it is not certain death. Even if killed there is deathless fame and his lord laments. If there is victory great reward and glory are won and the inheritance goes down to son and grandson. But to grieve over his lord's faults and faithfully remonstrate when the words do not pass the ears and touch the heart is hard indeed. Disliked, distantly received, displaced by flatterers, his advice not taken, however loyal he may be at last he gives up the task, professes illness or retires into the quiet of old age. If he dares to risk his lord's displeasure in his faithfulness he may be imprisoned or even killed. He who fears not all this, but gives up even life to benefit his country, is highly to be praised. Compared with him the foremost spear is an easy post." To all ages should these words be repeated as a command.
So then the foremost place in the battle seems a place of difficulty but is not, and to remonstrate with one's lord seems easy, but is not. Lord and servant praise the foremost spear but I do not hear them praising him who loyally reproves. They should remember these words of Ieyasu.
In Kwan-ri Kan-ei, (1624-1643) the former lord of Echizen, Io no Kami, had a karō named Sugita Iki. He had risen from the ranks by his merits. It was his business to provide the funds for his lord's very expensive attendance in Edo. Not fearing his lord's wrath he was ever ready to reprove. And once it happened when Io no Kami was in Echizen that he went hawking, and on his return his karō all went forth to meet him. He was unusually happy and said, "The young men have never done better. If they always work as well they are certain of employment by the Shōgun in case of war. Rejoice with me!" So all congratulated him except Sugita alone. He said nothing, remaining at the foot of the line. Io no Kami waited a while wonderingly, and then said, "What do you think?" And Sugita replied, "Wïth due respect yet are your remarks a cause for grief. When the samurai went with you their thought was this,—if we do not please him he may kill us; and they took final farewell of wife and child. So I have heard. if they thus hate their lord they will be useless in battle. Unless you know this it is foolish to rely on them."
Io no Kami scowled, and his sword bearer said to Sugita, "Go, please!" But Sugita scowled at him and said, "My task is not to go hawking with him and surround monkey or wild boar! Do not tell me what is of use!" So he cast aside his short sword, went to Io's side and said: "Kill me! It is far better than to live in vain and see your downfall! I shall count it as a sign of your favour!" So he folded his hnnds and stretched out his neck to the p. 99 blow. Io went to his apartment without a word. And the other karō said to Sugita: "What you say is true, but have a regard to the proper season. It was ill to mar the pleasure of his return." But Sugita replied:—"There is never a proper season for remonstrance. I thought it fitting to-day. I have risen from the ranks and doubtless look at things differently from you. My death is of no consequence." All listened with admiration.
Sugita went home and prepared himself for hara kiri, awaiting his lord's word. His wife had been with him from the time he was in the ranks, and to her he said: "I have a word to leave with you. A woman cannot be directly honoured by our lord, but as he has honoured me you have shared in it. You are no longer the wife of a foot soldier but of a karō. You have many servants. It is an infinite blessing he has conferred on you, is it not? After I am dead, remember this great blessing morning and evening and feel no hatred to your lord. If in your grief you hate him in the least and it appear in words, in the depths of Hades I shall know it and be displeased." In constant expectation he waited until late at night when there came a rapping at his door. Some one said: "His lordship has business for you. Come to the castle." "The time has come," Sugita thought, as he obeyed. But Io sent for Sugita to come direct to his bed chamber and said: "I cannot sleep for thoughts of your words to-day. So I have sent for you so late at night. I need not speak of my errors. I am filled with admiration at your straightforward remonstrance." Therewith he handed Sugita a sword as a reward.9 At this so unexpected an event Sugita wept as he withdrew.
When I was in Kaga an Echizen man told me this. Sugita was such an one as Ieyasu praised. Buch a karō has a station more difficult far thau the foremost spear.
Skillful flatterers are liked and find ready employment, but in matters of importance strong-hearted men are the only resource. I have another story for you, different from Sugita's.
During the winter war at Ōsaka, Katakiri Ichi no Kami, a follower of Ieyasu, was in the castle of Ibaraki in Setsu. Hearing that Shibayama Kohei in the castle at Sakae in Idzumi was in danger, Katakiri determined to send him aid. En route Katakiri's troops were surrounded by their enemies from Ōsaka at Amagaseki; and as those in the Amagaseki castle refused all aid, the troops were every one slain. The lord of Amagaseki was a child and the castle was commanded by generals owing allegiance to Musashi no Kami. Now Musashi no Kami doubted the loyalty of Katakiri to Ieyasu and therefore refused to succor his troops. But all the world believed that Musashi no Kami was secretly friendly to the enemy.
After peace was made Ieyasu examined this matter in the Castle of Nijō in Kyōto. Musashi no Kami was represented by his karō Ban Daizen, a man well known to Ieyasu. Ban Daizen made his representations, but the wrath of Ieyasu ceased not. "You have excuses in abundance," he said, "yet Musashi no Kami allowed his allies to be killed before his eyes. That is his wretched heart!" and he started to leave the room, but Ban Daizen cast aside his short sword, crept to the Shōgun's side and laid hold upon his skirt. He wept and cried,—"Oh! How merciless" Even if not your daughter's son, yet is not Musashi no Kami your grandson?10 When can I speak if not now?" His sincerity effected his purpose, and the Shōgun said, "Very well! Go back at once and put Musashi no Kami at ease." Ban Daizen made obeisance with folded hands and bowed head, and retired.
Tho Shōgun said to those who remained, "Daizen's p. 101 father's name was also Daizen. He was a betto. When Musashi no Kami's father was young and was still called Shozaburō, he was in the battle at Nagakute. When his father and brother were killed he started his horse that he might go and die with them. But Daizen seized the bridle, stopped the horse, turned him about and fled with him. Shozaburō in great anger shouted, "Let go!" and for a quarter of a mile kicked Daizen about the head until the blood flowed from his face like a cataract. But Daizen kept his hold and brought Shozaburō off. Had he been killed his useless death would have ended his family, so the feudal house of Banshu is the work of Daizen. The son is like the father. No one else would do what he has done just now. Musashi no Kami is favoured in having such a servant."
And there is no other like instance. No other man of low rank has thus taken his life in his hand and approached the Shōgun in behalf of the innocence of his lord. And so it was that the Shōgun listened, relented and admired. Truly it was not an ordinary affair! And it illustrates too the great virtue of the Shōgun. He ever restrained his wrath and strengthened the faithfulness of his followers. He did not restrain and curb their courage, and they thought nothing of giving up their lives for his sake. Many wise and skilful nobles and generals have come to grief in the end because they curbed the faithfulness of their followers and depended wholly on themselves. The profound wisdom of Ieyasu is in striking contrast, and it was this that made his bowmen and spearmen the best in the empire.
But men say nowadays, "Tokugawa won because that was his fate and fate is irresistible!" His humanity and virtue were great and naturally he satisfied the decree of Heaven. But this alone does not account for his success. The strength of his troops explains his "fate." He cultivated their faithfulness. It is most essential thus to promote the faithfulness of the common people. How shallow is this talk of his resistless fate!
THE FIDELITY OF THE SAMURAI.
In the period Genko-Kemmu (1331-1335) many samurai were faithful unto death. I admire with tears a retainer of Hō-jō Takatoku named Andōzaimon Shoshu, the uncle of Nitta Yoshisada's wife. When Kamakura was taken by Nitta his wife secretly sent a letter to her uncle. He was a general fighting with the Hōjō and against Nitta. His soldiers were killed, himself was wounded and he was retreating when news came that Takatoku had burned his castle and fled to Tōshōji. Andōzaimon asked if many had killed themselves at the burning of the castle and was told "not one." "Shameful," he replied. "There we will die." So with an hundred men he went on to the castle and wept as he beheld the smoking ruins. Just then came the letter from his niece. He opened it and read,—"Since Kamakura is destroyed come to me. I'll obtain your pardon with my life." Very angrily he spoke, "I have been favoured by my lord, as all know. Shall I be so shameless as to follow Yoshisada now! His wife wants to help her uncle; but if Yoshisada knows the duty of a samurai he will put a stop to such attempts. He did not send it or agree to it. But if he did, if he meant to test me, she should not have permitted such an attempt to destroy my name. He and his wife alike are worthy of contempt!" With grief and anger there before the messenger, he wrapped the letter around his sword and slew himself.
Ah, what a man was that! How pure his purpose! Who can excel him?
But in recent years in the period Tenshō (A.D. 1573-1590) a retainer of Takeda Katsuyori named Komiyama Naizen is most to be admired. He was the favourite of his master, until at last they were separated by a quarrel and Naizen was condemned through false witnesses and dismissed from office. When the troops of Oda Nobunaga attacked the province of Kai, Katsuyori was defeated and fled p. 103 with forty-two followers to Tenmokuzan. When Naizen heard of the disaster he wished to help and met Katsuyori on his retreat. All the false witnesses, all with whom Naizen had quarrelled had fled, deserting their lord. Sorrowfully spoke Naizen: "My lord dismissed me, and now should I die for my country it will be a reflection on his judgment; but if I do not die I shall injure the fidelity of the samurai. Though I hurt his fame I must not forsake virtue," and he died with the forty-two faithful ones. As all the others had fled and these forty-two samurai alone held faithful to their lord without a thought of disobedience, they all illustrate samurai fidelity. But Naizen was preëminent among them, for he had been unjustly condemned and came expressly that he might die.
When Katsuyori and all his party had been destroyed, Ieyasu much admired the fidelity of Naizen and regretted that his worship should cease, as he had no children. So Ieyasu employed Naizen's younger brother, and before the battle at Odawara gave him a high command, speaking at length of Naizen's fidelity,—"Naizen was a model samurai, and though his brother is so young I have given him this command in token of my admiration of such loyalty." Truly that was praise after death, and the reward of loyalty.
THE HEROIC WOMAN HAS NO SEED.
When in Kaga I heard a man remark:—"All sins, great and small, may be forgiven on repentance and no scars remain, except two; the flight of a samurai from the post where he should die, and theft. These leave a lifelong wound which never heals. All born as samurai, men and women, are taught from childhood that fidelity must never be forgotten." Thereupon I continued:—Of course, and woman is ever taught that submission is her chief duty, and though she fully perform this high duty of fidelity, yet is she never to p. 104 forget this one thing. If in unexpected strait her weak heart forsakes fidelity, all her other virtues will not alone. In Japan and China alike have been women whose virtue has exceeded that of man.
The wife of Nagaoka Itchu no Kami Tadaoki, was the daughter of Akechi Mitsuhide, the retainer of Oda Nobunaga who killed both his lord and his lord's son.11 In turn he was destroyed by Hideyoshi. Later Tadaoki, at the time of Seki-ga-hara, went to join Ieyasu in the east. During his absence Ishida Mitsunari12 sent troops to Tadaoki's castle to seize his wife, but she exclaimed, "I'll not disgrace my hushand's house through my desire for life," and killed herself before the enemy got in. Excited by her virtue, the two or three samurai who were with her fired the mansion and slew themselves, and her women took hold of hands, jumped into the fire and died. Even yet shall we praise that deed! The rebel Mitsuhide had such a child, scarcely equalled in China or Japan! As the proverb says: "The general has no seed," so I'll add,—The heroic woman has no seed.13
But a guest remarked:—"Not so; not having seed is still to have seed. Fidelity makes the nature of benevolence and righteousness its seed. Then without place or ancestor, without race, without the distinction of high or low, male or female, without family connection, good children come from evil parents, and evil children from the good."
The Old Man was greatly pleased and said:—True! I had thought only of man's nature, not of Heaven's. Such p. 105 virtue of women and the vulgar must be praised as Heaven's nature. Thus will the samurai be excited to virtue and virtuous hearts will be produced. Let me speak of Shidzuka, the uneducated concubine of Minamoto Yoshitsune.14 She was a famous dancer in Kyōto, talented, beautiful and beloved of Yoshitsune. When he fled she went with him to Mt. Yoshino and then returned to Kyōto. Called to Kamakura and examined she replied: "I know so far as Mt. Yoshino. No further." She lingered there until the birth of Yoshitsune's child. Yoritomo desired to see her dance and commanded her presence at Tsurugaoka.15 She refused repeatedly but was forced to comply at last. Yoritomo expected a song and dance for his feast, but she sang:
|To and fro like the reel|
Would that old times might return!
I long for the trace of the man
Who entered Yoshino's snow white peak.
Yoritomo cried out in anger: "You sing of that rebel Yoshitsune instead of celebrating the present time! It is a crime!" But at the request of his wife he forgave the girl. She cared not, but returned straight to Kyōto and lived in seclusion. Yoritomo's great power bent trees and grass but she feared it not. Her heart was wholly set on Yoshitsune and she excelled the samurai who died with him at Takadate.
I regret that the Kyōto scholar, Nakamura Tekizai, omitted Shidzuka from his account of the famous women of China and Japan, the Hime Kagami. Probably her low origin and occupation as a dancing girl accounts for her exclusion. But her story teaches an important lesson and must not be forgotten. The Book of Poetry says, "Take the herbs; uproot them not as lowly born."
Another day the Old Man said to the assembled guests: This fidelity reveals itself in the stress of strange events. Even in peace and safety pure-hearted samurai are to be highly prized, for they perfectly perform their official duties, and when the emergency comes reveal their fidelity. In peace and in war they are invaluable. Every wise and brave samurai may be given office, and he will have his use; but only the pure in heart must be placed in high position. Unless the heart is pure there is flattery and strife for power and fame, and apparent friends will hate each other. Then wisdom and bravery too will disappear. Timidly will precedents be followed, and each will so act that evil may not come to self. There will be no sign of anything superior, and duty will be slackly performed or wholly forgotten.
In the period Ei-roku (A.D. 1558-1570), Ieyasu was in Mikawa.16 He established the laws and appointed three officers, Kōriki Yozaemon Kiyonaga, Honda Sakuzaemon Shigetsugu and Amano Saburobei Yasukage, popularly called Buddha Kōriki, Demon Sakuza and Pliant Amano; for the first was merciful, the second severe and the third neither merciful nor severe but guided wholly by reason. All three were of pure heart and there was no competition between them. No one sought to conform to the others, but each followed his own judgment. So Ieyasu gave them the same office and each went his own way independently, but as their government was righteous and as everything was well cared for, all men admired Ieyasu's clear judgment in the choice of men.
I do not know particularly the characteristics of Honda and Kōriki, but in the period Keichō (A.D. 1596-1614) Amano had the castle Kokokuji in Suruga, with an income of thirty thousand koku of rice.17 He had an immense number of bamboos cut, piled up and ready for use, with p. 107 three foot soldiers in charge. Some men came from the estates of the Shōgun and stole some of the bamboos, one of the robbers being killed by the guards. The men who escaped complained to Ide, a local official of the Shōgun. Ide may have made a careful examination, but he seems not to have known of the theft of the bamboos, for he sent a messenger to Amano demanding the immediate capital punishment of the soldiers who had killed the robber; "For," said he, "the unauthorized killing of one of the people of the Shōgun is a crime." But Amano replied, "To kill a thief is according to the law. It is no crime. The solders killed him at my command. If it is a crime the guilt is mine." So he protected the guard. But Ide could not let the matter rest and appealed to the Shōgun, who commanded Amano to give up the man. But Amano replied as before, and obeyed not. Then Ieyasu said: "Amano is not a man who will sin; perhaps he is deceived. I'll examine into the affair again by and by," and he sent one of his high officers to Amano. And the officer said, "Even though you are in the right yet will the authority of the Shōgun be weakened if he is not obeyed. Draw lots among the three men and kill the one thus selected." Then Amano replied: "As you urge the weakening of the authority of the Shōgun I must consent. But," he added, "the spirit of the strong samurai does not consent to the killing of the innocent that one's self may be exalted. I may well give up my rank; " and he left his castle and disappeared.
In the time of the next Shōgun, a man in some place or other met an ascetic whom he took to be Amano, but whether rightly or not we do not know. No matter; Amano was truly a pure-hearted samurai. If was not right to slay the innocent and protect one's self. But were he not to kill the soldier he would disobey the Shōgun. Neither course was permissible. So he could not remain in the world, and gave up his income of thirty thousand koku and disappeared forever. That is without a parallel.
YUGE SO AND SO.
But pure-hearted samurai cease not to appear. In Kwan-ei-Shō-hō (A.D. 1624-1647) was a branch temple of Tentokuji, in Shiba, Edo, where always prayers were said without intermission. One day, at evening, as the priest went out of the temple gate he observed a man with a bundle wrapped in oil paper. He seemed a traveller and not a common man. When the priest returned from his errand there was the man still in the gateway. Thinking that strange the priest asked, "Who are you? Come in and rest." "I am listening to the temple prayers," the man replied, "for I like to hear them said. On your invitation I'll go in and have a cup of tea." So in they went and the priest inquired whence he came and whither he journeyed.
The man replied, "From Oshu. I once had a friend in Edo but I cannot find him. So I must find some place." And the priest rejoined, "Stay here to-night, it is so late." So he stayed, and the next day the priest asked him to remain until he should find some occupation. He thanked the priest and remained. It soon appeared that he was an educated man, and the head of Tentokuji called him and helped him and gave him various tasks about the temple, which were all diligently performed. By and by he was made a superintendent of many priests and became a person of importance in the temple.
At that time it happened that a nobleman who had retired from active life was making researches into the history of the past and sought scholarly samurai to help him, paying them good salaries. The people of the temple told him of Yuge and highly recommended him as especially informed about the past. But Yuge thanked the head of the temple when he was informed of it, and said, "I do not intend to enter service again, but your kindness entitles you to know my past." So he told the priest his real name and that he had been a retainer of Gamo Ujisato, and continued: p. 109 "Since Gamo was destroyed I have no heart for service under any other and purposed to spend my life as a beggar. With no design on my part I have become a recipient of the blessings of the temple, and now my one desire is to repay what I have received. But I find no means so to do." Then he showed the testimonial Gamo had given him for his services in the battle at Kunohe, and elsewhere, and the letters he had received from many nobles offering him emloyment. "All are useless now," he said, and put them in the fire.18
So he lived long in the temple. And in the year A.D. 1657, when Tentokuji was burned, Yuge said: "Permit me to help," and worked on after the chief priest and all the other priests had fled, saving the images, furniture and books. When all were safe he sent off the men who had been helping him.
Afterwards in the ruins of the main hall was found the body of a man, sitting with clasped hands like a priest. It was Yuge, and all the temple folk wept and grieved for him. But he had no desire to abide in the temple; he had merely waited for an opportunity to return the favours he had received. At the fire he found the opportunity he sought, and after working to the end purposely perished in the flames. How pure and holy was his heart!
When I was young I heard a story about another samurai. He was a retainer of the late Abe Bungō no Kami, but had given up his position and taken a house in Hachobori, Edo. I have forgotten his name. As the years went by he grew poor until he was in need of food. His landlord took pity on him and sent him food, but he became ill. Then his landlord sent him gruel, but he declined it as too p. 110 ill to eat. Then he fastened up his door so that no one could enter and his landlord could only stand without and make inquiries. By and by the responses ceased. Then the landlord called the neighbors, broke open the door and went in. Seated on straw matting and leaning against his armour box with his two swords upon his knees, the samurai was dead. By his side was a writing. It expressed his appreciation of his landlord's kindness, with money to pay his rent and for his funeral. His armour was carefully arranged in its box, and with it three gold pieces. His swords were old but had gold ornaments. He had only the clothes he wore and there was not a pot nor any furniture. Nor was there any appearance that he had eaten for an hundred days. The landlord informed the officials, and they told him to carry out the written instructions. When Bungō no Kami heard the circumstance he was greatly grieved. The samurai had been a man of strength and always first when there was some great thing to do. I greatly grieve over his useless death by starvation; and it would be wrong that such a man should remain concealed, unmentioned by any one.
THE TWO BEGGARS.
Nowadays customs are decayed and all men are selfish. But since man's nature is originally good, without regard to family or customs, there are men who know the right even among the beggars.
Ten years ago on the 17th day of the 12th month of the year U, Mitsu no to, of the period Kyōhō, (12th Jan, A.D. 1724) a clerk named Ichijurō, in the employment of a merchant of Muromachi, Edo, named Echigoya Kichibei, lost a purse containing thirty ryō as he was returning from collecting some accounts. He thought it had been stolen, but returned over his route looking for it carefully. At last a beggar met him and asked, "What have you lost? Is it money?" Overjoyed Ichijurō told of his loss and the beggar p. 111 said that he had found the purse and was seeking its owner. So Ichijurō exactly described its contents, money, papers and all, and the beggar gave it back to him. In his joy at the unexpected event Ichijurō offered the beggar five ryō, but the beggar would not take them. "But it was all one and you returned it! Do take five ryō!" said Ichijurō. But the beggar persisted. "Had I wanted five ryō I should not have returned the thirty. But I did not think it mine when I picked it up. I thought that some one had lost his master's money and would be in trouble. Some men might have kept it, but I found it and desired to give it back. Now as I have returned it my business is at an end." And off he ran as fast as he could go. But Ichijurō took an itchi bu from the purse and followed him crying, "It is cold to-day! Take this for sake." So the beggar took it and said, "I'll drink the sake." And in answer to a question he said, "I am Hachibei, a beggar of Kurumazenshichi."
When Ichijurō went home and told his story his master wept in admiration and determined to give the beggar the five ryō. So on the following morning he sent Ichijurō and his chief clerk to Zenshichi, the beggar's master, to ask him to try and persuade Hachibei to take the money. But Zenshichi said, "The beggar Hachibei got a bu somewhere last night and called his friends together and had a feast of fish and sake. He drank a great deal himself and whether it did not agree with him, he died this morning." Ichijurō was astonished and asked for the body, and asked the man not to send it off or have it buried, so going home Ichijurō told his master who sent for the corpse and expended the five ryō on a funeral, interring it at Muenji in Hongō. It was certainly wonderful that a merchant should thus be affected by righteousness. He had often been employed by the Lord of Kaga, and on the twentieth of the month Ichijurō went to Kaga Yashiki and told the story to the officials there, and they told it to me.
Hachibei was, I judge, no ordinary man. He had doubtless entered the beggar's guild because poor and homeless. He saw no resource in life, and having fortunately money for a feast for his comrades he thought it a good end and choked himself. Had he been a samurai or in authority he would never have used his power to take that which belonged to others. There are men whose name is splendidly samurai, but who in truth are beggars, but this man who was called a beggar was in truth a samurai.
In Kaga is a place called Nodayama, the burial place or the Maeda family. Their retainers, too, are all buried at the foot of the hill. At the festival of the Bon, candles are put at all the graves and wealthy folk build a miniature house over the grave and put a guard on watch. But for the most part the candles are simply lighted and left to burn themselves out. So bad men come, put out the candles and steal them. A beggar slept there wrapped up in matting. He forbade the thieves to touch the candles, saying, "These offerings at the graves of ancestors are not to be touched." They reviled him, saying, "A beggar has no right to speak!" Then he replied, "True, I am a beggar, for I do not as you." That was very interesting. His words were well chosen and his meaning plain.
As I constantly repeat, in both China and Japan men of fidelity cannot escape suffering. They may even lack sufficient clothes and food, and fall in field or stream unnoticed by the world. What is more lamentable? Surely it is our duty to reveal such hidden righteousness. There are many like Yuge, the beggar Hachibei, and this beggar in Kaga. Yet I cannot help those of whom I do not hear; but if I hear I cannot forbear to speak.
Of old when the emperor commanded that books of poetry be made, the names of dancing girls and priests appeared with the names of nobles and even of the emperor himself. That is one of the merits of our Japanese poetry, for poetry knows no distinction of rank. So does my talk p. 113 of fidelity bring in samurai of distinguished families with dancing girls and beggars. Fidelity knows no distinction of high and low. This is its virtue.
All present agreed with this opinion of the Old Man.
1 Book of Poetry—"The sacrificial Odes of Kau," Ode IV.
2 From the Rikuto of the Shichisho. ###
3 Chu Yuen-chang, a plebeian by birth who overthrew the Mongols, A.D. 1368, and set up the Ming dynasty. "The Middle Kingdom," Vol. II, p. 176.
4 So said the celebrated general Baen (Ma Yuan) of his emperor Kwang Wu Ti of the Han dynasty, who reigned in China, A.D. 25-58.
5 Nobunaga, when at the height of his power, was treacherously killed, A.D. 1582. Hideyoshi then seized the power, and died A.D. 1598. After a time of war and strife Ieyasu overthrew all enemies and became Shōgun, handing down the position to his successors, forming the Tokugawa.
6 See Rein's Japan, p. 280. The comparative merits of Hideyoshi and Ieyasu are still stoutly debated. Kyusō is, of course, a thoroughgoing partisan.
7 The decisive victory by which Ieyasu won the empire, A.D. 1600.
8 At Kyōto. It was destroyed by an earthqaake, 1598. Quite a different view of the conduct of Ieyasu in connection with the Dai Butsu is given in Satow and Hawes' "Handbook," 1st. ed., p. 321. There he is represented as urging the heir of Hideyoshi to rebuild it on such a splendid scale as would exhaust his finances. And in connection with its dedication Ieyasu sought cause for offence and brought about the final downfall of his young rival. Ieyasu and his grandson are buried at Nikko.
9 The direct bestowal of a gift by the hand of the daimyō was regarded as the greatest of rewards.
10 Through adoption.
11 Rein, p. 270 and p. 276
12 Ishida Mitsunari was the chief opponent of Ieyasu, in the struggles following the death of Hideyoshi. Mitsunari vainly attempted to attach Tadaoki to his cause but Tadaoki joined Ieyasu. Rein p. 296.
13 For a somewhat similar incident see Rein, p. 279. In the war of the restoration in 1868 some samurai women of Aidzu slew their infant sons and themselves when the castle fell.
14 Rein pp. 239-240. The great popularity of Yoshitsune brought upon him the fatal jealousy of his brother, Yoritomo, who was the first Shōgun.
15 Tsurugaoka, a temple near Kamakura.
16 Ieyasu was the Daimyo of Mikawa before he became Shōgun.
17 A koku of rice is 5.13 bushels.
18 Gamo Ujisato was one of Hideyoshi's famous generals. He was made daimyo of Aidzu and aided in the subjugation of the north (Oshu) and among his battles was one at Kunohe. He was accused of seeking independent authority for himself and was poisoned. He was a Christian.