Questions and Answers on the Object of Devotion Chapter11-1

Questions and Answers on the Object of Devotion Chapter11-1

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There is the case of [Emperor Gotoba] the eighty-second human sovereign, known as the Retired Emperor of Oki. In the third year of Jōkyū [1221], the year with the cyclical sign kanoto-mi, on the fifteenth day of the fifth month, his forces attacked and killed Iga Tarō Hōgan Mitsusue.20 Thereupon they took the field against Yoshitoki of the Kamakura shogunate.

The retired emperor in time called out all the warriors of the five regions around the capital and the seven marches in an effort to defeat the Acting Administrator Yoshitoki of Kamakura in Sagami Province, but on the contrary his own forces were defeated by Yoshitoki. In the end the retired emperor himself was exiled to the island province of Oki, his two imperial sons21 were exiled to the provinces of Sado and Awa respectively, and seven high-ranking officials in the imperial court were summarily beheaded.

Why did this come about? For the emperor, the ruler of the nation, to attack Yoshitoki, a mere subject, would seem to be as easy as for a hawk to seize a pheasant or a cat to devour a mouse. And yet in this case, the cat was devoured by the mouse, the hawk was seized by the pheasant.

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20. In 1219 Iga Mitsusue became a military governor of Rokuhara in Kyoto whose duties included supervision of the political, military, and judicial affairs of the southwestern half of Japan. During the Jōkyū Disturbance of 1221, he refused to join forces with the Retired Emperor Gotoba.

21. The Retired Emperors Tsuchimikado and Juntoku.

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