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When The Shogun Awoke - Chapter 3 - page 3

Many thanks for your trouble. And my condolences for the loss of your two children during the war. It must be heart-breaking for you. I'm greatly sorry." Of course your words made the front page. One of the reporters went so far as to cook up a story that the general wept at your words, and that too caused a sensation. You went on like this providing material for the papers by reacting sensitively to new trends. In January of the forty-fourth year of Meiji, you issued a proclamation entitled They deserve to be hanged in response to the so-called Great Treason Incident involving Kotoku Shusui and others. On October twenty fourth of the forty fourth year of Meiji when the Coalition for the Relief of the Mentally Ill held a grand garden party, you made a speech and@led a chorus wishing the Emperor a long life in front of Count Okuma Shigenobu. You represented the entire population of the mentally ill in Japan. Afterwards, in the talent show, you played the role of Oishi Kuranosuke. You had a keen interest especially in the issues involvining China, which perfectly suited the intentions of the military. On September twenty fifth of the second year of Taisho, the military authorities sent Kawashima, Honjo Yasutaro, Kohira Soichi of the Society for Sino-Japanese Friendship to your place. You said to these three gentlemen, 'The current state of China which has reached a height of confusion can be attributed no more appropriately than to the inadequacies of its educational system. For this reason I consider it imperative to reform their current system by supplanting it with the Japanese educational system. As to the details, we should consider sending beautiful Japanese women to China to teach the people singing and dancing. We should also frequently send warships to China; and should there be an attempt made to restore the Chin Dynasty we must promptly subjugate China to our control. In retrospect the recent war with Russia was ill-timed; had I been in charge of negotiations I would not have resorted to war. Had we waited a little longer, Russia would have offered us Western Siberia and Manchuria subsequent to considerable development of those areas. This loss of oppotunity cannot be overly lamented. In the future I intend to command a fleet of warships and adopt measures to repay our debts.' In response to Mr. Kawashima's question whether or not you had troops and the money to suppport them, you replied, 'I would be confident of my victory if I were to base the headquarters near Ashio Copper Mines, taking advantage of the abundant lake water and enlisting soldiers from the region. In brief, Japanese politics has no acumen, and that's why the goverment amasses debts. All they know is preach frugality and economy; for instance, in this hospital, the head nurse would not give out even one egg to a patient. And yet the hospital to which Goto Shimpei invested one million yen for its construction, for example, required numerous repairs soon after its completion because the job was subcontracted to an incompetant developper. The foundation of the brick building in Ginza which Goto built in the sixteenth year of Meiji had double structure and was three feet deep; consequently it could withstand any natural disaster, be it storm or earthquake, however severe.' Finally, when they asked if you wanted to make any request, you replied, 'I would like to request a set of Army Genereal ceremonial uniforms. The clothes I have worn for the last several years are too soiled not to be presentable in the presence of the Emperor. Also when I go out, I would like to have a horse carriage waiting for me outside. As a matter of fact I very much wish to meet with the widow of former Lord Yamada of Kaga Province who, though now a widow, visits China frequently and is therefore very informed of the current affairs. Wherein reside the noble officials of Chin China, I wonder!' Hearing all this spoken in a grave tone the three men had to suppress laughter. That was all for that day. It wasn't until November that they sent you a set of ceremonial uniforms of the Republic of China's Army General. That's what you see on the wall." The First Lieutenant pointed at the ceremonial uniform. "It was decided that a plaster statue of you dressed in this uniform with a saber in your right hand would be exhibited in the following year's Tokyo Exposition. With regard to the event you made the following statement to the reporters: 'Ah, you mean the bronze statue! It's going to be ready very soon. The site has not been chosen yet, but as things stand now it is going to be on top of Miyagi Castle's donjon's stone wall. The railing of the fense surrounding it is going to be inlaid with fifteen diamonds. The Tzar of Russia is supposed to send them to me soon. I'm inviting all the Cabinet Members, from the Minister of the Imperior Household down to the least important and several others from the House of Peers to the opening ceremony. Come and see me then.'And: 'Recently the China situation is growing increasingly complex, exposing the Justice Minister's incompetency.