RANSHIN: Tokimune would become eighth Regent at age 18. The Hojo Regents at this time were the de facto rulers of Japan, effectively controlling the figurehead shogunate.
Hojo Tokimune (1251–1284) was born an elite warrior and statesman, destined to rule his clan and country, on June 5, 1251, to the fifth Shikken (Regent) to the Shogun, Hojo Tokiyori. Tokimune would become eighth Regent at age 18. The Hojo Regents at this time were the de facto rulers of Japan, effectively controlling the figurehead shogunate.
Tokimune was, like his father, a ruthless leader and a powerful politician, displaying great strength and influence in the Imperial and Shogunate courts.
In January of 1268, Kublai Khan, leader of the Mongols, sent written explicit intimidations via his envoys demanding Japan submit to his control. Tokimune sent the envoys home without an answer. Kublai sent four more contingents of envoys over the following two years. All were turned away on the orders of Tokimune. Angered, the Mongols launched an invasion of Japan in 1274. This invasion was thwarted by a typhoon, and by the samurai class of Japanese warriors. The following year, 1275, another five representatives were sent to Japan and refused to leave without a reply. Tokimune had them brought from Kyushu to the seat of government in Kamakura, where he executed them. With no word from his envoys, Kublai Khan sent another five, who were promptly executed on arrival. For this, the Mongols launched yet another greater invasion in 1281.
When the Mongols invaded Japan, Tokimune went to his Zen master, Mugaku Sogen, and said, “Finally there is the greatest event of my life.” Mugaku asked, “How do you plan to face it?” Tokimune shouted, “Katsu!” (literally “Victory!”), demonstrating his resolve to triumph over the invaders. Mugaku responded with satisfaction: “It is true that the son of a lion roars as a lion!”
When the war with the Mongols ended, Tokimune turned his attention to other matters, like practicing Zen meditation and building Buddhist shrines and monasteries, such as Engaku-ji Temple which he intended as a memorial to both samurai and Mongol soldiers who had died during the Mongol invasions. As a teen and young man, he had been an advocate of the Ritsu sect of Buddhism, but converted to Zen at some point before the war. He was so committed to his faith that he “took the tonsure and became a Zen monk” on the day that he died.
Tokimune died on April 20, 1284, aged 33 of tuberculosis and heart disease. He was buried at Engaku-ji Temple in Kita Kamakura.
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Tetsuo Ted Takashima
Translated by Alexandrea Mallia
On Sale: October 2022
Price: US $17.95 CAN $22.95
US $12.99 (eBook)
ISBN: 978-1-940842-68-4SBN: 978-1-940842-68-4
Book: Trade Paperback
Size: 5.5 x 8.5 inches
Publisher: MUSEYON Books