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PRINCE TOMOMI IWAKURA (1835-1883)

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Originally appearing in Volume V15, Page 102 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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PRINCE TOMOMI IWAKURA (1835-1883), Japanese states-man, was born in Kioto. He was one of the court nobles (kuge) of Japan, and he traced his descent to the emperor Murakami (A.o. 947-967). A man of profound ability and singular force of character, he acted a leading part in the complications preceding the fall of the Tokugawa shogunate, and was obliged to fly from Kioto accompanied by his coadjutor, Prince Sanjo. They took refuge with the Daimyo of Choshu, and, while there, established relations which contributed greatly to the ultimate union of the two great fiefs, Satsuma and Choshu, for the work of the Restoration. From 1867 until the day of his death Iwakura was one of the most prominent figures on the political stage. In 1871 he proceeded to America and Europe at the head of an imposing embassy of some fifty persons, the object being to explain to foreign governments the actual conditions existing in Japan, and to pave the way for negotiating new treaties consistent with her sovereign rights. Little success attended the mission. Returning to Japan in 1873, Iwakura found the cabinet divided as to the manner of dealing with Korea's insulting attitude. He advocated peace, and his influence carried the day, thus removing a difficulty which, though apparently of minor dimensions, might have changed the whole course of Japan's modern history. I XION, in Greek legend, son of Phlegyas, king of the Lapithae in Thessaly (or of Ares), and husband of Dia. According to custom he promised his father-in-law, Deioneus, a handsome bridal present, but treacherously murdered him when he claimed the fulfilment of the promise. As a punishment, Ixion was seized with madness, until Zeus purified him of his crime and admitted him as a guest to Olympus. Ixion abused his pardon by trying to seduce Hera; but the goddess substituted for herself a cloud, by which he became the father of the Centaurs. Zeus bound him on a fiery wheel, which rolls unceasingly through the air or (according to the later version) in the underworld (Pindar, Pythia, ii. 2s; Ovid, Metam. iv. 461; Virgil, Aeneid, vi. 6o1). Ixion is generally taken to represent the eternally moving sun. Another explanation connects the story with the practice (among certain peoples of central Europe) of carrying a blazing, revolving wheel through fields which needed the heat of the sun, the legend being invented to explain the custom and subsequently adopted by the Greeks (see Mannhardt, Wald- and Feldkulte, ii. 1905, p. 83). In view of the fact that the oak was the sun-god's tree and that the mistletoe grew upon it, it is suggested by A. B. Cook (Class. Rev. xvii. 420) that 'IEimv is derived from iEos (mistletoe), the sun's fire being regarded as an emanation from the mistletoe. Ixion himself is probably a by-form of Zeus (Usener in Rhein. Mus. liii. 345). " The Myth of Ixion " (by C. Smith, in Classical Review, June 1895) deals with the subject of a red-figure cantharus in the British Museum. I XTACCIHUATL, or IZTACCIHUATL (" white woman "), a lofty mountain of volcanic origin, ro m. N. of Popocatepetl and about 40 M. S.S.E of the city of Mexico, forming part of the short spur called the Sierra Nevada. According to Angelo Heilprin (1853-1907) its elevation is 16,96o ft.; other authorities make it much less. Its apparent height is dwarfed somewhat by its elongated summit and the large area covered. It has three summits of different heights standing on a north and south line, the central one being the largest and highest and all three rising above the permanent snow-line. As seen from the city of Mexico the three summits have the appearance of a shrouded human figure, hence the poetic Aztec appellation of " white woman " and the unsentimental Spanish designation " La mujer gorda." The ascent is difficult and perilous, and is rarely accomplished. Heilprin says that the mountain is largely composed of trachytic rocks and that it is older than Popocatepetl. It has no crater and no trace of lingering volcanic heat. It is surmised that its crater, if it ever had one, has been filled in and its cone worn away by erosion through long periods of time.
End of Article: PRINCE TOMOMI IWAKURA (1835-1883)
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