The animistic belief of the early Koreans has never been clearly studied, but whatever its exact nature may have been, it certainly evinced no bigotry in the presence of the foreign faith, for within three years of the arrival of the first image of Sakiya Muni in Koma, two large monasteries had been built, and the King and his Court were all converts.
Time passed on, and one morning Gon lay before the house door, basking in the sun. He looked lazily at the world stretched out before him, and saw in the distance a big ruffian of a cat teasing and ill-treating quite a little one. He jumped up, full of rage, and chased away the big cat, and then he turned to comfort the little one, when his heart nearly burst with joy to find that it was Koma.
They were brought over from Koma six months later by a Koma envoy, Chong Cha-ryang, to whom the Court presented three hundred pieces of gold. Kyoto's attitude towards this incident was most instructive. When the first tidings of the invasion reached the capital, the protection of heaven was at once invoked by services at Ise and ten other shrines.
Kotoku was then upon the Japanese throne, and Japan herself was busily occupied importing and assimilating Tang institutions. That she should have taken umbrage at similar imitation on Shiragi's part seems capricious. Shiragi sent no more envoys, and presently , finding herself seriously menaced by a coalition between Koma and Kudara, she applied to the Tang Court for assistance.
The Japanese acceded, and Shiragi was saved for a time, but at the cost of incurring, for herself and for Japan alike, the lasting enmity of Koma. Shiragi appears to have concluded, however, that she had more to fear from Koma than from Japan, for she still withheld her tribute to the latter, and invaded the territory of Kudara, which had always maintained most friendly relations with Yamato.
In short, the Koma prince he no longer could properly be called a monarch would have been only too pleased to see Japan pass under the Mongol yoke as his own kingdom had already done. Kublai's letter, however, though not deliberately arrogant, could not be construed in any sense except as a summons to send tribute-bearing envoys to Peking.
They were shattered beyond the power of rallying, and only a remnant found its way back to Tsukushi. Kudara and Koma fell, and Japan lost her last footing in a region where her prestige had stood so high for centuries. *He was a hostage. The constant residence of Korean hostages in Japan speaks eloquently of the relations existing between the two countries.
So poor little Koma was left alone, while Gon was borne away full of trouble, not in the least knowing what to do. Even the attention paid him by the princess, who was delighted with his beauty and pretty ways, did not console him, but there was no use in fighting against fate, and he could only wait and see what would turn up.
Where the embassy embarked there is no record, but, being blown out of their course, the boats finally made the coast of Dewa, where several of the envoy's suite were killed by the Yemishi. The envoy himself reached Nara safely, and, representing his sovereign as the successor of the Koma dynasty, was hospitably received, the usual interchange of gifts taking place.
Koma maintained at that epoch relations of intimate friendship with the powerful Chinese dynasty of the Eastern Wei, and Yuryaku's essays against such a combination were futile, though he prosecuted them with considerable vigour. After his death the efficiency of Japan's operations in Korea was greatly impaired by factors hitherto happily unknown in her foreign affairs treason and corruption.