Campaigning in the KwantoHideyoshi now decided on subduing the last of the Lords who had hitherto failed to submit to him; Hojo of the Kwanto. When Hojo was called to the capital to declare himself a vassal, he refused despite apparently being advised to attend by Ieyasu. Hideyoshi then accused Hojo of plotting rebellion, promising to march against him the following year.
Hideyoshi had been preparing for this showdown for some years, ordering the collection of hostages in Kyoto from all his tributary lords. He ordered that the lords of the Kinia mobilise their men; Ieyasu had to produce seven men per hundred koku[i].
|Tokugawa Hidetada as an adult|
At the beginning of 1589 Ieyasu sent his heir Nagamaru to Hideyoshi as a hostage and Hideyoshi’s wife organised Nagamaru’s coming of age ceremony and as a compliment he was given the first character of Hideyoshi’s name, henceforth he would be known as Hidetada. She also asked her husband to return Hidetada to his father. In return Ieyasu sent a cousin as hostage.Roughly contemporaneous with Nagamaru’s arrival as a hostage, his step-mother died. Ieyasu was busy preparing the Tokaido Highway for use during the forthcoming military adventures, castles needed renovation and rest-houses prepared.
In 1590 150,000 men surrounded Hojo’s town of Odawara. It took three months before the castle surrendered and Hojo Ujimasa and his younger brother Ujiteru committed seppuku. Hideyoshi gave Ieyasu the Lordship of the eight provinces of the Kwanto; in return Ieyasu gave back the four provinces he had obtained for himself and his ancestral fief of Mikawa, rendering himself more vulnerable to Hideyoshi.Edo
Hideyoshi immediately gave Ieyasu’s former fiefs to his own supporters, bottling Ieyasu into the Kwanto. On the advice of Hideyoshi, Ieyasu decided to make Edo his capital and on 1st August 1590 made his first entrance into the town, which was little more than a village. He had only been given the Lordship of the Kwanto on 14th July and the rapidity of his decision to relocate the capital stunned even Hideyoshi.‘The Lord Tokugawa’s way of doing things is really extraordinary.’[ii]
The grants of lands to his followers Ieyasu left to Ina Kumazo Tadatsuga, making him Daikwan[iii] of the Kwanto. Tadatsuga stayed in this role until his death in 1615. In that time he was heavily involved in the reclamation of the Kwanto, putting down brigands, administering justice and improving communications and increasing revenues.Korea and the Death of Hideyoshi
In December 1592 Hideyoshi announced his intention to invade Korea. The vanguard was to depart the following March to be followed by an army of over 270,000. Hideyoshi arrived at the forward base, Nagoya, in April 1593. He appointed Ieyasu as supreme commander of all Diamyos in the Eastern Provinces. Hidetada was left in charge in Edo, while Ieyasu travelled to Nagoya with 15,000 men. Ieyasu had also provided a number of war-vessels to transport his men across to Korea.
The war was to continue intermittently for six years, until Hideyoshi’s death, during which time Ieyasu remained in Japan. In 1591 Hideyoshi retired from the role of Kambaku and took the title Taiko[iv]. His nephew and heir Hidetsugu took the title Kampaku. Ieyasu was one of those appointed to the new Kambaku’s council of advisers. Hideyoshi had intended to prosecute the war in person, but had been dissuaded by his mother, to whom he was extremely attached and by the Emperor. He now spent a lot of time entertaining and being entertained (at great expense to his hosts) in Kyoto.Sometime after the birth of his son Hideyori, in September 1593, Hideyoshi handed over Osaka Castle to him. At the same time he decided on the rebuilding of Fushimi, for his son now designated his successor. The castle was rebuilt within the year at the expense of the Daimyos.
At the end of 1595 Hidetsugu was forced to commit seppuku, having been charged with treason by his uncle the Taiko[v]. Hideyoshi had his nephew’s wife, consorts and children put to death on a common execution ground. Ieyasu was not impressed with Hideyori’s actions.‘I don’t think you did well at all in this. If the Kambaku was at fault, could you not have banished him somewhere or other? It is a pity you acted with such harshness. You are getting on in years now, while Hideyori is only a baby. If anything untoward should happen the Empire would have been safe if the Kambaku had been alive.’[vi]
In May 1596 Ieyasu was promoted to the Upper Second rank at Court.In September 1596 the Chinese envoys attended on Hideyoshi at Fushimi; they failed to announce his accession as Emperor of China as he had expected. Negotiations between the two states were broken off and Hideyoshi again declared war on Korea, claiming that they were the cause of his quarrel with China. Early the following year Hideyoshi launched the armies of the Daimyo’s on Korea, while he tarried in Japan entertaining and being entertained.
In August 1598 Hideyoshi, already ill, died suddenly leaving only an infant child to succeed him as de facto ruler of Japan.The Road to Sekigahara
Hideyoshi had already set up a council of regents, including Ieyasu, to rule Japan until Hideyori was old enough to act in person. After Hideyoshi’s death the other regents were upset by Ieyasu’s politicking. He arranged a number of political marriages for his children and grandchildren. This had been forbidden by Hideyoshi, in an attempt to stop the formation of political cliques.The Regents had to act in concert with the five Bugyo[vii] who had worked for Hideyoshi throughout his period in power. The two groups appointed three interveners to ensure cooperation between them. One of the Bugyo, Ishida Mitsunari immediately complained of Ieyasu’s infringement of the rules on political marriages. The problem was submitted to the Regents for their consideration.
Troops massed in Kyoto and Fushimi, but eventually the Regents agreed with Ieyasu that it was a minor matter. Ieyasu pointed out that the Bugyo had failed to act by the rules on all occasions and the matter was smoothed over. It is possible that Ieyasu was testing the waters at this point. Ieyasu was asked to resign by the other Regents, but he ignored them.Hideyori was residing at Osaka Castle with his guardian Maeda Toshiie, while Ieyasu was at Fushimi. In 1599 Ishida was attacked, by a number of generals whom he had upset[viii] on a visit to Osaka to pay his respects to the dying Maeda. He escaped dressed as a lady and fled to take refuge with Ieyasu in Fushimi, despite authorship of a recent attempt to kill his host[ix]. Ieyasu sent Ishida home with his son Hidetada as an escort. Even while staying with Ieyasu, Ishida was calling on his allies to attack his host.
It is believed that his senior adviser Honda Masanobu advised Ieyasu to let Ishida foment the nascent opposition. With Ishida at its head it would be easier for Ieyasu to act against them, as Hideyori was still just a child of seven, and Ishida could be portrayed as acting in his own interests. Ieyasu now suggested that the Daimyos, who had borne the burden of the Korean war, retire to their fiefs. Many left for their respective provinces to prepare for war.
Adams meets Ieyasu
After Maeda’s death Ieyasu stayed the first few months of 1600 with Hideyori at Osaka Castle. During this stay Will Adams[x], the English Pilot-Major of a Dutch trading fleet blown ashore in Japan[xi], was brought before Ieyasu. Ieyasu was more than happy to receive the cargo of the Liefde, which he confiscated and detained its crew. Ieyasu had the Liefde sailed to Uraga[xii].Ieyasu received notification that Uesegi Kagekatsu, one of Ishida’s allies, was building a new castle at Kazashigahara; allegedly using 70,000 men on the construction working day and night. In May Ieyasu invited Uesegi to visit Osaka to explain the work he was having done and in default of the proposed visit sent en envoy, who narrowly escaped assassination. Uesegi’s neighbour informed Ieyasu that the peace of the region could not be guaranteed unless Uesegi was curbed.
Ieyasu left Osaka on 18th June, making a leisurely journey down to Edo, spending much of the trip hawking, as well as visiting the Lords of Kuroda, Hosakawa and Date. Ieyasu reached Edo on 2nd July and after a few days moved on to Koyoma in Hitachi, where Hidetada was overseeing the operation against Uesegi Kagekatsu. He held a council of his allies and received the news that Ishida had declared war. Ieyasu offered the families of the hostages in Osaka, held by Ishida, the chance to side with the western allies[xiii], no-one took him up on the offer.Ieyasu called on his allies to attack Uesegi. The Satake transferred their allegiance to the western alliance, while the Maeda were unable to attack as they were pinned down by attacks from hostile neighbours. The combined forces of Date and Mogami kept Uesegi sufficiently occupied that he was unable to give Ishida any assistance.
To ensure freedom of movement for his armies Ieyasu sent detachments of men to take key positions on the Tokkaido and the Nakasendo[xiv]. The most important of these was the castle of Kiyosu in Owari, held by Osaki Gemba, known as Devil Gemba. The castle was a key point between the two roads and control of the castle meant control of the region. Ishida too recognised the castle’s strategic value and attempted to persuade Gemba to hand the castle to him. Gemba called for help from the eastern allies and the castle was held for Ieyasu.
By September 30th the western allies had captured a number of key strategic points and settled at Akasaka to await Ieyasu. An old friend of Ieyasu, Torii Mototada undertook to Ieyasu to hold his strategic castle of Fushimi to the end. Ishida and his allies besieged the castle. The castle was taken after one of the defenders, under threat of having his family crucified, betrayed Mototada. Three hundred and fifty men died with Mototada after a siege lasting two weeks. What was left of the fortress was hardly worth the cost of gaining it.On 7th October Ieyasu left Edo at the head of an army of 30,000 men and on the 12th had reached Shimada in Suruga. Two days later he had a message of support from Kobayakawa Hideaki[xv].By the 19th Ieyasu was at Gifu and the following day the western army was on the march to Sekigahara.
BibliographySekigahara – Anthony Bryant, Osprey Publishing Ltd 1995
Samurai William – Giles Milton, Hodder & Stoughton 2002The Maker of Modern Japan – AL Sadler, Charles E Tuttle Company 1983
Tokugawa Ieyasu Shogun – Conrad Totman, Heian 1983En.wikipedia.org
[ii] The Maker of Modern Japan - Sadler
[iii] District Commissioner
[iv] Retired Kambaku
[v] Possibly because he stood between Hideyori and the succession
[vi] The Maker of Modern Japan - Sadler
[viii] Ishida was a brilliant financial administrator but a very rigid personality, who got on badly with the military.
[ix] Ieyasu was probably aware of this attempt.
[x] A veteran of the fleet put together to fight the Armada, captaining one of the ships.
[xi] Of the remainder of the fleet one ship made its way back to Holland, one ship sank, one was taken by the Spanish and the other by the Portuguese.
[xii] Kanagawa Prefecture
[xiii] Ishida’s party.
[xiv] The key roads to the capital
[xv] The nephew of Hideyoshi’s wife