Thursday, 13 December 2012

Shogun - Tokugawa Ieyasu 1600 - 1616


Screen showing battle of Sekigahara
At 2.00 am on the 21st the eastern army too was on the march to Sekigahara. By 4.40am both armies were in position and at 8.00 am the fighting started as the fog lifted. By 11.00 Ishida was having problems as the Shimazu, Mori and finally the Kobayakawa troops failed to follow orders.

At noon Kobayakawa Hideaki finally dismounted from his hilltop camp and attacked Otani Yoshitsugu, an erstwhile ally. By 2.00 pm Ieyasu was able to declare victory and view the heads of his slain enemies.
Ishida was not captured until 27th October, where he had been hiding on Mount Ibuki. He was executed on 6th November.

Round-up of the remnants of the western armies continued, while Ieyasu followed a policy of conciliating his enemies; fearing that harsh treatment would drive them back to their provinces to plot another uprising. Ieyasu’s core supporters were not given large fiefs in reward for their loyalty, but they were given key strategic positions around Edo.

Tokugawa Ieyasu
Ieyasu’s family were more liberally rewarded and in 1602 Ieyasu married his granddaughter to Hideyori; using his new wife’s retinue as a means of keeping an eye on the young man.
In 1600 the Emperor discussed the matter of his succession with Ieyasu. The Emperor favoured his second son, while Hideyoshi had been persuaded to order that the eldest son would be heir. Ieyasu, misliking the eldest son’s sponsors, agreed with the Emperor, who duly made his second son Crown Prince.

In 1603 Ieyasu was formally proclaimed Shogun, an honour that Nobunaga and Hideyoshi had been unable to claim, as they had no ties with the Minamoto family. When he was informed by his retainers that the Daimyos were expecting his elevation to Shogun, Ieyasu replied
'There is no hurry about that. The country has to be set in order, and the welfare of the people seen to. That is the most urgent need. Then the various Lords have to be settled in their new fiefs. When all that has been done it will be time to look to my own personal status.’[i]


Aerial view of Edo Castle
Ieyasu now set about enlarging his capital, the new administrative centre of the country. In July 1604 Ieyasu ordered that the Daimyos prepare to supply materials and labour to construct the city. An area of swamp was reclaimed from the sea and hills were levelled, creating a plain where the city was to be constructed.
The works were inspected by Ieyasu, until his retirement and then by Hidetada. That even the great Daimyos were concerned about the quality of the work and materials is evidenced by letters of the time. Masuda Motoyoshi, chief councillor of Mori Terumoto wrote

‘Ogosho Sama [Ieyasu] has been short-tempered, and I am very apprehensive……..We must indeed be very careful. And again, Mori and Kikkawa were not in time with their supplies. It is nothing to laugh at. The arrangements have got out of order, and I am very anxious about it.’[ii]
By June 1606 the majority of the first stage of the building work had been completed and Ieyasu handed out presents and compliments to those who had participated. In 1607 further orders for building were sent out and then again in 1611. The Daimyos, eager to be close to the source of power, began their own construction programmes in the city, building homes for themselves and families. The building of Edo financed by the Daimyos continued a tradition Hideyoshi had observed, of reducing the finances of those who might rise up against the regime.

Several of the Dutchmen who had arrived in the Liefde had been taken into the service of Matsura Shigenobu, Lord of Hirado. The captain and supercargo obtained permission to go home in 1605, with an invitation to Dutch merchants to come to Japan. Will Adams was not so fortunate. Ieyasu found him too useful.

Jacques Specx
In 1609 the Brach from the Netherlands arrived in Japan and its captain Specx met with Ieyasu presenting him with a letter from the Stadtholder. Ieyasu replied to the latter and gave a grant for Dutch ships to enter any port in Japan, the commencement of a trading advantage for the Dutch that lasted three hundred years.
In an attempt to overturn the concession given to the Dutch; the Spanish and Portuguese claimed that the Dutch were pirates. Adams appears to have overset this notion in his conversations with Ieyasu, giving him a relatively unbiased opinion of the situation in Europe.

Specx returned to Japan in 1612, with another letter from Prince Maurice.
‘My pen cannot express the feelings of gratitude with which I have received your honoured epistle sent from a realm so far distant. And I am beyond measure thankful for the gracious permission that you have given to the Dutch merchants who have arrived in Japan to trade freely in your domains.’[iii]
In his letter Prince Maurice rebutted the accusations of the Spanish and the Portuguese and claimed that their priests wanted to convert all Japan to Catholicism. This letter helped confirm the Shogun’s belief that the activities of the Catholic missionaries in Japan were a menace.

Jesuit priest with a Japanese nobleman
The Spaniards were not slow to send a representative whose demands on Ieyasu were staggering in their breadth and impertinence; the expulsion of the Dutch, mining rights, freedom to proselytise, freedom for Spanish ships to go wherever Japanese government ships sailed, provision of materials for shipbuilding, a separate justice system for Spanish residents in Japan; a seemingly endless list of arrogant demands.
Ieyasu wished to encourage foreign trade and shipbuilding and was happy to encourage Spanish involvement; but he set himself against the importation of Christianity into Japan, believing that it was incompatible with Japanese history, culture and mentality.

In 1614 Ieyasu ordered the expulsion of all Jesuits from Japan, forbidding samurai and nobles to profess Christianity, although allowing farmers and tradesmen to do so.

In 1605 Ieyasu officially retired becoming Ogosho[iv], leaving Hidetada to take his place as Shogun. He continued to rule Japan until his death. Ieyasu suggested that Hideyori leave Osaka to pay his respects to the new Shogun. Hideyori’s mother objected to her son leaving the safety of Osaka. Many of Hideyoshi’s former adherents were dying off, reducing the loyal support base for his son.
Ieyasu had been working to isolate Hideyori and he ordered the Daimyos to stop the practise of calling on him at Osaka, before visiting Sumpu[v] or Edo. Ieyasu had encouraged Hideyori and his mother to spend money rebuilding the Great Buddha built by Hideyoshi. The rebuilding was completed in 1614 and a new bell was cast. The inauguration of the new building was stopped on the grounds that the new bell was an insult to the Shogun and his family on a number of hair-splitting grounds.

Osaka Castle
Hideyori had apparently been trying to attract samurai into his service and his uncle Oda Yuraku had been sounding our Daimyos for support for his nephew. Honda, a Tokugawa adviser informed the Hideyori faction that the Shogun believed that Hideyori should leave Osaka for some other province. Hideyori and his advisers could not accept such proposals and Ieyasu ensured that rumours of his intentions to rebel against the Shogunate circulated throughout Japan. He then decreed a casus belli and attacked.
Hideyori appealed to the Daimyos for support, but his call was not answered. He had 90,000 freelance samurai to defend Osaka Castle, while the Daimyos answered the Tokugawa call for levies. Hidetada was in charge of the siege, but Ieyasu visited in mid-November commenting

‘The inner part of the castle is very strong, and will be difficult to take, even if we carry the outer. We must adopt a waiting policy, and hem them in by fortified works, and so cut off all their communications. Let the Shogun see to this, and I will go hawking in the Kinai district.’[vi]
The defenders after suffering a series of bombardments agreed to the castle’s moats being filled in and Ieyasu’s men worked day and night to level the castle’s defences. The agreement stated that Hideyori’s status would not be altered in any way and hostages were sent to Edo. Following the peace all the Daimyos were excused from further public works for three years.

But information was soon available to the effect that the defenders were busy refortifying the castle; in May 1615 the Shogun’s army marched to quell the defiance of Hideyori’s supporters. After a close fought battle the Shogun’s army invaded the castle where Hideyori, his staff and his mother killed themselves. Later Hideyori’s young son was executed. Ieyasu’s step-granddaughter[vii] was saved from the castle and was later remarried to a member of the loyal Honda family.

Ieyasu's grave
It is possible that Ieyasu died from cancer of the stomach. He had always lived frugally and was healthy, but he suffered an illness in the summer after the fall of Osaka, which he recovered. The Emperor was now persuaded to name Ieyasu Dajodaijin and Ieyasu attended the ceremonies to celebrate his commission, despite a re-occurrence of his illness. During this last illness he received many of the great Daimyo, calling to present their respects. Ieyasu died on 1st June 1616.

The Christian Martys of Nagasaki
His ‘retirement’ meant that no change was formally necessary as Hidetada was already in post as Shogun. Hidetada was ill-disposed towards Christians, enacting anti-Christian legislation, forcing Christian Diamyo to commit suicide, forcing other Christians to deny their beliefs and executing 55 Christians in Nagasaki. The Togukawa Shogunate stayed in power until 1867, when the modernising influences from abroad finally toppled the family from their hold on power.

Sekigahara – Anthony Bryant, Osprey Publishing Ltd 1995
Samurai William – Giles Milton, Hodder & Stoughton 2002

The Maker of Modern Japan – AL Sadler, Charles E Tuttle Company 1983
Tokugawa Ieyasu Shogun – Conrad Totman, Heian 1983

[i] The Maker of Modern Japan - Sadler
[ii] Ibid
[iii] Ibid
[iv] Retired Shogun
[v] Where Ieyasu was now domiciled
[vi] The Maker of Modern Japan - Sadler
[vii] Hideyori’s wife

1 comment:

  1. The wording on the bell being considered as an insult is one of the most spurious pieces of casuistry I have ever come across even from Ieyasu. However he didn't trust Yodo-dono not to manipulate her son Hideyori, and feared war breaking out again. Ieyasu's daughter, wife of Hideyori, Senhime, had adopted the daughter of a dead consort of her husband. Hideyori's son Kunimatsu was outspoken against the Shogun and might easily have been another figurehead for Ieyasu's and Hidetada's enemies, a harsh age.