ONE-MINUTE BIO OF THE REAL-LIFE
ODA NOBUNAGA
PLUS TOYOTOMI HIDEYOSHI & TOKUGAWA IEYASU

Oda, Tokugawa, Toyotomi

ODA-TOYOTOMI-TOKUGAWA 1534 - 1545 1546 - 1560 1561 - 1570 1571 - 1582 1583 - 1615

 

Popular Profile & Summary of Bio ..... Oda Nobunaga ..... Toyotomi Hideyoshi ..... Tokugawa Ieyasu

If you are in a hurry, click one of the names above. Every important fact is already there in brief,
and you might find some fun and weird truths that are not dished out within the 'scientific' biography.

 

Kambei Nobutaka
Oda Nobutaka looks very impressive here as the chief of the clan that adopted him, the Kambei of Ise;
the looks is fitting into the meaning of his first name, 'the great hawk'

Oda Nobunaga's Family Tree: Click Here

 

1583

Oda Nobunaga's 25 years-old third son, Oda Nobutaka, who wanted to be the head of the clan, committed suicide after getting defeated in battle by Toyotomi Hideyoshi who fought to install Oda Nobunaga's grandson from Nobutada, Oda Hidenobu (Samboshi, 3 years old), on the much-coveted seat.

Shibata Katsuie, Nobutaka's ally in all this, also died the same way, with the former Lady Oda Oichi, Nobunaga's sister, his wife. But the all-female kids gotten from Oichi's previous marriage to Asai Nagamasa were saved by Toyotomi.

The eldest of these, Lady Asai Yodo, became his concubine and mother of his one and only offspring (although many never believed that this was really his son) Toyotomi Hideyori (click here for story and pictures).

 

Shizugatake Shizugatake monument

The location of Shizugatake war in 2002 (left) and monuments to remember the battle by (not left).
This is where Toyotomi Hideyoshi's status as Oda Nobunaga's successor got confirmed.
Click the pictures above for story and pictures of the people involved in this ugly war.

 

Shibata had tried to get Tokugawa Ieyasu to back him and Oda Nobutaka up, but Tokugawa didn't want to get involved in this internal feud -- it didn't matter to him which side won or lose, he knew one day he would have to face the victor himself.

Yet maybe the strongest of the Oda Generals (Shibata was, actually) was just darn unlucky because Oda Nobutaka panicked before the time for a joint attack came, and started to fight too early. None of other elements of this anti-Toyotomi force was ready when Oda Nobutaka performed his warcry. Former Oda Captain Takigawa Kazumasu also lost big time because of this.

 

 

1584

Here at last began the reign of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who got his 48th birthday this year, and he brought in the Golden Age of this habitually turbulent medieval Japan.

He got all the previous territories of the Oda clan, and made peace with everybody outside this domain. The Emperor gave him the title of 'Lord Chief Minister' ('Kuampaku' in Japanese) -- no one would have even dreamt of such a thing back then regarding this farmer's son.

Toyotomi became some bytes more rigid than during Oda's times, in stuff like the chain of command, ranks and so forth, but he was generally seen as being much easier to forgive, and spared a lot more people than Oda usually did after every battle. To be exact, this was the year when he used the name 'Toyotomi' (why haven't I mentioned any other name, click here), which meant 'The Bountiful Ruler'.

Before all that, though, fightings first.

Oda Nobuo, the ne'er-do-well second son of Nobunaga's, started the year by asking Tokugawa Ieyasu to help him battling against Toyotomi Hideyoshi and made him the heir of Oda Nobunaga. Since it was fitting to his own plan, Tokugawa seriously led an army for that purpose.

The series of wars (at Komaki, Nagakute, etc.) was a total waste of time, energy, gunpowder, and lives.

During the battle, both Tokugawa and Toyotomi felt disinclined to move on, knowing fully well that it wasn't an Oda battle for chief-of-the-clan title; it was theirs for supremacy over Japan.

Always cunning, Toyotomi chose the backstreet. He approached the bad seed Oda Nobuo, and talked him into peace. Tokugawa automatically cancelled his moves, and all was well again as far as Toyotomi and Tokugawa were concerned.

The only excuse for this useless series of killings (although it made some of Toyotomi's Captains famous, like Gamo Ujisato and Tsutsui Junkei) was that it determined at last who was to step into Oda Nobunaga's shoes first.

By outwitting Tokugawa Ieyasu, Toyotomi Hideyoshi had thereby gathered the warlords of Japan under his reign.

And by withdrawing his troops after the Toyotomi-Nobuo peace pact was sealed, Tokugawa had signalled that he had no bad feeling about it, politically.

Oda Nobuo became attached to Toyotomi Hideyoshi, but in the exact opposite role compared to his late daddy's. He marched to war under Toyotomi's banner to subdue the remaining hostile warlords from this year onwards. His uncle Oda Nobukane, Nobunaga's brother, joined in. The Odas were now Toyotomi's vassals.

 

 

1585

This was the year when the infamous Sword-hunt Edict of Toyotomi Hideyoshi's was issued: from now on no one was allowed to keep, let alone use, swords, except the samurai class.

Some might take this as a psychopathological thing -- because of his own DNA that wasn't related to such a privilege, Toyotomi tried to harness all the peasants from aspiring to become like him.

It was a further-reaching policy than we today may think.

All the times before, Japanese warlords relied on the peasantry to man their troops -- and when there was peace, these temporary soldiers got back to rice-planting. It was a workable concept, better than the case of manorial farmers of medieval Europe. But now you got to be of a samurai descent to do martial arts.

Despite the infamy, the edict didn't cause any notable unrest. Perhaps it was because the people of Central Japan thought that Toyotomi's reign was peaceful somewhat; they didn't know and didn't care about the ongoing wars that Toyotomi waged outside the horizon that they could perceive (Kyushu was as good as being in Mars, as far as the Central Japanese inland citizens were concerned, while Korea was as dimly imagined as Planet Zork).

Thus the 'Golden Age'.

Not that the warring period was over, but because it was over right there where the 'vocalists' of the era dwelt at.

Japanese sociopolitical ranks 1185 - 1868

 

 
Date Masamune
Date Masamune
 

1590

Toyotomi Hideyoshi released his Christian Expulsion Edict, thereby marking his 54th birthday.

He had always been uneasy with Oda Nobunaga's 'welcome, foreigners' policy before -- only he couldn't have challenged Oda on this. Yet, he seemed to be not really serious in applying the law into practice. Not as serious as any of Tokugawa Shoguns later. So Christian people still could be found on the ground.

Some Christian warlords suffered confiscation of their territories, titles, and wealth; like Takayama Ukon (click here for story and pictures). Takayama was lucky, Toyotomi's best friend Maeda Toshiie and his son Toshinaga kept him as a Captain in the Maeda Army. Serving Maeda, Toyotomi couldn't touch him from then on.

Now the opportunistic Date clan congratulated Toyotomi on the fresh Imperial title, and said they were from now on the Taiko's supporters (this clan always took to the side of the winner amazingly right on time).

Among Toyotomi's constant partygoing days, some were devoted on the building of the largest castle in Japan, the Osaka castle. It was, people said, even more magnificent than Oda's Azuchi; at any rate it was a harmonic architectural piece -- because Oda Nobunaga was not around to order strange hybrids of the Japanese elements with the Chinese and European.

Anyway, Toyotomi started to deliberately exclude Tokugawa Ieyasu and his men in preps of his wars, out of distrust.

This was good for the Tokugawas; they concentrated on empowering themselves out of sight.

Plus Tokugawa Ieyasu didn't have to get involved in Toyotomi's territorial wars during his reign; that's worth even much more than enduring the new status as a mere vassal, after getting used to be Oda Nobunaga's ally for 21 years. Later, Tokugawa could just harvested the spots that Toyotomi had worked hard to get.

The one characteristically Tokugawan trait was this tendency to look inward and stay so. Therefore, the Tokugawa clan didn't object to Toyotomi's proposal (which was actually an order) that they got out of Mikawa and moved into the place that would be the capital city of Japan, Edo.

Click here for history, pictures, profiles and map of Christian samurai, warlords and rebels of Japan in 16th-17th century, and how Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu differently dealt with them.

 

 

1591

Toyotomi Hideyoshi started to plan invasion of Korea -- the land that Japanese from time immemorial habitually thought of as 'theirs'. His famous Generals, 29 years-old Kato Kiyomasa and 36 years-old Konishi Yukinaga (click here for story and pictures), were to lead the averagely successful destroyers across the waters.

 

 

1592

Toyotomi Hideyoshi was officially the Lord Chancellor of Japan ('Taiko') this year. Or the exact translation meant something like 'Retired Chief Minister Who Nonetheless Is the Power to Reckon With Since the Present Chief Minister Is Only His Nephew And He Never Makes Any Executive Decision Or Laws And No One Asks For His Permission To Do Anything But Instead Everybody Appeals To the Retired Chief Minister'.

There had never been such an Imperial title before; but Toyotomi's humble origins baffled everyone who had been trying to catch any glimpse of heaven-tied mandate to rule the united Japan. So they made this up, tailored exclusively for him.

In return for Toyotomi's well-known lavish spending for the entire Imperial family, this was of course natural. He really pampered the courtiers and the Emperor himself.

Japanese Emperors, Empresses, Shoguns, Regents, Chief Ministers, Rulers since 660 B.C. until today

He gave the title 'Chief Minister' ('Kuampaku') to a son he had just adopted, Toyotomi Hidetsugu -- originally his nephew.

Toyotomi had started to get really down whenever thinking of dying without leaving his own kid behind; all dalliances with various consorts and such never gave him any kid. When he got one, the baby died a few weeks after birth.

 

 

1593

Finally, when Toyotomi Hideyoshi was 60 years old, this year an heir was born, named Toyotomi Hideyori. His mother was Oda Nobunaga's niece, the former Lady Asai Yodo (click here for story and pictures).

The Korean invasion was all ups-and-downs, so this must have been a tremendous boost to Toyotomi Hideyoshi's spirit, despite the fact that he had started to feel ill.

That couldn't have been the reason, but the former heir, Toyotomi Hidetsugu, was exiled.

And that wasn't enough yet for Hideyoshi, so the young man was forced to commit suicide, and his entire family were all executed. This was to keep the path to succession clear for Hideyori.

It was uncharacteristically unnecessary, the slaughter of Hidetsugu's family; perhaps Hideyoshi got a great qualm about the issue remembering how the Oda clan crumbled because of succession dispute.

 

 

1598

Toyotomi Hideyoshi died this year at 62.

Before that, he had time to form a council of regents and advisors for Hideyori, consisting of his old-time buddy 62 years-old Maeda Toshiie (click here for story and pictures), accompanied with his most prominent Generals from different most powerful clans: 43 years-old Uesugi Kagekatsu, 27 years-old Ukita Hideie, 45 years-old Mori Terumoto, and 55 years-old Tokugawa Ieyasu, who had been, during Toyotomi's reign, more of a vassal rather than an ally like when Oda Nobunaga was around.

To continue the application of his rules, he also appointed Asano Nagamasa, Ishida Mitsunari, Natsuka Masaie, Maeda Geni, and Mashita Nagamori to man a body of administrators.

 

 

Oda Hidenobu

Oda Hidenobu's entourage in a 17th century painting from Gifu

 

 

Sekigahara

Tokugawa Ieyasu's monument of victory at Sekigahara in 2005.

Click the picture for pix of the battle, profiles of warlords who fought there, pix of them, the battle array, the constellation of army personnels, and what Tokugawa Ieyasu did after winning it.

 

1600

The year nobody ever forgets: this was the Seki plains year (click here for story and pictures).

At this last great battle of Japan's 'Warring States Period', the joint army led by an absolute underachiever named Ishida Mitsunari (he was the Commander here, of course, but click here to know what he really was) rose against the entire Tokugawa clan.

Oda Nobunaga's remaining offsprings joined Ishida: the 18 years-old head of the Oda's clan, Oda Hidenobu; the still roaming 42 years-old Oda Nobuo, Oda Hideo (Nobuo's son), Oda Nobukane, and Oda Nagatsugu (Nobunaga’s youngest son).

But not all of them, actually.

Oda Nagamasu, Nobunaga’s 52 years-old younger brother, chose to side with the would-be victors.

Though some called him a traitor, Oda Nagamasu was proven the worldly-wisest of them all. The rest were either killed in the war or lost everything they got.

The inimitable Date clan with their unerring instinct for survival had shifted their allegiance to the Tokugawas by now, so they became heroes of this war on Ieyasu's side.

 

 

1603

Tokugawa Ieyasu -- when he turned 60 years old -- announced that from now on he was the Shogun.

Meanwhile, Oda Nobunaga's grandson Hidenobu died at 21 in obscurity.

The 10 years-old Toyotomi Hideyori found the council that daddy left for him split up, following the death of the one and only true friend of Hideyoshi's within it, the venerable Maeda Toshiie.

Nevermind his age, Toyotomi Hideyori was still the Chief Minister of the Empire, since the title was hereditary; but power was all in Tokugawa Ieyasu's hands in real life; something that was only natural after what happened in Sekigahara.

Actually Hideyori was already lucky enough not to get killed, though being the husband of Tokugawa Ieyasu's grand-daughter (the famous Lady Tokugawa Sen) didn't mean immunity.

 

 

1605

Tokugawa Ieyasu announced his retirement, and the Shogun from now on was his son Tokugawa Hidetada.

Ieyasu then moved out of Edo to Sumpu, Suruga, where he spent so many years as a hostage of the Imagawas.

Why there, it's an enigma. But he actually never severed ties to that clan; the Imagawas which Oda Nobunaga wanted to wipe off the planet's surface and of whom Toyotomi Hideyoshi never cared a fig, were now taken to the capital as practitioners of court ceremonies and other such cultural stuff.

Click here for pictures of Tokugawa Ieyasu's personal places

 

 

1613

Though retired and 'untitled', Tokugawa Ieyasu kept on with national decision-making; this year he issued an edict that confined the courtiers and noblepersons to ceremonial stuff, away from warring things. His thought forever dwelling in dynasty-building, he obviously got a bit worried about chances that some martial-minded princes one day rises up against his clan's shogunate. Perhaps he already got a vision of Emperor Meiji (click here for story and pictures).

 

 

1567

And now Tokugawa Ieyasu released the farthest-reaching Christian Expulsion Edict, overwriting that of Toyotomi Hideyoshi's reign.

The anti-Christianism stance was to be adopted by the next Shoguns, too, with increasing hostility; but it was Ieyasu's grandson Tokugawa Iemitsu who dealt with this subject most decisively.

Iemitsu did the hunt of Catholics, killed them if they were Japanese, or put them onto ships to never ever get back again to Japan if they were foreigners (click here for story and pictures).

After that, he closed Japan off.

 

 

Oda Nagamasu
Oda Nagamasu

Click here for story and pictures of how Oda Nagamasu got his own fame,
that has been very different from his brother Nobunaga's.

 

1615

The 67 years-old Catholic brother of Oda Nobunaga's, Oda Nagamasu, responded to the invite from Toyotomi Hideyori (who was now 22 years old) to fight the last battle against Tokugawa Ieyasu and his son the Shogun Tokugawa Hidetada at the Osaka castle, although his nephew Oda Nobuo refused to join them (yeah, that's characteristic of him).

The legendary bravado of the Sanada clan added to Toyotomi's strength (click here for story and pictures), plus Catholic warlords and nondescript wanderers such as Miyamoto Musashi.

But those were not enough. Osaka fell. The one and only Toyotomi Hideyoshi's (repeat the 'one and only' here) son died there with his ever-doting mom, one of the most famous women in Japanese history, Lady Toyotomi Yodo (click here for story and pictures).

Surprisingly, while he even executed Toyotomi Hideyori's baby (he had also, people said, executed his own Imagawan wife some time ago), Tokugawa Ieyasu let Oda Nagamasu lived on after the total defeat.

Oda Nagamasu retired to some definition of a 'civilian' existence since, and died peacefully (and famously in the art of tea ceremony) at home at 74 years of age, in 1622.

Oda Nobuo lived on until he had passed his 72nd birthday.

 

Oda Nagamasu's districts in Tokyo
This metropolitran district of today's Tokyo is called 'Yuraku' ('Yuraku-cho', in Japanese).
It was named after Oda Nagamasu -- whose a.k.a was 'Oda Yuraku'.
Even under the super-stern Tokugawa Shoguns, this brother of Oda Nobunaga survived.

 

 

 

1616

Tokugawa Ieyasu died at 70. But, true to his character, there was no messy internal fight for the vacant seat that he left behind, because you can't aspire to be the patriarch of the clan, can you?

For the next 254 years the Tokugawa clan would rule Japan, for the most part of it closing it off from the rest of the world.

The Nemesis wouldn't come on them until 1868 -- when Emperor Mutsuhito wanted his ancestors' power back.

Click here to continue to his times, known to us as the Meiji Restoration.

 

 

TODAY
Memorial parade in Gifu Memorial parade in Gifu
Annual parade to remember Oda Nobunaga's rule of the town is held in Gifu every October

Click Here for Oda Nobunaga's Descendant in 21st Century

 

 

ODA-TOYOTOMI-TOKUGAWA 1534 - 1545 1546 - 1560 1561 - 1570 1571 - 1582 1583 - 1615

 

 

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