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|1st Tokugawa shogun|
|Preceded by||Sengoku period|
January 31, 1543|
Okazaki Castle, Mikawa
|Died||June 1, 1616
Tokugawa Ieyasu (徳川 家康?, January 31, 1543 – June 1, 1616) was the founder and first shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan; which virtually ruled Japan from the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600 until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. Ieyasu seized power in 1600, received appointment as shogun in 1603, abdicated from office in 1605, but remained in power until his death in 1616. His given name is sometimes spelled Iyeyasu, according to the historical pronunciation of he. Ieyasu was posthumously enshrined at Nikkō Tōshō-gū with the name Tōshō Daigongen (東照大権現?).
- 1 Early life (1543–1556)
- 2 Rise to power (1556–1584)
- 3 Ieyasu and Hideyoshi (1584–1598)
- 4 The Sekigahara Campaign (1598–1603)
- 5 Shogun (1603–1605)
- 6 Ogosho (1605–1616)
- 7 Death
- 8 Era of Ieyasu's rule
- 9 Ieyasu's character
- 10 Family
- 11 Ieyasu in popular culture
- 12 See also
- 13 Notes
- 14 Bibliography
- 15 Further reading
- 16 External links
Early life (1543–1556)
Tokugawa Ieyasu was born in Okazaki Castle in Mikawa on the 26th day of the twelfth month of the eleventh year of Tenbun, according to the Japanese calendar. Originally named Matsudaira Takechiyo (松平 竹千代), he was the son of Matsudaira Hirotada (松平 広忠), the daimyo of Mikawa of the Matsudaira clan, and Odai-no-kata (於大の方, Lady Odai), the daughter of a neighbouring samurai lord, Mizuno Tadamasa (水野 忠政). His mother and father were step-siblings. They were just 17 and 15 years old, respectively, when Ieyasu was born. Two years later, Odai-no-kata was sent back to her family and the couple never lived together again. As both husband and wife remarried and both went on to have further children, Ieyasu in the end had 11 half-brothers and sisters.
The Matsudaira family was split in 1550: one side wanted to be vassals of the Imagawa clan, while the other side preferred the Oda clan. As a result, much of Ieyasu's early years were spent in danger as wars with the Oda and Imagawa were fought. This family feud was the reason behind the murder of Ieyasu's paternal grandfather, Matsudaira Kiyoyasu (松平 清康). Unlike his father and the majority of his branch of the family, Ieyasu's father, Hirotada, favored the Imagawa clan.
In 1548, when the Oda clan invaded Mikawa, Hirotada turned to Imagawa Yoshimoto, the head of the Imagawa clan, for help to repel the invaders. Yoshimoto agreed under the condition that Hirotada send Ieyasu to Sunpu as a hostage. Oda Nobuhide, the leader of the Oda clan, learned of this arrangement and had Ieyasu abducted from his entourage en route to Sunpu. Ieyasu was just five years old at the time.
Nobuhide threatened to execute Ieyasu unless his father severed all ties with the Imagawa clan. Hirotada replied that sacrificing his own son would show his seriousness in his pact with the Imagawa clan. Despite this refusal, Nobuhide chose not to kill Ieyasu, but instead held him for the next three years at the Mansho Temple in Nagoya.
In 1549, when Ieyasu was 6, his father Hirotada was murdered by his own treacherous vassals, who had been bribed by the Oda Clan. At about the same time, Oda Nobuhide died during an epidemic. The deaths dealt a heavy blow to the Oda clan. An army under the command of Imagawa Sessai laid siege to the castle where Oda Nobuhiro, Nobuhide's eldest son and the new head of the Oda, was living. With the castle about to fall, Sessai offered a deal to Oda Nobunaga, Nobuhide's second son. Sessai offered to give up the siege if Ieyasu was handed over to the Imagawa. Nobunaga agreed, and so Ieyasu (now nine) was taken as a hostage to Sunpu. Here he lived a fairly good life as hostage and potentially useful future ally of the Imagawa clan until 1556 when he was age 13 years old.
Rise to power (1556–1584)
In 1556 he came of age, and, following tradition, changed his name from Matsudaira Takechiyo to Matsudaira Jirōsaburō Motonobu (松平 次郎三郎 元信). One year later, at the age of 13 (according to East Asian age reckoning), he married his first wife and changed his name again to Matsudaira Kurandonosuke Motoyasu (松平 蔵人佐 元康). Allowed to return to his native Mikawa, the Imagawa ordered him to fight the Oda clan in a series of battles.
By 1560 the leadership of the Oda clan had passed to the brilliant leader Oda Nobunaga. Imagawa Yoshimoto, leading a large Imagawa army (perhaps 25,000 strong) attacked the Oda clan territory. Motoyasu, with his Mikawa troops, captured Marune and then spent the night in Odaka. As a result, Motoyasu and his men were not present at the Battle of Okehazama where Yoshimoto was killed by Nobunaga's surprise assault.:37
In 1561, Motoyasu openly broke with the Imagawa and captured the fortress of Kaminojo. Motoyasu was then able to exchange his wife and son for the hostages thus gained.:216 In 1563 Nobuyasu was married to Nobunaga's daughter Tokuhime.
For the next few years Motoyasu set to reform the Matsudaira clan and pacifying Mikawa. He also strengthened his key vassals by awarding them land and castles in Mikawa. They were: Honda Tadakatsu, Ishikawa Kazumasa, Kōriki Kiyonaga, Hattori Hanzō, Sakai Tadatsugu, and Sakakibara Yasumasa.
Motoyasu defeated the military forces of the Ikko-ikki at the Battle of Azukizaka.:216 The Monto were a warlike group of monks that were ruling Kaga Province and had many temples elsewhere in Japan. They refused to obey Motoyasu's commands and so he went to war with them, defeating their troops and pulling down their temples. In one battle, Motoyasu was nearly killed when he was struck by a bullet which did not penetrate his armour. Both Motoyasu's Mikawa troops and the Monto forces were using the new gunpowder weapons which the Portuguese had introduced to Japan just 20 years earlier.
In 1567, he changed his name yet again, this time to Tokugawa Ieyasu. By so doing, he claimed descent from the Minamoto clan. No proof has actually been found for this alleged descent from Emperor Seiwa. Yet, his family name was changed with the permission of the Imperial Court, after writing a petition, and he was bestowed the title Mikawa-no-kami and the court rank of Jugoige.
Ieyasu remained an ally of Nobunaga and his Mikawa soldiers were part of Nobunaga's army which captured Kyoto in 1568. At the same time Ieyasu was expanding his own territory. He and Takeda Shingen, the head of the Takeda clan in Kai Province made an alliance for the purpose of conquering all the Imagawa territory.:279 In 1570, Ieyasu's troops captured Tōtōmi Province while Shingen's troops captured Suruga Province (including the Imagawa capital of Sunpu).
In October 1571, Takeda Shingen, now allied with the Hōjō clan, attacked the Tokugawa lands of Tōtōmi. Ieyasu asked for help from Nobunaga, who sent him some 3,000 troops. Early in 1572 the two armies met at the Battle of Mikatagahara. The Takeda army, under the expert direction of Shingen, hammered at Ieyasu's troops until they were broken. Ieyasu fled with just 5 men to a nearby castle. This was a major loss for Ieyasu, but Shingen was unable to exploit his victory because Ieyasu quickly gathered a new army and refused to fight Shingen again on the battlefield.:222–223
Ieyasu benefitted from the death of Takeda Shingen during a siege a year later early in 1573. Shingen was succeeded by his less capable son Takeda Katsuyori. In 1575, the Takeda army attacked Nagashino Castle in Mikawa province. Ieyasu appealed to Nobunaga for help and the result was that Nobunaga personally came at the head of his very large army (about 30,000 strong). The Oda-Tokugawa force of 38,000 won a great victory on June 28, 1575, at the Battle of Nagashino, though Takeda Katsuyori survived the battle and retreated back to Kai Province.
For the next seven years, Ieyasu and Katsuyori fought a series of small battles. Ieyasu's troops managed to wrest control of Suruga province away from the Takeda clan.
In 1579, Ieyasu's wife, and his eldest son, Matsudaira Nobuyasu, were accused by Nobunaga of conspiring with Takeda Katsuyori to assassinate Nobunaga, whose daughter Tokuhime (1559–1636) was married to Nobuyasu. Ieyasu's wife was executed and Nobuyasu was forced to commit seppuku. Ieyasu then named his third and favorite son, Tokugawa Hidetada, as heir, since his second son was adopted by another rising power: Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the future ruler of all Japan.
The end of the war with Takeda came in 1582 when a combined Oda-Tokugawa force attacked and conquered Kai Province. Takeda Katsuyori, as well as his eldest son Takeda Nobukatsu, were defeated at the Battle of Temmokuzan and then committed seppuku.
In late 1582, Ieyasu was near Osaka and far from his own territory when he learned that Nobunaga had been assassinated by Akechi Mitsuhide. Ieyasu managed the dangerous journey back to Mikawa, avoiding Mitsuhide's troops along the way, as they were trying to find and kill him. One week after he arrived in Mikawa, Ieyasu's army marched out to take revenge on Mitsuhide. But they were too late, as Hideyoshi—on his own—defeated Akechi Mitsuhide at the Battle of Yamazaki; the later died few days afterwards.
The death of Nobunaga meant that some provinces, ruled by Nobunaga's vassals, were ripe for conquest. The leader of Kai province made the mistake of killing one of Ieyasu's aides. Ieyasu promptly invaded Kai and took control. Hōjō Ujimasa, leader of the Hōjō clan responded by sending his much larger army into Shinano and then into Kai province. No battles were fought between Ieyasu's forces and the large Hōjō army and, after some negotiation, Ieyasu and the Hōjō agreed to a settlement which left Ieyasu in control of both Kai and Shinano provinces, while the Hōjō took control of Kazusa province (as well as bits of both Kai and Shinano province).
At the same time (1583) a war for rule over Japan was fought between Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Shibata Katsuie. Ieyasu did not take a side in this conflict, building on his reputation for both caution and wisdom. Hideyoshi defeated Katsuie at Battle of Shizugatake. With this victory, Hideyoshi became the single most powerful daimyo in Japan.
Ieyasu and Hideyoshi (1584–1598)
In 1584, Ieyasu decided to support Oda Nobukatsu, the eldest surviving son and heir of Oda Nobunaga, against Hideyoshi. This was a dangerous act and could have resulted in the annihilation of the Tokugawa.
Tokugawa troops took the traditional Oda stronghold of Owari; Hideyoshi responded by sending an army into Owari. The Komaki Campaign was the only time any of the great unifiers of Japan fought each other. The campaign proved indecisive and after months of fruitless marches and feints, Hideyoshi settled the war through negotiation. First he made peace with Oda Nobukatsu, and then he offered a truce to Ieyasu. The deal was made at the end of the year; as part of the terms Ieyasu's second son, Ogimaru (also known as Yuki Hideyasu) became an adopted son of Hideyoshi.
Ieyasu's aide, Ishikawa Kazumasa, chose to join the pre-eminent daimyo and so he moved to Osaka to be with Hideyoshi. However, few other Tokugawa retainers followed this example.
In 1590, Hideyoshi attacked the last independent daimyo in Japan, Hōjō Ujimasa. The Hōjō clan ruled the eight provinces of the Kantō region in eastern Japan. Hideyoshi ordered them to submit to his authority and they refused. Ieyasu, though a friend and occasional ally of Ujimasa, joined his large force of 30,000 samurai with Hideyoshi's enormous army of some 160,000. Hideyoshi attacked several castles on the borders of the Hōjō clan with most of his army laying siege to the castle at Odawara. Hideyoshi's army captured Odawara after six months (oddly for the time period, deaths on both sides were few). During this siege, Hideyoshi offered Ieyasu a radical deal. He offered Ieyasu the eight Kantō provinces which they were about to take from the Hōjō in return for the five provinces that Ieyasu currently controlled (including Ieyasu's home province of Mikawa). Ieyasu accepted this proposal. Bowing to the overwhelming power of the Toyotomi army, the Hōjō accepted defeat, the top Hōjō leaders killed themselves and Ieyasu marched in and took control of their provinces, so ending the clan's reign of over 100 years.
Ieyasu now gave up control of his five provinces (Mikawa, Tōtōmi, Suruga, Shinano, and Kai) and moved all his soldiers and vassals to the Kantō region. He himself occupied the castle town of Edo in Kantō. This was possibly the riskiest move Ieyasu ever made — to leave his home province and rely on the uncertain loyalty of the formerly Hōjō samurai in Kantō. In the end, it worked out brilliantly for Ieyasu. He reformed the Kantō provinces, controlled and pacified the Hōjō samurai and improved the underlying economic infrastructure of the lands. Also, because Kantō was somewhat isolated from the rest of Japan, Ieyasu was able to maintain a unique level of autonomy from Hideyoshi's rule. Within a few years, Ieyasu had become the second most powerful daimyo in Japan. There is a Japanese proverb which likely refers to this event: "Ieyasu won the Empire by retreating."
In 1592, Hideyoshi invaded Korea as a prelude to his plan to attack China (see Japanese invasions of Korea (1592–98) for more information about this campaign). The Tokugawa samurai never actually took part in this campaign, though in early 1593, Ieyasu himself was summoned to Hideyoshi's court in Nagoya (in Kyūshū, different from the similarly spelled city in Owari Province) as a military advisor and given command of a body of troops meant as reserves for the Korean campaign. He stayed in Nagoya off and on for the next five years. Despite his frequent absences, Ieyasu's sons, loyal retainers and vassals were able to control and improve Edo and the other new Tokugawa lands.
In 1598, with his health clearly failing, Hideyoshi called a meeting that would determine the Council of Five Elders, who would be responsible for ruling on behalf of his son after his death. The five that were chosen as regents (tairō) for Hideyori were Maeda Toshiie, Mōri Terumoto, Ukita Hideie, Uesugi Kagekatsu, and Ieyasu himself, who was the most powerful of the five. This change in the pre-Sekigahara power structure became pivotal as Ieyasu turned his attention towards Kansai; and at the same time, other ambitious (albeit ultimately unrealized) plans, such as the Tokugawa initiative establishing official relations with Mexico (New Spain at the time), continued to unfold and advance.
The Sekigahara Campaign (1598–1603)
Hideyoshi, after three more months of increasing sickness, died on September 18, 1598. He was nominally succeeded by his young son Hideyori but as he was just five years old, real power was in the hands of the regents. Over the next two years Ieyasu made alliances with various daimyo, especially those who had no love for Hideyoshi. Happily for Ieyasu, the oldest and most respected of the regents, Toshiie Maeda, died after just one year. With the death of Toshiie in 1599, Ieyasu led an army to Fushimi and took over Osaka Castle, the residence of Hideyori. This angered the three remaining regents and plans were made on all sides for war. It was also the last battle of one of the most loyal and powerful retainer of Ieyasu, Honda Tadakatsu.
Opposition to Ieyasu centered around Ishida Mitsunari, a powerful daimyo who was not one of the regents. Mitsunari plotted Ieyasu's death and news of this plot reached some of Ieyasu's generals. They attempted to kill Mitsunari but he fled and gained protection from none other than Ieyasu himself. It is not clear why Ieyasu protected a powerful enemy from his own men but Ieyasu was a master strategist and he may have concluded that he would be better off with Mitsunari leading the enemy army rather than one of the regents, who would have more legitimacy.
Nearly all of Japan's daimyo and samurai now split into two factions—The Western Army (Mitsunari's group) and The Eastern Army (anti-Mitsunari Group). Ieyasu supported the anti-Mitsunari Group, and formed them as his potential allies. Ieyasu's allies were the Date clan, the Mogami clan, the Satake clan and the Maeda clan. Mitsunari allied himself with the three other regents: Ukita Hideie, Mori Terumoto, and Uesugi Kagekatsu as well as many daimyo from the eastern end of Honshū.
In June 1600, Ieyasu and his allies moved their armies to defeat the Uesugi clan, which was accused of planning to revolt against Toyotomi administration. Before arriving at Uesugi's territory, Ieyasu received information that Mitsunari and his allies had moved their army against Ieyasu. Ieyasu held a meeting with the daimyo, and they agreed to follow Ieyasu. He then led the majority of his army west towards Kyoto. In late summer, Ishida's forces captured Fushimi.
Ieyasu and his allies marched along the Tōkaidō, while his son Hidetada went along the Nakasendō with 38,000 soldiers. A battle against Sanada Masayuki in Shinano Province delayed Hidetada's forces, and they did not arrive in time for the main battle.
This battle was the biggest and one of the most important battles in Japanese feudal history. It began on October 21, 1600 with a total of 160,000 men facing each other. The Battle of Sekigahara ended with a complete Tokugawa victory. The Western bloc was crushed and over the next few days Ishida Mitsunari and many other western nobles were captured and killed. Tokugawa Ieyasu was now the de facto ruler of Japan.
Immediately after the victory at Sekigahara, Ieyasu redistributed land to the vassals who had served him. Ieyasu left some western daimyo unharmed, such as the Shimazu clan, but others were completely destroyed. Toyotomi Hideyori (the son of Hideyoshi) lost most of his territory which were under management of western daimyo, and he was degraded to an ordinary daimyo, not a ruler of Japan. In later years the vassals who had pledged allegiance to Ieyasu before Sekigahara became known as the fudai daimyo, while those who pledged allegiance to him after the battle (in other words, after his power was unquestioned) were known as tozama daimyo. Tozama daimyo were considered inferior to fudai daimyo.
On March 24, 1603, Tokugawa Ieyasu received the title of shogun from Emperor Go-Yōzei. Ieyasu was 60 years old. He had outlasted all the other great men of his times: Nobunaga, Hideyoshi, Shingen, Kenshin. As shogun, he used his remaining years to create and solidify the Tokugawa shogunate, which ushered in the Edo period, and was the third shogunal government (after the Kamakura (Minamoto) and the Ashikaga). To consolidate his rule, Ieyasu gathered his men for one last battle to eliminate the remnants of the Toyotomi clan in Osaka Castle. He succeeded at the Siege of Osaka and removed all of the possible threats to his power. He claimed descent from the Minamoto clan, by way of the Nitta family. His descendants would marry into the Taira clan and the Fujiwara Clan. The Tokugawa Shogunate would rule Japan for the next 250 years.
Following a well established Japanese pattern, Ieyasu abdicated his official position as shogun in 1605. His successor was his son and heir, Tokugawa Hidetada. There may have been several factors that contributed to his decision, including his desire to avoid being tied up in ceremonial duties, to make it harder for his enemies to attack the real power center, and to secure a smoother succession of his son. The abdication of Ieyasu had no effect on the practical extent of his powers or his rule; but Hidetada nevertheless assumed a role as formal head of the shogunal bureaucracy.
Ieyasu, acting as the retired shogun (大御所 ōgosho?), remained the effective ruler of Japan until his death. Ieyasu retired to Sunpu Castle in Sunpu, but he also supervised the building of Edo Castle, a massive construction project which lasted for the rest of Ieyasu's life. The end result was the largest castle in all of Japan, the costs for building the castle being borne by all the other daimyo, while Ieyasu reaped all the benefits. The central donjon, or tenshu, burned in the 1657 Meireki fire. Today, the Imperial Palace stands on the site of the castle.
In 1611, Ieyasu, at the head of 50,000 men, visited Kyoto to witness the enthronement of Emperor Go-Mizunoo. In Kyoto, Ieyasu ordered the remodeling of the imperial court and buildings, and forced the remaining western daimyo to sign an oath of fealty to him. In 1613, he composed the Kuge Shohatto (ja:公家諸法度), a document which put the court daimyo under strict supervision, leaving them as mere ceremonial figureheads.
In 1615, Ieyasu prepared the Buke shohatto (武家諸法度), a document setting out the future of the Tokugawa regime.
Relations with foreign powers
As Ogosho, Ieyasu also supervised diplomatic affairs with the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom. Ieyasu chose to distance Japan from European influence starting in 1609, although the shogunate did still grant preferential trading rights to the Dutch East India Company and permitted them to maintain a "factory" for trading purposes.
From 1605 until his death, Ieyasu consulted frequently with English shipwright and pilot, William Adams, Adams, fluent in Japanese, assisted the Shogunate in negotiating trading relations, but was cited by members of the competing Jesuit and Spanish-sponsored mendicant orders as an obstacle to improved relations between Ieyasu and the Roman Catholic Church.
Significant attempts to curtail the influence of Christian missionaries in Japan date to 1587 during the shogunate of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. However, in 1614, Ieyasu was sufficiently concerned about Spanish territorial ambitions that he signed a Christian Expulsion Edict. The edict banned the practice of Christianity and led to the expulsion of all foreign missionaries. Although some smaller Dutch trading operations remained in Nagasaki, this edict dramatically curtailed foreign trade and marked the end of open Christian witness in Japan until the 1870s. The immediate cause of the prohibition was a case of fraud involving Ieyasu's Catholic vavasor, but the Shogunate was also concerned about a possible invasion by the Iberian colonial powers, which had previously occurred in the New World and the Philippines.
Siege of Osaka
The last remaining threat to Ieyasu's rule was Toyotomi Hideyori, the son and rightful heir to Hideyoshi. He was now a young daimyo living in Osaka Castle. Many samurai who opposed Ieyasu rallied around Hideyori, claiming that he was the rightful ruler of Japan. Ieyasu found fault with the opening ceremony of a temple built by Hideyori; it was as if he prayed for Ieyasu's death and the ruin of the Tokugawa clan. Ieyasu ordered Toyotomi to leave Osaka Castle, but those in the castle refused and summoned samurai to gather within the castle. Then the Tokugawa, with a huge army led by Ogosho Ieyasu and Shogun Hidetada, laid siege to Osaka castle in what is now known as "the Winter Siege of Osaka". Eventually, Tokugawa was able to precipitate negotiations and an armistice after directed cannon fire threatened Hideyori's mother, Yodo-dono. However, once the treaty was agreed, Tokugawa filled the castle's outer moats with sand so his troops could walk across. Through this ploy, Tokugawa gained a huge tract of land through negotiation and deception that he could not through siege and combat. Ieyasu returned to Sunpu Castle once, but after Toyotomi refused another order to leave Osaka, he and his allied army of 155,000 soldiers attacked Osaka Castle again in "the Summer Siege of Osaka".
Finally in late 1615, Osaka Castle fell and nearly all the defenders were killed including Hideyori, his mother (Hideyoshi's widow, Yodogimi), and his infant son. His wife, Senhime (a granddaughter of Ieyasu), was sent back to Tokugawa alive. With the Toyotomi line finally extinguished, no threats remained to the Tokugawa clan's domination of Japan.
In 1616, Ieyasu died at age 73. The cause of death is thought to have been cancer or syphilis. The first Tokugawa shogun was posthumously deified with the name Tōshō Daigongen (東照大権現), the "Great Gongen, Light of the East". (A Gongen is believed to be a buddha who has appeared on Earth in the shape of a kami to save sentient beings). In life, Ieyasu had expressed the wish to be deified after his death in order to protect his descendants from evil. His remains were buried at the Gongens' mausoleum at Kunōzan, Kunōzan Tōshō-gū (久能山東照宮). As a common view, many people believe that "after the first anniversary of his death, his remains were reburied at Nikkō Shrine, Nikkō Tōshō-gū (日光東照宮). His remains are still there." Neither shrine has offered to open the graves, so the location of Ieyasu's physical remains are still a mystery. The mausoleum's architectural style became known as gongen-zukuri, that is gongen-style.
Era of Ieyasu's rule
Ieyasu had a number of qualities that enabled him to rise to power. He was both careful and bold—at the right times, and in the right places. Calculating and subtle, Ieyasu switched alliances when he thought he would benefit from the change. He allied with the Late Hōjō clan; then he joined Hideyoshi's army of conquest, which destroyed the Hōjō; and he himself took over their lands. In this he was like other daimyo of his time. This was an era of violence, sudden death, and betrayal. He was not very well liked nor personally popular, but he was feared and he was respected for his leadership and his cunning. For example, he wisely kept his soldiers out of Hideyoshi's campaign in Korea.
He was capable of great loyalty: once he allied with Oda Nobunaga, he never went against him, and both leaders profited from their long alliance. He was known for being loyal towards his personal friends and vassals, whom he rewarded, He was said to have a close friendship with his vassal Hattori Hanzo. However, he also remembered those who had wronged him in the past. It is said that Ieyasu executed a man who came into his power because he had insulted him when Ieyasu was young.
Ieyasu protected many former Takeda retainers from the wrath of Oda Nobunaga, who was known to harbor a bitter grudge towards the Takeda. He managed successfully to transform many of the retainers of the Takeda, Hōjō, and Imagawa clans—all whom he had defeated himself or helped to defeat—into loyal followers. At the same time, he could be ruthless when crossed. For example, he ordered the executions of his first wife and his eldest son—a son-in-law of Oda Nobunaga; Oda was also an uncle of Hidetada's wife Oeyo.
He was cruel, relentless and merciless in the elimination of Toyotomi survivors after Osaka. For days, dozens and dozens of men and women were hunted down and executed, including an eight-year-old son of Hideyori by a concubine, who was beheaded.
Unlike Hideyoshi, he did not harbor any desires to conquer outside Japan - he only wanted to bring order and an end to open warfare, and to rule Japan.
Ieyasu's favorite pastime was falconry. He regarded it as excellent training for a warrior. "When you go into the country hawking, you learn to understand the military spirit and also the hard life of the lower classes. You exercise your muscles and train your limbs. You have any amount of walking and running and become quite indifferent to heat and cold, and so you are little likely to suffer from any illness.". Ieyasu swam often; even late in his life he is reported to have swum in the moat of Edo Castle.
Two of his famous quotes:
Life is like unto a long journey with a heavy burden. Let thy step be slow and steady, that thou stumble not. Persuade thyself that imperfection and inconvenience are the lot of natural mortals, and there will be no room for discontent, neither for despair. When ambitious desires arise in thy heart, recall the days of extremity thou hast passed through. Forbearance is the root of all quietness and assurance forever. Look upon the wrath of thy enemy. If thou only knowest what it is to conquer, and knowest not what it is to be defeated; woe unto thee, it will fare ill with thee. Find fault with thyself rather than with others.
The strong manly ones in life are those who understand the meaning of the word patience. Patience means restraining one's inclinations. There are seven emotions: joy, anger, anxiety, adoration, grief, fear, and hate, and if a man does not give way to these he can be called patient. I am not as strong as I might be, but I have long known and practiced patience. And if my descendants wish to be as I am, they must study patience.
He claimed that he fought, as a warrior or a general, in 90 battles.
He had nineteen wives and concubines, by whom he had eleven sons and five daughters. The eleven sons of Ieyasu were:
- Matsudaira Nobuyasu (松平 信康)
- Yūki Hideyasu (結城 秀康)
- Tokugawa Hidetada (徳川 秀忠)
- Matsudaira Tadayoshi (松平 忠吉)
- Takeda Nobuyoshi (武田 信吉)
- Matsudaira Tadateru (松平 忠輝)
- Matsuchiyo (松千代)
- Senchiyo (仙千代)
- Tokugawa Yoshinao (徳川 義直)
- Tokugawa Yorinobu (徳川 頼宣)
- Tokugawa Yorifusa (徳川 頼房)
(In this listing, the two sons without surnames died before adulthood.)
His daughters were Kame hime (亀姫), Toku hime (督姫), Furi hime (振姫), Matsu hime (松姫) and Ichi hime (市姫). He is said to have cared for his children and grandchildren, establishing three of them, Yorinobu, Yoshinao, and Yorifusa as the daimyos of Kii, Owari, and Mito provinces, respectively.
Ieyasu in popular culture
Ieyasu planned Honnōji?
Among the many conspiracies surrounding the Honnō-ji Incident is Ieyasu's role in the event. Historically, Ieyasu was away from his lord at the time and, when he heard that Nobunaga was in danger, he wanted to rush to his lord's rescue in spite of the small number of attendants with him. However, Tadakatsu advised for his lord to avoid the risk and urged for a quick retreat to Mikawa. Masanari led the way through Iga and they returned home by boat.
However, skeptics think otherwise. While they usually accept the historically known facts about Ieyasu's actions during Mitsuhide's betrayal, theorists tend to pay more attention to the events before. Ever since Ieyasu lost his wife and son due to Nobunaga's orders, they reason, he held a secret resentment against his lord. Generally, there is some belief that he privately goaded Mitsuhide to take action when the two warlords were together in Azuchi Castle. Together, they planned when to attack and went their separate ways. When the deed was done, Ieyasu turned a blind eye to Mitsuhide's schemes and fled the scene to feign innocence. A variation of the concept states that Ieyasu was well aware of Mitsuhide's feelings regarding Nobunaga and simply chose to do nothing for his own benefit.
Like all the theories and conspiracies surrounding Honnōji, it's unknown if any of these ideas are true.
Ieyasu had an Impostor?
The Tokugawa Ieyasu's Kagemusha Legend (徳川家康の影武者説) is a myth that has been circulating since the Edo period. It is believed to have arisen due to historical records of Ieyasu's "sudden change of behavior" with some of his closet colleagues. The idea was made more popular in modern times by the historians, Tokutomi Sohō and Yasutsugu Shigeno.
The general outline of the legend is that after the Battle of Okehazama, Motoyasu (Ieyasu) was ready to face the world as a changed man. According to Hayashi Razan, the last line was meant quite literally. Before Motoyasu could make his new face known to the world, he was replaced by a completely different man named Sarata Jiro Saburo Motonobu (Sakai Jōkei). Variations include that the switch actually occurred much earlier in Motoyasu's life when he was being a hostage. Motonobu went in Motoyasu's stead and was considered a more suitable "heir". After Motonobu replaced him, Motoyasu fled and lived a hermit's life. Another version states that Ieyasu was actually killed during the Battle of Sekigahara or the Osaka Campaign. When he was killed by Sanada Nobushige during the latter conflict, it is said that he was replaced by Ogasawara Hidemasa who became the "Ieyasu" from then on.
While prevalent in fiction, historians are unsure whether or not the myth holds any merit. His dubious personality traits during these specific time frames have been mostly blamed on stress and personal strain.
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Minamoto-no-Ieyasu was born in Tenbun 11, on the 26th day of the 12th month (1542) and he died in Genna 2, on the 17th day of the 4th month (1616); and thus, his contemporaries would have said that he lived 75 years. In this period, children were considered one year old at birth and became two the following New Year's Day; and all people advanced a year that day, not on their actual birthday.
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- JAANUS / Gongen-zukuri 権現造
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- あおもりの文化財 徳川家康自筆日課念仏 – 青森県庁ホームページ
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- Media related to Tokugawa Ieyasu at Wikimedia Commons