62| Part 2 of – – – – – 26|Edo Period History (江戸時代】1603 – 1867

Chapter 62 is a detailed part of chapter 26|Edo Period History.  Please read 26 Edo Period History (1603 – 1867) before you start reading this chapter.

Battle of Sekigahara


The most powerful man during Sengoku period, Toyotomi Hideyoshi (豊臣秀吉) died on 1598.  At that time, his heir, Hideyori was only 5 years old.  Before Hideyoshi’s death, he set up a council system consisted from top five Daimyos to take care of the job for Hideyori as his regents until his son comes of age.   At the death bed of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, all five Daimyo agreed to be a guardian of Hideyori, but little by little each of them started to oppose each other, especially Ishida Mitsunari (石田三成 ) and Tokugawa Ieyasu (徳川家康).   In 1600, those two big forces broke the battle of Sekigahara.   One side is Ishida Mitsunari that was called the Seigun (the western army) and the other was Ieyasu side that was called Togun ( the eastern army).   All the Daimyos of the rest of the country took their side either Tokugawa side or Ishida Mitsunari’s side.  It is said Ishida Mitsunari side had 100,000 men and Tokugawa side had 70,000 men.   Ieyasu side had less number of soldiers but he won at the end and he became the top among Toyotomi clan that means he was the top person since Hideyori was still a child.    In 1603 Ieyasu became a Shogun.  Now Ieyasu seized control of Japan and Tokugawa Shogunate was established in Edo, and council system was eliminated.   Yet Hideyori is still there with his mother Yodo-Gimi ( or Yodo-Dono).  They lived in Osaka castle which was built by Hideyoshi before he died.  Later, Hideyori and his mother, Yodo-Gimi became an awkward situation with Tokugawa Ieyasu.   Yodo-Gimi was a very proud and a head strong person with good reasons.  She was a niece of Nobunaga, she was a wife of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and she was a mother of the head of the Toyotomi clan.  Later her pride gets them into trouble and led to the destruction of Toyotomi clan.

Winter and Summer siege of Osaka (1614 and 1615)

After the battle of Sekigahara till the siege of Osaka castle, there were 15 years.  During that time little by little a tension started to build up between Tokugawa Shogunate and Toyotomi clan.  Before the battle of Sekigahara,  Toyotomi clan ruled Japan.  After Sekigahara, Tokugawa started to rule Japan.  Toyotomi clan lost many top advisers and vassals at Sekigahara.  As a result, all the power was centered around to Yodo-Gimi .  By this time Hideyori grew up to be a fine man but Yodo-Gimi over protected him and she had a control over him.  She even did not allow Hideyori to practice Kendo (traditional martial art of swordmanship) because it is too dangerous.  She insisted to act like Toyotomi is still the top power.  Tokugawa Ieyasu tried to calm the friction by the marriage between his grand daughter (Sen-Hime) and Hideyori.   A few advisors suggested Yodo-Gimi to yield to Tokugawa but she insisted Tokugawa has to be subordinate to Toyotomi.   A rumor began to spread that Toyotomi  side started to hire and gather a large number of Ronin (Samurai without a lord) in Osaka Castle.  Several mediaters tried convince Toyotomi side but failed. November1614, Oosaka Winter Seige started.  Oosaka Castle is a very difficult to attack.  It is a fortress itself.  It is said that Toyotomi side had 100,000 soldiers.  But some of them were mercenaries.  Tokugawa attacked and fired cannon everyday, but Tokugawa side realized that the Oosaka Castle is so solid and it is a waste of time.  Eventually both sides went to a peace negotiation.  Several conditions were agreed on.  One of them was to fill in the out side moat.  But Tokugawa side filled in out side moat and  even the inner moat.  That made Toyotomi side angree and they became suspicious about the agreement.  Another requirement was the disarmament by the Toyotomi clan, yet Toyotomi side kept soldiers inside their castle.  The las ultimatum from Tokugawa to Toyotomi was either dismiss all the soldiers or Toyotomi  to move to the other location.  Yodo-Gimi refused both.  After this, Oosaka Summer Seige started .  This is 1615.  It is said that Toyotomi had 70,000 men and Tokugawa had 150,000 men.  Both sides had several battles here and there but the battle did not go well for both sides because of the thick fog, delayed arrival of troops, miscommunication, etc.   The last battle field was Oosaka  Castle. Toyotomi side decided to stay inside the castle, but soon a fire started inside and burned the Castle.  Yodo-Dono and Hideyosi were hiding inside the storage building, waiting for the answer to the petition for their life to Ieyasu that they hoped their gaughter-in-law could achieve.  But It was not accepted and they both died inside the storage place.


The name of lawful wife of Toyotomi Hideyoshi is Nene.  She was a very smart and a sensible person but not high born.  She was respected by everybody, including Tokugawa Ieyasu.  Even Hideyoshi often asked her opinion on political matters.  Hideyoshi was greatly helped by her to climb up his ranks.  Nene could not bear a child.  As powerful as Toyotomi Hideyoshi, he went around different women everywhere hoping to get his heir, but none of them could have any child with Hideyoshji.  Yodo-Gimi was the only person who had Hideyoshi’s child.  Nobody knows exactly who was the real father, but the speculation indicated several person, one of them is Ishida Mitsunari. 


62 Yodo Gimi

伝 淀殿画像(It is said to be a portrait of Yodo-Dono but no evidence), owned by Nara Museum of Art         Drawn in 17th-century     public Domain:  from Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository.

62 Kodai-in_Nene_cropped
Nene (Kodai-In), Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s lawful wife.  Public domain from Wikimedia, owned by Kodai-Ji