Saturday, September 7, 2013

The unification of Japan

The second half of the 16th century saw the final unification of Japan.

3 men of exception carried out this amazing task.

  • Oda Nobunaga (1534 – 1582)
  • Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537 – 1598)
  • Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543 – 1616)

One of the various warlords plundering the land which was only nominally under the authority of an emperor isolated in Kyoto, Nobunaga began the process of unification.

Nobunaga only united about 30 % of Japan. He had given momentum for is successors but was assassinated by one of his disgruntled generals in 1582. 

Both Hideyoshi and Tokugawa were his faithful vassals. 

Hideyoshi,  a military genius, was the son of a farmer. He raised in the military through his own valor. He has often been compared to Napoleon. Practically, Hideyoshi achieved the process of unification.  In 1590, he was controlling most of Japan.

Tokugawa Ieyasu was a general and vassal of Nobunaga and Hideyoshi. After Hideyoshi's death in 1598, Ieyasu got rid of his son and installed the Tokugawa shogunate that would last 250 years. 

There is a Japanese saying: "Nobunaga pounds the national rice cake, Hideyoshi kneads it, and in the end Ieyasu sits down and eats it."

1 comment:

M. Bilginer said...

Excellent post, very good summary, thank you! Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543-1616 A.D.), the founder and first shogun of Tokugawa Shogunate, is a really important figure in Japanese history. He brought peace to Japan ending the bloody civil wars between daimyos. Thus, there were no civil war in Japan between 1600 - 1850 under the rule of Tokugawa Shogunate.

In my opinion, Tokugawa Ieyasu is the greatest leader of all Japanese history.