Tokugawa Ieyasu the Lord of War

Published December 2018.

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The history of Japan is rich in character, intrigued and full of interesting characters. But perhaps none has been as influential as the man who took a land ravaged by war of scattered dominions.

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He was the first, for centuries, to claim the title of a shaman. He eliminated the enemies, subjected the whole country to his will and inaugurated a dynasty that ruled Japan for 265 years. This man is the great warrior and shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. He was born on 31 in January of 1543, at Okazaki Castle.

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Tokugawa Ieyasu was born under the name of Matsudaira Takechiyo (the Matsudaira Toyota city), he was the son of Matsudaira Hirotada, the lord of Mikawa, and Dai-no-kata, the daughter of a samurai lord named Mizuno Tadamasa. Oddly, his father and mother were half-brothers. The Father had only 17 years and the mother 15 years when Ieyasu was born.

Two years later, Dai-no-kata was sent back to her family, and the couple never lived together again. Both remarried, and both had more children, giving Ieyasu a large number of half brothers and sisters.

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Although Tokugawa's reign over Japan is synonymous with the capital he developed, Edo (later, Tokyo), his story begins in Okazaki Castle em Aichi. Born under the name Matsudaira Takechiyo in 1542 (it was standard practice for samurai to change their names at significant times in their lives), Ieyasu was kidnapped at the age of five by the neighboring Oda clan (held captive in Nagoya), rival of his father, a warlord ruling the province of Okazaki.

At the age of nine, he was taken hostage by the Imagawa clan and kept in good condition at Sunpu Castle in Shizuoka until he was released when he reached the age of 15, where he received an education - academic and military, suitable for a nobleman. .

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After the death of his father and his adulthood, at 13 years, Ieyasu became head of the Matsudaira clan and under the instructions of the Imagawa, began to fight against his hijackers the Oda. However, by the time he changed his name to Tokugawa Ieyasu, which means that he was founding a new clan (in so doing, claiming connection with the old Minamoto clan) later in 1567, he changed his loyalty and united forces with the powerful Oda Nobunbaga, expanding his wealth, with Nobunaga becoming the most powerful samurai in Japan.

Although their bond was strong and mutually beneficial, the Oda-Tokugawa relationship was put to the test in 1579, when Ieyasu's wife and eldest son and heir were charged with a plot against Nobunaga's life.

Nobunaga demanded that Ieyasu order the death of his wife and his eldest son, suspected of plotting against his clan. He obeyed the orders, kept the leader's confidence, and became one of his closest commanders. In 1566, so much dedication was rewarded and Ieyasu received land and became a powerful daimiô.

Although Nobuyasu's plot was unsuccessful, three years later Nobunaga was assassinated by his closest aide, Akechi Mitsuhide.

The battle for Japan

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In 1599, Ieyasu's army forcibly seized Osaka Castle, the home of young heir Hideyori. Enraged by this act of betrayal, Mitsunari planned to kill Ieyasu, but upon hearing about the plot, Ieyasu's men turned on Mitsunari. To escape, Mitsunari, with Ieyasu's help, disguised herself as a woman and fled the castle. It is not certain why Ieyasu helped his biggest rival to flee, although it is thought that in the battle he knew would come, Ieyasu preferred to face Mitsunari rather than one of the council members, who would have had greater legitimacy.

Two major forces have now formed: the Western Army, led by Mitsunari, and Ieyasu's Eastern Army, the two great forces met in 21 October 1600 in the rice fields of Sekigahara in the current Gifu. With 75.000 men for their opponent's 120.000, things initially seemed gloomy for Ieyasu. However, he was known to be a master of strategy and before the battle, he caused certain members of the Western Army to turn against Mitsunari and fight for the east. It was this ability to encourage betrayal in others and with the 19 cannons drawn from the same Dutch ship that brought with it the first Western samurai, William Adams, who secured Ieyasu's victory.

And for the winner the title of Shogun.

The title of "shogun", military dictator of Japan, was reserved only for those who could prove a direct lineage to historical royalty. However, thanks to his vision of changing his name to Tokugawa (in so doing claiming an unsubstantiated connection with the Minamoto clan) the title honor was granted by the emperor in 1603, giving him unmatched absolute power in the country.

Hamamatsu Castle

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O Hamamatsu Castle is Located in the city of Hamamatsu in the province of Shizuoka. It was the castle where Tokugawa Ieyasu lived for 17 years, from 29 years old to 45 years old.


Tokugawa Family Life

Two years later, Ieyasu abdicated in favor of his son as a way of ensuring a smooth transition and creating a lasting legacy. However, that does not mean that Ieyasu retired from public life. In fact, even retired as a shogun, he remained the country's ruler, and began planning massive reconstructions of the nation. In Edo, the city in which he was now established, he oversaw the construction of Edo Castle (a major project that would become the largest castle in the country), as well as the construction of Nagoya Castle and the rebuilding of the Kyoto Imperial Court. . While the nation flourished under its control in relative peace (Hideyoshi remained a thorn on Ieyasu's side until he was killed in Osaka on 1615), Ieyasu expanded Japan's reach of influence by increasing trade with England.

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Tokugawa Ieyasu died 1617, with 73 years.

With the death of previous unifiers (Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi) they saw others to claim power for themselves.

Through his anticipated planning, his cunning, and his ruthless treatment of those who opposed him, Ieyasu's heir not only continued to rule over Japan, but his antecedents retained power for more than 250 years after his death.

This time, the Tokugawa era came to be considered not only a time of peace and prosperity for the nation, but also the consolidation of the nation in the samurai mode of honor, loyalty and effort. It is a little ironic that the man who began this era with brutal force and cunning used betrayal to achieve his goals.

But as the Japanese saying goes, you can not make an omelet without breaking some eggs.

Every Japanese knows Tokugawa Ieyasu, Japan's most famous general.

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And every year in the month of April the Ieyasu Gyoretsu Festival na Okazaki city, the parade speaks of the samurai who became a shogun (Tokugawa Ieyasu), this parade consists of cavalry, warriors bearing arms and others with spears, archers with bows and arrows, and so on. Actors do a reenactment of a battle, showing a clan ninja trying to take the castle, Ieyasu and his samurai warriors repel the attack. A festival where you meet many foreign tourists among the crowds of spectators.

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