The story

Tokugawa Ieyasu

Tokugawa Ieyasu

We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

Born to a minor warlord in Okazaki, Japan, Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543-1616) began his military training with the Imagawa family. He later allied himself with the powerful forces of Oda Nobunaga and then Toyotomi Hideyoshi, expanding his land holdings via a successful attack on the Hojo family to the east. After Hideyoshi’s death resulted in a power struggle among the daimyo, Ieyasu triumphed in the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600 and became shogun to Japan’s imperial court in 1603. Even after retiring, Ieyasu worked to neutralize his enemies and establish a family dynasty that would endure for centuries.

At birth the son of a minor daimyo (warlord), in death canonized by imperial decree as Toshodai-gongen, a Buddhist avatar, this one-time subordinate ally of first Oda Nobunaga and then Toyotomi Hideyoshi accomplished what neither of his senior partners had achieved: institutionalizing his power in inheritable form and founding a dynastic military government that endured for nearly three centuries.

Ieyasu capped a military career that spanned six decades with a victory in the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600 that left him in effective control of the nationwide political confederation that Hideyoshi had forged. Nevertheless, although undeniably a shrewd politician, an exceptional general, and an insightful administrator, he owed his lasting success not to superior ability in any of these areas over Nobunaga or Hideyoshi, but to personal longevity and judicious institutional borrowing. Born within a decade of his erstwhile overlords, he outlived Nobunaga by thirty-four years and Hideyoshi by eighteen. He modeled his army and administration largely on those of his most dangerous enemy, Takeda Shingen (whom he also outlived), and further shaped his national regime around policies introduced by Nobunaga and Hideyoshi.

The Reader’s Companion to Military History. Edited by Robert Cowley and Geoffrey Parker. Copyright © 1996 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Tokugawa Ieyasu - HISTORY

1543—Birth of Tokugawa Ieyasu
The son of a minor daimyo warlord, Tokugawa Ieyasu gradually rose to prominence after establishing strategic alliances with powerful leaders such as Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi. In 1600, he emerged as the most powerful warlord in Japan after the Battle of Sekigahara. Awarded the title of Shogun, he established his government in Edo (now Tokyo) and founded the Shogunate, which ruled Japan for over 260 years.

1543—Portuguese Arrive in Japan
Blown off course during a storm, Portuguese traders shipwrecked near Tangeshima island off the southern coast of Japan. Intrigued by the Portuguese firearms, the local daimyo warlord bought two guns from the European sailors and commissioned his swordsmith to make copies. The daimyo then asked the Portuguese for shooting lessons.

1549—Jesuit Missionaries Settle in Japan
Eager for more firearms, the Japanese warlords welcomed trade with the Portuguese. Along with trade, the Portuguese brought Christian missionaries, and in 1549, Francis Xavier established Japan's first mission at Kagoshima. Jesuit missionary Luis Frois arrived later and wrote Historia de Japan, which covered the years 1549-1593. The book provided most of the known information about contemporary Japan at that time.

1561—Ieyasu Becomes Allies with Oda Nobunaga
Ieyasu joined forces with the fearless warlord Oda Nobunaga and began expanding his territorial holdings. A marriage was arranged between Ieyasu's eldest son and Nobunaga's daughter to strengthen their alliance. But in 1579, Ieyasu's son was discovered plotting against Nobunaga. To prove his loyalty to Nobunaga, Ieyasu forced his beloved son to commit suicide.

1568—Oda Nobunaga Attempts to Unify Japan
Oda Nobunaga was the first to attempt the unification of Japan. Known for his ruthless use of power, his vision was to bring all of Japan "under a single sword". Nobunaga's most significant step towards unifying the country was the destruction of the Buddhist monastery of Mt. Hiei, whose warrior monks had played a significant role in the political and military course of Japan. Nobunaga saw them as a threat to the future stability of Japan. After destroying the Mt. Hiei monastery, he hunted down and slaughtered the fleeing Hiei monks, regardless of their innocence or age.

1575—Battle of Nagashino
Oda Nobunaga was quick to embrace Western innovations—firearms, in particular. At the Battle of Nagashino, he instituted new offensive and defensive tactics with guns which changed Japanese warfare forever. A great military strategist, he built massive stone forts that would resist the new firearms, and he strengthened his warships with iron-cladding. He also instituted a specialized warrior class, appointing his retainers to positions based on ability rather than family connection.

1577—Joao Rodrigues Arrives in Japan
Born in Portugal in 1561, Joao Rodrigues was a cabin boy on a Portuguese ship and arrived in Japan at the age of 15. He became a Jesuit missionary in 1577. Possessing an ear for language, Rodgrigues was soon able to speak Japanese fluently, which earned the nickname, "the interpreter." He served in that role for both Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu. Living in Japan for 33 years, he wrote a book considered one of the era's key historical chronicles of Japan, Historia da Igreja do Japao ("This Land of Japan"). He also wrote a book on Japanese grammar that helped other missionaries master the difficult Japanese language.

1582—Nobunaga Assassinated
Oda Nobunaga was ultimately attacked by a disgruntled general from his inner circle, although it was unknown whether Nobunaga was assassinated or committed suicide. Jesuit missionary Joao Rodrigues wrote: "Some say he cut his belly, while others believe that he set fire to the palace and perished in the flames." Toyotomi Hideyoshi, one of Nobunaga's trusted aides, quickly avenged the suspected murder, presenting the traitor's head to Nobunaga's grave. Hideyoshi soon emerged as the next ruling military leader of Japan.

1584—Toyotomi Hideyoshi Becomes Supreme Commander
Hideyoshi's response to the assassination of Nobunaga gave him a place of special importance and he quickly assumed the role of Japan's ruler. He and Tokugawa became uneasy allies. Born of peasant stock, little is known of Hideyoshi's life prior to 1570. Short and thinly proportioned, he cut an odd figure the tactless Nobunaga had referred to him as Saru (monkey) and the "bald rat". However, using guile and manipulation, he rose through the ranks. Famous for his unsophisticated and garish aesthetic, Hideyoshi built a gold tea room in his Osaka castle.

1587—Japanese Peasantry Disarmed
In the "Sword Hunt" of 1593, Toyotomi Hideyoshi forbade the peasant class from possessing weapons including swords, guns, and knives. He hoped to prevent revolts and to distinguish Japan's classes with only the samurai allowed to carry two swords.

1587—Christian Persecution Begins
Because he valued trade with European merchants, Hideyoshi initially welcomed the Christian missionaries. By 1587, he had become worried that Christianity's growing influence would threaten his control of Japan. He therefore issued an edict outlawing Christianity and expelling the missionaries. However, the edict was ineffective and Franciscans continued to enter the country. The Jesuits remained active in Western Japan.

1590—Ieyasu Moves Headquarters to Edo
After a few skirmishes, Hideyoshi and Ieyasu formed an uneasy alliance. Hideyoshi rewarded Ieyasu with eight provinces located in the Kanto plain and ordered him to move his headquarters to Edo, a swampy, backwater castle town far from the center of Japanese politics. Ieyasu felt compelled to agree to the arrangement and the two generals urinated together to seal the agreement.

1597—Hideyoshi Executes 26 Christians
In 1597, Hideyoshi intensified the persecution of Christians in Japan. As a warning, he had 24 Christians arrested in Kyoto, among them 19 Japanese and two young boys. The prisoners' left ears were chopped off and they were paraded through Kyoto's streets and surrounding countryside while onlookers taunted and tortured them. Arriving in Nagasaki, all 24 prisoners, plus two Jesuits who had come to defend them, were chained to crosses and crucified. Stabbed with spears and left to hang for 80 days, none of the captured Christians recanted or denounced their faith. Learning of their deaths two years later, Pope Pius the IX declared them martyrs. Hideyoshi unintentionally inspired Christians around Japan new converts were recruited and Nagasaki became the center of Christian activity.

1598—Hideyoshi Dies
On his deathbed, Hideyoshi asked Ieyasu to serve as one of five regents designated to rule Japan until Hideyoshi's beloved son, Hideyori, came of age. A year later, Ieyasu moved into Osaka Castle, Hideyori's stronghold, a move that antagonized his fellow regents.

Japanese history: On Ieyasu Tokugawa, the patient one

History by Matt S.

Over recent months I’ve had a number of people ask me to write more about Japanese history and its personalities. Games from Japan, unsurprisingly, often feature references or depictions of Japan’s past, and it’s an unfortunate reality that, at least in the West, learning about Japanese history at school and the like is buried right down the priority pile. We all learn about Napoleon and Caesar, as well as our own nation’s history, but it’s not until you pick up a copy of Samurai Warriors that you’ll even know what a “Nobunaga Oda” is.

So, for all those people interested in learning a little bit more about the history of Japan, I’ve started a series of pieces looking at various elements of Japan’s history and its personalities. If there are any particular bits of history you’d like to learn about, please do drop me a note.

Last week we looked at two of the three “great unifiers” Nobunaga Oda and Hideyoshi Toyotomi. This time around we’re going to take a look at the third and final unifier, Ieyasu Tokugawa the man who would outlast all the other warlords through the Sengoku period to become the shogun and head of Japan.

All three unifiers had such different approaches to the task of bringing a nation torn apart by centuries of civil war back together again that a little story about how each of them approached a simple problem became a defining summary of their personalities:

Nobunaga, Hideyoshi and Tokugawa were watching a cuckoo bird waiting for it to sing, but the bird wouldn't sing. Nobunaga says "Little bird, if you don't sing I will kill you". Hideyoshi says "Little bird, if you don't sing, I'll make you sing". Then Tokugawa Ieyasu says to the bird "Little bird, if you don't sing I will wait for you to sing".

So, what does this quote mean for Tokugawa?

Slow and steady wins the race

In addition to the above quote, another often-cited quote about Tokugawa is that he “won Japan by retreating.” A cautious and calculating individual, Tokugawa’s great skill was forming the right alliances, at the right time, in order to then sit back and wait for everyone else to fall down around him.

Tokugawa started life as a hostage of the Oda clan, when his family were loyal to the Imagawa. When he was given his freedom, Tokugawa joined his family and actually fought in a couple of actions against the Oda, including joining the great force that Yoshimoto Imagawa put together to march on Kyoto.

But then Nobunaga Oda happened. As we all know by now, Oda, with a tiny force, was able to surprise attack the Imagawa force and defeat it quickly by killing Yoshimoto Imagawa himself. Tokugawa made his first major alliance then in making peace with Oda, which indeed proved to be of great benefit to both sides.

Oda used Tokugawa as a shield to the east of Japan. While he concentrated on capturing Kyoto and subjugating west of there with his general, Hideyoshi Toyotomi, Tokugawa was left to keep an eye on the east, including dangerous enemies of Oda such as Shingen Takeda. Also nearby was the powerful Hojo clan, not technically enemies of Oda, but fiercely independent.

Tokugawa had two major battles with Takeda. The first was the battle of Mikatagahara, and it ended absolutely disastrously for Tokugawa’s smaller, and inferior, military. It would have resulted in the death of Tokugawa himself were it not for a bit of luck. In a show of loser’s bravado, Tokugawa demanded that the gates to a nearby city that he and his forces were retreating from be flung wide open to the advancing Takeda forces, and inside, the war drums were to be pounded relentlessly. It was really just impotent rage on the part of Tokugawa, but the Takeda forces were concerned that it was a trap and actually halted their advance.

The second major battle between the Takeda and Tokugawa was the Battle of Nagashino. This time around Oda himself showed up, and his superior tactics with firearms decimated the Takeda forces.

Oda would soon be killed by his retainer, Mitsuhide Akechi, and before Tokugawa could raise an army to get revenge, Hideyoshi Toyotomi killed Akechi and took effective control of Japan.

Tokugawa and Toyotomi didn’t get along as well as Oda and Tokugawa did. There was even a military conflict between the two at one point, though they came to an accord before either side needed to capitulate and be destroyed completely. Still, Tokugawa played no part in Toyotomi’s own military conquests, aside from a brief period when he was summoned to act as an advisor and backup to one of Toyotomi’s campaigns in Korea.

There was one exception. Toyotomi decided to finally deal with the Hojo, who were the only substantial power left on mainland Japan that were not an ally or subjugated by Toyotomi’s forces. For this campaign, which was right on Tokugawa’s doorstep, he did participate, despite having developed generally friendly relations with the Hojo. As a result of that campaign, for various strategic reasons Tokugawa was asked to give up his existing territories and take ownership over the Hojo lands, which he did. This would prove to be a momentous decision, of course the Hojo lands included a relatively insignificant city called “Edo.” You might recognise that name as “Tokyo” today.

When Toyotomi’s ill health told him he wasn’t long for the world, he formed a council of regents who were to look after Japan until his son - then five - would be old enough to take over. Tokugawa was on that council, but unfortunately for Toyotomi’s son, it didn’t pan out as planned. Soon after Toyotomi passed away, the seniormost council member also died, and Japan started to slip back towards civil war.

This time around the country was basically split into two east and west. Tokugawa was the leader of the easterns forces, and Mitsunari Ishida was the leader of the west. They would fight one decisive battle, the battle of Sekigahara, where Ishida was comprehensively defeated, leaving Tokugawa the de facto ruler of Japan. He would soonafter be named shogun - the only one of the three unifiers to achieve that. The Tokugawa shogunate would then close Japan’s borders and take the country into a peaceful isolation for some 150 years afterwards.

Tokugawa is generally portrayed on popular media as an overweight, ponderous fellow, and this is as much a reflection of his personality as it was any physical attributes he had while he was ambitious, he was also supremely cautious and a conservative military leader. He generally put matters of pride and personal loyalty behind what was good for his political ambition and position for example he attacked the Hojo despite having an amicable relationship with them. He also allowed his wife and firstborn to be executed by Nobunaga Oda after an allegation that the two of them had conspired with the Takeda to execute Oda (unlikely). To Tokugawa, conflict with the Oda was just not worth it.

Tokugawa’s other great strength was in building powerful bonds with incredibly powerful generals. Hanzo Hattori - often portrayed in popular media as a ninja - was actually an important samurai in his own right. Tadakatsu Honda, Naomasa Ii, Yasumasa Sakakibara and Tadatsugu Sakai, meanwhile, were grouped together as the “Four Heavenly Kings of the Tokugawa,” and were considered supreme generals of their time.

Make no mistake, however, in confusing Tokugawa’s caution as him being a “better” person than the other two great unifiers of Japanese history, Nobunaga Oda and Hideyoshi Toyotomi. Tokugawa was absolutely ruthless with his rivals and found many clever ways of holding the entire country hostage so that it would be subservient to him. Perhaps his most famous “trick” was to demand that the lords from all over Japan would make a trip to Edo, for meetings and to spend time in the capital (and spend time with their wives and first children, who were permanently held hostage in the capital). The trips for these lords required they bring all their retainers and staff with them, making them obscenely expensive projects, thus ensuring that each lord, even if they wished to rebel, would not have the money to do so.

That being said, Tokugawa did achieve a lasting peace in Japan, and formally brought the Sengoku period to a close. In video game terms, it means that the hardest levels often involve him Sekigahara is one of the biggest and most difficult battles in Samurai Warriors for example, and that was Tokugawa’s great victory as a leader. But then, Tokugawa was also one of the only samurai to be there at the start of the chaos right through to the end, so you’re going to see more of him than almost any other character.

Sometimes, being the last man standing really is the best strategy.

- Matt S.
Find me on Twitter: @digitallydownld

Complete Control

Thus, Ieyasu asserted both military and legal control over daimyō movements. But this was not enough, as he aimed to contain any authorities that might jeopardize the stability of his regime. This included the imperial court.

Officially, the Edo shogunate derived its power through the emperor&rsquos appointment of Ieyasu as shōgun. As such, he showed a surface level of respect to the imperial court. The court had faced a loss of territory during the Warring States period (1467&ndash1568), and in 1601 Ieyasu presented it with holdings of 10,000 koku. Yet it was the shogunate that actually managed the imperial family&rsquos land. Ieyasu also established the position of shoshidai (shogunal deputy) in Kyoto to keep an eye on the western daimyō and imperial court, observing the daily business of the court and nobles. Two new liaison officers conveyed the deputy&rsquos directions to the court. They were selected from among the nobles, receiving a salary from the shogunate.

Laws in 1613 encouraged nobles to concentrate on study and prescribed palace duties. Further regulations in 1615 dealt with the running of the court with rules going so far as to legally define aspects of the lives of the emperor and nobles, as well as precedence and promotion among the latter. In this way, Ieyasu ensured the court and emperor had no political power.

Buddhist warrior monks had also been a major force during the Warring States period. As with the daimyō and imperial court, Ieyasu introduced legislation in 1615 to regulate the activities of temples and control them.

Edo Period (1603 - 1868)

Tokugawa Ieyasu was the most powerful man in Japan after Hideyoshi had died in 1598. Against his promises he did not respect Hideyoshi's successor Hideyori because he wanted to become the absolute ruler of Japan.

In the battle of Sekigahara in 1600, Ieyasu defeated the Hideyori loyalists and other Western rivals. Hence, he achieved almost unlimited power and wealth. In 1603, Ieyasu was appointed Shogun by the emperor and established his government in Edo (Tokyo). The Tokugawa shoguns continued to rule Japan for a remarkable 250 years.

Ieyasu brought the whole country under tight control. He cleverly redistributed the gained land among the daimyo: more loyal vassals (the ones who supported him already before Sekigahara) received strategically more important domains accordingly. The daimyo were also required to spend every second year in Edo. This meant a huge financial burden for the daimyo and moderated his power at home.

Ieyasu continued to promote foreign trade. He established relations with the English and the Dutch. On the other hand, he enforced the suppression and persecution of Christianity from 1614 on.

After the destruction of the Toyotomi clan in 1615 when Ieyasu captured Osaka Castle, he and his successors had practically no rivals anymore, and peace prevailed throughout the Edo period. Therefore, the warriors (samurai) were educating themselves not only in the martial arts but also in literature, philosophy and the arts, e.g. the tea ceremony.

In 1633, shogun Iemitsu forbade travelling abroad and almost completely isolated Japan in 1639 by reducing the contacts to the outside world to strongly regulated trade relations with China and the Netherlands in the port of Nagasaki. In addition, all foreign books were banned. Selected daimyo were also allowed to trade with Korea, the Ryukyu Kingdom and the Ainu in Hokkaido.

Despite the isolation, domestic trade and agricultural production continued to improve. During the Edo period and especially during the Genroku era (1688 - 1703), popular culture flourished. New art forms like kabuki and ukiyo-e became very popular especially among the townspeople.

The most important philosophy of Tokugawa Japan was Neo-Confucianism, stressing the importance of morals, education and hierarchical order in the government and society: A strict four class system existed during the Edo period: at the top of the social hierarchy stood the samurai, followed by the peasants, artisans and merchants. The members of the four classes were not allowed to change their social status. Outcasts, people with professions that were considered impure, formed a fifth class.

In 1720, the ban of Western literature was cancelled, and several new teachings entered Japan from China and Europe (Dutch Learning). New nationalist schools that combined Shinto and Confucianist elements also developed.

Even though the Tokugawa government remained quite stable over several centuries, its position was steadily declining for several reasons: A steady worsening of the financial situation of the government led to higher taxes and riots among the farm population. In addition, Japan regularly experienced natural disasters and years of famine that caused riots and further financial problems for the central government and the daimyo. The social hierarchy began to break down as the merchant class grew increasingly powerful while some samurai became financially dependent of them. In the second half of the era, corruption, incompetence and a decline of morals within the government caused further problems.

In the end of the 18th century, external pressure started to be an increasingly important issue, when the Russians first tried to establish trade contacts with Japan without success. They were followed by other European nations and the Americans in the 19th century. It was eventually Commodore Perry in 1853 and again in 1854 who forced the Tokugawa government to open a limited number of ports for international trade. However, the trade remained very limited until the Meiji restoration in 1868.

All factors combined, the anti-government feelings were growing and caused other movements such as the demand for the restoration of imperial power and anti western feelings, especially among ultra-conservative samurai in increasingly independently acting domains such as Choshu and Satsuma. Many people, however, soon recognized the big advantages of the Western nations in science and military, and favoured a complete opening to the world. Finally, also the conservatives recognized this fact after being confronted with Western warships in several incidents.

In 1867-68, the Tokugawa government fell because of heavy political pressure, and the power of Emperor Meiji was restored.


Atsushi, K. 2020. Tokugawa Ieyasu and the Founding of the Edo Shogunate. [Online] Available at:

Sadler, A. L. 2009. Shogun: The Life of Tokugawa Ieyasu. Tuttle Publishing.
Yonemoto, M. 2003. Mapping Early Modern Japan: Space, Place, and Culture in the Tokugawa Period, 1603-1868. University of California Press.


I am a published author of over ten historical fiction novels, and I specialize in Slavic linguistics. Always pursuing my passions for writing, history and literature, I strive to deliver a thrilling and captivating read that touches upon history's most. Read More

Who was Tokugawa Ieyasu?

Tokugawa Ieyasu was the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate, which ruled over Japan from 1603 till 1868. He is remembered as one of the three great unifiers of Japan. Born to a minor daimyō, he spent the major part of his childhood and adolescence as a hostage, detained first by Oda Nobuhide and then by Imagawa Yoshimoto, being trained as a future ally by the latter. But after Yoshimoto&rsquos death, Ieyasu decided to align first with Oda Nobuhide&rsquos son, Oda Nobunaga and after his death with Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Concurrently, he started improving his army&rsquos command structure and administrative set up, which include taxation procedure and food and water supply, eventually becoming the undisputed master of Japan. At the age of sixty, he was appointed shōgun by the imperial court, a position he held for two years before abdicating for his son, thereafter continuing to work until his death, not only consolidating the position of Tokugawa shogunate, but also for the good of his country.

Japan History: Tokugawa Ieyasu

Photo credits:

Tokugawa Ieyasu (徳川家康, Jan. 30, 1543 – June 1, 1616) was the founder and first shōgun of the Tokugawa shogunate, who effectively commanded the Battle of Sekigahara in Japan in the 1600s until the reconstruction of Meiji in 1868. Ieyasu obtained power in 1600, became shōgun in 1603, and abdicated in 1605 remaining in power until his death in 1616. He was one of the three unifiers of Japan, along with Lord Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

Tokugawa Ieyasu, originally Matsudaira Takechiyo, was the son of Maytsudaira Hirotada, the daimyo of Mikawa of the Matsudaira clan and of Odai-no-kata, the daughter of the samurai lord Mizuno Tadamasa. His parents were 17 and 15 years old when Ieyasu was born.
In the year of his birth, the Matsudaira clan broke up. In 1543, Hirotada’s uncle, Matsudaira Nobutaka, defeated the can Oda. This gave Oda Nobuhide a way to attack Okazaki. Hirotada divorced from Odai-no-kata by sending her back to his family to remarry again, in fact Ieyasu had 11 brothers and sisters.
As Oda Nobunaga continued to attack Okazaki, Hirotada in 1548 asked for help from Imagawa Yoshimoto who accepted the alliance.
Oda Nobuhide, having learned of this agreement, had Ieyasu kidnapped by his entourage on his way to Sunpu. Ieyasu was only five years old at the time.
Nobuhide threatened to execute Ieyasu unless his father broke all ties with the Imagawa clan. However, Hirotada refused, stating that sacrificing his son would show his seriousness in his pact with Imagawa. Despite this refusal, Nobuhide chose not to kill Ieyasu, but instead held him hostage for the next three years in the Manshoji Temple of Nagoya.
In 1549, when Ieyasu was 6 years old, his father Hirotada was assassinated by his own vassals, who had been corrupted by the Oda clan. Around the same time, Oda Nobuhide died during an epidemic. The death of Nobuhide has dealt a blow to the Oda clan. An army under the command of Imagawa Sessai besieged the castle where Oda Nobuhiro, the eldest son of Nobuhide and the new head of the Oda clan lived. With the castle about to fall, Sessai offered an agreement to Oda Nobunaga, the second son of Nobuhide. He offered to renounce the siege if Ieyasu had been delivered to Imagawa.

The ascent to power (1556-1584)

In 1556 Ieyasu officially became an adult, with Imagawa Yoshimoto presiding over his genpuku ceremony. Following the tradition, he changed his name from Matsudaira Takechiyo to Matsudaira Jirōsaburō Motonobu. He was also allowed for a brief period to visit Okazaki to pay homage to his father’s grave and to receive the homage of his nominal servants, guided by the karō Torii Tadayoshi.
A year later, he married his first wife, Lady Tsukiyama, a relative of Imagawa Yoshimoto, and changed his name to Matsudaira Kurandonosuke Motoyasu again. When he was allowed to return to Mikawa, Imagawa then ordered him to fight the Oda clan in a series of battles.
Motoyasu fought his first battle in 1558 at the Siege of Terabe. Terabe’s castellan in western Mikawa, Suzuki Shigeteru, betrayed Imagawa by defeating Oda Nobunaga. This was within the territory of Matsudaira, so Imagawa Yoshimoto entrusted the campaign to Ieyasu and his servants of Okazaki. Ieyasu led the attack in person, but after taking external defenses, he began to be afraid of a counterattack, so he retired. As anticipated, the Oda forces attacked its lines, but Motoyasu was prepared and drove out the Oda army.
He managed to deliver supplies to the siege of Odaka in 1559. Odaka was the only one of the five frontier forts challenged by the Oda clan attack, nevertheless it remained in the hands of Imagawa. Motoyasu launched diversions against the two strong neighbors, and when the garrisons of the other forts came to his aid, Ieyasu’s supply column managed to reach Odaka.
In 1560 the leadership of the Oda clan had passed to the brilliant leader Oda Nobunaga. Imagawa Yoshimoto, head of a large army (perhaps 25,000 people) invaded the territory of the Oda clan and Motoyasu was assigned a separate mission to capture the stronghold of Marune. So he and his men were not present at the Battle of Okehazama where Yoshimoto was killed in Nobunaga’s surprise assault.

The Alliance with Oda

With the death of Yoshimoto and the Imagawa clan in a state of confusion, Motoyasu took the opportunity to assert his independence and bring his men back to the abandoned Okazaki castle to claim his place.
Motoyasu then decided to ally with the Oda clan. A secret agreement was needed because Motoyasu’s wife, Lady Tsukiyama, and her newborn son, Nobuyasu, were held hostage to Sumpu by Imagawa Ujizane, Yoshimoto’s heir.
In 1561, Motoyasu conquered the fortress of Kaminogō, detained by Udono Nagamochi, attacking in the night, setting fire to the castle and capturing two of the sons of Udono, who he used as hostages to free his wife and son.
In 1563 Nobuyasu was married to Nobunaga’s daughter Tokuhime.
For the following years, Motoyasu undertook to reform the Matsudaira clan and make peace with Mikawa. He also strengthened his main vassals by assigning them lands and castles. These vassals included: Honda Tadakatsu, Ishikawa Kazumasa, Kōriki Kiyonaga, Hattori Hanzō, Sakai Tadatsugu and Sakakibara Yasumasa.

In the early days of Mikawa Ieyasu’s daimyō he had difficult relationships with the temples of Jōdō, which became increasingly numerous in 1563-64.
During this period, the Matsudaira clan also faced a threat from a different source. Mikawa was an important center for the Ikkō-ikki movement, where the peasants united with the militant monks under the Jōdo Shinshū sect and rejected the traditional feudal social order. Motoyasu undertook several battles to suppress this movement in its territories, including the Battle of Azukizaka. In a fight, he was almost killed by two bullets that did not penetrate his armor. Both sides were using the new gunpowder weapons that the Portuguese introduced to Japan only 20 years earlier.

Photo credits:

Growing political influence

In 1567, he changed his name again, this time to Tokugawa Ieyasu. In doing so, he claimed the descent from the Minamoto clan. No evidence was actually found for this alleged lineage from the Emperor Seiwa. Yet, his family name was changed with the permission of the Imperial Court, after writing a petition, in which he was awarded the courtesy title Mikawa-no-kami.
Ieyasu remained an ally of Nobunaga and his soldiers were part of the Nobunaga army that conquered Kyoto in 1568. At the same time Ieyasu was expanding its territory. Ieyasu and Takeda Shingen, the head of the Takeda clan in the province of Kai, made an alliance with the aim of conquering the whole territory of Imagawa. In 1570, Ieyasu’s troops conquered the castle of Yoshida (modern Toyohashi), and entered the province of Tōtōmi. Meanwhile, the Shingen troops conquered the province of Suruga (including the capital of Imagawa, Sunpu). Imagawa Ujizane fled to the castle of Kakegawa, which Ieyasu laid siege to. Ieyasu then negotiated with Ujizane, promising that if he surrendered, he would help Ujizane regain Suruga. THe latter had nothing left to lose, and Ieyasu immediately ended his alliance with Takeda, forcing a new alliance with Takeda’s enemy, Uesugi Kenshin of the Uesugi clan. Through these political manipulations, Ieyasu obtained support from the samurai of the Tōtōmi province.
In 1570, Ieyasu established Hamamatsu as the capital of his territory, placing his son Nobuyasu at the head of Okazaki.
The same year, he led 5,000 of his men to support Nobunaga at the Battle of Anegawa against the Azai and Asakura clans.

Conflict with Takeda

In October 1571, Takeda Shingen, now an ally of the Odawara Hōjō clan, attacked the Tokugawa lands at Tōtōmi. Ieyasu asked Nobunaga for help, receiving from him about 3,000 soldiers. At the beginning of 1572 the two armies met in the battle of Mikatagahara. The considerably larger Takeda army, under the expert leadership of Shingen, overwhelmed the Ieyasu’s troops and caused serious casualties. Despite his initial reticence, Ieyasu was persuaded by one of his generals to withdraw. The battle was a great defeat, but in the interest of maintaining the appearance of a dignified retreat, Ieyasu shamelessly ordered the men of his castle to light torches, play drums and leave the gates open, to adequately receive the returning warriors. To the surprise and relief of the Tokugawa army, this spectacle made General Takeda suspicious, so instead of besieging the castle, they camped out for the night. This error would have allowed a band of Tokugawa ninja to raid the field in the following hours, further disrupting Takeda’s disoriented army, and in the end, Shingen’s decision resulted in the cancellation of the entire offensive. Incidentally, Takeda Shingen would not have had another chance to advance on Hamamatsu, much less on Kyoto, since he would have died shortly after the siege of Noda Castle a year later, in 1573.
In 1575, Takeda attacked Nagashino Castle in the province of Mikawa. Ieyasu appealed to Nobunaga for help and the result was that Nobunaga personally headed a very large army (about 30,000 fighters). The Oda-Tokugawa force of 38,000 fighters won a great victory on June 28, 1575, at the Battle of Nagashino, however Takeda Katsuyori survived the battle and retreated back to the province of Kai.
For the next seven years, Ieyasu and Katsuyori fought a series of small battles, following which Ieyasu’s troops managed to wrest control of the Suruga province from the Takeda clan.

In 1579, Ieyasu’s wife and his heir Nobuyasu were accused by Nobunaga of conspiring with Takeda Katsuyori to assassinate Nobunaga, whose daughter Tokuhime (1559-1636) was married to Nobuyasu. This is why Ieyasu ordered his wife to be executed and forced his eldest son, Nobuyasu, to commit seppuku. Ieyasu then named his third son, Tokugawa Hidetada, as heir, since his second son was adopted by another rising power: the general of the Oda clan, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who would soon become the most powerful daimyo of Japan.
The end of the war with Takeda came in 1582 when a combined Oda-Tokugawa force attacked and conquered the province of Kai. Takeda Katsuyori was defeated at the Battle of Tenmokuzan and then committed seppuku.

Uma containing the ashes of Tokugawa Ieyasu in Nikkō
Photo credits:

Death of Nobunaga

At the end of June 1582, Ieyasu was near Osaka and far from his territory when he learned that Nobunaga had been murdered by Akechi Mitsuhide. Ieyasu managed the dangerous journey back to Mikawa and he was mobilizing his army when he learned that Hideyoshi had defeated Akechi Mitsuhide in the battle of Yamazaki.
Nobunaga’s death meant that some provinces, governed by Nobunaga’s vassals, could be conquered. The head of the province of Kai made the mistake of killing one of Ieyasu’s helpers so he promptly invaded Kai and took control. Hōjō Ujimasa, head of the Hōjō clan, responded by sending his much larger army to Shinano and then to the province of Kai. No battle was fought between the Ieyasu’s troops and the great army of Hōjō. However, after some negotiations, Ieyasu and Hōjō accepted an agreement that left Ieyasu in control of the provinces of Kai and Shinano, while Hōjō took control of the province of Kazusa (as well as pieces from both the provinces of Kai and Shinano).
At the same time (1583) a war was waged to rule Japan between Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Shibata Katsuie. Ieyasu took no position in this conflict, relying on his reputation both for prudence and for wisdom. Hideyoshi defeated Katsuie at the Battle of Shizugatake and with this victory, he became the most powerful daimyo in Japan.

Ieyasu and Hideyoshi (1584-1598)

In 1584 Ieyasu decided to support Oda Nobukatsu, the eldest son and heir of Oda Nobunaga, against Hideyoshi. This was a dangerous act and could have led to the annihilation of the Tokugawa clan.
The Tokugawa troops took the traditional Oda stronghold of Owari while Hideyoshi replied by sending an army there. The Komaki campaign was the only time one of Japan’s great unifiers fought each other. The campaign proved to be undecided, and after months of marches and unsuccessful feuds, Hideyoshi resolved the war through negotiation. First made peace with Oda Nobukatsu, and then offered a respite to Ieyasu. The agreement was stipulated at the end of the year and Ieyasu’s second son, Ogimaru (also known as Yuki Hideyasu) became Hideyoshi’s adoptive son.
Ieyasu’s aide, Ishikawa Kazumasa, chose to join the daimyo and so he moved to Osaka to be with Hideyoshi. However, few other Tokugawa keepers have followed this example.
Hideyoshi was understandably suspicious of Ieyasu, and this was five years before they fought as allies. The Tokugawa did not participate in the invasions of Hideyoshi of Shikoku and Kyūshū.
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, but they refused. Ieyasu, even if he was a friend and occasional ally of Ujimasa, joined his great strength of 30,000 samurai with the huge Hideyoshi army of about 160,000 men. Hideyoshi attacked several castles on the edge of the Hōjō clan with most of his army besieging Odawara Castle. Hideyoshi’s army captured Odawara after six months. During this siege, Hideyoshi offered a radical deal to Ieyasu. He offered to Ieyasu the eight provinces of Kantō that were about to take from Hōjō in exchange for the five provinces Ieyasu controlled at the time, including Ieyasu’s one, Mikawa. Ieyasu accepted this proposal. Prey to the overwhelming power of the Toyotomi army, the Hōjō accepted the defeat, the top leaders Hōjō killed themselves and Ieyasu entered the field taking control of their provinces, putting an end to the clan kingdom of over 100 years.

The Battle of Sekigahara (1598-1603)

Hideyoshi, after another three months of illness, died on September 18, 1598. He was nominally succeeded by his young son Hideyori but, at only five years, the real power was in the hands of the regents. In the next two years Ieyasu made alliances with various daimyōs, especially those who had no love for Hideyoshi. Fortunately for Ieyasu, the oldest and most respected, Toshiie Maeda, died just a year later. With Toshiie’s death in 1599, Ieyasu led an army to Fushimi and conquered Osaka Castle, Hideyori’s residence. This angered the three remaining regents and began to structure their plans on all fronts for the war. It was also the last battle of one of Ieyasu’s most loyal and powerful servants, Honda Tadakatsu.
The opposition to Ieyasu focused on Ishida Mitsunari, a powerful daimyo who was not one of the regents. Mitsunari conceived Ieyasu’s death, and news about this plot reached some of the Ieyasu generals. They tried to kill Mitsunari but he escaped and obtained protection from none other than Ieyasu himself. It is not clear why Ieyasu protected a powerful enemy from his men, but he was a strategist and may have thought it would be better to drive the enemy army with Mitsunari rather than one of the regents.
Almost all Japanese daimyōs and samurai split into two factions: the western army (Mitsunari group) and the eastern army (anti-Mitsunari group). Ieyasu supported the anti-Mitsunari group and formed them as its potential allies. Ieyasu’s allies were the Date clan, the Mogami clan, the Satake clan and the Maeda clan. Mitsunari allied himself with the other three regents: Ukita Hideie, Mōri Terumoto and Uesugi Kagekatsu and many daimyō from the eastern end of Honshū.
In June 1600, Ieyasu and his allies transferred their armies to defeat the Uesugi clan, who was accused of planning an uprising against the Toyotomi administration. Before arriving in the territory of Uesugi, Ieyasu learned that Mitsunari and his allies had moved their army against Ieyasu. He held a meeting with the daimyos and they agreed to follow him, so he led most of his army west to Kyoto. At the end of the summer, Ishida’s forces captured Fushimi.
Ieyasu and his allies marched along the Tōkaidō, while his son Hidetada followed the Nakasendō with 38,000 soldiers. A battle against Sanada Masayuki in Shinano province delayed Hidetada’s forces, so they did not arrive in time for the main battle.
Fought near Sekigahara, this battle was the largest and one of the most important battles in Japanese feudal history. It began on October 211600, with a total of 160,000 men facing each other. The battle of Sekigahara ended with a complete victory of Tokugawa. The western block was crushed and in the following days Ishida Mitsunari and many other Western nobles were captured and killed and Tokugawa Ieyasu was now the de facto governor of Japan.
Immediately after the victory at Sekigahara, Ieyasu redistributed the land to the vassals who had served him, he left some the daimyōs unharmed, like the Shimazu clan, but others were completely destroyed. Toyotomi Hideyori (Hideyoshi’s son) lost most of his territory that was under the management of the western daimyō, and was degraded to ordinary daimyō, not to a governor of Japan. In subsequent years the vassals who had sworn loyalty to Ieyasu before the battle became known as fudai daimyō, while those who promised him loyalty after the battle (in other words, after his power was unquestioned) were known as Tozama daimyō. The latter were considered inferior to the Fudai daimyōs.

Shōgun (1603-1605)

On March 24, 1603, Tokugawa Ieyasu received the shōgun title from Emperor Go-Yōzei and he was 60 years old. He had survived all the other great men of his time: Nobunaga, Hideyoshi, Shingen, Kenshin. As shōgun, he used his last years to create and consolidate the Tokugawa shogunate, which inaugurated the Edo period and was the third shogunal government (after Kamakura), claiming the descent from the Minamoto clan, through the Nitta clan. His descendant will then marry into the Taira clan and the Fujiwara clan. The Tokugawa shogunate ruled Japan for the next 250 years.
Following a well-established Japanese model, Ieyasu abdicated his official shōgun position in 1605 and 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 bound by ceremonial duties, to make it harder for his enemies to attack the true center of power and to ensure a smoother succession of his son. The abdication of Ieyasu had no effect on the practical extension of his powers or his government. However, Hidetada assumed the formal role of the shogunal bureaucracy.

Ōgosho (1605-1616)

Ieyasu, as a retired shōgun (大 御所 ōgosho), remained the effective ruler of Japan until his death. He retired to Sunpu Castle, but also oversaw the construction of Edo Castle, an impressive construction project that lasted for the rest of Ieyasu’s life. The result was the biggest castle in all of Japan, the cost of building it was supported by all the other daimyōs, while Ieyasu collected all the benefits. The central donjon, or tenshu, burned in 1657 and today, the Imperial Palace is in place of that castle.
In 1611 Ieyasu leading 50,000 men, visited Kyoto to witness the coronation of Emperor Go-Mizunoo. In Kyoto, Ieyasu ordered the reconstruction of the imperial court and buildings, forcing the remaining Western daimyos to sign an oath of loyalty to him.

In 1613, he composed the Kuge Shohatto (公家諸法度), a document that submitted the court under the daimyo’s close supervision, leaving them as simple ceremonial nominees.
In 1615 Ieyasu prepared the Buhat shohatto (武家諸法度), a document that illustrated the future of the Tokugawa regime.

Relations with foreign powers

Like Ōgosho, Ieyasu also oversaw diplomatic affairs with the Netherlands, Spain and England. Ieyasu chose to remove Japan from European influence from 1609, although the shogunate continued to grant preferential commercial rights to the Dutch East India Company and allowed them to maintain a “factory” for commercial purposes.
From 1605 until his death, Ieyasu frequently consulted with the English master of arms and pilot, William Adams, who, fluent in Japanese, assisted the shogunate in the negotiation of commercial relations.

Significant attempts to limit the influence of Christian missionaries in Japan date back to 1587 during Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s shogunate. However, in 1614, Ieyasu was sufficiently concerned about the Spanish territorial ambitions that he signed an edict of Christian expulsion. The edict banished the practice of Christianity and led to the expulsion of all foreign missionaries. Although some minor commercial operations remained in Nagasaki, this edict drastically limited foreign trade and marked the end of Christian witness open in Japan until 1870.

Siege of Osaka

The last threat to Ieyasu’s dominion was Toyotomi Hideyori, Hideyoshi’s son and rightful heir. He was now a young daimyo who lived in Osaka Castle. Many samurai who opposed Ieyasu gathered around Hideyori, claiming to be the legitimate ruler of Japan. Ieyasu criticized the opening ceremony of a temple built by Hideyori because it was as if he had prayed for the death of Ieyasu and the ruin of the Tokugawa clan. Ieyasu ordered Toyotomi to leave Osaka Castle, but the inhabitants refused and summoned the samurai to gather inside the castle. Then the Tokugawa, with a huge army led by Ieyasu and the shōgun Hidetada, besieged Osaka Castle in what is now known as the “winter siege of Osaka”. In the end, Tokugawa was able to join the negotiations and an armistice after the attack and after threatening Hideyori’s mother, Yodo-dono. However, once the treaty was agreed upon, Tokugawa filled the castle’s outer moats with sand so that his troops could cross it. Through this stratagem, Tokugawa obtained a huge tract of land through negotiation and deception. Ieyasu returned to Sunpu Castle, but after Toyotomi refused another order to leave Osaka, he and his allied army of 155,000 soldiers attacked Osaka Castle again in the “Osaka Summer Siege”.
Eventually, in 1615, Osaka Castle fell and almost all the defenders were killed including Hideyori, his mother (Hideyoshi’s widow, Yodo-dono) and his newborn son. His wife, Senhime (Ieyasu’s niece), pleaded to save the lives of Hideyori and Yodo-dono, but Ieyasu refused and forced both to commit a ritual suicide, or perhaps both killed. In the end, Senhime was sent back to the Tokugawa clan alive.

The death

Ieyasu died at the age of 73 in 1616. It is thought that the cause of death was cancer or syphilis. The first Tokugawa shogun was posthumously deified with the name Tōshō Daigongen, the “Great Gongen, the light of the east”. It is believed that a Gongen is a Buddha who appeared on Earth in the form of a kami to save sentient beings.
In life, Ieyasu had expressed th desire to be deified after his death to protect his descendants from evil. His remains were buried in the Gongen mausoleum in Kunōzan, Kunōzan Tōshō-gū. As a general opinion, many people believe that after the first anniversary of his death, his remains were buried again in the Nikkō Shrine, Nikkō Tōshō-gū and they are still there today. Neither of the two sanctuaries offered to open the tombs, so the location of the physical remains of Ieyasu is still a mystery. The architectural style of the mausoleum became known as gongen-zukuri, or gongen style. First he was given the Buddhist name Tosho Dai-Gongen, then after his death he was changed to Hogo Onkokuin.

Ieyasu Tomb in Tōshō-gū
Photo credits:

Ieyasu’s rule era

Ieyasu had a number of qualities that enabled him to rise to power. He was both attentive and audacious, in the right times and in the right places. Calculating and subtle, Ieyasu changed alliances when he thought he would benefit from the change. He allied himself with the late Hōjō clan, then he joined the army of conquest of Hideyoshi, who destroyed Hōjō and he himself took over their lands. In this he was like the other daimyo of his time. That was an era of violence, sudden death and betrayal. He was neither very popular nor personally popular, but he was feared and 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 himself with Oda Nobunaga, he never went against him, and both leaders took advantage of their long alliance. He was known to be loyal to his friends, and was said to have a close friendship with his vassal Hattori Hanzō. It is said, however, that he remembered the wrongs he had suffered and that he executed a man because he had insulted him when he was young.

Ieyasu protected many former Takeda servants from the wrath of Oda Nobunaga, who was known to harbor a bitter rancor toward Takeda. But he also knew he was ruthless, for example, he ordered the executions of his first wife and his eldest son, a son-in-law of Oda Nobunaga and he was also Hidetada’s wife uncle.
He was cruel, implacable and ruthless in eliminating Toyotomi survivors after Osaka. For days, dozens and dozens of men and women were hunted down and executed, including Hideyori’s eight-year-old son from a beheaded concubine.
Unlike Hideyoshi, he had no desire to win anything outside of Japan. He just wanted to bring order, end the open war and rule Japan.
While at the beginning it was tolerant of Christianity, its attitude changed after 1613 and Christian executions increased sharply.
Ieyasu’s favorite pastime was falconry. He considered it an excellent training for a warrior. “When you go to the countryside, you learn to understand the military spirit and the hard life of the lower classes: you exercise your muscles and you train your limbs. You can walk and run and become indifferent to the heat and cold, and therefore it is very unlikely that you may suffer from some disease “. Ieyasu often swam and even in old age it is said that he swam in the moat of Edo Castle.
He also took a scholarship and religion, attending scholars such as Hayashi Razan.

Two of his famous quotes

Life is like a long journey with a heavy burden. Let your pace be slow and steady, do not stumble. Persuade yourself that imperfection and inconvenience are the greatest thing of mortals, and there will be no room for dissatisfaction or despair. When ambitious wishes arise in your heart, remember the days of extremism that you went through. Tolerance is the root of all tranquility and security forever. Watch the wrath of your enemy. If you only know what it means to conquer, and you do not know what it means to defeat. Find flaws in yourself rather than others.

The strong virile in life are those who understand the meaning of the word patience. Patience means limiting one’s inclinations. There are seven emotions: joy, anger, anxiety, adoration, pain, fear and hate, and if a man does not give way to these he can be called a patient. I’m not as strong as I could be, but I always knew and practiced patience. And if my descendants want to be as they are, they have to study patience.


Late 16th-century Japan saw the end of the Ashikaga shogunate and the unification of the provinces, a process that began with Oda Nobunaga and was completed by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1590. Shortly before his death in September 1598, Hideyoshi appointed five tairō, or regents, to protect his young son Hideyori and to rule on his behalf until he came of age. These tairō were Uesugi Kagekatsu, Mōri Terumoto, Maeda Toshiie, Ukita Hideie, and Tokugawa Ieyasu. When Hideyoshi died, Ieyasu relocated to Fushimi Castle, Hideyoshi’s magnificent palace in Kyōto, and approved several political marriages to cement alliances between his clan and neighbouring ones. Both the other tairō and several daimyō were troubled by these moves, as they feared that Ieyasu sought to supplant the young Toyotomi heir. Among them was Ishida Mitsunari, who formed a coalition of daimyō to reassert the authority of the Toyotomi clan and even went so far as to order an assassination attempt on Ieyasu. When that failed, Ieyasu refrained from killing him, instead moving to Ōsaka Castle to become Hideyori’s physical protector and further extend his power. On August 22, 1600, Mitsunari and his coalition formally denounced Ieyasu for this action and other transgressions. Ieyasu responded with a declaration of war.

Ieyasu and Mitsunari’s respective alliances fell along largely geographic lines: daimyō who sided with Ieyasu were primarily in the east, whereas Toyotomi loyalists were primarily in the west. One notable exception to this division was Uesugi Kagekatsu, who had plotted with Mitsunari that spring to time an attack on Ieyasu from Uesugi’s lands in the east so that the daimyō would be caught between two armies. Ieyasu had begun to march east from Ōsaka as planned, but he tasked two of his eastern allies with quelling Uesugi and moved slowly in order to watch the movements of the western army.

By September, Ieyasu had reached the city of Ōyama with some 50,000 men, and the western army had claimed both Ōsaka and Fushimi Castle. Ieyasu sent 31,000 soldiers southwest down the Tōkaidō road to capture Gifu Castle. He then directed his son, Tokugawa Hidetada, to move northwest along the Nakasendō road with 36,000 men. Finally, Ieyasu himself set out from his base with 30,000 men, intending for the three groups to reconvene in Mino province.

In October the western armies besieged a few eastern strongholds, but they were unable to progress past Gifu, which had fallen to the Tōkaidō army. On October 19 Ieyasu entered Gifu at the head of a partially combined eastern army Hidetada had besieged Ueda Castle against Ieyasu’s orders, which prevented his force from connecting with the other two. Mitsunari was stationed a short distance away at Ōgaki Castle with his forces. Fearing a direct attack, some of Mitsunari’s men attempted to raid Ieyasu’s camp on October 20, but neither side inflicted much damage. That night, the main body of the western army withdrew from Ōgaki and took up advantageous positions at Sekigahara.

Recommended Articles


The Warring States Period in Japan


Oda Nobunaga a Unifier of Japan


Tokugawa Iemitsu : The Third Shogun of Edo


The Imperial Family of Japan


The History of Tokyo | Travel Guide


Japan: The Best Post COVID Holiday

Recommended Tours

Tokyo Amusement Park and Anime Tour (7d/6n)

Are you looking for 7 days filled with fun? This family-friendly tour includes a few days of Disney fun and two amazing private tours in Tokyo. Check out our special offer!

Japan Autumn Tour | Hiroshima Package (10d/9n)

This is a special Japan autumn tour which includes autumn leave spots and historical sites in the western Japan. We visit Kyoto, Matsue, Hagi, Hiroshima, Shikoku Island and many more.

Land of Samurai Kyushu Tour Spring 2022 (10d/9n)

Are you looking for an intense experience of Kyushu’s nature, history, and culture? Our Land of Samurai Kyushu Tour that’s planned for spring 2022 will surely delight you!