da Max von Brandt | February 14, 2015 | |
HIDEYOSHI was the son of a peasant, and was born in 1536 at Nakamura, in Owari. At an early age he enlisted in the service of Nobunaga, under the name of Kinoshita Tokichiro. Here he quickly gave proof of bravery and military skill, and eventually became the most capable and trustworthy general of Nobunaga. At the time of the attack upon the latter he was opposing the troops of Mori in company with Nobunaga's son, Nobutaka; with him he quickly came to an agreement, and was thus enabled to turn his steps to Kioto with the success we have already described. Of the three sons of his former master, one was already dead, leaving behind him a son, who nominally continued his grandfather's rule from 1582 to 1586 under the name of Samboshi. The second son was now with Iyeyasu, who was pledged to prevent any outbreak on his part. The third son, Nobutaka, entered into alliance with a brother-in-law of his father, by name Shibata, who was in possession of Echizen, but was unable to make head¬way against Hideyoshi. He was defeated, and his ally was also over¬powered in Echizen by the pursuing enemy.
The narrative of the death of Shibata is one of the most impressive incidents among the many moving events of Japanese history. Besieged in his castle at Fukui, with no hope of relief, Shibata resolved to die. He invited all his friends and adherents to a feast, at the conclusion of which he informed his wife, the sister of Nobunaga, of his determination, and gave her permission to leave the castle and save her life. The brave woman, however, declined to avail herself of the opportunity, and demanded to be allowed to share her husband's fate. Shibata and his comrades then slew their wives and children—who thanked them that they had thus been privileged to die with them—and then committed hara-kiri. All were buried in the ruins of the castle, which they had previously set on fire.
Hideyoshi succeeded in restoring peace and order to the country, though at the price of a severe struggle. Iyeyasu was ruling in the Kwanto, the eight provinces of the East, with which he had been invested by Hideyoshi, and is said to have built himself a capital at Yedo on the advice of Hideyoshi. Possibly the political recollections and sympathies of the latter made it, in his opinion, far more desirable to have the powerful Minamoto, who had been subdued only at the cost of a long struggle, resident in Odawara, the headquarters of the Shoguns subsequent to the destruction of Kamakura. Between Iyeyasu and Hideyoshi there existed a general understanding, which was, however, modified by their mutual suspicion. The former, for instance, declined to go to Kioto to have an audience of the Mikado until Hideyoshi, who was staying in the city, had handed over his mother as a hostage...
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