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Azuchi-Momoyama period

Azuchi-Momoyama period

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The came at the end of the Warring States Period
Sengoku period
The or Warring States period in Japanese history was a time of social upheaval, political intrigue, and nearly constant military conflict that lasted roughly from the middle of the 15th century to the beginning of the 17th century. The name "Sengoku" was adopted by Japanese historians in reference...

 in Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, when the political unification that preceded the establishment of the Tokugawa shogunate
Tokugawa shogunate
The Tokugawa shogunate, also known as the and the , was a feudal regime of Japan established by Tokugawa Ieyasu and ruled by the shoguns of the Tokugawa family. This period is known as the Edo period and gets its name from the capital city, Edo, which is now called Tokyo, after the name was...

 took place. It spans the years from approximately 1573 to 1603, during which time Oda Nobunaga
Oda Nobunaga
was the initiator of the unification of Japan under the shogunate in the late 16th century, which ruled Japan until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. He was also a major daimyo during the Sengoku period of Japanese history. His opus was continued, completed and finalized by his successors Toyotomi...

 and his successor, Toyotomi Hideyoshi
Toyotomi Hideyoshi
was a daimyo warrior, general and politician of the Sengoku period. He unified the political factions of Japan. He succeeded his former liege lord, Oda Nobunaga, and brought an end to the Sengoku period. The period of his rule is often called the Momoyama period, named after Hideyoshi's castle...

, imposed order upon the chaos that had pervaded since the collapse of the Ashikaga Shogunate
Ashikaga shogunate
The , also known as the , was a Japanese feudal military regime, ruled by the shoguns of the Ashikaga clan.This period is also known as the Muromachi period and gets its name from Muromachi Street of Kyoto where the third shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu established his residence...

. The name of this period is taken from Nobunaga's castle, Azuchi Castle
Azuchi Castle
' was one of the primary castles of Oda Nobunaga. It was built from 1576 to 1579, on the shores of Lake Biwa, in Ōmi Province. Nobunaga intentionally built it close enough to Kyoto that he could watch over and guard the approaches to the capital, but, being outside the city, his fortress would be...

, in the present-day town of Azuchi
Azuchi, Shiga
was a town located in Gamō District, Shiga, Japan.As of 2003, the town had an estimated population of 12,217 and a density of 502.76 persons per km². The total area was 24.30 km²....

, Shiga Prefecture
Shiga Prefecture
is a prefecture of Japan, which forms part of the Kansai region on Honshu Island. The capital is the city of Ōtsu.- History :Shiga was known as Ōmi Province or Gōshū before the prefectural system was established...

 and Hideyoshi's castle, Momoyama Castle
Fushimi Castle
', also known as Momoyama Castle or Fushimi-Momoyama Castle, is a castle in Kyoto's Fushimi Ward. The current structure is a 1964 replica of the original built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi.-History:...

 (also known as Fushimi Castle
Fushimi Castle
', also known as Momoyama Castle or Fushimi-Momoyama Castle, is a castle in Kyoto's Fushimi Ward. The current structure is a 1964 replica of the original built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi.-History:...

), in Kyoto
Kyoto
is a city in the central part of the island of Honshū, Japan. It has a population close to 1.5 million. Formerly the imperial capital of Japan, it is now the capital of Kyoto Prefecture, as well as a major part of the Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto metropolitan area.-History:...

.

Although a start date of 1573 is often given, in more broad terms, this period begins with Nobunaga's entry into Kyoto in 1568, when he led his army to the imperial capital in order to install Ashikaga Yoshiaki
Ashikaga Yoshiaki
was the 15th shogun of the Ashikaga shogunate in Japan who reigned from 1568 to 1573. His father, Ashikaga Yoshiharu was the twelfth shogun, and his brother, Ashikaga Yoshiteru was the thirteenth shogun....

 as the 15th, and ultimately final, shogun of the Ashikaga shogunate
Ashikaga shogunate
The , also known as the , was a Japanese feudal military regime, ruled by the shoguns of the Ashikaga clan.This period is also known as the Muromachi period and gets its name from Muromachi Street of Kyoto where the third shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu established his residence...

, and lasts until the coming to power of Tokugawa Ieyasu
Tokugawa Ieyasu
 was the founder and first shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan , which ruled from the Battle of Sekigahara  in 1600 until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. Ieyasu seized power in 1600, received appointment as shogun in 1603, abdicated from office in 1605, but...

 after his victory over supporters of the Toyotomi clan at the Battle of Sekigahara
Battle of Sekigahara
The , popularly known as the , was a decisive battle on October 21, 1600 which cleared the path to the Shogunate for Tokugawa Ieyasu...

 in 1600.

Rise and fall of Oda Nobunaga


During the last half of the 16th century, a number of different daimyo
Daimyo
is a generic term referring to the powerful territorial lords in pre-modern Japan who ruled most of the country from their vast, hereditary land holdings...

 became strong enough either to manipulate the Muromachi bakufu
Ashikaga shogunate
The , also known as the , was a Japanese feudal military regime, ruled by the shoguns of the Ashikaga clan.This period is also known as the Muromachi period and gets its name from Muromachi Street of Kyoto where the third shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu established his residence...

 to their own advantage or to overthrow it altogether. One attempt to overthrow the bakufu was made in 1560 by Imagawa Yoshimoto
Imagawa Yoshimoto
was one of the leading daimyo in the Sengoku period Japan. Based in Suruga Province, he was one of the three daimyo that dominated the Tōkaidō region. He was one of the dominant daimyo in Japan for a time, until his death in 1560....

, whose march towards the capital came to an ignominious end at the hands of Oda Nobunaga
Oda Nobunaga
was the initiator of the unification of Japan under the shogunate in the late 16th century, which ruled Japan until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. He was also a major daimyo during the Sengoku period of Japanese history. His opus was continued, completed and finalized by his successors Toyotomi...

 in the Battle of Okehazama
Battle of Okehazama
The took place in June 1560. In this battle, Oda Nobunaga defeated Imagawa Yoshimoto and established himself as one of the front-running warlords in the Sengoku period.-Background:...

. In 1562, The Tokugawa clan who was adjacent to the east of Nobunaga's territory became independent of the Imagawa clan, and allied with Nobunaga. The eastern part of the territory of Nobunaga was not invaded by this alliance. And, he moves the army to the west. In 1565, an alliance of the Matsunaga
Matsunaga Hisahide
Matsunaga Hisahide was a daimyo of Japan following the Sengoku period of the 16th century.A companion of Miyoshi Chokei, he was a retainer of Miyoshi Masanaga from the 1540s. He directed the conquest of the province of Yamato in the 1560s and by 1564 had built a sufficient power-base to be...

 and Miyoshi clan
Miyoshi clan
The Miyoshi clan is a Japanese family descended from Emperor Seiwa and the Minamoto clan . They were a cadet branch of the Ogasawara clan and the Takeda clan....

s attempted a coup by assassinating Ashikaga Yoshiteru
Ashikaga Yoshiteru
, also known as Yoshifushi or Yoshifuji, was the 13th shogun of the Ashikaga shogunate who reigned from 1546 to 1565 during the late Muromachi period of Japan. He was the eldest son of the 12th shogun, Ashikaga Yoshiharu; and his mother was a daughter of Konoe Taneie...

, the 13th Ashikaga shogun. Internal squabbling, however, prevented them from acting swiftly to legitimatize their claim to power, and it was not until 1568 that they managed to install Yoshiteru's cousin, Ashikaga Yoshihide
Ashikaga Yoshihide
was the 14th shogun of the Ashikaga shogunate who held nominal power for a few months in 1568 during the Muromachi period of Japan. When he became shogun, he changed his name to Yoshinaga, but he is more conventionally recognized today by the name Yoshihide....

, as the next Shogun. Failure to enter Kyoto and gain recognition from the imperial court, however, had left the succession in doubt, and a group of bakufu retainers led by Hosokawa Fujitaka
Hosokawa Fujitaka
was a Japanese daimyo of the Sengoku period. Also known as '. Fujitaka was a prominent retainer of the last Ashikaga shoguns. When he joined the Oda, Oda Nobunaga rewarded him with the fief of Tango. His son, Hosokawa Tadaoki, went on to become one of the Oda clan's senior generals.After the...

 negotiated with Nobunaga to gain support for Yoshiteru's younger brother, Yoshiaki
Ashikaga Yoshiaki
was the 15th shogun of the Ashikaga shogunate in Japan who reigned from 1568 to 1573. His father, Ashikaga Yoshiharu was the twelfth shogun, and his brother, Ashikaga Yoshiteru was the thirteenth shogun....

.

Nobunaga, who had prepared over a period of years for just such an opportunity by establishing an alliance with the Azai clan in northern Ōmi Province
Omi Province
is an old province of Japan, which today comprises Shiga Prefecture. It was one of the provinces that made up the Tōsandō circuit. It is nicknamed as .Lake Biwa, Japan's largest lake, is located at the center of the province...

 and then conquering the neighboring province of Mino Province
Mino Province
, one of the old provinces of Japan, encompassed part of modern-day Gifu Prefecture. It was sometimes called . Mino Province bordered Echizen, Hida, Ise, Mikawa, Ōmi, Owari, and Shinano Provinces....

, now marched toward Kyoto. After routing the Rokkaku clan in southern Omi, Nobunaga forced the Matsunaga to capitulate and the Miyoshi to withdraw to Settsu. He then entered the capital, where he successfully gained recognition from the emperor
Emperor of Japan
The Emperor of Japan is, according to the 1947 Constitution of Japan, "the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people." He is a ceremonial figurehead under a form of constitutional monarchy and is head of the Japanese Imperial Family with functions as head of state. He is also the highest...

 for Yoshiaki, who became the 15th Ashikaga shogun.

Nobunaga had no intention, however, of serving the Muromachi bakufu, and instead now turned his attention to tightening his grip on the Kinai region. Resistance in the form of rival daimyo, intransigent Buddhist monks, and hostile merchants was eliminated swiftly and mercilessly, and Nobunaga quickly gained a reputation as a ruthless, unrelenting adversary. In support of his political and military moves, he instituted economic reform, removing barriers to commerce by invalidating traditional monopolies held by shrines and guilds and promoting initiative by instituting free markets known as rakuichi-rakuza.

By 1573 he had destroyed the alliance of Asakura clan
Asakura clan
The ' are descendants of Prince Kusakabe , son of Emperor Temmu .The family was a line of daimyō which, along with the Azai clan, opposed Oda Nobunaga in the late 16th century...

 and Azai clans that threatened his northern flank, obliterated the militant Tendai
Tendai
is a Japanese school of Mahayana Buddhism, a descendant of the Chinese Tiantai or Lotus Sutra school.Chappell frames the relevance of Tendai for a universal Buddhism:- History :...

 Buddhists monastic center at Mount Hiei
Mount Hiei
is a mountain to the northeast of Kyoto, lying on the border between the Kyoto and Shiga prefectures, Japan.The temple of Enryaku-ji, the first outpost of the Japanese Tiantai sect of Buddhism, was founded atop Mount Hiei by Saichō in 788. Both Nichiren and Honen studied at the temple before...

 near Kyoto, and also had managed to avoid a potentially debilitating confrontation with Takeda Shingen
Takeda Shingen
, of Kai Province, was a preeminent daimyo in feudal Japan with exceptional military prestige in the late stage of the Sengoku period.-Name:Shingen was called "Tarō" or "Katsuchiyo" during his childhood...

, who had suddenly taken ill and died just as his army was on the verge of defeating the Tokugawa and invading Oda's domain on its way to Kyoto.

Even after Shingen's death, there remained several daimyo powerful enough to resist Nobunaga, but none were situated close enough to Kyoto to pose a threat politically, and it appeared that unification under the Oda banner was a matter of time.

Nobunaga's enemies were not only other Sengoku daimyō but also adherents of a Jōdo Shinshu
Jodo Shinshu
, also known as Shin Buddhism, is a school of Pure Land Buddhism. It was founded by the former Tendai Japanese monk Shinran. Today, Shin Buddhism is considered the most widely practiced branch of Buddhism in Japan.-Shinran :...

 sect of Buddhism who attended Ikkō-ikki
Ikko-ikki
', literally "Ikkoshū Uprising", were mobs of peasant farmers, Buddhist monks, Shinto priests and local nobles, who rose up against samurai rule in 15th to 16th century Japan. They followed the beliefs of the Jōdo Shinshū sect of Buddhism which taught that all believers are equally saved by Amida...

. Their leader was Kennyo. He endured though Nobunaga kept attacking his fortress for ten years. Nobunaga expelled Kennyo in the eleventh year, but, by a riot caused by Kennyo, Nobunaga's territory took the big damage. This long war was called Ishiyama Hongan-ji War.

To suppress the Buddhism, Nobunaga supported Christianity. A lot of cultures were introduced to Japan by missionaries from Europe. From these cultures Japan received new foods, a new drawing method, astronomy, geography, medical science, and a printing technique.

During the period from 1576 to 1579, Nobunaga constructed on the shore of Lake Biwa
Lake Biwa
is the largest freshwater lake in Japan, located in Shiga Prefecture , northeast of the former capital city of Kyoto. Because of its proximity to the ancient capital, references to Lake Biwa appear frequently in Japanese literature, particularly in poetry and in historical accounts of battles.-...

 at Azuchi
Azuchi, Shiga
was a town located in Gamō District, Shiga, Japan.As of 2003, the town had an estimated population of 12,217 and a density of 502.76 persons per km². The total area was 24.30 km²....

 (in present-day Shiga Prefecture
Shiga Prefecture
is a prefecture of Japan, which forms part of the Kansai region on Honshu Island. The capital is the city of Ōtsu.- History :Shiga was known as Ōmi Province or Gōshū before the prefectural system was established...

) Azuchi Castle
Azuchi Castle
' was one of the primary castles of Oda Nobunaga. It was built from 1576 to 1579, on the shores of Lake Biwa, in Ōmi Province. Nobunaga intentionally built it close enough to Kyoto that he could watch over and guard the approaches to the capital, but, being outside the city, his fortress would be...

, a magnificent seven-story castle that was intended to serve not simply as an impregnable military fortification but also as a sumptuous residence that would stand as a symbol of unification.

Having secured his grip on the Kinai region, Nobunaga was now powerful enough to assign his generals the task of subjugating the outlying provinces. Shibata Katsuie
Shibata Katsuie
or was a Japanese military commander during the Sengoku Period who served Oda Nobunaga.-Biography:Katsuie was born in the Shibata family, a branch of the Shiba clan . Note the differences between , , and the .Katsuie was the retainer of Oda Nobukatsu...

 was given the task of conquering the Uesugi clan
Uesugi clan
The was a Japanese samurai clan, descended from the Fujiwara clan and particularly notable for their power in the Muromachi and Sengoku periods ....

 in Etchū
Etchu Province
was an old province in central Honshū, on the Sea of Japan side. It was sometimes called , with Echizen and Echigo Provinces. It bordered Echigo, Shinano, Hida, Kaga, and Noto provinces...

, Takigawa Kazumasu
Takigawa Kazumasu
, also known as Sakonshōgen , was a samurai retainer to Oda Nobunaga, and later Toyotomi Hideyoshi, during Japan's Sengoku period. His biological son, Toshimasu, was adopted by Maeda Toshihisa and later served Nobunaga alongside Kazumasu and Toshimasu's adopted uncle, Maeda Toshiie.Originally from...

 confronted the Shinano Province
Shinano Province
or is an old province of Japan that is now present day Nagano Prefecture.Shinano bordered on Echigo, Etchū, Hida, Kai, Kōzuke, Mikawa, Mino, Musashi, Suruga, and Tōtōmi Provinces...

 that a son of Shingen Takeda Katsuyori
Takeda Katsuyori
was a Japanese daimyo of the Sengoku Period, who was famed as the head of the Takeda clan and the successor to the legendary warlord Takeda Shingen. He was the son of Shingen by the , the daughter of Suwa Yorishige...

 governs, and Hashiba Hideyoshi
Toyotomi Hideyoshi
was a daimyo warrior, general and politician of the Sengoku period. He unified the political factions of Japan. He succeeded his former liege lord, Oda Nobunaga, and brought an end to the Sengoku period. The period of his rule is often called the Momoyama period, named after Hideyoshi's castle...

 was given the formidable task of facing the Mōri clan
Mori clan
The Mōri clan was a family of daimyō, descended from Ōe no Hiromoto and established themselves in Aki Province. Their name was derived from a shōen in Mōri, Aikō District, Sagami Province. The generation of Hiromoto began to name themselves Mōri.After the Jōkyū War, Mōri was appointed to the jitō...

 in the Chūgoku region
Chugoku region
The , also known as the , is the westernmost region of Honshū, the largest island of Japan. It consists of the prefectures of Hiroshima, Okayama, Shimane, Tottori and Yamaguchi. It has a population of about 7.8 million.- History :...

 of western Honshū.

In 1576, Nobunaga won a significant victory over the Takeda clan in the Battle of Nagashino
Battle of Nagashino
The ' took place in 1575 near Nagashino Castle on the plain of Shitaragahara in the Mikawa province of Japan. Forces under Takeda Katsuyori had besieged the castle since the 17th of June; Okudaira Sadamasa , a Tokugawa vassal, commanded the defending force...

. Despite the strong reputation of Takeda's samurai cavalry, Oda Nobunaga embraced the relatively new technology of the Arquebus
Arquebus
The arquebus , or "hook tube", is an early muzzle-loaded firearm used in the 15th to 17th centuries. The word was originally modeled on the German hakenbüchse; this produced haquebute...

, and inflicted a crushing defeat. The legacy of this battle forced a complete overhaul of traditional Japanese warfare.

In 1582, after a protracted campaign, Hideyoshi requested Nobunaga's help in overcoming tenacious resistance. Nobunaga, making a stop-over in Kyoto on his way west with only a small contingent of guards, was attacked by one of his own disaffected generals, Akechi Mitsuhide
Akechi Mitsuhide
, nicknamed Jūbei or called from his clan name and title, was a samurai who lived during the Sengoku period of Feudal Japan.Mitsuhide was a general under daimyo Oda Nobunaga, although he became infamous for his betrayal in 1582, which led to Nobunaga's death at Honno-ji...

. and committed suicide.

Hideyoshi completes the unification


What followed was a scramble by the most powerful of Nobunaga's retainers to avenge their lord's death and thereby establish a dominant position in negotiations over the forthcoming realignment of the Oda clan. The situation became even more urgent when it was learned that Nobunaga's oldest son and heir, Nobutada
Oda Nobutada
was the eldest son of Oda Nobunaga, and a samurai who fought in many battles during the Sengoku period. He commanded armies under his father in battles against Matsunaga Hisahide and against the Takeda clan....

, had also been killed, leaving the Oda clan with no clear successor.

Quickly negotiating a truce with the Mōri clan before they could learn of Nobunaga's death, Hideyoshi now took his troops on a forced march toward his adversary, whom he defeated at the Battle of Yamazaki
Battle of Yamazaki
The was fought in 1582 in Yamazaki, Japan, located in current day Kyoto Prefecture. This battle is sometimes referred to as the Battle of Mt. Tennō ....

, less than two weeks later.

Although a commoner who had risen through the ranks from foot soldier, Hideyoshi was now in position to challenge even the most senior of the Oda clan's hereditary retainers, and proposed that Nobutada's infant son, Sanpōshi (who became Oda Hidenobu
Oda Hidenobu
was the son of Oda Nobutada and lived during the Azuchi-Momoyama period in the late-16th century. His other name was Sanpōshi .-Succession dispute:...

), be named heir rather than Nobunaga's adult third son, Nobutaka, whose cause had been championed by Shibata Katsuie
Shibata Katsuie
or was a Japanese military commander during the Sengoku Period who served Oda Nobunaga.-Biography:Katsuie was born in the Shibata family, a branch of the Shiba clan . Note the differences between , , and the .Katsuie was the retainer of Oda Nobukatsu...

. Having gained the support of other senior retainers, including Niwa Nagahide
Niwa Nagahide
, also known as Gorōzaemon , was a Japanese samurai of the Sengoku through Azuchi-Momoyama periods of the 16th century. He served as a retainer to the Oda clan, and was eventually a daimyo in his own right....

 and Ikeda Tsuneoki
Ikeda Tsuneoki
, also known as Ikeda Nobuteru , was a daimyo and military commander during the Sengoku period and Azuchi-Momoyama period of the 16th century of Japan. He was a retainer of the famous warlords Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi. His father was Ikeda Toshitsune, who served Oda Nobuhide...

, Sanpōshi was named heir and Hideyoshi appointed co-guardian.

Continued political intrigue, however, eventually led to open confrontation. After defeating Shibata at the Battle of Shizugatake
Battle of Shizugatake
The was a battle in Sengoku period Japan between supporters of Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Oda Nobutaka.In May, 1583, a former general of Nobunaga's named Shibata Katsuie coordinated a number of simultaneous attacks on Shizugatake, a series of forts held by Hideyoshi's generals among whom was Nakagawa...

 in 1583 and enduring a costly but ultimately advantageous stalemate with Tokugawa Ieyasu at the Battle of Komaki and Nagakute
Battle of Komaki and Nagakute
The consisted of two battles in 1584 between the forces of Hashiba Hideyoshi and the forces of Oda Nobukatsu and Tokugawa Ieyasu. Hideyoshi and Ieyasu had both served Oda Nobunaga and had not previously come into conflict; this would in fact be their only period of enmity...

 in 1584, Hideyoshi managed to settle the question of succession for once and all, to take complete control of Kyoto, and to become the undisputed ruler of the former Oda domains. Daimyo of Shikoku Chōsokabe clan
Chosokabe clan
The was a Japanese samurai clan of the Sengoku period, that controlled Tosa Province , and later Shikoku Island. The clan is sometimes also known as...

 surrendered to Hideyoshi in July, 1585. Daimyo of Kyushu Shimazu clan
Shimazu clan
The were the daimyō of the Satsuma han, which spread over Satsuma, Ōsumi and Hyūga provinces in Japan.The Shimazu were identified as one of the tozama or outsider daimyō clans in contrast with the fudai or insider clans which were hereditary vassals or allies of the Tokugawa clan,The Shimazu were...

 also surrendered two years later. He was adopted by the Fujiwara family
Fujiwara family
The Fujiwara clan , descending from the Nakatomi clan, was a powerful family of regents in Japan.The clan originated when the founder, Nakatomi no Kamatari , was rewarded by Emperor Tenji with the honorific "Fujiwara", which evolved as a surname for Kamatari and his descendants...

, given the surname Toyotomi, and granted superlative title Kanpaku
Sessho and Kampaku
In Japan, was a title given to a regent who was named to assist either a child emperor before his coming of age, or an empress. The was theoretically a sort of chief advisor for the emperor, but was the title of both first secretary and regent who assists an adult emperor. During the Heian era,...

 in representing civil and military control of all Japan. By the following year, he had secured alliances with three of the nine major daimyo coalitions and carried the war of unification to Shikoku
Shikoku
is the smallest and least populous of the four main islands of Japan, located south of Honshū and east of the island of Kyūshū. Its ancient names include Iyo-no-futana-shima , Iyo-shima , and Futana-shima...

 and Kyūshū
Kyushu
is the third largest island of Japan and most southwesterly of its four main islands. Its alternate ancient names include , , and . The historical regional name is referred to Kyushu and its surrounding islands....

. In 1590, at the head of an army of 200,000, Hideyoshi defeated the Hōjō clan
Hojo clan
See the late Hōjō clan for the Hōjō clan of the Sengoku Period.The in the history of Japan was a family who controlled the hereditary title of shikken of the Kamakura Shogunate. In practice, the family had actual governmental power, many times dictatorial, rather than Kamakura shoguns, or the...

, his last formidable rival in eastern Honshū
Honshu
is the largest island of Japan. The nation's main island, it is south of Hokkaido across the Tsugaru Strait, north of Shikoku across the Inland Sea, and northeast of Kyushu across the Kanmon Strait...

. The remaining daimyo soon capitulated, and the military reunification of Japan was complete.

Land survey


With all of Japan now under Hideyoshi's control, a new structure for national government was configured. The country was unified under a single leader, but the day-to-day governance of the people remained decentralized. The basis of power was distribution of territory as measured by rice production in units of koku
Koku
The is a Japanese unit of volume, equal to ten cubic shaku. In this definition, 3.5937 koku equal one cubic metre, i.e. 1 koku is approximately 278.3 litres. The koku was originally defined as a quantity of rice, historically defined as enough rice to feed one person for one year...

. In 1598, a national survey was instituted and assessed the national rice production at 18.5 million koku, 2 million of which was controlled directly by Hideyoshi himself. In contrast, Tokugawa Ieyasu
Tokugawa Ieyasu
 was the founder and first shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan , which ruled from the Battle of Sekigahara  in 1600 until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. Ieyasu seized power in 1600, received appointment as shogun in 1603, abdicated from office in 1605, but...

, whom Hideyoshi had transferred to the Kanto region, held 2.5 million koku.

The surveys, carried out by Hideyoshi both before and after he took the title Taiko
Sessho and Kampaku
In Japan, was a title given to a regent who was named to assist either a child emperor before his coming of age, or an empress. The was theoretically a sort of chief advisor for the emperor, but was the title of both first secretary and regent who assists an adult emperor. During the Heian era,...

,
have come to be known as the "Taikō surveys" (Taikō kenchi).

Control measures


A number of other administrative innovations were instituted to encourage commerce and stabilize society. In order to facilitate transportation, toll booths and other checkpoints along roads were largely eliminated as were unnecessary military strongholds. Measures that effectively froze class distinctions were instituted, including the requirement that different classes live separately in different areas of a town and a prohibition on the carrying or the owning of weapons by farmers. Hideyoshi ordered the collection of weapons in a great "sword hunt
Sword hunt
Several times in Japanese history, the new ruler sought to ensure his position by calling a '. Armies would scour the entire country, confiscating the weapons of the enemies of the new regime. In this manner, the new ruler sought to ensure that no one could take the country by force as he had just...

" (katanagari).

Unification


Hideyoshi sought to secure his position by rearranging the holdings of the daimyo to his advantage. In particular, he reassigned the Tokugawa family to the Kanto region, far from the capital, and surrounded their new territory with
more trusted vassals. He also adopted a hostage system in which the wives and heirs of daimyo resided at his castle town in Osaka
Osaka
is a city in the Kansai region of Japan's main island of Honshu, a designated city under the Local Autonomy Law, the capital city of Osaka Prefecture and also the biggest part of Keihanshin area, which is represented by three major cities of Japan, Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe...

.

He also attempted to provide for an orderly succession by taking the title Taikō, or "retired Kanpaku," in 1591 and turned the regency over to his nephew and adopted son Toyotomi Hidetsugu
Toyotomi Hidetsugu
was a nephew and retainer of Toyotomi Hideyoshi who lived during the Sengoku period of the 16th century of Japan.A practitioner of the shudō tradition, Hidetsugu had a number of Wakashū...

. Only later did he attempt to formalize the balance of power by establishing administrative bodies. These included the Council of Five Elders
Council of Five Elders
The council of five elders, also known as the five Tairō , was formed by Toyotomi Hideyoshi to rule Japan in the place of his son, Hideyori, until such time as he came of age. Hideyoshi chose his five most powerful daimyo: Ukita Hideie, Maeda Toshiie, Uesugi Kagekatsu, Mōri Terumoto, and the...

, who were sworn to keep peace and support the Toyotomi
Toyotomi clan
Originating in Owari Province, the served as retainers to the Oda clan throughout 16th-century Japan's Sengoku period. -Unity and Conflict:The most influential figure within the Toyotomi was Toyotomi Hideyoshi, one of the three "unifiers of Japan." Oda Nobunaga was another primary unifier and the...

, the five-member Board of House Administrators, who handled routine policy and administrative matters, and the three-member Board of Mediators, who were charged with keeping peace between the first two boards.

Korean campaigns


Hideyoshi's last major ambition was to conquer the Ming Dynasty
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

 of China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

. In April 1592, after having been refused safe passage through Korea
Korea
Korea ) is an East Asian geographic region that is currently divided into two separate sovereign states — North Korea and South Korea. Located on the Korean Peninsula, Korea is bordered by the People's Republic of China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and is separated from Japan to the...

, Hideyoshi sent an army of 200,000 to invade and pass through Korea by force. During the Japanese invasions of Korea (1592–1598), the Japanese occupied Seoul
Seoul
Seoul , officially the Seoul Special City, is the capital and largest metropolis of South Korea. A megacity with a population of over 10 million, it is the largest city proper in the OECD developed world...

 by May of 1592, and within three months of invading reached Pyongyang
Pyongyang
Pyongyang is the capital of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, commonly known as North Korea, and the largest city in the country. Pyongyang is located on the Taedong River and, according to preliminary results from the 2008 population census, has a population of 3,255,388. The city was...

 along with large numbers of Korean collaborators who at first viewed the Japanese as liberators from the corrupt aristocracy. King Seonjo of Joseon
Seonjo of Joseon
King Seonjo ruled in Korea between 1567 and 1608. He was the fourteenth king of the Joseon Dynasty. He is known for encouraging Confucianism and renovating state affairs at the beginning of his reign, although political chaos and his incompetent leadership during the Japanese invasions of Korea...

 fled, and two Korean princes were captured by Kato Kiyomasa
Kato Kiyomasa
was a Japanese daimyō of the Azuchi-Momoyama and Edo period.-Origins and early career:Kiyomasa was born in Owari Province to Katō Kiyotada. Kiyotada's wife, Ito, was a cousin of Toyotomi Hideyoshi's mother. Kiyotada died while his son was still young...

. Seonjo dispatched an emissary to the Ming court, asking urgently for military assistance. The Chinese emperor sent admiral Chen Lin
Chen Lin (Ming)
Chen Lin Style Name: Chaojue was a Chinese general of the Ming Dynasty. Chen Lin was a native of modern-day Shaoguan in Guangdong province. He quelled the 1562 uprisings in Chaozhou and Yingde in Guangdong province and was subsequently promoted to the Shoubei of Guangdong...

 and commander Li Rusong
Li Rusong
Li Ru-song was a Chinese general of Ming empire who is from the town of Tieling , LiaoDong Li Ru-song (1549–1598) was a Chinese general of Ming empire who is from the town of Tieling (Chinese:鐵嶺衛), LiaoDong Li Ru-song (1549–1598) was a Chinese general of Ming empire who is from the town of...

 to aid the Koreans. Li Rusong pushed the Japanese out of the northern part of the Korean peninsula
Korean Peninsula
The Korean Peninsula is a peninsula in East Asia. It extends southwards for about 684 miles from continental Asia into the Pacific Ocean and is surrounded by the Sea of Japan to the south, and the Yellow Sea to the west, the Korea Strait connecting the first two bodies of water.Until the end of...

. The Japanese were forced to retreat as far as the southern part of the Korean peninsula by January 1593, and counterattacked Li Rusong. This combat reached a stalemate, and Japan and China eventually entered peace talks.

During the peace talks that ensued between 1593 and 1597, Hideyoshi, seeing Japan as an equal of Ming China, demanded a division of Korea, free-trade status, and a Chinese princess as consort for the emperor. The Joseon and Chinese leaders saw no reason to concede to such demands, nor to treat the invaders as equals within the Ming trading system. Japan's requests were thus denied and peace efforts reached an impasse.

A second invasion of Korea began in 1597, but it too resulted in failure as Japanese forces met with better organized Korean defenses and increasing Chinese involvement in the conflict. Upon the death of Hideyoshi in 1598, Japanese forces withdrew from Korea. The Council of Five Elders
Council of Five Elders
The council of five elders, also known as the five Tairō , was formed by Toyotomi Hideyoshi to rule Japan in the place of his son, Hideyori, until such time as he came of age. Hideyoshi chose his five most powerful daimyo: Ukita Hideie, Maeda Toshiie, Uesugi Kagekatsu, Mōri Terumoto, and the...

 By this time, most of the remaining Japanese commanders were more concerned about internal battles and for the control of the shogunate.

Sekigahara and the end of the Toyotomi rule


Hideyoshi had on his deathbed appointed a group of the most powerful lords in Japan — Tokugawa, Maeda
Maeda clan
The was a branch of the Sugawara clan who descended from Sugawara no Kiyotomo and Sugawara no Michizane in the eighth and ninth centuries. It was one of the most powerful samurai families in Japan and they were second only to the Tokugawa clan in rice production and fief size...

, Ukita
Ukita Hideie
was the daimyo of Bizen and Mimasaka provinces , and one of the council of Five Elders appointed by Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Son of Ukita Naoie, he married Gohime, a daughter of Maeda Toshiie...

, Uesugi, Mōri — to govern as the Council of Five Elders
Council of Five Elders
The council of five elders, also known as the five Tairō , was formed by Toyotomi Hideyoshi to rule Japan in the place of his son, Hideyori, until such time as he came of age. Hideyoshi chose his five most powerful daimyo: Ukita Hideie, Maeda Toshiie, Uesugi Kagekatsu, Mōri Terumoto, and the...

 until his infant son, Hideyori, came of age. An uneasy peace lasted until the death of Maeda Toshiie
Maeda Toshiie
was one of the leading generals of Oda Nobunaga following the Sengoku period of the 16th century extending to the Azuchi-Momoyama period. His father was Maeda Toshimasa. He was the fourth of seven brothers. His childhood name was "Inuchiyo" . His preferred weapon was a yari and he was known as...

 in 1599. Thereafter, Ishida Mitsunari
Ishida Mitsunari
Ishida Mitsunari was a samurai who led the Western army in the Battle of Sekigahara following the Azuchi-Momoyama period of the 17th century. Also known by his court title, Jibunoshō...

 accused Ieyasu of disloyalty to the Toyotomi name, precipitating a crisis that led to the Battle of Sekigahara
Battle of Sekigahara
The , popularly known as the , was a decisive battle on October 21, 1600 which cleared the path to the Shogunate for Tokugawa Ieyasu...

. Generally regarded as the last major conflict of the Azuchi–Momoyama period and sengoku-jidai
Sengoku period
The or Warring States period in Japanese history was a time of social upheaval, political intrigue, and nearly constant military conflict that lasted roughly from the middle of the 15th century to the beginning of the 17th century. The name "Sengoku" was adopted by Japanese historians in reference...

, Ieyasu's victory at Sekigahara marked the end of the Toyotomi reign. Three years later, Ieyasu received the title Seii Taishogun, and established the Edo bakufu
Tokugawa shogunate
The Tokugawa shogunate, also known as the and the , was a feudal regime of Japan established by Tokugawa Ieyasu and ruled by the shoguns of the Tokugawa family. This period is known as the Edo period and gets its name from the capital city, Edo, which is now called Tokyo, after the name was...

, which lasted until the Meiji Restoration
Meiji Restoration
The , also known as the Meiji Ishin, Revolution, Reform or Renewal, was a chain of events that restored imperial rule to Japan in 1868...

 in 1868.

Social and cultural developments during the Momoyama period


The Momoyama period was a period of interest in the outside world, which also saw the development of large urban centers and the rise of the merchant class. The ornate castle architecture and interiors adorned with painted screens embellished with gold leaf were a reflection of a daimyo's power but also exhibited a new aesthetic sense that marked a clear departure from the somber monotones favored during the Muromachi period. A specific genre that emerged at this time was called the Namban style—exotic depictions of European priests, traders, and other "southern barbarians."

The art of the tea ceremony also flourished at this time, and both Nobunaga and Hideyoshi lavished time and money on this pastime, collecting tea bowls, caddies, and other implements, sponsoring lavish social events, and patronizing acclaimed masters such as Sen no Rikyū
Sen no Rikyu
, is considered the historical figure with the most profound influence on chanoyu, the Japanese "Way of Tea", particularly the tradition of wabi-cha...

.

Hideyoshi had occupied Nagasaki in 1587, and thereafter sought to take control of international trade and to regulate the trade associations that had contact with the outside world through this port. Although China rebuffed his efforts to secure trade concessions, Hideyoshi commercial missions successfully called to present-day Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand in Red seal ships
Red seal ships
were Japanese armed merchant sailing ships bound for Southeast Asian ports with a red-sealed patent issued by the early Tokugawa shogunate in the first half of the 17th century...

. He was also suspicious of Christianity in Japan
Kirishitan
, from Portuguese cristão, referred to Roman Catholic Christians in Japanese and is used as a historiographic term for Roman Catholics in Japan in the 16th and 17th centuries. Christian missionaries were known as bateren or iruman...

, which he saw as potentially subversive and some missionaries were crucified by his regime.

Famous Senryū


The contrasting personalities of the three leaders who contributed the most to
Japan's final unification—Nobunaga, Hideyoshi, and Ieyasu—are
encapsulated in a series of three well known senryū
Senryu
is a Japanese form of short poetry similar to haiku in construction: three lines with 17 or fewer total morae . Senryū tend to be about human foibles while haiku tend to be about nature, and senryū are often cynical or darkly humorous while haiku are more serious...

that are still taught to Japanese school children:
  • Nakanunara, koroshiteshimae, hototogisu (If the cuckoo does not sing, kill it.) 「泣かぬなら殺してしまえホトトギス」
  • Nakanunara, nakashitemiseyou, hototogisu (If the cuckoo does not sing, coax it.) 「泣かぬなら泣かせてみようホトトギス」
  • Nakanunara, nakumadematou, hototogisu (If the cuckoo does not sing, wait for it.) 「泣かぬなら泣くまでまとうホトトギス」


Nobunaga, known for his ruthlessness, is the subject of the first; Hideyoshi, known for his resourcefulness, is the subject of the second; and Ieyasu, known for his perseverance, is the subject of the third verse.

Chronology

  • 1568: Nobunaga enters Kyoto, marking the beginning of the Azuchi–Momoyama period
  • 1573: Nobunaga overthrows the Muromachi bakufu and exerts control over central Japan
  • 1575: Nobunaga defeats the Takeda clan the Battle of Nagashino
    Battle of Nagashino
    The ' took place in 1575 near Nagashino Castle on the plain of Shitaragahara in the Mikawa province of Japan. Forces under Takeda Katsuyori had besieged the castle since the 17th of June; Okudaira Sadamasa , a Tokugawa vassal, commanded the defending force...

  • 1580: The Ikkō-ikki finally surrender their fortress of Ishiyama Honganji to Nobunaga, after enduring an 11-year siege.
  • 1582: Incident at Honnō-ji, Nobunaga is assassinated by Akechi Mitsuhide
    Akechi Mitsuhide
    , nicknamed Jūbei or called from his clan name and title, was a samurai who lived during the Sengoku period of Feudal Japan.Mitsuhide was a general under daimyo Oda Nobunaga, although he became infamous for his betrayal in 1582, which led to Nobunaga's death at Honno-ji...

    , who is then defeated by Toyotomi Hideyoshi
    Toyotomi Hideyoshi
    was a daimyo warrior, general and politician of the Sengoku period. He unified the political factions of Japan. He succeeded his former liege lord, Oda Nobunaga, and brought an end to the Sengoku period. The period of his rule is often called the Momoyama period, named after Hideyoshi's castle...

     at the Battle of Yamazaki
    Battle of Yamazaki
    The was fought in 1582 in Yamazaki, Japan, located in current day Kyoto Prefecture. This battle is sometimes referred to as the Battle of Mt. Tennō ....

    .
  • 1584: Hideyoshi fights Tokugawa Ieyasu
    Tokugawa Ieyasu
     was the founder and first shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan , which ruled from the Battle of Sekigahara  in 1600 until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. Ieyasu seized power in 1600, received appointment as shogun in 1603, abdicated from office in 1605, but...

     to a standstill at the Battle of Komaki and Nagakute
    Battle of Komaki and Nagakute
    The consisted of two battles in 1584 between the forces of Hashiba Hideyoshi and the forces of Oda Nobukatsu and Tokugawa Ieyasu. Hideyoshi and Ieyasu had both served Oda Nobunaga and had not previously come into conflict; this would in fact be their only period of enmity...

    .
  • 1586: Osaka castle
    Osaka Castle
    is a Japanese castle in Chūō-ku, Osaka, Japan.Originally called Ozakajō, it is one of Japan's most famous castles, and played a major role in the unification of Japan during the sixteenth century of the Azuchi-Momoyama period.-Description:...

     is built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
  • 1590: Hideyoshi defeats the Hōjō clan, effectively unifying Japan.
  • 1592: Hideyoshi invades Korea.
  • 1598: Hideyoshi dies.
  • 1600: Ieyasu is victorious at the Battle of Sekigahara
    Battle of Sekigahara
    The , popularly known as the , was a decisive battle on October 21, 1600 which cleared the path to the Shogunate for Tokugawa Ieyasu...

    , marking the end of the Azuchi–Momoyama period.