free ebooks

A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

And applied to Ieyasu for assistance



Hideyoshi left behind him a striking monument of his greatness of thought and power of execution. At Osaka where in 1532 the priests of the Hongwan-ji temple had built a castle which Nobunaga captured in 1580 only after a long and severe siege, Hideyoshi built what is called The Castle of Osaka. It is a colossal fortress, which is still used as military headquarters for garrison and arsenal, and the dimensions of which are still a wonder, though only a portion of the building survives. Materials for the work were requisitioned from thirty provinces, their principal components being immense granite rocks, many of which measured fourteen feet in length and breadth, and some were forty feet long and ten feet wide. These huge stones had to be carried by water from a distance of several miles. The outlying protection of this great castle consisted of triple moats and escarpments. The moats were twenty feet deep, with six to ten feet of water. The total enclosed space was about one hundred acres, but only one-eighth of this was the hominaru, or keep, inside the third moat.

It will be seen that the plan of the castle was to have it divided into spaces separately defensible, so that an enemy had to establish his footing by a series of repeated efforts.

And the second respect in which it was a novelty in Japanese defensive warfare was that the castle donjon was heavily built

and armoured after a fashion. The three-storey donjon was framed in huge timbers, quite unlike the flimsy structure of most Japanese buildings, and the timbers were protected against fire by a heavy coat of plaster. Roof and gates were covered with a sort of armor-plate, for there was a copper covering to the roof and the gates were faced with iron sheets and studs. In earlier "castles" there had been a thin covering of plaster which a musket ball could easily penetrate; and stone had been used only in building foundations.


After the suicide of his brother, Nobutaka, and when he saw that his nephew, Samboshi (Hidenobu), was relegated to the place of a vassal of Hideyoshi, Nobukatsu seems to have concluded that the time had come to strike a final blow in assertion of the administrative supremacy of the Oda family. He began, therefore, to plot with that object. Hideyoshi, who was well served by spies, soon learned of these plots, and thinking to persuade Nobukatsu of their hopelessness, he established close relations with the latter's three most trusted retainers. No sooner did this come to the cognizance of Nobukatsu than he caused these three retainers to be assassinated, and applied to Ieyasu for assistance, Ieyasu consented. This action on the part of the Tokugawa baron has been much commented on and variously interpreted by historians, but it has always to be remembered that Ieyasu had been Oda Nobunaga's ally; that the two had fought more than once side by side, and that had the Tokugawa leader rejected Nobukatsu's appeal, he would not only have suffered in public estimation, but would also have virtually accepted a position inferior to that evidently claimed by Hideyoshi.

The course of subsequent events seems to prove that Ieyasu, in taking the field on this occasion, aimed simply at asserting his own potentiality and had no thought of plunging the empire into a new civil war. In March, 1584, he set out from Hamamatsu and joined Nobukatsu at Kiyosu, in Owari. The scheme of campaign was extensive. Ieyasu placed himself in communication with Sasa Narimasa, in Echizen; with Chosokabe Motochika, in Shikoku, and with the military monks in the province of Kii. The programme was that Narimasa should raise his standard in Echizen and Kaga, and that Motochika, with the monks of Kii, should move to the attack of Osaka, so that Hideyoshi would be compelled to carry on three wars at the same time. Hideyoshi met this combination with his usual astuteness. He commissioned Uesugi Kagekatsu to attack the Sasa troops in rear while Maeda Toshiiye menaced them from the front; he told off Hachisuka to oppose the soldier-monks of Kii; he posted Sengoku Hidehisa in Awaji to hold in check the forces of Chosokabe Motochika, and he stationed Ukita Hideiye at Okayama to provide against the contingency of hostility on the part of the Mori family. Fighting commenced in the province of Ise, and success at the outset crowned the arms of Hideyoshi's generals. They captured two castles, and Ieyasu thereupon pushed his van to an isolated hill called Komaki-yama, nearly equidistant from the castles of Inu-yama and Kiyosu, in Owari, which he entrenched strongly, and there awaited the onset of the Osaka army. The war thus came to be known as that of Komaki.

eBook Search
Social Sharing
Share Button
About us is a collection of free ebooks that can be read online. Ebooks are split into pages for easier reading and better bookmarking.

We have more than 35,000 free books in our collection and are adding new books daily.

We invite you to link to us, so as many people as possible can enjoy this wonderful free website.

© 2010-2013 - All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us