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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

The powerful sept was then ruled by Kagekatsu


months later, Hideyoshi turned his arms against the Chosokabe sept in Shikoku. This being an enterprise of large dimensions, he entrusted its conduct to five of his most competent generals, namely, Ukita Hideiye, Hachisuka Iemasa, Kuroda Nagamasa, Kikkawa Motoharu, and Kohayakawa Takakage. Hideyoshi himself would have assumed the direct command, and had actually set out for that purpose from Osaka, when couriers met him with intelligence that less than one month's fighting had brought the whole of the Island of the Four Provinces into subjection. He therefore turned eastward, and entering Etchu, directed the operations, in progress there under the command of Maeda Toshiiye against Sasa Narimasa. This campaign lasted seven days, and ended in the surrender of Narimasa, to whom Hideyoshi showed remarkable clemency, inasmuch as he suffered him to remain in possession of considerable estates in Etchu.


At this time Hideyoshi cemented relations of friendship with the Uesugi family of Echigo, whose potentialities had always been a subject of apprehension to Nobunaga. The powerful sept was then ruled by Kagekatsu, nephew of the celebrated Kenshin. This daimyo had given evidence of good-will towards Hideyoshi during the Komaki War, but it was naturally a matter of great importance to establish really cordial relations with so powerful a baron. History relates that, on this occasion, Hideyoshi adopted a course

which might well have involved him in serious peril. He entered Echigo with a mere handful of followers, and placed himself practically at the mercy of Kagekatsu, judging justly that such trustful fearlessness would win the heart of the gallant Kagekatsu. Hideyoshi's insight was justified by the sequel. Several of the principal retainers of Kagekatsu advised that advantage should be taken of Hideyoshi's rashness, and that his victorious career should be finally terminated in Echigo. But this vindictive counsel was rejected by the Uesugi baron, and relations of a warmly friendly character were established between the two great captains.


There now remained only three really formidable enemies of Hideyoshi. These were Hojo Ujimasa, in the Kwanto; Date Masamime, in Dewa and Mutsu, and Shimazu Yoshihisa, in Kyushu. Of these, the Shimazu sept was probably the most powerful, and Hideyoshi determined that Kyushu should be the scene of his next warlike enterprise. The Island of the Nine Provinces was then under the rule of three great clans; the Shimazu, in the south; the Otomo, in Bungo, and the Ryuzoji, in Hizen. The most puissant of these had at one time been Ryuzoji Takanobu, but his cruel methods had alienated the sympathy of many of his vassals, among them being Arima Yoshizumi, who threw off his allegiance to Takanobu and joined hands with Shimazu Yoshihisa. Takanobu sent an army against Yoshizumi, but the Satsuma baron despatched Shimazu Masahisa to Yoshizumi's aid, and a sanguinary engagement at Shimabara in 1585 resulted in the rout of Takanobu's forces and his own death.

Takanobu's son and successor, who was named Masaiye, being still a boy, advantage was taken of the fact by Otomo Yoshishige, who invaded Hizen, so that Masaiye had to apply to the Shimazu family for succour. The Satsuma chieftain suggested that the matter might be settled by mutual withdrawal of forces, but Yoshishige declined this overture, and the result was a battle in which the Otomo troops were completely defeated. Otomo Yoshishige then (1586) had recourse to Hideyoshi for assistance, thus furnishing the opportunity of which Osaka was in search. Orders were immediately issued to Mori, Kikkawa, Kohayakawa, and Chosokabe Motochika to assemble their forces for an oversea expedition, and in the mean while, Sengoku Hidehisa was despatched to Kyushu bearing a letter in which Hideyoshi, writing over his title of kwampaku, censured the Shimazu baron for having failed to pay his respects to the Imperial Court in Kyoto, and called upon him to do so without delay. This mandate was treated with contempt. Shimazu Yoshihisa threw the document on the ground, declaring that his family had ruled in Satsuma for fourteen generations; that only one man in Japan, namely Prince Konoe, had competence to issue such an injunction, and that the head of the house of Shimazu would never kneel to a monkey-faced upstart.

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