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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

These were Date Masamune and Hojo Ujimasa


At this stage of the campaign Hideyoshi behaved with remarkable magnanimity and foresight. Contrary to the advice of some of his principal retainers, he refused to proceed to extremities against the Shimazu clan, and agreed to make peace, on the basis that the clan should be left in possession of the provinces of Satsuma, Osumi, and Hyuga, the only further stipulation being that the then head of the house, Yoshihisa, should abdicate in favour of his younger brother, Yoshihiro. As for the Buddhist priests who had sacrificed their honour to their interests, those that had acted as guides to the invading army were subsequently crucified by order of the Satsuma baron, and the Shin sect, to which they belonged, was interdicted throughout the whole of the Shimazu fief. Yoshihiro was summoned to Kyoto by Hideyoshi to answer for this action, but he pleaded that such treachery amply deserved such punishment, and that he was prepared to bow to Hideyoshi's judgment in the matter. The defence was admitted by Hideyoshi, but the abbot Kennyo received such large rewards that he was able to erect the great temple Nishi Hongwan-ji, "which became the wonder of after-generations of men and which has often been erroneously referred to by foreign writers as a proof of the deep religious feelings of Buddhist converts three hundred years ago."*

*A New Life of Hideyoshi, by W. Dening.

THE HOJO

From end to end of Japan there were now only two powerful barons whose allegiance had not been formally rendered to Hideyoshi and to the Emperor under the new regime. These were Date Masamune and Hojo Ujimasa. The origin and eminence of the Hojo family from the days of its founder, Nagauji, have already been described in these pages, and it need only be added here that Ujimasa enjoyed a reputation second to none of his predecessors. That he should stand aloof from all his brother barons seemed to the latter an intolerable evidence of pride, and they urged Hideyoshi to resort at once to extreme measures. There can be no doubt that this was the intention of Hideyoshi himself, but with characteristic prudence he had recourse at the outset to pacific devices. He therefore sent an envoy to the Hojo's stronghold at Odawara, urging Ujimasa to lose no time in paying his respects to the Court at Kyoto. The Hojo chief's reply was that Sanada Masayuki had encroached upon the Hojo estates in Numata, and that if this encroachment were rectified, the desired obeisance to the Throne would be made.

Thereupon, Hideyoshi caused the restoration of Numata, but the Hojo baron, instead of carrying out his part of the agreement, made this restoration the pretext for an unwarrantable act of aggression. Whatever sympathy might have been felt in Kyoto with the Hojo family was forfeited by this procedure, and in March, 1590, an army of over two hundred thousand men was set in motion for the Kwanto. Hideyoshi's troops moved in three columns. One, commanded by Ieyasu, marched by the seacoast road, the Tokaido; another, under Uesugi Kagekatsu and Maeda Toshiiye, marched by the mountain road, the Tosando, and the third attacked from the sea. None of these armies encountered any very serious resistance. The first approached Odawara by the Hakone range and the second by way of the Usui pass. The castle at Odawara, however, was so strongly built and so stoutly held that its capture by storm seemed impossible, and Hideyoshi's forces were obliged to have recourse to a regular siege which lasted nearly four months. During the latter part of that time, Hideyoshi encouraged his soldiers to indulge in all sorts of amusements, and thus the camp of the besiegers constantly echoed the notes of musical performances and the shouts of dancers and sake drinkers. Finally, in July, 1590, the great fortress surrendered, and the Hojo baron, Ujimasa, was put to death, his head being sent to Kyoto for exposure, but the life of his son, Ujinao, was spared on condition that he enter a monastery.


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