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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

Hideyori was nominated u daijin


THE

YEDO BAKUFU

It was on the 30th of August, 1590, that Ieyasu made his first formal entry into Yedo from Sumpu. Yedo Castle had previously been occupied by an agent of the Hojo clan. It was very small, and its surroundings consisted of barren plains and a few fishing villages. On the northwest was the moor of Musashi, and on the southeast a forest of reeds marked the littoral of Yedo Bay. The first task that devolved upon Ieyasu was the reclamation of land for building purposes. Some substantial work was done, yet the place did not suggest any fitness for the purpose of an administrative centre, and not until the battle of Sekigahara placed him in command of immense resources, did Ieyasu decide to make Yedo his capital. He then had large recourse to labour requisitioned from the feudatories. By these means hills were levelled, swamps reclaimed, and embankments built, so that the whole aspect of the region was changed, and sites were provided for the residences of various barons and for the establishment of shops and stores whose owners flocked to the new city from Osaka, Kyoto, and other towns. Thereafter, a castle of colossal dimensions, exceeding even the Osaka fortress in magnitude and magnificence, was rapidly constructed, the feudatories being required to supply labour and materials in a measure which almost overtaxed their resources.

Historians differ as to the exact date of the establishment of the Yedo

Bakufu, but the best authorities are agreed that the event should be reckoned from the battle of Sekigahara, since then, for the first time, the administrative power came into the hand of the Tokugawa baron, he having previously been simply the head of a board instituted by the Taiko. There can be no doubt, that in choosing Yedo for his capital, Ieyasu was largely guided by the example of Yoritomo and by the experience of the Ashikaga. Kamakura had been a success as signal as Muromachi had been a failure. In the former, Ieyasu had much to imitate; in the latter, much to avoid. We have seen that he distributed the estates of the feudatories so as to create a system automatically unfavourable to disturbance, in which contrivance he borrowed and extended the ideas of Nobunaga and Hideyoshi. It remains to note that what Hojo Tokimasa and Oye Hiromoto were to Minamoto Yoritomo as advisers and organizers, and what Ashikaga Tadayoshi and Kono Moronao were to Ashikaga Takauji in the same roles, such, also, were Honda Masanobu and Honda Masazumi to Tokugawa Ieyasu.

HIDEYORI AND IEYASU

In May, 1605, Hideyori was nominated u-daijin. At that time the nation was divided pretty evenly into two factors; one obedient to the Tokugawa, the other disposed to await Hideyori's coming of age, which event was expected to restore the authority of the Toyotomi family. Fukushima Masanori and Kato Kiyomasa were the most enthusiastic believers in the latter forecast. Up to that time Ieyasu had not given any definite indication of the attitude he intended to assume towards the Taiko's heir. It was not till the year 1611 that he found an opportunity of forming a first-hand estimate of Hideyori's character. He then had a meeting with the latter at Nijo Castle, and is said to have been much struck with the bearing and intelligence of Hideyori. In fact, whereas common report had spoken in very disparaging terms of the young man's capacities--Hideyori was then seventeen years old--the Tokugawa chief found a dignified and alert lad whose aspect suggested that if he was suffered to remain in possession of Osaka a few years longer, Yedo would run the risk of being relegated to a secondary place.


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