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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

From that time Hideyori lived among women


after that interview is said to have felt like "a man who, having still a long distance to travel, finds himself enveloped in darkness." He saw that the time for considering justice and humanity had passed, and he summoned Honda Masanobu to whom he said: "I see that Hideyori is grown up to be a son worthy of his father. By and by it will be difficult for such a man to remain subservient to another." Masanobu, whom history describes as the "Tokugawa's storehouse of wisdom," is recorded to have replied: "So I, too, think, but there is no cause for anxiety. I have an idea." What this idea was events soon disclosed. Summoning one of the officials in the service of Hideyori's wife--Hidetada's daughter--Masanobu spoke as follows: "Hideyori is the only son of the late Taiko and it is the desire of the O-gosho" (the title given to Ieyasu after his retirement from the shogunate) "that he, Hideyori, should have a numerous and thriving family. Therefore, if any woman takes his fancy, she must be enrolled among his attendants to whatever class she may belong. Moreover, if there be among these ladies any who show jealousies or make disturbances, no complaint need be preferred to the O-gosho. I will undertake to settle the matter."

From that time Hideyori lived among women. A word may here be said about the marriage between Hideyori and the granddaughter of Ieyasu, the bride and the bridegroom alike being mere children. According to a recognized historical

authority, writing in the Tokugawa Jidaishi, such marriages were inspired by one or more of the following motives: (1) that the bride or bridegroom should serve as a hostage; (2) that the wedding should contribute to cement an alliance between the families of the bride and the bridegroom; (3) that the wedding should become a means of spying into the affairs of one of the families; (4) that it should be an instrument for sowing seeds of enmity between the two families. The objects of Ieyasu in wedding his granddaughter at seven years of age to Hideyori at eleven were doubtless of the nature indicated in the third and fourth of the above definitions. On the one hand, he seemed to the Osaka party to be conforming to the will of the Taiko; on the other, he was able to introduce into the household of Hideyori an unlimited number of spies among the retinue of his granddaughter.


Just before his death, Hideyoshi specially conjured Koide Hidemasa and Katagiri Katsumoto to labour for the safety of the Toyotomi family. Hidemasa soon followed his patron to the grave, and the duty of managing the affairs of the family devolved entirely upon Katsumoto in his capacity of administrator (bugyo). He devoted himself to the task with the utmost sincerity and earnestness, and he made it the basic principle of his policy to preserve harmony between the Tokugawa and the Toyotomi. His belief was that Ieyasu had not many years more to live, and that on his demise the administrative power would revert wholly to Hideyori as a natural consequence. Hence the wisest course was to avoid any collision in the meanwhile.


On the 14th of May, 1601, that is to say, shortly after the battle of Sekigahara, all the feudatories were invited to subscribe a written oath of loyalty to the Tokugawa. This oath consisted of three articles. The first was a promise to observe strictly all instructions issued by the Bakufu in Yedo. The second was an engagement not to harbour or protect any person who had either violated or opposed the will of the shogun. The third was a pledge not to give employment to any samurai reported to be a traitor or an assassin. By these stipulations the signatories swore to abide strictly, and declared that any violation of the provisions of the oath would render the violator liable to severe punishment. Among the signatories there were not found any members of the Osaka party. These put forward the last will of the Taiko as a reason for refusing to sign, and from that time it became evident that the situation must terminate in an armed struggle.

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