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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

Ieyasu induced her to open communications with Yodo


Had

Katsumoto been free to continue his journey to Osaka, reaching it in advance of Okura-no-Tsubone's party, the result might have been different. But Ieyasu did not contemplate any such sequence of events. He instructed Itakura Katsushige to invite Katsumoto to call at Kyoto on the way to Osaka with the object of discussing an important affair. Katsumoto had no choice but to delay his journey, and Katsushige took care that the delay should be long enough to afford time for Okura-no-Tsubone's party to reach Osaka, and to present their report, together with their suspicions of Katsumoto's disloyalty.

Lady Yodo was incensed when she learned the terms that Katsumoto had offered. "I am Hideyori's mother," she is reported to have cried. "I will never bend my knee to the Kwanto. Rather will I and my son make this castle our death-pillow." Then, with Ono Harunaga, she formed a plot to kill Katsumoto and to draw the sword against the Tokugawa. Subsequently, when Katsumoto returned to Osaka and reported the result of his mission, he stated his conviction that the only exit from the dilemma was one of the three courses indicated above. Yodogimi, on being informed of this opinion, intimated her desire to see Katsumoto. But when the day named for the meeting came and Katsumoto was on the point of leaving his residence for the purpose of repairing to the conference, he received information that the intention was to kill him en route. He therefore fled to his

domain in the remote province of Ibaraki. It is recorded that Katsumoto's plan was to offer to send Yodo as a hostage to Yedo. Then the question would arise as to a place of residence for her in the eastern capital, and the processes of preparing a site and building a house were to be supplemented by accidental conflagrations, so that the septuagenarian, Ieyasu, might easily pass away before the actual transfer of the hostage took place. Such was Katsumoto's device, but he had to flee from Osaka before he could carry it into effect.

THE SIEGE OF OSAKA CASTLE

In the year 1614, Ieyasu issued orders for the attack of Osaka Castle, on the ground that Katsumoto's promise had not been fulfilled. The Tokugawa chief set out from Sumpu and his son, Hidetada, from Yedo. Their armies, combined with the forces of several of the feudatories, are said to have aggregated one hundred and fifty thousand men. In Osaka, also, a great host was assembled, and among its leaders were several renowned warriors, including Sanada Yukimura, Goto Matabei, Hanawa Naotsugu, and others, who, although not originally vassals of the Toyotomi, supported Hideyori loyally. As for the castle, its enormous strength rendered it well-nigh impregnable, and after weeks of effort the Tokugawa forces had nothing to show for their repeated attacks except a long list of casualties.

Ieyasu now had recourse to intrigue. The mother of Kyogoku Takatsugu, daimyo of Obama, in Wakasa, was the younger sister of the lady Yodo. Ieyasu induced her to open communications with Yodo, and to represent to the latter the advisability of concluding peace with the Tokugawa instead of remaining perpetually beleaguered in a fortress, thus merely postponing an end which could not be finally averted. A council was convened in the castle to consider this advice. Opinions were divided. Some held that Ieyasu could not be believed, and that if the struggle were maintained for a few years, the face of affairs might change radically. Others urged that the loyalty of the garrison was not above suspicion, and that if the fight went on much longer, treachery might be practised, to which risk a speedy peace, even at some cost, would be preferable. Ono Harunaga was among the advocates of surrender, but Hideyori himself showed that his character had not been mistaken by Ieyasu. He indignantly reminded Harunaga and the latter's fellow thinkers that arms had been taken up by their advice and in opposition to the loyal efforts of Katsumoto in the cause of peace.


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