Sengoku Era Japan Thoughts

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Re: Sengoku Era Japan Thoughts

Unread postby Tiger of Kai » Mon Dec 06, 2010 7:13 pm

Zhuanyong wrote:
Another thing I found to be profound about the era was the rise of Toyotomi (Hashiba) Hideyoshi from rags to basically highest position in Japan. He was a nobody who became the somebody that united the land. Regardless of the path of conquest started by Oda, he was able to effectively bring together the land.

I always had a unique appreciation for what he accomplished. My first knowledge of Hideyoshi actually came from a loosely based on the era movie called 'Shogun's Ninja' in which the villain Shogen played by Sonny Chiba was the right-hand henchman to the 'evil' Hideyoshi.


I share that appreciation for Hideyoshi. Whenever I'm involved in a discussion regarding the 3 unifiers, I always find myself defending him. How is it possible for such an important figure to be that overlooked?

His rise through the ranks is certainly a phenomenal story, but I don't think he gets the credit that he deserves for what he accomplished once he came to power. His consolidation of power was an amazing feat that paved the way for his successor. (Unfortunately for him, his successor was Ieyasu.) He always seems to be lumped in with Nobunaga, and I get that to a point. I mean, without Nobunaga, there would have been no Hideyoshi (at least not as we know him.) However, one of the greatest strengths of Hideyoshi was his ability to distance himself from Nobunaga's policies. He saw which tactics worked, ad didn't work, and he ruled accordingly.

Of course, his later years were not the greatest, but who doesn't go a little crazy with advanced age? :D
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Re: Sengoku Era Japan Thoughts

Unread postby Jordan » Mon Dec 27, 2010 6:44 pm

Hideyoshi by Mary Elizabeth Berry


I'll second this one. Great book. Haven't read the others that Tiger of Kai mentioned, but I might have to look into them one of these days.

I have very mixed feelings about Hideyoshi. I actually think he did more to unite Japan than Nobunaga, but some of his decisions were just so completely boneheaded. I sort of believe that at some point he became either drunk with power or overly complacent about his position. His government was really a mixed bag because on one hand he did a lot of intelligent things and on the other hand he made some of the dumbest decisions imaginable (from my point of view). I actually understand his motivations for invading Korea, but not his motivation for invading Korea a second time after the first invasion failed. And of course I really don't understand why he chose to alienate a great number of his retainers.

As far as Nobunaga and Christianity, it's obvious Nobunaga wasn't a Christian. He was, however, either a Christian sympathizer or at least apathetic about the spread of Christianity. He did not seem to care when Takayama Ukon started converting people and he often allowed Jesuits to advise him on things.
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Re: Sengoku Era Japan Thoughts

Unread postby Zhuanyong » Mon Dec 27, 2010 7:16 pm

And of course I really don't understand why he chose to alienate a great number of his retainers.


I believe this was, in part, due to the way that he rose to power. When one has nothing outside of the fact that Oda Nobunaga actually brought him from peasantry to military leadership to back their claim for authority, they may have to be weary of those who have more noble bloodlines and opportunitistic personalities.

That would include those whom he holds close.

Outside of that, age can always lead one to the path of dementia and paranoia.
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Re: Sengoku Era Japan Thoughts

Unread postby Tiger of Kai » Tue Dec 28, 2010 1:51 am

SlickSlicer wrote:
Hideyoshi by Mary Elizabeth Berry


I'll second this one. Great book. Haven't read the others that Tiger of Kai mentioned, but I might have to look into them one of these days.

I have very mixed feelings about Hideyoshi. I actually think he did more to unite Japan than Nobunaga, but some of his decisions were just so completely boneheaded. I sort of believe that at some point he became either drunk with power or overly complacent about his position. His government was really a mixed bag because on one hand he did a lot of intelligent things and on the other hand he made some of the dumbest decisions imaginable (from my point of view). I actually understand his motivations for invading Korea, but not his motivation for invading Korea a second time after the first invasion failed. And of course I really don't understand why he chose to alienate a great number of his retainers.

As far as Nobunaga and Christianity, it's obvious Nobunaga wasn't a Christian. He was, however, either a Christian sympathizer or at least apathetic about the spread of Christianity. He did not seem to care when Takayama Ukon started converting people and he often allowed Jesuits to advise him on things.


As Zhuanyong stated, dementia probably played a large part in some of Hideyoshi's later decisions. I also think his appointment of Mitsunari as one of the go-bugyo, and a chief inspector in Korea helped to alienate a lot of Hideyoshi's supporters.

I'm glad you enjoyed Berry's book. It's still one of my all-time favorites.
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Re: Sengoku Era Japan Thoughts

Unread postby Jordan » Tue Dec 28, 2010 10:35 pm

I agree that his appointment of Mitsunari in Korea was a bad decision, but it was again one that could have been completely avoided had he not launched his second invasion of the peninsula.
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Re: Sengoku Era Japan Thoughts

Unread postby Ma Cheng » Thu May 17, 2012 7:30 pm

To my mind Nobunaga is the greatest of the three unifiers, but maybe thats an easy answer. Hideyoshi and his rise to power are not to be scorned, but essentially the foundations laid down by Nobunaga were so thorough a lesser man than Hideyoshi would have been able to do his job in my humble opinion.

Also as A.J Sadler mentions in Shogun, Nobunaga and his often 'demon' reputation were brought about by it being Nobunaga who completed many of the tasks, such as the destruction of the Saika and Ikko Ikki of Mt Hiei. Those where obstacles to national unification that had Oda not taken care of, Hideyoshi or even Ieyasu would of had to do themselves. They benefited enormously from Nobunaga's willingness to act as he did, in that respect.

Jordan wrote:I agree that his appointment of Mitsunari in Korea was a bad decision, but it was again one that could have been completely avoided had he not launched his second invasion of the peninsula.


His decision to invade Korea being insane in the first place lol
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Re: Sengoku Era Japan Thoughts

Unread postby TooMuchBaijiu » Thu May 24, 2012 5:29 am

Side question-why is Hideyoshi known by his first name? Is it like us talking about Napoleon or Che or something?
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Re: Sengoku Era Japan Thoughts

Unread postby SunXia » Thu May 24, 2012 11:57 pm

Apparently he didn't have a family name growing up and I do know he took several names through out the years!! A bit like Ieyasu, he took several names too and Tokugawa wasn't his original family name!!
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Re: Sengoku Era Japan Thoughts

Unread postby TooMuchBaijiu » Fri May 25, 2012 12:27 am

Oh yeah, I forgot he was of low birth (always feel like a snob when I talk like that) and didn't adopt a name until later. But I think his clan name was actually "Toyotomi".
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Re: Sengoku Era Japan Thoughts

Unread postby rcsha » Fri May 25, 2012 2:39 am

TooMuchBaijiu wrote:Oh yeah, I forgot he was of low birth (always feel like a snob when I talk like that) and didn't adopt a name until later. But I think his clan name was actually "Toyotomi".


Toyotomi Hideoyshi was born to a low-rank peasant conscript. Supposedly his childhood name was Hiyoshimaru, however some scholars believe this was biographical embellishment since there are no real records of his youth and very little records of Hideyoshi before 1570 and his biography was written in 1577.
His name when he joined with the Oda forces was was Kinoshita Tokichiro. Realistically he probably forged lineage documents claiming the Kinoshita surname as his own.
Once he befriended Oda Nobunaga he eventually changed his name to Kinoshita Hideyoshi (about 1564). He changed his name again to Hashiba Hideyoshi (around 1573) which comes from, supposedly, Niwa Nagahide and Shibata Katsuie (the wa in Niwa can be made into Ha, when it's the first syllable, if I remember correctly, and Shiba in Shibata; so technically he was Washiba, but W and H are often interchangeable in Japanese).
After being adopted by Konoe Sakihisa to give him Fujiwara legitimace to become a high court minister, he eventually adopted the name Toyotomi Hideyoshi (around 1597).

So his original clan name would be Kinoshita, technically speaking; if he even legitimately had one.
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