73 Facts About Tokugawa Ieyasu


Tokugawa Ieyasu was the founder and first shogun of the Tokugawa Shogunate of Japan, which ruled Japan from 1603 until the Meiji Restoration in 1868.

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Tokugawa Ieyasu was one of the three "Great Unifiers" of Japan, along with his former lord Oda Nobunaga and fellow Oda subordinate Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

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The son of a minor daimyo, Tokugawa Ieyasu once lived as a hostage under daimyo Imagawa Yoshimoto on behalf of his father.

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Tokugawa Ieyasu later succeeded as daimyo after his father's death, serving as a vassal and general of the Oda clan, and building up his strength under Oda Nobunaga.

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Under Toyotomi, Tokugawa Ieyasu was relocated to the Kanto plains in eastern Japan, away from the Toyotomi power base in Osaka.

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Tokugawa Ieyasu became the most powerful daimyo and the most senior officer under the Toyotomi regime.

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Tokugawa Ieyasu preserved his strength in Toyotomi's failed attempt to conquer Korea.

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Tokugawa Ieyasu received appointment as shogun in 1603, and voluntarily abdicated from office in 1605, but remained in power until his death in 1616.

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Tokugawa Ieyasu implemented a set of careful rules known as the bakuhan system, designed to keep the daimyo and samurai in check under the Tokugawa Shogunate.

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Tokugawa Ieyasu's father, Matsudaira Hirotada, was a minor local warlord based at Okazaki Castle who controlled a portion of the Tokaido highway linking Kyoto with the eastern provinces.

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Tokugawa Ieyasu's territory was sandwiched between stronger and predatory neighbors, including the Imagawa clan based in Suruga Province to the east and the Oda clan to the west.

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Tokugawa Ieyasu was born in Okazaki Castle on the 26th day of the twelfth month of the eleventh year of Tenbun, according to the Japanese calendar.

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Tokugawa Ieyasu was briefly allowed to visit Okazaki to pay his respects to the tomb of his father, and receive the homage of his nominal retainers, led by the karo Torii Tadayoshi.

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Tokugawa Ieyasu then succeeded in delivering supplies in the siege of Odaka a year later.

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Tokugawa Ieyasu strengthened his key vassals by awarding them land and castles.

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Tokugawa Ieyasu undertook several battles to suppress this movement in his territories, including the Battle of Azukizaka .

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Tokugawa Ieyasu was fighting in the front line and was nearly killed when struck by several bullets which did not penetrate his armour.

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Tokugawa Ieyasu remained an ally of Nobunaga and his Mikawa soldiers were part of Nobunaga's army which captured Kyoto in 1568.

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Tokugawa Ieyasu then negotiated with Ujizane, promising that if Ujizane should surrender himself and the remainder of Totomi, Tokugawa Ieyasu would assist Ujizane in regaining Suruga.

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Ujizane had nothing left to lose, and Tokugawa Ieyasu immediately ended his alliance with Takeda, instead making a new alliance with Takeda's enemy to the north, Uesugi Kenshin of the Uesugi clan.

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In 1570, Tokugawa Ieyasu established Hamamatsu as the capital of his territory, placing his son Nobuyasu in charge of Okazaki.

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The allied forces of Oda Nobunaga and Tokugawa Ieyasu defeated the combined forces of the Azai clan and Asakura clan, and saw Nobunaga's prodigious use of firearms.

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Tokugawa Ieyasu decided to make a drive for Kyoto at the urgings of the shogun Ashikaga Yoshiaki, starting with invading Tokugawa lands in Totomi.

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Takeda Shingen's first objective in his campaign against Tokugawa Ieyasu was Nishikawa Castle, Yoshida Castle and Futamata Castle.

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The battle was a major defeat, but in the interests of maintaining the appearance of dignified withdrawal, Tokugawa Ieyasu brazenly ordered the men at his castle to light torches, sound drums, and leave the gates open, to properly receive the returning warriors.

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In 1580, Oda-Tokugawa Ieyasu forces launched the second siege of Takatenjin; the siege came only six years after Takeda Katsuyori had taken the fortress.

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Tokugawa Ieyasu was mobilizing his army when he learned that Toyotomi Hideyoshi had defeated Akechi Mitsuhide at the Battle of Yamazaki.

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Tokugawa Ieyasu did not take a side in this conflict, building on his reputation for both caution and wisdom.

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In 1584, Tokugawa Ieyasu decided to support Oda Nobukatsu, the eldest surviving son and heir of Oda Nobunaga, against Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

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The Tokugawa Ieyasu did not participate in Hideyoshi's successful Invasion of Shikoku and the Kyushu Campaign .

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In 1591, Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu took the Kunohe Rebellion as a personal affront to Toyotomi authority and by mid-year organized a retaliatory army to retake northern Tohoku and to restore the area to Nanbu Nobunao's control.

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In 1591, Tokugawa Ieyasu now gave up control of his five provinces and moved all his soldiers and vassals to his new eight provinces at the Kanto region.

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Tokugawa Ieyasu reformed the Kanto region, controlled and pacified the Hojo samurai and improved the underlying economic infrastructure of the lands.

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Also, because Kanto was somewhat isolated from the rest of Japan, Tokugawa Ieyasu was able to maintain a unique level of autonomy from Toyotomi Hideyoshi's rule.

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Tokugawa Ieyasu stayed in Nagoya off and on for the next five years.

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Tokugawa Ieyasu was nominally succeeded by his young son Hideyori but as he was just five years old, real power was in the hands of the regents.

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Opposition to Tokugawa Ieyasu centered around Ishida Mitsunari, one of Hideyoshi's Go-Bugyo, or top administrators of Hideyoshi's government and a powerful daimyo who was not one of the regents.

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Tokugawa Ieyasu supported the anti-Mitsunari group, and formed them as his potential allies.

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Tokugawa Ieyasu's allies were Kato Kiyomasa, Fukushima Masanori, Mogami Yoshiaki, Hachisuka Iemasa, the Kuroda clan, the Hosokawa clan and many daimyo from eastern Japan.

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Tokugawa Ieyasu held a meeting with the Eastern Army daimyo, and they agreed to follow Tokugawa Ieyasu.

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Immediately after the victory at Sekigahara, Tokugawa Ieyasu redistributed land to the vassals who had served him.

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Tokugawa Ieyasu left some western daimyo unharmed, such as the Shimazu clan, but others were completely destroyed.

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Tokugawa Ieyasu had outlasted all the other great men of his times: Oda Nobunaga, Takeda Shingen, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Uesugi Kenshin.

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Tokugawa Ieyasu claimed descent from the Minamoto clan who had founded the Kamakura shogunate, by way of the Nitta clan.

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The abdication of Tokugawa Ieyasu had no effect on the practical extent of his powers or his rule; but Hidetada nevertheless assumed a role as formal head of the shogunal bureaucracy.

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In 1605, Tokugawa Ieyasu, acting as the retired shogun, remained the effective ruler of Japan until his death.

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Tokugawa Ieyasu retired to Sunpu Castle in Sunpu, but he supervised the building of Edo Castle, a massive construction project which lasted for the rest of Tokugawa Ieyasu's life.

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In Kyoto, Tokugawa Ieyasu ordered the remodeling of the Imperial Court and buildings, and forced the remaining western daimyo to sign an oath of fealty to him.

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Tokugawa Ieyasu chose to distance Japan from European influence starting in 1609, although the shogunate did still grant preferential trading rights to the Dutch East India Company and permitted them to maintain a "factory" for trading purposes.

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From 1605 until his death, Tokugawa Ieyasu frequently consulted English shipwright and pilot, William Adams.

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However, in 1614, Tokugawa Ieyasu was sufficiently concerned about Spanish territorial ambitions that he signed a Christian Expulsion Edict.

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Many samurai who opposed Tokugawa Ieyasu rallied around Hideyori, claiming that he was the rightful ruler of Japan.

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Tokugawa Ieyasu ordered Hideyori to leave Osaka Castle, but those in the castle refused and summoned samurai to gather within the castle.

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However, once the treaty was agreed, the Tokugawa Ieyasu filled the castle's outer moats with sand so his troops could walk across.

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Tokugawa Ieyasu refused and either required them to commit ritual suicide, or killed both of them.

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The first Tokugawa Ieyasu shogun was posthumously deified with the name Tosho Daigongen, the "Great Gongen, Light of the East".

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In life, Tokugawa Ieyasu had expressed the wish to be deified after his death to protect his descendants from evil.

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Tokugawa Ieyasu's remains were buried at the Gongens' mausoleum at Kunozan, Kunozan Tosho-gu .

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Tokugawa Ieyasu was first given the Buddhist name Tosho Dai-Gongen, then after his death it was changed to Hogo Onkokuin .

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Tokugawa Ieyasu ruled directly as shogun or indirectly as ogosho during the Keicho era .

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Tokugawa Ieyasu had a number of qualities that enabled him to rise to power.

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Tokugawa Ieyasu was both careful and bold—at the right times, and in the right places.

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Tokugawa Ieyasu allied with the Late Hojo clan; then he joined Toyotomi Hideyoshi's army of conquest, which destroyed the Hojo; and he himself took over their lands.

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Tokugawa Ieyasu was not very well liked nor personally popular, but he was feared and respected for his leadership and his cunning.

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Tokugawa Ieyasu was capable of great loyalty: once he allied with Oda Nobunaga, he never went against him, and both leaders profited from their long alliance.

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Tokugawa Ieyasu was known for being loyal towards his personal friends and vassals, whom he rewarded.

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Tokugawa Ieyasu was said to have a close friendship with his vassal Hattori Hanzo.

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Tokugawa Ieyasu protected many former Takeda retainers from the wrath of Oda Nobunaga, who was known to harbour a bitter grudge towards the Takeda.

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Tokugawa Ieyasu managed successfully to transform many of the retainers of the Takeda, Hojo, and Imagawa clans—all whom he had defeated himself or helped to defeat—into loyal followers.

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Tokugawa Ieyasu was cruel, relentless and merciless in the elimination of Toyotomi survivors after Osaka.

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Tokugawa Ieyasu was interested in various kenjutsu skills, was a patron of the Yagyu Shinkage-ryu school, and had them as his personal sword instructors.

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Ever since Tokugawa Ieyasu lost his wife and son due to Oda Nobunaga's orders, they reason, he held a secret resentment against his lord.

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Minamoto-no-Tokugawa Ieyasu was born in Tenbun 11, on the 26th day of the 12th month and he died in Genna 2, on the 17th day of the 4th month ; and thus, his contemporaries would have said that he lived 75 years.

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