Tokugawa Ieyasu

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Tokugawa Ieyasu
徳川 家康
Tokugawa Ieyasu2.JPG
In office
Other names
  • Matsudaira Jirōsaburō Motonobu (松平 次郎三郎 元信)
  • Matsudaira Kurandonosuke Motoyasu (松平 蔵人佐 元康)
  • Matsudaira Ieyasu (松平 家康)
Signature Tokugawa Ieyasu kao.jpg
Nickname"Tosho Dai-Gongen"
Military service
Unit Tokugawa clan
Commands Edo Castle
Battles/wars Siege of Terabe
Siege of Marune
Siege of Kaminogō
Battle of Batogahara
Tōtōmi Campaign
Battle of Anegawa
Battle of Mikatagahara
Battle of Nagashino
Suruga Campaign
Siege of Takatenjin
Battle of Tenmokuzan
Battle of Komaki and Nagakute
Siege of Odawara
Kunohe Rebellion
Sekigahara Campaign
Osaka Campaign
see below
Japanese name
Hiragana とくがわ いえやす
Kyūjitai 德川 家康
Shinjitai 徳川 家康
The Tokugawa clan crest Tokugawa family crest.svg
The Tokugawa clan crest

Tokugawa Ieyasu [lower-alpha 1] ( 徳川 家康 , January 31, 1543 – June 1, 1616; born Matsudaira Takechiyo and later taking other names [lower-alpha 2] ) was the founder and first shōgun of the Tokugawa Shogunate of Japan, which ruled from 1603 until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. He was one of the three "Great Unifiers" of Japan, along with his former lord Oda Nobunaga and fellow Oda subordinate Toyotomi Hideyoshi. The son of a minor daimyo, Ieyasu once lived as a hostage under daimyo Imagawa Yoshimoto on behalf of his father. He later succeeded as daimyo after his father's death, serving as ally, vassal and general of the Oda clan, [3] and building up his strength under Oda Nobunaga. [4]


After Oda Nobunaga's death, Ieyasu was briefly a rival of Hashiba Hideyoshi, before declaring his allegiance and fighting on his behalf. Under Hashiba, Ieyasu was relocated to the Kanto plains in eastern Japan, away from the Hashiba power base in Osaka. He built his castle in the fishing village of Edo (now Tokyo). He became the most powerful daimyo and the most senior officer under the Toyotomi regime (Hideyoshi's new clan name). Ieyasu preserved his strength in Toyotomi's failed attempt to conquer Korea. After Hideyoshi's death, Ieyasu seized power in 1600, after the Battle of Sekigahara. [3] [ page needed ] He received appointment as shōgun in 1603, and voluntarily abdicated from office in 1605, but remained in power until his death in 1616. He implemented a set of careful rules known as the bakuhan system, designed to keep the daimyo and samurai in check under the Tokugawa Shogunate. [3] [4]


During the Muromachi period, the Matsudaira clan controlled a portion of Mikawa Province (the eastern half of modern Aichi Prefecture). Ieyasu's father, Matsudaira Hirotada, was a minor local warlord based at Okazaki Castle who controlled a portion of the Tōkaidō highway linking Kyoto with the eastern provinces. His 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. Hirotada's main enemy was Oda Nobuhide, the father of Oda Nobunaga. [5]

Early life (1543–1556)

Okazaki Castle, the birthplace of Tokugawa Ieyasu Okazakijo2.JPG
Okazaki Castle, the birthplace of Tokugawa Ieyasu

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. Originally named Matsudaira Takechiyo (松平 竹千代), he was the son of Matsudaira Hirotada (松平 廣忠), the daimyo of Mikawa of the Matsudaira clan, and Odai no Kata (於大の方, Lady Odai), the daughter of a neighbouring samurai lord, Mizuno Tadamasa (水野 忠政). His mother and father were step-siblings. They were 17 and 15 years old, respectively, when Takechiyo was born. [6]

In the year of Takechiyo's birth, the Matsudaira clan was split. In 1543, Hirotada's uncle, Matsudaira Nobutaka defected to the Oda clan. This gave Oda Nobuhide the confidence to attack Okazaki. Soon afterwards, Hirotada's father-in-law died, and his heir, Mizuno Nobumoto, revived the clan's traditional enmity against the Matsudaira and declared for Oda Nobuhide as well. As a result, Hirotada divorced Odai-no-kata and sent her back to her family. [5] Hirotada later remarried to different wives, and Takechiyo eventually had 11 half-brothers and sisters. [6]

Hostage life

As Oda Nobuhide continued to attack Okazaki, Hirotada turned to his powerful eastern neighbor, Imagawa Yoshimoto for assistance. Yoshimoto agreed to an alliance under the condition that Hirotada send his young heir to Sunpu Domain as a hostage. [5] Oda Nobuhide learned of this arrangement and had Takechiyo abducted. [7] Takechiyo was five years old at the time. [8] Nobuhide threatened to execute Takechiyo unless his father severed all ties with the Imagawa clan. However, Hirotada refused, stating that sacrificing his own son would show his seriousness in his pact with the Imagawa. Despite this refusal, Nobuhide chose not to kill Takechiyo, but instead held him hostage for the next three years at the Honshōji Temple in Nagoya. It is said that Oda Nobunaga met Takechiyo at this place, when Takechiyo was 6 years old, and Nobunaga was 14 at that time.

In 1549, when Takechiyo was 6, [8] his father Hirotada was murdered by his own vassals, who had been bribed by the Oda clan. At about the same time, Oda Nobuhide died during an epidemic. Nobuhide's death dealt a heavy blow to the Oda clan.

In 1551, an army under the command of Imagawa Sessai laid siege to the castle where Oda Nobuhiro, Nobuhide's illegitimate eldest son was living. Nobuhiro was trapped by the Imagawa clan but was saved by Oda Nobunaga, Nobuhide's second son and heir, through negotiations. Sessai made an agreement with Nobunaga to take Takechiyo back to Imagawa, and he agreed. So Takechiyo (now nine years old) was taken as a hostage to Sunpu. At Sunpu, he remained a hostage but was treated fairly well as a potentially useful future ally of the Imagawa clan until 1556 when he was 14 years old. [8]

Service under Yoshimoto (1556–1560)

In 1556, Takechiyo officially came of age, with Imagawa Yoshimoto presiding over his genpuku ceremony. Following tradition, he changed his name from Matsudaira Takechiyo to Matsudaira Jirōsaburō Motonobu (松平 次郎三郎 元信). He was also 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 karō Torii Tadayoshi. [5]

One year later, at the age of 15 (according to East Asian age reckoning), he married his first wife, Lady Tsukiyama, a relative of Imagawa Yoshimoto, and changed his name again to Matsudaira Kurandonosuke Motoyasu (松平 蔵人佐 元康). A year later, their son, Matsudaira Nobuyasu, was born. He was then allowed to return to Mikawa Province. There, the Imagawa then ordered him to fight the Oda clan in a series of battles. [9]

Motoyasu fought his first battle in 1558 at the siege of Terabe. The lord of Terabe, Suzuki Shigeteru, betrayed the Imagawa by defecting to Oda Nobunaga. This was nominally within Matsudaira territory, so Imagawa Yoshimoto entrusted the campaign to Motoyasu and his retainers from Okazaki. Motoyasu led the attack in person, but after taking the outer defences, he burned the main castle and withdrew. As anticipated, the Oda forces attacked his rear lines, but Motoyasu was prepared and drove off the Oda army. [10]

He then succeeded in delivering supplies in the siege of Odaka a year later. Odaka was the only one of five disputed frontier forts under attack by the Oda clan which remained in Imagawa hands. Motoyasu launched diversionary attacks against the two neighboring forts, and when the garrisons of the other forts went to their assistance, Motoyasu's supply column was able to reach Odaka. [11]

Death of Yoshimoto

By 1559 the leadership of the Oda clan had passed to Oda Nobunaga. In 1560, Imagawa Yoshimoto leading a large army of 25,000 men, invaded Oda clan territory. Motoyasu was assigned a separate mission to capture the stronghold of Marune. As a result, he and his men were not present at the Battle of Okehazama where Yoshimoto was killed in Nobunaga's surprise assault. [7] :37

Early Rise (1560–1570)

Ukiyo-e of Tokugawa Ieyasu Shogun-Tokugawa-Ieyasu.png
Ukiyo-e of Tokugawa Ieyasu

Alliance with Nobunaga

With Imagawa Yoshimoto dead, and the Imagawa clan in a state of confusion, Motoyasu used the opportunity to assert his independence and marched his men back into the abandoned Okazaki Castle and reclaimed his ancestral seat. [10] Motoyasu then decided to ally with Oda Nobunaga. [12] A secret deal was needed because Motoyasu's wife, Lady Tsukiyama, and infant son, Nobuyasu, were held hostage in Sunpu by Imagawa Ujizane, Yoshimoto's heir. [13]

In 1561, Motoyasu openly broke with the Imagawa and captured the fortress of Kaminogō. Kaminogō was held by Udono Nagamochi. Resorting to stealth, Motoyasu forces under Hattori Hanzō attacked under cover of darkness, setting fire to the castle, and capturing two of Udono's sons, whom he used as hostages to exchange for his wife and son. [11] :216

In 1563, Matsudaira Nobuyasu, the first son of Motoyasu, was married to Oda Nobunaga's daughter Tokuhime.

Unification of Mikawa

In February 1563, Matsudaira Motoyasu changed his name to Matsudaira Ieyasu. [14] [15] For the next few years Ieyasu was occupied with reforming the Matsudaira clan and pacifying Mikawa. He also strengthened his key vassals by awarding them land and castles. These vassals included Ōkubo Tadayo, Ishikawa Kazumasa, Kōriki Kiyonaga, Sakai Tadatsugu, Honda Shigetsugu, Amano Yasukage and Hattori Hanzō.

During this period, the Matsudaira clan also faced a threat from a different source. Mikawa was a major center for the Ikkō-ikki movement, where peasants banded together with militant monks under the Jōdo Shinshū sect, and rejected the traditional feudal social order. Ieyasu undertook several battles to suppress this movement in his territories, including the Battle of Azukizaka (1564). [11] :216

Battle of Batogahara

An ukiyo-e print depicting the Battle of Batogahara. In his early days as daimyo of Mikawa, Ieyasu had difficult relations with the Jodo Shinshu temples which escalated in 1563-1564. Azukizaka 1564.JPG
An ukiyo-e print depicting the Battle of Batogahara. In his early days as daimyo of Mikawa, Ieyasu had difficult relations with the Jōdō Shinshū temples which escalated in 1563–1564.

On January 15, 1564, Ieyasu had decided to concentrate his forces to attack and eliminate the Ikkō-ikki from Mikawa. In the Ikkō-ikki ranks were some of Ieyasu's vassals, like Honda Masanobu and Natsume Yoshinobu, who had deserted him for the Ikkō-ikki rebellion out of religious sympathy.

Ieyasu was fighting in the front line and was nearly killed when struck by several bullets which did not penetrate his armour. Both sides were using the new gunpowder weapons which the Portuguese had introduced to Japan just 20 years earlier. At the end of battle, the Ikkō-ikki were defeated. By 1565, Ieyasu became master of all of Mikawa Province.

Tokugawa clan

In 1567, Ieyasu started the family name "Tokugawa", finally making his name to Tokugawa Ieyasu. As he was a member of the Matsudaira clan, he claimed descent from the Seiwa Genji branch of the Minamoto clan. However, there was no proof the Matsudaira clan are descendants of Emperor Seiwa. [16] Yet, his surname was changed with the permission of the Imperial Court, after writing a petition, and he was bestowed the courtesy title Mikawa-no-kami (Lord of Mikawa) and the court rank of Junior 5th Rank, Lower Grade (從五位下, ju go-i no ge). Though the Tokugawa could claim some modicum of freedom, they were very much subject to the requests of Oda Nobunaga. Ieyasu remained an ally of Nobunaga and his Mikawa soldiers were part of Nobunaga's army which captured Kyoto in 1568. At the same time, Ieyasu was eager to expand eastward to Tōtōmi Province. Ieyasu and Takeda Shingen, the head of the Takeda clan in Kai Province, made an alliance for the purpose of conquering all the Imagawa territory. [17] :279

Tōtōmi campaign

In 1569, Ieyasu's troops penetrated into Tōtōmi Province. Meanwhile, Takeda Shingen's troops captured Suruga Province (including the Imagawa capital of Sunpu). Imagawa Ujizane fled to Kakegawa Castle, which led to Ieyasu laying siege to Kakegawa. Ieyasu then negotiated with Ujizane, promising that if Ujizane should surrender himself and the remainder of Tōtōmi, Ieyasu would assist Ujizane in regaining Suruga. Ujizane had nothing left to lose, and 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. Through these political manipulations, Ieyasu gained the support of the samurai of Tōtōmi Province. [10]

In 1570, Ieyasu established Hamamatsu as the capital of his territory, placing his son Nobuyasu in charge of Okazaki. [18]

Ieyasu and Nobunaga (1570–1582)

Battle of Anegawa

In mid 1570, Azai Nagamasa, the brother-in-law of Oda Nobunaga, broke his alliance with the Oda clan during the siege of Kanegasaki. Soon Nobunaga was ready to punish Nagamasa for his treachery. Ieyasu led 5,000 of his men to support Nobunaga at the battle. [7] :62 The Battle of Anegawa occurred near Lake Biwa in Ōmi Province. 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. It is notable as the first battle that involved the alliance between Nobunaga and Ieyasu.

Conflict with Takeda

In October 1571, Takeda Shingen broke the alliance with the Oda-Tokugawa forces and now allied with the Odawara Hōjō clan. He decided to make a drive for Kyoto at the urgings of the shōgun Ashikaga Yoshiaki, starting with invading Tokugawa lands in Tōtōmi. Takeda Shingen's first objective in his campaign against Ieyasu was Nishikawa Castle, Yoshida Castle and Futamata Castle. In 1572, after besieging Futamata, Shingen would press on past Futamata towards the major Tokugawa home castle at Hamamatsu. Later, Ieyasu asked for help from Nobunaga, who sent him some 3,000 troops. Early in 1573 the two armies met at the Battle of Mikatagahara, north Hamamatsu. The considerably larger Takeda army, under the expert direction of Shingen, overwhelmed Ieyasu's troops and caused heavy casualties. Despite his initial reluctance, Ieyasu was convinced by his generals to retreat. [19] [18] The battle was a major defeat, but in the interests of maintaining the appearance of dignified withdrawal, Ieyasu brazenly ordered the men at his castle to light torches, sound drums, and leave the gates open, to properly receive the returning warriors. To the surprise and relief of the Tokugawa army, this spectacle made the Takeda generals suspicious of being led into a trap, so they did not besiege the castle and instead made camp for the night. [19] This error would allow a band of Tokugawa soldiers to raid the camp in the ensuing hours, further upsetting the already disoriented Takeda army, and ultimately resulting in Shingen's decision to call off the offensive altogether. Takeda Shingen would not get another chance to advance on Hamamatsu, much less Kyoto, since he would perish shortly after the siege of Noda Castle later that same year. [12] :153–156

Shingen was succeeded by his less capable son Takeda Katsuyori. In 1574, Katsuyori took Takatenjin fortress. Then, in 1575, during Takeda Katsuyori's raid through Mikawa Province, he attacked Yoshida Castle and besieged Nagashino Castle. Ieyasu appealed to Nobunaga for help and Nobunaga came personally with 30,000 strong men. The Oda-Tokugawa forces of 38,000 won a great victory and successfully defended Nagashino Castle. Though the Takeda forces had been destroyed, Katsuyori survived the battle and retreated back to Kai Province. [20] For the next seven years, Ieyasu and Katsuyori fought a series of small battles, as the result of which Ieyasu's troops managed to wrest control of Suruga Province away from the Takeda clan.

In 1579, Lady Tsukiyama, Ieyasu's wife, and his heir Nobuyasu, were accused by Nobunaga of conspiring with Takeda Katsuyori to assassinate Nobunaga, whose daughter Tokuhime was married to Nobuyasu. For this reason, Ieyasu ordered his wife to be executed and forced his son to commit seppuku . Ieyasu then named his third son, Tokugawa Hidetada, as heir, since his second son had been adopted by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who would later become an extremely powerful daimyo.[ citation needed ]

In 1580, Oda-Tokugawa forces launched the second siege of Takatenjin; the siege came only six years after Takeda Katsuyori had taken the fortress. This second siege lasted from 1580 until 22 March 1581, and ended with the deaths of 680 men in the Okabe Motonobu garrison and the fall of the fortress to the Oda-Tokugawa forces.

The end of the war with Takeda came in 1582 when a combined Oda-Tokugawa force attacked and conquered Kai Province. Takeda Katsuyori was defeated at the Battle of Tenmokuzan, and then committed seppuku . [11] :231

Death of Nobunaga

In late June 1582, before the incident at Honnō-ji temple, Oda Nobunaga invited Ieyasu to tour the Kansai region in celebration of the demise of the Takeda clan. When he learned that Nobunaga had been killed at the Honnō-ji temple by Akechi Mitsuhide, this meant that some provinces, ruled by Nobunaga's vassals, were ripe for conquest. Later, Ieyasu traveled back to Mikawa for gathering his forces. With the help of his retainer and ninja leader Hattori Hanzō, he escaped from Mitsuhide troops. Ieyasu first went through Sakai, then crossed the mountains of Iga Province, finally reaching the shore in Ise Province. He returned to his home Mikawa Province by sea. Ieyasu was mobilizing his army when he learned that Toyotomi Hideyoshi had defeated Akechi Mitsuhide at the Battle of Yamazaki. [17] :314–315

Tokugawa expansion (1582–1584)

Kai and Shinano campaign

After the death of Oda Nobunaga at Honnō-ji temple, the lord of Kai Province made the mistake of killing one of Ieyasu's aides. Because of this, Ieyasu promptly invaded Kai and took control. Hōjō Ujimasa, leader of the Hōjō clan responded by sending his much larger army into Shinano Province and then into Kai Province. Later, both Ieyasu and the Hōjō clan agreed to a settlement which left Ieyasu in control of both Kai and Shinano provinces, while the Hōjō took control of Kazusa Province (as well as bits of both Kai and Shinano provinces).[ citation needed ]

In 1583, a war for rule over Japan was fought between Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Shibata Katsuie. Ieyasu did not take a side in this conflict, building on his reputation for both caution and wisdom. Hideyoshi defeated Katsuie at the Battle of Shizugatake. With this victory, Hideyoshi became the single most powerful daimyo in Japan. [17] :314

Ieyasu and Hideyoshi (1584–1598)

Conflict with Hideyoshi

In 1584, Ieyasu decided to support Oda Nobukatsu, the eldest surviving son and heir of Oda Nobunaga, against Toyotomi Hideyoshi. This was a dangerous act and could have resulted in the annihilation of the Tokugawa clan, due to the fact that the Oda clan collapsed after Nobunaga's death.[ citation needed ]

Tokugawa troops took the traditional Oda stronghold of Owari. Hideyoshi responded by sending an army into Owari. The Komaki and Nagakute Campaign was the only time any of the great unifiers of Japan fought each other.

The Komaki and Nagakute Campaign proved indecisive and after months of fruitless marches and feints, Hideyoshi and Ieyasu settled the war through negotiations. First, Hideyoshi made peace with Oda Nobukatsu, and then he offered a truce to Ieyasu. The deal was made at the end of the year; as part of the terms Ieyasu's second son, Ogimaru (also known as Yuki Hideyasu) became an adopted son of Hideyoshi.[ citation needed ]

Ieyasu's aide, Ishikawa Kazumasa, chose to join the pre-eminent daimyo and so he moved to Osaka to be with Hideyoshi. However, few other Tokugawa retainers followed this example.[ citation needed ]

Alliance with Hideyoshi

Toyotomi Hideyoshi was understandably distrustful of Ieyasu, and five years passed before they fought as allies. The Tokugawa did not participate in Hideyoshi's successful Invasion of Shikoku (1585) and the Kyūshū Campaign (1587).[ citation needed ]

In 1590, Toyotomi Hideyoshi attacked the last independent daimyo in Japan, Hōjō Ujimasa. The Hōjō clan ruled the eight provinces of the Kantō region in eastern Japan. Hideyoshi ordered them to submit to his authority and they refused. Ieyasu, though a friend and occasional ally of Ujimasa, joined his large force of 30,000 samurai with Hideyoshi's enormous army of some 160,000. The Odawara campaign was the first battle of Ieyasu and Hideyoshi as allies. They attacked several castles on the borders of the Hōjō clan with most of their army laying siege to the castle at Odawara. Hideyoshi's and Ieyasu's army captured Odawara Castle after six months (oddly for the time period, deaths on both sides were few). During this siege, Hideyoshi offered Ieyasu a radical deal: He offered Ieyasu the eight Kantō provinces which they were about to take from the Hōjō in return for the five provinces that Ieyasu currently controlled (including Ieyasu's home province of Mikawa). Ieyasu accepted this proposal. Bowing to the overwhelming power of the Toyotomi army, the Hōjō accepted defeat, their leaders committed suicide and Ieyasu marched in and took control of their provinces, ending the clan's reign of over 100 years.[ citation needed ]

The Sannohe faction of Nanbu clan led by Nanbu Nobunao organized a coalition of most of the factions of the Nanbu clan and pledged allegiance to Toyotomi Hideyoshi at the siege of Odawara. In return, he was recognized as chieftain of the Nanbu clan, and confirmed as daimyo of his existing holdings in the northern districts of Mutsu Province. However, Kunohe Masazane (1536–1591), lord of Kunohe Castle and leader of the Kunohe faction of Nanbu clan, felt that he had a stronger claim to the title of clan chieftain, and immediately rose in rebellion. In 1591, Hideyoshi and Ieyasu took the Kunohe Rebellion as a personal affront to Toyotomi authority and by mid-year organized a retaliatory army to retake northern Tōhoku and to restore the area to Nanbu Nobunao's control.

Rise to power (1591–1599)

Daimyo of Kantō region

In 1591, Ieyasu now gave up control of his five provinces (Mikawa, Tōtōmi, Suruga, Shinano, and Kai) and moved all his soldiers and vassals to his new eight provinces at the Kantō region. He himself occupied the castle town of Edo in Kantō. This was possibly the riskiest move Ieyasu ever made—to leave his home province and rely on the uncertain loyalty of the formerly Hōjō samurai in Kantō. In the end however, it worked out brilliantly for Ieyasu. He reformed the Kantō region, controlled and pacified the Hōjō samurai and improved the underlying economic infrastructure of the lands. Also, because Kantō was somewhat isolated from the rest of Japan, Ieyasu ally with daimyo's of north east Japan like Date Masamune and Mogami Yoshiaki and he was able to maintain a unique level of autonomy from Toyotomi Hideyoshi's rule. Within a few years, Ieyasu had become the second most powerful daimyo in Japan. There is a Japanese proverb which likely refers to this event: "Ieyasu won the Empire by retreating." [21]

Korean Campaign

In 1592, Toyotomi Hideyoshi invaded Korea as a prelude to his plan to attack China. The Tokugawa samurai never actually took part in this campaign.

In 1593, Toyotomi Hideyoshi fathered a son and heir, Toyotomi Hideyori. Later, though in early 1593, Ieyasu himself was summoned to Hideyoshi's court in Nagoya (in Kyūshū, different from the similarly spelled city in Owari Province) as a military advisor and given command of a body of troops meant as reserves for the Korean campaign. Ieyasu stayed in Nagoya off and on for the next five years. [17] Despite his frequent absences, Ieyasu's sons, loyal retainers and vassals were able to control and improve Edo and the other new Tokugawa lands. However, the cost of the Japanese invasions of Korea significantly weakened the Toyotomi clan's power in Japan.

Council of Five Elders

In 1598, with Toyotomi Hideyoshi's health clearly failing, Hideyoshi called a meeting that would determine the Council of Five Elders, who would be responsible for ruling on behalf of his son after his death. The five that were chosen as tairō (regent) for Hideyori were Maeda Toshiie, Mōri Terumoto, Ukita Hideie, Uesugi Kagekatsu, and Ieyasu himself, who was the most powerful of the five. This change in the pre-Sekigahara power structure became pivotal as Ieyasu turned his attention towards Kansai; and at the same time, other ambitious (albeit ultimately unrealized) plans, such as the Tokugawa initiative establishing official relations with New Spain (modern-day Mexico), continued to unfold and advance. [22] [23]

Death of Hideyoshi and Toshiie

Toyotomi Hideyoshi, after three more months of increasing sickness, died on September 18, 1598. He 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. Over the next two years Ieyasu made alliances with various daimyo, especially those who had no love for Hideyoshi. Later, the oldest and most respected of the regents, Maeda Toshiie, died after just one year in 1599.

Unification of Japan (1599–1603)

The kabuto (helmet) of Tokugawa Ieyasu Kabuto Tokugawa Ieyasu.jpg
The kabuto (helmet) of Tokugawa Ieyasu

Conflict with Mitsunari

With the death of Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1598 and Maeda Toshiie in 1599, Ieyasu led an army to Fushimi and took over Osaka Castle, the residence of Hideyori. This angered the three remaining regents and plans were made on all sides for war.[ citation needed ]

Opposition to Ieyasu centered around Ishida Mitsunari, one of Hideyoshi's Go-Bugyō , or top administrators of Hideyoshi's government and a powerful daimyo who was not one of the regents. Mitsunari plotted Ieyasu's death and news of this plot reached some of Ieyasu's generals. They attempted to kill Mitsunari but he fled and gained protection from none other than Ieyasu himself. It is not clear why Ieyasu protected a powerful enemy from his own men but Ieyasu was a master strategist and he may have concluded that he would be better off with Mitsunari leading the enemy army rather than one of the regents, who would have more legitimacy. [24]

Nearly all of Japan's daimyo and samurai now split into two factions—the Western Army (Mitsunari's group) and the Eastern Army (Ieyasu's group). Ieyasu supported the anti-Mitsunari group, and formed them as his potential allies. Ieyasu's allies were Katō Kiyomasa, Fukushima Masanori, Mogami Yoshiaki, Hachisuka Iemasa, the Kuroda clan, the Hosokawa clan and many daimyo from eastern Japan. Mitsunari allied himself with the three other regents: Ukita Hideie, Mōri Terumoto, and Uesugi Kagekatsu, as well as with Ōtani Yoshitsugu, Chosokabe clan, Shimazu clan and many daimyo from the western end of Honshū.[ citation needed ]

War became imminent when Uesugi Kagekatsu, one of Hideyoshi's appointed regents, defied Ieyasu by building up his military at Aizu. When Ieyasu officially condemned him and demanded that he come to Kyoto to explain himself, Kagekatsu's chief advisor, Naoe Kanetsugu, responded with a counter-condemnation that mocked Ieyasu's abuses and violations of Hideyoshi's rules, and Ieyasu was infuriated.

In July 1600, Ieyasu was back in Edo and his allies moved their armies to defeat the Uesugi clan, which they accused of planning to revolt against Toyotomi administration. On September 8, Ieyasu received information that Mitsunari had captured Fushimi castle and his allies had moved their army against Ieyasu. Ieyasu held a meeting with the Eastern Army daimyo, and they agreed to follow Ieyasu. Later on September 15, Mitsunari's Western army arrived at Ogaki Castle. On September 29, Ieyasu's Eastern Army took Gifu Castle. On October 7, Ieyasu and his allies marched along the Tōkaidō, while his son Hidetada went along through Nakasendō with 38,000 soldiers (a battle against Sanada Masayuki in Shinano Province delayed Hidetada's forces, and they did not arrive in time for the main Battle of Sekigahara). On October 20, Ieyasu's Eastern Army met Mitsunari's Western Army at Sekigahara, and on the following morning the battle began.

Battle of Sekigahara

The Battle of Sekigahara was the biggest and one of the most important battles in Japanese feudal history. It began on October 21, 1600. Initially, the Eastern Army led by Tokugawa Ieyasu had 75,000 men, while the Western Army numbered 120,000 men under Ishida Mitsunari. Ieyasu had also snuck in a supply of arquebuses.

Knowing that the Tokugawa forces were heading towards Osaka, Mitsunari decided to abandon his positions and marched to Sekigahara. Even though the Western Army had tremendous tactical advantages, Ieyasu had already been in contact with many of the daimyo in the Western Army for months, promising them land and leniency after the battle should they switch sides, also having secretly communicated with Toyotomi Hideyoshi's nephew, Kobayakawa Hideaki. With a total of 170,000 soldiers facing each other, the Battle of Sekigahara ensued and ended with a complete Tokugawa victory. [25] Later, the Western bloc was crushed and over the next few days Ishida Mitsunari and many other western nobles were captured and killed. Tokugawa Ieyasu was now the de facto ruler of Japan.[ citation needed ]

Armor of Tokugawa Ieyasu at Kunozan Tosho-gu Shida gusoku of Tokugawa Ieyasu at Kunozan Tosho-gu.jpg
Armor of Tokugawa Ieyasu at Kunōzan Tōshō-gū

Immediately after the victory at Sekigahara, Ieyasu redistributed land to the vassals who had served him. Ieyasu left some western daimyo unharmed, such as the Shimazu clan, but others were completely destroyed. Toyotomi Hideyori (the son of Hideyoshi) lost most of his territory which were under management of western daimyo, and he was degraded to an ordinary daimyo, not a ruler of Japan. In later years the vassals who had pledged allegiance to Ieyasu before Sekigahara became known as the fudai daimyō , while those who pledged allegiance to him after the battle (in other words, after his power was unquestioned) were known as tozama daimyō . Tozama daimyō were considered inferior to fudai daimyō.[ citation needed ]

Shōgun (1603–1605)

An ukiyo-e by Yoshitoshi depicting the scene when Ieyasu had an audience with Emperor Go-Yozei Tokugawa Ieyasu - Directories of Famous Generals of Japan.jpg
An ukiyo-e by Yoshitoshi depicting the scene when Ieyasu had an audience with Emperor Go-Yōzei

On March 24, 1603, Tokugawa Ieyasu received the title of shōgun from Emperor Go-Yōzei. [26] Ieyasu was 60 years old. He had outlasted all the other great men of his times: Oda Nobunaga, Takeda Shingen, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Uesugi Kenshin. As shōgun, he used his remaining years to create and solidify the Tokugawa shogunate, which ushered in the Edo period, and was the third shogunal government (after the Kamakura and the Ashikaga). He claimed descent from the Minamoto clan who had founded the Kamakura shogunate, by way of the Nitta clan. His descendants would marry into the Taira clan and the Fujiwara clan. The Tokugawa shogunate would rule Japan for the next 260 years. [3]

Following a well established Japanese pattern, Ieyasu abdicated his official position as shōgun in 1605. His successor was his son and heir, Tokugawa Hidetada. There may have been several factors that contributed to his decision, including his desires to avoid being tied up in ceremonial duties, to make it harder for his enemies to attack the real power center, and to secure a smoother succession of his son. [27] The abdication of 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.[ citation needed ]

Ōgosho (1605–1616)

Edo Castle from a 17th-century painting Edo P detail.jpg
Edo Castle from a 17th-century painting

Construction of Edo castle

From 1605, Ieyasu, acting as the retired shōgun (大御所, ōgosho), remained the effective ruler of Japan until his death. Ieyasu retired to Sunpu Castle in Sunpu, but he also supervised the building of Edo Castle, a massive construction project which lasted for the rest of Ieyasu's life. The result was the largest castle in all of Japan, the costs for building the castle being borne by all the other daimyo, while Ieyasu reaped all the benefits. The central donjon, or tenshu, burned in the 1657 Meireki fire. Today, the Imperial Palace stands on the site of the castle. [28]

In 1611, Ieyasu, at the head of 50,000 men, visited Kyoto to witness the enthronement of Emperor Go-Mizunoo. In Kyoto, Ieyasu ordered the remodeling of the Imperial Court and buildings, and forced the remaining western daimyo to sign an oath of fealty to him.[ citation needed ]

In 1613, he composed the Kuge shohatto (公家諸法度), a document which put the court daimyo under strict supervision, leaving them as mere ceremonial figureheads. [29]

In 1615, Ieyasu prepared the Buke shohatto (武家諸法度), a document setting out the future of the Tokugawa regime. [30]

Relations with foreign powers

William Adams before shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu William-Adams-before-Shogun-Tokugawa-Ieyasu.png
William Adams before shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu
Letter from King James VI of Scotland and I of England and Ireland to ogosho Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1613 KingJamesLetter.jpg
Letter from King James VI of Scotland and I of England and Ireland to ogosho Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1613

As Ōgosho, Ieyasu also supervised diplomatic affairs with the Netherlands, Spain, and England. 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.[ citation needed ]

From 1605 until his death, Ieyasu frequently consulted English shipwright and pilot, William Adams. [31] Adams, a Protestant [32] fluent in Japanese, assisted the shogunate in negotiating trading relations, but was cited by members of the competing Jesuit and Spanish-sponsored mendicant orders as an obstacle to improved relations between Ieyasu and the Roman Catholic Church. [33] [34] [35]

Significant attempts to curtail the influence of Christian missionaries in Japan date to 1587 during the leadership of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. However, in 1614, Ieyasu was sufficiently concerned about Spanish territorial ambitions that he signed a Christian Expulsion Edict. The edict banned the practice of Christianity and led to the expulsion of all foreign missionaries. Although some smaller Dutch trading operations remained in Nagasaki, this edict dramatically curtailed foreign trade and marked the end of open Christian witness in Japan until the 1870s. [36] The immediate cause of the prohibition was the Okamoto Daihachi incident, a case of fraud involving Ieyasu's Catholic vavasour, but the shogunate was also concerned about a possible invasion by the Iberian colonial powers, which had previously occurred in the New World and the Philippines.[ citation needed ]

Conflict with Hideyori

Replica of Great Buddha of Kyoto build by Hideyori Hokoji(rushanabutsu).jpg
Replica of Great Buddha of Kyoto build by Hideyori

The last remaining threat to Ieyasu's rule was Toyotomi Hideyori, the son and rightful heir to Hideyoshi. [3] He was now a young daimyo living in Osaka Castle. Many samurai who opposed Ieyasu rallied around Hideyori, claiming that he was the rightful ruler of Japan. Ieyasu found fault with the opening ceremony of a temple (Great Buddha of Kyoto) built by Hideyori; it was as if he prayed for Ieyasu's death and the ruin of the Tokugawa clan. Ieyasu ordered Hideyori to leave Osaka Castle, but those in the castle refused and summoned samurai to gather within the castle. Then in 1614, Tokugawa besieged the Osaka Castle against Hideyori.

Siege of Osaka

Main tower of Osaka Castle Osaka Castle Nishinomaru Garden April 2005.JPG
Main tower of Osaka Castle

The Tokugawa forces, with a huge army led by Ieyasu and shōgun Hidetada, laid siege to Osaka Castle in what is now known as "the Winter Siege of Osaka". Eventually, the Tokugawa were able to force negotiations and an armistice after directed cannon fire threatened Hideyori's mother, Yodo-dono. However, once the treaty was agreed, the Tokugawa filled the castle's outer moats with sand so his troops could walk across. Through this ploy, the Tokugawa gained a huge tract of land through negotiation and deception that they could not through siege and combat. Ieyasu returned to Sunpu Castle, but after Toyotomi Hideyori refused another order to leave Osaka, Ieyasu and his allied army of 155,000 soldiers attacked Osaka Castle again in "the Summer Siege of Osaka".

Finally, in late 1615, Osaka Castle fell and nearly all the defenders were killed, including Hideyori, his mother (Toyotomi Hideyoshi's widow, Yodo-dono), and his infant son. His wife, Senhime (a granddaughter of Ieyasu), pleaded to save Hideyori and Yodo-dono's lives. Ieyasu refused and either required them to commit ritual suicide, or killed both of them. Eventually, Senhime was sent back to Tokugawa alive. With the Toyotomi line finally extinguished, no threats remained to the Tokugawa clan's domination of Japan.[ citation needed ]


The tomb of Tokugawa Ieyasu in Nikko Tosho-gu The tomb of Tokugawa Ieyasu.JPG
The tomb of Tokugawa Ieyasu in Nikkō Tōshō-gū

In 1616, Tokugawa Ieyasu died at age 73. [8] The cause of death is thought to have been cancer or syphilis. The first Tokugawa shōgun was posthumously deified with the name Tōshō Daigongen (東照大權現), the "Great Gongen, Light of the East". (A Gongen is believed to be a buddha who has appeared on Earth in the shape of a kami to save sentient beings). In life, Ieyasu had expressed the wish to be deified after his death to protect his descendants from evil. His remains were buried at the Gongens' mausoleum at Kunōzan, Kunōzan Tōshō-gū (久能山東照宮). As a common view, many people believe that after the first anniversary of his death, his remains were reburied at Nikkō Shrine, Nikkō Tōshō-gū (日光東照宮), and his remains are still there. Neither shrine has offered to open the graves, so the location of Ieyasu's physical remains is still a mystery. The mausoleum's architectural style became known as gongen-zukuri , that is gongen-style. [37] He was first given the Buddhist name Tosho Dai-Gongen (東照大權現), then after his death it was changed to Hogo Onkokuin (法號安國院).[ citation needed ]

Era of Ieyasu's rule

Ieyasu ruled directly as shōgun or indirectly as ōgosho (大御所) during the Keichō era (1596–1615).

Ieyasu's character

Handprint of Tokugawa Ieyasu at Kunozan Tosho-gu Tokugawa Ieyasu handprint.jpg
Handprint of Tokugawa Ieyasu at Kunōzan Tōshō-gū
Precepts on the secret of success in life drafted by Tokugawa Ieyasu from the collection of Nikko Tosho-gu Ieyasu precepts.jpg
Precepts on the secret of success in life drafted by Tokugawa Ieyasu from the collection of Nikkō Tōshō-gū

Tokugawa Ieyasu had a number of qualities that enabled him to rise to power. He was both careful and bold—at the right times, and in the right places. Calculating and subtle, Ieyasu switched alliances when he thought he would benefit from the change. He allied with the Later Hōjō clan; then he joined Toyotomi Hideyoshi's army of conquest, which destroyed the Hōjō; and he himself took over their lands. In this he was like other daimyo of his time. This was an era of violence, sudden death, and betrayal. He was not well liked nor personally popular, but he was feared and respected for his leadership and cunning. For example, he wisely kept his soldiers out of Hideyoshi's campaign in Korea.[ citation needed ]

He was capable of great loyalty: once he allied with Oda Nobunaga, he never went against him, and both leaders profited from their long alliance. He was known for being loyal towards his personal friends and vassals, whom he rewarded. He was said to have a close friendship with his vassal Hattori Hanzō. However, he also remembered those who had wronged him in the past. It is said that Ieyasu executed a man who came into his power because he had insulted him when Ieyasu was young. [38]

Ieyasu protected many former Takeda retainers from the wrath of Oda Nobunaga, who was known to harbour a bitter grudge towards the Takeda. He managed successfully to transform many of the retainers of the Takeda, Hōjō, and Imagawa clans—all whom he had defeated himself or helped to defeat—into loyal vassals. At the same time, he was also ruthless when crossed. For example, he ordered the executions of his first wife and his eldest son—a son-in-law of Oda Nobunaga; Nobunaga was also an uncle of Hidetada's wife Oeyo. [39]

Ieyasu was cruel, relentless and merciless in the elimination of Toyotomi survivors after Osaka. For days, scores of men and women were hunted down and executed, including an eight-year-old son of Toyotomi Hideyori by a concubine, who was beheaded. [40]

Unlike Toyotomi Hideyoshi, he harbored no desires to conquer outside of Japan—he only wanted to bring order and an end to open warfare, and to rule Japan. [41]

Ieyasu's favorite pastime was falconry. He regarded it as excellent training for a warrior. "When you go into the country hawking, you learn to understand the military spirit and also the hard life of the lower classes. You exercise your muscles and train your limbs. You have any amount of walking and running and become quite indifferent to heat and cold, and so you are little likely to suffer from any illness.". [42] Ieyasu swam often; even late in his life he is reported to have swum in the moat of Edo Castle. [43]

Two of his famous quotes:

Life is like unto a long journey with a heavy burden. Let thy step be slow and steady, that thou stumble not. Persuade thyself that imperfection and inconvenience are the lot of natural mortals, and there will be no room for discontent, neither for despair. When ambitious desires arise in thy heart, recall the days of extremity thou hast passed through. Forbearance is the root of all quietness and assurance forever. Look upon the wrath of thy enemy. If thou only knowest what it is to conquer, and knowest not what it is to be defeated; woe unto thee, it will fare ill with thee. Find fault with thyself rather than with others. [44]

The strong manly ones in life are those who understand the meaning of the word patience. Patience means restraining one's inclinations. There are seven emotions: joy, anger, anxiety, adoration, grief, fear, and hate, and if a man does not give way to these he can be called patient. I am not as strong as I might be, but I have long known and practiced patience. And if my descendants wish to be as I am, they must study patience. [45] [46]

It is said that he fought, as a warrior or a general, in 90 battles.[ citation needed ]

He was interested in various kenjutsu skills, was a patron of the Yagyū Shinkage-ryū school, and also had them as his personal sword instructors.[ citation needed ]


The familial temple of Tokugawa Ieyasu, Zojo-ji, as depicted by Hiroshige in 1857 100 views edo 049.jpg
The familial temple of Tokugawa Ieyasu, Zōjō-ji, as depicted by Hiroshige in 1857

Tokugawa Ieyasu was known for his devotion to the Jōdo-shū school of Buddhism throughout his life, having been born into the Matsudaira clan which followed Jōdō Buddhism. Demonstrating his constant favor towards the sect, he moved his familial temple to the Zōjō-ji Temple in Edo and funded massive renovations to older Jōdo temples, including the head temple of Chion-in in Kyoto, while also financing the creation of several new temples. After confiding in the abbot of Zōjō-ji temple about wanting to become a deity to protect his country, he was given the advice to regularly recite the nembutsu for the purpose of being born into Amida Buddha's Pure Land of Sukhavati, where he would be able to easily attain Buddhahood and protect his descendants and the entire nation of Japan. Ieyasu readily accepted this advice, and constantly repeated the nembutsu until the day he died. Despite his personal devotion to Jōdo-shū, Ieyasu was not a strict sectarian, placing his secretary Denchōrō, a Rinzai Zen monk, in charge of all religious affairs in Japan, Buddhist and Shinto alike. [47] [48]

Later in life he also took to scholarship and Confucianism, patronizing scholars like Hayashi Razan. [49] [50]

While at first tolerant of Christianity, [51] his attitude changed after 1613 and the persecution of Christians sharply increased, with Ieyasu completely banning Catholicism in 1614. [52]


Parents and siblings


StatusImageNamePosthumous NameBirthDeathParents
Father Matsudaira Hirotada Oseidokantokoji Matsudaira Kiyoyasu
Aoki family's daughter
Mother Odai no Kata October 13, 1602 Mizuno Tadamasa


Mother Side

ImageNamePosthumous NameBirthDeathFatherMarriageIssue
Matsudaira Yasumoto of Sekiyado DomainDaiko-in-dono sugurudensoeidaikoji1552September 19, 1603Hisamatsu Toshikatsu (1526–1587)Matsudaira Tadayoshi (1582–1624) of Ōgaki Domain
Matsudaira Masayoshi
Matsudaira Yasuhisa
Matsudaira Nobusuke (d.1655)
Dōsen-in married Okabe Nagamori (1568–1632) of Ōgaki Domain
Ryuko-in married Suganuma Sadayori (1576–1605) of Nagashima Domain
Matehime (1598–1638) married Fukushima Masayuki (1858–1602) later married Tsugaru Nobuhira of Hirosaki Domain
Tsubakihime married Tanaka Tadamasa (1585–1620) of Yanagawa Domain later married Matsudaira Narishige (1594–1633) of Tamba-Kameyama Domain
Shoshitsu’in married Osuga Tadamasa (1581–1607) of Yokosuka Domain later married Suganuma Sadayoshi (1587–1643) of Tamba-Kameyama Domain
Jomyo-in married Nakamura Kazutada (1590–1609) of Yonogo Domain later married Mōri Hidemoto of Chofu Domain
Matsudaira Yasutoshi1552April 2, 1586Hisamatsu Toshikatsu (1526–1587)Daughter married Matsudaira Katsumasa
Hisamatsu Sadakatsu Sogen-in-dono denyonshinatsugishoukugaentodaikojiHisamatsu Toshikatsu (1526–1587)Okudaira Tatsu, Okudaira Sadatomo (d.1585)’s daughterMatsudaira Sadayoshi (1585–1603)
Matsudaira Sadayuki (1587–1668) of Kuwana Domain
Matsudaira Sadatsuna (1592–1625) of Kuwana Domain
Matsudaira Sadazane (1597–1632)
Matsudaira Sadafusa (1604–1676) of Imabari Domain
Matsudaira Sadamasa (1610–1673) of Kariya Domain
Matsuohime married Hattori Masanari
Kumahime (1595–1632) married Yamauchi Tadayoshi (1592–1665) of Tosa Domain
Daughter married Nakagawa Hisanori (1594–1653) of Oka Domain
Kikuhime married Sakai Tadayuki (1599–1636) of Maebashi Domain
Shōjuin Married Abe Shigetsugu (1598–1651) of Iwatsuki Domain
Tamako married Ikeda Tsunemoto (1611–1671) of Yamasaki Domain
Take-himeChogen-in1553July 28, 1618Hisamatsu Toshikatsu (1526–1587)First: Matsudaira Tadamasa (1543–1577) of Sakurai-Matsudaira clan
Second: Matsudaira Tadayoshi (1559–1582) of Sakurai-Matsudaira clan
Third: Hoshina Masanao
By First: Matsudaira Iehiro (1577–1601) of Musashi-Matsuyama Domain
By Second: Matsudaira Nobuyoshi (1580–1620) of Sasayama Domain
Matsudaira Tadayori of Hamamatsu Domain
By Third: Hoshina Masasada of Iino Domain
Hojo Ujishige (1595–1658) of Kakegawa Domain
Seigen’in married Anbe Nobumori (1584–1674) of Okabe Domain
Yōhime (1591–1664) married Koide Yoshihide (1587–1666) of Izushi Domain
Eihime (1585–1635) married Kuroda Nagamasa of Fukuoka Domain
Kōun-in married Kato Akinari (1592–1661) of Aizu Domain
MatsuhimeHisamatsu Toshikatsu (1526–1587)Matsudaira Yasunaga (1562–1633) of Matsumoto Domain Matsudaira Nagakane (1580–1619)
Matsudaira Tadamitsu (1562–1633)
Matsudaira Yasunao (1617–1634) of Akashi Domain
TenkeiinHisamatsu Toshikatsu (1526–1587) Matsudaira Iekiyo of Yoshida Domain Matsudaira Tadakiyo (1585–1612) of Yoshida Domain

Wives and concubines

StatusImageNamePosthumous NameBirthDeathParentsIssue
First Wife Tsukiyama-dono Shoge-inSeptember 19, 1579Sekiguchi Chikanaga (1518–1562)
Ii Naohira's daughter
Matsudaira Nobuyasu
Second Wife Asahi no kata Nanmeiin1543February 18, 1590
ConcubineNishigori no TsuboneRensho-inJune 19, 1606Udono Nagamochi (1513–1557) Tokuhime (Tokugawa) married Hojo Ujinao later to Ikeda Terumasa of Himeji Domain
ConcubineShimoyama-donoMoshin’in1564November 21, 1591Akiyama Torayasu Takeda Nobuyoshi of Mito Domain
Concubine Bronze statue of "Youjuin".jpg Kageyama-donoYoujuin1580October 13, 1653Masaki Yoritada (1551–1622)
Hojo Ujitaka (d.1609)’s daughter
Tokugawa Yorinobu of Kishu Domain
Tokugawa Yorifusa of Mito Domain
ConcubineKotoku-no-TsuboneChōshō-in1548January 10, 1620Nagami Sadahide Yuki Hideyasu of Fukui Domain
Concubine Saigō-no-Tsubone 1552July 1, 1589Tozuka Tadaharu
Saigo Masakatsu's daughter
ConcubineOtake no KataRyōun-in1555April 7, 1637Ichikawa MasanagaFuri-hime (1580–1617) married Gamō Hideyuki of Aizu Domain later to Asano Nagaakira of Hiroshima Domain
Concubine Chaa-no-Tsubone ChokoinJuly 30, 1621September 17, 1642 Matsudaira Tadateru of Takada Domain
Matsudaira Matsuchiyo of Fukaya Domain
ConcubineOnatsu no KataSeiun’in1581October 24, 1660Hasegawa Fujinao
Concubine Okaji no Kata Eishō-inDecember 7, 1578September 17, 1642Ota Yasusuke (1531–1581)Ichihime (1607–1610)
ConcubineOume no KataRenge-in1586October 8, 1647Aoki Kazunori (d.1600)
Concubine Acha no tubone.jpg Acha no Tsubone UnkoinMarch 16, 1555February 16, 1637Ida Naomasa
ConcubineOmusu no KataShōei-inJuly 26, 1692Mitsui YoshimasaStillborn (1592)
Concubine Okame no Kata.jpg Okame no KataSōōin1573October 9, 1642Shimizu MunekiyoMatsudaira Senchiyo (1595–1600)
Tokugawa Yoshinao of Owari Domain
ConcubineOsen no KataTaiei-inNovember 30, 1619Miyazaki Yasukage
ConcubineOroku no KataYōgen'in1597May 4, 1625Kuroda Naojin
ConcubineOhisa no KataFushōinMarch 24, 1617Mamiya Yasutoshi (1518–1590)Matsuhime (1595–1598)
ConcubineTomikoShinju-inAugust 7, 1628Yamada clan
ConcubineOmatsu no KataHōkōin
ConcubineSanjo Clan
ConcubineMatsudaira Shigetoshi (1498–1589)


ImageNamePosthumous NameBirthDeathMotherMarriageIssue
Matsudaira Nobuyasu Toun-in-dono ryugenchokookyoshiseiroji-dono densanshutegensensudaikojiTokuhime (1576–1607) married Ogasawara Hidemasa (1569–1615) of Matsumoto domain
Kamehime (1577–1626) married Honda Tadamasa of Himeji Domain
By Concubine: Banchiyo
Toku-hime Ryōshō-inNishigori no Tsuboneby First: Manshuin-dono (1593)
Manhime (d. 1602)
Senhime (b. 1596) married Kyokogu Takahiro (1599–1677) of Miyazu Domain
By Second: Ikeda Tadatsugu (1599–1615) of Okayama Domain
Ikeda Tadakatsu (1602–1632) of Okayama Domain
Ikeda Teruzumi (1604–1662) of Shikano Domain
Ikeda Masatsuna (1605–1631) Of Akō Domain
Furihime (1607–1659) married Date Tadamune of Sendai Domain
Ikeda Teruoki (1611–1647) Of Akō Domain
Yuki Hideyasu Jokoin-dono shingendoyounseidaikojiKotoku-no-TsuboneTsuruko, Edo Shigemichi's daughter
Tokugawa Hidetada May 2, 1579
Matsudaira Tadayoshi Shokoin-dono keneigenmodaikoji
Furi-himeShōsei-in1580September 27, 1617Otake no KataFirst: Gamō Hideyuki of Aizu Domain
Second: Asano Nagaakira of Hiroshima Domain
By first: Gamō Tadasato (1602–1627) of Aizu Domain
Gamō Tadatomo (1604–1634) of Iyo-Matsuyama Domain
Yorihime (1602–1656) married Kato Tadahiro (1601–1653) of Dewa-Maruoka Domain
By Second: Asano Mitsuakira of Hiroshima Domain
Takeda Nobuyoshi Joken-in-dono eiyozenkyozugendaizenjomonShimoyama-donoTenshoin, Kinoshita Katsutoshi's daughter
Matsudaira Tadateru Shorin-in-dono shinyokisogesendaikoji
Matsudaira Matsuchiyo Eishoin-dono
Matsudaira SenchiyoKogakuin-dono kesoiyodaidojiApril 22, 1595March 21, 1600Okame no Kata
Matsuhime15951598Ohisa no Kata
Tokugawa Yoshinao By Concubines: Tokugawa Mitsutomo of Owari Domain
Kyōhime (1626–1674) married Hirohata Tadayuki (1624–1669)
Tokugawa Yorinobu Nanryuin-dono nihonzeneaiyotenkotakojiby Concubines: Tokugawa Mitsusada of Kishu Domain

Matsudaira Yorizumi (1641–1711) of Saijō Domain
Inabahime (1631–1709) married Ikeda Mitsunaka (1630–1693) of Tottori Domain
Matsuhime married Matsudaira Nobuhira (1636–1689) of Takatsukasa-Matsudaira Clan

Tokugawa Yorifusa
Ichi-himeSeiun’inJanuary 28, 1607March 7, 1610 Okaji no Kata

Speculated children

ImageNamePusthomous NameBirthDeathMotherMarriageIssue
Suzuki IchizoSeptember 10, 1556Daughter of Hatago of post station in Totoumi Province
Nagami SadachikaMarch 1, 1574January 5, 1605Kotoku-no-TsuboneNagami clan's daughterNagami Sadayasu
Matsudaira Minbu15821616Omatsu-no-Kata
Ogasawara Gonnojō1589May 7, 1615Sanjo ClanKondo Hidemochi (1547–1631) of Iinoya Domain's daughterSon
Daughter married Mamiya Nobukatsu
Daughter married Nakagawa Tadayuki
Ii Naotaka Kyūshō-in-dono Gōtokuten'eidaikoji
Doi Toshikatsu Hōchiin-dono denshuhoonyotaiokyogendaikojiMatsudaira Chikakiyo’s daughterBy concubines: Doi Toshitaka (1619–1685) of Koga Domain
Doi Katsumasa
Doi Toshinaga (1631–1696) of Nishio Domain
Doi Toshifusa (1631–1683) of Ōno Domain
Doi Toshinao (1637–1677) of Ōwa Domain
Katsuhime married Ikoma Takatoshi of Yashima Domain
Kazuhime married Hori Naotsugu (1614–1638) of Murakami Domain
Katsuhime married Matsudaira Yorishige of Takamatsu Domain
Inuhime married Inoue Yoshimasa
Kahime married Nasu Sukemitsu (1628–1687) of Karasuyama Domain
Goto HiroyoJuny 24, 1606March 14, 1680Ohashi-no-Tsubone, Aoyama Masanaga’s daughter
Tokugawa Iemitsu Lady Kasuga By concubines: Chiyohime (1637–1699) married Tokugawa Mitsutomo of Owari Domain
Tokugawa Ietsuna, 4th Shogun
Kamematsu (1643–1647)
Tokugawa Tsunashige of Kofu Domain
Tokugawa Tsunayoshi, 5th Shogun
Tsurumatsu (1647–1648)

Adopted children

ImageNamePosthumous NameBirthDeathParentsMarriageIssue
Xiao Song Ji .jpg Komatsuhime Dairen-in1573Mar 27, 1620 Honda Tadakatsu
Ohisa no Kata
Sanada Nobuyuki of Matsushiro Domain Manhime (b. 1592) married Kōriki Tadafusa of Shimabara Domain
Kenju-in married Sakuma Katsumune
Sanada Nobumasa of Matsushiro Domain
Sanada Nobushige (1599–1648) of Hanishina Domain
Tokuhime Minetaka-in15761607 Okazaki Nobuyasu
Ogasawara Hidemasa (1569–1615)Manhime (1592–1666) married Hachisuka Yoshishige of Tokushima Domain
Ogasawara Tadanaga (1595–1615)
Ogasawara Tadazane (1596–1667)
Hōju-in (1597–1649)
Ogasawara Tadatomo (1599–1663)
Matsudaira Shigenao (1601–1643)
Ogasawara Tadayoshi
Ogasawara Nagatoshi
Matsudaira Ieharu.jpg Matsudaira IeharuTorin’in dokaisosakudaizenzomon1579April 15, 1592 Okudaira Nobumasa of Kano Domain
Kanahime Shōjō-in1582Nov 3, 1656 Mizuno Tadashige (1541–1600)
Tsuzuki Yoshitoyo’s daughter
Katō Kiyomasa (1562–1611) of Kumamoto Domain
RenhimeChōju-in1582August 24, 1652Matsudaira Yasunao (1569–1593) of Fukaya Domain
Honda Hirotaka’s daughter
Arima Toyouji (1569–1642) of Kurume Domain Arima Tadayori (1603–1655) of Kurume Domain
Arima Nobukata
Arima Yoritsugu (1611–1649)
Okudaira Tadamasa Oyamahoei Kokoku-inYoshun’in-dono, Satomi Yoshiyori (1543–1587)’s daughterOkudaira Tadataka (1608–1632) of Kano Domain
Matsudaira Tadaaki Tenshoin shingangentetsudaikojifirst: Oda Nobukane of Kaibara Domain's daughter
Second: Koide Yoshimasa (1565–1613) of Izushi Domain's daughter
From Concubines: Matsudaira Tadahiro (1631–1700) of Yamagata Domain
Matsudaira Kiyomichi (1634–1645) of Himejishinden Domain
Murihime married Nabeshima Tadanao (1613–1635) later married Nabeshima Naozumi of Hasunoike Domain
daughter married Okubo Tadamoto (1604–1670) of Karatsu Domain
daughter married Kyogoku Takatomo (1623–1674) of Mineyama Domain
daughter married Shijo Takasube (1611–1647)
daughter married Sakakibara Kiyoteru
daughter married Osawa Naochika (1624–1681)
Man Tian Ji .jpg MatehimeYojuin1589May 5, 1638Matsudaira Yasumoto (1552–1603) of Sekiyado Domain First: Fukushima Masayuki (1858–1608)
Second: Tsugaru Nobuhira of Hirosaki Domain
By First: Daidōji Naohide II (1606–1636)
By Second: Tsugaru Nobufusa (1620–1662) of Kuroishi Domain
Dairyouinn.jpg Ei-himeDairyō-in1585March 1, 1635 Hoshina Masanao
Takehime (1553–1618; ieyasu's half-sister)
Kuroda Nagamasa of Fukuoka Domain Kuroda Tadayuki (1602–1654) of Fukuoka Domain
Tokuko married Sakakibara Tadatsugu (1605–1665) of Himeji Domain
Kuroda Nagaoki (1610–1665) of Akizuki Domain
Kuroda Takamasa (1612–1639) of Torenji Domain
Kameko married Ikeda Teruoki (1611–1647) of Ako Domain
KumahimeKōshō-in1595April 12, 1632 Hisamatsu Sadakatsu of Kuwana Domain
Tatsu (Okudaira Sadatomo {d. 1585}’s daughter)
Yamauchi Tadayoshi (1592–1665) of Tosa Domain Yamauchi Tadatoyo of Tosa Domain
Yamauchi Tadanao of Tosa-Nakamura Domain
Kiyohime married Matsushita Nagatsuna (1610–1658) of Miharu Domain
KunihimeEijuin1595April 10, 1649 Honda Tadamasa of Himeji Domain
Kumahime (1577–1626; Matsudaira Nobuyasu’s daughter)
First: Hori Tadatoshi (1596–1622) of Takada Domain
Second: Arima Naozumi of Nobeaka Domain
by Second: Arima Yasuzumi (1613–1692) of Nobeaka Domain
Arima Zumimasa
daughter married Honda Masakatsu (1614–1671) of Koriyama Domain
Daughter adopted by Honda Masakatsu
daughter married Akimoto Tomitomo (1610–1657) of Yamura Domain
KamehimeEnshō-in1597November 29, 1643 Honda Tadamasa of Himeji Domain
Kumahime (1577–1626; Matsudaira Nobuyasu’s daughter)
First: Ogawara Tadanaga (1595–1615)
Second: Ogasawara Tadazane of Kokura Domain
By First: Shigehime (d.1655) married Hachisuka Tadateru of Tokushima Domain
Ogasawara Nagatsugu (1615–1666) of Nakatsu Domain
By second: Ogasawara Nagayasu (1618–1667)
Ichimatsuhime (b. 1627) married Kuroda Mitsuyuki (1628–1707) of Fukuoka Domain
Ogasawara Naganobu (1631–1663)
Tomohime married Matsudaira Yorimoto (1629–1693) of Nukada Domain
ManhimeKyōdaiin1592February 7, 1666Ogasawara Hidemasa (1569–1615) of Matsumoto Domain
Tokuhime (1576–1607; Matsudaira Nobuyasu’s daughter)
Hachisuka Yoshishige of Tokushima Domain Hachisuka Tadateru of Tokushima Domain
Mihohime (1603–1632) married Ikeda Tadakatsu (1602–1632) of Okayama Domain
Manhime (1614–1683) married Mizuno Narisada (1603–1650)
TsubakihimeKyusho-inMatsudaira Yasumoto (1552–1603) of Sekiyado Domain First: Tanaka Tadamasa (1585–1620) of Yanagawa Domain
Second: Matsudaira Narishige (1594–1633) of Tamba-Kameyama Domain
Jomyo-inMatsudaira Yasumoto (1552–1603) of Sekiyado Domain First: Nakamura Kazutada (1590–1609) of Yonogo Domain
Second: Mōri Hidemoto of Chofu Domain
Hanahime Matsudaira Yasuchika (1521–1683), Ebara Masahide's daughter Ii Naokatsu of Annaka Domain
Masako married Matsudaira Tadayoshi of Oshi Domain
Kotoko’in married Date Hidemune of Uwajima Domain
Ryuko-inMatsudaira Yasumoto (1552–1603) of Sekiyado Domain Suganuma Sadayori (1576–1605) of Nagashima Domain
KikuhimeKogen’in1588October 28, 1661Abe Nagamori (1568–1632) of Ogaki Domain
Matsudaira Kiyomune (1538–1605) of Hachiman'yama Domain's daughter
Nabeshima Katsushige of Saga Domain Ichihime married Uesugi Sadakatsu (1604–1645) of Yonezawa Domain
Tsuruhime married Takeu Shigetoki (1608–1669)
Nabeshima Tadanao (1613–1635)
Nabeshima Naozumi of Hasunoike Domain
Hojoin married Isahaya Shigetoshi (1608–1652)

Nabeshima Naohiro (1618–1661) of Shiroishi-Nabeshima clan
daughter married Kakomi Tsunatoshi
Nabeshima Naotomo (1622–1709) of Kashima Domain
Priest Kyōkō
daughter married Nabeshima Naohiro
Kakomi Naonaga

KanahimeShōjō-in1582November 3, 1656 Mizuno Tadashige Katō Kiyomasa of Kumamoto Domain Yasohime (1601–1666) married Tokugawa Yorinobu of Kishu Domain
YōhimeTeishō-in1591August 10, 1664 Hoshina Masanao
Takehime (1553–1618, Ieyasu's half-sister)
Koide Yoshihide (1587–1666) of Izushi DomainTaitō
Daughter Married Miura Katsushige (1605–1631) of Shimōsa-Miura Domain later Yamauchi Katsutada
Koide Yoshishige (1607–1674) of Izushi Domain
Hoshina Masahide (1611–1678)
Koide Hidemoto
Koide Hidenobu
Kogaku-in married Tachibana Tanenaga (1625–1711) of Miike Domain
Daughter Married Matsudaira Nobuyuki (1631–1686) of Koga Domain
Seigen'in Hoshina Masanao
Takehime (1553–1618, Ieyasu's half-sister)
Abe Nobumori (1584–1674) of Okabe Domain Abe Nobuyuki (1604–1683) of Okabe Domain
Shosen'in1642Makino Yasunari (1555–1610) of Ogo Domain Fukushima Masanori of Hiroshima Domain daughter married Minase Kanetoshi
daughter married Ono Inuoemon
Matsudaira Iekiyo of Yoshida Domain Asano Nagashige (1588–1632) of Kasama Domain Asano Naganao of Ako Domain
daughter married Asano Nagaharu (1614–1675) of Miyoshi Domain
daughter married Matsudaira Tadatake
Shoshitsu'inMatsudaira Yasumoto (1552–1603) of Sekiyado Domain First: Osuga Tadamasa (1581–1607) of Yokosuka Domain
Second: Suganuma Sadayoshi (1587–1643) of Tamba-Kameyama Domain
by First: Sakakibara (Osuga) Tadatsugu (1605–1665) of Himeji Domain
By Second: Suganuma Sadaakira (1625–1647) of Tamba-Kameyama Domain
daughter married Ogasawara Naganori (1624–1678) of Yoshida Domain
Dōsen-inMatsudaira Yasumoto (1552–1603) of Sekiyado Domain Okabe Nagamori (1568–1632) of Ōgaki Domain Okabe Nobukatsu (1597–1668) of Kishiwada Domain
Hisamatsu Sadakatsu of Kuwana Domain
Tatsu (Okudaira Sadatomo {d.1585}’s daughter)
Nakagawa Hisanori (1594–1653) of Oka DomainNakagawa Hisakiyo (1615–1681) of Oka Domain
Komatsuhime Manhime married Koriki Tadafusa of Shimabara Domain
Masahime married Sakuma Katsumune (1589–1616)
Sanada Nobumasa (1597–1658) of Matsushiro Domain
Sanada Nobushige (1599–1648) of Hashina Domain


Honnōji theory

Among the many conspiracy theories surrounding the Honnō-ji Incident is Tokugawa Ieyasu's role in the event. Historically, Ieyasu was away from his lord at the time and, when he heard that Oda Nobunaga was in danger, he wanted to rush to his lord's rescue in spite of the small number of attendants with him. However, Honda Tadakatsu advised for his lord to avoid the risk and urged for a quick retreat to Mikawa Province. Hattori Hanzō led the way through Iga Province and they returned home by boat. [54]

However, skeptics think otherwise. While they usually accept the historically known facts about Ieyasu's actions during Akechi Mitsuhide's betrayal, theorists tend to pay more attention to the events before. 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. Generally, there is some belief that he privately goaded Mitsuhide to take action when the two warlords were together in Azuchi Castle. Together, they planned when to attack and went their separate ways. When the deed was done, Ieyasu turned a blind eye to Mitsuhide's schemes and fled the scene to feign innocence. A variation of the concept states that Ieyasu was well aware of Mitsuhide's feelings regarding Nobunaga and simply chose to do nothing for his own benefit.[ citation needed ]

Ieyasu's life and accomplishments were used as a model for the Japanese leader portrayed in James Clavell's historical novel Shōgun . The 1980 television miniseries adaptation of the novel, starring Toshiro Mifune as the Shōgun, and the 2024 miniseries, starring Hiroyuki Sanada as the Shōgun, both used Ieyasu as a key reference. [55] [56]

See also

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  2. These include Matsudaira Jirōsaburō Motonobu, Matsudaira Kurandonosuke Motoyasu, and finally, Tokugawa Ieyasu.


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Further reading

Military offices
Preceded by Shōgun :
Tokugawa Ieyasu

Succeeded by