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  #21  
Old 03-11-2021, 04:20 AM
Aristocracy
 
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Originally Posted by Countessmeout View Post
I mean when a princess went to her new home it was usually a big show, but I think that might put most of them to shame in the Western world. The length, the numbers, the cost is just wow.

Feel bad for the peasants and other travelers along the road during all of that.
Imagine something like this happened in any European monarchy. They're not even allowed to watch, in contrast to how it was/is in Europe where the crowd would gather to watch as the procession passed.
There would be a huge riot!

The thing is, Japanese Emperors were protected by their divinity status and it the past, the "authority" (aka shogunate) protected it by hiding them. It was the contrary of "to be believed, I'll have to be seen", but more like "to be believed, nobody should see me." I mean, they're "God" and people would start to wonder if they saw how the said "God" look like ordinary human, right?

Actually Kazu-no-miya was not the first Imperial Princess who married into Tokugawa shogunate, but I couldn't find any reference whether the previous princesses had as "extravagant" travel as her or not.
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  #22  
Old 03-11-2021, 11:06 AM
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What a remarkable account!

Fascinating read.

It is quite true that that first foreign treaties were a downright humiliation of Japan. One stipulation was that foreign (Western) citizens could not be tried and sentenced by a Japanese court for crimes in Japan. And that Japanese legislation did not necessarily apply to foreigners. It basically had to be a crime according to what was common internationally.

There was one example where a samurai killed a foreigner for committing a serious transgression. (I can't remember the exact details though.) The samurai was forced to commit seppuku in front of representatives of the country, the killed foreigner came from
The samurai died with honor, but it was a dishonor for Japan as a whole.

Japan soon send the best and brightest out into the world to learn. To learn about the world, technique, organization, development you name it.
The lessons learned was brought back and became the start of Japan as a modern industrialized nation - with a military strong and modern enough to deter foreign intervention.
It worked. In two generations Japan was string enough to inflict no less that than three crippling defeats of a major western power, Russia. In the 1905 war.
The naval attack on Port Arthur, knocking out the Russian Pacific fleet. The defeat of the Russian Baltic fleet later on at Tsushima. (Moving a fleet halfway across the world, was a remarkable achievement! Russian almost ended up having a war in Britain on their hands though. See the Doggerbank incident.)
And the army defeating the Russian land forces taking Port Arthur, and thereby Korea.
That victory led to a Japanese overconfidence and in Japan expanding, first in Manchuria and later China.
What Japan also, most adeptly, did was to exploit the Western rivalry and in particular in courting both Britain and Germany. Germany had a number of smaller colonies in the Pacific and wished for Japan to help protecting them.
While Britain wanted Japan to help an already over extended Royal Navy to help patrol and protect the British interests in the Pacific. Not least in regards to a recovering Russia, with ambitions in Asia. If Russia focused on Japan, Russia wouldn't move south towards India.
Already by around 1900 Japan was in a position where it was considered an equal to the Western powers during the intervention in the Boxer Rebellion in China.
Japan viewed USA with a mix of admiration. They wanted to become a developed industrial nation, with considerable possessions in the Pacific, just like USA.
But also with a great deal of trepidation. That had not forgotten that it was USA that forced Japan to open up - with Japan being powerless. A huge humiliation!
At the same time as Japan was building up its industrial strength, there was an increasing need for raw-materials. But most of the available natural supplies were already colonized by Western powers. Hence Japans interest in China, but also, quietly, Siberia.

Japan was on the winning side in WWI, and gained quite a lot with very little effort. And by the early 1920's Japan turned into a nationalist, militarist state...
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  #23  
Old 03-12-2021, 09:29 PM
Aristocracy
 
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IMO the Tokugawa-Edo shogunate approach in maintaining their power seems to be by wealth instead of by military force like the two previous shogunate regimes (Hojo-Kamakura and Ashikaga-Muromachi), perhaps taking lesson from the downfall of Ashikaga (with the sengoku) and Hideyoshi (the failed Korea campaigns). So after eliminating their opponent through force (Sekigahara and Osaka Seige), to prevent any potential threat from other daimyo the Tokugawa did a regular “domain arrangement” so no daimyo could amass enough wealth to be any threat. Another way is by ordering them to make regular visit to Edo (which of course would be costly for those daimyo).

By “closing” Japan from foreigner, which was not really fully close since the shogunate still engaged in foreign trade in secret. Or in another word, they had the full control of foreign trade and by monopolising it they also made sure that they’re the only one who’d gain wealth. In this case, I don’t buy if they’re not aware of the development outside Japan. So when the “Black Ship” happened, they knew that fighting would potentially make them being colonised (like India by UK and Indonesia by Dutch). Therefore, signing the treaties to (maybe) buy a time. I see it as pragmatic move.

On the other side, the Imperial palace (both imperial family and noble courtiers) had been completely isolated in Kyoto for long time. Sure, there’s a couple foreign embassy’s visit, but if there’s any “talk” it’d be more like pleasantries of gift presenting (the “serious talk would be with the shogunate) and most likely the one who received and engaged them was the daijo-kan, not the emperor himself. So I will not surprise if everyone in the palace was ignorant of the outside development, and coupled with the emperor’s god-status, they might even think that the world really revolved around them and the coming of foreigner would “tarnish” their culture. The way of seeing foreigner/stranger as barbaric is not exclusive to Japan, Westerners also thought like that to almost every foreign civilisation they’d encountered, wasn’t it?

Then there’s Satsuma-Tosha side, which mostly consisted of samurai who’d been “fell victim” of those early domain rearrangement. Understandably they held long grudge against the Tokugawa. But with their position in the south of Japan, they were far from Edo and used it as excuse to limit their visit to Edo while secretly gathering wealth and man power. It was said that they made a move after the death of Iemochi because they feared the potential of Yoshinobu would become “the 2nd Ieyasu”.

Sometimes I wonder, if Yoshinobu had been picked as shogun instead of Iemochi or even earlier Iesada could abdicate for him, maybe the outcome of Meiji Restoration would be different so did Japan’s involvement in the WWII.
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  #24  
Old 03-13-2021, 03:15 AM
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Originally Posted by yukari View Post

IMO the Tokugawa-Edo shogunate approach in maintaining their power seems to be by wealth instead of by military force like the two previous shogunate regimes (Hojo-Kamakura and Ashikaga-Muromachi), perhaps taking lesson from the downfall of Ashikaga (with the sengoku) and Hideyoshi (the failed Korea campaigns). So after eliminating their opponent through force (Sekigahara and Osaka Seige), to prevent any potential threat from other daimyo the Tokugawa did a regular “domain arrangement” so no daimyo could amass enough wealth to be any threat. Another way is by ordering them to make regular visit to Edo (which of course would be costly for those daimyo). (1)

By “closing” Japan from foreigner, which was not really fully close since the shogunate still engaged in foreign trade in secret. Or in another word, they had the full control of foreign trade and by monopolising it they also made sure that they’re the only one who’d gain wealth. In this case, I don’t buy if they’re not aware of the development outside Japan. So when the “Black Ship” happened, they knew that fighting would potentially make them being colonised (like India by UK and Indonesia by Dutch). Therefore, signing the treaties to (maybe) buy a time. I see it as pragmatic move.
(2)

On the other side, the Imperial palace (both imperial family and noble courtiers) had been completely isolated in Kyoto for long time. Sure, there’s a couple foreign embassy’s visit, but if there’s any “talk” it’d be more like pleasantries of gift presenting (the “serious talk would be with the shogunate) and most likely the one who received and engaged them was the daijo-kan, not the emperor himself. So I will not surprise if everyone in the palace was ignorant of the outside development, and coupled with the emperor’s god-status, they might even think that the world really revolved around them and the coming of foreigner would “tarnish” their culture. The way of seeing foreigner/stranger as barbaric is not exclusive to Japan, Westerners also thought like that to almost every foreign civilisation they’d encountered, wasn’t it?
(3)

Then there’s Satsuma-Tosha side, which mostly consisted of samurai who’d been “fell victim” of those early domain rearrangement. Understandably they held long grudge against the Tokugawa. But with their position in the south of Japan, they were far from Edo and used it as excuse to limit their visit to Edo while secretly gathering wealth and man power. It was said that they made a move after the death of Iemochi because they feared the potential of Yoshinobu would become “the 2nd Ieyasu”.

Sometimes I wonder, if Yoshinobu had been picked as shogun instead of Iemochi or even earlier Iesada could abdicate for him, maybe the outcome of Meiji Restoration would be different so did Japan’s involvement in the WWII.
(4)

Numbers again.

(1) In the same way as Louis XIV started the practice about gathering the nobility at Versailles. It was also very much for control. - And just around the same time the "Edo-pilgrimages" started. There are a number of remarkable and parallel similarities between Europe and Japan, independent of each other.
It was not only expensive for the Daimyos, but certainly also for the Shogunate! But then again, civil war and rebellions are even more expensive.

(2) They were certainly not ignorant. The Shogunate among other things imported books from Europe and they questioned tradesmen who had gone abroad. The problem was that the political elite in Japan didn't fully understand what they read or were told. How could they? The information was simply too fragmented and the world described too alien to fully comprehend. In order to do that, you have to go out, see, hear and talk.
And you are right. The treaties bought time. Japan had no choice. They would suffer the salami-approach, as was happening in China. The various major powers would slowly (because no single power would be allowed to take control of China) take control of China one slice at the time. Using a mix of treaties, internal rivalry, backed up by military force. In Japan, probably one island at the time... There would unquestionably be daimyos who were willing to be set up as local puppet kings and the Shogunate would have been powerless against them.

(3) The concept of regarding foreigners as barbarians is pretty universal. IIRC the Greek word for foreigner is basically barbarian. Practically all major cultures worth mentioning looked down upon outsiders to some degree.
Even the Apache tribe (Tineh tribe actually) who were by no means rich or powerful, regarded everybody else not as inferior, but as vassals - to be treated as such.
I find you thoughts about the isolated Imperial family interesting! There is little doubt in my mind, that the Shoguns made sure they were as little informed as possible. But to what extent were they really ignorant? Fascinating, eh?

(4) How so?
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  #25  
Old 03-13-2021, 11:46 PM
Aristocracy
 
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Originally Posted by Muhler View Post
(4)

(4) How so?
I take it you mean my opinion about Yoshinobu. Well, here's my reason:

- Even when the shogunate was "ruled" by the roju (the elders/chamberlains, because the shogun wasn't capable or not interested in governing like the case of Ieshige), there's no big "war" during Edo period, compared to the Kamakura and Muromachi period. It's also said that Tokugawa clan valued frugality, simplicity and discipline (there's some exception like Ienari) so either that or they're good at preventing insurgent.

- Yoshinobu was taught in the literary and*martial arts, as well as receiving a solid education in the principles of politics and government at*Kōdōkan. He was brought up and groomed to be a leader. Compared to the few previous shogun, he's the most prepared one. I mean in short time he managed to significantly strengthen national army and navy, which had already been formed under Tokugawa command, by gaining the assistance of the Russians, and the*Tracey Mission*provided by the British Royal Navy and purchasing equipment from the United States. This guy knew what's he's doing.

- Unlike the previous shogunate, the Tokugawa shogunate didn't end because they "lost" the war. Yoshinobu resigned from his position and for me it said something about his character/wisdom (Boshin War happened after he resigned and he's not the one who instigated it) . And don't forget, his mother was an Arisugawa princess so those bakufu-imperial family reconsiliation might work better with him as shogun.

- So given time, if he became a shogun a decade earlier (him instead of the teenage Iemochi), Meiji Restoration might still happen but in more peaceful way.

- As for World War, I always think that "pride" is the biggest source of Japanese's strength but it's also one that brought their downfall. After restoration, the power returned to people at the palace aka the noble courtiers. As I wrote on my previous post, being isolated in Kyoto for too long might make them become out of touch towards the real world outside, more than the people in charge in the shogunate (marriage between imperial family and noble was a norm so those noble might also thought they had "blood of god" in their veins). Out of touch, big ego, arrogance >>> rule the world because we're superior.

Maybe if there's still some influence of the shogunate (mere mortal, not "god"), the sense of superiority wouldn't be that big.
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  #26  
Old 03-14-2021, 04:35 AM
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Fascinating.

I'll have to do some reading up on Yoshinobu.

See? You are again making me read stuff. This really can't go on.

Becoming out of touch may (probably was) have been a problem at the court. But by the early 1930's it had become a genuine problem at the military/political leadership (That was pretty much the same thing as Japan was de facto run by a military junta by that time.)
Japan had stopped sending out their best and brightest to learn and study abroad.
What was the point? Japan is the best country in the world with the purest and strongest moral fiber and most stellar civilization. - Nationalism at full throttle...
In fact those who had traveled abroad were the nationalists seen as "tainted." Their sense of Bushido had gone "soft" so to speak by associating with foreigners.
Even admiral Yamamoto, who was untouchable after Pearl harbor, was frowned upon, and he was increasingly ignored when he presented his thoughts on the long term military and political strategy of the Japanese leadership.
Many if not most of his contemporaries, who had studied abroad, and who had risen to prominent positions during the 1930's were either sidelined or promoted out - some were even murdered!
That also included top politicians and diplomats, who were also sidelined, ousted or murdered.
- When I repeatedly state that it was the best and brightest who were send abroad, it's no exaggeration. They were the ones who were destined to go all the way to the top and they were selected early on.

In contrast to those were the nationalists. Practically none of them had even been abroad, let alone studied. In fact they prided themselves of never having been abroad.
They failed to understand the West, in particular USA. They failed to comprehend the vast resources and economic strength of in particular USA, once mobilized. It's down to basics: They failed to comprehend that a plant that produced say 100.000 cars a year, could after a period be modified to produce tens of thousands of planes a year.
Japan had no such resources, that they did comprehend though.
Just as bad, the nationalists failed to understand that they had awoken something in China. Patriotism among the ordinary Chinese.
In the eyes of the nationalists, China was a political chaos and weak, ripe for the plucking. The ordinary Chinese should have a knock on the head and be told what to do, that's should suffice.
The result was that by 1940 Japan had been mired in a hopeless and endless, unwinnable war, from which it could not extract itself. Not without Japan, and the Japanese nationalists losing face.
Something similar happened in the late 1500's when Japan invaded Korea, as you will remember.

Deliberate isolationism, especially combined with nationalism, simply couldn't work.

And that leads me to Emperor Hirohito.
The big question is how much did he know before 1945 and to what extent did he support the nationalist policy?
It was in everybody's interest that Emperor Hirohito was presented as benign after WWII, and he certainly learned and adapted to the changed circumstances after WWII - something present day Japanese, should perhaps be more grateful for than they are...
However, there is IMO very little evidence to even suggest that Emperor Hirohito had any qualms about the aggressive policy of the 1930's. I.e. invading China and declaring war on basically all the Allied nations. (They made sure to stay clear of the Soviet Union, because Japan had been bloodnosed severely in a number of border battles in 1938 IIRC.)

And a little definition, just for the sake of it:
Patriotism: Loving your country and wanting the best for your country, while acknowledging that other people love their country as well.
Nationalism: The firm belief that your country may not be the most powerful in the world, but it's certainly the best in the world and as such should have a leading global role. - Even at the cost of other countries.
- Nationalism is alive and well in leading political circles in Japan these days...
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  #27  
Old 03-17-2021, 10:49 AM
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17 March 1537 – Birth of Toyotomi Hideyoshi 豊臣 秀吉, the second "Great Unifier" of Japan.

Note: The date of birth is more of tradition instead of actual record. Very little is known for certain about Toyotomi Hideyoshi before 1570 and he spoke very little about his past.

He was born as a farmer's son with no traceable samurai lineage in Nakamura Village in Owari Province (Aichi Prefecture). Initially he didn’t have surname. It is said that he met Nobunaga the first time when he was standing under a tree, for that he later took a surname of Kinoshita (literally means “under a tree”). He later served Oda Nobunaga as an ashigaru – a peasant employed by the samurai as a foot soldier and distinguished himself gradually.

There are several famous episodes in his sandal-bearer period, such as, he had voluntarily taken the position of the construction director of Kiyosu Castle, or food procurement director, and achieved great success with all of them; but these episodes have no historical evidences and seem to be just a legend. By these achievements he made a success to gain Nobunaga's favour and distinguished himself among Oda followers.

He was assigned to govern Kyoto with Akechi Mitsuhide and others in 1568 when Nobunaga went up to Kyoto. In 1570, he served the battle to defeat Asakura Yoshikage of Echizen province. Oda troops made inroads well, but when they were on the march around Kanegasaki, Nagamasa AZAI of northern Omi, who was on Oda's side, suddenly attacked them from behind. Although it was a desperate struggle of pincer operation by Azai and Asakura, Hideyoshi brought up the rear successfully with Ikeda Katsumasa and Akechi Mitsuhide.

After Azai clan was subverted in 1573, Hideyoshi was given three counties of northern Omi, which had been ruled by Azai, changed the place-name of Imahama to Nagahama, and became a lord of Nagahama Castle (in Omi Province). Around this time, he changed surname from Kinoshita to Hashiba. He tried to recruit human resources well from Omi province and promoted former Azai vassals and talented young men such as Ishida Mitsunari aggressively.

He continued to rise as Nobunaga’s general; he successfully subdued followers of Akamatsu clan (an official of Muromachi Shogunate) and got Himeji Castle from Kodera Takataka, defeated several vassal of the Mori clan over Uezuki Castle after the offensive and defensive battle, defeated Bessho Nagaharu who was a lord of Harima Miki Castle by starving strategy for two years, and in the same year he also defeated Arikoyama Castle where Yamana Takahiro of Tajima province stuck. Yamana vassals rose in revolt at Tottori Castle after an exile of Yamana Toyokuni, Hideyoshi took starving strategy after dominating foods around Tottori and defeated them (the battle of Tottori Castle). He continued to fight against Mori Terumoto, who ruled Chugoku region. In the same year, he attacked Iwaya Castle (Awaji province) and ruled Awaji province, and later invaded Bicchu province and flooded Takamatsu Castle (Bicchu Province), which Shimizu Muneharu of Mori’s side protected (Mizuzeme against Takamatsu Castle). For the capture of Chugoku region such as the battle at Miki, starving strategy of Tottori Castle and flooding Takamatsu Castle, he showed his real ability as 'Hideyoshi, an expert at assault of castle'.

After Nobunaga was killed (suicide) at the incident of Honno-ji Temple during Mitsuhide’s rebellion, Hideyoshi went back to Kyoto to manage other warriors' activities, and defeated Mitsuhide at the battle of Yamazaki, which resulted him in becoming Nobunaga's successor. That position was cemented after he came up as winner in his conflict with Shibata Katsuie (who committed seppuku).

He also had a brief conflict with Tokugawa Ieyasu, but resolved by “exchanging hostage”. Hideyoshi sent his mother to “live” under Ieyasu’s watch and marrying his sister to Ieyasu (she was married, and for that, her husband was ordered to commit seppuku). In exchange, Ieyasu sent his second son Ogimaru to be Hideyoshi’s adopted son. Ieyasu later went to Kyoto to swear to become a vassal of Hideyoshi.

As he rose in power, Hideyoshi’s wealth was also increase. He built Osaka Castle in the former place of Ishiyama Honganji Temple. Otomo Yoshishige, a daimyo of Bingo province was said to be very surprised at luxuriousness of this castle and praisedit as 'the most wonderful castle in the world'.

Following Nobunaga’s example, he didn’t aim the position of shogun. Instead, using his wealth, he bribed Konoe Sakihisa to adopt him as son and given new surname Toyotomi (Sakihisa was only one year older than him) to secured a succession of high court titles Chancellor (Daijō-daijin) and later became kampaku (regent). As kampaku, he managed to fulfil Nobunaga’s ambition to unify Japan, effectively ending the sengoku period. At that point, practically he’s the one who rule Japan.

He introduced such policies as 'Taiko Kenchi' (nationwide location survey), the imposition of a rigid class structure, restrictions on travel, and 'Katanagari' (sword hunt). During the Sengoku period, it had become common for peasants to become warriors, or for samurai to farm due to the constant uncertainty caused by the lack of centralized government and always tentative peace. Upon taking control, Hideyoshi decreed that all peasants be disarmed completely. Conversely, he required samurai to leave the land and take up residence in the castle towns. This solidified the social class system for the next 300 years. Politically, he set up a governmental system that balanced out the most powerful Japanese warlords (or daimyōs). A council was created to include the most influential lords. At the same time, a regent was designated to be in command.

Despite having many concubine, at the age of 52 he only had one son who later died in 1591. Hideyoshi then adopted his nephew, Hidetsugu, and named him as his heir. He resigned as kampaku to take the title of taikō (retired regent) and Hidetsugu succeeded him as kampaku.

Yearning for some accomplishment to solidify his legacy, he adopted Oda Nobunaga's dream of a Japanese conquest of China and launched the conquest of the Ming dynasty by way of Korea (at the time known as Koryu or Joseon). As an ally of Ming China, the Joseon government of the time at first refused talks entirely, and in April and July 1591 also refused demands that Japanese troops be allowed to march through Korea. The government of Joseon was concerned that allowing Japanese troops to march through Korea (Joseon) would mean that masses of Ming Chinese troops would battle Hideyoshi's troops on Korean soil before they could reach China, putting Korean security at risk. In August 1591, Hideyoshi ordered preparations for an invasion of Korea to begin.

In only four months, Hideyoshi's forces had a route into Manchuria and occupied much of Korea. The Korean king Seonjo of Joseon escaped to Uiju and requested military intervention from China. In 1593, the Wanli Emperor of Ming China sent an army under general Li Rusong to block the planned Japanese invasion of China and recapture the Korean peninsula. The Ming army of 43,000 soldiers headed by Li Ru-song proceeded to attack Pyongyang. On January 7, 1593, the Ming relief forces under Li recaptured Pyongyang and surrounded Seoul, but Kobayakawa Takakage, Ukita Hideie, Tachibana Muneshige and Kikkawa Hiroie won the Battle of Byeokjegwan in the suburbs of Seoul. At the end of the first campaign, Japan's entire navy was destroyed by Admiral Yi Sun-sin of Korea whose base was located in a part of Korea the Japanese could not control. This, in effect, put an end to Hideyoshi's dream of conquering China as the Koreans simply destroyed Japan's ability to re-supply their troops who were bogged down in Pyongyang.

During this invasion, his concubine Yodo-dono gave birth to Toyotomi Hideyori, creating a potential succession problem. To avoid it, in 1595, he exiled Hidetsugu and later ordered him to commit seppuku by the reason of his immorality. His wife and children were also put to death at the same time. Hidetsugu's family members who did not follow his example were then murdered in Kyoto, including 31 women and several children. There are various views as to whether Hidetsugu's immorality was true or not; there is a view that Hideyoshi regarded him as a nuisance because his son was born.

This birth of a son also gave Hideyoshi a new motivation for his Korean Campaign, which met with less success than the first invasion. While Hideyoshi's battle at Sacheon was a major Japanese victory, all three parties to the war were exhausted. He told his commander in Korea, "Don't let my soldiers become spirits in a foreign land.” This put a seed of displeasure in the heart of several daimyo towards Toyotomi clan, something that Ieyasu took benefit later.

On 18 September 18 1598 Hideyoshi passed away at Fushimi Castle, asking Tokugawa Ieyasu and Maeda Toshiie, a guardian of Hideyori to look after affairs. There are various views on the reason of his death such as a stomach cancer. He died at 61 years old. Hideyori inherited the family estate. His death was kept secret by the Council of Five Elders to preserve morale, and they ordered the Japanese forces in Korea to withdraw back to Japan. Because of his failure to capture Korea, Hideyoshi's forces were unable to invade China. Rather than strengthen his position, the military expeditions left his clan's coffers and fighting strength depleted, his vassals at odds over responsibility for the failure, and the clans that were loyal to the Toyotomi name weakened. It was not until the late 19th century that Japan again fought a war against China through Korea, using much the same route that Hideyoshi's invasion force had used.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyotomi_Hideyoshi
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  #28  
Old 03-17-2021, 10:49 AM
Aristocracy
 
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Hideyoshi's favourite concubine and the mother of his two sons, Yodo-dono or Chacha, was the eldest daughter of Ichi (younger sister of Nobunaga) and Azai Nagamasa.

Hideyoshi killed Nagamasa when he attacked the Azai clan and Ichi committed suicide when he attacked Shibata Katsuie (he was her second husband after Nagamasa).

It was said that Hideyoshi was attracted to Ichi and wanted to marry her, but after Nagamasa's death, she chose Katsuie. After Ichi's death, Hideyoshi adopted her three daughter (including Chacha). Chacha was 30 years his junior.
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Old 03-20-2021, 02:36 AM
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20 March 1181 – Death of Taira no Kiyomori 平 清盛, the first samurai to establish samurai-dominated administrative government in the history of Japan.

>>Note: the official recorded date is 治承5年閏2月4日(Jishō 5, 4th day of the 2nd month). I found several version of its Christian calendar date, which are 20 March 1181 (Wikipedia), 21 March 1181 (Britannica), and 27 March 1181. I choose 20 March simply because I found more books/references with 20 March than 21 March. There’s table of comparison between Jishō year to Christian calendar/Julian date here (in Japanese) if you’re interested.<<

He was born the first son of Taira no Tadamori, the head of the Ise branch of the Taira clan. There’s also speculation that he’s actually Emperor Shirakawa’s son who was later given to Tadamori who raised him as his own son.

It has been said that, when he was young, he often visited the residence of Fujiwara no Ienari, who was the most favoured retainer of cloistered Emperor Toba (who ruled through insei). After the death of his first wife, Kiyomori married Taira no Tokiko, daughter of Taira no Tokinobu. Tokinobu was a Hogan-dai (an administrative official of the retired-Emperor's Office) of cloistered Emperor Toba, and together with Fujiwara no Akiyori and Takashina no Michinori (Fujiwara no Shinzei), he was in charge of business affairs at the government affairs office, thus another connection to Toba.

In 1147, during the Gion-toran-jiken (the Gion Brawling Incident), an arrow shot by the Kiyomori’s side accidentally hit the holy shrine. Although the Enryaku-ji Temple, whose branch temple was Gion-sha Shrine, strongly demanded deportation of Tadamori and Kiyomori, Toba protected them from the wrath of the temple. With the death of Iemori, his younger half brother, in 1149, Kiyomori's position as a person of the direct clan lineage therefore became firmly established. He created huge profits by being appointed Aki-kokushu (Governor of Aki Province) and obtaining naval dominance over the Seto Inland Sea, and he and his father together expanded their power to Sai-goku (Western Japan) and in 1153, after the death of Tadamori, he became the head of the Ise branch of the Taira clan in Kyoto.

In 1156 a conflict for power erupted between the retired emperor Sutoku and his younger brother, the reigning emperor Go-Shirakawa (both were sons of Emperor Toba). Sutoku attempted a coup d’état with the support of the Minamoto warrior clan, led by Minamoto Tameyoshi. Kiyomori supported Go-Shirakawa in the ensuing conflict, known as the Hōgen Disturbance (Hōgen no ran), one of the bloodiest and bitterest in Japanese history, and emerged victorious, partly because of the defection of Tameyoshi’s son, Yoshitomo.

Dissatisfied with his share of the spoils, Yoshitomo took advantage of Kiyomori’s absence from the capital during the winter of 1159–60 to seize power, an act that precipitated the Heiji Disturbance. Although taken by surprise, Kiyomori gathered what forces he could muster and advanced in a series of daring, cleverly executed maneuvers. Victorious, he returned to the capital and annihilated his enemies, allowing only Yoshitomo’s two infant sons to live, a leniency he later regretted.

Due to his status as the head of the sole remaining warrior clan, it allowed Kiyomori to gain control over the Imperial army and police. This led Kiyomori to establish the foundation of a samurai government.

He put himself to be the guardian of Emperor Nijō and was also appointed to betto (a chief official of the retired emperor's office) of Go-shirakawa-incho (the Retired Emperor Go-Shirakawa's Office), creating a situation where Kiyomori worked for both the Emperor and the retired Emperor. He also arranged a marriage between Go-Shirakawa and his sister in law, Shigeko (Tokiko’s sister) and later a marriage between his daughter, Moriko, to the kanpaku, Fujiwara no Motozane, to establish a firm and close relationship with a sekkan (court noble) family. This arrangement allowed him to establish a strong political system.

Because Emperor Rokujō, the successor to Emperor Nijō, was still young, Motozane took political leadership as regent, and Kiyomori was promoted to Dainagon (Chief of the Counsellor of State) and assisted Motozane. Kiyomori then pushed Norihito, Shigeko’s son, to become crown prince and he became Naidaijin (Minister of the Center) and eventually rose to become the first courtier of a warrior family to be appointed Daijō-daijin (Chancellor of the Realm), the chief minister of the government and the de facto administrator of the imperial government. In 1168, he forced Rokujō to abdicate in favour of Norihito, who later became Emperor Takakura, and in 1171, arranged marriage between the new emperor and his daughter, Tokuko.

However, many of the courtiers from traditional (non-warrior) noble families were less than pleased with both Kiyomori's attainment of power, and how he comported himself with regard to other high ranking courtiers. This include Go-Shirakawa.

In July, 1177, the Shishigatani Incident occurred. The occurrence of incident was revealed by the betrayal of Tada Yukitsuna, and this made Kiyomori plan to remove vassals of the Cloistered Emperor in the cloister government. As a result, Fujiwara no Moromitsu was executed, Fujiwara no Narichika was deported to Bizen no kuni (Bizen Province) (where he did not received any food and died). Kiyomori, however, did not charge Go-Shirakawa.

In 1179, Go-Shirakawa seized shiteki-keryo (the land for official hereditary Court nobles) and Echizen no kuni (Echizen Province)without consulting Kiyomori. Furthermore, the Cloistered Emperor appointed 8-year-old Matsudono Moroie to be Gon-chunagon (Deputy Middle Counselor) instead of 20-year-old Motomichi (whose wife was Kiyomori's daughter, Hiroko). As a result of this appointment, it became clear that the Matsudono family would succeed the sekkan family post.

Kiyomori, finally becoming furious about Go-Shirakawa's moves that had ignored him, led an army to the capital, this was the so-called Jisho-sannen no seihen (the Coup in 1179: the third year of the Jisho era); Kiyomori fired all 39 court nobles and Imperial vassals (8 aristocrats and a total of 31 tenjo-bito (high-ranking courtiers allowed into the Imperial Palace), zuryu (a provincial governor), and kebiishi (police and judicial chiefs) who were considered to be anti-Taira clan, including kanpaku Motofusa, Gon-chunagon Moroie, and Fujiwara no Moronaga, and replaced them with court nobles who were pro-Taira clan. Go-Shirakawa was afraid of Kiyomori's move and therefore asked to be forgiven, but Kiyomori never forgave him and confined him in the Toba-dono palace. The Go-Shirakawa insei came to a complete end there.

Finally, in 1180 Kiyomori forced Emperor Takakura to abdicate and give the throne to his two years old son, Tokihito, who then became Emperor Antoku. Exercising power through his grandson, Kiyomori moved the capital from Kyoto to his own city of Fukuhara (modern Kōbe), which provided ready access to the Inland Sea and the rich trade routes with China.

With the exertion of Taira power and wealth and Kiyomori's new monopoly on authority, many of his allies, most of the provincial samurai, and even members of his own clan turned against him. The first wave of resistance against the Taira clan's tyranny was the rise of an army led by Mochihito, the second son of Go-Shirakawa, backed by one of Kiyomori’s trusted chieftains, Minamoto no Yorimasa, but the rebellion was easily crushed. Yorimasa was executed, but Mochihito managed to flee.

Mochihito managed to gain support from Minamoto no Yoritomo, Yoshitomo’s son who had been spared in his youth and then seized the opportunity to raise a revolt, in which he gained the support of many warriors in the outlying provinces. Meanwhile, temples also started to show an anti-Taira clan trend even at Enryaku-ji Temple (at that time, the temple had their own army) and this created a situation where Kiyomori was surrounded by powerful temples.

An army was dispatched from the capital to quell the rebellion, but the Taira forces, weakened by many years of luxurious living, were no match for the frontier troops and were immediately defeated. Turning over all government administration to his son, Munemori, Kiyomori devoted himself to building a new army, but before the task could be accomplished, he died in Kujo-kawaraguchi at the age of 64 due to fever.

In 1185, 4 years after Kiyomori’s death, Yoritomo annihilated the last of the Taira clan, including the emperor Antoku, and established the first shogunate government; the Kamakura shogunate.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taira_no_Kiyomori
https://www.japanese-wiki-corpus.org...0Kiyomori.html (The chronology and events are fine, but the date is not accurate. It seems whoever wrote this, has "translated" the Japanese date directly into Christian date without proper conversion).

Fiction recommendation:
Novel: Yoshikawa Eiji's "Shin Heike Monogatari" (English translation by Fuki Wooyenaka Uramatsu: (2002) The Heike Story: A Modern Translation of the Classic Tale of Love and War. Tokyo: Tuttle Publishing. ISBN 978-0-8048-3318-9)

Film: 2012 NHK Taiga drama "Taira no Kiyomori" (if you've never watched Taiga before, I suggest to skip the first 10 episodes. Taiga never changes the actors of the main characters throughout the series. It's a bit hard to stomach a 27 years old Matsuyama Kenichi plays 12 years old Kiyomori or 27 years old Matsuda Shota plays 7 years old Masahito (later Emperor Go-Shirakawa)).
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  #30  
Old 03-20-2021, 04:21 PM
Muhler's Avatar
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As always interesting posts from you, Yukari.

Hideyoshi is a most fascinating person!

His rise is an interesting consequence of the endemic civil wars during the 1500s.
Ashigarus were conscript (mainly) peasants soldiers, who were given rudimentary training a simple weapons and send in en mass to overwhelm an opponent, be that samurais or other ashigaru units. Casualties were largely irrelevant, they were basically arrow-fodder.
But the constant warfare meant that ashigaru units were retained longer and as such became more and more professional and battle-hardened.
Combined with the losses among the samurai-class that meant that individual ashigarus could advance by merit and cross the class-boundaries. Something most unusual in Japanese history!
At the same time the military commanders also became more professional and result-oriented. Otherwise they lost and died. So why the samurai class frowned upon ashigarus rising up the ranks, it was simply a question of necessity.

So Hideyoshi were among those who proved his worth and rose to the top and a Japan, that was a close to being egalitarian as it had ever been before or would be for the next 350 years.

Interesting Hideyoshi indeed did take stern initiatives to prevent ashigarus from doing like him - in fact they were to be disarmed as soon as possible. And that included the ordinary peasants who scavenged the battlefields for discarded weapons and armor - very often killing wounded in the process.
It was also very much a concern in the samural class that they would be usurped by the peasants if the ashigarus got too much power - or just as bad, realized how much power they actually had! The samurais were certainly outnumbered.

Ieyasu, who later became Shogun, quickly ensured that the ashigarus were neutralized. It's interesting to speculate as to whether it was Ieyasu who convinced Hideyoshi to agree with that policy or whether that was a part of a political deal.
Hideyoshi, who had risen to the top, might also have more simply selfish political motives: he didn't want competition from people like himself nor was he interested in a more unruly peasant political uprising, that could also turn into a revolution. That was to be avoided!
The samurais were more easy to deal with perhaps, as long as they retained their status and property they would stick to status quo.

- This situation where Japan, could very well have faced a serious peasant rebellion had parallels to Europe. In the early 1500s there were a number of serious peasant rebellions in Central Europe in particular and they got close to attaining their goals: More political influence, distribution of wealth and a more rights, not least human rights. These rebellions were crushed with great difficulty and great cruelty.
It is said that the Central European "obedience to orders", were founded around 1520. - Sie werden so oft geknecht das Knechte geworden. (Forgive my German.) = They were broken so often that they became slaves.

- In Japan, that happened too, though without the same bloodbath. But the result was similar: The peasant class ended up with very few rights. They were reduced to serfs.
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  #31  
Old 03-20-2021, 10:47 PM
Aristocracy
 
Join Date: Feb 2020
Location: Jakarta, Indonesia
Posts: 215
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muhler View Post
As always interesting posts from you, Yukari.

Hideyoshi is a most fascinating person!

His rise is an interesting consequence of the endemic civil wars during the 1500s.
Ashigarus were conscript (mainly) peasants soldiers, who were given rudimentary training a simple weapons and send in en mass to overwhelm an opponent, be that samurais or other ashigaru units. Casualties were largely irrelevant, they were basically arrow-fodder.
But the constant warfare meant that ashigaru units were retained longer and as such became more and more professional and battle-hardened.
Combined with the losses among the samurai-class that meant that individual ashigarus could advance by merit and cross the class-boundaries. Something most unusual in Japanese history!
At the same time the military commanders also became more professional and result-oriented. Otherwise they lost and died. So why the samurai class frowned upon ashigarus rising up the ranks, it was simply a question of necessity.

So Hideyoshi were among those who proved his worth and rose to the top and a Japan, that was a close to being egalitarian as it had ever been before or would be for the next 350 years.

Interesting Hideyoshi indeed did take stern initiatives to prevent ashigarus from doing like him - in fact they were to be disarmed as soon as possible. And that included the ordinary peasants who scavenged the battlefields for discarded weapons and armor - very often killing wounded in the process.
It was also very much a concern in the samural class that they would be usurped by the peasants if the ashigarus got too much power - or just as bad, realized how much power they actually had! The samurais were certainly outnumbered.

Ieyasu, who later became Shogun, quickly ensured that the ashigarus were neutralized. It's interesting to speculate as to whether it was Ieyasu who convinced Hideyoshi to agree with that policy or whether that was a part of a political deal.
Hideyoshi, who had risen to the top, might also have more simply selfish political motives: he didn't want competition from people like himself nor was he interested in a more unruly peasant political uprising, that could also turn into a revolution. That was to be avoided!
The samurais were more easy to deal with perhaps, as long as they retained their status and property they would stick to status quo.

- This situation where Japan, could very well have faced a serious peasant rebellion had parallels to Europe. In the early 1500s there were a number of serious peasant rebellions in Central Europe in particular and they got close to attaining their goals: More political influence, distribution of wealth and a more rights, not least human rights. These rebellions were crushed with great difficulty and great cruelty.
It is said that the Central European "obedience to orders", were founded around 1520. - Sie werden so oft geknecht das Knechte geworden. (Forgive my German.) = They were broken so often that they became slaves.

- In Japan, that happened too, though without the same bloodbath. But the result was similar: The peasant class ended up with very few rights. They were reduced to serfs.
I agree on the comparison to 16th century Europe. I once had this discussion with a friend comparing Napoleon and Hideyoshi/Kiyomori (but without the abolition of the monarchy for the latter two).

I also wonder whether enforcing class boundary was Hideyoshi's or Ieyasu's idea. Then again, when Hideyoshi was "adopted" by Konoe, he basically rose to become noble, something that the Tokugawa never did. But then, I will compare him with Kiyomori. Over 2 centuries before, samurai was treated as the noble's "dog", they're expendable similar to ashigaru to the daimyo during Hideyoshi's era. If Hideyoshi had Nobunaga, Kiyomori had Tadamori to pave the way so they could rise in status. And just like Hideyoshi prevented other peasant to rise like him, Kiyomori also didn't let other samurai clans to rise their status like him. So maybe it's Hideyoshi (being greedy. Something like giving a beggar $1m, he'd spend it with the rich but won't share it with other beggar). Ieyasu simply saw the benefit of his action and decided to continue it.
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