Toyotomi Hideyori (豊臣秀頼)

Hideyori TOYOTOMI (also known as TOYOTOMI no Hideyori or Hideyori HASHIBA) was a daimyo from the Azuchi-Momoyama period to the beginning of the Edo period.

His childhood name was Hiroimaru. His father was Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI and his mother was Yodo-dono, who was a concubine of Hideyoshi.
He had two children, Kunimatsu TOYOTOMI from a concubine, Waki no kata (her name was Icha; she was from the Watanabe clan) and Nahime from Oiwa no kata (from the Narita clan) (However, with respect to the real mother, there are different views.)
His official rank was Shonii Udaijin (Senior Second Rank, Chief of the Imperial Japanese Council of State)

His wet nurses were Kunaikyo no tsubone, Ukyodaibu no tsubone (there is a view that they were the same person) and Shoeini. Also, Okurakyo no tsubone, who was a wet nurse to his mother, Yodo-dono, was his dry nurse.

Birth of Hideyori/Death of Hideyoshi

It is said that he was a child who was born in Osaka-jo Castle in 1593 when Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI was 57 years old.
As none from the large number of concubines of Hideyoshi gave birth to a child, it was, however, rumored already at that time that Hideyori was not Hideyoshi's real child (with regard to the father and child relationship between Hideyori TOYOTOMI and Hideyoshi.)

As Hidetsugu TOYOTOMI, who had been assigned to the position of Kanpaku (chief adviser to the Emperor) from Hideyoshi as his adopted heir and who was his cousin and brother-in-law, was ousted and forced to commit seppuku in 1595, Hideyori was brought up in Fushimi-jo Castle as the successor of the Toyotomi clan. Hideyoshi, in his later days, established a collegial system that was conducted by Gotairo (Council of Five Elders) and Gobugyo (five major magistrates) for giving advice to Hideyori. As Hideyoshi died in 1598, Hideyori took over as head of the family and moved to Osaka-jo Castle.

After Hideyoshi's death, Ieyasu TOKUGAWA, who was a member of Gotairo, increased his power and a serious conflict occurred in the Toyotomi Government. Because of the death of Toshiie MAEDA, a member of Gotairo, and the downfall of Mitsunari ISHIDA, a member of Gobugyo, and due to the attack on Mitsunari ISHIDA by seven commanders, Ieyasu seized the initiative in the Toyotomi Government.

Battle of Sekigahara

When the Battle of Sekigahara, in which Mitsunari and so on raised an army, occurred in 1600, Hideyori was placed under the protection of Terumoto MORI, who was a member of Gotairo and was set up as the leader of the Western Camp. In Sekigahara, part of Nanategumi, troops of Hideyori's bodyguards, joined the Western Camp, but both the Eastern and Western Camps fought in the cause of "For Hideyori" and, after the battle, Hideyori showed appreciation to Ieyasu as a loyal subject. After the war, however, Ieyasu, by his sole discretion, distributed shoryo (territory) of the head family of Toyotomi (head family of Hashiba). Before the battle, Hideyori had a shoryo of 2.2 million goku (approx. 330,000 tons), but he was robbed of the shoryo that was entrusted to the daimyo, and his shoryo decreased to amounts from Settsu, Kawachi and Izumi Provinces, 650 thousand koku (approx. 97,500 tons) in total. From the position of successor to the reigns of government, he was degraded to the position of mere daimyo for Settsu, Kawachi and Izumi Provinces.
It seems that kurairichi (directly controlled territory) continued to exist (However, control was gradually transferred to bakufu [Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun].)

In addition, as Ieyasu was appointed to Seii Taishogun (literally, "great general who subdues the barbarians") in 1603 and began construction of Edo-jo Castle and commenced the establishment of a samurai government, Hideyori was virtually ousted from the seat of power and absorbed into the Tokugawa government. Conflict between the Toyotomi and the Tokugawa families occurred, but in the same year, Hideyori married Senhime (a granddaughter of Ieyasu, her mother was Sugenin, a younger sister of Yodo-dono), the daughter of Hideyori who was the second shogun and he was appointed to udaijin (minister of the right) in 1605. Ieyasu wanted to meet Hideyori in Kyoto and asked Hideyori to come to Kyoto, but his real mother, Yodo-dono, opposed and continue to decline his request. At that time Ieyasu gave up and dispatched his sixth son, Tadateru MATSUDAIRA to Osaka-jo Castle to meet Hideyori. In 1611, when Emperor Goyozei abdicated to the Emperor Gomizunoo, Hideyori went to Kyoto with the pretext 'to greet to the grandfather of his legitimate wife Senhime' guarded by Kiyomasa KATO and Yukinaga ASANO and had a meeting with Ieyasu in Nijo-jo Castle in Kyoto.

Even after that, however, Hideyori did not serve the Tokugawa family as subject. In other words, Hideyori had still formally been Ieyasu's master. On the other hand, Kiyomasa KATO, Yukinaga ASANO, and Terumasa IKEDA upon who Hideyori depended, died from disease before the Siege of Osaka began.

Osaka Fuyu no Jin (Winter Siege of Osaka)

Ieyasu, for whom it became impossible to continue catering to the Toyotomi family formally the master, parted his ways with Hideyori triggered by an incident concerning an inscription on the bell for Hoko-ji Temple in 1614 and then Osaka Fuyu no Jin occurred.

Although the Toyotomi family sent out circulars to the daimyo who enjoyed the kind favors of the Toyotomi family particularly Masanori FUKUSHIMA and Yoshiakira KATO, nobody joined the Osaka side and only Fukushima gave silent approval for confiscating the rice stored in warehouses in Osaka. On the other hand tens of thousand of ronin (masterless samurai) who had been roving because that their masters joined the Western Camp in the Battle of Sekigahara and were defeated and broken up and so-called roninshu (masterless former daimyo, etc.) such as and Nobushige SANADA (Yukimura), Mototsugu GOTO, Morichika CHOSOKABE, Katsunaga MORI and Takenori AKASHI entered Osaka-jo Castle. The morale of the ronin was very high but it was difficult to control ronin because they were scratch teams and a confrontation occurred between roninshu and Harunaga ONO and Yodo-dono and this confrontation could not be solved. For example, when Nobushige SANADA and so on proposed to march on to Kyoto, Harunaga ONO and so on, strongly opposed and finally it was decided to hole up in Osaka-jo Castle.

In the beginning of the war, forts surrounding Osaka-jo Castle were overrun like what happened in the battle of Kizugawaguchi (1614) and Bakurobuchi, and other forts were abandoned and the troop retreated to Osaka-jo Castle and they were also defeated in the battle of Noda and Fukushima. Although they were defeated in the battles of Imafuku and Shigino, they showed resistance when it came to track down the troops of Yoshinobu SATAKE and, therefore, it was known that the Osakagata was strong.

In the battle of the Osaka-jo Castle, because of struggle of roninshu and the defending capability of Osaka-jo Castle, the troops of the bakufu fought against heavy odds and, although they tried to invade the castle, they were beaten back every time and, especially during the battle at Sanadamaru, the bakufu side suffered heavy casualties. The bakufu side attacked with gunfire day and night in order to put psychological pressure on the shirogata (people in the castle). One shell which flew to Honmaru landed near Yodo-dono and smashed the body of a maid making Yodo-dono afraid.

Gradually, however, foodstuff and ammunition were exhausted on the both sides, Toyotomi's side and bakufu's side, and Ieyasu proposed peace talks at that time. Although it is said that Hideyori was against peace talks from the beginning, peace talks were realized partly because of Yodo-dono's opinion.

Osaka Natsu no Jin (Summer Siege of Osaka)

A peace treaty was concluded on condition that the moats should be done away with. However, the Tokugawa's side did not have any intention of lasting peace and planned to attack and destroy the Toyotomi family and this peace talk was part of a deceptive ploy. The bakufu's side hastened to backfill the moat. As the castle without a moat was limited to hadakajiro (castle without guards), the Osaka side protested but, in turn, it was required to purge all ronin and to change territory.

During the next year, 1615, the Osaka side refused to purge the ronin and change territory, and started to dig a moat again, and, therefore, Ieyasu attacked Osaka-jo Castle and the Osaka Natsu no Jin occurred.

Harufusa ONO led the troops and sortied to Koriyama in Yamato Province and, after conquering and despoiling, returned to Osaka-jo Castle. In order to counterattack the large bakufu army, which came up to the north from Hannan (south of Osaka), in a narrow area so, that their own troops, inferior in number, could fight off a larger army of the bakufu, the troop core marched to the Yao district. They fought in battles of Yao and Wakae as well as the Domyoji, and Morichika CHOSOKABE wiped out the troops of Takatora TODO. However, Shigenari KIMURA and Mototsugu GOTO who fought bravely were killed in battle and they retreated. Also, Harufusa ONO made a sortie to beat Nagaakira ASANO in cooperation with an uprising in Kii Province. However, Danemon BAN, the spearhead, was defeated by the troops of Asano in the battle of Kashii and, when the main unit arrived, the troops of Asano had already retreated to Kii Province and the main unit returned to the castle having nothing more to do.

Toyotomi's side, whose troop strength was exhausted because of repeated defeat, tried to tough out the decisive war when Ieyasu and Hidetada took up their positions in Osaka. These were the battles of Tennoji and Okayama. Nobushige wanted to have Hideyori take the field in order to boost the morale of the troops on the Toyotomi's side, but it could not be realized. It is said that Yodo-dono opposed strongly because of her love for her son.

In the Okayamaguchi district, troops led by Harufusa ONO tracked down and cut their way into the headquarters of Hidetada TOKUGAWA, but they were obliged to retreat because of the large bakufu troops that had gathered together.

In the Tennoji district, Nobushige SANADA and Katsunaga MORI took their positions.. Nobushige SANADA displayed a brave fight as praised by both sides as 'the best warrior in Japan' and drove out the troops on Tokugawa's side and approached very close to the headquarters of Ieyasu. He repeated fierce charges several times. Although he pursued Ieyasu to force him to kill himself with a sword, he could not complete his chase to the end. Later, Nobushige was killed during his retreat. Other troops on the Toyotomi's side were annihilated one after another.

The downfall of Toyotomi soke (head family)

After having pushed back the troops on the Toyotomi's side, the bakufu troops entered Osaka-jo Castle and even ronin who were in the Osaka-jo Castle began to loot the castle. Then, the castle tower of Osaka-jo Castle burst into flames and, although Hideyori and his mother escaped to Yamazatomaru, they were sieged by the troops of Tokugawa. It is said that, before the castle tower burst into flames, Harunaga ONO begged for the life of Hideyori in exchange for the delivery of Senhime in vain and Hideyori committed suicide in Yamazato Kuruwa together with his mother, Yodo-dono, Harunaga ONO. He died at the age of 23.

Later, his son, Kunimatsu TOYOTOMI was killed, but his daughter Nahime was spared, partly because of mediation by Senhime, on condition that she should become a Buddhist nun. It is said that, when Guen Shonin died at the age of 80 in the beginning of the Genroku era, he said that he was the second son of Hideyori TOYOTOMI and he was three years old at the time of the fall of Osaka-jo Castle ("Jodo Honcho Kosoden").

His grave exists in Yogen-in Temple in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City.

He is enshrined in Toyokuni-jinja Shrine in Chuo Ward, Osaka City together with Hideyoshi and Hidenaga TOYOTOMI, his uncle.

In 1980, remains that seemed to be Hideyori's were uncovered from the ruins of Sannomaru at Osaka-jo Castle and were laid to rest in Seiryo-ji Temple in Kyoto.

Record of offices and ranks held

Date according to old lunar calendar

May 13, 1596: Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank); Sakone gon no chujo (Provisional Middle Captain of the Left Division of Inner Palace Guards)

April 20, 1598: Junii (Junior Second Rank); Chunagon (vice-councilor of state) (Transfer to gon chunagon [a provisional vice-councilor of state] without experience of sangi was after the example of promotion of sekkan-ke [line of regents and advisers to emperor], Fujiwara clan.)

March 27, 1601: Dainagon (chief councilor of state)

January 6, 1602: Shonii (Senior Second Rank)

April 22, 1603: Naidaijin (minister of the center)

April 13, 1605: Udaijin (minister of the right)

January 11, 1607: Resigned as Udaijin

Personal Profile

It is said that Hideyori was educated in court noble style and his chirography which had been handed down is highly appreciated.
At present, an image of a wimpy well-bred boy who was small in statute had gone around, but it has been passed on that, in fact, he was an extraordinary hulk who was 197cm high and weighed approximately 161kg (Image-wise, this is a body frame similar to the present sumo wrestler, Takanonami.)
It is said that he had dignity as busho (military commander) so that certain reports recorded that, when Ieyasu met Hideyori in Nijo-jo Castle, Ieyasu became frightened from Hideyori's charisma resulting from his large physique and made his mind to bring down the Toyotomi family. In drama and on stage in recent years, this point was reproduced exactly, and, on stage "SANADA" and Taiga-drama (NHK's historical drama) "Aoi Tokugawa Sandaiki," and so on, large, tall actors played the adult Hideyori. In particular in the latter one, his figure wearing oyoroi (big armor) was painted to emphasize his large size. Toru WATANABE (actor) correctly represented the body weight, in "Kasuga no tsubone" (NHK's taiga drama).

Therefore, this is one of the causes for doubting that he was the real child of Hideyoshi who was actually smaller than approximately 152cm and famous as 'a small size military commander' even at that time when the average height was considerably shorter when compared to today. However, when we consider his grandfather, Nagamasa ASAI and grandmother Oichi no kata who were tall, it is no wonder that Hideyori was large in body size.

It is also said that he was pockmarked from smallpox.

He got along with his wife, Senhime. However, they did not have a child between them and instead adopted a child from Hideyori's concubine.

It is said that he liked Kamaboko (boiled fish paste) very much.

According to "Honaiki," a life history of Hideyori composed during the Edo period, 'Hideyori obeyed the will of Taiko (Hideyoshi) to allow Ieyasu, Seii Taishogun, control the reigns and he confined himself in Osaka-jo Castle. He attached value to rei (decorum) and executed gi (justice), and he admired the behavior of saints and sages, and removed evil thoughts and pitied self-interest and thought for the general public and wished day and night that the nation would became rich. Therefore, if he would have administered the affairs of state, peaceful eras of Engi and Tenchi would have appeared in Japan again.
People must have waited for Hideyori's administration, like they wait for a cloud that brings rain during serious drought.'

It was commented in "Histoire de la religion cherétienne au Japon depuis 1598 jusqu'à 1651" by Leon PAGÉS, who was a Japanologist, as 'The cause of Hideyori's failure was his stubborn superstition and there is no reason to feel pity for him.'

Regarding father/son relationship with Hideyoshi

Since olden times, there was a view that Hideyori was not the real child of Hideyoshi.

As Hideyoshi was from a farmer's family, exceptional for a sengoku daimyo (Japanese territorial lord during the Sengoku period), he had no interest in pederasty, but on the other hand, he loved a large number of ladies. In 'Historia de Iapam' by Luis FROIS, for example, it was recorded that he had 300 concubines and, even if it may be exaggerated, it seems that a rather large number of ladies were in Osaka-jo Castle.

However, as no child was born with any lady other than Yodo-dono (Many researchers doubt the existence of his children at the time of Nagahama-jo Castle in Omi Province, for example; his first child, Hidekatsu HASHIBA [Ishimatsumaru]), and only Yodo-dono bore two children, therefore, doubt about relationship of Hideyoshi and Hideyori have been raised. In this case, it is rather difficult to believe that Tsurumatsu TOYOTOMI was Hideyoshi's child. As grounds for denying Hideyori's father/child relationship with Hideyoshi, it was pointed out that during the time of the dispatching of troops to Korea, Hideyoshi stayed in Nagoya-jo Castle from May 1592 for more than 14 months except for the period in which he returned to Kyoto when his mother, Omandokoro, was very serious ill..

As for the question who was the real father of Hideyori, well-known opinions have named Harunaga ONO and Mitsunari ISHIDA (also Katsumoto KATAGIRI), and a ridiculous view named Ieyasu TOKUGAWA and Sanzaburo NAGOYA. The main reasons were that Harunaga was a foster brother to Yodo-dono and Mitsunari was from Omi Province, where the first home of Yodo-dono, the Asai family governed and Yodo-dono highly valued his brilliant mind. In particular, with respect to Harunaga, since there is a record that he had illicit intercourse with Yodo-dono, there are many researchers who consider Harunaga the real father. There are no grounds that justify such opinions, however, and it is also said that they were to unduly injure the status of busho who had close connections to the Toyotomi family. With respect to Mitsunari (or Katsumoto), when Yodo-dono got pregnant with Hideyori, he was in Korea because of the Bunroku-Keicho War, the father/child relationship can be reasonably negated.

With respect to the opinion that he has no resemblance in appearance to Hideyoshi, it is not worth looking into because, in addition to the above-mentioned blood line from his grandparents, the story that Nobunaga called Hideyoshi 'saru' (monkey) was fiction composed in a later age (Refer to the section for evaluation of Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI.)

In the past, there was a view that Kodaiin is responsible for Hideyoshi's not having a child (or having few children). It was an incorrect judgment based upon the idea of predominance of men over women and, as he did not have many children with a number of ladies other than Kodaiin (if we count a child during the age of Nagahama-jo Castle as really existing, there must have been two boys and a girl who died very young before Hideyori.), we should consider that Hideyoshi's physical conditions were the causes why he did not have many children.

There is a view that Ieyasu endeavored to decrease the power of the Toyotomi family immediately after Hideyoshi's death (more precisely, after the death of Toshiie MAEDA) and the general public accepted this and many daimyo who enjoyed the kind favors of the Toyotomi family joined the Ieyasu's side is evidence that such double dealing had gone around already at that time.

Views on Hideyori's survival

As nobody witnessed the instant when Hideyori died, and bodies had not been found, it is described in "Nihon Seikyoshi" (by Jean CRASSET) that he either died at the time of the fall of the castle or escaped accompanied by his mother and wife to the territory of a daimyo in a remote region. In the diary of Richard COCKS of Hirado, it is described that he was burned to death in the castle or escaped to Satsuma Province or the Kingdom of Ryukyu. From a children's song that says 'Sanada like an ogre accompanied by Hideyori like a flower fled as far as Kagoshima' was popular in Kamigata after the fall of the Osaka-jo Castle, we can surmise that there were a rumor about Hideyori's escape and survival and that Hideyori did not die and was secretly relieved by a busho who enjoyed Hideyoshi's favor. However, the truth is not clear.

There have been different views about who gave shelter to Hideyori and the Shimazu family, and the Kato family have been named.

In Kumamoto-jo Castle, there is a room named 'Shokun no ma' and there is a tradition that this room was Hideyori's living room.

It has been handed down that there were 200 refugees in Taniyama, Kagoshima City, Kagoshima Prefecture and that Hideyori was in the group and "Saemonnosukegimi Denkiko" recorded that Hideyori's grave was in this place.

There is a stone pagoda with an epigraph 'The Place related to Hideyori' in Kinoshita, Kamifukumoto-cho, Kagoshima City, Kagoshima Prefecture.

In Choryu-ji Temple in Hinode-machi, Oita Prefecture, there is a gorinto (a gravestone composed of five pieces piled up one upon another) with an epigraph 'Kunimatsu, son of Hideyori.'

There is the view that Hideyori was the father of Shiro AMAKUSA. In Kagoshima, it has been handed down that Shiro AMAKUSA had another name, Hidetsuna TOYOTOMI.

There is a tradition that he was adopted by the Tokikuni family, which was tenryo shoya (village headman in bakufu-owned land) in Wajima, Noto Province.

Children of Hideyori TOYOTOMI in tradition

Nobutsugu KINOSHITA (Nobuyoshi KINOSHITA): Assumed that he could be Kunimatsu TOYOTOMI

Hisanao IJUIN

Tokihiro TOKIKUNI: A great second grandfather of Ryokan

Guen Shonin

Yonoemon KIYONO

Hidetsuna TOYOTOMI (Shiro AMAKUSA)

TACHIBANA no Masayuki


Tokitada KOBA

TOYOTOMI 'no' Hideyori

Toyotomi clan' family name is an original surname similar to 'Minamoto clan,' 'Taira clan,' and 'Fujiwara clan,' and original surnames are not equal to the mere family names such as 'Tokugawa clan,' 'Oda clan,' and 'Hashiba clan' (for more information, refer to sections for original surname and family name respectively.)

The name 'Hideyori TOYOTOMI' in which the original surname is used is equivalent to 'MINAMOTO no Yoshitsune' and 'TAIRA no Masakado.'
Therefore, we can say that it is correct to call him 'TOYOTOMI no Hideyori' by inserting 'no' which designate affiliation between his original surname 'TOYOTOMI' and his name 'Hideyori,' but at least in the modern age, it is popular to call him 'TOYOTOMI Hideyori' without 'no.'

[Original Japanese]