The Fall of Osaka Castle and the End of the Sengoku Period (1615)

Burning of Osaka , Francois Canon (1615).
  • Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the 2nd uniter of Japan, was based in Osaka and ruled the country from Osaka Castle for about 20 years.
  • Before he died, he appointed a group of 5 elders to rule the country and he asked them, including Tokugawa Ieyasu to take care of his son, Toyotomi Hideyori, after his death.
  • However Ieyasu gathered large troops in Tokyo right away and started acting independently.
  • In year 1600 he won a huge victory over the other 4 regents in the war of Sekigahara and the emperor declared him the “shogun” in 1603.
  • Ieyasu was concerned that Hideyoshi’s son may one day threaten Ieyasu’s dominance.
  • So he attacked Osaka castle in 1614 but the sides ended up signing a truce. Ieyasu started filling the moats to make it easy to enter the castle and control the castle.
  • The following year, however, Toyotomi restored the moats which angered Ieyasu.
  • Finally Ieyasu attacked again and captured the castle since some of Toyotomi’s allies betrayed him and some were weak.
  • The saying goes that Ieyasu promised Hideyori and his mother that they would be safe if they did not resist. But as soon Ieyasu got in, he ordered seppuku to Hideyori and his mother. According to a Jesuit traveler who was in Osaka, more than 10,000 Toyotomi’s supporters got their heads chopped off, a total of 100,000 people died and he saw now man from the Toyotomi clan who had a head above his shoulders. Toyotomi clan was completely terminated.

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