Toyotomi Hideyoshi rose from the lower ranks of society in just a bit over 30 years; how did he rise so far so fast, and why did the regime he built crumble almost immediately after this death? All that and more this week.
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Berry, Mary Elizabeth.
Sansom, George B.
A History of Japan, Vol II: 1337-1615.
Yamamura, Kozo et al.
Japan Before Tokugawa.
Hideyoshi sneaking into the Saito clan castle at Mt. Inaba. His work defeating the Saito was what kickstarted Hideyoshi’s career.
The Battle of Yamazaki. By defeating and killing Mitsuhide Akechi, Hideyoshi received a great deal of political clout for “avenging his master”, which he was able to parlay into political influence.
The Battle of Shizugatake saw Hideyoshi defeat his old friend Shibata Katsuie, who killed himself after the battle. From this point on Hideyoshi’s control of Japan was uncontested until his death.
Hideyoshi in his prime as kampaku (imperial regent). The title he’s best known by, Taiko, is the one given to a retired regent. His family background made him ineligible for the position of Shogun.
Hideyoshi’s invasion of Korea — pitting him against Ming dynasty armies like the one depicted here — was a huge disaster, wasting money and lives in a futile and unwinnable campaign that undermined his regime.