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Thread: The Birth and Rise of the Ishida Shogunate: Volumes 1 and 2 - An A-H Japan AAR

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    Last edited by Tanzhang (譚張); 23-05-2013 at 21:25.
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    AAR Introduction:


    Hello there and welcome to my second AAR! It's been almost a full year since I started my first AAR, which unfortunately had to be discontinued indefinitely when my PC crashed and my draft chapter, images and savegame went with it! It's unfortunate because I really enjoyed writing and researching it and am glad that others enjoyed reading it.

    Now for my next project, The concept is that Japan managed to westernise largely on it's own merits, thus keeping the Shogunate (and most of it's subjects) intact. In other words, no Black Ships, no unequal treaties, and therefore, (hopefully...) no Meiji Restoration. Of course this scenario presented a problem, namely how to get around the Tokugawa Shogunate's policy of Isolation. I could have just had some liberal-minded young shogun rescind the policy, but without some sort of "Black Ship" scenario to force things along, I thought that would be a cop out and with one would defeat the purpose of the concept. Therefore I decided to go back to the year 1600 and the Battle of Sekigahara. I did debate whether or not to do part of the AAR in EUIII and convert the save to Vicky but I decided against it for plausibility reasons, suffice to say it's been done before and I don't want any Trebizondian Cubas in my AAR.

    I'll try to be as plausible as possible but like all AARs this AAR will have it's fair share of dramatic licence, so to any readers with love for the Sengoku/A-M/Edo periods, please bear this in mind.

    AAR Structure:


    The AAR will be divided into two parts, or "volumes": named Birth and Rise respectively, plus a prologue. The prologue itself will be divided into two or three parts, featuring the rise and death of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, The Battle of Sekigahara and Hideyori's (and Mitsunari's) rise to power. Volume 1 (Birth) will span from 1601 (just after Sekigahara) until 31/12/1835 (one day before the start of Vicky II) and deal with the AAR "pre-history", setting the scene for the AAR proper, or Volume II (or Rise) which will hopefully span the entire Vicky II timeline (1836-1935) fingers crossed.

    Changes:


    I have done a little bit of modding; mostly cosmetic and nothing too drastic. I won't spoil anything, but I will say that I've made one or two province changes, a few new events and I've completely revamped Japan's political parties. For reasons of historical accuracy if not for balance, China, Korea and Dai Nam have a few extra techs, whereas Japan will have a few extra techs and a slightly higher literacy rate (in order to illustrate a slightly more technologically advanced Japan in this timeline). Nothing stupidly unrealistic like 80% literacy and Idealism, Steel Railroads and Machine Guns researched from the start, just a few techs they would have been most likely to have learned historically from the Portuguese and Dutch. Japan will still be uncivilised at the game's start and none of the extra techs are required for Japan to Westernise.

    House Rules: Politics & Diplomacy:


    * Portugal and The Netherlands are Japan's oldest and best friends internationally, thus Japan shall strive to have the best relations with these two countries as possible. We will not strive for an alliance with either, but as a good rule of thumb, an enemy of Portugal and/or The Netherlands is not a friend of Japan. Japan will under no circumstances declare war on these two nations. (So don't be expecting a Japanese invasion of the East Indies any time soon)

    * The United Kingdom are the nation Japan most wants to emulate (island nation, powerful navy, large colonial empire). Over time the UK will take over the Netherlands as our best friend internationally. We will aim for perfect relations and an alliance with the UK if possible.

    * We will also try to have good relations with France, as the French Army was the model for the modern Japanese Army historically. We won't seek an alliance unless France is also allied with Britain, but Japan will strive for good (but not great, say around 150) relations (at least until they research Naval Statistics).

    * The United States will be nowhere near as influential in Japan as they were historically, but nevertheless they will be a major trading partner and we would like to have good relations with them, provided they keep out of the Pacific. Alternatively, if Mexico manages to retain the majority of their Northern West Coast provinces,we may seek good relations with them at the expense of the US. For historical reasons, our best friend in South America will always be Brasil

    * Finally, We hate Russia with a passion. We will only ever consider an alliance with them if they are also allied with Britain and France around the time of the Great War. All other nations are fair game.

    As far as political parties are concerned, I will endeavour to play each as realistically as possible (ie. Communists keep upper class taxes high, free traders keep taxes and tariffs close to zero, pacifists don't start wars, etc.). This doesn't change anything while Japan is still an Absolute Monarchy, so I'll go into greater detail once the AAR is well underway.

    So without further ado, onwards!
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    Prologue: The Rise and Death of Toyotomi Hideyoshi


    Sengoku Jidai: A Brief introduction


    For the past one hundred and thirty years, Japan has been in a perpetual state of civil war. The Ashikaga shoguns, once influential and powerful, had failed to command the respect of the minor lords, who began to fight and squabble against one another. One such lord, Oda Nobunaga, brought the the old order to it's knees at the Battles of Okehazama and Nagashino and in the year 1573, deposed the Ashikaga Shogunate. Nobunaga was well positioned to unite the land, however his retainer Akechi Mitsuhide had other ides, while his master was resting at Kyoto's Honno-ji Temple, Mitsuhide and his army surrounded the temple and set it alight. Nobunaga, his son Nobutada, wife Kicho and some of his best and most loyal retainers committed seppuku; their bodies perished in the flames.


    Oda Nobunaga's grave: Koya mountain range, Kii province. Perhaps fittingly, Hideyoshi and Hideyori would also be buried at Mount Koya


    Upon hearing word of Mitsuhide's betrayal, Nobunaga's surviving retainers lost no time in preparing to avenge their lord. His three most influential surviving retainers: Hashiba Hideyoshi (as he was then still known), Maeda Toshiie and Shibata Katsuie gathered their forces and closed in of Mitsuhide's position in Kyoto, Hideyoshi and Toshiie from the west, Katsuie from the east. Hideyoshi reached Mitsuhide first; their respective forces meeting at Yamazaki, eight days after Nobunaga's death at Honno-ji.

    Hideyoshi: Rise to Power


    Despite the rush to meet Mitsuhide (Hideyoshi's troops having march an average of forty kilometres a day in order to reach Kyoto before Katsuie or Toshiie did) Hideyoshi's army was battle hardened and more disciplined that Mitsuhide's, which consisted mostly of conscripts. Furthermore, Hideyoshi's army outnumbered Mitsuhide's by almost two to one, and was united in it's cause to avenge Nobunaga. Mitsuhide didn't stand much chance of a second Okehazama*, and worse, his men knew it.

    The battle began well for Hideyoshi, who led a force to seize nearby Mt. Tenno and, using it as a vantage point, fired upon Mitsuhide's force below with their arquebuses. As mentioned earlier, much of Mitsuhide's army was conscripted, many would have never seen a drawn sword before, let alone an arquebus, and fled. Hideyoshi's main force charged in pursuit, and Mitsuhide was forced to fall back to his castle at Shoryuji. Fearing a fate not to dissimilar to that which he had inflicted on Nobunaga, Mitsuhide fled south alone before Hideyoshi's forces could surround the castle. His instinct proved correct and Hideyoshi did indeed surround Shoryuji, and some 250 of Mitsuhide's retainers committed seppuku rather than flee or surrender; each man braver than their master. Mitsuhide himself fled to the town of Ogurusu, where he was captured and killed by a glory-seeking peasant with a bamboo spear, a fitting end to the "Eight-day shogun"


    Shoryuji Castle, as it stands today. The honourable actions of Mitsuhide's retainers saved it from the same fate which had befallen Honno-ji.


    Having been the one to defeat Mitsuhide, Hideyoshi's position rose steadily amongst the remaining Oda retainers, who saw him as the best successor to Nobunaga. Fearing that Hideyoshi may supplant him as Nobunaga's successor, Oda Nobutaka, Nobunaga's third son, allied himself with Shibata Katsuie, who had taken Nobunaga's sister as his wife** and declared war on Hideyoshi's forces. Maeda Toshiie, although a good friend of Hideyoshi, was honour-bound to back Nobutaka. With the support of both Nobunaga's heir and sister, the Shibata faction had legitimacy on their side and most of the yet unaligned Oda retainers flocked to their banner. Hideyoshi was thus forced to rely on his own retainers, many of whom had little battle experience under the Oda. This time, Katsuie took the initiative, invading Hideyoshi's territory from the north, at Shizugatake.

    As at Yamazaki, Hideyoshi's saviour at Shizugatake was his troops discipline and speed. Katsuie had not expected Hideyoshi's troops to arrive at Shizugatake for four days; they arrived within two. Initiative now belonged to Hideyoshi, whose troops smashed through Shibata's defences led by the great generals Fukushima Masanori and Kato Kiyomasa and aided by the strategies of Kuroda Kanbei. Shibata was forced back almost as quickly as he had pushed forward, and retreated to his castle in Echizen province. Not wanting to give Hideyoshi the satisfaction, he locked himself and his family in his castle and set it alight. Nobukatsu was captured alive and surrendered, committing seppuku shortly after (undoubtedly forced by Hideyoshi to do so). Maeda Toshiie was now free to back Hideyoshi as Nobunaga's successor, who "ascended to the Oda throne" unopposed, changing his name to Toyotomi Hideyoshi***. the Toyotomi clan was thus born.

    Hideyoshi: Unification, Korea and Death


    Hideyoshi still had one major obstacle in his quest to unite the Oda behind him, namely Nobunaga's second and only surviving son, Nobukatsu. Nobukatsu refused to submit to Hideyoshi, instead choosing to side with Nobunaga's oldest surviving ally, Tokugawa Ieyasu, the lord of Mikawa province. In 1584, two years after Nobunaga's death, Hideyoshi and Ieyasu gathered their forces and clashed in a series of battles known as the Komaki campaign. Both sides were well matched and the campaign ended in a stalemate, however Hideyoshi had more fiefs, more men and more money and thus greater capacity to wage war, and with this in mind, Ieyasu offered to submit to Hideyoshi along with Nobukatsu, his honour intact and fit to conquer the land another day. Hideyoshi accepted, and with Ieyasu and all remaining Oda fragments on his side, he was now easily the most powerful warlord in Japan.

    Hideyoshi began unifying the rest of Japan in earnest, conquering the two islands of Shikoku and Kyushu within three years of the Komaki campaign. With Ieyasu's assistance, Hideyoshi was able to get Date Masamune, lord of Tohoku in northern Honshu, to submit without a fight. The last vestige of resistance to Toyotomi rule, the once mighty Hojo clan, fell in 1590.

    With Japan consolidated, Hideyoshi fixed his gaze on Korea, the gateway to the riches of China. He launched two invasions of Korea during his lifetime, and rather like the Crusades, the first was highly successful, with Hideyoshi's forces managing to take the Seoul and Pyongyang and even push back the Koreans to Manchuria, yet also like the Christians during the First Crusade, Hideyoshi's forces could not sustain their momentum for long, and had to make do with a humiliating white peace.

    In 1597, only a year before his death, Hideyoshi commissioned a second invasion of Korea. This time the Koreans were ready for the Japanese, who were largely confined to the southern tip of the Korean peninsula. Much of the blame for the disastrous second campaign belongs to the Grand Commander, 15 year old neophyte Kobayakawa Hideaki, appointed by Hideyoshi based on his father's (Kobayakawa Takakage) rather than his own reputation. Despite being aided by Kuroda Kanbei, arguably Hideyoshi's best strategist, Hideaki's incompetence cost the Japanese dearly during the early stages of the campaign, and on the advice of a then unknown bureaucrat and Toyotomi advisor, Ishida Mitsunari, was replaced by Kato Kiyomasa (hero of Shizugatake and the first Korean campaign) and Konishi Yukinaga (another hero of the First Korean Campaign).


    Although Mitsunari was undoubtedly right to dismiss the incompetent Kobayakawa Hideaki, Kuroda Kanbei (shown above) took this as a personal slight against himself by Mitsunari and never forgave him for it. It was neither the first nor last time that Mitsunari's direct manner made him an enemy for life.


    Kiyomasa and Yukinaga were bitter rivals and hated each other tenfold more than they hated the Koreans but nevertheless they knew the enemy well and proved an effective team. The Japanese forces' fortunes began to improve, managing to besiege Ulsan by 1598, however urgent news soon reached Ulsan from Kyoto. Hideyoshi had called the invasion off and summoned his retainers to his castle in Osaka; he was gravely ill and dying...


    Notes:


    * Referring to the Battle of Okehazama, where Oda Nobunaga defeated a professional army of around 30'000 men with just under 3'000.

    ** Her first husband being Nobunaga's late rival, Asai Nagamasa.

    *** Up until the 20th Century, it was not uncommon for Japanese (or Chinese, or Korean for that matter) men to take several names during their lifetime. Before taking the name Hashiba Hideyoshi, Hideyoshi had been previously known as Kinoshita Tokichiro. In real history, Hideyoshi didn't change his name to Toyotomi until after the Komaki Campaign.
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  4. #4
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    Japan later model its army on the Prussian system after they defeated France, Germany and Japan also historically had great relations even before the First World War.
    CesarzPolska

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    100% interested!

  6. #6
    Field Marshal King50000's Avatar
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    Of course I'm going to follow this
    This has to be the most interesting period of history, imho, and love everything I read, and play, about it.
    Just a sugestion though, maybe you should use [#] instead of *, that way you aren't interupting the flow of writing so much with the spaces caused by multiple *s.

  7. #7
    Argentina Delenda Est Tanzhang (譚張)'s Avatar
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    Comments already!? Thanks everyone!

    CesarzPolska: Not just it's army, for the record Japan also based much of it's law and constitution on the German system (about 60% German, 40% British). They chose the French first as they were the dominant military power in Europe at the time, and then switched to the Germans after the FPW. That was in the 1870's, after the Meiji Restoration.

    However, we are starting from 1836, and will westernise long before 1870. In Vicky II France and Britain are almost guaranteed to be powers for the entire game, Prussia is only a likely possibility at best. I have seen Prussia implode almost as many times as i've seen it form the NGF in 1847 and dominate Europe. It would be a little silly for me to try to achieve good relations with Prussia from the start if they end up a secondary power, no?

    Prince of Savoy: Glad to hear it! welcome aboard.

    King: Thank you! It's one of my favourite periods too! In my previous AAR I used [1], [2] and so on for notes. I didn't think it was needed here as I wasn't expecting lots of notes for the first update. if you like, I can edit out the asterisks with those and use them from now on?
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  8. #8
    Historically plausible Dewirix's Avatar
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    An excellent prologue. Seems to be historical up to this point, but looks like the Ishida rather than the Tokugawa end up as Shoguns.

    I very much enjoyed your Dutch AAR, although to my shame I don't think I commented on it at the time.

    Your geopolitical outlook looks about right, although it's conceivable that a more assertive Japan might already have clashed with the Dutch or Portuguese, and might look askance at British attempts to cow China. Russia will always be a major threat simply because it's the only power with contiguous territory between the North Pacific and Europe.

    Very interested to see what you'll be doing with the political parties, I think vanilla V2 could use a bit more dynamism in that regard, so your changes sound good.

    Finally, what's wrong with Trebizondian Cuba?
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  9. #9
    Field Marshal King50000's Avatar
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    No, it's alright. I just got a bit weird when I saw the long pause from 3 asterisks. XD

  10. #10
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    Dewirix: I can tell you from memory that you didn't comment on my previous AAR, but what's important is that you're here now commenting on this one! Very true about Russia, I'd say that long border with China would make them the prime threat to China in Japanese eyes rather than far-away Britain, no? As far as Portugal and The Netherlands are concerned, they were always more concerned with saving souls and raising gold respectively, rather than territorial domination over Japan.

    It could use a hell of a lot more dynamism! Unfortunately with most elections it's simply a case of the incumbent always wins. Even with secret ballots and choosing the appropriate choices in debates. I do hope "A House Divided" will rectify this somewhat.

    As for Trebizondian Cuba I'm impressed more than anything. In most of my EUIII games Portugal, Castile or Britain always manage to snap up Cuba pretty early, so Trebizond surviving long enough to colonise or capture Cuba is quite an oddity.

    King: Nevertheless I think I'll be using that system from now on.
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  11. #11
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    The Assassination of Tokugawa Ieyasu


    The Go-Tairo


    The year is 1598. Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the taiko, lie dying at his castle in Osaka, his only heir the five year old Toyotomi Hideyori by his bedside. Having come to power in such tumultuous times Hideyoshi was perceptive enough to know chaos would ensue once he was dead, so he began to plan his son's regency in earnest. If Hideyoshi nominated just one regent, the lords would naturally grow jealous and rebel, hence he proposed a diffusion of power, a regency council of five of the most powerful daimyo in the land, the Go-Tairo (五大老).

    First among tairo was Hideyoshi's oldest living friend and ally, the ageing Maeda Toshiie, lord of Kaga. Toshiie was a great general and warrior and also a man of principle. As a longtime friend of Hideyoshi he could be trusted to act in the Taiko's interests and support Hideyori if he gave his word. He was however, only two years younger than Hideyoshi and not in the best of health.


    Statue of Maeda Toshiie with his trademark golden carp-tail helmet. Appointed as head regent publicly due to his experience and battle record, in reality his position owed more to his loyalty.


    The next regent was none other than Hideyoshi's rival during the Komaki campaign, Tokugawa Ieyasu. Like Maeda Toshiie, Ieyasu was an old ally of Nobunaga, with a long and distinguished military career, albeit more as a general than as a warrior. Unlike Maeda Toshiie, he was unscrupulous, power-hungry and eager to take the land for himself once the time was right. That time would be after Hideyoshi's death, and both Hideyoshi and Ieyasu knew it.

    However, to not invite Ieyasu into the regency would be asking for trouble. Ieyasu was arguably the most powerful daimyo in the land after Hideyoshi. If he was included in the regency there may have been a chance, however slight, that he would support Hideyori and not rebel. If he wasn't included his treachery would be certain.


    Statue of Tokugawa Ieyasu, with his favourite pet falcon. a patient and cunning man, many in Japan regarded him as the most likely successor to Hideyoshi, should the Toyotomi clan go the way of the Oda.


    In order to control Ieyasu, Hideyoshi appointed his nearest geographical rival, Uesugi Kagekatsu, lord of Echigo and adopted son of the great sengoku warlord, Uesugi Kenshin. Although by no means a match for his father, Kagekatsu had served with distinction during the Toyotomi-Hojo war and the Korean campaigns. He had the fiefs and the manpower to deal with Ieyasu, if not defeat him outright plus he was loyal to Hideyoshi, a trait which his nearest Rivals, Ieyasu and Lord Date Masamune of Oshu, lacked.


    Portrait of Uesugi Kagekatsu. Although not quite the man his adoptive father was, a good general and warrior nonetheless.


    The third regent was, like Ieyasu, someone who owed his position to his strength and family name rather than his loyalty to the Toyotomi. Mouri Terumoto like his Kaga counterpart Kagekatsu was the heir to a prestigious lineage, his grandfather Motonari being another of the great sengoku daimyo. Contrary to popular belief Terumoto was a good general, or at least a decent one, but severely lacking in the courage, determination and ambition departments; three skills necessary for a great general. Terumoto was the one lord of Japan apart from Hideyoshi who could match if not exceed Tokugawa Ieyasu in wealth, manpower and prestige.


    Despite being one of Japan's most powerful daimyo on paper, Mouri Terumoto lacked the drive and ambition to become truly great. He was a modest man with much to be immodest about.


    The last regent was Ukita Hideie, lord of Bizen. A young man of only 24, he was by far the youngest and weakest of the five regents, though still a powerful daimyo by the standards of the time. Hideie was the second-strongest daimyo in the Chugoku (or west Honshu) region after Terumoto and was fanatically loyal to the Toyotomi, having owed his career success to Hideyoshi. He was also related to the Toyotomi and Maeda clans through marriage[1] and could therefore be trusted to both keep his word to Hideyoshi and keep the Maeda clan in line. He was intelligent, physically fit and a good leader of men, albeit lacking in experience compared to his elder counterparts.


    A portrait of a young Ukita Hideie, painted around 1598. Hideie's loyalty, cleverness and longevity were vital traits that would turn the young daimyo into a future elder statesman.


    According to the contemporary court historians, Hideyoshi called the five regents to his bedside and asked them to swear an oath to uphold Hideyori as the rightful heir and future Kampaku[2]. The only witnesses given aside from the regents were Hideyoshi, Hideyori and Yodo-gimi[3] and for this reason this version of events was long considered to be fictional by historians, possibly an Osaka-era fabrication to discredit Ieyasu. However Ukita Hideie gives a similar account of this event in his recently (at the time of writing) unearthed "memoirs". Immediately following the swearing of the oath, Hideyoshi died at the age of 62.


    Born as a humble peasant, Hideyoshi rose through the ranks of Nobunaga's army thanks to his ability alone. Paradoxically, his rule featured the most merciless enforcement of Feudalism Japan has ever known. In Japan today he is still admired for his ability and for the stability of his rule, but elsewhere he will be notorious for his suppression of the peasant and merchant classes, his "sword hunt" and especially for his persecution of Christianity. Had he lived a further twenty or thirty years, Japan may have well taken several long strides towards that "black road to serfdom."

    The Assassination of Tokugawa Ieyasu


    Following Hideyoshi's death, five year old Toyotomi Hideyori was promoted to head of the Toyotomi clan with the Go-Tairo ruling Japan in his stead until he came of age. Before Hideyoshi's body was even laid on the funeral pyre, Ieyasu began plotting and scheming to usurp Hideyori and take the land for himself. Maeda Toshiie knew what Ieyasu was up to, and was able to successfully keep him in check for the next year, however he himself grew gravely ill and died in 1599, only eight months after Hideyoshi's death. The time had come for Ieyasu to make his move.

    Ieyasu gathered his retainers and marched from his bases in Edo and Mikawa province to Osaka castle, the seat of Toyotomi power. Anticipating a pro-Toyotomi backlash, he made an alliance with his old acquaintance Date Masamune, who marched south in order to keep Uesugi Kagekatsu (The only living regent in Eastern Japan apart from Ieyasu) from intercepting the Tokugawa forces. Although few people in Japan would have been surprised at Ieyasu's rebellion, he did manage to take the other regents by surprise and on the 2nd of July 1599, Toyotomi Hideyori was placed under house arrest in Osaka Castle.

    The remaining three regents were outraged, however without a single figure to unite the pro-Toyotomi into an anti-Tokugawa alliance there was little that could be done. Kagekatsu, while eager to act could only take on Ieyasu or Masamune, but not both at the same time. Mouri Terumoto was the natural candidate for such a role however he lacked the self-confidence and ambition to take it, so he stood neutral for the time being. The cause of Hideyori and the Toyotomi was thus left to a most unlikely champion, the Toyotomi bureaucrat and lord of Omi[4], Ishida Mitsunari.

    Ishida Mitsunari was something of a double-edged sword. He had made several good friends and allies throughout his career, but for each at least two sworn enemies. Those allies and enemies would play a decisive role in the conflict ahead.

    Chief amongst Ishida's allies was Otani Yoshitsugu, a brave and loyal samurai whose abilities were only hindered by his leprosy. A famous story tells that during the invasion of Korea, a tea party was held by Yoshitsugu for three acquaintances, of which one was Ishida Mitsunari. Yoshitsugu, who by this stage was suffering in the advanced stages of his unfortunate ailment, began by serving out tea to his guests while unbeknownst to himself, pus from his face fell into each tea cup. Yoshitsugu only noticed this once the cups had already been handed out, by which time it was too late for him to act. While his two other guests sipped the tea slowly and hesitantly, Mitsunari (who was just as aware of the pus as the other guests) drank all the tea in one go, pus and all., much to the relief, delight and astonishment of his host. [5]

    Otani Yoshitsugu had one other asset to the Ishida cause, his son in law was Sanada Yukimura[6] whose father, Sanada Masayuki, was a renowned strategist with ninja connections. Mitsunari knew that as long as Ieyasu lived he would pose a threat: he was cunning, patient, wealthy, powerful and also more respected and well connected than Mitsunari could ever hope to be. His son and heir Hidetada however, was young and as impetuous as his father was patient, he would be easy to fool and commanded nowhere near the respect his father did amongst the other daimyo.

    Mitsunari borrowed a page from Ieyasu's book and exercised patience, slowly biding his time and strengthening his alliance; Ieyasu did the same. However Masayuki's and Mitsunari's greatest advantage was that Ieyasu had no idea who was really plotting against him; he still suspected Terumoto and Kagekatsu at this stage.

    On the 30th of December, Mitsunari set his plan into action. Sanada Masayuki had fathered two sons, one was Yukimura while the other Nobuyuki, was by chance married to Inahime, daughter of Ieyasu's most valiant and trusted retainer, Honda Tadakatsu. Using this as pretense, Masayuki invited Ieyasu to a party at his castle in Ueda, along with Nobuyuki (who unlike his father and brother, in the Tokugawa camp at this stage and therefore a patsy in Mitsunari's plot), his son's wife and father in law. Ieyasu naturally saw this as an opportunity to forge an alliance with Masayuki and accepted the invitation with alacrity. Under the cover of darkness, Mitsunari marched his small army to Osaka castle, with his two most trusted allies Otani Yoshitsugu and Konishi Yukinaga following with their armies.

    With Osaka castle surrounded, Mitsunari and his band waited until midnight to strike, and at the very stroke of midnight, stormed Osaka Castle. In a daring feat worthy of Nobunaga at Okehazama, Mitsunari and Yukinaga defeated the Tokugawa guard of 16'000 with only 7'000 men, albeit aided by a few Toyotomi loyalists inside the castle.

    In concert with Mitsunari's storming of Osaka castle, just before midnight, Masayuki wound up the party and asked Nobuyuki to attend to Tadakatsu and his wife before retiring to his own quarters. This was the "signal" that Masayuki and Yukimura were ready to talk business with Ieyasu, so Nobuyuki and Tadakatsu naturally complied; and plied each other with sake back at their own quarters. With Tadakatsu out of the way, Masayuki could safely play his hand and Ieyasu was duly assassinated that night, by a ninja under Sanada employ. Legend has it Ieyasu was stabbed in the back with a kunai; how appropriate.

    Honda Tadakatsu despite his heavy drinking, was more fortunate than his lord. He detected something was wrong, and slew his assassin before he could slay Tadakatsu. Assuming correctly that his lord was in danger, he killed his son-in-law in his sleep to avenge his lord, and managed to escape that night to Hidetada in Edo. The war between Mitsunari and Hidetada had just begun.


    Tokugawa Ieyasu was the great "nearly man" of Japanese history. he had the wealth, the power, the cunning and above all, the will to become ruler of Japan but in the end was undone by an assassin's blade. Historians have long debated what would have happened had he lived, and what his shogunate would have been like had he succeeded, which he had every possibility of doing.

    Notes:


    [1] Hideie's wife was the daughter of Maeda Toshiie and his wife Matsu, and was later adopted by Hideyoshi. Like the taking of hostages, lieges adopting their vassal's children was not uncommon practice in sengoku Japan.

    [2] The Japanese equivalent of a Prime Minister, or more accurately, the First Minister to the Emperor. Taiko is the therm used for an elderly and/or retired Kampaku, and is most often associated with Toyotomi Hideyoshi, hence it's use to refer to him earlier in the text.

    [3] AKA Lady Yodo, concubine of Hideyoshi and mother of Hideyori.

    [4] Formerly the domain of Asai Nagamasa, Omi is located in central Central Japan, just a little north-west of Kyoto and Osaka. This means that Mitsunari is in a prime geographic location to act to save Hideyori.

    [5] I did not make this up. Unfortunately I forgot where I first read it, so this is only a rough retelling of the legend based on memory.

    [6] Not his actual name, but the one he is most commonly known as. I've used it here for that reason.
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    Colonel Prince of Savoy's Avatar
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    Interesting history, I especially liked the tidbit

    Historians have long debated what would have happened had he lived, and what his shogunate would have been like had he succeeded, which he had every possibility of doing.

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    Great chapter, it will be interesting to see how the Battle of Sekigahara plays out without Ieyasu's calm, patience, and cunning. Maybe we will see Kobayakawa Hideaki keep his loyalty to the Toyotomi?

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    Prince of Savoy: I rather liked it too

    King: I'm still not entirely sure what exactly will happen at Sekigahara, apart from who will win of course. Suffice to say I'm not at all fond of Hideaki, so even if he doesn't defect he won't ever be a prominent figure in this AAR.
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    I like the anti-Tokugawa bias in the new history. Ieyasu shamefully plotted the downfall of Hideyori despite his oaths to his father, and what are loyal retainers to do but to step in and restore order.

    Now if Hideyori were to tragically die before coming of age, what better way to preserve his father's dreams than by creating a strong and stable Japan in his stead?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dewirix View Post
    I like the anti-Tokugawa bias in the new history. Ieyasu shamefully plotted the downfall of Hideyori despite his oaths to his father, and what are loyal retainers to do but to step in and restore order.
    That's still admitted to be true even in pro-Tokugawa history!

    Now if Hideyori were to tragically die before coming of age, what better way to preserve his father's dreams than by creating a strong and stable Japan in his stead?
    If he was to die before coming of age, the land would surely be plunged back into chaos between pro and anti-Mitsunari factions. Mitsunari is by no means that stupid as to put the young Hideyori in danger at this point in time, lest he end up like Ieyasu or Mitsuhide.

    The Sekigahara chapter will be quite a long one. I'm roughly halfway through it, so expect an update in about 24 hours or so.
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    Hello everyone, sorry about the slight delay but there was a good reason for it. Namely, I lost about 5-6 hours worth of writing due to a crash. I did manage to reproduce about 95% of what I lost, but some sections of this next chapter, in particular the debate between Kikkawa Hiroie and the descriptions of Otomo Yoshinobu and Hosokawa Tadaoki read a lot better the first time I wrote it. This marks the end of the prologue and I hope all of you stick around for Volume 1. Right now this AAR is like an OPM Krakow; we can't afford any emigration!!
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    The Battle of Sekigahara

    Lords of the Western Army


    As the man who had led the storming of Osaka Castle, Ishida Mitsunari felt he was well-positioned to lead the Toyotomi loyalists against Hidetada; he was wrong. Osaka aside, Mitsunari was still the bureaucrat who owed his position more for his skills at the tea ceremony than for his skills as a general, and the other lords saw him as such.

    Mitsunari needed legitimacy, and this he found in his young master Hideyori. As the young lord's "guardian" he could naturally count on Uesugi Kagekatsu (who had been a most vocal critic of Ieyasu after he put Hideyori under house arrest) and Ukita Hideie (who would support Hideyori until death) both men with much more military experience than Mitsunari. Kagekatsu was a Toyotomi island in a sea of Tokugawa, in no geographical position to lend support to Mitsunari in a decisive battle. Mitsunari needed the support of Mouri Terumoto.

    Mitsunari's agent in the Mouri camp would be Ankokuji Ekei, a man whom he knew well in his position as abbot of the Tofuku-ji temple in Kyoto. Ekei was a man for all seasons, a Buddhist monk by first profession, he had served with distinction on the battlefields of Korea as a warrior, and had been made lord of Iyo (in southern Shikoku) as a reward by Hideyoshi himself. He had served as a diplomat for the Mouri clan to the Toyotomi and the central Japanese clans and was well-respected amongst the Mouri hierarchy.


    An artists impression of what Ankokuji Ekei may have looked like. A man of many talents, Ekei was known for his skills at debate and diplomacy as well as spearmanship. His faith and steadfast loyalty, first to Hideyoshi and then to Mitsunari, would make him a prominent figure in the years to come.


    Not all Mouri retainers though allying with Mitsunari was a good idea, Kikkawa Hiroie for one. Hiroie was something of a rising star of in the Mouri clan, his main claim to fame having defeated a much larger Ming-Korean coalition during the Battle of Ulsan Castle. His father Motoharu had been one of Motonari's finest retainers, and he was seen as a most worthy successor; a rare thing in Sengoku times. (just look at Hidetada)

    Hiroie was also a consummate politician with a good grasp of the contemporary domestic situation. He calculated that if the Mouri sided with the Tokugawa or remained neutral, Hidetada would most likely win. If the Mouri sided with the Toyotomi however, the two sides would be evenly matched; a risky outcome.


    Statue of Kikkawa Hiroie. A clever man too clever for his own good, he was undone by his own plotting and scheming.


    Hiroie gained the support of Mouri Hidemoto, his lord's cousin, and petitioned Terumoto to side with Hidetada while many others in the Mouri clan favoured siding with Ishida, for Ekei and Hideyoshi's sake. Terumoto being the indecisive man he was was swayed successfully by both camps and couldn't quite make up his mind, his gut instincts favouring neutrality. A Mouri retainer suggested a debate between Ekei and Hiroie to settle the matter, an incident which would become legendary in Japan.

    According to the official history of the Mouri clan, Hiroie started by arguing for the Tokugawa while Ekei for the Toyotomi. Hiroie knew his master well, and sensing what Terumoto wanted to hear, changed tact and argued in favour of neutrality. Ekei seized his chance and bellowed loudly at his opponent for suggesting such a cowardly and dishonourable course of action, yelling out some rather sexually explicit and insulting expletives in the process. Ekei then turned his ire to Terumoto himself and prostrated himself in front of a portrait of Mouri Motonari. Ekei wept loudly, lamenting the state of the Mouri clan in which such dishonourable ideas could find favour and, promising to clear the Mouri name “so that he could face Motonari and Hideyoshi in the hereafter” brandished his wakizashi, held it at his chest and proceeded to commit seppuku.

    The reaction from those present was overwhelming, as retainers rushed to stop Ekei from ending his life. Some were overcome with emotion, even Terumoto was on his feet, tears in his eyes. At that moment Hiroie sunk to the floor; he had lost.

    Mitsunari now had all of the surviving regents on his side, plus the Sanada and his friends Otani Yoshitsugu and Konishi Yukinaga. He now turned once more to his allies list of contacts, first and foremost among them being Konishi Yukinaga's good friend, Otomo Yoshinobu, lord of much of Northern Kyushu and Japan's most prominent Catholic.

    Yoshinobu's grandfather Otomo Sorin had been one of Japan's first – and certainly most enthusiastic – convert to Christianity, and throughout his life he gathered a large number of Portuguese and Japanese contacts, which his grandson inherited. Unlike Mitsunari, Yoshinobu was on great terms with Kuroda Kanbei, who like Konishi Yukinaga he considered something of a mentor, and his son Nagamasa. The Kuroda were still loyal to the Toyotomi but Kanbei had not forgiven Mitsunari for that slight against him all those years ago and refused to join Mitsunari. Yoshinobu's influence among his friends was strong however, and for his sake Kanbei and Nagamasa refused to join the Tokugawa also, opting instead to remain neutral.


    Statue of St. Otomo Yoshinobu (who looked an awful lot like his grandfather) in Nagasaki. Yoshinobu's greatest service to the Toyotomi cause was keeping the Kuroda clan neutral, although he did succeed in bringing several daimyo into the Western army's fold: including fellow Christian Akashi Terazumi, Chosokabe Morichika, lord of southern Shikoku and most surprisingly, his family's arch rivals the Shimazu clan. His loyalty, contacts and skills at organisation were a vital asset to Mitsunari and would help make him a catalyst of his time


    Mitsunari now had the allegiance of almost all the major lords in Western Japan save one, and he was none other than the young Kobayakawa Hideaki, with whom Mitsunari had history. Hideaki was fickle and indecisive, and something of an admirer of the later Tokugawa Ieyasu, but he was also Hideyoshi's nephew and loyal to his young cousin Hideyori. As much as the thought must have repulsed him, Mitsunari did not need 20'000 hostile troops in his backyard, and so in order to win Hideaki's loyalty, he swallowed his pride and offered him the position of Kampaku until his cousin came of age. Hideaki wasn't too fond of Mitsunari either, yet he accepted, at least at first. He had secretly pledged to side with Hidetada as well, and was plagued with indecision, an ailment that was to infect him for the rest of his life.

    Ishida Mitsunari now had all the legitimacy he needed. All the regents backed him and with young Hideyori's blessing, he was appointed Grand Commander of the Toyotomi forces much to Hiroie and Hideaki's chagrin. Mitsunari appointed Otani Yoshitsugu, Konishi Yukinaga, Ukita Hideie and Mouri Hidemoto (acting general of the Mouri forces on behalf of his cousin Terumoto) as his four lieutenants with his own retainer Shima Sakon serving as grand strategist. Mitsunari's army was made up primarily of daimyo from Western or West-central Japan and was henceforth known as the Western Army. It is by this name that it is known as primarily in histories written outside Japan.


    Portrait of Ishida Mitsunari. Mitsunari must have known that the upcoming conflict would change Japan forever, though it was unlikely he knew by how much.

    Lords of the Eastern Army


    Hidetada had one big advantage over Mitsunari, he had inherited a powerful clan with all the manpower, money and talented retainers that come with it. Some of his retainers, such as Honda Tadakatsu and Li Naomasa had served the Tokugawa for almost forty years. Hidetada's army would be made up primarily of lords who were loyal only to himself and his family, rather than to an abstract idea or cause like Mitsunari's was.

    Hidetada still needed more than just his own retainers to beat Mitsunari. A natural ally was his father's old friend Date Masamune, a rebellious lord with fascination for all things Western; as a consequence his army was the most modern in all of Japan at that time. Masamune's geographical position in Northern Honshu meant that he would not likely be able to help Hidetada in a decisive battle. Instead he was ordered to attack Mitsunari's ally, Uesugi Kagekatsu.


    A Date Masamune print, dating from the mid-to-late Osaka Period. Masamune's distinctive eye-patch, crescent-moon helmet and his rebellious nature would make him a folk hero in Japan; the Japanese fascination with him persists to this very day.


    As mentioned earlier, Mitsunari was something of a double-edged sword; so were his allies. Kato Kiyomasa was one of Hideyoshi's best generals, but he was burning with hatred for his Korean Campaign rival, Konishi Yukinaga (not to mention for Yoshinobu and Christians in general). Having heard that he would be siding with Mitsunari, Kiyomasa jumped at the chance to side with the Tokugawa, bringing his good friend Fukushima Masanori along with him. Masanori was another Toyotomi stalwart, but he disliked Mitsunari, whom he saw as a meddling bureaucrat interfering in military affairs. Masanori was valiant and brave, but also headstrong and glory-hungry, the kind of man who acted first without thinking; he and Hidetada got on famously.

    Kiyomasa and Masanori both took an aggressive stance towards recruiting other old Toyotomi loyalists, taking their families hostage and holding them to ransom. This won them no friends and galvanised support among those who had already sided with Mitsunari, but others like Kanachika Nagamori, Todo Takatora and Ikono Kazumasa were press-ganged into the Tokugawa army out of fear for their families.

    Hosokawa Tadaoki was a very different man compared to his contemporaries. Head of one of Japan's most prestigious clans, (the Sengoku period itself opened with a conflict between them and the Yamana clan) he had been an ally of the traitorous Akechi Mitsuhide, even going so far as to marry his daughter. Tadaoki thus had no love for the late Taiko and seemed like a natural recruit to the Tokugawa fold.

    Hidetada did not rely on just his own retainers and allies alone to defeat Mitsunari. There were a few fractures within the Western army, and Hidetada hope to exploit them. First and foremost were the Mouri, whom Hidetada calculated would make up around a quarter of Mitsunari's total force. Mouri Hidemoto and Kikkawa Hiroie were both Hidetada loyalists and while they refused to defect outright for the sake of Ankokuji Ekei, they could be persuaded to hold their position indefinitely and “wait out” a decisive battle; better than nothing Hidetada must have thought. Kobayakawa Hideaki offered a better prospect as he could be convinced to defect outright, but he was as indecisive as ever, It would be impossible to discern whom he would side with until he attacked the other side, yet Hidetada was confident that his plots would succeed, after all they were his plots.

    The majority of the pro-Tokugawa forces came from Eastern or East-Central Japan, and henceforth were known as the Eastern Army, especially in histories written outside of Japan.


    Hidetada was a young man keen to step out of his father's long shadow. He was rash and overconfident in the lead up to Sekigahara, and bit off more than he could chew, which ultimately led to his downfall.


    Opening Moves


    Following the assassination of his lord Tokugawa Ieyasu at Ueda castle, Honda Tadakatsu fled to Hidetada's base in Edo and wasted no time in having his lord's son crowned as head of the Tokugawa clan. Like a serpent with two heads, the Tokugawa were in two minds as to the what best cause of action to take against Mitsunari was: Tadakatsu favoured concentrating all the Tokugawa's forces on Osaka, with the intention of luring Mitsunari into a pitched battle whereas Hidetada preferred to take revenge for Ieyasu and besiege Ueda Castle before dealing with Mitsunari. Hidetada was adamant that he be the one to take Masayuki's head and so a compromise was struck, whereby Hidetada would lead 38'000 men to besiege Ueda while the rest of the Tokugawa's combined force (some 80'000 men) would march under the temporary joint command of Hidetada's brother Tadayoshi[1] and Tokugawa generals Honda Tadakatsu and Li Naomasa on to Osaka. Hidetada planned on joining up with that force once the Sanada had been subjugated, thus claiming glory for avenging his father and for defeating Mitsunari. As Masayuki was thought to possess only 5'000 troops (only half that, as it turned out) Hidetada was confident in a speedy victory.

    Hidetada was easy for Mitsunari to predict and he too hoped for a pitched battle, gathering the bulk of his forces at Osaka. Masayuki and Yukimura were charged with the defence of Ueda Castle, and given orders to delay any invading force for as long as possible. while Uesugi Kagekatsu would stay in his home of Echigo in anticipation of an attack from Date Masamune. Mitsunari ordered shinobi to be stationed in Nobunaga's old base at Gifu Castle in neighbouring Mino province to give early word of a marching army while Mitsunari's allies from far-flung Shikoku and Kyushu arrived.

    On the 5th of January, Hidetada made the opening gambit, ordering his ally Date Masamune to besiege the Uesugi stronghold of Kasugayama Castle. Three days later, Tadayoshi marched with the bulk of the Tokugawa army towards Osaka. Upon hearing of advanced word of Tadayoshi's movements, Ishida Mitsunari marched his forces towards the rural town of Sekigahara, a key point on the Nakasendo[2] and lie in wait for the Tokugawa army. on the 15th of January 1600[3], the Eastern and Western armies would clash at the battle of Sekigahara, with Tokugawa Hidetada nowhere to be found.

    The Battle of Sekigahara


    The night before the battle had been a particularly wet and stormy one, so the terrain of the battlefield was particularly muddy. The following morning a thick, heavy fog descended across Sekigahara and would engulf much of the battlefield until the late morning. The Western Army had marched through the night in order to gain the high ground, an advantage that would prove decisive.

    The battlefield of Sekigahara was mostly hilly grassland, and was surrounded by five mountain peaks: In the northwest lie Mount Sasao, it had a prime vantage point of the battlefield and was where Mitsunari and Sakon set up camp with Yoshinobu and the Shimazu. To the far west lie Mount Tengu where Otani Yoshitsugu put up his camp, spreading the bulk of his forces down the mountainside below. Konishi Yukinaga and Ukita Hideie positioned their forces to the north of Mount Tengu. To the south lie the highest peak, Mount Matsuo, where Kobayakawa Hideaki set up camp and finally to the far east lay the twin peaks of Mount Momokubari and Mount Nangu: the latter where Mouri Hidemoto based himself and his forces, with Morichika to the south-east of the Mouri.. Hidemoto's position away from the bulk of the Ishida forces was a prime location to either defect or sit out the battle, though this did not occur to Mitsunari at the time.

    Mitsunari's plan was simple, the bulk of his forces would engage the bulk of Hidetada's while Hideaki, Motochika and the Mouri would pincer the Tokugawa from the sides and from behind. The Eastern Army generals must have known that they would be walking into a trap but hoped that through sheer muscle and a little help from their lord's strategies they would come through victorious.


    Troop positions for both sides, Toyotomi in Red, Tokugawa in Blue. Notice the absence of Hidetada, who was still stuck at Ueda.


    The Eastern Army was a little worried by Hidetada's absence, but naturally assumed that he was just running a little late. The Tokugawa forces proceeded with plan B, namely give command to Tadayoshi, Tadakatsu and Naomasa until Hidetada arrived. This disjointed command structure naturally would cause problems. first among those was whom would lead the first charge. Being the impatient, glory-hungry man that he was, Masanori insisted on making the first charge. Naomasa objected, stating that a(n ex -) Toyotomi retainer shouldn't be given such an honour, and insisted on leading the charge himself (a good, Tokugawa retainer). Naomasa was meant to be Tadayoshi's escort for this battle, and it would not be wise to have him participate in the first charge, thought Tadakatsu, who ruled in favour of Masanori. This one incident caused a good deal of friction between the three men, with disastrous consequences a few hours into the future.

    A more worrying concern was that the Tokugawa generals, most of whom had been used to Ieyasu pulling the strings from the rear; commanded from the front. Without Ieyasu or Hidetada to command from a safe distance, the Eastern Army could only see what was directly in front of them; they had no intelligence about the battlefield as a whole and thus could not react quickly to changing developments as they occurred, because they had no way of seeing them occur in the first place.

    The battle began at around 8:00 in the morning with Li Naomasa making the first move, charging Ukita Hideie's position. Masanori was furious, and immediately charged at Hideie, tiring his men out for the sake of his own glory. All Hideie's dug-in, predominately spear-armed troops had to do was sit and wait for the enemy cavalry to come to them.

    Not wanting to be outdone, Kato Kiyomasa[4] charged forward too, spotting an old rival in the Toyotomi ranks, Konishi Yukinaga. Yukinaga responded in kind, while Hosokawa Tadaoki engaged nearby Gamo Satoie; Mitsunari and the Shimazu held their position for now. Otani Yoshitsugu ordered Shigemasa to engage Fukushima to stop Ukita from fighting on two fronts. Sadatsugu encroached on Konishi's position, so Mitsunari ordered the Shimazu to charge to his aid. Initially refusing to do so, Mitsunari and Yoshinobu threatened to fire on them if they refused, an order that would have offended a much lesser man. Yoshihiro however was not such a man and impressed by Mitsunari's bravado, complied. Mitsunari did not know it yet, but his little gesture had won him an ally for life; such was the psychology of the samurai.

    Things were going well for Mitsunari it seemed, but it wasn't all loss for the Tokugawa. Natsuka Masaie had marched a little too far forward, in a vain attempt to bring the nearby Mouri into battle; Asano sliced through his forces like butter. The Tokugawa forces were now beginning to fall into position and swarm over the Western Army front line. It was now that Mitsunari played his trump card, and ordered Hideaki to charge; Hideaki did no such thing. Mitsunari tried to signal Hideaki again and again, but it was to no avail. Seeing that Hideaki wasn't moving, Tadakatsu moved his and his satellites troops forward, hoping to engage those of Otani Yoshitsugu. Otani knew that it was do or die and had his attendant light a signal fire of his own, what followed would be one of the most gutsiest and bizarre military moves in all history.

    Now Yoshitsugu was anything but a fool, and he certainly had his suspicions about Hideaki; in fairness anyone who had known the young man for a period exceeding 15 seconds would too. So he arranged a contingency plan lest Hideaki decided to do something idiotic as he was so prone do do on such occasions; a small do-or-die squadron of arquebusiers under Yoshitsugu's orders were deployed behind Hideaki's steed. In the event of his defection or inaction, or from a signal from Yoshitsugu, the arquebusiers were ordered to assassinate Hideaki. Hideaki had mounted his steed; that time was now.

    What happened next must have been one of the most oddest moments in military history, one of the bullets hit Hideaki in the back of the neck, killing him instantly. His steed however was so frightened by the noise that it began charging at full gallop in the opposite direction from the sound of gunfire, Honda Tadakatsu, and with the late Hideaki's legs firmly fastened to the stirrup. Hideaki's troops were said to be momentarily stunned, until one of the more enterprising assassins yelled out "Lord Kobayakawa is charging! Death to Hidetada, Long Live Hideyori!" or something to that effect. It did the trick and Hideaki's forces charged the Honda lines; what Tadakatsu's men thought upon seeing a corpse riding a horse with it's head on it's rear end is unfortunately not recorded in the official history of the battle.


    A portrait of Otani Yoshitsugu in his younger days before his leprosy was in it's severe stages. Although it is impossible to discern whether Hideaki would have defected to the East or not, his decision to assassinate Hideaki may have well won Mitsunari the battle, and eventually the country.


    Hideaki's "charge" left had sealed the victory for Mitsunari. Upon hearing word of it, he ordered one final push, with the Mouri to charge through Asano's ranks and circle around to the Eastern Army's rear, the anvil to Mitsunari's hammer. The victor of the battle was now in no doubt, and Hiroie and Hidemoto had no choice to comply lest they be executed for treason after the battle. By this time the Eastern army front line began to crumble, Naomasa's legendary "red devils" had fled like cowards, though Naomasa himself died fighting, an honourable death worthy of such a man. Masanori's army too routed, but this time the leader fled with the men; he was captured in hiding a few hours later (what became of him shall be told later). Hosokawa Tadaoki had been wounded in battle by Shima Sakon and captured; he was too valuable to be killed yet, and Tsutsui and Tanaka had died worthy deaths, leaving Kiyomasa. If Kiyomasa was to die on the battlefield, he was going to ensure that he would either take his hated rival with him, or die by his sword.

    Duels were very common in Japanese battles before the Mongol invasion, in fact more often than not they were battles; armies preferring to settle conflicts through duels as opposed to pitched battles in order to keep casualties to a minimum. By the sengoku period battlefield duels between commanders had fallen out of favour and were rare. It was fitting that what was in many respects the last great samurai battle should feature a duel between two great generals: Konishi Yukinaga and Kato Kiyomasa. The account of the duel is what was documented in the Ishida family's official history:

    "Kato drew his katana and charged at Konishi, who turned his steed round and charged Kato, katana already drawn. Kato raised his katana above his head while Konishi held it sideways to his left, the tip facing slightly towards the ground. Kato slashed his katana downwards with all his force while Konishi, with an almighty yell, slashed diagonally upwards, parrying Kato's blow, and then slashing downwards, with Kato's jugular open to attack. The force of Konishi's blow caused Kato to scream in pain, before collapsing from his steed. Konishi reared his steed around, dismounted and decapitated Kato."

    With the battle going poorly for the Eastern army, those generals who were press-ganged into joining the Eastern Army: Todo Takatora, Ikoma Kazumasa and Kanachika Nagamori. defected to the Western army. Honda Tadakatsu, seeing the battle was lost and with seemingly no hope of Hidetada arriving on time, fled into a forest with a retainer and committed seppuku, ordering the retainer to take his head and hide it so Mitsunari would be unable to claim it as a prize before killing himself. Tadayoshi was captured alive by the defector Todo Takatora and whatever was left of the eastern Army began to retreat. Mitsunari had won.

    Sekigahara: The Aftermath


    Immediately following the battle a great feast was held on the battlefield for the victorious Western Army, with Konishi Yukinaga being the guest of honour. Then proceeded the customary "viewing of the heads" ceremony[5] and finally, justice would be dealt to the captured prisoners. First up was Fukushima Masanori, who surely knew what his fate would be, execution in the manner most befitting a traitor; slowly and painfully. Tadayoshi was to be executed, but was offered an honourable alternative, to commit seppuku instead (which he took). The last of the notable prisoners was Hosokawa Tadaoki, who was originally sentenced to death. Mitsunari decided to pardon him though, and even offered to let him retain his fiefs, provided he swear fealty to the Toyotomi. Hosokawa accepted with alacrity.

    It took about a day for word of Mitsunari's victory to reach the rest of Japan. Upon hearing the news, Date Masamune (ever the pragmatist) defected to the Western army and along with Uesugi Kagekatsu immediately set off for Hidetada's base in Edo. Hidetada was devastated upon hearing the news at Ueda and lamented loudly at his brother's death. "Tadayoshi! if only I had been there!" he yelled, to which a brave retainer replied "No, if only Ieyasu had been there". This insult was too much for Hidetada to bear and he killed the dissenting retainer instantly. Now it was his other retainers who had had enough of Hidetada, they turned on him and offered his head to Masayuki. The Siege of Ueda was over.

    Of the Tokugawa generals who survived Sekigahara and escaped, most either committed seppuku or were captured and executed. Asano Yukinaga was an exception; after three months on the run Mitsunari himself offered a pardon to his fellow countryman[6] to serve under him as a personal retainer. It was a risky move for Mitsunari to make and even riskier for Asano to accept (this could easily have been a ploy to capture him) but fortunately for both men each proved as good as his word. The three defectors (Todo Takatora, Kanamori Nagachika and Ikona Kazumasa) were pardoned for siding with Hidetada and retained their fiefs, while the Kuroda clan were spared punishment and retained their influence despite staying neutral, largely due to the intervention of Otomo Yoshinobu.[7] Mouri Hidemoto's participation had exonerated him somewhat but Kikkawa Hiroie was never forgiven for his previous pro-Tokugawa stance and found himself increasingly isolated after the battle. He was stripped of his fiefs and three years later, committed suicide.

    As for the fate of Ishida Mitsunari, Toyotomi Hideyori and indeed of Japan itself, that will be covered in the next chapter.

    Notes:


    [1] Matsudaira Tadayoshi, fourth son of Tokugawa Ieyasu. Matsudaira was Ieyasu's surname before he changed it from Matsudaira Motoyasu to Tokugawa Ieyasu.

    [2] The main road leading from the Tokugawa provinces to Osaka. It runs right through Omi province, Mitsunari's stronghold.

    [3] The actual date of the battle was the 21st of October (which for some reason the old Japanese calendar translates to September 15th) but I have moved the date ten months earlier for plot reasons.

    [4] In real life, Kato Kiyomasa was not present at Sekigahara.

    [5] Whereby the heads of deceased enemy samurai would be viewed. Heads of enemies were prized in battle, this is also why Konishi Yukinaga decapitated Kato Kiyomasa during the duel even though Kiyomasa was already dead.

    [6] Both Ishida and Asano were born in Omi province.

    [7] In real life it was Kuroda Kanbei who helped Yoshinobu retain influence (and for that matter, his head) after siding with Ishida Mitsunari.
    Last edited by Tanzhang (譚張); 06-11-2011 at 09:27.
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  19. #19
    Field Marshal King50000's Avatar
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    Great way to win the battle. I can see the reaction of the Eastern Troops when Hideaki's dead body came charging through their lines, and the oblivious Kobayakawa troops after him
    Last edited by King50000; 06-11-2011 at 04:29.

  20. #20
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    Good background.

    Although I should note that due to various japanese pop-culture concerning a lot of these characters I have a very hard time taking any of them seriously...
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