The Battle of Tenno-ji: The Fall of Toyotomi Hideyori

The Battle of Tenno-ji

The Battle of Tenno-ji is the final phase in the Osaka siege. It is under the power of Ieyasu Tokugawa against the last descendants of the Toyotomi clan. The latter was a strong opposition party. They were the only clan that prevented full control of the newly established Shogunate throughout Japan.

The siege lasted from 1614 to 1615. It is divided into two: the Winter and the Summer Campaign. The latter is where the Battle of Tenno-ji happened. At the time of Tokugawa, Toyotomi Hideyori, the clans’ leader, still holds residence and power over Osaka. He is hindering the goal of Tokugawa Ieyasu.

The Winter Campaign

The Winter Campaign

It was in 1614 when Toyotomi Hideyori reconstructed Osaka Castle and rebuilt the Hoko-ji temple in Kyoto. They put inscriptions in there that the Shogunate found to be treacherous as it is demeaning the name of Ieyasu. This enraged the tension between the Toyotomi and Tokugawa clans. Hideyori gathered opposition in Osaka, including Ronin who are against the Shogunate.

It started on November 19, 1614. Ieyasu destroyed several villages and forts leading to their main target, the Osaka Castle. He first governed 3,000 troops destroying the fort in Kizu River. And after a week, he attacked the Imafuku village with just 1,500 troops with him. He, together with his Shogunate, was successful on this attack with the use of arquebuses.

By January 22, 1615, the Winter campaign of the siege ended. Toyotomi Hideyori pledged to the Shogunate that he will no longer be in opposition or even lead on rebellion. The campaign resulted in minor wreckage.  As a result, damages to the castle fence and moat are evident.

The Summer Campaign

The Summer Campaign

By April 1615, Ieyasu heard the news that Toyotomi Hideyori was assembling a bigger number of troops than that of last November siege and has ordered to stop filling the castle’s moat. Toyotomi troops attacked the Shogun troops near Osaka.

On May 26, Toyotomi troops led by Ban Danemon and Ono Harufusa encountered the Shogun’s troops of Asano Nagaakira in Kashii battle. It didn’t end well for Toyotomi’s side as he lost one of his military leaders, Ban Danemon.

Other battles took place months after, first was Battle in Dōmyōji where two military leaders of Toyotomi lost again, namely, Susukida Kanesuke and Gotō Matabei. The Battle in Yao, where Tōdō Takatora (Tokugawa force) and Chōsokabe Morichika (Toyotomi force) fought. Chōsokabe won.

Another one, on the said day as well, was the Battle in Wakae which was between Ii Naotaka (Tokugawa force) and Kimura Shigenari (Toyotomi force) where Shigenari died in the battle. Upon Ii’s victory, he came to the rescue on Todo troops where Chōsokabe eventually withdrew.

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The Summer Campaign Concluded

This was the decisive battle of the Tokugawa-Toyotomi feud series, the Battle in Tenno-ji.

Hideyori went for a hammer-and-anvil tactic. He made his first team of 55,000 troops attack the Tokugawa forces on its core. While the second team led by Kyōgoku Takatomo, Ishikawa Tadafusa and Kyōgoku Tadataka and composed of 16,500 troops border on the enemies’ back.

The then-new Shogun, Ieyasu’s son, Tokugawa Hidetada led the Shogunate troops. He has approximately 155,000 troops with him. They stirred into four perpendicular lines. Mistakes on the battlefield by both parties are present. This includes the core team of Hideyori, where they had split off with their collaboration with the Ronin. Fortunately, everyone can adjust with the last minute changes.

In the end, Tokugawa troops overthrew their rival. The Toyotomi troops fell where Sanada Yukimura is killed. This lowered the confidence of the remaining Toyotomi troops. They couldn’t take hold of their defense anymore. Moreover, the Osaka Castle was ablaze on fire. Hideyori, being helpless, committed Seppuku.

It is also believed and just good to note, that the legendary swordsman, Miyamoto Musashi fought in this battle under Toyotomi’s side.

The Aftermath

The Aftermath

Many dreadful events happened even after the battle. One horrific event is the execution of Toyotomi Kunimatsu. Kunimatsu is the 8-year-old grandson of Hideyori. He is apprehended and beheaded by the Shogunate in Kyoto.

Naahime, Hideyori’s daughter, decided to be a nun in Tōkei-ji, Kamakura. Additionally, the Shogunate destroyed Hideyoshi’s grave at Toyokuni Shrine, Kyoto.

Chōsokabe Morichika was beheaded on the 11th of May. Morichika’s pack member named Ono Harunaga got killed the next month.

There were also many reports of violence such as widespread cases of rapes by Tokugawa troops during the culmination of this siege in Tenno-ji. Toyotomi clan was no more as they lost their power altogether.

The Shogunate made 650,000 Koku in Osaka, and started to rebuild the Osaka Castle right away. Matsudaira Tadayoshi was the Daimyo that led the Osaka under a feudal domain.

But in the year 1619, the Shogunate ordered its domain into Osaka Jodai just like other many major cities in Japan. It is now under the authority of a Bugyō, who directly serves the Shogunate.

Development of New Laws

The Shogunate declared laws such as Ikkoku Ichijō, stating that every province must only contain one castle each. The Bukeshohatto, also called the “Law of Buke”, states that each Daimyo must own one castle only and must obey the new set of castle restrictions.

Also for any construction or repair of any castle, they should first obtain the Shogunate’s approval from then on prior to doing any reparation or construction. This also resulted to the destruction of multiple castles.

It was a unified time for Japan, especially after the battle. But a sad battle outcome resulted in Ieyasu’s deteriorating health. During his year-long campaign extinguishing the Toyotomi clan and his allies, in the series of Osaka siege, Ieyasu had incurred wounds that weakened him, which eventually resulted to his demise.

Approximately one year after this successful battle in Tenno-ji, Tokugawa Ieyasu died on the prime age of 75 on June 1st in the year 1616. Ieyasu was the third great unifier of Japan.

At Mt. Nikko, Ieyasu is buried. Traditionally, military leaders visit his shrine. His son, Hidetada, who was the Shogun already even before he died, continued his legacy of creating a fortified Shogunate under the Tokugawa family.

Hidetada did the same as his father did: he was also able to transfer his Shogun title to his son when he was still in good health.

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