A leader in Civilization IV
|Introduced||The original Civilization IV|
Tokugawa Ieyasu (Jan 31 1543-June 1 1616) was one of three unifiers of Japan, alongside Hideyoshi Toyotomi and Oda Nobunaga. Tokugawa, after Oda's death, founded the powerful Tokugawa Shogunate, which ruled peacefully for two hundred years.
Tokugawa Ieyasu was the daimyo (Japanese clan lord) of a province of Japan. During the Sengoku Jidai, life as a Japanese feudal lord was not easy. The lords fought constantly for land and power, using deception, treachery, seduction, blackmail, poison and bloody war to achieve dominance. At one point Tokugawa's wife and son were implicated in a plot to overthrow him; under intense pressure from his friends and allies, Ieyasu ordered their deaths - his son by ritual suicide, and his wife by execution. Despite this mishap, by all accounts Tokugawa was a master of this most dangerous game. A great general, a master tactician and an excellent liar, he did to others what they would do to him - except that he usually did it faster and better.
As Tokugawa rose in power and prominence, he became an important personage in the court of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a powerful general who had conquered most of Japan. Eventually he was given the great responsibility of looking after the general's son. However, upon Hideyoshi's death Tokugawa assembled an "eastern army" to take on Hideyoshi's successor. The two forces met in the battle of Sekigahara (1600). Aided by treachery of one of the enemy's generals, Tokugawa was victorious.
After his victory at Sekigahara, Tokugawa declared a new "Shogunate," a militaristic ruler that wielded all the power the Emperor pretended to have, making him the most important person in Japan.
The Tokugawa Shogunate's rule lasted a time of 200 years full of peace and stability for Japan. He stopped much of the meaningless infighting of the various feudal lords. Contrary to popular belief, (as portrayed in the novel "Shogun"), Tokugawa actually welcomed foreign traders - Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch, English, Spanish and Siamese - in Japanese ports, and Japan's trade net expanded greatly during his rule. (The ban on foreign trade and travel was put in place by his descendants.)
Tokugawa was always preoccupied with ensuring that he would not suffer the same fate that had befallen so many of his predecessors, and he took draconian measures to protect himself. For example, he forbade all wheeled vehicles from using Japan's fine road network. This made gathering an army to rise against him more difficult, of course, but it also crippled Japan's internal commerce, as all goods had to be carried on the backs of animals or people, rather than in far more efficient carts.
In 1605 Ieyasu abdicated in favor of his son, Hidetada. His family would rule Japan until 1868, when Imperial forces (clans/domains Tosa, Chosu, Shimazu and Saga) overthrew the Tokugawa shogunate during the Boshin War.
Musical Theme: Sakura Sakura (popular since Meiji Period)