Toyotomi Hidetsugu (豊臣秀次)

Hidetsugu TOYOTOMI/Hidetsugu HASHIBA was a busho (Japanese military commander), daimyo (Japanese feudal lord) and Kanpaku (chief adviser to the Emperor) from the Sengoku period (period of warring states) (Japan) (the end of the Muromachi period) to Tensho period.

He was a son of Nisshu, the elder sister of Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI, and became his adopted son. His common name was Magoshichiro. His childhood name was Jihe-e. He was adopted by Yasunaga MIYOSHI who was a member of the MIYOSHI clan, a Sengoku daimyo (Japanese territorial lord in the Sengoku period), and named Nobuyoshi MIYOSHI, but he later changed his name to Hidetsugu HASHIBA.
Refer to the article on the Toyotomi clan for the way of reading 'Hidetsugu TOYOTOMI.'

His lawful wife was a daughter of Tsuneoki IKEDA, and his second wife was a daughter of a Udaijin (minister of the right), Harusue KIKUTEI. He had many concubines including Komahime, a daughter of Yoshimitsu MOGAMI, Kogo-no-tsubone, a daughter of Tessai Takashige TANNOWA, and Okuni, a daughter of Shinzaemon OSHIMA.

The first half of his life

He was born the first son of Tomo (Zuiryu-in Nisshu) (the elder sister of Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI) and Yoshifusa MIYOSHI (then known as Yasuke KINOSHITA) in 1568. When Nobunaga ODA attacked the Azai clan, Hidetsugu was sent to Keijun MIYABE as his adopted son (he was then returned after the fall of the Azai clan). Later, when Nobunaga started the Conquest of Shikoku, Hideyoshi was going to strengthen his clout in Shikoku, thus Hidetsugu was sent to become the adopted child of Yasunaga MIYOSHI who had strong power in Awa Province at the time, where he was given the name Nobuyoshi MIYOSHI. After Nobunaga died in July 1582, Hideyoshi was establishing his status as his successor, and Hidetsugu was given important posts by Hideyoshi as one of a few relatives.

Hidetsugu took part in the Battle of Shizugatake in 1583, achieving military exploits. He took part in the Battle of Komaki and Nagakute in 1584, where he was a general commander of the detached surprise attack force in Mikawa Province for 'intermission,' but they suffered terrible defeat by a surprise attack by the Ieyasu TOKUGAWA army; Hidetsugu lost Tsuneoki IKEDA, his father-in-law along with Nagayoshi MORI, and escaped with his bare life. Because of this, he was severely repremanded by Hideyoshi. He gave himself the name Hidetsugu HASHIBA in this period.

He achieved military exploits at the Conquest of Kishu in Kii Province and the Conquest of Shikoku in 1585. He was given 430,000 koku (crop yields) in Hachimanyama-jo Castle in Omi Province (of which 230,000 were for Otoshiyori [chief retainers] as a reward).

He was said to be a good governor for the inside of the territory; a 'Statue of Justice for the Fight Over Water' remains in Omihachiman City, and his anecdotes have been handed down.
This might be due to the great achievement of his vassals, Yoshimasa TANAKA and others, but another face of Hidetsugu showed his independence, such that he himself punished the local governors who misgoverned and judged his father Yoshifusa MIYOSHI, who was in charge of Myodai (a substitute), 'unreliable.'
The real image is that he gradually controlled them while being supported by Yoshimasa and other vassels.

He attended the Battle of Odawara in 1590, and was given a large territory of one million koku in Owari Province and five districts in the north of Ise Province in the former territory of Nobukatsu ODA who was dismissed after the war because of refusal of changing territory. He achieved military exploits to suppress the Kasai and Osaki riot.

Death

Tsurumatsu TOYOTOMI, a legitimate son of Hideyoshi, died in September 1591. Accordingly, Hidetsugu was adopted by Hideyoshi in December and was given TOYOTOMI cognomen as a successor of Hideyoshi in January of the next year, and was passed over for the post of Kanpaku.

He moved to the Jurakudai residence to live and operated government affairs, but as Hideyoshi did not turn over full powers, a dual government existed. Afterwards, he controlled domestic administrations for Hideyoshi who was dedicating himself to the Battle of Bunroku and Keicho.

However, when a biological child of Hideyoshi, Hideyori TOYOTOMI, was born in 1593, Hidetsugu gradually got on the wrong side of Hideyoshi. They tried to compromise by affiancing Hideyori and a daughter of Hidetsugu, but in the end he was expelled to Mt. Koya by the order of Hideyoshi on August 13, 1595; subsequently he became a priest (he became a priest Kanpaku [Zenko], and was called Hozenko, a name related to Toyotomi). He was ordered to commit seppuku (suicide by disembowelment) on August 20, and he died in the Willow room at Seigan-ji Temple. He died at age of 28.

After his death, the family of Hidetsugu, his wives and concubines, sons and daughters along with many of his vassals, were purged, and the head of Hidetsugu was exposed by Hideyoshi at Sanjogawara in Kyoto.

Hideyori was appointed by Hideyoshi to be a successor and succeeded the family estate after Hideyoshi died.

The Hidetsugu Incident

Hideyoshi had a new son, Hideyori TOYOTOMI, in 1593, and the relationship between Hidetsugu and Hideyoshi decisively deteriorated.

He was put under suspicion of a rebellion by Hideyoshi in 1595. On August 8, 1595, four out of five magistrates including Mitsunari ISHIDA visited Hidetsugu at the Jurakudai residence and urged him to go to Mt. Koya.

On August 13, Hidetsugu visited Hideyoshi in Fushimi-jo Castle to explain the rebellion, but he could not meet him, and went to Mt. Koya on the same day. A week later on August 20, Masanori FUKUSHIMA and some others visited Hidetsugu to pass on the order of committing seppuku given by Hideyoshi; Hidetsugu and others under suspicion including his pages committed seppuku that day. Hidetsugu committed seppuku with the support of Shigemasa SASABE who assisted Hidetsugu by beheading him, while Shigemasa and a Buddhist monk of Tofuku-ji Temple Genryuseido also committed seppuku. The corpses of Hidetsugu along with those who committed seppuku were buried at Kongobu-ji Temple, and the head of Hidetsugu was sent to Sanjogawara.

On September 5, 1595, the family of Hidetsugu including the women were executed at Sanjogawara; a total of 39 people including the bereaved children (four boys and one girl), a lawful wife, concubines, and waiting women were executed in front of the tumulus where the head of Hidetsugu was laid. After the execution of the family of Hidetsugu which took about five hours, the corpses were buried in one place, and a cist (a box-shaped funerary urn made of stone) in which the head of Hidetsugu was put, was placed at the burial ground. The burial place was neglected until a wealthy merchant named Ryoi SUMINOKURA reconstructed it (Chikusho-zuka [Mound of Beasts]) in 1611. Daimyo who were related to Hidetsugu were confined, and the Jurakudai residence was also destroyed.

However, this does not mean that all of the wives and children of Hidetsugu were killed. Okiku, a daughter of Kogo-no-tsubone (who was a daughter of Tessai Takashige TANNOWA) was spared as she was a girl and only one month old; she was left to Okiyoshi GOTO who was a son of the younger brother of Okiku's grandfather. Also, a daughter named Ryuseiin, who later became a concubine of Nobushige SANADA, and two other daughters who married into the Umenokoji family were able to get themselves out of trouble. Wakagozen, who was a lawful wife and daughter of Tsuneoki IKEDA, was also spared and sent back to his elder brother Terumasa IKEDA.

The Emaki (picture scroll) 'Zuisen-ji Temple Engi' (writing of history) written about the process of the execution of Hidetsugu and his family is kept in Zuisen-ji Temple in Kyoto City.

The reasons for purging

The following theories are given as reasons for the purging of Hidetsugu.

In order to ensure the succession by the real son Hideyori and to eradicate the descendants of Hidetsugu to secure the succession of the direct line. A theory of eccentric behavior after Hideyori was born such as addiction to alcohol and being crazy for women (Sessho Kanpaku [life-killing kanpaku]). A conspiracy theory by the real mother of Hideyori, Yodo-dono, and an executive officer of 'Omi group,' Mitsunari ISHIDA.
(However, according to Bukoyawa (one of the family genealogies), Mitsunari insisted on the innocence of Hidetsugu.)

Seppuku

Shigekore KIMURA (committed suicide after being spared)
KIMURA Shima no kami (Governor of Shima Province) (sentenced to death)
Nagayasu MAENO (committed suicide after being spared)
Kagesada MAENO (sentenced to death)
Masachika HANEDA (sentenced to death)
Kazutada HATTORI (sentenced to death)
Shigeaki WATARASE (sentenced to death)
Norizane AKASHI (sentenced to death)
Kayu HITOTSUYANAGI (sentenced to death)
Hidemochi AWANO (sentenced to death)
Narisada SHIRAE (sentenced to death)
Naosumi KUMAGAI (Naoyuki KUMAGAI) (sentenced to death)

Others

Yoshifusa MIYOSHI (kaieki [stripping of rank of samurai and properties] and deported)
Yoshisato ROKKAKU (kaieki)
Yoshitaka KINOSHITA (kaieki and deported)
Joha SATOMURA (house arrest)
Yoshinaga ASANO (deported, but later returned)
Tadayasu MAENO (Ronin [masterless samurai])
Katsutoshi TAKIGAWA (joho [the same as Kaieki])
Motokiyo ARAKI (banished)
Harusue KIKUTEI (deported)
Arinaga TSUCHIMIKADO (deported)

Those who evaded trouble

Takatora TODO
Kazuuji NAKAMURA
Yoshiharu HORIO
Kazutoyo YAMAUCHI
Masamune DATE
Yoshiaki MOGAMI
Yoshimasa TANAKA
Tadaoki HOSOKAWA
Mogami, Hosokawa, and Date were saved from trouble through mediation of Ieyasu TOKUGAWA.

Sessho Kanpaku (life-killing kanpaku)

It is said that Hidetsugu repeated villainies such as preference murder (he killed a blind man on the street), thus he famously was given the name 'Sessho Kanpaku,' a homonym of Sessho Kanpaku (Regent and Chief Adviser to the Emperor), but the actual circumstances are unknown and a lot of points are doubtful.

Influence of the Hidetsugu Incident

Hidetsugu could be the only adult relative in the Toyotomi family in Hideyoshi's later years, so if Hidetsugu was alive he might have resisted the takeover of hegemony later carried out by Ieyasu. The massacre of Hidetsugu and his children resulted in making the small Toyotomi family much weaker. Also, daimyo who incurred Hideyoshi's displeasure in regards to the Hidetsugu Incident belonged to the East camp of the Tokugawa side at the Battle of Sekigahara.

Kazuhiko KASAYA pointed out that as well as the confliction between civilian parties and military government groups over the dispatch of troops to Korea, the Hidetsugu Incident was one of the political contradictions of the Toyotomi government that determined the cracks within the Toyotomi family and the Toyotomi vassals, and it was one of the causes of the Battle of Sekigahara.

Personal profile

As a popular theory, Hidetsugu was evaluated often as a mediocre and incapable Japanese military commander, but his failure was only the defeat of the Battle of Komaki and Nagakute; he later achieved military exploits at the Kii and Shikoku Conquests, the Siege of Yamanaka-jo Castle at the Conquest and Siege of Odawara, and the executions in Oshu. Considering his performance of state affairs was quite good with the assistance of Kazutoyo YAMAUCHI and Yoshiharu HORIO, he might have been a person with moderate ability. He had the ability of both the literary and martial arts as described below.

When the Hidetsugu Incident occurred, many people such as Nagayasu MAENO, Shigekore KIMURA, Shigeaki WATARASE who were hereditary vassals of Hideyoshi, and Mitsunari ISHIDA who was known through conspiracy theories and many others insisted on the innocence of Hidetsugu and protected him, so that it is understandable that Hidetsugu was a respected person.

In spite of not being a Christian, Hidetsugu was praised by a missionary that he was a gentle and considerable person (Luis FROIS 'History of Japan,' etc.). From this point, it is doubtful whether the gossip of 'Sessho Kanpaku' was his real image or not. As he understood Christianity, some researchers consider that he might have been a Christian.

Hidetsugu was a first-rank educated person of the day who loved ancient Japanese writings and held cultural exchanges with many court nobles. Collections of notes written by court nobles exist, in which they admired his improvement of learning.
On the other hand, scholars who were out of power such as Seika FUJIWARA were known to devaluate Hidetsugu and ignored him, saying 'Learning becomes corrupt.'
However, as Seika FUJIWARA's father, Tamezumi REIZEI, was left in the lurch by Hideyoshi, the possibility cannot be denied that he dared criticize Hidetsugu severely as he was an adopted son of Hideyoshi.

As for martial arts, he learned swordplay and the art of spearmanship from Kagekane HIKITA, and also learned swordplay from Munenobu HASEGAWA and Hisayasu KATAYAMA, and thus had the ability of kaishaku (to assist someone in committing seppuku by beheading him) during the act of seppuku. There is evidence that he authenticated swords. He also learned Heki-ryu school of Japanese archery and Araki-ryu school of horse-back archery.

Hidetsugu's specific henki (granting subordinates the use of a Japanese character from the superior's real name).

As a daimyo, Hidetsugu granted the children of strong vassals the use of a Japanese character of his name. The military commanders who might have been granted a Japanese character from his name were Yoshitsugu TANAKA, Nagatsugu ODA, and Moritsugu MASUDA. Hidetsugu granted his name in a different way from others in that he gave the latter Japanese character of his name for the second portion of the name of subordinates.

Career of job grade

Dates are written in the form of the old lunar calendar.

In October 1585, he was ordained to Jushiinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade), Ukone no Gon no shosho (Provisional Minor Captain of the Right Division of Inner Palace Guards).

In 1586, he was transferred to Ukone no Gon no chujo (Provisional Middle Captain of the Right Division of Inner Palace Guards). On November 25, he was appointed to Sangi (Councilor). He retained his position of Ukone no Gon no chujo.

On November 22, 1587, he was promoted to Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank), and transferred to Gon Chunagon (a provisional vice-councilor of state). He was called Shin-Chunagon (new Chunagon). He was later also called Omi Chunagon or Goshu Chunagon.

On April 19, 1588, he was promoted to Junii (Junior Second Rank). He retained his position of Gon Chunagon. He joined the family lineage of the Seiga family (one of the highest court noble families in Japan at that time) during this period.

On February 11, 1591, he was promoted to Shonii (Senior Second Rank) and transferred to Gon Dainagon (provisional chief councilor of state). On December 4, he was transferred to Naidaijin (minister of the center). On December 28, he accepted the imperial proclamation to become Kanpaku. He received the imperial proclamation of nairan (a preliminary inspection of official documents submitted from the daijokan [Great Council of State] to the Emperor). He was proclaimed as the Chieftain of the Toyotomi clan. He retained his position of Naidaijin.

On January 29, 1592, he was transferred to Sadaijin (minister of the left). He retained his positions as Kanpaku, Nairan, and Chieftain of the Toyotomi's clan.

On July 8, 1595, he entered the priesthood. On July 15, he passed away.

Graveyard

The Gorin Tower (a memorial gravestone for the dead) of Hidetsugu TOYOTOMI and the graveyards of those executed are in Zuisen-ji Temple (Kyoto City) in Kyoto City. His graveyard is in Zensho-ji Temple (Kyoto City) in Kyoto City.

There is also another graveyard in Mt. Koya where Hidetsugu committed seppuku.

Memorial service

On the anniversary of the death of Hidetsugu TOYOTOMI on July 15, a memorial service for him is held at Hachimanyama (Omihachiman City, Shiga Prefecture) by the chief priest of Zuiryu-ji Temple (Omihachiman City).