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They therefore abandoned their functions, and
Hideyoshi remained in sole charge of the Imperial Court and of the
administration in the capital.

DEATH OF SHIBATA KATSUIYE

It has been already stated that Nobunaga's sons, Nobutaka and
Nobukatsu, were bitter enemies and that Nobutaka had the support of
Takigawa Kazumasu as well as of Shibata Katsuiye. Thus, Hideyoshi was
virtually compelled to espouse the cause of Nobukatsu. In January,
1583, he took the field at the head of seventy-five thousand men, and
marched into Ise to attack Kazumasu, whom he besieged in his castle
at Kuwana. The castle fell, but Kazumasu managed to effect his
escape, and in the mean while Katsuiye entered Omi in command of a
great body of troops, said to number sixty-five thousand. At the last
moment, however, he had failed to secure the co-operation of Maeda
Toshiiye, an important ally, and his campaign therefore assumed a
defensive character. Hideyoshi himself, on reconnoitring the
position, concluded that he had neither numerical preponderance nor
strategical superiority sufficient to warrant immediate assumption of
the offensive along the whole front. He therefore distributed his
army on a line of thirteen redoubts, keeping a reserve of fifteen
thousand men under his own direct command, his object being to hold
the enemy's forces in check while he attacked Gifu, which place he
assaulted with such vigour that the garrison made urgent appeals to
Katsuiye for succour.

In this situation it was imperative that some attempt should be made
to break the line of redoubts, but it was equally imperative that
this attempt should not furnish to the enemy a point of
concentration. Accordingly, having ascertained that the weakest point
in the line was at Shizugatake, where only fifteen hundred men were
posted, Katsuiye instructed his principal general, Sakuma Morimasa,
to lead the reserve force of fifteen thousand men against that
position, but instructed him at the same time to be content with any
success, however partial, and not to be betrayed into pushing an
advantage, since by so doing he would certainly furnish a fatal
opportunity to the enemy. Morimasa neglected this caution. Having
successfully surprised the detachment at Shizugatake, and having
inflicted heavy carnage on the defenders of the redoubt, who lost
virtually all their officers, he not only sat down to besiege the
redoubt, whose decimated garrison held out bravely, but he also
allowed his movements to be hampered by a small body of only two
score men under Niwa Nagahide, who took up a position in the
immediate neighbourhood, and displaying their leader's flag, deceived
Morimasa into imagining that they had a powerful backing. These
things happened during the night of April 19, 1583. Katsuiye, on
receipt of the intelligence, sent repeated orders to Morimasa
requiring him to withdraw forthwith; but Morimasa, elated by his
partial victory, neglected these orders.

On the following day, the facts were communicated to Hideyoshi, at
Ogaki, distant about thirty miles from Shizugatake, who immediately
appreciated the opportunity thus furnished. He set out at the head of
his reserves, and in less than twenty-four hours his men crossed
swords with Morimasa's force. The result was the practical
extermination of the latter, including three thousand men under
Katsuiye's adopted son, Gonroku. The latter had been sent to insist
strenuously on Morimasa's retreat, but learning that Morimasa had
determined to die fighting, Gonroku announced a similar intention on
his own part. This incident was characteristic of samurai canons.
Hideyoshi's victory cost the enemy five thousand men, and demoralized
Katsuiye's army so completely that he subsequently found himself able
to muster a total force of three thousand only. Nothing remained but
flight, and in order to withdraw from the field, Katsuiye was obliged
to allow his chief retainer, Menju Shosuke, to impersonate him, a
feat which, of course, cost Shosuke's life.

Katsuiye's end is one of the most dramatic incidents in Japanese
history. He decided to retire to his castle of Kitano-sho, and, on
the way thither, he visited his old friend, Maeda Toshiiye, at the
latter's castle of Fuchu, in Echizen. Thanking Toshiiye for all the
assistance he had rendered, and urging him to cultivate friendship
with Hideyoshi, he obtained a remount from Toshiiye's stable, and,
followed by about a hundred samurai, pushed on to Kitano-sho. Arrived
there, he sent away all who might be suspected of sympathizing with
Hideyoshi, and would also have sent away his wife and her three
daughters. This lady was a sister of Nobunaga. She had been given, as
already stated, to Asai Nagamasa, and to him she bore three children.
But after Nagamasa's destruction she was married to Katsuiye, and was
living at the latter's castle of Kitano-sho when the above incidents
occurred. She declined to entertain the idea of leaving the castle,
declaring that, as a samurai's daughter, she should have shared her
first husband's fate, and that nothing would induce her to repeat
that error. Her three daughters were accordingly sent away, and she
herself joined in the night-long feast which Katsuiye and his
principal retainers held while Hideyoshi's forces were marching to
the attack. When the sun rose, the whole party, including the ladies,
committed suicide, having first set fire to the castle.

YODOGOMI

One of the three daughters of Asai Nagamasa afterwards became the
concubine of Hideyoshi and bore to him a son, Hideyori, who, by her
advice, subsequently acted in defiance of Ieyasu, thus involving the
fall of the house of Hideyoshi and unconsciously avenging the fate of
Nobunaga.

NOBUTAKA

Nobunaga's son, Nobutaka, who had been allied with Katsuiye, escaped,
at first, to Owari on the latter's downfall, but ultimately followed
Katsuiye's example by committing suicide. As for Samboshi, Nobunaga's
grandson and nominal heir, he attained his majority at this time, but
proving to be a man of marked incompetence, the eminent position for
which he had been destined was withheld. He took the name of Oda
Hidenobu, and with an income of three hundred thousand koku settled
down contentedly as Hideyoshi's vassal.

OSAKA CASTLE

Hideyoshi left behind him a striking monument of his greatness of
thought and power of execution. At Osaka where in 1532 the priests of
the Hongwan-ji temple had built a castle which Nobunaga captured in
1580 only after a long and severe siege, Hideyoshi built what is
called The Castle of Osaka. It is a colossal fortress, which is still
used as military headquarters for garrison and arsenal, and the
dimensions of which are still a wonder, though only a portion of the
building survives. Materials for the work were requisitioned from
thirty provinces, their principal components being immense granite
rocks, many of which measured fourteen feet in length and breadth,
and some were forty feet long and ten feet wide. These huge stones
had to be carried by water from a distance of several miles. The
outlying protection of this great castle consisted of triple moats
and escarpments. The moats were twenty feet deep, with six to ten
feet of water. The total enclosed space was about one hundred acres,
but only one-eighth of this was the hominaru, or keep, inside the
third moat.

It will be seen that the plan of the castle was to have it divided
into spaces separately defensible, so that an enemy had to establish
his footing by a series of repeated efforts.

And the second respect in which it was a novelty in Japanese
defensive warfare was that the castle donjon was heavily built and
armoured after a fashion. The three-storey donjon was framed in huge
timbers, quite unlike the flimsy structure of most Japanese
buildings, and the timbers were protected against fire by a heavy
coat of plaster. Roof and gates were covered with a sort of
armor-plate, for there was a copper covering to the roof and the
gates were faced with iron sheets and studs. In earlier "castles"
there had been a thin covering of plaster which a musket ball could
easily penetrate; and stone had been used only in building
foundations.

THE KOMAKI WAR

After the suicide of his brother, Nobutaka, and when he saw that his
nephew, Samboshi (Hidenobu), was relegated to the place of a vassal
of Hideyoshi, Nobukatsu seems to have concluded that the time had
come to strike a final blow in assertion of the administrative
supremacy of the Oda family. He began, therefore, to plot with that
object. Hideyoshi, who was well served by spies, soon learned of
these plots, and thinking to persuade Nobukatsu of their
hopelessness, he established close relations with the latter's three
most trusted retainers. No sooner did this come to the cognizance of
Nobukatsu than he caused these three retainers to be assassinated,
and applied to Ieyasu for assistance, Ieyasu consented. This action
on the part of the Tokugawa baron has been much commented on and
variously interpreted by historians, but it has always to be
remembered that Ieyasu had been Oda Nobunaga's ally; that the two had
fought more than once side by side, and that had the Tokugawa leader
rejected Nobukatsu's appeal, he would not only have suffered in
public estimation, but would also have virtually accepted a position
inferior to that evidently claimed by Hideyoshi.

The course of subsequent events seems to prove that Ieyasu, in taking
the field on this occasion, aimed simply at asserting his own
potentiality and had no thought of plunging the empire into a new
civil war. In March, 1584, he set out from Hamamatsu and joined
Nobukatsu at Kiyosu, in Owari. The scheme of campaign was extensive.
Ieyasu placed himself in communication with Sasa Narimasa, in
Echizen; with Chosokabe Motochika, in Shikoku, and with the military
monks in the province of Kii. The programme was that Narimasa should
raise his standard in Echizen and Kaga, and that Motochika, with the
monks of Kii, should move to the attack of Osaka, so that Hideyoshi
would be compelled to carry on three wars at the same time.



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