Post by Hachiman Taro on Apr 11, 2005 13:05:06 GMT -5
Those three are responsible for the eventual unification of Japan under Tokugawa rule, but they are not the only ones who brought Japan together in its mediaval history. What about Minamoto Yoritomo who established the first Japan-wide military dicatorship or shogunate? What about Ashikaga Takauji who established the next one? With regard to the "Big Three" (Nobunaga, Hideyoshi, Ieyasu) their achievements built upon one another. In other words Hideyoshi couldn't have achieved what he did without the initial wave of conquests by Nobunaga (Hideyoshi rose to become Nobunaga's ace strategist during this time), and Ieyasu would not have had a nearly unified country to put together were it not for the combined efforts of Nobunaga and Hideyoshi. As an a combination administrator-general, one is tempted to give the nod to Ieyasu because the system of government he laid down was stable for over 250 years, but the most of the military obstacles to his conquest had been removed by Nobunaga and Hideyoshi. One aspect of Ieyasu whose importance should not be overlooked is how fertile the guy was. A Toyotomi "dynasty" could never be established because his heir was but a kid when Hideyoshi died leaving the clan largely in the hands of Ishida Mitsunari and the heir's mother Yodo. Ieyasu had almost too many male progeny to count and he had a full grown and very capable eldest son who could assume control before he died (Ieyasu actually stepped down officially as Shogun in favor of Hidetada and governed from behind the scenes for some time until he died). There is no question that Yoritomo faced much greater obstacles in unifying Japan (say 1180-1189), than Ieyasu faced five centuries later, because Yoritomo did not have the foundation of others to build on when he started so as an individual he might actually get the nod as greatest unifier. Unfortunately for his clan, he, like Hideyoshi, died leaving an heir too young to assume the reins of government. The government fell into the hands of his brilliant wife, Masako and her father Hojo Tokimasa, who built on the system established by Yoritomo and established the military government often called the Hojo regents. Takauji was the guy who rose to the top after the fall of the Hojo. I wouldn't put him in the same class as either Yoritomo or Ieyasu because Japan was hardly peaceful by the time he died.
I choose Hideyoshi because he is the worse person to be an unifier.
Actually I didn't notice until I posted that this post is for which of the big three one dislikes the most. I suspect the person who voted for Ieyasu must have skimmed through and thought as I did that this was a vote for the greatest rather than the most unlikable of the greatest. I would say that as an outright tyrant Nobunaga (ie dislikable guy) would get my nod over Hideyoshi, given that Hideyoshi's campaigns before his Korean invasions were generally characterized by a bit more finesse (and less propensity for outright cruelty) than Nobunaga's. Of course, no complete measure of Hideyoshi is complete without including his Korean campaigns, so one can't simply write those off as aberrations (as some Hideyoshi apologists have). Had Nobunaga lived as long as Hideyoshi, I suspect the body count from his campaigns would have greatly dwarfed those of Hideyoshi's, including the Korean invasions. Ieyasu was not above being harsh, as attested to by the massacres that followed the fall of Osaka castle. Extending the vote to the "other" unifiers mentioned above, I'd say Nobunaga has some close competition. Takauji changed sides so many times during a period of extended civil war that one gets dizzy reading about it. Yoritomo ended up killing off nearly everyone that helped him get to the top, including his revered younger brother Yosh_tsune who won the key battles against the Taira. Yoritomo always used to be my unfavorite "unifier" because he killed Yosh_tsune, Noriyori (another brother who was a major player for him against the Heike), and because he destroyed the dazzling "northern kingdom" of Hiraizumi, but I've come to respect more of his administrative genius with time. Nonetheless, I think my overall vote for unfavorite unifier (with the added candidates) goes to Takauji for the reasons given above.
I would like to say first to Hachiman Taro. Minamoto Yoritomo and Ashikaga Takauji do not count because my thread was about the Japanese rulers who around the end of the 16th century. This is about Yi Soon-Shin (Yi Sun-shin) who risks his own life to save his country by Japanese threat in 1590s.
Just look up for their names for more information in this website.