Toyotomi Hideyori (豊臣 秀頼, Toyotomi Hideyori, born August 29, 1593 and died June 4, 1615) was the son and heir-designate of Hideyoshi Toyotomi, the minister of supreme affairs who unified Japan. His mother, Yodogimi, was the niece of Nobunaga Oda.
Toyotomi Hideyori Biography
When Hideyoshi died in 1598, the five regents he had appointed to rule during Hideyori's youth began to fight among themselves for power. In 1600, after his victory at the battle of Sekigahara, Ieyasu Tokugawa took the power.
Hideyori married Ieyasu's granddaughter Senhime, then seven years old, to ensure her loyalty to the Tokugawa clan. However, Ieyasu continued to regard the young Hideyori as a threat and attacked him by laying siege to Osaka in the winter of 1614.
The attack was a failure, after a few weeks the fortress proved to be impregnable, so Tokugawa proposed an armistice, mainly in order to better secure his positions until the right moment.
Against the advice of his generals, under the pressure of his mother Yodogimi, afraid, Hideyori agreed to sign the truce whose conditions are among others the dismantling of the defenses of his fortress, the castle of Osaka.
In April 1615, Ieyasu broke the truce and attacked again under the pretext that the castle's defenses had been partially rebuilt, and that rōnin were once again gathering there. The final battle took place on open ground south of the fortress in June.
After hours of fighting, Tokugawa's numerical superiority assured him victory, but the battle would not end until dusk. Hideyori locked himself up in the dungeon with his mother where he committed suicide at the age of 21. His 8 years old son was coldly put to death by the victors, putting an end to the Toyotomi clan and opening the way to two hundred and fifty years of Tokugawa shogunate.
Toyotomi Hideyori Posterity
As early as the seventeenth century, the bunraku play Yoshitsune Shin Takadachi made him appear as Minamoto no Yoshitsune, younger brother of a shogun of the eleventh century. Although the action is set several centuries earlier to avoid censorship, the play alludes to the siege of Osaka Castle.