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Three Unifiers of Japan


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The three major daimyo that unified Japan, Oda Nobunaga, Toyatomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu

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Three Unifiers of Japan

  1. 1. The Three Unifiers of Japan Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu “If the cuckoo does not sing, kill it”. “If the cuckoo does not sing, coax it”. “If the cuckoo does not sing, wait for it”.
  2. 2. “If the cuckoo does not sing, kill it”. This line refers to the Oda Nobunaga. Nobunaga is considered one of the three great daimyōs. He was known for his ruthlessness and military ambitions. Nobunaga changed the way war was fought in Japan. He supported the use of Western weapons like firearms at a time when swords were used in battle. He also set up regulations, which were basically free market principles used in trade and commerce. He was also responsible for creating civil service promotions based on merit and ability, rather than on rank and status. Oda Nobunaga June 23, 1534 - June 21, 1582
  3. 3. The second line refers to Toyotomi Hideyoshi , “If the cuckoo does not sing, coax it”. Hideyoshi was a great negotiator. He was able to persuade many members of the Saitō clan to pledge their allegiance to Nobunaga, his former master. Hideyoshi’s legacy left a social rigid class in Japan. Ironically, Hideyoshi himself was a lowly servant under Nobunaga, who rose to become a samurai. Moreover, he confiscated the swords of many farmers, thereby preventing them from becoming samurais. Unlike Nobunaga, Hideyoshi’s strength was not on the battlefield. He failed two attempts to conquer Korea, dashing the hopes of invading China as well. Toyotomi Hideyoshi March 17, 1537 - September 18, 1598
  4. 4. The third line refers to Tokugawa Ieyasu “If the cuckoo does not sing, wait for it”. Ieyasu was known for his patience and caution. Ieyasu waited until Hideyoshi’s death to take power. He secretly made plans with Hideyoshi’s enemies and overthrew Hideyoshi’s five year old son and regent out of power. In 1603, Ieyasu became the first shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate. Perhaps it was Ieyasu’s childhood experience as a hostage and being kidnapped at age six, that influenced his cautious personality. Although he was treated well for a hostage, his life was in the hands of an enemy clan until age fifteen. Tokugawa Ieyasu January 31, 1543 - June 1, 1616