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Old January 31st, 2011, 01:54 PM   #1

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Hideyori and the Siege of Osaka


For my fellow Samurai history buffs, I'd like to start a conversation about the famouse Siege of Osaka, where the Toyotomi clan was wiped out by the Tokugawa Shogunate.

My main question is, could Hideyori have possibly won? Was it a mistake to trust Ieyasu with a peace deal?

Ieyasu only lived for another year after the siege, so if the Osaka forces could have held out a little longer things could have turned out much differently (the Shogun Hidetada was not in Ieyasu's league)
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Old January 31st, 2011, 02:11 PM   #2

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I don't think Hideyori had the backing of enough powerful daimyo to really be more than an irritant to the Tokugawa.

You say Hidetada wasn't the man his father was - but the same applied in equal measure if not more to Hideyori, who is popularly depicted as being under the influence of his mother. He failed to take the field until it was far too late, and his diplomatic ability is questionable. Having agreed to reduce the defenses of Osaka after the summer campaign, he should have known that the Tokugawa would have used any excuse to finish the job, and the gathering of troops at Osaka was just what they needed. Of course, they would probably have found an excuse anyway.

On the battlefield, the Tokugawa had enough men of ability under them, such as Date Masamune or Uesugi Kagekatsu, to match anyone on the Toyotomi side.

Ieyasu also had the foresight to abdicate as Shogun in favour of his son long before his death, to ensure no problems with succession, so there would have been little turmoil for the Toyotomi to take advantage of.
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Old January 31st, 2011, 02:22 PM   #3

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^What I meant about Hidetada is that he was more prone to blunders and mistakes than his father, and didn't possess the Old Man's patience. If Ieyasu had died before the Siege broke, the Osaka forces would have had a much less formidable enemy. You say the same could be applied to Hideyori, but I'd say he did pretty well for this being his first battle.

As for the commanders on both sides, well, the Osaka forces had Sanada Yukimura - a very good General and an amazing castle defender. Other than him, however, I'd agree that they lacked as many great generals as the Shogunate had.

But remember, the Toyotomi didn't have to destroy the Tokugawa - all they had to was hold out and survive long enough. So the lack of brilliant commanders wasn't as much of a problem for a purely defensive war.

I think the fact that Ieyasu had to use trickery with the moats is telling - there was no way to bring down the castle through conventional means. It seems Hideyori's fatal mistake was agreeing to a peace deal (like you said, he put too much stock in his mother), or not ordering his troops to fire on the Shogun's forces when they started filling the moats.
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Old January 31st, 2011, 02:44 PM   #4

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rasputin1234 View Post
^What I meant about Hidetada is that he was more prone to blunders and mistakes than his father, and didn't possess the Old Man's patience. If Ieyasu had died before the Siege broke, the Osaka forces would have had a much less formidable enemy. You say the same could be applied to Hideyori, but I'd say he did pretty well for this being his first battle.

As for the commanders on both sides, well, the Osaka forces had Sanada Yukimura - a very good General and an amazing castle defender. Other than him, however, I'd agree that they lacked as many great generals as the Shogunate had.

But remember, the Toyotomi didn't have to destroy the Tokugawa - all they had to was hold out and survive long enough. So the lack of brilliant commanders wasn't as much of a problem for a purely defensive war.

I think the fact that Ieyasu had to use trickery with the moats is telling - there was no way to bring down the castle through conventional means. It seems Hideyori's fatal mistake was agreeing to a peace deal (like you said, he put too much stock in his mother), or not ordering his troops to fire on the Shogun's forces when they started filling the moats.
If the Toyotomi were to revive themselves, they needed to do far more than just hold out. While they remained, they would have been a constant threat to the Tokugawa, and would have had to be destroyed sooner or later. The Tokugawa wouldn't have let them just sit there and rebuild.

Yukimura (by the way, he was never called that during his lifetime, he was known as Nobushige) was a good seige commander, but he couldn't be everywhere at once, and far, far too much rested in him. His death precipitated the collapse of the defenders' morale, as there was no one with enough prestige to take his place.

Regardless of whether it was Hideyori's first (or rather, second) seige, it is really rather irrelevent. He never had the chance to prove himself in a third one. As for Hidetada, other than him failing to make it to Sekigahara, I don't really recall him making that many strategic blunders. Obviously, he wasn't as successful as his father was, but that's rather like saying Alexander the Great's successors weren't as good as he was. And like I said, I think there were more than enough capable men who had served under Ieyasu still alive to ensure that the Tokugawa weren't going to be defeated.
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Old January 31st, 2011, 06:29 PM   #5

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I really think that if Osaka had happened a few years later, Hideyori might have stood a better chance against the Tokugawa. That is, if an event like Osaka would have been necessary at all. As for the actual battle(s) that did take place in 1614/15, the Toyotomi forces had no chance whatsoever of winning, IMO.

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Originally Posted by Rasputin1234 View Post
My main question is, could Hideyori have possibly won? Was it a mistake to trust Ieyasu with a peace deal?
The Toyotomi forces really had no choice. The bombardments that Ieyasu was bringing down on Osaka was something that had never been seen before in Japan. There was pressure from the Court to come to a compromise as well.

I tend to have a bit of faith in Hideyori's ability as a leader. Like I said, a few years later, who knows.....? It would have been interesting to see how many old ties Hideyori would have been able to restore. It's a shame Lady Yodo was still around.
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Old February 1st, 2011, 11:29 AM   #6

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Originally Posted by leakbrewergator View Post

The Toyotomi forces really had no choice. The bombardments that Ieyasu was bringing down on Osaka was something that had never been seen before in Japan. There was pressure from the Court to come to a compromise as well.

I tend to have a bit of faith in Hideyori's ability as a leader. Like I said, a few years later, who knows.....? It would have been interesting to see how many old ties Hideyori would have been able to restore. It's a shame Lady Yodo was still around.
That's what I'm trying to get at. The usual narrative is that by listening to his mother and coming to the table and agreeing to lower the castle defenses, thereby inadvertently allowing Ieyasu to fill the moats, Hideyori made a fatal mistake. But what you seem to be saying is that even if they had held out, the Shogunate's cannons would have done them in?

Osaka had the reputation as the most impregnable fortress in the realm, remember.
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Old February 1st, 2011, 11:42 AM   #7

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rasputin1234 View Post
That's what I'm trying to get at. The usual narrative is that by listening to his mother and coming to the table and agreeing to lower the castle defenses, thereby inadvertently allowing Ieyasu to fill the moats, Hideyori made a fatal mistake.
Not only that, but listening to Lady Yodo and the other so-called "hardliners" from the onset was a terrible mistake.

Quote:
But what you seem to be saying is that even if they had held out, the Shogunate's cannons would have done them in?
Yes.

Quote:
Osaka had the reputation as the most impregnable fortress in the realm, remember.
While Osaka was thought to be impregnable, it never actually withstood a test. It's reputation was based entirely off how staunch the Ikko-Ikki had resisted Nobunaga and how massive the structure actually was.

As we know, reputations aren't always entirely accurate. See:Titanic being unsinkable.
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