Why didn't Toyotomi send Tokugawa troops to China orKorea?

Nov 2013
It seems to me as if Toyotomi should have either sent Tokugawa or his troops to China; either in support of his invasion or to drain the Tokugawa clan of it's strength. Instead Tokugawa is simply able to refuse participation in the Imjin war altogether, if I am not mistaken.

Why didn't Toyotomi dispatch either Tokugawa, or at least more of his resources in support of the Imjin war?
Apr 2012
The Netherlands
I believe Ieyasu submitting relatively early after a campaign in which he gave Hideyoshi a bloody nose awarded him some manner of exception from Toyotomi campaigns. Ieyasu was also quite busy. After ending his campaigns in Japan Hideyoshi had Ieyasu move from his original five provinces to the Kanto area which required a lot of work. Maybe Ieyasu was just busy with setting up shop in Kanto, making connections with the locals and settling his retainers in the region.


Forum Staff
Apr 2010
T'Republic of Yorkshire
Hideyoshi didn't trust Ieyasu. He wanted him in Japan where he could keep an eye on him, rather than away in Korea where he could plot and intrigue with the other daimyo against the Toyotomi, especially since Hideyoshi himself remained in Japan.
Jul 2018
Hong Kong
Moreover, joining the military expedition meant that Tokugawa would have right to share spoils of territories as a reward — which the Toyotomi didn't want to ; he preferred letting his direct retainers, more pro-Toyotomi daimyos and some less-influencial daimyos to take charge of the campaign and enlarge their fief and power in post-war era rather than Tokugawa further aggrandize his domains by post-war reward.

If Hideyoshi successfully conquer and secure the entire Korea, and even part of China, then he really cannot refuse rewarding territories to those who contribute to the campaign — at least he could not let Tokugawa Ieyasu being the "vanguard" taking the greater share of honor and success.

Nonetheless, I think the primary factor is "geographical distance" — the daimyos from the Western Japan (particularly Kyushu) took the heaviest blunt for the campaign ; while the vastly majority of the Eastern and Central Japan's daimyos were designated for "reserve force" mainly responsible of logistical support in the planning for the early campaign, some of them was even arranged for building new fortification in Japanese Mainland — for example, Sanada Masayuki was ordered to construct the Fushimi Castle by spending manpower and financial resource available ; this had nothing to do with the Korean Campaign.
Nov 2017
it was an efficient system to send the last conquered daimyo to conquer more territories. in this case, the kyushu daimyos. once japan conquer korea hideyoshi was planning koreans to conquer china, and send chinese to conquer india, etc