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Toyotomi Hideyoshi

Toyotomi Hideoshi (豊臣秀吉) (1536-1598), was a Japanese general who united Japan. He succeeded his former liege, Oda Nobunaga. Later he invaded Korea.

The period of his rule is called the Momoyama period[?], after his castle. It lasted from 1582 to his death in 1598, or (according to some scholars) until Tokugawa Ieyasu seized power after the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600.

Toyotomi Hideyoshi was born at the place now called Nagoya. Despite his poor peasant status, he quickly became one of Oda Nobunaga's most distinguished generals. After Oda's death in 1582, he succeeded him as military ruler and, aided by Tokugawa Ieyasu , had by 1590 ended the Sengoku period by reunifying Japan.

Hideyoshi wanted the title of shogun because it was then considered the title of the practical ruler of Japan. However, the emperor did not like his poor lineage, and refused to give him the title. Then he wanted the Muromachi shogun[?], Ashikaga Yoshiaki to accept him as an adopted son, and was refused. Unable to become shogun, in 1585 Hideyoshi took the position of regent or kampaku[?] (関白) just as the Fujiwara had. In 1591, he resigned as kampaku and took the title of taiko (retired regent). His adopted son Hidetsugu (actually his nephew) succeeded him as kampaku.

Before gripping control of Japan, he employed a friendly diplomatic stance with the Ming Dynasty and helped the Chinese government combatting the Japanese piracy along the coasts of Yellow Sea, South China Sea and Taiwan. Now with his country secured, he began the Battle of Bunroku[?] (文禄の役) to annex Korea. On April 1592, his generals invaded Korea. Within a month, the Japanese controlled almost the entire country. However, the Koreans soon rebelled, aided by the Chinese Ming dynasty. Resistance led by Yi Sun-shin (李舜臣) forced the Japanese army to retreat from Korea on December, 1592.

Unsatisfied, in 1596 Hideyoshi unwisely attempted to invade Korea again in the Battle of Keicho[?] (慶長の役). This time the Japanese encountered a well-prepared joint defence of Korea and China. The result was a stalemate.

In 1598 Hideyohi died. The Japanese army withdrew and the battle ended.

This futile war caused the government led by another son, who succeeded him as regent, to collapse and be taken over by Tokugawa Ieyasu.

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