Profile of Hideyoshi
Adept in war, he was also a great negotiator; and convinced
Hi, I'm Zach Toombs for About.com, and today we're profiling the life of the man known as Japan's second "great unifier," Imperial Regent of Japan, Toyotomi Hideyoshi.While Hideyoshi's birth date is unclear, he's believed to have lived roughly six decades, dying in 1598. Born in Nagoya, he would eventually become a warrior and politician. Hideyoshi helped bring an end to a period of major social upheaval in Japan. It is a period, which eventually led to full unification of Japan under the Tokugawa Shogun.Sent to study at a temple, he rebelled, running away in search of adventure. When he returned, he became a lowly servant in the Oda Clan. He eventually became a soldier, and in a legendary tale, built a fortress overnight, and helped overcome a tribal enemy. Adept in war, he was also a great negotiator, and convinced rivals to surrender rather than fight.In 1573, he was given control of three districts in northern Omi Province. He took control of a firearms factory and greatly increased its output. In 1583, he began construction on a castle, which would ironically become the last major stronghold of the Toyotomi clan after Hideyoshi's death.Hideyoshi never achieved the title of Shogun himself, instead securing a number of high-profile positions within the imperial courts, including the Imperial Regent title. His 1590 Siege of Odawara ended all resistance against Hideyoshi and his forces. Not satisfied, Hideyoshi had dreams of conquering China's Ming Dynasty, and set off on a course to engage in battle through the Korean Peninsula in 1587. He sought to negotiate unimpeded passage through Korea, but Koreans resisted his overtures. Unimpeded, Hideyoshi ordered an invasion anyway. Seoul fell in a matter of days. Within four months, Hideyoshi had secured a path to Manchuria, but success eluded him from there. Korean militants harassed the Japanese forces, preventing any further advancement. Hideyoshi died September 18, 1598 after contracting the Bubonic Plague. And with him died the Japanese dream of complete control of Asia. His legacy is broad. He established a rigid class structure, restrictions on travel and a national census. Many of the social changes he enacted remained in place for the next three centuries in Japan.And that's a brief look at the second "great unifier" of Japan, Toyotomi Hideyoshi. For more information, be sure to check out About.com.