Episode 522 – Reunification, Part 2

With Nobunaga dead, we turn our attention to one of his generals: Hashiba Hideyoshi, who would take up leadership of the former Oda lands and within the course of a decade complete Japan’s reunification. What do we know about the man and motives behind Japan’s greatest rags to riches story?


Berry, Mary Elizabeth. Hideyoshi.

Jansen, Marius. The Making of Modern Japan. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2001.

Asao, Naohiro. “The Sixteenth-century Unification” in The Cambridge History of Japan, Vol IV: Early Modern Japan.


The graves of several Christians martyred by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1597.
Hideyoshi’s 1587 anti-Christian edict. It’s possible the edict was intended at least in part to drive home Hideyoshi’s intent to hold the Portuguese Jesuits responsible for the slave trade.
Hideyoshi orders the attack on Odawara, from the late Edo/early Meiji Era, by Utagawa Toyonobu. Where the main narrative of Japanese history mentions the latter Hojo, it tends to emphasize the moment of their destruction as the completion of Hideyoshi’s ambition to reunify Japan. There are, however, plenty of other valid reasons to study them!
This image of Toyotomi Hideyoshi dates from 1601, three years after his death.