"How did it come to this?" - This must have been the question the Christian missionaries asked themselves as Hideyoshi followed by successive Tokugawa Shoguns made life unbearable for Christians in Japan. If only we had handed over the ship...if only we'd handed over the treasure.....if only we had that Englishman beheaded.....
It would be hard to find a group of Japanese more oppressed than the Christians. But why were they especially targeted? What threat did they represent?
To Christian missionaries, Japan was a most attractive prospect. Literate, cultured and rich - the Jesuits arrived in Japan in the 1500s and set about a process of conversion: from the lowest peasant to the highest warlord. In Part One, we chart the rise and rise of Christianity under Nobunaga and Hideyoshi - before things turned sour.
With the destruction of the Toyotomi at Osaka in 1615, the Tokugawa clan were unrivalled in their domination of Japan. They would establish a Shogunate that would last over 200 years. But how did they change Japan from a nation perpetually at war to one of enforced peace?
The Siege of Osaka Castle in the winter of 1614-15 and the final Battle for Osaka Castle in the summer of 1615 marks the final chapter in the Sengoku Jidai. After years of rivalry between the forces of the Toyotomi and the Tokugawa the final question of who would dominate Japan for the next few hundred years was decided - but not before conspiracy, cowardice, spanked bottoms and cross dressing was tried as a winning strategy! Here is a map of the events discussed in the podcast.
Tokugawa Ieyasu had won the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600 and set up organising Japan under his clan’s domination. However, safely ensconced in Osaka Castle was Hideyori, son of Hideyoshi; the last of the Toyotomi. Tokugawa Ieyasu knew that he would never be safe until the last of the Toyotomi claims to control of Japan were snuffed out.