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Unformatted text preview: er in Japanese history, rose by
sheer ability and drive from the ranks of the peasantry to become national
overlord, a career record that was exceptional even in this dynamic age.
Although invincible in his march to power in Japan, Hideyoshi ignominiously failed in two attempts to invade Korea in 1592 and 1597. He was
apparently motivated to undertake these foreign adventures both from the
desire for new lands to conquer and the wish to open by force new avenues of trade with the continent. The first invasion attempt was repulsed
by Chinese armies that poured down from the north across the Yalu
River, and the second was terminated upon Hideyoshi’s death in 1598.
When Hideyoshi died he left an infant son to succeed him, and before
long a struggle for power ensued in which two great leagues of daimyos
confronted each other. The head of one of these leagues was Tokugawa
Ieyasu, a daimyo now based at Edo (modern Tokyo) in the Kantò, who
had faithfully served Nobunaga and had later reluctantly submitted to
Hideyoshi. The victory of Ieyasu’s league over its coalition of opponents
in a decisive clash of arms at Sekigahara in 1600 enabled the Tokugawa
chieftain to impose a new hegemony over Japan and establish a military
government, known as the Tokugawa shogunate, that was to endure until
the beginning of modern times in the late nineteenth century.
The age of unification under Nobunaga, Hideyoshi, and Ieyasu was a
particularly lively and exciting one in premodern Japanese history, not The Country Unified 143 only because of the spectacular military exploits of these three great
unifiers but also because of the arrival of Europeans in Japan. It was the
Portuguese who led the European maritime explorations of the fifteenth
century down the coast of Africa and into Asian waters. They rounded
the Cape of Good Hope and touched India in 1498; and within another
fifteen years or so they reached China, where they established a permanent trading station at Macao in 1559. Portuguese traders first set foot on
Japanese soil about 1543,1 landing in a Chinese junk on the small island
of Tanegashima off the coast of Kyushu.
Christian missionaries followed shortly in the wake of Portugu...
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This note was uploaded on 02/08/2013 for the course ANTH 142 taught by Professor Hans during the Spring '13 term at The University of British Columbia.
- Spring '13