Tokugawa Ieyasu

founder of the Edo (Tokyo) shogunate
Born: 1603
Birthplace: present-day Nagoya, Japan

The eldest son of Matsudaria Hirotada, Tokugawa Ieyasu was born in 1542 in what is now Aichi prefecture. Growing up in a time of great instability and military strife in Japan, Ieyasu was given away as a hostage to a neighboring clan, the Imagawa family, as a young child. Ieyasu received military and political training, and became a gifted military leader. He allied himself with two senior leaders, first Oda Nobunaga and later Toyotomi Hideyoshi, both of whom became his mentors. On Hideyoshi's recommendation, Ieyasu established his headquarters in the fishing village of Edo (modern-day Tokyo). A power vacuum resulted when Hideyoshi died in 1598. Ieyasu, who by that time had organized the largest and most effective army in Japan as well as the most highly developed fiefdom, triumphed in the decisive battle of Sekigahara in 1600. He then assumed control of the political confederation put together by Hideyoshi. In 1603, he was made shogun by the emperor. His rule was marked by relative peace and stability. In 1605, he made his son Hidetada the nominal shogun, and continued to strengthen his hold on power—which involved warding off foreign influences—until his death in 1616.

See also Ieyasu Teysu and Tokugawa. l

Died: 1867