Saturday, December 6, 2014

Chapter 28. The End of an Era

After the Battle of Yozenawa, Tokugawa Ieayasue held absolute power over Japan, but he spared the life of Hideyori the Handsome, the son of Hideyoshi, whom he hath usurped. Partly, this was out of respect for the great general Hideyoshi but also because his youngest daughter, Lady Sen, fell in love with Hideyori.

Hideyori the Handsome. His death cemented the Tokugawa power.

For there were few women in Japan who could resist his immense charm, for he was not ugly like his father but handsome like his mother, or more so. And his skill with the haiku (four stanza poems) made him a playboy of his time, and one who was at one time the rightful Shogunal Heir of Japan.

And so, Ieayasue honored his promise to Hideyori and allowed his daughter to marry him. Upon becoming Shogun, Ieayasue even allowed Hideyori to become Lord of Chubu, his home state, while anointing his own eldest son Hidetada as Heir to the Shogun. For a time, all was peaceful and happy in Japan, for Lady Sen loved her husband and treated him with due respect.

However, Hideyori was rather ungrateful of his situation. When he grew up, he felt that he was the rightful Shogun of Japan and resented the Tokugawas. That his wife was a Tokugawa was irksome to him.

One day, he came home after heavy drinking, and Lady Sen tried to take good care of him, but he was in a bad mood.

Hideyori: “You know if I hath been Shogun of Japan, you would be a Dowager one day? Your father should never have usurped me.”

Lady Sen: “He treats you like a son and has spared you and allowed us to be married. What more can we ask for? I will always love you, Hideyori, even if you were a peasant.”

Now, the word peasant irked Hideyori so, for he was descended from the peasant stock, and in his drunkenness, he beat Lady Sen up real bad.

Now, Hidetada was a good brother, and one day, he visited Lady Sen and was shocked to see his beautiful sister in such a state. He immediately confronted Hideyori, “How dare you do this to the Shogun’s daughter?”

Hideyori, still drunk, replied, “I shall do what I want. This is my household. Speaking of Shogun, I wonder if the Tokugawas are even worthy of it. My father should have slain you guys a long time ago.”

Hidetada, more angry than before, shouted at him. “Hath my father not returned the favor by sparing your life and even making you Lord of Chubu, his own state?! You ungrateful bastard, come duel with me man to man if you think you are even worthy of the Shogunate or Chubu!”

And so, Hideyori took up the sword and accepted the challenge from Hidetada. He was a good swordsman and clearly hated the Tokugawas, but his posture was shaky for he was still drunk at the time of the duel.

The two men fought well. Granted, the duel was not as great as the one between Uesungi Kenshin and Takeda Shingen, but it was still a great one. The Lady Sen tried to intervene between the two men she loved, but the samurais blocked her. In the end, it was Hideyori who fell to Hidetada’s sword, and with him, the illustrious line of Hideyoshi died.

Ieayasue was most angry with his son for the homicide, but in the end, he reconciled to the fact that Hideyori did not fully accept him as Lord of Japan. Besides, it was all for the best, for now, the Tokugawa Shogunate would rule Japan for all eternity.

To prevent the mistakes made by Hideyoshi and Nobunaga before him, he appointed Hidetada as Shogun before he died and saw to it that all the daimyos accepted him. For hundreds of year, the Tokugawas would continue to rule Japan, for there was greatness in them…until they were overthrown by the Satsumas with the help of the Emperor himself.

And Japan modernized and became a world power that challenged America and Brittania for world dominance, for they hath not forgotten the greatness of the Sengoku period…a period so turbulent that new heroes arose from nowhere. Kenshin, the orphan of Heaven who would grow up to become the God of War. Nobunaga, the minor warlord who would unite Japan, and Hideyoshi, the peasant general who sought to conquer Europe in three months. True, certain things in life, we shall never achieve, but what is a man (or a nation for that matter!) without a dream.

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