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Here is the first full-length biography in English of the most important political figure in premodern Japan.
Hideyoshi—peasant turned general, military genius, and imperial regent of Japan—is the subject of an immense legendary literature. He is best known for the conquest of Japan's sixteenth–century warlords and the invasion of Korea. He is known, too, as an extravagant showman who rebuilt cities, erected a colossal statue of the Buddha, and entertained thousands of guests at tea parties. But his lasting contribution is as governor whose policies shaped the course of Japanese politics for almost three hundred years.
In Japan's first experiment with federal rule, Hideyoshi successfully unified two hundred local domains under a central authority. Berry explores the motives and forms of this new federalism which would survive in Japan until the mid– nineteenth century, as well as the philosophical question it raised: What is the proper role of government? This book reflects upon both the shifting political consciousness of the late sixteenth century and the legitimation rituals that were invoked to place change in a traditional context. It also reflects upon the architect of that change—a troubled parvenu who acted often with moderation and sometimes with explosive brutality.
Posted August 15, 2000
Although the title of this book is Hideyoshi, it is not a true biography of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. It does indeed tell us of Hideyoshi, how he came to power, how he ruled Japan, his war with Korea, and other things about Hideyoshi's later life. However it also gives us a good description of Oda Nobunaga, how he came to power, and Hideyoshi's place in his entourage. The book also describes how Japan fell into civil war and how the positions of emperor and shogun came to lose respect and importance. In short a good look at Hideyoshi, and a good peek into the sengoku period of Japanese history. I whole heartedly recommend this to anyone interested in the senkogu period, or Japanese history.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 22, 2011
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