Hideyoshi / Edition 1

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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.

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Editorial Reviews

Edwin O. Reischauer
Elizabeth Berry's Hideyoshiis the firs truly scholarly comprehensive or readable account in English of a man who was probably the most extraordinary and significant political figure in the world during the sixteenth century. No single person did more than Hideyoshi to shape the Japan of modern times.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674390263
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 7/1/1989
  • Series: Harvard East Asian Monographs Series, #146
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 5.99 (w) x 8.96 (h) x 0.95 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary Elizabeth Berry is Dean's Professor of East Asian History and Department Chair at the University of California, Berkeley.
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Table of Contents

  • A Note on Names, Dates, and Measures

  1. The Toyotomi Peace

  2. A World Without a Center

    • The Meanings of Sengoku

    • The Political Order before 1467

    • War and Its Tidings

    • The Court

    • The Shogunate

    • The Village

    • The Daimyo and Their Domains

    • Oda Nobunaga

    • The Capital

  3. The Terror

    • The Collapse of the Shogunate

    • The Oda Vassals

    • The Right to Rule

    • The Universal Front

  4. Conquest and Conciliation

    • Early Initiatives: Yamazaki, Kiyosu, and Kyoto

    • War within the Oda Camp 75
      Land and Lordship

    • Beyond the Oda Boundaries: Shikoku, Etchū, and Ku

    • The Kyushu Campaign

    • The Kantō and the Eastern Provinces

    • Conclusion

  5. Toyotmi Policy: Shaping the New Order

    • The Sword Hunt

    • Freezing the Social Order

    • The Land Survey

    • The Surveys and the Class Laws

    • The Cadastres and the Daimyo

    • Attainder, Transfer, and the Toyotomi Holdings

    • Central and Local Spheres of Influence

    • The Enforcers of the Law

    • Hostages and Oaths

    • Conclusion

  6. Federationand its Motives

    • The Daimyo and Hideyoshi

    • Hideyoshi and the Daimyo

    • Conclusion

  7. ThePursuit of Legitimacy

    • Court and Shogunate before 1467

    • Hideyoshi and the Court

    • Hideyoshi’s Promotions

    • Hideyoshi’s Service to the Throne

    • Courtly Pageantry

    • The Motives of the Bountiful Minister

    • Public Display and the Projection of Authority

    • Monuments to Power: Hideyoshi Rebuilds the Capital

    • Conclusion

  8. The Last Years

    • The Invasion of Korea

    • Succession

    • The Rikyū Affair and the Crucifixion of the Christians

    • The Question of Madness

    • Fushirni

    • Dying

  • Afterword

  • Notes

  • Index

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2000

    Excellent book on Japanese history

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2011

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