The Winter Campaign of Ōsaka was a series of battles between the Tokugawa shogunate and the Toyotomi clan, which was divided into two stages; The Winter Campaign and The Summer Campaign.
The Winter Campaign began in October and ended in December 1614. During the course of this part of the siege only a few notable battles took place. The two feuding sides concluded peace on the 22nd of December. However, this truce was short-lived and the Summer War (also known as the Summer Campaign) broke out the following year.
The Summer Campaign of Ōsaka was the last decisive battle between the Toyotomi and the Tokugawa families and marked the end of armed opposition to the shogunate. It is said that the Tokugawa familiy mobilised an army of 155,000 soldiers, while the Toyotomi family mobilised 55,000 soldiers. The two sides fought intensely, and a great number of soldiers died in battle.
A folding screen, ordered by Nagamasa (an important strategist of Hideyoshi Toyotomi) to commemorate his victory, illustrates this battle and is now on display at Ōsaka Castle. It depicts 5,071 people, 348 horses, 1,387 banners, 974 spears and 119 bows. In the illustration, 21 generals, including Ieyasu Tokugawa, Hidetada Tokugawa and Yukimura Sanada, can be identified.
On the 7th of May 1615, Toshitsune Maeda (feudal lord of Kanazawa, Kaga provence) was ordered to spearhead an attack, replacing the previous troops of Takatora Todo and Naotaka Li, which had suffered greatly the previous day. Toshitsune’s troops succeeded in beheading over 3,000 enemies and Ōsaka Castle fell. The following day Hideyoshi Toyotomi and his mother were found hiding in a warehouse. They were surrounded and the warehouse was set on fire, prompting them to commit Seppuku (a form of ritual suicide).
After Hideyoshi Toyotomi died, Ieyasu gained victory in the Sekigahara War. He then held real power and unified the country. In 1603, Ieyasu was appointed Seii-tai-shogun (generalissimo) and in 1605, he handed the position over to his third son Hidetada. Ieyasu’s title was then changed to O-gosho (retired shogun).
- Information signs at Ōsaka Castle