Places, Images, Times & Transformations

Toyotomi Hideyoshi

(1537-98). Warlord of humble origins who in 1590 completed the work of national reunification begun by Oda Nobunaga. A brilliant strategist and shrewd politician, he usually showed a generosity toward his enemies atypical of his time. His social reforms, while having the fundamental aim of strengthening his hold on the country, nevertheless showed an awareness of the many socio-economic problems of the age. Despite his grandiose plans for conquest abroad and the megalomania of the last few years of his life, he is one of the great figures in Japanese history. (adapted from Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1993)

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