Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan (2021) s01e06 Episode Script

Birth of a Dynasty

1 [dramatic music plays.]
- [in Japanese.]
Attack! - [all yelling.]
[opening theme plays.]
[narrator in English.]
1598, after ending 120 years of civil war, and reunifying Japan under his banner, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the supreme ruler of Japan, lays dead.
In a desperate attempt to protect his dynasty, just before his death, Hideyoshi created a council of five powerful warlords.
They are to govern Japan until his young son comes of age.
The fate of Japan now rests on a knife edge.
If the council collapses, Japan will be plunged back into anarchy and everything Hideyoshi worked to achieve will be destroyed.
[suspenseful music plays.]
[David Spafford.]
The five elders were of great powerful families.
And putting them together is meant to create a perfect balance among them so that none of them will have the upper hand.
[Isaac Meyer.]
Maeda Toshiie will be stationed in Osaka Castle… and will be the one responsible for raising young Hideyori, for managing his education, preparing him for the rigors of leading the country.
Everyone understands that because Hideyori will not attain his majority for years, that there is a chance for one of them to become the supreme power.
This is the fatal flaw of Hideyoshi's life, that everything he worked for is now thrown into doubt because of the age of his heir.
Daimyos started preparing either to be the one daimyo who's going to take over… or to organize to prevent a rival from doing so.
Tokugawa Ieyasu is, by this point, the most powerful daimyo in Japan.
So, he's really given ultimate authority.
He's basically put in charge of the entire government.
Tokugawa Ieyasu was undeniably the most powerful warlord in the country.
His wealth and his military might vastly exceeded anybody else's.
With the death of Hideyoshi, as soon as there was a chance, Ieyasu was in the perfect position to become supreme ruler of Japan.
He has patiently built up his power, he's patiently eliminated rivals, he's patiently created alliances, and now this is the time to make the bid for final and supreme power in Japan.
However, in the shadows, there was an inveterate schemer preparing to move against Ieyasu.
[dramatic music plays.]
And that was Ishida Mitsunari.
Ishida Mitsunari was a minor daimyo.
He didn't have anything like the strength of Ieyasu, but he was totally loyal to the Toyotomi house.
[Mitsunari in Japanese.]
It's time to strike.
It's now or never.
He did everything he could to undermine Ieyasu's position and to create suspicion between Ieyasu and the other great councilors named by Hideyoshi.
And Mitsunari seems to feel that as long as Ieyasu is not challenged, then he will ultimately dominate the rest of the elders and the councilors.
And he's not willing to live with that.
He wants to either assassinate Ieyasu, pen him in or destroy him.
[water flowing.]
Ishida Mitsunari needed allies and support.
So, he approached the veteran member of the council, Maeda Toshiie, a very rich daimyo and a strong army leader in his own right.
[in Japanese.]
 Maeda Toshiie was the only one capable of going up against Ieyasu.
The Tokugawa family's recent deeds… Would you please help Hideyori? [dramatic music plays.]
I didn't mean to be presumptuous.
I meant no disrespect.
Toshiie doesn't want to do it.
He's near the end of his life, he's uncertain that the campaign would succeed, and he doesn't want to commit to something, knowing he's about to die, that's going to saddle his son with a position that could mean the destruction of their house.
So, Maeda Toshiie backs off from confronting Tokugawa Ieyasu, though he knows that Ieyasu wants to depose Hideyori, to get rid of him and to rule in the Tokugawa family name.
Toshiie died shortly afterwards.
Now, he had been the guardian of Toyotomi Hideyori.
So, who should take his place… [dramatic music plays.]
…but Tokugawa Ieyasu, who moved into Osaka Castle… so that he had immediate control over young Hideyori.
[Horikoshi in Japanese.]
This was a very big deal.
It's like a minister suddenly coming to Buckingham Palace in England and telling you that they will start living there.
[dramatic music plays.]
It was an act that enraged the other members of the regency, because Tokugawa Ieyasu now had the young heir under his thumb.
The council of regents ordered Ieyasu to back off and recognize that Toyotomi Hideyori was the true heir and that Ieyasu had no place in interfering in that process.
Ieyasu saw that statement simply as a declaration of war.
It was the chance he had been waiting for.
The daimyo of Japan were splitting into two camps, one that supported Tokugawa Ieyasu… and one that supported Toyotomi Hideyori, underneath the leadership of Ishida Mitsunari.
The wheels were now set in motion for the most decisive struggle for power in the whole of Japanese history.
[suspenseful music plays.]
As the buildup to the military confrontation starts to shape up, Ishida Mitsunari is mobilizing men against a potential Ieyasu coalition.
One of those are the Uesugi, who are located north of Ieyasu.
Mitsunari's plan is that the Uesugi would move against Ieyasu and he would be able to crush Ieyasu between his forces and those of the Uesugi.
So, Ieyasu makes a snap decision.
He's going to call in some favors, particularly with Date Masamune, and assemble a force in the north to hold off with Uesugi Kagekatsu.
As Masamune moves to stop the attack from the north, Ieyasu plans to race east to Edo to gather his forces.
But he needs time, as Mitsunari's troops are already on the move, all Ieyasu's hopes now rest on his castle at Fushimi, a fortress that controls the road that leads east.
[sinister music plays.]
For this reason, Fushimi Castle had to be held at all costs, to prevent Ishida Mitsunari from moving against Ieyasu before he was ready.
[in Japanese.]
The enemy will surround this castle.
I want you to remain… at the castle.
It was defended by his friend Torii Mototada.
Ieyasu and Torii Mototada had been friends for many years.
Both men know that holding this castle is essential to the future of the Tokugawa family, and also that doing so will be a nearly impossible task.
Both knew that this was a suicide mission.
Torii Mototada was likely to be outnumbered by odds of 20 to 1.
Torii Mototada was essentially being assigned a mission that required him to fight as long as possible with no chance of retreat, and with no chance of reinforcements.
[wind whistling.]
As Ieyasu hurried to escape Mitsunari's army, Torii Mototada wrote his final message.
"It would not take too much trouble to break through a part of their numbers and escape, but that is not the true meaning of being a warrior.
I will stand off the forces of the entire country here and die a resplendent death.
" [Meyer.]
Ishida Mitsunari and his 40,000-odd men attack the castle.
- [dramatic music plays.]
- [men yelling.]
Torii Mototada and his 2,000 fight ferociously.
- [yells.]
- [groans.]
Torii Mototada sent his men into battle again and again - against the Ishida forces.
- [yells.]
In an epic act of bravery, Torii Mototada and his army held out at Fushimi for 12 days.
Legend states that the garrison of Fushimi carried on fighting until there were only ten of them left.
[inhales deeply.]
Finally, as the castle blazed around him, Torii Mototada committed honorable suicide after one of the most noble defenses of a castle in Japanese history.
The bravery of Torii Mototada has been absolutely crucial.
It has allowed Ieyasu to gather his forces in Edo to take on Ishida Mitsunari in battle.
[thunder rumbles.]
Tokugawa Ieyasu is now ready to make his move.
He splits his force of 75,000 men and prepares to strike at Mitsunari.
As his son leads a large force to the north, Ieyasu leads his main army straight towards his enemy.
Mitsunari is now in a highly precarious situation and risks being outflanked and surrounded by the two approaching armies.
- [wind whistling.]
- [birds chirping.]
[in Japanese.]
They're going to hold down the road… and surround us.
Ishida Mitsunari realizes what a highly precarious situation he's now in.
Ieyasu could potentially get around him and cut Mitsunari's line of retreat.
[in Japanese.]
I won't let that happen.
We will meet them on the road and attack.
Ishida Mitsunari made a dramatic decision.
He would not risk being caught by Ieyasu's approaching forces.
He therefore decided to march out and make a stand on the road and destroy Ieyasu's army when it arrived.
The place he chose was a narrow valley called Sekigahara.
[Kazuhiko in Japanese.]
This was a very good strategy for Mitsunari.
He thought it would be more advantageous to fight at Sekigahara than in Ogaki Castle.
If you choose to fight a battle in a narrow valley and you control the mountains around, which Ishida did, you can draw your opponent towards you and then attack him from three sides.
It was an excellent choice.
[in Japanese.]
Tell the soldiers.
Tighten the defenses before the enemy arrives.
Go! [Turnbull.]
Ishida Mitsunari had the time to arrange his forces in the best possible defensive position.
He himself straddled the road awaiting Ieyasu's attack head-on.
- [dramatic music plays.]
- [in Japanese.]
Hideaki… Put your troops on the mountain.
When I give the signal, come down the mountain and attack Ieyasu from the side.
To guard his left flank and to avoid encirclement by Ieyasu, he sent Kobayakawa Hideaki to take up position overlooking the road.
When battle was joined the following morning, he would light a signal fire and then Kobayakawa Hideaki would descend from his strategic position and attack the Tokugawa on their right flank, bringing about total victory.
However, Mitsunari is somewhat disliked by many of the daimyo who are supporting Toyotomi Hideyori's cause.
This dislike and distrust of Ishida Mitsunari as overall commander came back to bite him in several ways.
One of the most important is with the case of Kobayakawa Hideaki.
The main basis for the resentment that Hideaki felt against Ishida Mitsunari was from Ishida's role during the Korean invasion.
[dramatic music plays.]
[soldiers groan.]
[all yelling.]
Ishida Mitsunari was appointed by Hideyoshi as the Inspector General of the Japanese forces and had been highly critical of young Hideaki's performance.
News had gone back to Hideyoshi, who had stripped Hideaki of many of his rights, privileges and lands.
[horse neighs.]
In the crucial hours leading up to the battle, Tokugawa Ieyasu received an unexpected communication.
Hideaki had decided to turn traitor.
Once battle was joined, Hideaki would join Ieyasu instead and launch a devastating attack on Mitsunari's army.
If this were to happen, it would greatly tip the balance in favor of Ieyasu.
For all we know, Hideaki could well have been playing both sides to see who was likely to win, and then he would make his decision whom to support.
Of course, until the battle began, Ieyasu could not be 100% sure that Hideaki would change sides.
Tokugawa Ieyasu was facing the most difficult and dangerous decision of his life.
In the end, it was a huge gamble, but one he had to take.
[dramatic music plays.]
Tokugawa Ieyasu moves to Sekigahara.
If, as some of his generals believe, this letter is a trick, then Ieyasu may have just thrown it all away.
[soldiers marching.]
Ieyasu arrived and all he could see roundabout were fires burning up on the mountains, which indicated the fortified positions that Ishida's army had had the leisure to erect.
It was a huge challenge to face.
Ieyasu seemed to be at a disadvantage because Ieyasu's son, Hidetada, had not arrived with an additional 30,000-plus troops he was counting on.
This threatens the very survival of Ieyasu's forces.
All they could do was prepare as best they could for the coming battle.
In a couple of hours' time, the fog would lift and the most decisive battle in Japan would begin.
[dramatic music plays.]
As the sides line up at Sekigahara, Mitsunari has the upper hand.
His 120,000 men control the high ground.
When battle commences, Mitsunari aims to bring down the wings of his formation, crushing Ieyasu from three sides.
At the base of the valley, Ieyasu is in the weaker position and outnumbered almost three-to-two.
With his son and his forces still absent, all his hopes now depend on Hideaki's promise of betrayal.
[thunder rumbling in distance.]
[dramatic music plays.]
On the day of the battle of Sekigahara, there's fog early in the morning, so the two sides cannot see each other very clearly.
When that fog starts to lift early in the morning, Ieyasu sees precisely what's in front of him.
This entrenched position held by Mitsunari.
He is outnumbered, it's true.
But on the flip side, Mitsunari does not have very much battlefield experience.
He's never directed a battle himself.
He's only ever been a subcommander.
[suspenseful music plays.]
[dramatic music plays.]
[in Japanese.]
Attack! [all yelling.]
- [arquebuses fire.]
- [blades clang.]
Mitsunari has had time to prepare defenses.
As a result, Ieyasu's forces are forced to push forward at great cost.
It's a tremendous slog.
[all yelling.]
We have hand-to-hand fighting, spearmen and pikemen fighting with each other.
On the flanks, you have contingents of arquebusiers firing at the enemy.
The fighting devolves into an intense slog.
It is chaotic, it is confusing and it is extremely brutal.
[soldiers groan.]
It's controlled chaos.
As the battle progresses, neither side is really able to gain much of an advantage.
This is simply going to be a contest to see which side can outmuscle the other.
[fighting continues.]
[in Japanese.]
Raise the signal.
Ishida realizes that he needs to force some of his troops to enter the battle.
He gives the prearranged signal to Kobayakawa Hideaki to attack the Tokugawa forces in the flank.
However… [dramatic music plays.]
…Hideaki's troops don't move.
Ieyasu also sees that the Kobayakawa are not moving.
The Kobayakawa forces continue to hold position.
And after a while, Ieyasu also becomes a bit nervous about what they're going to do.
Ieyasu then makes a carefully calculated move that will go down in the history of Japanese folklore.
[in Japanese.]
Fire! He is supposed to have ordered his arquebuses to fire at Hideaki's position, forcing Hideaki to choose one way or the other.
It's time to pick a side.
[in Japanese.]
Attack! [Ledbetter.]
This has the effect of shaking Hideaki out of his inaction, and the Kobayakawa troops stream down the hill.
[soldiers yelling.]
Imagine the reaction of Ishida Mitsunari: "First, my order got through.
They're on their way.
" And then this mounting horror: "Wait, they're not going towards Ieyasu's lines, they're coming towards my lines.
They're attacking me.
" [Ledbetter.]
They slam into the flank of the western army.
The commander of the flank unit that's attacked turned his forces to meet Kobayakawa's attack, but was soon overwhelmed.
This double-punch to Ishida Mitsunari's army had the effect of rolling up the sides… and forcing his resistance to crumble.
Mitsunari now realizes… [in Japanese.]
 Hideaki… …the battle is as good as lost.
The western army's contingents remaining did everything they could to escape.
Many, of course, would be ridden down by the victorious opponents… - and killed.
- [groans.]
Immediately after the battle would be a scene of chaos.
Many of the leading generals of the losing side fled the scene, including Mitsunari, but Ieyasu's forces were able to capture a number of them.
[Michael Wert.]
 Sekigahara was a watershed moment for Ieyasu.
Because now it's clear that, militarily speaking, he's certainly the greatest power in Japan.
For Ieyasu, the victory at Sekigahara puts him in what you'd call one of the most dominant positions of any age of Japanese history.
Most of the opposition to his rule is gone.
[triumphant music plays.]
Ieyasu's victory in Sekigahara is complete, but he has to send a signal of his victory and Ieyasu orders the execution of loyalists to Hideyoshi… including Ishida Mitsunari.
Their heads are placed on stakes to announce for all intents and purposes that the Toyotomi coalition is done and that the supreme power in the land is now Tokugawa Ieyasu.
[dramatic music plays.]
In the wake of Sekigahara, Ieyasu makes a controversial decision against the advice of his generals and loyal retainers.
Even though he's destroyed the coalition that fought to protect Hideyoshi's young heir, Hideyori, Ieyasu decides not to kill the young man.
Instead, he lets him live in Osaka Castle under the stewardship of his mother, Lady Chacha.
Date Masamune will send a letter to Tokugawa Ieyasu.
He will say, "Ieyasu, if you do not keep this boy at your side and raise him yourself… all of your enemies will gather around him and pour poison in his ear, and that will turn him against you.
" Ieyasu, however, seems to have felt differently.
Keeping some distance and allowing Hideyori to be his own man would allow Hideyori to accept the idea of Tokugawa rule.
That decision, sentimental you might even call it, turns out to be a mistake.
Ieyasu now moves to tighten his stranglehold on Japan.
All daimyo who opposed him at Sekigahara are killed or stripped of their lands and titles.
They are then moved to the fringes of the country, far from influence and power.
All those who supported him are moved closer to the center and richly rewarded.
By doing so, Ieyasu has created a buffer zone of loyal supporters to prevent any threat of attack.
This far-reaching relocation system will protect Ieyasu and forever change the political makeup of Japan.
It was a genius scheme.
We have to remember that neither Nobunaga nor Hideyoshi had come up with a viable political equilibrium.
Uh, one that could last.
And Ieyasu did.
So, while many people benefited greatly from the Battle of Sekigahara, the same cannot necessarily be said for Kobayakawa Hideaki.
Despite the fact that Kobayakawa's defection sealed the deal… It's the reason Ieyasu won.
…Ieyasu did not trust him.
He betrayed one master.
What's to say he wouldn't betray another? [Kitagawa.]
Hideaki was tormented and also felt so guilty of betraying his original house, which was the Toyotomi, that he literally became insane.
And within two years… he drank himself to death.
Ieyasu has, really, in many ways, secured his position.
He's redistributed these lords in a way that is beneficial to him, he's established his dominance over the country, but Ieyasu, very importantly, I think, wants to establish himself as a warrior leader first and foremost, not someone who is bound too tightly to the old imperial court.
In 1603, he takes the final step to cement his legitimacy.
He'll be invested with this title of Shogun.
One thing to remember about the Shogun title is that throughout much of Japanese history, it was not a very influential, powerful or even desirable title.
Many of the Shogun were simply puppets.
Ieyasu recreates the Shogun title as a position of power, invigorating it and allowing him to control all of Japan.
[dramatic music plays.]
Once Ieyasu is given the title of Shogun, he is, for the first time since the collapse of central power in the mid-15th century, standing at the apex of power in Japan.
It seems to everyone that 130 years of civil war have finally come to an end.
But just over a decade later, talk of full rebellion is brewing.
Those who had never reconciled themselves to the victory of the Tokugawa begin to coalesce around the one man who could legitimately challenge Ieyasu for power… Toyotomi Hideyori, Hideyoshi's trueborn heir.
After the victory at Sekigahara, Ieyasu did not take any direct action against Hideyori, the heir to Hideyoshi's title.
And the boy was able to grow up retaining his position.
Over the years, many people came to see Hideyori as an alternative to Ieyasu's rise to power.
In particular, some of the masterless samurai, the ronin, who've been left without position following the Battle of Sekigahara.
He also has, for lack of a better word, "supporters" all over the country.
Although Hideyori himself becomes a rallying point for many dissatisfied with the Tokugawa order… it is questionable to what extent he himself would have wanted to challenge Ieyasu.
Ieyasu was, obviously, militarily, much more powerful, and it seems that Hideyori would have wanted to avoid a conflict.
[in Japanese.]
Silence! [dramatic music plays.]
Your Highness, you must not listen to them.
If you beg for your life, you'll be playing right into Tokugawa's hands.
Even his own mother, one of his closest advisers, Lady Yodo, sometimes called Chacha, will begin to push her son to more actively defy Tokugawa Ieyasu.
Often, actually, in defiance of advice from his own retainers, many of whom suggest it's better to wait for Ieyasu to die and to challenge his younger son, who may be less effective as a ruler.
[in Japanese.]
If you are a samurai, think about regaining Toyotomi rule! Mother… Chacha does not want to wait.
She wants the challenge to happen now.
Please stop.
I want all of you to leave.
Get out! [Benesch.]
Regardless of Hideyori's intentions, from the fact that tens of thousands and perhaps up to 60,000 people were gathering around Hideyori at Osaka Castle, seemed to Tokugawa Ieyasu to show that a rebellion was brewing.
- [birds chirping.]
- [dramatic music plays.]
[suspenseful music plays.]
Ieyasu was blessed with having a lot of sons.
He knew that his family was going to survive… if there were no credible power alternatives, and Hideyori is a credible power alternative.
He has become a magnet for those disaffected with Tokugawa rule.
- [in Japanese.]
Kill Hideyori.
- Yes, sir.
If Ieyasu wants to leave this Earth assured that his family will survive and his work will continue, he must destroy Hideyori.
[birds chirping.]
He determines now to do something he begins to think he should have done years ago.
Wipe out the last traces of the Toyotomi bloodline.
[dramatic music plays.]
Ieyasu marches 194,000 troops to besiege Osaka Castle.
Joined by loyal allies, including Date Masamune, thousands die as Ieyasu's forces lay siege to the fortress.
The fighting is ferocious, but the defenders hold fast.
But, finally, in June 1615, Osaka Castle's formidable defenses fall.
After many months of fighting and siege, the Tokugawa cannons are raining down on Osaka Castle.
Parts of the castle are burning.
[cannons firing in distance.]
Hideyori must have known that it was over.
He'd become a pawn for those dissatisfied with Tokugawa rule, and he'd been manipulated into starting a war he could not win.
The flames are rising through Osaka Castle.
It's clear that any more resistance is futile.
[cannons firing in distance.]
[dramatic music plays.]
[groans softly.]
[choking cough.]
[flames crackling.]
The destruction of Osaka Castle was as if all of the final energies of the civil war period were being played out, that there would be nothing left.
It all had to be destroyed in order that a new era could be born.
There's no more fighting to be done.
It's finally over.
Everyone understands that.
And Ieyasu has outlasted everyone.
The Tokugawa now have a complete stranglehold on power.
[somber music plays.]
Ieyasu didn't have long to see the fruits of his last victory.
A year after the fall of Osaka Castle, he lays dying from probably stomach cancer.
When Ieyasu is on his deathbed, many of the great figures of the land come and visit to pay their respects.
[somber music plays.]
And among these is Date Masamune, who is said to have visited Ieyasu and read him poetry.
It appears they had a great mutual respect for each other.
And clearly Date had acted as a loyal ally in the years after Sekigahara.
[somber music continues.]
Tokugawa Ieyasu, an old badger, a wily old creature who had survived the storms and battles… passed away… having simply outlived all of his enemies.
[wind whistling.]
The great warlords, through this entire period, were the ones who understood that there was something beyond war.
That's what Tokugawa Ieyasu gives them, is that chance.
He's created an incredibly durable system for governing Japan in an era after war.
He was lucky in that he had many sons.
He had a line that could continue on.
So, he had luck, but he had wisdom.
And because of that, the system that he created lasted for two and a half centuries.
It's an incredible achievement.
[dramatic music plays.]
Tokugawa Ieyasu's death marks the passing of this era, where, all of a sudden, this military order is falling away and the samurai now are warriors who rule over a country at peace.
- [groans.]
- [soldiers yelling.]
They have known nothing but battle - for a century.
- [screams.]
They are born into it, raised into it.
They are educated into it.
These are probably the greatest warriors history has ever known.
All of a sudden, there's no war.
[dramatic music plays.]
[thunder cracks.]
Very quickly, you see this incredible transformation of the samurai.
Instead of focusing purely on war and conflict and strategy… there's an increasing focus on philosophy, duty, honor.
What does it mean to serve? What does it mean to be a warrior in an age of peace? And so, within just a couple of decades, the samurai are in many ways unrecognizable from what they had been.
But the samurais' legacy in the transformation of a country from one of bloody civil war to peace stands like a colossus over Japan.
The century of warfare, as tragic as it was, and as destructive and brutal as it was, provided 250 years of peace, and that's an achievement that is actually quite rare in human history.
[closing theme plays.]

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