66. Shizu Peak moon (Shizugatake no tsuki)

Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536-1598) was extremely ambitious. Perhaps he sought compensation for being born in a peasant family. He entered the service of Oda Nobunaga at the age of 21. Rapidly rising, he soon became his army chief. After Nobunaga’s death in 1582, he took part in the succession wars, not least because he considered himself one of the candidates. We see him here immediately before the crucial battle of Shizugatake in 1583, blowing a giant horogai (a conch shell) to signal his troops. In spite of his low birth, he managed to become Shogun in anything but name. In 1585 he was offered the title of Kwampaku, or Regent. This, however, was not the end. He eventually unified Japan, invaded Korea, and tried to conquer China. (Published October 1888)