Thursday, October 11, 2012

Osaka Castle: Justin *is* Toyotomi Hideyoshi

Toyotomi Hideyoshi was kind of a big deal. Building on the accomplishments of Oda Nobunaga before him, Toyotomi Hideyoshi unified Japan through a combination of military prowess and shrewd diplomacy (though more of the former than the latter, in most cases). Although his clan's reign lasted only a generation, he established the foundation of the Tokugawa Shogunate, which would rule Japan from the early 1600s until the Meiji Restoration in 1868.

Basically, Toyotomi Hideyoshi was the ultimate old-school samurai, and his rise through the ranks from peasant to warrior to rascal to lord of all Japan has made him one of the nation's great heroes.

Osaka Castle was one of Toyotomi Hideyoshi's major strongholds. It was also the site of his son's last stand against Tokugawa Ieyasu, erstwhile ally and founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate. While the old castle has been destroyed several times over, a relatively careful reconstruction of the main tower sits on the old site, and of course the sprawling moats and battlements will take more than a few hundred years and one world war to destroy.
Though some of us may have tried our best.

Today, the castle and its grounds form an enormous park right in the busy modern heart of Osaka. The main tower is now a museum dedicated largely to the story of Toyotomi Hideyoshi and his clan.
The museum itself is nothing spectacular. A lot of the exhibits are in Japanese only, though there were some really great videos on the castle and on some of the old screen paintings depicting major battles in the history of the Toyotomi clan.

The view from the top was nice, though.
Oh, yeah - and I paid a few hundred yen to dress up like Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

My war face.

My "Oh my gosh this thing weighs a million pounds" face.
All in all, not a bad way to spend a beautiful late-summer day!

1 comment:

  1. hah. Nice Taiko. Came across your blog since I'm trying to decide on my trip to Japan. While, I will be in Japan, it's a debate. Return to Tokyo (Been there twice now), or visit Osaka instead. Biggest reason would be to see the statues of Hideyoshi . Anyways, nice blog. :)