chapter  4
10 Pages

Ieyasu as Shogun

IN THE SPRING of 1600 when Ieyasu was in Osaka, a foreigner was brought before him. He was not a Portuguese - one of those who had been coming to K yushu for almost fifty years - nor was he a missionary. He came off a Dutch ship which had run aground on the coast of Kyushu near Oita. His quiet, intelligent bearing made an impression on Ieyasu; so, through an interpreter, he carefully questioned him and learnt that he was in the service of the Dutch but that he came from a country unknown to the Shogun. He was an Englishman, a ship's pilot. Ieyasu at once conceived the idea of making full use of the stranger's knowledge. He was treated well and offered a post in the Shogun's service. It was in this way that the story of William Adams began. The ship which had brought him was called the Liefde and it had on its prow a figure of Erasmus, the famous Renaissance humanist. (It can be seen now at Ueno Museum where it is on show, although it actually belongs to a monastery in T ochigi.) The Liefde had cannons, guns and powder, all of which made a fine prize and were to be of considerable use to Ieyasu.