chapter  2
10 Pages

Ieyasu and the Building of Edo

THE TOWN OF ODA W ARA, at the foot of the Hakone mountains, is close to Sagami Bay and in Ieyasu's time was defended by a castle which seems to have been very strong. Although the Hojo family, who had occupied it for almost a century, were rich and powerful, they could not successfully oppose Hideyoshi, who had behind him all the might of Japan with its skilled leaders. Whilst a fleet blocked the port, an army of 150,000 men laid seige to the castle, and after a few months the fall of Odawara seemed imminent. One day, when Hideyoshi was making a tour of inspection with Ieyasu, who was directing operations in the field, an event occurred which was to have memorable consequences. The story goes that Hideyoshi, surveying the enemy castle, where he knew talk of surrender had begun, turned suddenly to his companion, took his hand and said to him: 'It will soon be over and then I will give you the Eight Provinces of Kanto. What about it?' 'Fine,' replied Ieyasu, 'and just to seal the bargain, let us piss together!' So, turning towards the enemy camp, they performed together, and soon after Edo passed from the Hojo into the hands of the T okugawa.