Second shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate, third son of Tokugawa Ieyasu

Born at the castle of Hamamatsu, Tokugawa Hidetada (徳川秀忠, 1579-1632) served as the general of one of his father’s armies in the campaign that led to the Battle of Sekigahara (1600) and the sieges of Ōsaka Castle (1614-15).

In 1600, the army he led in Ieyasu’s projected campaign against Uesugi Kagekatsu arrived too late to take part in the decisive battle. His father refused to receive him in his anger but finally consented to grant him an audience at the intervention of Honda Masazumi. Although he officially became shōgun when Ieyasu retired in 1605, father and son ruled jointly as ōgosho-sama (大御所様, “His Retired Majesty”) and Gosho-sama (“His Majesty”) until 1616, with Ieyasu and his retinue retaining dominance, especially in foreign affairs.

This arrangement created tensions between Ieyasu’s court in Sumpu (modern-day Shizuoka City) and Hidetada’s in Edo, the shogunal capital (modern-day Tōkyō), but ascertained shogunal succession at a time when the dynastic claims of the Tokugawa had not yet been fully recognised.

In 1620, his daughter Kazuko married emperor Go-Mizunoo (後水尾天皇). Following his father’s example, Hidetada retired in 1623, installing his son Tokugawa Iemitsu as the third shogun. The two co-ruled as ōgosho and gosho until Hidetada’s death in 1632. His reign was a period of institutional consolidation in the Tokugawa shogunate: Hidetada’s administration strengthened the control over the daimyo, their family’s collaterals as well as the imperial court and reorganised the shogunal government. It regulated Christianity and foreign trade more closely; the former through severe persecution, the latter by disrupting commercial relations with all foreign powers, except for the Dutch, the Koreans and the Chinese.


  • Mason, R. H. P., Caiger J. G.; A History of Japan, Tuttle rev. edition 1997
  • Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric; Japan Encyclopedia, Harvard University Press 2005
  • Papinot, Edmonde; Historical and Geographical Dictionary of Japan, Tuttle 1972
  • Sansom, George; A History of Japan, 1615-1867, Stanford University Press 1963

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