Hideyoshi Toyotomi (Shinjitai: 豊臣秀吉, Kyūjitai: 豐臣秀吉; 1536 – September 18, 1598), also known by the names Hiyoshi-maru (日吉丸), Tōkichirō Kinoshita (木下藤吉郎) (sometimes referred to as Tōkachirō) and Hideyoshi Hashiba , in full noble name Hashiba Chikuzen no Kami Hideyoshi (羽柴筑前守秀吉) (1573–1597), was a prominent Japanese statesman. Born a subject, he rose to become the most powerful man in Japan by the end of the Sengoku era. In fact, little is known about his life and career before 1570. This year dates the earliest surviving documents and letters he wrote. The autobiography he published does not begin until 1577, that is, at the time of his autonomous leadership of the army against the Móri clan.
Hideyoshi himself rarely mentions things from his past. According to tradition, he was born in the village of Nakamura in Owari Province, the son of a foot soldier, a peasant, and a poor samurai, Jaemon Kinoshita. Hideyoshi's childhood name was recorded as Hiyoshimaru. The image of Hideyoshi as a boy who allowed himself to be thrown out of the temple only to rush into adventure is well known. He traveled to the lands under Yoshimoto Imagawa to serve for a while and earn some money. Hiyoshi, now known as Tokichiró after the coming-of-age ceremony, returned to Owari around 1557 and was employed in the service of the young Nobunaga Oda. He participated in the rebuilding of Kijosu Castle, over which he managed to take command and completed the construction in an incredibly short time. This, of course, caused resentment and hatred among the older vassals of Od, who saw him as a careerist, moreover, of low birth. Tokichiro then accepted the position of Nobunaga's personal sandal bearer and participated in the Battle of Okehazama in 1560. Four years later, he was allowed to bear the name Hideyoshi. He convinced many Mino vassals to join the Oda side and leave the Saitó clan. This natural ability of Tokichiro's made a strong impression on Nobunaga, and thanks to this act, he was able to easily capture Inabayama in 1567, when Hideyoshi managed to find a secret path to the back of the castle that led near the Sunomata fortress. Later, probably around 1573, Hideyoshi adopted the surname Hashiba. At that time he also married a girl named Nene. His mother had also previously remarried to Chikuami, a drunkard and a brute. Together they had a son named Hidenaga, who was therefore Hideyoshi's half-brother.
Due to his physical constitution, Hideyoshi was seen as very controversial, especially in his position as a general and later also as a ruler. He was short and skinny. When he got drunk, he acted and looked like a monkey. Nobunaga also called him Saru or even a sloppy rat without any particular tact. He was said to be very fond of drink and women and made new friends easily. He had a highly developed sense of human behavior, which allowed him to easily gauge the nature of others and which allowed him to manipulate people without much difficulty. This trait was undoubtedly the reason for his rise during his tenure with the Oda Clan.
Hideyoshi commanded the troops at the Battle of Anegawa, in 1570, and was also very active during Nobunaga's campaign against the Asai and Asakura clans. He made a significant mark in the history of 1573. That year, Nobunaga definitively destroyed the Asai clan in Ōmi province and dedicated three districts in the northern part of this province to Hideyoshi. From his original headquarters at Odani, which was the former headquarters of the Asai, Hideyoshi moved to Imahama, a port on the shores of Lake Biwa. Here he took care of domestic affairs, took care of the expansion of production in the firearms manufactory, which had been established a few years back by the Asakuras and Asaii. Along with Nobunaga, he continued the endless military machinery, gaining strength