In whatever arts of deception Ishida excelled, Ieyasu was at least his equal; while in the matter of loyalty to the Toyotomi family, Ishida's conduct compares favourably with that of the Tokugawa leader; and if we look at the men who attached themselves to Ishida's cause and fought by his side, we are obliged to admit that he must have been highly esteemed by his contemporaries, or, at any rate, that they recognized in him the champion of Hideyori, at whose father's hands they had received such benefits.
Moreover, when it became known that an illegitimate son of Hideyori, called Kunimatsu, had been carried from the castle by some common soldiers and secreted at a farmhouse in Fushimi, Ieyasu caused this child of six to be seized and beheaded by a common executioner at Sanjo-kawara in Kyoto. This episode reflects no credit whatever on the Tokugawa leader.
In the following May, Hideyori was made nai-daijin, and in the same month a marriage was contracted between him, then in his eleventh year, and Tenju-in, the seven-year-old daughter of Hidetada, son and successor of Ieyasu. Ieyasu now took up his residence at Momo-yama Castle and Hidetada was ordered to live in Yedo.
Hideyori himself did not want for ability, but acting by the advice of his mother, Yodo, and of his friend, Harunaga, he adopted a false policy of opposition to Ieyasu.
One of the three daughters of Asai Nagamasa afterwards became the concubine of Hideyoshi and bore to him a son, Hideyori, who, by her advice, subsequently acted in defiance of Ieyasu, thus involving the fall of the house of Hideyoshi and unconsciously avenging the fate of Nobunaga.
He devoted himself to the task with the utmost sincerity and earnestness, and he made it the basic principle of his policy to preserve harmony between the Tokugawa and the Toyotomi. His belief was that Ieyasu had not many years more to live, and that on his demise the administrative power would revert wholly to Hideyori as a natural consequence.
The objects of Ieyasu in wedding his granddaughter at seven years of age to Hideyori at eleven were doubtless of the nature indicated in the third and fourth of the above definitions.
But harsher measures followed upon an event which took place in 1615, the very year after the issuing of the edict. Hideyori, the son of Hideyoshi, had been supplanted fortunately for Japan by Iyeyasu, to whose tutelage the young man had been confided.
He granted asylum to his granddaughter, but replied to her prayer by ordering a renewal of the attack upon the castle. On June 4th, Hideyori committed suicide, and his mother, Yodo, was killed by one of his retainers. Some thirty men and women killed themselves at the same time.
It was always possible that Hideyori himself should make a sortie from the fortress, and, in that event, the prestige attaching to the memory of his father, Hideyoshi, might have demoralized a large section of the Tokugawa troops. To avert this danger, Ieyasu had recourse to his wonted methods of deception. It has been shown that he held Harunaga's son, as a hostage.