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Iehisa, of course, refused, and to Hideyoshi's credit it stands on record that he did not press the matter with any violence. This difficulty of invading an unknown country without any maps or any guides, a country celebrated for its topographical perplexities, was ultimately overcome by sending Buddhist priests to act as spies in the dominions of Shimazu.

History states that Hideyoshi thereafter treated this noble man with the greatest consideration, but it is difficult to reconcile that account with the fact that Hideyoshi subsequently pressed Iehisa to guide the Osaka army through the mountains and rivers which constituted natural defences for the fief of Satsuma.

It was generally supposed that Iehisa would never return from this mission, but would remain in the camp of Shimazu. He did return, however, his word of honour being of more importance in his estimation than the opportunity of recovering his liberty.

He marched through Chikuzen, making friends of the local chieftains by forbearance and diplomacy, and fighting the first great battle of the campaign at Oguchi on the Sendai-gawa. The Satsuma baron's younger brother, Iehisa, after a gallant resistance, surrendered to Hideyoshi, and was employed by the latter to communicate direct with his chief, Yoshihisa.