Sekigahara was the biggest, the bloodiest, the most violent and most important of all samurai battles, fought between the factions of a nation divided in two, East and West. 30,000 samurai lost their lives in six hours of fierce fighting on October 21, 1600 when the two great forces clashed on the small plain at Sekigahara.
Japan had long been at civil war until Oda Nobunaga commenced unifying the nation. Upon his death at the hands of a traitorous general, another vassal, Toyotomi Hideyoshi took the reigns and lead the nation to peace. When Hideyoshi was on his deathbed, he called on his council of regents to rule in his infant son’s stead.The regents were all powerful warlords, and the most powerful of them all was Tokugawa Ieyasu.
Once Hideyoshi had passed away, Ieyasu commenced wrangling power away from the Toyotomi and into his own hands. With half the country condemning Ieyasu for his usurping actions, and the other half supporting him, the nation was ripped in two, culminating in the greatest battle the samurai ever saw, Sekigahara.
The battle started at 7:30am when the morning mist lifted and some 180,000 men commenced butchering one another in a battle that lasted a little over six hours, but proved to be a major turning point in Japan’s long history.
The Western loyalists were numerically superior, and they held the high ground surrounding the Eastern forces, however, during the great battle a number of Western allies suddenly turned, coming to the aid of Ieyasu and the Eastern troops, changing the tide of the battle.
By 2pm that day, Tokugawa Ieyasu had won! The nation was his, and he would soon be invested with the title of Shogun, a position his family would control for the next 250 years.