Spectacular Accumulation

Morgan Pitelka. Spectacular Accumulation: Material Culture, Tokugawa Ieyasu, and Samurai Sociability. University of Hawaii Press, 2016. Winner of the 2016 Book Prize from the Southeastern Conference of the Association of Asian Studies. 


Tokugawa Ieyasu lived from 1543-1616.

In his lifetime, he witnessed and was involved in violent civil wars in Japan, the arrival of European merchants and Jesuits, the emergence of powerful warlords who began to reunify the country, an unprovoked and deadly invasion of Korea, and the founding of the Tokugawa Shogunate, which ruled Japan in relative peace until the mid-nineteenth century.

1469-1510 – Sakai served as the gateway for official missions to Ming China (significant mercantile activity)

1490 – Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa’s death

1511 – The first documentary reference to the Manual of the Attendant of the Shogunal Collection (Kundaikan sochoki)

1533 – Gathering Records of Tennojiya (Tennonjiya kaiki); tea diary 

1543 – Tokugawa Ieyasu is born

1543 – Europeans arrive in Japan

1547 – Ieyasu is sent as a hostage to the Imagawa clan

1548 – Gathering Records of Matsuya (Matsuya kaiki); tea diary

1549 – Warlord Miyoshi Masanaga’s death

1552 – Warriors actively exchange hostages to buttress military positions

1557 – Imagawa Yoshimoto arranges for Ieyasu to marry the daughter of Sekiguchi Yoshimoto

1558 – Oda Nobunaga consolidates his hold on the Oda house

1558 – Ieyasu travels with Yoshimoto and his forces in an assault on a castle on the outskirts of a neighboring domain, controlled by the Oda

1559 – Ieyasu’s wife gives birth to their first child, a son named Takechiyo

1560 – Nobunaga eliminates Imagawa Yoshimoto at the Battle of Okehazama

1560 – Ieyasu reclaims his birthright as a warlord

1563 – Ieyasu sanctions the betrothal of his first son Takechiyo to Nobunaga’s daughter Tokuhime

1567 – A group of warrior leaders from Mino defects to the side of Nobunaga, and “asked him to accept hostages from them” as proof of their sincere intentions

1568 – Nobunaga marches toward Kyoto with the intent of installing the scheming Ashikaga Yoshiaki as shogun

1569-1570 – Nobunaga’s Hunt for Famous Objects (meibutsu gari)

1571 – Nobunaga’s assault on the temple complex of Enryakuji

1573 – Nobunaga enters Kyoto with a large army and surrounds Ashikaga Yoshiaki’s caste at Nijo, exiling the shogun

1575 – Nobunaga passes the headship of the Oda house to his son, Oda Nobutada 

1577-1578 – After being criticized by Nobunaga, Toyotomi (Hashiba) Hideyoshi lays siege to Kozuki Castle. As a reward, Hideyoshi receives a famous tea kettle.

1579 – Nobunaga orders the execution of more than six hundred hostages taken from the warlord Araki Yoshishige

1579 – Tokuhima writes a letter to her father, Nobunaga, that her husband and mother- in-law were engaged in serious scheming against the Oda cause

1579 – Nobuyasu commits ritual suicide

1582 – Nobunaga and Ieyasu defeat one of the most significant warlord families to resist the Oda lord: the Takeda

1582 – Nobunaga assassinated

1583 – Hideyoshi defeats the armies of Shibata Katsuie, a major rival

1584 – Battles of Komaki and Nagakute: Hideyoshi unable to pin down Ieyasu despite his advantageous circumstances

1585 – Hideyoshi’s tea gathering at Daitokuji

1585 – Hideyoshi attains the rank of imperial chancellor (kanpaku)

1586 – Hideyoshi attains the rank of great minister of state (daijo daijin)

1586 – Hideyoshi publicly rewards Ishikawa Kazumasa for his defection from Ieyasu 

1586 – Ieyasu submits to Hideyoshi

1587 – Hideyoshi announces a massive, mandatory tea gathering (Grand Kitano Tea Gathering)

1589 – Hideyoshi begins his assaults on Hojo territory

1590 – Hojo Ujinao submits to Hideyoshi

1592 – Japan’s attack on Korea, beginning of the Imjin War

1593 – Korean Admiral Yi Sun Shin defeats Japanese naval vessels with his turtle ships 

1596 – The enormous Tensho Earthquake destroys Fushimi Castle and damages Kyoto 

1597 – Japanese troops resume hostilities in Korea in the second phase of the Imjin War 

1598 – Toyotomi Hideyoshi dies, troops withdraw from Korea

1600 – Ieyasu and the various pro-Tokugawa forces are victorious at the Battle of Sekigahara

1601 – Ieyasu orders the provinces of eastern Japan to conduct land surveys (kenchi

1602 – Ieyasu orders the construction of a library in Edo Castle

1603 – Ieyasu appointed to the post of shogun by Emperor Go-Yozei

1605 – Ieyasu retired from the post of shogun and his adult son, Hidetada, is installed in the position

1612 – Ieyasu hunts more than seventy birds while traveling between Nagoya and Sunpu, and sends all of them to Hideyori and the emperor

1612 – Ieyasu issues a short set of regulations for the court which notably includes the prohibition of falconry by courtiers

1613 – Regulations Governing Court Approval of Purple Robes issued

1614 – Ieyasu leads an army toward the first confrontation with Toyotomi Hideyori in Osaka Castle

1615 – Ieyasu destroys Osaka Castle and extinguishes the threat of the Toyotomi house 

1616 – Ieyasu dies on 4/17

1616 – Ieyasu's body is interred at Kunozan, a mountain near Sunpu, and he is deified as Tosho Daigongen in the first Toshosha. Soon he is transferred to a larger Toshosha at Mt. Nikko

1622 – Annual festivals marking the death of Ieyasu begin

1623 – Hidetada retires as shogun, and Ieyasu’s grandson, Iemitsu, is appointed ruler 

1634-1636 – The shrine at Nikko is expanded into a massive shrine complex, the Toshogu; smaller structures for the worship of Tosho Daigongen spread across Japan 

1636 – Ietmitsu's commissioned text, Origin of the Shrine That Illuminates the East (Toshosha engi) is completed

1640 – Ceremonial dedication of Origins of the Great Avatar Who Illuminates the East 

1641 – Iemitsu orders Ota Sukemune to manage the massive project of compiling the genealogies of all warrior households

1643 – Genealogies of the Houses of the Kan’ei Period is completed

1651 – Iemitsu dies

1868 – Fall of the Tokugawa government

1889 – 300th anniversary of Edo's founding celebrated in Ueno Park, Tokyo

1934 – Establishment of Nikko National Park

1935 – Tokugawa Art Museum founded by Marquis Tokugawa Yoshichika, Nagoya

1937 – Emperor Hirohito visits the Tokugawa Art Museum

1942-1944 – Yoshichika serves as civil governor of occupied Malaya and honorary president of Singapore's Raffles Museum and Botanical Gardens

1983 – The Shogun Age exhibition opens at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, later traveling to Dallas, Munich, Paris, and Montreal

1999 – Nikko is inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site

2005 – Shogun exhibition opens at the Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds, U.K.

2007 – Dai Tokugawa ten opens at the Tokyo National Museum

2016 – 400th anniversary of the death of Tokugawa Ieyasu