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Born Dec. 15,1542, in Aichi Prefecture; died 1616 in Kunazan, near Shizuoka. Japanese feudal lord; founder of the Tokugawa shogunate.
Tokugawa was a close associate of Oda Nobunaga and Toyo-tomi Hideyoshi, the military leaders who in the late 16th century established a centralized feudal state in Japan. After Toyotomi’s death in 1598, Tokugawa became the leader of a coalition of feudal lords. In 1600, in the battle of Sekigahara, he completely defeated his opponents, who had formed an alliance under Toyo-tomi Hideyori, the son of Hideyoshi. In 1603, after forcing the emperor to confer on him the title of shogun, Tokugawa concentrated all power in his own hands. Although in 1605 he declared that power had been transferred to his son, Hidetada, he in fact continued to rule the country. Tokugawa issued edicts confirming the enserfment of the peasants. He also promulgated codes of conduct for princes and noblemen, as well as for the emperor and members of his court, which placed them under the shogunate’s control.