Tale of Ronin

The Battle of Sekigahara: How Japan’s Greatest Battle Added to the Ronin Problem

The Battle of Sekigahara was the greatest battle in Japanese history. It took place in the village of Sekigahara, which was located in a mountain valley. There, two coalition forces led by two great daimyo, Ishida Mitsunari and Tokugawa Ieyasu, clashed violently over who would have the right to rule a unified Japan.

Ieyasu and Mitsunari were both vassals to Toyotomi Hideyoshi, one of Japan’s three ‘Great Unifiers’. When Hideyoshi died, Ieyasu began making moves to gather power. Mitsunari feared that Ieyasu intended to supplant Hideyoshi’s young son, Toyotomi Hideyori. To stop this, Mitsunari formed a coalition of like-minded daimyo to ensure the Toyotomi clan remained in charge. He even tried to assassinate Ieyasu.

In 1600, Mitsunari formally denounced Ieyasu, who responded by finally declaring war. The two armies boasted incredible numbers for the time, with Ieyasu marshaling 75,000 soldiers ****and Mitsunari 79,000 soldiers. However, a significant chunk of Mitsunari’s forces defected due to perceived slights and his army was crushed.

The Battle of Sekigahara was the last great conflict of the Warring States period. It lasted just six hours and confirmed that Tokugawa Ieyasu would control the future of Japan. Just a few years later, he was officially elevated to the position of shogun. However, things did not go so well for many other samurai who fought in the battle.

As the Warring States period came to an end, samurai began having more and more difficulty finding work. By the time the battle began, it was estimated that there were about 400,000 ronin in the country. After the battle, many survivors of Mitsunari’s splintered forces also became ronin to survive. It’s believed that five ringleaders of the later Shimabara Rebellion were veterans of the Battle of Sekigahara.

Tale of Ronin takes place about thirty-seven years after the Battle of Sekigahara. As the peace of the Edo period forces samurai to become bureaucrats, nostalgia for the times of blood and battle only grows stronger. Players can meet characters who remember the titanic clash. They may even express remorse at not being old enough to have fought in the battle themselves…