Lord of the Gourd, Hideyoshi Toyotomi

Samuri Armour
Tokyo Museum



Battle Emblem

Osaka Castle

Shinto Shrine

Prayer Gourds

Game Cover

 The Lord of the 
Golden Water Gourds

Hideyoshi Toyotomi (1537-1598) is one of the most well-known historical samurai heroes.   He was the unifier of Japan after a period of more than 100 years of civil wars that had ravaged the country. His career from a poor farmer's son to the most powerful man
in Japan is more than unusual.

 No Japanese family adopted the gourd as a crest because it of its baseness since it was often used to carry saké and saké led to licentiousness

Since he was a peasant, not of noble birth, Hideyoshi  had no crest; but when, in 1575, he obtained a command, he adopted the lowly water gourd as his emblem, and added another gourd for every victory he gained, until the number grew into a large bunch, and he was called The Lord of the Golden Water Gourds. 

After that, this ensign became a famous symbol of victory, the "Sennaribyoutan" which means one thousand gourds growing on a tree.

Even though Hideyoshi unified feudal Japan,  his peasant-class origin prevented the Emperor from bestowing on him the title of Shogun.  but he managed to become the regent of the emperor.  He built the massive Osaka Castle to show his power. 

After his death the Japanese built him a shrine, promoted him to the ranks of a Shinto deity and gave him the title Hokoku - wealth of the nation
Shrines can be seen throughout the country where prayers to him are written on gourds.

His castle, shrine, and tomb contain images and shapes of the water gourd.

Today -  Toyotomi is featured worldwide in Samuri Video Games and YouTube.  You can even buy his statue complete with Sennaribyoutan and Sun Helmet at Amazon.com as well as a range of minatures.

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