In the TV miniseries, Shogun, based on James Clavell's novel of the same name, there is a scene in which the Tokugawa Ieyasu character is one of five regents but seems to be trapped in a castle in some way. Then he disguises himself as a woman and escapes hidden in a palanquin with his large retinue. After he is gone, one of his retainers presents his "resignation" to the castle owner.

Summaries I have read of Tokugawa's career do not seem to mention this episode in his life. Is it fiction or based on history?


1 Answer 1


There are diary notations to that effect from the history of another daimyo, but it never happened to Ieyasu (Toranaga in the novel). Clavell have taken that story and applied it to his Toranaga character.

  • A reference would get an up-vote. Feb 8, 2015 at 1:25
  • It is in the Heike Monogatari, but I don't know of any English reference to that part.
    – user293129
    Feb 8, 2015 at 1:57
  • Can you find it in this Plot Summary: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tale_of_the_Heike#Plot Feb 8, 2015 at 2:20
  • 2
    I'm afraid it is almost 30 years since I studied classical Japanese but from what I could see of the summary it wasn't mentioned, it wasn't anything that was significant for the story. But I remember when reading Clavell I went; "Hey, wait a minute".
    – user293129
    Feb 9, 2015 at 0:49
  • You must be thinking of Prince Mochihito, who escaped from the Takakura palace dressed as a women. He wasn't a daimyo and the Heike Monogatari wasn't a diary, though.
    – Semaphore
    Feb 9, 2015 at 2:55

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