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Shimazu Yoshihisa, the daimyo of Satsuma Province and eldest son of Shimazu Takahisa, is renowned as one of the greatest leaders of his era. Rising from his domains in Kagoshima, southern Kyushu, he nearly succeeded in conquering the entirety of Kyushu single-handedly. Despite the unconventional marriage to his own aunt, and later to the daughter of Tanegashima Tokitaka, another relative, Yoshihisa's military prowess remained unmatched.

As the 18th leader of the Shimazu clan, he spearheaded the unification of Kyūshu alongside his brothers Yoshihiro, Toshihisa, and Iehisa. By the mid-1580s, the Shimazu clan held dominion over most of Kyushu until Toyotomi Hideyoshi's massive army, comprising over 200,000 samurai, challenged their rule. Despite their valiant efforts, the Shimazu were eventually forced to surrender, leading Yoshihisa to retire as a Buddhist priest, spending his remaining years composing poetry.

Yoshihisa's humility and strategic acumen were acknowledged when he was invited to Fushimi Castle by Tokugawa Ieyasu. There, he explained his approach to warfare, emphasizing the importance of allowing his subordinates to excel while he waited for news of their victories. Impressed by this philosophy, Ieyasu praised Yoshihisa's leadership as exemplary, recognizing the wisdom of empowering those under his command.

Yoshihisa passed away following a brief illness on March 5, 1611, at the age of 78.

 


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