Kiyosu Conference | 清須会議 J-Film

Presented by JICC, Embassy of Japan and the Japan Commerce Association of Washington DC

Based on the novel of the same name by Koki Mitani

At the height of his power in 1582, the warlord Oda Nobunaga was forced to take his own life during a revolt lead by one of his own generals. In order to determine a successor and the redistribution of territory following this incident, a meeting is convened among the shogunate at Kiyosu Castle in modern Aichi Prefecture.

Among the attendees include the powerful generals, Katsuie Shibata (Koji Yakusho) and Hashiba Hideyoshi (Yo Oizumi), and Oda’s two younger sons, Nobutaka (Minosuke Bando) and Nobukatsu (Satoshi Tsumabuki). These military men must now wage war in a battle of wits, deceit, and back door bargaining.

In this unique interpretation of the “conference that changed the course of [Japanese] history”, director Koki Mitani (Welcome Back, Mr. McDonald, The Magic Hour) presents the scheming and behind-the-scenes power grabbing of the powerful with humor and a light touch.

What Was the "Kiyosu Conference"?

In June 1582 the warlord Oda Nobunaga was on the verge of completing his conquest of Japan. He had sent his loyal generals to various parts of Japan to conquer them.

One of them, Hashiba Hideyoshi, was laying siege to the castle in Takamatsu when he sent for aid to Nobunaga. Nobunaga sent a force to support Hideyoshi while he stopped at Honnoji temple near Kyoto to rest. Because it was in territory that was firmly under his control, Nobunaga only had a few guards with him. Another general, Akechi Mitsuhide, seized this opportunity to eliminate Nobunaga and take power for himself.

Mitsuhide surrounded the temple eventually forcing Nobunaga and his men to kill themselves. Mitsuhide then declared himself shogun and moved to secure his position. When Nobunaga’s generals received news of this betrayal they reacted quickly and confronted Mitsuhide in what would be the Battle of Yamazaki. Mitsuhide would be killed while fleeing the battlefield and his reign as shogun lasted only thirteen days.

In was in the aftermath of these events that those loyal to Nobunaga convened at Kiyosu Castle on July 16, 1582 to determine Nobunaga’s successor.

Hashiba Hideyoshi (who would later take the name Toyotomi Hideyoshi) succeeded in asserting dominance over Nobunaga’s heirs and eventually completed the conquest of Japan. However, in the midst of an unsuccessful attempt to conquer China via Korea in 1598, Hideyoshi died and was succeeded by Tokugawa Ieyasu, another of Nobunaga’s trusted generals. Tokugawa went on to consolidate his power as shogun, move the capital from Kyoto to his castle-town Edo (later Tokyo) and usher in the “Tokugawa Peace” that would last for over two centuries.

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