Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543-1616) was a prominent Japanese military leader and the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate, which ruled Japan from 1603 until 1868. He is considered one of the most important figures in Japanese history and played a crucial role in unifying Japan after decades of civil war.
Ieyasu was born in the Mikawa Province and was initially known as Matsudaira Motoyasu. He was adopted by the powerful Imagawa clan and served as a hostage in their court during his youth. In 1560, he participated in the Battle of Okehazama, where he supported Oda Nobunaga in his fight against the Imagawa clan. Ieyasu later formed an alliance with Nobunaga and helped him defeat his rivals.
As shogun, Ieyasu instituted a series of policies that helped stabilize the country and promote economic growth. He implemented the "sankin-kotai" system, which required daimyos to spend alternating years in their home provinces and in the capital of Edo (present-day Tokyo). He also established a strict social hierarchy and discouraged contact with the outside world in order to maintain social stability.
Ieyasu's legacy as a unifier of Japan and a promoter of stability and economic growth has made him one of the most revered figures in Japanese history. Many of his policies and institutions endured well into the 19th century, long after the end of the Tokugawa shogunate.