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The Fushimi Castle in Kyoto was one of the last places of action during the “age of warring states”—a period in Japanese history, stretching from the mid-15th to the early 17th centuries, that was marked by near-constant military conflict. It ended when Tokugawa Ieyasu came into power and established the Tokugawa shogunate and unified all of Japan under a feudal system.

But before that could happen, he had to defeat the supporters of Toyotomi Hideyori, the five-year-old son and designated successor of the recently departed Toyotomi Hideyoshi. When Hideyoshi died in 1598, the five regents he had appointed to rule on behalf of his minor son began jockeying amongst themselves for power. Tokugawa Ieyasu was the most powerful of the five.

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History preserved in blood. 400-year old blood-stained footprints on the ceiling of Genko-An, Kyoto. Photo credit: Andrew Evans/Flickr

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