When reading up on Oda Nobunaga, Tokugawa Ieyasu, and Toyotomi Hideyoshi I often see them referred to as the "great unifiers" but I can't find what (if anything) Japanese people call them?

Is there an equivalent to "the three unifiers of Japan" in Japanese, or are they just Oda "kill the bird" Nobunaga, Tokugawa "convince it" Ieyasu, and Toyotomi "wait" Hideyoshi, with no fancy collective title?

1 Answer 1


We call them 「三英傑{さんえいけつ}」 at least around Nagoya where all of the three are from.


Outside of Central Japan, however, you might actually end up having to name the three when talking to people who are not too well-read on Japanese history.

  • 1
    Yes, everyone in Aichi Prefecture will know who the 三英傑 are, and the local people are very proud of this. Unfortunately it seems that not many people can properly name the three outside of the region...
    – xuq01
    Jan 28, 2020 at 18:14
  • Out of curiosity, does this name have a direct translation into English? Google's suggestion is a bit of an odd one...
    – user170231
    Jan 28, 2020 at 22:03
  • 1
    You can translate it to Three Great Men
    – DXV
    Jan 29, 2020 at 1:12

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