Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Statue of Oda Nobunaga near Kiyosu Castle

This page will be a site dedicated to the life of Oda Nobunaga (1534-82). Nobunaga was a genius who knew how to unify the country of Japan with guns, intelligence, and gold. He saw the future while the other warlods faded. Nobunaga was born around May 11th or 12th at Nagoya Castle, some historians say at Shobata Castle. His birth name was Kichiboshi. He was killed at the Honnoji Temple in Kyoto by one of his generals, Akechi Mitsuhide, on June 2, 1582. What made Nobunaga so unique during the Sengoku Era-he was a made ahead of his time. Nagoya Castle landmark in the area of modern day Nagoya Castle. Nobunaga's place of birth.

As for myself, I received my degree in History at San Diego State University in 2003. Spent one year at Gifu University 2000-2001 as an exchange student under Matsuda Yukitoshi, a man I owe great debt to. There at Gifu, I continued my studies on Oda Nobunaga and the Japanese language. Learned the tea ceremony (Urasenke school) and the shakuhachi. Lately, finished my first book, Okehazama 1560. As for Japan itself, I have been there 11 times spending much of my time in Aichi and Gifu Prefecture. As a bonus, I know the ins and outs of the city of Kyoto very well. If anyone who interested in studying or reserching Nobunaga, I urge you to go to the Nagoya and Gifu City area. There are many battlefields and landmarks related to him. Especially in Aichi Prefecture.

  1. Father: Oda Nobuhide (1511-1551) fought against the Imagawa and the Saito throughout the 1540s with mixed results. Made some inroads in uniting the Oda clan.
  2. Mother: Dota Gozen (d. 1594) She was from the Mino area of Kani. Her father was Dota Masahisa Shimosa no Kami. She would give birth to Nobunaga's younger brother, Nobuyuki.
Young Nobunaga loved the open country as a kid. He often played with matchlock rifles, mock battles, and getting into trouble. His rowdy childhood would give hime the title "Outsuke" or big idiot. His zany childhood would prepare him forsuccess later on in life. He made his genpuku or manhood in 1546 and in 1547 had his first taste of war. The enemy was the Imagawa army. He was married in 1548 to a beautiful lady named Nohime. This was arranged byHirate Masahide, one of Nobunaga's retainers. She was Saito Dosan's daughter. Saito Dosan was known as the viper. Her mother was Omi no kata. Saito Dosan controlled the Mino area which is modern Gifu City.

  1. Nohime never had any children.
  2. Her death is still in debate. Most likely she died in 1612. The same year one of Nobunaga's concubines, Onabe no kata, passed away.
His likes were country food, beautiful girls (was known to be a playboy, a ladies man), noh and the tea ceremony. He was a man in good physical condition (rarely sick), a slender body, and the best looking out of three unifiers, Hideyoshi and Ieyasu. He loved swimming, horse riding, sumo, and hawking. He hated to lose and his short temper showed it!

A reading list for the Oda Nobunaga fan. Most are in Japanese. I plan to post more in the future.

Ota, Gyuuichi. Shinchoo-Koo ki. Translated by Sakakiyama Jun. Tokyo: Kyookusha, 1980. This is a must for any Nobunaga historian. He fought with Nobunaga and he was from Nobunaga's Owari Province. Excellent descriptions of battles. The number one primary source. No exceptions what so ever!

Oze, Hoan. Amane Kangori(ed). Vol. l. Koten Bunko 58 and 59. Nobunaga-ki. Tokyo: Gendai shinchosha, 1981. Another must. He was born in 1564, four years after Okehazama. A good primary source.

Lamers, Jeroen P. Japonius Tyrannus. Leiden: Hotei Publishing, 2000. This is a rare English book on Nobunaga. A great book, but lacking in the war department. This is a must, no exceptions!

McMullin, Neil. Buddhism and the State in Sixteenth Century Japan. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984. Another book in English. Tells the story of Nobunaga's wars with the Ishiyama Honganji and Mt. Hiei-zan.

Okamoto, Ryouichi, Oda Nobunaga no Subete, 11th ed. Tokyo: Shin Jinbutsu Ourai sha, 2000.

Okada Masahito. Oda Nobunaga Soogyoo Jiten. Tokyo: Yuusankaku, 1999. A great wealth of information. A must have reference book.

Nishigaya, Yasuhiro. Oda Nobunaga Jiten. Tokyo Do Shuppan, 2000. A great reference book.

Kaku, Kozo. Nobunaga no Nazo. Tokyo: Kodansha, 2000.

Akiyama, Shun. Nobunaga. Shinshosha, 1996. A good book that explains Nobunaga's greatness.

Owada, Tetsuo. Rekishi no Documento: Okehazama no Tatakai. Tokyo: Gakushu Kenkyu Sha, 2000. One of the best books on the Battle of Okehazama. Which took place in 1560. Owada is one of the best historians covering the Sengoku Era.

Kusudo, Yoshiaki. Fuunji Nobunaga to Hiun no Onnatachi. Tokyo: Gakusha Kenkyuu Sha, 2002. A must have! The book explains Nobunaga's women and their history.

Rekishi Gunzo "Gekishin Oda Nobunaga." Tokyo: Gakken, 2001.

Paterson, Les. Okehazama 1560. A book in English on the battle of Okehazama. Not in print yet, but canbuy the manuscript.

Akita, Hiroki. Oda Nobunaga to Azuchijo. Osaka: Sogensha, 1990. A great book on Azuchi Castle and the history of Azuchi.

Turnbull, Stephen. Nagashino 1575. UK: Osprey Publishing Ltd., 2000. Nobunaga's victory in English. Great graphics. Must have.

Kudo, Kensaku. Nobunaga wa honto ni tensai no ka. Tokyo: Soshisha, 2007. A new book that doubts Nobunaga's genius. It is biased, but still a good read.

Elison, Goerge. Smith, Bardell. Warlords, Artits, and Commoners in the Sixteenth Century Japan. Hawaii: University of Hawaii Press, 1987. A great book on Sengoku culture. Has many pages devoted to Nobunaga. Another must have.

Web pages

  1. The English paper of the Japan Times newspaper.
  2. The best site in English on Warring States Japan.
  3. A great place of samurai flicks.
  4. Another great place for samurai flicks.
  5. A magazine that is devoted to Kyoto.
  6. A great place for ninja and samurai flicks.
As a parting word, Tenka no tame or Nobunaga no tame- For the sake of the realm For the sake of Nobunaga!

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