Sunday, January 13, 2008

Nobunaga by Luis Frois

A description of Nobunaga during his prime was written by the Jesuit priest Luis Frois is one of the best. He knew Nobunaga very well and quickly became friends. I do enjoy this entry by Frois and it accurately describes Nobunaga.

"This King of Owari, who would be around 37 years old, is tall of stature, lean, sparsely bearded, with extremely sonorous voice, given to military exercises, indefatigable, inclined to works of justice and compassion, arrogant, a great lover of honour, very secretive in his decisions, a master of stratagems, hardly or not at all mindful of the reprimands or advice of his subordinates, and is feared and venerated by all to the highest degree. He does not drink wine, is brusque in his manner, looks down upon all the other kings and princes of Japan and speaks to them with disdain as if to his inferiors, is totally obeyed by all as the absolute lord, has good understanding and sharp judgements, despises the gods, the Buddhas, and all other kinds of idolatry and pagan superstition. Nominally, he professes to belong to the Lotus sect, but openly declares that there is no creator of the universe, no immortality of the soul, or life after death. His buildings are very clean and refined, and always in perfect order. He hates delays and circumlocution, and not even a prince appears before him bearing a sword; he always has two thousand pages or mounted guards with him. His father was Lord of Owari Province, but he, through his immense energy, has subjected seventeen or eighteen provinces in the last four years. He conquered the eight [sic] central provinces, including the metropolitan province of Yamashiro, in seven or eight days."

This was written in 1569 by Frois. The location could be Kyoto because that was the first time he met Nobunaga. They met again the same year in Gifu and Frois had some written documentation about the meeting. The source can be found in Jeroen Lamers, Japonius Tyrannus, p. 10. More later.

Tenka no tame!

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