Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Paul Varley

I just printed out Paul Varley's Oda Nobunaga, Guns, and Early Modern Warfare in Japan, pp. 105-125. International Research Center for Japanese Studies Kyoto 2007.

This has to be one of best written works I have seen in a long time. He starts when the Portuguese arrived at Tanegashima in 1543. Not only that, but evidence of early gun use in the 15th century before the Onin War(p.106). More important, there is evidence that the Eastern Army used a "fire spear" in 1468(p.106). The Japanese knew firearms from earlier conflicts with the Mongols.

Pages 116-120 deal with the Battle of Nagashino. Varley does well to describe Katsuyori's mishaps. He has been labeled as a "wild boar commander"(p.118). Go Figure. Varley has
mentioned Mr. Fujimoto Masayuki as a source. I disagree with Fujimoto on his 1,000 stance. Varley mentioned that Ota Gyuuichi's Shinchoo-Ko ki is now the standard since it is more reliable than Oze Hoan's book. Then he explains why the two books are so different. He said,"Easy to read and exciting, Shincho ki became the equivalent, for its time a best seller;..."(p.119).

If I have anything against the article, he did not use the Nagashino Nikki as a source for the battle. He gives Nobunaga credit for changing Japanese warfare, which he greatly deserves. However, Varley did not mention the Battle of Muraki 1554 which Nobunaga used his guns to near perfection. His bibliography is sublime and uses Geoffrey Parker's Military Revolution which is also a must read.

Later I will write on Nobunaga and the siege of Sengoku forts written by Varley. To conclude this post, I must thank Samurai-Archives for sending me the information.

Nobunaga no Tame!

1 comment:

Maese said...

Hello, I am a long time lurker from the Samurai Archives forums, and a Nobunaga lover as well.

I am really interested in Paul Varley's article, but after raiding the net back and forth the book seems nowhere to be found/bought/downloaded. How can I access to the article? Could you give me some advice?

Thanks in advance!