Sunday, November 30, 2008

Donate to the SA

This post will be a plea to donate to the Samurai Archives. The SA has been around for a few years and their site is one of the best. Their staff is one of best and educated I have ever seen. They have helped me the past few months with my book and their wealth of knowledge. If you want to see the site blossom into something greater, please donate. I have already, twice!

First after donating to your favorite charities such as The Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, local churches, and toy drives. If you have a couple of bucks leftover, donate to the SA. I urge all samurai history freaks to donate. Your donation is needed to continue an awesome service to the samurai world.

They will have two interviews soon with Stephen Turnbull and Thomas Conlan. Only the SA can do that. If you want to see the rising quality interviews and the study of samurai history, please donate. Five bucks or ten. It does not matter. Please donate. It all helps to a great cause.

Tenka no Tame! Nobunaga no Tame!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Stephen Turnbull

I understand that the Samurai Archives (SA) will have an interview with the great samurai historian Stephen Turnbull. I am so happy. Like him or hate him. His work on Sengoku Japan has given the English reader so much information. I am very thankful and grateful for his work. Without the good doctor, the world would be a bit darker.

I have at least ten or more of his books on my personal library and I still use his works as a reference. Sure, he had blunders, but so have we. I do not blame him at all. However, I understand that his work has gotten a bit better. That can only be good news. I will not ask any questions to the doctor. I am not up to his status. I am still at the bottom working to the top. It will take years.

My favorite books of his are Battles of the Samurai, Samurai Warfare, Nagashino, and Kawanakajima. I would hope that he would do another edition on Nagashino since there is new information that has changed the battle's history as well as Kawanakajima. If I would give something to write about, I have two. Anegawa 1570 and Mita ga hara 1572. I think he write something great on those two battles.

I would like to gibe thanks to the SA and to their great staff as well. God Bless them and I hope the Holiday season brings them many blessings. As for my book, it is done. Just waiting. I am truly a lucky man. I am always grateful and thankful for the SA and Jetlag Press. God Bless them!

Tenka no tame!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Okehazama surprise attack?

One of the most photographed areas of the Okehazama battlefield (Koutokuin Temple, Toyoake City).

I have read some of the new information my friends from Japan have sent me. Another new theory. This time the surprise attack is omitted and now a frontal attack instead. Theory sounds good, but it does not add up. In my book OdaNobunaga: The Battle of Okehazama-How Japan's Fiercest Warlord Began the Unification of Japan, I listed four key points to Nobunaga's victory. They are: rainstorm Yanada Masatsuna's intelligence, small army, and Okehazama itself ( pp. 99-106).

Once Nobunaga received the intelligence from Yanada, he had to act quickly. Nobunaga did not have the time to set up tactically for a frontal attack formation. Timing was everything and Nobunaga did not have enough of it. If he did not act quickly the chances of succeeding would have been slim.

The rainstorm played a role too. It was known on the day of the battle the weather was stinking hot. Once the rain started, some soldiers took off their armor to cool themselves. Others huddled up to prevent from getting soaked and wet. This was important since Imagawa army could not see the Oda army due to the rain or being negligent. The rain also made the ground muddy which did not help the Imagawa army once Nobunaga attacked.

The small army was enough for Nobunaga to hide. Any larger and the chances of being caught
increased. The small army made the element of surprise work. As for Okehazama itself. Once Yoshimoto decided to stop and rest, all three things occured. The rain, intelligence, and the small army made the surprise attack possible.

I do not think the frontal attack theory is wrong. I disagree with it. It just does not add up. Surprise attack Edo fiction? No. Nagashino is different from Okehazama. There is more physical evidence for Nagashino than Okehazama. Nobunaga did not have the time to plan a frontal attack. The only way I can agree with it if he planned it before receiving the human intelligence from Yanada. If one accepts the frontal attack theory, I am not going to say that person is wrong or stupid. I disagree with the frontal attack theory.

If I was in Nobunaga's shoes at the moment when the intelligence was received. What would I do? Attack before it is too late. Nobunaga did not have the time to play tatical game with the Imagawa. Once the rain started, it was all she wrote for Yoshimoto.

Tenka no Tame!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sengoku site

I found this site last night. It is one of the better ones I have found in English. Check it out.

Nobunaga no Tame!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Kenshin, Nobunaga, and pulling the trigger

Do you want to know who pulled the trigger to start Okehazama? There are several and I have written some in my book. Kyoto is one of reasons. Imagawa Yoshimoto was horny about the city. No question about it. Now on to more serious stuff.

In 1553 Kenshin was sable to go to Kyoto and see the emperor Go-Nara. This was important. 1559 Kenshin went again to meet with shogun Ashikaga Yoshiteru and emperor Ogimachi. Nobunaga did meet with shogun Yoshiteru as well in 1559. He was able to visit Sakai and Nara as well.

Yoshimoto knew he had to do something quickly if he wanted to stake claim in the capital. He spent time there as a young lad, but now he wanted power. The Kousosun Domei ion 1554 made Yoshimoto's job easier. However he still had to deal with the Oda, Saito, Azai, Rokkaku, and Miyoshi families. Kenshin was one thing, but Nobunaga was still thought of as a country fool.

Most of the examples I have written down are fact. However, I think if you combine them all into one. Kenshin, Nobunaga, and Yoshimoto might have pulled the trigger.

Here is a good book I bought last year in Japan. Okehazama no Tatakai "Kagetora no kakusaku to Nobunaga no sakuryaku." The book's author is Akio Hamada and was published in 2007.

Tenka no Tame!

Friday, November 21, 2008

New data on guns

I found some new data that Nobunaga was not the only one who mastered the gun. Uesugi Kenshin as well knew how to use gun efficiently. I have to admit, I did not know Kenshin mastered the weapon. You have to give him his props.

Thomas Conlan's Weapons and Fighting Techniques of the Samurai Warrior explains on page 165.

"The example of the Uesugi suggests again that those most cognizant of tactical organization, possessed a very real advantage on the battlefield, and this explains why certain families survived and others were destroyed."

Conlan mentioned that Kenshin used guns and arrows so well that the Takeda suffered massive losses at the 4th Battle of Kawanakajima in 1561. The Takeda, on the other hand, were late to the party. I have two reasons why. Geography and Culturally.

The Takeda were at a major disadvantage geographically since they were locked in the mountains. To obtain high quality gunpowder and guns would have been difficult. Kenshin knew people who can supply him with the best and took full advantage of it.

Culturally, I think the Takeda had too much success using weapons that they were familiar with. I do not think the Takeda adapted quick enough to stay in power forever. Nobunaga and Kenshin knew the gun's potential to change warfare and quickly took advantage of it.

I am not here to rip on Takeda Shingen. I think he was a great warrior. However, I think he failed to know how to use the gun when needed. He barely made out alive at the 4th Battle of Kawanakajima and his son Katsuyori, failed to recognize the gun at its best. Nagashino anybody?

Tenka no Tame!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

From the horse's mouth

Here is a sample from the Okehazama book.

"How Nobunaga received the information was a miracle from God. Yanada Masatsuna, the founding father of Sengoku intelligence, was the individual who brought the data to Nobunaga."

Here is more.

"To receive the information he had to push his spies to the brink or it was death to the clan."

My parents are very happy for me as well as some of my friends at SA.

Nobunaga no Tame!

More on Nagashino and Guns II

Here is an article I found on the web. To tell you the truth, the article's facts are outdated.

You know my position on the Battle of Nagashino. I am more than willing to accept the new data if the number of troops support it. If Owada Tetsuo is correct on numbers Oda/Tokugawa 18,000 and the Takeda 6,000. Then by all means, history has been changed. If Nobunaga had an army of 10,000, 1,000 gunners would be acceptable. The more I see the new data in books and magazine, the more quickly it is being accepted. However, the number of guns used at the battle should be continued to be debated. Nobody really knows how many guns were used at the battle.

One thing is a fact, not many people are making a trip to the battlefield. People should visit the place and check out the battlefield's geography. As for the SA, they are sticking with the new data. There are two historians I have great respect for, Owada Tetsuo and Paul Varley. When you read their work on Nagashino, they are not taking away the fact guns played a huge role in the battle. Their focus was the amount of guns used, geography, and tactics.

Nobunaga no Tame!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Atsuta Jingu

If you are ever in the Nagoya area,check out the Atsuta Shrine. Nobunaga made history there in the early morning before his victory at the Battle of Okehazama in 1560. He prayed there at the shrine and told them that he will build a victory wall if he wins. He did win and later presented a horse to the shrine. Here are some photos of the Nobunaga victory wall.

The photo above is the actual Nobunaga victory wall at Atsuta Shrine. The wall was built with mud, grease and lime. It still stands tall and proud. The photo below is a replica of Nobunaga's victory wall at Kiyosu Castle.

Here is the Atsuta shrine link.

Here is some fact about the shrine. It is said that before Nobunaga continued his Okehazama campiagn he grabbed some Eiraku Tsuuhou coins and threw them up in the air as a coin toss. The result: all heads equals Okehazama victory!

Tenka no Tame!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Thomas Conlan

Thomas Conlan's new book, Weapons&Fighting Techniques of the Samurai Warrior 1200-1877 AD, is a hit. I like the photos and drawings as well. It does cover some on Oda Nobunaga. Conlan does us a great service on the Battle of Nagashino. As you know, I believe that there were more guns at the battle than one expects. However, if the Oda/Tokugawa army was less than the previous numbers, of course, there will fewer gunners.

Here is a piece from Conlan,

"For all of its fame, the battle of Nagashino has not been particularly well analyzed. OwadaTetsuo, in his Nagashino Shitaragahara no tatakai, has complained that much of the analysis of the battle has come from individuals who knew nothing about the battlefield, or had never travelled there"(Conlan, p. 167).

What Owada stated is true. The geography was important to the battle. Conlan has stated that guns played an important factor. That is fact. He has even mentioned that nobody knows for sure how many guns were present at the battle. I do not know and nobody knows at the moment. Once we know how many guns were there at the battle, the real analysis begins.

I do understand Owada's point about people have not gone to the battlefield to do their homework. It think it is true. I know when I was writing my book on Okehazama, I could say I was at the battlefield at least six times.

Conlan did provide a color map where it shows the Takeda army advancing through the Tokugawa lines hoping to cut them off. It never happened. They were shot to pieces. Also if you look below on the map near the Oda lines, there were many bullets discovered near there (Conlan, 173). Part of the Oda/Tokugawa victory was on guns, but it was a tactic-type surprise attack that won the day. Conlan also mentions much of the blame has to go to Takeda Katsuyori himself for allowing one of his wings to be cut off.

I plan to write more later.

Nobunaga no tame!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Aya Ueto

I this this blog has to do with my homeboy Oda Nobunaga. However, one in awhile something important comes up. I found this article in the Japan Times. Aya Ueto is one of Japan's biggest stars. However, she grew up poor and still remembers where she came from. Check this out. I think Nobunaga will be proud of this fine lady. Reminds me of Hideyoshi a little bit. Dirt poor and rose to the top.


Tenka no tame!

More on Atsumori

As I said before, Ogata Naoto's version of Atsumori was the worst I have ever seen. Here is one that might shock you. The Taikoki television movie was not bad at all. Matsukata Hiroki's version was in fact much better. He was able to sing and dance, but also he had much more feeling in it. To make the part much better, Ono (Nohime), played the hand drum. This is much more accurate than the Taiga drama. The scene alone was worth buying the DVD.

Did Nohime play the hand drum during Nobunaga's finest hour? The chances were high in my opinion. In my Okehazama book I made sure all sides were taken in account. If you read OwadaTetsuo, Okehazama no Tatakai (page, 124), one of his pages played the drum. Somehow, I do believe that Nohime played the hand drum. After all, she is the Viper's daughter. However, I am not going to completely disagree with Owada. I think it is one of the question that will never be answered.

The book is now in the hands of the publisher. Hopefully, the book will be out at the end of the month or the first week of December.

Nobunaga no tame!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Thomas Conlan

I just received Thomas Conlan's book on Samurai warfare. It is a must have! I got the recommendation from my friends at Samurai Archives. He has a web page as well. Check it out.

Update on Okehazama book

It is off to the publisher. I do have to say I am very humbled. I have never done a project like this before. Sadly, I had to leave some things out. I plan with a 2nd edition to add more things. I found more data! However, the book will still be crammed with tons of information. I think Nobunaga will be proud of it.

Next week I plan to comment on Matsukata Hiroki's Atsumori performance on the television drama Taiko. Hint: It was a lot better and more accurate than the NHK Taiga Nobunaga series.

Tenka no Tame!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Okehazama Documentary

I am almost done with my book. Thank God! After ten years of hard labor I am done! When I was living in Gifu around 2000-1, somebody told me there was a documentary special on the Battle of Okehazama. I am going to guess it was aired by NHK. Does anybody know about it? Has anybody seen it? I would like to know. I have seen something similar on a plane to Tokyo explaining the Honnoji rebellion. If I can remember, the guest was Kaku Kozo. To tell you the truth, I want to see the Okehazama documentary and obtain a copy of it.

Remember to vote today! I am not voting for the so-called "Messiah"

Tenka no tame!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Kawanakajima Book

Here is a book that I bought at my local Book-Off branch. It is a general book on Kawanakajima. The photos are decent. However, it has information on Yamamoto Kanuske, Uesugi Kenshin, and Takeda Shingen. The book also contains brief information on battles such as Okehazama, Mikata ga hara, and Nagashino. If one wants to see the Kawanakajima battlefield, information on how to get there is included.

As for the Nobunaga NHK Taiga series, you have to hand it to Rokkaku Joutei (Yoshikata). One of the best moments of the series was when he complained that Nobunaga was a low class country warlord. Nobunaga had the last laugh of course. The Rokkaku had to flee since country boys do not give in so easily.
I do have a song request for Rokkaku Joutei by Hank Williams Jr. "Country Boys will Survive!"

Update: I should receive the final draft later this weekend on my book. I will go over it one more time to make it good. From Professor Kitsuno, opinion there is a ton of information and he like the work. He just wants the book to reach the TENKA. So I will be editing the book and hopefully send the work to the publisher.

Nobunaga no Tame!