Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Title: Okehazama no Shinjutsu
Author: Ota Mitsuaki
Publisher: Best Shinsho
I have just recently read Okehazama no Shinjutsu and have to admit this book could have been better. There has been a lot revision of Sengoku history of late and Mr. Ota tries to revise the Battle of Okehazama to his own liking. I think Mr. Ota had good intentions, but failed to realize what made this battle special.
Mr. Ota first falls into the "Owari no utsuke" right off the bat. Calling Nobunga a coward puts him in the hot seat. He fails to see Nobunaga's genius and I do not know if he did it on purpose or not. I presume by accident. The author also fails to explain Imagawa Yoshimoto's family history. Once you know Yoshimoto's history, you know why Kyoto was the objective.
The author also left out many sources that would have made the book better. Two in mind: Okehazma Kassenki and Imagawa Yoshimoto by Owada Tetsuo. What stunned me was that this book has so many secondary sources and very few primary sources. Owada Tetsuo's version was written on mostly primary sources and the bibliography was much smaller. To tell you the truth, Owada's version book on the Okehazama is the gold standard at the moment.
The author mentions that there was no surprise attack all. However, he fails to put himself into Nobunaga's or Yoshimoto's shoes. I presume by accident. Again, the author uses secondary sources as his backbone for the book. I do not know why. The same for the number of troops in the battle and he leaves out the Ii family in his work as well. There is so much wrong with this book I could list many reasons why.
With that being said; however, there were some positives. He breaks down both sides economically which I thought was refreshing. The author goes into detail on Sakuma Morishige's death, Okabe Motonobu, and Hachitsuka Goroku. Again, I was pleased even though did not agree with the author.
This book could have been better with some careful use of more primary sources. I would like the author to put himself in the Battle of Okehazama scenario. If Mr. Ota did that, he would have understand the battle a bit more.
With all the mishaps with this book, I still recommend it since it is important to understand all sides. Sure, I did not agree with the author on much, but the book made me think. There will be many books on Okehazama within the next year or so due to the 450th anniversary of the battle. I plan to update mine after the party is over.
Nobunaga no tame!