Saturday, May 30, 2009

Tokugawa Art Museum

The Tokugawa Art Museum in Nagoya will have a special exhibition on the battles of Nobunaga, Hideyoshi, and Ieyasu starting July 18th through August 30th. This will be a real treat. If anybody who is in the Nagoya area during that time, please go and visit the museum.

Here is the link to the museum.

Click on the special exhibitions, then click on current year exhibitions, and scroll down to the Battles of Nobunaga, Hideyoshi, and Ieyasu.

I plan to order the Okehazama book on Wednesday and really looking forward how it turned out. I know for sure this one is a lot better than the first. Also the Okehazama Festival is next weekend and Samurai Country (a blog from Japan which covers samurai from the Aichi area) will have more information.

June 2 will be a day of mourning. All Nobunaga fans know it was a terrible day. I will give some thoughts on the Honnoji Rebellion. Some of my older posts cover what went on that tragic day. However, I plan to gives reasons why it happened.

Nobunaga no tame!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Ieyasu Post Okehazama

Besides Nobunaga's great victory over the Fox of Suruga (Imagawa Yoshimoto) at the Battle of Okehazama 1560, there was one more important event that happened as well. Ieyasu's freedom. Without Nobunaga's victory, I do not think there would have been a Tokugawa dynasty.

With the peace treaty between the Oda and Tokugawa done in 1562, an alliance that lasted twenty years, a rarity in the Sengoku Era. This was very important. Without the alliance, Nobunaga would have never conquered Mino or made his presence known in Kyoto in 1568. Ieyasu would have never had the chance to clean up Mikawa either. He still would have been in the service of the Imagawa.

Here are some facts about the alliance. Nobunaga was the senior partner, no doubt about it.
Jeroen Lamers, Japonius Tyrannus, page 49 has most of the answers.

  • Ieyasu was not a direct vassal of Nobunaga.
  • He was on independently on par with Nobunaga's captains, but did not have to listen to them.
  • However, he did take orders directly from Nobunaga.
One occasion where Ieyasu was the commander-in-chief (Battle of Mikatagahara 1572) and he paid the price dearly! He was routed by the Takeda and it was almost a death sentence. After the defeat, Ieyasu realized he needed Nobunaga's help to defeat the Takeda.

Nobunaga and Ieyasu did team up together in 1570 to score a victory over the Azai/Asakura at the Battle of Anegawa in 1570.

Tenka no tame!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Okehazama Map

As I continue with May as the month of Okehazama, here is a map. The map will be useful if you are traveling and do research on the Battle of Okehazama. However, the map is in Japanese.

Today is Memorial Day. Please thank those who has served our country and remember that freedom is not free. It is always paid with blood.

God Bless America!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Okehazama by Owada Testuo

Author: Owada Tetsuo

Title: Okehazama no Tatakai

Publisher: Gakken

Pages: 254

Year: 2000

If I had to choose one book from Owada Tetsuo, it would be this one. This book is so good that I own two copies. One is beat up and I take it everywhere I go. The second one is new and in my personal library. I bought this book late 2000 while living in Gifu at the time. What I did not know was this book would inspire me to write my own on the battle.

This is one of Owada's best since it covers everything you need to know about Okehazama. The book covers both histories of the Oda and Imagawa and has a family tree as well. It also goes into great detail on Yoshimoto's Kyoto campaign. If you are looking for information on young Ieyasu, it has that too. Owada also included a family tree of the Ii as well.

The book goes into great detail on the battle and gives his opinion on the the thunderstorm and Yanada Masatsuna's intelligence. Both were critical in turning the favor towards Nobunaga's side. He uses both Ota Gyuuichi and Oze Hoan as sources as well as the Okehazama war chronicle. I really want my hands on that one.

He also has pages dedicated to the Atsuta Shrine prayer and the war dead. There is also a least a page on the sword "Samonji" as well. More important gives an account of the rise of the Oda and the fall of the Imagawa.

I am impressed that the fact Owada did provide both sides to the Okehazama debate and the surprise attack. He was fair and there was no biased opinion either. The Oda/Tokugawa alliance story was explained as well. However, his maps were very basic. The book is pocket-size and information was and is more important than the visual.

The more I read this book, the more I feel I was a part of the battle. The book was easy to understand as well. If you read the book carefully, Nobunaga's country boy attitude won the day. I have been to most of the places that Owada wrote about in the book and it helped me to explain the battle better.

One last thing about this work of art. The book was dirt cheap. Less that 600 yen.

Nobunaga no tame!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Oda Nobunaga link

I found this Oda Nobunaga link earlier today while looking for Nanbanji photos. The link is sublime and it does have photos of Nanbanji which is located in Kyoto.

The main site oumi-castle is one of the best I have seen in a long time. There are several prefectures you can check out for historical landmarks related to Sengoku history. I have posted their link on the link page. Check it out.

They also have links to books and other memorabilia related to the Sengoku Era.

Tenka no tame!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Today is the day

Today is the day Nobunaga made history. No doubt about it, Nobunaga made excellent use of his rare opportunities. On the other hand , Imagawa Yoshimoto had so opportunities handed to him, he fumbled. I have to say that Okehazama is the battle that put Nobunaga on the map. His conquest was pure genius and talent that was given by God!

My second and revised edition should be ready to order in a week or so. I will order it sometime next week or the first of the month. As for a book recommendation, please read Owada Tetsuo's Okehazama no Tatakai. Published in 2000 by Gakken. This is one of my favorite books by Owada.

I did post a link earlier today. This gentleman is from the SA and a very smart one too. Please check it out.

Nobunaga no tame!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Which is the correct battlefield

Unfortunately, Okehazama has two battlefields and which one is the correct one is still being debated today.

The Okehazama battlefield Midori-ku, Arimatsu location

Okehazama battlefield Sakae-cho, Toyoake City location. Became a national landmark by the Ministry of Education in 1937.

So which one is the correct one? They are both legitimate battlefields. the Arimatsu location has a lot going against them. First, it is hard to get to and hardly anybody knows it even exists. You have to take a taxi to get there from Arimatsu Station. On the other hand, Toyoake City location is only a five minute walk from the Meitetsu station.

However, Arimatsu does have some things going their way. For example, more historians are excepting the Arimatsu location as the original battlefield. The Arimatsu location has the well were Yoshimoto's head was cleaned, the senpyo-no-matsu tree (war council tree), and Chofukuji Temple. The Buddhist priest, Zenku gave the Imagawa army refreshments nearby.

As for Toyoake City, they have the landmark where the Imagawa was camped at, the seven pillars for the dead, Kotokuin Temple, Senninzuka (grave for the war dead. 15 minute walk from the battlefield), and more important, status from the Ministry of Education (granted in 1937). They used to have the Okehazama museum before it shut down.

I think both battlefields are justified no matter what the historians say. They are both related to the battle. I have to admit, I have been to the Toyoake City location several times and only once to the Arimatsu location. It comes down to one important issue: convenience.

I am more liberal on this one. No matter what people say, I always say both are legit. In fact, both locations have some sort of festival going on near the battle date. That is music to my ears.

I urge you to visit both battlefields with an open mind. If you do, both locations will reveal their secrets out.

Nobunaga no tame!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Okehazama Anniversary

The Yomiuri has an article about the 450th anniversary of the Battle of Okehazama 1560 which will be next year 2010.

The 2nd edition should be out in a week or two.

Tenka no tame!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Okehazama link

Here is a link to the Battle of Okehazama (Toyoake City).

It has information on the Sakae-cho, Toyoake City Okehazama Battlefield, Kutsukake Castle, and Senninzuka.

Nobunaga no tame!

Monday, May 11, 2009

More on Okehazama Festivals

There is an Okehazama Festival that will be held on May 17 2009 at the Chofukuji Temple area. Arimtasu-cho, Midori-ku.

Links to the festival.

Happy Birthday Nobunaga! Tenka no tame!

Nobunaga knew ahead of time

During the eve of the Battle of Okehazama 1560, Nobunaga and his retainers held a war council at Kiyosu Castle. The atmosphere was tense and his retainers wanted answers now, not later on how to deal with the Imagawa invasion. Others have suggested to Nobunaga that aid can received. However, Nobunaga knew he had no allies. He knew he had to go all alone. I go much in detail in the second edition of the Okehazama book.

Then Nobunaga acted as if was not worried at all. His retainers were in shock. This was a crisis and now death seems certain. He continued to play mind games with his council and they were still in complete shock. Nobunaga continued to shout, harass, and continued to be the Owari no Utsuke. He finally told his council to go home since he was tired and wanted some rest. One man, Hayashi Hidesada, was hurt. Nobunaga mocked him and called him an old man. What Hayashi did not know was that Nobunaga had a plan right from the start. Surprise attack when ready.

The Paul Varley article on page 114, he mentioned that Nobunaga was concerned about Imagawa spies. A logical answer. If there were Imagawa spies, Nobunaga made sure that he played the "fool" well to trick them. It worked if that was the case.

What I am trying to say is that Nobunaga knew all along something different had to be done. The old ways could not work anymore. He knew his retainers would disagree. So Nobunaga had to act as a fool to get his way. The Imagawa spies sure bought it if they were present.

The real fools were his retainers and his enemies who did know his pure genius. The next day Nobunaga proved his worth at the Battle of Okehazama. I go into detail much more in the second edition.

May 11/12 is usually Nobunaga's birthday.

Happy Birthday Nobunaga! You can eat all the kaki and mochi you want today!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Four Key Points

Okehazama Battlefield Landmark Toyoake City Location

In my Okehazama book (both editions) I have laid out four key points to the Battle of Okehazama.

  1. Thunderstorm
  2. Yanada Masatsuna's intelligence
  3. Small force
  4. Okehazama itself
The Thunderstorm caused the Imagawa troops to huddle closer to avoid the rain. It was a hot and steamy day and provided relief. The thunderstorm made Nobunaga's army less detectable. Either the Imagawa army was negligent or the storm prevented the army to scout efficiently. If the weather did change, so too the result. Yoshimoto's Kyoto campaign would have been much smoother.

Yanada Masatsuna's intelligence changed Sengoku warfare. He gave the key data where the Imagawa camp location to Nobunaga. Nobunaga knew he had to act quickly to the information. It changed everything. Nobunaga knew he had a chance to destroy the Imagawa in once punch. Okehazama went to the age of military exploitation, to the age of intelligence. Yanada was rewarded with Kutsukake Castle and cash for his service.

The small force was less detectable and provided just enough cover for a surprise attack. His earlier victories with a small army in the Owari unification process helped. He was outnumbered as well in the Battle of Moribe in 1561. More important, Nobunaga did not and could not receive any allied support. He was all on his own. The Saito/Oda allaince was broken in 1556 with the death of Saito Dosan. A larger army would have been easily spotted.

Okehazama itself. Yoshimoto could have continued to march to Odaka without the break. Sure, the weather was hot and sticky. Success was so fast for the Imagawa, Yoshimoto was very confident Nobunaga would fold by the next day. He was overconfident. Ieyasu was waiting for the arrival of Yoshimoto at Odaka Castle which never came. By resting at Okehazama, all three things occurred, thunderstorm, Yanada's intelligence, small army, and a recipe for disaster.

This is only a general explanation. The second edition goes into much detail.

Update: The second edition should be available by late May at the earliest. Made the final corrections before the publisher sent the manuscript to the printer.

Nobunaga no tame!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Surprise attacks

I do not care what the new theory says that Okehazama was not a surprise attack. Deal with it. It was a surprise attack. If you disagree, that is fine with me. I know from my own military experience that Okehazama was a surprise attack.

Today I would like to give other examples of surprise attacks that occurred in the Sengoku Era. One caught me off guard and learned something new.

1546 Battle of Kawagoe Hojo Ujiyasu was outnumbered by the Ashikaga and Uesugi and won.

1555 Battle of Itsukushima Mori Motonari outnumbered by Sue Harukata and won.

Here are the links to the two battles.

I will give an example of two small battles that Nobunaga was outnumbered and won. Both battles occurred in 1552. The Battle of Akatsuka and Kayatsu. Another one is the Battle of Ino in 1556 where Nobunaga beat both the Hayashi and Shibata armies. Nobunaga was outnumbered again and still won.

Small armies can beat the bigger ones with some shrewed tactics. The surprise attack is of the the best ways to take out a large army. Okehazama is the perfect example.

Here is a link to a festival related to the Battle of Nagashino, a little late.

The movie to Goemon as well.

Tenka no tame!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Okehazama Festival

The 2009 Okehazama Matsuri will be held on June 6th and 7th. I have the link which provides more information. Unfortunately, the link is only in Japanese. However, if you you around the area during the time of the festival, please go.

If you do go, share your your photos and post them up.

Nobunaga no tame!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The SA interview with John Bender

The SA just finished an interview with Sengoku scholar John Bender. Mr. Bender is a graduate of the University of Hawaii with a Master of Arts in premodern Japanese history. His thesis covers an important question during the Sengoku Era. "Why some daimyo survive while others did not?"

Here is the link to the interview.

I am glad Mr. Bender covered some of the Okehazama topic. A lot of what he said about the battle is in my book (both editions).

Update: I found out yesterday that the publisher has fixed the problem and is now at work with the second edition. when it is ready, I will let you know.

Hats off to the SA and I wish Mr. Bender nothing but the best.

Tenka no tame!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Yoshimoto's Obejective

There has been a lot of speculation of late to figure out what was Yoshimoto's objective when he left Sunpu on 12 May 1560. The old theory was Kyoto. The new theory from the cocktail buzz is Nobunaga and Owari. To tell you the truth, I do not believe it was Nobunaga and Owari.

Here are some facts you need to know (Mentioned in the first and soon to be second edition in my book).

Yoshimoto spent time in Kyoto when he was a young boy.

His mother had noble Court blood which he had too.

He styled himself has Kyoto courtier and several of the buildings around Sunpu resembled Kyoto and the high life.

The Imagawa family did have ties to the Ashikaga government.

The mentioned above can easily point out that Yoshimoto's objective was Kyoto. In fact, his was dream to occupy the capital in the name of the Imagawa. Many other Sengoku warlords had the same dream. Most of them failed, others never had the chance.

Owada Tetsuo's Imagawa Yoshimoto no Subete, pp. 30-31 provides a balance.

He mentioned four key points: Kyoto, secure Mikawa, secure Narumi/Odaka Line, and Nobunaga and Owari. I have mentioned the key points in my book as well. Owada stated that the Sengoku warlords job was to expand territory within their own domain and outside of their domain as well. Which was true.

However, Kyoto was Yoshimoto's objective. That is what I believe since he was a fanatic about the capital. He had everything going for him. The family name, noble blood, and he acted and styled himself as a Kyoto aristocrat.

Others helped Yoshimoto pulled the Kyoto trigger. Uesugi Kenshin and Oda Nobunaga. Kenshin made two visits to the capital in 1553 and 1559. Nobunaga visited shogun Ashikaga Yoshiteru in 1559 as well. Yoshimoto knew he had to act fast if he too would like to stake claim in Kyoto.

I do not buy the Nobunaga and Owari theory. It just does not add up. The other who differ are not wrong. I just disagree with them. When Yoshimoto departed on 12 May 1560 with 25,000 soldiers, Kyoto was his goal. He had the resources and the family pedigree for such an operation.

I go into great detail in both editions on my book. Remember, Yoshimoto would have changed history if was successful in his Kyoto campaign. The chances of him establishing himself a government in his name were high. It never happened. Nobunaga defeated the Fox of Suruga at the Battle of Okehazama on 19 May 1560.

Nobunaga no tame!