Friday, December 17, 2010

2010 Awards

2010 is almost over at a quick pace. Here are some of my favorites.

  • Nobunaga Historian of the Year: Wataru Kajino
  • Nobunaga Book of the Year: Jimoto no Karo ga Kataru Okehazama Kassen Shimatsuki by Wataru Kajino
  • Non-Nobunaga Book of the Year: War and Faith Ikko Ikki in Late Muromachi Japan by Carol Richmond Tsang
  • Film of the Year: NHK Taiga Furin Kazan

Watau Kajino's take on the Battle of Okehazama was simply brilliant and as for him winning Historian of the Year was easy. His book was on the local perspective on the battle. If there was any faults with his book, it had to be that there was not enough pages dedicated to Imagawa Yoshimoto's career and family history. Other than that, a book that is a must for the scholar who wants to study the Battle of Okehazama in full depth.

I would love to put David D. Neilson's paper Society at War in the mix, but left it out. I received his work late last month and still reading it at the moment. To tell you the truth, if I received it during the summer as planned, it would be a slam dunk all the way. His
paper is right now the 2011 front runner.

War and Faith was suggested by of the SA members earlier this year as a must buy. Tsang's work opened new doors to those who want to study the history of the Ikko Ikki during its zenith. Her chapter on Ieyasu and the Mikawa Ikko Ikki is the highlight in my opinion. The dispute was not over religious doctrine, but who will control Mikawa region and its revenues. She did a great job on explaining how the Ikko Ikki not only consisted of peasants, but townsman, merchants, and samurai as well. Tsang nailed it the Oda/Tokugawa partnership problems regarding to Ieyasu as well. I have to say, many thanks to the SA for recommending me this book.

As for the film, Furin Kazan. I received the NHK Taiga drama as a gift last Christmas and was hooked from the start to finish. Furin Kazan was exciting and it was one of the better ones I have seen of late. Runner-up was Katen no Shiro. It was a nice film, but at times slow. I plan to write a full report sometime next year.

Nobunaga no tame!

Monday, December 13, 2010

2010 Highlights

2010 is a very special year for me. 2010 is the 450th anniversary of the Battle of Okehazama and all the hard work I put into the book, research, time, and money is slowly starting to pay off. Sure, I made some mistakes, but that is part of the job. A friend from the SA told me once, "Good things happen for those who wait." The quote is true and will be always be true.
This is the interview I had with my good friend Mr. Yukio Kajino at the Arimatsu Okehazama Battlefield. Mrs. Yuko Hiwada of the Chunichi Shinbum Midori-ku Home Service wrote the article and took the photograph of me and Mr. Kajino. To tell you the truth, I was very surprised when Mr. Kajino told me that the local paper will be there at the battlefield to hold an interview with me.
Me, Yuko Hiwada, and Yukio Kajino.

The personal walking tour with Mr. Kajino was memorable and learned a lot from the local geography around the battlefield. His tour and the other landmarks that he showed me will definitely help when I add more data to my book in a couple of years.

During the all day tour I had with Mr. Kajino, I was able to finally visit Sogenji Temple where the priest Kaioh buried the Okehazama battle dead. A nice quiet place and the family who lives there were very nice and they enjoyed our company. At the time I was there, construction was taking place, but still a must see if you are a serious Okehazama scholar. we were able to visit other places such as Chofukuji Temple (a first for me) and the two heron landmark. To tell you the truth, I spent much time at the Toyoake Okehazama Battlefield than the Arimatsu battlefield that the personal tour was a rare treat.

If there one drawback to the trip, it was not able to meet Mr. Yukio Kajino's father, Wataru. Wataru Kajino wrote one of the best books on the Battle of Okehazama from a local perspective Jimoto no Karo ga Kataru Okehazama Kassen Shimatsuki. Even though I was not able to meet Wataru Kajino, he did sign his book for me along with the Rekishi Kaido magazine as well.

Another highlight I was able to visit Sokenin Temple in Kyoto. Sokenin is a subtemple of Daitokuji and it is only open during the fall. I was able to take photos of the graves of the following, Nobunaga, his sons, Nohime, and Onabe no kata. The one I was after was Onabe no kata's grave (one of Nobunaga's concubines) since the photo I took a few years ago did not turn out so well. The photo turned out well this time and plan to post it next year. As for Sokenin Temple, I plan to write in great depth next year since gathering more photos and data. There were many more memorable moments I had Japan while doing my Nobunaga and Okehazama research. More is coming along the way for sure.

Tenka no tame!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Neilson's Okehazama

Here is David D. Neilson's Shincho-Ko ki Okehazama translation (Society at War pp.56-60).

The End of Imagawa Yoshimoto

Eiroku 3 (=1560), fifth month, seventeenth day.

Imagawa Yoshimoto came to Kutsukake leading his army. On the evening of the eighteenth, Sakuma Daigaku and Oda Genpa reported to Lord Nobunaga in Kiyosu that the Imagawa were probably planning placing men and food in Otaka Castle on the night of the eighteenth. Before [the] reinforcements [that they were requesting from Nobunaga] could arrive at Washizu and Marune Forts in the morning, having taken the ocean tide into consideration, the Imagawa [most likely] intended to attack and take control of the two forts that lay between [Imagawa's] Otaka Castle and [Oda's] Narumi Castle. However, Lord Nobunaga mentioned nothing of his military plans on that night and merely chatted with his generals. He noted that is was late and sent everyone home. The generals laughed at Nobunaga, saying "this is a perfect illustration of the maxim that when a man's luck runs dry, his wisdom becomes clouded" and left. As anticipated, at daybreak [on the nineteenth], messengers arrived with news from Oda Genpa and Sakuma Daigaku that the Imagawa had already begun invading Washizu and Marune Moutains. This is when Nobunaga performed the famous dance scene from [the noh play] Atsumori.

Ningen gojunen
Genten no uchi wo kurabereba
Yumemaboroshi no gotoku nari
Hitotabi shoete
Mesenu mono no arubeki ka

Then he ordered that the war conch be blown and that his armor and weapons be brought to him. He put on his armor immediately and ate while standing up. Then he put on his helmet and left for battle. He was accompanied by his pages; Iwamura Nagatonokami; Hasegawa Kyusuke; Sawaki Tohachi (Maeda Toshiie's younger brother); Yamaguchi Hidanokami; and Kato Yazaburo. [The] Master and servants totaled six people and they mounted their horses and rode the [first] three ri (approximately 12 kilometers) at a fast pace. At about eight in the morning when Lord Nobunaga looked to the east from [where he was standing] in front of Kamichikama no Yashiro [Shrine] smoke was visible and it appeared that Washizu and Marune Forts had already fallen. Nobunaga was accompanied by only six mounted men and two hundred zohyo foot-soldiers.

Lord Nobunaga thought that if he went by the way of the beach, it would be shorter, but because the tide was high, it would be particularly difficult for the horses. Therefore, he decided to go by the upper road from Atsuta and rode hard, arriving at Tange Fort. He then went to Zenshoji Temple where Sakuma Daigaku was in charge. There he set up camp and took time to asses the situation and decide on a battle strategy. He discovered that his enemy, Imagawa Yoshimoto, led forty-five thousand soldiers and was currently taking a break to rest his men and horses at Okehazama.

At noon on the nineteenth, Yoshimoto positioned his men to the northwest and captured Washizu and Marune Forts. Yoshimoto performed three [noh] songs and commented that he could not have been more satisfied [with how things had gone so far].

In this battle [Tokugawa] Ieyasu acted as [Imagawa Yoshimoto's] vanguard and made use of his akamusha red corps. He brought provisions with him to Otaka Castle so that his men and horses could rest, [but they still] had difficult time taking Washizu and Marune Forts.

Knowing that Lord Nobunaga had come to Zenshoji Temple, Sassa Hayatonosho and Senshu Shiro led three hundred men against Yoshimoto's men. Fifty-some cavalry including Sassa Hayatonosho and Senshu Shiro died in battle. Yoshimoto was delighted and said 'Even devils or gods cannot stop Yoshimoto! I feel good!' He was singing in camp as well.

Lord Nobunaga considered this and tried to move to Nakashima, but his generals stopped him by grabbing the bit of his horse. The generals said that the path to Nakajima was narrow and bordered on both sides by fields of deep mud and could only be traversed single file. The enemy would be able to see clearly that the force that Nobunaga led was very small and that was a bad idea. Lord Nobunaga shook off his generals and proceeded to Nakajima. His army at that point numbered less than two thousand men. [Finally, the generals were successful in stopping Nobunaga himself from going on, but] Lord Nobunaga sent his army beyond Nakajima. Lord Nobunaga said "Everyone listen! The Imagawa soldiers are exhausted because they haven't eaten last night and had a difficult time taking Washizu and Marune Forts. We are a fresh force. Do not be scared just because the enemy is large and we are small. Heaven decides who shall win and who shall lose. If the enemy attacks, retreat. If the enemy retreats, pursue them and attack. No matter what happens, overpower the enemy and destroy them. It's easy. Do not take heads, just cut them down and move on! If we win this battle, all who take part will bring honor and fame to their families forever! Fight hard!" At that time, [the generals] Maeda Matazaemon (=Toshiie), Mori Kawachi no Kami, Mori Juro, Kinoshita Yoshitoshi, Nakagawa Kinemon, Sakuma Yataro, Mori Kosuke, Ajiki Yataro, and Uozumi Hayato, arrived carrying the heads of some of the enemy. Lord Nobunaga repeated his orders to them.

The army then moved into the mountains. A storm blew in from our rear and suddenly it began to rain down upon the enemy with the power of stones or icicles. At the foot of Kutsukake Pass, large camphor tree was blown down in an easterly direction by the wind coming to rest at the foot of a small pine. Those present asked "Is this was a battle in which Atsuta Damyojin [The tutelary deity of the Oda Clan] is taking part?" Soon the rain slackened. Lord Nobunaga took his spear and raising it over his head yelled "Attack! Attack!" The enemy looked at Nobunaga's army as they [came out of the forest] and began their attack. The Imagawa troops were surprised, unprepared, and disorganized and they retreated, scattering [before Nobunaga's men]. Bows, spears, banners, and swords were scattered everywhere and [the camp] was in great confusion. Yoshimoto's palanquin was abandoned by the men around it and Lord Nobunaga yelled "Those are Yoshimoto's senior retainers (hatamoto) attack them."

About two in the afternoon we fought our way from the west [side of the valley] to the east and Yoshimoto's headquarters camp. About three hundred cavalrymen formed a defensive perimeter around Yoshimoto and attempted to retreat. They were attacked three, four, and then five times and their numbers declined until finally, they numbered only fifty riders. Lord Nobunaga dismounted and made his way to the vanguard, competing with his younger men to be the first to engage the enemy. He struck at the enemy but was knocked down. Hot-blooded young men fought desperately breaking [even] their sword guards in the heat of battle. Although it was a confusing battle, friend and foe were easily distinguished. There were countless dead and wounded, including horse-guards (umamawari) and pages. Hattori Koheta struck at Yoshimoto, but Hattori fell because he had already received a slash to the knee. [Then] Mori Shinsuke attacked Yoshimoto and took his head. People are saying that when Takehirasama was [recently] forced to take his own life at Kiyosu Castle and Mori Shinsuke captured Takehira's younger brother and saved his life that the blessing of the gods that he gained at the time brought him good luck today and was able to take Yoshimoto's head.

Again, this is Neilson's Shincho-Ko ki translation of the Battle of Okehazama. A superb job in my opinion. Nothing is perfect, but hopefully this will give the reader a clearer picture.

Nobunaga no tame!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Nobunaga had a plan and did not trust....

Last week I finally received David D. Neilson's paper Society at War: Eyewitness Accounts of Sixteenth Century Japan. His work contains rich information on Okehazama and Sunomata, as well as other information related to the Sengoku Era.

After reading his take on Okehazama, I have concluded that Nobunaga had a plan and did not trust his generals due to bribery and defection. Nobunaga trusted the Men of the Fields who did contribute to his success at the Battle of Okehazama in 1560.

(Neilson, p. 70)

"Furthermore, the Men of the Fields could function as spies, and quartermasters, and because of their familial relationship with Nobunaga, were probably more reliable and less susceptible to bribery and offers of defection than others who served Nobunaga in the capacity of leaders and generals."

Nobunaga kept his plan secret and his general staff did not even know what was going on. To have any sort of success, Nobunaga had to play the role as a fool and coward.

(Neilson, p. 75)

"For all Nobunaga knew, he may had Imagawa spies among his own general staff. So, while he continued to attend strategy sessions with his own generals, Nobunaga appeared distracted, aloof, and unsure of what to do. His strategy, which he seemingly shared with no one, was appear to be unprepared. At the same time, while appearing to be engrossed with fishing, dancing, and living out his last days in idleness, Nobunaga was using these activities as excuses to meet with the Maeno, Hachisuka, and the Men of the Fields. Since Nobunaga stayed at Ikoma mansion when visiting Kitsuno, he could meet with the Men of the Fields without attracting the attention of Imagawa spies and not even his people would suspect that Nobunaga was actually implementing a plan behind the backs of his own general staff. For the plan to succeed, everyone, even his own generals, had to believe that Nobunaga was cowardly and unprepared. It was an unlikely plan, which was even less likely to succeed. In the end, it was perfect."

  • Nobunaga had a plan all along.
  • Did not trust or wanted his own general staff to know his plan.
  • Used the Men of the Fields or middlemen to help him who were more loyal and trusted than his own staff.
Tenka no tame!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


This is one the many sub-temples at Daitokuji in Kyoto. Unfortunately, Obaiin was closed. However, I was able to take a photo of the sign.

Obaiin Temple was constructed in 1562 when Oda Nobunaga ordered Hashiba Hideyoshi to build a small hermitage in order to hold a memorial service for his father, Oda Nobuhide. The graveyard include such figures such as Oda Nobuhide, Oda Nobunaga's second daughter and her husband, Mori Motonari and his wife, and three sons, and other members of the Mori family.

Nobunaga no tame!

Friday, November 12, 2010

White heron

It was said that two white herons from Atsuta Shrine, where Nobunaga prayed right before the Battle of Okehazama, flew to battlefield. The story can be found in the Oze Hoan Shinchoki.

From the pamphlet:

There is a legend associated with egrets in this region. Oda Nobunaga stopped at the Atsuta Shrine to pray for victory on the way to Okehazama. As he was offering a prayer, two white egrets flew up into the sky from the shrine. They guided the Oda army to Okehazama and perched in a huge tree in the Ishizuka-no-Mori. Based on the legend, Mr. Yamaguchi Masayoshi erected this monument.

The landmark is near the Toyoake Okehazama battlefield. The two white herons did appear in the NHK Taiga drama Toshiie to Matsu, believe or not. Again, this story is found in Oze Hoan's work, not Gyuichi's. That being said, I was happy to visit and take photos of the landmark. A must see for anyone who is interested in the battle.

Tenka no tame!

Monday, November 8, 2010

A rare grave

A statue of Nohime located at Kiyosu Castle.

There are many mysteries on what happened to Nobunaga's wife, Nohime (1535-1612). It was a fact that she did not produced any children and highly possible she was barren. Nohime does a have a grave at Sokenin, a sub-temple of Daitokuji in Kyoto. Believe it or not, she does have a grave located in Gifu City.

Located in Gifu City, Fudo-cho Nohime's grave.

I was lucky to hit the jackpot on this rare find. There are two graves that are related to Nohime and that is fantastic news in my opinion. This is an ihatsu grave, the lock of the deceased's hair.

Nobunaga no tame!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Kamagatani's geography during the Battle of Okehazama

Here is an old photo from the late Taisho or early Showa Era of Kamagatani. The geography was different then and I think the photo represents how Okehazama looked during the time of the battle. Or close to it. If you visit the Okehazama battlefield now, it will hard to get a clear picture how the geography was like during the battle. The old photos that I posted early this year gives the historian clues and a much clearer picture as well. To tell you the truth, it opened my eyes as well. I think the area was much more open with tress, bushes, hills, and rice paddies surrounding Okehazama.

Tenka no tame!

Monday, November 1, 2010


This is one of the new landmarks at the Arimatsu Okehazama Battlefield.

(Kamagatani) Oda Nobunaga and his forces reached here secretly and hid themselves in the thunderstorm. Right after the rain he ordered to attack Imagawa's right wing and found Yoshimoto's whereabouts. He quickly told his forces to make a dash and won a decisive victory.

Here is another landmark near the Kamagatani area. The Nobunaga slope/hill.

June 22, 1560
Oda Nobunaga's forces rushed up this hill charging into Imagawa Yoshimoto's main camp. This became known as the famous "Battle of Okehazama." The victory of Oda's forces led to the dawn of Japan's early-modern period.
A picture overlooking Kamagatani. These landmarks were new and was lucky to take a photo. Many thanks to Yukio Kajino who led the tour.

Nobunaga no tame!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Arimatsu Okehazama Imagawa Yoshimoto's Honjin landmark

I finally was able to take photos of the new Arimatsu Imagawa Yoshimoto's Honjin at Okehazamayama. The Toyoake location is well known, but this landmark is new and refreshing. Wataru Kajino wrote the paragraph using Ota Gyuichi's Shincho-Ko ki as his base. The notice board starts out with Imagawa Yoshimoto is resting at Okehazamayama, the thunderstorm, and then the surprise attack by Nobunaga. It continues with Nobunaga conquest of Mino and Azuchi Castle.

The landmark is very close to the Arimatsu Okehazama Battlefield Park and is part of the Okehazama Battlefield Walking Tour. The Imagawa Yoshimoto Honjin Landmark was nicely done and fits in beautifully with the newly constructed battlefield park. I have to thank Mr. Yukio Kajino and his Akitsugu for all their help and support. The one person who I have not met and would like to in the future is Mr. Wataru Kajino.

This still begs the question which landmark is correct, Arimatsu or Toyoake? As for now, Arimatsu is the correct landmark. That being said, I have always stated that both landmarks are legit and have historical significance.

Tenka no tame!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Okehazama trip II

My one week trip back to Japan was a huge success. Many thanks to the Kajino family and Yuko Hiwada. I have to say the walking tour with Mr. Yukio Kajino was the major highlight of the trip. In my opinion, you will need at least one day to walk around both Okehazama battlefields and an extra day as well to visit other landmarks related to the battle.

Even though I have written a book about the battle, I have to admit that there is a ton of new information that has been published the past year or so. Mr. Wataru Kajino has updated his book and must say, a must have. That includes the fiction novels, magazine articles, and the like.

The statues were a real treat to look at. I thought they would be bigger, but the size suit the battlefield park nicely. Here is one fact that caught me by surprise. This is the first Imagawa Yoshimoto statue in Japan. Even the great Sengoku historian Owada Tetsuo was a little surprised as well. As for the Nobunaga statue, it was different from the usual that I have seen. My favorite statue is the Golden Nobunaga in Gifu city, but this new statue blends right in with the Okehazama battlefield.

I have many more photos to share and plan to post them later in the future.

Nobunaga no tame!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Okehazama trip

I am heading back to the Okehazama battlefield very soon and looking forward to the two statues, the landmarks, and Professor Kajino. As Always, I plan to take many photos as possible.

Here is a fun Nobunaga link that my friend Dohaland suggested.

Tenka no tame!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Nobunaga Food

Nobunaga was known to love strong flavored country foods. According to the Shincho-Ko ki, he ate melons, persimmons, chestnuts, and crammed rice cakes (mochi) in his mouth. There was a story that Nobunaga almost killed a cook because the food was not up to his tastes.

It was well know Nobunaga ate some form of chazuke (rice porridge) before the Battle of Okehazama. Simple country foods, strong flavor, and packed with nutrients kept Nobunaga healthily and stable.

A great link with some information in English on Nobunaga and his diet:

According to the link, he was also fond of dumplings and were nicknamed "Uesama dango" (His Highness's dumplings). Perfect and fit for a king. Of course, on certain occasions, the food would be more elaborate.

Nobunaga no tame!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Taigen Suufu's (Sessai) Parents

Taigen Suufu (Sessai) was Imagawa Yoshimoto's military advisor. Suufu's father was Ihara Saemon no Jo and his mother was from Okitsu family. Owada Tetsuo has more information on Suufu and his relationship with the Imagawa in his book, Imagawa Yoshimoto. At an early age, Suufu entered Kyoto's Kenninji Temple.

His death in 1555 was a huge blow for the Imagawa family. If Suufu was still alive during Yoshimoto's Kyoto campaign, the chances were high in my opinion that Nobunaga might not have triumphed at Okehazama.

Tenka no tame!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Nobunaga's signature

Just before heading off to work over the weekend, I found this interesting article by Tsuchiyama on Nobunaga's hand signature (Nobunaga no kao wa naze bimyo ni henka no ka). The article stated that in 1567, right after the conquest of Mino, Nobunaga's hand signature was now formal. However, his signature changed every year and on pages 4-5 displayed his handwriting and how it evolved.

Here is the link to the article. The article is in Japanese.

Nobunaga no tame!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Public Works

Nobunaga was one hard core warrior. That is a fact. That being said, he was known as a builder as well. Before Azuchi Castle was constructed, Nobunaga had experience building roads, dikes, bridges, and the like.

Nobunaga building a road providing safe travel. The passage comes from Luis Frois in Lamers Japonius Tyrannus, p. 140.

"He had the roads repaired from the city of Anzuchi to Miaco, a distance of fourteen leagues, in such a way they formed one single road-flat, clean, and straight, and five or six tatamis [ken] wide. Trees were planted on both sides of the road, to provide shade in the summer, brooms were suspended from these trees at certain places and local residents were assigned the task of keeping the road swept clean. He had clean gravel and small pebbles placed beneath the trees along the entire stretch, so that the whole road looked like a garden. There were houses at regular intervals where travellers could relax and take a rest, enjoying the abundance of foods on sale there. And whereas previously it had not even been safe to travel by day in these regions, at least not without company, the people always travelled by night in Nobunaga's era-especially during the summer-and when they wished to test, they could put down their luggage and sleep next to the road as safely as they did in their houses. Nobunaga carried out the same arrangement and repair of roads in many of the provinces under his rule."

Nobunaga made travel safe again. This was important. Goods can move more quickly and safely(good for Nobunaga's coffers) and the morale of the people. The people under his rule knew normality was coming back.

Tenka no tame!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

More Books

Just before my training started last month, I bought some books at Book-Off.

I plan to read Hisaka Masashi's Takugen over the weekend. That being said, I am trying to schedule my trip back to Japan as soon as possible. Next week I should have post on Nobunaga's public works projects.

Nobunaga no tame!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Dosan/Nobunaga Meeting Fiction Story Part III

At the main temple hall, Dosan was having second thoughts. Was this a big mistake? Is he really the "Fool of Owari?" Dosan was walking impatiently as he was for his son-in-law. Nobunaga was taking his time on purpose since he knew psychological warfare was part of the game. Then the Saito attendants started to hear footsteps on the creaking wooden floor. "Who goes there?" Doku yelled with a snobbish attitude. Then Doku gasped for air. "Oh my! It is your son-in-law my lord." The "Fool of Owari" was a new man. He was dressed as if he was an aristocrat. His attire was brown colored with a white tunic. His hair was nicely done and now looked handsome. Dosan quickly noticed Nobunaga's nagabakama that stretched almost three feet long.

"I am Hotta Doku, a retainer of the Saito. Lord Nobunaga, please take your seat." Nobunaga acted as if nothing happened as he took his seat. The Doku introduced the Viper to Nobunaga. "This is Lord Saito Yamashiro Dosan." Nobunaga responded in a pompous voice, "Is that so." Dosan and Doku's faces expressed more disbelief. Then Nobunaga replied in an elegant matter. "I am Oda Kazusanosuke Nobunaga. It is a pleasure to finally meet the 'Viper of Mino' at last." Dosan shook his head in agreement.

After the introductions, the two began to talk. "Father-in-law, on my way here earlier today I noticed someone hiding in abandoned cabin. In fact, I think it was you." Beads of sweat started to form on Dosan's head as Nobunaga embarrassed him. Dosan had no choice but to create a story as he laughed quietly. "You are mistaken by someone else. I used to be an oil merchant in my younger days." Dosan knew he had to change the subject quickly before the conversation went out of hand. Then Dosan noticed the dagger he gave to Lady Noh before the marriage on Nobunaga's sash. "How is my daughter? "She is fine. Not only Noh is beautiful, but she is the best wife in Japan. Dosan was delighted to hear Nobunaga's answer. "Nice to hear that my daughter is safe." The situation was much calmer and the two felt very comfortable with each other. Then Dosan ordered Doku and the rest of the attendants to leave, as he wanted to have a private discussion with his son-in-law.

The two started to eat their meal. While they eating, Dosan began the dialogue. "Nobunaga, it is okay to leave your guard down. I have no ill will towards you. Your father Nobuhide was a brave man and admired his courage." Nobunaga thanked Dosan and then replied in a much serious manner. "The Imagawa are a threat not only to me, but you too. They can march to Kyoto at any moment and I must meet them head on." Dosan did not have any faith in the Imagawa, as he knew the Matsudaira were being used. Nobunaga continued, "I would rather fight and die against the Imagawa than submit to them. Look at the situation in Mikawa. They are used as pawns." Dosan nodded in acknowledgment. Then told his son-in-law that he would help him fight the Imagawa. "Nobunaga, I will assist you against the Imagawa. Just let me know and I will help you." "Thanks! I am counting on your support."

The end was near then Dosan asked Nobunaga what he thought of him. "What do do think of me?" Nobunaga replied with enthusiasm. "Oh that is easy. The 'Viper of Mino.' What about me?" Dosan answered back with a smile, "The Fool of Owari." Both were laughing out loud that it could be heard throughout the temple precincts. both were elated that they were able to meet each other. Dosan rapidly knew his son-in-law was no fool and was an extraordinary man who could survive Sengoku Japan.

Dosan escorted Nobunaga's army for a few miles. Then he spoke from the heart, "Nobunaga.... I am glad that I had the opportunity to meet you. May our friendship continue to grow. Again, I will assist you against the Imagawa." Nobunaga merrily replied, "Thanks. As I said before, Noh is the best wife in the entire nation. When the Imagawa decides to attack, let us both send them to hell!"

As Nobunaga's army headed back to Nagoya, Dosan again noticed the Oda spears were twice as long. He shook his head in disgust, but knew the Imagawa could not be trusted. "Nobunaga is a damn fool my lord. He did not have any attendants with him and he was rude." Yelled Doku. Another Saito retainer, Inoko Takanari said something similar. Dosan answered quietly with mixed emotion. "Doku, you are loyal to the Saito house and I thank you for that. However, Nobunaga is a rare bird. He has the ability to conquer Japan. My children are no match for him. Regrettably, my children will come to him begging. Doku and Tango, if I leave this world unexpectedly, serve Nobunaga." Doku and Tango were taken aback by Dosan's answer. they could not believe that their lord admired Nobunaga. However, they had no choice but to accept Dosan's request. It was either Nobunaga or the Imagawa. Both Doku and Tango knew the Imagawa could not be depended on.

As the Oda marched home to Nagoya, Tsneoki wondered how the meeting with Saito Dosan went. "How as the meeting my lord?" Nobunaga nearly fell down laughing as he made his father-in-law submit to him. "The Viper's venom was sweet. However, Dosan is a remarkable man. He is a self-made man just like myself. He is the only parent I have at the moment and will be a great help against the Imagawa." The Oda army finally arrived at Nagoya Castle in full glory and Nobunaga was greeted by his wife who was deeply worried. The two later viewed a beautiful garden on the castle grounds. Lady Noh then put her arms around Nobunaga tighter and tighter as she was elated that her husband returned safely. "Noh, I am glad that I met your father. The Viper is a fine friend and respect him a lot. The alliance will continue with full steam ahead." The sun was setting as the two sat and viewed the lovely garden. As for Nobunaga, his bright future to unify Japan was about to begin.

Tenka no tame!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Dosan/Nobunaga Meeting Fiction Story Part II

Nobunaga was alone lying on the wooden floor. He was thinking about the meeting and knew this was the perfect opportunity to show his true colors. Then a voice called was out by one of the attendants. "Lady Noh has arrived." "Please enter and make yourself comfortable,"Nobunaga happily said. Noh brought some miso yakionigiri for her husband for a simple meal and quickly crammed them in his mouth. "Delicious!" Then Lady Noh spoke to her husband. "I understand that you will meet my father." Nobunaga shook his head in agreement. "Be careful my lord. My father is truly a viper." Nobunaga replied laughing, "I cannot wait to see him. Noh, I want take you with me, but I must know your father's true intentions. After the meeting, I will let you see your old man."

Nobunaga's head was resting on Lady Noh's thigh. Her kimono was a mix of various colors ranging from pink, red, yellow, and shy blue. Her gorgeous long jet-black hair was shiny and her lips were dark ruby red. She began to clean Nobunaga's ears and he felt nothing but pure satisfaction. Then Lady Noh took out a dagger and gave it to her husband. "This is the dagger that my father gave to me right before our marriage. I was supposed to kill you if you were really an idiot. I was wrong. If the viper gets to close for comfort, use this dagger to kill it." Nobunaga's face expressed astonishment, but took the dagger since he had no choice. "To tell you the truth, I do not think there will be any chaos of any kind. I have heard stories about your old man. He has heard the same about me." Nobunaga finished up on his meal and asked for seconds.

The Oda and Saito agreed to have the meeting at Shotokuji Temple in Tonda. Shotokuji was a branch temple of Osaka's Ishiyama Honganji. The temple was near the Mino/Owari border and seven hundred houses or so surrounded it. It was the perfect place for the two to meet. Nobunaga crossed the Kiso and Hida rivers by boat and prepared to show his father-in-law, The Boys from Owari.

Dosan arrived early so he could make preparations. Then he ordered his troops to surround the temple area. His troops were armed with archers and gunmen, but he started to feel a bit tense. Doku was a little surprised by Dosan's facial expression. "Are you okay my lord? You look nervous." "Yes I am. I wonder what my son-in-law looks like. I have only heard stories about him. Minute by minute, the time is almost near to meet him." Doku then received a suggestion from one of his attendants that an abandoned shack is the ideal place to spy on Nobunaga. "Great idea Doku!" Dosan responded. "I can see what my son-in-law looks like without him seeing me." Dosan and Doku laughed as they left the temple's main hall.

Dosan and Doku entered the shack. The shack had plenty of cobwebs, chicken feces, and other critters that created a tenacious odor. "Oh my! It reeks in here!" Doku said covering his face. "I do not mind for the time being. Nobunaga is more important now than some disgusting smell. Deal with it for now." Dosan replied with a serious look.

A messenger came with the news Dosan was waiting for. "The Oda army is coming my lord. Lord Nobunaga is located in the middle of the procession with his bodyguards." "Good. Now let us see what my son-in-law is made of." The Oda army marched along the main road with confidence. They came prepared to show the Saito how strong the "Boys from Owari" was capable of doing. First, came the spearmen. The spears were longer than usual and Dosan noticed it. "What is this? The Oda spears are twice as long than ours." The spears were crimson lacquered and eighteen feet long. then came the archers, three hundred of them. Dosan was feverishly stroking his moustache and scratching his bald head. Then came the moment he was waiting for.

Nobunaga was on the opposite side of his horse. His attire was infamous and shocked both Dosan and Doku. Nobunaga's trousers were made of tiger and leopard skins, his robe was tan colored scattered with a purple colored Oda crest with one sleeve down. His hair was tied up chasen mage style with a green cord and carried several other personal belongings. he was equipped with two swords, short and long. The long sword's scabbard was decorated with gold and silver. He was clearly enjoying the moment. Dosan expressed disappointment. "Is that him? Is that my son-in-law Nobunaga?" Doku replied with a heavy heart. "Unfortunately, yes it is my lord." However, the procession was not over yet. Nobunaga brought over five hundred rifles with him. This terrified Dosan and the rest of the Saito army. "Nobunaga's physical appearance is above average. That being said, he lacks proper etiquette. I feel sorry for my daughter. Nobunaga is truly the 'Fool of Owari,'" said Dosan with disbelief.

To be continued.

Nobunaga no tame!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Dosan/Nobunaga 1553 Meeting Fiction Story

Noh will be used in place for Nohime in this story.

It was early spring 1553 at Inoguchi and the weather was on the cool side. At Inabayama Castle, Saito Dosan, Saito Yoshitatsu, Hotta Doku, and various Saito vassals were sitting and chatting about tactics. They knew the Oda house was in turmoil after the passing of Oda Nobuhide and Hirate Masahide. However, Dosan had other ideas and knew something extraordinary was about to come.

"The Oda are weak and now is the time to invade Owari my lord," said Yoshitatsu. "What about Lady Noh? She is now with the Oda. We will have to figure out a way to rescue her. I feel sorry that she has to put with that idiot Nobunaga," answered back Doku. Yoshitatsu continued to pressure his father to attack the Oda at once. "This is our golden opportunity to attack Owari!" Yoshitatsu shouted with vigor.

Dosan was not interested starting another war with the Oda at the moment. He already defeated Nobuhide twice in the 1540s, but somehow knew Nobunaga was a rare bird. Doku spoke with urgent care about the Saito house. "My lord, the Imagawa will surely invade and overtake Owari soon. We must do something. The Saito are no match against the Imagawa."

"Do you think we are weaker than the Imagawa at the moment? I do not think so. I built Mino into a prosperous domain with blood, seat and tears. I am not going to give Mino all away to that fat Imagawa warlord." Dosan said while scratching his bald head. He soon began to rub his mustache as if he already knew the answer to the problem.

"Doku. Yoshitatsu. What do you think of my son-in-law, Nobunaga?" Yoshitatsu answered unkindly. "Nobunaga is a complete fool. He is at all times wearing a simple robe with a rope sash. Always dancing, playing the hand drum, and riding horses." Doku knew Nobunaga was out of the ordinary. "My lord, your son-in-law swims and shoots the rifle well. He rarely loses in battle and showed little or no feelings towards the loss of his father or Hirate Masahide. I am terrified and concerned about Lady Noh."

Dosan clinched his fist with the armrest by his side. After a brief moment of silence, he spoke. "I have decided to meet my son-in-law. I want to know how Nobunaga ticks. All I have heard is rumors and want to know the truth. If he is truly an idiot, then we will kill him and invade Owari, creating a buffer zone against the Imagawa." The chamber was completely quiet. Doku, Yoshitatsu, and the other Saito vassals were stunned by their lord's decision to meet the Fool of Owari.

Meanwhile, Nagoya Castle was lively. Young Nobunaga with his hair tied up chasen mage style and a simple robe was conducting shooting practice. Nobunaga loaded the rifle and shot the target dead on. "Now, make ready and prepare to fire!" Nobunaga yelled. His gunnery squad quickly loaded their weapons. "Fire!" The next unit came. "Fire!" Then the next until Nobunaga was satisfied with the results. While loading their rifles, Nobunaga and Ikeda Tsuneoki were chewing the fat. "You know Tsuneoki, the gunnery unit is getting better by the day. I will unify the Oda house in no time." Tsuneoki nodded with a smile. Then there was a loud cry. A messenger on a horse arrived unexpectedly.

"I have a letter from Inabayama Castle. Let me in at once!" The castle guards let the messenger in and Nobunaga quickly wanted to know what was all the fuss about. "Bring me the letter to me at once!" Nobunaga yelled. He opened and briefly read the dispatch. The letter was from his father-in-law, Saito Dosan. Tsuneoki was curious to find out. "What is it my lord? "Bad news?" There was no emotion from Nobunaga. Then he spoke as if nothing happened. "The Viper of Mino wants to meet me."

There were only a few people in the main room. One of them was Hayashi Hidesada. He had some troubling concerns about the proposal of meeting Saito Dosan. Nobunaga then entered the room and Hayashi and others bowed. Nobunaga was in the center with an armrest by his side. "I do not think it is a good idea my lord to meet Saito Dosan," Hayashi said. Another spoke, "A terrible idea. The viper will surely kill you." Nobunaga knew his vassal's opinions were rubbish. "I want to see my father-in-law as soon as possible. I want to taste his venom. This is the only opportunity I have to see the Viper with my own eyes. Is my father-in-law really a snake or simply human? The meeting goes on as planned!" Nobunaga said with the up most confidence. The wooden floor soon had an evil chill as he told his vassals to leave.

To be continued.

Tenka no tame!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Nobunaga Shiki

Nobunaga Shiki is one of many great books written by historian/novelist Tsumoto Yo. If you have read is best selling novel on Nobunaga Genten wa Yume ka, then this book is also a must. The ten chapters explain Nobunaga's make up, guns, tactics, intelligence, leadership, ladies, economics, Honganji, the Honnoji Incident, and Nobunaga's dreams.

I have both hardcover and paperback. The paperback edition includes a couple pages written by Owada Tetsuo, a major bonus.

Nobunaga no tame!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Saito Dosan and his fall

I am a big fan of Saito Dosan since he was one of the very few who understood Nobunaga. It was a blessing that I was able to have the chance to live in Gifu and study Nobunaga and Dosan.

Saito Dosan was born in 1494 and he was first known as Minemaru. Then just before he became a teenager, Dosan entered Myokakuji Temple in Kyoto and was known as Horenbo.
He later became an Oil dealer and more important, a Sengoku warlord. Dosan's nickname was "The Viper of Mino." He made Mino into a prosperous domain due to free market principles and was able to defeat Oda Nobuhide in the 1540s. Eventually, Nobuhide and Dosan made peace and Nobunaga would have the Viper's daughter Nohime (1535-1612) as his wife.
So where did Dosan's decline began? The starting point is the meeting between Dosan and Nobunaga at Shotokuji Temple in 1553. Everyone thought his son-in-law was a fool. However, the meeting between the two changed everything. Dosan right away knew Nobunaga was no fool and the Oda/Saito alliance was good enough to continue. One reason why Dosan knew his son-in-law was no fool since both were self-made men. Dosan saw a little bit of himself when he met Nobunaga. As for Nobunaga, Dosan would be his last parent as his father Nobuhide died in 1551 and his adviser Hirate Masahide took his own life in 1553.

Dosan did provide aid to his son-in-law in 1554 at the Battle of Muraki against the Imagawa. It was a victory for Nobunaga. As for Dosan's son, Yoshitatsu, he was not a happy man. all the love went to Nobunaga. In Yoshitatsu's mind, Nobunaga was still the fool from Owari. This was a drastic mistake on Yoshitatsu part for underestimating Nobunaga's true abilities.

Dosan then gave Yoshitatsu Inabayama Castle (Gifu) and was the new heir to the Saito throne. As for Dosan, he moved to his retirement castle, Sagiyama. In a way, Dosan sealed his own death warrant. Yoshitatsu now had everything including the Mino Big Three (Inaba Ittetsu, Ando Morinari, and Ujie Bokuzen). The situation turned to worse when Yoshitatsu tries to find out who is his real father.

Dosan had took in a wife or concubine by the name of Miyoshino (Inaba Ittetsu's sister). Miyoshino at the time was with Toki Yoshinari (1501-82). Dosan later banished Yoshinari from Mino. Miyoshino then had a child, and it was Yoshitatsu. The debate now, was Miyoshino pregnant when Dosan took her in? I highly doubt it. Yoshitatsu then believes his true father was Toki Yoshinari. Blood starts to boil as the two cannot get along and it nothing but bitterness.

Dosan then married Nohime's mother Omi no Kata (1513?-51) around 1533. Omi no Kata was the daughter of Akechi Suruga no Kami Mitsutsugu and gave she birth to Nohime in 1535. It was also possible she was the mother of Dosan's son's Magoshiro and Kiheiji.

It got even uglier when Yoshitatsu killed Dosan's son's Magoshiro and Kiheiji in 1555. It was now all out war and Dosan knew his time was near. Dosan was outnumbered and Mino Big Three switched over to Yoshitatsu. Mori Yoshinari (Mori Ranmaru's father) would leave the Saito and joined Nobunaga. Just before the Battle of Nagaragawa in 1556, Dosan wrote his will and gave the Mino deed to Nobunaga. Nobunaga tried to lead his army to help his father-in-law, but it was too late. Dosan was killed in battle and Yoshitatsu was now the supreme ruler of Mino.
Dosan's grave (Gifu City).

Nobunaga never had the chance to provide aid for Dosan. Two reasons why. First, Kiyosu was too far away from Mino. Nobunaga realized this in the earlier 1560s and he moved his headquarters from Kiyosu to Komaki in 1563. Second, Owari was not yet fully unified. A major problem since he still had enemies in his domain. If Owari was unified, Dosan still had complete control of Mino, and the Mino Big Three stays with the Viper. Yoshitatsu would never revolted against his father.

Nobunaga scored a major coup when he defeated Imagawa Yoshimoto in 1560. Saito Yoshitatsu knew he was next. The chickens came to roost. He probably was thinking Dosan was right from the start that Nobunaga was no fool. Yoshitatsu passed away in 1561 and Nobunaga quickly attacked Mino and defeated the Saito at the Battle of Moribe (1561). Mino would be a tough nut to crack even with a young Saito Tatsuoki as the heir. Nobunaga would soon chip away the Saito and convince the Mino Big Three (Inaba, Ando, and Ujie) to switch to the Oda. With the Mino deed as his backing, Nobunaga eventually conqueror Mino in 1567 and changed Inabayama to Gifu.

Saito Dosan was a classic example who used gekokujo to the fullest extent. He knew how to win on and off the battlefield using politics, economics, and of course war. When the perfect opportunity came, the Viper of Mino took full advantage.

Tenka no tame!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Owari in 1559

Here is a map of Owari in 1559 and here is the list of castles and families.

  • Kiyosu Oda Nobunaga
  • Shobata
  • Iwakura
  • Inuyama Oda Nobukiyo
  • Obata
  • Suemori
  • Moriyama Oda Nobutsugu
  • Kariyasuga Azai
  • Kuroda Wada Shinsuke
  • Ichinomiya Seki
  • Okuchi Nakajima Bungo no Kami
  • Koori Ikoma
  • Hira Sasa
  • Natsuka Sakuma Daigaku
  • Ikatsu Sakuma
  • Shimoyashiro Shibata Katsuie
  • Nagoya Hayashi Hidesada
  • Iwasaki Niwa
  • Gokiso Sakuma
  • Yamasaki Sakuma Nobumori
  • Hoshisaki Okuda
  • Narumi Yamaguchi/Okabe
  • Odaka Yamaguchi
  • Arako Maeda
  • Shimonoisshiki Maeda
  • Kanie Irimon
  • Ninoue Hattori
  • Ogawa Mizuno Nobumoto
  • Kariya Mizuno Nobumoto
  • Tokoname Mizuno
  • Narawa Mizuno
Other Provinces
  • Mino Inabayama Saito
  • Mikawa Okazaki Matsudaira

Nobunaga no tame!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sagiyama Castle

Sagiyama Castle ruins is located in Gifu City. The castle was Saito Dosan's last place of residence before he was killed in the Battle of Nagaragawa in 1556. Sagiyama Castle could be known as Dosan's retirement castle as his son Yoshitatsu occupied Inabayama Castle (Gifu Castle). Also Nobunaga's wife, Nohime spent considerable time at Sagiyama and the chances are high that she was born there.
Tenka no tame!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Tokugawa Ieyasu, Isogi Kikoku

This the very last chapter in Ota Gyuichi's Shincho-Ko ki where Tokugawa Ieyasu finds out about Oda Nobunaga and Nobutada's death. Ieyasu knows he has to leave Sakai at once. Again, the translation is not perfect.

"The group of Lord Tokugawa Ieyasu, Anayama Baisetsu, and Hasegawa Take learned about the the deaths of Lord Nobunaga and his son while in Sakai of Izumi. Then they moved out to Ujidahara Pass. Along the way, Anayama happened to meet with an insurrection and was killed. Lord Tokugawa and Hasegawa Take took a boat from Kuwata and arrived at Atsuta harbor safe and sound."

Nobunaga no tame!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Unifying the country was not easy

Unifying Japan was not easy for Nobunaga. Since he was the aggressor, casualties came with the price of unification.

  • 1552 Yamaguchi Noritsugu rebels against the Oda and switched their allegiance to the Imagawa.
  • 1553 Hirate Masahide committed suicide in protest.
  • 1556 Nobunaga's brother, Nobuyuki revolts not once, but twice. Nobuyuki's death 1557.
  • 1570 Mori Yoshinari was killed at the Battle of Usayama against the Asakura/Azai.
  • 1571 Sakai Masahisa was killed at the Battle of Katada against the Asakura.
  • 1571 Ujie Bokuzen was killed in Ise Nagashima.
  • 1572 Hirate Hirohide was killed at the battle of Mikata-ga-hara.
  • 1573 Hayashi Shinjiro was killed in north Ise fighting the Ikko-Ikki.
  • 1576 Ban Naomasa was killed fighting the Ishiyama Honganji.
  • 1578 Manmi Shigemoto was killed during the siege of Arioka castle.
However others were either banished, revolted, or punished by death.

  • 1575 Mizuno Nobumoto was punished by death for allegedly helping the Takeda.
  • 1577 Matsunaga Hisahide revolted and was killed.
  • 1578 Araki Murashige revolted against Nobunaga resulting in the siege of Arioka Castle.
  • 1580 Sakuma Nobumori and Nobuhide were banished to Mt. Koya.
  • 1580 Hayashi Hidesada was banished.1580 Ando Morinari and Hisanari was banished.
  • 1580 Niwa Ujikatsu was banished.
There were a few more, but Nobunaga paid a heavy price for unification. The price was always paid in blood.

Tenka no tame!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Komaki Castle

In 1563, Nobunaga moved his headquarters from Kiyosu to Komaki. This was an important strategical move since Kiyosu was just too far to wage war against the Saito. Komaki was closer to Mino.
I took the two pictures almost ten years ago and was sorely disappointed. It was one of the worst castles I have ever been and felt lost. However, that being said, you will be rewarded nicely if you visit the Komaki battlefield instead. The only positive point I have with the castle is when you are on top of the mountain, you can a nice view of the city.

The story goes that Nobunaga wanted to move to Komaki, but he knew his retainers were not in the mood to relocate. So Nobunaga suggested Ninomiya. His retainers refused to move there since Ninomiya was very steep and constructing a castle would be difficult. Then Nobunaga suggest his first choice Komaki. His retainers could not refuse their lord for a second time and approved Komaki. In the end, Komaki was built and everybody moved there in 1563.

Nobunaga only stayed in Komaki for a brief time. His objective was Mino and finally he achieved his goal in 1567. Ota Gyuichi's Shincho-Ko ki Introduction book, Chapter 42 has the story of Komaki.

Nobunaga no tame!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Oda Nobuhide's mother

I have been splitting my between studying and watching the World Cup on the tube. So far, so good at the moment. As for my sources for this post, see Okada Masahito Oda Nobunaga Sogo Jiten, pp. 140-143 and Yasuhiro Nishigaya Oda Nobunaga Jiten, p. 238.

Oda Nobuhide's mother was known as Inui or Onunu no kata. She was from the Oda Tozaemon branch and her father was Oda Chikuzen Sukeyori/Yoshiyori. Inui or Onunu no kata passed away in June 24, 1527.

Oda Nobusada (Nobuhide's father) also had a concubine (died in 1545) who gave birth to Oda Nobuyasu's (Oda Ise/Iwakura branch) wife. Nobusada had other daugthers who were married as well. One was married to Matsudaira Kiyosada. Second, Masa Nagayoshi. Third, Otsuya no kata who was first married to Toyama Takumi no suke, who passed away in 1572. She would later marry AkiyamaNobutomo. Otsuya no kata passed away in 1575.

As for Inui/Onunu no kata, I would like to thank Kitsuno and Lordameth of the SA for their help. For more information on Oda Nobusada's wife and daughter's Okada Masahito's Oda Nobunaga Sogo Jiten, pp. 140-143 is your best bet.

Tenka no tame!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Nobunaga to Komaki

I bought Oda Nobunaga to Komaki last year while in Nagoya during a festival. This book is a gold mine containing a wealth of information on Nobunaga's relationship with the Komaki area. As to Komaki Castle, I have only been there once and it is my least favorite of the Nobunaga castles.

The book has some nice Komaki Castle relief maps and photos the Owari region during Nobunaga's time. In my opinion, the photos with maps leading to the historical landmark steal the show. For example, if you want to travel to the Dota Castles (the area where Nobunaga's mother Dota Gozen came from) ruins, the book provides photos and a map on how to get to the landmark.

Other hits include the Battle of Ukino, the Ikoma family landmarks, and the explanation why Nobunaga moved his headquarters from Kiyosu to Komaki.

Nobunaga no tame!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Honnoji by Luis Frois

Today is June 2, the day that Oda Nobunaga was betrayed by the evil Akechi Mitsuhide. I will use Luis Frois's writings in Michael Cooper's They Came to Japan: An Anthology of European Reports on Japan, 1543-1640 (page 103).

"As our church in Miyako is situated only a street away from the place where Nobunaga was staying, some Christians came just as I was vesting to say an early Mass, and told me to wait because there was a commotion in front of the palace and that it seemed to be something serious as fighting had broken out there. We at once began to hear musket shots and see flames. After this another report came, and we learned that it had not been a brawl but that Akechi had turned traitor and enemy of Nobunaga and had him surrounded. When Akechi's men men reached the palace gates, they at once entered as nobody was there to resist them because there had been no suspicion of their treachery. Nobunaga had just washed his hands and face and was drying himself with a towel when they found him and forthwith shot him in the side with an arrow. Pulling the arrow out, he came out carrying a naginata, a weapon with a long blade made after the fashion of a scythe. He fought for some time, but after receiving a shot in the arm he retreated into his chamber and shut the doors.

Some say that he cut his belly, while others believe that he set fire to the palace and perished in the flames. What we do know, however, is that of this man, who made everyone tremble not only at the sound of his voice but even at the mention of his name, there did not remain even a small hair which was not reduced to dust and ashes."

Sad indeed! Here is some Taiga drama videos related to the Honnoji Incident.

Tenka no tame!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Recently bought books

Yesterday I bought two books on Nobunaga at my local Book-Off branch in San Diego.
Nobunaga by Sakaguchi Ango is a novel about young Nobunaga. I have only read the first chapter so far and it is good. The conclusion, Okehazama, of course. Published by Takarajimasha with the first printing in 2006.

The next book is by Huyuji Domon, the publisher is Nikkeibp, and published in 2003. Covers Nobunaga's career, but only skimmed through the book so far.

Next weekend is the Toyoake City Okehazama festival. I hope my good friend Mr. Yukio Kajino will visit the festival and take some pictures.

Nobunaga no tame!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

What if?

A portrait of the "Viper of Mino" Saito Dosan.

What if Saito Dosan was still alive and in power during Okehazama? Would the "Viper of Mino" still support his son-in-law? Would Yoshimoto still attack Owari and continue his crusade to Kyoto? These are some great questions that need to be asked and I do have answers to them.

  • I still believe that Dosan would have supported Nobunaga. Dosan did provide aid to Nobunaga during the Battle of Muraki in 1554, a battle that Nobunaga won. After the meeting in 1553 at Shotokuji in Tonda, Dosan knew Nobunaga was a rare bird and a self-made man. Dosan had to build his empire by himself as well. He knew the Imagawa was a threat to his son-in-law, but to him as well.
  • Imagawa Yoshimoto was no fool. If he knew that Dosan was still in total control of the Saito house, the Kyoto crusade would have to wait. Dosan still had the Mino Big Three: Inaba Ittetsu, Ujie Bokuzen, and Ando Morinari in his pocket along with several others. If the Oda/Saito alliance was still strong, Yoshimoto could not afford to waste any valuable resources he had. Sure, Yoshimoto did have Mikawa and Totomi as revenue cash cows, but Mino was stronger in my opinion.
  • More important, it is very hard to defeat self-made men like Nobunaga and Dosan. They saw the Sengoku world much differently than the traditional powers such as the Hojo, Takeda, and Imagawa. A Nobunaga/Dosan combo team would be hard to beat.

However, this was not the case. Dosan was betrayed by his evil son Saito Yoshitatsu in 1556 and Nobunaga had no more allies. Which make his success at Okehazama much more remarkable.

Tenka no tame!