Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Yoshimoto's Death

It was mid-afternoon and the violent rain/thunderstorm soon passed and now it was the time to attack. Nobunaga then spoke to his troops:

"If the enemy attacks, retreat. If he retreats, give chase. Don't capture anybody. Just leave him alone. If we win in this battle, those taking part will bring honor to your houses, your reputation assured in generations to come." (Gyuichi, Shincho-ko ki).

There is a reason why if the enemy retreats, go after them. Thomas Conlan explains in his book State of War, "A fleeing enemy is easier to kill than actively resisting." (Conlan, p. 62).

Then Nobunaga was ready destroy the Imagawa for good.

"Now is the time to attack. This is a good opportunity to distinguish yourselves in battle. Seek Yoshimoto; ignore all others." (Sugawara Makoto, "Heroes of the Unification of the Country" p. 48).

Nobunaga led the charge and caught the Imagawa off guard. The Oda army quickly killed Imagawa soldiers and blood spewed all over the place. Cries of pain and despair could be heard from far. At first, Yoshimoto thought there was an argument among his soldiers. He was dead wrong. It was the Oda who came with the intent to kill. To make matters worse for the Imagawa army, spears, bows, and guns were stuck in the mud. They were not prepared at all. As for Nobunaga, his guns, bows, and spears were ready for action.

Then Nobunaga's army spotted Yoshimoto's palanquin. This was a stroke of good fortune since Yoshimoto had to be nearby. Nobunaga's army went for the holy grail and failure was not an option. Yoshimoto had around three hundred soldiers to protect him, but it was quickly reduced to fifty. It goes to show how violent the battle was and the pace as well.

Then Hattori Haruyasu spotted Yoshimoto and attacked him. Hattori was wounded, but Mori Shinsuke killed Yoshimoto and took his head as a war trophy. However, Shinsuke lost a finger in the process. His finger slid into Yoshimoto's mouth and his blackened teeth gnawed it off. It was a victory for the ages for Nobunaga. David beat Goliath at the Battle of Okehazama.

There was still more fighting going on and two other Imagawa retainers were killed in action as well. Shimada Sakyo and Sawada Nagato no Kami were slain while trying to flee. The Imagawa was a total mess. Dead bodies were everywhere as well as weapons and kitchenware. Imagawa wounded were being picked off and the whole battlefield was a slaughterhouse.

I do think it was a short thirty minute battle. More like two hours in my opinion. If you want to see some great movies on the battle, here are a few of my favorites.

  • Oda Nobunaga Fuunji (1959) A dramatic ending to the movie. Reminds me of old Hollywood and Nakamura Kinnosuke's role as Nobunaga is one of the best.
  • Tokugawa Ieyasu (1965) Nakamura Kinnosuke plays the role of Nobunaga again. The film shows how badly how Yoshimoto treated the Matsudaira house. Great movie.
  • Nobunaga (1992 Taiga Drama) Great Okehazama action! I love it. Even though there are some things I disagree how the battle was presented. Still awesome battle scenes.
  • Toshiie to Matsu (2002 Taiga Drama) Watching Yoshimoto having difficulty with the sword was hilarious. Great charge led by our dear leader himself. This drama has the best and most accurate Nobunaga in my opinion.
  • Furin Kazan (2007 Taiga Drama) Very short. However, a change of pace. After the rain stopped, Oda guns fired at the farmhouse where Yoshimoto was staying at. You should the Yoshimoto's reaction. Classic.
If Yanada Masatsuna's intelligence was not accurate and Nobunaga had to wonder around looking for Yoshimoto's camp, I think the outcome might have been different. A high possibility that Yoshimoto might have built a better defense against a surprise attack.

Nobunaga no tame!

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