Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ehata Hidesato's Okehazama

I finally received Ehata Hidesato's Okehazama book. It looks decent and plan to use the book as a future reference when I update my book again sometime after 2011. Ehata's bibliography is smaller than I anticipated. However, the book's reference include Owada Tetsuo's Okehazama no Tatakai and Imagawa Yoshimoto, Ota Mitsuaki Okehazama no Shinjutsu, Hasiba Akira Shinsetsu Okehazama Kassen, and the probably the biggest eye opener was Tachibana Kyoko Nobunaga to Jujika (Nobunaga and the Cross).

Later this week, I plan to write a review on Ehata's book.

Nobunaga no tame!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Why I donated

Imagawa Yoshimoto statue

Last week I sent some money to Mr. Kajino as a donation for the Arimatsu Okehazama Battlefield Statues. It was not much, but felt that I need to do my part. I have spent the past twelve or more years researching on the battle and the more I study, the more I feel I am a part of the battle.

I would spend hours at the Toyoake Okehazama Battlefield just thinking. My question was always, "How did Nobunaga do it?" When the museum was up and running, I often studied the materials or ask questions with the locals. The more, the better. I did the same last with Mr. Kajino and his staff at the Arimatsu location. Mr. Kajino and his staff was always kind to reply. To tell you the truth, I plan to spend more time at the Arimatsu location and will ask myself the same question.

To tell you the truth, I have never donated anything like this at all. Sure, I donated to the SA, but Okehazama? The feeling was awesome. The Nobunaga and Yoshimoto statues will soon be in their proper place at the Arimatsu Okehazama Battlefield. It will be historic and the construction efforts will soon pay off as well.

Tenka no tame!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Osoroshii Nobunaga

Nobunaga historian Taniguchi Katsuhiro wrote an excellent essay on Nobunaga's character. Where did this so called Demon God earned his reputation? The essay points outs, novels, writers, and other historians may gave given Nobunaga his fame to claim. Sure, Nobunaga did have a soft side. One of Nobunaga's most famous letters was to Hideyoshi's wife NeNe.

Taniguchi also mentions the Jesuit missionary Luis Frois as well in the essay. I think Frois gives a great view of Nobunaga. One must remember that Frois was one of the few outsiders who actually knew Nobunaga.

The essay is in Japanese.


I will continue more on Okehazama next week and explain why I sent a donation to Mr. Kajino for the Okehazama statues. It means a lot to me.

Nobunaga no tame!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Okehazama Battle Magazine

If you are looking for a general synopsis of the Battle of Okehazama, this magazine is for you. Shinsetsu Okehazama no Tatakai, Issue 10 came out on April 8th, 2008, and published by Shogakukan. I must say, this is one of the better history magazines dedicated to Okehazama.

The photos in the magazine are in rich full color, a major plus. Also it includes a Yoshimoto timeline and family tree, Imagawa temples, a list of both Oda and Imagawa generals, and nice maps as well. The magazine also has an article by historian/writer Izawa Motohiko which he writes about Okehazama's mysteries. I have to say, it does make you think.

The magazine does into the Imagawa house after Okehazama. For example, there is a photo of Kyoto's Shokokuji Temple where Nobunaga and Ujizane did meet with one another. If you are wondering about the battlefields, both are mentioned as places to visit.

If anything that caught my attention was the lack of photos of the Arimatsu Okehazama battlefield. I was somewhat disappointed about that. Overall, I am glad that I bought the magazine last year. I wished it was bought sooner.

Here is an article from the web on the Arimatsu Okehazama battlefield. Enjoy!


Tenka no tame!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Book Review: Imagawa Yoshimoto

Since the Okehazama thread is slowly drawing to a close, I thought it would be a nice idea to give a book review on Imagawa Yoshimoto.

Book: Imagawa Yoshimoto
Author: Owada Tetsuo
Publisher: Mineruboa Shobo
Year: 2004
Pages: 283

If you read Owada Tetsuo's books often and check the bibliography, often his has done a lot of work on the Imagawa family. This book on Yoshimoto is one of most recent and better books on the so called "Fox of Suruga."

The book contains seven chapters and covers various topics such as:

  • Imagawa family history
  • Yoshimoto's father and mother (Ujichika and Jukeini)
  • Yoshimoto's rise to the Imagawa house
  • Kososun Domei
  • The economic power of the Imagawa house
  • Sunpu's Imagawa culture influence
  • Okehazama
When I bought the book a couple of years ago at a Nagoya bookstore, I was impressed how Owada updated the data and it was much easier to read than his other book, Imagawa Yoshimoto no Subete. The family tree is broken down and the book also contains color pictures as well. The Imagawa timeline is delicious. The research was top quality and it goes into detail on Yoshimoto's relationship with Sessai. If anything stands out in my opinion there are two. The Imagawa history and the Yoshimoto's attachment to high culture. As for Okehazama, the information is just enough to wet your lips and that is good enough for me.

Overall, this is a must have if you are a Sengoku freak or a fan of Imagawa Yoshimoto. If there was one drawback in my opinion, not enough pre-Okehazama battle information.

Nobunaga no tame!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Post Okehazama

The battle of Okehazama changed Japan drastically in my opinion. Okehazama was the shot heard around Japan and Nobunaga was now going to be the new boss in town, like it or not. Also, Okehazama freed another Sengoku legend, Matsudaira Motoyasu (Tokugawa Ieyasu).

It seems that the Oda and Tokugawa were still fighting after Okehazama. However, Ieyasu was not in a position where he could fight the Oda on a constant day in or day out basis. It was a good thing that Ieyasu took his uncle's advice seriously. It was Mizuno Nobumoto of Kariya who was on good terms with the Oda convinced Ieyasu to have an alliance with Nobunaga. Without it the alliance, Ieyasu's chances to unify Mikawa would have become more difficult. The same goes for Nobunaga, he would have a harder time taking over Mino.

However, there were people in Ieyasu's camp who disagreed with the alliance. Sakai Tadanao, who served the Matsudaira since the fifteenth century strongly disapproved and thought it was a big mistake from the beginning. Carol Richmond Tsang pointed out in her book War and Faith, it was unclear how Sakai expected Ieyasu to maintain ties with the Imagawa (p. 207).

For Nobunaga, the next twenty-two years he would change Japan's military, economics, and culture forever. For example, guns, gold, intelligence, and public works projects. He paved the way to unite Japan under his slogan "Tenka Fubu" and Okehazama started the unification process.

Tenka no tame!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Okehazama for Kids

Do you have any kids who enjoy history, samurai, or comics. If you do, I have found the perfect book for the kiddies. Last year while in Japan, I bought the Okehazama educational comic book. Historian Kaku Kozo is the head man for the book and the comic is modern, fresh, and simply delicious in my opinion.

The front cover is in color. However, the book is in black and white and still the art work is stunning. The book contains all of Okehazama's cast of characters. They include, Nobunaga, Yoshimoto, Ieyasu, Asahina Yasutomo, Toshiie, Hideyoshi, and Yanada Masatsuna. Adults can learn from this book as well.

The series also has books on the big three, big battles such as Nagashino, Sekigahara, and Osaka. I plan to buy the Nobunaga and Nagashino later in the future.

Also here in a link with some photos on the Arimatsu Okehazama Battlefield Park.


Some fifteen years after the battle Yoshimoto's lame son Ujizane did meet with the new leader of Japan (Nobunaga) in 1575 at Shokokuji Temple in Kyoto. Nobunaga knew right away Ujizane was not capable of ruling another domain again. A few years later Ieyasu suggested Nobunaga that he would like to give some of Ujizane's old domain, Suruga, back to him. Nobunaga smartly refused. Ujizane, in Nobunaga's opinion was a waste of time and the Imagawa were no more. Once Nobunaga died, things changed. Ujizane did well in Edo and he was able live until his 70s.

Mary Elizabeth Berry summed up best on the Imagawa in her book Hideyoshi (p. 34). "Among the most innovative of administrators, the Imagawa proved able in defense but weak in offensive strategy."

Nobunaga no tame!

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Rebirth of the Arimatsu Battlefield

If you read page 90 in my book, you will notice that I mentioned that many people do not know about the Arimatsu Okehazama battlefield. My source came from Togawa Jun's book Kanzenseiwa Sengoku Kassen-shi, p. 46.

Togawa mentioned that many travelers did know about the Arimatsu battlefield because it was too far. His book was published in 1999 and he was correct at the time of publishing. My own personal experiences were not great. My first trip there a few years ago I had to take a taxi and was completely lost. The second time, a bus and the weather was lousy. The third time was the walking tour with Mr. Yukio Kajino which was a blast.

Almost ten years later, the situation has changed for the better. I think Mr. Kajino and the 450th anniversary staff knew something had to be done to make the battlefield access much smoother. The staff went out of their way to make sure everybody knew about the Arimatsu location.

The color map and the Okehazama link has been a blessing. Next time I will start from Arimatsu station and follow the map. You can download the map from the Okehazama web page.


The map and audio is in Japanese. However, this is one of the best I have seen to make the Arimastu battlefield's access much easier. The question is now which battlefield do you want to visit. I say visit both of them. If you have any hour or less, then visit the Toyoake City battlefield since it is only minutes from the station. If you have a half a day or a full day, visit both and you will be rewarded with a lovely experience in my opinion.

I have to say, Mr. Yukio Kajino and his staff has done a fantastic job and there will be more coming as the days lead up to the big festival in May.

Tenka no tame!