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!


Tornadoes28 said...

in your opinion, following Okehazama, did Nobunaga's general staff feel bitter about not being informed of the plan or did they feel that Nobunaga did not trust them? Wouldn't Nobunaga's lack of trust have caused friction between him and his general staff in the period following Okehazama?

otsuke said...

Since there were defections, Nobunaga just could not trust them at all. If his staff knew the plan, the others would know it as well (Imagawa spies). The reason why Nobunaga succeed because nobody knew the plan.

Neilson's paper is awesome. It shows that the Men of the Fields did a lot of the dirty work.

Tornadoes28 said...

I am not familiar with Nielson's paper. How did you get a copy?

otsuke said...

Kitsuno told me about Neilson's paper. The paper was mentioned on one the SA threads. I had to purchased his work through ProQuest. Sure, I forked about fifty bucks for an unbound hard copy, but it is worth every penny.

It has a lot of Gyuichi (Shincho-Ko ki) and the Bukoyawa. Neilson's translation on the Shincho-Ko ki's version of Okehazama is better and plan to post it next week. What I am finding out is that Hachisuka Koroku played a pivotal role at the Battle of Okehazama.

I wish I had Neilson's work earlier, about two years earlier. It would have made my book better. I can guarantee that I will have Neilson's work in my later edition in the future.