Thursday, March 24, 2011

Saito Dosan's jokamachi found?

The past few years there have been many archeological diggings that have uncovered many relics related to Gifu Castle, Nobunaga, and Saito Dosan. One recent discovery was part of a mansion that was burned by Nobunaga when he attacked and conquered Inoguchi (Gifu) in 1567.

When Nobunaga made his final assault to take over Mino for good in 1567, he burned the castle town and soon Inabayama Castle (Gifu Castle) became a naked castle. You can find the conquest of Mino in the Shincho-Ko ki. According to the findings, the discovered site was not a townhouse, but a warriors mansion. Also the mansion was built during Saito Dosan's reign.

This is good news and I plan to visit the archeological site later this year. Here are two links that covered the story.

Nobunaga no tame!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Toki Wa Ima

A good friend of mine on the SA Citadel posted a great link on a thesis on the Honnoji Rebellion.

Brandon C. Schindewolf's thesis (Ohio State University, June 2010) Toki wa ima is one of the most freshest works on the Honnoji in a long time.

There are seven chapters which covers a variety of topics (Schindewolf, p. x).

  1. Introduction
  2. The Age of the Country at War: Japan's Political and Military Status, 1467-1603
  3. Toki wa ima: Seeds of Rebellion and Problematizing The Chronicle of Lord Nobunaga
  4. Contemporary Sources: Jesuit Letters and Other Writings
  5. Theories: Ambition, Vengeance, and Further Speculation
  6. Modern Interpretations: Tenchijin and Sengoku Muso 2
  7. Conclusions: History as Narrative and Akechi, the Failed Noble Rebel
There was a written account by an Akechi retainer by the name of Honjo Soemon, who claimed to be at the incident. In the future, I will explain why I do not believe his account. That being said, Schindewolf did include all sides to the story (Oda, Luis Frois, and Akechi).

Here is a great link on Akechi Mitsuhide

More on The Signore later.

Tenka no tame!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Signore Part III

Continuing with The Signore which focus on Gifu during Nobunaga's reign. This is one of better descriptions of my adopted hometown and I wish I was there when Nobunaga's Raku-Ichi Raku-Za economic policies were in full strength.
Photo at the Gifu Museum of History. An exhibit of what life was like during Nobunaga's time in Gifu.

The Signore (pp. 45-46)

"Gifu was a town of nearly ten thousand souls. To us, accustomed as we were to the spaciousness of the capital and the orderliness of Sakai, the place was a veritable Babylon. Markets lined the narrow streets, were all manner of people jostled each other day and night. Noisy throngs filled the open spaces. Men on horseback pushed their way through the congestion, being loudly berated for their efforts. There were merchants hawking their wares, people laughing, people crying out at finding themselves nearly trampled underfoot. Some shouldered heavy bundles, others were seated on the ground eating their meals. Carts were being loaded and unloaded. There were gamblers, merchants, revelers, women, small groups of children, visitors from other provinces, and ronins--masterless samurai--all marching or shuffling or strolling along to such a clamor that we had to speak loudly unto one another's ears to make ourselves heard."

Nobunaga's Gifu was one lively place and no doubt his capitalistic policies made the city prosper.

Nobunaga no tame!
Tenka no tame!
Nihon no tame!

God Bless Japan!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Signore Part II

I plan to use the rest of the month focusing on The Signore. Here is one of my favorites as merchant from Sakai describing Nobunaga as a monster.

The Signore (p. 21)

"When we pressed to know who this Lord of Owari was and what sort of man he might be, the answer again was always the same: He was the most brutal and heartless warlord who had ever lived. One merchant told us with a scowl that the Lord of Owari had murdered his own brother, banished his uncle, and slaughtered many of his own vassals. What is more, he assured us, the man actually enjoyed the carnage."

"When this lord makes war," he continued, "he has no thought of mercy, but sees to it that his enemy is eliminated to the last man. He has burned a great many towns, and he destroys the temples of Buddha. He is under the spell of some evil spirit--perhaps he is a devil himself. the very thought of him makes me shiver....When he cam here to Sakai to demand a contribution of twenty thousand kan for his war chest, the town council flatly refused him. We drew up bridges, barred the gates, and set up fortifications; every last soul was prepared to take arms to defend the city. But it was worse than hopeless. The Lord of Owari had fifty thousand soldiers waiting at the capital for the least pretext to attack us. The lords of Miyoshi and Tango, harsh though they were, were never half so cruel as this Owari. At his coming, the gods themselves are put to flight and the Buddhas vanish, leaving only burning and killing. In form he is a man, but the truth he is a fearsome monster!"
The Great Satan Nobunaga has come to unify Japan! In Sengoku Japan, nice guys are dead!

As you continue to read The Signore, you will be amazed how much information it does have on Nobunaga's personal life.

Nobunaga no tame!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Book Review: The Signore

Title: The Signore
Author: Kunio Tsuji Translated by Stephen Snyder
Publisher: Kodansha International
Pages: 197
Year: 1989
Original Japanese Title: Azuchi Okanki
Stars out of five: *****

If you are a Nobunaga fan or a Sengoku Jidai junkie, then The Signore is the book for you. Even though the book is fiction, it does provide details that Nobunaga's life was a lonely while unifying the Japan. I have to admit, I cried while reading this magnificent book. Here is the excerpt from the inside book jacket.

"Like the colorful, rapidly changing scenes of an old Japanese picture scroll, the events of this historical novel unfold in a series of unforgettable glimpses of misery and magnificence, cruelty and compassion.

Caught up in the late sixteenth-century struggle to unify Japan, a group of Portuguese missionaries react with curiosity, bewilderment, and admiration to the contradictions of this foreign land. Through the remote countryside and the streets of the capital, their dark-robed figures move amidst a shifting throng of fierce samurais, scheming Buddhist monks, wealthy merchants, and humble working folk. Their ultimate concern is with the common people; but the uncertainties of the age make the protection of the mighty essential. It is this need that brings them into contact with the enigmatic central figure of the story: the young lord Oda Nobunaga, who is obsessed with the task of imposing unity on a seething mass of rival forces. Ruthless, inquisitive, artistic, irreligious, he typifies the essential solitude of the man who seeks supreme power. Yet his relationship with the foreigners seems, paradoxically, to satisfy not only his thirst for knowledge-- of guns, of the other lands, of the universe-- but also a need for the human contact that his role makes impossible with his fellow countrymen. This strange relationship reaches a peak when Nobunaga has a splendid Catholic mission erected only a stone's throw from the magnificent castle that is the symbol of his hegemony. But the brilliance of the novel's climax is shattered at a single stroke by Nobunaga's sudden death. Thus, in its ending, this work-- so thought provoking in its picture of the meeting of the cultures--also seems to invite the reader to find beauty in the cruelty and impermanence of existence itself."

More later on The Signore which will include Nobunaga's appearance and a description of Gifu during Nobunaga's era.

Tenka no tame!