Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What if?

What if Nobunaga was defeated by Imagawa Yoshimoto at the Battle Okehazama. Sengoku Japan would have been different fore sure. Luckily for Nobunaga, Okehazama was the shot heard all round Sengoku Japan. Neilson's Society at War wraps it beautifully on the what if question.

Neilson (pp. 88-89)

"The Oda victory at Okehazama is every bit as important as George Sansom recognized it to be. Why it has not been more widely recognized as the turning point which initiated the process of unification--and by extension, sounded the death knell of the Sengoku Period is something of a mystery. Had this battle resulted in the destruction of the Oda Clan--and by extension, the Maeno, Hachisuka, and Sassa Clans--all of whom later assumed important roles in the future of the country, Japanese history as we know it would very different. Nobunaga would have not spent the next twenty-two years in a struggle to unify the central provinces. Toyotomi Hideyoshi would never have lived to unify the country, invade Korea and menace China. Tokugawa Ieyasu might never have never become anything more than a vassal of the Imagawa and would never have had the opportunity to found a dynasty which would rule Japan for two and a half centuries."

The Arimatsu Okehazma Festival is in middle of May and plan to post information this weekend.

Tenka no tame!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Signore Part V

The Signore (pp. 59-60)

"He had only one military and political principle: to win by power in a world of power. Having laid down this principle, he acted on it with every means at his disposal, regardless of such considerations as personal safety. His pages were fond of telling how, even when defeated in battle, he seemed quite calm, almost as if he viewed his own possible demise as just another move in the power contest. He was not one to shed tears of chagrin, and seemed an utter stranger to regret. A defeat meant simply that, in a meeting between a stronger and a weaker force, one's own had been the weaker; and for the Signore, after suffering defeat, the only possible course of action was to bolster the strength of the inferior force. I imagined that the look of composure on the Signore's face was a feature common to the men of his sort--men such as Cortes or Vespucci (whom my father had known in Florence)--who constantly confronted crises and who managed to overcome them with reason as their chief weapon."

The message is clear: When you are knocked down, get up quickly as possible and get back into the fight, and never give up. A great example is the conquest of Mino. It took Nobunaga seven long years after the Okehazama victory in 1560 to have Mino in his hands. He had some defeats along the way, but quickly recovered and finally defeated the Saito in 1567. This characteristic gave Nobunaga to conquer his enemies and eventually, most of Sengoku Japan.

Nobunaga no tame!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Nobunaga seminars

Late spring and early summer should be a treat in anybody is in the Gifu area. The Gifu City Museum of History will be presenting five seminars related to Oda Nobunaga. Out of the five, four are must see in my opinion.

  • Battles between Nobunaga and Azai Nagamasa
  • Nobunaga, a God?
  • Nobunaga's rival Takeda Shingen
  • Nobunaga's Castle Towns
Here is the link with more seminar information:

Tenka no tame!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Okehazama Festival 2011

If you are in the Okehazama area during the first weekend in June, then by all means, visit the Toyoake City Okehazama battlefield. They will be holding their annual festival dedicated to the Battle of Okehazama.


For those who are interested, the Arimatsu Okehazama Festival will be held in the middle of May. Last year's festival was a huge success.

I plan to clean up my translation today on the Battle of Anegawa (Shincho-Ko-ki's version).

Nobunaga no tame!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Battle of Anegawa

Here is a report on the Battle of Anegawa (1570) in Nobunaga's own words. From Jeroen Lamers's Japonius Tyrannus (pp. 48-49).

"Today, at the Hour of the Snake [around ten a.m.], the Echizen army together with Azai Bizen no Kami [Hisamasa] advanced on a village called Nomura in an effort to relieve Yokoyama. They deployed their forces at two places: the Echizen army was about 15,000 strong, and the Azai army somewhere between 5000 to 6000 men. At the same hour, we attacked them and joined battle on both fronts. We scored a great victory. As far as heads are concerned, I have no idea at the moment how may [we have taken], so I cannot provide you with any lists. [But] the fields and paddies are covered with corpses. Ask yourself, what greater joy could there be for the sake of the state."

I also have the Shincho-Ko ki's version translated as well and plan to post it later in the future. The photo above is modern day Anegawa and it was taken about ten years ago. Slowly, I am gathering sources related to the battle and in my opinion, one that is often overlooked.

Tenka no tame!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Nobunaga's Holy Grail now in English?

It looks like Ota Gyuichi's Shincho-Ko ki will finally be in English. J.A.S. Elisonas and J.P. Lamers are the two people who are credited with this awesome project. The release date will be on May 31. 2011. That being said, the price will be expensive.

I have three different copies of the Shincho-Ko ki in my private library

Kuwata Tadachika First Edition 1997

Nakagawa Taiko First Edition 2006

Sakakiyama Jun 1980

This is the Holy Grail in my opinion. I received my first copy of the Shincho-Ko ki in 2000 and have been slowly reading and translating to the best of my ability. To tell you the truth, I have about half the chronicle translated in one form or another. If you have read Lamers's book on Nobunaga or David D. Neilson's thesis Society at War, there were many parts of the Shincho-Ko ki translated. This modern translation will open many doors to everyone who is interested in Oda Nobunaga or the Sengoku Era,

This is great news and feel like a kid in a candy store. I do believe that if you do plan to purchase the book, it will be worth every penny. As for myself, I plan to buy the book and still be translating on my own until the book is on my doorstep.

Nobunaga no tame!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Signore Part IV

This passage from the Signore made the case that Nobunaga was a lonely man. As the saying goes, it is always lonely at the top.

The Signore (pp.74-75)

"I knew that the Signore generally slept alone in a room with wooden floors, rather than one with straw matting. I wondered whether there were not perhaps a few days each month that he spent with his wife and children, but it seemed more probable that he was too preoccupied with responsibilities, ambitions, and crises to let himself relax even briefly. In the final analysis, he was living prove of the adage that the soul that seeks to rise above the common herd is perforce a lonely one.

In the Signore's case, however, I do not feel that the case of his loneliness lay only with himself. I had seen how those around him were quite unable to recognize his human qualities--either his strengths or his weaknesses--and imposed on him instead fearsome images of their own creation. I could not help feeling that the gloomy, chilly atmosphere that surrounded him was less a product of his own character that something others had, however unintentionally, fabricated around him."

Nobunaga had to give up his personal life in order to unite Japan. I also agree that other around him could not recognize his traits good or bad. The battle of Okehazama is fine example, but then again, very few knew what Nobunaga was thinking. In the end, I do believe that Nobunaga paid the price of his ambition to unify Sengoku Japan. Not only his life, but his personal one as well.

Tenka not tame!