Friday, July 22, 2011

Mr. Okehazama

Me, Wataru, and Akitsugu Kajino at the Battle of Okehazama Research Center.

I was able to return to Japan this month and was lucky enough to meet Mr. Okehazama (Wataru Kajino). Wataru has probably wrote the best book on the Battle of Okehazama from a local perspective, Jimoto no Karo ga Kataru Okehazama Kassen Shimatsuki. Many thanks to Yukio and Akitsugu Kajino for setting up the meeting.

We all met at the Battle of Okehazama Research Center and quickly the conversation started. Topics included key points of the battle (Yanada Masatsuna's intelligence, rain, and the Arimatsu and Toyoake battlefields). Wataru mentioned one of the key aspects of the historian-be opened minded. We both agreed that both battlefields should be visited and both versions of Nobunaga's biography (Ota Gyuichi and Oze Hoan) should be read and discussed. Even though we both agreed that Ota Gyuichi's is the basic text. Also the role of the Men of the Fields was included in the conversation.

We spent the entire day visiting areas related to the battle and discovered that Wataru has left his mark on on several Okehazama landmarks. This man has spent the past twenty years or more making sure that Nobunaga's greatest triumph-the Battle of Okehazama lives on. While we were at Chofukuji Temple, I mentioned that Wataru Kajino should be called Mr. Okehazama. We all laughed and Yukio Kajino summed it up best, "You are right about that!"

I learned a lot on that day and thank Yukio, Akitsugu, and Wataru for taking their time to share their love for the Battle of Okehazama.

Tenka no tame!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Japonius Tyrannus Review

Suzanne Gay did a review of Jeroen Lamers's biography on Oda Nobunaga, Japonius Tyrannus. A nice review and hopefully for those who do not have the book, will be convinced to buy it. It is worth its weight in gold. You have to trust me on this.

Here is some of the review by Gay:

"It is quite possible, it seems to me, that Nobunaga had the intellectual capacity, not to mention political shrewdness, to apply concepts of statehood to his rule. Mr. Lamers, however, seems to determined to portray him at all costs as a pragmatist."

The rest of the review can be read here:

Nobunaga no tame!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Dosan's victory

Oda graves at Entokuji Temple in Gifu City.

Saito Dosan scored a major victory over Nobunaga's father, Nobuhide in 1547. Nobuhide attacked Mino, but failed. The losses were so high that eventually Nobuhide had enough and made peace with Dosan. The end result would be Dosan's daughter marrying the "Fool of Owari" (Nobunaga) a year later.

This passage is from the Shincho-Ko ki and the modern text was translated by Nakagawa Taiko. Please forgive me while my translation is not the best.

(pp. 28-29 Gyuichi/Nakagawa) Oda Nobuhide Invades Mino

"Now Nobuhide gathered all the troops from Owari, one month attacked Mino Province and the other month attacked Mino Province on the 16 year of the Tenbun (1547), On September 3rd with the men of Owari supporting, he (Nobuhide) invaded Mino Province setting fires here and there. On September 22 the army advanced to the villages of the foothills of Inabayama Castle (modern day Gifu Castle) where Saito Yamashiro Dosan had his headquarters. The villages were burned and advanced to the castle town. By this time, it was around 4:00 p.m. and the sun was beginning to to go down. Nobuhide began to disengage his army. When about half of the army had left the field. Yamashiro Dosan's forces suddenly attacked southward. At first, Nobuhide's army was able to put up a defensive fight, but many troops broke in the end because they were not able to hold the lines. Many big shot warriors were killed numbering around 5,000. Among them were Nobuhide's brother Nobuyasu, Oda Inaba no Kami, Oda Mondo no Kami, Aoyama Yoemon, Senshu Suemitsu, Mouri Juro and his vassal Terasawa Matahachi, his younger brother Mouri Tokuro, Iwakoshi Kisaburo, and many others."

Tenka no tame!