Thursday, March 1, 2012

Nobuhide's Death Part I

Oda Nobuhide passed away in 1551 0r some scholars say in 1552. When the Tiger of Owari (Owari no Tora) died, Owari was still not unified. This passage is from the Shincho-Ko ki and describes the funeral and Nobunaga's crazy behavior. One must remember the monk from Kyushu who recognized the true genius of the future leader of Japan-Nobunaga. Passage from Gyuichi The Chronicle of Lord Nobunaga. Translated by Elisonas/Lamers (pp.60-61).

"Lord Bingo no Kami contracted a contagious disease, from which he failed to recover despite all kinds of prayer and medical treatment. In the end, he passed away on the 3rd of the Third Month in his forty-second year.

Birth and death: impermanence be the law of this world, The sorrow of it all! Whistling winds scatter The dew from the grasses. Huge tinted clouds obscure The light of the full moon.
Bingo no Kami was the founder of a [Soto Zen] temple called Banshoji. Its rector gave him the posthumous name Togan. Attracted by the alms being given out in cash, monks from all over the province flocked to Banshoji, where a stupendous funeral service was held. Many wondering priests who happened to be passing through on their way to and from the Kanto region also attended. Some three hundred clerics in all were at the service.

Lord Saburo Nobunaga came accompanied by his house elders Hayashi, Hirate, Aoyama, and Naito. His younger brother Kanjuro [Nobukatsu], was accompanied by his own retainers, from Shibata Gonroku [Katsuie], Sakuma Daigaku [Morishige], Sakuma Jiemon, Hasegawa, and Yamada on down.

When the time came for Nobunaga to burn incense for the deceased, he stepped up to the alter looking like this: He bore his long-hilted sword and dagger stuck in a straw rope that he had wrapped around himself. His hair was tied straight up like a tea whisk. He was not even wearing formal trousers (hakama). He abruptly grabbed a handful of incense powder, threw it at the altar and left.

His younger brother Kanjuro was dressed appropriately, in a stiff sleeveless robe (kataginu) and formal trousers, and comported himself impeccably.

It was generally agreed that Lord Saburo Nobunaga had been his usual self--a big idiot. Amid all the critics, however, there was an itinerant priest from Kyushu who is supposed to have said: 'Yes, but one day he'll lord it over entire provinces, that one.'"

Oda Kanjuro Nobukatsu was known as Oda Nobuyuki. Others at the funeral who were not mentioned, but probably there were Nobunaga' mother Dota Gozen and his wife Nohime. Nobunaga behavior was nothing new and one must remember that he rejected traditional authority because he was the boss. His free thinking attitude would become one of his greatest assets. The pictures were taken last July and a trip to Banshoji Temple is highly recommended for those who are interested in Nobunaga or Sengoku history.

Tenka no tame!


Jon Lenvik said...

Thanks for sharing. Regarding Nobunaga's behavior at the funeral, I understand the explanation that Nobunaga had an unusual personality, but I am curious why he would decide to throw the incense. Was he truly emotional about his father, or was he just acting immature? Who knows.

otsuke said...

I plan to discuss that in Part II. I think it is a little bit of everything.