Monday, August 27, 2012

Always on the offense

The best defense is a great offense and the Uesama had one of the successful armies during Sengoku Japan.  In fact, it was revolutionary at the time.  The Shogun Yashiki at the Samurai archives has an excellent article on how Nobunaga was able to divide his army to fight several fronts.  The article explains the military concept the principles of the Objective, Offensive, and Mass.

The Shogun Yashiki: "Nobunaga was truly the first samurai commander to divide his operations into theaters, with Hideyoshi commanding his forces in western Japan, Shibata Katsuie commanding Oda forces in the north, Sakuma Nobumori leading forces against the Ishiyama Honganji in central Japan, and Tokugawa Ieyasu (as a subordinate ally) in charge in the Tokai region to the east.  Nobunaga never ceased being on the offensive--he would move between theaters with his main army to exploit offensive opportunities created by his subordinate commanders.  When an objective in one area was reached he would shift focus to the next offensive opportunity--for instance, when the surrender of the Ishiyama Honganji was finalized, he shifted focus to the final destruction of the Takeda in Shinano and Kai."

The link to the article is here:

His success was a key to location as well.  As stated in an earlier post, Azuchi was the perfect place for the Uesama to launch a full scale attack anywhere.  For his enemies, it must have been a horrified experience to see the Oda army always on the offense.  If there was one drawback, he almost stretched his forces too thin as he was killed at the Honnoji in 1582 due to betrayal.  There was nobody nearby to to defend him.  However, this skill of dividing his army to be able to fight on several fronts successfully made him a genius.

Nobunaga no tame!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Nobunaga and Banana

Here is a link that caught my attention by Livedoor.  It is a blog post on Nobunaga and the banana.  The post describes Luis Frois first visit with Nobunaga during the construction of Nijo Castle at Kyoto in 1569.  However, it seems that there is no record of the Uesama eating a banana.  The article also has a small list of gifts that Nobunaga received from Frois such as a hat, clock, mirror, and a peacock feather.

Tenka no tame!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Today I will give some brief answers why Nobunaga built Azuchi Castle and stayed at the Honnoji later in his career.  Gifu Castle was simply too far away from the capital to control the national stage.  Azuchi was perfect for him.  It was a convenience of transport of transport by crossing Lake Biwa and he could arrive in the capital in less than a day.  Also Azuchi provided the Uesama to lead the front when at war.

Also there were two key points politically for Nobunaga.  It was close enough to control the national stage and far away from the daily pettiness of the Imperial court.  Nobunaga was smart to put his governor Murai Sadakatsu in charge of the daily affairs.  For example, the President of the United States moving his headquarters to the mountains of West Virginia leaving the Vice-President in Washington to handle the affairs. Another reason why Nobunaga built Azuchi because the area was new and had no past history to haunt it.

Since Azuchi was built, Nobunaga had no legitimate reason why he should built a castle in Kyoto.  The Honnoji became the Uesama's  "Pied-a-Terre" or his temporary second residence.  Again, it made sense because Murai Sadakatsu was Nobunaga's governor of Kyoto.  Nobunaga only needed a second home when he visited the capital which drastically decreased later in his career.

Nobunaga no tame!