Friday, January 20, 2012

Matsudaira KIA

Photo: Fort Marune

On the eve of the Battle of Okehazama, Matsudaira Motoyasu (Tokugawa Ieyasu) attacked Fort Marune. The commander of Fort Marune, Sakuma Morishige was killed in action. The assault was successful, but the Matsudaira did suffer some casualties as well.

First source will look is Owada Tetsuo's Okehazama no Tatakai. On pages 206-207 Owada listed seven main samurai who were KIA.

Matsudaira Settsu no Kami Korenobu
Matsudaira Kozuke no Suke Masatada
Matsudaira Kiheiji Munetsugu
Matsudaira Chikamochi
Matsudaira Gorobei Tadayoshi
Kato Jingorobei Kagehide
Saigo Toshikatsu

Kuwata Tadachika's Okehazama*Anegawa no Eki has all the seven listed above as well (pp. 183-191). However, Kuwata has four others listed as KIA that are not included in Owada's book.

Ebara Magosaburo
Matsudaira Denichiro Shigetoshi
Kouriki Shinkuro Shigemasa
Kakei Matazo Masahisa

Owada did state on page 109 that the Sankouki list Kouriki Shigemasa and Kakei Masahisa as KIA. Also Owada has a list of those who participated in the Fort Marune siege (118-120). One name that did stand was Ebara Magosaburo (p. 120). According to Kuwata, Ebara was KIA.

Nobunaga no tame!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Atsumori at Ikoma Mansion?

Photo of Nobunaga singing and dancing to "Atsumori" at Kiyosu Castle

During the last summer I bought Kanshi ni Araszu: Nobunaga wo Sukutta Otoko by Hattori Tooru. The book is about Nobunaga and his adviser Hirate Masahide. What caught my attention was the pages dedicated to Atsumori (pp. 153-171). Hattori claimed that Nobunaga's finest hour was not at Kiyosu Castle, but Ikoma Mansion. Hattori (p. 166) "Nobunaga tabitabi [Atsumori] wo utai, matta bashou ga aru. Sore wa Ikoma yashiki de atta." So before departing for the battlefield against Imagawa Yoshimoto (defeating Yoshimoto at the Battle of Okehazama), Ikoma mansion was the starting point. Personally I do not believe it. That being said, it might have been possible. David D. Neilson's thesis Society at War provides some clues.

Nobunaga held a dance party before the battle. Neilson (p. 71) "The party was not to be held at Kiyosu Castle, but at the Ikoma Mansion." Why? Nobunaga's concubine Kitsuno lived there as well as his children. Normally, a warlord would bring his concubine to his headquarters. Not Nobunaga, since he was not the conventional Sengoku warlord. Neilson (p. 17) "Nobunaga though is noted for flaunting convention and not doing what was expected of him. He was the daimyo. He was not beholden to anyone to behave in a certain way or to act in any way other than that which he wanted." Nobunaga often would spend time fishing or visiting Kitsuno at Ikoma. It was routine. If Nobunaga was defeated and killed, Ikoma provided a better chance to escape for Kitsuno if she stayed at Kiyosu Castle.

These examples are only clues. One reason why I do not believe that Nobunaga performed "Atsumori" at Ikoma Mansion was the war council at Kiyosu. Nobunaga was there at the war council practically giving his staff he was not up to the fight. It was late at night when he dismissed his retainers. Was it possible that Nobunaga left for Ikoma as well? Possible, but highly doubtful. It is all based on speculation in my opinion. In the end, Nobunaga stayed at Kiyosu Castle and performed "Atsumori" there on the eve of his greatest triumph.

Tenka no tame!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy 2012

Happy New Year and as always we celebrate the way Nobunaga did in 1574. The lacquered skulls of Asakura Yoshikage, Azai Hisamasa, and Azai Nagamasa sure created a still at Gifu Castle in 1574. David D. Neilson's thesis Society at War explains Nobunaga's way of scaring the living hell out of people was effective. Neilson (pp. 305-306)

"Supposedly Nobunaga had his generals drink from the cups and then forced his wife who came from the Asai family to drink from the skull of her brother. While the taking of heads is nothing unusual, after they are presented to one's commander for reward for service in battle, they are usually given proper services and buried. The decoration of skulls in this manner does have some precedent in Chinese history and that may be where Nobunaga got the initial idea from. Still, the display of skulls as objects of art to be admired was probably a shock to many of those present. Probably that is precisely the effect that Nobunaga was hoping for; to make an impression on those present that he was not going to be bound by convention and the rules as previously understood, did not apply to him. He would go to any length to achieve unification and the creation of a unified and peaceful country justified whatever means he chose to employ. Doing the unexpected, the shocking, or outrageous was one of Nobunaga's favored strategies as it kept even his closest vassals off balance and unsure as to what he might do or how he might react. While on one hand, such acts did create an atmosphere of fear even among his top vassals; they also kept everyone on their toes and on their best behavior."

The Rules of Engagement did not apply to Nobunaga and he did scare the Bee-Jesus of his enemies and his vassals. One must remember that the sword was mightier than then pen in Sengoku Japan. For Nobunaga: It was my way or the highway!

Nobunaga no tame!
Tenka no tame!