Friday, December 27, 2013


I received Kicho&Nobunaga, a fiction novel by Rumi Komonz for Christmas.  This is a novel about Nobunaga's wife Kicho (Nohime) and the book does provide details on her eventful life.  I plan to write a book review later next month.  So far the novel is interesting and easy to read.  The great part about the book is that it is written in English.  That being said, I do recommend this novel if you want to understand the life of Nohime.

Tenka no Tame!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Honnoji Restaurant

On my month and a half trip back to Japan, I had the opportunity to eat lunch at Shincho-Saryou in Kyoto.  This is the Honnoji restaurant that opened earlier this year and my experience there was simply awesome.  My lunch was simple, rice porridge with Japanese pickles, white miso soup, warabi mochi for dessert, and some hot tea.  It was delicious and I went back there for a second time before heading home. For the Oda Nobunaga freaks, this is simply heaven.  You feel like you have stepped back into the time of the Uesama.

You are not far from the original Honnoji where the Uesama made his last stand.  Not only that, but you are only about two blocks from the Nanbanji landmark as well. If you inform one of the staff members before leaving, they can give you directions to the Nanbanji landmark.

The atmosphere at Shincho-Saryou is relaxing.  There is a video display showing how the art work was being done and the creation of the gallery.  The price is 500 Yen to enter the art gallery, but well worth it in my opinion.  The chairs have the Oda crest and the staff is very helpful, kind, and will make sure your experience there is a good one.  I will certainly make a return trip there in the future.

Note:  They are closed on Tuesdays.

The link to the restaurant:

Nobunaga no tame!

Friday, December 20, 2013

I am back

I am back after a month and half trip in the motherland.  It was successful on several fronts, especially the Okehazama research.  I was able to meet with Mr. Okehazama (Wataru Kajino) and we all had a great time discussing the battle and its role in Japanese history.  We later visited Muraki, Ogawa, and the place where Nobunaga and his men celebrated the Muraki victory.

Second was traveling around Nagoya visiting several landmarks related to Nobunaga.  There are more than you think.  I was able to take many pictures and talked to the locals.  Gifu was a success as well as the castle park excavation is still going strong.  In fact, I was able to see them in person which was a real treat.

Tenka no tame!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Wagashi Nobunaga

The Japanese are known for their unique art and this Nobunaga statue made out of wagashi (Japanese sweets) proves it.  That is right, the statue is made out of Japanese sweets. The Wagashi Nobunaga statue is located near the information desk at Nagoya International Airport.  Actually, it was done in good taste.  The armor and sword looks real, but wish that he was holding a matchlock rife because Nobunaga was known for his use of firearms.

I leave for Japan next week and will give a small tour of Gifu to a few friends of mine.  The tour will include Saito Dosan and Nobunaga's role in creating Gifu/Mino into a major province.

Nobunaga no tame!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Nagashino Video

A good friend of mine Nate Ledbetter has written a great blog post on the Battle of Nagashino and it includes a beautiful video.  Mr. Ledbetter has probably done more ground breaking work on the Battle of Nagashino than anybody out there in the past few years.  He has used his military experience and skills to break down the battle to the tactical level.  Once you see the video, you will clearly understand that Takeda Katsuyori failed on the tactical and the intelligence level.

The video includes some of the problems of the primary sources like the Shincho-Ko ki, Shinchoki, and the Koyo Gunkan.  Somewhat have to be taken with a grain of salt.  One of the main problems with these texts is that they are not perfect.

My favorite part of the video has to be where Mr. Ledbetter breaks down everything to the military level.  He uses a doctoral template and practically tells the viewer that most historians do not even try to put both armies into their field positions.  Mr. Ledbetter actually was able to put the 30,000 plus Oda/Tokugawa and 9,000 plus Takeda in their field positions and proved that it could have been done in such an area.  Major kudos in my opinion.  One has to remember that they did not fight with standardized armies back then.

The video continues on the guns and Mr. Ledbetter thinks that there were more guns at the battlefield.  I agree as well.  4,000-6,000 is a good estimation and go on from there.  On the tactical level, one of the major reasons why Nobunaga succeeded besides the use of guns was their superior tactical planning, logistical planning, and training.  They knew from past experiences that the Takeda liked to attack the flanks and when Nobunaga shortened the battlefield to advantage he knew he won part of the battle.

One of Takeda Katsuyori's main problems overconfidence, tactical exploitation by the Oda/Tokugawa, did not expect strong Nobunaga's strong support for Ieyasu, and the intelligence front.  Ieyasu was used as screen and it worked and also the raid on Tobigasu was so successful that it forced Katsuyori to make a move.  You also have the Sakuma Nobumori letter which also made Katsuyori to make the first move.

I probably have left out a few other facts, but please watch the video.  You will learn a lot.  Many thanks to Mr. Nate Ledbetter for tackling the Battle of Nagashino.  Hopefully, his work will be published soon.

Tenka no Tame!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Kenkun Jinja Matsuri

On 19 October, Kenkun Jinja will have a festival dedicated to Nobunaga's Kyoto arrival in 1568.  The shrine is located in Kyoto on the Funaoka hill.  The festival will include a performance of Atsumori and samurai in armor shooting their matchlock rifles.  The guy who is shooting his rifle is the smart one in my opinion.  Look at his sashimono.  It has the Oda crest, the Tenka Fubu seal, and the Uesama's signature.

I have written several posts on Kenkun Jinja and here are some links.

Tenka no tame!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Okehazama Novel

I just finished writing my first rough draft of the Okehazama novel.  Later, I gave the copy to a friend of mine to look it over.  Also, I will bring a slightly different rough draft copy with me to Japan next month.  It is a fiction novel with the usual cast of characters that include, Nobunaga, Imagawa Yoshimoto, Matsudaira Motoyasu (Ieyasu), and the Men of the Fields (Hachisuka Koroku and Maeno Shoemon).  There is a list of the Matsudaira/Imagawa armies as well as a KIA list.

I have written details on several castles and forts with their dimensions and history, geography of the Okehazama battlefield and other provinces, and more importantly, the critical role that the Men of the Fields contributed to Nobunaga's victory.  The Men of the Fields did the dirty work for Nobunaga and it paid off big time.  Without them, Nobunaga's victory might have been impossible.

After everyone's input and the editing is finished, I am planning to go the e-publishing route.

More later.

Nobunaga no tame! 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Kiyosu Castle

In the early spring of 1555, Nobunaga finally took over Kiyosu Castle, the jewel of Owari.  This was key since it was a major step in unifying Owari. He had some help with his uncle Oda Nobumitsu.  However, Nobumitsu did not live long after as he was assassinated by on of his retainers, Sakai Magohachiro.

Passage from the Shincho-Ko ki (The Chronicle of Lord Nobunaga) Elisonas and Lamers, pp. 74-75

"In Kiyosu Castle resided the deputy military governor (shugodai) of Owari, whose name was Oda Hikogoro [Nobutomo].  Saki Daizen, a major land owner, was his assistant deputy governor (koshugodai).

Now that Kiyosu's other leading figures--Sakai Jinsuke, Kawajiri Sama no Jo, and Oda Sanmi--had been killed in battle, Daizen could not hold the castle against Nobunaga on his own.  He therefore begged Lord Magosaburo for help, in return offering him the joint occupancy of the deputy governorship with Lord Hikogoro.  A deal was made.  In compliance with Daizen's wishes, Lord Magosaburo sent him an elaborate written oath that there would be no double-dealing.
On the 19th of the Forth Month, [Tenbun 23 (1554)], Lord Oda Magosaburo of Moriyama moved to the southern watchtower of Kiyosu Castle.  On surface, all seemed to be as it should, but in fact Lord Magosaburo had made a secret compact with Nobunaga to play into Kiyosu's hands.  In return, Nobunaga pledged covertly to partition Owari's lower four districts, more or less along the line of the Odai River, and share them with Lord Magosaburo.  This Lord Magosaburo was Nobunaga's uncle.  The lower half of Owari Province was divided into two parts called "west of the river" and "east of the river," consisting of two districts each.  So two districts would go to the nephew and the other two turned over to the uncle.  That was their deal.

On the 20th of the Forth Month, an ambush was prepared.  Should Sakai Daizen come to the southern tower to pay hos repects to Magosaburo, he was to be killed by men who lay in wait.  Daizen indeed came to the castle, but he sensed something dreadful in the air and immediately took to his heels, not stopping until he reached Suruga Province, where he asked Imagawa Yoshimoto for asylum. Magosaburo, however, forced the deputy military governor, Lord Oda Hikogoro, to commit hara-kiri, seized control of Kiyosu, handed it over to Kazusa no Suke Nobunaga, and moved to Nagoya Castle himself."

As mentioned above, Nobunaga's uncle Nobumitsu, did not live long after this event.  Once he was assassinated, Nobunaga handed Nagoya Castle to his elder retainer Hayashi Hidesada.  One has to remember that betrayal was very common during the Sengoku Era in a land where bloodshed was king.

Tenka no tame!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Nagoya Golden Nobunaga

There is a new Nobunaga statue in Nagoya area located at Entonji.  It is actually not that bad and I like it.  The photo shows the Uesama in armor with a matchlock rifle.  The only thing the statue is missing is  a sword.  There are also a Hideyoshi, Ieyasu, and believe or not Mito Komon statues as well.  However, the Golden Nobunaga always wins out!

Nobunaga no tame!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Signore Part VII

I have not written anything on Kunio Tsuji's The Signore in a long time.  Today this paragraph describes very accurately that Nobunaga hardly drank any sake unless it was for ceremonial purposes.  Instead, it was his vassals that got drunk.  As always, we are are reminded that he was a self-made man from Owari.

The Signore, p. 35

"He permitted his generals to drink their sake, and looked the other way when, according to the custom of the land, they forced cups upon one another until they were all dead drunk.  But the Signore himself had never been a heavy drinker.  He seemed wholly free of vanity and dressed in the simplest manner.  In fact, he seemed to care little for what others thought of him or his opinions.  He was, in short, supremely self-confident in all matters."

Tenka no tame!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Komaki Castle

In 1563, Nobunaga moved his headquarters to Komaki from Kiyosu.  Nobunaga's stay at Komaki was brief, fours years, but it might give us some clues on what he did later: Azuchi Castle!  Komaki Castle might have been a blueprint for Azuchi Castle. 2013 is the 450th anniversary of the construction of Komaki Castle.  It is not the best, but it has improved the past few years.  I did visit the castle back in 2000 and my experience was not that great.  However, I do plan to make a return visit later this year.  The Chronicle of Lord Nobunaga has a passage on Komaki Castle.  (Elisonas/Lamers, pp. 109-110)

"Kazusa no Suke Nobunaga came up with a marvelous ploy.  Kiyosu, which lay in the very center of Owari Province, was a prosperous place.  One day Nobunaga summoned all of his closest retainers and took them up Mount Ninomiya, a high peek surrounded by other mountains.  'I will order a fortress to be constructed on this mountain,' he announced.  'Everybody shall move his residence here.'  He went about assigning plots of land to his vassals.  'Build on this ridge!' he said to one.  'Build in that valley!' he told another.  That same day, he returned to Kiyosu.  Later he went the mountain once more, and at length he drove home his message.  his retainers, whether high- or low-ranking, were not a little unhappy about the orders to leave their Kiyosu homes for the deep mountains; indeed, they were distraught.  At this juncture, Nobunaga issued new orders-to relocate to Mount Komaki.  A waterway extended to its foot, making Komaki a convenient place for transporting household goods and other possessions.  All as one gladly moved there.  Had Nobunaga ordered the move to Komaki from the beginning, his men would have been distressed as they were at the prospect of Ninomiya."

Nobunaga no tame!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Ieyasu at Atsuta

Young Tokugawa Ieyasu (was known as Takechiyo) spent a couple of years at Atsuta as a hostage of the Oda.  The landmark is just south of Atsuta Shrine and I highly recommend that one should visit the both the shrine and the landmark (Located in the heart of the city of Nagoya).

Jeroen Lamers Japonius Tyrannus has some words on this as well.  Lamers (p. 46)

"The four-year old was captured by a party of the Toda family en route to Sunpu, who delivered Takechiyo not to Imagawa Yoshimoto in Suruga, but  to Oda Nobuhide in Owari.  Takechiyo spent the next two years at Atsuta in Owari as a hostage of the Oda family."

Tenka no tame!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Random News II

There is more news on the archaeological work being done at Gifu Castle Park.  Here is the Japanese link with photos:

Nobunaga no tame!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Azuchi Video

There is a decent video on Azuchi Castle, the house that Nobunaga built, and it is in Japanese

The video has an excellent reproduction and explanation of all the castle floors.  There is a lot of maps and diagrams of the castle as well.  Azuchi Castle historian Naito Akira, who wrote the book Fukugen Azuchijo, makes an appearance and gives some details on the castle.  The video also show some tile, the stone walls, and nails that were used.  I highly recommend a trip to the Azuchi Castle ruins since you will get a feeling on what the castle might have been.  Also there is a movie on the construction of Azuchi Castle called Katen no Shiro starring Nishida Toshiyuki.

Tenka no tame!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Nobunaga Armor

This is a picture of armor that Nobunaga might possibly have worn at the Battle of Okehazama.  The armor is known as Konito odoshi tomaru and it is now located at Kenkun Jinjia (Takeisao Shrine) in Kyoto. As you can see, the armor is still in decent condition, which is good news in itself.  The shrine also has the Samonji sword that Imagawa Yoshimoto had at the Battle of Okehazama and a copy of Ota Gyuichi's Shincho-Ko ki.  For those who like to take a dip, the Funaoka Onsen is very close by as well.

Nobunaga no tame!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Mr. Okehazama Article

Local Okehazama historian Mr. Okehazama (Wataru Kajino) was in the local paper recently discussing his long career researching the Battle of Okehazama.  The article mentions the opening of the redeveloped Arimatsu Okehazama Battlefield Park and the history around the area.

I have been very blessed to meet and discuss the Battle of Okehazama with Mr. Okehazama.  He has gave me a few of his published works and Mr. Okehazama is opened minded.  For someone who is 93 years old, his mind is still very sharp and is continuing his research on the battle.  He along the rest of the Kajino family, has been a great help to me for understanding the Battle of Okehazama better.

Photo was taken at the Okehazama Research Center two years ago.

Tenka no tame!

Random News I

The Nobunaga Kyokan has updated their post and includes a map where the recent archaeological work has been done around the Gifu Castle Park area.

It is nice that slowly we are able to understand what Gifu was like during the time of Nobunaga.  I highly suggest that one should visit Gifu Castle and the Gifu City Museum of History for a better understanding of Gifu and Nobunaga.

Nobunaga no tame!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Okehazama Number One

The new issue of Ikkojin has the Batlle of Okehazama as its top battle in the Warring States Era.  That is great news indeed.  The other Nobunaga battle that was in the top was Nagashino, and it came in sixth place.  Sekigahara came in a very close second.  The battles were graded on scale, command/leadership, effect, and scenic spot.  Each battle has a color map with pictures of the landmarks at the battlefield.  I am so excited that the Battle of Okehazama won out.  It does has pictures of both the Arimatsu and Toyoake City Okehazama battlefield.

The Battle of Anegawa also is in this current issue along with a special article on Date Masamune.  The Battle of Kawanakajima is discussed as well.  Also the issue includes color graphic displays of battle formations, when armies set out for battle, and the head viewing ceremony.  Overall, I endorse this issue as must for anyone who is interested in Sengoku warfare.

Owari ni hikari wo

Tenka no tame!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Okehazama NHK Documentary

In 2007, NHK aired a documentary on the Battle of Okehazama hosted by Matsudaira Sadatomo with special guest Owada Tetsuo.  The documentary was easy to understand since it was at a slow pace and Sadatomo's smooth voice made it more easier to follow.  The show contains a lot footage of various NHK Taiga dramas such as Nobunaga: King of Zipangu and Toshiie to Matsu.  Sources used in the documentary included the Shincho-Ko ki, Mikawa Montogatari, and the Koyo Gunkan.  If any of the sources that stood out on the show, it was the Koyo Gunkan.  According to the Koyo Gunkan, there was a randori (chaos taking) during the battle.  Highly unlikely since the Koyo Gunkan is the book of the Takeda.

The program goes into great detail of the Imagawa organization structure which was key to their power.  Also discusses Imagawa Yoshimoto's and Oda Nobunaga's character.  The two were completely different animals.  While land surveys, house laws, and cultural exchanges (Kyoto) were essential to the Imagawa, Nobunaga relied on new weapons (guns), fighting spirit, and promotion on ability, not on family linage.

At the end of the documentary, the great Samonji sword is shown at Kenkun Shrine in Kyoto as well as  a funeral ceremony at Senninzuka where the Okehazama dead are buried near the Toyoake City Okehazama Battlefield.  The documentary is a great study aid for the Battle of Okehazama scholar and highly recommend it.  It also includes a thirty minute discussion between Sadatomo and Tetsuo on various topics related to the battle.

Tenka no tame!  Nobunaga no tame!  Owari ni hikari wo!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Nobunaga and Gion Matsuri

Later this month, Kyoto will host one of Japan's most popular festivals, the Gion Matsuri.  I have been lucky to be able to see the floats in action in the past.  That being said, even the Uesama got into the action back in 1578.  From The Chronicle of Lord Nobunaga p. 286.

"Tiger, Sixth Month, 14th day: Nobunaga watched the Gion Festival.  He had told his horse guards and pages that there was no need for bows, spears, halberds, or other hand weapons, so they carried none.  After viewing the festival, he gave leave to his life guards and went hawking straight away with about ten pages.  There was a soft drizzle."

Nobunaga told his entourage that no weapons were needed and just enjoy the festival.

Nobunaga no tame!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

More Okehazama Videos

I found some videos on the Battle of Okehazama on the internet and they are okay and informative.  One is in English and shows the various battle landmarks.  The other one is in Japanese and breaks down the battle.  They are useful to a degree might help others understand the Battle of Okehazama.

Tenka no tame!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Honnoji Restaurant I

The Nobunaga restaurant near the Honnoji has finally opened.  Here is the link with the full menu (with pictures) and prices.  The Tsukemono (pickled vegetable) set is one of the more cheaper items on the menu besides the Nobunaga Curry and Oyakodon.  They do serve sweets such as wagashi and a bowl of matcha.

My main concern is that you have to make a reservation for the big one, Nobunaga's meal.  The above photo is what Nobunaga probably had for his last supper before he died.  The bento box was sold only in the Nagoya area a few years ago.  If you look at the picture, what he ate was very healthy.  I do plan to visit the Nobunaga restaurant later this year while in Kyoto. Besides, there is a nice art gallery and and set up is very relaxing and classy.

Owari ni hikari wo

Nobunaga no tame!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Nobunaga no Chef

Recently, I watched Nobunaga no Chef and was quite surprised how well the drama went.  I highly recommend it.  The story is about a Japanese French chef by the name of Ken (Yuta Tamamori) is taken back to the Sengoku Era by accident.  He does not know much except his cooking skills and before you know it, he is with the Uesama.  Mitsuhiro Okiwa plays the role of Nobunaga and nails it.  He is no Daisuke Ryu (Kagemusha) or Takashi Sorimachi (Toshiie to Matsu), but Mitsuhiro's role is so well done, you can learn a lot on Nobunaga's attitude and character.

This drama shows how Nobunaga saw the future and how he made himself into a self-made man.  Also displays Nobunaga's talents as he uses Ken for his tactical/strategic goals in uniting Japan.  Ken on the other, displays his talents as cook using the ingredients that the Sengoku Era provided him.  For a fantasy historical drama, it is not that bad at all.  Just watching Mitshiro Okiwa's role as Nobunaga is worth it.  You can watch Nobunaga no Chef on dramacrazy.

Tenka no tame!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Soken-in Temple

Soken-in is located within the large compound of Daitokuji (located in Kyoto), the head temple of the Daitokuji branch of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism.  Founded in 1583 by the great leader of Japan's unification of the 16th c., Toyotomi Hideyoshi, it is the memorial temple for Oda Nobunaga (1534-82), who had led the reunification movement and whose rise to hegemony put an end to the hundred years of strife referred to in Japanese history as the Warring States Period.

Hideyoshi had the elegant temple Soken'in built on the occasion of the first anniversary of lord Nobunaga's death, having the priest Kokei Sochin serve as its founding abbot.  There is a huge wooden statue of Oda Nobunaga in the main hall, an old water well carved from stone from Korea, and the impressive main gate and wall.

The temple has the graves of Nobunaga, his sons, and his ladies.  For example, Nobunaga's lovely wife Nohime's grave is here as well his concubine Onabe no kata's.  Nobunaga's daughter Tokuhime's grave is here too.  Soken-in is only open for public viewing during the fall and highly recommended when visiting Kyoto.

Nobunaga no tame!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Honnoji Restaurant

This is just in, the Honnoji located in Kyoto where Nobunaga died will have a restaurant dedicated to him.  Shincho Saryou will have a menu consisted of Nobunaga's Last Supper and Nobunaga Curry.  I did have Nobunaga's so-called Last Supper, the Nobunaga Zen a few years ago in Nagoya and it was delicious. If it is the same menu, I am in for sure.  Looking forward to this place when I return to Japan later this year.


Tenka no tame!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Okehazama Video

Today is the day that Japanese history changed forever when Oda Nobunaga defeated Imagawa Yoshimoto at the Battle of Okehazama in 1560.  I have a nice video to share with you about the battle by local Okehazama historian Wataru Kajino (Mr. Okehazama). The video is in Japanese and it discusses such topics such as the history of the area, the battle, and the differences between the Shincho-Ko ki and Shinchoki as well.  Even though the video is in Japanese, it is fairly easy to understand as Mr. Okehazama speaks at a slow and easy pace.  This is a gold mine for the Battle of Okehazama scholar like myself and I highly recommend it.

Owari ni hikari wo

Nobunaga no tame!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Nobunaga Festival

I found this out on Facebook about a few days ago and this festival needs to be to known to all who love Nobunaga.  On May 26th, Kiyosu Castle is hosting a Nobunaga Festival. The Kiyosu Castle troupe will be there along with Saito Dosan and others.  This should be a nice festival to go and learn some new things on the Uesama.  Sure, it might be a bit tacky, but it promotes tourism, history, the preservation of history due to the love of the people who participate.  I would love to go and have some fun.  By the way, I do know some of the people who will participating in the festival and they really do a good job.

Tenka no tame!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Fuunji Nobunaga and Okehazama I

As the Battle of Okehazama nears its day in history, I have decided to give you a little taste of the battle.  There is a link that I found with some nice Okehazama battle action from the movie Fuunji Oda  Nobunaga.

The clip show Hachisuka Koroku informing Nobunaga that Imagawa Yoshimoto is resting at Okehazama.  Nobunaga then makes the decision to attack Yoshimoto, the rain comes, and the surprise attack begins.  At the end of the clip, a messenger informs Nohime that the Uesama is coming home in victory.

Owari ni hikari wo

Nobunaga no tame!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Fuunji Nobunaga and Okehazama

It is that time of year again where the month of May we celebrate the Battle of Okehazama.  Nakamura Kinnosuke plays the role of Oda Nobunaga while Kyoko Kagawa play the character of Nohime.  Regarding the Battle of Okehazama, please read David D. Nielson's thesis first, Society at War: Eyewitness Accounts of Sixteenth Century Japan before watching the movie.

Here are some facts:

  • The dance party was held at Ikoma Mansion.  Movie: Kiyosu Castle.
  • Kitsuno was at the dance party since she was the mother of Nobunaga's kids.  Also it was held at Ikoma Mansion, her residence.  Movie:  Nohime and it was highly likely she was there.
  • Hachisuka Koroku and Maeno Shoemon was invited to the dance party.  However, they meet Nobunaga alone which made them uncomfortable.  They usually have Hideyoshi with them, but he was not at the dance party.  Movie:  Hideyoshi was present at the dance party and Maeno Shoemon was not present.
  • Hachisuka Koroku was a bearded man.  Movie: no beard at all.
One must remember that Fuunji Oda Nobunaga is a movie and is not going to be fully historically accurate.  That being said, the movie does a good job on the prelude to the Battle of Okehazama.

Owari ni hikari wo.

Tenka no tame!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Azuchi Castle News

I have not done anything regarding Azuchi Castle of late.  To tell you the truth, it has been years since have visited Azuchi.  That said, there is a great article on the web that I found on Azuchi Castle and its Chinese origins.

I do have Naito Akira's Fukugen Azuchijo and Oda Nobunaga to Azuchijo by Akita Hiroki.  Both books are highly recommended on the study of Azuchi Castle.  Some key points on Azuchi Castle: the massive use of stone, lots of gold used in decoration, and roof-tile as well.  One of the big drawbacks of Azuchi was that it had a stairwell rising up the hill which did not enhance its defense.  By the way, Azuchi Castle ruins is on my agenda next when I am in Japan.

Nobunaga no tame!

Monday, April 22, 2013

2013 Okehazama Festival

It is that time of year again and the 2013 Arimatsu Okehazama Festival will be held on May 19th.  It think is so awesome that the festival is held on the day of the battle.  The festivities will begin around nine in the morning and it will be an all day affair.  Mr. Okehazama (Wataru Kajino) is scheduled to give a lecture on the battle.  If you are thinking about going, his lecture will be well worth it.  He probably knows more than anyone I know about the Battle of Okehazama.  There will be also taiko drums, armor, and many other beautiful events at the festival.

Here is the festival link:

Owari ni hikari wo

Tenka no tame!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Onna Nobunaga I

Earlier this month Onna Nobunaga movie was aired.  It was based on the novel written by Kenichi Sato.  Amami Yuki played the role as Nobunaga.  From what I understand the word on the street was she played the part well.  Uchino Masaaki played Akechi Mitsuhide, Koyuki as Nohime, and Nishida Toshiyuki as Oda Nobuhide.

I did write a post on the novel back in 2008.
The link for the movie is here:

I have not seen the movie yet, but excited to watch it when the chance comes.  For a historical fantasy film, this looks interesting.

Owari ni hikari wo.

Nobunaga no tame!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Shobata News

Shobata Castle landmark was in the news recently when the statues of Nobunaga's father and mother along with the baby Uesama was erected near Shobata station.  Nice gesture, but I do not think Shobata Castle was the birthplace of the Uesama.  The only document that backs up Shobata is the Bishukojoushi.  I am more comfortable in stating that Nobunaga was born at Nagoya Castle in 1534.  Earlier this year, I have written a post on this subject:

Owari ni hikari wo

Tenka no tame!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Young Nobunaga

Nobunaga's wild and crazy youth prepared him for the future.  Sounds strange, but it was true.  His free thinking and I do not care attitude made him a man to be feared later in life.

Shincho-Ko ki/The Chronicle of Lord Nobunaga by Ota Gyuichi. (Elisonas/Lamers, pp. 58-59)

"Into the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth year of his life, Nobunaga knew no other pastimes but these: He practiced riding every morning and evening.  From the Third to the Ninth Month he swam in the river, which made him an excellent swimmer.  Once when he was a training bout with bamboo spears, he observed: 'if your spear is short, you'll be at a disadvantage no matter what.'  So he made spears with a shaft of three to three and a half ken [5.4 to 6.3 meters].

As for young Nobunaga's manner:  He had on a bathrobe (yukatabira) with its sleeves removed, wore trousers (hanbakama) over it, and carried any number of pouches for flints and that sort of thing around his waist.  He kept his hair straight up like a tea whisk, tied with crimson and fresh-green cords.  He bore a great sword with a vermillion sheath and ordered all the samurai of his retinue to outfit themselves in vermillion.  He employed Ichikawa Daisuke to guide him in archery practice and trained on the harquebus with Hashimoto Ippa as his master.  Hirata Sanmi, whom Nobunaga kept constantly at his side, was his instructor in military science and tactics.  The two of them went also went hawking together."

All that training such as swimming, riding horses, guns, and the bow prepped Nobunaga for the future. One must remember that Nobunaga's early use of guns made him a genius.

Nobunaga no tame!

Owari ni hikari wo.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Nobunaga Walking Tour

There will be a Nobunaga Walking Tour that will be held on April, 21 2013.  According to the link there will be two courses to choose from.  First course is Kiyosu Castle to Atsuta Shrine and the second course is Arimatsu Okehazama Battlefield to Atsuta Shrine.

I would love to experience this myself and it is interesting.  For those who plan to participate, please by all means share your experiences.

Mikawa-Hide has provided the link:

Tenka no tame!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Muraki II

This post will continue to discuss the Battle of Muraki with some military doctrine.

Nobunaga's victory at the Battle of Muraki 1554 was important.  The Imagawa was kept at bay, but still were a powerful army.  Nobunaga knew he did not have an army to have a long war with the Imagawa.  Besides, the province of Owari was still not unified.  Here are some of the key points for Nobunaga's victory.

  • Support from his father-in-law Saito Dosan.  This was important.  Dosan sent Ando Morinari along with a thousand soldiers to protect Nagoya so the Kiyosu faction will not attack Nagoya.  Smart move on Nobunaga's part.  If the Kiyosu faction did attack Nagoya while Nobunaga was away, it would have been a war with the Saito, which they did not want in the first place.
  • Quick crossing of the sea.  Nobunaga's army quickly crossed the sea in very strong winds.  His army quickly arrived in time to assist Mizuno Nobumoto who was at Ogawa Castle at the time.
  • Nobunaga's use of guns.  Nobunaga fired guns along with the possibility of bow and arrows to mow down Muraki Castle.
  • Nobunaga's leadership.  His leadership was essential to victory.  Even with high casualty rates, he continued to press forward which the tide turned into his favor.  After the battle, he acknowledge the work of his men.
  • Mizuno Nobumoto attacked the east side, which was the main gate.  Oda Nobumitsu (Nobunaga's uncle) attacked the west side, which the rear gate.  Nobunaga personally took responsibility for the south side.
Now for some military doctrine for the Imagawa side.  This is not perfect by any means, but will give you some clues on the goals of the Imagawa army.

Strategic:  Owari.  Imagawa Yoshimoto wanted Owari in his hands for a future launching pad for the Kyoto campaign.
Operational:  Chita Bay.  More opportunities for economic and military shipping.  Ise Bay is close at hand.
Tactical:  Muraki Castle.  A stepping stone into the heart of Owari.

Everything went right for the Imagawa except that in early 1554, Nobunaga's army with the use of guns the defenders of Muraki Castle surrender.  A tactical victory on Nobunaga's part.  However, as history showed, Imagawa Yoshimoto did not give up his quest for Kyoto and Owari.

For those who are interested in traveling to the Toyoake Okehazama Battlfield, Mikawa-hide has a link in Japanese on train fare and the like.

Owari ni hikari wo

Nobunaga no tame!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Okehazama mystery continues

Arimatsu Okehazama Battlefield photo taken in 1965.

The Okehazama Battlefield mystery continues.  My good friend Mikawa Hide has just written a post on this on his blog.

Key points from Mikawa-hide's blog: Yoshimoto's main army and where Yoshimoto was killed.  Even a scholar like myself has a hard time which battlefield is the correct one.  I always suggest one must visit both the Arimatsu and Toyoake City battlefields in order to get a better understanding of the battle and the outcome.  One must remember that both battlefields are legit and have some sort of relationship with one another.  Yes, I do think the Arimatsu Okehazama battlefield is the correct place, but understand that Toyoake City is still a legitimate battlefield.  When you visit both battlefields frequently,  you will be surprised how much the relationship between them are important.

Tenka no tame!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Maeda Toshiie quote

Maeda Toshiie (1537/38-1599) was born at Arako Castle in Owari and first served Nobunaga in 1551.  He made his baptism of fire at the Battle of Kayastu in 1552, where Nobunaga defeated Sakai Daizan and Oda Sanmi.  He also participated in the Battle of Okehazama, but made his fame to claim at the Battle of Moribe in 1561 where took the head of Kubitori Adachi who was known as Headchopper Adachi.  Toshiie was also one of Nobunaga's gun commissioners at the Battle of Nagashino in 1575.

Toshiie went through a lot of hell during the Sengoku Era.  He killed a lot of people in battle, put to death a lot of people, and saw many others die in front of his face. It was the norm in the Sengoku Era.  It was for the good of the order. This quote by Toshiie sends the message home.

David D. Neilson Society at War: Eyewitness Accounts of Sixteenth Century Japan, p. 309.

"I was born into this tumultuous age and I participated in many battles and killed many of the enemy.  However, my killings were all done for good purposes. I have never killed or hurt anyone without good reason,...."

One must remember that the world that Nobunaga and Toshiie lived in, the sword was mightier than the pen.  Bloodshed was king.

Owari ni hikari wo

Nobunaga no tame!

Friday, February 1, 2013


Today I will write the entire passage of the Battle of Muraki (1554) that is written in the Shincho-Ko-ki.

Gyuichi (Elisonas/Lamers) The Chronicle of Lord Nobunaga pp. 71-74.

"Around that time, the Suruga forces stationed at Okazaki attacked and seized the stronghold of Yamaoka [Dengoro] in Shigiwara.  They brought up reinforcements from Okazaki and turned Shigiwara into a base operation directed against the castle of Mizuno Kingo [Nobumoto] at Ogawa.  Next the Suruga forces built a stronghold at a place called Muraki and entrenched themselves there.  The defenders of nearby Teramoto Castle presented hostages and declared themselves loyal to Suruga.  Their defection meant that Nobunaga's access routes to Ogawa had been cut.

Oda Kazusa no Suke Nobunaga intended to take the field, strike at the enemy's rear, and relieve Ogawa, but he was concerned lest his enemies in Kiyosu take advantage of his absence to attack Nagoya and set fire to the townspeople's residential quarters there.  He therefore sent his father-in-law, Saito Yamashiro Dosan, a request to provide him with military support in the form of a temporary garrison.

On the 18th of the First Month, [Tenbun 23 (1554)], Dosan dispatched about a thousand men to guard Nagoya Castle in Nobunaga's absence.  This force was commanded by Ando Iga no Kami [Morinari], who was assisted by Tamiya, Koyama, Ansai, Kumazawa, and Monotori Shingo.  Dosan had instructed these men to send him daily reports of their observations.  All the reinforcements reached Owari on the 20th of the First Month.  Nobunaga had them pitch camp at the hamlets of Shiga and Tabata, not far from Nagoya.  That same day he came to inspect their encampments and paid his respects to Andi Iga.

The next day, just when Nobunaga was ready to take the field, his first house elder, Hayashi Shingoro [Hidesada], and Hayashi's younger brother brother, Mimasaka no Kami, suddenly declared their dissatisfaction and withdrew to the fort of their auxilary Maeda Yojuro at Arako.  When Nobunaga's remaing house elders asked him what he was going to do now, he assured them that whatever had happened, everything was fine with him.  So the operation began.  That day Nobunaga rode a horse called Monokawa.  He spent the night of the 21st of the First Month in Atsuta.

On the 22nd, an extraordinary violent storm raged.  'Your Lordship cannot possibly cross the sea today,' the local sailors and helmsmen told Nobunaga.  'Their must have been a similarly strong wind wind a long time ago,' he replied, 'when the Minamoto generals quarreled over the back oars at Watanabe and Fukushima.  I absolutely have to make the crossing today, no matter what, so bring out your ships.'  Defying reason, Nobunaga made the crossing roughly twenty leagues [eighty kilometers] in barely one hour.  That day he had his men pitch a field camp, while he himself went directly to Ogawa to meet with Mizuno Shimotsusuke no Kami [Nobumoto].  After having been briefed in detail on the situation in the area, Nobunaga spent the night at Ogawa.

On the 24th of the First month, at first light, Nobunaga left Ogawa in order to launch an attack on Muraki Castle, which was held by Suruga forces.  The north side of this castle was fully protected by a natural barrier and was therefore left undefended.  On the east was the main entry, while the postern was on the west.  The south side was heavily fortified and protected by a great moat.  The moat, engineered carefully--its bed had the contour of a turtle's belly--was so wide that one could barely see the other side.  Kazusa no Suke Nobunaga himself took responsibility for the south side of the castle, the most difficult point of attack, and assigned his troops their objectives.  His young samurai competed with one another in trying to scale the battlements; if they were pushed off, they immediately scrambled back up, suffering heavy casualties in killed and wounded.  After moving to the edge of the moat, Nobunaga stated that he would take it upon himself to silence three enemy loopholes and kept them under constant fire by exchanging one loaded harquebus for another again and again.  Because Lord Kazusa no Suke was issuing orders to them in person, his men vied with each other to excel.  Inspired by his presence, they rushed to the assault, seized the moat, and cast down anyone and anything that stood in their way. The rear gate on the west side was Lord Oda Magosaburo's objective, and his men,too fought their way toward the castle.  The first to force his way into the outer ring was Rokushika.  The main gate on the east side was the objective of Mizuno Kingo.

The men inside the castle put up a peerless defense, but Nobunaga's relentless assault produced so many casualties, gradually decimating the defenders, that in the end they surrendered, presenting various apologies.  To finish them off to the last man would have been standard operating procedure.  But the dead and wounded already lay in heaps; moreover, dusk had fallen.  So Nobunaga instructed Mizuno Kingo to comply with the prisoners' pleas for mercy.  A countless number of Nobunaga's pages and other leading retainers were among the casualties, a sight too horrible for the eyes.

Nobunaga had opened the assault on the castle at the Hour of the Dragon [around 8 a.m.] and continued attacking until the Hour of the Monkey [around 4 p.m.], when the issue was settled to his contentment.  He returned to his field headquarters, where he issued orders regarding this and that while tears of joy streamed down his face.  The following day, Nobunaga conducted an operation against Teramoto Castle.  He set fire to its foot and then returned to Nagoya from his campaign.

On the 26th of the First Month, Nobunaga went to the camp of Ando Iga no Kami to thank him for his assistance on this occasion.  On the 27th the reinforcements from Mino departed.  What Ando Iga no Kami later briefed Dosan in detail on Nobunaga's words of thanks, on how he had crossed the sea in a raging storm, and on the outcome of his attack on Muraki, Dosan is reported to have said, 'That man scares me.  What a pain to have him as a neighbor!'"

Owari ni hikari wo

Tenka no tame!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Atsuta Shrine News

Early this morning while on Facebook, my good friend Hideyasu from Mikawa-hide posted an article that caught my attention right away.  When Nobunaga stopped at Atsuta Shrine to pray for victory during the Battle of Okehazama in 1560, he supposedly prayed at Kami Chikama at Atsuta Shrine.  According to my friend's post, this picture you see here is not at its original position.  Kami Chikama was located about 150 meters south of the shrine during the Sengoku Era.  The shrine was moved to its current location in the 24th year of the Showa or 1949.  Unfortunately, there is not landmark at its old position.

The Shincho-Ko ki on Nobunaga's visit (Elisonas/Lamers, p. 87)

"Nobunaga and his following, six horsemen in all, quickly covered the three leagues to Atsuta.  When Nobunaga stood in front of the Gendayu Shrine (another name for Kami Chikama) at the Hour of the Dragon [around 8 a.m.] and looked to the east,...."

Owari ni hikari wo.

Nobunaga no tame!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Nobunaga's Birth I

Still to this day, Nobunaga's birth place is a mystery.  Is is Nagoya Castle or Shobata Castle?  It the past, Nagoya was standard birth place, but now Shobata is excepted and is the new standard.  In fact, there is news that statues of Nobunaga's parents with the baby will be erected at the Shobata Castle landmark.  To tell you the truth, I am still confident that Nagoya Castle is the birth place of the Uesama.

Back in 1532, Nobunaga's father took over Yanagi no maru after he banished Imagawa Ujitoyo (Imagawa Yoshimoto's younger brother) during a linked haiku party.  After he got rid of Ujitoyo, the castle was renamed Nagoya. This makes Nagoya as Nobunaga's birthplace.  His birth date is also is question.  He was born in 1534, but the dates are many.  May 12 is the standard, but the 11th and 28 is also noted.

However, it is said that Nobuhide took over the castle in the late 1530s.  Thus, making Shobata the birthplace.  Oda Nobunaga historian Taniguchi Katsuhiro thinks Shobata is the place.  See his book Owari*Oda Ichizoku if you think Shobata is the place.

As stated above, I think Nagoya is the birthplace of the Uesama.  It just makes sense since it was the strongest castle at the time under Nobuhide's control. More importantly, it was centrally located in Owari surrounded by other Oda castles.  Another factor is historian Owada Tetsuo.  His work on Nobunaga has him always listed the birthplace Nagoya and usually trust his work.

The debate still goes on today and I am very flexible enough to know that Shobata Castle might be Nobunaga's birthplace. However, I am still not sold on it at the time being.  Nagoya for now.

I did write a post on this back in 2007.

Owari ni hikari wo.

Tenka no tame!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Sekigahara Book

There will be a new book on the Battle of Sekigahara out very soon.  Mr. Chris Glenn is the author of the book and here is the link:

Tony Bryant's book Sekigahara 1600: The Final Struggle For Power is the English standard bearer.  It is very good and highly recommended.  I learned a lot from Tony's book and and used his book when visiting the battlefield in 2000-1.  Without his book, I would have never known about Sekigahara  Warland.  I highly recommend a visit there, even if it is a bit tacky.  His book was the real motivator to visit the battlefield in the first place.  Thanks Tony.

The big question now is what will Chris bring to the table?  If it is true and his book will bring a new fresh take on the battle with new information and tidbits, then it will be a success.  I hope so.  One of my main concerns will be the bibliography.  Is the bibliography going to be both English and Japanese with current and reliable works from the big shot historians such as Owada Tetsuo and the gang.  Again, I hope so.  When I was writing my book on the Battle of Okehazama, I made sure I had the most reliable sources I had in both languages.  To tell you the true, it was not easy.

I hope Chris's new book will open many new doors to the battle and bring in a fresh debate on the battle.  I have to admit, I only know the basics because the Battle of Sekigahara is not my cup of tea.  Oda Nobunaga is my cup of tea.  Hopefully, Chris's book will expand my knowledge on the battle.  I wish the new author nothing but success.

Owari ni hikari wo.

Nobunaga no tame!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy 2013

Siege warfare is not pretty.  It is nasty, cruel, dirty, yet effective and neccessary.  This passage from David D. Neilson's Society at War explains it is over for those on the top.  Unfortunately, even the women and children were not immune from the Uesama's warpath to unification.

Neilson (p. 236)

"On the seventeenth of January 1580, the wife of Besho Yamashiro gathered her three children, two boys and one girl around her.  She then took a knife and stabbed each of them to death before cutting her own throat.  Their deaths as well as those of a number of other prominent members of the Besho Clan were part of a negotiated peace settlement that ended a siege of their castle that had seen the garrison survive for most of a year after their food supply lines had been severed.  Those in the castle had been reduced to eating the bark of trees and digging for the roots of the grasses in order to survive.  Scenes such as this were not unusual during the early years of the unification process and were repeated throughout the realm as Nobunaga's rapidly expanding hegemony in central Japan began to show ambitions of going national in its scope."

If you were an enemy of the Uesama and he has you surrounded.  You were done. Forget about it and no questions asked. Many killed themselves so they will not be publicly humiliated while being executed.  Life at the top might have been great, but when it was over, it was over.  Nobunaga had to do anything it took to unify Japan and was successful at it.

Tenka no tame!