Monday, October 27, 2014

Sekigahara Book I

One of my Sengoku colleagues, Chris Glenn has his new book on the Battle of Sekigahara published and available to the public.  The price is kind of hefty, but I had a chance to look over a rough draft of the book last year while meeting with Chris in Japan.  From what I seen and read, the book will be a great read for those who love Sengoku Japan.

Nobunaga no tame!

Gifu Flower Dolls

Fall is a special time of the year in Japan.  The weather is cooler and nature shows its true beauty.  It is no different in Gifu.  If you are in the Gifu Castle Park vicinity, please see the Chrysanthemum flower dolls.  Nobunaga, Nohime, and several others make their appearance.  It is truly a work of art.  I was lucky to visit Gifu around this time last year.  The flower dolls are displayed for public viewing until November 24th.

Tenka no tame!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Sakuma Morishige Print

Just in time for Halloween, a print showing Nobunaga's retainer Sakuma Morishige drinking blood from a decapitated head!  Now, Sakuma Daigaku Morishige (?-1560) had an interesting career for the Oda.  He served under both Oda Nobuhide and Nobunaga.  During the Battle of Ino in 1556, Nobunaga put Morishige in charge of Fort Nazuka near the Odai River in Owari.  Later, in the battle, Morishige took the head of Hashimoto Juzo.  In 1560, he was in charge of Fort Marune.  On the eve of the Battle of Okehazama, Matsudaira Motoyasu attacked Fort Marune and Sakuma Morishige was killed in action.

Nobunaga no tame!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Imagawa Yoshimoto Print

Earlier this month I received my Imagawa Yoshimoto Battle of Okehazama Print.  The print is a reproduction.  Yoshimoto's name is located in the upper left hand corner in yellow.  This is the first print I own related to the Battle of Okehazama.  I own lots of photos (old and recent) and postcards related to the battle as well.  Once Nobunaga defeated and killed Yoshimoto at the Battle of Okehazama in 1560, Sengoku Japan changed forever.

Here are three books on Imagawa Yoshimoto I recommend for further reading:

Owada Tetsuo: Imagawa Yoshimoto no Subete, 1994.
Owada Tetsuo: Imagawa Yoshimoto, 2004.
Arimitsu Yugaku: Imagawa Yoshimoto, 2008.

Tenka no tame!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Jeroen Lamers

The Asahi Shimbun has a great article on Nobunaga's biographer, Jeroen Lamers.  Mr. Lamers has written Japonius Tyrannus: The Japanese warlord Oda Nobunaga reconsidered and the English version of The Chronicle of Lord Nobunaga.  Here is one line that stands out: "His paper depicted the samurai lord (Nobunaga) not as a genius or an oppressor, but as a more realistic individual with his own personal struggles."

I would like to see Lamers work on Oze Hoan's Shinchoki in the near future.


Nobunaga no tame!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Gifu Castle Link

Gifu Castle Kyokan has updated their link.

The link includes the history of Gifu Castle, the relationship of Saito Dosan and Oda Nobunaga, and pictures of the archaeological work being done around Gifu Castle Park.

Tenka no tame!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

2014 Soken-in Temple

If you are in Kyoto between early October to early December, I suggest you visit Soken-in Temple located at Daitokuji.  Soken-in is only open to the public in the fall.  It has a huge statue of Oda Nobunaga, his grave along with his sons, the grave of his daughter Gotoku, and the grave of his wife Nohime and concubine Onabe no Kata.  I usually visit Soken-in every year since it is a rare treat.  The temple also has beautiful tea rooms as well.  Usually, there is a volunteer (Japanese only) who guides you along with a group through the temple grounds.

Here a post from last year:

Nobunaga no tame!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Chosokabe Letter I

The Chosokabe letter is back in the news again and there is a link in English explains the letter.

Read the link and what is your opinion?

Now I am no expert on the Honnoji Rebellion.  My focus is mainly on young Nobunaga and the Battle of Okehazama.  That being said, I do have the best paper in English on the Honnoji Rebellion, Toki wa Ima by Brandon Schindewolf.  Here is my opinion on this subject.  The Chosokabe first refused Nobunaga's offer and later changed their minds at the last minute in order to survive (at least keep some of their lands in Shikoku.  In reality, they were second or third rate at best).

Tenka no tame!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Kicho&Nobunaga Review

Author: Rumi Komonz
Publisher: Balboa Press
Published: 2011
Pages: 139

I received Rumi Komonz's Kicho&Nobunaga as a Christmas gift last year.  After reading the book many times and going through each page carefully, I must say that Kicho&Nobunaga is one of the better Sengoku fiction/historical novels.  The story is about Nobunaga's wife, Nohime (1535-1612), who came from Mino Province during the Sengoku Era.  She was brave, beautiful, and intelligent.  That being said, she was barren and desperately wanted her own child.  Unfortunately, it never happened.  Nohime finds out quickly Nobunaga was no fool, brave, odd, smart, cunning, and saw the future better than most people.  She also know Nobunaga is cocky and overconfident which leads to his death.

If I had any complaints about this well written book, there are two.  First, some of the names do not have a long vowel symbol, which makes reading the novel a bit awkward.  For example, the Mori of western Japan is spelled Mohri and Omi is Ohmi.  Azuchi was spelled as Azchi.  One other problem was the names.  Mrs. Saucepan as Onabe no Kata (Nobunaga's concubine) and Lord Strange as Oda Nobutada (Nobunaga's oldest son).  Still, even with the minor setbacks, Kicho&Nobunaga is a great book.

The novel has a lot of positives.  It contains a character and key events list.  This makes the novel easier to understand.  It contains many of Nobunaga's key events such as Okehazama, the construction of Nijo mansion, the lacquered skulls at Gifu Castle in 1574, and of course, the Honnoji Rebellion.  Mrs. Komonz also explains Nohime's life after Nobunaga's death in which she became a nun and lived a quiet life.  Also Mrs. Komonz believes that Nohime held some secrets that are are not known and will never been known.  I tend to agree.

How well written was the novel?  Here are some other reviews:

"Experience the world of samurai." Yoko Pinkerson, author
"Love in the turbulent setting." Elizabeth Beattie, writer, Making Sense
"Beautiful and evocative." Victorian Writers' Centre

Out of five stars, I am giving Kicho&Nohime five out of five. *****

Kicho&Nobunaga is the only book in English that will give you all the details into Nohime's life as the wife of Oda Nobunaga.  More importantly, life as a woman in an era where the sword was mightier than the pen.

Nohime no tame!  Nobunaga no tame!  Tenka no tame!