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!


D_A Renoir said...

Hahah, I suppose it's to be expected that you'd like it because you're a Nouhime fan XD

I couldn't stand the awkwardness of the writing and the way the names are written (Nobukatsu as Lord Tea-whisk is particularly bad), so I pretty much end up laughing all the way through the book and I cannot concentrate on the story. I consider those major drawbacks on the book D:

Eleonora Nappi said...

"I must say that Kicho&Nobunaga is one of the better Sengoku fiction/historical novels."


otsuke said...

The names were annoying. However, the novel was still easy to understand. it is the only novel in English on Nohime and it might provide clues on what her life was like.

Eleonora Nappi said...

It's easy to understand because it's badly written (or probably it's just badly translated... I had the same issue with "The Samurai Banner of Furin Kazan"... It felt like it was written by a student from Junior High).

Plus, I don't think that a novel, that even according to the author is just a fictional story, could be of any relevance on historical matters like "the life of Nouhime", that I bet was boring like hell, like the life of every average princess of the time.

D_A Renoir said...

Really? It's nothing that I've never seen before in regards of the depiction of Nouhime.

Anyone can write all sorts of fluff based on complete imagination, because there's no real substantial information about Nouhime's life :P

I mean, I can write this novel about Akechi being jealous of Ranmaru because he loves Nobunaga and rebelling because of that, but that is not in any way based on reliable information! XDDD

otsuke said...

I think the author, Mrs Komonz probably has some sources that we or even Japanese historians know about. That is my opinion.

Eleonora Nappi said...

I think that most of it comes out of pure imagination.
Squeezing a character in a plausible situation according to historical facts is just the base of such novels. It works not because there's any evidence, but exactly because there isn't.

otsuke said...

Well novels gives the historian better clues than most dry academic works due to its flexibility and creativity. The Okehazama novelthat I am writing right now will give the historian everything they want.

Eleonora Nappi said...

I don't think that making things up can be considered any clue of sort.

Like D_A Renoir said before, even I could write a story about Nobunaga and Toshiie sharing a passionate lovestory and make it perfectly plausible, but it wouldn't mean that it's the real thing, or that I'm better than an historian because I'm more creative and "fresh" in my writing.

D_A Renoir said...

Clues about WHAT? O_o

If those "clues" are based on imagination and "creativity", then isn't that just fiction?

Fiction ≠ information. It's entertaining, but it won't give you anything substantial.

otsuke said...

Sorry for not replying earlier. I was at the Naval hospital. As for Toshiie, Neilson's thesis, Society at War has a lot of information. The Bukoyawa has been used a lot for novels and movies even though it is blacklisted by historians.

Eleonora Nappi said...

Sorry to know that, I hope that you're allright now :o !

The Bukoyawa, uh..? Well, as it's available in Japanese only I can't do anything about it XD
Speaking of obscure books, do you have something on the 亜相公御夜話 (I don't even know how to read that XD)..? It's where the wakashudo relationship of Nobunaga and Toshiie was mentioned, I like the subject ^_^

D_A Renoir said...

@Dae: Weblio gives the reading as "Ashoko On-yobanashi"

I tried looking up that title on Google and it gives me really funny blog posts O___o

otsuke said...

As for Maeda Toshiie, I have been to Arako the past couple of years. Now there is a statue of Toshiie's wife Matsu in front of Arako station.

Eleonora Nappi said...

@D_A Renoir
"I tried looking up that title on Google and it gives me really funny blog posts O___o"
Yes, I found those too x'DDD They made me really curious about its contents, at this point XDD

"As for Maeda Toshiie, I have been to Arako the past couple of years."
I was thinking about doing the same, I found also this route on NagoyaTabi: , but I think that I will focus more on Nobunaga and the temples related to his youth that I missed on my first trip instead :3 !

D_A Renoir said...

@Dae: Haha, it's good that you like them... because those posts scare me. I don't think I really want to know. My mind is already weird enough as it were. I don't want it to go even weirder.