Sunday, January 11, 2015

Ukino I

Here is the English translation of the Battle of Ukino in 1558.  This was one of the first translations I did of the Shincho-Ko ki while studying at the University of Gifu almost fifteen years ago.  This passage however is translated by Lamers and Elisonas.  The Chronicle of Lord Nobunaga (pp., 105-6)

"The following took place on the 12th of the Seventh Month [Eiroku 1 (1558)].  The distance between Kiyosu and Iwakura was no more than thirty cho, but it was difficult terrain.  Nobunaga therefore conducted an envelopment operation traversing more than three leagues, maneuvered his troops to the other side of Iwakura, and occupied a favorable position.  Advancing from that foothold, he deployed at a place called Ukino.  When Nobunaga sent his light infantry forward, some three thousand defenders sortied spiritedly from Iwakura Castle, eager to bar the way.

On the 12th of the Seventh Month, at the Hour of the Horse, Nobunaga launched his attack toward the southeast.  After some hours of fighting, the enemy was routed.  As a man called Hayashi Yashihiro, a native of the village of Asano who was a famous archer was fleeing from the battlefield with his bow, Hashimoto Ippa, the famous harquebusier went for him.  Since they were long-time friends, Yashichiro shouted to Ippa, 'I'm not about to spare your life!'  'Understood,' was the response.  Yashichiro nocked a shaft fitted with an arrowhead about four sun [twelve centimeters] long to his bow, turned back, and sent the arrow flying deep into Ippa's armpit.  But Ippa, who had loaded his harquebus with a double charge, took aim and fired, too.  Yashichiro fell to the ground.  Right then, one of Nobunaga's pages, Sawaki Tohachi, rushed to the scene with the intention of taking Hayashi's head.  Still lying on the ground, Yashichiro managed to unsheathe his sword and strike Tohachi at the left elbow, lopping off the forearm along with the gaunlet.  But Tohachi, far from giving up, kept at it and finally took his head.  Hayashi Yashichiro was a great swordsman as well as an unparalleled archer.

That same day Nobunaga pulled his troops back to Kiyosu.  The next day he conducted the inspection of the heads taken.  There were more than 1,250 heads of accomplished samurai."

Tenka no tame!

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