Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Sunomata Summary

If wants to get a clear picture of the Battle of Sunomata or the construction of the fort, look to David D. Neilson's paper, Society at War.  The construction of the fort took months of planning and Nobunaga again used the Men of the Fields to do the job.

Neilson, p. 217  "Despite the fact that Sunomata was a defensive battle with an established perimeter, the situation here was much different than say, a siege of a castle.  In a castle siege the castle was surrounded by the enemy and the food and sometimes, the water supplies were cut off.  many sieges lasted for months and sometimes, more than a year before the besieged were starved into submission.  The fort at Sunomata was a forward outpost that was backed up to a river the opposite side of which was friendly territory.  Unless the Saito were willing and able to send their people into Owari and attack back across the river, which would have meant risking contact with Oda forces that were already gathering in the area, supply lines into Sunomata and escape routes into Owari were in no danger being cut off. Once the fortifications were in place, if the defenders of the Fort at Sunomata allocated their people and firepower wisely, control of the battlefield would have been theirs."

Sunomata was not a battle to kill the enemy as soon as they are found, but sneaking into enemy territory and securing the cooperation of the population.

Firearms was the main weapon used at Sunomata and there were about 500 or so used at the battle.   Quite a bit of rifles.  The Men of the Fields were also arms dealers and had the wealth and military power to be independent from daimyo control.  Nobunaga at the time needed their financial and military resources that they controlled at the times.  He tried to bring the Men of the Fields under his control earlier in his career, but at the time he could not be so picky.

Tenka no tame!

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Improvements at Sokenin

There has been major improvements at Daitokuji's Sokenin.  While in Japan in May, I visited Sokenin on their Spring opening.  The improvements has been the grave markers on Nobunaga's women.  The graves of Nohime, Onabe no kata, and Nobunaga's daughter Gotoku all have a name tage besides their grave.  This has been a major improvement since before the tags were in place, one had to ask where the tombstone was.  With the tags, one now can identify Nobunaga's women.

Nobunaga no tame!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Luis Frois

This is a statute of the Portuguese Jesuit missionary Luis Frois (1532-97) located at the Gifu City Museum of History.

Frois was born in Lisbon, Portugal in 1532 and first arrived in Japan in 1563, the same year that Nobunaga moved his headquarters from Kiyosu to Komaki.  In 1569, Frois first saw Nobunaga in person in Kyoto.  That day, Nobunaga was constructing Nijo Castle for shogun Ashikaga Yoshiaki.  It was noted in Frois's writings that one of Nobunaga's soldiers was harassing a young woman.  Nobunaga saw this and took immediate action as he chopped off the soldier's head in one single stroke of the blade.  Later in 1569, Frois visited Nobunaga again in Gifu.  He described Gifu as ancient Babylon.  Frois is one of the few foreigners who have met with Nobunaga on a consistent basis and has several writings on the meetings with the Uesama.

Tenka no tame!

Friday, June 8, 2018

Mitsuhide Talk

There will be a seminar on Akechi Mitsuhide on August 4th and 5th this year.  On the 4th, it will be held at Mizunami Cultural Center.  As usual, Owada Tetsuo is the leading guest speaker.  This will lead up to the 2020 Mitsuhide Taiga drama.

Nobunaga no tame!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Roads that lead to Okehazama

On my recent trip back to the Okehazama battlefield, I learned that here are two roads in the back of the Arimatsu Okehazama Battlefield Park.  The photo below is the Mikawa Michi.  During the time of the Battle of Okehazama, the road was extremely small and narrow.

This is the Chikazaki Michi which is below the Mikawa Michi.  These two roads connected.  Mikawa Michi stands out for me.  When the Kajino's told me how small and narrow the road was at the time, I was shocked.  Again, over time, the geography has changed, but not the secrets of the Battle of Okehazama.

Tenka no tame!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Okehazama 2018

I just returned home from another fantastic trip to Japan and already planning for next year.  The Arimatsu Okehazama Festival will be held this weekend.  Last weekend I was able to attend the Toyoake City festival, a beautiful festival it was.

I did a walking tour with the Kajino family and I will write about that in the near future.  I want to write about news that the Rokkaku from southern Omi did provide Nobunaga some assistance during the Battle of Okehazama.  According to the Chofukuji Temple, there is some relics that belong to a retainer of the Rokkaku who was killed in action at Okehazama.  That is news indeed.  The question is how did the Rokkaku know about the Imagawa campaign?

This brings me back to the Men of the Fields and their meeting at Ikoma mansion for Nobunaga's dance party.  Hachisuka Koroku and Maeno Shoemon usually had Hideyoshi with them when meeting with Nobunaga.  Without Hideyoshi, the two felt nervous and uneasy when meeting Nobunaga alone.  Guess what?  It happened.  Hideyoshi was not there at the dance party and Koroku and Shoemon had to meet with Nobunaga directly.  Where was Hideyoshi that night?  Kiyosu Castle?  Or requesting help from southern Omi?  It is a stretch, but it is quite possible that Nobunaga did request help from the Rokkaku using Hideyoshi as a messenger.  As for me, I am open about it.  Possible, but chances are not that high.

Nobunaga no tame!

Sunday, May 6, 2018

2018 Azuchi Matsuri

The 2018 Azuchi Nobunaga Festival will be held on Sunday June 3rd.  Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend due to the Toyoake Okehazama Festival.  That being said, this is one of the better Nobunaga festivals that is held in Japan.  Also I will be able to make a trip to Azuchi later this month.

Link: http://www.azuchi-shiga.com

Tenka no tame!

Friday, May 4, 2018

Sena Ujitoshi's Bucket

May is the Battle of Okehazama month and I will be at the battlefield on May 19th.  That being said, here is a picture of the bucket that Imagawa retainer Sena Ujitoshi presented to Shinmei Shrine as a gift to the gods right before the Battle of Okehazama.  Ujitoshi's camp was not far from the shrine and his camp was 49 by 125 feet in length.  Ujitoshi later served under the Takeda after the Battle of Okehazama.

Nobunaga no tame!

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Ryusenji and Nobuyuki

Just before Nobunaga assassinated his younger brother Nobuyuki in 1557, Nobuyuki practically turned Ryusenji into a fort.  This made Nobunaga angry.  He already forgave Nobuyuki the first time for treason, second time, no way!  Nobuyuki written his death sentence with the second rebellion.

Photo above is Ryusenji.

Ota Gyuichi Chronicle of Lord Nobunaga (Shincho-Ko ki) p. 93.

"The younger brother of Lord Kazusa no Suke Nobunaga, Lord Kanjuro, built up the Ryusenji, turning that temple into a fort.  He and Oda Ise no Kami (Nobukata) of Iwakura, who controlled the upper districts of Owari, had entered into an agreement to invade the Three Villages of of Shinoki, a fine estate that was part of Nobunaga's immediate domain."

Tenka no tame!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Arimatsu Okehazama 2018

The 2018 Arimatsu Okehazama Festival will be held on Sunday June 10th.  I have been to the festival before and it is one of the better Nobunaga festivals in the country.  I will be in Japan, but will unfortunately will miss it.  However, I will be at the Toyoake City Okehazama Festival earlier in the month.


Nobunaga no tame!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Nobunaga and Yoshiteru

In 1559, Nobunaga made his first trip to Kyoto with a selected few men.  There, he met shogun Ashikaga Yoshiteru in person.  A rare event indeed.

Ota Gyuichi Shincho-Ko ki (The Chronicle of Lord Nobunaga) pp. 93-4.

"All of a sudden Lord Kazusa no Suke announced that he would go up to Kyoto and drew up a list of eighty men selected to accompany him.  After touring the capital city, Nara, and Sakai, he made a courtesy call on the shogun, Kogenin Yoshiteru, and sojourned in Kyoto.  This was a truly festive occasion, and Nobunaga had outfitted himself accordingly.  He bore a great sword that had a gold-encrusted sheath and was fitted with a sword guard shaped like a wheel.  All of his escorts, too, bore swords with gold-encrusted sheaths."

The woodblock print above is from the Ehon Taikoki.

Tenka no tame!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Mitsuhide Drama

There is finally some good news on the NHK Taiga front.  In 2020, there will be a Taiga drama on one of Nobunaga's capatains, Akechi Mitsuhide.  If NHK puts the money and quality into this project, this drama will be a winner.  I am looking forward to this.

Link: http://www6.nhk.or.jp/nhkpr/post/original.html?i=14251

Nobunaga no tame!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Anegawa, Nomura, and Mitamura

Nobunaga and Tokugawa Ieyasu scored a victory at the Battle of Anegawa over the Azai/Asakura in 1570.  Depending where the armies were stationed at, the name is different.  Nobunaga's position was stationed at Nomura.  So the Oda and Azai armies fought at Nomura at Anegawa (Nomura Kassen).  Ieyasu's position was Mitamura.  Again, the Tokugawa and Asakura armies fought at Mitamura at Anegawa (Mitamura Kassen).

Tenka no tame!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Okehazama at Kiyosu

Kiyosu Castle will be hosting a mock Battle of Okehazama next month.  This is fantastic news.  The event will be held on May 20th at Kiyosu Castle.  I do plan to attend this event.

Link: https://t.co/YtDtJrJ6Af

Nobunaga no tame!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Spring at Sokenin

For those who are in Kyoto this early spring are in for a real treat.  Daitokuji's Sokenin will be open for a short time.  Staring March 24th to May 26th, one can see a wooden statue of Nobunaga (picture above), graves of the Oda family, graves of Nohime and Onabe no Kata.  That being said, most of the time Sokenin will only be open on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays.  I plan to visit Sokenin in May for sure.

Link: http://kyotoshunju.com/?temple=daitokuji-sokenin

Tenka no tame!

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Ehon Taikoki Okehazama

These three Okehazama woodblock prints are from the Ehon Taikoki.  The top print is Nobunaga singing and dancing to Atsumori.  The second print is Nobunaga praying at Atsuta Shrine.  The third is Imagawa Yoshimoto's death.  Happy Easter to you all and God Bless!

Nobunaga no tame!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Discovery at Omizo Castle

News related to Nobunaga's cousin, Oda Nobuzumi on his castle Omizo.  According to the archaeological discovery at Omizo, the castle was built with the Azuchi method.  Omizo Castle was located on the western side of Lake Biwa.  With Hideyoshi located at the north with Nagahama, Nobunaga with Azuchi at the east, and Mitsuhide at the south with Sakamoto, it created a diamond around Lake Biwa.

Link: https://t.co/cvdV9rxjuT

Tenka no tame!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Okehazama Talk in April

Okehazama and local Nobunaga historian Seishiro Mizuno will host a seminar on the Battle of Okehazama in April.  The seminar will be held on April 28th, at the Meito Cultural hall near the Nagoya subway station Kamiyashiro.  If you are in the Nagoya area during this time, by all means go.  His last seminar on the Battle of Inou and Shibata Katsuie was a huge success.

Nobunaga no tame!

Friday, March 2, 2018

Nobunaga and Kozuke

The Gunma Prefectural Museum of History will host a special exhibition Oda Nobunaga to Kozuke kuni.  Nobunaga and Kozuke domain will be held March 17th to May 13th.


Tenka no tame!

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Shiga Castle

Shiga Castle was the home of Nobunaga's elder adviser Hirate Masahide (1492-1553).  Masahide excelled in diplomacy, poetry, and the tea ceremony.  While Nobunaga's father Nobuhide was still alive, he asked Masahide to work out a peace agreement with the Kiyosu faction in the late 1540s.  At first, it stalled, but Masahide eventually made the two parties agree to a deal.  More importantly, Masahide worked out another deal with Saito Dosan of Mino to allow Nobunaga to marry Dosan's daughter Nohime.  After Masahide's death in 1553, Nobunaga built a temple for him Seishuji.  His grave however was moved to Tounji.

Nobunaga no tame!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Nobunaga's Kyoto Parade

I have never really touched on Nobunaga's famous Kyoto Parade which was held in 1581.  As of today, it is still debated whether or not Nobunaga's real intention was to scare the living hell out of the Imperial household into submission.

Lamers Japonius Tyrannus (206-7)

"Nobunaga staged a military parade in Kyoto in March 1581 as a formal celebration of the Honganji's defeat.  It was unquestionably the ceremonial crowing of Nobunaga's career.  Of special interest is that Nobunaga carefully wove strands of Imperial fabric into the carpet of magnificence he unrolled on the streets of Japan's capital."

Nobunaga ordered Akechi Mitsuhide to organize the parade.  Nobunaga left his Kyoto headquarters Honnoji around eight in the morning on his horse Daikoku.  As for the picture above here is a list:

  1. Emperor Ogimachi
  2. Prince Sanehito
  3. Oda Nobunaga
  4. Spectators
  5. Emperor's temporary residence
  6. Court ladies
  7. The military horse parade
  8. Courtiers
  9. Imperial Palace
Tenka no tame!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Samonji Sword News

Big news out of Shizuoka as swordsmiths are trying to replicate Yoshimoto's Samonji sword for his 500th anniversary of his birth.  Yoshimoto was in possession of the sword during the Battle of Okehazama.  The sword was two feet six inches in length.  After Yoshimoto's death at Okehazama, the sword was in the hands of Nobunaga.  He later cut down the length to two feet two inches.

Link:  https://t.co/78stXYzDWb

Nobunaga no tame! 

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Oda Nobuhide Book Review

Title: Tenkajin no Chichi Oda Nobuhide
Author: Taniguchi Katsuhiro
Publisher: Yodensha
Year: 2017
Pages: 254

I received Taniguchi Katsuhiro's new book on Oda Nobuhide in the mail last year.  So far, the book is a must have for any scholar on Oda Nobunaga.  The book's bibliography is no exception.  It is extensive and Taniguchi used everything he could get his hands on.

If there is anything that stood out in the book, it is on page 205.  Nobuhide moved often and only in Owari.  Shobata, Nagoya, Furuwatari, and Suemori.  Nobuhide moved from western Owari near Mino to eastern Owari near Mikawa.  Here is my opinion on this.  After his alliance with Saito Dosan, Nobuhide had is back somewhat protected.  The real threat came from the Imagawa and Nobuhide moved his headquarters to Suemori to be ready for them when the time came.

Nobunaga saw this too when he was young and no doubt had an effect on him.  He too, moved often. Nagoya, Kiyosu, Komaki, Gifu, and Azuchi.  Nagoya, Kiyosu, and Komaki are in Owari while Gifu is in Mino and Azuchi is in Omi.  Nobunaga moved for military, political, and economic reasons.

Tenka no tame!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018


This is an old photo of the Okehazama Battlefield.  Dengakutsubo is supposedly where Yoshimoto made his last stand at the Battle of Okehazama.  The photo was probably taken during the Taisho/Showa Era.  One can notice how rural and virgin the area was.

Other news related to Nobunaga, if one is in Kyoto right now, the Teramachi Honnoji is having a spring treasure display of Nobunaga's last tea ceremony until April 22nd.  I highly recommend this.
Link to Honnoji display:  https://t.co/UmoGMD1R39

Nobunaga no tame!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Old Okehazama Photos

I am slowly working on a picture book on the Battle of Okehazama.  When will the book be finished?  I do not know.  That being said I received some old photos from the Kajino family on Okehazama.  These photos are from Sakakibara Kunihiko Okehazama Kassen Shashin Shu, which was published in 1993.  Mr. Sakakibara has another book on Okehazama, Okehazama Kassen Kenkyu, a book I highly recommend.

The first photo above is the old Okehazama Battlefield Park.  You will notice right away there is not much modern development.  The second photo is Narumi Castle.  The landmark area almost looks completely virgin.  What I like about the photos is that it gives us historians some clues what the battlefield might have looked like before modern development.  It was still extremely rural.

Tenka no tame!

Monday, January 8, 2018

Battle of Inou Seminar

My good friend and Battle of Okehazama colleague Seishiro Mizuno will be hosting a seminar on the Battle of Inou, Nobunaga, Shibata Katsuie, and Suemori Castle.  The seminar will be held on March 2nd, near Nagoya subway station Kamiyashiro at the Meito Cultural Hall.

If you are in the Nagoya area during this time, by all means go to the event.  It is free and you will learn  a lot on young Nobunaga during his pre-Battle of Okehazama days.

Nobunaga no tame!

Friday, January 5, 2018

Old Okehazama Guide

Here is an old Battle of Okehazama guide from the 6th year of Ansei (1859), called as Okehazama Kassen Enki (Kosenjozu).  It seems that this guide was sold just before you arrived at the battlefield.  I do have another link regarding to the Battle of Okehazama as well.

Link: http://www.nagoya-info.jp/nobunaga/nobunaga_kouro/

Tenka no tame!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy 2018

Happy 2018 to you all!

As always, every year I like to post a picture of Nobunaga's famous golden skulls display he held on New Year's at Gifu Castle in 1574.  The skulls of Azai Nagamasa, his father Hisamasa, and Asakura Yoshikage.

What does 2018 have in store for us Nobunaga fans? 2017 was Gifu's 450th anniversary.  2018 is another important milestone.  2018 will be the 450th anniversary when Nobunaga marched to Kyoto to help install the 15th and last Ashikaga shogun Yoshiaki.

During the Christmas break, I have been reading Taniguchi Katsuhiro's book on Nobunaga's father, Nobuhide.  It is not that bad and will write a small review soon.  I do highly recommend it.

Nobunaga no tame!