Friday, July 19, 2019

Azuchi Festival 2019

This was a real treat for back in early June.  I was able to go to the Nobunaga Azuchi Festival for the first time.  Also it will not be the last.  Now, the town of Azuchi is usually dead quiet for most of the year.  The only day of the year Azuchi seem to get lively is the Azuchi Nobunaga Festival.

I arrived early in the morning and met a few of the Sengoku princess and warriors before the parade started.  Then the group gathered at a local temple for the opening ceremonies.  After that was over the parade began.  In fact, I was able to participate due to befriending one of the caretakers of the Azuchi Castle ruins.  Unfortunately, there were no matchlock rifles or the such, a big disappointment in my opinion since it is needed for a true Sengoku Era Matsuri.  Later I met Nobunaga, the lovely Nohime, and several other Sengoku Era historical figures.  I chatted with them on my work regarding the Battle of Okehazama.

Now, for all its worth, this is one of the better Nobunaga Festivals I have been to.  The Azuchi Nobunaga Matsuri is extremely local.  And on good day, one can see Nobunaga and his posse walk in the footsteps of history. 

Tenka no tame

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Ban Naoko

Who is Ban Naoko?  Ban Naoko was the younger sister of Nobunaga's retainer Ban Naomasa (?-1576).  Naomasa's wife was Shibata Katsuie's daughter.  Now back to Naoko.  She became one of Nobunaga's beautiful concubine and gave birth to a son Nobumasa in 1554.  Nobumasa (1554-1647) was born at Nagoya Castle and had his genpuku in 1566.  This is important since Nobumasa was born three years before Nobutada.  It is also safe to assume that Nobumasa was an illegitimate child.

Nobunaga no tame!

Friday, July 12, 2019

Old Photos of Marune and Washizu

Here are some old photos of Fort Marune and Fort Washizu.  The photo above is Fort Marune and that was taken in 1969.  The bottom photo is Fort Washizu.  Just by looking at the photos, the geography did not change much at the time.  The area was almost virgin to a degree.  The photos can give historians a clue on what the Battle of Okehazama was like.

Nobunaga built the two forts back in 1559, a year before the Battle of Okehazama.  He knew the Imagawa army was going to invade Owari, sooner, not later.  Sakuma Morishige was in charge of Fort Marune.  It was built to counter Odaka and Kutsukake Castle.  Morishige was killed in action during the Battle of Okehazama.  As for Washizu, Oda Genba and Iino Sadamune was put in charge of the fort.  Washizu was to counter Odaka and Narumi Castle.  Both Oda Genba and Iino Sadamune were killed in action at the Battle of Okehazama.

Tenka no tame!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

2020 Mitsuhide Taiga Gifu

For those who plan to visit Gifu in 2020, you are in for a real treat.  The Gifu City Museum of History will have a special display for the 2020 Akechi Mitsuhide Taiga drama.  This is good news.  From what I understand, the display will cover Nobunaga, Saito Dosan, and Mitsuhide.  Landmarks and temples include, Gifu Castle Park, Sofukuji, Jozaiji, and Ryushoji.  I have been to all of these places and plan to visit again next year.  As for the museum, Gifu has one of the best Sengoku Era related museums in Japan.  The second floor has a replica of what Gifu might have looked liked during the time of Nobunaga.  The small library is great too since you can read up on Nobunaga and other Sengoku Era battles.

Nobunaga no tame!

Friday, July 5, 2019

Okehazama Trip 2019

While in Japan in May and June I was able finally to visit Jigenji, a shine that Nobunaga allegedly visited during the Battle of Okehazama.  The only problem with Jigenji is where it is located.  Jigenji is is on the east side of Nagoya and far from the route that Nobunaga took during the Battle of Okehazama.  It is the least known shrines that Nobunaga visited during the Battle of Okehazama.  The known shrines Nobunaga visited during the battle were Enokihakusan Jinja, Hioki Shrine, and Atsuta Jingu.  Now it is confirmed that Nobunaga did in fact stopped at Jigenji.  Now the question is did Nobunaga visit before or after the battle?  At the moment, I am thinking after due to the location.

Just south of Atsuta Jingu is the location of the original Kami Chikuma no Yashiro.  Nobunaga did stop here for sure.  The picture of the building is where Nobunaga look towards the east and saw the smoke from Fort Washizu and Marune.  At that time, he knew the two forts were gone.

Tenka no tame!

Monday, July 1, 2019

Azuchi's Jogonin

In late May, I was able to visit Azuchi's Jogonin.  The temple is a Pure Land sect of Buddhism and it is about a 10 minute walk from JR Azuchi Station.  Why is Jogonin so important in Nobunaga's and Azuchi's history?  Answer: The Azuchi Disputation!  It started when two believers of the Lotus sect harass a preacher from the Pure Land sect.

The Chronicle of Lord Nobunaga, p. 316.
"The disputation took place in the Buddha Hall of the Jogon'in, a Pure Land temple on the outskirts of the town of Azuchi.  Oda Shichibyoe Nobuzumi, Suganoya Kuemon, Yabe Zenshichiro, Hori Kyutaro, and Hasegawa Take were put in charge of security inside the temple.  The Lotus sect appeared magnificently attired.  Its representatives were Nichiko of the Chomyoji, Jokoin, Kuon;in, Myokokuji (a younger brother of the Sakai merchant Aburaya), and Fuden.  Daizobo of the Myokenji acted as the scribe.  They brought the Lotus Sutra in eight scrolls, an ink stone, and paper with them."

In the end, Nobunaga declared the Pure Land sect's representative the winner and executed members of the Lotus team as a fraud.

Nobunaga no tame!

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Sone Castle

Sone Castle during the Sengoku Era was located in western Mino.  It was the home Inaba Ittetsu (Yoshimichi) 1515-88.  The castle was a flatland type and it was abandoned in 1601.  The castle ruins is located at Ogaki City in Gifu Prefecture.  Ittetsu served under the Toki, Saito Dosan, and Oda Nobunaga.  He went to Sofukuji Temple to become a monk.  However, during the Battle of Makita, several of his siblings were killed in action and some became the head of the Inaba house.  During the time of Nobunaga, he never left Sone Castle, that is he never moved to a new residence.  Nobunaga did this to provide stability in western Mino.

Tenka no tame!

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Nohime's Mother Omi no Kata

Picture of Nohime (1535-1612), Nobunaga's wife.

Nohime's mother Omi no Kata (1513-51) was the daughter of Akechi Mitsutsugu (1468-1538), the lord of Akechi Castle in Mino.  Omi no Kata's mother was possibly the daughter of Takeda Nobutoyo (Wakasa Takeda family).  In 1532, Omi no Kata married Saito Dosan of Mino and in 1535, she gave birth to a beautiful daughter Nohime.  Nohime would later marry Nobunaga in the late 1540s. Unfortunately, Omi no Kata died in 1551 due to lung disease.

Nobunaga no tame!

Friday, June 21, 2019

Zenkoji and Hokkeji

These are the pictures of Gifu's Zenkoji and Hokkeji I took awhile back.  Now these two temples are important and related to Nobunaga for one reason only.  The Kyoto noble Yamashina Tokitsugu.  When Tokitsugu made his trip from Kyoto to Gifu, he took the Nakasendo Highway.  He made three trips between 1569 to 1571.  His lodging in Gifu was Zenkoji near Inaba Jinja and Hokkeji.  While in Gifu, he was able to visit the castle and the town in general.  Nobunaga also gave him some hospitality as well.

Tenka no tame!

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Nobunaga and Asia

I rarely do not buy any historical conspiracy books, but ended up buying one since it was too good to pass up.  Moshi Honnoji no hen ga nakattara Nobunaga wa ajia wo douitsu shita by Izawa Motohiko is just that.  It was too good to pass up and bought it at a bookstore in Nagoya Station.  Basically, if Nobunaga escapes from the Honnoji or no rebellion at all, he has Asia under his control in the near future.

Some key points about the book.

  • 1582 Nobunaga escapes from the Honnoji and crushes Akechi Mitsuhide.
  • 1585 Nobunaga has Japan under his control.
  • 1587 Nobunaga attacks China by controlling Ninpo, a key port on the silk road.
  • 1589 Nobunaga attacks the Philippines.
  • 1592 Nobunaga marches to Europe.
The book is a stretch at times but the author backs it up with historical evidence from Nobunaga's past military experiences.  To be fair, I have met Izawa Motohiko.  He is a small potato, but a warm man.  I am still reading the book at the moment and finding it quite interesting.

Nobunaga no tame!

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Why Nobunaga was needed

During the middle of the 15th century and most of the 16th century, Japan was in a constant state of chaos and warfare.  The Ashikaga government was weak as well as the emperor.  If your lands and resources were taken over by a rival clan or warlord, you could not appeal to a higher authority for help since they were weak.  The central government had no monopoly to control the violence.  If you wanted to protect your land and resources, you either fight at all costs, create an alliance with a clan, or submit to a higher authority, which was costly.

The Sengoku Era was brutal and won ton violence was necessary.  That man who became the most ruthless warlord in Japan, Nobunaga was needed to unify the country.  The strongman always rises to the top when there is a constant state of warfare and chaos.  Nobunaga was that man.  Yes, he was one brutal and evil son of a bitch, but he was the man Japan needed at the time to unify the country.  He one reason why he is the most popular historical figure in Japan to this day.  He did not give a damn what other think of him.  He had a job and that was to unify the country at all costs.  Yes, he was and is to this day, Japan's number one strong man!  Heads taken thousands, fucks given zero!

Tenka no tame!

Thursday, June 6, 2019

June Update

I just returned from a month or so in Japan.  I attended the 2019 Nagashino and Azuchi Nobunaga Matsuri as well as the Imagawa Yoshimoto Matsuri in Shizuoka.  Later did a walking tour at the Battle of Okehazama Battlefield giving key points on why and how Nobunaga won.  In Gifu, the castle grounds are continuing excavation work producing some incredible results.  Also Gifu is preparing for next year's Akechi Mitsuhide Taiga drama.  More later.

Nobunaga no tame!

Monday, April 29, 2019

Fujiwara Theory

This is my last post before I leave for Japan.  The Oda are considered to be offshoots of the Fujiwara clan.  In 1518, Oda Michikatsu the deputy governor of Owari issued a document signing it "Fujiwara no Michikatsu."  Now the oldest document with Nobunaga's signature was written in 1549, when issued the a public off-limits notice to The Eight Villages of Atsuta signed as "Fujiwara no Nobunaga."  That same year (1549), Nobunaga ordered 500 matchlock rifles from Kunitomo in Omi Province.

Now Nobunaga used the title "Fujiwara no Nobunaga" only once.  The reason why Nobunaga used the Fujiwara name still unclear to this day.  There is a theory that Nobunaga used the Fujiwara name to give him some special status claiming that the Oda was a descendent from a 14th century court noble by the name of Fujiwara Nobumasa.

Tenka no tame!

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Kobayashi Castle

Kobayashi Castle landmark is located near the Osu Kannon district in Nagoya.  Nobunaga's younger sister, the 12th daughter of Oda Nobuhide was married to Maki Nagakiyo.  Nagakiyo died in 1570.  Kobayashi-dono, Nobunaga's sister died in 1587.  She was also known as Shintokuin.

Nobunaga no tame!

Friday, April 19, 2019

Okehazama at Obu Poster

Here is the Battle of Okehazama Exhibit at Obu Poster.  I will be able to see the exhibit in person next month and plan to give a report on once I return from my trip.

Toyoake City Battle of Okehazama Link:

I might have posted the link last year, but it is necessary to post it.  The Toyoake City Battle of Okehazama link provides one with the history and details of the Toyoake City Battle of Okehazama Battlefield.  It also includes reference materials to those who want to know the Battle of Okehazama.

Tenka no tame!

Monday, April 15, 2019

Okehazama at Obu

Earlier this morning I found out some fantastic new on the Battle of Okehazama from my friend Hide in Japan.  The Obu City History Museum will have a month long display on the Battle of Okehazama.  I will definitely be there to check it out.  The exhibition will be held April 13th-May 19th.  What I understand the exhibition will have topics related to:

  • Imagawa Yoshimoto/Oda Nobunaga's foundations
  • Oda Nobuhide's invasion of Mikawa
  • Yoshimoto's invasion of Owari
  • The Battle of Okehazama
  • Post Battle of Okehazama
  • Other related topics

Nobunaga no tame!

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Nobunaga Children's Book

Komiku Nihon no Rekishi 1
Daisuke Hayakawa, Toru Sugita with historian Kaku Kozo.
Pages 118
Publsihed in 2007.

Last week I purchased a children's history book on Oda Nobunaga.  Normally, I do not buy children's books, but it was on sale for a dollar at Book-Off.  This book covers the history of Nobunaga and it does a decent job covering his youth to the Honnoji Incident.  It is easy to read (Japanese) and the artwork is modernized for the present generation.  The book starts off with Nobunaga as a young child experimenting with long spears, later with guns, and his father's death.  It covers the meeting with Saito Dosan, marriage to Nohime, death of Nubuyuki, and Okehazama.  The book moves forward with the conquest of Mino, Battle of Anegawa, Hiei-zan, his dealings with Ashikaga Yoshiaski and Azai Nagamasa, Ishiyama Honganji, Battle of Nagashino, Azuchi Castle, his use of iron clad ships, and the Honnoji.  This book is extremely general and it covers several topics in a page or two.  To be fair, there are books in this series that cover Okehazama and Nagashino.  I would recommend this book to those who have Japanese children.

Tenka no tame!

Saturday, April 6, 2019

2019 Okehazama

It is almost that time of year when the Battle of Okehazama starts to bloom with various parades and festivals.  The 2019 Toyoake City Okehazama Festival will be held on June 1/2.  Link in Japanese with  the information.   Last year I was able to see with my own eyes for the first time, the Toyoake City Okehazama Matsuri.  I enjoyed the mock battle as well as the military parade.

Nobunaga no tame!

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Terabe Castle

Two years before the Battle of Okehazama, Matsudaira Motoyasu (Tokugawa Ieyasu) made his first baptism of fire when he attacked Terabe Castle in 1558.  The flatland castle was built in the 15th century by Suzuki Shigetoki.  Suzuki Shigeteru was the lord of the castle when he defected from the Imagawa to the Oda.  Imagawa Yoshimoto sent Motoyasu to attack Terabe.  In response, Nobunaga sent his army to repel the attack.  Later in 1566, Nobunaga ordered Sakuma Nobumori to attack Terabe.

Tenka no tame!

Monday, April 1, 2019

Azukizaka 1542

Japan will welcome the new era of Reiwa.  In 1542, Oda Nobuhide scored an important victory over the Suruga forces at the Battle of Azukizaka in Mikawa.  This was 18 years before Nobunaga's Okehazama victory.

Chronicle of Lord Nobunaga (pp. 53-4)

"In the first decade of the Eighth Month, (Tenbun 11 1542), Suruga troops advanced on Shodawara in Mikawa Province, where they deployed in seven battle groups.  At the time, Oda Bingo no Kami held a fort called Anjo Castle in Mikawa.  With Yuhara leading the Suruga vanguard, the enemy advanced toward Azukizaka.  Accordingly, Bingo no Kami rushed from Anjo Castle to Yahagi.  His younger brothers Lord Yojiro. Lord Magosaburo, Lord Shirojiro, and other warriors had in the meanwhile engaged the enemy at Azukizaka.  the following distinguished themselves in this battle:

Oda Bingo no Kami; Lord Oda Yojiro, Lord Oda Magosaburo, Lord Oda Shirojiro, Oda Sake no Jo (Nobufusa), who suffered a spear wound; Naito Shosuke, who gained a high renown by killing a strong opponent; Nagoya Yagoro of the Kiyosu forces, who was killed in battle; Shimokata Sakon (Sadakiyo), Sassa Hayato no Kami, Sassa Magosuke, Nakano Matabyoe (Kazuyasu), Akagawa Hikoemon, Kanbe Ichizaemon, Nagata Jiroemon, and Yamaguchi Sama no Suke (Noritsugu).

All of them clashed with the enemy in three or four passages of arms.  In between, the adopted a defensive posture with one knee bent to the ground; then they rushed to the attack again.  There was no end to their exploits in this encounter, which was a tough fight from the first to last.  Here Yuhara took the head of Nagoya Yagoro.  After that, the Suruga forces withdrew."

18 years later Sassa Hayato No Kami was killed at the Battle of Okehazama.

Nobunaga no tame!

Saturday, March 30, 2019

2019 Dosan Festival

The 2019 Gifu Dosan Festival will be held on April 6th-7th.  This festival honors Nobunaga's father-in-law Saito Dosan.

Tenka no tame!

Friday, March 15, 2019

Jigenji and Okehazama

I have known this for years, but highly skeptical about it.  It appears that Nobunaga made a stop at Jigenji Temple during the Battle of Okehazama.  Nobunaga's visits to Atsuta and Hioki Shrines are well noted.  I do plan to visit Jigenji Temple in May.


Tenka no tame!

Friday, March 8, 2019

Shibata Katsuie's Birthplace

Shibata Katsuie (1522?-83), who was one of Nobunaga's best captains was born at Shimoyashiro Castle in Owari Province.  He was the son of Shibata Katsuyoshi.  Shimoyashiro Castle was located on the eastern side of Owari near the Mikawa border.  The landmark is located in Nagoya at Myotokuji Temple.

Tenka no tame!

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Nobunaga and Atsumori

Late last month I received my Nobunaga Atsumori shirt in the mail.  I like it so far.  It is a fact that just before Nobunaga left for front during the Battle of Okehazama in 1560, he sang and danced to Atsumori.  Atsumori's history comes from the Genpei Wars.  It tells the tragic life of Taira Atsumori (1169-84) who was killed by Kumagai Naozane (1141-1207) during the Battle of Ichi-no Tani 1184.  Later a Noh play Atsumori was written by Zeami Motokiyo (1363-1443) which became popular.  Nobunaga loved to sing and dance to Atsumori when it was appropriate.

The photo below was taken many years ago at Kiyosu Castle, unfortunately, it is no longer on display.

Nobunaga no tame!

Friday, March 1, 2019

Best Nobunaga Link

One of the best Nobunaga links regarding to landmarks and such is from Sakura Office.  Here is the Nobunaga link in Japanese:

The only drawback is that there is no directions nor map to get to some of the unknown landmarks.  That being said, this webpage has helped me a lot to discover new places to visit.  Please take the time and go through link.

Tenka no tame!

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Odaka Castle Parade

There is some news regarding from the Battle of Okehazama.  On March 10th, there will be a military armor parade to Odaka Castle ruins.  This festival will reenact Matsudaira Motoyasu's (Tokugawa Ieyasu) army delivering supplies to Odaka Castle on the eve of Battle of Okehazama.  This is a great way to walk in the footsteps of Motoyasu when he was delivering supplies to Odaka Castle.

Nobunaga no tame!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Novel in Paperback

My new novel, The Viper and the Fool is now available in paperback on Amazon.

The novel covers:

  • Saito Dosan's rise to power.
  • Dosan's battles between Oda Nobuhide
  • The marriage between Nobunaga and Nohime
  • The meeting between Nobunaga and Dosan at Shotokuji Temple in 1553.
  • The Battle of Muraki 1554.
  • The fall of Dosan and his death at the Battle of Nagaragawa in 1556.
  • The rise of Nobunaga and the conquest of Mino 1567, origins of Gifu.
Tenka no tame!

Friday, February 1, 2019

Komeno and Owaki

Komeno and Owaki Castle were allies of Hayashi Hidesada, and in 1556, they joined to fight Nobunaga at the Battle of Ino.

Chronicle of Lord Nobunaga, p. 77.

"A day or two later, the Hayashi opened hostilities against Nobunaga.  Their auxiliaries in Arako Castle joined the enemy and cut off communications between Atsuta and Kiyosu.  Auxiliaries of the Hayashi also held castles of Komeno and Owaki, which lay between Kiyosu and Nagoya.  They too, joined the ranks of the enemy."

A few years ago, I was able to visit the Komeno and Owaki landmarks.  Owaki picture is on the left, while Komeno is on the right.  Choshoji Temple is where Komeno Castle was located.

Nobunaga no tame!

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Nobunaga's advantage over the Honganji

Nobunaga had some important advantages over the Ishiyama Honganji.  Here are a few.

  • Kennyo Kosa did not have the stomach for a massive all out war against Nobunaga.  Sure, he could not stand Nobunaga, but knew he would lose against him.  The longer the war against Nobunaga, more painful it was.  So at times, he was interested in peace gains, even under less favorable conditions.  A huge advantage for Nobunaga.
  • Kennyo Kosa was more likely to obey Imperial or shogunal orders.  Nobunaga did too, but only to his advantage.  Once Nobunaga banished Shogun Ashikaga Yoshiaki in 1573, Nobunaga had more control over his rivals.
  • The Ishiyama Honganji did not have a powerful field marshal on their side.  Sure, Kosa had the aid of the Asakura and the Azai at times, but they did not fight under the Honganji flag.  Nobunaga on the other hand, delegated Sakuma Nobumori to fight the Honganji.  A huge advantage since Nobunaga sent his other captains to fight on several fronts.
  • The Asakura in Echizen and the Uesugi in Echigo were preoccupied with controlling the monto in their own domain.  They had little time to engage with Nobunaga and kept them at bay.
  • The monto were not powerful in Owari nor Mino.  Had Nobunaga been plagued by Ikko uprisings in his early years, unifying would have been extremely difficult.
Tenka no tame!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy 2019

Happy 2019 everyone!

From the The Chronicle of Lord Nobunaga (p. 278), people paid their respects to Nobunaga at Azuchi in 1578.

"On the first day of the First Month, everyone who was anybody in the Home Provinces and in Wakasa, Echizen, Owari, Mino, Omi, Ise, and the neighboring provinces came to Azuchi.  They all presented themselves before Nobunaga and paid their respects to him."

I will be back in Japan in May doing work as a tour guide at the Okehazama battlefield.  Also I plan to write more on McMullin's thesis and young Nobunaga.

Nobunaga no tame!  Tenka no tame!