Oda Nobunaga Portrait

Oda Nobunaga Portrait

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Nobunaga's Portrait: a drawing or a picture?

I got the hint for this post from the usual Otsuke's, when in one of his post casually said that probably the famous portrait of Nobunaga by the hand of Giovanni Niccolò wasn't a portrait of Nobunaga but a picture of one of his relatives taken in the Meiji era.

Shock ensued.
The chance that the portrait that made us fangirls whimper with historical satisfaction wasn't really Nobunaga.
So today I opened my internet and decided to indagate the issue.

First of all, the fact that the portrait is not an actual portrait of the real Nobunaga is a fact.
The artwork is dated after 1583, when Nobunaga was long dead, as our Jesuit painter reached Macao only in 1582.
According to the original story, the portrait was done by following the description of some relative of Nobunaga, from the Oda Clan managed by his son Nobukatsu.
It goes like this: getting to know about the skills of this Jesuit Italian painter and the novelty that he represented, Nobukatsu commissioned him a portrait of his illustrious predecessor after his death, and Niccolò (also rendered as "Nicolao" because LOL PORTUGUESE) produced this vivid rendition of our Uesama by charcoal.
Centuries later, the Oda were forced to move to the Tendo domain, and only by then the portrait popped up from the inheritance of the clan.
It was declared a family tresure and placed into the bodaiji, besides, a picture was conveniently taken and preserved during the Meiji era.
Obviously the original portrait was destroyed during a fire and only the picture was saved, picture that is now placed into the family temple of the Tendo Oda of Sanpoji (三宝寺) in Yamagata prefecture.

It sounds fishy, doesn't it?

I investigated over Giovanni Niccolò but besides his tiny biography over Wikipedia I couldn't find much. I quickly realized that despite being such a popular painter, the maestro of the first Art School in Nagasaki and someone who apparently brought in Asia the gusto for Western art, there are practically no paintings that could be credited to his hand.
The Japanese Wikipedia, that took this matter to heart, reveals that a famous screenfold portraying the "Western Kings on Horseback" (a very popular theme in Japan) can be recognized as his very work, but if that's true, we can see very little similarity with the realistic style of our portrait.
That Giovanni followed that archaic style of painting, connected to the artistic language of Portuguese origin, though, is a matter of fact.
Following the artworks that his Chinese and Japanese disciples left us as a trail along the Jesuit missions, we do see a similar maniera and language, that can allow us to believe that Giovanni's disciples came to imitate perfectly the style of their teacher.
As it's true that following a style doesn't mean that one can't "imitate nature" properly, it's very little probable that Giovanni, if he ever faced Nobukatsu, dared to produce such a realistic portrait, assuming that he was famous for his Jesuit style of art and that it would have been what Nobukatsu was expecting of him.

Here's a comparison of the portrait of Nobunaga, the portrait of one of the Kings credited to Giovanni Niccolò and one of the "Saviour of the World" paintings of Jesus (dating 1597) that were so popular in Japan back then and quite widespread as an icon:

Sure, comparing a drawing to a painting is kinda rough, but you can already spot the various differences of styles.
I couldn't find pencil or charcoal artworks dating the same period and area to make a proper comparison, otherwise that would have been interesting too.

Long story short, the suspicious over this portrait and the identity of the Oda oin there seem to have some serious foundation.

Credits: the main picture of this post comes from this blog. It's part of an exhibition in Azuchi.

Oda Nobunaga: The Demon King of the Sixth Heaven

Oda Nobunaga was a fearless Japanese warlord who lived and died with a sword in his hands. He destroyed everything that blocked his way to power, including the belligerent monks of the sacred Hiei Mountain.

A portrait of Oda Nobunaga that can be found behind a glass case in Gifu Castle, re-worked by Rekishi no Tabi

Oda Nobunaga was born Oda Kippôshi, the second son of Oda Nobuhide (1508?–1549), a minor lord whose family once served the Shiba shugo. Nobuhide was a skilled warrior, and spent much of his time fighting the samurai of Mikawa and Mino. He also had enemies closer to home – the Oda were divided into two separate camps, with both vying for control of Owari's eight districts. Nobuhide's branch, of which he was one of three elders, was based at Kiyosu castle. The rival branch was to the north, in Iwakura Castle.

Many of Nobuhide's battles were fought in Mikawa, against the Matsudaira and the Imagawa clan. The latter were old and prestigious, rulers of Suruga and overlords of Tôtômi. The Matsudaira were as obscure as the Oda, and while not as splintered politically, they were slowly coming under the Imagawa's influence. The decade leading up to 1548 was dominated along the Mikawa-Owari border by the contention of three men – Oda Nobuhide, Matsudaira Hirotada, and Imagawa Yoshimoto. In 1542, Imagawa, supported by the Matsudaira, marched as far west as the Owari border, and was met by Oda Nobuhide and his younger brother Tsuda Nobumitsu at Azukizaka. In this bitter fight, the Oda emerged victorious, but not decisively. In 1548 Nobuhide attempted to arrange the defection of a certain Matsudaira Tadamoto of Mikawa away from Hirotada. Tadamoto, however, ended up being killed in the attempt, and Oda launched an attack on Okazaki, evidently to make up for the disappointment. Matsudaira Hirotada thus found himself in difficult straights, and called on Imagawa for assistance. Yoshimoto replied that he would be happy to help – so long as Hirotada was willing to send along his young son as a hostage. Hirotada had little choice, and shipped off 6-year old Takechiyo (the future Tokugawa Ieyasu) westward. En-route to Suruga, unfortunately, Oda loyalists intercepted the hostage party and made off with Takechiyo, taking the child to Nobuhide. Nobuhide immediately made use of his new card and demanded that Hirotada give up Okazaki in return for his son's life. Hirotada wisely refused, and Nobuhide, his bluff called, did no harm to the boy. Later in 1548, Imagawa and Oda met again in battle, and this time the Imagawa came out the winner. The following year Nobuhide died, leaving an Oda clan divided in every possible way.

Anxious to capitalize on the death of his rival, Imagawa Yoshimoto sent his uncle, the talented monk-general Sessai Choro, to attack Nobuhide's heir, Nobuhiro. Sessai besieged Nobuhiro in Anjo Castle, and sent word to Nobunaga that unless he wished to see his elder brother made to commit suicide, he would have to send back Takechiyo. Nobunaga could hardly refuse, and so Takechiyo ended up in Suruga, even though his father Hirotada had passed away that same year.

The progress of the next three years is hazy. By 1551, however, Nobunaga was the leader of his faction of the Oda and master of Kiyosu. His principal enemy (beyond his own family) was his father's nemesis, the Imagawa. Nobunaga's northern borders (not counting the area of Mino controlled by the Iwakura Oda) were more or less secured, at least: before his death, Nobuhide had arranged for the marriage of Nobunaga to Saitô Dosan's daughter. Saitô Toshimasa (Dosan) (1494–1556) was a colorful figure, a former oil-merchant (if tradition is to be believed) who supplanted the Tôki family of Mino.

Pausing for a monent, we see the young Nobunaga. He is estimated to have stood between 5'3" and 5'6" tall, and was a clear speaker with a strong prescence about him. He was considered a not unhandsome man, with a somewhat prominant nose and scarce beard. As a young man, Nobunaga was said to have been a brash and altogether rude fellow whose behavior often bordered on the disgraceful. Supposedly, he even acted out as his father's funeral was being conducted at the Bansyô-ji. This popular view of Nobunaga's early days is in part substantiated by the suicide of Hirate Kiyohide (1493–1553), one of Nobuhide's old retainers tasked with helping Nobunaga rule. Hirade committed what was called kanshi, or remonstration through suicide. The old samurai wrote up a letter urging Nobunaga to change his ways and then slit his belly. His death is said to have had a dramatic effect on Nobunaga. He did mend his ways, and in time built the Seisyu-ji in Owari to honor his loyal retainer.

By 1558, Nobunaga had largely managed to unify his family, although he suffered the rebellion of two brothers in so doing. In 1556, Nobuhiro, his elder brother, had plotted with the new (and hostile) lord of Mino, Saitô Yoshitatsu, an act Nobunaga pardoned him for. The following year, his younger brother Nobuyuki conspired with Shibata Katsuie and Hayashi Michikatsu and, if the legend is true, Nobunaga's own mother. Nobunaga learned of the treason and had Nobuyuki killed. Shibata and Hayashi, on the other hand, were spared – perhaps sending a powerful message to any other members of the Oda family who were thinking treacherous thoughts.

As just noted, Saitô Yoshitatsu was the new lord of Mino, having killed Dôsan at the Battle of Nagaragawa (1556), and he was no friend to the Oda. The Oda's forts in Mino were quickly reduced, and Nobunaga's attempts to make in-roads in that province were turned back. At the same time, Imagawa Yoshimoto was knocking on Owari's southeastern door, having all but absorbed Mikawa and the Matsudaira clan. Imagawa's army had lost some of it's potency with the death of Sessai Choro in 1555 but Yoshimoto could call on the services of a young and skillful ally – Matsudaira Motoyasu, a man whose fate would prove inter-twined with that of Nobunaga. In 1558, Motoyasu fought his first battle – at Nobunaga's expense. Oda had recently bribed Terabe Castle away from the Matsudaira, and Motoyasu, with the Imagawa's blessing, took it back, defeating a relief force sent by Nobunaga. The next year, Imagawa did a little horse-trading of his own, and lured Otaka castle away from the Oda. Nobunaga was furious, and had the fort surrounded. Soon, the garrison began to run out of food, and to lead a relief effort, Imagawa sent Matsudaira Motoyasu. Using a crafty bit of diversion, Motoyasu successfully provisioned Otaka – much to Nobunaga's chagrin.

The following year, 1560, Imagawa Yoshimoto decided to make a decisive move to the west. His aim was to drive along the Tokaido coast, brushing aside the Oda and any who did not submit to the Imagawa army with the ultimate goal of occupying Kyoto. To this end Yoshimoto gathered perhaps 20,000 to 25,000 men from Suruga, Totomi, and Mikawa in June, leaving his son Ujizane to run things while he was off conquering. He included Matsudaira Motoyasu in the invasion force, and dispatched the Mikawa samurai to reduce the fort of Marume. Meanwhile, the rest of the Imagawa host crossed in Owari and assaulted Washizu Castle. The commanders of the besieged forts (Sakuma Môrishige and Oda Genba) managed to get off letters of warning to Nobunaga in Kiyosu, and his retainers were divided on what course of action to take. Given the obvious disparity in numbers, it seemed logical to adopt a defensive posture, or even to capitulate. Nobunaga was for fighting. With all the brash and unpredictable élan he was to show throughout his career, he ordered a conch shell blown and the garrison of Kiyosu made ready for battle.

The next morning, while Marume and Washizu were going up in flames, Nobunaga led a handful of men out of the castle and headed in the direction of Imagawa's army. Along the way he was joined by enough ashigaru and samurai to make an attack credible-if not particularly wise. At ten to one odds, Nobunaga's chances seemed slim at best, although the priests at the Atsuta Shrine that he stopped at to pray for victory commented on how calm he appeared.

Meanwhile, Imagawa was celebrating the course of his campaign so far. Encamped in the Dengakuhazama gorge, Imagawa's army rested and enjoyed sake, their leader engrossed in the viewing of the heads taken at Marume and Washizu. Nobunaga, paused near the Imagawa's Narumi Fort, learned of the Imagawa's location from scouts, and played a stratagem. He had battle flags hoisted up from behind a hill, presenting the image to the Imagawa stationed inside Narumi that the Oda were resting nearby. In fact, Nobunaga slipped his men quietly away, leading them in the direction of the Dengakuhazama. At this critical point, a bit of good luck went Nobunaga's way. A summer thunderstorm broiled over and let loose with a torrential downpour, enabling Nobunaga to sneak up quite close to the Imagawa's position. When the rains abated, he gave the order to attack.

Such was the suddenness and ferocity of the attack Imagawa assumed that a fight had broken out among his own men. His misconception was quickly righted by the appearance of Oda spearmen who succeded in taking the head of the lord of Suruga. Nobunaga's surprise attack worked beautifully, and once word spread of Yoshimoto's demise, the Imagawa army fled, utterly defeated. Matsudaira Motoyasu, resting his men in Marume, heard of the defeat and thought it best to return to Mikawa forthwith.

Nobunaga's stunning victory at Dengakuhazama (known to posterity by the name of nearby Okehazama village) changed the course of Japanese history. It had two immediate results. Firstly, it brought Oda Nobunaga national fame and removed a wolf from his back door. Secondly, it allowed Matsudaira Motoyasu to extricate himself from the Imagawa's clutches and establish Mikawa as an independent province. Both results were to have heady consequences in the years to come.

Statue of Oda Nobunaga which stands in front of Gifu Station

In 1561, Saitô Yoshitatsu, who had continued to fend off advances by the Oda, passed away, probably of leprosy. This left his son, Tatsuoki, in command and Nobunaga was quick to take advantage of the new lord's weak character. By bribing away key Saito generals, Nobunaga was able to weaken the defenses of Mino and in 1567 he attacked Inabayama, the headquarters of the Saitô clan. According to tradition, the hill-top castle was brought down by Hashiba (Toyotomi) Hideyoshi, although this valuable Oda retainer does not begin appearing in written records until around 1576.

The following year, Nobunaga moved his capital to Inabayama and renamed the castle Gifu. Everything about the move was auspicious, and made possible by two alliances – one to Matsudaira Motoyasu, and another to Takeda Shingen of Kai and Shinano. The name Gifu was taken from the castle from which Wu Wang, ruler of the Chou, had set out in the 12th Century to unify China. Emperor Ogimachi sent a letter of congratulations and Nobunaga adopted the motto Tenka Fubu, or 'the realm covered in military glory' (or, alternatively, 'The nation under one sword').

The only real opposition to his moves in Mino came from the Asai, who had declared war on the Saito at around the same time. Asai Nagamasa considered Mino at least partly his, and a small war quickly brewed up on the Ômi-Mino border. Nobunaga quickly arranged a peace and sealed an alliance by marrying his sister (O-ichi) off to Asai Nagamasa.

Nobunaga's ambition was given a powerful stimulant with the arrival of Ashikaga Yoshiaki at Gifu in 1567. The brother of the late shogun, Ashikaga Yoshiteru, murdered in 1565, Yoshiaki had spent the intervening years seeking out a patron. Yoshiteru's assassins – the Miyoshi and Matsunaga clans – had seen fit to legitimize their domination of Kyoto politics by naming the 2-year old Ashikaga Yoshihide as Yoshiteru's successor. When Yoshiaki heard the news, he gave up a Buddhist priesthood and fled with Hosokawa Fujitaka, both out of fear for his own life and in the hopes he would find a warlord strong enough to set things right in Kyôto. That he was the logical choice to follow Yoshiteru was clear…finding a Daimyô that would do something about it proved difficult. In his search, he approached the Takeda of Wakasa (not to be confused with the Takeda of Kai), the Uesugi of Echigo, and the Asakura of Echizen. The last seemed the most promising, in terms of military strength relative to a proximity to the capital, and indeed, Asakura Yoshikage promised to help. But Yoshikage stalled and in the end admitted that he was powerless to assist Yoshiaki's nomadic party.

Then Yoshiaki turned to Oda Nobunaga, who fairly jumped at the opportunity. In fact, he had expressed a desire in late 1565 to do just what Yoshiaki was asking, and it may be that Yoshiaki had been leery of approaching this young upstart to begin with. Uesugi and Asakura, after all, were names that carried quite a bit of prestige along with them. But, by 1567, Yoshiaki had evidently decided that beggars couldn't be choosers.

In 1568 Nobunaga's army marched westward in Yoshiaki's name, brushing aside the Rokkaku of southern Omi and putting to flight Miyoshi and Matsunaga. Matsunaga Hisahide promptly submitted (for which he was confirmed Daimyô of Yamato) while the Miyoshi withdrew to Settsu. In the ninth month Nobunaga entered Kyoto and within three weeks Yoshiaki was installed as the fifteenth Ashikaga shogun with the approval of Emperor Ogimachi. The mutually beneficial relationship of Yoshiaki and Nobunaga had thus far borne sweet fruit. In time, it would grow quite sour, foreshadowed by Nobunaga's refusal to accept the position of Kanrei, or deputy shogun, even when the Emperor himself requested he do so in 1569. Nobunaga seemed determined to exist in a sort of political limbo, and expressed little interest in any orthodox rank or titles, including, as we shall see, that of shogun. That Nobunaga was the real ruler in Kyoto was the only part of the equation that lacked any sort of ambiguity.

It was hardly surprising that the Daimyô who lived outside Nobunaga's sphere of influence would become quite agitated by the developments in Kyoto. Naturally, upheaval in Kyoto was nothing new – but Nobunaga was. He was quite unlike any of the various Miyoshi, Hosokawa, or Hatakeyama contenders of the past. Those lords, the Hosokawa Sumimoto's and Miyoshi Motonaga's of 1500–1565, had struggled for personal gain and prestige. Nobunaga seemed different. Certainly, he aimed for personal gain and prestige as well, but the sort of gain he desired was most different. By 1568, it is safe to say that Nobunaga aimed to rule all of Japan. Of course, this particular wish was hardly unique among the Daimyô – in point of fact, it is quite misleading to say that Nobunaga somehow possessed a vision denied his contemporaries. Rather, Nobunaga was in the right place at the right time and presented with the right window. The other great warlords of his day (some arguably greater as men go), Môri Motonari, Takeda Shingen, Uesugi Kenshin, and Hôjô Ujiyasu were all far removed from the capital, and in the case of the last three, unable to move due to the ambitions of their neighbors. The key was location. By taking Kyoto, Nobunaga positioned himself nicely in the center of Japan, which could be called the nation's 'soft under-belly'. While Nobunaga would face an implacable enemy in the Ikko-ikki that dwelled just beyond the Kinai, the weakness of the Daimyô within that region allowed him to build, by 1573, a considerable power-base. This is not to say, of course, that Nobunaga lacked the talents usually ascribed to him. But it is perhaps inaccurate to describe him as something other than a 'sengoku Daimyô'. He was rather the ultimate expression of the 'sengoku-Daimyô'. His power was based almost solely on the point of a sword, and as he grew in power, so did his use for diplomacy diminish. He kept a tight rein on his retainers, and was ruthless to his opponents, especially those who proved especially troublesome to him. His campaigns would be long and hard-fought as his reputation for cruelty grew. Few of his enemies had any illusion about what surrender would mean.

In early 1570, Nobunaga was presented with the first real challenge to his rise. Perhaps in an effort to feel out opposition, Nobunaga had evidently pressed Yoshiaki to request all the local Daimyô to come to Kyôto and attend a certain banquet. One of those who presence was requested was none other than Asakura Yoshikage, the very Daimyô who had frittered his own chance to champion Yoshiaki. Suspecting that Nobunaga was behind the 'invitation', Yoshikage refused, an act Nobunaga declared disloyal to both the shogun and the emperor. With this pretext well in hand, Nobunaga raised an army and marched on Echizen. Initially, all went well for the attackers, with the Asakura revealing their rather lack-luster leadership abilities. By March Nobunaga, supported by Tokugawa Ieyasu (the former Matsudaira Motoyasu), had penetrated Echizen's southern approaches and was moving on Yoshikage's capital (Ichijo-no-tani). Just then, Oda received startling news. His brother-in-law, Asai Nagamasa, had suddenly switched sides and gathered troops to help the Asakura. In fact, Nagamasa's change of heart was probably not as great a surprise as one might think. The Asai and Asakura had been allies for decades, and a single marriage – even if it included the Daimyô of the clan – was not enough to nullify such a long friendship.

At any rate, Nobunaga was placed in a bit of a tricky spot by Nagamasa's defection, but with the stout Tokugawa troops and wiles of Hashiba Hideyoshi at his disposal, he managed to extricate himself back to Kyoto without great loss. He wasted little time in taking issue with Nagamasa. In July he moved on the Asai's stronghold – Odani Castle – combining his levied troops with a sizable contingent of Tokugawa men for a total of 28,000 soldiers. Asai Nagamasa and Asakura Kagetake marched out to meet this host, and with their combined 20,000-man army, faced Nobunaga at the Anegawa River. The battle was hotly contested on the part of the Asai, but resulted in a victory for Nobunaga and Ieyasu. It was by no means decisive, but Anegawa represented a turning point in Nobunaga's career, in that while Okehazama may have been a fluke and the Saito and Rokkaku hardly impressive, Nobunaga was a man to be taken seriously.

But Asai and Asakura proved tenacious opponents. Later in 1570, they led another combined army along the coast of Lake Biwa and defeated an Oda army near Otsu, killing one of Nobunaga's own brothers, Nobuharu. In a significant development, the warrior-monks of Mt Hiei lent their support to the Asai and Asakura, a fatal error, as Nobunaga would ruthlessly prove in late 1571. In the meantime, Nobunaga found Ikko and warrior-monk resistance to his expansion stiffening at every turn. In Kwatchi, the warrior-monks of the Ishiyama Honganji fortress, well equipped with firearms, assisted the Miyoshi in their struggle against the Oda. In Ise, the Ikko-ikki of the Nagashima area openly defied Nobunaga and would cause him considerable difficulty until he dealt with them in 1574. An early struggle with the Ikko of Ise had already claimed the life of Nobunaga's brother Nobuoki (1569) and a preliminary assault in May of 1571 on Nagashima developed into a complete and costly fiasco.

By 1571 Nobunaga's position, while not in grave danger, was becoming a difficult one. Now actively arrayed against him were the Asai, Asakura, and Miyoshi clans, supported by Ikko and warrior monks from the Honganji, Enryakuji (of Mt. Hiei), Negoroji, and Nagashima. The Honganji proved the most formidable: head priest Kennyo Kosa and the Honganji's fanatical adherents were destined to hold out for a decade, in time supported by the Môri clan.

At the same time, there is some evidence that the shogun was busy conspiring against his former patron, sending out letters to the Môri of Western Japan, and to the Takeda, Uesugi, and Hôjô of Eastern Japan. Evidently Yoshiaki had become frustrated with Nobunaga's heavy-handedness, which only increased with the passage of time. By 1571 Oda had imposed a multitude of regulations and constraints on Yoshiaki's administration (chiefly outlined in two documents issued in 1569 and 1570) that all but reduced the shogun to a puppet.

Yoshiaki's best hope seemed to rest on the powerful Takeda Shingen of Kai, who by this point had taken control of Suruga and was pressing Oda's staunch ally, Tokugawa Ieyasu. While historians continue to debate just how deep Yoshiaki's schemes went, surviving documents and correspondence does lead one to believe that Shingen was seen by most as the greatest threat to Nobunaga and that Yoshiaki was proactive in getting the Takeda involved in the anti-Oda alliance.

Nobunaga, hardly willing to allow his enemies time to strangle him, responded with an act of brutality so unusual that even his own generals were shocked. In later 1571, Nobunaga's troops surrounded Mt. Hiei and proceeded to work their way up the mountainside, killing any and all found in their path. By the next day, the once sprawling Enryakuji complex was reduced to ashes and thousands lay dead. The centuries old power of Mt. Hiei had been broken, and Nobunaga was afforded a little breathing room. An attempt to repeat this success at Nagashima, however, ended in failure, and Nobunaga was forced to hold off on further efforts to reduce this stronghold while the Takeda threatened.

In 1572 Takeda Shingen stepped up his forays into Tokugawa's land, and Ieyasu requested military assistance. Nobunaga, despite the aid he had himself gotten from Ieyasu in the past, hesitated (he was, after all, still technically allied to Shingen). Ieyasu's response was to hint that there was little that might otherwise stop the Tokugawa from actually joining the Takeda – a scenario that would put the Oda in a most precarious position. Wisely, Nobunaga agreed to help as much as his own situation allowed.

In the winter of 1572, Takeda led a large army down from Shinano into Totomi and threatened Ieyasu's headquarters at Hamamatsu. Nobunaga sent a few thousand men under three generals of mixed quality – not enough to stave off the defeat that followed but enough to eliminate any pretext of civility that may have existed between Nobunaga and Shingen. At the same time, Takeda troops actually penetrated Mino, and captured the imposing Iwamura Castle – an embarrassing event that no doubt made Oda furious.

Fortune was destined to smile on Nobunaga in 1573, however. By that May, Takeda Shingen was dead. While the specifics of his passing remain something of a mystery, the loss of Shingen would ultimately prove fatal to the Takeda clan and a boon for Nobunaga. The timing certainly could not have proved worse for Ashikaga Yoshiaki, who in March had fortified Nijo Castle and dispatched letters to Nobunaga's enemies, urging them onward. While Shingen threatened, Nobunaga had been unable to respond to the shogun's defiance, save for making a few good will overtures to Yoshiaki.

The Takeda clan had endeavored to keep Shingen's death a secret, but it seems likely that Nobunaga at least intuited the truth. With all of the furious determination he would become famous for, Nobunaga turned on his remaining enemies in the Chubu region. On 3 May he surrounded Kyoto and caught Yoshiaki unprepared, forcing the shogun to negotiate. An uneasy truce was arranged through the intercession of the Emperor, one that neither side expected to hold for long. In the meantime, Nobunaga took charge of operations against the Nagashima Ikko stronghold and led an army there in July. He was defeated in a sharp struggle and forced to retreat, an embarrassing setback that may have helped goad Yoshiaki into rebelling again in the first week of August. Leaving Mizubuchi Fujihide in charge of Nijo, Yoshiaki barricaded himself in a fort astride the Uji River. His intention evidently was to hold off Nobunaga long enough for the Asai, Asakura, and Honganji to fall on Oda from behind. In fact, Yoshiaki's position was strong - but in the event not strong enough. Realizing the danger inherent in Yoshiaki's recalcitrance, Nobunaga acted swiftly. He assaulted Yoshiaki's stronghold and by 18 August had breached the fort's outer defenses. Yoshiaki sued for peace and pleaded for his life – a request Nobunaga granted. Instead, Yoshiaki was exiled, the last of the Ashikaga shoguns. From now until his death, Nobunaga would act as the defacto Shôgun.

Yoshiaki was barely on the road to refuge in the western provinces when Nobunaga marched north against the Asai and Asakura. He threatened Odani Castle, then ambushed and defeated the Asakura army dutifully dispatched in relief. Leaving a force to mask Odani, Nobunaga chased the fleeing Asakura into Echizen, easily capturing Ichijo-ga-tani. Asakura Yoshikage had abandoned his castle and ended up committing suicide in a temple on 16 September. Nobunaga then returned to Omi and surrounded Odani. Asai Nagamasa died a much less pathetic death then his ally Yoshikage, and made the honorable gesture of returning Nobunaga's sister and her children before committing suicide.

With the Asai and Asakura gone, and the Takeda for the moment quiet, Nobunaga was free to inflict vengeance on the Ikko of Nagashima. Supported by the naval strength of Kûki Yoshitaka of Shima, Nobunaga blockaded Nagashima and captured its outlaying forts. During the August of 1574 the Oda forced the Ikko within the walls of their main fortifications and essentially imprisoned them there. The Nagashima complex was then set alight, and as many as 20,000 men, women, and children were massacred. This was not to be the last of Nobunaga's blood baths, but in many ways it was the most shocking, though not nearly as well known as his destruction of Mt. Hiei.

Within one year, Nobunaga's borders and military clout had grown substantiality, enough to allow him to conduct three initiatives at once: the continued siege of the Honganji, a war of extermination aimed at the Ikko of Echizen and Kaga, and a showdown with the Takeda. The last would culminate in the bloody struggle at Nagashino.

In early 1574, Nobunaga was promoted to the junior third rank (ju sanmi) and made a court advisor (sangi) court appointments would continue to be lavished on a near-yearly basis, perhaps in the hopes of placating him. By February 1578 the court had made him Daijo daijin, or Grand Minister of State – the highest post that could be given. Yet if the court had hoped that exalted titles would woo Nobunaga, they were to be mistaken. In May of 1574 Nobunaga resigned his titles, pleading unfinished work in the provinces, and stepped up a campaign to force Emperor Ogimachi into retirement. That Nobunaga did not succeed in having Ogimachi removed goes some way towards demonstrating that there was a limit to his power – although what exactly acted as a check on his ambitions is a matter of scholarly debate. Suffice it to say that Nobunaga was in every other way tantamount to a shogun in the lands he controlled. That he did not actually take the title of shogun is generally explained by his not being of Minamoto blood, which is misleading and possibly quite off the mark. A worthwhile discussion of this issue would likely require a careful examination of the rank of Shôgun taken in its greater historical context – beyond the scope of this writing. Let it be said that in all probability Nobunaga could well have taken the title, at least after 1582, but died without saying much on the business himself.

Nobunaga's entry into Kyôto presented him with a situation very different from that which he had come. While Kyôto had come a long way since the dark days of the Ônin War, it was still in relative disrepair, with it's population subject to myriad tollbooths along the roadways and hills infested with bandits. Nobunaga's responsibilities increased exponentially, both militarily and politically after 1568. His first order of business, and that arguably most important to him, was to establish an economic power base and maximize the potential wealth of the Kinai. Among his many measures were included the abolition of tollbooths (perhaps partially as a PR move on his part, as the action was quite popular with the common people) and a series of cadastral surveys in Yamato, Yamashiro, Ômi, and Ise. Nobunaga moved to control the minting and exchange of coins, and brought the merchant city of Sakai under his influence, which in time proved to be worth it's weight in gold. He used his gathering wealth to compensate for the generally poor quality of his common soldiery by buying as many rifles as he could get his hands on-and building his own when the arms factory at Kunimoto (Omi) fell into his hands after 1573.

Culturally Nobunaga was also active. An avid student of the tea ceremony and poetry (if not an exceptional poet) he collected tea items from near and far, and held tea and poetry gatherings with such learned and cultured men as Hosokawa Fujitaka, Imai Sokyu, and Sen no Rikyu. In the same vein he encouraged the giving of tea items and other objects as a reward for exceptional service, as opposed to the traditional grant of land, and the reward of a tea item from Nobunaga's hand was felt to be an exceptional honor (regardless of whether the receiver was much of a tea man himself!).

Westerners fascinated Nobunaga and he showed a high degree of tolerance for their activities, to the extent that he is sometimes referred to mistakenly as a Christian. The chances that Nobunaga planned to convert are probably nonexistent – rather, the Jesuits fulfilled two uses for Nobunaga: 1) they provided him with some of the novelties and artifacts he habitually collected and probably added to his sense of power (the Jesuits tended to see Nobunaga as the real ruler of Japan – a distinction he could not have but enjoyed) and, 2), they acted as a foil to his Buddhist enemies, if only to increase their frustration. Much has always been made in western works of Nobunaga's relationship with the Jesuits – it is possible, however, that he saw them as merely useful and somewhat amusing diversions. Far more important to Nobunaga were his own retainers, and yet he does not come across as a particularly trustworthy leader. Few if any samurai entered his inner circle of top retainers after 1568. Even those top men he did employ were moved about from place to place, and often treated with at least some modicum of coldness. In 1580, after the fall of the Ishiyama Honganji, Nobunaga summarily dismissed and allowed to die in exile one of his oldest retainers – Sakuma Nobumôri, for alleged incompetence of command. He is recorded as teasing Hideyoshi with the nickname 'Saru', or Monkey, and deriding Akechi Mitsuhide for his poetic ability (actually considered rather good) and his hairline. There are other, more outrageous recordings, but, as always in Sengoku tales, it is sometimes difficult to discern where truth ends and hyperbole begins. For all that, it is likely that Nobunaga would not have been nearly as successful as he was had he been afraid to delegate. Shibata Katsuie, for instance, was dispatched to subdue the Hokuriku and with a few notable exceptions, Nobunaga left him to it for the better part of a decade. When Nobunaga decided to launch a campaign into the Chugoku region, he sent Hideyoshi and Akechi to lead the armies, never once commanding troops there himself.

In 1578 Azuchi Castle was completed in Ômi province and stood as the most impressive castle ever built in Japan. Lavishly decorated and immensely expensive, Azuchi was meant not so much for defense but as a way of clearly illustrating his power to the nation. He went to great lengths to draw merchants and citizens to Azuchi's accompanying town, and probably saw it becoming the long-term capital of the Oda hegemony – in whatever form it took.

While in certain ways a sengoku Daimyô on a grand scale, Nobunaga was a tireless ruler and worked for years to create a military and economic super-state within the slowly widening borders of his realm. The success of Toyotomi Hideyoshi and by extension Tokugawa Ieyasu rests largely on the shoulders of the work Oda Nobunaga did before 1582.

In 1575, of course, there was still much work to be done…

Art by Nagano Tsuyoshi

Without destruction there is no creation. there is no change.
– Oda Nobunaga

The loss of Shingen in 1573 had ostensibly only slowed the Takeda war machine. The following year Takeda Katsuyori, Shingen's heir, pulled off a strategic coup with the capture of Taketenjin Castle in Totomi. Tokugawa Ieyasu, whose efforts to relieve Taketenjin failed, had his hands full with Katsuyori while not the ruler his father had been, Katsuyori was brave and was not lacking in aggression. Combined with the skilled Takeda army and the late Shingen's experienced cadre of captains, Katsuyori's indomitable spirit made him a formidable foe

In May 1575 Katsuyori hatched a plot whereby one of Ieyasu's retainers would betray his lord and open the gates of Hamamatsu Castle to the approaching Takeda army. Katsuyori was halfway to Hamamatsu before he learned that the plot had been uncovered and Ieyasu alerted. Perhaps as a consolation prize, Katsuyori turned his attentions to Nagashino Castle, a fort held by a certain Okudaira Sadamasa. When direct attack failed to reduce the garrison, Katsuyori settled in for a siege and attempted to mine the walls. Nagashino may well have fallen had it not been for a brave member of the garrison, Torii Sune'emon, who slipped through the Takeda lines and delivered a message to Ieyasu explaining the castle's predicament. Ieyasu sent Torii back to let Nagashino know that he had no intention of abandoning him, but he was captured and crucified by the Takeda in the attempt.

Tokugawa was determined to rescue Nagashino, but lacked the manpower to do so alone. Nobunaga, on the other hand, was hesitant, perhaps reluctant to take so many of his men and leaders so far from the Kyôto area. In frustration, Ieyasu once again played his trump card - he threatened to join the Takeda and attack Oda as part of their vanguard! Faced with this rather unpleasant prospect, Nobunaga changed his mind and agreed to throw his full weight into the effort. Moving quickly, he gathered an army of some 30,000 men, to be commanded by some of his best commanders, including Shibata Katsuie, Hashiba Hideyoshi, and Takigawa Kazumasu. Tokugawa brought about 8,000 men of his own, tough Mikawa men whose skill would once again more than make up for their relative lack in numbers. Perhaps most importantly, Nobunaga arranged to deal with the vaunted Takeda cavalry by bringing along a sizable contingent of riflemen (around 3,000) and logs to throw up a palisade for protection.

In late June, the Oda and Tokugawa forces converged on Nagashino, putting Katsuyori in a difficult spot. Nagashino Castle, bolstered by Torii's brave sacrifice, was holding firm, leaving the weary Takeda army outnumbered AND without a base from which to conduct operations from. The older – and wiser – Takeda retainers urged Katsuyori to either retreat or make one last push to take the castle. Unfortunately for them and the Takeda clan, Katsuyori chose to do neither – he ordered preparations for an all-out attack on the Oda and Tokugawa army massed just to their west. The attack, in retrospect, was almost bound to fail – even had Nobunaga left most of his guns at home and dispensed with his palisade building. The Takeda were tired from weeks in the field in poor weather, outnumbered almost three to one, and faced with attacking over ground broken by foliage, dips, and a stream. It has been said that Katsuyori planned to attack in the hopes that rain would render Nobunaga's guns useless, but this apologetic excuse seems unlikely. In truth, Nagashino seems to have simply been a tremendous mistake on the part of an impetuous commander. These judgments aside, the battle progressed poorly for the Takeda from the first. On the night of 27 June, the day before the actual battle, Sakai Tadatsugu led a raid into the Takeda camp and killed one of Shingen's surviving brothers, Takeda Nobuzane. When day broke, any possible Takeda hopes for rain were dashed by the rays of a bright morning sun. Nonetheless, Katsuyori gave the order to attack, sending nearly 10,000 of his troops across the Shidarahara against 38,000 troops established on superior ground and entrenched with wooden palisades. Matchlock fire produced the first casualties, and likely served to further disrupt formations already strained by the difficult terrain. In a scene vaguely reminiscent of Gettysburg, the Takeda vanguard managed to reach the enemy lines and even cut into their ranks before being thrown back by counterattacks led by fresh, eager troops. On the northern flank, Baba Nobuharu's Takeda contingent managed to capture some of the high ground, and held their integrity together well. To his immediate south, however, Baba's comrades fared much worse. Yamagata Masakage and Naito Masatoyo, two of the greatest Takeda generals, were killed in the melee, the former by a bullet and the latter by enemy spears. With the Takeda wavering, Nobunaga ordered a general pile-on, sending his ashigaru pouring out from behind the palisades. The battle had devolved into butchery, and Katsuyori added to the fiasco by sending in his reserves, which did little but add to the casualty list and encourage the Nagashino garrison to mount a sally. Finally, after hours of bitter struggle, Katsuyori was convinced to retreat by Baba Nobuharu, who covered his master's flight until he and his men were themselves killed. Katsuyori left as many as 10,000 of his men dead at Nagashino. 28 June 1575 was Nobunaga's greatest achievement, a victory as tactically decisive as Okehazama and ultimately of great strategic significance. The victory at Nagashino all but secured his eastern flank and allowed him to throw his weight into the siege of the Honganji and consolidate his recent gains. Takeda Katsuyori was beaten but not vanquished, and would continue to harass Tokugawa, yet, as a regional power, the Takeda were broken.

Nobunaga returned to Kyoto and prepared for new battles and new enemies.

The reduction of the Takeda made Nobunaga's dream of conquering Japan seem more and more plausible, although there were three enemies who were close enough to take active issue with his designs…

1) The Honganji. The Ishiyama Honganji stronghold proved no less formidable then before Nagashino. In June 1576 he dispatched Harada Naomasa with an army to attack the Honganji-an effort that ended in failure and the loss of Harada's life. Nobunaga responded by personally leading an attack that succeeded in taking quite a few heads but saw Nobunaga wounded in the course of the fighting. Realizing that a direct assault on the heavily defended fortress would prove extraordinarily costly even if it succeded at all, Nobunaga decided to change tactics. He began reducing the Ishiyama Honganji's satellites, crushing the Saiga monto of Kii and weakening the warrior monks of the Negoroji. The Honganji itself held firm, drawing support from two powerful clans sympathetic to its cause – the Uesugi of Echigo and the Môri of Western Honshu.

2) The Uesugi. Uesugi Kenshin and Oda Nobunaga had maintained a wary relationship into 1576. For a time, Kenshin had cooperated with Nobunaga against the Takeda, but lost interest in their alliance after Nagashino. Two factors contributed to the rising tension between the two clans. Firstly, Nobunaga was gradually expanding deeper into the Hokuriku, a region Kenshin considered within the Uesugi sphere of influence. Secondly, ground was broken on Azuchi Castle in the spring of 1576, and Nobunaga made little secret that he planned to make his new capital the grandest castle ever built. Kenshin took this, or at least chose to take this, as a threatening gesture-after all, Azuchi would block any move by Kenshin into the Kinai Region and act as a staging area for attacks into the Hokuriku. Kenshin's response was to step up his own expansion. He had already taken Etchu and in1577 attacked Noto, a province that Nobunaga had already made some political investment in. Nobunaga responded by leading a large army into Kaga and met Kenshin's army at the Tedori River. Kenshin proved himself to be as wily a foe as his old enemy Shingen, and lured Nobunaga into making a frontal assault across the Tedori at night. In a hard-fought struggle, the Oda forces were defeated and Nobunaga was forced to retreat south. Kenshin returned to Echigo and made plans to return the following spring, this time to destroy Nobunaga. Unfortunately, time deserted Kenshin just as it had Shingen, when he was at the height of his power and in a position to thwart Nobunaga's ambitions. In fact, Kenshin's death on 13 April 1578 was so fortuitous for Nobunaga that rumors of assassination began circulating almost immediately. In actuality, it appears more likely that Kenshin died from natural causes – he was supposedly quite ill even as he prepared for the coming campaign season. Regardless of the circumstances of his death, Kenshin's passing triggered a bitter civil war within the Uesugi and made Nobunaga's life that much easier. Over the next four years Oda forces under Shibata Katsuie, Maeda Toshiie, and Sassa Narimasa would pick away at the Uesugi's holdings, until they were at the borders of Echigo.

3) The Môri. In terms of sheer lands under their rule, the Môri were one of Japan's most impressive clans. From humble beginnings under Môri Motonari, the Môri had expanded to control much of the Chugoku region, and now watched Nobunaga's expansion with dismay. Motonari had been an early critic of Nobunaga and when he died in 1571 his successor, Môri Terumoto, carried on the Môri's budding opposition. The Ishiyama Honganji proved a convenient place to oppose Nobunaga. In 1576 Nobunaga diverted the naval forces of Kûki Yoshitaka to the waters off Settsu and proceeded with a naval blockade of the Honganji, assisted by the Atagi of Awaji Island. The Môri responded by mobilizing their first rate navy, which was commanded by the Murakami family: men who, like the Kûki, had cut their teeth in piracy. Sailing east, the Môri brushed aside Atagi Nobuyasu's forces off Awaji and proceeded to defeat Kuki Yoshitaka's ships at the 1st Battle of Kizugawaguchi. The Honganji's supply line was opened and supplies were funneled in via sea transport, making Nobunaga's efforts at blockade on land moot. Realizing that the Honganji would have to be isolated if he ever hoped to capture it, Nobunaga tasked Kûki with devising naval vessels that would offset the Môri's numerical superiority. Yoshitaka dutifully went back to Shima and in 1578 unveiled six massive, heavily armed warships some have fancied were equipped with armored plates. These formed the core of a fleet that sailed back into the Inland Sea and drove off the Môri at the 2nd Battle of Kizugawaguchi. The next year, Môri Terumoto made another abortive attempt to lift the naval blockade but failed. By that point, the Môri were faced with a crisis of their own: Nobunaga's generals were marching west. Akechi Mitsuhide was charged with conquering Tamba and then advancing along the northern coast of the Chugoku. Toyotomi (Hashiba) Hideyoshi entered Harima and began a number of sieges that would ultimately open the gates to the Môri's hinterland.

1580 opened with the Honganji completely isolated and now rapidly running low on supplies. Finally, faced with Nobunaga's seemingly endless energy and determination as well as starvation, the Honganji looked for a peaceful solution. The court stepped in (persuaded by Nobunaga) and requested that Kennyo Kosa and the commander of the Honganji garrison, Shimotsuma Nakayuki, honorably surrender. In August the Honganji came to terms, and threw open their gates. Somewhat surprisingly, Nobunaga spared all of the surviving defenders – even Kosa and Shimotsuma. After over a decade of bloodshed, Nobunaga had subdued the last of the great ikko bastions and cleared the way for an eventual rise to national hegemony.

One more difficulty remained to be dealt with in Nobunaga's backyard: Iga province. Small, mountainous and strategically unimportant, Iga and its rustic warrior houses had been spared Nobunaga's attentions for over a decade. Then in 1579 Oda Nobuo, Nobunaga's 2nd son, sent in an invasion force under Takigawa Kazumasu to bring the province under Oda control. The operation was a fiasco and prompted Nobuo to lead an army into Iga himself. This campaign (October 1579) was a near-disaster as well, and earned Nobuo no small amount of criticism from his father. Of course, Nobunaga had little choice but to avenge this embarrassment to the Oda name, although other matters delayed him from doing so until 1581. In October of that year, an army of some 44,000 men descended on Iga and brutally quelled the independent-minded samurai there.

When 1582 began, Nobunaga found himself in a suitable position to finish off the Takeda clan once and for all. Massing all of his available forces (anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 men), Nobunaga made for Katsuyori's still considerable territories. Supported by Tokugawa Ieyasu and the Hôjô clan, Nobunaga easily broke into Shinano and Kai, whose people had lost all confidence in their daimyo. Katsuyori himself, all but abandoned by his men, committed suicide in the shadow of the Temmoku-zan. Of all the Oda's samurai enemies, Nobunaga seems to have despised the Takeda most of all, and gloated shamelessly over Katsuyori's head.

On 21 May Nobunaga returned to Azuchi Castle and was greeted by an imperial court that promised him new titles including, if he wanted it, that of shôgun. Nobunaga gave no answer, nor would he ever. Already, Akechi Mitsuhide was plotting against him within two months Nobunaga would be dead.

As mentioned earlier, Nobunaga was said to have treated his retainers haughtily, and this seems to have been nowhere more the case than with Akechi Mitsuhide. A relatively late addition to Nobunaga's inner circle, Mitsuhide was a talented general and poet, perhaps provoking his lord's jealousy as a result of the latter. The best-known story regarding the rift between the two men and just unusual enough to be true occurred in 1577. In that year, Akechi had been tasked with subduing Tamba, and in the course of his campaign besieged the castle of the Hatano clan. Akechi succeded in securing the bloodless surrender of Hatano Hideharu and brought him before Nobunaga. To Akechi's shock, Nobunaga (for reasons unknown) ordered Hatano and his brother executed. The Hatano retainers blamed Akechi for the betrayal and in revenge kidnapped and brutally murdered Akechi's mother (who lived on the Akechi lands in nearby Omi). Unsurprisingly, this whole business did not sit so well with Mitsuhide, although there is no real hint of his actively plotting until 1582. In that year, Nobunaga returned from his conquest of the Takeda clan in time for news of a crisis in the west. Hideyoshi was investing Takamatsu castle, but faced with the arrival of the main Môri army requested reinforcements. Nobunaga responded by speeding a large contingent of his personal troops westward while he himself entertained court nobles at the Honnoji in Kyôto on 20 June. He awoke the following morning in the Honnoji to find that during the night Akechi Mitsuhide had the temple surrounded. Raising an army on the pretext of going to Hideyoshi's aid, Mitsuhide had taken a detour into Kyôto and now called for Nobunaga's head. As Nobunaga had only a small personal guard in attendance on the morning of 21 June, the outcome was a forgone conclusion, and he died, either in the blaze that was started in the course of the fighting or by his own hand. Soon afterwards, Oda Hidetada was surrounded at Nijo and killed. 11 days after that, Akechi Mitsuhide would himself be killed, defeated by Hideyoshi at the Battle of Yamazaki.

Oda Nobunaga died one of most interesting and controversial figures in Japanese history who continues to inspire debate among scholars and enthusiasts of the Sengoku Period. Was he the tyrant so often portrayed in the history books, as his wholesale slaughter of religious adherents might indicate? Was there a method to his madness, where terror was a weapon he felt needed to be used were he ever to achieve his goals? Did he really believe himself a deity, as the contemporary observer Luis Frois recorded? How much further might he have gone had his career not been cut short?

Regardless of these questions and their possible answers, Oda Nobunaga, like Taira Kiyomori (his supposed antecedent), lives on in history as a complicated man who changed Japan forever.

As Nobunaga conquered Japan and amassed a great amount of wealth, he progressively supported the arts for which he always had an interest, but which he later and gradually more importantly used as a display of his power and prestige. He built extensive gardens and castles which were themselves great works of art. Azuchi Castle on the shores of Lake Biwa is said to have been the greatest castle in the history of Japan, covered with gold and statues on the outside and decorated with standing screen, sliding door, wall, and ceiling paintings made by his subject Kanō Eitoku on the inside. During this time, Nobunaga's subject and tea master Sen no Rikyū established the Japanese tea ceremony which Nobunaga popularized and used originally as a way to talk politics and business. The beginnings of modern kabuki were started and later fully developed in the early Edo period.

Additionally, Nobunaga was very interested in European culture which was still very new to Japan. He collected pieces of Western art as well as arms and armor, and he is considered to be among the first Japanese people in recorded history to wear European clothes. He also became the patron of the Jesuit missionaries in Japan and supported the establishment of the first Christian church in Kyoto in 1576, although he never converted to Christianity.

Nobunaga appears frequently within fiction and continues to be portrayed in many different anime, manga, video games, and cinematic films. Many depictions show him as villainous or even demonic in nature, though some portray him in a more positive light. The latter type of works include Akira Kurosawa's film Kagemusha, which portrays Nobunaga as energetic, athletic and respectful towards his enemies. The film Goemon portrays him as a saintly mentor of Ishikawa Goemon. Nobunaga is a central character in Eiji Yoshikawa's historical novel Taiko Ki, where he is a firm but benevolent lord. Nobunaga is also portrayed in a heroic light in some video games such as Kessen III, Ninja Gaiden II, and the Warriors Orochi series. While in the anime series "Nobunaga no Shinobi" Nobunaga is portrayed as a kind person as well as having a major sweet tooth.

By contrast, the novel and anime series Yōtōden portrays Nobunaga as a literal demon in addition to a power-mad warlord. In the novel The Samurai's Tale by Erik Christian Haugaard, he is portrayed as an antagonist "known for his merciless cruelty". He is portrayed as evil or megalomaniacal in some anime and manga series including Samurai Deeper Kyo and Flame of Recca. Nobunaga is portrayed as evil, villainous, bloodthirsty, and/or demonic in many video games such as Ninja Master's, Sengoku, Maplestory, Inindo: Way of the Ninja and Atlantica Online, and the video game series Onimusha, Samurai Warriors, Sengoku Basara (and its anime adaptation), and Soulcalibur.

Nobunaga has been portrayed numerous times in a more neutral or historic framework, especially in the Taiga dramas shown on television in Japan. Oda Nobunaga appears in the manga series Tail of the Moon, Kacchū no Senshi Gamu, and Tsuji Kunio's historical fiction The Signore: Shogun of the Warring States. Historical representations in video games (mostly Western-made strategy titles) include Shogun: Total War, Total War: Shogun 2, Throne of Darkness, the eponymous Nobunaga's Ambition series, as well as Civilization V and Age of Empires II: The Conquerors. Kamenashi Kazuya of the Japanese pop group KAT-TUN wrote and performed a song titled "1582" which is written from the perspective of Mori Ranmaru during the coup at Honnō temple.

Nobunaga has also been portrayed fictively, such as when the figure of Nobunaga influences a story or inspires a characterization. In James Clavell's novel Shōgun, the character Goroda is a pastiche of Nobunaga. In the film Sengoku Jieitai 1549, Nobunaga is killed by time-travellers. Nobunaga also appears as a major character in the eroge Sengoku Rance and is a playable character in Pokémon Conquest, with his partner Pokémon being Hydreigon, Rayquaza and Zekrom. In the anime Sengoku Otome: Momoiro Paradox, in Sengoku Collection, and the light novel and anime series The Ambition of Oda Nobuna, he is depicted as a female character. He is the main character of the stage action and anime adaptation of Nobunaga the Fool.[citation needed] In Kouta Hirano's Drifters, Nobunaga is sent to another world to fight against other historical figures and displays equal parts tactical brilliance and gleeful brutality.

Career in Europe [ править ]

Nobunaga used a primitive teleporting power to send himself and an army to Europe, landing in Calais. A lightning warfare began against the English still stationed there, and Nobunaga completely drove the English back across the Channel. Then, moving onto Rome, Nobunaga's army marched day and night, terrorizing the Europeans as they moved. Finally, in northern Dacia, the entire Roman army confronted Nobunaga's elite troops. The fierce Battle of Waterloo began. The name Waterloo came from the fact that Nobunaga cast a spell, forcing the Romans to be filled with too much water. As they were on the battlefield, there wasn't a single loo, so everyone urinated into the river, and the place became known as Waterloo.

Of course, Nobunaga easily overwhelmed the now busily-urinating Roman legionnaires, and quickly seized Rome, declaring himself to be Caesar Augustus, the Emperor over all Roman territories.

After that, no one really knows what happened. Rumour has it that a giant named Frodo secretly travelled to Mt. Fuji and destroyed the ring of volcanoes, thus breaking Nobunaga's key to eternal life and killing him others contend that Nobunaga simply retired and let his heir take over. The truth is not clear, and may never be known.

Oda Nobunaga (織田信長)

Nobunaga ODA was a busho (Japanese military commander), daimyo (Japanese territorial lord) during the Sengoku period (period of warring states) and a statesman who lived from the Sengoku period to the Azuchi-Momoyama period and he had a great influence on future generations.

He made an effort to create order out of the chaos in politics where there was no unified authority, he promoted new ways of thinking and culture without being bound by the common sense and authority of those days and instead attempted to instill intelligence with both rationality and coolness. After showing an overall direction, his project was interrupted by the betrayal of Mitsuhide AKECHI, one of his senior vassals, and this forced him to commit suicide. However, Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI, who actually succeeded his government, made progress in the unification of the whole country based upon the foundation established by Nobunaga, and he finally achieved it. Therefore, he was a statesman positioned as one of the founders of the project to build early-modern times of Japan succeeded by Hideyoshi and accomplished by Ieyasu TOKUGAWA.


He was born as the second or third son of Nobuhide ODA who was the lord of the Furuwatari-jo Castle in Owari Province.

It seems that Nobunaga was raised as the legitimate son, and he became the lord of Nagoya-jo Castle during his childhood.

In 1551 he succeeded the head of the family after his father's sudden death, but faced a succession dispute with his younger brother Nobuyuki (Nobukatsu) ODA. After he won in this dispute, he defeated his enemy's forces one after another and unified Owari Province.

In 1560 he defeated Yoshimoto IMAGAWA who had an extremely larger military force than Nobunaga at the Battle of Okehazama, which made his name famous all over the country. In 1567 he subverted the Saito clan in the Mino Province and went to Kyoto under Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA during the following year. He made Yoshiaki seii taishogun (literally, "great general who subdues the barbarians"). But their relationship became gradually worse, Nobunaga exiled Yoshiaki in 1573. The siege around Nobunaga including the Takeda clan, the Asakura clan, the Enryaku-ji Temple and the Ishiyama Hongan-ji Temple were built. However, he defeated the Azai clan and the Asakura clan at the Battle of Anegawa in 1570. In 1571, he pushed through the fire attack against Enryaku-ji Temple and burnt off Mt. Hiei as a whole. In 1575, he won a major victory against Katsuyori TAKEDA at the Battle of Nagashino. After that, he moved the unification of Japan forward and implemented policies such as Rakuichi-rakuza (Free markets and open guilds) and land survey (the Oda government).


On July 3, 1534, he was born as the second son of Nobuhide ODA, daimyo during the Sengoku period in Owari Province at Shobata-jo Castle (or Nagoya-jo Castle in another theory). His childhood name was Kipposhi. In addition, 'Oda Danjonojo family' which Nobunaga came from was the Oda Yamato no Kami family who was assigned to the Shugodai (deputy of Shugo, provincial constable) of the south four counties (Kaito, Kaisei, Aichi and Chita Counties) by the Shiba clan who was shugo daimyo (shugo, which were Japanese provincial military governors, that became daimyo, which were Japanese feudal lords) in the Owari Province, that is, the branch family of Kiyosu Oda family and the lord of Furuwatari-jo Castle as same as its senior vassal, i.e., one of the three magistrates of Kiyosu.

Since his mother Dota-gozen was the lawful wife of Nobuhide, he became the lord of Nagoya-jo Castle at the age of two. He had often shown strange behavior from childhood to boyhood, so that he was called the fool in Owari by the people around him. There is a famous episode that he was interested in a tanegashima gun that was introduced to Japan. In addition, he played with young people in town like common people without regard to social status.

When he was still a young heir, he had often shown daring performances which astonished his father Nobuhide, for example, he put the town on fire near the Kiyosu-jo Castle which was controlled by his master 'the Oda Yamato no Kami family' with which the Oda clan superficially had kept the position as a vassal and subconsciously strained relations, with a few mounted warriors. In addition, when he was young, he led a life with Takechiyo MATSUDAIRA (later Ieyasu TOKUGAWA) who was sent to the Oda clan by the betrayal of Yasumitsu TODA, who was kachu (family-related communities existing during the late Muromachi and the Azuchi-Momoyama periods) of the Matsudaira clan, on the way to the territory of the Imagawa clan as a hostage. Later they formed a strong alliance.

In 1546 he celebrated his attainment of manhood at Furuwatari-jo Castle and identified himself as ODA Kazusa no suke (Assistant Governor of Kazusa Province) Nobunaga. In 1548 after he made peace with Dosan SAITO, daimyo of the Mino Province during the Sengoku period, who was fighting with his father Nobuhide, he got married with the daughter of Dosan, Nohime, for political reasons. There was an episode about Nobunaga meeting Dosan at the Shotoku-ji Temple (in Nagoya City) in 1549 (or 1553 in another theory), Dosan judged the ability of Nobunaga who had been called a fool.

In 1551 his father Nobuhide died and he succeeded the head of the family. He threw incense powder at the altar at his funeral.

In 1553, Masahide HIRATE who was the tutor of Nobunaga committed suicide. It is said that he died because of remonstration against Nobunaga's eccentric behavior or because of a feud between his son Goroemon and Nobunaga. Nobunaga was in great sorrow and had the Seishu-ji Temple built with Takugen Osho (high priest) kaisan (a founder of temple as the first chief priest) in order to mourn him.

From the succession dispute to the unification of Owari Province

In those days, in Owari Province, the power of the Shiba clan, who were shugo daimyo, declined and Nobutomo ODA, who was the head of 'the Oda Yamato no Kami family,' the shugodai of the south four counties of the Owari Province, and the head of the lord of the Kiyosu-jo Castle, grasped the real power. However, Nobunaga's father Nobuhide spread the control in the mid-western area of Owari Province with his excellent wisdom and courage, although he was merely one of three magistrates who served Nobutomo. When Nobunaga succeeded the head of the family after Nobuhide's death, Nobutomo opposed Nobunaga by supporting the succession to the position of family head by Nobuyuki (Nobukatsu) ODA, a younger brother of Nobunaga, and planned to murder Nobunaga. However, Yoshimune SHIBA, the Shugo (provincial constable) who was forced to be a puppet by Nobutomo, informed the plan to Nobunaga. Nobutomo got mad with this and killed Yoshimune when his legitimate son Yoshikane SHIBA went to kawagari (a kind of fishing) with his troops.

Therefore, when Yoshikane escaped to Nobunaga's side, Nobunaga killed Nobutomo as a rebel who killed his master Yoshimune in cooperation with his uncle Nobumitsu ODA, the lord of Moriyama-jo Castle (in the Owari Province). In this way, 'the Oda Yamato no Kami family' was subverted. Nobunaga moved the base from Nagoya-jo Castle to Kiyosu-jo Castle and controlled the shugosho (provincial administration) of the Owari Province. Nobunaga who was from a branch family of the Oda clan became the head of the Oda clan both in name and in reality. His uncle Nobumitsu also died, but the reason is unknown.

On May 1556, his wife's father Dosan SAITO was defeated and killed in battle by his son Yoshitatsu SAITO. It is said that Nobunaga sent reinforcements to Dosan, but that they did not make it in time.

In such a situation, senior vassals who doubted the ability of Nobunaga as head of the family, such as Hidesada HAYASHI, Michitomo HAYASHI, and Katsuie SHIBATA, tried to get rid of Nobunaga and help Nobunaga's younger brother Nobukatsu become the head, who was known to be smart. On the other hand, Nobunaga was supported by Yoshinari MORI, Morishige SAKUMA, Nobumori SAKUMA, and so on, and both groups were in conflict.

The Nobukatsu's group considered Dosan's death as a good chance and raised an army against Nobunaga on October 7 during the same year, but it was defeated (the Battle of Inou). After that, Nobunaga besieged Suemori-jo Castle where Nobukatsu stayed, but pardoned Nobukatsu, Katsuie, and others by mediation of his mother Dota-gozen. However, in 1557 Nobukatsu planned a rebellion again. At this time, Katsuie SHIBATA, who had been on Nobunaga's side after the Battle of Inou, informed him and Nobunaga who noticed the plan asked Nobukatsu to come to the Kiyosu-jo castle telling him a lie that he became sick, and killed him.

In addition, Nobunaga worked together with Nobukiyo ODA from the same family, who was the Inuyama Castellan, to defeat Nobutaka ODA from 'the Oda Isenokami family' (Iwakura Oda family), the longtime foe of his former master 'the Oda Yamatonokami family,' Soke (the head family or house) of the Oda family, shugodai of the north four counties of Owari Province (Niwa, Haguri, Nakashima and Kasugai counties) and the Iwakura Castellan (the Battle of Ukino), and exiled him. When Nobunaga noticed that Yoshikane SHIBA, whom he helped become shugo, planned to exile Nobunaga with the Ishibashi clan of the Shiba family and the Kira clan, a branch family of the Ashikaga clan as well as the Shiba clan, he exiled Yoshikane.

In this way, Nobunaga established hegemony in Owari Province until 1559. On March, he went to Kyoto with about eighty vassals and met Shogun Yoshiteru ASHIKAGA.

From the Battle of Okehazama to the Kiyosu alliance

On June the following year, 1560, after he unified Owari Province, Yoshimoto IMAGAWA invaded Owari Province. The army of Yoshimoto who ruled Suruga, Totomi, and Mikawa Provinces was so large, it was said that there were 20,000 or 40,000 warriors. The Oda army fought against this, but its total military force was 5,000. The Imagawa army got control of the fortress of the Oda army one after another by placing the Mikawa army, led by Motoyasu MATSUDAIRA (later Ieyasu TOKUGAWA) as the Mikawa Province spearhead.

Although Nobunaga kept quiet, he departed for the front wearing his armor on June 22, 1560 after dancing "Atsumori" (Kowaka-mai - story-telling with a simple dance). At first, he worshipped at Atsuta-jingu Shrine. After that, he began to fight with 4,000 troops from the fortress of the Zensho-ji Temple. He suddenly attacked the Imagawa army and killed Yoshimoto. The Imagawa army, losing it's supreme commander, escaped to its home Suruga Province (the Battle of Okehazama).

After the Battle of Okehazama, the Imagawa clan rapidly declined. This led to an alliance of Ieyasu TOKUGAWA (around this time, he changed his name from Motoyasu MATSUDAIRA) in the Mikawa Province and gained independence from the control of the Imagawa clan. In those days, Nobunaga fought against the Saito clan in order to conquer Mino Province and Ieyasu needed to counter Shingen TAKEDA in Kai Province, Ujizane IMAGAWA in Suruga Province, and so on. Therefore, they had a common interest. They made an alliance in 1562 and reinforced their rear (Kiyosu alliance).

The capture of Mino Province

After the death of Dosan SAITO, the relationship between Nobunaga and the Saito clan of Mino Province got worse. During the Battle of Okehazama, the battle between them went back and forth. However, after Yoshitatsu SAITO suddenly died in 1561 and his legitimate son Tatsuoki SAITO succeeded the head of the family, kachu of the Saito clan began to split. Nobunaga who had the advantage in the battle over the Saito clan made an alliance with Nagamasa AZAI of Kita-Omi Province in 1564, which strengthened their warning against the Saito clan. At this time, Nobunaga had his sister Oichi no kata married.

In 1566 he took many castles in Mino Province by fighting and strategies. In addition, he made allies of the Three in West Mino (Ittetsu INABA, Naomoto UJIIE, and Morinari ANDO). In 1567 Nobunaga finally routed Tatsuoki SAITO to Nagashima-cho, Ise Province (Mie Prefecture) and gained Mino Province. In this way Nobunaga became daimyo of the two provinces of Owari and Mino at the age thirty-three. At this time, he changed the place name of Inokuchi to Gifu.

In addition, he used the red seal of "Tenka-fubu" (a slogan that means that the samurai govern the whole world) around this time, he began to aim at unifying the whole country.

On the other hand, Nobunaga started attacking Ise Province as of 1565, and fought various clans like Tomonori KITABATAKE.

Going to Kyoto

Around this time in Kyoto in 1565, Miyoshi sanninshu (three chief retainers of the Miyoshi clan, Nagayuki MIYOSHI, Masayasu MIYOSHI and Tomomichi IWANARI), influential people in the Miyoshi clan who had power in the Kinai region (the five capital provinces surrounding the ancient capitals of Nara and Kyoto), and Hisahide MATSUNAGA all collaborated in the murder of the thirteenth seii taishogun, Yoshiteru ASHIKAGA, who had been in increasing conflict with the Miyoshi clan due to his goal of restoring power to the Muromachi bakufu, and installed his cousin Yoshihide ASHIKAGA as the fourteenth shogun to serve as their puppet (Eiroku Incident).

Hisahide and others also planned to murder Yoshiteru's younger brother, Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA. However, Yoshiaki escaped from Kyoto supported by Shogun's retainers such as Yusai HOSOKAWA and Koremasa WADA and stayed at the place of Yoshikage ASAKURA in the Echizen Province. However, since Yoshikage did not show any movement to hunt down and kill the Miyoshi clan, Yoshiaki approached Nobunaga in Mino Province in August 1568. Nobunaga accepted Yoshiaki's request to hunt down and kill the Miyoshi clan.

On the other hand, Nobunaga made an alliance with Shingen TAKEDA in the Kai Province bordering Mino Province by having his adopted daughter (Fujin TOYAMA) marry with Shingen's fourth son Katsuyori TAKEDA. But Fujin TOYAMA died early just after she delivered Nobukatsu TAKEDA. For this reason, Nobunaga reinforced the relationship with neighboring powers through alliances such as aiming to marry his legitimate son Nobutada with Shingen's sixth daughter Shinshoni and taking a stance to keep friendship.

Then in October, he began to go to Kyoto working respectfully for Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA as the fifteenth Shogun as the legitimate reason for Tenka-fubu. Yoshikata ROKKAKU and his son Yoshiharu ROKKAKU in Minami Omi Province who opposed come under attack of the Oda army, and the Kannonji-jo Castle fell (Battle of Kannonji-jo Castle). Yoshikata and Yoshiharu ROKKAKU escaped to the Iga Province and continued guerrilla warfare after that. However, it is rumored that the main branch of the Rokkaku clan remained separate and Yoshihide ROKKAKU and Yoshisato ROKKAKU of the main branch were guarded by Nobunaga. After Nobunaga went to Kyoto, Yoshitsugu MIYOSHI, Hisahide MATSUNAGA, and others who had controlled the central government knew the power of Nobunaga and served him. Most of the other people on the side of miyoshi sanninshu escaped to Awa Province. Katsumasa IKEDA, the only person who resisted Nobunaga, also surrendered to him. In this way, the government of Miyoshi and Matsunaga that had controlled central politics since Nagayoshi MIYOSHI collapsed because of Nobunaga's lightning joraku (going to Kyoto). Alternatively, the Oda government that enthroned Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA as the fifteenth Shogun was established. It is said that at the time, Nobunaga was asked to become vice-Shogun by Yoshiaki, but he refused because he had already given up the Ashikaga Shogun family.

On January 1569, waiting for a chance when the main force of the Oda army led by Nobunaga returns to Mino Province, ronin shu (masterless samurai)like miyoshi sanninshu and Tatsuoki SAITO conspired to attack Honkoku-ji Temple at Rokujo-dori, the palace of Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA (the Battle of Rokujo). However, it is said that Nobunaga showed the mobility to get there for reinforcements in just two days despite heavy snow.

The armies of Miyoshi and Saito were defeated before Nobunaga arrived because of the reinforcements of Nagamasa AZAI and Katsumasa IKEDA and the hard fighting of Mitsuhide AKECHI.

On February 5, Nobunaga raised an army and together with the Miyoshi army attacked Harukage IRIE at Takatsuki-jo Castle. Although Harukage surrendered, Nobunaga did not allow his second betrayal and put him to death. Nobunaga had Koremasa WADA enter Takatsuki-jo Castle along with three people of Katsumasa IKEDA who was shugo, the Itami clan and Koremasa ruled Settsu Province (three Settsu Shugo). On the same day, Nobunaga required Sakai to pay 22,000 million kan (unit of volume, approx.3.75 kg) in war funds and to yield his allegiance to him. The egoshu (wealthy merchants who led self-governing organizations in cities during the Muromachi period) of Sakai resisted against this, depending on Miyoshi sanninshu. However, they were forced to serve Nobunaga after sanninshu was defeated by the Oda army.

The invasion of Ise Province was in the final stage. In 1568 Nobunaga had Tomomori KANBE surrendered and sent his third son Nobutaka ODA to become an adopted son of the Kanbe clan. In the following year, 1569, he also had Tomonori KITABATAKE, Ise Kokushi (an officer of Ise Province), surrender, and sent his second son Nobukatsu ODA to become an adopted son of the Kitabatake clan. Later, Tomonori was confined and the Kitabatake family was killed. In this way Nobunaga expanded power in the Kinai region.

The first anti-Nobunaga network

In 1569, Nobunaga promulgated the 'Denchu on okite' (regulations for the shogunal residence) which consisted of nine articles and later an additional seven articles, in order to regulate the power of Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA as Shogun Nobunaga forced Yoshiaki to accept these regulations. However, this led to a decisive conflict between Yoshiaki and Nobunaga.

On June 1570, in order to subjugate Yoshikage ASAKURA in Echizen Province, who had ignored Nobunaga's order to go to Kyoto several times, Nobunaga abandoned the alliance with the Azai clan and began his march into Echizen Province with the army of Ieyasu TOKUGAWA, a sworn ally. Although the Oda and Tokugawa allied forces captured various castles of the Asakura clan one after another, when they advanced to Kanegasaki they were attacked from behind by the Azai clan who was their sworn ally in Kita-Omi Province. This pincer attack pushed the Oda and Tokugawa allied forces into a corner, but they could escape to Kyoto partly because of the rear guards such as Katsumasa IKEDA, Mitsuhide AKECHI, Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI and Ieyasu TOKUGAWA (the Battle of Kanagasaki). It is said that when Nobunaga returned to Kyoto only about ten vassals followed him.

This made the conflict between Shogun Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA and Nobunaga militant. Yoshiaki sent gonaisho (a letter issued with the signature of the shogun) to various provinces in order to defeat Nobunaga, and formed 'the anti-Nobunaga network' with Yoshikage ASAKURA, Nagamasa AZAI, Shingen TAKEDA, Terumoto MORI, Miyoshi sanninshu and temples such as the Enryaku-ji Temple on Mt. Hiei, and the Ishiyama Hongan-ji Temple.

However, on July 1570 Nobunaga faced off against the Azai and Asakura allied forces at the side of the Ane-gawa River in Omi Province with the Tokugawa army in order to defeat Nagamasa AZAI. The Oda and Tokugawa allied forces faced an uphill battle, for example, thirteen blocks of the fifteen blocks were broken by Kazumasa ISONO who was the spearhead of the Azai army, but they won (the Battle of Anegawa).

On September 1570, Nobunaga left for the front in order to fight Miyoshi sanninshu who raised an army in Settsu Province, but he faced an uphill battle partly because of the reinforcements of the Ishiyama Hongan-ji Temple (the Battle of Noda-jo Castle and Fukushima-jo Castle). In addition, while the main unit of the Oda army fought in Settsu Province, 30,000 allied forces including Nagamasa AZAI, Yoshikage ASAKURA and the Enryaku-ji Temple that recovered the troops, invaded Sakamoto (Otsu City) in Omi Province. The Oda army lost a senior vassal, Yoshinari MORI, and Nobunaga's younger brother, Nobuharu ODA, during the retreat. In this situation, Nobunaga quickly returned to Omi Province from the Settsu, leading the main unit before dawn on November 1. The Azai and Asakura allied forces were surprised and resisted barricading themselves on Mt. Hiei. Then, Nobunaga faced off against the Azai and Asakura allied forces at Usayama-jo Castle in Omi Province (Siege of Shiga). However, shortly, the people of Ise Nagashima Ikko Ikki (an uprising of Ikko sect followers in Nagashima, Ise Province) rose in revolt, ordered by Kennyo, the hoshu (high priest) of Ishiyama Hongan-ji Temple, which forced Nobunaga's brother Nobuoki ODA to be killed in the battle. Nobunaga who with his back to the wall reported to Emperor OGIMACHI and received an Imperial order, by which he could make peace with the Azai and Asakura clans on January 18, 1571. According to "Mikawa Monogatari" (Tales from Mikawa) written by Tadataka OKUBO, Nobunaga even said to Yoshikage as follows.
I do not care if the Asakura clan unifies the whole country.'
I do not hope for it again.'

On September 1571, Nobunaga set fire to Enryaku-ji Temple on Mt. Hiei which continued to resist after several evacuations or neutrality advisories (the fire attack against Mt. Hiei).

On August 1572, Nobunaga had his legitimate son Kimyomaru (later Nobutada ODA) join the battle for the first time. Around this time, the Oda army repeatedly fought a little war against the Azai and Asakura allied forces. However, the Oda army had an advantage in tactics, and some busho of the Asakura army such as Yoshitsugu MAEBA, Nagashige TOMITA and 戸田与次 surrendered to Nobunaga in September.

In November, Shingen TAKEDA in Kai Province who accepted the requirement to dispatch troops by Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA finally raised an army to go to Kyoto with. The total military force of the Takeda army was 30,000. This large military force began to invade Higashi (east) Mino Province, the territory of the Oda clan and Totomi and Mikawa Provinces, the territories of Tokugawa (the strategy to conquer the west). The Oda and Tokugawa allied forces resisted against this.

However, at Iwamura-jo Castle in Higashi Mino Province attacked by Nobutomo AKIYAMA, a busho of the Takeda army, Kageto TOYAMA, the castellan, died of disease. Otsuya no kata, Kageto's widow, (Nobunaga's aunt) resisted by adopting Nobunaga's fifth son Bomaru (later Katsunaga ODA) as a son and placing him as the castellan. But Nobutomo AKIYAMA asked Otsuya no kata to marry him as a tactic. Otsuya no kata surrendered the castle to the enemy by getting married with Nobutomo. Bomaru was sent to Kai Province as a hostage and most of Higashi Mino Province came to be ruled by the Takeda clan.

In addition, in the territory of the Tokugawa clan, the Tokugawa army lost big against the Takeda army in the Battle of Hitokotozaka. Moreover, the Futamata-jo Castle, the cornerstone of Totomi Province, surrendered to the enemy, and as a result, the war became worse (the Battle of Futamata-jo Castle). Against this situation, Nobunaga sent 3,000 reinforcement including Nobumori SAKUMA and Hirohide HIRATE to Ieyasu. But the Oda and Tokugawa allied forces lost big against the Takeda army at the Battle of Mikatagahara on January 1574. Some busho such as Hirohide were killed in the battle.

In 1573 the Takeda army invaded Mikawa Province from Totomi Province and captured Noda-jo Castle (Mikawa Province) in March (the Battle of Noda-jo Castle). In addition, in response to Shingen's going to Kyoto, Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA raised an army with Yoshitsugu MIYOSHI, Hisahide MATSUNAGA and so on. Nobunaga faced off against enemies both in the east and the west and his back was to the wall again, so he made peace with Yoshiaki by getting an Imperial order from Emperor Ogimachi on May 16. On May 23, Shingen TAKEDA suddenly died. As a result, the Takeda army returned to Kai Province.

The collapse of the anti-Nobunaga network

After the death of Shingen TAKEDA, Nobunaga reorganized his army. In August, he defeated Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA who was barricaded at Nijo-jo Castle or Makishima-jo Castle and exiled him from Kyoto. This was the end of the Muromachi bakufu. In addition, on September 4, he reported to the Imperial Court to change the era name from Genki to Tensho and had this implemented.

In September 1573, he ordered Yusai HOSOKAWA to subjugate Tomomichi IWANARI who was one of the Miyoshi sanninshu barricaded at the Yodo kojo Castle (the Second Battle of Yodokojo). In the same month, Nobunaga marched to Echizen Province leading 30,000 troops. Nobunaga defeated the Asakura army in the Battle of Tonezaka Slope, and Yoshikage ASAKURA committed suicide. In October, he captured Odani-jo Castle and Hisamasa AZAI and his son Nagamasa committed suicide. He killed Onodono (Agogoryonin), the mother of Nagamasa, after cutting off her fingers, one each day. In addition, Oichi no kata who married Nagamasa and some others escaped before the fall of the castle and they were taken in by Nobunaga.

In October 29, Nobunaga marched to Nagashima-cho of Ise Province (Mie Prefecture) leading 30,000 troops which mainly consisted of the troops of Owari, Mino, and Ise Provinces. The Oda army captured enemy castles around Nagashima one after another for about half a month with the good showing of Kazumasu TAKIGAWA. However, because of the hard resistance with the uprising of the Ikko sect followers, Nobunaga who disliked extended battle began to withdraw on November 29. When the Ikko sect army began to pursue his withdrawal, the Oda army faced a tough battle and Michimasa HAYASHI was killed.

In December, Yoshitsugu MIYOSHI in the Kawachi Province rose a revolt following Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA. Nobunaga sent the troops with commanded by Nobumori SAKUMA to the Kawachi Province. However, the Wakae Three, the chief retainers of Yoshitsugu, and others were afraid of Nobunaga's power and betrayed him, so Yoshitsugu committed suicide on December 20, and this was the end of the Miyoshi clan. On January 28, 1574, Hisahide MATSUNAGA in Yamato Province surrendered Tamonyama-jo Castle to Nobunaga.

Nagashima Ikko Ikki (uprising of the Ikko sect followers in Nagashima)

On February 1574, jizamurai (local samurai) and the followers of Hongan-ji Temple rose in revolt in Echizen Province the territory of the Oda clan after the capturing the Asakura clan. The shugodai Yoshitsugu MAEBA (Nagatoshi KATSURADA) was killed at Ichijodani. Responding to that, Katsuyori TAKEDA in Kai Province invaded Higashi Mino Province. Although Nobunaga tried to attack with Nobutada, Akechi-jo Castle in Higashi Mino Province fell before Nobunaga's reinforcements arrived, and Nobunaga withdrew, avoiding the encounter with Takeda's army.

During April, Nobunaga went to Kyoto and was conferred Jusanmi Sangi (councilor in the Junior Third Rank).

During July Nobunaga completely besieged Nagashima-cho in Ise Province (Mie Prefecture) with an amphibian operation leading 30,000 soldiers and brought a way of siege warfare. The army of Ikko Ikki showed artful tactics and many busho from the Oda family, such as Nobuhiro ODA, Nobunaga's older brother by a concubine, were killed. However, in September, the army of Ikko Ikki suffered a shortage of food and about 1,000 soldiers were killed when Otorii-jo Castle fell from being heavily attack by the Oda army. In this way, the Oda army had gradually taken advantage of the war situation.

On October 23, the followers of Nagashima-jo Castle who were out of food surrendered and asked Nobunaga to leave for Osaka by ship. Nobunaga agreed to this. However, Nobunaga's brothers Nobuoki and Nobuhiro were killed, and he attacked the followers on ships and they were captured, partly because they were slow in leaving. A part of the army of Ikko Ikki got angry about this and attacked the Oda army, and Nobunaga's younger brother Hidenari ODA and others were killed.

In addition, Nobunaga besieged the followers of Nagashima who barricaded themselves in Nakae-jo and Yanagashima-jo Castles, and killed them. It is said that at this time 20,000 followers of Ikko Ikki were killed by the Oda army. In this battle Nobunaga succeeded in suppressing an insurrection of Nagashima followers.

The battle of Nagashino and the invasion of Echizen Province

In May 1575, Katsuyori TAKEDA attacked Nagashino-jo Castle, the residence of Sadamasa OKUDAIRA, leading 15,000 troops, in order to kill him who betrayed the Takeda clan and became a vassal of the Tokugawa clan after the death of Shingen., i.e., Katsuyori's father. However, because the Okudaira army fought well, the Takeda army took time to capture Nagashino-jo Castle. In the meantime, Nobunaga left for the front leading a large number troops, 30,000 from Gifu on June 30, and joined 8,000 troops of the Tokugawa army at Noda in Mikawa Province on July 5.

The Oda and Tokugawa allied forces increased to 38,000 troops set up an encampment at Shitaragahara on July 6. And on July 9, the battle between the Oda and Tokugawa allied forces and the army of Takeda began (the Battle of Nagashino). In this battle Nobunaga adopted a fusillade using about 1,000 matchlock guns (according to "Shinchoko-ki" - Biography of Nobunaga ODA) and won a landslide victory against the Takeda army.

Sadamasa OKUDAIRA who guarded Nagashino-jo Castle from the large army of Takeda in this battle was given Henki (a portion of the name of a person in high rank, which is given to a retainer to show subordination) from Nobunaga and he changed his name to Nobumasa.

During the previous year, followers of the Hongan-ji Temple killed Yoshitsugu MAEBA assigned to the shugodai of Echizen Province by Nobunaga, but they became divided internally. The followers punished jizamurai like Nagashige TOMITA who cooperated in the murder of Nagatoshi KATSURADA on February 1575, and began to govern Echizen Province as a country held by Ikki. Then, Raisho SHIMOTSUMA was dispatched as shugodai by the order of Kennyo. However, since the governance of Raisho SHIMOTSUMA was disarray more so than that of the former lord Nagatoshi KATSURADA, the followers of Ikki became internally divided. Nobunaga saw this as a good chance and marched to Echizen Province on September just after the battle of Nagashino.

The followers of Ikki who were already internally divided could not intercept them. It has been said that 12,250 followers in the Echizen and Kaga Provinces such as Raisho SHIMOTSUMA and Kagetake ASAKURA were killed by the Oda army.

This way, Echizen Province became Oda territory again and Nobunaga gave eight counties of Echizen to Katsuie SHIBATA. It is said that Nobunaga gave the rules of the governance for the northern province.

The second anti-Nobunaga network

On December 16, 1575 Nobunaga was conferred as Gon Dainagon (provisional major counselor) and Ukone no daisho (Major Captain of the Right Division of Inner Palace Guards) on December 19.

On January 9, Nobunaga passed over the head of the Oda family and gave territories like Mino and Owari Provinces to his legitimate son Nobutada, and then retired. However, Nobunaga continuously held onto the position to implement governance and military affairs of the Oda clan.

In February 1576, Nobunaga began building Azuchi-jo Castle at the lakeside of Lake Biwa under his direction. The Azuchi-jo Castle was completed as a great-flamboyant castle with five layers and seven stories in 1579. It is said that in the inside of tenshu (main keep or tower of a castle) was a fukinuke (stairwell).
A missionary of the Society of Jesus sent a letter to his home country which showed his surprise that 'Such a gorgeous castle has never been seen in Europe.'
Nobunaga passed Gifu-jo Castle to Nobutada and moved to the Azuchi-jo Castle after it was completed. Nobunaga started to unify the whole country based at this castle.

On February 1576, Hideharu HATANO in Tanba Province, who had a friendship with Nobunaga, rose in revolt. In addition, as the Ishiyama Hongan-ji Temple also raised an army again, the anti-Nobunaga movement gained strength again. On the other hand, Nobunaga dispatched 30,000 troops commanded by Mitsuhide AKECHI, Murashige ARAKI, and Naomasa HANIWA, to Osaka on May. But they lost big and more than 1,000 soldiers including Naomasa were killed in the battle.

The Oda army in Osaka was stuck by a vigorous attack of the Hongan-ji Temple army and they barricaded themselves in the Tennoji Fort. But the Hongan-ji Temple army besieged the Oda army at Tennoji. Nobunaga entered Wakae-jo Castle on June 11th and announced their mobilization orders, but only about 3,000 soldiers gathered. However, in the early morning on June 13, Nobunaga led those 3,000 troops at the front-line and attacked the 15,000 strong Hongan-ji Temple army that had besieged the Tennoji Fort. Although it was such a hard battle and Nobunaga himself was injured, the Oda army's morale was raised by Nobunaga's appearance at the front-line and they defeated the Hongan-ji Temple army (the Battle of Tennoji Fort).

After that, the Oda army besieged Ishiyama Hongan-ji Temple with an amphibian operation and starvation tactics. However, on August 17, about 800 ships of the Mori navy appeared to assist the Ishiyama Hongan-ji Temple army and defeated the Oda navy, and the Mori army brought provisions and ammunition to the Ishiyama Hongan-ji Temple army (the first battle of Kizukawaguchi).

Around this time, the relationship between Kenshin UESUGI in Echigo Province and Nobunaga worsened and Kenshin made peace with the Ishiyama Hongan-ji Temple in 1576. He abandoned the alliance with Nobunaga and clearly showed his opposition against Nobunaga. Having Kenshin as a leader, Terumoto MORI, the Ishiyama Hongan-ji Temple, Hideharu HATANO, Ikko adherents of Saiga in Kishu (the present Wakayama Prefecture) and others colluded to oppose Nobunaga.

On the other hand, Nobunaga left for the front leading a large army to suppress Ikko adherents of Saiga in Kishu in February 1577. However, it is said that he had Magoichi SAIKA, the head of Ikko adherents of Saiga, surrender on April, partly owing to the assistance of the Mori navy from the rear and the invasion of the Noto Province by the Uesugi army (it is said that it was a nominal surrender without submitting a hostage). He made a nominal reconciliation in this way and withdrew from Kii Province.

Additionally, around this time, Katsuie SHIBATA of the Oda army implemented the fire attack over the Tedori-gawa River in Kaga Province at the battle line in the Hokuriku region.

Hisahide MATSUNAGA in the Yamato Province betrayed Nobunaga and raised an army. Nobunaga dispatched a large military force commanded by Nobutada ODA to Shigisan-jo Castle and killed Hisahide in November (the Battle of Shigisan-jo Castle). In November when Nobunaga killed Hisahide, Sadamasa NAITO, at Kameyama-jo Castle in Tanba Province who resisted Nobunaga, died of disease. The Oda army did not miss this chance and captured various castles in Tanba Province such as Kameyama-jo Castle, Momi-jo Castle, and Sasayama-jo Castle. On April 29, 1578, Kenshin UESUGI suddenly died. Since Kenshin had no child and suddenly died without deciding a successor, his adopted son Kagekatsu UESUGI and Kagetora UESUGI began a succession race (Otate War). In the meantime, the Oda army captured the Noto and Kaga Provinces, Uesugi's territories. In this way, the death of Kenshin led to the collapse of the anti-Nobunaga network again.

The army corps of Oda in various regions

Hokuriku region: The army corps of Katsuie SHIBATA

Nakasen region: The army corps of Nobutada ODA (the army corps of Kazumasu TAKIGAWA)

Kinai region: The army corps of Mitsuhide AKECHI

Chugoku region: The army corps of Hideyoshi HASHIBA

Shikoku region: The army corps of Nagahide NIWA and Nobutaka ODA (formed in 1582)

During the Tensho era, the Oda clan had military and financial powers to fight in various places at the same time. Nobunaga gave his busho followers land as large as the territory of a daimyo and allowed them to govern freely and capture surrounding areas.

He deployed the following busho: Katsuie SHIBATA, Toshiie MAEDA, Narimasa SASA, and others against Kagekatsu UESUGI who succeeded the head of the Uesugi family through a family feud after the death of Kenshin UESUGI his legitimate son Nobutada, Kazumasu TAKIGAWA, Nagayoshi MORI and others against Katsuyori TAKEDA Mitsuhide AKECHI, Yusai HOSOKAWA and others against Hideharu HATANO (the battle of Kuroi-jo Castle) Hideyoshi HASHIBA against Terumoto MORI and Nobumori SAKUMA against the Ishiyama Hongan-ji Temple.

The Oda army had taken advantage in the battle with the Uesugi clan after Kenshin's death, and it captured Noto and the Kaga Provinces and prepared to invade Ecchu Province as well.

On April 1578, Nagaharu BESSHO in Harima Province rose in revolt (the Battle of Miki). In addition, the Mori army hardly resisted and captured Kozuki-jo Castle in August the same year, and the revived Amako armies, like Shikanosuke YAMANAKA, was defeated (the Battle of the Kozuki-jo Castle). In November, Murashige ARAKI in Settsu Province betrayed Nobunaga by barricading himself in Arioka-jo Castle (the Battle of Arioka-jo Castle) and resisted Nobunaga by cooperating with Hongan-ji Temple. On the other hand, Kiyohide NAKAGAWA, Murashige's yoriki (police sergeant), and the lord of the Higashi Settsu Province, and Ukon TAKAYAMA surrendered to Nobunaga.

On April 17 in the same year, Nobunaga invented the armored warship and defeated the Mori navy with six armored warships (the Second Battle of Kizugawaguchi). In this way, the Ishiyama Hongan-ji Temple and Murashige ARAKI were isolated without getting any help from the Mori army, and this time the Oda army had the advantage. In summer of 1579, Nobunaga made Hideharu HATANO surrender and then executed him. After Murashige escaped, abandoning his wife and children in October during the same year, Arioka-jo Castle fell and most of the Araki family were executed. Next, after Naoie UKITA in Bizen Province who had been on the Mori side yielded allegiance to Nobunaga in November, the advantage and disadvantage of the Oda army and the Mori army completely reversed. In January 1580, Nagaharu BESSHO committed Seppuku (suicide by disembowelment) and the Miki-jo Castle surrendered. In May the same year, the Hongan-ji Temple army also made peace with the Oda army on the conditions which advantageous for the Oda army by Imperial order of Emperor Ogimachi, and withdrew from Osaka. During the same year, Nobunaga captured Harima and Tajima Provinces as well. In 1581 he captured Inaba Province in the fall of Tottori-jo Castle by starvation tactics and Awaji Province in the fall of Iwaya-jo Castle.

In 1579 Nobukatsu ODA, who became angry with Kokujin (local samurai) in Iga Province because he was interrupted while having a castle built in Ise Province, and invaded Iga Province, but lost big. Nobunaga scolded Nobukatsu hardily and his feelings of hostility towards Kokujin of Iga Province increased (Tensho Iga War of Iga school). Then in 1581 he captured Iga Province with 60,000 troops commanded by Nobukatsu. Iga Province became the territory of the Oda clan (Tensho Iga War of Iga school).

In 1579 Nobunaga ordered Nobuyasu MATSUDAIRA, the legitimate son of Ieyasu TOKUGAWA, and his mother Tsukiyama-dono to commit Seppuku. The reasons for this were the twelve immoral acts of Nobuyasu and Tsukiyama-dono's betrayal made against the Takeda clan. The vassals of the Tokugawa clan hardly discussed this, separated into two camps, one to follow Nobunaga and the other to oppose Nobunaga. However, as a result, Ieyasu had Nobuyasu commit Seppuku and killed Tsukiyama-dono - there is a rumor about this. (Refer to the incident of the committing suicide of Nobuyasu in the article of Nobuyasu MATSUDAIRA for details).

In September 1580, Nobunaga sent a letter of chastisement to Nobumori SAKUMA, a hereditary senior vassal, and his legitimate son Masakatsu SAKUMA, and exiled them because of their failure at the battle of Hongan-ji Temple. In addition, he exiled Hidesada HAYASHI and Morinari ANDO who were old senior vassals by bringing up the former attempt of betrayal or the betrayal of their family to the enemy.

The punitive expedition of the Takeda clan

In 1581 Nobunaga was at the height of power. On April 11, he staged a spectacular demonstration at the umaba (a horse-riding grounds) in the east of the dairi (Imperial Palace) in Kyoto. This is what was called the great military parade in Kyoto, demonstrating the military power of the Oda army corps such as Nagahide NIWA as well as Nobunaga.

In June in the same year, the Oda army marched into Ecchu Province taking advantage of the opportunity when Nagachika KAWADA, a busho of the Uesugi clan, suddenly died, and came to control almost all of Ecchu Province. On May 6, it captured Takatenjin-jo Castle and tracked down the Takeda clan. In Kishu, Saigato became internally divided and there was conflict between Magoichi SUZUKI, who supported Nobunaga and Heiji DOBASHI who were against Nobunaga and their power decreased.

In the same year, Temple on Mt. Koya showed anti-Nobunaga movements such as hiding the remnants of Murashige ARAKI and engaging in secret communications with Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA. In contrast, Nobunaga sent more than ten messengers in order to resolve the dispute peacefully, but Temple on Mt. Koya killed all the messengers. Nobunaga got mad about this and captured hundreds of Koya hijiri (ascetics of Temple on Mt. Koya) in the Oda territories and ordered the daimyo in Kawachi and Yamato Provinces to besiege Mt. Koya.

On March 5, 1582, Yoshimasa KISO, husband of the daughter of Shingen TAKEDA, betrayed Nobunaga and accepted this. On March 7, Nobunaga announced large-scale mobilization orders against the Takeda clan to Nobutada. Then, Ieyasu TOKUGAWA of Suruga Province, Ujinao HOJO of Sagami Province, Nagachika KANAMORI of Hida Province and Nobutada of the Kiso region began capturing the Takeda territory. It is said that the numbers in these allied forces totaled over 100,000. On the other hand, the garrison force of Ina-jo Castle of the Takeda army pushed out the castle commander Nobuuji SHIMOJO and surrendered to the Oda army. In addition, Nobumine OGASAWARA, the lord of Matsuo-jo Castle in Shinano Province, Nobushige YODA, lord of Tanaka-jo Castle and Nobukimi ANAYAMA, lord of Ejiri-jo Castle in the Suruga Province, and others, surrendered to the allied forces one after another. The Takeda army was defeated without any organized resistance.

Nobunaga left for the front for the punitive expedition of the Takeda clan on April 10, and Nobutada occupied Kofu on the same day. On April 13, Nobutada killed Katsuyori TAKEDA and his son Nobukatsu in the fields east of Kai Province, and this was the end of the Takeda clan.
It is said that after the destruction of the Takeda clan, Nobunaga ordered the 'Killing of the whole family which served Takeda clan even if they showed obedience,' which was called 'the hunt for the Takeda clan.'

After the destruction of the Takeda clan, Nobunaga gave Suruga Province to Ieyasu TOKUGAWA, Kozuke Province to Kazumasu TAKIGAWA, Kai Province to Hidetaka KAWAJIRI, Kitashinano Province to Nagayoshi MORI, and Minamishinano Province to Hideyori MORI, in order to watch Ujinao HOJO. At the same time, he remained thoroughly committed to peace diplomacy in the same way he was against Shingen and Kenshin, and kept the alliance.

Honnoji Incident

In summer of 1582, Nobunaga prepared to dispatch the army corps of his third son Nobutaka KANBE and a senior vassal Nagahide NIWA in order to capture Motochika CHOSOKABE in the Shikoku region.

On June 15 the same year, Ieyasu TOKUGAWA visited Azuchi-jo Castle in order to give thanks for the addition of Suruga Province and to celebrate the victory of the punitive expedition against the Takeda clan. At that time Nobunaga ordered Mitsuhide AKECHI to entertain him. Mitsuhide had fully entertained Ieyasu from the 15th to 17th.

While entertaining Ieyasu, Nobunaga was asked to dispatch reinforcements by Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI who was engaged in attacking Bicchu Takamatsu-jo Castle.
This was because 'the Mori clan showed movements to go to assist Takamatsu-jo Castle with a large army.'

Nobunaga stopped entertaining Mitsuhide and ordered him to help Hideyoshi. According to the common story spread later after the Edo period by "Akechi Gunki" (biography of Mitsuhide AKECHI) and others, Nobunaga was not satisfied with Mitsuhide's entertaining and ordered a pageboy Naritoshi MORI to slap the head of Mitsuhide.

On June 29, Nobunaga went to Kyoto to prepare for dispatching troops to the Chugoku region and he stayed at Honno-ji Temple (in Kyoto) after that. However, the Akechi army, ordered to help Hideyoshi, suddenly marched to Kyoto and attacked Honno-ji Temple on July 1. It is said that considering the strong loyalty to Nobunaga by his followers, Mitsuhide hid that the target of the attack was Nobunaga and only a few followers declared loyalty to Mitsuhide. Nobunaga led only about 100 soldiers, but it is said that he fought with a spear by himself at first. It is said that, however, he could not continue to fight against the overwhelming majority composing the Akechi army, went back to his room, set fire to himself and committed suicide in the burning fire. He died at the age of 49 according to the traditional Japanese system (actually forty-eight years old at his death).
(Honno-ji Incident)

Although Hidemitsu AKECHI, husband of the daughter of Mitsuhide, searched for the corpse of Nobunaga, he could not find it. Therefore, there is a theory that he secretly escaped and committed suicide in another place. On the other hand, there is another theory that he was secretly buried by priests and followers who admired Nobunaga. In addition, there was a black man named Yasuke who had followed Nobunaga until Nobunaga's death. Yasuke was captured by Mitsuhide, but later forgiven. His fate after that is unknown.

In the excavation and research of the site after the Honno-ji Temple in 2007, an old moat site and a large amount of burnt roof tiles considered to be from the same period as the Honno-ji Incident, were discovered. This shows the possibility that it was equipped as a fortress and was prepared for a rebellion, and the research is being continued still now.


It is said that the following Senryu (comic haiku) by Oda shows his character: 'If hototogisu (the little cuckoo) does not sing, kill it.'
However, this was not the Senryu that he read by himself, but one recorded in "Kasshiyawa," The Essays of the lord of the Hirado Domain, Kiyoshi MATSUURA (Seizan MATSURA) as anonymous Senryu in those days (Hototogisu Senryu). In addition, this Senryu continues as 'Bring it to toriya (restaurant),' which criticizes Shogun with a backbone in the Edo period compared to the busho of the Sengoku Period. That Senryu seemed to praise Nobunaga's determination and backbone to discern the life and death of his own and others, rather than the character of Nobunaga.

According to "Shinchoko-ki," he had the skulls of Hisamasa AZAI, and his son Nagamasa AZAI and Yoshikage ASAKURA covered with gold leaf and showed them only at the reception of 'Oumamawari (horse guards) after the people of other provinces left.'
This episode turned out to be a story about him having his vassals drink from a skull as a cup, but this was fiction written by a novelist and it was not actually done. Hakudami (a lacquered skull covered with gold) shows respect for the dead.

Luis FROIS described the personal profile of Nobunaga as follows.
He is tall and thin with a few hige (whiskers).'
His voice is high-pitched, and he always likes to practice martial arts and he is rude.'
He likes justice and mercy, and he is arrogant and respects honor.'
He is a man of decision and is good at tactics, but he does not keep to regulations and merely follows the opinions of followers.'
He was obsessively respected by people.'
He does not drink.'
He merely denigrates himself, looked down on almost all daimyo except himself, and speaks about them as if they were his followers.'
He has the ability to understand and judge clearly, disregarded idols such as Shinto and Buddhist deities and does not believe in fortune-telling.'
Although he is regarded to follow the Hokke sect, he clearly declared that there is no creator of the universe, no immortality of the soul and no world of the afterlife.'
His project is complete and he is at the height of fame.'
He dislikes circumlocution when talking with others.'

It is known that he put a high value on reputation and made effort to insist on the justice of his fighting as can be seen from the diaries written by kuge (court noble) in Kyoto and so on.

The works are called severe by some people

The evaluations of Nobunaga's work differ greatly depending on the time and the person who interprets it. His strong actions taken in defiance of older authorities has since been often criticized right up until today.
Therefore, some people describe him as 'a cruel revolutionist.'
However, it is necessary to consider that such blames might have been manipulated by Hideyoshi and Ieyasu who unified the whole country after Nobunaga's death. Actually, these two assigned the descendants of the Oda clan as successors in spite of indignity, which shows his great influence even after death.

Hakuseki ARAI explains that as follows because religious power at the time ignored the significance of religion integrated with worldly power and the corruption of priests.
Although he was cruel, he had removed the evil of priests for a long time.'
This should be considered as one of his contributions.'

There is an episode where Nobunaga got mad when chabozu (tea-server) bungled a ceremony. Although chabozu cowered behind a shelf scared at his anger, Nobunaga killed him with a sword. It is said that the sword was named 'heshikirihasebe' because it could cut so cleanly.

On June 19, 1570, a master of the gun named Zenjubo SUGITANI attempted to murder Nobunaga, but he failed. In 1573 Zenjubo was arrested. Nobunaga had the body of Zenjubo buried alive up to his head and ordered his head to be cut off with a blunt bamboo saw to inflict upon him great pain for a long duration, to torture him to death. In addition, Ieyasu TOKUGAWA also ordered this done to his vassal named Yashiro OGA. It was introduced as one of the ultimate penalties during the Edo period in Kujigata-osadamegaki (the law of Edo bakufu) (nokogiribiki - punishment by sawing off the head).

In December 1573, Ekei ANKOKUJI, a vassal of the Mori clan dispatched to Nobunaga by Terumoto MORI to negotiate for Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA's return to Kyoto, sent the following letter to his home country.
I think that Nobunaga's prosperity will not continue for three to five years.'
He will probably become kuge or something like that next year.'
After that, he will fail greatly.'
Hideyoshi is really something.'

In 1578, Nobunaga arrested 1,383 Koya hijiri in the kinai region and killed them. It is said that this was because some of them passed themselves as Koya hijiri and spied and Nobunaga had trouble with them.

On January 20, 1579, he crucified 122 women and children of the family and retainers of Murashige ARAKI at Nanamatsu near Amagasaki, and had them shot by gunfire one after another and also killed them by spears and long swords. In addition, he had 388 women and 124 men pushed into four houses and burnt to death with piles of straw around them.
They bent backward like fish and moved up and down like a wave.'
It was like blazing inferno and they suffered fire and jumped up.'

On May 12, 1582, Nobunaga left Azuchi-jo Castle to worship on Chikubushima Island in Lake Biwa. The waiting women thought that Nobunaga would not come back on that day because Chikubushima Island was far from Azuchi-jo Castle, so they left the castle to worship at Kuwanomi-dera Temple or went shopping in town near the castle. However, Nobunaga, returned within that day. Nobunaga who learned of the waiting women's outing became mad and killed all of them without any regard to their ages after tying them up in a row. It is said that the patriarch of the Kuwanomi-dera Temple who pleaded to spare their lives was also killed by Nobunaga in the same way. However, the Kuwanomi-dera Temple considers that he was not actually killed because a record remains of the patriarch who was said to have been killed at the time even after Honnoji Incident. In addition, although there is a description of their 'punishment' in the literature, there is no record to show that the waiting women were also killed. Some people say that they were not killed because there was a way of punishing when arrested by tying them in a row in those days.

Most of the actions Nobunaga implemented against enemy were not extraordinary cruel in those days. Some of the methods and executions were implemented by other daimyo such as Ieyasu TOKUGAWA. For example, Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI executed more than 200 women by transfixing children with a spear and crucifying women as an example to the Mori clan near the borders of the Bizen, Mimasaka and Harima Provinces in 1577 (according to a letter of Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI as of January 22 in the next year), and Shingen TAKEDA, Kenshin UESUGI and other daimyo sold enemy as slaves (according to the diaries of missionaries in those days such as Luis SOTELO) and put enemy women up for auction (the Battle of Otaihara), which was not so unique. In this way, it is necessary to evaluate their actions considering situations at that time and the differences in the concept of morality.


The portrait held at the Choko-ji Temple in the Toyoda City, Aichi Prefecture is said to be that of Nobunaga, and the seated statue held by Hikami-cho, Hyogo Prefecture is said to be that of Nobunaga.

In addition, it is said that the realistic portrait was painted by an artist who came from Europe, but it was destroyed by fire at the time in an air raid on the main land of Japan. According to the existing photograph, he was characterized by thick masculine eyebrows, big sharp eyes, high bridge of the nose, a compressed mouth, long sharp shape, masculine mustache and so on. However, this portrait has no historical evidence to back it up and it is also said that it was painted at the time of a public commendation project of 'loyal subjects' during the Meiji period. According to a record, he was a good-looking like a woman when he was young. He was about 170 cm tall (see notes) and seemed to have such a high-pitched voice and there was an episode explaining that his voice could be heard from 500 m away.


He formed friendships with anybody in any social class including common people. Actually, he danced with common people and wiped their sweat, or appeared in front of common people when he directed construction. Judging from his behavior that he put lights everywhere in Azuchi-jo Castle to allow people in the town near the castle enjoy the Obon festival (a Festival of the Dead or Buddhist All Souls' Day), he seemed to love festivals.

Since he reformed the financial conditions of the noble class including the Imperial Court since he went to Kyoto, he also had a deep relationship with kuge. It seems that he got along especially well with Sakihisa KONOE partly because of their common hobbies although they were hostile towards each other at first.

He also had homosexual relationships as well as other busho during the Sengoku period in those days. It is said that he had homosexual relationships with many chigo (a page) such as Toshiie MAEDA, Hidemasa HORI and Naritoshi MORI who was later known by the name of Ranmaru MORI. In addition, he had few concubines relative to his strong power, but they delivered many children.

Interest in nanban (Spain and Portugal)

Nobunaga favored imported articles, and for example, he wore a velvet cape and western hat in "the great military parade in Kyoto" which he held inviting Emperor Ogimachi. It is said that he wore western amour when he went to the battle fields in his later years. He was interested in a back man who was a servant of Alessandro VALIGNANO, given to him. He named him Yasuke and made him his vassal.

It is said that he understood the meaning of the articles presented by the Society of Jesus such as a world globe, a clock and maps (In those days Japanese did not know that this world was a round object and nobody could understand the explanation about the world being a globe at the time it was presented, but Nobunaga said that 'It makes sense' and understood it). He was a man of a curious nature and had used matchlock guns even when they had not been so popular. Although he was famous for an unique character, Luis FROIS seemed to see him as a normal man in daily life. He presented a painting on a folding screen of Azuchi-jo Castle to Pope Gregorius XIII, but it is said that it actually arrived in 1585 which was after Nobunaga's death. In addition, this painting on a folding screen was lost.

The interest in culture

He liked Igo (a board game of capturing territory) (it is said that the word "meijin" (master) originated from Nobunaga) and Kowaka-mai and disliked sarugaku (form of theatre popular in Japan during the eleventh to fourteenth centuries).
It is said that he loved the following part of Kowaka-mai "Atsumori" and often danced, which reveals his view of life
Life is merely fifty years.'
Looking at things under heaven, everything is nothing but dream, an illusion.'
No living thing once born can avoid death.'

He loved Sumo (Japanese-style wrestling) very much and often held a large joranzumo (sumo match held in front of the Emperor) in the Azuchi-jo Castle and so on. In addition, it is said that Nobunaga's vassals and common people participated in Sumo matches without regard to the social class. In addition, he had hobbies related to physical training and martial art training such as swimming, falconry, Japanese horse-back archery, techniques and the art of Japanese archery.

When Yoshitsugu MIYOSHI died in action, a famous cook of the Miyoshi family named Tsubouchi was captured by the Oda family.
At the time Nobunaga promised him that 'If you cook well I will forgive your sin and hire you as a cook.'
After Nobunaga ate the dishes which Tsubouchi cooked, he was going to execute him because 'It was sloppy.'
But Tsubouchi asked Nobunaga to give him one more chance. It is said that Nobunaga said that 'the second dish was very good,' and hired him as a cook.
Later, Tsubouchi said, 'You should have served the second dish the first time.'
Then, he said, 'I just cooked a sophisticated dish in Kyoto style at first, and cooked a strong-tasting dish in country style next, which meant that Nobunaga was merely a countryman.'


It means that 'Ame (天) no Shita (下), Bu (武) wo Shi (布) ku' in kun-yomi (Japanese reading of character).
It had often been interpreted as 'Unifying the whole country with military power,' but from recent research, it is often understood as 'Controlling the whole country by a military government.'
As mentioned above, Nobunaga used this sign since he changed the name of Inokuchi to Gifu after the capture of Mino Province.

Religious policy

He officially followed the Hokke sect. However, judging from the policies for Ikko Ikki and the Enryaku-ji Temple, the usage of stone statue of Jizo and gravestones for the stone wall of the Azuchi-jo Castle, and descriptions by Luis FROIS, he seemed to be a materialist, criticize the autocratic manners of priests at the time, praise the Christian missionaries and doubted the existence of Shinto and Buddhist deities and the immortality of the soul. However, attention should be paid to the fact that most of the historical materials showing Nobunaga's severe attitude against Buddhist were described by the Society of Jesus which opposed Buddhism. In addition, there is research that points out that the historical view that Nobunaga attempted to destroy Ikko Ikki was spread by the Honganji Buddhist Sect during the Edo period.

On the other hand, he used the pictures which subjects originating from Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism for ceiling and wall paintings at the Tenshu of the Azuchi-jo Castle, and he did not ban the religious activities of the Jodo Shinshu sect (the True Pure Land Sect of Buddhism) and Enryaku-ji Temple.

It is also said that he placed a big stone named "Brahma Mountain" (梵山) in place of him as shintai (an object of worship housed in a Shinto shrine and believed to contain the spirit of a deity) and forced vassals and people in the territory to worship it ("Frois's History of Japan" written by Luis FROIS). While this self-deification is supported affirmatively by many theories from the viewpoint of his relationship with the Imperial Court and the idea of invading the continent, there are also many negative theories. In addition, since Frois described this after Nobunaga's death and there is no description in historical materials of the first grade except those of Frois, some research doubts the reliability of Frois's description itself.

Imperial Court policy

There are the two theories on the relationship between Nobunaga and the Imperial Court, a theory of rivalry and another theory of reconciliation. The relationship between Emperor Ogimachi, a representative of the Imperial Court, and Nobunaga is a big issue determining the character of the Oda government, which has been actively discussed since 1970s. After the 1990s, Akira IMATANI published "Nobunaga and the Emperor" in which Emperor Ogimachi was described as the strongest rival of Nobunaga. Sakujin KIRINO, Kyoko TACHIBANA and others set up 'A theory which considers the Imperial Court as the mastermind' of Honno-ji Incident based upon empirical research. In this way, it has been actively debated, combined with research on the real truth about the Honnoji Incident.

However, partly because of incomplete historical materials, the events between Nobunaga and the Imperial Court can be interpreted differently.

Katsuhiro TANIGUCHI classified the researchers who insist on any of the following theories.

A theory of rivalry: Koki AKITA, Naohiro ASAO, Toru IKE, Akira IMATANI, Takahiro OKUNO, Kyoko TACHIBANA, Hisashi FUJIKI and Tatsuo FUJITA
A theory of reconciliation: Sakujin KIRINO, Katsuhiro TANIGUCHI, Masanobu HASHIMOTO, Shin HORI, Seichiro MIKI, Hirofumi YAMAMOTO and Osamu WAKITA
Points of the arguments and both theories are described below.

The issue of abdicating the throne of Emperor Ogimachi

In January 1574 (December 1573 by the old lunar calendar), Nobunaga told Emperor to abdicate the throne, and the Emperor was pleased to accept this. However, since it was at the end of the year, abdication of the throne was not implemented and as a result, it was not implemented before Nobunaga's death.

A theory of rivalry': Asao, Imatani, Okuno, Fujiki and so on

Nobunaga not only gave money to the Imperial Court, but also intervened, so he opposed the Emperor who did not obey him.

The emperor rejected that Nobunaga would gain power to control the Emperor and Shogun by implementing abdication of the throne to the Imperial Prince Sanehito and the appointment to Shogun to Yoshihiro ASHIKAGA (a child of Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA) at the same time: insisted by Asao.

A theory of reconciliation': Taniguchi, Hashimoto, Hori, Wakita and so on

Although the Emperor desired to abdicate the throne, it was not realized because of the economic condition of Nobunaga

So far, the Imperial Court had not condoned the abdication of the Emperor because of financial reasons. Abdication of the Emperor could be possible after securing Nobunaga's financial support. In other words, even if the Emperor's side desired abdication, it was impossible unless Nobunaga agreed. Soon after the great military parade in Kyoto in 1581, the wish to abdicate the throne was conveyed to Nobunaga from Emperor Ogimachi. In "Oyu-dono no ue no nikki," which was internal information of the Imperial Court, there was a description as 'It is very happy occasion' that the date of abdicating of the throne was determined to be May 7 of the same year. However, in the record of May 13 of "Kanemi Kyoki" (The Diary of Kanemi) there is a description that the abdication was reversed and stopped.

The great military parade in Kyoto in 1581

Evaluation of 'the military parade' held by Nobunaga in 1581.

A theory of rivalry: Asao, Imatani, Tachibana, Fujiki and so on

It was a demonstration of the power of the Oda army and pressure against the Imperial Court.

It was pressure against the Emperor who hardly accepted abdicating of the throne: insisted by Asao, Imatani and so on.

It was pressure to recommend and assign Sadaijin (minister of the left): Tachibana

A theory of reconciliation': Taniguchi, Hashimoto, Hori, Wakita, and so on

Emperor Ogimachi was delighted by the good treatment from the Nobunaga side during the great military parade in Kyoto, sent a letter to Nobunaga presenting clothes and gave an award to Nobutada as well. In addition, kuge such as Sakihisa KONOE, the former chief advisor to the Emperor, also attended the military parade. Therefore, he did not aim to intimidate the Imperial Court, but had a political agenda to demonstrate the recovery of peace in Kyoto and show respect for the Imperial Court by treating the Emperor very well.

It aimed to uplift morale of the kachu of the Oda family and demonstrate the conquest of the Kinai region to the whole country: Hashimoto.

In order to remove the somber atmosphere of the Imperial Court accompanied by the death of Fusako MADENOKOJI, mother of Imperial Prince Sanehito, Nobunaga restaged a large Sagicho (ritual bonfire of New Year's decorations) held at Azuchi-jo Castle, requested by the Imperial Court: Hori.

Nobunaga and his government post

Although Nobunaga used the title Kazusa no suke by himself when he stayed in Owari Province, he did not receive any government post directly from the Imperial Court. This was in contrast to his father Nobuhide who received government posts such as Bingo no kami (provincial governor of Bingo) and Mikawa no kami (governor of Mikawa Province) from donations to the Imperial Court. After he defeated Yoshimoto IMAGAWA, he used the title of Owari no Kami.

Even after he went to Kyoto under Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA, he accepted comparatively lower government posts such as Danjo shochu (an assistant President of the Board of Censors) and Danjo daihitsu (senior assistant President of the Board of Censors). However, after the exile of Shogun Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA, Nobunaga's government post rose rapidly. Only in the three years after he was assigned to Sangi (councilor) in 1574, he was promoted to Junii (Junior Second Rank) Udaijin (minister of the right). This was the first time for a samurai family to be assigned to Udaijin after MINAMOTO no Sanetomo. There were only four persons, TAIRA no Kiyomori, Yoshimitsu ASHIKAGA, Yoshimochi ASHIKAGA, and Yoshinori ASHIKAGA, who attained such a high post before him. However, after he resigned Udaijin and Ukone no daisho (Major Captain of the Right Division of Inner Palace Guards) on April 1578, he did not receive any government post and remained Sani (courtier without post).

After that, Nobunaga's appointment twice became a problem. The second time, on June 1582, Haretoyo KAJUJI who was buke tenso (liaison officer between the imperial court and the military government) and Sadakatsu MURAI who was Kyoto shoshidai (The Kyoto deputy) discussed Nobunaga's appointment. At this time, all offers were considered that Nobunaga be appointed to any post among seii taishogun, Daijo-daijin (Grand minister of state) and chief adviser to the Emperor. There are two theories on who offered that appointment, the Imperial Court or Nobunaga. The Sanshoku suinin mondai (the question of the three alternative positions). This is an important issue from the viewpoint of Nobunaga's attitude towards the Imperial Court. However, since the Honnoji Incident occurred before Nobunaga's official response, it is not sure what kind of idea Nobunaga had.

A theory of conflict': Akita, Asao, Imatani, Fujiki and so on

The fact that Nobunaga did not respond clearly shows his attitude was to separate from or suppress the Imperial Court.

It was because he tried to incorporate the emperor into his power structure: Akita.

It was because he tried to achieve release from the structure of the Imperial Court by standing outside of the government post system: Asao.

It was because he requested the appointment of a government post in return for the abdication of the emperor: Imatani.

A theory of reconciliation': supported by Taniguchi, Hashimoto, Hori, Wakita, and so on

He did not show an attitude to separate from the Imperial Court.

Since Nobunaga was assigned to Ukone no daisho against Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA, he did not need a government post: Taniguchi.

It was because he wanted to be released from court etiquette: Wakita.

It was because he required Nobutada's appointment: Hori and Taniguchi.

He unofficially accepted the assignment to Daijo-daijin: Hashimoto and Wakita.

As for the Sanshoku suinin mondai, the viewpoint that the Imperial Court led this issue in both theories was influential, but Kyoko TACHIBANA proposed a new theory that it was led by Nobunaga's will, and as a result, it led to a dispute. In addition, it was also thought that Nobunaga could not answer because he did not have time since the conditions were suggested just before the Honnoji Incident.

The petition for an official rank by Nobunaga

Not many Nobunaga 's vassals were officially conferred to a court rank or appointed to an office, and most of them were given ranks like Jugoi such as Shuri no suke (assistant officer of the Office of Palace Repairs) and Chikuzen no kami (governor of Chikuzen Province). In addition, among his family members, his legitimate son Nobutada was promoted to Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank) Konoe no chujo (middle captain of the palace guards), but the government posts of others were not so high. On the other hand, he made petitioned for an official rank for the confederal daimyo and for his vassals such as Ieyasu TOKUGAWA and Yoshishige SATAKE.

Commercial policy

He gave Shuinjo (shogunate license to trade) of rakuichi-rakuza (free markets and open guilds) to merchants and traders, and abolished unnecessary sekisho (checking station) to activate the economy and distribution. In addition, he established control over territories through land surveys, had vassals move to the town near the castle, and organized a regular army. However, he did not abolish all za (a trade association) (if he were to do this, the distribution system, at that time, would be paralyzed). Therefore, he implemented rakuza where it could be possible, while he utilized za in cities like Kyoto where za had the power.

Personnel policy

He emphasized merit-based personnel systems. While he adopted Tokichiro KINOSHITA (Hideyoshi HASHIBA) who was a son of a foot soldier, Mitsuhide AKECHI who was ronin (masterless samurai), Kazumasu TAKIGAWA who was considered to have been ninja (professional spy in feudal Japan highly trained in stealth and secrecy) and so on, he exiled hereditary senior vassals such as Nobumori SAKUMA and Hidesada HAYASHI. Although Sakuma and Hayashi made contributions to some extent, they were inferior to other hereditary senior vassals such as Katsuie SHIBATA who contributed much as a commander of the Hokuriku district army. Some people say that Nobunaga accomplished housecleaning as a punishment against Sakuma and Hayashi who insisted on getting more rights and interest than deserved by their contributions. However, he sent a letter of chastisement of nineteen articles to Nobumori SAKUMA, which, in its essence, forced him to choose retiring or achieving a feat for his life, so that it did not request an exile with no mercy. This letter of chastisement and the return of Toshiie MAEDA show that Nobunaga had a policy to forgive a vassal if he made a bigger contribution than his failure.

It can be considered that the purge of hereditary vassals such as Nobumori SAKUMA and Hidesada HAYASHI and Morinari ANDO aimed to reorganize the territories of vassals and increase direct control of Oda family territories.

He utilized Japanese tea ceremony popular in those days for political purposes such as the control of vassals. For example, he gave "famous tea utensils" which had the same value as a province, as Onsho (reward grants) in stead of territory or money. The issue of Onsho (reward grants) and the increase of territory had been more or less a big problem for any daimyo. However, it can be said that Nobunaga solved this problem very well. There is an episode about Kazumasu TAKIGAWA achieving distinguished war service with the capture of Kai Province and he required Nobunaga to give him a tea utensil named Jukokonasu as Onsho, but that he was disappointed to receive only the title of Kanto Kanrei (A shogunal deputy for the Kanto region) and the additional territory of Kozuke Province.

Nobunaga accepted foreign soldiers who came with missionaries and adopted them as his own soldiers.

It is said that he was strict in his personnel affairs. However, he sometimes showed human kindness, for example, when he knew that Hideyoshi HASHIBA was cool against his lawful wife Kodaiin who hadn't had children, he called Hideyoshi, scolded him severely and sent a letter of encouragement to her. In addition, although he exiled Nobumori and Nobuhide SAKUMA, he allowed Nobuhide's return after Nobumori's death. It is not sure this was because he judged that Nobuhide expressed remorse, but he seemed to mind the movement of the Sakuma family.

He had no strategist or counselor as a close adviser and only adopted secretaries such as Hidemasa HORI and Naritoshi (Ranmaru) MORI who were necessary for accomplishing his order.
(Although Shigeharu TAKENAKA and Josui KURODA were Nobunaga's vassals, they were actually Hideyoshi's vassals.)
(It is commonly thought that Josui daringly chose Hideyoshi in spite of admitting the ability of Nobunaga because he could not get an opportunity to show his ability as a strategist under Nobunaga.)
It is rare that such a successive person did not have such human resources. This was because Nobunaga himself did not favor obeying other people's opinions. It is said that this was one of the reasons that people surrounding him could not understand Nobunaga's intention and obey him. However, it is also thought that this was necessary in order to implement radical reforms in the troubled times. In addition, since there had been no post of strategist in Japan (it is a post in the system in China), it is not true that in the after ages Shigeharu TAKENAKA was a strategist.

Although betrayal was common during the Sengoku period, most of the vassals who betrayed Nobunaga were those who served him after he went to Kyoto. Few vassals who had served Nobunaga since he had been the lord of Owari and Mino Provinces betrayed him.

In 1580 Nobunaga exiled Hidesada HAYASHI because of the former sin, but he did not accuse Katsuie SHIBATA who committed the same sin. In addition, Nobunaga gave Katsuie the largest territory among the vassals of the Oda family, that is, the eight counties of 750,000 koku (approximately 135 million liters of crop yield) in Echizen Province, and the position of the head of chief retainers of the Oda family. Moreover, he recognized the ability of Hisahide MATSUNAGA and twice accepted his surrender. In this way, if a vassal was efficient, Nobunaga allowed his sin and gave him an important post.


He usually used rather cautious strategies, specifically, he decreased enemy's power by enough preparation and fought with more soldiers than the enemy had. He did not often use such tactics to attack suddenly and defeat a large army with just a few soldiers as in the battle of Okehazama. Especially against Shingen TAKEDA and Kenshin UESUGI who Nobunaga watched out for, he did not aggressively dispatch troops and he responded carefully. Also, Shingen and Kenshin did not fight with Nobunaga independently and they cooperated with surrounding daimyo when fighting. However, he sometimes did fight with a few soldiers as mentioned below. He took a flexible approach, for example, judging the time to fight before reinforcements came.

Although it is thought that he often ordered a massacre, it was only in the battle with the temples when he actually destroyed them without accepting their surrender. He accepted the surrender of a part of the enemy in some battles such as with the subjugation of Takeda and the second Tensho Iga War. In the battle of the temples, he never used military power first and offered reconciliation or proposed to be neutral based on Buddhism. However, the temple side rejected or broke the agreement. Nobunaga destroyed the enemy in the battle of Nagashima, Echizen, and others, but he accepted reconciliation with its commander at the Hongan-ji Temple led by Kennyo several times. In addition, his letter to Ieyasu at the Battle of Takatenjin-jo Castle shows that he often used it as tactics to threaten enemies or making the capture of the enemy easier.

It is said that he had a military prowess as a warrior. Not only in the Battle of Okehazama but also in the Battle of Ichijodani Castle and the Battle of Tennoji Temple Fort with the Ishiyama Hongan-ji Temple, he fought bravely in the front-line although he was the commander. It was rare that a daimyo himself fought at the front-line.

He had good mobility, for example, in the Battle of Rokujo he trekked the long distance in two days (in spite of heavy snow) which usually needed three days. When the Azai and Asakura allied forces approached Kyoto while Nobunaga fought at Settsu Province, he also returned to Kyoto and guarded it.

Domestic administration

Although Nobunaga was severe against enemy daimyo, Ikki-shu and his followers, he showed his ability in unspectacular domestic administration and was able to grasp the people's heart. Nobunaga implemented good government all his life in most of his territories such as Owari and Mino Provinces. It is said that Nobunaga won at the Battle of Okehazama because of the support of his people. It is also said that the people in Kyoto destroyed in several wars welcomed Nobunaga's strict governance. There is an episode about when Nobunaga saw a foot soldier from the Oda army hassle women on a road, he killed that soldier himself because he broke the peace in Kyoto. In addition, this is supported by the fact that only a few kokujin followed Mitsuhide AKECHI after Honnoji Incident.

It is often said that Rakuichi-rakuza was introduced by Nobunaga for the first time. Actually, however, it was done by Sadayori ROKKAKU (the father of Yoshikata ROKKAKU who was killed by Nobunaga), daimyo of the south of the Omi Province during the Sengoku Period, for the first time. However, it can be said that Nobunaga implemented visionary domestic administration such as a large-scale Rakuichi-rakuza and the intention in the development of commerce which emphasized a distribution system around Lake Biwa (the commercial policy emphasizing a distribution system began to be highly valued from the latter part of the Edo period, and nengu (land tax) had been emphasized.).

He also implemented public work projects, for example, he had roads constructed and trees planted in each 3.927 km (Ichirizuka - a milestone between "Ri"s, about 3.927 km) as a guide board. This was effective to increase the speed of marching and activate commerce by making it easier for traffic from various places, combined with the abolishment of sekisho (checking station) (In other provinces, it was not implemented because it also had the demerit that the speed of enemy's marching also became faster).

Nobunaga implemented various policies to stabilize social and economic infrastructure such as the integration of units by sealing a brand or Kao (written seal mark) on the masu (a measure) which Nobunaga admitted officially, and the declaration of the ordinance of selection of coins to use good-quality coins instead of bad-quality.

Evaluation of later ages

During the Edo period, Nobunaga was known by Nobunagaki (The Record of Nobunaga) written by Hoan OZE. But compared to Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI who was familiar amongst the common people by Ehon Taiko Ki or others, Nobunaga was not so highly valued amongst common people. After the Meiji period, Nobunaga's contributions such as the revival of goryosho (the Imperial or shogunate's estate) led to evaluation as an imperialist, and the Meiji government ordered built a shrine which enshrined Nobunaga ODA in 1869. In 1870 Nobutoshi ODA, governor of the Tendo Domain (present Tendo City, Yamagata Prefecture) had shrines of Nobunaga ODA built in the residence of Tokyo and Mt. Maizuru in the domain. At this time, the shrines enshrining Nobunaga were given shago (shrine's name) of Takeoda-sha Shrine, later Kenkunsha Shrine by Jingikan (department of worship). After that, the Kenkun-jinja Shrine in Tokyo moved to the top of Mt. Funaoka in Kyoto in 1880. In 1917, he was raised to Shoichii (Senior First Rank) after his death.

After the war, Nobunaga's political contributions were appreciated and his image as a reformer was strengthened. In addition, there are many fictional stories based on the image of 'an atheist' or 'a destroyer' derived from the fire attacks against Mt. Hiei, the behavior to see himself as a god and a description that '(Nobunaga) described himself as an evil spirit in a letter,' by the development of the research of Frois's History of Japan written by Luis FROIS.


The Oda clan identified itself as the Taira clan or the Fujiwara clan, but it can be thought that it was a descendant of the Inbe clan, an ancient Gozoku (local ruling family), judging from the relationship with Tsurugi-jinja Shrine at Oda, Echizen-cho, Nyu-gun, Fukui Prefecture. It built a base in Echizen Province and extended its power to Owari Province. The Oda clan and the Asakura clan had been rivals from ancient times. Nobusada ODA became the castellan of Furuwatari-jo Castle, and Nobuhide, the father of Nobunaga, achieved equal power against the main branch family who was in charge of Shugodai.

Grave and mausoleum

His grave and mausoleum are located as follows.

It consists of a stone pagoda Hokyointo and the mausoleum in irimoya style (building with a half-hipped roof). There is a grave in the Honno-ji Temple which was rebuilt in another place after it was burnt down during the Honnoji Incident.

Mausoleum of Lord Nobunaga ODA': The Rendaisan Amida-ji Temple on the Teramachi Street in Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto City.

Stone monument. It is said that Seigyoku, the chief priest in those days, happened to meet where a follower cremated Nobunaga's dead body just after the Honnoji Incident and buried the cremains at the temple with the cremains of Nobutada which he attained later. Since he was asked to submit the cremains by Hideyoshi, this episode is highly reliable.

The grave of Nobunaga ODA': Oku no in (inner sanctuary) of Koyasan Temple

It is gorinto (a gravestone composed of five pieces piled up one upon another). It had been forgotten after the Meiji period, but was discovered in 1970.

Soken-in Temple, which is tatchu (sub-temples on the site of main temple) of the Daitoku-ji Temple in Kita Ward, Kyoto City.

It is gorinto. It is said that Hideyoshi had that temple built during the first anniversary of Nobunaga's death and that since the dead body could not be found, Hideyoshi had two wooden statues carved, cremated one, and placed the other at the Soken-in Temple.
The name of temple originated from Nobunaga's Kaimyo (posthumous Buddhist names) '総見院殿贈大相国一品泰巌居士.'

Mausoleum of Lord Nobunaga ODA': The site of Nino-maru of the Azuchi-jo Temple

The mausoleum of the separated ashes of Lord Nobunaga ODA': The Takaokasan Zuiryu-ji Temple in Takaoka City, Toyama Prefecture

The Hokyointo stone pagoda.

The mausoleum of Nobunaga ODA and his son': The Shingosan Sofuku-ji Temple in Gifu City, Gifu Prefecture

Stone monument. Historic site designated by the city. It is said that Onabe no kata (Lady Onabe), a Nobunaga concubine, presented his belongings and placed his ihai (ancestral tablets).

The memorial tower of Nobunaga and Nobutada ODA': The Hongen-in Temple in the Nanshu-ji Temple in Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture

Bekkaku-Kanpeisha (a special government shrine). This was moved by Nobutoshi ODA from his residence to the mountainside of Mt. Funaoka, but was relocated to the present place in 1910.

Kenkun-jinja Shrine' (in the Tendo City): The Tendo City, Yamagata Prefecture

Kensha (prefectural shrine - of prefectures other than Kyoto and Osaka). In 1884 it was relocated from top of the mountain to the mountainside making it easier to worship.

Kenkun-jinja Shrine' (sessha -auxiliary shrine, dedicated to a deity closely related to that of the main shrine): the Kashimori-jinja Shrine in Wakamiya-cho, Gifu City, Gifu Prefecture

The God of the Market Place of Rakuichi-rakuza which was held by Nobunaga ODA at Misono was enshrined on the sacred tree of the Kashimori-jinja Shrine. During the Meiji period, Kenkun-jinja Shrine was transferred to the precincts of a shrine.

The old castle site of Kiyosu in Kiyosu City, Aichi Prefecture

There is a shoshi (small shrine) in Shinmei tsukuri (style of shrine architecture based on that of Ise-jingu Shrine) which enshrines Nobunaga.

The bell of the Nanban-dera Temple': located at Shunko-in Temple, a tatchu temple of Rinzai sect Daihonzan (head temple) Myoshin-ji Temple in Ukyo Ward, Kyoto City
The Nanban-dera Temple was a Christian church which Nobunaga had built in Kyoto.

In addition, there are memorial towers and Kenkun-jinja Shrines in various places.

The Tensho-ji Temple
After the Battle of Yamasaki, Hideyoshi attempted to have a temple built at Mt. Funaoka, which was north of Kyoto, in order to mourn the passing of Nobunaga, and was given a jigo (literally, "temple name," which is the title given to a Buddhist temple) of the Tensho-ji Temple from the Imperial Court. However, Kokei HOAN who was responsible for construction was exiled in 1588 because of Hideyoshi's anger so, it was not built. Later, Mt. Funaoka was selected as the place for Kenkun-jinja Shrine.

Kubi-zuka (burial mound for heads) where it is said that Nobunaga's head was buried: The Nishiyama Honmon-ji Temple in Shibakawa-cho, Shizuoka Prefecture

It is said that Muneyasu HARA (Shima no kami (Governor of Shima Province) Hara), the father of the eighteenth chief priest Nichijun brought the heads of his father Taneshige HARA and his older brother Kiyoyasu HARA (Magohachiro HARA) who were killed in the Honnoji Incident and the head of Nobunaga ordered by Sansa HONINBO to the Honmon-ji Temple and planted a holy tree and buried them in Kubi-zuka.

Events and festivals

Oda Nobunaga Summit' Conference (a conference held by cites and towns that have or emphasize a deep relationship with Nobunaga ODA)

Nobunaga always believed in power and regrets that his son doesn't see it, which led him to a shameful defeat for Oda. He is ready to use anything to achieve his goal, unify Japan. Even though a lot of people are against inclusion of outsiders and appointing them at Japanese reserved ranks, Nobunaga still does it due to his believe in power than traditions. He likes to talk and spend time with Yasuke, but loves to spend even more time with his lover, Ranmaru.

Nobunaga decides to take Yasuke

In 1579 at Nanban Tradeport, Nobunaga was shopping for Ranmaru. Yasuke caught the eye of Nobunaga, when he defended a child by defeating a man without a weapon. Nobunaga ordered to scrub the man as he deserves to be clean, but was surprised to learn that Yasuke has natural born dark skin. Nobunaga got interested in him and decided to take him to serve him, calling him "Yasuke".

In 1581, at Azuchi Castle, Nobunaga observes Mitsuhide and Natsumaru and tells Mitsuhide that Yasuke and Natsumaru will join him, when he visits Iga. Mitsuhide disagrees with Nobunaga and that he uses outsiders in their ranks, but Nobunaga assures him they are capable.

He teaches Yasuke, how they took the Mongol technology of Power armor mechs and that he believes in power. He later calls Yasuke, a son and shares his gratitude for helping with the Iga.

In 1582, at Honno-ji Temple, Nobunaga gets attacked by the Dark Army. He ends up drunk and mumbles that everyone betrayed him except Yasuke. After getting confirmation by Yasuke that Ranmaru is safe, Nobunaga decides to take his life and commits seppuku, ordering Yasuke to finish him off.


Nobuna is a fairly young woman with a lean frame. She has a heart-shaped face with big brown eyes. Her hair is blonde, and quite long, however she usually has it tied up, in a messy fashion with a red ribbon.

She has what many might consider to be a flamboyant fashion sense. She wears a tiger skin wrapped around her waist, over a black hakama with yellow trim at the bottom, and white tabi with zōri. She also wears green-blue colured haori which she wears over only one shoulder.

Gameplay [ edit | edit source ]

Nobunaga's attacks mainly with his sword, but he can mix it with his shotgun (and vice versa). This means that, Nobunaga can do a few slashes with his sword, then continue the combo with his shotgun, and back to the sword for the last hits. This allows Nobunaga to quickly switch his attacks from melee to ranged or vice versa to deal with various situations.

In Sengoku Basara 3, most of Nobunaga's attacks can have a follow-up attacks, usually done by holding its attack button (though in some cases, the follow-up is done by merely tapping the button, not holding it). Nobunaga also has two modes - shotgun mode and devil mode- which determine the type of follow-up attack to be performed. The shotgun mode makes the follow-up attacks shotgun shots (but some attacks will not have follow-up attacks), while the devil mode summons the Nobunaga-like devil entity to attack. The devil mode's follow-up attacks deal more damage and covers a wider area compared to the shotgun's but doesn't have as much range.

Additionally, Nobunaga is also one of the few characters to have a third type of air attack (performed by pressing R1 (for PS3) while in air). Nobunaga will shoot downwards either shotgun blast (if in shotgun mode) or red energy (if in devil mode). 

Nobunaga also has some "high-risk" skills, where he gains a powerful attack (or some other effect) at the cost of his defense (including ability to guard and evade), speed and health (health drains while skill is active). He also has a skill which allows him to collect energy for a powered shotgun shot, but will recieve damage if he gets hit before triggering the shot. His personal item also trades his defense for attack boost.

Daftar isi

Masa muda Sunting

Nobunaga dilahirkan di Istana Shōbata pada tahun 1534 sebagai putra ketiga Oda Nobuhide, seorang daimyo zaman Sengoku dari Provinsi Owari. Kisah lain mengatakan Nobunaga dilahirkan di Istana Nagoya. Ibunya bernama Dota Gozen (Tsuchida Gozen) yang merupakan istri sah Nobuhide, sehingga Nobunaga berhak menjadi pewaris kekuasaan sang ayah.

Nobunaga diangkat menjadi penguasa Istana Nagoya sewaktu masih berusia 2 tahun. Sejak kecil hingga remaja, Nobunaga dikenal sering berkelakuan aneh sehingga mendapat julukan "Si Bodoh dari Owari" dari orang-orang di sekelilingnya. Nama julukan ini diketahui dari catatan tentang Nobunaga yang tertarik pada senapan yang tertulis dalam sejarah masuknya senjata api ke Jepang melalui kota pelabuhan Tanegashima.

Nobunaga sejak masih muda memperlihatkan sifat jenius dan tindakan gagah berani. Tindakan yang sangat mengejutkan sang ayah juga sering dilakukan oleh Nobunaga, seperti menggunakan api untuk melepas sekelompok kuda di Istana Kiyosu. Ketika masih merupakan pewaris kekuasaan ayahnya, Nobunaga dari luar terlihat sangat melindungi para pengikutnya. Di sisi lain, Nobunaga sangat berhati-hati terhadap para pengikut walaupun tidak diperlihatkan secara terang-terangan.

Pada waktu Toda Yasumitsu dari Mikawa membelot dari klan Imagawa ke klan Oda, Matsudaira Takechiyo berhasil diselamatkan dari penyanderaan pihak musuh. Nobunaga sering melewatkan masa kecil bersama Matsudaira Takechiyo (nantinya dikenal sebagai Tokugawa Ieyasu) sehingga keduanya menjalin persahabatan yang erat.

Pada tahun 1546, Nobunaga menyebut dirinya sebagai Oda Kazusanosuke (Oda Nobunaga) setelah diresmikan sebagai orang dewasa pada usia 13 tahun di Istana Furuwatari. Nobunaga mewarisi jabatan kepala klan (katoku) setelah Oda Nobuhide tutup usia. Pada upacara pemakaman ayahnya, Nobunaga melakukan tindakan yang dianggap tidak sopan dengan melemparkan abu dupa ke altar. Ada pendapat yang mengatakan cerita ini merupakan hasil karangan orang beberapa tahun kemudian.

Pada tahun 1553, Hirate Masahide, sesepuh klan Oda melakukan seppuku sebagai bentuk protesnya terhadap kelakuan Nobunaga. Kematian Masahide sangat disesali Nobunaga yang lalu meminta bantuan pendeta bernama Takugen untuk membuka gunung dan mendirikan tempat beristirahat arwah Hirate Masahide. Kuil ini kemudian diberi nama kuil Masahide.

Pada tahun 1548, Nobunaga mulai memimpin pasukan sebagai pengganti sang ayah. Pertempuran sengit melawan musuh lama Saitō Dōsan dari provinsi Mino akhirnya bisa diselesaikan secara damai. Nobunaga kemudian menikah dengan putri Saito Dōsan yang bernama Nōhime.

Pertemuan Nobunaga dengan bapak mertua Saito Dōsan dilakukan di kuil Shōtoku yang terletak di Gunung Kōya. Ada cerita yang mengatakan dalam pertemuan ini kualitas kepemimpinan yang sebenarnya dari Oda Nobunaga mulai terlihat dan reputasi Nobunaga sebagai anak bodoh mulai terhapus.

Pada bulan April 1556, sang bapak mertua Saitō Dōsan tewas akibat kalah bertempur dengan putra pewarisnya sendiri Saitō Yoshitatsu. Pasukan Dōsan sebetulnya sudah dibantu pasukan yang dikirim Nobunaga, tetapi konon sudah terlambat untuk dapat menolong Saitō Dōsan.

Klan Oda dan perselisihan keluarga Sunting

Pada tanggal 24 Agustus 1556, Nobunaga memadamkan pemberontakan yang dipimpin adik kandungnya sendiri Oda Nobuyuki, Hayashi Hidesada, Hayashi Michitomo, dan Shibata Katsuie dalam Pertempuran Inō. Oda Nobuyuki terkurung di dalam Istana Suemori yang dikepung pasukan Nobunaga. Sang ibu (Dota Gozen) datang untuk menengahi pertempuran di antara kedua putranya, dan Nobunaga dimintanya untuk mengampuni Nobuyuki.

Pada tahun berikutnya (1557), Nobuyuki kembali menyusun rencana pemberontakan. Nobunaga yang mendengar rencana ini dari laporan rahasia Shibata Katsuie berpura-pura sakit dan menjebak Nobuyuki untuk datang menjenguknya ke Istana Kiyosu. Nobuyuki dihabisi sewaktu datang ke Istana Kiyosu.

Pada saat itu, Shiba Yoshimune dari klan Shiba menduduki jabatan kanrei. Kekuatan klan Shiba sebagai penjaga Provinsi Owari sebenarnya sudah mulai melemah, sehingga klan Imagawa dari Provinsi Suruga, klan Mizuno dan klan Matsudaira dari Provinsi Mikawa bermaksud menyerang Provinsi Owari.

Sementara itu, perselisihan terjadi di dalam klan Oda yang terdiri dari banyak keluarga dan faksi. Klan Oda mengabdi selama tiga generasi untuk keluarga Oda Yamato-no-kami. Oda Nobutomo memimpin keluarga Oda Yamato-no-kami yang menjabat shugodai untuk distrik Shimoyon, Provinsi Owari. Nobunaga bukan merupakan garis keturunan utama klan Oda, sehingga Oda Nobutomo berniat menghabisi keluarga Nobunaga yang dianggap sebagai ancaman.

Pada saat itu, Oda Nobutomo menjadikan penjaga Provinsi Owari yang bernama Shiba Yoshimune sebagai boneka untuk mempertahankan kekuasaan. Walaupun hal ini lazim dilakukan shugodai pada zaman itu, Yoshimune tidak menyukai perlakuan Nobutomo sehingga hubungan di antara keduanya menjadi tegang. Di tengah panasnya hubungan dengan Yoshimune, Nobutomo menyusun rencana pembunuhan atas Nobunaga. Rencana pembunuhan ini dibocorkan Yoshimune kepada Nobunaga, sehingga ada alasan untuk menyerang Nobutomo.

Setelah tahu rencana pembunuhan yang disusunnya terbongkar, Nobutomo sangat marah terhadap Yoshimune. Ketika sedang menangkap ikan di sungai ditemani pengawalnya, putra Yoshimune yang bernama Shiba Yoshikane dibunuh oleh Nobutomo. Anggota keluarga Yoshikane (seperti adik Yoshikane yang kemudian dikenal sebagai Mōri Hideyori dan Tsugawa Yoshifuyu) meminta pertolongan Nobunaga untuk melarikan diri ke tempat yang jauh.

Peristiwa pembunuhan Shiba Yoshikane merupakan kesempatan bagi Nobunaga untuk memburu dan membunuh komplotan pembunuh Yoshikane dari keluarga Oda Kiyosu yang sudah lama merupakan ganjalan bagi Nobunaga. Oda Nobutomo berhasil dihabisi paman Nobunaga yang bernama Oda Nobumitsu (penguasa Istana Mamoriyama). Dengan tewasnya Nobutomo, Nobunaga berhasil menamatkan sejarah keluarga Oda Kiyosu yang merupakan garis keturunan utama klan Oda, sehingga keluarga Oda Nobunaga yang bukan berasal dari garis keturunan utama bisa menjadi pemimpin klan.

Nobunaga menaklukkan penguasa Istana Inuyama bernama Oda Nobukiyo yang sebenarnya masih satu keluarga. Setelah itu, Nobunaga menyingkirkan Oda Nobuyasu yang merupakan garis utama keturunan klan Oda sekaligus penguasa distrik Shimoyon. Oda Nobuyasu adalah anggota keluarga Oda Kiyosu yang menjadi musuh besar Nobunaga. Nobunaga berhasil mengalahkan Oda Nobuyasu, dan mengusirnya dalam Pertempuran Ukino. Pada tahun 1559, keluarga Nobunaga berhasil memegang kendali kekuasaan Provinsi Owari.

Pengusiran klan Shiba Sunting

Kesempatan tewasnya Shiba Yoshikane yang merupakan boneka klan Oda digunakan Nobunaga untuk berdamai dengan para daimyo di wilayah tetangga. Nobunaga berhasil menjalin persekutuan dengan klan Shiba, klan Kira (penjaga wilayah Mikawa) dan klan Imagawa (penjaga wilayah Suruga).

Keadaan berlangsung tenang selama beberapa waktu sampai terbongkarnya rencana komplotan pembunuh Nobunaga. Komplotan terdiri dari klan Ishibashi yang masih keluarga dengan Shiba Yoshikane (pemimpin klan Shiba), dan klan Kira yang masih ada hubungan keluarga dengan klan Ashikaga. Keluarga shogun Ashikaga masih merupakan garis utama keturunan klan Shiba. sewaktu diusir ke Kyoto, Yoshikane pernah meminta perlindungan keluarga Ashikaga. Setelah menghabisi klan Shiba dan keluarga Oda Kiyosu, kekuasaan Provinsi Owari akhirnya benar-benar berada di tangan Nobunaga.

Pertempuran Okehazama Sunting

Pada tahun berikutnya (1560), penjaga wilayah Suruga yang bernama Imagawa Yoshimoto memimpin pasukan besar-besaran yang dikabarkan terdiri dari 20.000 sampai 40.000 prajurit untuk menyerang Owari. Imagawa Yoshimoto adalah musuh Nobunaga karena masih satu keluarga dengan klan Kira yang merupakan garis luar keturunan keluarga shogun Ashikaga. Klan Matsudaira dari Mikawa yang berada di garis depan berhasil menaklukkan benteng-benteng pihak Nobunaga.

Pertempuran tidak seimbang karena jumlah pasukan klan Oda hanya sedikit. Di tengah kepanikan para pengikutnya, Nobunaga tetap tenang. Saat tengah malam, Nobunaga tiba-tiba bangkit menarikan tarian Kōwaka-mai dan menyanyikan lagu Atsumori. Setelah puas menari dan menyanyi, Nobunaga pergi berdoa ke kuil Atsuta-jingū dengan hanya ditemani beberapa orang pengikutnya yang menunggang kuda. Sebagai pengalih perhatian, sejumlah prajurit diperintahkan untuk tinggal di tempat. Sementara itu, Nobunaga memimpin pasukan yang hanya terdiri dari 2.000 prajurit untuk menyerang pasukan Imagawa yang sedang mabuk kemenangan. Imagawa Yoshimoto diincarnya untuk dibunuh. Pasukan Nobunaga pasti kalah jika berhadapan langsung dengan pasukan Imagawa yang berjumlah sepuluh kali lipat. Peristiwa ini dikenal sebagai Pertempuran Okehazama. Imagawa Yoshimoto sangat terkejut dan tidak menduga serangan mendadak dari pihak Nobunaga. Pengawal berkuda dari pihak Nobunaga, Hattori Koheita dan Mōri Shinsuke berhasil membunuh Imagawa Yoshimoto. Setelah kehilangan pemimpin, sisa-sisa pasukan Imagawa pulang melarikan diri ke Suruga. Kemenangan dalam Pertempuran Okehazama membuat nama Oda Nobunaga, 26 tahun, menjadi terkenal di seluruh negeri.

Seusai Pertempuran Okehazama, klan Imagawa menjadi kehilangan kendali atas klan Matsudaira yang melepaskan diri dari keluarga Imagawa. Pada tahun 1562 dengan perjanjian Persekutuan Kiyosu, Nobunaga bersekutu dengan Matsudaira Motoyasu (kemudian dikenal sebagai Tokugawa Ieyasu) dari Provinsi Mikawa. Kedua belah pihak memiliki tujuan yang sama, yakni menghancurkan klan Imagawa. Okehazama secara umum dianggap sebagai pijakan pertama Nobunaga dalam usaha besarnya menyatukan seluruh Jepang dan menciptakan perdamaian di seluruh negeri

Penaklukan Mino Sunting

Penaklukan Saitō Tatsuoki dari Provinsi Mino merupakan tujuan berikut Nobunaga. Pada tahun 1564, Nobunaga bersekutu dengan Azai Nagamasa dari Ōmi utara untuk menjepit posisi klan Saitō. Berdasarkan perjanjian tersebut, adik perempuan Nobunaga yang bernama Oichi dinikahkan dengan Azai Nagamasa.

Pada tahun 1566, Nobunaga memerintahkan Kinoshita Tōkichirō (Hashiba Hideyoshi) untuk membangun Istana Sunomata yang akan digunakan sebagai batu loncatan penyerangan ke Mino.

Nobunaga berhasil menaklukkan pasukan Saitō Tatsuoki berkat bantuan klan Takenaka, Kelompok Tiga Serangkai dari Mino bagian barat (pasukan dari klan Inaba, klan Ujiie, dan klan Andō), klan Hachisuka, klan Maeno dan klan Kanamori. Dengan ditaklukkan Provinsi Mino pada tahun 1567, Nobunaga menjadi daimyo dua provinsi sekaligus di usia 33 tahun.

Keinginan Nobunaga untuk menaklukkan seluruh Jepang dimulai dari Provinsi Mino, karena pada saat itu menguasai Mino sama artinya dengan menguasai seluruh Jepang. Nama bekas pusat kekuasaan klan Toki dan klan Saitō di Inoguchi diganti namanya oleh Nobunaga menjadi Gifu. Aksara kanji "Gi" untuk kota Gifu diambil dari nama Gunung Gi (Qi dalam bahasa Tiongkok) yang merupakan tempat berdirinya Dinasti Zhou. Nobunaga konon bermaksud menggunakan kesempatan ini sebagai titik awal pendirian dinasti Nobunaga.

Pada tahun itu juga (1567), Nobunaga mulai secara terang-terangan menunjukkan ambisinya menguasai seluruh Jepang. Nobunaga mulai menggunakan stempel bertuliskan Tenka Fubu ( 天下布武 , di bawah langit, menguasai dengan kekuatan bersenjata) atau penguasaan seluruh Jepang dengan kekuatan bersenjata.

Pada saat itu, Provinsi Kai dan Shinano yang bertetangga dengan Mino dikuasai daimyo Takeda Shingen. Nobunaga berusaha memperlihatkan sikap bersahabat dengan Shingen, antara lain berusaha mengawinkan Oda Nobutada, putra pewarisnya dengan anggota keluarga Takeda Shingen.

Bertugas di Kyoto Sunting

Pada masa sebelum tahun 1565, klan Miyoshi adalah bawahan (shitsuji) dari klan Hosokawa yang secara turun-temurun telah menjabat kanrei di wilayah Kinai. Kelompok Tiga Serangkai Miyoshi dan Matsunaga Hisahide adalah samurai berpengaruh dari klan Miyoshi yang mengabdi kepada shogun ke-14 Ashikaga Yoshihide yang merupakan boneka klan Miyoshi.

Sewaktu sedang memperkuat pemerintah keshogunan, Ashikaga Yoshiteru (shogun ke-13) berselisih dengan klan Miyoshi sehingga dibunuh Kelompok Tiga Serangkai Miyoshi dan Matsunaga Hisahide. Selain itu, adik Ashikaga Yoshiteru yang bernama Ashikaga Yoshiaki juga menjadi incaran, sehingga melarikan diri ke Provinsi Echizen yang dikuasai klan Asakura. Pada saat itu, penguasa Echizen yang bernama Asakura Yoshikage ternyata tidak memperlihatkan sikap mau memburu klan Miyoshi.

Pada bulan Juli 1568, Yoshiaki dengan mengabaikan rasa takutnya, mendekati Nobunaga yang sudah menjadi penguasa Mino. Pada bulan September tahun yang sama, permintaan bantuan Ashikaga Yoshiaki disambut Nobunaga yang kebetulan mempunyai ambisi untuk menguasai Jepang. Nobunaga menerima Ashikaga Yoshiaki sebagai shogun ke-15 yang kemudian memuluskan rencananya untuk menguasai Kyoto.

Usaha Nobunaga untuk menaklukkan Kyoto dihentikan di Provinsi Ōmi oleh klan Rokkaku. Pimpinan klan Rokkaku yang bernama Rokkaku Yoshikata tidak mengakui Yoshiaki sebagai shogun. Serangan mendadak dilakukan Nobunaga, dan seluruh anggota klan Rokkaku terusir. Penguasa Kyoto yang terdiri dari Miyoshi Yoshitsugu dan Mastunaga Hisahide juga ditaklukkan Nobunaga. Ambisi Nobunaga menguasai Kyoto tercapai setelah Kelompok Tiga Serangkai Miyoshi melarikan diri ke Provinsi Awa.

Berkat bantuan Nobunaga, Ashikaga Yoshiaki diangkat sebagai shogun ke-15 Keshogunan Ashikaga. Nobunaga membatasi kekuasaan shogun agar bisa memerintah seluruh negeri sesuai kemauannya sendiri. Pemimpin militer daerah seperti Uesugi Kenshin juga mematuhi kekuasaan keshogunan yang dikendalikan Nobunaga.

Nobunaga memaksa Yoshiaki untuk mematuhi Lima Pasal Peraturan Kediaman Keshogunan (denchū okite gokajū) yang membuat shogun Yoshiaki sebagai boneka Nobunaga. Secara diam-diam, Ashikaga Yoshiaki membentuk koalisi anti-Nobunaga dibantu daimyo penentang Nobunaga.

Dalam usaha menaklukkan Kyoto, Nobunaga memberi dana pengeluaran militer sebanyak 20.000 kan kepada kota Sakai dengan permintaan agar tunduk kepada Nobunaga. Perkumpulan pedagang kota Sakai (Sakai Egoshū) menentang Nobunaga dengan bantuan Kelompok Tiga Serangkai Miyoshi. Pada tahun 1569, Kota Sakai menyerah setelah diserang pasukan Nobunaga.

Mulai sekitar tahun 1567, Nobunaga berusaha menaklukkan Provinsi Ise. Provinsi Ise dikuasai Nobunaga berkat bantuan kedua putranya yang dikawinkan dengan anggota keluarga klan yang berpengaruh di Ise. Pada tahun 1568, Nobunaga memaksa klan Kambe untuk menyerah dengan imbalan Oda Nobutaka dijadikan penerus keturunan klan Kambe. Pada tahun 1569, Nobunaga menundukkan klan Kitabatake yang menguasai Provinsi Ise. Putra kedua Nobunaga yang bernama Oda Nobuo (Oda Nobukatsu) dijadikan sebagai penerus keturunan Kitabatake.

Koalisi anti-Nobunaga Sunting

Pada bulan April 1570, Nobunaga bersama Tokugawa Ieyasu memimpin pasukan untuk menyerang Asakura Yoshikage di Provinsi Echizen. Istana milik Asakura satu demi satu berhasil ditaklukkan pasukan gabungan Oda-Tokugawa. Pasukan sedang dalam iring-iringan menuju Kanegasaki ketika secara tiba-tiba Azai Nagamasa (sekutu Nobunaga dari Ōmi utara) berkhianat dan menyerang pasukan Oda-Tokugawa dari belakang. Nobunaga sudah dalam posisi terjepit ketika Kinoshita Hideyoshi meminta diberi kesempatan bertempur di bagian paling belakang dibantu Tokugawa Ieyasu agar Nobunaga mempunyai kesempatan untuk kabur. Pada akhirnya, Nobunaga bisa kembali ke Kyoto. Peristiwa tersebut dikenal sebagai Jalan Lolos Kanegasaki (Kanegasaki Nukiguchi).

Sementara itu, Ashikaga Yoshiaki yang sedang membangun kembali Keshogunan Muromachi, secara diam-diam mengumpulkan kekuatan anti-Nobunaga. Koalisi anti-Nobunaga yang dipimpinnya terdiri dari daimyo seperti Takeda Shingen, Asakura Yoshikage, Azai Nagamasa, Kelompok Tiga Serangkai Miyoshi, dan kekuatan bersenjata kuil Buddha dan Shinto seperti Ishiyama Honganji dan Enryakuji. Kekuatan yang dipaksa tunduk kepada Nobunaga seperti Miyoshi Yoshitsugu dan Matsunaga Hisahide juga dipanggil untuk bergabung.

Pada bulan Juni 1570, pasukan Tokugawa Ieyasu bersama pasukan Nobunaga terlibat pertempuran dengan pasukan gabungan Azai-Asakura yang anti-Nobunaga. Pertempuran terjadi di tepi sungai Anegawa (Provinsi Ōmi) yang kemudian dikenal sebagai Pertempuran Sungai Anegawa.

Pertempuran berlangsung sengit dengan kerugian besar di kedua belah pihak. Pihak Azai dengan Isono Kazumasa di garis depan sudah kehilangan 13 lapis pasukan dari 15 lapis pasukan yang ada. Tokugawa Ieyasu yang berhadapan dengan Kelompok Tiga Serangkai dari Mino juga terlibat pertempuran sengit. Pada akhirnya, pasukan Nobunaga berhasil mengalahkan pasukan gabungan Azai-Asakura. Pada pertempuran berikutnya di Sakamoto (Ōmi), pasukan Nobunaga menderita kekalahan pahit dari pasukan gabungan kuil Enryakuji-Asakura-Azai. Mori Yoshinari dan adik Nobunaga yang bernama Oda Nobuharu tewas terbunuh.

Pada bulan September 1571, Nobunaga mengeluarkan perintah untuk membakar kuil Enryakuji yang memakan korban tewas sebanyak 4.000 orang. Korban tewas sebagian besar terdiri dari wanita dan anak-anak, termasuk pendeta kepala Enryakuji yang ikut tewas terbunuh. Takeda Shingen dalam pernyataan yang mengecam keras tindakan Nobunaga mengatakan Nobunaga sudah berubah menjadi Raja Iblis. Bangsawan bernama Yamashina Toki dalam pernyataan yang menyesalkan tindakan Nobunaga mengatakan (Nobunaga) sudah menghancurkan ajaran agama Buddha.

Pada tahun 1572, Takeda Shingen dari Provinsi Kai memutuskan untuk menyerang Kyoto sebagai jawaban atas permintaan bantuan Ashikaga Yoshiaki. Pasukan berjumlah 27.000 prajurit yang dipimpin Shingen berhasil menaklukkan wilayah kekuasaan keluarga Tokugawa.

Ketika mendengar kabar penyerangan Takeda Shingen, Nobunaga sedang berperang melawan Azai Nagamasa dan Asakura Yoshikage di Ōmi utara. Nobunaga segera kembali ke Gifu setelah pimpinan pasukan diserahkan kepada Kinoshita Hideyoshi. Nobunaga mengirim pasukan untuk membantu Tokugawa Ieyasu, tetapi jumlahnya tidak cukup. Pasukan Takeda Shingen tidak mungkin ditundukkan pasukan bantuan Nobunaga yang hanya terdiri dari 3.000 prajurit. Pada akhirnya, pasukan gabungan Oda-Tokugawa dikalahkan pasukan Takeda dalam Pertempuran Mikatagahara. Selanjutnya, pasukan Takeda terus memperkuat posisi di wilayah kekuasaan Tokugawa.

Pada musim dingin 1572, Asakura Yoshikage secara tiba-tiba memutuskan persekutuannya dengan Takeda Shingen. Keadaan ini menguntungkan pihak Nobunaga. Pasukan Nobunaga yang dipusatkan di Ōmi utara bisa ditarik mundur. Dengan tambahan pasukan yang baru kembali dari Ōmi utara, kekuatan pasukan gabungan Oda-Tokugawa berada jauh di atas pasukan Takeda. Pasukan Takeda yang menghadapi pasukan gabungan Nobunaga hanya dapat maju pelan-pelan. Takeda Shingen mengirimkan surat kepada Yoshikage sambil terus bergerak maju sedikit demi sedikit di dalam wilayah Tokugawa. Pada bulan Mei 1573, Shingen tutup usia karena sakit sebelum ambisinya menguasai Kyoto tercapai. Setelah membubarkan diri, Pasukan Takeda pulang ke Provinsi Kai, dan sekaligus menandai tamatnya koalisi anti-Nobunaga.

Pada bulan Juli 1573, pasukan Nobunaga terlibat dua kali bentrokan bersenjata dengan pasukan Ashikaga. Keshogunan Muromachi runtuh setelah diusirnya shogun Ashikaga Yoshiaki dari Kyoto. Selanjutnya, pada bulan Agustus, Nobunaga berhasil menghancurkan pasukan Asakura Yoshikage dalam Pertempuran Ichijōdani. Pada bulan berikutnya (September 1573), Azai Nagamasa tewas akibat penyerangan pasukan Nobunaga. Dalam peristiwa ini, adik perempuan Nobunaga yang bernama Oichi yang diperistri Azai Nagamasa berhasil diselamatkan, namun Kelompok Tiga Serangkai Miyoshi tewas terbunuh.

Pada bulan November 1573, Miyoshi Yoshitsugu dari Kawachi dipaksa pasukan Sakuma Nobumori untuk melakukan bunuh diri. Matsunaga Hisahide juga dipaksa menyerah. Tidak sampai setengah tahun setelah wafatnya Takeda Shingen, para daimyo yang menjadi anggota koalisi anti-Nobunaga tewas.

Penghancuran kelompok Ikkō Sunting

Pada tahun 1574, kelompok Ikkō Ise Nagashima dikepung pasukan Nobunaga dari darat dan laut hingga tidak berdaya akibat terputusnya jalur perbekalan. Pertempuran berlangsung sengit, dan Nobunaga sudah menderita luka-luka tembak. Namun akhirnya kelompok Ikkō menanggapi peringatan untuk menyerah. Nobunaga berpura-pura memberi izin kepada kelompok Ikki untuk menyerahkan diri. Ketika sedang berkumpul untuk menyerahkan diri, kelompok Ikki mendadak diserang. Semua pengikut kelompok Ikki yang sudah menyerah dibakar hidup-hidup, sejumlah 20.000 orang tewas.

Sebagian besar anggota kelompok Ikki adalah orang tua, wanita, dan anak-anak yang tidak pernah ikut berperang. Penjelasan yang dapat dipercaya mengatakan Nobunaga melakukan pembunuhan massal sebagai balasan atas kerugian besar yang diderita Nobunaga dalam pertempuran dengan kelompok Ikki Nagashima. Pengikut tepercaya dan anggota keluarga Nobunaga tewas dalam jumlah besar, sehingga Nobunaga dendam terhadap kelompok Ikki. Kelompok Ikko Nagashima habis diberantas dengan pembunuhan massal yang dilakukan Nobunaga.

Pada tahun 1575, pewaris kekuasaan Takeda Shingen yang bernama Takeda Katsuyori menjadikan menantu Ieyasu (Okudaira Nobumasa) sebagai sasaran balas dendam terhadap Ieyasu. Istana Nagashino yang dijadikan tempat kediaman Nobumasa diserang pasukan Takeda Katsuyori yang terdiri dari 15.000 prajurit.

Permintaan bantuan dari Ieyasu untuk membantu Okudaira Nobumasa mendapat jawaban dari Nobunaga. Pasukan Takeda yang hanya terdiri dari 15.000 prajurit dihancurkan pasukan gabungan Oda-Tokugawa yang terdiri dari 30.000 prajurit Oda dan 5.000 prajurit Tokugawa. Peristiwa ini dikenal sebagai Pertempuran Nagashino. Di dalam pertempuran ini, korban tewas di pihak pasukan Takeda dikabarkan mencapai lebih dari 10.000 prajurit.

Nobunaga dikabarkan memakai strategi berperang yang membagi pasukan senapan menjadi tiga lapis prajurit. Strategi ini digunakan untuk menghindari kemungkinan prajurit tewas sewaktu mengisi peluru. Setelah prajurit lapis pertama selesai menembak dan berjongkok untuk mengisi peluru, prajurit lapis kedua mendapat giliran untuk menembak, dan seterusnya. Nobunaga memuji Okudaira Nobumasa dalam Pertempuran Nagashino. Istana Nagashino dipertahankan Nobumasa melawan pasukan Takeda yang jumlahnya lebih banyak.

Pada tahun yang sama (1575), Nobunaga menunjuk Shibata Katsuie sebagai panglima gabungan untuk menyerang pasukan Ikko Ikki yang terbentuk setelah hancurnya klan Asakura. Pasukan Ikko Ikki dibantai pasukan Katsuie yang dikirim ke Echizen. Korban tewas akibat pasukan Katsuie dikabarkan mencapai puluhan ribu orang yang tidak membedakan usia dan jenis kelamin.

Atas kejadian tersebut, pengikut Nobunaga yang bernama Murai Sadakatsu menulis surat tentang peristiwa mengerikan di Echizen Fuchū yang penuh mayat bergelimpangan sampai kelihatan tiada tempat kosong. Dalam tulisannya yang masih tersisa dalam bentuk litografi, Maeda Toshiie yang pada waktu itu merupakan bawahan Nobunaga juga menulis tentang sekitar 1.000 tawanan yang disalib, direbus, atau dibakar hidup-hidup.

Pembangunan Istana Azuchi

Pada tahun 1576, Nobunaga memulai pembangunan Istana Azuchi di pinggir Danau Biwa, Provinsi Ōmi. Pembangunan dikabarkan selesai tahun 1579. Istana Azuchi konon terdiri dari 5 lantai dan 7 lapis atap, dengan atrium di bagian dalam menara utama. Dalam surat yang dikirimkan ke negeri asalnya, seorang misionaris Yesuit memuji Istana Azuchi sebagai istana mewah yang di Eropa saja tidak ada.

Nobunaga pindah ke Istana Azuchi yang baru selesai dibangun, sedangkan Istana Gifu diwariskan kepada putra pewaris, Oda Nobutada. Istana Azuchi dijadikan pusat kekuasaan Oda Nobunaga yang sedang berusaha mempersatukan Jepang.

Pada tahun 1576, Nobunaga menyerang kuil Ishiyama Honganji. Pasukan Nobunaga yang terdiri dari 3.000 prajurit sempat terdesak, tetapi akhirnya pihak musuh yang terdiri dari 15.000 prajurit dikalahkan dalam Pertempuran Tennōji.

Para pendeta kuil Ishiyama sudah dikepung oleh pasukan Nobunaga. Pertempuran laut pecah di muara Sungai Kizu yang disebut Pertempuran Sungai Kizu antara pasukan Nobunaga melawan kapal-kapal angkatan laut Mōri. Pada waktu itu, angkatan laut Mōri yang berada di pihak pendeta kuil Ishiyama sedang mengangkut perbekalan menuju kuil Ishiyama. Kapal-kapal Nobunaga ditenggelamkan dengan serangan api oleh angkatan laut Mōri. Akibatnya, pasukan Nobunaga yang mengepung kuil Ishiyama terpaksa ditarik mundur.

Selanjutnya, Kuki Yoshitaka diperintahkan Nobunaga untuk membuat kapal dari plat besi baja yang tidak mudah terbakar saat terjadi pertempuran. Kapal-kapal Nobunaga menghancurkan angkatan laut Mōri saat pecah pertempuran laut yang kedua kali pada tahun 1578.

Peran panglima daerah Sunting

Ketika Nobunaga menyerang Ise pada tahun 1577, pasukan Suzuki Magoichi memaksa kelompok Saikashū untuk menyerah. Pada tahun yang sama, panglima Nobunaga yang bernama Hashiba Hideyoshi memulai serbuan ke daerah Chūgoku. Keberhasilan Nobunaga adalah berkat jasa panglima militer yang tersebar di berbagai daerah:

    (panglima daerah Hokuriku) (panglima daerah Tokai) dan pasukan Takigawa Kazumasa (panglima daerah Kinai) (panglima daerah Chūgoku) (panglima daerah Shikoku), Oda Nobutaka (panglima khusus masalah kuil Honganji).

Nobunaga pernah berhubungan baik dengan Uesugi Kenshin, tetapi akhirnya harus berselisih soal hak penguasaan daerah seperti Noto (sekarang daerah semenanjung Prefektur Ishikawa). Pertempuran Sungai Tetori pecah akibat pertentangan antara Nobunaga dan Kenshin. Pasukan Shibata Katsuie dapat ditaklukkan dengan mudah oleh pasukan Uesugi Kenshin yang merupakan musuh terkuat Nobunaga setelah wafatnya Takeda Shingen. Kesempatan ini dimanfaatkan Matsunaga Hisahide untuk kembali memimpin pemberontakan di Yamato. Nobunaga yang menyadari kekuasaannya dalam bahaya segera mengirim pasukan ke Yamato untuk membunuh Hisahide. Pada bulan Maret 1578, Uesugi Kenshin yang sedang dalam perjalanan menaklukkan Kyoto meninggal karena sakit.

Pada tahun 1579, pasukan Hashiba Hideyoshi berhasil menaklukkan Ukita Naoie dan menguasai Provinsi Bizen. Hatano Hideharu dari Tamba juga dipaksa menyerah oleh pasukan Akechi Mitsuhide. Nobunaga langsung menghukum mati Hatano Hideharu, padahal Hideharu menyerah setelah dibujuk dengan bersusah payah oleh Mitsuhide. Peristiwa ini nantinya menjadi sumber masalah bagi Nobunaga. Ada cerita yang mengatakan perbuatan Nobunaga menyebabkan terbunuhnya ibu kandung Akechi Mitsuhide yang dijadikan sandera oleh pihak Hatano Hideharu.

Sementara itu, putra Nobunaga bernama Kitabatake Nobuo (Oda Nobuo) yang menjadi penguasa Provinsi Ise dengan keputusan sendiri menyerang Provinsi Iga. Alasannya, samurai pengikutnya sewaktu membangun Istana Dejiro diganggu para prajurit lokal. Kekalahan besar diderita pasukan Nobuo setelah prajurit lokal dari Ise melakukan serangan balasan. Kekalahan Nobuo diketahui Nobunaga yang memarahi habis-habisan putra keduanya. Prajurit lokal dari Provinsi Iga kemudian dinyatakan sebagai musuh Nobunaga. Peristiwa ini disebut Kerusuhan Iga tahun Tensho bagian pertama.

Masih pada tahun yang sama (1579), pasukan Nobunaga memadamkan pemberontakan di Kinai yang dipimpin Besso Nagaharu dan Araki Murashige. Nobunaga juga memerintahkan istri sah dari Tokugawa Ieyasu yang bernama Tsukiyama-dono untuk melakukan seppuku. Tsukiyama-dono adalah ibu dari putra pewaris Ieyasu yang bernama Tokugawa Nobuyasu. Peristiwa ini menjadi sumber perselisihan di kalangan kelompok pengikut Tokugawa yang terbagi menjadi kelompok pro dan kelompok anti-Nobunaga. Pada akhirnya Tokugawa Ieyasu memutuskan untuk tidak menyelamatkan nyawa istri dan putra pewarisnya.

Pada bulan April 1580, Nobunaga berhasil berdamai dengan pihak kuil Ishiyama Honganji. Masalah kuil Ishiyama Honganji dan pendeta Kennyo yang merupakan ganjalan bagi Nobunaga bisa diselesaikan dengan damai berkat keputusan Kaisar Ōgimachi yang menguntungkan pihak kuil Ishiyama Honganji. Sesuai dengan syarat perdamaian, kuil Ishiyama Honganji harus pindah dari Osaka. Pada bulan Agustus 1580, Nobunaga secara tiba-tiba mengusir pengikutnya seperti Sakuma Nobumori, Hayashi Hidesada, Andō Morinari, dan Niwa Ujikatsu.

Pada tahun 1581, Istana Tottori di Inaba yang dikuasai oleh Mōri Terumoto dipaksa menyerah oleh pasukan Hashiba Hideyoshi yang kemudian bergerak maju untuk menyerang Bizen.

Pada tahun yang sama, Oda Nobuo kembali memimpin pasukan sebanyak 60.000 prajurit untuk membalas kekalahan dari prajurit lokal di Ise. Pembunuhan massal terjadi di Iga, semua orang yang disangka ninja tewas dibantai termasuk wanita dan anak-anak kecil. Korban tewas mencapai lebih dari 10.000 orang. Semua orang dikabarkan lenyap dari Provinsi Iga, barang-barang juga lenyap dan Provinsi Iga hancur. Peristiwa ini dinamakan Kerusuhan Iga tahun Tensho bagian kedua.

Kehancuran klan Takeda Sunting

Pada bulan Maret 1582, pasukan Oda Nobutada menyerang wilayah Takeda dan secara berturut-turut berhasil menaklukkan Provinsi Shinano dan Suruga. Takeda Katsuyori dikejar sampai Gunung Tenmoku di Provinsi Kai, dan terpaksa bunuh diri yang menandai musnahnya klan Takeda.

Setelah klan Takeda dari Kai takluk, Nobunaga memerintahkan untuk menghukum mati semua pengikut klan Takeda beserta keluarga, dan pembantu yang dianggap akan membalas kematian tuannya. Peristiwa ini dikenal sebagai Perburuan Takeda. Perintah Nobunaga untuk membantai seluruh klan Takeda tidak dapat diterima Tokugawa Ieyasu dan sebagian menteri dari pihak Nobunaga. Walaupun harus bertaruh nyawa, Ieyasu dan para menteri menyembunyikan sisa-sisa pengikut Takeda. Seorang tokoh di zaman Edo yang bernama Takeda Yukari merupakan keturunan dari sisa-sisa pengikut Takeda yang berhasil diselamatkan dari pembunuhan massal.

Sementara itu, pasukan Shibata Katsuie bertempur dengan putra pewaris Uesugi Kenshin yang bernama Uesugi Kagekatsu, tetapi dipaksa mundur setelah hampir merebut Noto dan Etchū.

Pada saat yang bersamaan, pasukan yang dipimpin putra Nobunaga Kambe Nobutaka dan menteri Niwa Nagahide sedang dalam persiapan berangkat ke Shikoku untuk menyerbu Chōsokabe Motochika.

Ada pendapat yang mengatakan Akechi Mitsuhide khawatir dengan masa depan sebagai pengikut Nobunaga karena tidak diberi bagian dalam rencana penyerbuan ke Shikoku. Mitushide merasa nasibnya sebentar lagi mirip dengan nasib Sakuma Nobumori dan Hayashi Hidesada yang diusir oleh Nobunaga.

Pendapat lain mengatakan Akechi Mitsuhide merasa dirinya sudah tidak berguna, karena tidak lagi diserahi tugas memimpin pasukan oleh Nobunaga. Mitsuhide juga merasa dipermalukan oleh Nobunaga, karena rencana pernikahan putri salah seorang pengikutnya yang bernama Saitō Toshimitsu menjadi gagal. Pernikahan ini sebenarnya diatur oleh Mitsuhide sesuai strategi pendekatan terhadap Chōsokabe Motochika yang diperintahkan Nobunaga.

Nobunaga mengirim Takigawa Kazumasa ke Provinsi Kōzuke untuk meredam kekuatan daimyo berpenghasilan 2.400.000 koku bernama Hōjō Ujimasa. Pada saat itu, Ujimasa sedang berperang melawan Uesugi Kagekatsu dan Takeda Katsuyori. Nobunaga juga mengirim Kawajiri Hidetaka ke Provinsi Kai dan Mori Nagayoshi ke Provinsi Shinano sebagai bagian dari strategi untuk menekan kekuatan militer Ujimasa. Setelah dikepung panglima daerah yang berada di pihak Nobunaga, pasukan Nobunaga tidak perlu lagi mengangkat senjata melawan Hōjō Ujimasa yang ruang geraknya sudah dibatasi.

Insiden Honnōji Sunting

Pada tanggal 15 Mei 1582, Tokugawa Ieyasu berkunjung ke Istana Azuchi untuk mengucapkan terima kasih kepada Nobunaga atas penambahan Suruga ke dalam wilayah kekuasaannya. Nobunaga menugaskan Akechi Mitsuhide sebagai tuan rumah yang mengurus segala keperluan Ieyasu selama berada di Istana Azuchi mulai tanggal 15 Mei-17 Mei 1582.

Di tengah kunjungan Ieyasu di Istana Azuchi, Nobunaga menerima utusan yang dikirim Hashiba Hideyoshi yang meminta tambahan pasukan dari Nobunaga. Posisi Hideyoshi yang sedang bertempur merebut Istana Takamatsu di Bitchū dalam keadaan sulit, karena jumlah pasukan Mōri berada di atas jumlah pasukan Hideyoshi.

Nobunaga menanggapi permintaan bantuan Hideyoshi. Mitsuhide dibebaskan dari tugasnya sebagai tuan rumah bagi Ieyasu dan diperintahkan memimpin pasukan bantuan untuk Hideyoshi. Dalam jurnal militer Akechi Mitsuhide ditulis tentang Nobunaga yang tidak merasa puas dengan pelayanan Mitsuhide sewaktu menangani kunjungan Ieyasu. Nobunaga menyuruh anak laki-laki peliharaannya yang bernama Mori Ranmaru untuk memukul kepala Mitsuhide.

Nobunaga berangkat ke Kyoto pada 29 Mei 1582 dengan tujuan mempersiapkan pasukan yang dikirim untuk menyerang pasukan Mōri. Nobunaga menginap di kuil Honnōji, Kyoto. Akechi Mitsuhide yang sedang dalam perjalanan memimpin pasukan bala bantuan untuk Hideyoshi berbalik arah, dan secara tiba-tiba muncul di Kyoto untuk menyerang kuil Honnōji. Pada tanggal 2 Juni 1582, Nobunaga terpaksa melakukan bunuh diri, namun jasad Nobunaga kabarnya tidak pernah ditemukan. Peristiwa ini dikenal sebagai Insiden Honnōji.

Nobunaga menggemari barang-barang yang berasal dari Barat. Pada tahun 1581, Nobunaga pernah menyelenggarakan parade pasukan kavaleri dengan mengundang Kaisar Ōgimachi. Pada waktu itu, Nobunaga hadir mengenakan mantel dari kain beludru dan topi gaya Barat.

Pada masa tuanya, Nobunaga dikabarkan selalu mengenakan baju zirah ala Barat sewaktu tampil dalam pertempuran. Nobunaga sangat tertarik pada pelayan berkulit hitam dari misionaris Yesuit bernama Alessandro Valignano. Nobunaga lalu menjadikan pelayan berkulit hitam yang diberi nama Yasuke sebagai penasihat pribadi.

Nobunaga konon bisa segera mengerti kegunaan dari barang-barang yang dihadiahkan misionaris Yesuit seperti bola dunia, jam, dan peta. Pada waktu itu orang Jepang masih belum mengetahui bumi itu bulat. Para pengikut Nobunaga walaupun sudah dijelaskan berkali-kali tidak juga paham, tetapi Nobunaga kabarnya bisa langsung mengerti dan menganggapnya sebagai sesuatu yang masuk akal.

Nobunaga dikenal mempunyai rasa ingin tahu yang besar. Nobunaga sudah menggunakan senapan model Arquebus ketika senapan masih merupakan barang yang tidak umum. Nobunaga terkenal dengan tindakan yang sering dinilai kejam, tetapi misionaris Portugis bernama Luis Frois menganggap Nobunaga sebagai orang biasa-biasa saja.

Nobunaga kabarnya begitu tampan sewaktu masih remaja sehingga sering disangka sebagai wanita. Nobunaga juga punya selera fedofilia seperti lazimnya samurai zaman Sengoku. Nobunaga punya hubungan khusus dengan banyak bocah laki-laki seperti Maeda Toshiie, Hori Hidemasa, dan Mori Ranmaru. Tokoh terkemuka seperti Maeda Toshiie dan Hori Hidemasa sewaktu kecil adalah peliharaan Nobunaga, sedangkan Mori Ranmaru adalah anak laki-laki peliharaan Nobunaga yang terakhir. Nobunaga adalah pemimpin yang sangat berkuasa, tetapi dibandingkan dengan besarnya kekuasaan Nobunaga, jumlah istri yang dimiliki sangat sedikit walaupun dikaruniai banyak keturunan.

Nobunaga benci dengan seni pertunjukan Noh tetapi menyenangi Igo dan seni menyanyi dan menari yang disebut Kōwakamai. Salah satu lagu Kōwakamai yang digemari Nobunaga berjudul Atsumori, terutama lirik yang berbunyi "Ningen gojunen, keten no uchi o kurabureba, mugen no gotoku nari, Hitotabi sei o uke, messenu mono no aribeki ka" ( 「人間五十年 下天のうちをくらぶれば 夢幻の如くなり ひとたび生を享け 滅せぬもののあるべきか」 , "Umur manusia hanya lima puluh tahun, Di dunia fana ini, Hidup ini seperti mimpi, Sekali dilahirkan, Adakah orang yang tidak mati) . Nobunaga dikabarkan sangat sering menyanyikan lagu ini sambil menari, mungkin karena liriknya mengena di hati atau mungkin juga cocok dengan prinsip hidupnya. Nobunaga sangat menggemari sumo sehingga sering sekali menggelar pertandingan sumo yang dihadiri kaisar dan kalangan atas istana. Nobunaga menyenangi seni bela diri dan beraneka macam olahraga, seperti berenang, berburu memakai burung rajawali, menunggang kuda, dan seni memanah kyūdo.

Lukisan potret Nobunaga disimpan di kuil Chōkōji, Kota Toyota, Prefektur Aichi.[1] Diarsipkan 2007-03-15 di Wayback Machine. Lukisan potret Nobunaga oleh pelukis Eropa yang disimpan di gudang kuil Sampoji, Kota Tendo, Prefektur Fukui ikut habis terbakar akibat serangan udara dalam Perang Dunia II, padahal dalam lukisan potret tersebut Nobunaga digambarkan sangat mirip dengan aslinya.

Tenka Fubu Sunting

Pada abad pertengahan, rakyat Jepang terdiri dari kelas bangsawan, kelas pendeta, dan kelas samurai. Stempel Nobunaga bertuliskan "Tenka Fubu" (penguasaan seluruh Jepang dengan kekuatan militer) yang sering diartikan sebagai ambisi Nobunaga untuk mendirikan pemerintahan militer oleh kelas samurai dengan menghapus kelas bangsawan dan kelas pendeta. Ambisi Nobunaga menghancurkan kelas pendeta terlihat dari kebijakannya menghancurkan Pemberontakan Ikko Ikki dan Perang Ishiyama yang dilancarkan terhadap kuil Honganji dan pendeta Kennyo. Keshogunan Muromachi yang berada di bawah kendali Nobunaga juga mengeluarkan peraturan pertanahan di Kyoto yang menempatkan kompleks rumah tinggal kelas bangsawan di lokasi khusus agar lebih mudah diawasi.

Kegiatan beragama Sunting

Walaupun menyatakan dirinya sebagai penganut sekte Hokke, Nobunaga dinilai tidak punya penghormatan sama sekali terhadap agama Buddha. Perintahnya dinilai kejam dalam penyelesaian masalah Ikko Ikki dan pembantaian massal kuil Enryakuji. Nobunaga dikabarkan menggunakan patung batu dewa pelindung anak dalam agama Buddha dan batu nisan sebagai tembok batu di Istana Azuchi.

Pihak yang pembela Nobunaga menyangkal Nobunaga tidak religius dengan menunjuk pada bukti langit-langit menara utama Istana Azuchi yang dipenuhi hiasan gambar para tokoh dalam agama Buddha, Taoisme, dan Konfusianisme. Pendapat lain mengatakan Nobunaga hanya menginginkan pemerintahan militer yang sekuler. Nobunaga juga tidak pernah melarang kegiatan beragama seperti Jōdo Shinshū dan kuil Enryakuji.

Kebijakan terhadap istana Sunting

Nobunaga tidak menempati jabatan di istana setelah mengundurkan diri dari jabatan Udaijin, bulan April 1578. Pengunduran diri Nobunaga sering dikatakan berkaitan dengan wafatnya Uesugi Kenshin di usia 49 tahun, bulan Maret 1578.

Ada pendapat yang mengatakan Nobunaga sudah mempunyai kekuasaan yang cukup hingga tidak lagi memerlukan bantuan dari istana, apalagi saingan Nobunaga sudah tidak ada lagi. Musuh-musuh besar Nobunaga seperti Uesugi Kenshin, kekuatan militer dari kuil Honganji dan klan ternama seperti klan Takeda, klan Mōri, dan klan Ōtomo semuanya sudah habis.

Di daerah Kanto, Nobunaga berusaha menjalin persekutuan dengan klan Gohōjō yang menguasai wilayah bernilai 2.400.000 koku. Pemimpin klan juga dikirimi wanita untuk dijadikan istri.

Nobunaga ikut membantu dalam soal keuangan dan turut campur dalam pengambilan keputusan di istana. Kaisar hanya berperan sebagai boneka Nobunaga, hingga pada puncaknya Nobunaga meminta Kaisar Ōgimachi untuk mengundurkan diri. Kaisar Ōgimachi adalah kaisar yang sudah berpengalaman dan tidak mudah mengikuti setiap perkataan Nobunaga. Nobunaga sebaliknya masih menuruti perintah kaisar setiap kali kaisar tidak sependapat dengan Nobunaga yang ingin selalu menyerang musuh kuatnya di berbagai tempat.

Pendapat lain mengatakan pameran kekuatan Nobunaga dalam bentuk parade pasukan kavaleri pada tahun 1581 diadakan dengan tujuan mengancam Kaisar Ōgimachi. Pendapat yang membela Nobunaga mengatakan parade pasukan tidak dilakukan dengan tujuan mengancam kaisar.

Kaisar Ōgimachi bermaksud berkompromi dengan Nobunaga dengan cara memberikan gelar-gelar seperti Seitaishogun, Dajō Daijin, dan Kampaku. Pendapat lain mengatakan ada kemungkinan kalangan istana merupakan dalang Insiden Honnōji karena khawatir dengan Nobunaga yang semakin bebas menjalankan politik Tenka Fubu setelah wafatnya Uesugi Kenshin.

Kebijakan perdagangan Sunting

Nobunaga menjalankan politik pasar bebas (rakuichi rakuza) dalam bentuk penghapusan sistem kartel dan pos-pos pemungutan pajak yang tidak perlu, sehingga peredaran barang dan perekonomian berkembang dengan pesat. Nobunaga juga melakukan survei wilayah dan memindahkan tempat kediaman pengikutnya di kota sekeliling istana.

Penghapusan sistem kartel hanya berlaku di daerah-daerah yang bisa dibebaskan dari kartel. Distribusi barang dikhawatirkan lumpuh jika sistem kartel dihapus di seluruh daerah. Sistem kartel seperti di Kyoto tetap dipertahankan mengingat anggota kartel berpengaruh di bidang politik.

Kebijakan kepegawaian Sunting

Nobunaga lebih menghargai kemampuan daripada asal-usul keluarga. Pengikut Nobunaga yang kemudian menjadi sukses seperti Takigawa Kazumasu dan Akechi Mitsuhide adalah bekas ronin. Kinoshita Tōkichirō juga berasal dari prajurit berjalan kaki (ashigaru). Para menteri dari klan yang sudah mengabdi dari generasi ke generasi, seperti Sakuma Nobumori dan Hayashi Hidesada sebaliknya justru diusir oleh Nobunaga.

Sakuma Nobumori dan Hayashi Hidesada bukannya tidak berprestasi, tetapi Nobunaga lebih menghargai hasil pekerjaan Shibata Katsuie yang merupakan pengikut sekaligus panglima pasukan dari wilayah Hokuriku. Nobumori dan Hidesada memang pernah diizinkan untuk terus mengikuti Nobunaga, tetapi ketika mencoba berperan aktif justru dikenakan tindakan disiplin berupa pemecatan.

Upacara minum teh yang sedang populer pada saat itu digunakan Nobunaga sebagai sarana berpolitik dan bisnis dengan kalangan pengikutnya. Para pengikut Nobunaga juga sebaliknya menjadi sangat menghargai tradisi upacara minum teh. Nobunaga menggunakan perangkat minum teh berharga tinggi dari provinsi penghasil keramik terbaik sebagai imbalan pengganti uang tunai. Takigawa Kazumasu yang memiliki wilayah Kanto kabarnya sangat kecewa karena tidak diberi imbalan berupa perangkat minum teh Shukōkonasu. Imbalan yang diterima dari Nobunaga justru penambahan wilayah kekuasaan berupa Provinsi Kōzuke dan gelar penguasa daerah Kanto.

  • Nobunaga mempunyai kemampuan untuk memimpin para pengikut yang terdiri dari kalangan yang sudah sangat terpilih, tetapi sering dikatakan tidak berusaha untuk mengerti sifat orang-orang yang berada di sekelilingnya. Pendapat lain mengatakan para pengikut sering tidak mendapat penjelasan dari Nobunaga tentang maksud kebijakan politik yang sedang diambil.
  • Nobunaga sangat mengawasi gerak-gerik para daimyo. Nobunaga sering mengirim berbagai macam barang berharga untuk Uesugi Kenshin dan Takeda Shingen yang dianggap sebagai ancaman terbesar dengan maksud untuk menjalin hubungan persahabatan.
  • Nobunaga Oda adalah salah satu figur paling kontroversial dalam sejarah Jepang, pada awal usahanya untuk menyatukan Jepang, Oda hanyalah merupakan klan kecil dari Owari, dan tidak memiliki pengaruh yang signifikan dalam peta politik saat itu. Puluhan Daimyo besar dan kecil berkuasa secara feodalistik di Jepang Hojo (Kanto), Uesugi (Kaga-Noto),Takeda (Shinano), Imagawa (Suruga), Asakura-Azai (Echizen), Saito (Mino), Rokuhara (Kansai), Mori (Chigoku), Ukita (Bizen), dll. Hanya seorang pemimpin dengan bakat alamiah yang mampu memiliki tekad dan mampu mewujudkannya seperti yang dicapai oleh Nobunaga.
  • Apa pun kontroversi mengenai banyak tindakannya yang dianggap kejam, namun jika kita boleh berkaca pada prinsip "Perdamaian hanya dapat diciptakan setelah melalui peperangan". Nobunaga juga bisa dianggap sebagai peletak dasar kekuatan Toyotomi dan Tokugawa.

Pendapat yang melihat hubungan antara klan Oda (disebut juga klan Taira atau klan Fujiwara) dan kuil Shinto Tsurugi di Prefektur Fukui mengatakan asal-usul klan Oda adalah klan Imbe (klan Imibe) yang merupakan kelas bangsawan sejak zaman kuno. Klan Oda berasal dari Echizen tetapi kemudian pindah ke Owari. Klan Asakura merupakan saingan klan Oda. Kakek Nobunaga bernama Oda Nobusada yang merupakan penguasa Istana Furuwatari. Beberapa Sejarawan berpendapat bahwa keputusan Nobunaga untuk tidak ingin menerima gelar Shogun dari Istana, terutama disebabkan oleh asal-usulnya. Nobunaga meyakini dirinya adalah keturunan dari klan besar Taira (Heike), keturunan langsung pemimpin legendaris klan Taira (Kiyomori) yang pernah menjadi penguasa absolut Jepang. Sedangkan gelar "Shogun" diciptakan oleh Yoritomo (Minamoto-Genji) seorang Shogun yang mengalahkan kekuasaan Taira setelah wafatnya Kiyomori.

    (kakak tiri)
  • Oda Nobunaga (Oda Nobukatsu)
    (putra pewaris) atau Oda Nobukatsu (putra kedua, anak angkat Kitabatake Tomofusa) (putra ketiga, anak angkat Kambe Tomomori) (putra ke-4, anak angkat Hashiba Hideyoshi) (putra ke-5) (putra ke-6) (putra ke-7) (putra ke-8) (putra ke-9) (putra ke-10) (putra ke-11) (putra di luar perkawinan)

Sanak keluarga Sunting

    (putri pertama, istri Matsudaira Nobuyasu) (putri kedua, istri Gamō Ujisato (putri ketiga, istri Tsutsui Sadatsugu) (putri ke-4, istri Maeda Toshinaga) (putri ke-5, istri Niwa Nagashige) (putri ke-6, istri lain Toyotomi Hideyoshi, dan istri Nijō Akizane) (istri Mizuno Tadatane) (istri Nakagawa Hidemasa) (Anak angkat),menikahi Takeda Katsuyori selir dari Saji Kazunari
  • istri Marikōji Mitsufusa
  • istri Tokudaiji Sanehisa
    (atlet figure skat, keturunan ke-17 Oda Nobunaga) (penulis, keturunan daimyo zaman Edo bernama Oda Takanaga)
    , Takigawa Kazumasu, Niwa Nagahide, Akechi Mitsuhide, Tokugawa Ieyasu, Hashiba Hideyoshi, Hayashi Hidesada, Sakuma Nabumori, Ikeda Tsuneoki
  • Menantu pria: Gamō Ujisato, Tsutsui Sadatsugu, Niwa Nagashige, Maeda Toshinaga, Matsudaira Nobuyasu, Mizuno Tadatane, Saji Kazunari, Nijō Akizane, Marikōji Mitsufusa, Tokudaiji Sanehisa , Hasegawa Hidekazu
  • Anak laki-laki peliharaan: Mori Ranmaru, Mori Nagauji, Mori Nagataka
  • Ksatria berbaju hitam: Sassa Narimasa, Mōri Yoshikatsu, Kawajiri Hidetaka, Hacha Yoritaka
  • Ksatria berbaju merah: Maeda Toshiie, Ban Naomasa, Mōri Hideyori, Nonomura Masashige, Inoko Kazutoki, Asai Shinbachirō, Itō Nagahisa, Sawaki Yoshiyuki, Kanemori Nagachika
  • Pengikut lain yang berpengaruh: Kuki Yoshitaka, Hosokawa Yūsai, Araki Murashige, Ikeda Katsumasa, Matsunaga Hisahide, Tsutsui Junkei, Kelompok Tiga Serangkai dari Mino (Inaba Yoshimichi, Andō Morinari, Ujiie Naomoto).

Lokasi yang dinyatakan sebagai makam Oda Nobunaga tersebar di banyak tempat, antara lain:

  • Nobunaga Kōbyō di kuil Honnoji, distrik Nakagyō, Kyoto
  • Oda Nobunaga Kōhonbyō di kuil Rendaizan Amidaji
  • Lokasi makam di kuil Oku-no-in, Gunung Kōya
  • Kuil Sōken-in yang terletak di dalam kompleks kuil Daitokuji, distrik Kita, Kyoto
  • Oda Nobunaga Kōhonbyō di situs bekas Istana Azuchi (wilayah Sannomaru).
  • Makam Oda Nobunaga di kuil Zuiryūji di Gunung Takaoka, kota Takaoka, Prefektur Toyama
  • Makam Oda Nobunaga di kuil Sōfukuji, kota Gifu, Prefektur Gifu. Onabe-no-kata (istri lain Nobunaga) mengirimkan barang-barang peninggalan dan papan kayu nama almarhum (ihai) milik Nobunaga.

Pengikut Nobunaga bernama Ōta Gyūichi menulis buku catatan resmi tentang Oda Nobunaga yang berjudul Nobunaga kōki.

Perjalanan hidup Oda Nobunaga dan tokoh-tokoh yang berada di sekitarnya merupakan bahan cerita yang tidak ada habisnya ditulis kembali dalam bentuk novel fiksi sejarah, manga, video gim, dan Taiga drama yang ditayangkan saluran televisi NHK.

"As a new armament, she gained a mysterious arquebus, the Demon King Gatling Gun. Isn't this excellent and delightfully cool with its fuse that can do rotating rapid-fire? Incidentally, the weapon visible on Kipposhi's waist is the sword that she took from Imagawa Yoshimoto at the Battle of Okehazama, Sozasamonji."

Nobunaga as an Avenger has the ability to summon arquebuses like her Archer version. Her sword can create large blasts of energy and she can use her Demon King Gatling Gun as a close-combat weapon. Her third ascension in particular can engage in melee combat enhanced by her magical energy or breath out that energy in a stream from her mouth as another form of attack.

Watch the video: Portret Oda 1 (July 2022).


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