Oda Nobunaga (1534~1582) , The Uniter of Japan I

  • After the Onin war , Japan had been in total chaos and no daimyo could establish any significant superiority over others.
  • The hopeless situation would one day be ended by the Demon King Nobunaga who was born in Nagoya Castle in 1534.
  • He was brave but unpredictable and sometimes acting bizarre. He was so disrespectful during his father’s funeral so that one of his retainers committed seppuku to just to give him a message.
  • To take over the leadership the Oda clan, he first killed his uncle and younger brother.
  • Then he attacked an army of 25,000 men from the Imagawa clan with only 3000 men. He first intimidated them by using dummy soldiers and then ambushed them in a narrow gorge.
  • In 1568 The Ashikaga Shogun invited Nobunaga to Kyoto in order to protect him from other daimyos. Nabunaga helped him and announced him as the new shogun but it was an act. Nobunaga wanted to be the shogun himself so he restricted the powers of the Ashikaga shogun. Historians call this moment the end of the Muromachi (Ashikaga) period and the beginning of the period of Azuchi-Momoyama.
  • Even though he won many battles, his brother was killed by the warrior monks. Nobunaga also lost against the Ikko Ikki warrior monks a few times in his life. But in 1571 he burned one of the biggest temples in Japan slaughtered thousands of monks in Mount Hiei, north of Kyoto city. He repeated the same thing in 1574, he burned the Nagashima settlements of Ikko Ikki, slaughtering about 20,000 people.
  • in 1575, Oda Nobunaga’s forces crushed the Takeda clan’s army (famous for its cavalry) by using arquebuses. About 10,000 Takeda forces were killed near the Nagashino Castle. Although the leader of the Takeda clan survived, Nobunaga got all of their territories in 1582.
  • in 1578 , Oda Nobunaga built the Azuchi Castle, the biggest and perhaps the most aesthetically pleasing castle back then. It was on top of a hill overseeing the eastern and Western Japan.
  • The only little problem in Central Japan was the ninja clans in the Iga region. They defeated Nobunaga’s son in 1579 and they were completely independent. 2 years later, Nobunaga surrounded the region with 44 thousand-strong army and slaughtered thousands of ninja’s in the region.
  • Nobunaga also was sometimes disrespectful to men around him. He called Toyotomi Hideyoshi Saru (Monkey) and Akechi Mitsuhide Hage (baldy). He also  killed some high ranking war prisoners, whose relatives in turn killed Akechi’s mother.
  • on June 21, 1582, while resting at the Honnoji Temple with a few dozen servants, Nobunaga realized that thousands of samurai troops waiting outside to kill him. The temple was set on fire and Nobunaga and his close servants committed seppuku. These samurai troops were led by no-one else but Akechi Mitsuhide, one of Nobunaga’s closest generals.

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