Oda Nobunaga




Oda Nobunaga (織田 信長  Oda Nobunaga , June 23, 1534 – June 21, 1582) was the initiator of the unification of Japan under the rule of the shogun in the late 16th century, a rule that ended only with the opening of Japan to the Western world in 1868. He was also a majordaimyo during the Sengoku period of Japanese history. His opus was continued, completed and finalized by his successors Toyotomi Hideyoshiand Tokugawa Ieyasu. He was the second son of Oda Nobuhide, a deputy shugo (military governor) with land holdings in Owari Province.Nobunaga lived a life of continuous military conquest, eventually conquering a third of Japanese daimyo before his death in 1582. His successor, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a loyal Oda supporter, would eventually become the first man to conquer all of Japan and the first ruler of all Japan since the Ōnin War.

Life

Oda Nobunaga was born on June 23, 1534, and was given the childhood name of Kippōshi (吉法師). He was the second son of . Through his childhood and early teenage years, he was well known for his bizarre behavior and received the name of Owari no Ōutsuke (尾張の大うつけThe Fool of Owari). With the introduction of firearms into Japan, though, he became known for his fondness of  firearms. He was also known to run around with other youths from the area, without any regard to his own rank in society.



Unification of Owari Province


In 1551, Oda Nobuhide died unexpectedly and, during his funeral, Nobunaga was said to have acted outrageously, throwing the ceremonial incense at the altar. This act alienated many Oda retainers, convincing them of Nobunaga's mediocrity and lack of discipline and they began to side with his more soft-spoken and well-mannered brother, Nobuyuki. Hirate Masahide, who was a valuable mentor and retainer to Nobunaga, was ashamed by Nobunaga's behavior and performed seppuku. This had a huge effect on Nobunaga, who later built a temple to honor Masahide.
Though Nobunaga was Nobuhide's legitimate successor, the Oda clan was divided into many factions. Furthermore, the entire clan was technically under the control of Owari's shugo, Shiba Yoshimune. Thus Oda Nobutomo, as the brother to the deceased Nobuhide and deputy to the shugo, used the powerless Yoshimune as his puppet and challenged Nobunaga's place as Owari's new ruler. Nobutomo murdered Yoshimune when it was discovered that he supported and attempted to aid Nobunaga.
To increase his power, Nobunaga persuaded Oda Nobumitsu, a younger brother of Nobuhide, to join his side and, with Nobumitsu's help, slew Nobutomo inKiyosu Castle, which later became Nobunaga's place of residence for over ten years. Taking advantage of the position of Shiba Yoshikane, Yoshimune's son, as the rightful shugo, Nobunaga forged an alliance with the Imagawa clan of Suruga Province and the Kira clan of Mikawa Province, as both clans had the same shugo and would have no excuse to decline. Additionally, this also ensured that the Imagawa clan would have to stop attacking Owari's borders.
Even though Nobuyuki and his supporters were still at large, Nobunaga decided to bring an army to Mino Province to aid Saitō Dōsan after Dōsan's son, Saitō Yoshitatsu, turned against him. The campaign failed, however, as Dōsan was killed and Yoshitatsu became the new master of Mino in 1556.
A few months later, Nobuyuki, with the support of Shibata Katsuie and Hayashi Hidesada, rebelled against Nobunaga. The three conspirators were defeated at the Battle of Inō, but they were pardoned after the intervention of Tsuchida Gozen, the birth mother of both Nobunaga and Nobuyuki. The next year, however, Nobuyuki again planned to rebel. When Nobunaga was informed of this by Shibata Katsuie, he faked illness to get close to Nobuyuki and assassinated him in Kiyosu Castle.
By 1559, Nobunaga had eliminated all opposition within the clan and throughout Owari Province. He continued to use Shiba Yoshikane as an excuse to make peace with other daimyo, although it was later discovered that Yoshikane had secretly corresponded with the Kira and Imagawa clans, trying to oust Nobunaga and restore the Shiba clan's place. Nobunaga eventually cast him out, making alliances created in the Shiba clan's name void.

Tenka Fubu

Oda Nobunaga statue at kiyosu catle

In Mino, Saitō Yoshitatsu died suddenly of illness in 1561, and was succeeded by his son, Saitō Tatsuoki. Tatsuoki, however, was young and much less effective as a ruler and military strategist compared to his father and grandfather. Taking advantage of this situation, Nobunaga moved his base to Komaki Castle and started his campaign in Mino. By convincing Saitō retainers to abandon their incompetent and foolish master, Nobunaga weakened the Saitō clansignificantly, eventually mounting a final attack in 1567. Nobunaga captured Inabayama Castle and sent Tatsuoki into exile.
After taking possession of the castle, Nobunaga changed the name of both the castle and the surrounding town to Gifu. Remains of Nobunaga's residence in Gifu can be found today in Gifu Park. Naming it after the legendary Mount Qi (岐山 Qi in Standard Chinese) in China, on which the Zhou dynasty started, Nobunaga revealed his ambition to conquer the whole of Japan. He also started using a new personal seal that read Tenka Fubu (天下布武), which means "Spread the militarism over the whole land", or literally "... under the sky" (see all under heaven). In 1564, Nobunaga had his sister, Oichi, marry Azai Nagamasa, a daimyo in northern Ōmi Province. This would later help pave the way to Kyoto.
In 1568, Ashikaga Yoshiaki went to Gifu to ask Nobunaga to start a campaign toward Kyoto. Yoshiaki was the brother of the murdered thirteenth shogun of the Ashikaga shogunate, Yoshiteru, and wanted revenge against the killers who had already set up a puppet shogun, Ashikaga Yoshihide. Nobunaga agreed to install Yoshiaki as the new shogun and, grasping the opportunity to enter Kyoto, started his campaign. An obstacle in southern Ōmi Province, however, was the Rokkaku clan. Led by Rokkaku Yoshikata, the clan refused to recognize Yoshiaki as shogun and was ready to go to war. In response, Nobunaga launched a rapid attack, driving the Rokkaku clan out of their castles.
Within a short amount of time, Nobunaga had reached Kyoto and driven the Miyoshi clan out of the city. Yoshiaki was made the 15th shogun of the Ashikaga shogunate. Nobunaga refused the post of Kanrei and eventually began to restrict the powers of the shogun, making it clear that he intended to use him as a puppet to justify his future conquests. Yoshiaki, however, was not pleased about being a puppet and secretly corresponded with various daimyo, forging an anti-Nobunaga alliance.
The Asakura clan was particularly disdainful of the Oda clan's increasing power because, historically, the Oda clan had been subordinate to the Asakura clan. Furthermore, Asakura Yoshikage had also protected Ashikaga Yoshiaki, but had not been willing to march toward Kyoto. Thus, the Asakura clan also despised Nobunaga the most for his success.
When Nobunaga launched a campaign into the Asakura clan's domain, Azai Nagamasa, to whom Oichi was married, broke the alliance with Oda to honor the Azai-Asakura alliance which had lasted for generations. With the help of Ikko rebels, the anti-Nobunaga alliance sprang into full force, taking a heavy toll on the Oda clan. At the Battle of Anegawa, Tokugawa Ieyasu joined forces with Nobunaga and defeated the combined forces of the Asakura and Azai clans.
Nobunaga waged war even against Buddhists when they armed themselves and did not obey him. The Enryaku-ji monastery on Mt. Hiei, with its sōhei (warrior monks) of the Tendai school who aided the anti-Nobunaga group by helping Azai-Asakura alliance, was a particular thorn in Nobunaga's side, residing as it did so close to his residence in Kyoto. Nobunaga attacked Enryaku-ji and burnt it to the ground in 1571, even though it had been admired as a significant cultural symbol at the time, and killed between 3,000 and 4,000 men, women and children in the process.
During the siege of Nagashima, Nobunaga suffered tremendous losses, including the death of a couple of his brothers, to the Ikkō-ikki resistance, a coalition of peasant farmers, monks, Shinto priests and local nobles that opposed samurai rule. The siege finally ended when Nobunaga surrounded the enemy complex and set fire to it, killing tens of thousands of non-combatants, including women and children. He later succeeded in taking their main stronghold at Ishiyama Hongan-ji after an 11-year siege that ended with its surrender.
Through the years, Nobunaga was able to further consolidate his position and conquer his enemies through brutality.
One of the strongest rulers in the anti-Nobunaga alliance was Takeda Shingen, in spite of his generally peaceful relationship and a nominal alliance with the Oda clan. In 1572, at the urgings of the shogun, Shingen decided to make a drive for the capital starting with invading Tokugawa's territory. Tied down on the Western front, Nobunaga sent lackluster aid to Ieyasu, who suffered defeat at theBattle of Mikatagahara in 1573. However, after the battle, Tokugawa's forces launched night raids and convinced Takeda of an imminent counter-attack, thus saving the vulnerable Tokugawa with the bluff. This would play a pivotal role in Tokugawa's philosophy of strategic patience in his campaigns with Oda Nobunaga. Shortly thereafter, the Takeda forces retreated after Shingen died of illness in 1573. This was a relief for Nobunaga because he could now focus on Yoshiaki, who had openly declared hostility more than once, despite the imperial court's intervention. Nobunaga was able to defeat Yoshiaki's weak forces and send him into exile, bringing the Ashikaga shogunate to an end in the same year.
Also in 1573, Nobunaga successfully destroyed the Asakura and Azai clans, leading Azai Nagamasa to send Oichi back to Nobunaga and commit suicide. With Nagashima's destruction in 1574, the only threat to Nobunaga was the Takeda clan, now led by Takeda Katsuyori.
At the decisive Battle of Nagashino, the combined forces of Nobunaga and Tokugawa Ieyasu devastated the Takeda clan with the strategic use of arquebuses. Nobunaga compensated for the arquebus' slow reloading time by arranging the arquebusiers in three lines. After each line fired, it would duck and reload as the next line fired. The bullets were able to pierce the Takeda cavalry armor, causing chaos among the Takeda cavalry, who were pushed back and killed by incoming fire. From there, Nobunaga continued his expansion, sending Shibata Katsuie and Maeda Toshiie to the north andAkechi Mitsuhide to Tamba Province.
The Oda clan's siege of Ishiyama Hongan-ji in Osaka made some progress, but the Mori clan of the Chūgoku region broke the naval blockade and started sending supplies into the strongly-fortified complex by sea. As a result, in 1577, Hashiba Hideyoshi was ordered to expand west to confront the Mori clan.
However, Uesugi Kenshin, said to be the greatest general of his time since the demise of Takeda Shingen, took part in the second anti-Nobunaga alliance. Following his conquest of neighboring forces, the two sides clashed during the Battle of Tedorigawa which resulted in a decisive Uesugi victory. It was around this time that Uesugi forces began preparations to march on Kyoto.
Due to his defeat, Nobunaga's expansion in Noto, Kaga, and Etchū Province area was stagnant for a while. But Kenshin, who prepared to move his armies again after the battle, died from a possible cerebral hemorrhage before moving them. After Kenshin's death and much confusion among his successors, Nobunaga started his campaign on this area again.
Nobunaga forced the Ishiyama Hongan-ji to surrender in 1580 and destroyed the Takeda clan in 1582. Nobunaga's administration was at its height of power and he was about to launch invasions intoEchigo Province and Shikoku.

Incident at Honnō-ji

Grave of Oda Nobunaga

In 1582, his former sandal bearer Hashiba Hideyoshi invaded Bichu Province, laying siege to Takamatsu Castle. However, the castle was vital to the Mori clan, and losing it would leave the Mori home domain vulnerable. Led by Mōri Terumoto, reinforcements arrived outside Takamatsu Castle, and the two sides came to a standstill. Hashiba asked for reinforcements from Nobunaga.
It has often been argued that Hideyoshi had no need for reinforcements, but asked Nobunaga anyway for various reasons. Most believe that Hideyoshi, envied and hated by fellow generals for his swift rise from a lowly footman to a top general under Oda Nobunaga, wanted to give the credit for taking Takamatsu to Nobunaga so as to humble himself in front of other Oda vassals.
In any case, Nobunaga ordered Niwa Nagahide to prepare for an invasion of Shikoku, and Akechi Mitsuhide to assist Hideyoshi. En route to Chūgoku region, Nobunaga stayed at Honnō-ji, a temple in Kyoto. Since Nobunaga would not expect an attack in the middle of his firmly-controlled territories, he was guarded by only a few dozen personal servants and bodyguards.
Nevertheless, Mitsuhide suddenly had Honnō-ji surrounded in a coup d'état, forcing Nobunaga to fight him. Nobunaga lost and was forced to commitseppuku. At the same time, Mitsuhide forces assaulted Nijō Castle.
With Nobunaga when he died was his young page, Mori Ranmaru, who had served him faithfully for many years and was still in his teens at the time. Ranmaru's loyalty and devotion to his lord were widely known and praised during the Edo period. He faithfully committed seppuku with his master.
Just eleven days after the coup at Honnō-ji, Mitsuhide was killed at the Battle of Yamazaki and his army was defeated by Hideyoshi, who eventually was made the rightful heir to Nobunaga's legacy. He is more widely known as Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

Nobunaga, Hideyoshi and Ieyasu

Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who unified Japan in 1590, and Tokugawa Ieyasu, who founded the Tokugawa Shogunate in 1603, were loyal followers of Nobunaga. These two were gifted with Nobunaga's previous achievements on which they could build a unified Japan. There was a saying: "Nobunaga pounds the national rice cake, Hideyoshi kneads it, and in the end Ieyasu sits down and eats it."
Hideyoshi was brought up from a nameless peasant to be one of Nobunaga's top generals. When he became a grand minister in 1586, he created a law that the samurai caste became codified as permanent and heritable, and that non-samurai were forbidden to carry weapons, thereby ending the social mobility of Japan from which he himself had benefited. These restrictions lasted until the dissolution of the Edo Shogunate by the Meiji Restoration revolutionaries. Hideyoshi secured his claim as the rightful successor of Nobunaga by defeating Akechi Mitsuhide within a month of Nobunaga's death.
It is important to note that the distinction between samurai and non-samurai was so obscure that during the 16th century, most male adults in any social class (even small farmers) belonged to at least one military organization of their own and served in wars before and during Hideyoshi's rule. It can be said that an "all against all" situation continued for a century. The authorized samurai families after the 17th century were those that chose to follow Nobunaga, Hideyoshi and Ieyasu. Large battles occurred during the change between regimes and a number of defeated samurai were destroyed, became ronin or were absorbed into the general populace.
Ieyasu had shared his childhood with Nobunaga as a hostage of the Oda clan. Though there were a number of battles between Ieyasu and the Oda clan, Ieyasu eventually switched sides and became one of Nobunaga's strongest allies.

Policies

Militarily, Nobunaga's revolutionary vision not only changed the way war was fought in Japan, but also in turn made one of the most modernized forces in the world at that time. He developed, implemented, and expanded the use of long pikes, firearms and castle fortifications in accordance with the expanded mass battles of the period. Nobunaga also instituted a specialized warrior class system and appointed his retainers and subjects to positions based on ability, not wholly based on name, rank, or family relationship as in prior periods. Retainers were also given land on the basis of rice output, not land size. Nobunaga's organizational system in particular was later used and extensively developed by his ally Tokugawa Ieyasu]in the forming of the Tokugawa shogunatein Edo.
Nobunaga's dominance and brilliance was not restricted to the battlefield, for he also was a keen businessman and understood the principles of microeconomics and macroeconomics. First, in order to modernize the economy from an agricultural base to a manufacture and service base, castle towns were developed as the center and basis of local economies. Roads were also made within his domain between castle towns to not only facilitate trade, but also to move armies great distances in short timespans. International trade was also expanded beyond China and the Korean peninsula, whilenanban (southern barbarian) trade with Europe, the Philippines, Siam, and Indonesia was also started.
Nobunaga also instituted rakuichi rakuza (楽市楽座) policies as a way to stimulate business and the overall economy through the use of a free market system. These policies abolished and prohibited monopolies and opened once closed and privileged unions, associations, and guilds, which he saw as impediments to commerce. Copies of his original proclamations can be found in Entoku-ji in the city of Gifu. He also developed tax exemptions and established laws to regulate and ease the borrowing of debt.

Legacy

Nobunaga is remembered in Japan as one of the most brutal figures of the Sengoku period. Nobunaga was the first of three unifiers during the Sengoku period. These unifiers were (in order) Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi (also called Hashiba Hideyoshi above) and Tokugawa Ieyasu. Oda Nobunaga was well on his way to the complete conquest and unification of Japan when Akechi Mitsuhide, one of his generals, forced Nobunaga into committing suicide in Honnō-ji in Kyoto. Akechi then proceeded to declare himself master over Nobunaga's domains, but was quickly defeated by Hideyoshi

Family


The butterfly mon of the Taira is calledAgeha-cho (揚羽蝶) in Japanese
Depending upon the source, Oda Nobunaga and the entire Oda clan are descendents of either the Fujiwara clan or the Taira clan (specifically, Taira no Shigemori's branch). His lineage can be directly traced to his great-great-grandfather, Oda Hisanaga, who was followed by Oda Toshisada, Oda Nobusada,Oda Nobuhide and Nobunaga himself.

Immediate family

Nobunaga was the eldest legitimate son of Nobuhide, a minor warlord from Owari Province, and Tsuchida Gozen, who was also the mother to three of his brothers (Nobuyuki, Nobukane and Hidetaka) and two of his sisters (Oinu and Oichi). His brothers are listed as follows:
  • Oda Nobuhiro 
  • Oda Nobukane
  • Oda Nobutoki
  • Oda Hidetaka
  • Oda Nobuteru
  • Oda Nobuyuki
  • Oda Nagatoshi
  • Oda Nobuharu
  • Oda Nobuoki
  • Oda Hidenari
  • O. nagamasu


Source From : 
http://id.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oda_Nobunaga 





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