Oda Nobunaga was a trouble-maker from the start. Born in 1534 as the son of the lord of the Owari province in Japan, he came to power at age 15 after his father’s death. Scandal began immediately as Nobunaga’s behavior at the funeral was reportedly shameful – he even threw incense at the altar! Such a rude waste of perfectly-good, delightful-smelling sticks… Nobunaga’s disgraceful behavior caused his mentor and retainer, Hirate Masahide, to commit suicide as a protest. This had a dramatic effect on Nobunaga. He mended his ways and later built the Seisyu-ji in honor of his retainer. Talk about your coming-of-age story…
Nobunaga quickly rose in power and gained national headlines (written in calligraphy ink on big sheets of rice paper) in 1560 when he defeated the powerful lord Imagawa Yoshimoto. From then on, Nobunaga went on a winning streak, defeating the Saito clan, beating off the Asai and Asakura clans, and launching campaigns against Ise and Iga. Nobunaga became known for his Tarantino-worthy brutality, committing acts like the massacre of monasteries that had aided his enemies – he commanded 30,000 troops to wipe the temples clean, killing thousands of priests, women, and children. In 1575, he fought the Battle of Nagashimo, which helped revolutionize warfare in Japan with its large-scale, successful use of firearms.
Oda Nobunaga Armor:
Nobunaga’s number-one-ranked nemesis was the Takeda clan. But when their leader, Takeda Shingen, died in 1582, Nobunaga saw his chance to vanquish his enemy once and for all. With the support of other clans, he rallied as many as 50,000 to 100,000 men to overtake the Takeda clan, causing Shingen’s predecessor to commit suicide. Once again, this is not a PG show, folks. Please shield your children’s eyes and accompany them to the next-door theater’s screening of “Kitten Flies a Kite.”
That same year, one of Nobunaga’s generals, Akechi Mitsuhide, began to plot against him. Within 2 months, Mitsuhide had orchestrated an ambush and slayed Nobunaga at the Honnoji temple. At the time of his death, Nobunaga had conquered about 1/3 of Japan. Not too shabby for a samurai. Today, Nobunaga is especially remembered for his role in paving the way for a unified Japan.
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