In the Hall of Fame of Japanese history, few have been of greater influence than samurai warrior Oda Nobunaga. He was merely one man, but brought a nation together. He stood tall and fought strong, even unto death with impressive military vigor. And this is his story which changed the face of Japan forever!
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From the beginning, Oda Nobunaga went against the grain. He was the son of a military governor named Oda Nobuhide and was thus born into a social rank. However, he had a rebellious side and ignored social rules, befriending youths from other social classes, which was frowned upon at that time. He also took a keen interest in firearms, which were new to Japan. Because of these things, he was considered odd among his community.
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Nobunaga’s strange behavior continued, inciting an incident at his father’s funeral in 1551. At the service, he was angered and created quite a raucous, causing his would-be supporters to favor his younger brother, Oda Nobuyuki. Under the rule of the Shibata clan, the Oda clan was divided. Nobunaga was next in line to inherit his father’s position, but his uncle, Oda Nobutomo, used this opportunity to gain power for himself. To put a stop to this, Nobunaga and one of his uncle’s friends, killed his uncle. Unfortunately, Nobunaga wasn’t out of the clear yet. His younger brother rallied troops against Nobunaga and challenged him at the Battle of Ino. Nobunaga came out victorious here and ended up killing his younger brother, after learning of a death plot against him.
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Nobunaga was now the leader of the Oda clan and many more battles awaited him. In 1560, feudal lord, Imagawa Yoshimoto, and an army of 25,000 went around the land, instilling fear and destroying opposing forces and decided to target Nobunaga. Even though Nobunaga had only 2,500 men in his army, he was not phased. Courageously, he led his troops to Yoshimoto’s tent one night and caught them unprepared in a surprise attack, known as the battle of Okehazama. He was able to entice Yoshimoto toward his clan and beheaded the feudal lord. After this victory, Nobunaga greatly increased his men, as Yoshimoto’s army joined his clan. As a result, Nobunaga’s reputation as a samurai warrior was solidified.
As Nobunaga’s success grew, so did his ambition. His personal seal read “Tenka Fubu” meaning ‘Spread the militarism under one sky” and that is what he did. He began by conquering the Saito clan and then defeating the Rokkoku. Next he fought off the Asai and Asukura clans and went pretty crazy in brutal massacres. In 1575, he had victory at the Battle of Nagashimo, which revolutionized Japanese warfare in a big way. As he moved from victory to victory, his numbers increased, as well as his fierce some ways.
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Nobunaga died at the height of his power in 1582, while waging war with the Mori clan. One of his generals requested more men as reinforcements against the Mori clan. Nobunaga divided his troops and sent some to another place while the rest, including one of his generals and inner circle members, Akechi Mitsuhide, led men to fight against the Mori clan. This left Nobunaga and his personal guards behind at the temple Honnoji. Everything seemed to be going well until Mitsuhide and his army back tracked to Nobunaga and challenged him. Not having the men to defend himself, Nobunaga was defeated by Mitsuhide and died there.
Upon Nobunaga’s death, he had successfully defeated merely a third of Japanese lands and his efforts were not in vain, as they helped to bring unity to a nation. Check out our selection of samurai warrior armor and weapons at: http://www.armorvenue.com/